Category Archives: Belarus

The Last Stalinist of the Soviet Union

President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko. Image

In 2005 Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko was dubbed “the last dictator in Europe” by President George W. Bush’s Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. The name has stuck in the West. The U.S. foreign policy establishments pretend that “dictator” is a dirty word to them. They actually only use it for propaganda purposes.

The U.S. has a long history of cozying up to and backing dictators. The U.S. backed the fascist dictator Francisco Franco from the 1936 Spanish Civil War until 1973. Prominent U.S. politicians and corporations helped Hitler rise to power in 1934 and rebuild Germany’s military. The U.S. supported the corrupt Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines from 1965 until 1986; Suharto (who presided over one of the greatest bloodbaths in the postwar period) in Indonesia from 1968 until 1998; Hosni Mubarak in Egypt from 1981 until 2011; and the U.S. continues to support dozens of right-wing and fascistic criminal dictators and archaic evil monarchies today, such as Saudi Arabia.

US presidents from Franklin Delano Roosevelt to Richard Nixon said about Nicaragua’s fascistic dictator Anastasio Somoza, “he is a son of a b*tch, but he is our son of a b*tch”. The only problem that the US has with Belarus’s Lukashenko is that he is not the U.S.’s S.O.B.

Lukashenko is a tough Stalinist. A better nom de plume for Lukashenko would be The Last Stalinist of the Soviet Union. Even his secret service is still called the KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti). Most Belarusians support him, as was shown by the majority vote he received in the August 9, 2020 elections. He clearly won the election. Stephen Lendman and many others in the alternative media have written about it. His opponent Svetlana Tikhanouskaya is no Joan of Arc as portrayed by Western propaganda. Just like Juan Guaidó is not the president of Venezuela.

Belorussia was the smallest republic of the former Soviet Union, with less than 10 million people. Translated, Belorussia means “White Russia”. That is not the same as the White Russians who opposed the 1917 “Red” Bolshevik revolution.

Those anti-revolutionary White Russians of 1917 were mostly Cossacks who enjoyed a very privileged position in Tsarist Russia. Cossacks were borderland defenders of Russia in Ukraine and the Caucasus Mountains. The Tsars gave them titles as dukes and duchesses, and gave them their own land. Few Americans know the history of the U.S. invasion of Russia from 1918 to 1925 on the side of the White Russians. Almost every Russian does though.

Belorussia took its “whiteness” from its historical narrative of not having been successfully invaded by the Mongol Empire in the 13th century, unlike Russia and Ukraine. Belorussia was protected on the east by dense swampy forests. A misstep by would-be invaders found themselves sinking in the swampy quicksand. Belorussian defenders knew the swampy forests like the palm of their hands. The Germans learned that the hard way from Belorussian partisans who raised havoc from behind the Nazi lines during World War 2. After the breakup of the Soviet Union, Belorussia became an independent country, and officially changed its name to the Republic of Belarus.

Lukashenko was first elected president of Belarus in 1994, before Putin was elected the president of Russia in 1999. Belarus is a small country, which is poor in natural resources. Lukashenko has been a thorn in Putin’s side for years, because of his constant nagging for ever more subsidies and lower prices for natural gas from Russia. What Belarus lacks in natural resources it makes up for in agriculture, beef, manufacturing and technology. Belarusians enjoy socialist healthcare, education and modern infrastructure. Russia is its main trading partner, and Germany is its second largest.

Putin complains that Lukashenko has had his butt in two chairs for decades. Lukashenko has half his butt in Europe. He uses Belarus’s strategic location for NATO as a bargaining chip to squeeze Putin for subsidies and other concessions. The U.S. has become tired of playing footsie with Lukashenko. The U.S. wants Belarus as another puppet vassal to encircle Russia, just as the U.S. has done with the former Yugoslavia, Poland, the Baltics, Ukraine, Georgia, and elsewhere. The U.S. has ham-handedly overplayed its hand with Lukashenko by using the 2020 election to try to stir up a color revolutions.

Belarus’s border with Russia is only a few hundred miles from Moscow. The American people have no national interests in Belarus, but for Russia it could be a NATO dagger pointing at its heart. For that reason, Putin has let Lukashenko swing for the last month in order to teach him a lesson that playing footsie with NATO could end up with him hanging from a street lamp, with a U.S. noose around his neck. Putin has played his hand well, and now he has Lukashenko’s full attention and loyalty.

Lukashenko met with Putin in Sochi, Russia on September 14 in a long-planned meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union, as well as a meeting of the states of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Lukashenko can no longer twist Putin’s wrist for more subsidies.

Putin looked in control in the meeting at Sochi. He announced his concessions to Lukashenko. Lukashenko tried to look strong as he ate humble pie from his “big brother”. On Belarus’s homepage Lukashenko is quoted as telling Putin:

The economy is the basis for everything. Trust me, we have always pursued this course. Some recent events have shown that we should stay closer to our elder brother and cooperate in all fields, including in economy.

In the video below Lukashenko listens respectfully to Putin’s concessions without interrupting. He even pretends to take a few notes:

Notice the difference in the demeanor of the two men from the heated exchange that took place less than two years ago. Lukashenko overplayed his hand as usual. He demanded more natural gas subsidies. He even referred to Russia as Belarus’s main rival, as well as its partner. He ended up apologizing.

