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Philippines Secretary of Foreign Affairs delivers philosophical message to United Nations

The speech covered both the approach and effects of true peace, human dignity and human rights.

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Alan Peter Cayetano, the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Philippines, delivered a lengthy address to the UN General Assembly that deserves close attention.

With the days agenda largely dominated by speeches from both the Syrian Arab Republic and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, many other important speeches got lost in the fray. Among these, the speech from Philippines was deeply important for its explanatory value of the situation in Philippines as well as for the philosophical and even spiritual approach to global problem solving that Cayetano offered.

During the speech, Cayetano made it clear that far from violating human rights as certain western politicians have stated, Philippines is actually preserving the life, liberties and human rights of Philippine citizens by taking a strong law and order based approach to drugs. The zero tolerance policies of President Rodrigo Duterte remain popular among Philippine people because of this. These measures do not curtail but expand the human rights, dignity, safety and health of the Philippine people.

As Cayetano explained, when a nation is fuelled by drugs it becomes a nation in the grip of violence. He asked his audience of fellow nations, how a nation can truly be sovereign if it is in the grips of drug violence and on the verge of becoming a narco-state?

He further stated that because of the indelible link between narco-cash and the financing of terrorism, it is explicitly crucial to crack down on the international drugs trade with the same fortitude with which it is necessary to crack down on terrorism, even as the so-called ISIS is being vanquished in both Syria and Iraq.

Cayetano also spoke of the need to cooperate increasingly with neighbours and partners, naming China as one such country.

Unlike many UN speeches, Cayetano’s address implored  the world to listen as well as talk. He explained that during his campaign, Rodrigo Duterte spoke less and promised less than his opponents, but that he listened more. He listened to the needs, worries and goals of the people and because of this he was granted a victory in a democratic election.

This attitude as pioneered by President Duterte, is one that the Philippine Secretary of Foreign Affairs said was in keeping with the goals to prevent war from breaking out. He stated that people must listen and talk to friends as well as enemies in a subtle allusion to the notion that insults and threats is not the way to solve the North Korean issue.

Below is the full text of Alan Peter Cayetano’s speech in addition to a video of the address.

Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children
of GOD. Matthew 5:9
Mr. President, Excellencies,
The path to peace must be walked with patience. To achieve any
purpose with others—be they powers or people, patience is
needed. The opposite of patience is impatience—the cause and
aggravation of conflict.

Someone said that “Talk, talk is better than war, war.” Listening is
even better than talking. We must listen to others more than we
listen to ourselves. Hopefully we know what we are talking about.
But others may know what we do not. We can learn only if we
stop talking, and listen.

We may think we know how others can do things better than
they’ve done it. Maybe our way is more efficient. But the time
gained by that efficiency will be time lost convincing others that
our way is better, rather than a compromise between our way and
theirs.

Real change in the world order necessitates cooperation. Nothing
affecting others can be undertaken without their willing
involvement, without getting their agreement on the purpose and
manner of it. Achieving a shared purpose beyond any single one’s
ability requires cooperation.

But how else can we get cooperation if not with the patience to
explain why it is needed—and the equal patience to listen.
This is why we have the United Nations, the largest cooperative
endeavor in human history. We use the UN to speak out but
equally also to listen. And somehow arrive at a consensus, or at
least a modus vivendi on how to proceed—in peace and therefore
with a greater prospect of progress.

The theme for this year’s session— “Focusing on people: striving
for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet”—
captures a promise that everyone who has stood here vowed to
fulfill for his people, and the rest of the peoples of the United
Nations, as the Preamble of the Charter puts it.

Yet, after 72 years, while much has been achieved, much more
has to be done. The promise is still very much a work in progress.
We, the peoples of the United Nations, battle new threats that
undermine such success as we’ve achieved, and frustrate further
progress in peace, development and human rights— the three
pillars of the United Nations.

Your theme, Mr. President, mirrors the Philippines own peoplecentered
agenda as articulated by President Rodrigo Roa
Duterte.
President Duterte and The Filipino People are committed to real
change, to finally carrying out long needed reforms, to addressing
national threats long ignored, protecting the human rights of all
Filipinos, while doing our part in attaining regional peace and
stability.

We remain true to our obligations under the international treaties
we have ratified. We have made much sacrifices and continue to
be willing to make sacrifices.

