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How ‘dangerous’ is Putin’s Russia?

Despite the xenophobic and bellicose malarkey that passes for analysis these days, the U.S. president is hardly alone in desiring to seek better relations with Russia in order to safeguard U.S. national interests and also global security more generally.

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Enough about Russia already. If one likes ballet or nineteenth century literature, one could understand having a Russia obsession. Maybe some people have an unusual affinity for snow and cold, having a particular passion for ice hockey or luge. Perhaps then, this could be comprehended. If one trades in commodities, such as gas or wheat or timber, for a living maybe one could be forgiven.

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For those of us working in the national-security field, it’s true that there are some new developments, such as another successful test of the “Kinzhal” hypersonic missile—that can strike NATO ships at ranges up to eight hundred kilometers. But the system is most likely defensive in nature and, after all, Russia’s defense spending is a paltry 11 percent (or maybe even less) of U.S. military outlays.

That figure, of course, does not include the aggregate sum of NATO allies’ arms expenditures alongside of the United States that makes the total NATO-Russia asymmetry of power even more stunningly lopsided .

READ MORE: Russia’s T-80 Tank is No Joke

Yet none of the above explanations offer a plausible explanation for how it is that almost all major U.S. newspapers have written profusely, breathlessly, and—let’s be honest—nauseatingly on this subject, for at least the last two years, without any end in sight. By now, most Americans are likely convinced that Russia is a country full of hackers, homophobes, hooligans, hookers, and, lest anyone forget, spies.

In three decades of traveling to Russia, that is not what I have seen [Я сам этого не видел]. Has all the newsprint in our American papers on Russia in these years made us any wiser?

What if all that journalistic energy had been devoted to the complex nuances of the ongoing U.S. national crises in education and health care and infrastructure, not to mention the ultra sensitive and yet somehow perennially neglected issue of racial injustice ?

Journalists can perhaps be forgiven for taking a surficial view of the bilateral U.S.-Russia relationship—crisply dividing the subject into “good guys versus bad guys,” rather than adopting the realist framework of parsing national interests that actually reveals a decent alignment.

For the most part, those writing about Russia in the American media have no special training in Russia (language, history, etc.), nor any advanced schooling in the complexities of diplomacy either.

They, therefore, consistently fail to understand that some stolen emails constitute a minute and even trivial issue when compared with a nuclear arms rivalry that will cost both countries trillions of dollars and could also pave the road to global apocalypse.

They cannot seem to grasp that a single troll factory is just the tip of the iceberg in a larger “information war” that has continued for more than half a century, but that the resulting mindless blather is of little consequence against the all too real nuclear proliferation crises that continue to roil Northeast Asia and the Persian Gulf.

These reporters and their editors somehow do not comprehend that a campaign advisors’ financial dealings from long ago or a Russian graduate student’s liaisons with conservative political groups, while perhaps titillating and reinforcing TV-constructed stereotypes, are actually several quantum leaps more insignificant than the fate of tens of millions of miserable citizens of Syria (not to mention all the refugees), awaiting a genuinely viable truce among the great and regional powers.

Let’s not even pause to review other similarly tragic situation, such as Afghanistan or Yemen, which could also benefit from U.S.-Russia strategic cooperation (or at least a cooling of hot rivalry).

Enough about Helsinki already. Well, maybe not quite. I will attempt to take this analysis on a (brief) path not yet taken. Trump made an interesting and possibly revealing remark when he stated prior to the meeting with Putin that he intended to discuss, among several other issues, China and “our mutual friend President Xi.” It remains unknown what exactly it is about China that Trump wished to discuss with Putin.

That did not come up in any of the subsequent press conferences. However, one may justifiably speculate, given the current and intense bout of Sinophobia now fashionable at the White House (on issues ranging from trade to Taiwan to North Korea) that Trump may have sought to gauge Putin’s willingness to talk about possibly shared concerns regarding China’s rise.

As it happens, such an idea would not be completely far-fetched since there are Russians that are extremely concerned about the ascent of the eastern colossus. After all, the Middle Kingdom is much more proximate to Russia than to America—to state the obvious.

Indeed, the Russian national-security commentator Alexander Chramshikin wrote a fascinating, high-profile article a few months back that starkly warned the Kremlin against its pro-China inclinations.

The piece asserted that “too actively cooperating with Peking would lead to long-term problems for Moscow [Слишком активное сотрудничество с Пекином создает Москве долгосрочные проблемы].”

