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Full-spectrum chaos: US Empire in freefall as crises pile up

Remind me again, what is US policy in the Middle East Southwest Asia?

Confused by the US’ contradictory ‘handling’ of Iran? The Obama administration appears to be courting Iran, while the Republican and AIPAC-dominated Congress is pushing for war. The struggle lies in the efforts of the US government to keep Iran ‘on side’ lest it be lost to Eurasian integration. They think they have ‘a good read’ on Iran and that they can entice it by resolving the contrived ‘nuclear issue’ while whispering sweet nothings in Iran’s ear about ousting Russia as a major supplier of Europe’s energy needs. Their difficulty lies in dealing with the fundamentalists in their midst who are constitutionally incapable of grokking realpolitik. That’s why Bibi was right to be paranoid about ‘foreign powers’ interfering in the Israeli elections. More ‘level heads’ among the Washington elite wanted to see the back of him, thus improving their chances of ‘managing’ the center of the world and maintaining their dominance of the region. The Obama administration is now putting out feelers about passing a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements and ditching its long-standing policy of vetoing every single UN resolution critical of Israel. But don’t get your hopes up about a substantive US-Israel rift: nearing the end of his last term, Dubya did the same thing.

It’s a similar story of instigating then ‘managing’ conflict with respect to Syria. From being absolutely determined to see the back of Assad, John Kerry is now prepared to negotiate a settlement with him, or so he says. Elements of the US media are haranguing Kerry for his ‘peacenik’ proposals. I would again caution against seeing this ‘flip-flopping’ as a sign of US government incompetence or weakness. Ultimately, performing a balancing act of advances and retreats, hardline statements and conciliatory tones, is what the strategists speaking through mouthpieces like Kerry do in order to reach their goal, which is, of course, total hegemonic world domination. Basically, you can’t trust a word they say.

So is the freedom and democracy hidden under the rubble of my former home?

A recently published report by the Syrian Centre for Policy Research, sponsored by the UN, says that six percent of Syria’s population of 23 million people has been killed or wounded in the West’s 4-year-long proxy war. Life expectancy has gone from 79.5 years in 2010 to just 55.7 years. More than 5 million Syrians became refugees or migrated in search of work, while 40 percent of the remaining 17.65 million are internally displaced. The country has lost over $200 billion through destruction, looting, capital flight and GDP loss. Unemployment is officially at 58 percent; and most of those who have jobs depend on what’s left of the national government. If and when that also collapses, Syria will have been left in utter ruins.

Everyone is pretending that the issue in Syria and Iraq is ISIS, but the terror menace is merely part of a ‘dynamic narrative‘, which adapts on a daily basis as the conflict is managed - not solved – towards the preferred strategic outcome (which remains unchanged for almost a century: Western control of the Middle East Southwest Asia).

This management of the narrative is producing some jarring glitches. Just this week, the Syrian Army shot down a US surveillance drone over a coastal region of the country where, everyone agrees, no ‘jihadists’ are present. The US State Department’s Jen Psaki ‘would neither confirm nor deny’ such had taken place, but warned the Syrian government – in a statement of breathtaking hubris – “not to interfere with its aerial assets in Syrian airspace, as if to say ‘Hey! Don’t do that. We’re allies now, in the War on Terror, remember?’

I say to you Obama, give us better tents, or we will march on Washington, as soon as we get some boats…hint hint.

The US, which is unofficially at war against Syria via proxy armies, but officially ‘helping’ it to fight against an offshoot of the same proxy army (ISIS), help which the Syrians neither requested nor want, is now effectively conducting direct military action against Syrian forces. The Syrian government and people know they have been defending their country against proxy forces for the last 4 years, and that they were thus indirectly defending themselves against US-led aggression. With US, British, French and Canadian fighter jets and drones in the skies, and US, British, Canadian and Australian Special Forces on land – all to ‘deal with ISIS’, of course – Syria has de facto been invaded and militarily occupied by stealth. But we’re all supposed to pretend that it hasn’t.

