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Will Trump’s Hawks Dare to Risk Israel?

Bolton et al however, are of the neoconservative school that believes that if you have power, you use it, or lose it.

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Authored by Alastair Crooke via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It was the eleventh, and perhaps the most important meeting between President Putin and PM Netanyahu on 27 February, writes the well-informed journalist, Elijah Magnier: “The Israeli visitor heard clearly from his host that Moscow has no leverage to ask Iran to leave – or, to stop the flow of weapons to Damascus … Moscow [also] informed Tel Aviv about Damascus’s determination to respond to any future bombing; and that Russia doesn’t see itself concerned [i.e. a party to such conflict] ”.

This last sentence requires some further unpacking. What is going on here is the mounting of the next phase of the Chinese-Russian strategy for containing the US policy of seeding hybrid disorder – and of pouring acid in to the region’s ‘open wounds’. Neither China nor Russia wish to enter into a war with the US. President Putin has warned on several occasions that were Russia to be pushed to the brink, it would have no choice but to react – and that the possible consequences go beyond contemplation.

In short, America’s recent wars have clearly demonstrated their political limitations. Yes, they are militarily highly destructive, but they have not yielded their anticipated political dividends; or rather, the political dividends have manifested more as an erosion of US credibility, and of its appeal as a ‘model’ for the world to mimic. There is now no ‘New’ Middle East that is emerging anywhere that casts itself in the American mold.

Trump’s foreign policy-makers are not old-style ‘liberal’ interventionists, seeking to slay the region’s tyrannical monsters’, and promising to implant American values: that wing of US neo-conservatism – perhaps unsurprisingly – has assimilated itself to the Democratic Party and to those European leaders desirous of striking (a supposedly morally ‘virtuous’) pose in contra-distinction to Trump’s (supposedly amoral) transactional approach.

Bolton et al however, are of the neoconservative school that believes that if you have power, you use it, or lose it. They simply do not trouble themselves with all those frills of promising democracy or freedom (and like Carl Schmitt, they see ethics as a matter for theologians, and not a concern for them). And if the US cannot, any longer, directly impose certain political outcomes (on their terms) on the world as it used to, then the priority must be to use all means to ensure that no political rival can emerge to challenge the US. In other words, instability and bleeding open-wounds become the potent tools to disrupt rival power-blocks from accumulating wider political weight and standing. (In other words, if you cannot ‘make’ politics, at least disrupts others’ attempts so to do.)

So, how does this play out in President Putin’s messaging to Netanyahu? Well, firstly this meeting occurred almost immediately following President Assad’s visit to Tehran. This latter summit took place in the context of increasing pressures on Syria (from the US and the EU) to try to undo the Syrian success in liberating its land (obviously with much help from its friends). The explicit aim being to hold future Syrian reconstruction hostage to the political reconfiguring of Syria – in the manner of America and Europe’s choosing.

The earlier Tehran summit took place, too, against the back drop of a crystallisingmindset for confrontation with Iran in Washington.

The Tehran summit firstly adopted the principle that Iran represented Syria’s strategic depth; and concomitantly, Syria is Iran’s strategic depth.

The second item on the agenda was how to devise a scaffolding of deterrence for the northern tier of the Middle East that might contain Mr Bolton’s impulse to disrupt this sub-region, and attempt to weaken it. And through weakening it, weaken Russia and China (the latter having a major stake in terms of security of energy supply and of the viability of an Asian trading sphere).

President Putin simply outlined the principles of the putative containment plan to Netanyahu; but the Israelis had already got the message from others (from Sayyed Nasrallah and from leaks from Damascus). Its essentials are that Russia intends to stand above any regional military confrontations (i.e. try not get pulled in, as a party to it). Moscow wants to keep ‘doors open’. The S300 air defence system is installed in Syria (and is ready), but Moscow, it seems, will preserve constructive ambiguity about its rules for engagement for these highly sophisticated missiles.