In a promising and refreshingly candid discussion about European security, this Russian analyst appears to admit that Kremlin strategic actions against Europe have been quite over the top: “If the goal is to intimidate Europe, then that is senseless. Europe is so intimidated by us that it is on the verge of fainting . . . but it is not in any way threatening us.” [Если целью было запугать Запад, то это бессмысленно. Европа и так запугана нами почти до обморока . . . но она нам . . . ничем не угрожает].”

READ MORE: Calling out The Guardian’s false, anti-Russian propaganda

Yet, Chramshikin is not quite a “softy” either, as he says Russia’s intervention in Syria was absolutely necessary and he even goes so far as to say Moscow must put aside sentimental attachments and treat Kiev as a genuine enemy, such that the “farce” of the Minsk Agreement can now be finally dispensed with, once and for all.

Yet, his overall conception (that is decidedly not politically correct in Moscow) may nevertheless have appeal for American conservatives since he maintains that “For us, China constitutes the most serious threat [Китай для нас—главная внешняя угроза].”

Chramshikin contends that China covets Russia’s resources and also territory. He claims that the supposed partnership between Moscow and Beijing has resulted in no benefit and only “troubles that are worse and worse because of the starkly unequal (in Beijing’s favor) bilateral relationship [вреда все больше и больше. Во-первых, из-за крайне неравноправного (в пользу Пекина, разумеется) характера двусторонних отношений].”

He views the pro-China tilt in Kremlin policy as a straight-jacket that inhibits better relations with other Asian powers, including both Japan and India, as well as the ASEAN countries. In working closely with China, he asserts that Russia is “digging its own grave [роем себе могилу].”

Above all, he is against the Kremlin having to make a dichotomous choice between the West and China, fearing that the choice may involve a dreaded capitulation to one or the other.

In the end, he seems to believe that Russia must resign itself to defense “in all directions [по всем азимутам],” noting that the newKinzhal and Sarmat missile programs are a good start on that ominous and obviously expensive project.

Again, many American strategists could be pleased to see Russian analysts opining about the “China threat” and hinting that the West is a logical partner within some kind of larger anti-China framework.

For my part, I would strongly caution against the seductions of the “Kissinger move in reverse”—if one harkens back to U.S. policy from the 1970s. First, Chramshikin may lack for an objective perspective. It is noteworthy that he presents no actual evidence regarding his assertions on Chinese revisionism with respect to Russian territory, nor Chinese foul play in commercial practices related to Russian resources.

To the contrary, it is worth asking what the Russian economy would look like today without trade and investment from China. I am told by various sources, for example, that Chinese investment in Russia is substantially underreported.

Indeed, there are signs of major new strategic synergies between Moscow and Beijing at present. Second, a related point is that Chramshikin’s perspective seems to be in the minority as most of the Russian foreign-policy elite accept the imperative for close ties with Beijing.

A rather more enlightened U.S. perspective will be one that recognizes that U.S. interests are not injured by close and continuing China-Russia cooperation, and the United States is actually more likely to be taken seriously as a partner if it ceases trying to play one Asian giant off the other—a variation of the old British colonial tactic of “ divide and rule .”

Returning to the subject of the crisis in U.S.-Russian relations, most everyone somehow considers the Helsinki summit a travesty or worse, but they are wrong.

To the contrary, the president’s decision to go ahead with the summit was actually brave and obviously supports the broader goal of world peace—not exactly a minor issue. If there was a major problem with the Summit, it was way too short.

Could the presidents be expected to make progress on nuclear arms control, nuclear proliferation, regional crises, counterterrorism, and commercial ties in the space of a few hours? Such important summits should take place over a few days not hours (and the same goes for U.S.-China summits, of course), spending more time on substantive talks and less distracted by the media circus.

American journalists, along with the “Blob” seem to want badly that American presidents spend more time with “friends” and less time with competitors.

Yet, that approach belies the obvious point that there is less to discuss among countries that are generally agreed on issues, world views, etc. In other words, U.S. presidents need to spend more time with competitors (or adversarial) regimes in order to bring about change on key issues of importance.

That would indeed constitute the “Art of the Deal” and yet the jury is still certainly out on whether this administration can “walk the walk” on that score—with doubts mounting that they have the requisite attention for detail and institutional competence.