On Wednesday 18th, “two terrorists disguised in military clothes” got into Tunisia’s parliament building, then – using kalashnikovs – opened fire at tourists disembarking from a bus at an adjacent museum. The massacre left 23 people dead and 50 wounded. Responsibility for the attack has been claimed by ‘the Islamic State’. Well, not exactly. It’s been claimed by private US-Israeli intelligence agency ‘SITE Intelligence’ to have been ‘claimed by ISIS’. For a steep fee, you can go here for the details. Or you can just read any number of mainstream news articles about this ‘discovery’, which all just repeat verbatim what SITE said. Here’s Reuters description of what the ‘audio recording’ – ‘found’ online by SITE Intelligence – says:

“We tell the apostates who sit on the chest of Muslim Tunisia: Wait for the glad tidings of what will harm you, o impure ones, for what you have seen today is the first drop of the rain.”

Those mooslim t’rrists really like their flowery prose, don’t they? Personally, I don’t really see any claim of responsibility there. Nevertheless, Tunisian president Beij Caid Essebsi has promised to wage full-scale ground war against terrorists:

“I want the Tunisian people to understand that we are in a war against terrorism and that these savage minorities do not frighten us. We will fight them without mercy to our last breath.”

I want the people to understand that we are…” Where have I heard this before? Oh yes, here. Anyway, moving along… Tunisian authorities have identified the two terrorists – killed on the scene by Tunisian security forces – as Hatem al-Khashnawi and Yassin al-Abidi, both Tunisian, and one of whom was reported by local media to have spent time in Iraq and Libya – not, presumably, to take in the scenery. Tunisia’s Prime Minister Habib Essid said Abidi had been under surveillance, but – get this – “not for anything very special.” So one or both of these terrorists were under surveillance for… what, traffic violations? Were they still under surveillance when they got into Tunisia’s parliament building dressed as soldiers and armed with kalashnikovs?

Terrorism Inc.- it’s not just about the terror

The media narrative framed it as an attack on ‘the young Tunisian democracy’, liberated and liberalized by the 2011 Arab Spring, yet one of the forgotten mass uprisings from that year remains a protracted and violent power struggle. President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled from Yemen last month when the Shia Houthi rebels finally took control of the capital Sanaa, but the US and UK-backed leader has been coordinating reprisals via forces loyal to the old regime – with the help of Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Rebel leader Abdul Malik al-Houthi accused Saudi Arabia ofdestabilizing the country and supporting Yemen’s enemies.” Lo and behold, multiple ‘suicide’ bomb attacks today targeted mosques and government buildings in the capital. Some 80 people were killed and hundreds more wounded. Abdullah al-Matari, a leader of Yemen’s Nasserite Organization, suspects that ‘al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula’ is behind the attacks. That Islamic terrorists intervene at the most opportune times to prop up the Empire’s preferred state of affairs and tarnish the reputation of genuine Arab reformists never ceases to surprise me. Although it really should.

No news yet from SITE Intelligence on who was behind the bloodbath in Gothenburg, Sweden on March 18th. People were watching a football match after work when two guys walked in – armed with kalashnikovs, of course – and shot the place up. 2 people were killed, including the barman, and another 15 were injured. The shooters have not been caught, and the authorities have no clue who they are. Swedish media is suggesting it’s gang-related, but they’ve not yet provided any details as to means or motive. Across the water in Copenhagen, yet another shoot-out was taking place around the same time, this time in a large Danish shopping mall. This was too was vaguely attributed to gang-warfare, and again only sparse details were released. Bucking the trend of mass shootings these days, the authorities in both Sweden and Denmark seemed to go out of their way to stress that these were “not terror-related shootings.”

War against Ukraine, well, Russia – same thing

The Russian government has issued new sanctions – entry bans and asset freezes in Russia – against some 200 Westerners, including politicians, civil servants and other public figures known for their openly anti-Russian activities. About 60 people on the list are from the United States. Among these are Deputy National Security Advisor Caroline Atkinson, presidential advisers Daniel Pfeiffer and Benjamin Rhodes, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations Robert Menendes and Senators John McCain, Daniel Coats and Mary Landrieu.

Russian MP and deputy head of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Relations, Leonid Kalashnikov, told Izvestia newspaper that the Russian government has no particular desire to play this tit-for-tat game with the West, and pointed out that the travel bans’ primary purpose is “to deprive Russian politicians and public figures the opportunity to deliver their position at international parliamentary conferences,” a strange stance to take for a country so strongly committed to ‘freedom of speech’. Elsewhere on the anti-Russia propaganda front, the Dutch government today corrected privately-owned broadcaster RTL’s midweek ‘special report’ on the MH17 plane crash that cited ‘final proof’ that a BUK missile shot down the airliner. Apparently the investigation is still “in progress” and the Dutch government is “not yet ready to take any conclusion.” Nice try by the Dutch propagandist though.

