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The Three Global Superpowers

While America thus spends itself into becoming increasingly a third-world country, China and Russia pursue different objectives.

Eric Zuesse

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There are currently three global superpowers, three nations that lead the world: China, Russia, and US.

After World War II, until recently, the US clearly dominated the world, not only culturally, with more influence over the world’s other cultures than any other single nation possessed, but also economically, with product-dominance throughout the world, and also militarily tied with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, and, then, after the Cold War, still possessing such military dominance, so that in 2006, America’s billionaires — as represented by the most-prestigious two agencies that represent their collective interests against the public, the Council on Foreign Relations and Harvard University — were actively promoting, broadly amongst foreign-policy academics, the idea that the US should seek to occupy a position of such extreme military superiority over Russia, so that since 2006 the concept of “Nuclear Primacy” is reflected, by America’s power-centers, as being the correct goal for America, going forward, replacing the prior nuclear-strategic paradigm (since the 1950s) of “Mutually Assured Destruction,” or “M.A.D.,” in which nuclear weapons were (and, by Russia, still are) seen as purely defensive strategic military assets between the two nuclear superpowers, weapons whose only actual purpose, for either country, is to ward off a WW III — no usefulness at all in an actual aggressive military context.

Thus, M.A.D. became replaced in America by Nuclear Primacy, nuclear weapons that are put in place to serve not only to ward off a nuclear attack, but also, ultimately, to win a nuclear war against the other nuclear super-power, Russia — nukes as aggressive weapons, by which the US will (it has been expected, ever since 2006) soon be able to demand, and to receive, Russia’s capitulation, surrender, or else Russia will be destroyed by a US nuclear first-strike, while US casualties, from any presumably few Russian weapons that might make it through this ABM-BMD shield, will be kept to an “acceptably low” level, by virtue of that then-functioning ABM-BMD system, combined with increases in US nuclear striking-power. This nuclear-primacy paradigm aims for America (its billionaires) to take over the entire world, including ultimately the world’s largest land-mass: Russia.

But, now, twelve years later, America’s presumed early lead in such ‘defensive’ strategic weaponry has become, instead, ever more clearly, just a figment of America’s military-industrial complex’s (MIC’s) fervid marketing-campaign for the development and sale of such weapons, ever since US President Ronald Reagan’s promised “Star Wars” program during the 1980s got the effort, toward a winnable nuclear war, started, as an alleged ‘defensive’ measure — not yet overtly the end of M.A.D.

Soon after Reagan, the Soviet Union, and its communism, and its Warsaw Pact counter to America’s NATO military alliance, all simultaneously ended, in 1991, as a consequence of which, the US military-industrial complex (MIC), and especially the large US manufacturers of nuclear-weapons systems, the companies that dominate the MIC, were becoming stranded, because the market for their costliest wares was now in limbo.

Though elimination of the Cold War wouldn’t have been an existential threat to these manufacturers, an end to the Cold War on the US side would have threatened the market-values of those US companies, which are controlled by US billionaires, who have lots of clout in Congress. Thus, though the Cold War ended in 1991 on the Russian side, it secretly continued on the US side (that is, amongst America’s super-wealthy, the people who control the US Government — the main market for the MIC); and America’s strategic switch, away from M.A.D. to Nuclear Primacy (so as to unshackle their market from the prior politically imposed demand to maintain a nuclear balance between the two sides), has been a significant part of this secret continuation, by America, of the Cold War, while Russia’s Government continued instead to think in terms of the M.A.D. paradigm. (Russia’s weapons-manufacturers are still owned by the Government — socialized — so, there’s no need to grow their ‘market value’.)

In a strictly capitalist country, weapons-manufacturing is a major area of investment for billionaires, whose fortunes there rise to the extent that governments are buying their planes and bombs and missiles, especially those of the most sophisticated types, which are strategic weaponry, such as nuclear systems, which are the most profitable ones of all. Growth-at-all-costs has meant (and means) that the MIC is a cancer upon the entire world. (Eisenhower’s Farewell Address, on 17 January 1961, understated the problem.)

Either the entire military will be a public entity, or else there will be (because of its privatized weapons-manufacturing) a tendency for the military to destroy everything else in order to continue to grow, like investors expect and demand — grow like cancer.

A major source of America’s decline was US President George W. Bush, who came into office in 2001 when the Cold War could no longer excite the American public as being a threat (since the Soviet Union and its communism and its military alliance were now long gone), and a new demon thus needed to be brought before the American people, as warranting increased ‘defense’ expenditures.

