Category Archives: Arms Race

War Blog Infinitum: What Weapons System Would Jesus Buy?

Been missing Democracy Now (intentionally), Been Listening to Faux Left, and Seeing the House of Mirrors and Cities of Cards that Are the USA-UK-EU-Klanada-Israel-et al.

I have a friend who is into Jesus. He’s so into Jesus, that he even pisses off the traditional Jesus folk by challenging their doctrines (he cites the hypocrisy and lies of the Pharisees), and he likes to talk to Mormons (LDS) to question their “weird” religion, and he likes to say how Christ is the original son of god, and that all other religions have stolen from Christianity. He knows I am more than just an atheist, and he says that’s what he likes about me, that I am passionate about helping people, that I know a lot and that I can at least listen to him.

He’s all about how the bible is all the (the only) news fit to print, from above, both literal and predictive. You know, Ukraine and Russia, all in the bible. You know, the war will be China-Iran-Russia-Syria against Jerusulem. It all gets rather comic book-like, but then, people who have gone 67 years living in the USA, like he has, in a scattered life, with a childhood full of ADHD, and he has had years of depression, and years of anger, and years of working in used car sales, well, the time is now where he believes he has a calling to serve the poor. But through JESUS!

Except he thinks he is immune from politics, immune from the world, and he has it all down, like most fundamental and simplistic Christians do — the earth will end, by god’s will, prophesied in the bible, before climate change will do any destruction.

He’s a white Southern guy who ended up in New York, and worked with a lot of Black musicians, and he likes that music, jazz and all of that, but he gets really hateful when talking about Black Lives Matter. He says all news is fake, that “they” are all liars, but then in the same breath, he tells me about the person who started BLM and how she has several million dollar homes somewhere as if that news is somehow going to sink why black lives matter as a movement is real and righteous. I tell him that capitalism corrupts all, and the intent of BLM was and is good, but the leadership, like ALL leaderships, are corruptible, and they love the luxuries, man. In fact, my Jesus Man loves his nice house, though he has been homeless, and he says, if it weren’t for his spouse, he’d just pick up and go, live out of a van, if necessary, and serve the poor. Maybe, or maybe not. Yet, he is so tone deaf to movements, to the racism of this society, that he is an injured conservative, leaning for Christ, but not understanding that there millions of other Christians who have nuanced and looked at the teachings and the Bible and all of that, well, err, mostly crap. He believes that Christ existed/exists. Oh well.

Here, from USA Today, looking at the dirt on this BLM co-founder,

Khan-Cullors pointed out the myriad jobs she has held. She has two book deals, including authorship of a New York Times best-selling memoir. The Los Angeles Times reported last year that Khan-Cullors signed a production deal with Warner Brothers “to develop scripted dramas and comedies, docuseries and animated programming for children, young adults and families.”

Khan-Cullors also noted that she is a public speaker, owns a gallery, has a deal with YouTube and teaches at a private liberal arts college in Arizona.

The claim that Black Lives Matter co-founder Patrisse Khan-Cullors bought four luxury homes is MISSING CONTEXT, because without additional information it could be misleading. While some social media users suggested that the purchases were evidence that Khan-Cullors had been enriched by the movement, our research revealed no evidence that Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation funds were used to purchase property. Khan-Cullors has held several other jobs in addition to her work as the organization’s volunteer executive director, including writing a memoir and developing content for Warner Brothers. (Source)

This is how people in the USA fly. My friend may want a life as simple as possible, but he has a home on the coast, purchased two years ago with the sale of an over-priced Calif. home (What Would Jesus Say About Housing Flippers?) which got he and his wife, both on Social Security, a house with a million dollar view of the Pacific. However, their savings are going, they paid full price on the house, a new roof might be upwards of $20K, and the regressive property taxes in this shit-hole county are going up and up and up.

So, the Jesus-Is-My-Friend guy is looking to sell the place for a profit (he got it for $425K and now they, the realtor, say $560K is easily one first offer possibility). He’s looking in Washington, around Gig Harbor and Port Angeles, but the prices are way too high. He’s looking to go back to country southern roots, Lewisburg, where he says that cool $600 K in cash can get he and his wife a home of $200K or so, and then the rest will be in the bank.

The point is that even a communist like myself can sit down and have a beer with a fellow who believes in a second coming, believes in the literal translation of the bible, believes in a holy war a’comin’, and this is someone who professes he is not concerned about the worldly things, yet, he gets checked up by the VA, he does like to drink beer, he also likes to comment on a few things he says he somehow gets from that news he says is all lies.

Trying to talk to someone who believes that nothing counts but the holy ghost is problematic. How can I point out that, yes, BLM has an impetus that was spot on, and that, yes, BLM leadership supports Democrats with a big “D.” It’s as if we have three different languages utilized in our discourse. He can swoop down and attack BLM leadership, based on a faulty story, and then (a) I have to defend the principle of the matter, but then (n), I also am a communist who despises capitalism coming from the right and the center right, and now, of course, I despise the left and its rah-rah for Goldman Sachs, Raytheon, Mercenaries ‘R Us.

I try and discuss what White Lives Matter is, but then he defers to, “Yes, White lives do matter.” Then, the issue of, Blue Lives Matter comes up, and he then comes back with, “Yes, our policemen do matter.” Tone deaf. Broken thinker. Misunderstanding culture!

This is the blockheadedness of the American, even for some guy who wants to feed the poor and help the homeless, though he is still in that period of his life of, “Well, when we get settled, I want to do the work of Jesus . . . buy an old warehouse . . . get clothes and food in it . . . have the poor and homeless come in and help them. Turn it into a Christian Center for the Homeless.”  He’s turning 68 soon.

See the source image

He believes if there is a will, there is a way. I attempt to inform him that it takes codes, legal advice, a non-profit status, or a religious status, political connections, and, well, there has to be some training of both he and whomever he wants to help give “mutual aid.” Again, in principle, we should be able to do all sorts of things in this country without the code and law and financial enforcers interfering, but alas, we have allowed the country to turn into mush, where every aspect of our lives is controlled by fines-penalties-contracts-taxes-tolls-add-ons-tickets-fees-licenses-certifications-control boards-enforcement agencies. And more. He believes god and Jesus will take care of us.

Why was there a movement for black lives? Hell, the Jesus Freak thinks they got it wrong, and that Jesus-thinking people know the low down: Jesus is All-Knowing.

And, of course, my friend would never understand the movement against racism and overt hatred of Blacks and the dirty DNA of the USA’s white class in killing Indians, Mexicans, Africans here on Turtle Island.

A very schizophrenic or bipolar or simplistic way of seeing the world, looking to Jesus in/of/for the bible, and even calling me ‘Paul,’ like Paul of the bible. Bizarre. Here you go, Jesus freak, nuanced stuff about BLM —

We speak often about Cointelpro, the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Program. We must also study COIN, the US government’s program on Counter Insurgency. You know the difference between covert racism and overt racism? That’s the difference between Counterinsurgency and Cointelpro. Rather than an extreme violence that creates martyrs, the “Host Government,” as they referred to themselves in their own manual, uses methods of cooptation. Their approach is to take revolutionary forces, deradicalize them, and reroute them from a force against governmental violence and oppression into a force for the government. They gain “the support of that relevant population through political, psychological, and economic methods.”

When we examine the actions of the so-called “founders” of the “BLM Movement” we must also identify the ways those actions were supported and elevated by media and social media applications (tools of the government). We should remember that there has never been a time when there weren’t protests against their actions by organizers on the ground in all the communities they swooped into including Ferguson and Los Angeles, the very first city they received national recognition through and the city they operated from, respectively. There is a common theme in the narrative of organizers in cities across the country and in other countries: the streets were hot, the “founders” showed up and redirected attention from the organizers on the ground, they left and took the visibility with them, the streets cooled down. Subversion. Counterinsurgency. They practiced it at the local level repeatedly and had perfected it by the time the state murdered our siblings George, Breonna, and Ahmaud. They took over every moment of deep, passionate, fearless, heartfelt radicalization and used it to transform the primary, mainstream “liberation” narrative into one that is focused on registering voters and winning seats for the democratic party. Our radical, abolitionist, revolutionary response to them killing our family in the streets on behalf of the state is to vote. It’s Black Votes that now Matter to Black Lives Matter. Except, only, actually, to a small few. Minority rule. Very radical.

The rest of us now had another entity to protest and organize against. As we wrestled with the question: reform or abolish this entity, we had the responsibility, also, to not undermine the movement with public facing critique. This is why we worked so hard, quietly for years. When we spoke out, we had to. Not because of the money. Because of the deradicalization of one of the most revolutionary moments in generations. Because while people were setting police stations on fire, BLM was sending newsletters that said we’re moving from Protests to the Polls.

–-YahNé Ndgo is a Freedom Builder in Ubuntu⇔Freedom, which publicly launched on April 24, 2021 with the sharing of the Principles of Freedom . She is also a lead strategist with the #LoveNotPhear Campaign to bring Mumia home, a Steering Committee member of the Free Kamau Sadiki Now Campaign , and a member of the Black Alliance for Peace . A mother, singer and writer, she received her MFA in Writing and Literature from Bennington College in Vermont. She is the lead caretaker of the Revolutionary Care Space . (source = Black Agenda Report)

Yet, well, I can’t put the onus just on a Jesus Freak, because at the core, he is following a white man’s stuck-in-the-USA version of the Golden Rule, for sure, and he does decry the false prophets, all the hypocrisy of organized religions and churches, but he is still trapped in Capitalism, though he says he hates any “ism”! We can argue about my work with Catholic priests and nuns fighting and dying for the poor in Central America, or my work with ministers in Arizona to give sanctuary to undocumented immigrants from Central America, and in the end, he can’t just let it go and insists that “their” religion is not the “true” religion of Christ. I say that those friends of old were amazing people, and alas, I was the atheist, but it didn’t matter to them.

He’s in a gotcha world, for sure, and he continues to state there are no truths except Christ’s truths. A most despicable patronizing of the rest of us in the world who work on social-environmental-cultural-gender-arts justice. It’s as if all the work we do is for naught, since the second coming will be the lifting of the holy and the believers. However, he states my heart is in the right place, vis-a-vis the Golden Rule of the bible.