At the same time, Syria and Iran have made plain that there will henceforth be a response to any Israeli air attack on “significant strategic” Syrian defences. Initially, it seems, that Syria likely would respond by launching its missiles into occupied Golan; but were Israel to escalate further, these missiles would be targeted on strategic military targets in the depth of Israel. And if Israel escalated yet further in response, then the option would exist for Iranian and Hizbullah’s missiles to be activated too.

And just to tie the pieces together, Iran is saying that its advisers effectively are everywhere in Syria where Syrian forces are. Which is to say that any attack affecting Syrian forces may be construed by Iran as an attack on Iranian personnel.

What is being constructed here is a complex, differentiated deterrence, with ‘constructive ambivalence’ at all levels. At one level, Russia deploys full ambiguity over the rules of engagement for its S300s in Syria. At another level, Syria maintains some undefined ambiguity (contingent on the degree of Israeli escalation) over the geographic siting of its response (Golan only; or the extent of Israel); and Iran and Hizbullah maintain ambiguity over their possible engagement too (by saying their advisors can be everywhere in Syria).

Netanyahu returned from his meeting with Putin saying that Israel’s policy of attacking Iranian forces in Syria was unchanged (he says this every time) – despite Putin having made it plain that Russia is not able to enforce an Iranian departure on the Syrian government. It was – and is – Syria’s right to choose its own strategic partners. The Israeli PM has however now been formally forewarned that such attacks will be met with a possible reaction that will badly disconcert his public (i.e. missiles landing in the depth of Israel). He knows too, that the existing Syrian air defence systems, (even absent S300 support), are operating with a very high degree of effectiveness (whatever Israeli commentators may claim). Netanyahu knows that Israel’s ‘Iron Dome’ and ‘David’s Sling’ missile defences are not highly rated by the US military.

Will Netanyahu risk further significant attacks on Syrian strategic infrastructure? Elijah Magnier quotes well-informed sources saying: “It all depends on the direction the Israeli elections will take. If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu estimates his chances are high enough to win a second term, then he will not venture any time soon into a new confrontation with Syria and its allies. The date of the next battle will be postponed. But, if he believes he will lose the election, then the possibility of his initiating a battle becomes very high. A serious battle between Israel on one hand, and Syria and Iran on the other hand, would be sufficient enough to postpone the elections. Netanyahu doesn’t have many choices: either he wins the election and postpones the corruption court case against him; or, he goes to jail”.

This thesis may sound compelling, but the calculus on which it rests may prove to be too narrow. It is clear that the differentiated deterrence ploy, outlined by Putin – though framed in terms of Syria – has a wider purpose. The present language used by the US and Europe signal plainly enough that they are largely finished with military operations in Syria. But, in parallel to the disavowal of further military operations in Syria, we have also seen a consolidation of the US Administration mindset towards some sort of confrontation with Iran.

Whereas Netanyahu was always vociferous in calling for confrontation with Iran, he is not known in Israel as a military risk taker (calling for ‘mowing the Palestinian grass’ carries no political risk in domestic Israeli politics). And too, the Israeli military and security establishment have never relished the prospect of outright war with Iran, unless conducted with the US fully in the lead. (It would always be highly risky for any Israeli PM to launch a possibly existential war across the region, without having a sound consensus within the Israeli security establishment.)

Yet Mr Bolton too, has long advocated ‘bomb Iran’ (i.e. in his NYT op-ed of March 2015). Until recently, it was always assumed that it was Netanyahu who was trying to coat-trail the Americans into leading a ‘war’ with Iran. Is it sure that these roles have not become reversed? That it is now John Bolton, Mike Pence and Pompeo who are seeking not all-out war, but to put maximum hybrid pressures on Iran – through sanctions, though fomenting anti-Iranian insurgencies amongst ethnic minorities in Iran, and though Israel regularly poking at Iran militarily, in the hope that Iran will overreact, and fall into Mr Bolton’s trap for ‘having Iran just where he wants it’?

