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 The Saker Blog View

In my recent article “Risks and Opportunities for 2017” I made a statement which shocked many readers. I wrote:

Russia is now the most powerful country on the planet. (…) the Russian armed forces are probably the most powerful and capable ones on earth (albeit not the largest ones) (…) Russia is the most powerful country on earth because of two things: Russia openly rejects and denounces the worldwide political, economic and ideological system the USA has imposed upon our planet since WWII and because Vladimir Putin enjoys the rock-solid support of about 80%+ of the Russian population. The biggest strength of Russia in 2017 is a moral and a political one, it is the strength of a civilization which refuses to play by the rules which the West has successfully imposed on the rest of mankind. And now that Russia has successfully “pushed back” others will inevitably follow (again, especially in Asia).

While some dismissed this as rather ridiculous hyperbole, others have asked me to explain who I can to that conclusion. I have to admit that this paragraph is somewhat ambiguous: first I make a specific claim about the capabilities of the Russian military, and then the “evidence” that I present are of a moral and political nature! No wonder that some expressed reservations about this.

Actually, the above is a good example of one of my worst weaknesses: I tend to assume that I write for people who will make the same assumptions I do, look at issues the way I look at them, and understand what is implied. My bad. So today I will try to spell out what I mean and clarify my point of view on this issue. To do this, however, there are a number of premises which I think need to be explicitly spelled out.

First, how does one measure the quality of an armed force and how can armed forces from different countries be compared?

The first thing which need to immediately get out of the way is the absolutely useless practice known as “bean counting”: counting the numbers of tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft, helicopters and ships for country A and country B and come to some conclusion about which of the two is “stronger”. This is utterly meaningless. Next, two more myths need to be debunked: high tech wins wars and big money wins wars. Since I discussed these two myths in some detail elsewhere (here) I won’t repeat it all here.

Next, I submit that the purpose of a military force is to achieve a specific political objective. Nobody goes to war just for the sake of war and “victory” is not a military, but a political concept. So yes, war is the continuation of politics by other means. For example, the successful deterrence of a potential aggressor should be counted as a “victory” or, at least, as a successful performance of your armed forces if their goal was to deter. The definition of “victory” can include destroying the other guy’s armed forces, of course, but it does not have to. The British did win the war in the Malvinas/Falkands even though the Argentinian forces were far from destroyed. Sometimes the purpose of war is genocide, in which case just defeating a military forces is not enough. Let’s take a recent example: according to an official statement by Vladimir Putin, the official objectives of the Russian military intervention in Syria were to 1) stabilize the legitimate authority and 2) create conditions for a political compromise. It is undeniable that the Russian armed forces fully reached this two objectives, but they did so without the need for the kind of “victory” which implies a total destruction of your enemies forces. In fact, Russia could have used nuclear weapons and carpet bombing to wipe Daesh, but that would have resulted in a political catastrophe for Russia. Would that have been a “military victory”? You tell me!

So, if the purpose of a country’s armed forces is to achieve specific and political objectives, this directly implies that saying that some country’s armed forces can do anything, anywhere and at any time is nonsense. You cannot access a military outside a very specific set of circumstances:

1) Where: Space/geographical

2) When: Time/duration

3) What: political objective

Yet, what we see, especially in the USA, is a diametrically opposite approach. It goes something like this: we have the best trained, best equipped and best armed military on earth; no country can compete with our advanced stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, our pilots are the best trained on the planet, we have advanced network-centric warfare capabilities, global strike, space based reconnaissance and intelligence, we have aircraft carriers, our Delta Force can defeat any terrorist force, we spend more money training our special forces than any other country, we have more ships than any other nation, etc. etc. etc. This means absolutely nothing. The reality is that the US military played a secondary role in WWII in the European theater and that after that the only “kinda victory” it achieved is outright embarrassing: Grenada (barely), Panama (almost unopposed). I would agree that the US military was successful in deterring a Soviet attack, but I would also immediately point out that the Soviets then also successfully deterred a US attack. Is that a victory? The truth is that China also did not suffer from a Soviet or US attack, does that mean that the Chinese successfully deterred the Soviets or the Americans? If you reply ‘yes’ then you would have to accept that they did that at a fraction of the US costs, so whose military was more effective – the US or the Chinese one? Then look at all the other US military interventions, there is a decent list here, what did those military operations really achieve. If I had to pick a “least bad one” I would reluctantly pick the Desert Storm which did liberate Kuwait from the Iraqis, but at what cost and with what consequences?!

In the vast majority of cases, when the quality of the Russian armed forces is assessed, it is always in comparison to the US armed forces. But does that make sense to compare the Russian armed forces to a military which has a long record of not achieving the specific political objectives it was given? Yes, the US armed forces are huge, bloated, they are the most expensive on the planet, the most technology-intensive and their rather mediocre actual performance is systematically obfuscated by the most powerful propaganda machine on the planet. But does any of that make them effective? I submit that far from being effective, they are fantastically wasteful and amazingly ineffective, at least from a military point of view.

Still dubious?

Okay. Let’s take the “best of the best”: the US special forces. Please name me three successful operations executed by US special forces. No, small size skirmishes against poorly trained and poorly equipped 3rd world insurgents killed in a surprise attack don’t qualify. What would be the US equivalent of, say, Operation Storm-333 or the liberation of the entire Crimean Peninsula without a single person killed? In fact, there is a reason why most Hollywood blockbusters about US special forces are based on abject defeats such as Black Hawk Down or 13 hours.

As for US high-teach, I don’t think that I need to dwell too deeply on the nightmares of the F-35 or the Zumwalt-class destroyer or explain how sloppy tactics made it possible for the Serbian Air Defenses to shoot down a super-secret and putatively “invisible” F-117A in 1999 using an ancient Soviet-era S-125 missile first deployed in 1961!

There is no Schadenfreude for me in reminding everybody of these facts. My point is to try to break the mental reflex which conditions so many people to consider the US military as some kind of measuring stick of how all the other armed forces on the planet do perform. This reflex is the result of propaganda and ignorance, not any rational reason. The same goes, by the way, for the other hyper-propagandized military – the Israeli IDF whose armored forces, pilots and infantrymen are always presented as amazingly well-trained and competent. The reality is, of course, that in 2006 the IDF could not even secure the small town of Bint Jbeil located just 2 miles from the Israeli border. For 28 days the IDF tried to wrestle the control of Bint Jbeil from second rate Hezbollah forces (Hezbollah kept its first rate forces north of the Litani river to protect Beirut) and totally failed in spite of having a huge numerical and technological superiority.

I have personally spoken to US officers who trained with the IDF and I can tell you that they were totally unimpressed. Just as Afghan guerrillas are absolutely unanimous when they say that the Soviet solider is a much better soldier than the US one.

Speaking of Afghanistan.

Do you remember that the Soviet 40th Army who was tasked with fighting the Afghan “freedom fighters” was mostly under-equipped, under-trained, and poorly supported in terms of logistics? Please read this appalling report about the sanitary conditions of the 40th Army and compare that with the 20 billion dollar per year the US spends on air-conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq! And then compare the US and Soviet occupations in terms of performance: not only did the Soviets control the entire country during the day (at night the Afghan controlled most of the country side and the roads), they also controlled all the major cities 24/7. In contrast, the US barely holds on to Kabul and entire provinces are in the hands of the insurgents. The Soviets built hospitals, damns, airports, roads, bridges, etc. whereas the Americans built exactly nothing. And, as I already mentioned, in every interview I have seen the Afghans are unanimous: the Soviets were much tougher enemies than the Americans.

I could go on for pages and pages, but let’s stop here and simply accept that the PR image of the US (and Israeli) military has nothing to do with their actual capabilities and performance. There are things which the US military does very well (long distance deployment, submarine warfare in temperate waters, carrier operations, etc.) but their overall effectiveness and efficiency is pretty low.

So what makes the Russian armed forces so good?

For one thing, their mission, to defend Russia, is commensurate with the resources of the Russian Federation. Even if Putin wanted it, Russia does not have the capabilities to built 10 aircraft carriers, deploy hundreds of overseas bases or spend more on “defense” than the rest of mankind combined. The specific political objective given to the Russian military is quite simple: to deter or repel any attack against Russia.

Second, to accomplish this mission the Russian armed forces need to be able to strike and prevail at a maxial distance of 1000km or less from the Russian border. Official Russian military doctrine places the limits of a strategic offensive operation a bit further and include the complete defeat of enemy forces and occupation of his territory to a depth of 1200km-1500km (Война и Мир в Терминах и Определениях, Дмитрий Рогозин, Москва, Вече, 2011, p.155) but in reality this distance would be much shorter, especially in the case of a defensive counter-attack. Make no mistake, this remains a formidable task due to the immense length of the Russian border (over 20’000km of border) running over almost every imaginable type of geography, from dry deserts and mountains to the North pole region. And here is the amazing thing: the Russian armed forces are currently capable of defeating any conceivable enemy all along this perimeter. Putin himself said so recently when he declared that “We can say with certainty: We are stronger now than any potential aggressor, any!” I realize that for a mostly American audience this will sound like the typical garden variety claptrap every US officer or politician has to say at every public occasion, but in the Russian context this is something quite new: Putin had never said anything like that before. If anything, the Russian prefer to whine about numerically superior their adversaries seem to be (well, they are, numerically – which every Russian military analyst knows means nothing).

Numerically, the Russian forces are, indeed, much smaller than NATO’s or China’s. In fact, one could argue for the size of the Russian Federation, the Russian armed forces are rather small. True. But they are formidable, well-balanced in terms of capabilities and they make maximal use of the unique geographical features of Russia.

[Sidebar: Russia is a far more “northern” country than, say, Canada or Norway. Look at where the vast majority of the cities and towns in Canada or Scandinavia are located. Then look at a map of Russia and the latitudes at which the Russian cities are located. The difference is quite striking. Take the example of Novosibirsk, which in Russia is considered a southern Siberian town. It is almost at the same latitude as Edinburgh, Scotland, Grande Prairie, Alberta or Malmö in Sweden]

This is why all the equipment used by the Russian Armed Forces has to be certified operational from temperatures ranging from -50C to +50C (-58F to 122F). Most western gear can’t even operate in such extremes. Of course, the same also goes for the Russian solider who is also trained to operate in this range of temperatures.

I don’t think that there is another military out there who can claim to have such capabilities, and most definitely not the American armed forces.

Another myth which must be debunked is the one of western technological superiority. While it is true that in some specific fields the Soviets were never able to catch up with the West, microchips for example, that did not prevent them from being the first ones to deploy a large list of military technologies such as phased-array radars on interceptors, helmet-mounted sights for pilots, supercavitating underwater missiles, autoloaders on tanks, parachute deployable armored vehicles, double-hulled attack submarines, road-mobile ICBMs, etc. As a rule, western weapon systems tend to be more tech-heavy, that is true, but that is not due to a lack of Russian capabilities, but to a fundamental difference in design. In the West, weapon systems are designed by engineers who cobble together the latest technologies and then design a mission around them. In Russia, the military defines a mission and then seeks the simplest and cheapest technologies which can be used to accomplish it. This is why the Russian MiG-29 (1982) was not a “fly-by-wire” like the US F-16 (1978) but operated by “old” mechanical flight controls. I would add here that a more advanced airframe and two engines instead of one for the F-16, gave the MiG-29 a superior flight envelope. When needed, however, the Russians did use fly-by-wire, for example, on the Su-27 (1985).

Last but not least, the Russian nuclear forces are currently more modern and much more capable than the comparatively aging US nuclear triad. Even the Americans admit that.

So what does that all mean?

This means that in spite of being tasked with an immensely difficult mission, to prevail against any possible enemy along the 20’000+km of the Russian border and to a depth of 1000km, the Russian armed forces have consistently shown that they are capable of fulfilling the specific political objective of either deterring or defeating their potential enemy, be it a Wahabi insurgency (which the western pundits described as “unbeatable”), a western trained and equipped Georgian military (in spite of being numerically inferior during the crucial hours of the war and in spite of major problems and weaknesses in command and control), the disarmament of 25’000+ Ukrainian (supposedly “crack”) troops in Crimea without a single shot fired in anger and, of course, the Russian military intervention in the war in Syria were a tiny Russian force turned the tide of the war.

In conclusion, I want to come back to my statement about Russia being the only country which now openly dares to reject the western civilizational model and whose leader, Vladimir Putin, enjoys the support of 80%+ of the population. These two factors are crucial in the assessment of the capabilities of the Russian armed forces. Why? Because they illustrate the fact that the Russian soldiers knows exactly what he fights for (or against) and that when he is deployed somewhere, he is not deployed as a tool for Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, Sberbank or any other Russian corporation: he knows that he is fighting for his country, his people, his culture, for their freedom and safety. Furthermore, the Russian soldier also knows that the use of military force is not the first and preferred option of his government, but the last one which is used only when all other options have been exhausted. He knows that the Russian High Command, the Kremlin and the General Staff are not hell-bent on finding some small country to beat up just to make an example and scare the others. Last but not least, the Russian solider is willing to die for his country and while executing any order. The Russians are quite aware of that and this is why the following circulated on the Runet recently:


Translation: under both photos it says “private of the US/Russian Army, under contract, deployed in a combat zone”. The bottom central text says “One of them needs to be fed, clothed, armed, paid, etc. The other one just needs to be ordered “this way” and he will execute his mission. At any cost”

At the end of the day, the outcome of any war is decided by willpower, I firmly believe that and I also believe that it is the “simple” infantry private who is the most important factor in a war, not the super-trained superman. In Russia they are sometimes called “makhra” – the young kids from the infantry, not good looking, not particularly macho, with no special gear or training. They are the ones who defeated the Wahabis in Chechnia, at a huge cost, but they did. They are the one which produce an amazing number of heroes who amaze their comrades and enemies with their tenacity and courage. They don’t look to good in parades and they are often forgotten. But they are the ones which defeated more empires than any other and who made Russia the biggest country on earth.

So yes, Russia currently does have the most capable armed forces on the planet. There are plenty of countries out there who also have excellent armed forces. But what makes the Russian ones unique is the scope of their capabilities which range from anti-terrorist operations to international nuclear war combined with the amazing resilience and willpower of the Russian solider. There are plenty of things the Russian military cannot do, but unlike the US armed forces, the Russian military was never designed to do anything, anywhere, anytime (aka “win two and a half wars” anywhere on the planet).

