The Unz Review: An Alternative Media Selection
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
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Whatever the results of the EU-Russia summit this Thursday in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, there seems to be one clear winner: the Gazprom nation - Russia. With the United States - the European Union's No 1 trade partner and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) ally - mired in the Iraq quagmire and the... Read More
Whatever the West may have thought about it, Russian President Vladimir Putin has already spectacularly preempted this weekend's Group of Eight (G8) summit in St Petersburg with his own bit of Pipelineistan news. Putin announced in Shanghai on June 15 that "Gazprom is ready to support the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran to... Read More
DOHA and DAMASCUS - Four years after the fall of Baghdad - which for the neo-cons would signal the advent of the US as "the new OPEC" - a meeting in the tiny Gulf emirate of Qatar may be signaling the birth of a new cartel: a "gas OPEC", grouping countries controlling 73% of the... Read More
The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the... Read More
It was a discreet, almost hush-hush affair, but after almost three years of stalling and endless delays it finally happened. Now more than ever, it may also signal a geoeconomic earthquake, a potentially shattering blow to US dollar hegemony. The Iranian oil bourse - the first oil, gas and petrochemical exchange in the Islamic Republic,... Read More
While Washington, facing European Union discomfort and frank opposition from Russia and China, remains obsessed with another round of United Nations sanctions against Iran, the facts on the ground spell an overwhelming "expansion of mutual cooperation" in the energy sector between Iran and Russia. Iran holds the world's second-largest proven natural gas reserves, behind only... Read More
If United States President Barack Obama is really serious about "unclenched fists" in a new US-Iran relationship, he's got to take a serious, unbiased look at the US record. Former US secretary of state Cordell Hull's classic comment about Dominican Republic dictator Rafael Trujillo - "He's a son-of-a-bitch, but he's our son-of-a-bitch" - has been... Read More
For those who harbored any doubts, the Barack Obama administration's adoption of the George W Bush framework of the "war on terror" - it does feel like a back-to-the-future "continuity" - here are two key facts on the ground. Obama has officially started his much-touted Afghanistan surge, authorizing the deployment of 17,000 US troops (8,000... Read More
The President Barack Obama administration urgently needs to do a couple of things: learn to play chess; and watch the DVD of the Godfather saga, especially larger-than-life parts I and II. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev didn’t even have to be a good chess player to figure out he was not exactly being presented by Obama... Read More
HONG KONG - Things get curiouser and curiouser in the Iranian wonderland. Imagine what happened last week during Friday prayers in Tehran, personally conducted by former president Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, aka "The Shark", Iran's wealthiest man, who made his fortune partly because of Irangate - the 1980s' secret weapons contracts with Israel and the US.... Read More
Iran and the Pipelineistan Opera
Back before email, a world traveler who wanted to keep in touch and couldn't just pop into the nearest Internet café, might drop you a series of postcards from one exotic locale after another. Pepe Escobar, that edgy, peripatetic globe-trotting reporter for one of my favorite on-line publications, Asia Times, has been doing just that... Read More
BRUSSELS - Oil and natural gas prices may be relatively low right now, but don't be fooled. The new great game of the 21st century is always over energy and it's taking place on an immense chessboard called Eurasia. Its squares are defined by the networks of pipelines being laid across the oil heartlands of... Read More
For the (Western) news cycle, what stood out from United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's visit to Russia this week was an "appeal for cooperation" and a "challenge" for Russia to open up its political system, embrace "diversity" and shelve Cold War thinking. Who's fooling whom? One might be forgiven to picture a torrent... Read More
BEIJING - Red Detachment of Women sounds like a cheap exploitation Hollywood flick. In fact it's a 1964 ballet, one of the "Eight Model Operas" of the National Ballet of China (NBC) and a monster hit during the 1960s Cultural Revolution. Chairman Mao Zedong loved it. The plot is a howler; country girl is abused... Read More
They were two Chechen “Black Widows” with dark hair, Caucasus features, not older than 25. They were trained by al-Qaeda Arabs, led by Abu Hanifah, in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan, alongside a bunch of Chechens and Uzbeks who came from Turkey - all part of a long-range al-Qaeda plan to wreak permanent... Read More
The BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China) got together in the Brazilian capital, Brasilia, on Thursday with a bang. After meeting Chinese President Hu Jintao, and once again condemning an "asymmetric, dysfunctional globalization", Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva was at his ebullient best: "A new global economic geography has been born." Well,... Read More
Let's face it: Hillary Clinton is one hell of a dominatrix. At first the United States Secretary of State said the Brazil-Turkey mediation to get Iran to accept a nuclear fuel swap was destined to fail. Then the US State Department said it was the "last chance" for an agreement without sanctions. And finally, less... Read More