This is the point of the deterrence package – it is all about ‘containing’ the US. The initiative is constructed, as it were, with all its deliberately ambivalent linkages between actors, to signal that any US attempts to foster chaos in the Greater Levant or in Iran, beyond a certain undefined point, now risks embroiling its protégé, Israel, in a much wider regional war – and with unforeseeable consequence. It is a question not so much whether Netanyahu ‘will risk it’, but will Bolton dare ‘risk Israel’?

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MIkeManintheMoonwilliam chandlerYou can call me ALJNDillard Recent comment authors
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JNDillard

Bolton will of course risk war with Iran. What does he have to lose? But he is thankfully not in charge of the Pentagon, which will have to do the bleeding. It will not risk war with Iran because it has war gamed such a conflict hundreds of times and none of the outcomes look good for the West and most look terrible.

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You can call me AL

Did those war games take into account Russia and China stepping in to defend Iran ?.

MIke
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MIke

Sure, dream on!

william chandler
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william chandler

The sight of the “STAR of DEATH” sends a frightening and offensive message to ALL NON-Jews. The “STAR of DEATH” represents the ORIGINAL “Nazis”, the perpetrators of the FIRST holocaust: FUNNY that everything they claim the nazis did is an EXACT COPY of their own book.. Deuteronomy 7:16, 20:16 “And thou shalt consume all the peoples which the Lord thy God shall deliver unto thee; thine eye shall not pity them…thou shalt save alive nothing that breatheth.” KILL THE SICK and CRIPPLED Numbers c.5 v.2-4 KILL HOMOSEXUALS & UNDESIRABLES Leviticus c.20 v.13 well, really the whole chapter KILL ALL DISSIDENTS:… Read more »

ManintheMoon
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ManintheMoon

An interesting rationalisation of the possible motives of someone whom I fear is beyond reason. Bolton is not only a warmonger he is also a dangerous combination of being supremely confident in his own judgement (although it’s proved disastrously wrong time and time again), but also very stupid. However, we can be sure he’ll never do anything against the interests of his ‘lobby’ backers. Fortunately, both the American and Israeli general staffs do seem to realise that they can’t possibly ‘win’ against Iran, even to the extent they ‘won’ against Iraq and Afghanistan. and there would major hits against their… Read more »

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Germany Wants Nuclear Bombers

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them.

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Via VoltaireNet.org:


Germany’s armed forces are currently studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear bombers capable of using the new American B61-12 atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon itself plans to deploy these new atomic bombs in the German region of Eifel, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The German air force already has multi-tasking Tornado warplanes, which are already capable of deploying American atomic bombs. But those aircraft are going to be replaced, possibly, by European-developed Eurofighters, or by United States manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Either way, the warplane that Germany selects will have to be equipped with the AMAC (Aircraft Monitoring and Control) system, which allows the use of the new American atomic bombs and enables the regulation of the power of the explosion as well as at what height the bombs explode after they are launched.

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them, and believes that this gives it the right to sit on the UN Security Council sharing the permanent member position occupied by France.

Both countries would thus represent the European Union, under the auspices of NATO.

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1st since Notre Dame: Yellow Vests back despite ‘unifying’ disaster & they are angry

‘Yellow Vests’ march in Paris for 23rd straight week.

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Via RT…


Yellow Vests protests brought clashes and tear gas back to the streets of Paris, despite politicians’ calls for “unity” in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. For protesters, the response to the fire only showed more inequality.

Saturday’s protests mark the 23rd straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations, but the first since Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames on Monday. Officials were quick to criticize the protesters for returning to the streets so soon after the disaster.

“The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on Friday. “The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”

For many of the protesters, grief over the destruction of the 800-year-old landmark has made way for anger. With smoke still rising from Notre Dame, a group of French tycoons and businessmen pledged €1 billion to the cathedral’s reconstruction, money that the Yellow Vests say could be better spent elsewhere.

“If they can give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us there is no money to respond to the social emergency,” trade union leader Philippe Martinez told France 24.