For the time being, the Russians are watching how the US cannot even take a small city like Mosul, even though it had to supplement the local forces with plenty of US and NATO “support” and they are unimpressed, to say the least. But Hollywood will surely make a great blockbuster from this embarrassing failure and there will be more medals handed out than personnel involved (this is what happened after the Grenada disaster). And the TV watching crowd will be reassured that “while the Russians did make some progress, their forces are still a far cry from their western counterparts”. Who cares?

(Reprinted from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia 

Just a few days into 2017 and we can already say with a great degree of confidence that 2017 will be a historical year. Furthermore, I submit that 2017 will be the “Year of Trump” because one of roughly three things will happen: either Trump will fully deliver on his threats and promises, or Trump deliver on some, but far from all, his threats and promises or, finally, Trump will be neutralized by the Neocon-run Congress, media, intelligence community. He might even be impeached or murdered. Of course, there is an infinity of sub-possibilities here, but for the purpose of this discussion I will call the first option “Trump heavy”, the second one “Trump light” and the third one “Trump down”. Before discussing the possible implications of these three main options, we need to at least set the stage with a reminder of what kind of situation President Trump will be walking into. I discussed some of them in my previous analysis entitled “2016: the year of Russia’s triumph” and will only mention some of the key outcomes of the past year in this discussion. They are:

  1. The USA has lost the war against Syria. I chose my words carefully here: what initially had many aspects of a civil war almost immediately turned into a war of aggression by a very large coalition of countries under the leadership of the United State. From the creation of the “Friends of Syria”, to covert support of the various terrorist organizations, to the attempts at isolating the Syrian government, the United States rapidly took control of the “war against Assad” and they now “own” that defeat. Now it is Russia which is in full control of the future of Syria. First, the Russians tried to work with the USA, but it soon became impossible, and the Russians concluded in utter disgust that the US foreign policy was run not from the White House or Foggy Bottom, but from the Pentagon. The Pentagon, however, completely and abjectly failed to achieve anything in Syria and the Russians seem to have come to the amazing conclusion that they can simply ignore the USA from now on. Instead they turned to the Turks and the Iranians to stop the war. This is an absolutely amazing development: for the first time since WWII the USA have become irrelevant to the outcome of a conflict which they greatly contributed to create and perpetuate: having concluded that the Americans are “non-agreement capable” (недоговороспособны) the Russians won’t even try to oppose US efforts, they will simply ignore them. I believe that the case of Syria will be the first and most dramatic but that in the future the same will happen elsewhere, especially in Asia. That is a situation which no American had to face and it is very hard to predict how Trump will adapt to this completely new situation. I am cautiously optimistic that, as a good businessman, Trump will do the right thing and accept reality for what it is and focus his efforts and resources on a few critical issues/regions rather than further pursuing the Neocons’ pipe dream of worldwide “full-spectrum dominance”. But more about that later.
  2. Europe is in a state of total chaos. As I have written it many times, instead of the Ukraine becoming like Europe, it is Europe which became like the Ukraine: simply unsustainable and doomed to failure. The European crisis is a massive and multi-layered one. It is, of course, an economic crisis, but that crisis is made worse by a political one, which itself is compounded by a profound social crisis and, as a result, the entire EU system and the elites which used to run it are now facing a fundamental crisis of legitimacy. As for the European politicians, they are far busier denying the existence of the crisis rather than dealing with it. The United States which for decades carefully fostered and nurtured an entire generation of spineless, narrow-minded, neutered and infinitely subservient European “leaders” is now facing the unpleasant outcome that these European politicians are as clueless as blind puppies and that they simply have no policy and no vision whatsoever as to what to do next: they are all locked into a short term survival mode characterized by a quasi total tunnel vision which makes them oblivious to the environment they are operating in. A continent which produced the likes of Thatcher, de Gaulle or Schmidt now produces vapid non-entities like Hollande or Cameron. Trump will thus inherit a de-facto colony completely unable to manage itself. And, just to make things worse, while that colony’s comprador “elites” have no vision and no policy, at the same time it is deeply hostile to Donald Trump and in full support of his Neocon enemies. Again, this is a situation which no American President has ever faced.
  3. Russia is now the most powerful country on the planet. I know, I know, the Russian economy is relatively small, Russia has plenty of problems and just a year ago Obama dismissed Russia as a “regional power” while McCain referred to her as a “gas station masquerading as a country”. What can I say? – these two imbeciles were simply wrong and there is a good reason, plenty in fact, why Forbes has declared Putin the most powerful man on earth for four consecutive years. And it’s not just because the Russian armed forces are probably the most powerful and capable ones on earth (albeit not the largest ones) or because Russia has successfully defeated the USA in Syria and, really, the rest of the Middle-East. No, Russia is the most powerful country on earth because of two things: Russia openly rejects and denounces the worldwide political, economic and ideological system the USA has imposed upon our planet since WWII and because Vladimir Putin enjoys the rock-solid support of about 80%+ of the Russian population. The biggest strength of Russia in 2017 is a moral and a political one, it is the strength of a civilization which refuses to play by the rules which the West has successfully imposed on the rest of mankind. And now that Russia has successfully “pushed back” others will inevitably follow (again, especially in Asia). This is also a completely new situation for the next American President, who will have to operate in a world where defying Uncle Sam is not only not a death sentence any more, but might even be seen as rather trendy.
  4. China is now locked into a strategic alliance with Russia, which is something unique in world history. Unlike past alliances that could be broken or withdrawn from, what Putin and Xi did is to turn their countries into symbionts: Russia basically depends on China for many goods and services while China depends on Russia for energy, defense, aerospace and high-tech (for those interested in this topic I would recommend the excellent White Paper Larchmonter445 wrote for the Saker blog on this topic: The Russia-China Double Helix). As a result, Russia and China today are like a type of “Siamese twins” which have separate heads (political independence and their own governments) but which share a number of organs vital for both heads. This means that even if Russia/China wanted to “dump China/Russia” in exchange for a rapprochement with the USA she could not do that. To my knowledge nothing similar has ever happened before. Never have two (ex-) Empires decided to remain separate but fully integrated into each other. No grand charter, no big alliance, no solemn treaty was ever signed to make this happens, only a huge number of (comparatively) small(er) contracts and agreements. And yet they have quietly achieved something absolutely unique in history. What this means for the USA is that they cannot count on their favorite divide et impera strategy to try to rule the planet because that strategy simply cannot work any longer: even if the Russian and Chinese leaders got themselves into a heated dispute they could not undo what has now been done. The integrationist momentum between China and Russia could probably only be stopped by a war, and that is simply not happening. Right now Trump is making a lot of provocative gestures towards China, possibly in the hope that if the USA normalizes relations with Russia, China would find itself isolated. But isolating China is just as impossible as isolating Russia, and provoking China is simply a non-starter. For the first time since WWII the next American President will have to come to terms that in the Russia-China-USA triangle it is the USA which is the weakest and most vulnerable party.
  5. Iran is too powerful to be bullied or forced into submission. It is true that Iran is far weaker than Russia or China and that Iran is not a major international player. However, I would argue that Iran is a formidable regional superpower which can probably single-handedly take on any combination of regional countries and prevail against them, even if at a great cost. Just like Russia, Iran is protected by a perfect combination of geography and advanced armed forces. Oh sure, Iranian capabilities are not quite on par with US or Russian ones, but they powerful enough to make Iran an extremely tough and dangerous target to attack. Many years ago, in distant 2007, I wrote an article entitled “Iran’s asymmetrical response options” which is now clearly dated but primarily in the sense that since 2007 Iran has become even more dangerous to attack, be it by the USA, Israel or a combo of both. Would Russia and/or China go to war with the USA in case of a US/Israeli attack on Iran? No. But there would be very severe political consequences to pay for the USA: a guaranteed veto in the UNSC (even if US forces are targeted in the KSA or in the Strait of Hormuz), political, economic and possibly military support for Iran, intelligence support for Iranian operations not only in Iran, but also in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, an upgrade of the currently semi-official relations with Hezbollah and support for the Lebanese Resistance. But the main “weapon” used against the USA would be informational – any attack will be vehemently opposed by the Russian media and the western blogosphere sympathetic to Russia: this is exactly the scenario which the US and NATO fear so much: lead by RT and Sputnik, a US-bashing campaign in the social media. This is a new reality for 2017: we are not used to the notion that Russia also has any type of “soft power”, in this case political soft power, but the fact is that these Russian capabilities are both real and formidable and this is why the Neocons blame both the Brexit and the victory of Trump in the USA on the “Kremlin propaganda machine”. While there is no such “machine”, there is an active blogosphere and non-US media space out there on the Internet that seems powerful enough to at least encourage a type of “rebellion of the serfs” of the Neocon leaders of the Empire. The bottom line is this: the USA has lost its informational monopoly on the planet and the next US President will have to compete, really compete, to convince and rally to his views and agenda.

How will Trump deal with these fundamentally new challenges?

If it is “Trump down” then we will have something very similar to what we had with Obama: a lot of broken promises and lost hopes. In practical term, the USA will then return to what I would call the “consensus policies of the AngloZionist Empire”, which is what we have had since at least Bill Clinton and that every four years becomes “same old, same old, only worse”. If Trump is impeached or murdered we could witness an internal explosion of unrest inside the USA which would absorb most of the time and energy of those who tried to removed him. If Trump proves to be all talk and no action, we will go right back to the situation with Obama: a weak Presidency resulting in various agencies “doing their own thing” without bothering to check what everybody else is doing. This would be a disaster both inside and outside the USA. The most likely outcome would be a rather brutal, sudden and irreversible crash of the AngloZionist Empire. Should a “President Pence” ever happen, the risk of thermonuclear war would immensely soar right back up to what it was before the election. That is by far the worst option for everybody.

“Trump light” is probably the most likely option. Make no mistake, even though I call it “Trump light”, big things could still happen in this case. First and foremost, the US and Russia could decide to deal with each other on the basis of self-interest, common sense, realism and mutual respect. Just that alone would be quite revolutionary and a radical departure from the anti-Russian policies of the USA since Bill Clinton (and, really, since the end of WWII). However, the collaboration between Russia and the USA would not be global, but rather limited to some specific issues. For example, the USA and Russia could agree on joint operations against Daesh in Syria, but the US would not put a stop to the current US/NATO policy of escalation and confrontation against Russia in Europe. Likewise, the Neocon run Congress would prevent any real US-Russian collaboration on the issue of the Ukraine. This option would be far less than what some hardcore Trump supporters are hoping for, but still something infinitely better than Hillary in the White House.

While probably less likely, it is “Trump heavy” which could really usher in a fundamentally new era in international relations. In this case, Russia and the USA would hammer out a number of far reaching deals in which they would jointly take action to solve key issues. The theoretical possibilities are nothing short of amazing.

First and foremost, the USA and Russia could completely overhaul the European security by reviving and modernizing the cornerstone of European security: the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE) treaty. The US and Russia could negotiate a new CFE-III treaty and then use it as a basis to settle all the outstanding security issues in Europe thereby making a war in Europe de-facto impossible. Such a deal would be immensely beneficial to the entire continent and it would mark the beginning of a completely new era for Europe. The only real losers would be the western MIC and a few rabid and otherwise useless states (Latvia, Poland, etc.) whose only valuable export commodity is russophobic paranoia. However, as in every case when war, potential or actual, is replaced by peace, the vast majority of the people of Europe would benefit from such a deal. There would be some tough and delicate negotiations needed to finalize all the details, but I am comfortable that if Russia is given some real, verifiable security guarantees the Kremlin would order a stand-down of Russian forces west of the Urals.

Second, the USA and Russia could jointly take action to stop the civil war in the Ukraine, turn the Ukraine into a federal state with large autonomy granted to all the regions of the Ukraine (not just the Donbass) and declare that a non-aligned and neutral Ukraine will be the cornerstone of the new European security system. If Russia and the USA agree on that, there is nothing the Ukie Nazis or the European could do to prevent it. Frankly, just as irresponsible and stupid teenagers don’t get to participate in adult decisions, the EU and the junta in Kiev should be told that they are now done creating a disaster and that adults have had to step in to stop the nightmare from getting even worse. I bet you that such an approach would get the support of many, if not most, Ukrainians who are now truly fed up with what is going on. Most Europeans (except the political elites, of course) and most Russians would welcome the end of the Ukrainian clusterf*ck (sorry, but that is an accurate descriptor).

The USA has lost a lot of relevance in the Middle-East. Still, they have enough power to actually make a useful contribution to the destruction of Daesh, especially in Iraq. While Russia, Iran and Turkey probably can impose some type of settlement of the war against Syria, having American support, even if just limited, could be immensely useful. CENTCOM is still very powerful and to have a joint Russian-US campaign to crush Daesh could be most beneficial to the entire region. Having the Russians and the Americans finally intelligently and sincerely collaborate with each other would be a very new and fascinating thing to watch and I am pretty sure that the servicemen on both sides would very much welcome this opportunity. The Middle-East does not have to be a zero-sum game, but the next US President will have to understand that the US are now a junior partner of a much bigger coalition. That is the price you pay for having an idiot in the White House for eight years.

Needless to say, if the Americans and the Russians successfully work with each other in Europe, the Ukraine and the Middle-East this would mark a dramatic departure from the “tepid war” which took place between Russia and the USA during the disastrous Obama Presidency.

Alas, there is the rather distressing issue of Trump’s catering to the US Israel Lobby and his stupid and delusional anti-Iranian rhetoric. If Trump keeps up with this nonsense once in the White House he will simply lock himself out from any real deal in the Middle-East. Furthermore, knowing the rabid russophobia of the Neocons, if Trump bows to their demands on Iran, he will probably also have to severely curtail the scope of US-Russian collaboration in Europe, the Ukraine and elsewhere. The same goes for Trump constant China-bashing and provoking: if Trump really and sincerely believes that the USA is in a position to bully China then he is headed for some very painful disillusionments. The time when the USA could bully or intimidate China has long past and all Trump would do is fail against China in the same way Obama failed against Russia.

This, in my opinion, is THE key question of the Trump Presidency: will the USA under Trump accept that the US world hegemony is over once and for all and that from now on the USA will be just one major player amongst other major players? Yes, America, the country, not the Empire, *can* be made “great again” but only if by giving up on the Empire and accepting to become a “regular”, albeit still major, country.

If the US establishment continues to operate on the assumption that “we’re number one”, “the US military is the most powerful in world history” or that the “USA is the indispensable nation” which has to “lead the world” then the Trump Presidency will end up in disaster. Messianic and imperialist ideas have always lead their carriers to catastrophic failure and the USA is no exception. For one thing, the messianic and imperialist mindset is always profoundly delusional as it always favors ideology over reality. And, as the expression goes, if your head is in the sad, your ass is in the air. One of the biggest advantages which Russia and China have over the United States is that they fully realize that they are in many ways weaker than the USA. And yet, paradoxically, that awareness is what makes them stronger at the end of the day.