‘Freedom and democracy is harder than I thought!’

Meanwhile, Ukraine continues to implode, with a serious riot breaking out in a Kiev-held town in Donetsk. Harrison Koehli reported on the incident here. The Ukrainian regime apparently uses a different definition of ‘terrorist’ than the civilized world: anyone suspected of being less-than-fully committed to the ‘Glory of Ukraine’ in Kiev’s ‘war against the Moskals’ is one. The reality split generated by Russia’s firm resistance to the West’s ‘reality-creating’ continues to produce schizophrenic reactions in Eastern Europe. While a Polish MP broke ranks to talk some sense earlier this week, saying that Poroshenko has “lost control over his country and himself,” Lithuanian authorities have begun rounding up ‘anti-constitutional suspects’ who are “trying to create a view that life in Lithuania is bad, and that what is going on in Crimea is great.” If the reverse were true, surely expressing such an ‘incorrect’ view wouldn’t need to be criminalized? But the Lithuanians aren’t really thinking straight these days. Just yesterday the Ministry of Foreign Affairs freaked out when it heard that a train coming from the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad to Vilnus was packed full of… young people!! This was construed as clear evidence of a Russian invasion since there were a lot of “young men eligible for military service” on board. The invasion alert was only cancelled when it became clear that the train passengers were only intending to invade Vilnus’ shopping district… to buy things. On the same day, the Lithuanian parliament voted to bring back compulsory military service, just in case the Russians really do invade.

Chief war parties Britain and the US are sending ‘military specialists’ in to ‘train’ the Ukie army in how to impose liberal democracy through the barrel of a gun. They probably did so long before now, but consider it important to send Russia a message by publicizing it today. The US, meanwhile, is sending tanks into the region and stamping its authority on Europe by sending out a war party from the Baltic states through Poland to its garrisons in Germany. As part of Operation ‘Atlantic Resolve’, the US is also seeking to position troops and armored battalions in all eastern European countries, and as far away as Georgia. They should enjoy it while they can; they may soon be called back home on an emergency…

US (controlled) implosion looming?

The US appears to be on course for some kind of major internal showdown. While US police forces continue shooting black people with impunity, somebody else is feeding the outcry, recently by leaking outrageously racist internal police communications. On the ‘other side’ in this racial divide, the ‘New black Panther Party’ is parading its weaponry and proposing thatevery black person in America be armed with a gun.”

Coming soon to cities and towns across America! Oh wait, they’re already there.

You can see how close the situation is to boiling point following last week’s shooting of two cops standing guard outside the Ferguson, Missouri police station… while a protest against their brutal tactics was underway. They have since beaten a confession out of a local man who supposedly shot the cops from his vehicle, but there are strong suspicions, from both police and protesters that this was a ‘professional hit’ from a sniper’s rifle, probably from a nearby rooftop. Now where have we seen this happen before; a highly charged situation is brought to a head by mystery snipers who shoot a bunch of people, chaos ensues and a new order is imposed…

I don’t use this term as a racist pun, but rather in the sense that the US government uses it around the world: a ‘color revolution’ is coming to America, one in which its instigators hope to subvert working class blacks’ new civil rights movement by provoking a violent uprising. Given current police state methods, and the fact that police forces in the US are effectively national paramilitary forces that are armed to the teeth with 15 years’ worth of war materiel, and are trained – and, evidently, psychologically prepared – to kill, I can only foresee this being crushed with maximum force, and thus cowing the rest of the population into meek submission in whatever ‘new order’ emerges from this chaos.

Greek exit this way

So long and thanks for the memories… NOT!

The new Greek government successfully passed a new ‘humanitarian crisis law’ last week that will provide housing allowances and emergency food aid for the poorest Greeks. You get a real sense of just how much power has been centralized in the EU when you hear the unelected European Commission in Brussels describe the law asa unilateral move“, the implication being that the Greek government has no sovereign right to draft and pass a law that covers the most basic needs of its population. PM Tsipras also revealed plans to reopen the state broadcaster and offer taxpayers more lenient terms on overdue taxes, “without having been given the green light from international creditors,” prompting an EU official to say, “There is a general feeling that the Greek side is completely out of touch with reality.” Yeah, I mean, what the hell is the Greek government thinking, cutting poor people some slack. It’s just outrageous! What is this guy, Tsipras, a Commie?? The IMF weighed in by reporting that Greece is “the most unhelpful country the organization has dealt with in its 70-year history,” and complaining that the rebel country isn’t adhering to the $254 billion bailout extension deal reached in February. Good. It’s about time someone stood up to these psychos.

