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Neofascist Push for Europe’s Implosion Is Not in EU Members National Interest

The European Union must become for the people by the people.

Gilbert Mercier

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Via News Junkie Post


The European Union is under numerous existential threats. On one hand, there are the internal threats, with the rise to power of the so-called nationalist-populist eurosceptics — which are in reality racist neofascists — in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and to a lesser extent Italy, with the Interior Minister Matteo Salvini being an influential part of the country’s coalition government, as well as the recent gain in political clout of anti-EU far-right parties such as the Rassemblement National of Marine Le Pen, in France. On the other hand, there are the external threats, which used to be diffuse and secretive but are becoming more and more overt, from the Trump administration in the United States through the unofficial operative Steve Bannon, as well as, to a much lesser extent, Russia, perhaps China, and also, for some odd reason, even Iran’s Islamic Republic on monetary issues. Go figure. It seems that a downgrade, or even dismantlement, of the EU as a geopolitical major player suits the needs of other leading world powers. There is a cautionary tale here for all Europeans, especially those like the Gilets Jaunes who reject the Europe of bankers and technocrats. It is a geopolitical cautionary tale about reforming what you have and not jumping to conclusions and doing a tabula rasa of a European Union adventure that is 62 years in the making.

In an era of Cold War redux, the EU is a geopolitical imperative

The birth of the EU was in 1957. It was signed into existence in the Treaty of Rome by the six founding members: Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Italy, Luxembourg and West Germany. Naturally, this must be understood in the context of a post-Yalta world, which effectively started the split of world affairs and influences between the two empires born out of the ashes of World War II: the United States of America, of course, and the USSR, which have agreed to disagree on ideologies, but have come to a tacit understanding about their spheres of influence. The constant conflicts between the two blocks have manifested themselves through various proxy wars, always at the expense of third parties. From a military standpoint, the US came up with NATO in 1949, using the fear of the supposed Soviet threat to subjugate its European so-called allies, which became not much more than vassals. Behind the legendary Iron Curtain, Stalin’s USSR had the Warsaw Pact.

Since the Ukrainian crisis, five years ago, we have reentered a Cold War logic, and again Russia is painted by Western mainstream media as the biggest threat to the supposed free world — whatever this means in the propagandist lexicon — and Vladimir Putin as the ultimate bogeyman head of state. At the time of the treaty of Rome, it took some courage for the six founding members to take this initiative, considering that all of them had US troops de facto occupying their respective countries. This very timid start in the mid-1950s was followed by attempts to make the EU, not only an economic union but a political force.

Let us fast forward to the current legal framework of the EU: the Treaty of Lisbon, still in force today, which is an amendment of the Maastricht Treaty of 1993. The Treaty of Lisbon was signed in Portugal on December 13, 2007; however, it took two years to be ratified by all EU members, and it became a legally binding agreement for all members on December 1, 2009. It is the current cornerstone of the EU’s political framework. In this treaty, which of course, BREXIT has put to a serious test, Article 50 established the provision that “Any member state may decide to withdraw from the union in accordance with its own constitutional requirement.” In the case of BREXIT, this was after an exit of the EU was voted on by British citizens, and this narrowly won a referendum.

In the case of the BREXIT win, which could turn out to be disastrous for the welfare of British people, and even the influence of the former British Empire, it was not the immensely and famously nefarious hand of Vladimir Putin that was involved, as claimed by many in the UK, but actually the hand of Steve Bannon, through the shady firm, Cambridge Analytica, using the vast assets of the Mercer hedge fund. This hedge fund is the financial entity that powers Alt-Right sites such as Breitbart and many others. This being said, to be fair, Mercer’s nemesis George Soros, for his part, invested heavily in the No-BREXIT vote. Where there foreign influences in the BREXIT vote? Yes, but it was a Robert Mercer vs George Soros confrontation that involved two conflicting visions of globalization, each one as toxic as the other. But Bannon, Mercer and Co.’s instrument, who is now operating in Europe to trigger similar scenarios, such as FREXIT for France, is in reality working for the neocon US world domination program, which is the so-called Project for the New American Century.

