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A new conservative manifesto for the 21st century

This is a helpful intellectual exercise that many could benefit from participating in. People ought to write their own ideal political manifesto and send it to their existing political representatives as a source of inspiration and ideas.

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With definitions of left and right in flux, even among those who understood the historic definitions, it has become necessary to offer one possible solution to the crisis. This exercise is not meant to produce a document that everyone will agree upon, but rather it is designed to encourage others to peacefully contribute to the wider debate.

These solutions could be easily applied to the domestic affairs and international relations of almost any secular republic which respects mainstream religious traditions and cultures.

I. A Commitment To Sovereignty

 The sovereignty of all states is absolute. No state has the right to interfere in any way with the affairs of another state, up to and including the threat or execution of war. Any state that illegally invades another will not be able to take recourse to international law if vengeance of any kind is extracted on the aggressor state by the wider international community. The sole exceptions for this provision are as follows,

a. The Reunification of Peoples 

If a people who are stateless or living inside of borders they do not consider their mother country, they may conduct a democratic referendum or exercise a similar legal apparatus in order to vote to re-join the mother country. In all circumstances unilateral declarations of independence will be illegal. All such countries must vote to re-join an existing state with whom the peoples can prove an unalienable historic or otherwise compelling connection.

Under new provisions of international law, the mother country shall be forced to adhere to the results of such a decision by a displaced people except in the most extraordinary circumstances.

The state from which a people’s decide to withdraw must in all circumstances refrain from stopping the people from peacefully exercising their right to self-determination under the penalty of international law.

b. A Vote By The United Nations 

As currently inscribed in International Law, in the most extraordinary of circumstances, the United Nations can agree to send or authorise a limited military contingent to a country in order to correct certain violations of the norms of humanity. This must only be exercised in the most limited of circumstances.

c. The Caroline Test 

If a nation feels inexorably threatened by a nearby state, the Caroline Test provides for a limited action in order to correct this security threat. If a nation’s actions do not conform to this test, the United Nations must immediately react to restrain any further such actions.

II. Recognition of International Bodies 

The United Nations must recognise major international bodies and bring their activities under its jurisdiction in certain circumstances. These international bodies form an important core of global economic, military, security and cultural exchange.

If one of these bodies acts in violation of international law, it must be subject to the same penalties as individual states.

Such bodies include but are not limited to: NATO, EU,  SCO, ASEAN, OPEC, CIS, BRICS, AU, WTO, World Bank etc…

The United  Nations must supervise and allow for any nation’s withdrawal from such a group in the event of a confrontation. The United Nations must furthermore protect the right for any nation to withdraw from any such body in peace and without intimidation.

III. Nuclear Weapons 

No nation shall take it upon itself to encourage the proliferation of, nor threatened against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in any state.

All states will be allowed to peacefully develop nuclear technology including weapons and all such states shall be forced to declare the status and nature of such a nuclear arsenal to the United Nations under penalty of sanctions or limited military action.

IV. Free Speech and Political Parties 

It is the duty of every responsible government to protect the rights of political free speech among its citizens. A nation does not have the right to prohibit the formation of any political party unless it openly glorifies fascism or religious sectarianism. It shall be henceforth understood that appealing to a particular segment of a region or state is different than an outwardly sectarian political organisation.

V. Limits On Non Political Free Speech 

The publication and/or public display of any and all obscene materials must be strictly prohibited. The penalty for violating this provision shall be life imprisonment with a special circumstance of capital punishment as a sentence for those who aim to corrupt the minds of children.

Wilfully insulting a state recognised religion will be prosecuted under obscenity laws.

The practice of the occult shall be prohibited under obscenity laws.

The wider definition of obscene materials is to be determined by a broad range of experts and ordinary citizens taken from a cross section of society with a doctor of jurisprudence to make the final decision.

VI. Human Rights 

The following shall be considered human rights which no state or private body has the right to prohibit or infringe upon. When such rights are not obtained on a voluntary basis in the private sector, the state must insure the provision of such rights for all citizens and their families:

–Housing

–Water

–Basic foodstuffs

–Basic medical care

–Telephone and internet access

–Basic transportation

–Education until the age of 15 with certain provisions for free higher education to those who qualify based on merit

–The right to common access to sporting and arts/cultural facilities

–The right to a clean natural environment

–The right to a productive daily activity in the event of unemployment

The definitions inscribed above shall not under any circumstances be expanded.

