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By now most of you have heard the latest bad news of out Syria: on June 18th a US F/A-18E Super Hornet (1999) used a AIM-120 AMRAAM (1991) to shoot down a Syrian Air Force Su-22 (1970). Two days later, June 20th, a US F-15E Strike Eagle shot down an Iranian IRGC Shahed 129 drone. The excuse used each time was that there was a threat to US and US supported forces. The reality is, of course, that the US are simply trying to stop the advance of the Syrian army. This was thus a typical American “show of force”. Except that, of course, shooting a 47 year old Soviet era Su-22 fighter-bomber is hardly an impressive feat. Neither is shooting a unmanned drone. There is a pattern here, however, and that pattern is that all US actions so far have been solely for show: the basically failed bombing of the Syria military airbase, the bombing of the Syrian army column, the shooting down of the Syrian fighter-bomber and of the Iranian drone – all these actions have no real military value. They do, however, have a provocative value as each time all the eyes turn to Russia to see if the Russians will respond or not.

Russia did respond this time again, but in a very ambiguous and misunderstood manner. The Russians announced, amongst other measure that from now on “any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned vehicles of the [US-led] international coalition, located to the west of the Euphrates River, will be tracked by Russian ground and air defense forces as air targets” which I reported as “Russian MoD declares it will shoot down any aircraft flying west of the Euphrates river”. While I gave the exact Russian quote, I did not explain why I paraphrased the Russian words the way I did. Now is a good time to explain this.

First, here is the exact original Russian text:

«В районах выполнения боевых задач российской авиацией в небе Сирии любые воздушные объекты, включая самолёты и беспилотные аппараты международной коалиции, обнаруженные западнее реки Евфрат, будут приниматься на сопровождение российскими наземными и воздушными средствами противовоздушной обороны в качестве воздушных целей»

A literal translation would be:

“In areas of the combat missions of Russian aviation in the skies of Syria any airborne objects, including aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicle of the international coalition discovered to the West of the Euphrates river, will be tracked by Russian ground based an airborne assets as air targets”

So what does this exactly mean in technical-military terms?

A quick look inside a US fighter’s cockpit

When an F/A-18 flies over Syria the on-board emission detectors (called radar warning receivers or RWR) inform the pilot of the kind of radar signals the aircraft is detecting. Over Syria that means that the pilot would see a lot of search radars looking in all directions trying to get a complete picture of what is happening in the Syrian skies. The US pilot will be informed that a certain number of Syrian S-300 and Russian S-400 batteries are scanning the skies and most probably see him. So far so good. If there are deconfliction zones or any type of bilateral agreements to warn each other about planned sorties then that kind of radar emissions are no big deal. Likewise US radars (ground, sea or air based) are also scanning the skies and “seeing” the Russian Aerospace Forces’ aircraft on their radars and the Russians know that. In this situation neither side is treating anybody as “air targets”. When a decision is made to treat an object as an “air target” a completely different type of radar signal is used and a much narrower energy beam is directed at the target which can now be tracked and engaged. The pilot is, of course, immediately informed of this. At this point the pilot is in a very uncomfortable position: he knows that he is being tracked, but he has no way of knowing if a missile has already been launched against him or not. Depending on a number of factors, an AWACS might be able to detect a missile launch, but this might not be enough and it might also be too late.

The kind of missiles fired by S-300/S-400 batteries are extremely fast, over 4,000mph (four thousand miles per hour) which means that a missile launched as far away as 120 miles will reach you in 2 minutes or that a missile launched 30 miles away will reach you in 30 seconds. And just to make things worse, the S-300 can use a special radar mode called “track via missile” where the radar emits a pulse towards the target whose reflection is then received not by the ground based radar, but by the rapidly approaching missile itself, which then sends its reading back to the ground radar which then sends guidance corrections back to the missile. Why is that bad for the aircraft? Because there is no way to tell from the emissions whether a missile has been launched and is already approaching at over 4,000mph or not. The S-300 and S-400 also have other modes, including the Seeker Aided Ground Guidance (SAGG) where the missile also computes a guidance solution (not just the ground radar) and then the two are compared and a Home On Jam (HOJ) mode when the jammed missile then homes directly on the source of the jamming (such as an onboard jamming pod). Furthermore, there are other radar modes available such as the Ground Aided Inertial (GAI) which guides the missile in the immediate proximity of the target where the missile switches on its own radar just before hitting the target. Finally, there is some pretty good evidence that the Russians have perfected a complex datalink system which allows them to fuse into one all the signals they acquire from their missiles, airborne aircraft (fighter, interceptor or AWACS) and ground radars and that means that, in theory, if a US aircraft is outside the flight envelope (reach) of the ground based missiles the signals acquired by the ground base radars could be used to fire an air-to-air missile at the US aircraft (we know that their MiG-31s are capable of such engagements, so I don’t see why their much more recent Su-30/Su-35 could not). This would serve to further complicate the situational awareness of the pilot as a missile could be coming from literally any direction. At this point the only logical reaction would be for the US pilot to inform his commanders and get out, fast. Sure, in theory, he could simply continue his mission, but that would be very hard, especially if he suspects that the Syrians might have other, mobile, air defense on the way to, or near, his intended target.

Just try to imagine this: you are flying, in total illegality, over hostile territory and preparing to strike a target when suddenly your radar warning receiver goes off and tells you “you got 30 seconds or (much?) less to decide whether there is a 300lbs (150kg) warhead coming at you at 4000mph (6400kmh) or not”. How would you feel if it was you sitting in that cockpit? Would you still be thinking about executing your planned attack?

The normal US strategy is to achieve what is called “air superiority/supremacy” by completely suppressing enemy air defenses and taking control of the skies. If I am not mistaken, the last time the US fighters operated in a meaningfully contested air space was in Vietnam…

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Russia, Syria 
Connecting the Dots and Discerning the Future

Russia has often been in the news over the past years, mostly as the demonized “Empire of Mordor” responsible for all the bad things on the planet, especially Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton, the Russian intervention in Syria and, of course, the “imminent” Russian invasion of the Baltics, Poland or even all of Western Europe. I won’t even dignify all this puerile nonsense with any attention, but instead I will focus on what I think are important developments which are either misunderstood or completely ignored in the West.

First, a few key dots:

1) The Russian intervention in Syria

There are so many aspects of the Russian military intervention in Syria which ought to be carefully studied that I am confident that many PhD theses will be written on this topic in the future. While I have mostly focused my work on the purely military aspects of this campaign, it is important to look at the bigger picture. To do that, I will make the admittedly risky assumption that the civil war in Syria is pretty much over. That is not my conclusion only, but also an opinion voiced by an increasing number of analysts including a Russian general during an official briefing. With the fall of Aleppo and now the latest Syrian-Hezbollah-Russian move to cut off the US controlled forces from their planned move to the Iraqi border, things do indeed looks pretty bleak for the terrorists, both the “good ones” and the “bad ones”. In the Syrian-Russian-Hezbollah controlled areas, normal life is gradually returning and the Russians are pouring huge amounts of aid (food, medical supplies, de-mining, engineering, etc.) into the liberated areas. When Aleppo was under Takfiri control it was the centre of attention of the western media, now that this city has been liberated, nobody wants to hear about it lest anybody become aware of what is a huge Russian success.