In a better-known fight between financial puppet masters, it was Bob Mercer’s cash and Steve Bannon’s media savvy that arguably elected Donald Trump US president in 2016, against a Clinton campaign that was partially financed by the billionaire George Soros. In both cases, Soros lost. Regardless of the pseudo-ideological bickering, and Bob Mercer phony libertarian views, US imperialism is still the hallmark of US foreign policy, just as it has been since 1945. Allies are truly vassals, and States that attempt to be independent are not fair competitors but enemies. A politically strong European Union, with its own military, independently of NATO, would be a perceived threat to the American Empire.

The neocon United States of Trumpism: Main enemy of the EU

A recent event in Washington went almost unnoticed by European observers, although it was symbolically of great importance. The Trump administration decided to downgrade the status of the European Union’s official foreign representation from an embassy to mere delegation with an office. This is an important illustration of the current US administration’s view of the EU as being something cumbersome and redundant in its foreign policy lexicon and agenda. This stand of Trumpism, really controlled by the neocon John Bolton, is reminiscent of what another neocon, this time Donald Rumsfeld, called, in the build up to George W. Bush’s 2003 Iraq war, the Old Europe. A more compliant New Europe was wanted, as opposed to the not-so-subservient Old Europe, personified by then French President Jacques Chirac, who was unwilling to join the folly of Iraq’s invasion. France was not then part of NATO.

Let’s face it. The neocons are fully in charge of Trump’s foreign policy and are pursuing more than ever their agenda. Their goal is uncontested US world domination by any means necessary: political, economic through various sanctions on whatever countries they define as enemy states, and of course, in cases of last resort, through the armed fist of US imperialism, which is NATO. Those are the US policy imperatives defined almost a quarter century ago in the neocons’ bible and opus: The Project for the New American Century. Rain or shine, the neocons still control the US foreign policy agenda.

Instead of imploding the EU, Europeans should exit NATO

What the demagogues of the European far-Right in Italy, Hungary, Austria, and Poland, as well as neoliberal governments in Germany, Spain, and the UK are not telling their populations while they posture about nationalism, is the simple fact that their countries are actually occupied by US troops. In the case of Poland, they are even eager to host more American occupiers. The unapologetic ultra neocon deep-pocketed think tank, The Heritage Foundation, which is providing a lot of top-position appointees to the Trump administration, gloats about the US empire’s military strength in Europe, and of course frames the narrative in terms of deterrent against semi-fictional potential Russian aggressions.

Today, 74 years after the end of World War II, the number of US troops stationed in the European Union is absolutely staggering. About 65,000 active US troops are deployed in Europe, in around 17 main operating bases mainly in Germany, Italy (Mr. Salvini, how about Italian sovereignty?), the United Kingdom and Spain. Deployments are in the works in Poland as well, at the request of the far-Right government. The Gilets Jaunes and some European politicians are correct: the respective EU nations should break free from their servitude to giant multinational corporations, financial institutions like the IMF and the World Bank, as well as nefarious state players such as Saudi ArabiaQatar and the United Arab Emirates. But the real masters are not in Bruxelles, they are somewhere in the United States, around Washington DC, shuffling between the Pentagon, the White House, the CIA and of course Wall Street.

Despite the claims of the US administrations, either Democrat or Republican, and their allies/vassals in Europe and Canada, NATO’s wars in AfghanistanIraqLibya and Syriawere not necessarily meant to be won on the battlefield, but rather to become a semi-permanent occupation of various countries mainly for the exploitation of natural resources. This first-wreck-then-exploit strategy has been especially applied in the Middle East by toppling Saddam Hussein and Qaddafi. In both Iraq and Libya, two failed states were, either on purpose or by default, engineered by NATO. Because of Russia, Hezbollah, and Iran, the same plan, with the minute variation of using ISIS as a proxy, didn’t work at all against Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Afghanistan has been called the graveyard of empires: rightly so in the cases of Alexander the Great, the British Empire and the Soviets. NATO, and especially Europeans should have known better than to venture into such a dangerous land as invaders. However, America Empire Inc. and its financial, economical and military might thought that they could break the will of the Pashtuns. They didn’t.

The European Union must become for the people by the people 

In December 2010, I was, to my knowledge, the first analyst to forecast the collapse of the current dominant global empire. The out-of-control madness of Trumpism might be providing a helping hand in that process. Perhaps a redefined European Union, for the people by people, following the impulse of the Gilets Jaunes movement leading the way, will help us to free ourselves from the shackles of a globalization that only serves to profit a minute portion of the population worldwide. The European Union can be built upon rather than destroyed, and perhaps, once it finally stops serving as the little helper of corporate imperialism, it could become an inspiration of real conviviality for other continents, a truly multi-ethnic and multi-cultural association of people, more than States, which departs from the dead end that is our global capitalist system.