Saturday’s protests saw a return to scenes familiar since the Yellow Vests first mobilized in November to protest a fuel tax hike. Demonstrators in Paris’ Bastille district set barricades on fire and smashed vehicles, and police deployed tear gas to keep the crowds at bay.

Sporadic incidents of vandalism and looting were reported across the city, and some journalists even reported rioters throwing feces at police.

60,000 police officers were deployed across the country, and in Paris, a security perimeter was set up around Notre Dame. A planned march that would have passed the site was banned by police, and elsewhere, 137 protesters had been arrested by mid afternoon, police sources told Euronews.

Beginning as a show of anger against rising fuel costs in November, the Yellow Vests movement quickly evolved into a national demonstration of rage against falling living standards, income inequality, and the perceived elitism and pro-corporation policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Over 23 weeks of unrest, Macron has made several concessions to the protesters’ demands, but has thus far been unable to quell the rising dissent.

After Notre Dame caught fire on Monday, the president postponed a television address to the nation, during which he was expected to unveil a package of tax cuts and other economic reforms, another measure to calm the popular anger in France.

Macron’s address will be held on Thursday.

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O Canada! The True North Strong and Free – Not

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Canadian visitors to Washington sometimes wonder why their embassy stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

The answer? To be close to where Canada’s laws are made.

A main showcase of Ottawa’s craven servility to Washington is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s complicity in the US-led regime change operation being conducted against Venezuela. Not content with ruining his own country with multiculturalism, polysexualism, and the like, Li’l Justin has acted in lockstep with Big Brother to the south inslapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials and serving as a US agent of influence, especially with other countries in the western hemisphere:

‘A Canadian Press report published at the end of January revealed that Canadian diplomats worked systematically over several months with their Latin American counterparts in Caracas to prepare the current regime-change operation, pressing [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s right-wing opponents to set aside their differences and mount a joint challenge to the government. “The turning point,” said the Canadian Press [Global News], “came Jan. 4, when the Lima Group … rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 election victory and his looming January 10 inauguration, while recognizing the ‘legitimately elected’ National Assembly.” The report cited an unnamed Canadian official as saying the opposition “were really looking for international support of some kind, to be able to hold onto a reason as to why they should unite, and push somebody like Juan Guaidó.”

‘One day prior to Maduro’s inauguration, [Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia] Freeland spoke to Guaidó, the newly-elected National Assembly speaker, by telephone to urge him to challenge the elected Venezuelan president.’

But that’s not all. Canada is out front and center in the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies’ war on China’s Huawei – with direct prompting from US legislators and intelligence.  As explained by Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, it’s not that Huawei violated any law when circumventing US sanctions but it is the US that is acting illegally by unilaterally imposing sanctions that were never agreed to internationally. But that’s OK – when it comes to Washington’s claims of jurisdiction over every human being on the planet, Justin and Chrystia are happy to oblige!

Also, let’s not forget Chrystia’s role in keeping the pot boiling in Ukraine. It would of course be cynical (and probably racist) to attribute anything relating to Ukraine to her own interesting family background …

To be fair, the lickspittle attitude of Canadian officials towards their masters south of the 49th parallel is hardly unique in the world. Also to be fair, it’s natural and would be generally beneficial for Canada to have a positive relationship with a powerful, kindred neighbor rather than a negative one. Think of Austria’s ties to Germany, or the Trans-Tasman relationship of Australia and New Zealand, or the links that still exist between Russia and Ukraine despite efforts by the west to set them against each other (as, for example, Spain and Portugal were at loggerheads for several centuries, when the latter was a loyal ally of Spain’s foe, Great Britain, to such an extent that Portugal was sometimes shown on maps and globes in the same pink as British possessions; a similar situation existed between Argentina and British ally Chile).