Even more impressive is the nature of the Russian forces in Tartus and, especially, in Khmeinim. The Russian military TV Channel “Red Star” has recently aired two long documentaries about the Russian facilities in Syria and two things are clear: first, the Russians are going to stay for a very long time and, second, they have now completed an advanced resupply and augmentation infrastructure which can accommodate not only small and mid size aircraft and ships, but even the immense An-124. The Russian have dug in, very very deep, and they will fight very hard if attacked. Most importantly, they now have the means of bringing in more forces, including heavy equipment, in a very short time.

Again, this might be a premature conclusion, but barring any (always possible) surprises, the Russians are in, Assad stays in power, the Takfiris are out and the civil war is over.

Conversely this means that: the US lost the war, as did the KSA, Qatar, Israel, France, the UK and all the other so-called “friends of Syria”. The Iranians, Hezbollah and the Russians have won.

So what does all this really mean?

The most radical consequence of this process is that Russia is back in the Middle-East. But even that is not the full story. Not only is Russia back, but she is back in force. Even though Iran has actually made a bigger effort to save Syria, the Russian intervention, which was much smaller than the Iranian one, was far more visible and it sure looked like “Russia saved Assad”. In reality, “Russia saved Assad” is a gross over-simplification, it should be “the Syrian people, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia saved Syria”, but that is how most people will see it, for better or for worse. Of course, there is more than a kernel of truth in that view as without the Russian intervention Damascus would have probably fallen to the Daesh crazies and all the other Christian or Muslim denominations would have been more or less wiped out. Still, the perception is that Russia single-handedly changed what appeared as an inevitable outcome.

The Russian success was especially amazing when compared to the apparently endless series of defeats for the United States: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Pakistan and now the latest mess with the Saudi blockade against Qatar – the Americans just don’t see to be able to get anything done. Just the contrast between the way the US betrayed Hosni Mubarak with how the Russians stood by Assad is a powerful message to all the regional leaders: better to have the Russians on your side than the Americans.

2) How Russia transformed Turkey from an enemy to a potential ally

To say that Turkey is a crucial ally of the US and a vital member of NATO is an understatement. For one thing, Turkey has the 2nd largest army in NATO (the US being the biggest one, of course). Turkey also holds the keys to the Mediterranean, NATO’s southern flank and the northern Middle-East. Turkey has a common border with Iran and a maritime boundary with Russia (over the Black Sea). When Turkey shot down a Russian SU-24 bomber (with US complicity) the situation became so tense that many observers feared that a full-scale war would break out between the two countries and, possibly, the NATO alliance. Initially, nothing happened, the Turks took a hard stance, but following the coup against Erdogan (also with US complicity), the Turks suddenly did an amazing 180 and turned to Russia for help. The Russians were only glad too help, of course.

We will never really know what role the Russians really played in saving Erdogan, but it is pretty clear, even by his own words, that Putin did something absolutely crucial. What is indisputable is that Erdogan suddenly moved away from the US, NATO and the EU and turned to the Russians who immediately used Turkey’s ties with the Takfiris to get them out of Aleppo. Then they invited Turkey and Iran to negotiate a three way deal to end the civil war. As for the Americans, were not even consulted.

The example of Turkey is the perfect illustration of how the Russians turn “enemies into neutrals, neutrals into friends and friends into allies”. Oh sure, Erdogan is an unpredictable and, frankly, unstable character, the Americans and NATO are still in Turkey, and the Russians will never forget the Turkish support for the Takfiris in Chechnia, Crimea and Syria or, for that matter, the Turkish treacherous attack on their SU-24. But neither will they show any external signs of that. Just like with Israel, there is no love fest between Russia and Turkey, but all the parties are supremely pragmatic and so everybody is all smiles.

Why does this matter?

Because it shows how sophisticated the Russians are, how instead of using military force to avenge their SU-24, which is what the Americans would have done, they quietly but with great resolve and effort did what had to be done to “de-fuse” Turkey and “turn” it. The day following the Turkish attack Putin warned that Turkey would not “get away with just some tomatoes” (referring to the Russians sanctions against Turkish imports). Less than a year later, the Turkish military and security services got almost completely de-fanged in the purges following the coup against Erdogan and Erdogan himself flew to Moscow to ask to be accepted by the Kremlin as a friend and ally. Pretty darn impressive, if you ask me.

3) Russia and the “Chechen model” as a unique case in the Muslim world

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Chechnya, Islam, Middle East, Russia, Syria 
Yet another clumsy attempt by the Three Rogue States to weaken Iran

First, a quick who’s who

We will probably never find out what truly was discussed between Trump, the Saudis and the Israelis, but there is little doubt that the recent Saudi move against Qatar is the direct results of these negotiations. How do I know that? Because Trump himself said so! As I mentioned in a recent column, Trump’s catastrophic submission to the Neocons and their policies have left him stuck with the KSA and Israel, another two rogue states whose power and, frankly, mental sanity, are dwindling away by the minute.

While the KSA and Qatar have had their differences and problems in the past, this time around the magnitude of the crisis is much bigger than anything the past. This is a tentative and necessarily rough outline of who is supporting whom:

Supporting the Saudis (according to Wikipedia) Supporting Qatar (according to me)
United Arab Emirates , Bahrain , Egypt , Maldives , Yemen (they mean the pro-Saudi regime in exile), Mauritania , Comoros , Libya (Tobruk government), Jordan , Chad , Djibouti , Senegal , United States , Gabon. Turkey, Germany, Iran.

Questions, many questions

The situation is very fluid and all this might change soon, but do you notice something weird in the list above? Turkey and Germany are supporting Qatar even though the US is supporting the KSA. That’s two major NATO member states taking a position against the USA.

Next, look at the list supporting the Saudis: except for the USA and Egypt they are all militarily irrelevant (and the Egyptians won’t get militarily involved anyway). Not so for those opposing the Saudis, especially not Iran and Turkey. So if money is on the side of the Saudis, firepower is on the side of Qatar here.

Then, Gabon? Senegal? Since when are those two involved in Persian Gulf politics? Why are they taking sides in this faraway conflict? A quick look at the 10 conditions the Saudis demand that the Qataris fullfil does not help us understand their involvement either:

  1. Immediate severance of diplomatic relations with Iran,
  2. Expulsion of all members of the Palestinian resistance movement Hamas from Qatar,
  3. Freezing all bank accounts of Hamas members and refraining from any deal with them,
  4. Expulsion of all Muslim Brotherhood members from Qatar,
  5. Expulsion of anti-[P]GCC elements,
  6. Ending support for ‘terrorist organizations’,
  7. Stopping interference in Egyptian affairs,
  8. Ceasing the broadcast of the Al Jazeera news channel,
  9. Apologizing to all [Persian] Gulf governments for ‘abuses’ by Al Jazeera,
  10. Pledging that it (Qatar) will not carry out any actions that contradict the policies of the [P]GCC and adhering to its charter.