The maxim — Golden Rule — may appear as a positive or negative injunction governing conduct:

  • Treat others as you would like others to treat you (positive or directive form)
  • Do not treat others in ways that you would not like to be treated (negative or prohibitive form)
  • What you wish upon others, you wish upon yourself (empathetic or responsive form)

The idea dates at least to the early Confucian times (551–479 BCE), according to Rushworth Kidder, who identifies the concept appearing prominently in Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, and “the rest of the world’s major religions.” 143 leaders of the world’s major faiths endorsed the Golden Rule as part of the 1993 “Declaration Toward a Global Ethic.” According to Greg M. Epstein, it is “a concept that essentially no religion misses entirely,” but belief in God is not necessary to endorse it. Simon Blackburn also states that the Golden Rule can be “found in some form in almost every ethical tradition.”

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Forget about talking about Ukraine and the Nazis there, and the unholy war of military financial AI thieving industrial complex leading the charge, leading the Biden Bumblers, leading the mental hijacking of the average American and average white European. My Jesus is My Friend, friend, wants nothing of this earthly world (except jazz, dance, beer, good food, art). But, the profits of real estate, banks, and where that “In God We Trust Money” goes, both and all vitally important to Jesus is the Only Path, friends, how do the holy ones square investing in any Fortune 5000 company? Or this now money money money, taxes for, military murdering madness:

According to Robert Young Pelton, an expert on private military companies (PMCs), there is “a frenzy in the market” for private contractors in Ukraine today.” A House bill proposed by Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) would provide a 10-year exemption to current law that forbids U.S. citizens from fighting on behalf of another nation.

Mullin introduces bill allowing U.S. citizens to volunteer to fight for Ukraine | KTUL

In introducing the Volunteer Fighters Exemption Act, Markwayne Mullin, featured above, ludicrously claimed that “what we are seeing from former KGB officer and Russian President Vladimir Putin is an attempt to spread communism throughout the world and bring back the Soviet Union.” (Source)

The Biden administration has allegedly launched a campaign to recruit private military outfits such as Academi, Cubic, and DynCorp. This is part of an effort to keep a “light American footprint” while trying to bog down the Russians in a quagmire. (Source)

This is the Empire of Lies and Chaos. This is the Country of the Chosen Few, the ones who have the shekels and dollars entwined in dirty and perverse legalistic mumbo-jumbo ways . . . a world of dirty arts and entertainment, a world of sexually rotten psychology, a world of racism against brown-yellow-Slav-black. At the top of the pyramid in almost every sector, the Brother and Sisters of Elites, the ugly purity of chosenness.

For now, we have the Jewish Chancey Gardiner, ZioLensky, using his thespian skills (billions and billions of shekels behind him) to pull the wool over Goyim and Gaul.

Take a look at the optics, the video-making style:

The news not fit for Jesus Freaks or for the mainstream blob? — “’One less traitor’: Zelensky oversees campaign of assassination, kidnapping and torture of political opposition’ by Max Blumenthal, Esha Krishnaswam

Oh, that Middle East, the middle world of Zion:

Cycle of Violence: Israeli Authorities Prod Extremist Militias into Seeking ‘Vigilante Justice’: “All of this is part of the Jewish-supremacy ecosystem — the pro-occupation, pro-settlement, xenophobic hate, and violent right wing in Israel.” – Eran Nissan, Mehazkim COO by Jessica Buxbaum

It is the constant discussion with my Jesus Friend about the rich, and he believes there are good rich people. He talks of friends in California who buy clothes at Walmart and drink cheap wine out of jelly jars. They’ve got tens of millions. Inherited. And, we talk about how that money, which is about buying homes for relatives, in California, in the millions of dollars each, is not exactly what his Jesus had in mind.

This is how the rich get rich and stay rich — investment portfolios. Which dirty industry, or rotten offensive military corporation, or thieving war profiteering company do they invest in? They leave matters to the men and women in Dante’s fifth circle of Hell, investors, money makers:

Barton Biggs, the well-known former Morgan Stanley strategist, who sadly passed in 2012, asks an interesting question at the beginning of his book, Wealth, War & Wisdom: “How do you preserve wealth in times when the Four Horsemen are on the loose?” (By Four Horsemen, Biggs refers to “pestilence, war, famine and death.” See also Revelation 6:8.)

Would my friend’s Jesus like the concept of “gales of creative destruction” these various residents of those Circles of Hell profess are great opportunities during war?

Some advantages last longer than others, but all are temporary. Furthermore, there is overwhelming evidence that the duration of corporate competitive advantages has shortened, which is not surprising in a world where the rate of change is accelerating. It’s the nature of business evolution. Also bear in mind that wars, as Joseph Schumpeter might have said, are “gales of creative destruction” and in the aftermath lead to accelerated technological progress.

In the end, living and dying by the credo of “Christ is the Center of My Life/My Universe” is a tough one when a person still navigates quite profoundly in the real world of governments, corporations, taxation, price gouging and entitlement programs. (source)

Yep, which country would Jesus Bomb or Invest In or Invade?

Sure, we can have any number of slides down the relativism scale, but in the end, the Prince of Peace that fellow is called, would indeed, I think, if real, be out hammering the words — “No More Bombs-Bullets-Bodies for Capitalism’s Wars.”

Flag of Russia and Ukraine painted on a concrete wall

Shit, it’s now Biblically Responsible Investing!  “The whole concept behind BRI is this is God’s money and we’re only using God’s money to own businesses in our portfolios,” Ben Malick said. “I haven’t gotten any, ‘Whoa, that’s crazy!’” (source)

Oh, the hypocrisy of the entire investing spectrum. Socially Responsible Investing, Faith Based Investing, Green Investing! Oh, well, I think what Jesus Would Do is all up to the relative nature of this or that religion or this or that screening, as these bible investors mostly look at LGBTQA rights and abortion and pornography and fetal cells as their big screens to NOT invest in that fund or corporation. War or military or policing and surveillance? Despicable corporations for which there are literally hundreds of thousands? The Bible Thumpers are okay with them.

Investing in any company on a stock exchange is investing in people who believe in those who have and those who do not have. Dog eat dog. Survival of the fittest. Come on, they — Faith Based Investors — are not screening out the real culprits of capitalism.

The Original Impact Investing: Faith-Based Funds, Factor Tilt or Marketing Ploy? | by Aaron Chow | The Startup | Medium

And, so that axiom, How Would Jesus Invest His/Her/Their Money, hmm, maybe invest in all the technologies that help with the lifting up of drones?

Israeli forces used remote-controlled drones to drop dozens of tear gas canisters on crowds of worshipers, including women and young children. Video footage taken at the scene showed a number of worshipers being carried off in stretchers by medics. (Source)

Israeli forces dropping tear gas from a drone onto the Al Aqsa compound, April 22, 2022 (Screenshot: Twitter)

Well, Would Jesus Go to a Xmas Party During Covid Lockdown?

General accuses UK PM of disclosing military secrets

Well, wondering if “Jesus Would Go With BDS, All the Way, Moses!”

“Over the past eight days, Israel has stormed the holy site seven times, injuring dozens of worshipers and arresting hundreds of Palestinians in the process. Meanwhile Israel has facilitated the entrance of thousands of Jewish settlers for the Passover holiday.” (Source)

But whatever you say about WWJD, the fact is that almost every nut-washer-bolt, wire, capacitor, motherboard, optic, ounce of paint, PR brochure, uniform, tire, belt buckle, rucksack, meal ready to eat, house, tent, A/C unit, all of that, all part of the Military Industrial Complex, and yes, a millionaire here and a millionaire there, he/she/they will invest in whichever mutual fund or ETF or what-have-you to keep those millions sparkling. Jesus or not, Bible or Naught.

See the source image

And, to put a bow on this screed, how can I NOT discuss the continual destruction of, well, those of us who play outside the sandbox, who blur those comic book lines, who are willing to look into the belly of the beast without being consumed by the beast’s bile.

It goes without saying, Alice Walker is remarkable on so many levels. Her work has inspired millions of young writers. Her story, “Beauty: When the Other Dancer is Self,” is a touchstone for many young women looking at themselves through their own deep “other” self while pushing through the ugly reality of cultural marketing of what it means to be a pretty or beautiful girl/woman/elder.

Alas, Alice has been yet again cancelled. Read Chris Hedges’ latest piece, “Alice Walker was disinvited to the Bay Area Book Festival after Zionist groups threatened to carry out protests. The public and presenters are complicit in her blacklisting if they attend” in Scheer Post.

Hedges interviewed Alice via phone. Her words at the end of this quote are profound:

The Bay Area Book festival delivered the latest salvo against Walker. The organizers disinvited her from the event because she  praised the writings of the New Age author David Icke and called his book And the Truth Shall Set You Free “brave.” Icke has denied critics’ charges of anti-Semitism. The festival organizers twisted themselves into contortions to say they were not charging Walker with anti-Semitism. She was banned because she lauded a controversial writer, who I suspect few members of the committee have read. The poet and writer Honorée Fanonne Jeffers, who Walker was to interview, withdrew from the festival in protest.

Walker, a supporter of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has been a very public advocate for Palestinian rights and a critic of Israel for many years. Her friendship with Icke has long been part of the public record. She hid nothing. It is not as if the festival organizers suddenly discovered a dark secret about Walker. They sought to capitalize on her celebrity and then, when they felt the heat from the Israel lobby, capitulated to the mob to humiliate her.

“I don’t know these people,” Walker said of the festival organizers who disinvited her. “It feels like the south. You know they are out there in the community, and they have their positions, but all you see are sheets. That’s what this is. It’s like being back in the south.”

This is the never-ending story with Neocons and Neoliberals. We have so many elephants in the room when it comes to the chosen people, now, or throughout history. To bring to the attention their words and their rule books and their own very racist DNA is to be labeled anti-semetic goyim:

Hedges goes for the throat here, and Chris is already in the drain spiral in his own world of cancel culture and retribution from the higher ups, the chosen ones.

I worked for two years as a reporter in Jerusalem. I listened to the daily filth spewed out by Israelis about Arabs and Palestinians, who used racist tropes to sanctify Israeli apartheid and gratuitous violence against Palestinians. Israel routinely orders air strikes, targeted assassinations, drone attacks, artillery strikes, tank assaults and naval bombardments on the largely defenseless population in Gaza. Israel blithely dismisses those it murders, including children, as unworthy of life, drawing on poisonous religious edicts. It is risible that Israel and its US supporters can posit themselves as anti-racists, abrogating the right to cancel Walker. It is the equivalent of allowing the Klan to vet speakers lists.  (Source)

I have a friend who I helped extricate herself from an abusive marriage. She’s in New Mexico, living in a shit-kicker town. Luckily, her former counselor and his wife took her in and she’s in the back mother-in-law’s unit recovering. Good of them to assist her.

Both are Israeli, living in New Mexico. They are liberals in the Harris-Hillary sense, which means, they are conservative. They consider Israel their mother-ship, even though their are in their forties.

Around the fire, drinking wine, my friend says they speak Hebrew a lot, around her, a woman who speaks three languages, but not Hebrew. They go into Hebrew when the topic of Ukraine and that murderer Zelensky come up (they do not see Zelensky as a murderer,  but rather a hero).

My friend is learning what it means to be a real socialist, and she sees how a narrow group of people have controlled her life on many financial and cultural levels. But she is healing, and the counselor is giving her the advice he should to keep her on an even keel to not return to the abuse.

But it is indeed ironic that Ukraine and all topics about the Middle East are coded in Hebrew.

Hedges writes (Source) , “Walker excoriates this religious chauvinism and mythology. She warns that theocracies, which sacralize state power, are dangerous. In the poem, she highlights passages in the Talmud used to condemn those outside the faith. Jews must repudiate these sections in the Talmud and the Old Testament, as those of us who are Christians must repudiate the hateful passages in the Bible. When these religious screeds are weaponized by zealots —Christian, Muslim or Jewish — they propagate evil.” Walker writes:

Is Jesus boiling eternally in hot excrement,
For his “crime” of throwing the bankers
Out of the Temple? For loving, standing with,
And defending
The poor? Was his mother, Mary,
A whore?
Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only
That, but to enjoy it?
Are three year old (and a day) girls eligible for marriage and intercourse?
Are young boys fair game for rape?
Must even the best of the Goyim (us, again) be killed?
Pause a moment and think what this could mean
Or already has meant
In our own lifetime.

My own situation has put me in disagreement with a writing community on the voracity of their crocodile tears for “Ukraine.” I have poet friends writing poems with lines like, “one day we shall be pissing on Putin’s grave . . . .” That’s fine and dandy; however, when another poet, me, who happens to be highly actualized in politics as a systems approach to the world, my own beingness, pushes back a bit, then the poets just say, “well, I am not fully versed on the entire situation in Ukraine . . . how could anyone be . . . ”

The very act of using poetry to make a political point is great but tricky. My poem,  “Tears of Rage Captured in a Poem and Harmonica Riff,” published here at Dissident Voice will not make it into the next issue of the journal for which the editors say they have a “special section on Ukraine . . . to give voice to their plight.”

Another form of cancel culture — just not publishing. For Alice, she has been banned from the Bay Area Book Festival. For god’s sake, boycott these Zionists’ projects.

 

 

The post War Blog Infinitum: What Weapons System Would Jesus Buy? first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Deconstructing Preemption, De-Nazification, Right to Protect . . . In the Eyes of Empire of Lies (and Hate)

Interesting Teach-in, well, discussion, with the speakers below. You will hear Scott Ritter divert from some of these speakers saying that the actions by Russia in Ukraine are legal, ethical and necessary.

Here is Ritter, just interviewed, Strategic Culture. Note that Ritter is called a traitor (for looking at the Russian military and political angles) and a Putin Stooge (this is it for Western Woke Culture) and he’s been banned on Twitter for a day, and then back up, and the seesaw of social media continues (more McCarthy: The New Democratic Opperative). You do not have to agree with militarism, but here we are, so the Western Woke Fascist Media and the Mendacious Political Class want nothing to do with, well, military minds looking at Russia (Ritter studied Russia big-time, and studied their military big time, both Soviet Union and Russia). He also is married to a Georgian. But again, this is it for the Western Intellect (sic).

Like we can’t watch Graham Phillips work, without being called, well, Russian Stooges. The Mainlining Mendacious Media calls him a Russian Sympathizer. Imagine that. For years,, he’s been a sympathizer (he is British, speaks Russian and goes to the actual places with camera in hand. Look at the one on Ossetia, the breakaway republic of Georgia. It is delightful (note the dinner he is served by the typical family):

Here, from, “The Ukrainian Conflict Is a U.S./NATO Proxy War, but One Which Russia Is Poised to Win Decisively – Scott Ritter” by Finian Cunningham, April 9, 2022

Question: Do you think that Russia has a just cause in launching its “special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24?

Scott Ritter: I believe Russia has articulated a cognizable claim of preemptive collective self-defense under Article 51 of the UN Charter. The threat posed by NATO expansion, and Ukraine’s eight-year bombardment of the civilians of the Donbass fall under this umbrella.

Question: Do you think Russia has legitimate concerns about the Pentagon sponsoring biological weapons programs in laboratories in Ukraine?

Scott Ritter: The Pentagon denies any biological weapons program, but admits biological research programs on Ukrainian soil. Documents captured by Russia have allegedly uncovered the existence of programs the components of which could be construed as having offensive biological warfare applications. The U.S. should be required to explain the purpose of these programs.

Question: What do you make of allegations in Western media that Russian troops committed war crimes in Bucha and other Ukrainian cities? It is claimed that Russian forces summarily executed civilians.

Scott Ritter: All claims of war crimes must be thoroughly investigated, including Ukrainian allegations that Russia killed Ukrainian civilians in Bucha. However, the data available about the Bucha incident does not sustain the Ukrainian claims, and as such, the media should refrain from echoing these claims as fact until a proper investigation of the evidence is conducted, either by the media, or unbiased authorities.

While one may be able to mount a legal challenge to Russia’s contention that its joint operation with Russia’s newly recognized independent nations of Lugansk and Donetsk constitutes a “regional security or self-defense organization” as regards “anticipatory collective self-defense actions” under Article 51, there can be no doubt as to the legitimacy of Russia’s contention that the Russian-speaking population of the Donbass had been subjected to a brutal eight-year-long bombardment that had killed thousands of people.

Moreover, Russia claims to have documentary proof that the Ukrainian Army was preparing for a massive military incursion into the Donbass which was pre-empted by the Russian-led “special military operation.” [OSCE figures show an increase of government shelling of the area in the days before Russia moved in.]

Finally, Russia has articulated claims about Ukraine’s intent regarding nuclear weapons, and in particular efforts to manufacture a so-called “dirty bomb”, which have yet to be proven or disproven. [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky made a reference to seeking a nuclear weapon in February at the Munich Security Conference.]

The bottom line is that Russia has set forth a cognizable claim under the doctrine of anticipatory collective self defense, devised originally by the U.S. and NATO, as it applies to Article 51 which is predicated on fact, not fiction.  (Ritter, Russia, Ukraine & the Law of War: Crime of Aggression)


[Nuremberg Trials. 1st row: Hermann Göring, Rudolf Heß, Joachim von Ribbentrop, Wilhelm Keitel. 2nd row: Karl Dönitz, Erich Raeder, Baldur von Schirach, Fritz Sauckel. (Office of the U.S. Chief of Counsel for the Prosecution of Axis Criminality/Still Picture Records LICON, Special Media Archives Services Division (NWCS-S)]

All the speakers, except maybe excluding John Kiriakou, have great points to make: Andrei Martyanov, expert on Russian military affairs, author The Real Revolution in Military Affairs; Chris Kaspar de Ploeg, author Ukraine in the Crossfire; James Carden, Adviser U.S.-Russia bilateral commission during the Obama administration & Ex. Editor of The American Committee for East-West accord; Scott Ritter, former U.S. Marine Intelligence officer, UN Arms Inspector, exposed WMD lie in U.S. push to invade Iraq; John Kiriakou, CIA whistleblower and Radio Sputnik host; Ron Ridenour, peace activist, author The Russian Peace Threat; Gerald Horne, historian, author, Chair of History and African American Studies at the University of Houston; Jeremy Kuzmarov, CAM Managing Editor and author of The Russians Are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce.

Imagine, the provocations.

The US government invoked self-defense as a legal justification for its invasion of Panama. Several scholars and observers have opined that the invasion was illegal under international law.

Watch, Panama Deception here: C-Span!

Oh, those Freedom Fighters, the back-shooting, civilian-killing, village-burning Contras:

Appendix A: Background on United States Funding of the Contras

In examining the allegations in the Mercury News and elsewhere, it is important to understand the timing of funding of the Contras by the United States. The following dates explain the periods during which the United States government provided funding to the Contras or cut off such funding.

  • Anastasio Somoza Debayle was the leader of Nicaragua from 1967 until July 1979, when he was overthrown by the Sandinistas. When President Ronald Reagan took office in January 1981, he promptly canceled the final $15 million payment of a $75 million aid package to Nicaragua, reversing the Carter administration’s policy towards Nicaragua. On November 17, 1981, President Reagan signed National Security Directive 17, authorizing provision of covert support to anti-Sandinista forces. On December 1, 1981, Reagan signed a document intending to conceal the November 17 authorization of anti-Sandinista operations. The document characterized the United States’ goal in Nicaragua as that of interdicting the flow of arms from Nicaragua to El Salvador, where leftist guerrillas were receiving aid from Sandinista forces.
  • In late 1982, Edward P. Boland, Chairman of the House Select Committee on Intelligence, introduced an amendment to the Fiscal Year 1983 Defense Appropriations bill that prohibited the CIA, the principal conduit of covert American support for the Contras, from spending funds “for the purpose of overthrowing the government of Nicaragua.” However, the CIA could continue to support the Contras if it claimed that the purpose was something other than to overthrow the government. In December 1983, a compromise was reached and Congress passed a funding cap for fiscal year 1984 of $24 million for aid to the Contras, an amount significantly lower than what the Reagan administration wanted, with the possibility that the Administration could seek supplemental funds later.
  • This funding was insufficient to support the Administration’s “Contra program” and the decision was made to approach other countries for monetary support. In April 1984, Robert McFarlane convinced Saudi Arabia to contribute $1 million per month to the Contras through a secret bank account set up by Lt. Col. Oliver North.
  • In October 1984, the second Boland amendment took effect. It prohibited any military or paramilitary support for the Contras from October 3, 1984, through December 19, 1985. As a result, the CIA and Department of Defense (DOD) began withdrawing personnel from Central America. During this time, however, the National Security Council continued to provide support to the Contras.
  • In August 1985, Congress approved $25 million in humanitarian aid to the Contras, with the proviso that the State Department, and not the CIA or the DOD, administer the aid. President Reagan created the Nicaraguan Humanitarian Assistance Office (NHAO) to supply the humanitarian aid. In September 1985, Oliver North began using the Salvadoran air base at Ilopango for Contra resupply efforts.
  • On October 5, 1986, a plane loaded with supplies for the Contras, financed by private benefactors, was shot down by Nicaraguan soldiers. On board were weapons and other lethal supplies and three Americans. One American, Eugene Hasenfus, claimed while in custody that he worked for the CIA. The Reagan Administration denied any knowledge of the private resupply efforts.
  • On October 17, 1986, Congress approved $100 million in funds for the Contras. In 1987, after the discovery of private resupply efforts orchestrated by the National Security Council and Oliver North, Congress ceased all but “non-lethal” aid in 1987. The war between the Sandinistas and the Contras ended with a cease-fire in 1990.
  • Although the Contras were often referred to as one group, several distinct factions made up the Contras.
  • In August 1980, Colonel Enrique Bermudez, a former Colonel in Somoza’s National Guard, united other former National Guard officers and anti-Sandinista civilians to form the Fuerza Democratica Nicaraguense (FDN). This group was known as the Northern Front because it was based in Honduras. In February 1983, Adolfo Calero became the head of the FDN.
  • In April 1982, Eden Pastora split from the Sandinista regime and organized the Democratic Revolutionary Alliance (ARDE) and the Sandinista Revolutionary Front (FRS), which declared war on the Sandinista regime. Pastora’s group was based in Costa Rica and along the southern border of Nicaragua, and therefore became known as the Southern Front. Pastora refused to work with Bermudez, claiming that Bermudez, as a member of the former Somoza regime, was politically tainted. The CIA decided to support the FDN and generally declined to support the ARDE.