9/11 came along just in time to fill this interim lack of a cause de guerre, to attack now Al Qaeda and other (as today’s US President famously tags it) “radical Islamic terrorists.”However, America’s spending on strategic weaponry requires instead focus against the other nuclear super-power as being the ‘enemy’, and this is what the end of M.A.D. and the start of Nuclear Primacy (which is manna from heaven for the ‘Defense’ contractors) have been all about: re-defining ‘the enemy’, from being a country with which peace must be maintained (M.A.D.), to becoming instead a country that should be outright conquered. And, amongst the lies which are necessary in order to sustain this switch (from M.A.D. to Nuclear Primacy), is the lie that ABMs have no aggressive function, but are ‘purely for defense’.

This lie will enable the public to accept the spending of trillions of dollars of federal money on weapons whose sole real use will be conquering Russia — or, at least, the attempt to do so.

Nobody makes public the identities of the individuals, in the US and in its allied countries, who comprise the suddenly booming market for luxurious nuclear-proof deep-underground bunkers. But whomever these owners are, three things about them are obvious: they’ve got lots of money; they think that the prospect of a nuclear war is very real — worth their pre-paying for suitably luxurious long-term temporary accommodations deep underground; and they aren’t themselves one of the high government officials for whom the government’s taxpayers have already built such bunkers. (Or, perhaps, some of them do belong to the last of those three categories, but they’ve got so much extra money that they can easily afford to pay for more luxurious quarters than the taxpayers have already supplied them with.)

Quite similar to Donald Trump, but far more overtly faith-based than the hyper-secular former Miss Universe Pageant owner Trump, George W. Bush had a confidence like the Taliban and Al Qaeda do, that “God is on our side”, and so Bush acted as if he had no reason to test-out America’s ABM weapons before ordering and buying them (at the public taxpayer’s expense, and private billionaires’ profits, of course). Or, perhaps alternatively, Bush didn’t even care whether these weapons would work, but only whether the owners of the companies that would be manufacturing them would be satisfied with their profits, from the decisions that he was making, which so powerfully affected their profits.

In any case, Bush’s focus on rushing forward with a US ABM system demonstrated his strong commitment to the replacement of M.A.D., by Nuclear Primacy. The whole idea of Nuclear Primacy rests upon there being an effective US ABM system installed so as to make the enemy’s retaliatory weapons ineffective. Bush pushed the ABM into production even before there was any indication that it would work. He did this even before the very concept of “Nuclear Primacy” was publicly introduced by the two chief agents for America’s aristocracy in 2006. What Harvard and the CFR promoted, was already the Government’s policy. While there were criticisms of Bush’s execution of the plan, there was no significant scholarly opposition against the Nuclear Primacy concept itself.

All subject-areas of expertise (and this refers to scientists, not to scholars) despised the religious faith-based President George W. Bush, much like they despise the secular faith-based President Donald Trump. For example, everyone knows that Trump has great difficulty finding experts who are willing to serve in his Administration. Similarly, in the October 2004 “Poll of Academic Economists” by the Economist, 59% of them answered “no” when asked “If you had a chance to work in a policy job in Washington, would you take it?” And when queried “For whom would you rather work?” Bush or his then electoral opponent Senator John Kerry, 81% chose Kerry — notwithstanding that, as a predominantly conservative lot, the economists did like one thing about George W. Bush: “Outsourcing of jobs overseas,” which 86% of them rated to be either good or very good. (Of course, Trump claims to oppose that; so, in this regard, he’s even less acceptable to economists than Bush was.)

Under Bush, experts were even trying, with no success, to inform this conservative faith-based President about areas in the federal budget where substantial funds were being simply wasted, but his blind faith caused him to ignore such scientific warnings, and enormous federal waste resulted.

For example, the science reporter William Broad headlined in The New York Times on 24 September 2003, “Report Sees Risks in Push for Missile Defense”, and opened, “The Bush administration’s push to deploy a $22 billion missile defense system by this time next year could lead to unforeseen cost increases and technical failures that will have to be fixed before it can hope to stop enemy warheads, Congressional investigators said yesterday.

The General Accounting Office, in a 40-page report, said the Pentagon was combining 10 crucial technologies into a missile defense system without knowing if they can handle the task [and subsequently the same thing happened in order to produce the scandalously overpriced and insanely multi-functional F-35 jets], often described as trying to hit a bullet with a bullet.”

The article quoted a former Pentagon weapons testing chief, who said that to deploy such an anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system just a year hence as planned, would be to deploy “no more than a scarecrow, not a real defense” — in other words, a system that would almost certainly fail in any actual use — because so many parts of the system wouldn’t have been tested sufficiently to be designed functionally that soon.

The prior (Bill Clinton) Administration, more attentive to such concerns, had established a schedule for testing the various parts of this complex system prior to any possible deployment. However, one of G.W. Bush’s first actions coming into office was to deploy an ABM system, even if it might not work, and to do the testing afterward. Bush, it seems, possessed the faith that if science were to fail to supply the system’s functionality, then God would certainly do so, for the benefit of “God’s People.”

Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post thus headlined on 26 April 2004, “Dubious Threat, Expensive Defense” and closed: “Bush would spend twice as much on missile defense as on customs and border protection,” yet gain only “a rudimentary and uncertain defense against an unlikely long-range missile attack.” Diehl opined that, despite the transformed defense needs after 9/11, “The president who never admits error will stay the course.”

Bush did stay the course: by the time of 14 February 2005, as The New York Times reported the next day, “The nation’s fledgling missile defense system suffered its third straight test failure.” Commented one scientist there, “It’s as if Henry Ford started up his automobile production line and began selling cars without ever taking one for a test drive.” But not quite: Bush had now taken his third ‘test drive’ — and all three failed.

On 4 April 2005, the AP reported, “Congress is weighing how much to invest in the fledgling ballistic missile defense system, which has suffered setbacks and whose cost could easily top the $150 billion partial price tag the Bush administration has estimated.” Some congressional proponents of the ABM system were even quoted as saying that it had to be deployed in order to prevent future terrorist attacks, such as had occurred on 9/11.

Of course, that allegation is absurd — 9/11 couldn’t have been stopped by an anti-missile defense system. But members of Congress aren’s so stupid as not to know this. That allegation was probably just a marketing-ploy sponsored in back-rooms by corporations such as Lockheed Martin, who might reflect their satisfaction with the statement, by donating to the ‘appropriate’ PACS.

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration and the Republican Congress were financially shortchanging many of the nation’s authentic anti-terrorist needs. This $150 billion+ could have gone a long way toward achieving real protection (and/or toward serving non-defense needs), if it had been scientifically allocated.

Were Al Qaeda to have been voting directly in the US Congress, the ABM system would have had an easier time passing unchanged, exactly as Bush wanted. Al Qaeda would have been fervent Republicans — they were just as religious, and just as faith-obsessed, though in a different ‘inerrant Scripture’. If Donald Trump has faith in any ‘inerrant Scripture’, nobody knows what it is. But, he seems to have lots of faith in himself, even if experts in the respective subject-fields don’t.

By the present time, the failure of America’s entire ABM-BMD gamble — which was started under Reagan, begun being operationalized under G.W. Bush, and finally being installed by Barack Obama and now under Trump — is painfully clear. But success was never its actual goal: restoring the government’s growth in ‘defense’ spending (even while cutting now the government’s non-‘defense’ spending) is its real purpose.

Those billionaires and centi-millionaires must be served, or else Congress-members will lose their seats to well-funded competitors in their own Party’s next primary. The system succeeds marvelously at doing what it’s intended to do: to serve the people who buy the Government — to serve the actual patrons of this ‘democracy’. Instead of being a democracy, it’s a government that’s bought and sold.

While America thus spends itself into becoming increasingly a third-world country, China and Russia pursue different objectives. Specifically in the case of Russia, its military spending is one-tenth of America’s, but, because Russia cannot afford to allow billionaires’ demands for private profit to constitute the incentive-system that drives the Russian Government’s military decisions, Russia has gone militarily from strength to strength, while post-WW-II America (spending ten times as much) has gone from Vietnam to Afghanistan to Iraq to Libya to Syria, and yet America’s ‘news’ media have cheered all of these evil billionaires’ invasions of those countries we wrecked, as if companies such as General Dynamics owned companies such as the Washington Post, and thus (with all that propaganda) the American public continue to respect America’s military higher than any other US institution — despite such a long string of military failures by this country, despite spending ten times what Russia does on its military, and despite America’s military being the most corrupt part of the US federal Government.

But, actually, America’s military spending is probably much higher than just ten times Russia’s, because America’s official figures — what SIPRI and others use, which is just the ‘Defense’ Department — excludes much of America’s military expenses, as a consequence of which, America’s official $617.1 billion FY 2019 expenditure for the Department of ‘Defense’ masks an actual annual military expense of $1,135.7 billion. That’s $1.36 trillion per year, to do things such as destroy Afghanistan, destroy Iraq, destroy Syria, destroy Libya, perpetrate coups such as in Ukraine, assist coups such as in Honduras, etc.