The Saudis also handed over a list of individuals and organizations they want banned (see here).

Looking at these conditions it becomes pretty clear that Iran and the Palestinians (especially Hamas) are high on the list of demands. But why would Gabon or Senegal care about this?

More interestingly, why is ISRAEL not listed as a country supporting the KSA?

As always, the Israelis themselves are much more honest about their role in all this. Well, maybe they don’t quite say “we done it” but they write articles like “Five reasons why Israel should care about the Qatar crisis” which lists all the reasons why the Israelis are delighted:

  1. It hurts Hamas
  2. It brings Israel closer to Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf
  3. It shows US influence is back in the region
  4. It delegitimizes terrorism
  5. It bolsters Israel’s hand in general and Israel’s government in particular

That kind of honesty is quite refreshing, even if it is primarily for internal, Israeli, consumption. Quick check with a Palestinian source – yup, the Israelis are backing the KSA. This is hardly surprising, no matter how hard the western corporate media tries to not notice this.

What about the USA? Do they really benefit from this crisis?

The USA has what might possibly the largest USAF base worldwide in Qatar, the Al Udeid Air Base. Furthermore, the forward headquarters of United StatesCENTCOM are also located in Qatar. To say that these are crucial US infrastructures is an understatement – one could argue that these are the most important US military facilities anywhere in the world outside the United States. Thus one would logically conclude that the very last thing the US would want is any type of crisis or even tensions anywhere near such vital facilities yet it quite clear that the Saudis and the Americans are acting in unison against Qatar. This makes no sense, right? Correct. But now that the US has embarked on a futile policy of military escalation in Syria it should come as no surprise that the two main US allies in the region are doing the same thing.

Besides, was there ever a time with the Trump Administration’s policies in the Middle-East made any logical sense at all? During the election campaign they were, shall we say, 50/50 (excellent on ISIS, plain stupid about Iran). But ever since the January coup against Flynn and Trump’s surrender to the Neocons all we have seen in one form of delusional stupidity after another.

Objectively, the crisis around Qatar is not good at all for the USA. But that does not mean that an Administration which has been taken over by hardcore ideologues is willing to accept this objective reality. What we have here is a very weak Administration running a rapidly weakening country desperately trying to prove that it has still a lot of weight to throw around. And if that is, indeed, the plan, it is a very bad one, one bound to fail and one which will result in a lot of unintended consequences.

Back to the real world

What we have here is a severe case of smoke and mirrors and what is really taking place is, yet again, a clumsy attempt by the Three Rogue States (USA, Saudi Arabia, Israel) to weaken Iran.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Iran, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia 

First, a confession: I really don’t know how the corporate media has covered the Trump trip to NATO and the G7 summit. Frankly, I don’t really care – it’s been a long while since I stopped listening to these imperial shills. There is a risk in completely ignoring them, and that risk is the risk to say “white” when everybody else says “black”. This is a small risk – and, after all, who cares? – but today I will take it again and give you my own take on Trump’s trip to Europe: I think that it was an immense success. But not necessarily for Trump as much as it was an immense success for the enemies of the Empire, like myself. Here is my own rendition on what I think has taken place.

First, Trump was consistently rude. I cannot judge if this lack of manners is the real Trump or whether Trump was tying to send an unspoken message. For whatever this is worth, I know of only one person who had personal and private dealing with the Trump family, including The Donald Himself, and according to him, Trump is an impeccably courteous person. Whatever may be the case, whether this was nature or no so subtle “messaging”, Trump truly outdid himself. He unceremoniously pushed aside the Prime Minister of Montenegro, who richly deserves being treated with utter contempt. Then he blocked out Angela Merkel during the official photo taking. He made the G7 wait for over an hour, he refused to walk to another photo op by foot. He didn’t even bother putting on his translation headset when others were speaking and, crime of crimes, he told the NATO members states to pay more money while not saying a single word about Article 5. It is hard to gauge what the rest of the assembled politicians really thought (prostitutes are good at hiding and repressing their own feelings), but Merkel clearly was angry and frustrated. Apparently, everybody hated Trump, with the sole possible exception of Marcon (but he is a high-end prostitute). As much as Obama was a charmer, Trump seems to relish the role of ruffian. But most importantly, Trump treated the EU/NATO gang with the contempt they deserve and that, frankly, I find most refreshing. Why?

The ugly truth about NATO: Eurosissies and Eurodummies

What is NATO? Originally, NATO was supposed to be a military alliance to oppose the Soviet armed forces and, later, the Warsaw Treaty Organization. Now that these two have disappeared, NATO has no real mission. What NATO still has is a huge bureaucracy. There is a lot of money to be made through NATO: salaries, contracts, investments, etc. Heck – these guys just built themselves gigantic and brand new headquarters, probably to “deter the Russian aggression”, right? NATO is also a huge bureaucratic lift which can pull people up to the real centers of power, including financial power. Furthermore, NATO is also a gang of people who use NATO to advance their petty career or political agenda. At best, NATO is a gigantic fig leaf covering the obscenity of western imperialism.

What NATO is not is a militarily useful alliance. Oh yes, sure, the Americans can use NATO to force the Europeans to use US military hardware, that is true, but should a war break out, especially a *real* war against Russia, the Americans would push all these Eurosissies out of the way and do 90%+ of the fighting. Most NATO armies are a joke anyway, but even those who are marginally better fully depend on the US for all the force multipliers (intelligence, logistics, transportation, communications, navigation, etc.).

And then there is the “New Europe”: the crazies in Poland or the Baltics who are making an immense effort in trying to put the Old Europeans (who made the huge mistake of accepting them into NATO) on a collision course with Russia. From a pragmatic point of view, NATO member states should have never EVER incorporated the “New Europeans” into their alliance. The same goes for the EU, of course. But in their illusions of grandeur and their petty revanchism they decided that *real* Europe needed to be joined at the hip with “New Europe” and now they are paying the price for this strategic mistake of colossal proportions. Of course, the Americans are bastards for encouraging the Eurodummies in their delusional dreams, but now that the deed is done, the Americans are doing the rational and pragmatic thing: they are letting the Eurodummies deal with their own mistakes. This is best shown by Trump’s new policy about the Ukraine: he simply does not care.

Oh sure, he will say something about the Minsk Agreement, maybe mention Crimea, he might even say something about a Russian threat. But then he turns away and walks. And the Eurodummies are now discovering something which they should have suspected all along: the Ukraine is *their* problem now, the Americans don’t care because they have nothing to lose and nothing to win either, and so besides empty words they will offer nothing. Much worse is the fact that it appears that it will be the Europeans who will end up paying most of the costs of rebuilding the Ukraine when the current Nazi regime is finally removed (but that is a topic for a future article).