VII. Capital Punishment

Those found guilty of the following shall be executed by firing squad:

–Crimes against humanity

–War crimes

–Genocide

–Murder without provocation

–Rape when combined with common assault

–Child molestation

–Kidnapping

–Making a false accusation against a fellow citizen

–Burglary

–Any act of theft which involves common assault or the threat of common assault

–Appearing in public when under the influence of narcotics

–The theft or vandalism of property worth more than $25,000

VIII: Medical Regulations

The state shall not regulate the practice of qualified physicians and nurses, but shall regulate the production,provision and distribution of all prescription medications and narcotics by statute.

Any doctor who is asked by an adult to perform a cruel or unusual operation shall be obliged to recommend the patient for psychoanalytic evaluation which may or may not result in said individual’s incarceration in a correctional facility for the mentally ill.

The law will provide harsh penalties for any and all medically unnecessary operations on individuals under the age of 15.

IX: The Family 

The state shall allow responsible, registered religious organisations to regulate provisions of family life in most circumstances. This includes but is not limited to, ordaining marriages, confirming divorces, registering a birth, procuring non-violent rites of passage for children, making funeral arrangements.

Non-religious people will be able to enter such agreements via a legally recognised written or implied contract conducted by private parties with the oversight of a qualified lawyer should both parties seek such legal advice.

If in any case the state is made aware of a religious body engaging in practices that are harmful to children or society at large, those found guilty shall be sentenced to life imprisonment and their organisations shall be outlawed.

X: The Right To Bear Arms 

The legal right to own a firearm for defensive purposes shall not be infringed upon by the state except in the cases where one one has been convicted of a crime or is deemed to be mentally unsound.

XI: Tax and Business

The state shall regulate and monitor the activities of all corporations whose annual net income is over $200,000. All small and medium sized businesses who net less than $200,000 per annum shall not be required to pay any tax beyond a basic sales tax and other taxation required by local authorities.

Monopolies of any sort shall be strictly prohibited.

Those who have ownership in a media outlet whose annual net income is over $100,000 shall be prohibited from serving as a director or shareholder of any other company irrespective of the size.

All individuals who own companies which operate in foreign nations must obtain a special certificate from the state.

XII: Individual Taxation 

Individuals earning under $30,000 per annum will not pay any income tax.

Individuals earning between 30,001 and $99,999 will pay a flat rate of 14% on income excluding savings.

Individuals earning over $100,000 will pay a flat rate of 25%.

No local or regional authorities will be allowed to tax income.

XIII: Secret Societies

All secret societies will be outlawed through small private clubs of a non-sectarian nature will be allowed to operate in the private sector. All such private entities shall be forced to publish their full membership list to the public or else force being shut down.

XIV: Equality 

All citizens will be equal before the law. Private sector discrimination of individuals will be prohibited in all cases except in private homes.

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Ukraine Wants Nuclear Weapons: Will the West Bow to the Regime in Kiev?

Efforts to prevent nuclear proliferation are one of the few issues on which the great powers agree, intending to continue to limit the spread of nuclear weapons and to prevent new entrants into the exclusive nuclear club.

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Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


The former Ukrainian envoy to NATO, Major General Petro Garashchuk, recently stated in an interview with Obozrevatel TV:

“I’ll say it once more. We have the ability to develop and produce our own nuclear weapons, currently available in the world, such as the one that was built in the former USSR and which is now in independent Ukraine, located in the city of Dnipro (former Dnipropetrovsk) that can produce these kinds of intercontinental ballistic missiles. Neither the United States, nor Russia, nor China have produced a missile named Satan … At the same time, Ukraine does not have to worry about international sanctions when creating these nuclear weapons.”

The issue of nuclear weapons has always united the great powers, especially following the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). The decision to reduce the number of nuclear weapons towards the end of the Cold War went hand in hand with the need to prevent the spread of such weapons of mass destruction to other countries in the best interests of humanity. During the final stages of the Cold War, the scientific community expended great effort on impressing upon the American and Soviet leadership how a limited nuclear exchange would wipe out humanity. Moscow and Washington thus began START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) negotiations to reduce the risk of a nuclear winter. Following the dissolution of the USSR, the Budapest Memorandum on Security Assurances persuaded Ukraine to relinquish its nuclear weapons and accede to the NPT in exchange for security assurances from its signatories.