It should therefore become a top priority of President Trump to ditch the infinitely arrogant attitude so typical of the Neocons and their Trotskyite forefathers (both physical and ideological) and replace it with an acute awareness for the need to only engage in policies commensurate with the actual capabilities of the USA. Fact-based realist politics have to replace the current imperial hubris.

Likewise, it should also become a top priority of President Trump to purge the toxic cabal which has taken over the US elites: just like the main threat to President Putin is the Russian 5th column, I strongly believe that the biggest threat to President Trump will be the Neocon-controlled US 5th column in the USA, especially in Congress, the media, Hollywood and the intelligence community. The Neocons will never gracefully give up or otherwise accept that the American people have shown them to the door. Instead, they will do what they have always done: engage in a vicious hate campaign against Trump himself and against those who dared vote for him. Right now, Trump is clearly trying to appease them by throwing them a bone here and there (Pence, Priebus, Friedman, Iran bashing, etc.) which, I suppose, is fair enough. But if he continues to zig-zag like that once in the White House then he doesn’t stand a chance against them.

Michael Moore has just called for “100 days of resistance” following the Trump inauguration. While Moore himself is more of a (very talented) clown, that kind of initiative can end up becoming trendy, especially amongst the thoroughly zombified US Millennials and the butt hurt pseudo “liberals” who simply cannot and will not accept that Hillary has lost. We should never underestimate the capabilities of the Soros agents to start a color revolution inside the USA.

The US ‘deep state’ is also a powerful and immensely dangerous enemy whose options to oppose a “Trump Heavy” outcome include not only murdering Trump himself, but also creating another 9/11 false flag inside the USA, possibly one involving nuclear materials, and use it as a pretext to impose some kind of state of emergency.

Finally, and as always, there are the banks (in a general sense, including insurances, investment funds, etc, – all the financiers basically) who will fight a re-sovereignization of the United States with everything they got. Normally, I use the expression “re-sovereignization” to describe what Vladimir Putin has tried to do in Russia since 2000: the process of wrestling the real power from a small trans-national elite, return it to the people of Russia and making Russia a truly independent and sovereign country. The same concept, however, also applies to the USA whose people have clearly become the hostages and the serfs of a small elite, actually less than 1%, which is in full control of the real centers of power. A lot of that control, most of it really, is concentrated in various financial institutions which really control all the branches of government in the USA. Some call them “Corporate USA”, or “USA, Inc,” but really we are dealing with financiers and not with corporations who actually make a living by offering goods and services. The real levels of corruption in the USA are probably higher than anywhere on the planet simply because of the immense sums of money involved. The corrupt (literal) parasites who run this money-making machine will do everything in their power to prevent a return to power of the American people and they will never allow “one man – one vote” to replace the current “one dollar – one vote”.

It is ironic, of course, that Trump himself, and his entire entourage, come from these financial elites. But it would be a mistake to simply assume that if a person comes from one specific milieu he will always like and support it. Che Guevara was a medical doctor from a fairly well-off family of Argentinian bourgeois. Oh, I am not comparing Trump to the Che! I am just saying that the theory of class consciousness sometimes has interesting exceptions. At the very least, Trump knows these people very well and he might be the ideal man to break their current monopoly on power.

Conclusion:

Making predictions for a year like 2017 when most outcomes depend on what a single person might or might not do is rather futile. At best, this is an exercise is simple statistical luck. Those who will make correct predictions will, of course, look good and those who predictions will not materialize will look bad. But, in reality, they are all currently equally clueless. This is why I chose to speak of risks and opportunities and to look at at least three rough “Trump variants”. Still, there are processes in which Trump and the USA are crucial or, at least, central, but there are others where they matter a whole lot less. So, in conclusion, I will hazard of few guesses and submit them to you with all the imaginable caveats about probably being wrong. This being said, here we go.

First, I think that there is a good chance that Russia, Iran and Turkey will succeed in stopping the war against Syria. The country will remain unitary, but with pretty clear zones of influence and with a government which will include Assad, but also representatives of the opposition. Syria is far too big and too diverse to ever enjoy the type of peace Chechnia enjoys today, so at best we can hope for the kind of semi-peace which Dagestan has endured for the past years. It won’t be perfect, not by a long shot, but the absolute horror will stop.

Second, I think that Poroshenko will lose power this year. The Nazi-occupied Ukraine has survived on a mix of momentum (there was still a lot of wealth left from the Soviet era) and western assistance. Both are now coming to a full halt. Furthermore, there are increasing signs that the Ukrainian armed forces are now so busy simply surviving in the field that they have become basically incapable of meaningful combat operations. Should some particularly deluded nationalist volunteer battalion or political leader order an attack on Novorussia the Ukrainians are likely to suffer a major defeat followed by a liberation of the currently Nazi-occupied territories of the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. And this time around, if that happens, the Novorussian will have the means to liberate Mariupol and hold on to it without being cut-off from the Donbass by a Ukrainian flanking counter-attack. Finally, if Poroshenko is replaced by even more lunatic elements Russia might decide to recognize the independence of the Lugansk and Donetsk Republics which, in turn, would inevitably result in a referendum in these republics to join Russia. EU politicians will have a fit, Poland and Estonia will declare a Russian invasion imminent, but Russia will simply ignore them all. As for Trump, he is most unlikely to do much about this either, especially considering that the Ukie Nazis were 100% behind Hillary and dismissed him as a total joke. The last and only chance the “Independent Banderastan” has to avoid this outcome is to finally fully and totally implement the Minsk-2 Agreement, to basically self-dissolve. Will the crazies in Kiev have the wisdom to understand that? I very much doubt it. But who knows, maybe God will take pity on the people of the Ukraine and give them the strength to get rid of the Banderite rot which has brought so much misery upon them.

That leaves me with one area of great concern to me: Latin America.

This has not often been noticed, by Latin American is the one realm of US foreign policy where Obama has been rather successful, at least if you support the subjugation of Latin American by the USA: Castro is gone, Chavez is gone, possibly murdered, Christina Kirchner is gone, President Dilma Rousseff has been overthrown in a parliamentary coup and it appears that the same fate will now befall Nicholas Maduro. Very significantly, Cuba has agreed to a deal which will give the USA a great deal more leverage over the future of the island-state. True, Evo Morales, Rafael Correa and Daniel Ortega are still in power, but the undeniable fact that the Latin American political heavyweights have fallen. Will Trump change the US policy towards Latin America? I very much doubt that, if only because “if it ain’t broke – don’t fix it”. And from an US imperialist point of view, the current policy ain’t broke at all, it is rather a success. I simply see no reason why Trump would decide to allow Latin American to be free and sovereign thereby reversing the almost 200 year old Monroe Doctrine. Freedom for Latin America will come at the end of a long struggle no matter who is in the White House.

So no, life in 2017 will be a far cry from life in a perfect world, but there is a better than average chance that 2017 might see some very significant and much needed improvement over the frankly disastrous past years. There is still hope that Trump might deliver and if he does, he might become on of the best US Presidents in many, many years. Whether Trump delivers or not, the world will further move away from unipolarity to multipolarity and that is an immensely desirable evolution. All in all, and for the first time in decades, I feel rather optimistic. This is such a weird and unnatural feeling for me that I almost feel guilty about it. But sometimes guilty enjoyment is also great fun!

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Middle East, Russia 

After several rather lame false starts, the Neocons have now taken a step which can only be called a declaration of war against Donald Trump.

It all began with CNN published an article entitled “Intel chiefs presented Trump with claims of Russian efforts to compromise him” which claimed that:

Classified documents presented last week to President Obama and President-elect Trump included allegations that Russian operatives claim to have compromising personal and financial information about Mr. Trump, multiple US officials with direct knowledge of the briefings tell CNN. The allegations were presented in a two-page synopsis that was appended to a report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The allegations came, in part, from memos compiled by a former British intelligence operative, whose past work US intelligence officials consider credible (…) The two-page synopsis also included allegations that there was a continuing exchange of information during the campaign between Trump surrogates and intermediaries for the Russian government, according to two national security officials.

The website Buzzfeed then published the full document. Here it is in full.

When I first read the document my intention was to debunk it sentence by sentence. However, I don’t have the time for that and, frankly, there is no need for it. I will just provide you here with enough simple straightforward evidence that this is a fake. Here are just a few elements of proof:

  1. The document has no letterhead, no identification, no date, no nothing. For many good technical and even legal reasons, sensitive intelligence documents are created with plenty of tracking and identification information. For example, such a document would typically have a reference to the unit which produced it or an number-letter combination indicating the reliability of the source and of the information it contains.
  2. The classification CONFIDENTIAL/SENSITIVE SOURCE is a joke. If this was a true document its level of classification would be much, much higher than “confidential” and since most intelligence documents come from sensitive sources there is no need to specify that.
  3. The allegation that “The dossier is controlled by Kremlin spokesman, PESKOV, directly on PUTIN’S orders” is beyond laughable. Clearly the author of this fake has no idea how the Russian intelligence and security services work (hint: the Presidential spokesman has no involvement in that whatsoever)
  4. On page 2 there is this other hilarious sentence “exploit TRUMP’s personal obsession and sexual perversion in order to obtain suitable ‘kompromat’ (compromising material) on him.” Nobody in a real intelligence document would bother to clarify what the word “kompromat” means since both in Russian and in English it is obviously the combination of the words “compromising” and “materials”. Any western intelligence officer, even a very junior one, would know that word, if only because of the many Cold War era espionage books written about the KGB entrapment techniques.
  5. The document speaks of “source A”, “source B” and further down the alphabet. Now ask yourself a simple question: what happens after “source Z” is used? Can any intelligence agency work with a potential pool of sources limited to 26? Obviously, this is not how intelligence agencies classify their sources.

I will stop here and submit that there is ample evidence that this is a crude fake produced by amateurs who have no idea of what they are talking about.

This does not make this document any less dangerous, however.

First, and this is the really crucial part, there is more than enough here to impeach Trump on numerous grounds both political and legal. Let me repeat again – this is an attempt at removing Donald Trump from the White House. This is a political coup d’etat.

Second, this documents smears everybody involved: Trump himself, of course, but also the evil Russians and their ugly Machiavellian techniques. Trump is thereby “confirmed” as a sexual pervert who likes to hire prostitutes to urinate on him. As for the Russians, they are basically accused of trying to recruit the President of the United States as an agent of their security services. That would make Trump a traitor, by the way.

Third, within one short week we went from allegations of “Russian hacking” to “having a traitor sitting in the White House”. We can only expect a further Tsunami of such allegations to continue and get worse and worse every day. It is interesting that Buzzfeed has already preempted the accusation of this being a smear and demonization campaign against Trump by writing that “Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.” as if most Americans had the expertise to immediately detect that this document is a crude forgery!

Fourth, unless all the officials who briefed Trump come out and deny that this fake was part of their briefing with Trump, it will appear that this document has the official imprimatur of the senior US intelligence officials and that would give them a legal, probatory, authority. This de-facto means that the “experts” have evaluated that document and have certified it as “credible” even before any legal proceedings in court or, worse, in Congress. I sure hope that Trump had the foresight to audio and video record his meeting with the intelligence chiefs and that he is now able to threaten them with legal action if they now act in a way contradicting their behavior before him.

Fifth, the fact that CNN got involved in all this is a critical factor. Some of us, including yours truly, were shocked and disgusted when the WaPo posted a list of 200 websites denounced as “fake news” and “Russian propaganda”, but what CNN did by posting this article is infinitely worse: it is a direct smear and political attack on the President Elect on a worldwide level (the BBC and others are already posting the same crap). This again confirms to be that the gloves are off and that the Ziomedia is in full state of war against Donald Trump.

All of the above further confirms to me what I have been saying over the past weeks: if Trump ever makes it into the White House (I write ‘if’ because I think that the Neocons are perfectly capable of assassinating him), his first priority should be to ruthlessly crack down as hard as he legally can against those in the US “deep state” (which very much includes the media) who have now declared war on him. I am sorry to say that, but it will be either him or them – one of the parties here will be crushed.

[Sidebar: to those who wonder what I mean by “crackdown” I will summarize here what I wrote elsewhere: the best way to do that is to nominate a hyper-loyal and determined FBI director and instruct him to go after all the enemies of Trump by investigating them on charge of corruption, abuse of power, conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and all the other types of behavior which have gone on forever in Congress, the intelligence community, the banking world and the media. Deal with the Neocons like Putin did with the Russian oligarchs or how the USA dealt with Al Capone – get them on tax evasion. There is no need to open Gulags or shoot people when you can get them all on what is their normal daily behavior :-)]

I sincerely hope that I am wrong, and I admit that I might be, but I don’t have the gut feeling that Trump has what it takes to hit hard enough at those who are using any and every ugly method imaginable to prevent him from ever making it into the White House or to have him impeached if he tries to deliver on his campaign promises. I cannot blame him for that either: the enemy has infiltrated all the level of power in the US polity and there are strong sign that they are even represented in Trump’s immediate entourage. Putin could do what he did because he was an iron-willed and highly trained intelligence officer. Trump is just a businessman whose best “training” to deal with such people would probably be his exposure to the mob in New York. Will that be enough to allow him to prevail against the Neocons? I doubt it, but I sure hope so.

As I predicted it before the election, the USA are about to enter the worst crisis in their history. We are entering extraordinarily dangerous times. If the danger of a thermonuclear war between Russia and the USA had dramatically receded with the election of Trump, the Neocon total war on Trump put the United States at very grave risk, including civil war (should the Neocon controlled Congress impeach Trump I believe that uprisings will spontaneously happen, especially in the South, and especially in Florida and Texas). At the risk of sounding over the top, I will say that what is happening now is putting the very existence of the United States in danger almost regardless of what Trump will personally do. Whatever we may think of Trump as a person and about his potential as a President, what is certain is that millions of American patriots have voted for him to “clear the swamp”, give the boot to the Washington-based plutocracy and restore what they see as fundamental American values. If the Neocons now manage to stage a coup d’etat against Trump, I predict that these millions of American will turn to violence to protect what they see as their way of life, their values and their country. In spite of the image which Hollywood likes to give of them, most Americans are peaceful and non-violent people, but if they are pushed too far they will not hesitate and grab their guns to defend themselves, especially if they lose all hopes in their democracy. And I am not talking only about gun-toting hillbillies here, I am talking about the local, state and county authorities, who often care much more about what their local constituents think and say than what the are up to in DC. If a coup is staged against Trump and some wannabe President à la Hillary or McCain gives the order to the National Guard or even the US Army to put down a local insurrection, we could see what we saw in Russia in 1991: a categorical refusal of the security services to shoot at their own people. That is the biggest and ultimate danger for the Neocons: the risk that if they give the order to crack down on the population the police, security and military services might simply refuse to take action. If that could happen in the “KGB-controlled country” (to use a Cold War cliché) this can also happen in the USA.