Editor’s Notes: Gilbert Mercier is the author of The Orwellian Empire. Photographs one by Theophilos Papadopoulos, two by Looking for Poetry, five by Gage Skidmore; six by Ian Glover, seven by Jason, eight from the archives of Resolute Support Media, nine from the archives of NATO, eleven by Radiowoodand composites ten and twelve byJared Rodriguez.

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Herbert Dorsey
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Herbert Dorsey

The foreign policy of the U.S. is virtually controlled by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). As fully documented in the book “The Secret History of the Twentieth Century”, the CFR is a creation of the secretive Illuminati British Roundtable, which in turn peacefully regained British control over the U.S. before the U.S. entry into World War I.

While this article mentions organizations like the Plan for a New American Century (The PNAC is a prime suspect in the 9/11 “inside job”) and the Heritage Foundation (another Illuminati creation), failure to mention the CFR is a significant omission.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

To call all of the new national, patriotic movements in European countries “neofascist” is a gross over-simplification in this article. This is simply not true.

Jovo
Guest
Jovo

I agree with Olivia North. It is appalling how the author calls “…racist neofascists — in Austria, Hungary, Poland, and to a lesser extent Italy…” to the very patriotic and nationalists who are against the global control of the zionist New World Order.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Marine Le Pen is not a “neo-fascist” but a French patriot who has French interests in mind. Her party Rassemblement National has rising numbers. The French know what is best for them. The EU dictators don’t care for the well-being of French citizens but Marine Le Pen does.

Vince Dhimos
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And for Russia and China, there is another reason why the EU should not be broken up:
http://www.newsilkstrategies.com/news–analysis/look-whos-r-e-a-l-l-y-edging-out-the-dollar

Olivia Kroth
Guest

The Russians like Europe but they do not like the EU because the Brussels dictators serve US interests. And many of the European nations simply hate their forced membership in the EU: Germans, French, Greeks, Hungarians, Italians …

veth
Guest
veth

Russia must not murder in Europe.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Idiot! You Ukronazis are really stupid: you have destroyed your country and howl Russia, Russia”. If it wasn’t for Russia and its remaining trade with the Ukraine you bankrupt, failed state, would be in an even direr onditiin than it is – – all due to your own stupidity.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Marine Le Pen gives an interview to RTL in France, explaining the shortcomings of Macron regarding the Yellow Vests. In contrast to the current president, she is a very smart person. Worth while watching, if you understand French:

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Another good video clip explaining why the French vote in high numbers for Marine Le Pen, Frexit and getting out of NATO, this is in English:
Marine Le Pen’s “Forgotten France”.

Maryam
Guest
Maryam

The EU is not about any of its European citizens. In numerous referendums in the past we’ve voted against (parts of) the EU. To be against the EU is not fascist or racist, so thank you but no thank you for this article.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I wholeheartedly agree with you, Maryam.
I would say “no thank you” to this article.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

“He totally deserves it!”
Nigel Farage about Macron and the Yellow Vest Protests, interviewed by FOX News:

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Airline wars heat up, as industry undergoes massive disruption (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 145.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine the global commercial airline industry, which is undergoing massive changes, as competition creeps in from Russia and China.

Reuters reports that Boeing Co’s legal troubles grew as a new lawsuit accused the company of defrauding shareholders by concealing safety deficiencies in its 737 MAX planes before two fatal crashes led to their worldwide grounding.

The proposed class action filed in Chicago federal court seeks damages for alleged securities fraud violations, after Boeing’s market value tumbled by $34 billion within two weeks of the March 10 crash of an Ethiopian Airlines 737 MAX.

*****

According to the complaint, Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty” by rushing the 737 MAX to market to compete with Airbus SE, while leaving out “extra” or “optional” features designed to prevent the Ethiopian Airlines and Lion Air crashes.

It also said Boeing’s statements about its growth prospects and the 737 MAX were undermined by its alleged conflict of interest from retaining broad authority from federal regulators to assess the plane’s safety.

*****

Boeing said on Tuesday that aircraft orders in the first quarter fell to 95 from 180 a year earlier, with no orders for the 737 MAX following the worldwide grounding.