The only people out of touch with reality are those who think this monstrous pyramid scheme of perpetual debt slavery to the global bankers’ empire is sustainable, or desirable. These ‘reality-creators’ have mocked Greece mercilessly for pointing out that Germany still owes it Nazi-era war-time reparations, but ordinary Germans, it seems, feel differently about it.

Speaking of those money masters of the universe, they were confronted in Frankfurt this week at the opening of the European Central Bank’s new headquarters – which cost €1.3 billion of taxpayers money – with a ‘Blockupy’ anti-capitalist protest of some 10,000 people. It quickly became a fiery riot when the usual ‘Black Bloc’ types started torching cars; hundreds of protesters were subsequently injured and arrested as police cracked down hard. Easy peasy. I could have sworn that in some similar situation last year such state responses were officially deemed ‘authoritarian’, ‘undemocratic’, and merited a change of regime, but I might be getting my ‘dynamic narratives’ crossed…

Eurasia or bust

And what of the ‘hope of the world’? Since his return to the public limelight after a brief working holiday, Putin has – on the one year anniversary of Crimea rejoining Russia – signed a deal with South Ossetia in the Caucasus that effectively makes it a Russian protectorate; granted Turkey a 10.25% discount on gas prices; initiated multiple simultaneous war games exercises across the entire expanse of Russian territory – and in Venezuela; held bilateral talks with the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee (Russia is the first foreign government to do so, ever); flown to Astana to discuss a currency union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan; spoken (and sung!) to a crowd of 100,000 people on Red Square celebrating the anniversary of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Not too shabby for a few days’ work. Sure puts all those asshats in the West to shame.

Ignoring direct pleas from the Obama administration, three of Europe’s biggest economies – Germany, Italy and the UK – have signed up to become founding members of the new Chinese-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, a long overdue rival to the World Bank and other institutions set up by the US after it took all the spoils following World War II. The Americans, needless to say, are not happy about it.

‘It’s ok Barack, I got this covered. You go sit over there.’

The Brits say they want toget in on the ground floor to help shape governance” of the new bank, and also to make sure it “plays a complementary role to the World Bank.” If they think they’re going to be ‘in’ yet ‘out’ – like they have been with respect to the EU, in order to thwart and ‘manage’ European integration in Washington’s favor – then they must think the Chinese were born yesterday. However, given that the UK’s economic viability depends on London being the global casino for recycled petrodollars, should the dollar go, it’s only natural for the Brits to turn 180 degrees and offer their services to its replacement. British Chancellor Osborne has invited China to consider the City of London its primary future clearing house for the yuan outside Asia. And thus the American elite are getting a taste of that famed British perfidiousness. Hurts, doesn’t it?

Quite what the Europeans think they’ll get out of membership of an institution set up by Chinese leader Xi Linping to help fund infrastructure projects in poor Asian countries is unclear, but I guess that even some of the most hardcore neo-liberal predatory capitalists out there can see the writing on the wall: the dollar’s day in the Sun is coming to an end. Same goes for the English language as the ‘lingua franca’ of international business: the working languages of the growing anti-NATO Shanghai Cooperation Organisation – whose current member-states represent half of humanity – are Chinese and Russian. Something the Chinese will want to keep an eye on is the British government’s redeployment of its Skynet military satellite (yes, it’s called Skynet) “over the Asia-Pacific region to provide secure communications to Britain’s allies in the region,” which probably means ‘to gain an edge over China for NATO’.

The Americans can whine all they like, but they have blown repeated chances to maintain hegemony without forcing such developments. In 2010, the 188 member-states of the IMF agreed a package of reforms that would distribute influence in the organization more evenly, while keeping the IMF under the effective control of Washington. However, Congress refused to approve the agreement. US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew went before the House Financial Services Committee this week to again plead with US Senators to

“…urgently address prior unmet commitments, which have grown to levels that raise significant questions about U.S. credibility and leadership in the multilateral system. Failure to do so could result in a loss of U.S. shareholding at a time when new players are challenging U.S. leadership in the multilateral system.”