I sure hope that I am wrong and that this latest attack against Trump is the Neocon’s last “hurray” before they finally give up and leave. I hope that all of the above is my paranoia speaking. But, as they say, “just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that they are not after you“.

So please tell me I am wrong!

(Reprinted from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Neocons, Russia 

Just like European maps place Europe in the center of the planet, so do most western commentators look at the past year from a US/Europe-centered perspective. Which is fair enough. Furthermore, the AngloZionist Empire has just suffered two major disasters, the Brexit and the election of Trump, so there is truly much interesting to focus on. Still, what I want to do today is to look at the year which is ending from a Russian perspective. The following were the major challenges Russia faced in 2016:

  1. The Nazi regime in Kiev
  2. The civil war in the Donbass
  3. Ukrainian attempts to blockade Crimea
  4. The rabid hostility of the US Administration
  5. NATO’s policy of military confrontation in Europe
  6. The united European front against Russia
  7. Western sanctions, the subsequent drop in investments and credit and the low oil prices
  8. The growing dissatisfaction of the Russian people with the economic polices of the government
  9. The struggle against the “liberal” 5th column inside Russia
  10. The international aggression against Syria
  11. The demonization of Russia in general and of Vladimir Putin in particular
  12. Terrorist attacks against Russia

Let’s take these one by one now and score them:

The Ukraine 5/5

The Nazi occupied Ukraine is in free fall. In fact, it has been in free fall for a while already, but just like somebody jumping from the 40th floor of a building is doing “okay” passing by the 20th floor, so did the Ukraine still have the possibility to say “so far so good” and look halfway credible to the superficially informed. Now, however, it is becoming rather obvious that the so-called “Revolution of dignity” (which is how the Neonazis call the coup against Yanukovich) is an abject failure and that the “Independent Ukraine” is simply beyond rescue. The ruling class which came to power now is falling apart, everybody is fighting everybody else and there is no other discernible policy left beyond personal enrichment and survival. As for the “Joan of Arc of the Ukraine” and “Hope of the Ukraine” – Nadezhda Savchenko – she is now denounced as a traitor and FSB agent. Forbes is now running an article entitled “Corruption is killing Ukraine’s economy” while a former Ukrainian lawmaker has passed recordings of Poroshenko taking bribes to the FBI. As for the Ukrainian military, which Poroshenko has recently advertised as one of the 5 best in the world, it has only mustered enough forces to send one company size infantry force supported by 2 tank platoons to attack the Novorussian positions near Debaltsevo before getting them all killed. The situation of the Ukrainian military is so bad that they are now forced to use private cars to get to the frontlines and to evacuate the wounded. Yes, on paper the Ukrainian military is huge, but in reality it is a force which has a hard time surviving even before going into battle. Last but not least, the entire Nazi ruling elite had thrown its full political weight behind Hillary while pouring scorn and vitriol against Trump. To say that they are now screwed would be an understatement. Hence the mood of utter panic now taking over Kiev.

The Donbass 3/5

The Russian policy in the Donbass (non-occupation combined with overt and covert support) was clearly the correct one: the DNR and LNR are getting stronger while the Nazi occupied Ukraine is going down the tubes, vide supra, as they say. There have however also been clear failures and the two main ones are the Russian inability to stop the constant shelling and attacks on civilians from the Nazis and the Russian failure to establish security inside the two republics. If the first failure can be excused (there is no magic recipe to make that happen), the second one is inexcusable as seen by the murder of several key Novorussian figures. Furthermore, the situation in the Donbass remains very difficult and potentially dangerous. In the big scheme of things, Russia did very well, but as soon as you look down to the more detailed level many mistakes and failures become apparent. Still, it is now obvious to any decently informed person that time is now (and has always been, really) on the side of the Novorussians as every passing day makes them stronger and the Ukronazis weaker.

Crimea 5/5

The Urkonazis tried everything, from blockading the peninsula, to cutting off water and electricity, to sending terrorist infiltrators. This gave Russia the opportunity to “save” Crimea from the Ukraine over and over and over again. It is pretty darn clear that the Ukronazis have long given up of ever getting back Crimea and that all that is left to them are mostly ineffective ways to try to make the people of Crimea miserable thereby, of course, only strengthening their resolve. Initially there were some people in Crimea who were not quite convinced that the nightmare was really over and that Russia truly meant business (especially with all the rumors about “Putin selling out”). But now that the Russians have to put major efforts into shielding Crimea from the Ukronazi attempts at blockading it those doubts have disappeared. Crimea’s future looks extremely bright: not only is the Russian state pouring in billions of Rubles for huge infrastructural improvement and the deployment of a very large and advanced military force, but the prospects for tourism and trade are also excellent.

The United States 5/5

The credit for the election of Donald Trump goes first and foremost to the American people to whom I sincerely believe the entire planet owe a heartfelt and loud “THANK YOU!!!!!”. I will never be able to prove that and, thank God, we will never know if I was right, but up to the last minute I was convinced that there was a very strong probability that Hillary in the White House would have meant war, probably nuclear, with Russia. I am still undecided about Trump, but I view his upcoming term with cautious optimism and while I would never say never, I really very strongly feel that with Trump in the White House the risks of war with Russia have fallen to a dramatically low level and that barring some stunning provocation or disaster, a war between the USA and Russia has now become exceedingly unlikely. Glory be to God for His immense mercy towards us!

That being, said, I will dare to speculate that Russia did play a role in the election of Trump. No, not by hacking emails or by recruiting Ron Paul (!!!) as an agent of Russian propaganda, but by openly and firmly confronting the USA on all fronts and showing that Russia would not bend her knee before the AngloZionist Empire. As I have written many times, Russia has been preparing for war for years now and while Russians were (and still are) afraid of war, they are also ready and willing to fight it if forced to do so. In his latest press conference Putin specifically referred to the will of the Russian people as a key element in Russia’s ability to defeat any aggressor when he said,

We are stronger than any potential aggressor. I have no problem repeating it. I also said why we are stronger. This has to do with the effort to modernise the Russian Armed Forces, as well as the history and geography of our country, and the current state of Russian society

and he is absolutely right. Sure, Hillary was probably stupid enough to try to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, but the 200 or so generals and admirals who expressed their support for Trump probably understood what that kind of folly would entail. Furthermore, it appears that quite a few Americans are sympathetic to Russia and Putin himself. Again, in his latest press conference Putin referred to this and made some very interesting comments:

I do not take support for the Russian President among a large part of Republican voters as support for me personally, but rather see it in this case as an indication that a substantial part of the American people share similar views with us on the world’s organisation, what we ought to be doing, and the common threats and challenges we are facing. It is good that there are people who sympathise with our views on traditional values because this forms a good foundation on which to build relations between two such powerful countries as Russia and the United States, build them on the basis of our peoples’ mutual sympathy. (…) It seems to me that Reagan would be happy to see his party’s people winning everywhere, and would welcome the victory of the newly elected President so adept at catching the public mood, and who took precisely this direction and pressed onwards to the very end, even when no one except us believed he could win.

Putin puts it down to values, common values, between the Russian and the American people.

[Personal sidebar: for whatever this is worth, I regularly interact with Americans who support Putin on the grounds that "he stands for American values unlike the SOBs in Washington"].

But how did the Americans become aware of what values Putin and Russia stood for if not for the ceaseless efforts of Putin himself and the alternative media to convey these values to the general public? I think that by OPENLY denouncing the total hypocrisy of the AngloZionist Empire and by OPENLY offering a different civilizational model, Putin and Russia did have an impact on the public opinion in the West. To put it simply: Russia has scored an ideological victory over the AngloZionist imperialists. In other words, the Russian policy of standing firm against the Empire while openly challenging it on its ideological foundation was the correct one and it probably did have an impact upon the outcome of the election in the USA.

NATO 4/5

Russia has defeated NATO on two levels: a purely military one and a political one. On the military level Russia has taken all the asymmetrical measures she promised to negate both the US anti-missile system in Europe and the deployment of threatening military power in eastern Europe: Russia deployed the Iskander missile, doubled of the size of her Airborne Forces, and initiated the creation of a Tank Army in the western strategic direction (to read more about how Russia prepared to fight and defeat NATO see “How Russia is preparing for WWIII” and “The EU’s suicide by reality denial“). On the political level there can be little doubt that all the European leaders who favored confrontation with Russia are now unpopular and in a political crisis except maybe Merkel, but Germany alone can’t do anything meaningful (at least one “positive” side effect, so to speak, of the EU integration). As for the election of Trump, it has resulted in a NATO-wide panic, especially in those countries which had prostituted themselves to the Empire with special enthusiasm and zeal (Poland, the three Baltic statlets, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, and our “Orthodox brothers” in Romania and Bulgaria). I don’t see Trump dumping NATO, there would be too much opposition against that, but with Trump in the White House all the nonsense about the “Russian bear is about to invade Latvia or Poland” is going to come to a crashing end and the poor folks in eastern Europe will come to realize that neither Russia nor the USA gives a damn about them. Trump will probably put the financial squeeze on NATO and force its member states to purchase even more US gear, but that will be a purely financial operation and not an attempt at surrounding Russia will military forces. Russia’s ultimate goal, the replacement of NATO by a European-wide common defense agreement from Portugal to the Urals has not happened, but the election of Trump is a huge step in the right direction.

The EU 5/5

Poor “EUans” (my own word for the European zombies who believed in the Bilderberger’s European Union): they are now, how shall I put it politely, totally “frigged”? Not only did the British people defy the Empire and vote for a Brexit, but now the Imperial Homeland has “backstabbed” them by electing a patriot who is not interested in maintaining the global empire (or so he says, at least for the time being). At the same time, the so-called “refugee crisis” is bringing several crucial EU nations to the brink of a civil war (France for example) while all the efforts of the elites to blame Russia for it all end up in abject failures. Just check out this hilarious article in the British Sun which accuses Russia of, I kid you not, “organizing sex attacks in Germany“!! True, we already had the “Serbian Chetniks using rape as a weapon of ethnic cleansing” and “Gaddafi distributing Viagra to his soldiers to rape opposition supporters” but Putin ordering refugees to rape women in Germany is the best, so to speak. And just in case the unthinkable happens in Germany, the Germans have already warned that Russian hackers might steal the election in Germany. If this was not so utterly disgusting it would be hilarious. The bottom line is this: the entire EU project is morally completely bankrupt, each EU member state is now in a deep political crisis and the so-called “elites” are scrambling to find a response to what appears to be an inevitable collapse of the EU-order over Europe. The European militaries are a joke, all of them, and when, say, the Swedes go on “Russian sub hunting” they always end up embarrassing themselves. If there are any extra-terrestrials observing us from space, the EU is beyond any doubt their laughing stock. As for the Russians, far from fearing the Europeans, they don’t even take them very seriously and they look at them with either pity or scorn for their apparently infinite lack of spine and dignity. Of sure, as soon as mentally sane leaders return to power in the various EU countries Russia will be more than happy to trade with the EU, send and receive tourists and generally have friendly relations. But after over three centuries of trying to sheepishly imitate the Europeans and be accepted as European themselves, the Russian have finally lost all interest in emulating Europe, at least in a cultural or political way. Of course, the Russians will still love German cars, French wines or Italian music, but the myth of the European cultural superiority has truly died. Good riddance!

The Russian economy 3/5

The main external factors influencing the Russian economy have been Western sanctions, the subsequent drop in investments and credit and, especially, the low oil prices. Almost exactly as Putin had predicted it, it took Russia two years to overcome the combined effect of these factors, so says not me or a Kremlin spokesman, but the IMF (see here). What matters here is not this or that figure for GDP or inflation, but the fact that all the key indicators for the Russian economy point to a gradual recovery and good prospects for growth. I personally think that the policies of the “economic block” of the Medvedev government made the effects of this crisis even worse than they had to be, but I have to admit that despite the major mistakes committed by the Russian government the Russian economy is recovering. If I had to score the performance of the Russian government’s policies I would have given it a maximum of 2/5, but since what I am looking at is the state of the economy I have to give it an objective 3/5. I just think that a 5/5 would have been possible. One small point here: some have made a great deal of noise around the planned reduction in Russian defense spending but what they are missing is that reduction has been made possible by the spending over the past couple of years and that the Russian defense program by 2020 has not been in any way amended, nevermind reduced. In other words, the Russian military can afford to use less money for a couple of years and there will be no cuts in defense programs as planned by 2020.

Russian public opinion 4/5

In spite of the still strong grip the “IMF-types” in the Russian government have over the key economic decisions in Russia there are some signs that things are getting better and that the Russian public is getting some of the heads it wanted to see rolling: here I am, of course, referring to the arrest of the Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexei Uliukaev. Of course, the list of candidates for termination and arrest is much longer (see here) but Uliukaev was definitely one of the most influential and toxic member of the Atlantic Integrationists and the hysterical reaction of the Russian liberal press clearly shows how painful this arrest is for the Russian 5th column. As for right now, the arrest of Uliukaev has not been followed by more sackings or arrests, but it is quite possible that Putin did with Uliukaev what he already one did with Berezovsky: hit at the one “big guy” and therefore force the rest of his gang to play ball and give up any hopes of confronting him. Only time will tell if sacking and arresting Uliukaev will be enough to finally re-sovereignize Russia, but it sure is a very good beginning.

Russian russophobes 4/5

Sounds weird, does it not? “Russian russophobes”. Reminds me of the “self-hating Jew” category. And yet they exist, at least nominally. I say nominally because being Russian has never been about speaking Russian, or about living in Russia or even about some hypothetical “Russian ethnicity” (which really does not exist). One definition of what it is to be Russian was given by the philosopher Vasilii Rozanov who wrote the following prophetic words in 1913: “To love a happy and great Motherland is really not a big thing. We have to love her when she is weak, small, humiliated, finally, stupid, finally, even filled with vices. It is when our “mother” is drunk, lying and all entangled in her sins that we must not depart from her. But even that is not enough: when she finally dies, eaten up by Jews, and when only her bones remain – he will be truly “Russian” who will weep over her useless skeleton, abandoned by all. He truly shall be… ” Needless to say, Rozanov is hated by the Russian “liberals”. Contrary to Rozanov, these russophobic “liberals” rejoice in every Russian failure and they can barely contain their joy when some tragedy befalls the Russian people which they hate and despise for supporting a “tyrant” like Putin instead of them, the self-perceived “intellectual elites” of Russia.

