Connect with us

Latest

News

NATO Risks War with Russia to Prolong its own Existence

NATO is deliberately engineering a conflict with Russia in Europe to raise money from its members and to justify its continued existence.

Seth Farris

Published

on

720 Views

It is not difficult to see the new direction the US and its NATO apparatus are taking.  It is a commonly-used one – turning retreat into advance by changing the so-called enemy.

Following the debacles in Libya and Afghanistan, and the gradual unravelling of the Iraq and Syria adventures, the Western allies are now preparing to deploy four battalions—a force of about 4,000 troops—in Poland and the Baltic countries.

These will of course point in the other direction from the battle fronts where US and NATO troops are currently engaging in combat, thereby providing justification for removing troops from unsuccessful arenas and downgrading those conflicts before they become too much of an embarrassment.

History gives us many examples of this tactic. One is the infamous War of Jenkins’s Ear, the 1739 British-inspired conflict with Spain designed to promote more trade and protect slave markets. This resulted in heavy losses for the British, and the temporary gain of only one Spanish possession in the Caribbean. It therefore became subsumed into the War of Austrian Succession, an entirely different conflict about an entirely different question in which the same powers – Britain and Spain – just “happened” to find themselves on opposite sides.

In this case it is not just impending defeat which is causing a change in the game. It is the fact that NATO countries have long realised that they have no business being involved in places like Syria. Their own publics no longer think they are defending the free world, or protecting anyone from terrorism, or keeping out immigrants.  So they have turned into a more important issue.

Like the League of Nations and French Community before it, NATO is dying of pointlessness. It won’t survive unless it can find a higher purpose – and having failed to do so, its only option is to demonise Russia, the enemy everyone grew up with, regardless of what it might actually be doing.

The Ghost of Christmas Past

A generation or two ago, when wars broke out people would look for the causes over which they were being fought. NATO wouldn’t get involved in conflicts it couldn’t find a good reason for. For example, both sides in the hideous civil wars in Rwanda and Burundi long urged international intervention.  However their conflicts were seen as disputes between competing power groups, neither one having a better reason to be fighting, and the slaughter was left to continue unabated.

Now we live in a world where there is one global superpower, one generally agreed economic line and therefore no enemy to protect the free world from. People no longer assume that conflicts, regardless of their complexity, are between pro-Western and pro-Iron Curtain forces and therefore part of a globally fought ideological struggle over a way of life they themselves are part of.

Interventions like those in Iraq and Afghanistan are seen as the latest foreign adventures in which troops are sacrificed for no obvious reason, to overthrow governments we all remember supporting when it suited the same West to do so.

For example, it was frequently pointed out during the Gulf War that Saddam Hussein was using against the West the same weapons and training the West had given him to fight the Ayatollah Khomeini when he was the ruler of Iran. During the subsequent invasion of Iraq it was revealed this alleged WMD factory had been built by Western contractors, supposedly to produce baby milk.

These interventions keep the funding for the military-industrial complex flowing but ultimately they cost governments support rather than rallying the people round them as wars once did.

This might not be the case if nations were acting alone in pursuit of their own interests.   However the collaborative nature of NATO is itself a problem. The comment European politicians often hear on the doorsteps is, “why are you sending our troops to be killed in someone else’s war, for someone else’s issue, which nobody here cared about before you told us you were sending the troops?”

Having no more enemies was supposed to be the consequence of the Western victory in the Cold War. The publics of NATO countries, having endured that war, have taken their governments at their word. So if there is going to be a Western force, upholding Western values, it has two options: it can find completely new enemies – the reason we hear so much about “Islamic fundamentalism” –  or it can revert to the old ones.

The West is getting nowhere in its supposed assaults on Islamic terrorist groups because it is actually arming and supporting them, and always has done to suit itself. But it can’t admit this to the public, as then that same public would want to string them up.

So all that is left is to restore NATO’s original purpose and attack Russia. Maybe people will understand this, maybe not, but with nothing else to hold on to, this is the deadly gamble the West is preparing to take.   

A bit late to start worrying

Most Western countries are still struggling with the fallout of the banking crisis but persist in perpetuating the same policies that caused it – just as was the case during the Great Depression. At that time the resulting problem of unemployment was “solved” through a world war.