Ukraine has in recent years begun entertaining the possibility of returning to the nuclear fold, especially in light of North Korea’s recent actions. Kim Jong-un’s lesson seems to be that a nuclear deterrent remains the only way of guaranteeing complete protection against a regional hegemon. The situation in Ukraine, however, differs from that of North Korea, including in terms of alliances and power relations. Kiev’s government came into power as a result of a coup d’etat carried out by extremist nationalist elements who seek their inspiration from Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera. The long arm of NATO has always been deeply involved in the dark machinations that led to Poroshenko’s ascendency to the Ukrainian presidency. From a geopolitical point of view, NATO’s operation in Ukraine (instigating a civil war in the wake of a coup) follows in the footsteps of what happened in Georgia. NATO tends to organize countries with existing anti-Russia sentiments to channel their Russophobia into concrete actions that aim to undermine Moscow. The war in the Donbass is a prime example.

However, Ukraine has been unable to subdue the rebels in the Donbass region, the conflict freezing into a stalemate and the popularity of the Kiev government falling as the population’s quality of life experiences a precipitous decline. The United States and the European Union have not kept their promises, leaving Poroshenko desperate and tempted to resort to provocations like the recent Kerch strait incident or such as those that are apparently already in the works, as recently reported by the DPR authorities.

The idea of Ukraine resuming its production of nuclear weapons is currently being floated by minor figures, but it could take hold in the coming months, especially if the conflict continues in its frozen state and Kiev becomes frustrated and desperate. The neoconservative wing of the American ruling elite, absolutely committed to the destruction of the Russian Federation, could encourage Kiev along this path, in spite of the incalculable risks involved. The EU, on the other hand, would likely be terrified at the prospect, which would also place it between a rock and a hard place. Kiev, on one side, would be able to extract from the EU much needed economic assistance in exchange for not going nuclear, while on the other side the neocons would be irresponsibly egging the Ukrainians on.

Moscow, if faced with such a possibility, would not just stand there. In spite of Russia having good relations with North Korea, it did not seem too excited at the prospect of having a nuclear-armed neighbor. With Ukraine, the response would be much more severe. A nuclear-armed Ukraine would be a red line for Moscow, just as Crimea and Sevastopol were. It is worth remembering the Russian president’s words when referring to the possibility of a NATO invasion of Crimea during the 2014 coup:

“We were ready to do it [putting Russia’s nuclear arsenal on alert]. Russian people live there, they are in danger, we cannot leave them. It was not us who committed to coup, it was the nationalists and people with extreme beliefs. I do not think this is actually anyone’s wish – to turn it into a global conflict.”

As Kiev stands on the precipice, it will be good for the neocons, the neoliberals and their European lackeys to consider the consequences of advising Kiev to jump or not. Giving the nuclear go-ahead to a Ukrainian leadership so unstable and detached from reality may just be the spark that sets off Armageddon.

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Mike Pompeo lays out his vision for American exceptionalism (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 158.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and International Affairs and Security Analyst via Moscow, Mark Sleboda take a look at Mike Pompeo’s shocking Brussels speech, where the U.S. Secretary of State took aim at the European Union and United Nations, citing such institutions as outdated and poorly managed, in need of a new dogma that places America at its epicenter.

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Speaking in Brussels, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo unwittingly underscored why nobody takes the United States seriously on the international stage. Via The Council on Foreign Relations


In a disingenuous speech at the German Marshall Fund, Pompeo depicted the transactional and hypernationalist Trump administration as “rallying the noble nations of the world to build a new liberal order.” He did so while launching gratuitous attacks on the European Union, United Nations, World Bank, and International Monetary Fund (IMF)—pillars of the existing postwar order the United States did so much to create. He remained silent, naturally, on the body blows that the current administration has delivered to its erstwhile allies and partners, and to the institutions that once upon a time permitted the United States to legitimate rather than squander its international leadership.

In Pompeo’s telling, Donald J. Trump is simply seeking a return to the world that former Secretary of State George Marshall helped to create. In the decades after 1945, the United States “underwrote new institutions” and “entered into treaties to codify Western values of freedom and human rights.” So doing, the United States “won the Cold War” and—thanks to the late President George H. W. Bush, “we won the peace” that followed. “This is the type of leadership that President Trump is boldly reasserting.”

That leadership is needed because the United States “allowed this liberal order to begin to corrode” once the bipolar conflict ended. “Multilateralism has too often become viewed as an end unto itself,” Pompeo explained. “The more treaties we sign, the safer we supposedly are. The more bureaucrats we have, the better the job gets done.” What is needed is a multilateralism that once again places the nation-state front and center.

Leave aside for the moment that nobody actually believes what Pompeo alleges: that multilateralism should be an end in itself; that paper commitments are credible absent implementation, verification, and enforcement; or that the yardstick of success is how many bureaucrats get hired. What sensible people do believe is that multilateral cooperation is often (though not always) the best way for nations to advance their interests in an interconnected world of complicated problems. Working with others is typically superior to unilateralism, since going it alone leaves the United States with the choice of trying to do everything itself (with uncertain results) or doing nothing. Multilateralism also provides far more bang for the buck than President Trump’s favored approach to diplomacy, bilateralism.