There is karmic justice at work here: all the Eurodummies will now have to deal with the fallout from the total collapse of the Ukraine, but the first ones to pay will be the Poles who tried so hard to draw NATO and the real Europe into their revanchist agenda. Besides, is it not simply justice for the Poles who for years have been ranting about a Russian threat and who for years have been supporting nationalist and even neo-Nazi movements in the Ukraine to now be faced with a deluge of problems (social, political, economic, etc.) coming from “their” Ukrainians while the Russians will be looking at this mess from the east, protected by the two Novorussian republics and formidable National and Border guards. As most Russians will, I wish the Europeans “bien du plaisir” with the upcoming waves of Ukrainian refugees and the “European values” they will bring with them.

Russian National Guardsmen

Russian National Guardsmen

[Sidebar: will Russia fare any better with her refugees? Absolutely! Why? Because the Eurodummies are not just Eurodummies, but also Eurosissies. When faced with a refugee-generated crime wave all they can do is roll over and go into deep denial. In Russia any such crime wave will be met with all the force and even violence of the state. Take a look at these guys (National Guard) and imagine how they would react to the kind of events which have taken place in “Old Europe” recently. Try raping their women!]

The sad truth is that NATO and the EU are do not deserve to be treated with any respect at all. Trump’s condescension is fully deserved. Worse, the Americans don’t even have to pretend to take the Europeans seriously because, for the past decade, the latter have sheepishly obeyed the most ridiculous and even self-defeating orders from the Americans.

 

Robert Fisk put it best: “Trump Is About To Really Mess Up In The Middle East”. Following his fantastically stupid decision to attack the Syrian military with cruise missiles, Trump or, should I say, the people who make decisions for him, probably realized that it was “game over” for any US policy in the Middle-East so they did the only thing that they could do: they ran towards those few who were actually happy with this aggression against Syria: the Saudis and the Israelis. Needless to say, with these two “allies,” what currently passes for some type of “US foreign policy” in the Middle-East will only go from bad to worse.

There are many ways in which Saudi Arabia and Israel are truly unique: they are both prime sponsors of terrorism, they are both nations deeply steeped in ideologies which can only be described as uncivilized (Wahabism and Jewish supremacism) and they both are armed to the teeth. But they also have one other thing in common: in spite, or maybe because of, their immense military budgets, these two nations are also militarily very weak. Oh sure, they have lots of fancy military hardware and they like to throw their weight around and beat up some defenseless “enemy”, but once you set aside all the propaganda you realize that the Saudis can’t even deal with the Houtis in Yemen while the Israelis got comprehensively defeated by 2nd rank Hezbollah forces in 2006 (the top of the line Hezbollah forces were concentrated along the Litani river and never saw direct combat): the entire Golani Brigade could not even take Bint Jbeil under control even though that small town was only 1.5 miles away from the Israeli border. This is also the reason why the Saudis and the Israelis try to limit themselves to airstrikes: because on the ground they simply suck. Here again the similarity is striking: the Saudis have become “experts” at terrorizing defenseless Shia (in the KSA or in Bahrain) while the Israelis are the experts on how to terrorize Palestinian civilians.

Trump Dancing with Wolves
Trump Dancing with Wolves

With Trump now officially joining this ugly alliance, the US will contribute the military “expertise” of a country which can’t even take Mosul, mostly because its forces are hiding, literally, behind the backs of Kurdish and Arab Iraqis. To think that these three want to take on Hezbollah, Iran and Russia would be almost comical if it wasn’t for the kind of appalling bloodshed that this will produce.

Alas, just look at what the Saudis are doing to Yemen, what the Israelis did to Gaza or Lebanon or what the US did to Iraq and you will immediately get a sense of what the formation of this nefarious alliance will mean for the people of Syria and the rest of the region. The record shows that a military does not need to be skilled at real warfare to be skilled at murdering people: even though the US occupation of Iraq was, in military terms, a total disaster, it did result in almost one and a half million dead people.

What is also clear is who the main target of this evil alliance will be: Iran, the only real democracy in the Middle-East. The pretext? Why – weapons of mass destruction, of course: the (non-existing) chemical weapons of the Syrians and the (non-existing) nuclear weapons of the Iranians. In Trump’s own words: “no civilized nation can tolerate the massacre of innocents with chemical weapons” and “The United States is firmly committed to keeping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon and halting their support of terrorists and militias that are causing so much suffering and chaos throughout the Middle East”. Nothing new here. As for how this evil alliance will fight when it does not have any boots worth putting on the ground? Here, again, the solution as simple as it is old: to use the ISIS/al-Qaeda takfiri crazies as cannon fodder for the US, Israel and the KSA. This is just a re-heated version of the “brilliant” Brzezinski plan on how to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan. Back to the future indeed. And should the “good terrorists” win, by some kind of miracle, in Syria, then turn them loose against against Hezbollah in Lebanon and against the Shias in Iraq and Iran. Who knows, with some (a lot) of luck, the Empire might even be able to re-kindle the “Caucasus Emirate” somewhere on the southern borders of Russia, right?

Wrong.

For one thing, the locals are not impressed. Here is what the Secretary General of Hezbollah, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, had to say about this:

“The Israelis, are betting on Isis and all this takfiri project in the region… but in any case they know, the Israelis, the Americans, and all those who use the takfiris, that this is a project without any future. I tell you, and I also reassure everyone through this interview. This project has no future.”

He is right, of course. And the newly re-elected President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, openly says that the Americans are clueless:

The problem is that the Americans do not know our region and those who advise US officials are misleading them

It is pretty clear who these ‘advisors’ are: the Saudis and the Israelis. Their intentions are also clear: to get the Americans to do their dirty work for them while remaining as far back as possible. You could say that the Saudis and Israelis are trying to get the Americans to do for them what the Americans are trying to get the Kurds to do for them in Iraq: be their cannon fodder. The big difference is that the Kurds at least clearly understand what is going on whereas the Americans are, indeed, clueless.

Not all Americans, of course. Many fully understand what is happening. A good example of this acute awareness is what b had to say on Moon of Alabama after reading the transcript of the press briefing of Secretary of Defense Mattis, General Dunford and Special Envoy McGurk on the Campaign to Defeat ISIS:

My first thought after reading its was: “These people live in a different world. They have no idea how the real word works on the ground. What real people think, say, and are likely to do.” There was no strategic thought visible. Presented were only some misguided tactical ideas.

A senior British reporter, the Secretary General of Hezbollah, the President of Iran and a US blogger all seem to agree on one thing: there is no real US “policy” at work here, what we are seeing is a dangerous exercise in pretend-strategy which cannot result in anything but chaos and defeat.

So why is the Trump administration plowing ahead with this nonsense?

 

I have decided to share with you something which I originally sent out to the key members of the Saker community: my recommendation on how to keep your private communications private in the age of “Big Brother” aka NSA, ECHELON, GCHQ, Unit 8200, etc. I have been interested in the topic of encryption for many years already, and I have had to use encryption techniques in the past to protect myself from snooping by indelicate employers. There have also been some discussions inside the Saker community of what did and did not work for us. I have now come to the conclusion that there are two services out there which I feel I can recommend to our entire community, one for emails and another for messaging/audio/video/file sharing. Why two different services rather than one?