For his part, President Trump may wish for advisors less interested in contradicting his agenda and more focused on delivering actual policy results for the American people, whether arms control agreements or creative and realistic peace proposals to mitigate regional crises.

Trump has been excoriated for daring to articulate that some U.S. policies with respect to Russia have been misguided and also for publicly laying bare his doubts about assessments by the various U.S. intelligence agencies. Yet, it has been quite common among U.S. national-security specialists to suggest that NATO expansion was a major mistake .

Was George Kennan, one of America’s greatest ever diplomats and geopolitical thinkers, a “traitor” for suggesting that such a move would engender a Russian nationalist backlash? Obvious not. Kennan’s perspective has proven prophetic and so Trump’s rendering was simply correct.

As for the intelligence agencies, an observer with vast experience (from inside the U.S. government) of U.S. intelligence practices, Russia and U.S. diplomacy generally cast serious doubt on that the intelligence community’s conclusions regarding alleged meddling in the 2016 election.

If former Ambassador James Matlock has grave doubts, then so can the American president. Indeed, anyone remotely familiar with the rather mixed record of the U.S. intelligence agencies over the last several decades should actually hope that the president would meet their conclusions with pronounced skepticism.

From a legal perspective, moreover, Daniel McCarthy rightly notes : “If Trump decides that Russia will not be our enemy, the intelligence community has no standing to challenge him. To do so, would be a coup d’état.”

Despite the xenophobic and bellicose malarkey that passes for analysis these days, the U.S. president is hardly alone in desiring to seek better relations with Moscow in order to safeguard U.S. national interests and also global security more generally.

Via National Interest

Lyle J. Goldstein is a research professor in the China Maritime Studies Institute (CMSI) at the United States Naval War College in Newport, RI. In addition to Chinese, he also speaks Russian and he is also an affiliate of the new Russia Maritime Studies Institute (RMSI) at Naval War College. You can reach him at [email protected].

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AM HantsJNDillardWillDippelVeeNarian (Yerevan)uncle tungsten Recent comment authors
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JNDillard
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JNDillard

I am leery about giving a minority anti-Chinese Russian voice (Chramshikin) the prominence this article and author are giving it. While interesting and serving the purpose of reminding us that an Atlanticist contingent still is fighting Putin, on the whole it is not responsible to highlight Chramshikin’s viewpoint, due to a number of obvious untruths and exaggerations in it, prominently that the EU has not made any threatening moves toward Russia (Sanctions and Supporting neo-nazis in Kiev anyone?) and that China has designs on Russian territory. This type of article feeds those voices like The Saker and Roberts, not to… Read more »

WillDippel
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WillDippel

As shown in this article, members of the United States Congress have additional plans in place to further sanction Russia through the establishment of a new anti-propaganda center:

http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/poking-russian-bear-proposed-national.html

The saddest thing about Washington’s whole anti-Russia narrative is that these legislative desk-jockey warriors won’t be anywhere near the front lines should hostilities break out between the United States and Russia.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

Too much waffle, that said nought, which switched me off from reading the rest of the article. China and Russia are working well together, both, needing what the other has. When did either nation last invade anybody, that was not related to defending their territory/dependent territories? How old are both Empires, compared with the ‘new kid on the block’ US? With regards the hysteria in the US, where does it all come from? Why has the US privatised her intelligence services, with those, with minimal intelligence knowledge? Ukrainian Intel Tall Tales- When Bellingcat Lied… https://www.opednews.com/articles/Ukrainian-Intel-Tall-Tales-by-George-Eliason-Counterintelligence_Hacktivism_Intelligence-Agencies_Propaganda-180626-646.html Fancy Bear Exposed Showing the… Read more »

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Goldstein is peeing in the wind, hoping for a US induced Russia-China fracture.
The US/EU/NATO Borg Collective assimilation games are up. There is NOTHING positive this dying empire can offer Russia. The only thing to work out is how to avoid nuclear war. That would be enough for the world.
This is the world that will develop on a new axis:
Russia>China>India>Pakistan>Iran>Iraq>Syria>Turkey, with the BRICS linking with the rest of the free world.

uncle tungsten
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uncle tungsten

There is simply no way that the russia/china alliance will be weakened or fractured by the dribble coming from the USA mouthpieces. The alliance building across the entire asian landmass is really unstoppable no matter how hard the zionazis and their puppets sqeal. It is end times for the USA hegemony and its people are mighty restless and feeling badly used. Thankfully there are still sane voices to be heard in the USA not so much in its subservient client states.