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was scheduled to meet Brazilian President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva this Thursday in Brasilia. As much as the Barack Obama administration has been moving mountains to undermine the Iranian nuclear fuel swap deal mediated by Brazil and Turkey, both leaders (and US allies) are far from dropping the... Read More
Hollywood executives and Washington policymakers are suckers for Russophobia. Considering the appalling level of political discourse in both these capitals of mass entertainment, certainly one cannot expect their "opinion leaders" to have read Professor Paul Kennedy's recent expose of European history packaged as a crash course to Americans about the inevitable downsizing of the US... Read More
The trillion-dollar question in the "Arab Winter" is who will blink first in the West's screenplay of slouching towards Tehran via Damascus. As they examine the regional chessboard and the formidable array of forces aligned against them, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and the military dictatorship of the mullahtariat in Tehran must face, simultaneously, superpower... Read More
Forget the past (Saddam, Osama, Gaddafi) and the present (Assad, Ahmadinejad). A bet can be made over a bottle of Petrus 1989 (the problem is waiting the next six years to collect); for the foreseeable future, Washington's top bogeyman - and also for its rogue North Atlantic Treaty Organization partners and assorted media shills -... Read More
Nabucco - the alleged gas Holy Grail from the Caspian Sea to Europe, 4,000 kilometers from Turkey to Austria - is the perennial Pipelineistan soap opera. Part of the gas to supply Nabucco may come from Azerbaijan. Another part might - a very problematic "might" - come from Turkmenistan. But every self-respecting energy analyst knows... Read More
Neoliberal Dragons, Eurasian Wet Dreams, and Robocop Fantasies
Last December, a super-secret RQ-170 Sentinel, part of a far-reaching program of CIA drone surveillance over Iran, went down (or was shot down, or computer-jacked and hacked down) and was recovered intact by the Iranian military. This week, an Iranian general proudly announced that his country’s experts had accessed the plane’s computer -- he offered... Read More
The (geopolitical) hills are alive with the sound of ... well, not music; rather that post-industrial noise, more Kraftwerk than Schubert, oozing from the recently completed 49th edition of the Munich Security Conference. Who wouldn't give a Goldman Sachs bonus to be briefed on what was whispered, very privately, by a selected cocktail of politicians,... Read More
Reports on the premature death of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have been greatly exaggerated. Western corporate media is flooded with such nonsense, perpetrated in this particular case by the head of Morgan Stanley Investment Management. Reality spells otherwise. The BRICS meet in Durban, South Africa, this Tuesday to, among other... Read More
So Bashar al-Assad has spoken - exclusively, to Argentine daily El Clarin (there's a huge Syrian diaspora in Argentina, as well as in neighboring Brazil). Cutting through the fog of Western hysteria, he made some valuable points. The record shows that, yes, the regime has agreed several times to talk to the opposition; but myriad... Read More
They looked like two dejected schoolboys in front of the headmaster by the end of the two-hour Putin-Obama summit at the sidelines of the Group of Eight meeting in Northern Ireland. But as astonishing as the sound of silence was the fact that, on Syria, the former KGB guy was trying to save the "leading... Read More
The fifth round of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue began this Thursday in Washington. This China-US "Brotherhood" does involve a lot of talk - with no perceptible action. US Think Tankland is trying to convey the impression that Beijing is now in a more fragile position relative to Washington compared with the post-financial crisis... Read More
The dogs of war bark and the emerging-powers caravan ... keeps on trucking. That's the Group of 20 meeting in St Petersburg in a nutshell. Count on the indispensable (bombing) nation - via US President Barack "Red Line" Obama - to disrupt a summit whose original agenda was to tackle the immense problems afflicting the... Read More
The frantic spin of the millisecond is that the White House is taking a "hard look" at the Russian proposal for Bashar al-Assad to place Syria's chemical weapons arsenal under UN control, thus defusing (or at least postponing) yet another US war in the Middle East. Oh, the joys of the geopolitical chessboard - Russia... Read More
Meet the new (cold) war, same as the old (cold) war. Same same, but different. One day, it's the myriad implications of Washington's "pivoting" to Asia - as in the containment of China. The next day, it's the perennial attempt to box Russia in. Never a dull moment in the New Great Game in Eurasia.... Read More
Let's cut to the chase - short and sweet. 1. The Obama administration's "strategic" gambit to subcontract the State Department's "Khaganate of Nulands" to extricate Ukraine from the Russian sphere of influence - and ultimately annex it to NATO - by instrumentalizing a coalition of willing neo-nazis and fascists with a central bank veneer (prime... Read More
"We are paying very close attention to the situation in Ukraine. We hope all parties can calmly maintain restraint to prevent the situation from further escalating and worsening. Political resolution and dialogue is the only way out." This, via Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Baodong, is Beijing's quite measured, official interpretation of what's happening in... Read More
Any (bureaucratic) doubts the New Cold War is on have been dispelled by the Group of Seven issuing a pompous, self-described Hague Declaration. Abandon all hope those who expected The Hague to become the seat of a tribunal judging the war crimes of the Cheney regime. The G-7 also cancelled its upcoming summer summit in... Read More