Reminding Congress that the IMF and World Bank “effectively leverage our limited resources in service of our national and global interests,” and if the other IMF members decide to rebalance power within the institution without US approval, the result, he warned, would be “a loss of US influence and our ability to shape international norms and practices.” Oh dear! Say it ain’t so! Lew was basically saying that the US is poised to lose it all and face the music with respect to its gargantuan debt, which sits at 104% of GDP, and growing.

That means the USA is officially a failed state, and the only things keeping its head above water is the fact that it has tied most of the rest of the world to its fate via the dollar-as-reserve-currency and the petrodollar. You’d think alarm bells would have gone off in Congress at hearing that from their own Treasury Secretary. Instead, they changed topic to grill Lew on what he knew about which email account Hillary Clinton used to contact which people while Secretary of State. Did they not understand the importance of what Lew was telling them, for America’s economic survival and therefore its global hegemony? Were they blithely unconcerned because they’ve heard rumors about something big coming down the pike? Or were they too busy dreaming about what they’re going to do with the fat checks they’ve all received from the Israel lobby? Time will tell.

 
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Goldman Sachs couldn’t do God’s work without City of London, the Western oligarchy’s ‘European Headquarters’

Published on 25 January 2015, by in Grand Chessboard.
The British Empire's seamless integration into a US-led Western Empire has been so successful that its enemies rarely know what they're fighting against. Above, the 'belly of the beast' in Europe, the City of London, Inc.

The British Empire’s seamless integration into a US-led Western Empire has been so successful that its enemies rarely know what they’re fighting against. Above, the ‘belly of the beast’ in Europe, the City of London, Inc.

Noam Chomsky once wrote, regarding censorship, that while you will not find the truth on the front pages, it’s very often in plain sight on the business pages. The following gem in yesterday’s Guardian isn’t quite ‘splainin’ things up front, but with geopolitics and Western oligarchs’ ‘balance-of-power’ strategy in mind, it’s not difficult to see what ‘God’s emissary‘ was getting at:

Britain must remain in Europe, says Goldman Sachs president

The Guardian – Sat, 24 Jan 2015

The head of one of the world’s leading investment banks has said Britain should remain in the EU, describing London as “a great financial capital of the world”.

Goldman Sachs’ president and chief operating officer Gary Cohn said it is the best thing “for all of us” that the financial services industry stays in London.

“All of us”, of course, refers to other Western oligarchs like Cohn.
Mr Cohn told the BBC: “I think for the UK it’s imperative to keep the financial services industry in London.”We all want to stay in London – it is our European headquarters.
i.e., London is the Western oligarchy’s base of operations for ruling over Europe.
“I think that having a great financial capital of the world staying in the UK and having the UK be part of Europe is the best thing for all of us.”Prime minister David Cameron has pledged to hold an in-out referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU if the Conservatives regain power in the general election in May.
Same old Tories, same old liars. That’s exactly what Cameron promised his ‘base’ in order to win the last elections.
Cohn’s comments came after the chancellor, George Osborne, told an audience in Davos that he wanted Britain to stay in the EU provided certain treaty changes could be agreed.He risked angering Britain’s European partners by saying that continental countries needed to follow Britain’s economic model in order to foster growth.

What Cohn, as head of a leading Western oligarchial institution, is cheering for is the Anglo-American arrangement that has brought the Western Empire undisputed hyperpower status. London’s primary purpose in the EU is to facilitate ‘balance-of-power’ control of Europe, lest it be lost to Eurasian integration, ie Continental Europe realizing – in the course of conducting normal trade relations – that its natural allies lie to the East, not the West.

That’s why the UK is perennially non-committal about its integration within Europe: ideologically, the British liberal elite detests European ‘socialist notions’ about long-term investment capital in public infrastructure (ya know, things that would actually benefit ordinary people), and so it only ‘keeps its foot in the door’ in order to periodically sabotage European moves in that direction, which might lessen Europe’s dependence on American military ‘protection’.

We get a hint of this ‘ideological divide’ in the article’s last sentence: ‘Britain’s economic model’ is the economic model that has destroyed whole countries and populations over the last several hundred years – the psychopathic, Chicago School, ‘Shock Doctrine’ stuff, which amounts to, “You give this to me for free, I gamble it for both of us on the Great London Casino, where I reap whirlwind profits and some of it trickles back down to you… some day. Maybe. If you don’t agree, I’ll kill you and your family and take it all anyway.”

