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US decline ongoing but it remains the undisputed military master

Despite widely held views, American regression has long been taking place.

Shane Quinn

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The United States’ decline can be traced as far back as 1949, when the world’s dominant power unexpectedly suffered the “loss” of China. It was a monumental early blow to US strategic planners, who were carefully executing dreams of unchallenged global dominance.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt had been “aiming at United States hegemony in the post-war world”, as the prominent British historian Geoffrey Warner outlined. Roosevelt was to die less than three weeks before Adolf Hitler shot himself in April 1945, yet such visions were carried forward with zeal.

In 1948 the well regarded US diplomat George Kennan said, “We have 50% of the world’s wealth but only 6.3% of its population. In this situation our real job in the coming period… is to maintain this position of disparity. To do so, we have to dispense with all sentimentality… we should cease thinking about human rights, the raising of the living standards and democratisation” – and we must “deal in straight power concepts”, while not being “hampered by idealistic slogans” about “altruism and work-benefaction”.

Kennan was considered one of the moderate “doves” in US planning circles. This unheralded sphere of conquest was called the Grand Area. Unfortunately for Kennan and colleagues, by the following year [1949], China removed itself from US control in an outcome sorely felt to present.

It occurred when the resurgent Communist Party of China, led by Mao Zedong, overran American-backed Nationalists (Kuomintang) in mainland China. It was an irreversible rout which saw many US sympathisers flee to Taiwan, an island about 700km east of Hong Kong.

The outcome prompted critics of the Harry Truman administration to describe it as “an avoidable catastrophe”. It was preventable in that they felt the US military should have been called upon.

For if a country has unscrupulous aspirations of global dominance, “losing China to Communism” is undoubtedly a catastrophe. It is a revealing term to “lose” a nation with a population at the time of 550 million people – and whose capital Beijing (then Peking) is more than 11,000 km from Washington. It stands as a revealing insight into imperialist planning, with similar dogmas prevailing to the current day.

As a young man Truman himself had written about his disregard for the “Chinaman”. Consequently, China’s exit from the US sphere of control grated severely. The American leader later wrote, “As long as I am president, if I can prevent it, that cut-throat organisation will never be recognised by us as the government of China”.

By the end of World War II, the US had long been the world’s richest country. The second global conflict finished off lingering effects of the Great Depression, with American industry increasing almost four-fold.

Critically, rivals like Germany, the USSR, Britain, China and Japan were all devastated from invasion, bombing or loss of life.

Christopher Tassava, Associate Director at Carleton College in Minnesota writes, “American leaders determined to make the United States the centre of the post-war world economy. American aid or “Marshall Plan” furthered this goal by tying the economic reconstruction of West Germany, France, Great Britain and Japan to American import and export needs, among other factors”.

With their key rivals further tied down to American financial power, the proceeding Cold War was directed against the USSR. In the Western mainstream this was framed as two equals going toe-to-toe – with the US defending earth from Communism’s ravages.

In truth the US was always the much stronger state, enjoying unprecedented wealth, security and scope. It was a level of power that even Hitler, with his wild ambitions for the world, may not have envisaged.

The Cold War comprised principally of efforts by both superpowers to implement and spread order in their realms of power. The US would control most of the world while the Soviets had to be content with eastern Europe. Things were to change before long, however.

In addition to “losing” China, by the 1950s south-east Asia was sliding from America’s grasp too. It eventually propagated the deadly conflicts in Vietnam and the rest of Indochina (1962-75).

Furthermore, there was the enormous bloodletting in the mid-1960s upon gaining control of “the greatest prize” that was Indonesia – as described by Richard Nixon. These Asian regions are still to recover fully from the effects of American-led aggression and influence.

By about 1975, the US share of global wealth had dropped to 25% – still huge – yet it stood at 50% a generation before. With Europe and Japanese-centric Asia gradually recovering and becoming less reliant on American influence, the industrial world was becoming “tripolar”.

In 1979, the US was dealt another hammer blow when Iranian nationalists overthrew the Western-backed dictatorship of the Shah. It is another “loss” that is continually felt, with Iran enduring almost unremitting American pressure ever sense.

Later, the Soviet Union’s demise in the early 1990s witnessed much nonsensical triumphalism from Western elites. There was talk of “a noble phase” and a final victory for “Western values” over the scourge of Communism.

In the post-USSR era, the old American pretexts of global defence from “Soviet aggression” could no longer be used to dupe the public. Now, the ruse put forward when illegally attacking other nations was “promoting democracy” and to defend “human rights and civilised values”, as Tony Blair put it.

The true reasons such as controlling resources and destroying independent nationalism remained unmentioned. Little attention was paid to the words of those like Harvard professor Samuel P. Huntington, who said in 1999 of the US, “In the eyes of many countries it is becoming the rogue superpower”, and “the single greatest threat to their societies”.

These views were confirmed by various international opinion polls this century, on the subject of “the greatest threat to world peace”.

With Western politicians publicly appraising themselves for the USSR’s downfall, it was not long after that the US was losing control of Latin America too. Subjected to brutal US-initiated conflicts and dictatorships for decades, the Latin American people were making serious efforts to rid themselves of outside control.

Some of this American decline has plainly been self-inflicted. Estimates suggest the disastrous George W. Bush-Barack Obama wars in the Middle East cost between $4 trillion to $6 trillion. Even to the planet’s richest nation, no laughing matter.

One of Osama bin Laden’s chief aims was to lure America into drawn-out conflicts, thereby inflicting financial ruin. Bin Laden continues to score victories from his watery grave. Now, current president Donald Trump is upping the ante in Afghanistan at a continued price. American troops are forecast to remain on Afghan soil for another decade.

It is worth remembering that the US still remains the unchallenged military master; no other country comes close to matching the might of its armed forces. The US military outlay is set to increase by over 10%, to $700 billion (its 2016 expenditure was $611 billion). Last year, China was second on the global arms list at $215 billion.

The incoming price is unlikely to affect the super wealthy, but tens of millions of Americans will again bear the brunt of a long-held plutocracy.

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

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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

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

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

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Via Zerohedge


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Seraphim Hanisch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seraphim Hanisch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That can be very dangerous.

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