Much of Pompeo’s address was a selective and tendentious critique of international institutions that depicts them as invariably antithetical to national sovereignty. Sure, he conceded, the European Union has “delivered a great deal of prosperity to the continent.” But it has since gone badly off track, as the “political wake-up call” of Brexit showed. All this raised a question in his mind: “Is the EU ensuring that the interests of countries and their citizens are placed before those of bureaucrats and Brussels?”

The answer, as one listener shouted out, is “Yes!” The secretary, like many U.S. conservative critics of European integration, is unaware that EU member states continue to hold the lion’s share of power in the bloc, which remains more intergovernmental than supranational. Pompeo seems equally unaware of how disastrously Brexit is playing out. With each passing day, the costs of this catastrophic, self-inflicted wound are clearer. In its quest for complete policy autonomy—on ostensible “sovereignty” grounds—the United Kingdom will likely have to accept, as the price for EU market access, an entire body of law and regulations that it will have no say in shaping. So much for advancing British sovereignty.

Pompeo similarly mischaracterizes the World Bank and IMF as having gone badly off track. “Today, these institutions often counsel countries who have mismanaged their economic affairs to impose austerity measures that inhibit growth and crowd out private sector actors.” This is an odd, hybrid critique. It combines a shopworn, leftist criticism from the 1990s—that the international financial institutions (IFIs) punish poor countries with structural adjustment programs—with the conservative accusation that the IFIs are socialist, big-government behemoths. Both are ridiculous caricatures. They ignore how much soul-searching the IFIs have done since the 1990s, as well as how focused they are on nurturing an enabling institutional environment for the private sector in partner countries.

Pompeo also aims his blunderbuss at the United Nations. He complains that the United Nations’ “peacekeeping missions drag on for decades, no closer to peace,” ignoring the indispensable role that blue helmets play in preventing atrocities, as well as a recent Government Accountability Office report documenting how cost-effective such operations are compared to U.S. troops. Similarly, Pompeo claims, “The UN’s climate-related treaties are viewed by some nations simply as a vehicle to redistribute wealth”—an accusation that is both unsubstantiated and ignores the urgent need to mobilize global climate financing to save the planet.

Bizarrely, Pompeo also turns his sights on the Organization of American States (OAS) and the African Union (AU), for alleged shortcomings. Has the OAS, he asks, done enough “to promote its four pillars of democracy, human rights, security, and economic development?” Um, no. Could that have something to do with the lack of U.S. leadership in the Americas on democracy and human rights? Yes. Might it have helped if the Trump administration had filled the position of assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere affairs before October 15 of this year? Probably.

Equally puzzling is Pompeo’s single line riff on the AU. “In Africa, does the African Union advance the mutual interest of its nation-state members?” Presumably the answer is yes, or its members would be headed for the door. The AU continues to struggle in financing its budget, but it has made great strides since its founding in 2002 to better advance security, stability, and good governance on the continent.

“International bodies must help facilitate cooperation that bolsters the security and values of the free world, or they must be reformed or eliminated,” Pompeo declared. Sounds reasonable. But where is this “free world” of which the secretary speaks, and what standing does the United States today have to defend, much less reform it? In the two years since he took office, Donald Trump has never expressed any interest in defending the international order, much less “returning [the United States] to its traditional, central leadership role in the world,” as Pompeo claims. Indeed, the phrase “U.S. leadership” has rarely escaped Trump’s lips, and he has gone out of his way to alienate longstanding Western allies and partners in venues from NATO to the G7.

When he looks at the world, the president cares only about what’s in it for the United States (and, naturally, for him). That cynicism explains the president’s deafening silence on human rights violations and indeed his readiness to cozy up to strongmen and killers from Vladimir Putin to Rodrigo Duterte to Mohammed bin Salman to too many more to list. Given Trump’s authoritarian sympathies and instincts, Pompeo’s warnings about “Orwellian human rights violations” in China and “suppressed opposition voices” in Russia ring hollow.

“The central question that we face,” Pompeo asked in Brussels, “is the question of whether the system as currently configured, as it exists today—does it work? Does it work for all the people of the world?” The answer, of course, is not as well as it should, and not for nearly enough of them. But if the secretary is seeking to identify impediments to a better functioning multilateral system, he can look to his left in his next Cabinet meeting.