It can be argued that a war to stop Hitler was entirely justified, as no anti-war advocate of today would have wanted to live under the Nazis, or would have been allowed to go on doing so for very long. Why therefore did it take six years to declare that war, when Hitler’s intentions were clear from the start and his actions were entirely consistent with them?

The present Russian administration is the same one the West sought to “reset” relations with when Obama took office. It even has the same foreign minister. If the West has suddenly discovered something new and disturbing about this administration, what is it?

U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defence Robert Work has explained the deployment of more NATO troops near Russia as a “response to increased Russian activity near the Baltics”—Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. He maintains that tensions have been rising there due to an upswing in the holding of Russian military exercises in the vicinity, which he described as being “extraordinarily provocative behaviour.”

Russia has frequently pointed out that NATO holds exercises near Russia’s borders on a regular basis, has surrounded Russia with military installations armed with weapons pointed at Russia and has told countries bordering Russia that they cannot maintain equally strong ties to Russia as with the West.

That insistence was one of the root causes of the Ukrainian conflict. 

If Russia is simply doing the same as the West, the West should explain why such behaviour is regarded as “extraordinarily provocative” when done by Russia but not when done by the West.

Any such argument rests on the question of Russia’s intent. The implication of Work’s comments is that if Russia holds exercises near the Baltic states it is getting ready to take them over again.

These countries declared their independence at a critical time in East-West relations. They were later – in 2004 – accepted into NATO, becoming an encouragement to others to continue to behave as if the  Soviet Union had never existed. If Russia had had any intention to attack the Baltics at any time after the USSR broke up in 1991, it would have been obliged to take on the whole of NATO, not the fractured individual states of 1940. Russia has at all times known this – never more so than now.

Furthermore, Russia does have ample grounds for concern over the treatment of ethnic Russians in the Baltics.  However it has not used their situation as a pretext for military action.

There are lot of absurd situations connected to the situation of ethnic Russians in the Baltics. For example, one of the first actions Latvia took after gaining independence was to establish a national rugby team, because it was not a sport favoured by the Olympic medal-hungry Soviets. However over half its team, including the captain, were not entitled to Latvian citizenship because they were of ethnic Russian origin and their families had not lived in Latvia before 1939, as the new Latvian citizenship law required. Thus these players could not travel on their national passports having no Latvian citizenship, and this did not allow them to represent their country properly.

Russia’s “provocative action” is simply to be Russia. When all else fails, it is the standing enemy Westerners can understand. They may not be too interested at present, but the remaining subliminal  instinct that Russian expansion is a bad thing may still kick in to help NATO out. However, it is NATO that is moving its membership to Russia’s borders and not the other way round.

Bottom lines aren’t straight

One fact about the end of the Cold War which Westerners are not presented with is that Western governments before 1991 had agreed with Gorbachev that NATO would not move eastward after the Berlin Wall fell. This was part of an attempt to do the opposite: if a newly-constituted Russia could live in peace with the West it could actually join NATO itself, thus making a conflict irrelevant.

However before Russia had the chance to reconstitute itself, NATO went back on the deal and took in several former Eastern bloc states, including the Baltics.

These countries had genuine concerns about being left at the mercy of new Russian domination, but NATO nevertheless breached the agreement by making them members,rather than providing other support – thereby itself becoming the aggressor in East-West affairs.

Now NATO is going out of its way to show it is still united in facing the outcome of its own aggression.

According to Western officials the U.S. is likely to provide two battalions for this new retreat-become-attack and Germany and the UK a battalion each. It would have to be Germany and the UK – traditional powerhouses and belligerents – to show NATO is serious. But 4,000 or 5,000 soldiers will not be able to resist any real action. They are there to ready the public for the idea of future action, and suck more NATO countries into it because they can’t be seen to go against an action spearheaded by the US, the UK and Germany. 

NATO’s former commander, General Breedlove, is calling for an increase in defence spending, saying that the U.S. has too few intelligence assets focused on the threat from Russia and should concentrate its technical capabilities to counter Moscow’s “growing military might.”

This is an attempt to create the same scenario we saw with the year 2000 with the so-called Millennium Bug, when we were told computers would stop working when their internal clocks showed 00:00:00 and millions had to be spent to fix the problem to protect ourselves. 