The Philippines integrates the human rights agenda in its
development initiatives for the purpose of protecting everyone,
especially the most vulnerable, from lawlessness, violence, and
anarchy; particularly families, women and children, the poor,
indigenous people, migrant workers, the elderly, and persons with
disabilities.

This is why we have a massive campaign to restore the rule of
law by fighting corruption, crime and illegal drugs. We owe it to
the 10 million Filipinos working overseas to keep their children
and family safe. We owe this to the all Filipino Families.
The very principle of The Responsibility to Protect must
encompass first and foremost the vast majority of peaceful lawabiding
people who must be protected from those who are not. It
is for their safety and sustenance that states exist, and for which
governments and leaders are responsible.

President Duterte said fewest words and made least promises in
the campaign because he listened. He listened and he heard
what none of the other candidates would listen to. The vast
majority of Filipinos felt vulnerable in their lives and livelihoods,
unsafe in the rising drug-driven criminality that threatened those
least able to protect themselves. They were also those past
governments had least protected: poor and ordinary folk.
The Philippines comprehensive campaign against illegal drugs is
necessary instrument to preserve and protect the human rights of
all Filipinos, and never an instrument to violate any individual’s or
group’s human rights.

War vs. Illegal Drugs

It was noted in this hall, that “all sovereign nations must uphold
two core sovereign obligations: to respect the interests of their
own people and the sovereignty of other nations.” This is true as
much in bi-lateral relations between sovereign countries, as when
they combine multilaterally on some common decision or action.
The Philippines is a sovereign country. Indeed, it was the first
subject nation to win its independence however short-lived,
thereby earning the honor of being the First Republic in Asia. It
expects that sovereignty to be respected, and that its
democratically-elected government’s assessment of threats and
how to go about addressing them shall be accorded preeminence
among nations—or at least the benefit of their doubt.
We prize sovereignty in all its aspects. We acknowledge the
wisdom, and borrow the words here spoken: “All responsible
leaders have an obligation to serve their own citizens first.” In
keeping with that obligation, it is a state’s duty to protect human
life, human dignity, and human rights—from aggression by other
states, terrorism from non-state actors, and the destruction of
societies and families from criminal networks trafficking in drugs,
people and arms.

As a responsible leader, the Philippine president launched a
vigorous campaign against the illegal drug trade to save lives,
preserve families, protect communities and stop the country’s
slide into a narco-state. An epidemic that would spell the end of
sovereignty in any meaningful sense.

As of August 2017, the drug trade had penetrated atleast 24,848
barangays. This is 59% of the total of 42,036 of the smallest
government units spanning our archipelago, the ones directly in
touch with our people. Where is sovereignty in a country where
vast numbers are addicted to drugs and enslaved to their
suppliers?

To be sure, drug addiction calls for cure and not chastisement.
When the President showed his fierce determination to end the
drug menace, 1.3 million drug users turned themselves in. But the
neglect of the drug problem by previous governments has left the
current one hard pressed to rehabilitate them all. We are thankful
that generous souls at home and abroad are building centers all
around the country.

While drug addiction calls for rehabilitation, drug trafficking surely
calls for stern measures—though always consistent with the rule
of law. The President has and will always have zero-tolerance for
abusive cops, as time will show.

But accusation before investigation is not proof. Nor is it fair.
Abuses have occurred and mistakes have been made, tragic
ones for sure. While one abuse is one too many, still the abuses
are far less than the imaginary numbers of partisan accusers and
publicity seekers. The drug trade has penetrated even law
enforcement. And yet we are getting a message that the best way
to stop abuses in the antidrug campaign is to stop the campaign
and live with drugs instead.

But we cannot live with drugs because drugs will not let us live.
We can no more live with drugs than with terrorism, which, the
United Nations admits, and as we have discovered is funded by
the drug trade. This has created the new phenomenon of criminal
insurgency.

In the century before last, a huge and well-populated Asian
country was enslaved by a maritime power which flooded it with
drugs.

We welcome this opportunity to address the international
community’s concerns and correct the perceptions gleaned from
media reports that deny the real scale of the problem as if denial
is a solution. The problem is huge and we will not reduce it in our
imagination because we dare not face it in reality.