When Putin came to power, these 5th russophobic columnist were literally everywhere since their families were usually members of the Soviet elites and since during the infamous 1990s they literally took control of every single lever of power in Russia from the mass media to the Kremlin. First, Putin got rid of the oligarchs, especially the “Seven Bankers“. Next, he gradually pushed most of them out from of mass media (that is when their colleagues and patrons in the West began speaking of the lack of a free press in Russia). And then he began the slow and outright dangerous process of getting rid of them, one by one, from inside the Russian government, including the Kremlin. But Putin’s biggest achievement this year has to be his extremely successful campaign to delegitimize this 5th column. He did that no by “cracking down” on them, nor did he murder any journalist or opposition figure, and he did not fill the “new Russian Gulag” with thousands of liberal dissidents. He (by “he” I mean not only Putin himself, but also his supporters) did the exact opposite: he gave them a platform and he made darn sure that their views would be freely aired on an almost daily basis. Those interested about this can read my analysis “Counter-propaganda, Russian style“. This was pure genius: instead of silencing the russophobes, Putin gave them a completely disproportionate amount of airtime (keep in mind that less than 5% of the Russian population supports these freaks) and let them hang themselves by being wrong on just about everything: they were wrong on Crimea, wrong on the Ukraine, wrong on the economy, wrong on social and civil rights, wrong on corruption, wrong on so-called “gay rights”, wrong about NATO, wrong about the EU, wrong about Clinton (they loved her), wrong about Trump (they hated him), wrong about terrorism and wrong about Syria. As a result, these “liberals” (in the Russian meaning of the word) are now universally seen as traitors, russophobes, snobs, racists, 5th columnists, CIA puppets, etc. They now are absolutely hated and desperate. As a result, during the recent elections, we saw the amazing sight of Russian “liberals”, including Jews, allying themselves with Nazis and organizing joint protests against Putin. Needless to say, that only served to further discredit them.

There are still plenty of 5th columnists in Russia, but they are mostly laying really low, hoping for better times and trying to remain out of the public eye as much as possible. Their main remaining center of power is the Russian Central Bank and the “economic bloc” of the Medvedev government, but since both Kudrin and Uliukavev have been kicked out, the rest of them are being very careful in their actions and statements.

All in all, 2016 has been an absolutely catastrophic year for the russophobic 5th column which is now in a state of total despair and which seems to have no future whatsoever.

Syria 5/5

Russia’s success in Syria is nothing short of amazing. Not only did an extremely small Russian military force succeed in turning around the course of the war, but it has held an essentially indefensible position long enough to deter Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf states and the USA from overtly attacking the Syrian forces or government. The Russians succeeded in this despite numerous, ugly and bloody provocations and despite having to operate in an extremely hostile environment (the region “belongs” to NATO and CENTCOM). One of the most amazing successes what how the Russians managed to save Erdogan in extremis from a US backed coup and convince him to work with Russia and Iran to solve the Syrian crisis. The liberation of Aleppo could not have happened had Turkey continued to support al-Nusra & Co at any price. At the very least it would have taken much more time. By the end of 2016 the Russians own the Black Sea, control, at least for the time being, the eastern Mediterranean and they are working with the three biggest powers on the ground: the Syrians, of course, but also Iran and Turkey. As for the United States, they seemed to have lost the entire region and their only “achievement”, so to speak, has been to alienate both the Israelis and the Saudis. As for President Elect Trump, he has clearly indicated that his number one priority will be to smash Daesh & Co. which happens to be exactly what Russia, Iran and Syria want too. If Trump really manages to kick the Neocon crazies to the cockroach filled basement where they belong, we could see something quite amazing happening: a joint Russian-US effort to destroy Daesh. The big problem here will be the totally counter-productive and, frankly, idiotic anti-Iranian rhetoric of the Trump campaign. However, there must be enough good brains around Trump to make him understand that nothing in the region can happen without Iran’s approval and that the US and Iran don’t need to love each other to agree on a common objective. Trump strikes me as a realist much more than as an ideologue. Hopefully, he will learn how to separate AIPAC-pleasing rhetoric with serious foreign policy (the crash of the Obama Administration ought to teach him that lesson).

What is certain is that Russia is now running the show in Syria and that without US or Turkish support, Daesh will be facing an existential crisis. Of course, the situation remains fluid, complex and dangerous. And I would never put it past the US or Turkey to do yet another 180 and to resume their support for Daesh. The Kurdish factor, Israeli policies and Erdogan’s inherent unpredictability all serve to make sure that the Syrian crisis will continue well into 2017. However, I think that the Neocon’s crazy rampage is reached is apogee and that things should begin to improve from now on. Russia alone simply could not save Syria, and yet she appears to have done just that.

The russophobic hysteria in the West 3/5

There was simply no way that the AngloZionist could be defeated on all fronts without screaming “oy veh!” to high heaven and screaming they did. All year long. Their allegations ranged from Russia wanting to invade Latvia to Russian hackers stealing the US election. And to make absolutely sure that there was no doubt at all as to the identity of these hackers, the AngloZionists informed us that these hackers called themselves “fancy bear” and “cozy bear”, that they used the alias “Felix Edmundovich” (the first name and patronymic of Felix Derzhinskii, the founder of the Soviet secret services) and that they worked during Moscow time office hours and they took breaks during Russian holidays. And least you think that this kind of nonsense was made up in an mental institution or a kindergarten, here is the link to the article in the article in the New York times quoting “security experts”. Amazing, no? But then again, when I see the Neocons seriously calling Ron Paul a Russian agent I realize that there is nothing, no matter how stupid, that these guys would not dare say. Chutzpah in action, I suppose. And while the left side of the Bell Curve appears to have fully internalized the message, there is a growing segment of the population which realizes how silly all these accusations are.

[Personal sidebar: while I am sure that there are some Americans who believe that the Russkies are a dangerous enemy of the USA, I have yet to met even one such American. In my day to day interactions I see *no* hostility towards Russians even when I openly speak Russian with my family in stores or restaurants or when I say that I am Russian. Maybe this is because I am in Florida and not New York, but I have yet to see a single example of anti-Russian hostility].

The Russian treatment by the Western-controlled WADA at the Rio Olympics was an absolute outrage, a farce and and crime all wrapped into one. And Russia is very much to blame for having allowed the key world organizations become so controlled by the West. However, let’s also see that the USA failed to have Russia completely banned from Rio and that Russian hackers (yes, they do exist) have uncovered convincing evidence which discredits WADA and the entire system behind it. I would call that “growing pains” for the post-Soviet Russian sport: Russia now needs to “clean house” in the very real cases of doping while, at the same time, wrestling the control of the key international organizations from the West. A tough task for sure, but Russia has an immensely powerful ally in this (and many other) struggles: China. But yes, all in all, the partial ban and subsequent Russia-bashing campaign is a black eye for Russia.

In the case of Europe, russophobia has always been a northern European thing. Mediterranean countries were only dragged into imposing sanctions under very strong pressure from the north. It now appears that France will soon be ruled either by one or the other generally pro-Russian parties which are competing for the Presidency. The Brexit took out probably the single most anti-Russian country in the EU and now Germany and Poland are more or less on their own in trying to desperately revitalize the anti-Russian front. The problem for them is that they are also both subservient US colonies and that while they can fancy themselves the next in line to defend the western civilization against the revanchist Mongol hordes from the East, the reality is that they will do whatever the hell Uncle Sam tells them to do.

From now on, the only bastion of true rabid russophobia will remain in the most thoroughly “Zionified” segment of society: the media, the so-called “intellectuals”, the “liberal interventionists” and all the “tribe of minorities” who have a beef with Russia on account of the different civilizational model she represents (gender differentiated parents, religion, patriotism (but not nationalism!), etc.). These will continue to pour a steady stream of filth against Russia in general and Putin in particular. Putin will not be their only target, however, and Donald Trump will be the recipient of whatever hatred remains after Putin. Frankly, taking on Putin AND Trump at the same time is a futile and possibly risky business, no matter who you are in the AngloZionist “jet set”, especially when you also have little traction with the general public whom you have regularly insulted, demeaned and dismissed.

There could be a gigantic return of the pendulum happening before our eyes against those who have produced the lion’s share of the hate-propaganda in the West: these guys might well end up finally reaping what they have sown and become the object of hate themselves.

Terrorism 4/5

This year as been tough on Russia. A recent anonymous comment posted on this blog made a good list of the tragic murder of Russians this year including the bombing on the Russian civilian airliner over Egypt, the Su-24 shootdown involving US AWACS, the murder of the Russian medics in a precision strike, the murder of the Russian Ambassador and the probable murder of the Red Army Choir. To this list I would add the Novorussian commanders assassinated in the Donbass. That is a lot of innocent Russian victims. But compared to the number of innocent Syrians or Turks this number is relatively small. It is outright tiny of compared to the kind of mass horror the Wahabis managed to organize in Chechnia. Let’s remember that Russia is a country at war with state-sponsored transnational terrorism and that many millions of dollars of “aid” are going towards the various Nazi and Wahabi organizations with have the murder of Russians as their main goal. I would say “so far, so good” but I cannot do that because I believe that Russia is still not ready to face the kind of terrorism which is likely to hit her in the next year. There is one specific type of target which is currently completely undefended and which the terrorists can strike with quasi-impunity: Russian Orthodox churches outside Russia.

The Russians need to revisit the kind of terror campaign the Palestinians waged in the 1970s against the Israelis when they attacked not only Israeli cultural centers, but also Jewish daycare centers, schools, and synagogues. Russian Orthodox churches are now facing the very same threat including bombings and hostage taking. As somebody who has attended Russian Orthodox churches all my life and all over the planet I know that the number of potential targets are in the *hundreds* and that they are all completely unprotected.

The Israeli example is crucial here because the Israelis rapidly realized that they simply could not count on the local police forces to protect them. This is why they organized various local organizations directly attached to a synagogue or school staffed by volunteers who could do many very useful and fully legal things to protect Israeli/Jewish targets such as, for example, begin to occupy all the parking spaces around a synagogue 48 hours before any religious holiday to make sure that no VBIEDs (aka “car bombs”) could be placed next to the synagogue. There is *a lot* a well educated group of volunteers can do to legally protect an exposed civilian target. They can do even better when they work with the locals cops and the security specialists at the embassy. The Russians urgently need to study the Israeli experience in dealing with a kind of threat which they will soon face. Remember, the Palestinians also began by attacking diplomats, officials and aircraft, but as soon as these targets were “hardened” they turn to daycare centers, schools and synagogues.

I believe that inside Russia the FSB has a good control of the situation. But outside Russia the amount of specialized personnel fully dedicated to security is woefully inadequate and needs to be dramatically expanded. During the Soviet era few government dared to openly attack Soviet targets, the fearsome (and very much exaggerated!) reputation of the KGB probably helped, while during the Eltsin years there really was no point in attacking Russia as she was internally collapsing. But now that Russia is very strong internally, and the Russian military personnel hard to get at, diplomats, children and clergy are probably going to be the next targets of the Wahabis.

The one good news about this issue that the the Soviets/Russians have been fighting the Wahabis since the 1970s and that they are acutely aware that there is no such thing as a non-state sponsored terrorism. The Russians know where the money, training and weapons come from and they know that terrorism can only be defeated by strong counter-intelligence and and intelligence operations, especially human intelligence. The foreign intelligence branch of the KGB, the PGU or First Chief Directorate, had a (very much deserved) reputation for being able to infiltrate agents pretty much anywhere, including the top echelons of the CIA and NSA, and we can be confident that the SVR today is slowly rebuilding is capabilities worldwide and, especially, in the countries which sponsor Wahabi terrorism. Just the way the Russian special services saved Erdogan and thereby “flipped” Turkey – one of the absolutely worst sponsors of Wahabi terrorism – is already a huge success. God willing, the Saudis will be next.

Conclusion

Simply put – 2016 has been a fantastic year for Russia. Putin’s policy of slow, low-key and deliberate move and counter-move has proven to be extremely effective. While to some “hurray patriots” it did appear that Putin was being passive and doing nothing, the outcome of this year has been a Putin victory on all fronts, including the most dangerous and difficult ones. Remember all the nonsense these Putin-haters wrote about “Putin selling out the Donbass”, “Putin unable to reply to the Turkish shoot-down of the SU-24″, “Putin disarming Syria” or “Putin betraying Assad”? These “hurray patriots” have been predicted doom and gloom for years now and they have been proven wrong every single time. Did that silence them? Somewhat. I notice that most of the “Putin is selling out the Donbass” blogs are posting very little and when they do, it is mostly stuff unrelated to their previous Putin-bashing campaign. The same goes for the Ukronazis commentators on sites which allow them to post: they seem to have thrown in the towel and given up convincing the world about how democratic the junta in Kiev is, about how there are hundreds of Russian tanks in Donetsk and how the Ukraine will join the EU and become Germany-like overnight. The only ones who are keeping up the Putin-bashing campaign are the western presstitutes, but they are doing that for pay and to keep their jobs. Besides, that is all they know how to do anyway. But all in all, there is a general lack of energy and enthusiasm in the Russia hating camp which is a real joy for me to see.