But there is another reason NATO has to create a new enemy for the sake of it. NATO has to pay for any action it takes. At present, it is having difficulty doing this in an official, over-the-counter way.

NATO recommends each ally spends at least 2 percent of its GDP on defence, but in 2015 Germany spent just 1.2 percent, Italy less than 1 percent and France 1.8 percent, levels which are symptoms of the pointlessness consuming NATO.

So by its own reckoning, there is a hole in NATO’s finances which makes it difficult to conduct official operations, paid for by taxes rather than illegal oil and drug sales.

NATO knows how to get the money to pay for its current entanglements. If it is to survive operationally as well as politically, it has to provoke a conflict within Europe, by which its allies will be forced to join the fray.

The people in the former Soviet countries (unlike their Western-financed elites) are the last to want more conflict with Russia. They were promised that NATO membership would help them to avoid such a conflict. But in order to get them pay their “recommended” contribution, they may just have a conflict imposed upon them, however limited in scope. And then they will be forced to take risks for the sake of a Western Paradise, which fewer and fewer of them believe in.

Advertisement
Comments

Latest

US Sanctions Foster Emergence of Multipolar World

US sanctions negatively affect the economies of the targeted countries, but they also push the nations hit by them to move closer to each other.

Published

on

Authored by Arkady Savitsky via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Russia, Iran, China, and now Turkey are in the same boat, as all have become the target of US sanctions. But none of those nations has bowed under the pressure. Russia had foreseen the developments in advance and took timely measures to protect itself. The Turkish national currency, the lira, is plummeting now that Washington has introduced sanctions as well as tariffs on steel and aluminum, in an attempt to compel Ankara to turn over a detained American pastor. Turkish President Erdogan said it was time for Turkey to seek “new friends,” and Turkey is planning to issue yuan-denominated bonds to diversify its foreign borrowing instruments. On Aug. 11, President Erdogan said Turkey was ready to begin using local currencies in its trade with Russia, China, Iran, Ukraine, and the EU nations of the eurozone.

The recent BRICS summit reaffirmed Ankara’s commitment to the Contingent Reserve Arrangement (CRA) that is geared toward de-dollarizing its member states’ economies, and the agreement to quickly launch a Local Currency Bond Fund gives that policy teeth. Turkey has also expressed its desire to join BRICS.

Ankara is gradually moving toward membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). It has been accepted as a dialog partner of that organization. Last year Turkey became a dialog partner with ASEAN. On Aug. 1, the first ASEAN-Turkey Trilateral Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore, bringing together Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt ÇavuşoğluASEAN Secretary General Dato Lim Jock Hoi, and Singaporean Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan, who is serving as the 2018 ASEAN term chairman. The event took place under the auspices of the 51st ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting that attracted foreign ministers and top diplomats from 30 countries.

Ankara is mulling over a free-trade area (FTA) agreement with the Eurasian Union. This cooperation between Ankara and the EAEU has a promising future.

Meanwhile, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) has provided a $3.6-billion loan package for the Turkish energy and transportation sector. Turkey and China have recently announced an expansion of their military ties. As one can see, Turkey is inexorably pivoting from the West to the East.

Russia has a special role to play in this process. The US Congress has prohibited the sale of F-35 fighter jets to Turkey because of the risk associated with Ankara’s purchase of the S-400 air-defense system. In response, Turkey is contemplating a purchase of Russian warplanes. Ankara prefers Russian weapons over the ones offered by NATO states. As President Erdogan put it, “Before it is too late, Washington must give up the misguided notion that our relationship can be asymmetrical and come to terms with the fact that Turkey has alternatives.”

On Aug. 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan discussed the prospects for boosting economic cooperation. Both nations are parties to the ambitious Turkish Stream natural-gas pipeline project. Ideas for ways to join forces in response to the US offensive were also on the agenda during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey, Aug. 13-14, although Syria was in the spotlight of the talks. One mustn’t forget that Russia was the first country to be visited by the Turkish president after the failed 2016 coup.

As a result of some tough times resulting from US sanctions, Iran is redoubling its efforts at building foreign relationships. Under US pressure, European companies are leaving Iran, with China gradually filling the void. Now that US and European airspace companies are moving their business ventures out of Iran, this presents a good opportunity for Russian aircraft, such as the MS-21 or IL-96-400M. The Russian automaker GAZ Group is ready to supply Iran with commercial vehicles and light trucks powered by 5th generation engines.

