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Five Questions for Peter Lavelle on “Know-nothing American diplomats”

The State Department’s intense hypocrisy – diplomats demanding the military unilaterally and illegally topple a legitimate government so it can do its job!

Peter Lavelle




Question: What was your immediate thoughts on the letter signed by 51 mid-level State Department employees calling on the Obama Administration to start bombing immediately the Assad government in Syria?

Answer: First, it is unprecedented for currently employed State Department officials in such numbers to revolt against their boss Secretary John Kerry and his boss the President of the United States. Of course it was intentionally leaked to the media. Second, it demonstrates what I have said for years – the political establishment is deeply divided when it comes to Syria. In this case the State Department is siding with the CIA and against the Pentagon. Third, it confirms the intense hypocrisy of the State Department – diplomats demanding the military unilaterally and illegally topple a legitimate government so it can do its job! You can’t make this stuff up?

Q.: A sentence in the “dissent channel” letter claims, “[A] judicious use of standoff and air weapons, which would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed US-led diplomatic process.” What do make of this?

A.: Obviously this is part-and-parcel of America’s toxic groupthink diplomacy – bomb your opponent to the peace table no matter the cost in lives and the unintended consequences. Since of the start of the Syrian conflict – which was not peaceful as the media and their low-octane minions claim in thinktankistan – the State Department has sought the overthrow of the secular Damascus government and its president Assad. The know-nothing State Department functionaries claim the Syrian government violates the agreed to ceasefire. There is no mention of who actually violates the ceasefire agreement. Ahrar al Sham, al-Nusra and other Washington-backed “moderates” broke the ceasefire when attacking Syrian government troops south of Aleppo. These are facts, but the real sin committed by the Syrian Arab Army is its attacks on al-Qaeda’s Nusra front – the US-backed forces that fight alongside al-Qaeda. It is glaring and very telling that the “dissenters” never demand Washington-backed “moderate” rebels in Syria to stop intermingling with al-Qaeda and its related forces. Of course the reason for this is transparent: If they did, the Russian air force would in short order destroy these terrorists.

Q.: Commenting on the “dissent channel” letter the New York Times mused: [T]he State Department officials argued that military action against Mr. Assad would help the fight against the Islamic State because it would bolster moderate Sunnis, who are necessary allies against the group, also known as ISIS or ISIL. Is there a strategy imbedded in this statement?

 A.: There sure is! And it is called history tragically repeating itself – remember Libya? Let’s recall the stupefying rhetoric justifying NATO’s destruction of the country: the need to bolster democratic-minded forces that would seamlessly result in a moderate political order held together by a representative government. That was a fantasy prognosis that ended in turning Libya into a fail state. Also, the “dissenters” (intentionally?) undermine the Obama Administration’s iffy justification for involving itself in the Syrian conflict in the first place: ISIL has been defined as a threat to US security and fighting it is a political imperative. Logically speaking, if Assad is the real immediate threat and not ISIL, then this intervention is as illegal as past American interventions in the region. So, secular Syria under Assad threatens the US, not radical jihadist extremists? There is no legal basis allowing the US to bomb the Syrian government and its people. If the “dissenters” have one in mind, they remain silent on this important issue. (By the way, the claim the Syrian conflict is sectarian-driven is pure and utter nonsense – this is about an unprovoked attack and attempted destruction of a sovereign state by Washington. Full stop!)

Q.: The New York Times goes on to say about the letter: “The State Department officials insisted in their memo that they were not “advocating for a slippery slope that ends in a military confrontation with Russia,” but rather a credible threat of military action to keep Mr. Assad in line.”

I believe Russia’s Syria policy is very much behind the reason to draft this letter and its release to the media. Russia has acted in accordance with established international law when accepting the request from a United Nations member state for military assistance. Russia is the reason the current legal government in Damascus is still in power. But this does not mean Syria is a Russian “client state” in the region as so many politicians and mindless media presstitutes endlessly repeat. Russia has achieved a modicum of political, diplomatic, and military success in Syria. Though there are limits to which Russia will accept to maintain and capitalize on that success. Under no circumstances will Russia allow Syria to become “Putin’s War.” This is what the “dissenters” really want. They dangerously want to force Russia’s hand; they want Russia to experience a painful defeat in a conflict choreographed in Washington’s air-conditioned offices. Russia won’t take the bait, but nor will it be shy if Washington wants to play a game of chicken with Moscow. If Washington wants to up the ante, there is every reason to believe – based on what has happened over the past five years – it will fail. The only question that remains is who will pay the price for such continued incompetence?

Q.: What about the timing of this letter? It certainly did not come out of the blue.

A.: As far as I am concerned Obama’s foreign policy has been an abject failure. The man simply has a muddled mind and relies on the worst possible foreign policy advisors. And he never takes any responsibility for his actions and lack of action. This has emboldened the neocons and members of the foreign policy establishment. Obama is weak and indecisive – and they know it. I am betting Obama has more golfing appointments on his daily itinerary than official meetings with his national security staff. In the meantime, a soft coup against him by his own State Department is beginning to play out. Obama will probably not resist. If he does, then the neocons and the know-nothing nobodies at the State Department wait with bated breath for a real and committed warmonger to reside in the White House – Hillary Clinton.

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

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou



The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge

Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)



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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch



After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch



While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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