As an American, I have been looking at Russia from the inside for over twenty years [see my 2020 interview with Jeff Brown on China Rising]. I will try to give some insights from my perspective.

Everyone should know that since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992, the U.S. has been encircling, expanding NATO, and chopping away at Russia’s borderlands. For example, President Bill Clinton’s illegal war against Yugoslavia. It was a U.S. war crime and a crime against humanity. You can read about it from the Guardian (2007), when the Guardian still had reliable journalistic standards.

The illegal U.S./NATO aggression against Yugoslavia was a replay of the 1980’s terrorist mujahideen in Afghanistan against the USSR. The purpose of the war against Yugoslavia was to break up one of the last socialist countries in Europe, allied with the former Soviet Union, and exploit it as capitalists wantonly do, and to carve out Kosovo—essentially an outlaw state—to host the largest U.S. military base in Europe, Camp Bondsteel.

Camp Bondsteel • (Image by Wikipedia)
The destruction of Yugoslavia was finalized earlier this month. Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić was seated like a school child at a tiny desk next to his “teacher” in Washington. President Donald Trump towered over him at his imperial desk in the Oval Office. Vučić was there to receive Serbia’s documents of defeat. Like a dunce Vučić signed it. It is apparent, as you can see from the video below, that Vučić did not even know the final terms of his surrender to the U.S.

Everyone should also know about the U.S. 2014 illegal coup in Ukraine. The U.S. was behind a European Union bait-and-switch offer to Ukraine for eventual membership in the EU. Ukraine was suffering under economic hardships, and the U.S. and EU put stars in the eyes of the Ukrainian people. The psy-op had the Ukrainian people dreaming of a future prosperity, being Europeanized and eventually becoming NATO members.

The terms that the EU ended up offering to Ukraine were so deceitful that no Ukrainian president, no matter how corrupt, could accept them. The result was the U.S.-choreographed, the “f*ck the E.U.”, Euromaidan color revolution. U.S. meddling has resulted in thousands of deaths, chaos, and the lives of ordinary Ukrainians has been the worse for it. The corruption has just changed hands to U.S. profiteers.

The eastern Ukrainian people wanted no part in the coup. The U.S. backed a fascist and corrupt coup government in Ukraine, which wanted to ethnically cleanse eastern Ukraine of its Russian ethnicity. It is another shameful episode in U.S. history, which Western propaganda frames as “Russian aggression”.

Russia, Ukraine and Belarus have a common history that goes back thousands of years. Many armies and empires have marched over their lands from the north, south, east and west. The narrative story of the Slavic people goes back before written history. Russia, Ukraine and Belarus each have their own narrative.

According to Ukraine, the Slavic people originated in Kyivan Rus with the capital in today’s Kiev, Ukraine. Belarus has its own rendition of history, with the Slavic people originating from the north and migrating south and east. According to Russia the Slavic people began thousands of years ago in the east and migrated west.

Ukraine, Belarus and Russia have had a sibling rivalry for centuries. Today, Russia is the unquestioned “big brother”, but not necessarily loved, often resented and even hated by its brothers. Still brothers they are. There is nothing the U.S. foreign policy neocons love more than a family feud, so that they can worm into the middle of it to divide, conquer and pillage the family jewels. It is the classic playbook of colonialism.

During the 16th and 17th century both Belarus and Ukraine were conquered by the Polish-Lithuanian empires, and that is what gives both western Ukraine and western Belarus its European heritages. In the 20th century, Western Europe and the U.S. are where they get their fascism from.

The 2020 U.S. attempt at a color revolution in Belarus has failed. Lukashenko is a strong leader, and a popular one. Russians of “all colors” admire a strong leader, and some Russians admit that they need one to maintain stability and security.

Lukashenko’s publicity stunt of confronting protesters marching on the presidential palace in Minsk with his AK-47 in his hands and dressed to the hilt in full combat gear played well to his audience in Belarus, and in Russia. Nor did Lukashenko close down Belarus for Covid-19, regardless of the tremendous international pressure to do so. Belarus, like Sweden, is probably the better for it.

In Sochi Lukashenko told Putin that he can hear the American tanks in Lithuania 10 miles from the Belarusian border:

Why do they have to do it? This is why we shouldn’t commit errors that happened during the Great Patriotic War when everyone was trying to calm things down— Soviet army units didn’t even manage to group up and resist the invaders, who promptly crossed Belarus and reached even Smolensk.

In WW2 it took the Hitler just 18 days to overrun Belarusia with the invasion of June 22, 1941. The Russians stopped them at Smolensk, just 250 miles from Moscow. Belarusian partisans continued attacking the Nazis from behind German lines.

The siege of Smolensk lasted until 1943, similar to the sieges of Leningrad and Stalingrad. The victory of the Soviet Union in WW2 cost Russia 20 million dead, Belarus 2 million dead, and Ukraine 7 million dead. All told, about 20% of their populations were killed. The suffering of those who lived through it and the destruction to the Soviet Union are incalculable. Most Americans have no idea of how deep the memory and pain is, or that it was the Soviet Union, not the U.S. that won World War Two.

Lukashenko is the Last Stalinist of the Soviet Union. He bent for “big brother” Putin in Sochi, but he is not going to become a vassal to the U.S. because of NATO tanks on his border. Nor will Lukashenko wilt because of U.S. backed color revolutionary “P*ssy-Rioters.”