Guy
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Guy

Good article ,just a nit pick on the term “walk the walk” .I have heard this many times but the correct term should be “walk the talk” , as in do what you say .
Cheers.

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Goldstein, give it a rest, you lieing asshole, US and EU have driven Russia to partner up with those who can be relied upon and trusted to work together to make a better world for all, Asian interests ,EFFING-JOO !!!!!

Spike Munch
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Spike Munch

russia is only dangerous to countries which are smaller militarily that it. hence the repeated “NATO are encircling us. what can we do” cries from the tambov mafia and the crooks & thieves who rule the country

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The real reason Western media & CIA turned against Saudi MBS

The problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

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Via RT…


Forces are aligning against Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, lead by elements within the CIA and strong players in the mainstream media. But what is really behind this deterioration in relationship, and what are its implications?

Following the brutal murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, western media and various entities, including the CIA, appear to have turned their back on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman (MBS). In response to the scandal, the Guardian released a video which its celebutante, Owen Jones, captioned“Saudi Arabia is one of the biggest threats on Earth. Time to stop propping up its repulsive regime.”

The Guardian was not alone in its condemnation. “It’s high time to end Saudi impunity,” wrote Hana Al-Khamri in Al-Jazeera. “It’s time for Saudi Arabia to tell the truth on Jamal Khashoggi,” the Washington Post’s Editorial Board argued. Politico called it “the tragedy of Jamal Khashoggi.”

Even shadowy think-tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Atlantic Council released articles criticising Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi’s death.

A number of companies began backing away from Saudi money after the journalist’s death, including the world’s largest media companies such as the New York Times, the Economist’s editor-in-chief Zanny Minton Beddoes, Arianna Huffington, CNN, CNBC, the Financial Times, Bloomberg, Google Cloud CEO, just to name a few.

The CIA concluded that MBS personally ordered Khashoggi’s death, and was reportedly quite open in its provision of this assessment. Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the UN, also took time out of his schedule to express concern over Saudi Arabia’s confirmation of the killing.

At the time of the scandal, former CIA director John Brennan went on MSNBC to state that the Khashoggi’s death would be the downfall of MBS. Furthermore, the US Senate just voted in favour of ending American involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen (a somewhat symbolic victory, though this is a topic for another article), but nonetheless was a clear stab at MBS personally.

The only person who appeared to continue to uphold America’s unfaltering support for MBS, even after all the publicly made evidence against MBS, was the US president himself. So after years of bombarding Yemen, sponsoring terror groups across the Middle East, Asia, the Pacific and beyond, why is it only now that there has been mounting opposition to Saudi Arabia’s leadership? Let’s just bear in mind that western media had spent years investing in a heavy PR campaign to paint MBS as a “reformer.”

Former national security adviser under Barack Obama’s second term, Susan Rice, wrote an article in the New York Times, in which she called MBS a “partner we can’t depend on.” Rice concludes that MBS is “not and can no longer be viewed as a reliable partner of the United States and our allies.” But why is this? Is it because MBS is responsible for some of the most egregious human rights abuses inside his own kingdom as well as in Yemen? Is it because of MBS’ support for groups such as ISIS and al-Qaeda? No, according to Rice, we “should not rupture our important relationship with the kingdom, but we must make it clear it cannot be business as usual so long as Prince Mohammad continues to wield unlimited power.”

One will observe that the latter segment of Rice’s article almost mirrors former CIA director Brennan’s word on MSNBC word for word who stated that:

“I think ultimately this is going to come out. And it’s very important for us to maintain the relations with Saudi Arabia. And if it’s Mohammed bin Salman who’s the cancer here, well, we need to be able to find ways to eliminate the cancer and to move forward with this relationship that is critical to regional stability and our national interests.”

In reality, this is probably the issue that western media and government advisors have taken up with MBS. Aside from the fact he allegedly held a huge hand in the brutal murder of one of their own establishment journalists (Saudi Arabia reportedly tortured and killed another journalist not long after Khashoggi, but western media was eerily silent on this incident) MBS is not opposed for his reckless disregard for human rights. With insight into Rice’s mindset, we actually learn that if the US were to punish MBS, he would be likely to “behave more irresponsibly to demonstrate his independence and exact retribution against his erstwhile Western partners.”