But even that’s not the total ‘defense’ expenditure which taxpayers have bought for the billionaires, because, throughout its existence, the US CIA has been getting unrecorded off-the-books billions from the international narcotics trade, starting in 1948, when it perpetrated a coup in Thailand and installed there a brutal regime that helped establish the CIA’s off-the-books funding-system, as I had mentioned in a prior article, where I discussed US relations with Syria, in broader histrical context,

starting in 1949, when the US CIA, under President Harry S. Truman, did its second coup d’etat, overthrowing a democratically elected progressive Government (the first having been Thailand 1948, where the CIA had installed an extremely barbaric dictator replacing the democratically elected government that had been headed by a staunch anti-fascist, and simultaneously set up the CIA’s off-the-books supplementary funding mechanism from the international narcotics-trade — a CIA practice which has continued till perhaps the present; and, furthermore, the infamous Nugan-Hand affair, which involved Thailand, definitely involved the CIA’s Michael Hand and William Colby; so, clearly, the CIA is funded off-the-books from the narcotics business, and America’s anti-narcotics laws thus are actually keeping narcotics-drug prices and resultant burglaries and CIA profits artificially high, funneling that illicit money into CIA coffers; and any method to defund the CIA down to its core intelligence-gathering function and to eliminate its coup-function, which is the function that took control in Thailand and Syria and then Iran and many more, would need to regulate — instead of to continue outlawing — drugs, which might be the main reason why it hasn’t yet been done: illegal drugs provide wealth to the CIA and other gang-lords, including some US Government officials).

Another significant milestone in the development of the American elite’s plan to conquer Russia has been the overwhelming — more than 90% of the votes in both the US Senate and House — support for the imposition in 2012 of economic sanctions against Russia, to punish the Russian Government for the alleged 2009 murder of one alleged anti-corruption whistleblower in a Russian prison, Sergei Magnitsky — the Magnitsky Act was passed, and was the first set of economic sanctions against Russia. (The evidence that Magnitsky had been a ‘whistleblower’, and the evidence that he was ‘tortured’ in prison, and the evidence that he wasn’t instead the American Bill Browder’s tax-accountant who had helped Browder in a complex tax-evasion scheme that had defrauded the Russian Government of $232 million, are all themselves fraudulent, and even are easily verified as being fraudulent, but both the US Government, and the EU, ignored and continue to ignore all of it.)

In order to have a ‘justification’ to attack Russia, an excuse is needed; and, since the ideological one — communism — ended in 1991, Russia needs to be at least a ‘dictatorship’; so, something such as the Magnitsky Act was necessary in order to get the military-industrial complex’a (MIC’s) PR ball rolling toward even-higher annual US ’defense’ spending. However, that excuse, being a ‘dictatorship’ (with elections that are at least as honest as America’s are), isn’t enough.

Russia also needs to be officially declared to be an ‘aggressor’ — an aggressive dictatorship — such as to have grabbed portions of its adjoining country, Ukraine. So, America’s Obama regime secretly started in 2011 planning, and then in February 2014 it carried out, a coup against and overthrowing the democratically elected and Russia-friendly Government of Ukraine, and installed there a fascist regime to replace the one that had received 75% of the vote in the Crimean region of Ukraine, and 90% of the vote in the Donbass region of Ukraine, so that both regions refused to be ruled by the Obama-installed rabidly anti-Russian Ukrainian regime, and Russia helped both of those two separatist regions on its borders, and even protected and accepted Crimea’s referendum-vote of over 90% to rejoin Russia, of which Crimea had historically been a part until the Soviet dictator in 1954 arbitrarily transferred it to Ukraine.

So, now, the US MIC has the excuses it wants, in order to place — and thus did place — its weapons and troops onto and near Russia’s borders, just a ten-minute missile flight-time to Moscow.

This plan is moving forward, but nobody can yet say whether, or even when, the US regime will invade. However, the US regime and its NATO allies now also have the excuses that Russia has been holding ‘aggressive’ military exercises near its borders ‘threatening’ NATO countries on its border that might invade Russia, and Western ‘news’ media have alarmed their publics against Russia’s ‘aggressive’ moves after its having ‘stolen’ Crimea and ‘attacked’ Ukraine in Donbass. And then there is yet more Russian ‘aggression’ when Syria requested and received Russia’s military assistance against the US-backed jihadists who, since 2012, have poured, by the tens of thousands, from around the world, into Syria, to be led by the US-backed Al Qaeda there, to overthrow the Syrian Government, which is allied with Russia.

So, that too (the Syrian war) could produce a war between the US and Russia; it could start over Syrian territory, where the US insists on regime-change, but claims only to be ‘fighting terrorists’ there. Of course, regardless of whether the invader of Syria (the US), or else the defender of Syria (Russia), wins, the loser in Syria, especially if it turns out to be the US invader (i.e., if Syria remains one country instead of breaking apart, and if Assad becomes re-elected as President there), could then use that superpower-defeat in Syria, as constituting an excuse to invade the winning superpower there. This would be WW III, starting in Syria, instead of in Ukraine. The US regime has set up those two scenarios.

1984 has come in the real world, but the declining and former leading superpower, America (“Oceania” in George Orwell’s uncannily prophetic description of the future that he prematurely set to occur in 1984), is apparently determined to stay ‘on top’, even if it’s the last thing that anybody does. Can it really be that if the world of the future won’t be led by America’s billionaires, then it won’t exist at all? Do they really demand “My way, or the highway” — really? Are America’s billionaires (despite any ‘humanitarian’ pretenses they individually so often hypocritically express, both in the fictionalized and in the real version) so stunningly united in their actual psychopathy (likewise in both versions — “Big Brother,” and today’s reality)? Thus far, it seems that they are.