The U.S.-backed color revolution has failed. Lukashenko will continue as the Last Stalinist in the Soviet Union, for now. He had best stay close to his “elder brother,” because Putin is going to be watching him even closer!

  • First published by OpEdNews.
  • The post The Last Stalinist of the Soviet Union first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    The Current Impasse in Belarus and the Peace Alternative 

    Back in the 1970s, the left and even many liberals were clear that Nixon’s dropping napalm on Vietnamese villages was an abomination. By the 1990s, some thought Bill Clinton’s bombing of Yugoslavia was, perhaps, humanitarian. Fast forward to the present, there is sentiment that the US has a global “responsibility to protect” the less enlightened lands in the name of “democracy.” Some on the liberal-left fail to recognize the fallacy of what Jean Bricmont exposes as “humanitarian imperialism – using human rights to sell war.”

    In response to a peace organization advocating no foreign intervention in the internal affairs of Belarus, a US commentator protested: “[T]here has been no US intervention in the country. There’s nothing wrong, intrinsically, with external support of democracy. Your support for someone who seems like a bloody dictator is dismaying.” So, several inevitable questions arise. What is a dictator? Has there been foreign intervention in Belarus? Who has the right to intervene? And does advocating non-intervention implicitly support a presumptive dictator?

    The Belarusian presidential election as a catalyst for regime change

    Opposition elements in Belarus had long planned to use the September 9 presidential election as a catalyst for regime change. Their main base is with upwardly mobile white-collar professionals. However, they would have not been able to rally the tens of thousands of demonstrators had there not been broad and genuine discontent with President Alexander Lukashenko.

    Elements of the opposition leadership in Belarus are partly financed by the European Union and the US and reflect those political interests. They have adopted the red and white flag, flown during the Nazi occupation. Their Resuscitation Reform Package, modeled after a nearly identical program for Ukraine, calls for the complete neoliberal privatization of the economy and an alignment with the NATO west.

    Exit polls, conducted by the opposition, were cited to claim gross electoral fraud with Lukashenko garnering only 3% of the vote. Other observers accepted that Lukashenko won a majority but not by the official count of 80%. Golos, a pro-opposition election monitoring organization using data collected by US-backed youth organizations, reported Lukashenko winning with 61.7%.

    BBC News laments that the election in Belarus had “no independent observers invited.” Yet there was an election observation delegation from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), which reported the August 9 election “was open and competitive and ensured that Belarus citizens could freely express their will.” But the CIS report did not have the kind conclusion or “independence” sought by the BBC, itself a quasi-governmental corporation of the British state and funded by a mandatory state levy.

    The voices of political tendencies and parties in Belarus and elsewhere in Europe that consider themselves socialist or communist, but are critical of their home governments, are excluded by western media. Even leftish outlets such as Democracy Now! follow the flag repeating the US/NATO regime change narrative, without providing alternative views. DN! laments the “massive crackdown on any kind of independent reporting” in Belarus, while serving as an information gatekeeper in the homeland of the empire.

    Objectively, no one authoritatively knows the real outcome of the vote.

    Convenient definitions of a dictator

    Being unelected or fraudulently elected is not the only definition of a dictator. The functional definition for the US government is a leader disloyal to the empire.

    Washington considers the democratically elected President of Venezuela Nicolás Maduro a dictator. While Juan Guaidó, who proclaimed himself president of Venezuela on a Caracas street corner and was immediately recognized by the US government, is considered a legitimate head of state.

    The monarch of Saudi Arabia is considered legitimate by Washington, even though the ruling House of Saud does not even bother to conduct sham elections. This is a country where women do not have basic rights, where slavery is practiced, and where those who run afoul with the law are routinely beheaded. But Saudi Arabia is the largest purchaser of US military equipment in the world, eclipsing the next contender by a factor of 2.6. So, the Saudi monarch is not on the official US list of dictators.

    Then there are the leaders chosen and installed by the US after coups, such as Ukraine in 2014. There, the US literally handpicked the post-coup leader for Ukraine from a rogue’s gallery of neo-Nazis.

    Intervention in Belarus by the West

    The US does not have boots on the ground in Belarus and, so far, has refrained from drone attacks on funerals or wedding parties. Despite this praiseworthy restraint by the world’s sole superpower, it would be wrong to assume that the US is not intervening in Belarus. A US hybrid warfare program has been in effect since at least 2004 when the US passed the Belarus Democracy Act creating anti-government NGOs in Belarus and prohibiting loans.

    Belarus is under unilateral US sanctions, illegal under international law, but justified by a presidential declaration, which bogusly claims a “national emergency” because Belarus “constitute[s] an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.”

    The USAID, the above-ground face of the CIA, states in Orwellian language the US regime change plans for Belarus:

    “[P]romote the emergence of a… market-oriented Belarus… USAID works… to stimulate the country’s transition to a market-based economy through programs that support… private business.”

    Such is the imperial mindset that the US brazenly takes upon itself to “transition” a supposedly sovereign state into a neoliberal dependency.

    The website of the quasi-governmental National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA cutout, lists some three dozen current projects in Belarus for what are euphemistically called strengthening “independent” online media, civil society, culture, and public discourse. NED’s years of hard work were on display in the media sophistication of the opposition in Belarus.

