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Paul Craig Roberts: Provocations Have A History Of Escalating Into War

Can War Be Avoided and the Planet Saved?

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


The Russian Government and President Putin are coming under pressure not from US sanctions, which are very good for Russia as they force Russia into independence, but from Russian patriots who are tiring of Putin’s non-confrontational responses to Washington’s never-ending insults and military provocations. Russian patriots don’t want war, but they do want their country’s honor defended, and they believe Putin is failing in this job. Some of them are saying that Putin himself is a West-worshipping Atlanticist Integrationist.

This disillusinonment with Putin, together with Putin’s endorsement of raising the retirement age for pensions, a trap set for him by Russia’s neoliberal economists, have hurt Putin’s approval ratings at the precise time that he will again be tested by Washington in Syria.

In many columns I have defended Putin from the charge that he is not sufficiently Russian. Putin wants to avoid war, because he knows it would be nuclear, the consequences of which would be dire. He knows that the US and its militarily impotent NATO allies cannot possibly conduct conventional warfare against Russia or China, much less against both. Putin also undersrtands that the sanctions are damaging Washington’s European vassals and could eventually force the European vassal states into independence that would constrain Washington’s belligerence. Even with Russia’s new super weapons, which probably give Putin the capability of destroying the entirety of the Western World with little or no damage to Russia, Putin sees no point in so much destruction, especially as the consequences are unknown. There could be nuclear winter or other results that would put the planet into decline as a life-sustaining entity.

So, as I have suggested in many columns Putin is acting intelligently. He is in the game for the long term while protecting the world from dangerous war.

Whereas I endorse Putin’s strategy and admire his coolness as a person who never lets emotion lead him, there is nevertheless a problem. The people in the West with whom he is dealing are idiots who do not appreciate his statesmanship. Consequently, each time Putin turns the other cheek, so to speak, the insults and the provocations ratchet upward.

Consider Syria. The Syrian Army with the help of a tiny part of the Russian Air Force has cleared all areas of Syria but one of the American-instigated-financed-and-equiped forces sent by Washington to overthrow the Syrian government.

The remaining US proxy force is about to be eliminated. In order to save it, and to keep a Washington foothold that could permit a restart of the war, Washington has arranged yet another false flag “chemical attack” that the presstitute and obiedient Western media will blame on Assad. President Trump’s National Security Adviser, a crazed, perhaps insane, Neoconservative, has told Russia that Washington will take a dim view of the Syrian/Russian use of chemical weapons against “Assad’s own people.”

The Russians are fully aware that any chemical attack will be a false flag attack orchestrated by Washington using the elements it sent to Syria to overthrow the government. Indeed, Russia’s ambassador to the US explained it all yesterday to the US government.

Clearly, Putin hopes to avoid Washington’s orchestrated attack by having his ambassador explain the orchestration to the American officials who are orchestrating it. https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-30/russian-ambassador-gave-intel-us-officials-showing-planned-chemical-provocation
This strategy implies that Putin thinks US government officials are capable of shame and integrity. They most certainly are not. I spent 25 years with them. They don’t even know what the words mean.

What if, instead, Putin had declared publicly for the entire world to hear that any forces, wherever located, responsible for an attack on Syria would be annihiliated? My view -— https://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2018/08/29/a-book-for-our-time-a-time-that-perhaps-has-run-its-course/ — and that of Russian patriot Bogdasarov— https://www.fort-russ.com/2018/08/a-russian-response-to-a-new-us-attack-on-syria-should-include-sinking-the-carriers-not-just-shooting-at-their-missiles/ — is that such an ultimatum from the leader of the country capable of delivering it would cool the jets of Russophobic Washington. There would be no attack on Syria.

Bogdasarov and I might be wrong. The Russian forces deployed around Syria with their hypersonic missiles are more than a match for the US forces assembled to attack Syria. However, American hubris can certainly prevail over facts, in which case Putin would have to destroy the sources of the attack. By not committing in advance, Putin retains flexibility. Washington’s attack, like its previous attack on Syria, might be a face-saver, not a real attack. Nevertheless, sooner or later Russia will have to deliver a firmer response to provocations.

I am an American. I am not a Russian, much less a Russian nationalist. I do not want US military personnel to be casualties of Washington’s fatal desire for world hegemony, much less to be casualties of Washington serving Israel’s interests in the Middle East. The reason I think Putin needs to do a better job of standing up to Washington is that I think, based on history, that appeasement encourages more provocations, and it comes to a point when you have to surrender or fight. It is much better to stop this process in its tracks before it reaches that dangerous point.

Andrei Martyanov, whose book I recently reviewed on my website, recently defended Putin, as The Saker and I have done in the past, from claims that Putin is too passive in the face of assaults. https://russia-insider.com/en/russia-playing-long-game-no-room-instant-gratification-strategies-super-patriots/ri24561 As I have made the same points, I can only applaud Martyanov and The Saker. Where we might differ is in recognizing that endlessly accepting insults and provocations encourages their increase until the only alternative is surrender or war.

So, the questions for Andrei Martyanov, The Saker, and for Putin and the Russian government is: How long does turning your other cheek work? Do you turn your other cheek so long as to allow your opponent to neutralize your advantage in a confrontation? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you lose the support of the patriotic population for your failure to defend the country’s honor? Do you turn your other cheek so long that you are eventually forced into war or submission? Do you turn your other cheek so long that the result is nuclear war?

I think that Martyanov and The Saker agree that my question is a valid one. Both emphazise in their highly informative writings that the court historians misrepresent wars in the interest of victors. Let’s give this a moment’s thought. Both Napoleon and Hitler stood at their apogee, their success unmitigated by any military defeat. Then they marched into Russia and were utterly destroyed. Why did they do this? They did it because their success had given them massive arogance and belief in their “exceptionalism,” the dangerous word that encapsulates Washington’s belief in its hegemony.

The zionist neoconsevatives who rule in Washington are capable of the same mistake that Napoleon and Hitler made. They believe in “the end of history,” that the Soviet collapse means history has chosen America as the model for the future. Their hubris actually exceeds that of Napoleon and Hitler.

When confronted with such deluded and ideological force, does turning the other cheek work or does it encourage more provocation?

This is the question before the Russian government.

Perhaps the Russian government will understand the meaning of the orchestrated eulogies for John McCain. It is not normal for a US senator to be eulogized in this way, especially one with such an undistinguished record. What is being eulogized is McCain’s hatred of Russia and his record as a warmonger. What Washington is eulogizing is its own commitment to war.

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As shown in this article, the United States is already implementing its plans for a post-civil war Syria:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/the-next-steps-in-syria-establishing-no.html

Washington seems totally oblivious to the fact that, unlike Russia, it was not an invited guest to this “party”.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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