The truth is that the confidentiality issues with email are unique and require a unique solution. Typically, emails are designed to remain kept on some kind of storage device whereas most telephone calls or video conferences are not recorded (at least not by the participants).

Let’s look at these two issues separately.

ABSTRACT: if you want to protect your communication from any kind of snooping, including government snooping, the most reliable and advanced solution currently available are:
For your emails: Prontonmail https://protonmail.com/ (free of charge)
For your messaging/telephone/video/filesharing needs: the Silent Phone app for Android and iOS https://www.silentcircle.com/products-and-solutions/software/ ($9.99/month)

——-
Protecting your emails with Protonmail:

Protonmail is a Swiss company whose history is well described in this Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ProtonMail . I won’t repeat it here. I will just say that with Protonmail your mailbox remains encrypted in such a manner that even the managers and technicians at Protonmail cannot access it. Here are a few videos which will give you more details:

Quick Introduction To ProtonMail and ProtonMail Plus:

ProtonMail – Is this The alternative email we’ve been looking for?:

Protonmail and Encryption – A Re-visit:

Protecting your messaging/telephone/video with Silent Circle’s Silent Phone:

Unlike Protonmail which deals ONLY with emails, Silent Circle’s software (called “Silent Phone”) which can be installed on any Android or iOS smartphone, protects your instant messaging, your telephone conversations (audio), your video conferences and even allows you to securely send your files up to 100MB in size. However, while the Silent Phone software is free of charge for download, you will have to pay $9.99 a month to get all of the following:

  • Unlimited Worldwide Secure Voice/Messaging between Silent Circle Members
  • Up to 100MB File Transfer
  • Full Burn Functionality
  • Video Calling
  • Conference calling for up to 6 callers
  • Direct access to Technical Support
  • Available on iOS, Android, and Silent OS

You can check all their fancy marketing materials here: https://www.silentcircle.com/
Here is the Wikipedia article about them: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silent_Circle_(software)
This is the link to their software solution: https://www.silentcircle.com/products-and-solutions/software/
And this is the link to their White Paper: https://www.silentcircle.com/enterprise-cybersecurity-white-paper/
Finally, here are some of their case studies: https://www.silentcircle.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/SilentCircle_Case-Studies.pdf

This is all very slick and could hide anything, right? Actually, no. What makes their offer so interesting is that it is based exclusively on open source code which is publicly available. Why is that important? For two reasons: first, they cannot hide some backdoors in the software. But second, even MUCH more important, is that the best encryption algorithms are NOT the secret ones that nobody can check, but the public ones which everybody can check. This is long to explain, but please trust me. The level of confidence which you can have in the technologies used in Silent Phone are about as good as it gets. Not perfect maybe, but very very close.

[If you are interested in the details, I can explain to you one on one why you ALWAYS want to make use only of open sourced encryption technologies (You can find out about the protocols and algorithms used by Silent Circle here: https://www.silentcircle.com/products-and-solutions/technology/zrtp/ )]

You might notice that both Protonmail and Silent Circle (the company which makes the Silent Phone app) are located in Switzerland. This is not a bad thing since Swiss laws about privacy are pretty good. However, this is not the reason why you can trust these products. In fact, in the past the Swiss have worked with the US CIA to sell the Iranians encryption devices with backdoors. The current Swiss government is as pro-USA as any other. No, the reason why I like these is that Switzerland has some of the best cryptologist on the planet (even if very few people know about this). In fact, the technology for Silent Phone is so secure that even the US government had to certify it for governmental use (in spite of it being open source, which tells me that they don’t have much better): http://www.zdnet.com/article/silent-circle-phone-app-cleared-for-us-government-use/

I hope that this reference to the US government does not freak you out. If it does – relax, Silent Circle was co-founded by Phil Zimmerman, the man who single handedly forced the US government to give up trying to keep a monopoly on military-grade encryption (read about him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phil_Zimmermann ).

Here is a keynote presentation by Zimmerman

and here is an interview with him:

In other words, his “I do not work for the NSA” credentials are the best on the planet.

By now you must be wondering if I am working for Silent Circle or whether I have bought shares in their company. Don’t worry, I did not. I am only writing to let you know that I think that this product is fairly secure and very reasonably priced. I know of no better one. Just think of it – worldwide unlimited calling (including VIDEO!) for 10 bucks is already a halfway decent deal. But with rock solid encryption it becomes very good.

There is one important caveat which you have to keep in mind: Both Protonmail and Silent Phone are truly secure only if BOTH people communicating are using them (from Protonmail to Protonmail email addresses or from Silent Phone subscriber to Silent Phone subscriber). Likewise, the $9.99 suybscription costs with Silent Phone only covers all communications between Silent Phone subscribers. You *can* call a non-subscribed number, but it will not be secure and you will pay international calling rates.

Also, if you get Silent Phone, you will be given 2 options: a) to use a username only b) to pay 2 dollars a month for a dedicated phone number. Since using Silent Phone only really makes sense if used between two Silent Phone subscribers, I recommend you forgo the extra cost for a dedicated telephone number unless you really need it (depending on your usage of your telephone).

Here are a few short videos showing how Silent Phone works on Android (for iOS go to the Silent Circle YouTube channel):

Calling and Conference calling

(Reprinted from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 

For weeks now I have been getting panicked emails with readers asking me whether the USA had developed a special technology called “super fuses” which would make it possible for the USA to successfully pull-off a (preemptive) disarming first strike against Russia. Super-fuses were also mentioned in combination with an alleged lack by Russia of a functioning space-based infrared early warning system giving the Russians less time to react to a possible US nuclear attack.

While there is a factual basis to all this, the original report already mislead the reader with a shocking title “How US nuclear force modernization is undermining strategic stability: The burst-height compensating super-fuze” and by offering several unsubstantiated conclusions. Furthermore, this original report was further discussed by many observers who simply lack the expertise to understand what the facts mentioned in the report really mean. Then the various sources started quoting each other and eventually this resulted in a completely baseless “super fuse scare”. Let’s try to make some sense of all this.

Understanding nuclear strikes and their targets

To understand what really has taken place I need to first define a couple of crucial terms:

  • Hard-target kill capability: this refers to the capability of a missile to destroy a strongly protected target such as a underground missile silo or a deeply buried command post.
  • Soft-target kill capability: the capability to destroy lightly or unprotected targets.
  • Counterforce strike: this refers to a strike aimed at the enemy’s military capabilities.
  • Countervalue strike: this refers to a strike on non-military assets such as cities.

Since strategic nuclear missile silos and command posts are well protected and deeply buried, only hard-target kill (HTK) capable missiles can execute a counterforce strike. Soft-target kill (STK) capable systems are therefore usually seen as being the ultimate retaliatory capability to hit the enemies cities. The crucial notion here is that HTK capability is not a function of explosive power, but of accuracy. Yes, in theory, a hugely powerful weapon can compensate to some degree for a lack of accuracy, but in reality both the USA and the USSR/Russia have long understood that the real key to HTK is accuracy.