Tehran is an observer state in the SCO, and it is to become an essential hub for the Chinese Belt Road Initiative (BRI). On June 25, a freight train arrived in the Iranian city of Bandar-e Anzali, a port on the Caspian Sea, having passed through the China-Kazakhstan-Iran transportation corridor and entering the Anzali Free Zone that connects China to both the Kazakh port of Aktau and to Iran, thus creating a new trade link to the outside world. This gives a boost to the BRI. On Aug. 12, the five littoral states (the Caspian Five) signed the Caspian Sea Convention — the fruit of 22 years of difficult negotiations. This opens up new opportunities for Iran and other countries of the region as well as the BRI. The idea to form a new economic forum was floated at the Caspian Five summit.

China and Russia back the idea of Iran’s full-fledged SCO membership. In May Tehran signed an interim FTA agreement with the EAEU. Greater EAEU-BRI integration under the stewardship of the SCO is also on the horizon.

According to the Daily Express, Iran could band together with Russia and China in an anti-US alliance. Iran may also get an observer status in the CSTO. Iran-Turkey trade has recently revived, and that bilateral relationship includes burgeoning military cooperation.

Nothing can be viewed in just black and white, and every coin has two sides. The US sanctions do negatively affect the economies and finances of the targeted countries, but in the long run, they will also push the nations hit by them to move closer to each other, thus encouraging the emergence of the multipolar world the US is trying so hard to resist.

Continue Reading

Latest

It’s Official: ‘Britain’s Democracy Now At Risk’

It’s not just campaigners saying it any more: democracy is officially at risk, according to parliament’s own digital, culture, media and sport committee.

The Duran

Published

on

Via True Publica, authored by Jessica Garland – Electoral Reform Society:


Britain’s main campaign rules were drawn up in the late 1990s, before social media and online campaigning really existed. This has left the door wide open to disinformation, dodgy donations and foreign interference in elections.

There is a real need to close the loopholes when it comes to the online Wild West.

Yet in this year’s elections, it was legitimate voters who were asked to identify themselves, not those funnelling millions into political campaigns through trusts, or those spreading fake news.

The government trialled mandatory voter ID in five council areas in May. In these five pilot areas alone about 350 people were turned away from polling stations for not having their papers with them — and they didn’t return. In other words, they were denied their vote.

Yet last year, out of more than 45 million votes cast across the country, there were just 28 allegations of personation (pretending to be someone else at the polling station), the type of fraud voter ID is meant to tackle.

Despite the loss of 350 votes, the pilots were branded a success by the government. Yet the 28 allegations of fraud (and just one conviction) are considered such a dire threat that the government is willing to risk disenfranchising many more legitimate voters to try to address it. The numbers simply don’t add up.

Indeed, the fact-checking website FullFact noted that in the Gosport pilot, 0.4 per cent of voters did not vote because of ID issues. That’s a greater percentage than the winning margin in at least 14 constituencies in the last election. Putting up barriers to democratic engagement can have a big impact. In fact, it can swing an election.

In the run-up to the pilots, the Electoral Reform Society and other campaigners warned that the policy risked disenfranchising the most marginalised groups in society.

The Windrush scandal highlights exactly the sort of problems that introducing stricter forms of identity could cause: millions of people lack the required documentation. It’s one of the reasons why organisations such as the Runnymede Trust are concerned about these plans.

The Electoral Commission has now published a report on the ID trials, which concludes that “there is not yet enough evidence to fully address concerns” on this front.

The small number of pilots, and a lack of diversity, meant that sample sizes were too small to conclude anything about how the scheme would affect various demographic groups. Nor can the pilots tell us about the likely impact of voter ID in a general election, where the strain on polling staff would be far greater and a much broader cross-section of electors turns out to vote.

The Electoral Reform Society, alongside 22 organisations, campaigners and academics, has now called on the constitution minister to halt moves to impose this policy. The signatories span a huge cross-section of society, including representatives of groups that could be disproportionately impacted by voter ID, from Age UK to Liberty and from the British Youth Council to the Salvation Army and the LGBT Foundation.

Voters know what our democratic priorities should be: ensuring that elections are free from the influence of big donors. Having a secure electoral register. Providing balanced media coverage. Transparency online.