None of them — not a one of these people who have the financial resources to bring the world’s most pressing issue honestly to the American public — is speaking out against the others on it, and devoting major funds to exposing the others for their pumping lies against Russia, and to exposing the truths about such things as ABMs and the MIC. And collectively they’ve got the American public fooled into admiring the MIC (“the Military”) above all other US institutions. But whether America’s billionaires will carry their collective evil to the extreme, isn’t yet clear. They are the actual decision-makers regarding US Government policy, but they are playing their cards — as usual — privately and secretly, until their game (whatever it may turn out to be) will already be finished.

Meanwhile, Russia and China each proceeds forward on its own priorities, which aren’t necessarily similar to those of the conquest-obsessed American Government.

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Wayne Blow

Oh holy shit, they’re all “NUTS” and stupid, it’ll never go there way, Thank “GOD” for Russia and their neutralizing of US’s war systems !!!!!

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Russia tests IMPRESSIVE new missile by blowing up a fleet of warships (VIDEO)

Russian military forces continue to display amazing proficiency in combat testing, no doubt sending a strong message to the world.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The UK’s tabloid The Sun published a news piece detailing, the efficacy of Russia’s new Kh-35U anti-ship missile platform:

Footage released by Russia’s defence ministry showed the capabilities of the country’s Kh-35U anti-ship missiles. They were fired from a Su-34 long range strike aircraft and managed to sink a group of ships which were imitating a group of enemy vessels.

The training exercise was a triumph with all eight launches successfully striking the intended targets.

Russia’s Ministry of Defence said: “Su-34 multifunctional fighter-bombers carried out practical launches of the newest guided anti-ship missiles Kh-35U. All in all eight launches were carried out; all missiles successfully hit targets.

Russian officials claim the state-of-the-art Kh-35 is immune to any enemy attack.

To that end, these videos give some eyes-on perspective to the efficacy of these missile systems.

This video is equally impressive (there is no sound, so do not think there is a problem here.)

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The claim that the Zvezda Kh-35U systems are invulnerable to enemy attack lies in several factors: The system has an operating temperature range between -40C and +50C. It is capable of launch in extremely high humidity environments, and can operate in windspeeds over 40 mph. It is a mobile launch platform, capable of easy movement.

The missile itself is a subsonic cruise missile, sometimes, as shown here, equipped with a rocket booster for launch. The missile’s aerodynamic configuration is optimized for sea-surface skimming, and so enhances its stealthy profile. Its guidance algorithms are also highly secure, and the missile can rely on external guidance for much of its flight and switch to internal homing guidance once it is in range to lock on target itself.

Sputnik News notes that the missile is now adapted for use with the Sukhoi T-50 (Su-57) stealth fighter, further insulating it from detection by enemy forces:

Speaking to Russia’s Izvestia newspaper in an interview published on Friday, Nikolai Vasilyev, chief designer at Tactical Missiles Corporation, the company that designs the missiles, explained why Russia’s prospective opponents fear the Kh-35, and how the Pentagon once tried to get their hands on them.

Speaking about the Kh-35’s widespread deployment in the Russian Navy, and its popularity in other countries, including Algeria, India, Iran and Vietnam, among others, Vasilyev said that the high regard for the missile comes down in part to its universality.

“The Kh-35E is Russia’s first universalized missile which can be used from various types of carriers,” the chief engineer noted. “Before it, the classical approach was for different weapons systems…(aircraft, helicopters, ships and coastal defense systems) to use specially-created missiles for each. The development of such weapons was a very costly affair. Therefore, in order to optimize spending, it was decided to create a universalized missile that could be used from airplanes, helicopters, ships, coastal defense complexes and, in case of urgent need, from submarines.”

Today, Vasilyev noted, the main competitors to the Kh-35E include the American Harpoon and the French Exocet anti-ship missiles. Sweden and China have their own developments, the RBS-15 and the C-801, respectively, while Japan and North Korea are making an effort to develop them. “In general, any modern state engaged in maintaining the combat readiness of its military must have such weapons,” the engineer said.

Asked to provide his assessment of how the Kh-35E would fare against the capabilities of these foreign analogues, Vasilyev explained that the fact that many sufficiently powerful countries without a domestic anti-ship missile program capability purchase the Russian weapons is a sign of their worth.

“Until recently, the American Harpoon was considered the top missile [in this class]. But the US supplied it only to its closest allies. For this reason, many countries went with ‘budget’ models, including Exocet and Chinese analogues like the C-801. I have often taken part in negotiations with foreign customers. For me as a developer, it’s nice to hear when customers reach the conclusion that the Kh-35E is one of the best in its class. I can state with all responsibility that the Kh-35E and its Kh-35U modification not only hold their own against the foreign missiles, but in many respects are superior to them.”

Asked to list the specific advantages of the Kh-35E, Vasilyev explained that first and foremost, it comes down to the weapon’s immunity to enemy countermeasures. 

The biggest secret to any missile is its ability to resist enemy interference, that is, its resistance against jamming. Jamming includes active measures, when a missile’s homing device is jammed with a powerful radio-electronic signal. There are also passive jamming measures – chaffing — including finely cut pieces of foil, fiberglass, etc. These are shot into the air, and the miniature radar homing device onboard the missile receives a huge number of signals, preventing it from finding its real target.”

“A missile’s combat effectiveness is determined by two factors,” Vasilyev said. “The first factor is the missile itself, and its ability to hit targets. For example, a single missile will be enough to destroy a missile boat displacing 500-1,500 tons. But to reach this vessel, it will be necessary to send eight missiles, for example. Seven of them will be either shot down, or blocked by the enemy’s electronic warfare systems. Only one will pass through and find its target. The stronger a missile’s jamming resistance, the less missiles are needed. The use of highly protected warheads allows us to halve the amount of missiles necessary – to send not eight missiles, but only four.”

The second criterion for a missile’s effectiveness is the relative cost ratio between the weapon and its target, the senior engineer explained. “The engineering solutions providing our missiles with countermeasures resistance capability are a state secret. But what I can tell you is that the knowhow used in the Kh-35E is notably higher than that of its foreign analogues, including Harpoon.

One more video describing the system follows:

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Rod Rosenstein hangs on to post, but not without pain

Media outlets worldwide jump on story of Rosenstein resignation, which although untrue, still points at his recent wiretap controversy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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When news broke that Rod Rosenstein had given his verbal resignation to the White House Chief of Staff, news outlets all over the world jumped on this story, including us here at The Duran. The initial breaking story turned out not to be so – and Mr. Rosenstein is still holding the post of Deputy Attorney General. But the day was no less chaotic for him, and although the initial story may be premature, it is still clear that an upheaval is definitely in progress.

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To go over the events since the initial story, this is what we know so far:

  • From CNBC:Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will remain in his job at least until Thursday, when he is scheduled to sit down with President Donald Trump to discuss his future at the Justice Department, the White House says.Yet the fact that Rosenstein went to work at the Justice Department at all on Tuesday morning was noteworthy, coming on the heels of a whirlwind 24 hours marked by competing reports that Rosenstein’s firing was imminent, that he had already resigned, and that he planned to resign after being summoned to the White House on Monday.”
  • From Wired: “What was already set up to be one of the biggest, most consequential weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency—as the Commander-in-Chief chaired a UN meeting in New York, the Capitol in Washington braced for a showdown over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh—saw the intensity rise to seemingly historic levels by noon Monday, as news outlets raced to report the long anticipated denouement of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.Nevertheless, the momentary firing-that-wasn’t likely marks the postponement of an impending crisis, rather than a permanent escape.

    The fall of Rod Rosenstein—the man who in his first weeks in office helped justify the firing of FBI Director James Comey and then appointed Comey’s predecessor, Robert Mueller, to be the special counsel leading the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election—appeared to happen as Ernest Hemingway once said about going bankrupt: gradually, then suddenly.

    Gradually, because ultimately it has never seemed a question of if Rosenstein would be fired, but when—and how far along Mueller would be by the time Rosenstein got canned. Reporters across Washington had prewritten “Rosenstein is fired” stories numerous times, as the tensions between the White House and the Justice Department ebbed and flowed over the last two years. (Most recently, The Wall Street Journal had actually sung the praises of the Trump-Rosenstein dynamic: “It’s fantastic,” President Trump said of their relationship in August.)

  • Fox News’ Howard Kurtz made his comments in this video piece, which also, incidentally, included further reports on the disintegration of the Kavanaugh lynching attempt by Democrats, also covered here on The Duran:

Interestingly enough, Mr. Kurtz notes the Rosenstein media scrabble as “a day of sloppy, and sometimes overreaching, journalism.” This of course is true, as so many outlets jumped on this story. However, unlike the Kavanaugh sexual-abuse fabrication job being orchestrated by Alinsky-acolyte Democrats, the Rosenstein affair at least has some direct connections to reality.