2017 could be an amazing year for the world, or it could be a big disappointment. Right now this depends mostly on what Trump will do after he assumes his official capacity. To me the single most important fact will remain that with Hillary in the White House our planet risked a major thermonuclear war. There is no reason any more to believe that this is going to happen. As for the list of all the good things which *could* happen in 2017 if Trump does the right thing for his country, it will be the topic of a future analysis.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Putin, Russia, Syria, Ukraine 
A few short first thoughts

It is too early to conclude what happened with this aircraft, but since I have been asked about this by email, here are my own, personal and provisional, thoughts:

  1. Mechanical failure: unlikely. The Tu-154 is a three engine aircraft and an extremely strong beast. It’s safety record is comparable to most aircraft of its time, even though it was often used in extreme conditions other aircraft types did not have to operate in. The Tu-154 had already taken enough altitude to attempt a return to base or even a water landing. The weather that day was good. Besides, the crew did not communicate any problem. Thus the disaster had to be instantaneous.
  2. Fuel problem: unlikely. Fuel problems are always a prime suspect when a crash occurs, but even if the engines had suddenly experienced problems or even a full shutdown, the pilots would have had the time to report this. Also, like any other aircraft, the Tu-154 can glide and maneuver without power.
  3. Bird strike: unlikely. I am not even sure that there have ever been a triple engine failure due to a bird strike but even if there has been, they crew could have reported it which it did not. And, again, the case of US Airways flight 1549 has shown that even a catastrophic birdstrike does not prevent a fully loaded airliner from attempting to land.
  4. Pilot error: highly unlikely. The guys flying this aircraft where extremely experienced and while human error is always possible, it mostly results in situation were it can be reported. The Tu-154 was a very complex aircraft to operate and it had its weaknesses – but these were all very well known to the Russian crews and this crew was a very experienced one.
  5. Missile: unlikely. The Tu-154 has three engines including one mounted over the top of the rear of the fuselage and a MANPAD type missile warhead does not have the kind of blast radius capable of taking out all three of them. As for bigger missiles, the Black Sea coasts of Russia is very tightly controlled by the Russian military and security services (as is the entire Black Sea) and to get that close to the city of Sochi would be risky and difficult.
  6. Sabotage/bomb: most likely simply because all other causes are even less likely. True, this was a military aircraft with, supposedly, good security. Alas, I can confirm from personal experience that if you look Russian and speak Russian like a native and if you act the right way, military security in Russia is nowhere near as good as it should be. However, if you speak with an accent or look foreign, and that includes speaking with a Caucasian accent or looking like somebody from the Caucasus, you would have a much harder time beating the controls.

For all these reasons and even though it is way too early to speculate, my of preferred hypothesis is that it was a terrorist act executed by Ukrainian operatives. I hope that I am wrong and that I will be proven wrong in the next 24 hours but at this point in time, this appears to me as the most likely scenario.

One more thing: this tragedy really breaks my heart. Not only did the entire Alexandrov Ensemble perish, but two amazing personalities were on board: Valerii Khalikolv and “Dr Liza“. There are no words to express the loss which the death of all these people represents for Russia. This is why I hope and pray that in spite of why first reaction outlined above, this is not a Ukrainian terrorist attack because if it is, the consequences will be very severe. We should know more very soon.

(Reprinted from The Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, terroris 

Okay, so tonight we have the name of the assassin, it is Mevlut Mert Aydintas, a 22 year old policeman who had been recently fired following the anti-Gulenist crackdown of Erdogan against the forces which had attempted to overthrow him recently. We also have a very useful video of the murder.

That video of the attack also shows something very important: the only shots fired are those fired by the assassin. See for yourself:

What this means is one of two things:

Version 1: there was nobody in charge of security at this exhibition

Version 2: the room where this murder happened was considered ‘safe/sterile’ because it was inside an outer security perimeter which we don’t see in this video.

I find version 2 far more likely. That would also explain why and how Mevlut Mert Aydintas so easily got it: he simply flashed his police ID and was let through.

When such an event occurs it is also important to ask cui bono – whom does it benefit?

Erdogan? No.

I see absolutely no imaginable reason why Erdogan would want the Russian Ambassador murdered in Ankara, but I can easily imagine a long list of reasons why he would not want that to happen at all. Some will correctly say that the fall of Aleppo is a humiliating defeat for Turkey and Erdogan, and I agree. But I would remind everybody that Erdogan clearly had a deal going with the Russians and the Iranians when he moved his forces across the border and occupied northern Syria. There is *no way* he would have risked such a move against the will of Moscow and Tehran. So what was this deal? We will probably never know, but it clearly included a provision which limited Turkey’s actions to a narrow strip in the north. If that hypothesis is correct, then Aleppo would have to be considered outside the “Turkish sphere of interest” in Syria, at least by the tripartite Turkish-Iranian-Russian understanding. Did Erdogan know that Aleppo would fall and would fall so fast? Probably not. It appears that Erdogan got outmaneuvered by the Russians and the Iranians. But he most definitely had better options to retaliate against the liberation of Aleppo than to have the Russian Ambassador murdered in Ankara. The fact is that the Turks did precious little when Aleppo was liberated, at most they helped the Russian evacuate part of the “good terrorists”.

Even if Erdogan is a lunatic, he is smart enough to understand that if he has the Russian Ambassador murdered in Ankara NATO will do nothing to protect him and that the Russians can fire a cruise missile right into his bedroom window. Erdogan might be crazy, but he is clearly not *that* crazy.

Finally, let’s remember the disastrous consequences for Turkey following the shooting down of the Russian SU-24 and the fact that, by numerous corroborated accounts, the Russian intelligences services saved Erdogan, probably literally, by warning him of the coup against him.

So, for all these reasons, Erdogan is not on my current list of suspects. Never say never, new facts might come to light, especially with a maniac like Erdogan, but right now I will assume that he has nothing to do with what happened.

Daesh & Co? Maybe.

Well, it is rather obvious that the Daesh & Co. had an extremely long list of reasons to want to kill a high profile Russian official. So yes, they sure had the motive. Considering how successful radical Islamist extremists have been at penetrating the Turkish deep (and not so deep) state, Daesh and Co. also had the means. As for the opportunity, the video above clearly shows that not only did Mevlut Mert Aydintas have the time to shoot the Russian Ambassador many times (I counted 9 shots), but after that he still had the time to just stand there and scream all sorts of slogans about Syria, Aleppo and God. While we don’t know all the details yet, this is already very strong evidence that security at this event was dismal.

Gulen, the CIA, Obama & Co? Maybe.

Yes, they are also on my list of suspects. The Gulenists have nothing to lose, the CIA has gone crazy with anger and fear at the election of Trump, and the Obama Administration is full of angry, offended, deeply vindicative and otherwise plain nasty characters who would love to trigger a new crisis between Russia and Turkey or make the Russian pay in some way for humiliating the AngloZionist Empire in Aleppo. Keep in mind that this is exactly how the CIA always kills foreign dignitaries: by subcontracting the murder to a local fanatic so as to preserve what they call “plausible deniability”.

During the Cold War the Soviets and the Americans had an unwritten understanding that “we don’t kill each other”. It was never formally mentioned or otherwise acknowledged, but I assure you that it was real: neither side wanted an open ended escalation of assassinations and counter-assassinations. But today’s CIA is a pathetic joke compared to the CIA of the Cold War, and with hodge-podge of mediocre dimwits now in the Executive branch I would not put it past some idiot in Langley to approve of the murder of a Russian Ambassador. Besides, if the Americans were crazy and reckless enough to attempt to overthrow Erdogan, why would they not try to murder a Russian Ambassador?

What about the lone gunman hypothesis?

Well, it is impossible to prove a negative. Mevlut Mert Aydintas did lose his job in a recent purge, he did have police credentials and his actions on the video seem to be a textbook example of the kind of fanatical behavior a lone nutcase would display. So yes, it is possible that Mevlut Mert Aydintas acted alone. After all, all he needed was a gun and a police ID. Let’s see what the Turks, and the Russians, find out about him. Still, I doubt it. That kind of personality is usually identified by state sponsoring terrorism and then activated when needed. My gut tells me that he did not just act alone. Somebody probably used Mevlut Mert Aydintas.

Painful questions

Here I really hope that I am wrong, but if I want to be honest I have to admit that I am completely unable to find an excuse of the lax security around Ambassador Andrey Karlov. And I am not referring to the Turks here, I am referring to the Russian security services. Here is why.

Even if we assume that the Turks had told the Russians that they had established a ‘safe/sterile’ perimeter around the exhibit and that the general public would not be let in, the footage shows what appears to be only a few guests, there is no excuse for the Russian not to have at least one bodyguard in the immediate proximity to the Ambassador. Turkey is not only a country at war, but Russia is a party to that war, the Takfiris have made a very long list of threats against Russia and, finally, Turkey is a country which has suffered from terrorism for years and which has just suffered a bloody attempted coup. In a country like that a top official like an Ambassador should have been protected by an entire group of bodyguards, but in this case there was clearly nobody. Oh sure, the Russian can blame the Turks for having set up a crappy perimeter, but as professionals they should know that the Turks are already having extreme difficulties in dealing with their own terrorists and that following the massive purges the security services are in a state of chaos. Would one bodyguard have made a difference?

Yes, possibly. Probably in fact.

From the video it appears that Mevlut Mert Aydintas was standing about 5 meter behind Ambassador Karlov when he opened fire. Apparently, not a single of the shots hit the Ambassador’s head. If Ambassador Karlov had been wearing a flack jacket or any other type of body armor he would have probably survived that first volley of bullets (unless one hit the cervicals). One single bodyguard could then have easily killed Mevlut Mert Aydintas and evacuated the ambassador to safety. Evidently Karlov was not wearing any kind of body armor that day. Why? He did not have a single bodyguard next to him. Why? No Russian voices are heard on the video, so there appears to have been no Russian security anywhere near the ambassador. Why?

Normally, ambassadors are a very easy target. Everybody knows them, their routine is public and, contrary to what many seem to think, most of them have no security detail. I am absolutely amazed that more ambassadors are not killed regularly. In high risk countries, however, ambassadors are normally protected, especially ambassadors representing countries involved in a war or who are likely targets of terrorist attacks. True, as a rule, the Russians, including diplomats, tend to be more brave/reckless (pick the term) than their western counterparts: they don’t scare easy and they like to show that they are not afraid. But that kind of attitude needs to be kept in check by professionals.

Frankly, it makes me angry to see how many Russians have been killed by that lax attitude towards personal risk and security. Yes, it is very noble to be courageous, but to die killed by a manic is also plain dumb. I would feel much better if Russian officials and politicians would be a little less courageous and a little more careful. Because what happened today begs the question: who will it be the next time?

Conclusions

What happened today is a tragedy made twice as painful by the fact that it could probably have been avoided. The Turkish security services will probably arrest overnight pretty much anybody and everybody Mevlut Mert Aydintas has ever met, and they will get lots of confessions. I am pretty sure that they will share a lot of that data with the Russians, if only to show how sorry they are. Alas, both the Turks and the Russians have an long tradition of secrecy and we might never find out who, if anybody, really was behind Mevlut Mert Aydintas.

The only thing I am sure of is that Putin will do nothing harsh regardless of who is behind this murder. If it is the Takfiris, then the people involved will die in the next couple of years. If the CIA is involved, however, the Russians will be much more careful and might chose to act in a very different way, possibly through the next Administration. The murder of Ambassador Karlov will not succeed in derailing the Russian and Iranian efforts at getting some kind of a regional solution to the war in Syria, nor will it change the Russian determination to prevent the AngloZionst Empire of turning Syrian into yet another Takfiristan.

As for Russia and Turkey, as long as Erdogan remains in power they will continue to try to collaborate against the odds and in spite of deep and fundamental differences. Neither Russia nor Turkey, which have fought each other in twelve wars, have any other option.

(Reprinted from Vineyard of the Saker by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Turkey 

There are clear signs that the Neocons running the AngloZionist Empire and its “deep state” are in a state of near panic and their actions indicate they are truly terrified.

The home front

One the home front, the Neocons have resorted to every possible dirty trick on the book to try to prevent Donald Trump from ever getting into the White House: they have

  • organized riots and demonstrations (some paid by Soros money)
  • encouraged the supporters of Hillary to reject the outcome of the elections (“not my President”)
  • tried to threaten the Electors and make them either cast a vote for Hillary or not vote at all
  • tried to convince Congress to refuse the decision of the Electoral College and
  • they are now trying to get the elections annulled on the suspicion that the (apparently almighty) Russian hackers have compromised the election outcome (apparently even in states were paper ballots were used) and stolen it in favor of Trump.

That is truly an amazing development, especially considering how Hillary attacked Trump for not promising to recognize the outcome of the elections. She specifically said that Trump’s lack of guarantees to recognize the outcome would threaten the very basis of the stability of the US political system and now she, and her supporters, are doing everything in their power to do just that, to throw the entire electoral process into a major crisis with no clear path towards resolution. Some say that the Democrats are risking a civil war. Considering that several key Republican Congressmen have said they do support the notion of an investigation into the “Russian hackers” fairy tale, I submit that the Republicans are doing exactly the same thing, that this is not a Democrat vs Republican issue, but a “deep state vs The People of the USA” issue.

Most experts agree that none of these tactics are going to work. So this begs the question of whether the Neocons are stupid, whether they think that they can succeed or what their true objective is.

My guess is that first and foremost what is taking place now is what always happens when the Neocons run into major trouble: they double down, again. And again. And again. That is one of the key characteristics of their psychological make-up: they cannot accept defeat or, even less so, that they were wrong, so each time reality catches up to their ideological delusions, they automatically double-down. Still, they might rationalize this behavior by a combination of hope that maybe one of these tricks will work, with the strong urge to do as much damage to President-Elect Trump before he actually assumes his office. I would never underestimate the vicious vindictiveness of these people.

What is rather encouraging is Trump’s reaction to all this: after apparently long deliberations he decided to nominate Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of Defense. From a Neocon point of view, if General Michael Flynn was bad, then Tillerson was truly an apocalyptic abomination: the man actually had received the order of “Friend of Russia” from the hands of Vladimir Putin himself!

Did Trump not realize how provocative this nomination was and how it would be received by the Neocons? Of course he did! That was, on his part, a totally deliberate decision. If so, then this is a very, very good sign.

I might be mistaken, but I get the feeling that Trump is willing to accept the Neocon challenge and that he will fight back. For example, his reaction to the CIA accusations about Russian hackers was very telling: he reminded everybody that “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction”. I think that it is now a safe bet to say that as soon as Trump take control heads will roll at the CIA.

[Sidebar: is it not amazing that the CIA is offering its opinion about some supposed Russian hacking during the elections in the USA? Since when does the CIA have any expertise on what is going on inside the USA? I thought the CIA was only a foreign intelligence agency. And since when does the CIA get involved in internal US politics? Yes, of course, savvy observers of the USA have always known that the CIA was a key player in US politics, but now the Agency apparently does not even mind confirming this openly. I don't think that Trump will have the guts and means to do so but, frankly, he would be much better off completely dissolving the CIA. Of course, that could get Trump killed – messing with the Fed and the CIA are two unforgivable crimes in the USA – but then again Trump is already very much at risk anyway, so he might as well strike first].

One the external front

On the external front, the big development is the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian forces. In that case again, the Neocons tried to double-down: they made all sorts of totally unsubstantiated claims about executions and atrocities while the BBC, always willing to pick up the correct line, published an article about how much the situation in Aleppo is similar to what took place in Srebrenica. Of course, there is one way in which the events in Aleppo and Srebrenica are similar: in both cases the US-backed Takfiris lost and were defeated by government forces and in both cases the West unleashed a vicious propaganda war to try to turn the military defeat of its proxies into a political victory for itself. In any case, the last-ditch propaganda effort failed and preventing the inevitable and Aleppo was completely liberated.