Appeasement emboldens evil. We counsel patience but delay will
make the problem bigger until it is beyond containment and
control. Indeed, as we have heard in this hall, “When decent
people and nations become bystanders, the forces of destruction
only gather power and strength.” We will not slide down the slope
of complacency, and of willful ignorance of the threat to our
country and our people posed by the drug trade.

Counterterrorism and Violent Extremism

In the past four years, we have seen the rise of the Islamic State
and how it has been able to spread its nihilistic ideology beyond
Iraq and Syria to become a serious threat to the world.
We should hold no illusion that the threat posed by the Islamic
State will be over with the collapse of its self-proclaimed caliphate
in Iraq and very soon in Syria. Rather, we should all be ready to
confront a very potent threat that has spread to other parts of the
world.

In the Philippines, we have discovered the intimate and symbiotic
relationship between terrorism vis-à-vis poverty and the illegal
drug trade. These terrorists were somehow able to bring together
an assortment of extremists, criminals, mercenaries and foreign
fighters who attempted but failed to take control of Marawi. This
was part of their grand plan to establish in Southeast Asia an
extension of their shattered caliphate in the Middle East.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines shall regain full control of
Marawi from Islamic State-inspired terrorists. Their protracted
hold on their last several square meters of the city is largely a
result of superior arms illegally obtained, and the presence of
civilian hostages used by them as human shields. There is also
the government’s forbearance to unleash greater force so as to
avoid collateral loss of life. The fight has been terrible but the
effort has been patient and done with care to spare the innocent.
There’s been less talk and more listening to those with the most
at stake in the struggle: the people of Marawi. The disturbance
will be over soon and the rebuilding of Marawi will begin shortly.
Terrorism is a global problem that no country can tackle alone;
although here at the UN it was noted with some admiration that
Filipino families outside the conflict zone quickly absorbed most of
the 200,000 displaced civilians. Our main disaster preparedness
is compassion. The Filipino family system is strong and
cooperation is a Philippine tradition: help from fellow Filipinos is
always at hand. While the main burden is borne by our
government and people, and all the risks are taken by our
soldiers, we are thankful for such assistance as the international
community has extended. Thank you are dear friends for helping
when we needed it most.

The Philippines welcomes the creation of the United Nations
Counter-Terrorism Office to bring into a cohesive whole the work
on counterterrorism by Member States and the UN. It will be a
sharing of experiences and sober reflections rather than of blind
anxieties. That way lies real results.

Rule of Law

As a founding member of the UN, the Philippines has been a
strong advocate of the rule of law. We uphold the core of the UN
mission – to draw upon the strength and sovereign equality of its
members to achieve their common goals.
Mr. President,
Centuries ago, the ambition for land to take invited long and
terrible wars. The battle has shifted to the seas, hence the need
to affirm our commitment to UNCLOS, as the international law
governing the rights and responsibilities of States Parties in their
use of the world’s oceans.

The issues are numerous, intertwined and complex. Territorial
claims, Sovereignty rights, security and protection of marine life
and resources, to name a few.

Dialogue, building trust and promoting cooperation to address
issues of concern is the way forward in addressing maritime
disputes.

The Philippines, as ASEAN Chairman this year, looks forward to
commencing negotiations on the long-overdue code of conduct in
West Philippine Sea/South China Sea. We thank the individual
ASEAN states and China for their utmost cooperation in this
endeavor.

Again in this work, patience, a lot of listening, and willingness to
work with rather than against each other, is essential.
We live in a global community and we are all citizens of the world.
Today, our social contract is no longer confined to the nation
state. In our region, we exert efforts to build bridges and not
walls, to emphasize commonalities and not differences, to think
less that we are Filipinos, Thai, Indonesian, Japanese, Koreans,
Chinese and think more of ourselves as Asians. Beyond being
Asians we are global citizens, the people of the United Nations.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND THE RULE OF LAW

Human rights and the dignity of every person is the main pillar of
the United Nations. So it is for the Philippines. As a very spiritual
people we are united in believing that man was created in GOD’s
image. That there can be no compromise on human rights–of
those who break the law and surely, too, of those who are their
victims. We also believe in accountability, not least in the
practical conviction that as we sow so shall we reap.
We should never tolerate human rights abuses but neither should
we tolerate misinformation, fake news on and politicization of
human rights, for these undermine our collective efforts as the
United Nations to uphold the universality of human rights and
dignity of human life.