Mr. Rosenstein no doubt raised some eyebrows and hackles at the White House on Friday, when a report from The New York Times claimed that he had once mused over the thought of becoming a human wiretap, meeting with – and recording – President Trump, to give evidence of how unhinged Mr. Trump allegedly was. Further the report claimed that Mr. Rosenstein questioned Donald Trump’s “fitness for office,” a popular soundbite line among Democrats and globalists who seek to unseat the President by the invocation of the 25th Amendment (or any other possible means). CNBC continues:

The report sent shockwaves through the Justice Department and the White House, further straining what was already a messy relationship between the president and his DOJ. Trump has made no attempt to hide his disdain for Sessions, whom the president holds personally responsible for the escalation of the Russia probe. Moreover, it was Rosenstein himself who appointed Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

NBC News reported that Rosenstein and White House Counsel Don McGahn discussed the possibility of his resigning over the Times story, but that Rosenstein made it clear to McGahn that if Trump wanted to fire him, the president would need to speak to him directly about it, face to face.

NBC also reported that sometime over the weekend, Trump decided not to fire Rosenstein after all, in part because of the political firestorm it would ignite, just weeks from the November elections.

On Monday morning, however, the news site Axios incorrectly reported that Rosenstein had “verbally resigned” over the weekend, giving the strong impression that Rosenstein was quitting of his own accord, and that his departure was already a done deal. (Axios, for its part, said Tuesday that its initial report Monday “conveyed too much certainty to a fluid situation by presenting Rosenstein’s resignation as a done deal.”)

Axios and other outlets are now all in sync once again, with the present status being that Mr. Rosenstein is planning to meet with the President on Thursday after his return from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly. There does appear to be a lot to talk about. However, at this point, all that really remains is to wait.

The MSM is wild with speculation, of course, but at this point the better course is probably just to wait and see what happens.

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Europe Unveils “Special Purpose Vehicle” To Bypass SWIFT, Jeopardizing Dollar’s Reserve Status

Creating “a defensible banking architecture” is the end goal for the Europeans, China and Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


In a stunning vote of “no confidence” in the US monopoly over global payment infrastructure, one month ago Germany’s foreign minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US that would allow Brussels to be independent in its financial operations from Washington and as a means of rescuing the nuclear deal between Iran and the west.

Writing in the German daily Handelsblatt, Maas said “Europe should not allow the US to act over our heads and at our expense. For that reason it’s essential that we strengthen European autonomy by establishing payment channels that are independent of the US, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent Swift system,” he wrote.

Maas said it was vital for Europe to stick with the Iran deal. “Every day the agreement continues to exist is better than the highly explosive crisis that otherwise threatens the Middle East,” he said, with the unspoken message was even clearer: Europe no longer wants to be a vassal state to US monopoly over global payments, and will now aggressively pursue its own “SWIFT” network that is not subservient to Washington’s every whim.

Many discounted the proposal as being far too aggressive: after all, a direct assault on SWIFT, and Washington, would be seen by the rest of the world as clear mutiny against a US-dominated global regime, and could potentially spark a crisis of confidence in the reserve status of the dollar, resulting in unpredictable, and dire, consequences.

However, despite the diplomatic consequences, Europe was intent on creating some loophole to the US ability to weaponize the global currency of account at will, something observed most recently as part of Trump’s latest sanctions on Iran, and as a result, late on Monday, the European Union said that it would establish a special payment channel to allow European and other companies to legally continue financial transactions with Iran while avoiding exposure to U.S. sanctions.

The move, as the WSJ notes, “is a direct rebuke of President Trump’s policy on Iran and his decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal in May,” and sets the stage for a confrontation between the U.S. and Europe over the treatment of Iran, the payment for Iran oil, and potentially, jeopardizing the reserve currency status of the dollar itself.

While keeping SWIFT as is, for now, the EU’s foreign-policy head Federica Mogherini side by side with Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced a “special purpose vehicle” jointly, in English and Farsi, after a meeting at the U.N. of the parties still committed to the deal—Iran, EU, U.K., France, Germany, Russia and China. In fact, everyone but the US.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (r), speaking alongside Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif

According to Mogherini, the plan to create the SPV “will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran, and this will allow European companies to continue trade with Iran” despite Trump’s opposition.

As Bloomberg’s Leonid Bershidsky explains, with Iran sanctions back, it is clear to the Europeans (as well as the Chinese and Russians) that any future transactions with Iran must go through entities insulated from the American financial system.

In a July 2018 report, Axel Hellman of the European Leadership Network think tank and Esfandyar Batmanghelidj of the Iranian company Bourse & Bazaar proposed “a new banking architecture” in response to the U.S. sanctions, relying on the existing system of “gateway banks,” such as the Hamburg-based Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank, and the European branches of private Iranian bank. “A further third category of gateway banks can be envisioned,” they wrote, “which would comprise of special purpose vehicles established by European governments, or as part of public-private partnerships in order to facilitate Iran trade and investment.”

The new plan focuses on this third option.