On April 5, it said it planned to cut monthly 737 production to 42 planes from 52, and was making progress on a 737 MAX software update to prevent further accidents.

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Via Zerohedge…

Step aside (fading) trade war with China: there is a new aggressor – at least according to the US Trade Rep Robert Lighthizer – in town.

In a statement on the USTR’s website published late on Monday, the US fair trade agency announced that under Section 301 of the Trade Act, it was proposing a list of EU products to be covered by additional duties. And as justification for the incremental import taxes, the USTR said that it was in response to EU aircraft subsidies, specifically to Europea’s aerospace giant, Airbus, which “have caused adverse effects to the United States” and which the USTR estimates cause $11 billion in harm to the US each year

One can’t help but notice that the latest shot across the bow in the simmering trade war with Europe comes as i) Trump is reportedly preparing to fold in his trade war with China, punting enforcement to whoever is president in 2025, and ii) comes just as Boeing has found itself scrambling to preserve orders as the world has put its orderbook for Boeing 737 MAX airplanes on hold, which prompted Boeing to cut 737 production by 20% on Friday.

While the first may be purely a coincidence, the second – which is expected to not only slam Boeing’s financials for Q1 and Q2, but may also adversely impact US GDP – had at least some impact on the decision to proceed with these tariffs at this moment.

We now await Europe’s angry response to what is Trump’s latest salvo in what is once again a global trade war. And, paradoxically, we also expect this news to send stocks blasting higher as, taking a page from the US-China trade book, every day algos will price in imminent “US-European trade deal optimism.”

Below the full statement from the USTR (link):

USTR Proposes Products for Tariff Countermeasures in Response to Harm Caused by EU Aircraft Subsidies

The World Trade Organization (WTO) has found repeatedly that European Union (EU) subsidies to Airbus have caused adverse effects to the United States.  Today, the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) begins its process under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 to identify products of the EU to which additional duties may be applied until the EU removes those subsidies.

USTR is releasing for public comment a preliminary list of EU products to be covered by additional duties.  USTR estimates the harm from the EU subsidies as $11 billion in trade each year.  The amount is subject to an arbitration at the WTO, the result of which is expected to be issued this summer.

“This case has been in litigation for 14 years, and the time has come for action. The Administration is preparing to respond immediately when the WTO issues its finding on the value of U.S. countermeasures,” said U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.  “Our ultimate goal is to reach an agreement with the EU to end all WTO-inconsistent subsidies to large civil aircraft.  When the EU ends these harmful subsidies, the additional U.S. duties imposed in response can be lifted.”

In line with U.S. law, the preliminary list contains a number of products in the civil aviation sector, including Airbus aircraft.  Once the WTO arbitrator issues its report on the value of countermeasures, USTR will announce a final product list covering a level of trade commensurate with the adverse effects determined to exist.

Background

After many years of seeking unsuccessfully to convince the EU and four of its member States (France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom) to cease their subsidization of Airbus, the United States brought a WTO challenge to EU subsidies in 2004. In 2011, the WTO found that the EU provided Airbus $18 billion in subsidized financing from 1968 to 2006.  In particular, the WTO found that European “launch aid” subsidies were instrumental in permitting Airbus to launch every model of its large civil aircraft, causing Boeing to lose sales of more than 300 aircraft and market share throughout the world.

In response, the EU removed two minor subsidies, but left most of them unchanged.  The EU also granted Airbus more than $5 billion in new subsidized “launch aid” financing for the A350 XWB.  The United States requested establishment of a compliance panel in March 2012 to address the EU’s failure to remove its old subsidies, as well as the new subsidies and their adverse effects.  That process came to a close with the issuance of an appellate report in May 2018 finding that EU subsidies to high-value, twin-aisle aircraft have caused serious prejudice to U.S. interests.  The report found that billions of dollars in launch aid to the A350 XWB and A380 cause significant lost sales to Boeing 787 and 747 aircraft, as well as lost market share for Boeing very large aircraft in the EU, Australia, China, Korea, Singapore, and UAE markets.

Based on the appellate report, the United States requested authority to impose countermeasures worth $11.2 billion per year, commensurate with the adverse effects caused by EU subsidies.  The EU challenged that estimate, and a WTO arbitrator is currently evaluating those claims

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Mueller report takes ‘Russian meddling’ for granted, offers no actual evidence

RT

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Special counsel Robert Mueller’s ‘Russiagate’ report has cleared Donald Trump of ‘collusion’ charges but maintains that Russia meddled in the 2016 US presidential election. Yet concrete evidence of that is nowhere to be seen.