But why debate security versus human rights? Security and
human rights are not incompatible. Indeed, the first is our duty to
the other. Without security, the most basic human rights, to life
and safety, are constantly under attack—from terrorism,
criminality, drug and human trafficking.
PEACE AND SECURITY

Much has been said about ASEAN. Words like cooperation,
consultation and consensus are identified with it. Critics have
remarked on the slowness of ASEAN’s way of proceeding. Yet
slow as ASEAN’s progress has been, that progress has been
solid, substantive and irreversible—precisely because of the
patience with which it was made; thereby proving that consensusbased
organizations work better.

Five decades ago, Southeast Asia was marred by conflicts, and
all previous attempts at Southeast Asian regionalism proved
extremely difficult. Our different cultures and differing ideologies
and political systems only reinforced this pessimistic outlook.
Fifty years hence, the ASEAN miracle prevails with greater
political and economic prospects that have gripped global interest.
ASEAN has overcome the divisions, fears, and hostilities of the
past. We have used regional cooperation to promote growth,
development and integration and peaceful settlement of disputes.
Today, the Philippines patiently builds stronger relationships with
the international community through the ASEAN and the United
Nations. We remain a friend to all and an enemy to none—to
bridge, to build, a more peaceful, secure and stable world.
SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

There is no development without peace, and no peace without
development. This is what the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable
Development provides. It serves as the template of the Philippine
Development Plan called Ambisyon Natin 2040 or Our Ambition
2040.
While the Philippines has experienced unprecedented economic
growth, we are adopting measures to make growth more inclusive
by massive poverty alleviation programs, creating more jobs,
driving innovation, making quality education universally available.
Relevant education that imparts training and skill building to make
people resilient in changing markets, building greater trust in
government with the hope for result of raising tens of millions of
Filipinos from poverty.

There is a link between increasing poverty, corruption and a
deteriorating environment. President Rodrigo Roa Duterte seeks
to reverse this linkage by addressing the adverse effects of
climate change – to which the Philippines is most vulnerable –
through disaster risk reduction and through strict implementation
of laws protecting the environment.

To honor the immense sacrifices of our 10 Million Filipinos abroad
– and all other migrant workers of the world making huge
sacrifices so that their families may have a better life – we press
on with our advocacy of the Global Compact on Migration. As we
seek to improve conditions for foreign nationals living and working
in the Philippines, we advocate the fundamental concept of loving
our neighbor as we love ourselves. We call on the UN to elevate
migration in its agenda.

Disarmament and Non-Proliferation
If we listen to each other, we will hear the same thing. We have
no need for nuclear weapons. There is absolutely no benefit in
another cold war, neither in an arms race. We want nuclear
weapons to be a thing of the past and we do not want an arms
race anywhere in the world.

On July 7, the Philippines joined 121 other member-states in
securing our world from weapons of mass destruction by adopting
the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. Three days
ago, I signed the Treaty. The Philippines calls on Member States
with nuclear weapons to likewise sign on. We can only have a
safe world if we get rid of all nuclear and other weapons of mass
destruction. By doing so, we “save succeeding generations from
the scourge of war which twice in our lifetime has brought untold
sorrow to mankind.”

The Philippines, on its own, and as this year’s chair of ASEAN,
has expressed its grave concern over the growing tensions in the
Korean Peninsula because of the Democratic People’s Republic
of Korea’s missile test launches and detonations. The Philippines
joins the call on the DPRK to put a stop to its provocations, which
bring us closer to an unimaginable scenario: a war to end all wars
because no one will be left to fight new ones.

Let me end where I began and call again for patience, for listening
and for cooperation, focused always on the wellbeing of, to quote
the Charter’s preamble, “We, the peoples of the United Nations.”
Let us listen to each other as we are the people of the United
Nations. Our Faith and destiny as human beings of this planet are
intertwined.

In a situation like the present, where every finger in and around
the Korean Peninsula is on a trigger, every eye is out for a wrong
move, the likelihood of a surprise attack is virtually zero. In that
situation, no one can be caught by surprise and unprepared to
strike back.

So what is there to lose by going on talking and listening until the
very last moment?