We may be little wiser as a result of the government’s voter ID trials. Yet we do know where the real dangers lie in our politics.

Continue Reading

Latest

Corrupt Robert Mueller’s despicable Paul Manafort trial nears end (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 79.

Alex Christoforou

Published

on

Paul Manafort’s legal team rested its case on Tuesday without calling a single witness. This sets the stage for closing arguments before the judge hands the case to jurors for a verdict.

Manafort’s defense opted to call no witnesses, choosing instead to rely on the team’s cross-examination of government witnesses including a very devious Rick Gates, Manafort’s longtime deputy, and several accountants, bookkeepers and bankers who had financial dealings with Manafort.

Closing arguments are expected on Wednesday. Jurors may begin deliberating shortly after receiving their final instructions from judge Ellis.

Manafort case has nothing to do with Mueller’s ‘Trump-Russia collusion witch-hunt’ as the former DC lobbyist is accused of defrauding banks to secure loans and hiding overseas bank accounts and income from U.S. tax authorities.

U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III denied a defense motion to acquit Manafort on the charges because prosecutors hadn’t proved their case.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the circus trial of Trump’s former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, and how crooked cop Robert Mueller is using all his power to lean on Manafort, so as to conjure up something illegal against US President Donald Trump.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via Zerohedge

Prosecutors allege he dodged taxes on millions of dollars made from his work for a Ukrainian political party, then lied to obtain bank loans when cash stopped flowing from the project.

The courtroom was sealed for around two hours Tuesday morning for an unknown reason, reopening around 11:30 a.m. with Manafort arriving around 10 minutes later.

The decision to rest their case without calling any witnesses follows a denial by Judge T.S. Ellis III to acquit Manafort after his lawyers tried to argue that the special counsel had failed to prove its case at the federal trial.

The court session began at approximately 11:45 a.m.:

“Good afternoon,” began defense attorney Richard Westling, who corrected himself and said, “Good morning.”

“I’m as surprised as you are,” Judge Ellis responded.

Ellis then heard brief argument from both sides on the defense’s motion for acquittal, focusing primarily on four counts related to Federal Savings Bank.

Federal Savings Bank was aware of the status of Paul Manafort’s finances,” Westling argued. “They came to the loans with an intent of doing business with Mr. Manafort.”

Prosecutor Uzo Asonye fired back, saying that that even if bank chairman Steve Calk overlooked Manafort’s financial woes, it would still be a crime to submit fraudulent documents to obtain the loans.

“Steve Calk is not the bank,” Asonye argued, adding that while Caulk may have “had a different motive” — a job with the Trump administration — “I’m not really sure there’s evidence he knew the documents were false.”

Ellis sided with prosecutors.

The defense makes a significant argument about materiality, but in the end, I think materiality is an issue for the jury,” he said, adding. “That is true for all the other counts… those are all jury issues.”

Once that exchange was over, Manafort’s team was afforded the opportunity to present their case, to which lead attorney Kevin Downing replied “The defense rests.

Ellis then began to question Manafort to ensure he was aware of the ramifications of that decision, to which the former Trump aide confirmed that he did not wish to take the witness stand.

Manafort, in a dark suit and white shirt, stood at the lectern from which his attorneys have questioned witnesses, staring up at the judge. Ellis told Manafort he had a right to testify, though if he chose not to, the judge would tell jurors to draw no inference from that. – WaPo

Ellis asked Manafort four questions – his amplified voice booming through the courtroom:

Had Manafort discussed the decision with his attorney?

“I have, your honor,” Manafort responded, his voice clear.

Was he satisfied with their advice?

“I am, your honor,” Manafort replied.

Had he decided whether he would testify?

“I have decided,” Manafort said.

“Do you wish to testify?” Ellis finally asked.

“No, sir,” Manafort responded.

And with that, Manafort returned to his seat.

Continue Reading

JOIN OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL

Advertisement

Your donations make all the difference. Together we can expose fake news lies and deliver truth.

Amount to donate in USD$:

5 100

Waiting for PayPal...
Validating payment information...
Waiting for PayPal...

Advertisement
Advertisements

Quick Donate

The Duran
EURO
DONATE
Donate a quick 10 spot!
Advertisement

Advertisements

The Duran Newsletter

Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending