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5 questions for Peter Lavelle: Why everything you think you know about Russia is wrong (Part 1)

Russia functions as a cultivated pathology in the western mind. The west only has a lexicon of sins committed by others.

Peter Lavelle

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Question: There are so many myths about Russia in western mainstream media. Where do you start?

Answer: It is very important to understand how Russia is presented in the west’s media. Overwhelmingly, Russia functions as everything negative the west refuses to see in itself. Russia is the negative reflection of the west’s self-invented identity. Just about everything Russia and its president Vladimir Putin is accused of by the west, particularly the United States it itself is guilty of. Russia functions as a cultivated pathology in the western mind. Thus, Russia is not really a place and Putin is not really a person, both are constructs affirming the west’s sense of superiority and legitimizing its discursive hegemony. This pathology denies interrogation. Doing so would create doubt and doubt in turn would caste doubt on the west’s ontology about itself.

Q.: That is very theoretical! Let’s unpack some of this. For example, you say the west accuses Russia of things that itself is guilty of. Please expand on this.

A.: The most obvious example is the claim Russia wants to rebuild its lost empire. Western politicians repeat this over and over again and the media mindlessly echoes this message. However, where is the evidence backing this claim? After Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered his military to attack South Ossetia in August 2008 did Russia invade Georgia and occupy the country? Of course it didn’t, though that could have easily been done. After the illegal and western-inspired regime change in Kiev in March 2014 did Russia invade Ukraine? Though it could have against little military resistance. The people of the Donbas and Crimea escaped from Kiev control. There is no evidence Russia forced these events to occur. What is true is that Russia reacted to events set into motion by the west. That is not empire building, that is counter-acting western aggression and projection of instability. On the other hand, the west led by Washington invades foreign countries, violates international law, commits extraordinary of terrorism and creates failed states. The west only has a lexicon of sins committed by others.

 Q.: A favorite western theme leveled against Russia is its so-called information war against the west. I am sure you agree there is an information war. There are those who claim Russia is winning this war and that the west must up its game. What’s your take?

A.: The west sees this information war as a counter-offensive to what it describes as Russia’s propaganda assault on the west. This characterization obfuscates what is really happening. I said earlier Russia functions as a cultivated pathology in the western mind. What the west fears is not propaganda; it is terrified of any political and historical narrative it cannot construct, control, and propagate. RT – where I work – presents a counter narrative (and so does The Duran) to the west’s self-serving, sloppy and transparently stupid script written by Washington’s thinktankistan and repeated by its pliant corporate media. When this is challenged it is called propaganda. And let’s face it – protecting and furthering the west’s hegemonic narrative employs a lot of people – entire careers are built and sustained to ensure the public sphere is closed and polluted by the west’s own myths about itself.

Q.: Another favorite trope about Russia is that is it a revisionist power that refuses to accept the political outcome of the Cold War. How do you describe Russia’s foreign policy?

A.: The Cold War was not ended in the right way. The consensus narrative pushed by the west is patently incorrect. The Soviet Union was not defeated by the west. The Soviet Union exited that conflict of its own accord, foolishly believing the west’s kind words and intentions. The hubris that captured the western mind would later lead to numerous senseless wars. The American Empire became careless and lazy. The American military and its NATO supplicants are unable to win wars (and these are wars of choice!). Forced and attempt forced regime changes have led to disasters on a horrific scale. Russia (and China) has watched these events unfold with a great sense of anxiety. The foundations of the world order established after the Second World War now lay in tatters. It is no wonder Russia seeks to see the European security architecture re-cast. It is no wonder former friends and allies in the Middle East want to see Russia return to the region. It is no wonder more and more countries want to see the American hegemon restrained. Again this is Russia reacting to events and not the creator of political realities on the ground. It is the U.S. and its allies who are the reactionary powers of today.

Q.: Western baiting of Russia is not just focused on geopolitical issues. The western narrative deems Russia and Russians wonting when compared to the west. There is a build-in sense of moral superiority. How do you react to this?    

A.: This is where and when the west’s self-righteous and hypocritical sense of political correctness shows itself to be totally bankrupt. Russian society is intensely conservative, self-consciously so and proudly embraced. Russians see cultural collapse in the west and they don’t want this to happen to them. The west claims it is morally and culturally superior – it prides itself on its definitions tolerance. However, there is no tolerance for those who deviate or do not accept these definitions of tolerance. This is the highest form of intolerance. Again the west cannot take a long and serious look at itself – it is too busy projecting all its failing onto to others.    

 Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His view may or may not reflect those of his employer.

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Trump Has Gifted “No More Wars” Policy Position To Bernie Sanders (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 148.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss how US President Donald Tump appears to have ceded his popular 2016 ‘no more wars’ campaign message and policy position to Bernie Sanders and any other US 2020 candidate willing to grad onto a non-interventionist approach to the upcoming Democrat primaries.

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“Is Bernie Stealing Trump’s ‘No More Wars’ Issue?” by Patrick J. Buchanan…


The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016.

“The president has said that he does not want to see this country involved in endless wars… I agree with that,” Bernie Sanders told the Fox News audience at Monday’s town hall meeting in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Then turning and staring straight into the camera, Bernie added:

“Mr. President, tonight you have the opportunity to do something extraordinary: Sign that resolution. Saudi Arabia should not be determining the military or foreign policy of this country.”