The Empire did score one success: using the fact that most of the foreign forces allied to the Syrians (Hezbollah, Iranian Pasdaran, Russian Spetsnaz, etc.) were concentrated around Aleppo, the US-backed Takfiris succeeded in breaking the will of the Syrians, many of whom apparently fled in panic, and first surrounded and then eventually reoccupied Palmyra. This will be short lived success as I completely agree with my friend Alexander Mercouris who says that Putin will soon liberate Palmyra once again, but until this happens the reoccupation of Palmyra is rather embarrassing for the Syrians, Iranians and Russians.

It seems exceedingly unlikely to me that the Daesh movement towards Palmyra was undetected by the various Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies (at least once source reports that Russian satellites did detect it) and I therefore conclude that a deliberate decision was made to temporarily sacrifice Palmyra in order to finally liberate Aleppo. Was that the correct call?

Definitely yes. Contrary to the western propaganda, Aleppo, not Raqqa, has always been the real “capital” of the US backed terrorists. Raqqa is a relatively small town: 220,000+ inhabitants versus 2,000,000+ for Aleppo, making Aleppo about ten times larger than Raqqa. As for tiny Palmyra, its population is 30,000+. So the choice between scrambling to plug the holes in the Syrian defenses around Palmyra and liberating Aleppo was a no-brainer. Now that Aleppo has been liberated, the city has to be secured and major engineering efforts need to be made in order to prepare it for an always possible Takfiri counter-attack. But it is one thing to re-take a small desert town and quite another one to re-take a major urban center. I personally very much doubt that Daesh & Co. will ever be in control of Aleppo again. Some Neocons appear to be so enraged by this defeat that they are now accusing Trump of “backing Iran” (I wish he did!).

The tiny Palmyra was given a double-function by the Neocon propaganda effort: to eclipse the “Russian” (it was not solely “Russian” at all, but never mind that) victory in Aleppo and to obfuscate the “US” (it was not solely “US” at all, but never mind that) defeat in Mosul. A hard task for the tiny desert city for sure and it is no wonder that this desperate attempt also failed: the US lead coalition in Mosul still looks just about as weak as the Russian lead coalition looks strong in Aleppo.

Any comparison between these two battles is simply embarrassing for the USA: not only did the US-backed forces fail to liberate Mosul from Daesh & Co. but they have not even full encircled the city or even managed to penetrate beyond its furthest suburbs. There is very little information coming out of Mosul, but after three months of combat the entire operation to liberate Mosul seems to be an abject failure, at least for the time being. I sincerely hope that once Trump takes office he will finally agree to work not only with Russia, but also with Iran, to finally get Daesh out of Mosul. But if Trump delivers on his promise to AIPAC and the rest of the Israel Lobby gang to continue to antagonize and threaten Iran, the US can basically forget any hopes of defeating Daesh in Iraq.

Our of despair and spite, the US propaganda vilified Russia for the killing of civilians in Aleppo while strenuously avoiding any mention of civilian victims in Mosul. But then, the same propaganda machine which made fun of the color of the smoke coming out of the engines of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov (suggesting that she was about to break down) had to eat humble pie when it was the US navy’s most expensive and newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt, which broke down in the Panama canal and had to be immobilzed, while the Kuznetsov continued to do a very good job supporting Russian operations in Syria.

Over and over again, the AngloZionist propaganda machine has failed to obfuscate the embarrassing facts on the ground and it now clearly appears that the entire US policy for the Middle-East is in total disarray and that the Neocons are as clueless as they are desperate.

The countdown to January 20th

It is pretty obvious that the Neocon reign is coming to an end in a climax of incompetence, hysterical finger-pointing, futile attempts at preventing the inevitable and a desperate scramble to conceal the magnitude of the abject failure which Neocon-inspired policies have resulted in. Obama will go down in history as the worst and most incompetent President in US history. As for Hillary, she will be remembered as both the worst US Secretary of State the US and the most inept Presidential candidate ever.

In light of the fact that the Neocons always failed at everything they attempted, I am inclined to believe that they will probably also fail at preventing Donald Trump from being sworn in. But until January 20th, 2017 I will be holding my breath in fear of what else these truly demented people could come up with.

As for Trump, I still can’t figure him out. On one hand he nominates Rex Tillerson in what appears to be a deliberate message of defiance against the Neocons, while on the other hand he continues to try to appease the Israel Lobby gang by choosing a rabid Zionist of the worst kind, David M. Friedman, as the next US ambassador to Israel. Even worse then that, Donald Trump still does not appear to be willing to recognize the undeniable fact that the US will never defeat Daesh as long as the anti-Iranian stance of the Neocons is not replaced by a real willingness to engage Iran and accept it as a partner and ally.

Right now the Trump rhetoric simply makes no sense: he wants to befriend Russia while antagonizing China and he wants to defeat Daesh while threatening Iran again. This is lunacy. Still, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but somebody sure needs to educate him on the geopolitical realities out there before he also end up making a total disaster of US foreign policy.

And yet, I still have a small hope.

My hope is that the latest antics of the Neocons will sufficiently aggravate and even enrage Trump to a point where he will give up on his futile attempts at appeasing them. Only by engaging in a systematic policy of “de-neoconization” of the US political establishment will Trump have any hopes of “making America great again”. If Trump’s plan is to appease the Neocons long enough from him to be sworn in and have his men approved by Congress – fine. Then he still has a chance of saving the USA from a catastrophic collapse, but only as long as he remains determined to ruthlessly crack down on the Neocons once in power. If his hope is to distract the Neocons by appeasing them on secondary or minor issues, then his efforts are doomed and he will go down the very same road as Obama who, at least superficially, initially appeared to be a non-Neocon candidate and who ended up being a total Neocon puppet (in 2008 the Neocons had placed their bets on McCain and they only infiltrated the Obama Administration once McCain was defeated).

One way or another, we are headed for a crisis, the only open question whether the USA will come out of this crisis liberated or doomed.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Neocons, Russia, Syria 

Very interesting news today: according to the journal Izvestia, Russia will be sending operators from the so-called “Chechen” special forces battalions “West” and “East” to Syria to “guard the Russian installations” in Khmeimim and Tartus. According to Russian sources, these two battalions have been converted into a “military police” force which will be fully deployed by the end of December.

This news leaves many fascinating questions unanswered.

First, even though the Russian sources make it sound like we are talking about two full battalions, I suspect that this is not the case and that a few companies will be formed from elements drawn from these battalions. Why? Because these battalions are part the backbone of the Russian security system in the Caucasus and that to use such elite forces just to guard 2 military installations makes no sense.

Second, this does beg the question of what these “Chechens” (actually a misnomer – see below) will really be doing Syria. The only circumstance in which it would make sense to send them to protect the Russian bases in Kheimim and Tartus would be if a massive attack was expected against these installations and no other reinforcements were available, which is clearly not the case.

Third, these two battalions are mostly, but not exclusively, composed of Sunni Muslim operators. That yields obvious advantages. Furthermore, these battalions have had a history of successfully defeating the Wahabi insurgency in Chechnia. This might be crucially important because Wahabi Chechens also compose some of the best forces available to the Daesh/ISIS/US command in Syria.

So what is really happening here?

First, it should be stressed that these two battalions are really quite unique units. While formally they are just part of the larger Russian special forces community, they have a unique history and unique reputation. Traditionally, Russia has always relied on elite Muslim shock forces, and most of those have been Chechen. This was true before the 1917 Revolution as it was true after. For example, the so-called “Muslim battalion” played a key role in the invasion of Afghanistan. And 2008, the Chechen battalions “West” and “East” played a key role in the Russian counter-offensive against the Georgian forces. To make a long story short: not only are these battalions known for their amazing courage and skills, their appearance often sends the opposing forces into a panic.

Second, Ramzan Kadyrov has been pouring huge resources, with the full support of Putin, of course, into the creation of a unique special forces training facility in Chechnia where special operators from all over Russia are coming to learn, teach and share their experience. As a result, the so-called “Chechen” units are, in reality, a mix of special operators from all over Russia who have been specially trained to deal with Daesh-like insurgencies.

This means that regardless of the actual size of the force sent to Syria, to use it to protect installations is total overkill and nobody in Russia really believes that all these lads will be doing is manning check-points. Their true mission will be something very different.

Some Russian analysts have been speculating that their real function will be to clear Aleppo from the remaining al-Nusra/Daesh/ISIS forces. Maybe, but I doubt it. I find it much more likely that these men will be sent in to train Syrian special forces in advanced counter-insurgency intelligence operations. For one thing, the Russians have admitted that they have Chechen intelligence agents infiltrated into Daesh. It would only make sense for the Russians to share their experience with their Syrian counterparts. The key reason here is that rather than fighting the war for the Syrians, the Russians need to enable the Syrians to fight their own war.

Alas, the actual record of the Syrian security forces has been, according to Russian sources, checkered at best and the Russians are, reportedly, unimpressed. While the Syrians do have some elite combat units, they do not have high quality intelligence operatives. What is needed in this case is not just a good soldier (say, like a Russian paratrooper or a US Ranger), but a fully trained combatant and a fully trained intelligence officer, something similar to the CIA’s Special Activities Division or the Russian “Vympel” force. The kind of training needed to prepare for such a function is much more complex, costly and time-consuming than what it takes to train a good paratrooper or Ranger. My guess is that while the “Chechens” will, when needed, provide immediate support for the Syrians, they will also have a long-term role in organizing an effective counter-terrorist/counter-insurgency force.

Of course, I might be wrong. If I am, then the other reason why these two battalions have been sent to Syria is to directly participate in combat operations against the Takfiris. We know that Putin sent some secret letter to Iranian President Rouhani. Could it be to coordinate a surge in Russian and Iranian operations in Syria? If so, then sending in the “Chechen” special forces would make sense, especially to keep the Turks at bay if and when needed.

Whatever may be the case, the decision to send in the “Chechens” is clearly a major development and a sign that something important is being prepared.

P.S. Ramzan Kadyrov has issued a denial saying that there are no battalions “West” and “East” in Chechnia that is TECHNICALLY true since these two battalions have now been included in the 8th mountain and 18th motor-rifle brigades. It is also true that the original commanders of these forces have been replaced, but the operators still exist and Kadyrov has admitted that they were already in Syria.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Chechens, Russia, Syria 

Let me begin by immediately say that I have the utmost respect for F. William Engdahl and that I consider him a person far more knowledgeable of US politics than myself. Furthermore, I want to also make it clear that I am not going to refute a single argument Engdahl makes in support of his thesis simply because I believe that his arguments are fact-based and logical. I strongly urge everybody to read Engdahl’s article “The Dangerous Deception Called The Trump Presidency” in the New Eastern Outlook and carefully consider each of his arguments. Of course, Engdahl only offers indirect, circumstantial evidence and only time will really show whether he is right or wrong. What I propose to do today is to consider the other possibility, that in spite of all the evidence presented by Engdahl, Trump might not be a fraud and a showman. You will see that this conclusion is not necessarily more optimistic than Engdahl’s.

My main argument is much more primitive than Engdahl’s and even more circumstantial: I see clear signs of a real struggle taking place inside the US elites and if, indeed, such a struggle is taking place, then I conclude that Trump is not a showman who has been “selected” (to use Engdahl’s words) by the US elites but that quite to the contrary, his election is a nightmare for these elites.

My subsidiary argument is that even if Engdahl is right and if Trump is a showman, the ploy of the US elites to save the Empire and prepare for war will fail.

Let’s take them one by one:

The reality of the struggle inside the US elites

Frankly, I don’t believe that the imperial “deep state” was so devious and sophisticated to order the mainstream media to organize a year-long hate campaign against Trump because the “deep state” has calculated that only such a demonization of Trump would make him popular and get him elected. Why? I just don’t believe that the US propaganda machine is that flexible. You look at freaks like Rachel Maddows or Martha Raddatz and you can tell that they are for real, in the sense that they were never hired to parrot a specific political line but they were hired because they are the living embodiment of a specific political line. And that goes for 90% of the Trump-bashing media. Yeah, maybe some are cynical presstitutes, but most of them come from what I would call the “tribe of assorted minorities” which viscerally hates everything Trump stands for. Their hate is sincere, it is pure, it comes from their very identity.

Likewise, when I look at the fawning in lockstep before Hillary which the mainstream media carefully nurtured I can only conclude that this is the logical outcome of decades of brainwashing by the liberal propaganda machine. This machine was built around hating the “common” American, the “deplorables” in Hillary’s parlance, and this machine could not do anything but to worship her 24/7.

I am therefore convinced that Donald Trump got elected in spite of, and not thanks to, the “Patriarchy of loveless old men like David Rockefeller or George Herbert Walker Bush“. Furthermore, when I see the desperate efforts by Soros & Co to organize some kind of “color revolution” against Trump under the slogan “not my president” and the efforts by, again, Soros & Co. to get Jill Stein to get a recount only in the states were Trump won, I come to the clear conclusion that the Neocons have still not accepted their defeat and that they are still trying to prevent Trump from occupying the White House. In contrast, Engdahl writes that,

We should not imagine for one second that the Patriarchy– those loveless old men like David Rockefeller or George Herbert Walker Bush or unnamed others– were so overwhelmed by the political genius of candidate Trump emerging from every scandal more powerful than before, that they were surprised, out-foxed, and just groaned and let it happen. The Trump Presidency has been planned in minute detail by them and their think tanks

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t get the feeling that what is taking place today is the result of something carefully planned. I fully agree that the US deep state did not just “groan and let hit happen“. But rather than letting it happen, I see the US deep state fighting against Trump with everything it has! I don’t think that the post-election anti-Trump hysteria has been planned by the likes of Rockefeller or Bush at all. What I see are the Neocons using every bit of “ammunition” they have to try to oppose and sabotage a Trump presidency.

Engdahl also brings some very strong arguments against the nomination of General Mike Flynn who not only is known for his rather crude anti-Islamic rhetoric, but who even co-authored a book with the notorious Neocon Michael Ledeen. That a man like Flynn could find no better co-author than Ledeen should set off “red alert” alarms in the minds of everybody who understands what Ledeen stands for and represents. And Flynn is most definitely one of the better people around Trump.