During the Cold War, intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were more accurate than submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) simply because targeting from the surface and from a fixed position was much easier than targeting from inside a submerged and moving submarine. The American were the first to successfully deploy a HTK capable SLBM with their Trident D-5. The Russians have only acquired this capability very recently (with their R-29RMU Sineva SLBM).

According to the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just a decade ago only 20% of US SLBMs were HTK capable. Now, with the ‘super-fuse’ 100% of US SLBMs are HTK capable. What these super-fuses do is very accurately measure the optimal altitude at which to detonate thereby partially compensating for a lack of accuracy of a non-HTK capable weapon. To make a long story short, these super-fuses made all US SLBMs HTK capable.

Does that matter?

Yes and no. What that means on paper is that the US has just benefited from a massive increase in the number of US missiles with HTK capability. Thus, the US has now a much larger missile force capable of executing a disarming counterforce strike. In reality, however, things are much more complicated than that.

Understanding counterforce strikes

Executing a disarming counterforce strike against the USSR and, later, Russia has been an old American dream. Remember Reagan’s “Star Wars” program? The idea behind it was simple: to develop the capability to intercept enough incoming Soviet warheads to protect the USA from a retaliatory Soviet counter strike. It would work something like this: destroy, say, 70% of the Soviet ICBM/SLBMs and intercept the remaining 30% before they can reach the USA. This was total nonsense both technologically (the technology did not exist) and strategically (just a few Soviet “leakers” could wipe-out entire US cities, who could take such a risk?). The more recent US deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems in Europe has exactly the same purpose – to protect the USA from a retaliatory counterstrike. Without going into complex technical discussions, let’s just say that this point in time, this system would never protect the USA from anything. But in the future, we could imagine such a scenario

1) The USA and Russia agree to further deep cuts in their nuclear strategic forces thereby dramatically reducing the total number of Russian SLBM/ICBMs.

2) The USA deploys all around Russia anti-ballistic systems which can catch and destroy Russian missiles in the early phase of their flight towards the USA.

3) The USA also deploys a number of systems in space or around the USA to intercept any incoming Russian warhead.

4) The USA having a very large HTK-capable force executes a successful counterforce strike destroying 90% (or so) of the Russian capabilities and then the rest are destroyed during their flight.

This is the dream. It will never work. Here is why:

1) The Russians will not agree to deep cuts in their nuclear strategic forces

2) The Russians already have deployed the capability to destroy the forward deployed US anti-ballistic system in Europe.

3) Russian warheads and missiles are now maneuverable and can even use any trajectory, including over the South Pole, to reach the USA. New Russian missiles have a dramatically shorter and faster first stage burn period making them much harder to intercept.

4) Russia’s reliance on ballistic missiles will be gradually replaced with strategic (long-range) cruise missiles (more about that later)

5) This scenario mistakenly assumes that the USA will know where the Russian SLBM launching submarines will be when they launch and that they will be able to engage them (more about that later)

6) This scenario completely ignores the Russian road-mobile and rail-mobile ICBMs (more about that later)

Understanding MIRVs

Before explaining points 4, 5 and 6 above, I need to mention another important fact: one missile can carry either one single warhead or several (up to 12 and more). When a missile carries several independently targetable warheads it is called MIRVed as in “multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle”.

MIRVs are important for several reasons. First, one single missile with 10 warheads can, in theory, destroy 10 different targets. Alternatively, one single missile can carry, say 3-4 real warheads and 6-7 decoys. In practical terms what look like one missile on take-off can turn into 5 real warheads, all targeted at different objectives and another 5 fake decoys designed to make interception that more difficult. MIRVs, however, also present a big problem: they are lucrative targets. If with one of “my” nuclear warheards I can destroy 1 of “your” MIRVed missiles, I lose 1 warhead but you lose 10. This is one of the reasons the USA is moving away from land-based MIRVed ICBMs.

The important consideration here is that Russia has a number of possible options to chose from and how many of her missiles will be MIRVed is impossible to predict. Besides, all US and Russian SLBMs will remain MIRVed for the foreseeable future (de-MIRVing SLBMs make no sense, really, since the entire nuclear missile carrying submarine (or SSBN) is a gigantic MIRVed launching pad by definition).

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Nuclear War 

With the upcoming French Presidential election in France the topic of Islam in Europe has again become central to the political discourse. This is nothing new, we also saw that in the UK, in Holland, in Austria and even in Switzerland where the Muslim communities were banned – by popular referendum – from building minarets (even though only four minarets existed in Switzerland before that referendum). Tensions between Muslims and non-Muslims are clearly on the rise, and not only due to some more or less racist or anti-immigrant feelings in the general population, but also due to the often appalling behavior of some refugees from Muslim countries (assaults, rapes, hooliganism) and even some Muslim communities in Europe (advocacy for terrorism, attempts to impose Sharia law). Before the situation gets better (assuming it ever will), it will most likely get worse, much worse.

So what are the options here?

First, let’s agree with Otto von Bismark’s wise words that “politics is the art of the possible“. Those Europeans who think that they will simply expel all Muslims from Europe or somehow manage to eliminate Islam from Europe are deluded. Likewise, those (rather few) Muslims who want to create some kind of Caliphate in Europe are no less deluded. In fact, all those who offer simple, straightforward “solutions” to the current crisis would be well advised to study some Hegelian dialectics to understand that the outcome of this crisis will not be the return to a status quo ante or the creation of an absolutely new reality.

Second, I submit that neither Muslim immigrants nor Islam itself will ever leave Europe: like it or not, they are here to stay. Why? Simply because while some groups, such as illegal immigrants, can be expelled from a country or even from the European continent, others, such as Muslims holding European citizenships or local/native converts to Islam are simply not possible to expel: this is impossible legally, and this is impossible practically (expel where? how?). I have personally worked in refugees centers in Switzerland (as a translator and interpreter) and I have worked as an analyst for the Swiss General Staff where the issue of refugees was often front and center and I can promise you that anybody who really knows how the system works also fully realizes that most of these immigrants are here to stay, even the pseudo-political refugees who are, in reality, economic immigrants and not political refugees at all (about 99% of so-called “political refugees”). At best, the EU could, in theory and with an immense effort, close its borders to future immigrants. Not likely, but at least possible. But mass expulsions are simple not an option.

Third, those Muslims who are already in Europe will inevitably climb the social ladder even if right now they are at the bottom. Many of them are young, many of them have suffered hardships which most Europeans could never overcome. Their family, tribal, ethnic and religious ties are much stronger than the ones you can observe in the modern “nuclear” family of most Europeans. Last, but not least, their social drive is much stronger than the one found in “established” Europeans circles. So even if the current generation is poorly educated and not integrated in the European society, the next one will. I have seen that with many other economic migrants such as Italians or Albanians. So when you see the Iraqi women sweeping the floors of your local hospital, remember that, in two years or so, her daughter will likely work at the same hospital, but as the medical doctor. In other words, the social power of the Muslim community will inevitably grow.

Does that mean that the EU will become ISIS-occupied territory where all women will be wearing burkas and raped, all men forced to converted to Islam or murdered, that slave markets will spring up all over the country, that Sharia law will be imposed on everybody and that homosexuals will be stoned to death?