Patience, listening as much as talking, cooperation among friends
and even enemies: these are the signposts on the path of peace.
Peace is about peoples. No people and no country can have a
national identity if there are no others who can tell the difference.
Without peoples—each one different yet all the same in their
being and in the good they seek—it is impossible to imagine the
world. To utter the phrase “the world” means a planet with many
peoples sharing it.

All of us are pieces of a giant puzzle. We seek to be completed by
being pieced together thereby creating a whole, beautiful picture.
In a war of all against all, of everyone each against the other, the
last man standing is not at peace he is but a single piece. He is
not the victor he is simply alone.

Thank you Mr. President.

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Suzanne Giraud
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Suzanne Giraud

Thank you very much for this soulful gem, Mr. Garrie.
I’ll spread this valuable discourse on our greater human potential as sovereign nations united in peace.

bluewater
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Global Citizen Festival: ILLUMINATi United Nations AGENDA 2030 “Sustainable Development” EXPOSED!!!
https://youtu.be/0T_Ydub3NEc

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Is the Violent Dismemberment of Russia Official US Policy?

Neocons make the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

The Duran

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Authored by Erik D’Amato via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity:


If there’s one thing everyone in today’s Washington can agree on, it’s that whenever an official or someone being paid by the government says something truly outrageous or dangerous, there should be consequences, if only a fleeting moment of media fury.

With one notable exception: Arguing that the US should be quietly working to promote the violent disintegration and carving up of the largest country on Earth.

Because so much of the discussion around US-Russian affairs is marked by hysteria and hyperbole, you are forgiven for assuming this is an exaggeration. Unfortunately it isn’t. Published in the Hill under the dispassionate title “Managing Russia’s dissolution,” author Janusz Bugajski makes the case that the West should not only seek to contain “Moscow’s imperial ambitions” but to actively seek the dismemberment of Russia as a whole.

Engagement, criticism and limited sanctions have simply reinforced Kremlin perceptions that the West is weak and predictable. To curtail Moscow’s neo-imperialism a new strategy is needed, one that nourishes Russia’s decline and manages the international consequences of its dissolution.

Like many contemporary cold warriors, Bugajski toggles back and forth between overhyping Russia’s might and its weaknesses, notably a lack of economic dynamism and a rise in ethnic and regional fragmentation.But his primary argument is unambiguous: That the West should actively stoke longstanding regional and ethnic tensions with the ultimate aim of a dissolution of the Russian Federation, which Bugajski dismisses as an “imperial construct.”

The rationale for dissolution should be logically framed: In order to survive, Russia needs a federal democracy and a robust economy; with no democratization on the horizon and economic conditions deteriorating, the federal structure will become increasingly ungovernable…

To manage the process of dissolution and lessen the likelihood of conflict that spills over state borders, the West needs to establish links with Russia’s diverse regions and promote their peaceful transition toward statehood.

Even more alarming is Bugajski’s argument that the goal should not be self-determination for breakaway Russian territories, but the annexing of these lands to other countries. “Some regions could join countries such as Finland, Ukraine, China and Japan, from whom Moscow has forcefully appropriated territories in the past.”

It is, needless to say, impossible to imagine anything like this happening without sparking a series of conflicts that could mirror the Yugoslav Wars. Except in this version the US would directly culpable in the ignition of the hostilities, and in range of 6,800 Serbian nuclear warheads.

So who is Janusz Bugajski, and who is he speaking for?

The author bio on the Hill’s piece identifies him as a senior fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, a Washington, D.C. think-tank. But CEPA is no ordinary talk shop: Instead of the usual foundations and well-heeled individuals, its financial backers seem to be mostly arms of the US government, including the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Mission to NATO, the US-government-sponsored National Endowment for Democracy, as well as as veritable who’s who of defense contractors, including Raytheon, Bell Helicopter, BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and Textron. Meanwhile, Bugajski chairs the South-Central Europe area studies program at the Foreign Service Institute of the US Department of State.

To put it in perspective, it is akin to a Russian with deep ties to the Kremlin and arms-makers arguing that the Kremlin needed to find ways to break up the United States and, if possible, have these breakaway regions absorbed by Mexico and Canada. (A scenario which alas is not as far-fetched as it might have been a few years ago; many thousands in California now openly talk of a “Calexit,” and many more in Mexico of a reconquista.)