    The runner-up in the Belarus presidential election with 10% of the official vote, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, fled to Lithuania, where she met with US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun. Although self-described as apolitical with no prior political experience, she proclaimed herself ready to lead Belarus. Indeed the 37-year-old has all the qualifications for a puppet president, being photogenic and speaking English. On September 4, she addressed the UN Security Council calling for punishing sanctions on her own people.

    The European Union is playing an even more overt role in promoting regime change in Belarus and is planning to extend sanctions. The openly anti-Semitic government of Poland, with which Belarus shares a border, has an irredentist interest in “recovering” portions of the country which were once part of a Polish empire.

    The Russian legacy 

    Belarus was a Soviet republic, which did not become a sovereign country until 1990 after the breakup of the USSR. Belarus has strong historical and cultural affinities with its Russian neighbor to the east. Some 70% of Belarusians speak Russian at home. In 2000, Belarus and Russia established the Union State, a supranational confederation for economic integration and common defense.

    The US and the European Union yearn to use the color revolution in Belarus to complete the military occupation of Russia’s western border. Belarus is the last piece in that puzzle now that Latvia and Estonia are in the NATO camp and Ukraine is on its way.

    Russia’s involvement has largely been in reaction to this hostile military encirclement. Escalation of tensions only motivates Russia to be more defensive. The best antidote to Russian intrusion is détente rather than a new cold war. Besides, the government that the US peace movement can best influence is its own.

    The current impasse in Belarus

    The color revolution in Belarus is now stalled and the opposing forces appear to be stalemated. Without getting into a debate over Lukashenko, the salient question is how the working people of Belarus can best determine their destiny.

    The opposition claims Lukashenko’s 26-year rule of Belarus has degenerated with questionable elections, mismanagement, and corruption. But the cure could be worse than the disease, as in the case of Libya, especially if it is left up to the tender mercies of the US empire to dictate the new “democratic” leader and the form of government to follow.

    Belarus has enjoyed a low level of unemployment, public housing, almost no homelessness, and accessible and affordable healthcare and education. These social welfare factors compare favorably to the harsh neoliberal austerity and civil disintegration of its neighbors, now drawn into the NATO bloc. The critical issue is how can the Belarusians defend their gains in a contentious international milieu.

    Tony Kevin, the former Australian ambassador to Poland, sums up the current impasse:

    Belarus is at risk, because in the Lukashenko political twilight there is confusion and fear: the people have lost their ideological moorings, and there is no coherent national vision as was recovered in Russia under Vladimir Putin starting in 2000.  Belarusians hopefully are coming to see the danger they will be in if they depose Lukashenko without knowing what comes after.

    Regardless of what the security forces might do, Lukashenko could easily be deposed if the workers in the major industrial enterprises went on a wildcat strike. Some discontented workers have walked off their jobs, but a majority look to the cautionary examples of the turncoat Solidarity in Poland, the sellout Yeltsin in Russia, and the neo-Nazis in Ukraine.

    In those and other examples, state enterprises were sold off at bargain basement prices to new oligarchs and western financiers. Factory equipment was ransacked, work forces drastically downsized, and labor rights abrogated. Absent the specter of another US-backed coup like in Ukraine with its severe neoliberal austerity, Lukashenko would likely have been history.

    The peace alternative: no foreign intervention in Belarus

    The principle of non-intervention is enshrined in the UN Charter. There is no unilateral right to intervene into the internal affairs of another sovereign state. The greatest violator of this fundamental international law is the world’s sole superpower. The consequence, according to the late Uruguayan political analyst Eduardo Galeano has been: “Every time the US ‘saves’ a country, it converts it into either an insane asylum or a cemetery.”

    A non-interventionist stance should not be confused with an endorsement of Lukashenko. Opposing US/NATO interventionism is no more an endorsement of Lukashenko than opposing the invasion of Iraq was an endorsement of Saddam Hussein. Belarus needs more than the binary choice of Lukashenko and the failed Ukrainian option. To have that space requires no foreign intervention in Belarus.

    For those of us in the US, that means keeping our own government from fishing in troubled waters and letting the people of Belarus decide. They have the power and don’t need to be told what democracy looks like by those of us who will choose between Trump or Biden in November.

    The post The Current Impasse in Belarus and the Peace Alternative  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

    Belarus’s Options in the Midst of a Color Revolution

    A “color revolution” is a media term for a movement based on legitimate grievances only to be co-opted into a regime change operation backed by the US and confederates. There have been so many – Georgia in 2003, Ukraine in 2004, Kyrgyzstan in 2005 – that they have run out of colors. Belarus is amidst the “slipper” color revolution.

    The last Soviet republic

    Belarus, a former constituent republic of the USSR, declared its sovereignty in 1990 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Under its new and now contested President Alexander Lukashenko, first elected in 1994, Belarus rejected the western-imposed “economic shock therapy” that looted the public wealth of many of the other former Soviet republics.

    Earning the sobriquet of the “last Soviet republic,” Belarus retained state-run industry and agriculture, the social safety net, and the relative equality of the socialist period. Along with that came the enduring Cold War enmity of the US and its NATO epigones.

    In contrast, the newly “liberated” Russian Federation, with its US-installed leader Boris Yeltsin and its cabal of nouveau riche oligarchs, was plundered by western capital. (Note: The Slavs have “oligarchs,” while the US has “philanthropists” like Turner, Gates, and Soros.) Its standard of living, social services, and life expectancy went into freefall. Initially, Belarus was more prosperous than Russia, but as the Belarusian economy slowed in the early 2000s, the Russian economy surged with the ascendance of Vladimir Putin.