Again, let’s think about what is actually happening in Ukraine, and where the country is, and what the Russians in that country are facing, and, gulp, where is Ukraine? Thousands of miles away, like Panama and Nicaragua are from USA?

Here, a Dutch journalist:

Sonja at the place of the rocket attack in Donetsk, the ATM machine. [Photo Courtesy of Sonja Van den Ende]

Read her work:

As the war in Ukraine rages on, I visited the republics of Donetsk and Luhansk as an embedded reporter with the Russian army.

Both of the republics are the trigger of the current conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared their independence on February 24, 2022, something a lot of people were waiting for since the CIA backed coup in Ukraine of February 2014. That coup had resulted in the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych and new laws forcing the Ukrainian language on Russian-speaking residents. Luhansk and Donetsk consequently voted on their independence and Ukraine attacked them, precipitating the war.

European support for the so-called Maidan coup was considerable: the Dutch MP Hans van Baalen from the ruling Dutch VVD party (Mark Rutte), for example, was at the protests that helped trigger the coup, as was the former Prime Minister of Belgium Guy Verhofstadt. Both were seen cheering on the crowds, surrounded by right-extremists on the stage, shouting “democracy.”

So what is preemptive defense? Right to Protect? What is big ugly history of Nazi’s in Poland and Ukraine? What is that all about, uh, Americanum?

At least 32 countries have sent direct military aid to Ukraine this year! US and NATO Allies Arm Neo-Nazi Units in Ukraine as Foreign Policy Elites Yearn for Afghan-style Insurgency

So, plans by ZioLensky for Dirty Bombs from the wasteland of Chernobyl, not a provocation?

How many were immolated in Waco? Why? Mount Carmel Center became engulfed in flames. The fire resulted in the deaths of 76 Branch Davidians, including 25 children, two pregnant women, and David Koresh himself.

Oh, the impatience of the USA, FBI, ATF, Attorney General, Bill Clinton, the lot of them.

Or, dropping bombs on Philly, to kill, well, black people:

How many died, and what happened to the city block? Bombs dropped on our own people, again! Police dropped a bomb on a West Philly house in 1985. The fire caused by the explosion killed 11 people, an atrocity that Philadelphia still grapples with today.

 

Oh, the irony.

Black Lives Do Not Matter, here, or in Ukraine. Below, representation of those lives killed by cops, of all races, in one year. Many of these in a year, 60 percent, did not involve a person with a gun, and a huge number, 40 percent, involved people going throug mental health crises.

More than one thousand people are killed by police every year in America

Oh, being black in Ukraine:

[Foreign students trying to reach the Ukrainian border said they were thrown off trains, not allowed on buses, and made to wait hours in the cold before crossing over.]

Yes, the first casualty of war is truth, and with the USA as the Empire of Lies and Hate, the casualty is now a larger framework of a Zombie Nation of virtue signalers and those who want the fake news to be real, please!

So far as I know, this is the first war in modern history with no objective, principled coverage in mainstream media of day-to-day events and their context. None. It is morn-to-night propaganda, disinformation and lies of omission — most of it fashioned by the Nazi-infested Zelensky regime in Kiev and repeated uncritically as fact.

There is one thing worse than this degenerate state of affairs. It is the extent to which the media’s malpractice is perfectly fine to most Americans. Tell us what to think and believe no matter if it is true, they say, and we will think and believe it. Show us some pictures, for images are all.

There are larger implications to consider here. Critical as it is that we understand this conflict, Ukraine is a mirror in which we see ourselves as we have become. For more Americans than I wish were so, reality forms only in images. These Americans are no longer occupants of their own lives. Risking a paradox, what they take to be reality is detached from reality.

This majority — and it is almost certainly a majority — has no thoughts or views except those first verified through the machinery of manufactured images and “facts.” Television screens, the pages of purportedly authoritative newspapers, the air waves of government-funded radio stations — NPR, the BBC — serve to certify realities that do not have to be real, truths that do not have to be true.

Before proceeding to Bucha, the outrage of the moment, I must reproduce a quotation from that propaganda-is-O.K. piece The Times published in its March 3 editions. It is from a Twitter user who was distressed that it became public that the Ghost of Kiev turned out to be a ghost and the Snake Island heroes didn’t do much by way of holding the fort.

‘Why can’t we just let people believe some things?’ this thoughtful man or woman wanted to know. What is wrong, in other words, if thinking and believing nice things that aren’t true makes people feel better? (Patrick LawrenceSpecial to Consortium News)

Daniel Boorstin’s The Image: A Guide to Pseudo- Events in America, has been cited by yours truly several times. It is a completely amazing work, sixty years ahead of its time, and it is almost completely ignored!.

boorstin daniel - the image - AbeBooks

I describe the world of our making, how we have used our wealth, our literacy, our technology, and our progress to create the thicket of unreality which stands between us and the facts of life. …. The reporter’s task is to find a way to weave these threads of unreality into a fabric the reader will not recognize as entirely unreal. (Boorstin)

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Military pollution is the skeleton in the West’s climate closet

World leaders gathered in Glasgow last week for the COP26 summit in a bid to demonstrate how they are belatedly getting to grips with the climate crisis. Agreements to protect forests, cut carbon and methane emissions and promote green tech are all being hammered out in front of a watching world.

Western politicians, in particular, want to emerge from the summit with their green credentials burnished, proving that they have done everything in their power to prevent a future global temperature rise of more than 1.5C. They fear the verdict of unhappy electorates if they come back empty-handed.

Climate scientists are already doubtful whether the pledges being made go far enough, or can be implemented fast enough, to make a difference. They have warned that drastic action has to be taken by the end of this decade to avert climate catastrophe.

But the visible activity at the summit hides a much starker reality. The very nations proclaiming moral leadership in tackling the climate crisis are also the ones doing most to sabotage a meaningful agreement to reduce humanity’s global carbon footprint.

A photo from the opening of COP26 showed British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the summit’s host, warmly greeting US President Joe Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. But rather than fete them, we should treat this triumvirate as the big villains of the climate talks.

Their armed forces are the most polluting on the planet – and the goal at COP26 is to keep that fact a closely guarded secret.

Hidden from view

US expenditure on its military far outstrips that of any other country – except for Israel, when measured relative to population size. Although the UK trails behind, it still has the fifth largest military budget in the world, while its arms manufacturers busily supply weapons to countries others have shunned.

The US military alone is estimated to have a larger carbon footprint than most countries. It is widely assumed to be the world’s largest institutional consumer of crude oil.

And emissions from the West’s militaries and arms makers appear to be growing each year rather than shrinking – though no one can be certain because they are being actively hidden from view.

Washington insisted on an exemption from reporting on, and reducing, its military emissions at the Kyoto summit, 24 years ago. Unsurprisingly, everyone else jumped on that bandwagon.

Since the Paris summit of 2015, military emissions have been partially reported. But all too often the figures are disguised – lumped in with emissions from other sectors, such as transport.

And emissions from overseas operations – in the case of the US, 70 percent of its military activity – are excluded from the balance sheet entirely.

Conflicts and wars

Most of Europe has refused to come clean, too. France, with the continent’s most active military, reports none of its emissions.

According to research by Scientists for Global Responsibility, the UK’s military emissions were three times larger than those it reported – even after supply chains, as well as weapons and equipment production, were excluded. The military was responsible for the overwhelming majority of British government emissions.

And new technology, rather than turning the military green, is often making things much worse.

The latest fighter jet developed by the US, the F-35, is reported to burn 5,600 litres of fuel an hour. It would take 1,900 cars to guzzle a similar amount of fuel over the same period.

Norway, like many other countries, has been queuing up to get its hands on this new-generation jet. According to the Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen, the total emissions by the Norwegian military over the next decade will rise by 30 percent as a result of its F-35 purchases alone.

As well as discounting the environmental harm caused by military equipment procurement and supply chains, countries are also excluding the significant impacts of conflicts and wars.

Each year of the US occupation of Iraq that began in 2003, for example, is conservatively estimated to have generated emissions equivalent to putting an additional 25m cars on the road.

Military spending up

Unlike the farming and logging industries, or the manufacturing industries, or the fossil fuel industries, efforts to curb the growth in military spending – let alone reverse it – are off the table at the COP26 summit.

And for that, Washington has to take the major share of the blame.

Its “defence” budget already comprises about 40 percent of the $2tn spent annually on militaries worldwide. China and Russia – ostensibly the two bogeymen of the COP26 summit – lag far behind.

The government of Boris Johnson unveiled last year what it called “the biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War”. Britain is no outlier. After a short-lived “peace dividend” caused by the break-up of the Soviet Union, global military expenditure has been on an almost continuous upward trend since 1998, led by the US.

Paradoxically, the upturn began about the time western politicians began paying lip service to tackling “climate change” at the Kyoto summit.