Meanwhile, it’s hard to imagine a quasi-official voice like Bugajski’s coming out in favor of a similar policy vis-a-vis China, which has its own restive regions, and which in geopolitical terms is no more or less of a threat to the US than Russia. One reason may be that China would consider an American call for secession by the Tibetans or Uyghurs to be a serious intrusion into their internal affairs, unlike Russia, which doesn’t appear to have noticed or been ruffled by Bugajski’s immodest proposal.

Indeed, just as the real scandal in Washington is what’s legal rather than illegal, the real outrage in this case is that few or none in DC finds Bugajski’s virtual declaration of war notable.

But it is. It is the sort of provocation that international incidents are made of, and if you are a US taxpayer, it is being made in your name, and it should be among your outrages of the month.

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Vladimir Putin visits Serbia, as NATO encircles the country it attacked in 1999 (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 171.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin’s official visit to Serbia.

Putin met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to further develop bilateral trade and economic relations, as well as discuss pressing regional issues including the possibility of extending the Turkish Stream gas pipeline into Serbia, and the dangerous situation around Kosovo.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin got a hero’s welcome in Belgrade. The one-day visit to the last holdout against NATO’s ambitions in the Balkans may have been somewhat short on substance, but was certainly loaded with symbolism.

Even before he landed, the Russian leader was given an honor guard by Serbian air force MiGs, a 2017 gift from Moscow to replace those destroyed by NATO during the 1999 air campaign that ended with the occupation of Serbia’s province of Kosovo. Russia has refused to recognize Kosovo’s US-backed declaration of independence, while the US and EU have insisted on it.

Upon landing, Putin began his first official trip of 2019 by paying respects to the Soviet soldiers who died liberating Belgrade from Nazi occupation in 1944. While most Serbians haven’t forgotten their historical brotherhood in arms with Russia, it did not hurt to remind the West just who did the bulk of the fighting against Nazi Germany back in World War II.

After official talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Putin visited the Church of St. Sava, the grand Orthodox basilica set on the spot where the Ottoman Turks torched the remains of the first Serbian archbishop back in 1594, in an effort to maintain power.

Sava, whose brother Stefan became the “first-crowned” king of medieval Serbia, was responsible for setting up the autocephalous Serbian Orthodox Church exactly eight centuries ago this year. For all its own troubles, the Serbian Church has sided with Moscow in the current Orthodox schism over Ukraine.

Russian artisans have been working on the grand mosaic inside the basilica, and asked Putin to complete the design by placing the last three pieces, in the colors of the Russian flag.

Whether by sheer coincidence or by design, Putin also weighed in on Serbia’s culture war, giving interviews ahead of his visit to two daily newspapers that still publish in Serbian Cyrillic – while the majority of the press, whether controlled by the West or by Vucic, prefers the Latin variant imported from Croatia.

Western media usually refer to Serbia as a “Russian ally.” While this is true in a historical and cultural sense, there is no formal military alliance between Moscow and Belgrade. Serbia officially follows the policy of military neutrality, with its armed forces taking part in exercises alongside both Russian and NATO troops.

This is a major source of irritation for NATO, which seeks dominion over the entire Balkans region. Most recently, the alliance extended membership to Montenegro in 2017 without putting the question to a referendum. It is widely expected that “Northern Macedonia” would get an invitation to NATO as soon as its name change process is complete – and that was arranged by a deal both Macedonia and Greece seem to have been pressured into by Washington.

That would leave only Serbia outside the alliance – partly, anyway, since NATO has a massive military base in the disputed province of Kosovo, and basically enjoys special status in that quasi-state. Yet despite Belgrade’s repeated declarations of Serbia wanting to join the EU, Brussels and Washington have set recognition of Kosovo as the key precondition – and no Serbian leader has been able to deliver on that just yet, though Vucic has certainly tried.

Putin’s repeated condemnations of NATO’s 1999 attack, and Russian support for Serbia’s territorial integrity guaranteed by the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, have made him genuinely popular among the Serbs, more so than Vucic himself. Tens of thousands of people showed up in Belgrade to greet the Russian president.