European countries are also fond of the British model, hence their own blood-stained colonial history, and ongoing flirtation with casino capitalism. Nevertheless, the ‘continental model’ has shown that it can accommodate more civilized economic thinking and normal, fair trade relations – “I build this for you, you pay me with goods and/or cash.”

The British and American elites lose no opportunity to denigrate anything that doesn’t conform 100% to neo-liberal ‘free trade’ because they have learned that it is in the crucible of such industrial furnaces that threats to their hegemony arise.

Given the way in which the psychopathic Western oligarchs see the world – where 7-some billion of its inhabitants are property to be moulded and traded – this means, of course, that the City of London’s overarching mandate as a financial ‘forward base’ goes beyond just controlling the EU: it uses financial weapons of war – speculative attacks on non-compliant countries’ currencies, blockades in the form of economic sanctions, etc. – to maintain and entrench Western hegemony over the entire planet.

So the UK – ‘Airstrip One’, as Orwell aptly termed it in 1984 – will never voluntarily leave the EU; suggestions along that line are just hot air from the British Foreign Office to stir paranoia among other European leaders that they’d somehow ‘suffer’ without the presence of the UK and its hive of financial terrorism in the EU.

There is still an opportunity, however slim, for someone smart to take power in Europe and call London’s bluff: boot the UK out of the EU and be done with the noose around Europe’s neck.[1]

Notes

[1] No, I’m not talking about another Hitler. It’s no coincidence that that imbecile – besides being an absolute monster – had a strategic vision that involved Nazi-occupied Europe playing a subservient, vassal-state role to the Western Empire. Which is pretty much the status of the EU today. Funny that…

In a discussion witnessed by Hitler’s official interpreter, Paul Schmidt, Hitler told Mussolini he was convinced it would not serve any useful purpose to destroy the British Empire. “It is, after all, a force for order in the world,” insisted Hitler.

Hitler had written in 1924 in Mein Kampf about Germany’s future and the need for Lebensraum:

“If one wanted land and soil in Europe, then by and large this could only have been done at Russia’s expense, and then the new Reich would again have to start marching along the road of the Knights of the Order of former times.

For such a policy, however, there was only one single ally in Europe–England. With England alone, one’s back being covered, could one begin the new Germanic invasion… To gain England’s favor, no sacrifice should have been too great. Then one would have had to renounce colonies and sea power, but to spare British industry our competition.”

In 1940, Hitler’s outlook had changed very little. Rudolf Hess was constantly at his side to remind him as well of his earlier lessons in geopolitics. As Holland, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, half Poland, Czechoslovakia, Austria, and now most of France all had been incorporated into the New European Order of the Third Reich, Italy, and Spain bound to it by alliance, Hitler came back to the idea of re-carving the world between a land empire of Eurasia dominated by Germany, and a global oceanic empire dominated by Britain.

Hitler was preparing for the great battle, and it was to be in the east, not the west. He wanted England’s assurance that she would “cover Germany’s back,” or at least not embroil the Reich once more in a catastrophic two-front war.

Von Rundstedt’s senior staff officer, General Gunther Blumentritt, described a private meeting of Hitler with his military command in the days after Dunkirk, and his surprisingly generous settlement with Vichy France. At the discussion, Hitler had told the officers the war with France would be over in some few weeks.

“After that he wished to conclude a reasonable peace with France, and then the way would be free for an agreement with Britain. He then astonished us,” Blumentritt recalled, “by speaking with admiration of the British Empire, of the necessity for its existence and of the civilization that Britain had brought into the world.” Hitler told his generals, “All he wanted from Britain was that she should acknowledge Germany’s position on the Continent. The return of Germany’s lost colonies would be desirable but not essential, and he would even offer to support Britain with troops if she should be involved in any difficulties anywhere.”

Von Rundstedt told Blumentritt after that meeting, “Well, if he wants nothing else, then we shall have peace at last.” Von Rundstedt was as naive about the agenda of his adversary, England, as was Hitler. It was a fatal flaw they both shared with the entire leadership of the anti-Hitler opposition within the German General Staff and Foreign Office.

Fritz Hesse, an adviser to Ribbentrop in the Foreign Ministry, recounted a discussion he had held with Foreign Office Under-Secretary Ernst von Weizsaecker. Von Weizsaecker had told Hesse, referring to England, that the circle of Hitler opponents in high places was convinced that, “while no understanding with Hitler would be possible, that they–the conservative, Christian and highly influential circles–they would be able to reach such an understanding.