“Principled realism” is the label Pompeo has given Trump’s foreign policy. Alas, it betrays few principles and its connection to reality is tenuous. The president has abandoned any pursuit of universal values, and his single-minded obsession to “reassert our sovereignty” (as Pompeo characterizes it) is actually depriving the United States of joining with others to build the prosperous, secure, and sustainable world that Americans want.

“Bad actors have exploited our lack of leadership for their own gain,” the secretary of state declared in Belgium. “This is the poisoned fruit of American retreat.” How true. Pompeo’s next sentence—“President Trump is determined to reverse that”—was less persuasive.

 

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Russia calls on US to put a leash on Petro Poroshenko

The West’s pass for Mr. Poroshenko may blow up in NATO’s and the US’s face if the Ukrainian President tries to start a war with Russia.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia called on Washington not to ignore the Poroshenko directives creating an active military buildup along the Ukrainian-Donbass frontier, this buildup consisting of Ukrainian forces and right-wing ultranationalists, lest it “trigger the implementation of a bloody scenario”, according to a Dec 11 report from TASS.

The [Russian] Embassy [to the US] urges the US State Department to recognize the presence of US instructors in the zone of combat actions, who are involved in a command and staff and field training of Ukraine’s assault airborne brigades. “We expect that the US will bring to reason its proteges. Their aggressive plans are not only doomed to failure but also run counter to the statements of the administration on its commitment to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine by political and diplomatic means,” the statement said.

This warning came after Eduard Basurin, the deputy defense minister of the Donetsk People’s Republic noted that the Ukrainian army was massing troops and materiel for a possible large-scale offensive at the Mariupol section of the contact line in Donbass. According to Basurin, this action is expected to take place on 14 December. TASS offered more details:

According to the DPR’s reconnaissance data, Ukrainian troops plan to seize the DPR’s Novoazovsky and Temanovsky districts and take control over the border section with Russia. The main attack force of over 12,000 servicemen has been deployed along the contact line near the settlements of Novotroitskoye, Shirokino, and Rovnopol. Moreover, more than 50 tanks, 40 multiple missile launcher systems, 180 artillery systems and mortars have been reportedly pulled to the area, Basurin added. Besides, 12 BM-30 Smerch heavy multiple rocket launchers have been sent near Volodarsky.

The DPR has warned about possible provocations plotted by Ukrainian troops several times. Thus, in early December, the DPR’s defense ministry cited reconnaissance data indicating that the Ukrainian military was planning to stage an offensive and deliver an airstrike. At a Contact Group meeting on December 5, DPR’s Foreign Minister Natalia Nikonorova raised the issue of Kiev’s possible use of chemical weapons in the conflict area.

This is a continuation of the reported buildup The Duran reported in this article linked here, and it is a continuation of the full-scale drama that started with the Kerch Strait incident, which itself appears to have been staged by Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko. Following that incident, the president was able to get about half of Ukraine placed under a 30-day period of martial law, citing “imminent Russian aggression.”

President Poroshenko is arguably a dangerous man. He appears to be desperate to maintain a hold on power, though his approval numbers and support is abysmally low in Ukraine. While he presents himself as a hero, agitating for armed conflict with Russia and simultaneously interfering in the affairs of the Holy Eastern Orthodox Church, he is actually one of the most dangerous leaders the world has to contend with, precisely because he is unfit to lead.

Such men and women are dangerous because their desperation makes them short-sighted, only concerned about their power and standing.

An irony about this matter is that President Poroshenko appears to be exactly what the EuroMaidan was “supposed” to free Ukraine of; that is, a stooge puppet leader that marches to orders from a foreign power and does nothing for the improvement of the nation and its citizens.

The ouster of Viktor Yanukovich was seen as the sure ticket to “freedom from Russia” for Ukraine, and it may well have been that Mr. Yanukovich was an incompetent leader. However, his removal resulted in a tryannical regíme coming into power, that resulting in the secession of two Ukrainian regions into independent republics and a third secession of strategically super-important Crimea, who voted in a referendum to rejoin Russia.

While this activity was used by the West to try to bolster its own narrative that Russia remains the evil henchman in Europe, the reality of life in Ukraine doesn’t match this allegation at all. A nation that demonstrates such behavior shows that there are many problems, and the nature of these secessions points at a great deal of fear from Russian-speaking Ukrainian people about the government that is supposed to be their own.

President Poroshenko presents a face to the world that the West is apparently willing to support, but the in-country approval of this man as leader speaks volumes. The West’s blind support of him “against Russia” may be one of the most tragic errors yet in Western foreign policy.

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