    The sprawling US embassy in Belarus occupies an area the size of a city block. Clearly, the Yanks do more than just issue visas. The US is preoccupied with regime change. In 2004, the US passed the Belarus Democracy Act overtly funding anti-government NGOs in Belarus and prohibiting loans.

    The tribulations of triangulation

    The official languages of Belarus are Belarusian and Russian. Some 80% of the population is ethnic Belarusian followed by Russian. In 2000, Belarus and Russia established the Union State, a supranational confederation for economic integration and common defense. Though the two sovereigns declared the goal of a single entity, efforts at implementation have variously been stalled by Lukashenko.

    Russia sells oil and natural gas to Belarus at discounted rates. Belarus permits Russia to have a missile defense system on its territory, which is considered a critical deterrent against a NATO nuclear first strike.

    Following the US-backed coup in neighboring Ukraine in 2014, Lukashenko took a more independent, nationalist tack, reflecting the predicament of Belarus as a buffer between Russia and an increasingly aggressive NATO. Lukashenko has tried to triangulate between Russia and the West. Muammar Gaddafi chose a similarly conciliatory path, which ended badly for him and his country.

    Internationally, Belarus has sided mainly with Russia in addition to upholding Palestinian rights, warm relations with Venezuela, and trade with Syria. From Washington’s perspective, these have been fatal moves for Lukashenko. But the primary motivator of US foreign policy – with Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia joining NATO in 2004 and post-coup Ukraine likely on the way – is to complete the military occupation of Russia’s western border. Hence “Europe’s last dictator” must go.

    Playing both carrot and stick, US Secretary of State Pompeo visited Belarus last February to conclude an oil deal to wean Belarus from dependence on Russian-sourced petrol. Then in April, the US and Belarus reestablished diplomatic relations.

    The National Endowment for Democracy (NED), the quasi-governmental US agency which does legally what the CIA does extra-legally, currently lists projects in Belarus euphemistically described as “developing civil society,” “fostering freedom of the media,” and “fostering youth activism.” They sound so good that one might wish for the NED to import some “pro-democracy measures” back to the homeland.

    Legitimate protest morphs in a reactionary direction

    In the run-up to the August 9 presidential election in Belarus, credible reports circulated of suppression of the opposition. Lukashenko won with a less than credible 80% of the vote. Still most observers not aligned with the regime-change project believe he carried a majority.

    The runner-up candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, received 10% of the vote. She absconded to Lithuania after the election, where she proclaimed herself the winner and ready to lead Belarus. The West now has their puppet president in exile.

    Mass protests, including a showing of industrial workers, erupted calling not only for “free and fair elections,” but for total system change. A national protest strike, centered in Minsk, is in the making.

    Angry young people wave the red and white flag that was flown during the Nazi occupation, as the opposition protest morphs into a force aligned with the West and against anything Russian. While the leadership of these protests is deeply anti-Russian, most of the protestors are not. But the winds of xenophobia are being fanned. An initially legitimate protest movement is being co-opted by foreign interests.

    Program for a complete reorientation of the Belarusian state and society

    The call for “democracy” raises the question of democracy for whom and under what kind of system. A coalition of opposition groups published a program of the Belarusian opposition. Among the sponsors of the program is the USAID, the cover agency for the CIA. A nearly identical document had been promulgated in 2014 after the Ukrainian coup.

    This published opposition program calls for a complete reorientation of the Belarusian state and society from east to west and the establishment of a neoliberal political economy.

    Politically, Belarus would withdraw from the Union State and all other structures where Russia is prominent and join the European Union and NATO. In conjunction with the privatization of state enterprises and the creation of a thorough market economy, purchase of Belarusian enterprises by Russia would be prohibited while being opened to western corporate interests.

    Russian media along with scientific and cultural exchanges would be suppressed. The official use of the Russian language would be banned in a nation where 70% speak Russian at home. Even the Belarusian Orthodox Church would replace the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church. The embers of reactionary nationalism would be fanned.

    The situation is volatile

    By just about all accounts, Lukashenko’s 26-year rule of Belarus degenerated with questionable elections, authoritarian practices, mismanagement, and corruption. Even if Lukashenko won the last election, he has lost much of his credibility with his people, certainly with the West, and even with his Russian ally.

    The US involvement in Belarus is not nearly as overt as it was in the Ukraine coup and, given the circumstances, may not need to be to achieve desired outcomes. Obama’s former deputy national security advisor, Ben Rhodes, tweeted on August 11: “Americans have to recognize that the fight against Lukashenko in Belarus is our fight.”

    Similarly, the UK, France, and Germany are fishing in these troubled waters along with Poland and the Baltic states. While Russia and China have recognized Lukashenko’s election, they have not more vigorously supported him publicly.

    Lukashenko may have thought through the consequences of his previous stance: “There will be no other elections, unless you kill me.” He appears to have reassessed his options and is triangulating back towards the Union State with Russia in hopes of weathering the protests and, perhaps, holding elections in the new state.

    The West is bent on Lukashenko’s ouster and Putin is at best lukewarm. Domestically the intelligentsia are alienated, workers discontented, and even his security services show signs of disloyalty. Lukashenko may try to save his skin and the quasi-socialist state he founded by a “phased leadership transition.”