US military spending has been rising steadily since 2018. It is set to continue doing so for at least another two decades – way past the deadline set by climate scientists for turning things around.

The same global upward trend has been fed by a surge in military expenditure by Middle Eastern countries – notably Saudi Arabia and the UAE – since 2013. That appears to reflect two trends rooted in Washington’s changing approach to the region.

First, as it has withdrawn its overstretched occupation forces from Iraq and Afghanistan, the US has increasingly outsourced its military role to wealthy client states in this oil-rich region.

And second, as Israel and the Gulf states have been encouraged to forge closer military and intelligence ties against Iran, these same Gulf states have been allowed to play military catch-up with Israel. Its famed “qualitative military edge” is being gradually eroded.

Propping up this Middle East arms spree is the UK, which has been exporting to the Saudis, and the US, which heavily subsidises Israel’s military industries.

Power competition

All this means that, while western politicians promise to cut emissions at COP26, they are actually busy preparing to increase those emissions out of view. Ultimately, the problem is that little can be done to green our militaries, either substantively or through a greenwashing makeover. The military’s rationale is neither to be sustainable nor to be kind to the planet.

The arms manufacturers’ business model is to offer clients – from the Pentagon to every tinpot dictator – weapons and machines that are bigger, better or faster than their competitors. Aircraft carriers must be larger. Fighter jets quicker and more agile. And missiles more destructive.

Consumption and competition are at the heart of the military mission, whether armies are waging war or marketing their activities as purely “defensive”.

“Security”, premised on a fear of neighbours and rivals, can never be satiated. There is always another tank, plane or anti-missile system that can be purchased to create greater “deterrence”, to protect borders more effectively, to intimidate an enemy.

And war provides even greater reasons to consume more of the planet’s finite resources and wreak yet more harm on ecosystems. Lives are taken, buildings levelled, territories contaminated.

The UK has 145 military bases in 42 countries, securing what it perceives to be its “national interests”. But that is dwarfed by more than 750 US military bases spread over 80 countries. Shuffling off this energy-hungry power projection around the globe will be much harder than protecting forests or investing in green technology.

The US and its western allies would first have to agree to relinquish their grip on the planet’s energy resources, and to give up policing the globe in the interests of their transnational corporations.

It is precisely this full-spectrum power competition – economic, ideologic and military – that propelled us into the current climate disaster. Tackling it will require looking much deeper into our priorities than any leader at COP26 appears ready to do.

• First published in Middle East Eye

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Hypersonic Panic and Competitive Terror

During his eventful time in office, US President Donald Trump took much delight in reflecting about the lethal toys of his country’s military, actual or hypothetical.  These included a hypersonic capability which, his military advisors had warned, was being mastered by adversaries.  Such devices, comprising hypersonic cruise missiles and hypersonic boost-glide vehicles, have been touted as opening a new arms race, given their ability not merely to travel at five times the speed of sound – as a general rule – but also show deft manoeuvrability to evade defences.

Undeterred by any rival capability, Trump claimed in May 2020 that the US military had come up with a  “super duper” weapon that could travel at 17 times the speed of sound. “We are building, right now, incredible military equipment at a level that nobody has ever seen before.”  Ever adolescent in poking fun at his rivals, Trump also claimed that the missile dwarfed Russian and Chinese equivalents.  Russia, he claimed, had one travelling at five times the speed of sound; China was working on a device that could move at the same speed, if not at six times.  Pentagon officials were not exactly forthcoming about the details, leaving the fantasists to speculate.

In 2019, Russia deployed its own intercontinental hypersonic missile, the Avangard strategic system, featuring a hypersonic glide vehicle astride an intercontinental ballistic missile. “It’s a weapon of the future, capable of penetrating both existing and prospective missile defence systems,” claimed Russian President Vladimir Putin at the time.  The President claimed to have reason to crow.  “Today, we have a unique situation in our new and recent history.  They (other countries) are trying to catch up with us. Not a single country possesses hypersonic weapons, let alone continental-range hypersonic weapons.”

For all of this claimed prowess, nothing quite creased the brows of Pentagon officials quite as China’s July 27 hypersonic missile test.  General Mark  Milley, chairman of the Joint of Chief of Staff, said in a Bloomberg interview this October that it was “a very significant event” and was “very concerning”.  The test was first reported by the Financial Times on October 16, which also noted, without additional detail, a second hypersonic systems test on August 13.

The People’s Liberation Army Rocket Force had already caught the attention of US military planners in the last decade with advances in the field.  The Dongfeng-17 (D-17) hypersonic boost-glide missile, for instance, made its appearance in 2014 and was found to be dismayingly accurate, striking their targets within metres.

The July test, however, was another matter, even if it missed its target by 19 miles and had been described by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian as a “routine test” of space vehicle technology.  It had used, for instance, a variant of the Fractional Orbital Bombardment System, a low-orbit missile delivery method pioneered by the Soviets to frustrate detection.  It got the drummers from the military-industrial complex all riled up, despite the US having been actively involved in the development of hypersonic weapons since the early 2000s.  In the imperial mindset, any seemingly successful experiment by the military of another power, notably an adversary, is bound to cause a titter of panic.  Pin pricks can be treated as grave threats, even to a power that outspends the combined military budgets of the next seven states.

When it comes to the perceived advances of Beijing and Moscow, Alexander Fedorov of the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology offers a mild corrective.  Russia had “experience without money, China has money without much experience, and the United States has both, although it revived its efforts later than did Russia or China and is now playing catch-up.”

The US military establishment prefers a gloomier reading, a point they can then sell to Congress that Freedom’s Land is being somehow outpaced by upstarts and usurpers.  George Hayes, chief executive at defence contractor Raytheon, spoke disapprovingly of the US as being a laggard in the hypersonic field, being “years behind” China.  Michael Griffin, former undersecretary of defense for research and engineering, told NPR that “it is an arms race” which “we didn’t start”, thereby providing moral reassurance for future additions to it. Milley was also not averse to inflating the significance of the July test.  “I don’t know if it’s quite a Sputnik moment, but I think it’s very close to that.  It has all of our attention.”

USA Today certainly wished its readers to give it all their attention.  “That method of delivery also means the US could be attacked by flights over the South Pole.  American defense systems concentrate on missile attacks from the north.”

The Biden administration has already requested $3.8 billion for hypersonic research for the Pentagon’s fiscal year 2022 budget.  This is a sharp increase from the previous total of $3.2 billion, which was itself an inflation from the $2.6 billion figure the year before that.  In June, Vice Admiral Jon Hill, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), warned the Senate Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces of current and impending risks, thereby making the case for more cash to be thrown at the enterprise.  As things stood, “US aircraft carriers are already facing risks from hypersonic weapons that are now entering the inventory of American adversaries and the Navy has developed early defences for the threat.”

The prospect of yet another arms race (do they ever learn?) can only cause the sane to be worried.  Zhao Tong, senior fellow with the nuclear policy program of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, notes that such weapons “introduce more technological uncertainties and ambiguities compared with traditional ballistic missiles, which will increase the possibility of misjudgement and overreaction during military conflicts”.  Just the sort of thing a planet troubled by climate change and pandemics needs.

Hypersonic panic is here to stay, and defence contractors are rubbing their hands and hoping to grease a few palms.  Hayes is one of them, expecting that the US would “have weapons to challenge the adversaries but most importantly, I think our focus is how do we develop counter-hypersonics.  That’s where the challenge will be.”  The National Review is in full agreement, encouraging the US to “deploy missile-defense interceptors in Australia and more sensors in space, as well as work toward directed-energy weapons that would be the best counter to hypersonic missiles.”  Yet another competitive front for military lunacy is in the offing, even before it has begun.

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Unwise to Expect Anything Substantial from Biden-Putin Meeting This Week

This Wednesday, the United States president Joe Biden will meet Russian president Vladimir Putin in Geneva in the first meeting of the two since Biden came to power in January 2021. It would be unwise to expect too much from this meeting. There are a number of reasons for advancing this view.

The first of these reasons relates to American motives for the meeting. It is clear that the Americans have decided that the greatest threat to their position in the world comes from the Chinese. Their policy is plainly to try and isolate the Chinese. In this endeavour they are employing a number of tactics. One of these tactics is to negatively portray Chinese behaviour. Hence the constant use of pejorative terms such as “aggressive” or “one-sided” in their attempts to negatively portray Chinese interaction with its neighbours and international trading partners. That this tactic is blatantly obvious, not to mention untrue, has not deterred Americans from its relentless pursuit.

A second tactic is to try and set up an alternative system of international trade to compete with China’s Belt and Road Initiative. This is laughable. The BRI has already signed up more than 140 nations, including 12 members of the European Union. Australia is one of the few nations that have bought into the American propaganda about the BRI. Partial evidence for this is the treatment of the State of Victoria which signed memorandum of understanding with China.

This was bitterly opposed by the Morrison government, although it is impossible to find a rational basis for their opposition. A number of Australia’s neighbours, including New Zealand, have signed into the BRI and there is no evidence that they see themselves as victims of some Chinese plot to subvert their economies.

A third reason the talks will be unlikely to achieve anything of substance is history. The Americans have not ceased their economic and political warfare on Russia. The fact that the United States appears to have withdrawn its opposition to the Russian pipeline to Germany has more to do with a recognition that the Germans see it as essential to their economic well-being than anything else.

The Americans have been prepared to sacrifice the Ukrainians on this point, which is a measure of the importance to United States interest in Europe of keeping the Germans on side. In pursuit of this they are prepared to sacrifice the Ukrainians. This latter fact has come as a rude shock to the Ukrainians who faced the twin humiliation of a visit from United States secretary of state Antony Blinken followed by a blatant refusal by Biden to support Ukrainians when the latter made a telephone call to the White House.

The Americans continue in their demands that Crimea should be returned to Ukraine, which tells one more about the American grasp of geopolitical reality than it does about the likelihood of Crimea ever becoming part of Ukraine again. History is not the least of the reasons why Crimea will remain part of Russia. Australia has bought into the rubbish that Crimea is part of Ukraine. They would do well to remember their own history, including the fact that the Australians fought the Russians in Crimea in the 1850s.

Putin is also well aware of American efforts to destabilise countries on its borders, including a coup attempt last year to overthrow the government of Georgia. This is on top of ongoing destabilisation by the Americans on Russia’s other neighbour Belarus. Biden’s faux friendliness to Russia has not stopped any of these destabilisation efforts.