While Vucic’s critics have alleged that many of them were bused in by the government – which may well be true, complete with signs showing both Vucic and Putin – there is no denying the strong pro-Russian sentiment in Serbia, no matter how hard Integrity Initiative operatives have tried.

One of the signs spotted in Belgrade reportedly said “one of 300 million,” referring to the old Serbian joke about there being “300 million of us – and Russians.” However, it is also a send-up of the slogan used by current street protesters against Vucic. For the past six weeks, every Saturday, thousands of people have marched through Belgrade, declaring themselves “1 of 5 million” after Vucic said he wouldn’t give in to their demands even if “five million showed up.”

The opposition Democrats accuse him of corruption, nepotism, mismanagement, cronyism – all the sins they themselves have plenty of experience with during their 12-year reign following Serbia’s color revolution. Yet they’ve had to struggle for control of the marches with the nationalists, who accuse Vucic of preparing to betray Kosovo and want “him to go away, but [Democrats] not come back.”

There is plenty of genuine discontent in Serbia with Vucic, who first came to power in 2012 on a nationalist-populist platform but quickly began to rule as a pro-NATO liberal. It later emerged that western PR firms had a key role in his party’s “makeover” from Radicals to Progressives. Yet his subsequent balancing act between NATO and Russia has infuriated both the NGOs and politicians in Serbia beholden to Western interests, and US diplomats charged with keeping the Balkans conquered.

Washington is busy with its own troubles these days, so there was no official comment to Putin’s visit from the State Department – only a somewhat pitiful and tone-deaf tweet by Ambassador Kyle Scott, bemoaning the lack of punishment for $1 million in damages to the US Embassy during a 2008 protest against Kosovo “independence.” Yet as far as Western media outlets are concerned, why Moscow seems to be vastly more popular than Washington on the streets of Belgrade nonetheless remains a mystery.

By Nebojsa Malic

 

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Curious Bedfellows: The Neocon And Progressive Alliance To Destroy Donald Trump

The neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via OffGuardian.com:


The Roman poet Ovid’s masterful epic The Metamorphoses includes the memorable opening line regarding the poem’s central theme of transformation. He wrote In nova fert animus mutatas dicere formas corpora, which has been translated as “Of shapes transformed to bodies strange, I purpose to entreat…”

Ovid framed his narrative around gods, heroes and quasi-historical events but if he were around today, he would no doubt be fascinated by the many transformations of the group that has defined itself as neoconservative.The movement began in a cafeteria in City College of New York in the 1930s, where a group of radical Jewish students would meet to discuss politics and developments in Europe. Many of the founders were from the far left, communists of the Trotskyite persuasion, which meant that they believed in permanent global revolution led by a vanguard party. The transformation into conservatives of a neo-persuasion took place when they were reportedly “mugged by reality” into accepting that the standard leftist formulae were not working to transform the world rapidly enough. As liberal hawks, they then hitched their wagon to the power of the United States to bring about transformation by force if necessary and began to infiltrate institutions like the Pentagon to give themselves the tools to achieve their objectives, which included promotion of regime change wars, full spectrum global dominance and unconditional support for Israel.

The neocons initially found a home with Democratic Senator Henry “Scoop” Jackson, but they moved on in the 1970s and 1980s to prosper under Ronald Reagan as well as under Democrat Bill Clinton. Their ability to shape policy peaked under George W. Bush, when they virtually ran the Pentagon and were heavily represented in both the national security apparatus and in the White House. They became adept at selling their mantra of “strong national defense” to whomever was buying, including to President Obama, even while simultaneously complaining about his administration’s “weakness.”

The neoconservatives lined up behind Hillary Clinton in 2016, appalled by Donald Trump’s condemnation of their centerpiece war in Iraq and even more so by his pledge to end the wars in Asia and nation-building projects while also improving relations with the Russians. They worked actively against the Republican candidate both before he was nominated and elected and did everything they could to stop him, including libeling him as a Russian agent.

When Trump was elected, it, therefore, seemed that the reign of the neocons had ended, but chameleonlike, they have changed shape and are now ensconced both in some conservative as well as in an increasing number of progressive circles in Washington and in the media. Against all odds, they have even captured key posts in the White House itself with the naming of John Bolton as National Security Adviser and Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Bolton’s Chief of Staff is Fred Fleitz, a leading neocon and Islamophobe while last week Trump added Iran hawk Richard Goldberg to the National Security Council as director for countering Iranian weapons of mass destruction. Goldberg is an alumnus of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which is the leading neocon think tank calling incessantly for war with Iran.