German Chancellor Angela Merkel could teach US President Barack Obama one or two things about how to establish a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. As if Obama would listen. He'd rather boost his constitutional law professor self, and pompously lecture an elite eurocrat audience in the glittering Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, like he... Read More
It's hardly a match between equals - as one is playing Monopoly while the other plays chess. It's as if Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has been postponing his checkmate, while US Secretary of State John Kerry increasingly realizes he's facing the inevitable. Lavrov has explained over and over again, a loose federation is the... Read More
By the time you read this Russia will have invaded Ukraine. Well, that's what the Supreme Allied Commander of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, US Air Force General Philip Breedlove, is spinning. Breedlove Supreme says the Russians are "ready to go" and could easily take over eastern Ukraine. Western corporate media have already dusted off... Read More
The US State Department, via spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki, said that reports of CIA Director John Brennan telling regime changers in Kiev to "conduct tactical operations" - or an "anti-terrorist" offensive - in eastern Ukraine are "completely false". This means Brennan did issue his marching orders. And by now the "anti-terrorist" campaign - with its nice... Read More
Poor NATO. Damned Soviets. The benign North Atlantic Treaty Organization has spent two decades "trying to build a partnership" with Russia. But now, "clearly the Russians have declared NATO as an adversary, so we have to begin to view Russia no longer as a partner but as more of an adversary", according to NATO deputy... Read More
Russia’s celebrations of the 69th anniversary of the defeat of fascism in World War II come just days after Ukrainian neo-fascists enacted an appalling Odessa massacre. For those who know their history, the graphic symbolism speaks for itself. And then a geopolitical chess gambit added outright puzzlement to the trademark hypocrisy displayed by the self-proclaimed... Read More
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Russia and China Do Pipelineistan
HONG KONG -- A specter is haunting Washington, an unnerving vision of a Sino-Russian alliance wedded to an expansive symbiosis of trade and commerce across much of the Eurasian land mass -- at the expense of the United States. And no wonder Washington is anxious. That alliance is already a done deal in a variety... Read More
“The intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Everyone remembers the Downing Street Memo, which unveiled the Bush/Blair “policy” in the run-up to the 2003 bombing/invasion/occupation of Iraq. The “policy” was to get rid of Saddam Hussein via a lightning war. The justification was “terrorism” and (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction (WMD), which... Read More
So Obama, Merkel, Cameron, Hollande and Italian Premier Matteo Renzi – let’s call them the Fab Five – get on a video conference call to muster their courage and “increase pressure” asking for a cease-fire in Gaza. Later in the day, Israel’s Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu delivers his answer, in plain language: he remains dead set... Read More
Whatever Russia does, doubt does not even enter the equation. The answer is sanctions. So here we go again. The US Treasury-EU latest sanction package targets Russian banking, the energy industry and the defense industry. The sanctions are mean. The sanctions are nasty. And there’s no euphemism to describe them; they amount to a declaration... Read More
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The Future of a Beijing-Moscow-Berlin Alliance
A specter haunts the fast-aging “New American Century”: the possibility of a future Beijing-Moscow-Berlin strategic trade and commercial alliance. Let’s call it the BMB. Its likelihood is being seriously discussed at the highest levels in Beijing and Moscow, and viewed with interest in Berlin, New Delhi, and Tehran. But don’t mention it inside Washington’s Beltway... Read More
These are bleak times. I’ve been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors – those who know but don’t need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me: That may sound somewhat extreme – but it’s a perfectly... Read More
Are the United States, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and Russia on a mad spiral leading to yet another war in Europe? Is it inevitable? Far from it. The US-propelled vassal currently starring in the oligarch dance in Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, last week advanced the proposition that Ukrainians in the near future, after his “reforms”,... Read More
So the EU “defeated” Putin by forcing him to cancel the South Stream pipeline. Thus ruled Western corporate media. Nonsense. Facts on the ground spell otherwise. This “Pipelineistan” gambit will continue to send massive geopolitical shockwaves all across Eurasia for quite some time. In a nutshell, a few years ago Russia devised Nord Stream –... Read More
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As Washington “Pivots” to Asia, China Does the Eurasian Pirouette
November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December... Read More
Even facing what under any circumstances is a perfect storm; President Putin delivered an extremely measured performance at his annual press conference and Q&A marathon. The perfect storm evolves in two fronts; an overt economic war – as in siege by sanctions – and a concerted, covert, shadow attack to the heart of the Russian... Read More
PastClassics
The unspoken statistical reality of urban crime over the last quarter century.
Our Reigning Political Puppets, Dancing to Invisible Strings