You see, the problem with MBS isn’t that he is a mass murdering war criminal, it is that he is too “independent” for the United States’ liking.

Last week, Saudi Arabia and the other major oil producers met in Vienna at the year’s final big OPEC meeting of the year. As Foreign Policy notes, Saudi Arabia remains the largest oil producer inside OPEC but has to contend with the US and Russia who are “pumping oil at record levels.” Together, the three countries are the world’s biggest oil producers, meaning any coordinated decision made between these three nations can be somewhat monumental.

However, it appears that one of these three nations will end up drawing the short end of the stick as the other two begin forming a closer alliance. As Foreign Policy explains:

“But Saudi Arabia has bigger game in mind at Vienna than just stabilizing oil prices. Recognizing that it can’t shape the global oil market by itself anymore but rather needs the cooperation of Russia, Saudi Arabia is hoping to formalize an ad hoc agreement between OPEC and Moscow that began in 2016, a time when dirt-cheap oil also posed a threat to oil-dependent regimes. That informal agreement expires at the end of the year, but the Saudis would like to make Russia’s participation with the cartel more permanent.”

Russian officials have been signalling their intention to formalise this agreement for quite some time now. Given the hysteria in western media about any and all things Russian, it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that this is the kind of news that is not sitting too well with the powers-that-be.

Earlier this year, Russia and Saudi Arabia announced that it would “institutionalize” the two-year-old bilateral agreement to coordinate oil production targets in order to maintain an edge on the global market.

While US president Trump has been supportive and incredibly defensive of MBS during this “crisis”, the truth is that the US only has itself to blame. It was not all too long ago that Trump announced that he had told Saudi King Salman that his kingdom would not last two weeks without US support.

Saudi Arabia is learning for themselves quite quickly that, ultimately, it may pay not to have all its eggs in one geopolitical superpower basket.

Saudi Arabia has been increasingly interested in Moscow since King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow in October 2017. While Trump has openly bragged about his record-breaking arms deals with the Saudis, the blunt truth is that the $110 billion arms agreements were reportedly only ever letters of interest or intent, but not actual contracts. As such, the US-Saudi arms deal is still yet to be locked in, all the while Saudi Arabia is negotiating with Russia for its S-400 air defence system. This is, as the Washington Post notes, despite repeated US requests to Saudi Arabia for it disavow its interest in Russia’s arms.

The economic threat that an “independent” Saudi Arabia under MBS’ leadership poses to Washington runs deeper than meets the eye and may indeed have a domino effect. According to CNN, Russia and Saudi Arabia “are engaged in an intense battle over who will be the top supplier to China, a major energy importer with an insatiable appetite for crude.”

The unveiling of China’s petro-yuan poses a major headache for Washington and its control over Saudi Arabia as well.According to Carl Weinberg, chief economist and managing director at High-Frequency Economics, China will “compel”Saudi Arabia to trade oil in Chinese yuan instead of US dollars. One must bear in mind that China has now surpassed the US as the “biggest oil importer on the planet,” these direct attacks on the US dollar will have huge implications for its current world reserve status.

If Saudi Arabia jumps on board China’s petro-yuan, the rest of OPEC will eventually follow, and the US might be left with no choice but to declare all of these countries in need of some vital freedom and democracy.

Therefore, ousting MBS and replacing him with a Crown Prince who doesn’t stray too far from the tree that is US imperialism may put a dent in pending relationships with Saudi Arabia and Washington’s adversaries, Russia and China.

Once we get over the certainty that the US media and the CIA are not against MBS for his long-list of human rights abuses, the question then becomes: why – why now, and in this manner, have they decided to put the spotlight on MBS and expose him exactly for what he is.

Clearly, the driving force behind this media outrage is a bit more complex than first meets the eye.

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The Indiscreet Charm of the Gilets Jaunes

Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising.

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Authored (satirically) by CJ Hopkins via The Unz Review:


So it appears the privatization of France isn’t going quite as smoothly as planned. As I assume you are aware, for over a month now, the gilets jaunes (or “yellow vests”), a multiplicitous, leaderless, extremely pissed off, confederation of working class persons, have been conducting a series of lively protests in cities and towns throughout the country to express their displeasure with Emmanuel Macron and his efforts to transform their society into an American-style neo-feudal dystopia. Highways have been blocked, toll booths commandeered, luxury automobiles set on fire, and shopping on the Champs-Élysées disrupted. What began as a suburban tax revolt has morphed into a bona fide working class uprising.