Sanders was talking about a War Powers Act resolution that would have ended U.S. involvement in the five-year civil war in Yemen that has created one of the great humanitarian crises of our time, with thousands of dead children amidst an epidemic of cholera and a famine.

Supported by a united Democratic Party on the Hill, and an anti-interventionist faction of the GOP led by Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee of Utah, the War Powers resolution had passed both houses of Congress.

But 24 hours after Sanders urged him to sign it, Trump, heeding the hawks in his Cabinet and National Security Council, vetoed S.J.Res.7, calling it a “dangerous attempt to weaken my constitutional authorities.”

With sufficient Republican votes in both houses to sustain Trump’s veto, that should be the end of the matter.

It is not: Trump may have just ceded the peace issue in 2020 to the Democrats. If Sanders emerges as the nominee, we will have an election with a Democrat running on the “no-more-wars” theme Trump touted in 2016. And Trump will be left defending the bombing of Yemeni rebels and civilians by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Does Trump really want to go into 2020 as a war party president?

Does he want to go into 2020 with Democrats denouncing “Trump’s endless wars” in the Middle East? Because that is where he is headed.

In 2008, John McCain, leading hawk in the Senate, was routed by a left-wing first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama, who had won his nomination by defeating the more hawkish Hillary Clinton, who had voted to authorize the war in Iraq.

In 2012, the Republican nominee Mitt Romney, who was far more hawkish than Obama on Russia, lost.

Yet, in 2016, Trump ran as a different kind of Republican, an opponent of the Iraq War and an anti-interventionist who wanted to get along with Russia’s Vladimir Putin and get out of these Middle East wars.

Looking closely at the front-running candidates for the Democratic nomination of 2020 — Joe Biden, Sanders, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker — not one appears to be as hawkish as Trump has become.

Trump pulled us out of the nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by Secretary of State John Kerry and reimposed severe sanctions.

He declared Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, to which Iran has responded by declaring U.S. Central Command a terrorist organization. Ominously, the IRGC and its trained Shiite militias in Iraq are in close proximity to U.S. troops.

Trump has recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, moved the U.S. Embassy there, closed the consulate that dealt with Palestinian affairs, cut off aid to the Palestinians, recognized Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights seized from Syria in 1967, and gone silent on Bibi Netanyahu’s threat to annex Jewish settlements on the West Bank.

Sanders, however, though he stands by Israel, is supporting a two-state solution and castigating the “right-wing” Netanyahu regime.

Trump has talked of pulling all U.S. troops out of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet the troops are still there.

Though Trump came into office promising to get along with the Russians, he sent Javelin anti-tank missiles to Ukraine and announced a pullout from Ronald Reagan’s 1987 INF treaty that outlawed all land-based intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

When Putin provocatively sent 100 Russian troops to Caracas — ostensibly to repair the S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system that was damaged in recent blackouts — Trump, drawing a red line, ordered the Russians to “get out.”

Biden is expected to announce next week. If the stands he takes on Russia, China, Israel and the Middle East are more hawkish than the rest of the field, he will be challenged by the left wing of his party, and by Sanders, who voted “no” on the Iraq War that Biden supported.

The center of gravity of U.S. politics is shifting toward the Trump position of 2016. And the anti-interventionist wing of the GOP is growing.

And when added to the anti-interventionist and anti-war wing of the Democratic Party on the Hill, together, they are able, as on the Yemen War Powers resolution, to produce a new bipartisan majority.

Prediction: By the primaries of 2020, foreign policy will be front and center, and the Democratic Party will have captured the “no-more-wars” political high ground that Candidate Donald Trump occupied in 2016.

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Over 200 killed, hundreds injured in series of blasts at Sri Lankan hotels & churches

A series of bombings hit churches and hotels across Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, killing more than 200 people.

RT

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Via RT…


A series of eight explosions rocked Catholic churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka as Christians began Easter Sunday celebrations, with over 200 killed and hundreds injured, media reported, citing police.

The blasts started at around 8:45am local time at St. Anthony’s Church in Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Church in Negombo, a Catholic-majority town outside of the capital. The Zion Church in Batticaloa on the eastern coast was also targeted. At around the same time, the Shangri-La, Cinnamon Grand and Kingsbury five-star hotels were also hit, police confirmed.

Two more explosions happened later in the day, targeting two more locations in Colombo. All attacks appear to have been coordinated.

At least 207 people were killed, Reuters reported, citing police. More than 450 were injured in the attacks.

Alleged footage of the aftermath, shared on social media, showed chaos and large-scale destruction inside at least one of the churches.

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Mike Pompeo reveals true motto of CIA: ‘We lied, we cheated, we stole’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 147.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at a Texas A&M University speech, and subsequent interview, with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The former CIA Director admitted, ‘as an aside’ to the question asked, that the Intelligence agency he headed up before being appointed as the top US Diplomat had a motto “we lied, we cheated, we stole”…which, according to Pompeo, contained entire CIA training courses based on ‘lying, cheating and stealing.’

Pompeo finally speaks some truth.

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