Of course not! This is a silly caricature of Islam created and promoted by the AngloZionist 1%ers who run the Empire and who are trying to artificially create a clash of civilization which would allow them to remain in power and to continue pulling the strings from behind the scenes.

For one thing, Muslims will remain a rather small minority in Europe for the foreseeable future. But even more importantly, the kind of “Hollywood ISIS-Islam” which I portrayed in the paragraph above is not at all the kind of Islam most Muslims want to live in. In fact, many of them fled their own country precisely to avoid living in a Takfiri “Caliphate”.

You might ask me about those Wahabi crazies who have already murdered many Europeans with screams of “Allahu Akbar” on their lips? Aren’t they bona fide ISIS-types? Well, that is a complicated issue. For example, did you notice the vast majority of these so-called “Islamic” crazies had strong ties to the European security services? That some of them even had traveled to Israel? Doesn’t it seem strange to you that their attacks somehow always seem to be scheduled to coincide with important political events in Europe? Could there have been a genuine ISIS attack in Europe? Yes. But I am pretty sure that most of them were Gladio-style false flags executed by EU or US special services.

I will readily agree that there are real and dangerous al-Qaeda/ISIS types in Europe right now. Yes, they do represent a real risk. But unlike most refugees, these guys do violate European laws and legal action can be taken against them. In theory, Europe could even re-introduce the death penalty for terrorism or even for apology of terrorism. I know, that ain’t happening anytime soon, but what matters is that this will depend on a political decision, the political will of the Europeans. No so for mass expulsions which are impossible regardless of any political decision or will.

Could there be an uprising or even a civil war in Europe? Yes, but only as long as the governments in power have a vested interest at letting one happen or creating one. But as soon as the national authorities give the security forces and the military the green light to intervene and suppress the insurrection it’s “game over” for the al-Qaeda types.

So while Islam per se or Muslims in general can not be expelled from Europe, the European nations will be able to deal with the security situation provided there is a political will to do so.

Right now the European political class is split into two equally misguided political camps:

  1. Those who think that any criticism of Muslims is “Islamophobic”.
  2. Those who think that all Muslims and Islam are bad, bad, bad, bad.

These are very primitive and fundamentally misguided positions. More importantly, both of these beliefs are bound to result in a failure to achieve anything. For the time being, many Europeans and Americans appear to be stuck in this false choice, but no matter how long it takes reality will eventually catch up with them and they will realize that there is no such thing as one “Islam” or a single type of “Muslim”. The truth is that the world of Islam is extremely diverse and that all of the ingredients needed for a complete defeat of Takfiris (whether of the al-Qaeda, ISIS, al-Nusra or any other kind) can be found inside Islam. In fact, they can only be found inside Islam. Let me illustrate my point by making a simple comparison between Russia and the EU.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Chechnya, ISIS, Islam, Russia 

By now you must have heard it – Putin is “persecuting the Jehovah’s Witnesses” in Russia. Alas, this one is true. Well, this is maybe not nearly as terrible as the Ziomedia makes it sound, but still, a pretty bad and fundamentally misguided policy.

Why did the Russian government take such a drastic decision?

The Russian Justice Department has banned the JW as an organization on the grounds that the JW were a “”totalitarian sect of an anti-Christian orientation, the teachings of which contains teachings and practices which can damage the personality and health of the adept, his family, as well as traditional national spirituality and public interests” (source). Another source report that: “The Supreme Court of Russia stated that the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ church organization has systematically and through central governance infringed on human rights and trampled the freedoms of those belonging to the denomination. The sect forbids restricts families, bans many types of education and restricts medical treatments”. The same author then concludes that “So, in principle it is about protecting the rights and freedoms of Russians and on the other hand about breaking the laws governing churches’ activities. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been given warnings and notices demanding that they reform, but without results. Therefore, do as the Romans do, or get out of Rome.”

Does that make sense to you?

To me it makes no sense whatsoever.

First and foremost, if the JW are really guilty of damaging personalities or health of people, or if they systematically infringe on human rights – then take them to court for these crimes and punish them. Why should one association/organization like the JW be singled out for committing crimes when every one of these crimes can be prosecuted in court? If the JW break the law, they ought to be punished according to the law, but why banning them? Why seize their assets?

I have heard the argument that the JW are probably run by the US CIA and the rest of them “democracy-bearers”. They probably are. So what? Then force them to register as the “agent of a foreign power” and, again, if they break the law then punish them according to the law.

Then comes the killer argument: JH do not accept blood transfusions. I don’t see what the problem is here either: let adults accept or reject whatever medical procedure they want, as for the children you can easily pass a law saying that in case of severe trauma, or of an acute need for a transfusion children can be transfused without the agreement of the parents. Does that violate parental right or the freedom of religion? Well, yes, of course it does, but each society has the right to impose minimal norms of civil and human rights which trump parental or religious rights. After all, by the logic of those who say that parental rights are above all female genital mutilations should also be accepted as long as the parents agree. And yet in reality, each society draws the line somewhere, and this is why in almost all countries circumcisions are allowed but female genital mutilations are banned. Ditto for polygamy which some religions allow but which most countries ban. At the end of the day, religious groups also need to obey the law of the land where they exist and there can be no absolute and unconditional religious freedom anywhere. All the Russian government had to do in this case was to contact the main JW organizations and tell them that their kids will be given transfusions even if their parents disagree. This would give each member of the JW the time and opportunity to decide what they will do in this context.

The most important argument is, I believe, the allegation that the JW “ damage (…) the traditional national spirituality and public interests. What this argument affirms that Russia has a “traditional national spirituality” and that that which runs contrary to it must be curtailed, limited or somehow inhibited. I actually largely agree with this argument, but the devil is in the details. Let me explain.

At this moment in history Russia is primarily an agnostic country. While a majority of Russians do claim some kind of religious affiliation, only a small minority is truly religious. Officially, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are considered as the “historical” religions of Russia and Orthodox Christianity is singled out for the special contribution it had in Russian history. Seems pretty straightforward and reasonable to me: even if most Russians are not very religious, their worldview and values have been largely formed by the influence of the traditional religions of Russia. Russian literature, for example, is filled with ethical debates which clearly originate in the Orthodox faith. Another example of this religion-inspired worldview is the rejection by a vast majority of Russians of homosexuality as a “normal and healthy variation of human sexuality”: most Russians consider homosexuality to be a sexual pathology which ought not to be legally restricted, but which should not be given a “equal” status to what Russians call “natural” sexual orientations. One does not have to agree with the Russian majority view on this, or any other issue, but I submit that the Russians have the right to define what is right and wrong, healthy or sick, in their own country. Just as western nations currently have laws banning sexual intercourse with children, Russia has the right to pass laws banning the adoption of children by homosexuals. Unless one advocates the merciless “squeezing” of all of mankind into one single Procrustean cultural mold, it is rather obvious that it ought to be right of each sovereign nation to uphold whatever values it wants.