Part of the problem the Americans have in dealing with Russia is that the upper echelons of power in Washington are appallingly ignorant of Russia. They have fallen into the trap of believing their own propaganda. Their mainstream media is no better. The Russian writer Andrei Martyanov, an American resident and one of the most clearsighted analysts around, is particularly scathing of the quality of United States “analysis” of Russia.

In his latest book, Disintegration, (2021) Martyanov argues that the United States is “non-agreement capable.” Anything that the Americans sign is worthless as they cannot be relied upon to honour that in the longer term. He argues most recently (June 13) that the forthcoming summit between Biden and Putin is primarily for United States domestic consumption and for the benefit of the United States’ vassal states in Europe, designed to prove that “America is back.” Back to what exactly remains an open question.

Another of the real reasons for Biden wanting the summit is the gap that has broken out between Russian and United States weaponry. The United States is currently about 10 years behind the Russians in military technology and Biden is desperate to pin the Russians into some form of treaty that could limit the effects of this devastating gap. Russian weaponry such as the 3M 22 Zircon and the 3M 14 Khalibr are overwhelmingly superior to anything the Americans have. Putin is highly unlikely to agree to anything that will lessen the Russian advantage in these areas.

Biden will be making a desperate attempt to peel the Russians away from the effect of their alliance with China. His motives are obvious. The Americans want to be left with a clear field to refine and expand their attack upon China. That attack could quickly degenerate into a real shooting match given the constant provocation in the South China Sea that the United States (with their British and Australian allies) are constantly engaging in.

The Russia – China allegiance is now 20 years old and has never been stronger. American ambitions about luring the Russians away from the Chinese embrace are doomed to failure.

In short, it would be extremely unwise to expect any achievements from the Biden – Putin summit this week. There will be polite noises and many smiles, but the odds against a serious achievement run into the brick wall of the United States’ profound belief in its mission as “leaders of the free world.” As long as they maintain that delusion the chances of a serious degree of agreement are practically zero.

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Try as You May to Deny, but Evil is in Our DNA

What’s gotten in the way of education in the United States is a theory of social engineering that says there is ONE RIGHT WAY to proceed with growing up.
― John Taylor Gatto, Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

Exploring Coffee's Past To Rescue Its Future : The Salt : NPR

We used to research the cup of coffee. School. Mostly community colleges, but at two universities — UT-El Paso and Gonzaga. A lot of evening classes I taught. Even on military compounds, and in prisons, and in the bowels of twin plants in Juarez.

In the old days, sleeves rolled up, adults and young people in classrooms, computers, paper and white boards at our ready, would get comfortable and uncomfortable. It was not an easy class, those Composition 101 and 102 mandatory (sometimes ONLY) writing classes for college students (I am so for mandatory 12 classes on writing, thinking, media, rhetoric, propaganda, etc.). Food and drinks, music during essay writing, and face to face consternation and confrontation. Cooperation.

That cup of coffee from the earliest look at where that bean came from originally intrigued the students. Who would have known (we talked about the Colombian exchange, the Doctrine of Discovery, food, animals, other things that came to the Imperialists). Think of the spice islands on steroids:

The original domesticated coffee plant is said to have been from Harar, and the native population is thought to be derived from Ethiopia with distinct nearby populations in Sudan and Kenya. Coffee was primarily consumed in the Islamic world where it originated and was directly related to religious practices.

Fun stuff, this sort of research and writing, and deep dive. We turned these assignments into poetry, poster illustrations, research papers on the diseases of coffee, on the power of coffee like so many thousands of other foods and products, crossing oceans. Many a product of empire and racism, and the coffee paper also turned into “Is There Slavery in Your Chocolate?” essays.

In recent years, a handful of organizations and journalists have exposed the widespread use of child labor, and in some cases slavery, on cocoa farms in Western Africa. Since then, the industry has become increasingly secretive, making it difficult for reporters to not only access farms where human rights violations still occur, but to then disseminate this information to the public. In 2004, the Ivorian First Lady’s entourage allegedly kidnapped and killed a journalist reporting on government corruption in its profitable cocoa industry. In 2010, Ivorian government authorities detained three newspaper journalists after they published an article exposing government corruption in the cocoa sector. The farms of Western Africa supply cocoa to international giants such as Hershey’s, Mars, and Nestlé—revealing the industry’s direct connection to the worst forms of child labor, human trafficking, and slavery. (Source)

Hear no Evil, See no Evil, Speak no Evil by Gavin Mayhew
Your Chocolate Pleasure Supports Child Slavery - YouTube

So much has happened since I first hit the streets as a newspaper journalist in 1977, and so much has changed since I started teaching college classes in research writing and writing and journalism (1983). The “see, speak, hear no evil” paradigm is the destiny of capitalists. It is the way of who we are every waking nanosecond of our lives. Boycott Divest Sanction my ass. This is where I also pretzel myself into contradiction after contradiction. I should be on an island, or just on 20 acres I have near Mount Adams. Eating mushrooms and stitching moss and bark clothing.

Do ostriches really bury their head in the sand? - BBC Science Focus  Magazine

Capitalism is the cancer, virus, prion, the tapeworm, the carrot and the stick. It is the blood sucker of all concepts. Slavery is Capitalism. We talked about this, in so many ways, not always me railing overtly with my anti-Capitalist thesis. I would bring to class small business owners, restaurant owners, ex-military, nonprofit directors, friends who were homeless, living in garages, artists, and dissidents of many kinds. Another thing that is DEAD in the water.

Now, you have to get people vetted and approved to come to a classroom. This is the sickness of our lefty culture. The rightwing has already played this card, too. “Why the hell are you bringing a person from Planned Parenthood to your class? Illegal. Stop. I’m calling the president.”

U.S. Coffee Facts Infographic by Kellen Lester, via Behance This infographic touches coffee consumption stat… | Coffee facts, Coffee facts infographic, Coffee uses

That coffee, now, looking at a cup, the ecological footprint, the energy used to get a cup of coffee to say, my Spokane students. Because Spokane loves its coffee. The amount of water used to grow a cup of coffee. We’d look at the coffee in Central America, or Colombia. Where that plant is grown. What was bulldozed to bring that plantation there. Who works the finca? Which indigenous group of non-Spanish speakers in Guatemala work these plantation, tends the bushes, picks and dries the cherries. Species lost, pesticides used. Water diverted. And, food crops denied.

Again, young and older adults, blown away in my classes, since I was teaching them to look deeper at any number of topics, and develop critical thinking and discourse skills, in whatever watered down version I’d get with many students who were coming to college ill-prepared to really write “essays.” Variations on a theme. Just the cup of liquid, first grown and processed in poor countries, takes about 38 gallons of water to grow.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is It-takes-37-gallons-of-water-to-produce-one-cup-of-coffee.jpg

We’d try and research more and more on the life-cycle of a ceramic cup or Starbucks thermos, and the life cycle and life span of a coffee maker. Embedded energy, waste, mining, slave warehouses, metals, all that fossil fuel to move those metals, cook them, mill them, ship them around the world. Sure, we could look at at sack of dried but not roasted coffee cherries coming from the Guatemala Highlands, and then where it gets shipped by boat, and then moved by truck, and then the actual cleaning and roasting of the coffee. Packaging, and then, that journey is crossing back and forth, over land, in the air, over seas.

The assignment blows many students’ minds, as it should. In the classroom, and I’d bring in a coffee person, with coffee and snacks, and she’d talk about farms in Mexico and Africa she’s visited. Talk about the flavor, the various types of coffees.

We’d look at Fair Trade, Beyond Fair Trade, Shade Grown and the like. Socially responsible coffee. I’d talk about how Vietnam — where I had gone and worked — was cutting more and more forests down to grow coffee. Coffee pests and diseases, and soil enhancements with fertilizers. The entire life cycle analysis of as many things we could extract from the coffee history and production, well, it blows students’ minds, and it only works in person. Don’t fool yourself with the fucking mouse, keyboard and Zoom camera/mic.

We need to talk about the environmental and human and ecological costs of plantation, mountain-razing coffee:

2.2 A Bitter Brew- Coffee Production, Deforestation, Soil Erosion and Water Contamination | Environmental Biology

This pathetic Zoom and remote learning (sic) formula is the deadening of the brain. Recall, Americans already have three quarters of their brains (or more) colonized by lies, propaganda, hate, myth, plain stupidity, largely from terrible K12 (prison with smiling teachers) and all the marketing, and a government whose job is to fleece the masses for the company men, and fleecing includes culling thinking and deep analysis.

All this work, for coffee? Nope, because the students then do some of their own research on any manner of things. Cause and effect, solutions, pro-con, classification, expository, digital rhetoric, and deeper position papers. Research, and while we share sources and do all sorts of things at home, in groups, the big thing is getting the classroom energized, talking, arguing. Debate every minute. We even meet out of class in a, well, coffee shop, and coffee roaster.

Thinking about origins and perspectives. This is a full-time job as an instructor, in the class with all sorts of human beings there taking in and reacting to the work, the talks, the learning and the discourse. This Zoom shit is the death of humanity as I knew it. Radical Pedagogy, 2003 article!

Why Online Education Can Never Replace the Real Thing 1

Always with food, something in the class, mostly evening classes.

In 1960, the University of Missouri published a short “Guide for Television Teachers.” Across the country, over 100 different colleges offered nearly 500 televised courses to a half a million students. So professors needed pointers about the best way to teach in this burgeoning new medium.

“Relax,” the Missouri guide underlined. “Try to be yourself.” Male professors should wear “conservative” ties, the guide added, while women should avoid necklines or hemlines that might “cause discomfort or embarrassment” if they leaned over a counter or sat in a low chair. Once they were properly attired, they could loosen up and let their real character shine through. “Remember that the TV camera projects your natural personality best,” the guide urged, “and the more relaxed and natural that you are, the better you will reach your viewers.”

Slavery: The Original Bitter In Your Chocolate | Chocolate Class

Who are these children forced to work the cocoa plantations of the Ivory Coast?

Ask more of your chocolate – Alter Eco

Shit, those were the days. And here I am, suffering at age 64. I am feeling the burn, the beat-down burn, of more and more people around me stupid, mean, see-speak-hear not evil when it comes to this fucked up Empire, This War Machine. Those were the good old days? Is that my new mindset and refrain?