Meanwhile, the neocon metamorphosis is nearly complete as many of the neocons, who started out as Democrats, have returned home, where they are being welcomed for their hardline foreign policy viewpoint. Glenn Greenwald reports that, based on polling of party supporters, the Democrats have gone full-Hillary and are now by far more hawkish than the Republicans, unwilling to leave either Syria or Afghanistan.

The neocon survival and rejuvenation is particularly astonishing in that they have been wrong about virtually everything, most notably the catastrophic Iraq War. They have never been held accountable for anything, though one should note that accountability is not a prominent American trait, at least since Vietnam. What is important is that neocon views have been perceived by the media and punditry as being part of the Establishment consensus, which provides them with access to programming all across the political spectrum. That is why neocon standard-bearers like Bill Kristol and Max Boot have been able to move effortlessly from Fox News to MSNBC where they are fêted by the likes of Rachel Maddow. They applauded the Iraq War when the Establishment was firmly behind it and are now trying to destroy Donald Trump’s presidency because America’s elite is behind that effort.

Indeed, the largely successful swing by the neocons from right to left has in some ways become more surreal, as an increasing number of progressive spokesmen and institutions have lined up behind their perpetual warfare banner. The ease with which the transformation took place reveals, interestingly, that the neocons have no real political constituency apart from voters who feel threatened and respond by supporting perpetual war, but they do share many common interests with the so-called liberal interventionists. Neocons see a global crisis for the United States defined in terms of power while the liberals see the struggle as a moral imperative, but the end result is the same: intervention by the United States. This fusion is clearly visible in Washington, where the Clintons’ Center for American Progress (CAP) is now working on position papers with the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

One of the most active groups attacking President Trump is “Republicans for the Rule of Law,” founded by Bill Kristol in January 2018, as a component of Defending Democracy Together(DDT), a 501(c)4 lobbying group that also incorporates projects called The Russia Tweets and Republicans Against Putin. Republicans Against Putin promotes the view that President Trump is not “stand[ing] up to [Vladimir] Putin” and calls for more aggressive investigation of the Russian role in the 2016 election.

DDT is a prime example of how the neoconservatives and traditional liberal interventionists have come together as it is in part funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire co-founder of eBay who has provided DDT with $600,000 in two grants through his Democracy Fund Voice, also a 501(c)4. Omidyar is a political liberal who has given millions of dollars to progressive organizations and individuals since 1999. Indeed, he is regarded as a top funder of liberal causesin the United States and even globally together with Michael Bloomberg and George Soros. His Democracy Fund awarded $9 million in grants in 2015 alone.

Last week, the Omidyar-Kristol connection may have deepened with an announcement regarding the launch of the launch of a new webzine The Bulwark, which would clearly be at least somewhat intended to take the place of the recently deceased Weekly Standard. It is promoting itself as the center of the “Never Trump Resistance” and it is being assumed that at least some of the Omidyar money is behind it.

Iranian-born Omidyar’s relationship with Kristol is clearly based on the hatred that the two share regarding Donald Trump.

Omidyar has stated that Trump is a “dangerous authoritarian demagogue… endorsing Donald Trump immediately disqualifies you from any position of public trust.”

He has tweeted that Trump suffers from “failing mental capacity” and is both “corrupt and incapacitated.”

Omidyar is what he is – a hardcore social justice warrior who supports traditional big government and globalist liberal causes, most of which are antithetical to genuine conservatives. But what is interesting about the relationship with Kristol is that it also reveals what the neoconservatives are all about. Kristol and company have never been actual conservatives on social issues, a topic that they studiously avoid, and their foreign policy is based on two principles: creating a state of perpetual war based on fearmongering about foreign enemies while also providing unlimited support for Israel. Kristol hates Trump because he threatens the war agenda while Omidyar despises the president for traditional progressive reasons. That hatred is the tie that binds and it is why Bill Kristol, a man possessing no character and values whatsoever, is willing to take Pierre Omidyar’s money while Pierre is quite happy to provide it to destroy a common enemy, the President of the United States of America.

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