    A small fish in a superpower sea

    Despite the complexity of contending interests, international law and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign states must be upheld. Belarus needs to have the freedom to resolve the crisis without outside interference.

    Based on the examples of Ukraine, Moldova, Romania, and Poland, Armin Fischer, a German observer, warns that a color revolution in Belarus could bring:

    “the liquidation of state enterprises, mass layoffs, collapse of collective farms, mass exodus from the countryside and the death of villages…disintegration of the social infrastructure of daycare centers, hospitals, old people’s homes and the consequences for life expectancy, alcoholism and neglect…. In return, you will certainly get new oligarchs.”

    “Free elections,” Fischer admonishes, would bring the “freedom” to be migrant workers competing for low-paying, undesirable jobs in Western Europe.

    The leaders of the eighteen Communist parties of the former Soviet republics recall the consequences of the dissolution of the USSR in their August 18th statement on Belarus:

    “In Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, and Tajikistan, a bloody conflagration of fratricidal interethnic war broke out. In the Baltic States, the neo-fascists who came to power staged a real apartheid – they divided the entire population of their ‘independent,’ ‘democratic’ States into ‘citizens’ and disenfranchised sub-humans, the so-called ‘non-citizens.’”

    Belarus under Lukashenko has its faults. Even so, a neoliberal coup would be worse for the people. The economic collapse of post-coup Ukraine, now the poorest country in Europe, serves as a cautionary example. Those who condemn the excesses of the present government need also consider the greater bloodbaths that followed rightist putsches in other former Soviet republics.

     George W. Bush’s declaration of “you’re either with us or with the terrorists” epitomizes the dilemma of Belarus in a world dominated by a hegemonic superpower. The playbook is familiar. Years of foreign subversion feeding on genuine domestic discontent erupts into an orchestrated regime change movement.

    Belarus shows that any small state with a mildly socialist system and independent foreign policy invites subversion by the Yankee hegemon and its collaborators. Even if Belarus had met the highest standards of democracy and efficiency, a western-backed color revolution might not have been avoided.

    Send in the Clowns for the Circus is in Town

    Don’t bother, they’re here, already performing in the center ring under the big top owned and operated by The Umbrella People.

    Trump, Biden, Pence, Harris, and their clownish sidekicks, Pompeo, Michelle Obama, et al., are performing daily under the umbrella’s shadowy protection. For The Umbrella People run a three-ring circus, and although their clowns pop out of separate tiny cars and, acting like enemies, squirt each other with water hoses to the audience’s delight, raucous laughter, and serious attentiveness, they are all part of the same show, working for the same bosses.  Sadly, many people think this circus is the real world and that the clowns are not allied pimps serving the interests of their masters, but are real enemies.

    The Umbrella People are the moguls who own the showtime studios – some call them the secret government, the deep-state, or the power elite. They run a protection racket, so I like to use a term that emphasizes their method of making sure the sunlight of truth never gets to those huddled under their umbrella. They produce and direct the daily circus that is the American Spectacle, the movie that is meant to entertain and distract the audience from the side show that continues outside the big top, the place where millions of vulnerable people are abused and killed.  And although the sideshow is the real main event, few pay attention since their eyes are fixed on the center ring were the spotlight directs their focus.

    The French writer Guy Debord called this The Society of the Spectacle.

    For many months now, all eyes have been directed to the Covid-19 propaganda show with Fauci and Gates, and their mainstream corporate media mouthpieces, striking thunderbolts in the storm to scare the unknowing audience into submission so the transformation of the Great Global Reset, led by the World Economic Forum and the International Monetary Fund, can proceed smoothly.

    Now hearts are aflutter with excitement to see the war-loving Joe Biden boldly coming forth like Lazarus from the grave to announce his choice of a masked vice-presidential running mate who will echo his pronouncements.

    And the star of the big top, the softly coiffured reality television emcee Trump, around whom the spectacle swirls, elicits outraged responses as he plays the part of the comical bad guy.

    Punch and Judy indeed.

    All the while the corporate mainstream media warn of grim viral milestones, election warnings, storms ahead!  The world as you know it is coming to an end, they remind us daily.

    The latter meme contains a hint of truth since not just the world as we know it may be coming to an end, but the world itself, including human life, as the clowns initiate a nuclear holocaust while everyone is being entertained.

    Meanwhile, as the circus rolls along, far away and out of mind, shit happens:

    With more than 400 military bases equipped with nuclear weapons surrounding China, the United States military continues its encirclement of China and China enters a “state of siege.

    The U.S. conducts military exercises with the Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group in the contested South China Sea. These U.S “maritime Air defense operation[s]” close to the Chinese mainland are a part of significantly increased U.S. military exercises in the area.

    The U.S. Defense Secretary Esper announces that the U.S. is withdrawing troops from Germany but moving them closer to the Russian border to serve as a more effective deterrent against Russia.

    Russia says it will regard any ballistic missile aimed at its territory as a nuclear attack and will respond in kind with nuclear weapons.

    Although the U.S. is formally not at war with any African country, a new report reveals that the United States has special forces operating in 22 African countries with 29 bases and 6,000 troops, with a huge drone hub in Niger that cost 100 + million to build and is expected to have operating costs of more than $280 billion by 2024.