It took a while for “the Golden Boy of Europe” to fully appreciate what was happening. In the tradition of his predecessor, Louis XVI, Macron initially responded to the gilets jaunes by inviting a delegation of Le Monde reporters to laud his renovation of the Elysée Palace, making the occasional condescending comment, and otherwise completely ignoring them. That was back in late November. Last Saturday, he locked down central Paris, mobilized a literal army of riot cops, “preventatively arrested” hundreds of citizens, including suspected “extremist students,” and sent in the armored military vehicles.

The English-language corporate media, after doing their best not to cover these protests (and, instead, to keep the American and British publics focused on imaginary Russians), have been forced to now begin the delicate process of delegitimizing the gilets jaunes without infuriating the the entire population of France and inciting the British and American proletariats to go out and start setting cars on fire. They got off to a bit of an awkward start.

For example, this piece by Angelique Chrisafis, The Guardian‘s Paris Bureau Chief, and her Twitter feed from the protests last Saturday. Somehow (probably a cock-up at headquarters), The Guardian honchos allowed Chrisafis to do some actual propaganda-free reporting (and some interviews with actual protesters) before they caught themselves and replaced her with Kim Willsher, who resumed The Guardian‘s usual neoliberal establishment-friendly narrative, which, in this case, entailed dividing the protesters into “real” gilets jaunes and “fake” gilet jaunes, and referring to the latter fictional group as “thuggish, extremist political agitators.”

By Sunday, the corporate media were insinuating that diabolical Russian Facebook bots had brainwashed the French into running amok, because who else could possibly be responsible? Certainly not the French people themselves! The French, as every American knows, are by nature a cowardly, cheese-eating people, who have never overthrown their rightful rulers, or publicly beheaded the aristocracy. No, the French were just sitting there, smoking like chimneys, and otherwise enjoying their debt-enslavement and the privatization of their social democracy, until they unsuspectingly logged onto Facebook and … BLAMMO, the Russian hackers got them!

Bloomberg is reporting that French authorities have opened a probe into Russian interference (in the middle of which report, for no apparent reason, a gigantic photo of Le Pen is featured, presumably just to give it that “Nazi” flavor). According to “analysis seen by The Times,” Russia-linked social media accounts have been “amplifying” the “chaos” and “violence” by tweeting photos of gilets jaunes who the French police have savagely beaten or gratuitiously shot with “less-than-lethal projectiles.” “Are nationalists infiltrating the yellow vests?” the BBC Newsnight producers are wondering. According to Buzzfeed’s Ryan Broderick, “a beast born almost entirely from Facebook” is slouching toward … well, I’m not quite sure, the UK or even, God help us, America! And then there’s Max Boot, who is convinced he is being personally persecuted by Russian agents like Katie Hopkins, James Woods, Glenn Greenwald, and other high-ranking members of a worldwide conspiracy Boot refers to as the “Illiberal International” (but which regular readers of my column will recognize as the “Putin-Nazis“).

And, see, this is the problem the corporate media (and other staunch defenders of global neoliberalism) are facing with these gilets jaunes protests. They can’t get away with simply claiming that what is happening is not a working class uprising, so they have been forced to resort to these blatant absurdities. They know they need to delegitimize the gilets jaunes as soon as possible — the movement is already starting to spread — but the “Putin-Nazi” narrative they’ve been using on Trump, Corbyn, and other “populists” is just not working.

No one believes the Russians are behind this, not even the hacks who are paid to pretend they do. And the “fascism” hysteria is also bombing. Attempts to portray the gilets jaunes as Le Pen-sponsored fascists blew up in their faces. Obviously, the far-Right are part of these protests, as they would be in any broad working class uprising, but there are far too many socialists and anarchists (and just regular pissed-off working class people) involved for the media to paint them all as “Nazis.”

Which is not to say that the corporate media and prominent public intellectuals like Bernard-Henri Lévy will not continue to hammer away at the “fascism” hysteria, and demand that the “good” and “real” gilets jaunes suspend their protests against Macron until they have completely purged their movement of “fascists,” and “extremists,” and other dangerous elements, and have splintered it into a number of smaller, antagonistic ideological factions that can be more easily neutralized by the French authorities … because that’s what establishment intellectuals do.