“What a tragic error!” Hesse noted. “No one in Berlin seemed to grasp that for the Anglo-Saxons it was fully irrelevant who ruled Germany.” Hesse cited Halford Mackinder’s quote about ‘Who rules east Europe rules the Heartland,’ and its implications for British geopolitical policy, as support for his argument.

He continued, “No one in the opposition in Germany understood that Germany could have peace only if she rejected most, in fact all, that Hitler had gained, and that then, a reintroduction of the entire Versailles System had to be expected. And Beck, Goerdeler, and many others in the opposition were in no way prepared to accept that.”

Hitler had won the Battle of France. What he did not grasp however, was that he had also just lost the larger war.

 ~ ‘Halford MacKinder’s Necessary War‘, by F. William Engdahl

 
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Go east, old man! Putin’s Valdai speech and the turning of the tide

Frank Discussion Club

It was interesting to see Vladimir Putin flanked by two former prime minsters of European countries (Austria and France) when he spoke at the 11th Annual Valdai Club Discussion conference last week. Many other Western luminaries were in attendance, notably François Fillon, prime minster of France from 2007 to 2012 under Sarkozy (“l’Americain”). Fillon spoke at last year’s event, in which he criticized France’s stance against Bashar al-Assad. Also present was Ben-Ami Shlomo, former Israeli foreign minister. What, you wonder, could entice these Western notables to line up with America’s public enemy number one? Could it be that they see which way the wind is blowing?

The theme for this year’s meeting was: The World Order: New Rules or a Game without Rules? 108 policy experts, historians and political analysts from 25 countries, including 62 non-Russian participants, took part in the club’s seminars. The final day’s plenary meeting summed up the club’s work over the previous three days, which “concentrated on analysing the factors eroding the current system of institutions and norms of international law.”

While such high-brow conferences are regular fare for the attendees, I can’t imagine they’re used to hearing the truth spoken publicly. I mean, what Putin is saying today was ‘conspiracy theory’ yesterday. Here’s what Putin had to say regarding European leaders’ servility to Washington:

“I once spoke with a former colleague of mine from eastern Europe. He told me, with pride, “Yesterday I appointed my Chief of General Staff.” I was surprised. I said, [sarcastically] “Whoa, that’s an achievement!” He said, “Oh yeah, we cannot appoint a Defense Minister or a Chief of General Staff without endorsement from the U.S. ambassador, and that’s been the case for many years.” I was so surprised! I asked him, “Why?” He said, “Well, that’s the way things are. If you want to join the EU, you need to join NATO first, and if you want to join NATO, you need to have coordination with the U.S. ambassador. Then I asked him, “Why would you do that to yourselves? Why would you give up your sovereignty? What sort of investment did you receive from the West in return for this?” He said, “It was minimal.” I said, “What was the point then?”

Everyone should realize this, including our American partners: this is no way to treat your allies. You cannot keep your partners in such a humiliating position; you can force them to do something once or twice, but you cannot do that permanently, especially in Asia. There are nations in Asia that really use and value their sovereignty. There are not many countries in the world like that, but there are in Asia.

On U.S. interpretation of ‘international law’ with respect to Crimea joining the Russian Federation:

The decision to hold the referendum was made by the legitimate authority of Crimea – its Parliament, elected a few years ago under Ukrainian law prior to all these grave events. This legitimate body of authority declared a referendum and then, based on its results, they adopted a declaration of independence, just as Kosovo did, and turned to the Russian Federation with a request to accept Crimea into the Russian state.

You know, whatever anyone may say, and no matter how hard they try to dig something up, this would be very difficult, considering the language of the United Nations court ruling, which clearly states (as applied to the Kosovo precedent) that a decision on self-determination does not require the approval of the supreme authority of a country.

In this connection I always recall what the sages of the past said. You may remember the wonderful saying: ‘Whatever Jupiter is allowed, the Ox is not.’

We cannot agree with such an approach. The ox may not be allowed something, but the bear does not need to ask for permission. Here we consider the bear to be the master of the Taiga [northern Russia], and I know for sure that it does not intend to move to any other climatic zones – it would not be comfortable there. However, it will not let anyone have its Taiga either. I believe this is clear.

On U.S. behavior post-USSR:

“This is how nouveau riche behave – they start squandering their gains.”