    The U.S. continues its assault on Syria, aside from direct military operations, by building up Kurdish proxies in northeastern Syria to protect the oil fields that they are stealing from the Syrian government, a plan hatched long ago.  The U.S. says their strategy is to deny ISIS a valuable revenue stream.  The same ISIS they used to attack the Syrian government in a war of aggression.

    A new document exposes the U.S. plan to overthrow the socialist government of Nicaragua through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), a traditional U.S. regime change and CIA front organization.

    Meanwhile, in Belarus, a place most Americans can’t find on a map, there is another color “revolution” underway.

    Continuing its war against Iran and Venezuela by other means, the Trump administration seizes Iranian tankers carrying fuel to Venezuela.  “Something will happen with Venezuela.  That’s all I can tell you.  Something will be happening with Venezuela,” said Trump in a July interview with Noticias Telemundo.

    And, of course, the Palestinians are left to suffer and die as Israel is supported in its despotic policies in the Middle East.

    The list goes on and on as the U.S. under Trump continues to wage war by multiple means around the world. But his followers see him as peaceful president because these wars are waged through sanctions, special operations, drones, third parties, etc.

    But back in the center ring, the two presidential clown candidates keep the audience entertained, as they shoot water at each other. Trump, who now presides over all the events just listed, and Biden, who enthusiastically supported the American wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, etc.

    But then the followers of Obama/Biden also see their champions as peaceful leaders.  This is even more absurd.

    Don’t you like farce?

    Besides being a rabid advocate for the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as a senator, Biden, as Vice-President under Obama for eight years, seconded and promoted all of Obama’s wars that were wrapped in “humanitarian” propaganda to evade international law and keep his liberal supporters quiet. From Bush II, an outright cowboy war-wager who used America’s large military forces to invade Afghanistan and Iraq under false pretensions – i.e. lies, Obama and his sidekick Biden learned to arm and finance thousands of Islamic jihadists, run by the CIA and U.S. special forces, to do the job in more circumspect ways. They expanded and grew The United States Africa Command (U.S. AFRICOM) throughout Africa. They agreed to a $1 trillion upgrade of U.S nuclear weapons (that continues under Trump). They disarmed their followers, who, in any case, wished to look the other way. Out of sight and out of mind, Obama/Biden continued the “war on terror” with drones, private militias, color revolutions, etc. They waged war on six-seven – who knows how many – countries.

    An exception to the more secretive wars was the Obama administration’s openly savage assault on Libya in 2011 under the lies of an imperial moral legitimacy. In order to save you, we will destroy you, which is what they did to Libya, a country still in ruins and chaos.  Their equally blood-thirsty Secretary of State Hillary Clinton let the cat out of the bag when she laughed and gleefully applauded the brutal murder of Libya’s leader Moammar Gaddafi with the words: “We came, we saw, he died.” Yippee!

    After Libya was destroyed and so many killed in an illegal and immoral war financed with $2 billion dollars from the America treasury, Joseph Biden bragged that the U.S. didn’t lose a single life and such a war was a “prescription for how to deal with the world as we go forward.”

    Biden was Obama’s front man on Iraq, the war he voted for in 2003, and wrote an op ed article in 2006 calling for the breakup of the country into three parts, Shia, Sunni, and Kurdish.

    When Obama launched 48 cruise missiles and more than ten thousand tons of bombs on Syria in 2016, killing over a hundred civilians, a third of them children, V.P. Biden stood proud and strong in support of the action.

    When the U.S. launched the bloody coup in Ukraine in 2014, Biden was, of course, in agreement.

    But we are told that Trump and Biden are arch-enemies.  One of them wants war and the other wants peace.

    How many Americans will vote for these clowns this year?  They are really front men for The Umbrella People, the money people who use the CIA and other undercover forces to carry out their organized crime activities.

    As C.S Lewis said in his preface to The Screwtape Letters:

    The greatest evil is not now done in those sordid ‘dens of crime’ that Dickens loved to paint . . .. But it is conceived and ordered (moved, seconded, carried, and minuted) in clean, carpeted, warmed, and well-lighted offices, by quiet men with white collars and cut fingernails and smooth-shaven cheeks who do not need to raise their voice.

    In the 2016 presidential election, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump received 129 million votes out of 157 million registered American voters eager to believe that this system is not built on imperial war-making by both parties.

    Perhaps that’s a generous assessment. Maybe many of those voters believe in the U.S.A.’s “manifest destiny” to rule the world and wage war in God’s name.  I hope not.  But if so, you can expect a big turnout on November 3, 2020.

    In any case, it’s quite a circus, but these clowns aren’t funny.  They are dangerous.

    But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns
    Don’t bother they’re here

    Don’t you like farce?

    Belarus:  A Color Revolution of a Different Shade?

    Belarus is in turmoil, after an election where the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko – 25 years already in power (in office since 1994) – has won with 80% of the popular vote. That’s what the official stats and media say. True or false? Does it matter?  The margin is large enough that it cannot be contested or questioned by “recounters”. So, people take to the streets. First police reaction against protesters is violent.

    Washington reprimands Belarus – to calm the police violence – at the surface protecting the protesters. Overall western reaction towards the election is negative. Unilaterally they say “elections were unfair and rigged”. This may be true – or not. The west has been critical for years about Lukashenko’s human rights records. Isn’t it kind of ironic, every time the west has a criticism for which they don’t have a real foundation, they claim “human rights abuses”? That flies just about with everybody. Russia, China and all those associated with these two evil countries have horrible human rights records. Hardly a substance the west brings forward, or if it does, because pressed, they invent the “substance”. China is a case in point.