In fact, a closer look at the folks around Trump reveals a lot of Neocons, Israelis and Judaics and all in key positions. There is a definite Likudnik smell to a lot of the people Trump has surrounded himself with. But that argument could also be reversed – if indeed Trump is “securely surrounded” by doubleplusgoodthinking Zionists, why their big panic? Could it be that these doubleplusgoodthinking Zionists have some very strong concerns about what Trump might do as a President once he is in full control?

Last but most definitely not least: not only has Jill Stein been used to trigger a recount in some states, but there are now rumors that some Electors are now being pressured not to give their vote to Trump, as the law says they should. Whether true or not, this kind of rumors clearly indicate that the Neocons are willing to do anything and everything to prevent Trump from getting into the White House or, if that is impossible, to maximally weaken him even if that puts the entire country at risk.

Why do I say that?

Because events have a way of getting out of control which makes the kind of reckless doubling-down the Neocons are currently engaged in extremely dangerous. Of course, nobody currently expects the Electoral College to refuse to nominate Trump. But the unexpected seems to be happening a lot these days. So what if something like that happens? Or what if some states accept Trump’s victory, but others don’t? What if the “not my President” slogan really goes viral and infects the minds of many more people than right now? Or even worse, what if this absolutely irresponsible rhetoric ends up in violence with either protesters or Trump himself being shot? We know that the very same US deep state which organized and executed 9/11 also used snipers in Vilnius in 1991, in Moscow in 1993 and in Kiev in 2014 to bring about an insurrection. There are also report that such snipers were used in Libya, Egypt and Syria. Is there any logical reason to think that this time around the deep state would not use such snipers inside the USA?

While it is possible that the current situation has been triggered by the US deep state, it is equally possible that the US deep state is losing control of the situation which might now be developing a momentum of its own. Would the US deep state really take such a risk just in order to put “Trump the showman” into the White House?

The plan

According to Engdahl, Donald Trump was put into office to,

prepare America for war, a war the banks of Wall Street and the US military industrial complex are not presently in a position economically or industrially or otherwise, geopolitically, to win. His job will be to reposition the United States for them to reverse the trend to disintegration of American global hegemony, to, as the Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz Project for the New American Century put it in their September, 2000 report, “rebuild America’s defenses.” To do that preparation, a deception strategy that will fatally weaken the developing deep bonds between Russia and China will be priority. It’s already begun. We have a friendly phone call from The Donald to Vladimir the Fearsome in Moscow. Russian media is euphoric about a new era in US-Russia relations after Obama. Then suddenly we hear the war-mongering NATO head, Stoltenberg, suddenly purr soothing words to Russia. Float the idea that California Congressman and Putin acquaintance, Dana Rohrabacher, is leaked as a possible Secretary of State. It’s classic Kissinger Balance of Power geopolitics–seem to ally with the weaker of two mortal enemies, Russia, to isolate the stronger, China. Presumably Vladimir Putin is not so naïve or stupid as to fall for it, but that is the plot of Trump’s handlers.

If that indeed the plan, then I fully agree with Engdahl – Putin is not so naive or stupid to fall for it. In fact, such a possibility has been discussed many times by Russian experts on various Russian talkshows and they all agree that while Russia will definitely tone down its criticism of the USA if Trump appears to be interested in collaborating with Russia, there is no chance in hell that Moscow would in any way let the Americans weaken or otherwise affect the unofficial but extremely strong strategic partnership between Russia and China. Besides, the USA have nothing very interesting to offer the Russians anyway. Why would the Russians spend any capital on a clearly dying Empire when they have an extremely beneficial alliance with a growing superpower? Does anybody in Washington DC really think that two decades of rabid russophobia have suddenly been forgotten or that anybody in Russia will ever trust a word coming out of an American politician’s mouth? For the past two years Russia has been scrambling to prepare for war against the USA and NATO. Now that the danger of President Hillary has almost certainly passed, yes – the Russians are delighted that a thermonuclear war has become unlikely. But they will never forget how close it came and they will most definitely not stop their preparations. At most, they will somewhat slow down some programs, but that’s it. Fundamentally Russia will continue her rapid pace of military development which, considering the situation in the Ukraine and in the Middle-East, is a sound decision regardless of what the Americans do or say.

I think I can very accurately predict what Russia will do during the next four years: Putin will meet with Trump and try to work out with him as many of the outstanding issues between the USA and Russia as possible (that is, assuming the Neocons around Trump don’t torpedo it all before it even starts!). If Trump wants a reasonable solution for Syria and the Ukraine, he will get it from the Russians. If Trump is serious about forcing the CIA & Co. to stop using al-Qaeda & Co., that is to say if Trump is serious about smashing Daesh, the Russians will help him too. And if Trump wants the Russians to help secure a deal for Israel and Palestine, or help mediate some deal with the DPRK – the Russians will oblige again. But what will not stop is the massive re-armament of the Russian armed forces and the Russian efforts to politically decouple the EU from the USA. These are strategic goals of Russia which will not be affected by the USA. Furthermore, even if during the next four years the USA spends X billion dollars on “defense”, Russia will spend far less but get much more than the USA. Why? Because the entire US military-industrial complex is corrupt to the bone and the US armed forces in an advanced state of decay.

Contrary to what some Russian (and non-Russian) hurray-patriots think, Russia is still much weaker than the USA, but she is catching up at a rate which the USA is simply not able to match, Trump or not Trump, so the power ratio of the USA to Russia in four years will be even more favorable to Russia than it is now. If the Neocons really think that they can somehow reverse or even significantly affect this trend they are wrong. The USA are going down and Russia is going up, and nothing can stop this process.

The strongest argument in favor of Engdahl’s thesis is this: while the Neocons have always been clever and very driven, they are not very bright and they can only see as far as the immediate short term. Furthermore, their truly infinite arrogance always brings them to the same solution when presented with a crisis: double down. And if that don’t work, double down again. And again. And again. This is why all their grand plans first kinda work, but then inevitably come crashing down, over and over again.

Right now, there is nothing more stupid and self-defeating the USA could do than to double down on all their failures, miscalculations and mistakes. The smart thing to do is what Trump promises to do: to change course, “drain the swamp” in DC and save the USA by giving up on the AngloZionist Empire. I hope that this is what the slogan “make America great again” means: make it great by dumping the Empire.

My gut-feeling is that Trump is at least partially sincere, how could we explain the current Neocon panic otherwise? They seem to know something which really is freaking them out. Might that be that Trump is serious about kicking their collective rear-end back down to the basement from which they crawled out?

This being said, please don’t conclude that I am any more optimistic than Engdahl. I am not. It’s just that my fear is different from his. He thinks that Trump is a fraud while I think that the Trump is unlikely to have the right combination of intelligence, willpower, courage, abnegation and patriotism to purge the USA from the Neocon rot. Simply put – I don’t think that Trump will be the “American Putin”. Furthermore, I think that the choice of Pence as VP is indicative a deeply misguided hope by Trump that he can appease the Neocons.

Finally, let’s try to make sense out of Trump’s absolutely bizarre and, frankly, irrational phobia of Iran. Is that not his attempt at throwing the Neocons a bone to chew on in the hope that they will let him be if he “gives” them Iran?

One thing is absolutely certain: if the Americans attack Iran, any rapprochement with Russia will immediately go down the tubes. There is no way Trump can get some kind of partnership with Russia while threatening Iran. Yet another contradiction in the putative Neocon plan.

God knows I hope that I am wrong. And, of course, I hope that Engdahl is wrong too. Miracles do happen and sometimes seemingly mediocre or hesitant individuals end up showing a strength and willpower which can change the course of history. But I think that Engdahl is asking the right questions and sounding the right warnings. While it is legitimate to hope for a miracle, one must never forget miracles happen very rarely and that it is far more likely that they will not happen.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Donald Trump, Russia 

Dmitry Rogozin is without a doubt one of the most interesting and successful Russian political figures. Check out his official biography for more details. I also found this moderately hostile but professionally written biographical sketch written for the US Army’s Foreign Military Studies Office (FMSO). Here I will just mention a few of his most high-responsibility positions:

  • 2002-2004: Special Presidential Representative for the Kaliningrad Region on the Expansion of the European Union.
  • 2008-2011: Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) in Brussels, Belgium.
  • February 2011 – 2012: Special Presidential Representative on Anti-Missile Defence and Negotiations with NATO Countries on This Issue.
  • December 23, 2011: Appointed Deputy Prime Minister.
  • March 21, 2012: Appointed Special Presidential Representative for Transdnestria.
  • May 21, 2012: Reappointed Deputy Prime Minister by a Presidential Executive Order.
  • From January 17, 2012: Heads the Government’s Military-Industrial Commission.

Notice that Rogozin has been appointed “Special Presidential Representative” three times and in all three cases, to solve a delicate and strategically important crisis. I would add that his position in NATO was also evidently, albeit not officially, a Presidential appointment. His other appointment is a governmental one – Deputy Prime Minister – also obtained by Presidential Executive Order. Finally, in his role as “Heads the Government’s Military-Industrial Commission” he is the de-facto “Minister for Armament and Space” of the Russian Federation.

In other words: Rogozin is a hugely influential person and a very, very close ally of President Putin. I would even argue that he is arguably one of the top Eurasian Sovereignists whose position on the re-sovereignization of Russia is quite a bit stronger than Putin’s.

Politically, Rogozin is what could be described as a “conservative patriot”. Interestingly, although he has strong ties to the Russian security services, he is also an outspoken anti-Communist, again probably even more so than Putin. All in all, I think that it would not be incorrect to summarize Rogozin’s worldview as “Putin on steroids”

Needless to say, Rogozin is absolutely hated in the West, especially in NATO. And with good reason, Rogozin, who holds a Doctorate in the Philosophy and Theory of Warfare, is extremely blunt and outspoken and he has never attempted to disguise his total contempt for the AngloZionist Empire and its infinite hypocrisy. Far from being diplomatic, Rogozin is known for some rather provocative actions and statements. For example, just before leaving the NATO HQ in Brussels he said he wanted to plant a poplar tree in the gardens of NATO, which sounds all very nice until you realize that the Russian road-mobile SS-25 ICMB is called a “Topol” which, in Russian, means “poplar”. When confronted, Rogozin admitted that he always wanted to stick a few “poplars” into the NATO HQ (for details about this story, see here). Yes, he actually said that: “Думаю, тополю в НАТО самое место” (meaning “NATO is the perfect location for a Topol”)! You can imagine the reaction in NATO…

Rogozin is also hated by the Russian liberal intelligentsia who see him as a dangerous nationalist, a xenophobe and a hardliner. That feeling is very mutual as Rogozin has nothing good to say about those he sees as the most despicable enemies of his country.

RogozinBook So an extremely powerful figure, an extremely successful politician, a polarizing and controversial figure, and a close ally and confidante of Vladimir Putin. To this I would add only: I believe that Dmitri Rogozin is the person who should succeed Vladimir Putin when he retires and I think that there is a good possibility that he might. Can you imagine somebody more interesting?

Well, in 2010 Rogozin wrote a book describing how modern Russia came about and the role he played in that amazing process. The book, published in Russian, was entitled “Ястребы мира. Дневник русского посла” and was an immediate success in Russia. It has now been translated in English under the title “The Hawks of Peace: Notes of the Russian Ambassador” and I would say that this one of the most interesting books written about modern Russia and an “absolutely must read” for anybody interested in understanding not only modern Russia, but the mindset and worldview of the group which I have described as “Eurasian Sovereignists”. In fact, this is the only book, at least so far, which provides this kind of insight.

The book as been published by Glagoslav Publications in the UK and is available from Amazon in different formats, including Kindle, paperback and hardback.

The book begins with a few sketches from Rogozin’s childhood (he was born in 1963) and covers his life until 2008. The book is built around thematic and chronological chapters, including the GKChP coup in 1991, the Eltsin coup in 1993, the wars in Chechnia, the NATO aggression against Serbia, the war in Georgia, the crises with NATO and much more. Each chapter includes most interesting personal testimony from Rogozin along with a commentary and an evaluation of what these events meant for Russia.

What you get in this relatively short book (350 pages) is a crash course in modern Russian history written from the “other side” and by that I don’t mean from the Russian side, I mean the Eurasian Sovereignist side, the side which is never ever represented in the western media. Frankly, we all owe a great debt of gratitude to Glagoslav publications for making this seminal text available in English.

Having read the original Russian text when the book first came out in Russia I can say that the translation is excellent. Even better is the fact that the translators took the time to add many footnotes explaining all the references which might be obvious to a Russian reader but rather cryptic to a western reader.

The western corporate media constantly presents us this or that relatively minor Russian personality as the behind the scenes “advisor” or “friend” of Putin when, in reality, Putin has no real connection to that person whatsoever. Putin and Rogozin are not known to be “pals”, in the sense that they don’t go fishing together on week-ends, but that is quite besides the point, because Putin and Rogozin fundamentally share the same wordview and the same idea of what kind of country Russia ought to be and because Putin and Rogozin are key allies. Time and time again, when things got really tough Putin sent Rogozin to fix the problem and, each time, Rogozin delivered. That makes him Putin’s trusted man.

Rogozin is a typical behind-the-scenes guy, and while he is well known and while he does from time to time appear on Russian TV, he is fundamentally a “doer” even more than a politician. Sure, he has strong political views and he has participated in several parties and movements, but with moderate success. Simply put he does not have the mindset of a career politician. Rogozin’s mindset is military through and through and his comfort zone is clearly when he acts as the political representative of a military mission. That makes him quite unique in Russia where, traditionally, the military have been rather weary of civilians. If by “civilian” a person like Serdyukov is meant – then this is understandable. But when the “civilian” is a person like Rogozin, then this is a totally different situation, not only because Rogozin has a Doctorate in the Philosophy of Warfare, and not only because he has a quite exotic sounding military rank of “Senior Lieutenant in the reserve forces for psychological warfare”, but because he is a pure product of the Russian military culture and history.

The Hawks of Peace: Notes of the Russian Ambassador” offers an amazing insight into the culture which, again, is never accurately presented in the West but which is gaining influence with each passing day in Russia. I strongly believe that this culture will play a central role in the future of Russia and that men like Rogozin will have extremely deep influence on the worldview of Russian decision-makers, especially in the armed forces. The book is well written and well translated and it makes for some easy but fascinating reading. One bit regret for me is that the book does not have an index (which, I believe, all non-fiction books should have).

Conclusion: get the book, give it to your friends for Christmas, and keep a close eye on Dimitry Rogozin’s future: he is an amazing personality who is currently sitting at the center of the core of power in Russia and whose career will, God willing, last for many more decades. He is exactly the kind of man Russia needs most, if you read the book you will know why.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Rogozin, Russia 
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