Russia has decided that Christianity, Islam, Buddhism and Judaism are the traditional religions of Russia which play a central role in the “traditional national spirituality”. Fine. But at the same time, there still remains a formal separation of religion and state in Russia and the Russian Constitution even bans the adoption of some kind of official state ideology. Furthermore, the Constitution also proclaims the freedom of religion. How do you combine such apparently completely contradictory laws?

In truth, you can’t. Russia is stuck with laws which she inherited from the “democratic” 1990s and the gradually formulating modern social consensus. Religion is hardly the only example. Take, for instance, the death penalty which Russia suspended to be accepted in the Council of Europe. Problem: most Russians favor the death penalty, especially if used against corrupt individuals, like they do in China. I could multiply examples of contradictions between the legacy of the 1990s and today’s Russia.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Christianity, Russia 

Now that Trump has already comprehensively betrayed all his campaign promises and his 100 first days in office are marked by nothing else but total chaos, incompetence, betrayals of his closest friends and allies, recklessly dangerous and utterly ineffective grandstanding in foreign policy, there are a lot of people out there who say “I told you so!”, “how could you take this clown seriously!” and “are you now finally waking up from your delusional state?”. Yes, a superficial survey of what Trump did since he got into the White House could appear to make these nay-sayers look right. But in reality, they are completely wrong. Let me explain why.

First, what these nay-sayers apparently ignore is that there are innumerable examples in history of the elites turning against each other, usually in times of crises. In the case of Trump, I submit that there overwhelming empirical data out there that a good part of the world elites really and truly were terrified of a possible Trump victory. The kind of hysterical, completely over-the-top hate campaign in which the US Ziomedia engaged in against Trump is something which I have never seen before and which, in my opinion, proves that the Neocon-run propaganda outlets (the Ziomedia, Hollywood) saw Trump as a major danger to their interests. Now, whether Trump had any chance against such powerful “deep state” actors or not is immaterial: Trump was a chance, a possibility and, I would argue, the only option to try to kick the Neocons in the teeth. And don’t give me Sanders or Stein as possible options, they were both 100% fake – just look at how both of them did Hillary’s dirty job for her (Sanders with his endorsement of her even though he was cheated out of a victory and Stein with her ridiculous recount). Even if Trump had just a 1% chance of prevailing, voting for him was an opportunity to achieve regime change in the USA and the American people grabbed it. They did the ethically and pragmatically correct thing. Trump was really the only choice.

Second, you can think of the elections as a giant opinion poll. What the American voter did is to send two messages urbi et orbi. First to the rest of the planet: Not in our name! We don’t support this regime! And then to the Neocons : we hate you. In fact, we hate you so much that we are willing to even vote for a guy like Trump just because we hate Hillary even more. As to the message to the Ziomedia it was crystal clear: liars! We don’t trust you! Go screw yourselves, we will vote for the man you hate with such a passion precisely because we deny you the right to tell us what to think. Yes, Trump proved to be a fake and a liar himself, but he will also be a one term President as a direct consequence of his betrayals. And it is quite possible that Kushner or Pence will now run the Empire on behalf of his real bosses, but the world will also know that this was not what the American people wanted.

Third, this gigantic vote of no-confidence in the Ziomedia will now force the regime to engage in all sorts of more or less subtle maneuvers to try to crack down on free speech in the USA. This is good news for two reasons: a) they will fail and b) they will show their true face. YouTube, Google, Facebook, Twitter and all the others are now becoming overt agents of oppression whereas in the past they still had (an admittedly thin) veneer of respectability. Now that it has become clear that the Internet is the last free-speech zone and that more and more Americans realize that Russia Today or Press TV are far superior news sources than the US Ziomedia, the level of influence of the US propaganda machine will continue to plummet.

Fourth, if we look at the immoral, self-defeating and, frankly, stupid decisions of Trump in the Middle-East and in East Asia we can at least find some solace in the fact that Trump is now betraying all his campaign promises. Hillary would have done more or less the same, but with what she would definitely present these policies as having a mandate from the American people. Trump has no such excuse, and that is very good indeed. Voting for Trump took the mandate away from the Ziocons.

Fifth, remember the “basket of deplorables”? “Racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamaphobic.” If Hillary had been elected, then the ideology which made her characterize the average American as ugly bigot would be ruling the country by now. But she was defeated. Thus, it is becoming undeniable that there are two Americas out there: one which I call the “alliance of minorities” and the other what I would called “real America” or “mainstream America”. The defeat of Hillary has sent a powerful message to these minorities reminding them that they are exactly that – minorities – and that a political agenda centered on the hatred of the majority is not a viable one. This empowering of the majority of US Americans is, I think, a much needed development whose effects will hopefully be felt in future elections.

Sixth, Trump has already gotten one more or less decent Supreme Court Justice in. He might get another one in before he is impeached or his term ends. Hillary would have probably nominated the first Black or Latino genderfluid freak, a Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi or even Alan Dershowitz Himself (with a capital “H”) to the supreme court and dared anybody to vote them down. Of course, compared to the risks of nuclear war, a Supreme Court Justice nominee might not appear to be crucial, but for those living inside the USA such nominations can make a huge difference.

Seventh and last but not least, nuclear war is simply too horrible and threatens the future of the entire human race. I submit that we all, every one of us, has a moral duty to do everything we can to avoid it and to make it less likely, even if we can only act at the margins. This is one of those very rare cases where a single-issue vote really does make sense. I don’t care how bad Trump turned out to be. In fact, even if he turns out to be even worse than Hillary, I submit that it is absolutely undeniable that on the day the Election took place Hillary was the candidate for war and Trump the candidate for peace. Those who claim otherwise seem to have forgotten that Hillary promised us a no-fly zone over Russian forces in Syria. They also forget this absolutely crucial statement made by Hillary Clinton in early December of 2012:

“There is a move to re-Sovietise the region,” (…) “It’s not going to be called that. It’s going to be called a customs union, it will be called Eurasian Union and all of that,” (…) “But let’s make no mistake about it. We know what the goal is and we are trying to figure out effective ways to slow down or prevent it.”

There are also persistent rumors that Hillary was the one who told Bill to bomb Serbia. So this women (sorry, I cannot call her a “lady”) does have a record and that record is a frightening one. God only knows what would have happened if she had become the President. She clearly is a hateful maniac with a personal hate for Putin. There is absolutely no evidence indicating that Trump had that kind of hateful personality.

So while “Monday morning quarterbacking” is fun, it is also absurd. Those who now tell us “I told you so” are right but for the wrong reasons, whereas those who supported Trump were wrong, but for the right reasons. Trump betrayed his campaign promises, but those who voted for him could not simply assume that he would do that, especially not when there was no reason at all to believe that Hillary would betray hers: does anybody seriously believe that after being elected on a promise of war she would have turned into a dove of peace? Of course not.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: American Military, Donald Trump, Neocons 
PastClassics
The “war hero” candidate buried information about POWs left behind in Vietnam.
While other top brass played press agents for the administration’s war, William Odom told the truth about Iraq—though few listened.
A thousand years of meritocracy shaped the Middle Kingdom.