Mogherini further indicated that Germany, France and the U.K. would set up a multinational state-backed financial intermediary that would deal with companies interested in Iran transactions and with Iranian counter-parties. Such transactions, presumably in euros and pounds sterling, would not be transparent to American authorities. European companies dealing with the state-owned intermediary technically might not even be in violation of the U.S. sanctions as currently written.

And, in a potentially massive development, the system would be likely be open to Russia and China as well as it would enable the world’s economies to trade with each other, fully independent of SWIFT.

Europe would thus provide an infrastructure for legal, secure sanctions-busting — and a guarantee that the transactions would not be reported to American regulators.

That said, Washington would not be without recourse, although at that point, all the U.S. could do is sanction the participating countries’ central banks or SWIFT for facilitating the transactions (if the special purpose vehicle uses SWIFT, rather than ad hoc messaging).

That, Hellman and Batmanghelidj wrote, would be self-defeating: “There are two possible outcomes if these institutions proceed to work with Iran despite U.S. secondary sanctions. Either U.S. authorities fail to take enforcement action given the massive consequences for the operations and integrity of the American financial system, serving to “defang” the enforcement threats and reduce the risk of European self-sanctioning on the basis of fear, or U.S. authorities take such an enforcement action, a step that would only serve to accelerate European efforts to create a defensible banking architecture that goes beyond the Iran issue alone.”

Europe, naturally, needs a “neutral” pretext to implement this SPV, and that would be Brussels’ desire to continue transacting with Iran:

“We are not backing down [on the Iran nuclear agreement],” said a European diplomat. He said the speeches of European leaders at a Security Council meeting Mr. Trump is hosting on Wednesday on nonproliferation, including Iran, will reflect the Monday night statement.

Additionally, as basis for the potentially revolutionary development, the participants of the 2015 nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, “underlined their determination to protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran.”

While the details of the SPV mechanism — which would be set up in future meetings with technical experts — were still to be determined, with the United States and the dollar dominating so much of global trade the statement said the new mechanism would “facilitate payments related to Iran’s exports (including oil) and imports, which will assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran.”

“In practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law and could be open to other partners in the world,” she told reporters.

As a result of Trump’s aggressive new sanctions on Iran, and potentially more sanctions after November as Trump hinted during his UN speech, European companies have been flocking out of Iran’s market and ending contracts to avoid risking U.S. sanctions.  Meanwhile, Iran – which has argued that the 2015 deal entitled the Islamic Republic to benefit from lifting of sanctions and to enter the world market – has seen its economy stumble, with the currency collapsing almost daily against the U.S. dollar since the U.S. exited the deal.

Telegraphing that Europe will continue cooperation with Iran despite US sanctions, Mogherini said Iran has remained fully committed to its obligations under the nuclear deal, as certified by a dozen reports from U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency. She also hailed the 2015 agreement as a major achievement for diplomacy and nonproliferation and “deeply regrets” what she called the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the deal.

* * *

In any case, creating “a defensible banking architecture” may well be the end goal for the Europeans, China and Russia, anyway because, as noted above, Iran is merely a convenient pretext: after all, the nuclear agreement is one of the few things that unite the EU, China and Russia against the U.S.

But, as Bershidsky notes, “working to undermine the dollar’s global dominance isn’t ultimately about Iran at all. In his recent State of the European Union speech, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for strengthening the euro’s international role and moving away from traditional dollar invoicing in foreign trade.”

China and Russia have long sought the same thing, but it’s only with Europe, home of the world’s second biggest reserve currency, that they stand a chance of challenging American dominance.

While it remains to be seen if the “special purpose vehicle” would entice European companies such as France’s Total or Germany’s Daimler to get back into business with Iran remains to be seen, the optics of the move by the European Union together with China and Russia to defy the U.S. signaled continued criticism of the Trump administration for its decisions on Iran.

More importantly, it strikes at the heart of the current economic and financial system which is held together by the dollar. By providing an alternative, the global #resistance sets the stage for what potentially could be the ascendancy of other global reserve currencies, and/or a world of bilateral trade agreements which bypass both the US Dollar and Swift entirely, eliminating Washington’s “veto powers” on global trade.

Given U.S. law enforcement’s wide reach, there would still be a risk involved, and European governments may not be able to protect the companies from it. Some firms will be tempted to try the new infrastructure, however, and the public isn’t likely to find out if they do.  In any case, in response to Trump’s aggressive foreign policies and “weaponization” of the dollar, it is worthwhile for Europe, Russia and China to experiment with dollar-free business.

But this brings up the bigger point: no currency’s international dominance has lasted forever, and there’s no reason for the U.S. dollar to be the exception to this rule.

Meanwhile, as Bershidsky concludes, “Trump’s confidence in his ability to weaponize the dollar against adversaries and stubborn allies alike could eventually backfire for the U.S. as efforts to push the dollar off its pedestal grow ever more serious.”

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