The report by Mueller and his team, made public on Thursday by the US Department of Justice, exonerates not just Trump but all Americans of any “collusion” with Russia, “obliterating” the Russiagate conspiracy theory, as journalist Glenn Greenwald put it.

However, it asserts that Russian “interference” in the election did happen, and says it consisted of a campaign on social media as well as Russian military intelligence (repeatedly referred to by its old, Soviet-era name, GRU) “hacking” the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), the DNC, and the private email account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta.

As evidence of this, the report basically offers nothing but Mueller’s indictment of “GRU agents,” delivered on the eve of the Helsinki Summit between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin in what was surely a cosmic coincidence.

Indictments are not evidence, however, but allegations. Any time it looks like the report might be bringing up proof, it ends up being redacted, ostensibly to protect sources and methods, and out of concern it might cause “harm to an ongoing matter.”

‘Active measures’ on social media

Mueller’s report leads with the claim that the Internet Research Agency (IRA) ran an “active measures” campaign of social media influence. Citing Facebook and Twitter estimates, the report says this consisted of 470 Facebook accounts that made 80,000 posts that may have been seen by up to 126 million people, between January 2015 and August 2017 (almost a year after the election), and 3,814 Twitter accounts that “may have been” in contact with about 1.4 million people.

Those numbers may seem substantial but, as investigative journalist Gareth Porter pointed out in November 2018, they should be regarded against the background of 33 trillion Facebook posts made during the same period.

According to Mueller, the IRA mind-controlled the American electorate by spending “approximately $100,000” on Facebook ads, hiring someone to walk around New York City “dressed up as Santa Claus with a Trump mask,” and getting Trump campaign affiliates to promote “dozens of tweets, posts, and other political content created by the IRA.” Dozens!

Meanwhile, the key evidence against IRA’s alleged boss Evgeny Prigozhin is that he “appeared together in public photographs” with Putin.

Alleged hacking & release

The report claims that the GRU hacked their way into 29 DCCC computers and another 30 DNC computers, and downloaded data using software called “X-Tunnel.” It is unclear how Mueller’s investigators claim to know this, as the report makes no mention of them or FBI actually examining DNC or DCCC computers. Presumably they took the word of CrowdStrike, the Democrats’ private contractor, for it.

However obtained, the documents were published first through DCLeaks and Guccifer 2.0 – which the report claims are “fictitious online personas” created by the GRU – and later through WikiLeaks. What is Mueller’s proof that these two entities were “GRU” cutouts? In a word, this:

That the Guccifer 2.0 persona provided reporters access to a restricted portion of the DCLeaks website tends to indicate that both personas were operated by the same or a closely-related group of people.(p. 43)

However, the report acknowledges that the “first known contact” between Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks was on September 15, 2016 – months after the DNC and DCCC documents were published! Here we do get actual evidence: direct messages on Twitter obtained by investigators. Behold, these “spies” are so good, they don’t even talk – and when they do, they use unsecured channels.

Mueller notably claims “it is clear that the stolen DNC and Podesta documents were transferred from the GRU to WikiLeaks” (the rest of that sentence is redacted), but the report clearly implies the investigators do not actually know how. On page 47, the report says Mueller “cannot rule out that stolen documents were transferred to WikiLeaks through intermediaries who visited during the summer of 2016.”

Strangely, the report accuses WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange of making “public statements apparently designed to obscure the source” of the materials (p.48), notably the offer of a reward for finding the murderer of DNC staffer Seth Rich – even though this can be read as corroborating the intermediaries theory, and Assange never actually said Rich was his source.

The rest of Mueller’s report goes on to discuss the Trump campaign’s contacts with anyone even remotely Russian and to create torturous constructions that the president had “obstructed” justice by basically defending himself from charges of being a Russian agent – neither of which resulted in any indictments, however. But the central premise that the 22-month investigation, breathless media coverage, and the 448-page report are based on – that Russia somehow meddled in the 2016 election – remains unproven.

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Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote.