We can expect to hear this line of reasoning, not just from establishment intellectuals like Lévy, but also from members of the Identity Politics Left, who are determined to prevent the working classes from rising up against global neoliberalism until they have cleansed their ranks of every last vestige of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, transphobia, and so on. These leftist gatekeepers have been struggling a bit to come up with a response to the gilets jaunes … a response that doesn’t make them sound like hypocrites. See, as leftists, they kind of need to express their support for a bona fide working class uprising. At the same time, they need to delegitimize it, because their primary adversaries are fascism, racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and assorted other isms and phobias, not the neoliberal ruling classes.

Nothing scares the Identity Politics Left quite like an actual working class uprising. Witnessing the furious unwashed masses operating out there on their own, with no decent human restraint whatsoever, Identity Politics Leftists feel a sudden overwhelming urge to analyze, categorize, organize, sanitize, and otherwise correct and control them.

They can’t accept the fact that the actual, living, breathing working classes are messy, multiplicitous, inconsistent, and irreducible to any one ideology. Some of them are racists. Some are fascists. Others are communists, socialists, and anarchists. Many have no idea what they are, and don’t particularly care for any of these labels.This is what the actual working classes are … a big, contradictory collection of people who, in spite of all their differences, share one thing in common, that they are being screwed over by the ruling classes. I don’t know about you, but I consider myself one of them.

Where we go from here is anyone’s guess. According to The Guardian, as I am sitting here writing this, the whole of Europe is holding its breath in anticipation of the gilets jaunes’ response to Macron’s most recent attempt to appease them, this time with an extra hundred Euros a month, some minor tax concessions, and a Christmas bonus.

Something tells me it’s not going to work, but even if it does, and the gilets jaunes uprising ends, this messy, Western “populist” insurgency against global neoliberalism has clearly entered a new phase. Count on the global capitalist ruling classes to intensify their ongoing War on Dissent and their demonization of anyone opposing them (or contradicting their official narrative) as an “extremist,” a “fascist,” a “Russian agent,” and so on. I’m certainly looking forward to that, personally.

Oh… yeah, and I almost forgot, if you were wondering what you could get me for Christmas, I did some checking, and there appears to be a wide selection of yellow safety vests online for just a couple Euros.

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Washington Is Changing The World Order Against Its Own Interests

Any country sufficiently stupid to ally with the US is allied with a dead man walking.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Authored by Paul Craig Roberts:


The hubris and arrogance of Washington have been at work since the Clinton regime to destroy the power and relevance of the United States.

This website has an international audience. The most asked question from this audience is the world order. There is a realization that Washington’s control might weaken, a development people abroad see as hopeful. They ask me for verification of their hope.

Here is my answer:

The world order has already changed.  China has a larger and more powerful industrial and manufacturing based economy than the US, and China’s potential domestic consumer market is four times larger than that of the US. As economies are consumer based, China’s potential is an economy four times larger than that of the US.

Russia has a far more capable military with weapon systems unmatched by the US. The US is drowning in debt, and the illegal and irresponsible sanctions that Washington tries to impose on others are driving the world’s largest countries away from the use of the US dollar as world reserve currency and away from Western clearance systems such as SWIFT.  The United States already has one foot in the grave.  Any country sufficiently stupid to ally with the US is allied with a dead man walking.

President Eisenhower, a five-star general, warned Americans 57 years ago to no effect that the military/security complex was already a threat to the American people’s ability to control their government. Today the military/security complex is the Government. As Udo Ulfkotte documented in his book, Journalists for Hire: How the CIA buys the News—no you can’t buy a copy unless you can find a used copy in German in a German book store, the CIA has seen to that—journalism independent of official explanations no longer exists in the Western world.

Much of the world does not understand this. Aside from the material interests of Russian and Chinese capitalists, a portion of the youth of both superpowers, and also even in Iran, have succumbed to brainwashing by American propaganda. Gullible beyond belief, they are more loyal to America than they are to their own countries.

The United States itself is extremely unsuccessful, but its propaganda still rules the world. The consequence is that, based on its propagandistic success, Washington thinks it still holds the balance of economic and military power. This is a delusion that is leading Washington to nuclear war.

Considering the hypersonic speed, trajectory changeability and massive power of Russian nuclear weapons, war with Russia will result in nothing whatsoever being left of the US and its vassals, who sold out European peoples for Washington’s money.

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