See no evil, Hear no evil, Speak no evil by Simulacrumble on DeviantArt

It is the contradiction to be an American totally — North American, Canadian or citizen of the USA. Every waking and sleeping minute we are covering the world in blood, exploitation, penury, death. Pain and misery is the way of the land. The hollow media, the celebrities in music and film, oh even more viral than the politicians. They are the elite, or the elite’s house boys or house girls.

“So what can we do but go with the flow? Just let it go. They have all the power, so just live your life as best you can. It’s not that bad. If we don’t bomb the world, steal the minerals, colonize space with weapons, then someone else will. What about China, Russia? I want a family, a job, and just a chance to live on weekends and kayak and smell the moose dung.”

I am down — really depressed — because of what that cup of coffee assignment represents: I am old. I am no good as a teacher because it is a digital and PC and cancel culture study body. I am down because most of the people I would have worked with years ago on political issues, as artists, well, they are either dead, or brains deadened by the struggle and the losing. I am depressed because that cup of coffee assignment is not lauded. The entire Western Civilization or Western Culture is in various forms of mental illness. That illness grouping includes a million wrong ways to medicate or mediate the illnesses of the minds.

Mental health: 'Spike in self-harm, suicide ideation amid Covid-19  pandemic' - Times of India

I am not that, but I am alone, it seems. Now, the coffee, and where it comes from. Do I invest in Folgers Coffee (a division of J.M Smucker Company)? This is what’s depressing me now — my spouse and I are moving some money saved into some investments. Now I have to decide how to put some of it away, or as they say, to invest it. Because there are no interest rates, the average person can’t go to a state bank or any institution and put money into a municipal bond to do some good for society and make a few percentage points above zero. What’s wrong with 4 percent or 5 percent interest? That is the crime, zero or negative interest rates. Criminal. Imagine, there is not one thing on planet Earth, planet Wall Street, planet Retirement Fund which is not heavily tainted with DDDD: death, disease, destruction and destitution. We have been relooking at Socially Responsible Mutual Funds, or ESG’s, and the picture was never pretty:

ESG Ratings: How can a business' environmental and social impact be measured?

Oh, you can say, “Broker, find me a fund that isn’t into war, weapons, mining, prisons, guns, germs, exploitation, banks, insurance companies.” It is virtually impossible. You might not want Walmart stock in the mutual fund, but then Amazon and Facebook and Kraft Foods might be in it. Microsoft, Boeing. Any amount of honor or commitment to NOT engaging in investing that gives money to the murderers, the exploiters, the ocean-soil-jungle-forest-wetland-river killers, it is all lost because they all are wrapped up into one big fat thievery corporation — BlackRock and Blackstone and the top 100 banks, hedge funds, and so many other “if-you-can-make-6-or-12-percent-on-yearly-return” investment products are so embedded in the master slavers in Fortune 1000 circles, and even within the 10,000 largest corporations.

Housing Is A Human Right Stephen Schwarzman Proposition 21 Blackstone

[Modern-Day Robber Baron: The Sins of Blackstone CEO Stephen Schwarzman]

The system is rigged for brokers to use brokerage houses, big ones, and those fees — buy, sell, trade, manage — more money and profits made for NOT producing one potato or bicycle. Yet, MBAs and the others in this crew believe that they don’t want their precious children to work the slave fields of Ivory Coast, or to be soccer ball stitchers, or to be at the wrong end of a toxic waste discharge hose. But invest in Hershey’s, or Nike, or Smithfield, well, out of sight, out of mind. Yep, they would not want their precious families bombed with the amazing number of components tied to an amazing number of businesses wrapped up in one missile. Screws, wires, capacitors, metal shrouding, telemetry, paint, seals, nuts and bolts, precision metal parts, tubes and coils and electronic guidance systems and batteries and, well, you get the picture. But goddamn, you can make bank on investing in defense (sic) companies because there is an endless demand by governments to have that shit in stock. We the taxpayer pay for those Hellfire’s:

Lockheed Martin, Boeing (previous second source), and Northrop Grumman (seeker only for AGM-114L Longbow Hellfire) Unit cost US$150,000 (FY 2021)!

The Military-Industrial Complex | Hoover Institution

It’s much more than just those three companies making bank for these missiles. There is an entire contingent (armies) of companies and service economies tied to this murder weapon:

AGM-114 Hellfire II Missile, United States of America

Pretty simple looking murder weapon: those companies making tons of money, and the death makes more money for them, in resupplying.

3d hellfire ii missle missile model

In the past, I have studied mutual funds I have invested in, to squirrel away some savings, and the picture is pretty ugly. There are no SRI’s that are nothing more than just market washing. Socially Responsible Investing, NOT:

21 Best Mutual Funds for Investment in 2021-22

Top Holdings — Axis Bluechip

Company Sector P/E 3Y High 3Y Low % Assets
up Infosys Technology 29.50 10.06 1.48 9.36
equal Bajaj Finance Financial 76.34 10.38 4.36 8.98
up HDFC Bank Financial 24.82 10.94 6.06 8.97
up Tata Consultancy Services Technology 34.90 9.05 2.30 7.32
up Kotak Mahindra Bank Financial 33.90 9.46 4.74 7.12
up ICICI Bank Financial 23.28 8.05 0.00 7.07
up Avenue Supermarts Services 178.26 7.41 2.45 5.55
equal HDFC Financial 23.54 6.82 1.28 5.01
up Reliance Industries Energy 27.33 8.33 0.89 4.30
up Divi’s Laboratories Healthcare 57.37 3.15 0.00 3.15
equal Hindustan Unilever FMCG 68.89 5.27 1.49 2.58
up Ultratech Cement Construction 34.72 2.36 0.00 2.24
up Asian Paints Chemicals 85.41 4.24 1.32 2.17
equal Nestle India FMCG 77.15 4.59 0.00 2.14
up Motherson Sumi Systems Automobile 147.57 2.08 0.00 2.08
down Maruti Suzuki India Automobile 46.37 5.83 0.00 1.89
equal Pidilite Industries Chemicals 86.93 2.55 0.60 1.82
up Bharti Airtel Communication 5.50 0.00 1.79
equal Cipla Healthcare 31.01 2.36 0.00 1.62
up Wipro Technology 25.80 1.83 0.00 1.55
down Shree Cement Construction 49.08 1.59 0.00 1.32
new Tata Steel Metals 17.76 1.21 0.00 1.21
equal Titan Company Cons Durable 139.72 3.45 0.78 0.98
equal Dr. Reddy’s Lab Healthcare 44.62 3.21 0.00 0.94
equal HDFC Life Insurance Financial 99.18 1.82 0.00 0.89

This is the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Fund holdings, in general:

The Gates Foundation's Hypocritical Investments – Mother Jones

Top Warren Buffett Stocks By Size

Here are the top 10 Warren Buffett stocks by number of shares, as of March 31:

  • Bank of America (BAC), 1.01 billion
  • Apple (AAPL), 887.1 million
  • Coca-Cola (KO), 400 million
  • Kraft Heinz (KHC), 325.6 million
  • Verizon (VZ), 158.8 million
  • American Express (AXP), 151.6 million
  • U.S. Bancorp (USB), 129.7 million
  • Bank of New York Mellon (BK), 72.4 million
  • General Motors (GM), 67 million
  • Kroger (KR), 51.1 million

Look at what Warren Buffett owns as part of Berkshire Hathaway. Products — Diversified investments, property and casualty insurance, Utilities, Restaurants, Food processing, Aerospace, Media, Toys, Automotive, Sporting goods, Consumer products, Internet, Real estate, Railroad

How Does the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Invest Its Money?

So the average Joe and Jane, if they get a mutual fund or two for some long-term investment, this is the reality — you might be a social justice warrior, an anti-racist campaigner, an anti-war proponent, an environmentalist, community crusader, a socialist, an anti-capitalist, but if you stick your toe just a bit into the pond for minimal investments, just to protect a few thousand dollars here and there, this is what you get — money into the pockets of madmen: school to prison pipeline experts, war lords, surveillance capitalists, drug pushers, bad loan chieftains, medical fraudsters, real estate thugs, polluters, mountaintop removers, river toxifiers, land thieves, propaganda priests.

I am so serious about this now — where does the money go, and which company is being supported by stockholders shoveling money into their companies? Look at the union busters, at the price gougers, at the political lobbying arms, all these giant corporations and their networks of bunkos!

You can turn blue in the face decrying Monsanto (Bayer) for its pesticide poisons or Exxon for climate change propaganda or Sackler/Purdue Pharmacy for opioid addictions, but if you have a mutual fund, there is a chance that somehow those companies are entwined somewhere in the formula of a “strong mutual fund.”

The corporate giants are also demanding that Congress allow the repatriation of about $2.5 trillion stashed abroad without paying more than 5% tax. They say the money would be used to grow the economy and create jobs. Last time CEOs promised this result in 2004, Congress approved, and then was double-crossed. The companies spent the bulk on stock buybacks, their own pay raises and some dividend increases.

There are more shenanigans. With low interest rates that are deductible, companies actually borrow money to finance their stock buybacks. If the stock market tanks, these companies will have a self-created debt load to handle. A former Citigroup executive, Richard Parsons, has expressed worry about a “massively manipulated” stock market which “scares the crap” out of him.

Banks that pay you near zero interest on your savings announced on June 28, 2017 the biggest single buyback in history – a $92.8 billion extraction. Drug companies who say their sky-high drug prices are needed to fund R&D. But between 2006 and 2017, 18 drug company CEOs spent a combined staggering $516 billion on buybacks and dividends – more than their inflated claims of spending for R&D. — Nader

We all are sinners in capitalism — just paying our tax bill: death and destruction raining down on Palestinians, for example:

“Seven deadly sins: Wealth without work, Pleasure without conscience, Science without humanity, Knowledge without character, Politics without principle, Commerce without morality, Worship without sacrifice.” – Mahatma Gandhi

America's Last Snake-handling Cults

Oh, we all think we have found the formula for living in this insane and murderous country. Oh, we have to put nose to the grindstone. Follow the leaders. Get the jab. Do as you are told. You home is not your castle. There are no 40 acres and a mule. No handouts. Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps. Pinch your nose, cover your eyes, plug your ears, muffle your mouth!

What is capitalism for dummies, currency rate of exchange in mexico

So, you end up throwing in the towel — no purity test, no selective boycotting of this or that product or service. No true anti-Imperialist leaning, when tax filing time comes. Nothing free in this un-Democratic land of thieves, murderers and thugs. Almost every step you take in America is full of landmines, cow pies, toxic puddles and electrified fences. The horizon is one theater of the absurd after another. The amount of nonsense and self-congratulatory verbiage from all manner of people who think they are enlightened or vaunted or above the dirty, scab-sucking, ripoff fray of capitalism, well, that is the self-delusion, the big lie.