On NSA spying:

“There is evidence that Big Brother spying is used for blackmailing leaders around the world.”

On one country being above all others:

“A unipolar world is basically an apology for dictatorship.”

On psychopaths run amok:

“Those who carry out these color revolutions consider themselves masterminds, and they cannot stop themselves.”

On criticism of Russia’s treatment of mass demonstrations:

“And where is Occupy Wall Street? The U.S. government strangled it in its cradle.”

The suspicious death of Christophe de Margerie

As the conference got underway, the CEO of French oil giant Total, Christophe de Margerie, was killed in a plane crash at Vnukovo airport in Moscow. He hadn’t been scheduled to attend the conference, but he had just come from a meeting with Russian prime minster Dmitry Medvedev. Putin called for a minute’s silence prior to the final day plenary session got underway. In the aftermath of De Margerie’s death, Russian press had reported the crash as an accident, saying that his private Falcon jet clipped the top of a snowplough that the pilot hadn’t seen on the runway until it was too late to abort take-off. The pilot had been reportedly drunk as a skunk.

De Margerie with Putin in Paris in 2010

However, in the days since this ‘accident’, the snowplough driver’s lawyer has insisted he was stone-cold sober and had passed a medical exam just before work that day. This was followed by statements from a Russian investigative committee: “It is obvious that what happened was not caused by a horrific, tragic confluence of events, as airport spokesmen are trying to present it, but by the criminal negligence of officials who could not properly synchronize the work of the airport employees.” The airport’s director, his deputy and other managerial staff have since been fired, while four other employees were arrested as suspects by Moscow police, who are investigating a conspiracy angle to De Margerie’s sudden death.

Was De Margerie’s death a warning message to other industrialists and leaders in Europe? ‘Stray too close to the Bear and ‘the gods’ will punish you’? De Margerie said this summer:

“If European gas supplies from Russia are halted, Europe will have to pay more for gas, buying it from more remote regions, and shipping it will become more complicated. We will have a problem this winter if there is a cut in supplies and if it is cold – that is obvious. Can we live without Russian gas? The answer is no. Are there any reasons to live without it? I think … it is a no.

And:

There is no reason to pay for oil in dollars. Doing without the (U.S.) dollar, that wouldn’t be realistic, but it would be good if the euro was used more. The dollar occupies too large a niche in the international oil and gas trade. The fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars per barrel does not mean that payments actually have to be made in that currency. There are no valid reasons to pay for hydrocarbons in the American national currency.

And this was his last ever public statement:

Russia has a lot of friends and partners in the West. We don’t consider that Russia can be isolated from the major global economic and political process. I’m absolutely confident that the policy of openness, which helped us overcome so many obstacles together in the past, should be continued.”

Return of DSK… thwarted?

One final aside: there was another mysterious death just as the Valdai event came to a close. On Thursday October 24th, Israeli police announced the death of 49 year-old French-Israeli entrepreneur Thierry Leyne, who “committed suicide on Thursday by jumping out of his Tel Aviv apartment.” Leyne’s Luxemburg-based ‘Anatevka’ investment banking firm was in the process of launching a “$2 billion global macro hedge fund”, thanks in part to the contribution of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who bought a 20% stake in Leyne’s company – now called ‘Leyne, Strauss-Kahn & Partners’ – last year. His daughter, Vanessa Strauss-Kahn, was slated to run the fund. Leyne and Strauss-Kahn (aka ‘DSK’) had reportedly been meeting potential investors in China over the last year.

In June this year, Christian Noyer, governor of the Bank of France, discretely signed a deal with the People’s Bank of China, agreeing to establish a payment system in Paris for transactions denominated in renminbi (or yuan, both names for China’s currency). Noyer has been France’s head banker since 2003, and Chairman of the Bank of International Settlements – the “Central Bankers’ central bank” – since 2010. Meanwhile DSK has become an ‘adviser’ to the Serbian government… and a board member of both the Russian Regional Development Bank – a banking subsidiary of oil giant Rosneft, Russia’s ‘Total’ – and the $10 billion Russian Direct Investment Fund.

Now, it could be that DSK – tainted by sex scandals – just couldn’t find a job anywhere else. And it could be that De Margerie was just unfortunate. But in the ‘uncertain climate’ generated by wide-eyed U.S. reaction to Russian and Chinese moves in Eurasia, I get the feeling European elites are turning east.