    Just on a sideline, did anybody ever question or even criticize western Human Rights records? Let’s just think of all the western initiated wars and ‘sanctions’ in the Middle East – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine via proxy Israel, Somalia; aggressions against Iran, Lebanon; depriving Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea of vital and essential medication, food – and spare parts that could keep their economy running – let alone the smearing and sanctions and aggressions on China and Russia. No one in the west dares say beep. The Anglo-American controlled media are silent. Where are the real human rights abusers, in giant proportions more severe than those in Russia, China and the rest of the world combined?  Food for thought.

    Let’s stay with Belarus. Belarus is also an ‘ally’ of Russia. Or let’s put it another way: Belarus is a buffer zone between Russia and NATO. So, Belarus’s alliance with Russia is important. It is also important for the west to break it. To get a step closer to the Kremlin’s doorstep.

    And that’s precisely what’s happening. The fact is that Pompeo went to visit Lukashenko at the beginning of 2020 shaking hands and smiling and pledging friendship and “democratic assistance”. Despite the Human Rights critique, most western sanctions have been lifted on Belarus, because Lukashenko has freed some political prisoners. Pompeo’s discourse is that Washington supports Belarus’s independence, while they are aware of Minsk’s close links to Russia.

    Pompeo said (a Reuters quote): “There’s a long history with Russia. It’s not about picking us between the two. We want to be here.” How wise. The “picking” will be done by Washington’s arm-twisting, or worse, if necessary.

    Just coincidentally, when Russia and Belarus had a disagreement over oil deliveries and contract extension in late 2019 and early 2020, Washington immediately offered alternative supplies. Pompeo again: “The United States wants to help Belarus build its own sovereign country. Our energy producers stand ready to deliver 100% of the oil you need at competitive prices.”  And, “Your nation should not be forced to be dependent on any one partner for your prosperity or for your security.”

    But an oil contract agreement was reached with Moscow, and deliveries resumed on January 4, 2020.

    In anticipation of Pompeo’s visit to Minsk earlier this year, the Trump Administration intimated,  “this [Belarus] is an era of great power competition and an opportunity to compete for influence.”

    There you have it. Elections are often strategic moments to hit a country when you want to dominate it. Who knows whether the US was behind the election results, directly or by proxy manipulating them, knowing quite well, that Lukashenko’s popularity has shrunk to a low. Lukashenko has run his country like a police state. Another Lukashenko win could (and should  wished by the west) cause civil unrest that, like in other places of the universe – like Hong Kong, to mention just an ongoing one – can be provoked by Washington and its minions and extended as long as it takes to bring about regime change which is what Washington dreams of in Belarus.

    Belarus without natural resources to speak off, except its strategic location – buffer zone for Russia – depends economically on Russia. Russia has not failed her support to Belarus. It is very unlikely that Russia would interfere in Belarus’s election, despite what Washington says about political and election interference by Russia,  It’s not Russia’s style, but it clearly is Washington’s style to interfere in elections around the world. There has been not one “free” election, “free” meaning without interference, directly or indirectly, of the United Sates, in the last few decades. Not one.

    Contrary to the Ukraine, in Belarus there is no visible EU / IMF interference at this point. Just the US at the fringes, by Pompeo’s visit to Minsk on February 1, 2020. But we don’t really know what went on behind closed doors, what agreements were signed “verbally”.

    However, whatever secrets the Pompeo visit may have entailed, this looks like a new kind of Color Revolution in the making. One where the instigators are not visibly Washington and/or their NATO-controlled allies, the European Union. But rather a “third party” close ally of the US, one whose survival depends on the United States, like Ukraine. It is possible that Ukraine, directed by Washington, infiltrated their secret service people and other trouble-makers (possibly with Russian passports) into Belarus, mainly Minsk, before the elections, to orchestrate Lukashenko’s landslide win, as well as the subsequent civil unrest, which as of this day has not abated.

    It may not be coincidence that Lukashenko’s only real opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (who got only 10% of the vote) fled to Lithuania, where she was “safe”, as Lithuanians Foreign Minister said.

    Though the US officially condemns Lukashenko’s police brutality, in secret they want Lukashenko to remain in power until the appropriate moment, when the control is sufficiently advanced, as was the case with Ukraine. In the meantime, they may groom Svetlana to eventually take over from Lukashenko when the time is ripe for another “Maidan” Belarus style.

    No doubt, President Putin is aware of this – and probably of other likely scenarios. Learning from the Ukraine experience, he may opt to ‘replace’ Lukashenko before it’s too late. Because if Belarus falls and with Ukraine at the southern doorstep, Moscow would be in real danger

    Russian and Belarusian Military Exercises: “Zapad 2017”, by Valentin Vasilescu

    Following the organization of the coup d'État in Ukraine, the installation of Nazis in Kiev and the independence of Crimea, Nato is feeding the paranoia of its East European members. Not only did Moscow protect the Crimeans from a government that had Nazis among its members, but conquered by force and annexed this territory that historically had belonged to the Russia. It is on account of this narrative that Washington is succeeding to occupy Eastern Europe by force, without its people, now subdued, protesting. In contrast, the people are alarmed about the Russian – Belarusian military manoeuvres.