You have a military industrial complex : LateStageCapitalism

So, the role of k12, and of higher education? One of the key foundations for a society — good education, robust, and deep learning, deep thinking, and systems thinking growing. Under capitalism and consumerism and conformist ideology that is US of Amnesia, there are so many broken things about face to face education, and I have written tons on this. Taking it to Zoom, to televised classes, remote learning, well, all the bad gets funneled into this new normal-abnormal.

In addition to education, colleges and universities provide indoctrination in the values and shared beliefs that our society deems important. These commonly shared values and tenets must be instilled, importantly beginning in grade school and before (the Jesuit boast, variously stated, is “Give me the first seven years and you can have all the rest”), and continued and reinforced through high school and college.

It is at the university where young men and women of indoctrinated conviction are most typically apt and able to respond to what is going on in the world around them, perhaps even take to the streets. Indoctrination can be overt or subtle. — George Heitmann

Allentown's Muhlenberg College allowed a limited number of students to live on campus this fall semester.

The post Try as You May to Deny, but Evil is in Our DNA first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Nuclear Weapons Blazing: Britain Enters the US-China Fray

Boris Johnson’s March 16 speech before the British Parliament was reminiscent, at least in tone, to that of Chinese President Xi Jinping in October 2019, on the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Republic of China.

The comparison is quite apt if we remember the long-anticipated shift in Britain’s foreign policy and Johnson’s conservative government’s pressing need to chart a new global course in search for new allies – and new enemies.

Xi’s words in 2019 signaled a new era in Chinese foreign policy, where Beijing hoped to send a message to its allies and enemies that the rules of the game were finally changing in its favor, and that China’s economic miracle – launched under the leadership of Deng Xiaoping in 1992 – would no longer be confined to the realm of wealth accumulation, but would exceed this to politics and military strength, as well.

In China’s case, Xi’s declarations were not a shift per se, but rather a rational progression. However, in the case of Britain, the process, though ultimately rational, is hardly straightforward. After officially leaving the European Union in January 2020, Britain was expected to articulate a new national agenda. This articulation, however, was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the multiple crises it generated.

Several scenarios, regarding the nature of Britain’s new agenda, were plausible:

One, that Britain maintains a degree of political proximity to the EU, thus avoiding more negative repercussions of Brexit;

Two, for Britain to return to its former alliance with the US, begun in earnest in the post-World War II era and the formation of NATO and reaching its zenith in the run up to the Iraq invasion in 2003;

Finally, for Britain to play the role of the mediator, standing at an equal distance among all parties, so that it may reap the benefits of its unique position as a strong country with a massive global network.

A government’s report, “Global Britain in a Competitive Age”, released on March 16, and Johnson’s  subsequent speech, indicate that Britain has chosen the second option.

The report clearly prioritizes the British-American alliance above all others, stating that “The United States will remain the UK’s most important strategic ally and partner”, and underscoring Britain’s need to place greater focus on the ‘Indo-Pacific’ region, calling it “the centre of intensifying geopolitical competition”.

Therefore, unsurprisingly, Britain is now set to dispatch a military carrier to the South China Sea, and is preparing to expand its nuclear arsenal from 180 to 260 warheads, in obvious violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The latter move can be directly attributed to Britain’s new political realignment which roughly follows the maxim of ‘the enemy of my friend is my enemy’.

The government’s report places particular emphasis on China, warning against its increased “international assertiveness” and “growing importance in the Indo-Pacific”. Furthermore, it calls for greater investment in enhancing “China-facing capabilities” and responding to “the systematic challenge” that China “poses to our security”.

How additional nuclear warheads will allow Britain to achieve its above objectives remains uncertain. Compared with Russia and the US, Britain’s nuclear arsenal, although duly destructive, is negligible in terms of its overall size. However, as history has taught us, nuclear weapons are rarely manufactured to be used in war – with the single exception of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The number of nuclear warheads and the precise position of their operational deployment are usually meant to send a message, not merely that of strength or resolve, but also to delineate where a specific country stands in terms of its alliances.

The US-Soviet Cold War, for example, was expressed largely through a relentless arms race, with nuclear weapons playing a central role in that polarizing conflict, which divided the world into two major ideological-political camps.

Now that China is likely to claim the superpower status enjoyed by the Soviets until the early 1990s, a new Great Game and Cold War can be felt, not only in the Asia Pacific region, but as far away as Africa and South America. While Europe continues to hedge its bets in this new global conflict – reassured by the size of its members’ collective economies – Britain, thanks to Brexit, no longer has that leverage. No longer an EU member, Britain is now keen to protect its global interests through a direct commitment to US interests. Now that China has been designated as America’s new enemy, Britain must play along.

While much media coverage has been dedicated to the expansion of Britain’s nuclear arsenal, little attention has been paid to the fact that the British move is a mere step in a larger political scheme, which ultimately aims at executing a British tilt to Asia, similar to the US ‘pivot to Asia’, declared by the Barack Obama Administration nearly a decade ago.

The British foreign policy shift is an unprecedented gamble for London, as the nature of the new Cold War is fundamentally different from the previous one; this time around, the ‘West’ is divided, torn by politics and crises, while NATO is no longer the superpower it once was.

Now that Britain has made its position clear, the ball is in the Chinese court, and the new Great Game is, indeed, afoot.

The post Nuclear Weapons Blazing: Britain Enters the US-China Fray first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Let Them Eat Weapons: Trump’s Bizarre Arms Race

In late May of this year, President Donald Trump’s special envoy for arms control bragged before a Washington think tank that the U.S. government was prepared to outspend Russia and China to win a new nuclear arms race.  “The president has made clear that we have a tried and true practice here,” he remarked.  “We know how to win these races and we know how to spend the adversary into oblivion.”

This comment was not out of line for a Trump administration official.  Indeed, back in December 2016, shortly after his election, Trump himself proclaimed that the United States would “greatly strengthen and expand” the U.S. government’s nuclear weapons program, adding provocatively:  “Let it be an arms race.  We will outmatch them at every pass and outlast them all.”  In a fresh challenge to Russia and China, delivered in October 2018, Trump again extolled his decision to win the nuclear arms race, explaining: “We have more money than anybody else, by far.”

And, in fact, the Trump administration has followed through on its promise to pour American tax dollars into the arms race through a vast expansion of the U.S. military budget.  In 2019 alone (the last year for which worldwide spending figures are available), federal spending on the U.S. military soared to $732 billion.  (Other military analysts, who included military-related spending, put the figure at $1.25 trillion.)  As a result, the United States, with about 4 percent of the world’s population, accounted for 38 percent of world military spending.  Although it’s certainly true that other nations engaged in military buildups as well, China accounted for only 14 percent of global military spending that year, while Russia accounted for only 3 percent.  Indeed, the United States spent more on its military than the next 10 countries combined.

The vast military superiority enjoyed by the United States, however, was not nearly enough for the Trump administration.  In February 2020, the administration introduced a 2021 fiscal year budget proposal that would devote 55 percent of the federal government’s $1.3 trillion discretionary spending to the military.  By 2030, the military proportion of the federal budget would rise to 62 percent.

Today, about four months later, this top priority for military spending might strike many Americans as bizarre.  After all, a disease pandemic continues to plague the nation (with over 110,000 deaths thus far), a large portion of the economy has collapsed, unemployment has reached the catastrophic levels of the Great Depression, and American cities are torn by strife.  Wouldn’t this be an appropriate time to focus America’s financial resources on public healthcare, educational opportunity, decent housing, and a major jobs program―or, in the words of the U.S. constitution, to “promote the general welfare“?  But Republican officials argue that these and other public assistance measures are “too expensive.”

What are not “too expensive” are the administration’s big ticket weapons programs, which, even by military standards, are of dubious value.  Not surprisingly, Trump continued pouring money into purchasing Lockheed Martin’s F-35 combat aircraft, which, though an operational disaster, had cost U.S. taxpayers $1.4 trillion by 2017.  Another pet project, quickly embraced by Trump, was the newest and costliest U.S. aircraft carrier, delivered with fanfare to the Navy in late May 2017 for $13 billion.  Its only problem was that it had difficulty launching planes from its deck and facilitating their landing.  Yet another very expensive military project is U.S. missile defense.  Originally derided as “Star Wars” when Ronald Reagan began promoting it in the 1980s, it has become an obsession with Republicans, who have managed to secure more than $250 billion in U.S. government funding for it thus far.  Nevertheless, it continues to fail most of its tests against intercontinental ballistic missiles, despite the fact that these tests are heavily scripted.

One of the most cutting-edged of the U.S. government’s current military weapons projects is the hypersonic missile.  Capable of travelling five times faster than the speed of sound (3,800 mph), hypersonic missiles with nuclear warheads are immensely appealing to the military establishments of Russia, China, and the United States.  In this case, too, however, there is a serious problem:  Given the missile’s incredible speed, it produces immense heat while traveling through the atmosphere, thus diverting or destroying it before it reaches its target.  Even so, this weapons project should produce yet another bonanza for Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms manufacturer, which has already received $3.5 billion for preliminary work on it.

Of course, the Trump administration has not forgotten about an array of its high tech weapons that do work.  America’s 5,800 nuclear weapons, capable of being launched from land, sea, and air, provide staggering firepower―more than enough to destroy most life on earth.  The current nuclear arsenal, however, is viewed as insufficient by the Trump administration, which is engaged in a vast “modernization” program to rebuild the entire nuclear weapons complex, including new production facilities, warheads, bombs, and delivery systems.  The price tag for this enormous nuclear buildup, which will occur over the next three decades, has been estimated as at least $1.5 trillion.

Against a backdrop of economic and social collapse, plus potential global destruction, the obvious thing to do is to pull out of this immensely costly and bizarre arms race and, instead, foster arms control and disarmament agreements with other nations.  But Trump seems determined to cast off whatever progress in this direction his predecessors have made, scrapping the INF Treaty, withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement, terminating the New START Treaty, and scuttling the Open Skies Treaty.  For a variety of reasons—rewarding giant corporationsgetting reelected, and dominating the world―Trump remains fixated on “winning” the arms race.

When it comes to increasingly desperate Americans, their lives and livelihoods spiraling downward, his message seems to be:  Let them eat weapons!