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

Never before in my lifetime has the United States been so belligerent, and that in spite of the fact that there is no single enemy or combination of enemies that actually threaten either the geographical United States or a vital interest. Venezuela is being threatened with invasion primarily because it is in the western hemisphere and therefore subject to Washington’s claimed proconsular authority. Last Wednesday Vice President Mike Pence told the United Nations Security Council that the White House will remove Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro from power, preferably using diplomacy and sanctions, but “all options are on the table.” Pence warned that Russia and other friends of Maduro need to leave now or face the consequences.

The development of the United States as a hostile and somewhat unpredictable force has not gone unnoticed. Russia has accepted that war is coming no matter what it does in dealing with Trump and is upgrading its forces. By some estimates, its army is better equipped and more combat ready than is that of the United States, which spends nearly ten times as much on “defense.”

Iran is also upgrading its defensive capabilities, which are formidable. Now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement with Iran, has placed a series of increasingly punitive sanctions on the country, and, most recently, has declared a part of the Iranian military to be a “foreign terrorist organization” and therefore subject to attack by US forces at any time, it is clear that war will be the next step. In three weeks, the United States will seek to enforce a global ban on any purchases of Iranian oil. A number of countries, including US nominal ally Turkey, have said they will ignore the ban and it will be interesting to see what the US Navy intends to do to enforce it. Or what Iran will do to break the blockade.

But even given all of the horrific decisions being made in the White House, there is one organization that is far crazier and possibly even more dangerous. That is the United States Congress, which is, not surprisingly, a legislative body that is viewed positively by only 18 per cent of the American people.

A current bill originally entitled the “Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA) of 2019,” is numbered S-1189. It has been introduced in the Senate which will “…require the Secretary of State to determine whether the Russian Federation should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism and whether Russian-sponsored armed entities in Ukraine should be designated as foreign terrorist organizations.” The bill is sponsored by Republican Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado and is co-sponsored by Democrat Robert Menendez of New Jersey.

The current version of the bill was introduced on April 11th and it is by no means clear what kind of support it might actually have, but the fact that it actually has surfaced at all should be disturbing to anyone who believes it is in the world’s best interest to avoid direct military confrontation between the United States and Russia.

In a a press release by Gardner, who has long been pushing to have Russia listed as a state sponsor of terrorism, a February version of the bill is described as “…comprehensive legislation [that] seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on the Russian Federation in response to Russia’s interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait. The legislation establishes a comprehensive policy response to better position the US government to address Kremlin aggression by creating new policy offices on cyber defenses and sanctions coordination. The bill stands up for NATO and prevents the President from pulling the US out of the Alliance without a Senate vote. It also increases sanctions pressure on Moscow for its interference in democratic processes abroad and continued aggression against Ukraine.”

The February version of the bill included Menendez, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Democrat Ben Cardin of Maryland and Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina as co-sponsors, suggesting that provoking war is truly bipartisan in today’s Washington.

Each Senator co-sponsor contributed a personal comment to the press release. Gardner observed that “Putin’s Russia is an outlaw regime that is hell-bent on undermining international law and destroying the US-led liberal global order.” Menendez noted that “President Trump’s willful paralysis in the face of Kremlin aggression has reached a boiling point in Congress” while Graham added that “Our goal is to change the status quo and impose meaningful sanctions and measures against Putin’s Russia. He should cease and desist meddling in the US electoral process, halt cyberattacks on American infrastructure, remove Russia from Ukraine, and stop efforts to create chaos in Syria.” Cardin contributed “Congress continues to take the lead in defending US national security against continuing Russian aggression against democratic institutions at home and abroad” and Shaheen observed that “This legislation builds on previous efforts in Congress to hold Russia accountable for its bellicose behavior against the United States and its determination to destabilize our global world order.”

The Senatorial commentary is, of course, greatly exaggerated and sometimes completely false regarding what is going on in the world, but it is revealing of how ignorant American legislators can be and often are. The Senators also ignore the fact that the designation of presumed Kremlin surrogate forces as “foreign terrorist organizations” is equivalent to a declaration of war against them by the US military, while hypocritically calling Russia a state sponsor of terrorism is bad enough, as it is demonstrably untrue. But the real damage comes from the existence of the bill itself. It will solidify support for hardliners on both sides, guaranteeing that there will be no rapprochement between Washington and Moscow for the foreseeable future, a development that is bad for everyone involved. Whether it can be characterized as an unintended consequence of unwise decision making or perhaps something more sinister involving a deeply corrupted congress and administration remains to be determined.

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