A close and mutually advantageous relationship is one thing, but Canada’s de facto loss of independence is another. Not only does the US control Canada’s diplomacy, military, and intelligence but also her financial system (with, among other levers, the notorious FATCA law, which places Canadian institutions under the supervision of the IRS, with Canada’s revenue service acting, care of the Canadian taxpayer, as a cat’s paw for not only the IRS but the NSA and other snooping agencies). As explained by one Canadian nationalist (yes, they do exist!), the redoubtable David Orchard, trade is also a critical issue:

‘Canada …, after almost three decades of “free trade” with the U.S., has more than $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt, large deficits at every level, no national child or dental care, high university tuition, miserly old age pensions, years of massive budget cuts, and giveaway prices for its exports of oil, gas, timber and minerals.

‘For 150 years, great Canadian leaders have warned that without an economic border with the United States, we would soon no longer have a political border.

‘We once owned the world’s largest farm machinery maker, Massey Harris, headquartered in Toronto; built the world’s largest and most respected marketer of wheat and barley, the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg; created a great transcontinental railway system, beginning in Montreal, which tied our country together; and saw Vancouver’s shipyards produce the beautiful Fast Cat ferry.

‘Instead of spending hundreds of billions on foreign-made machinery, electronics, automobiles, ships, fighter jets and passenger aircraft (even payroll systems for federal employees!), we can build our own, both for the domestic and export market.

‘We once designed and built the world’s most advanced jet interceptor, the Avro Arrow, so we know it can be done. [Emphasis added] With Canada’s resources and ingenuity, it could create a prosperous, domestically controlled economy that would give Canadians multiple benefits, security and pride of ownership. All that is required is some of the will that drove our ancestors to create an alternate power in North America. As George-Étienne Cartier, the great Québécois Father of Confederation, put it, “Now everything depends on our patriotism.”’ [Note: Orchard is the author of the must-read book The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. To begin at the beginning, in the late 1680s, as part of English-French rivalry in North America, Massachusetts Puritans sought to root out the nest of popish deviltry known as Quebec. Following their disastrous 1690 defeat, they decided to fight Satan closer to home by hanging witches. The rest, as they say, is history…]

Scratch a Canadian patriot and you’ll hear about the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow. As a watershed moment in Canada’s downward slide into subservience, the cancellation of what by all accounts was a magnificent aircraft – and a snapshot of what Canada’s international competitiveness (including in advanced aerospace) could have looked like had it been able to develop independently – might have been the point of being sucked into the American vortex. As noted by one response to my suggestion that Ottawa’s stance on Venezuela amounted to Canada’s annexation by the US: “Canadian here…unfortunately, the above is true (not literally of course, but in practice). It goes back even before the time of Diefenbaker, who canceled our Avro Arrow program on demand from the US – thus destroying our aerospace industry and causing brain drain to the US/Europe.”

To this day, the decision of then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to kill the Arrow project (and “put 14,528 Avro employees, as well as nearly 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain of outside suppliers, out of work”) on what came to be known as “Black Friday,” February 20, 1959, remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. A mix of budgetary, political, technological, and personality factors has been cited, none of them conclusive. Pressure from the US side, including unwillingness of Washington to purchase a Canadian aircraft when the US could pressure them to buy American planes and missiles, no doubt played a key role: “Instead of the CF-105, the RCAF invested in a variety of Century Series fighters from the United States. These included the F-104 Starfighter (46 percent of which were lost in Canadian service), and (more controversial, given the cancellation of the Arrow) the CF-101 Voodoo. The Voodoo served as an interceptor, but at a level of performance generally below that expected of the Arrow.”

While we may never know reliably why Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow or how Canada or Canadian industry might have followed a different path, there’s no question of the superior capabilities of the Arrow. As it happens, one of the few pilots who had a chance to test the Arrow in an impromptu friendly dogfight is now-retired USAF fighter pilot Col. George Jatras, later US Air Attaché in Moscow (also, this analyst’s father). As he related in 2017:

‘I’ve received a number of messages in the last couple days about this bird, including some that say it may be revived. I don’t know how The Arrow would compare to today’s aircraft, but I had a first-hand lesson on how it faired against the F-102.

‘In 1959, I was stationed at Suffolk County AFB on Long Island with the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. We had an informal exchange program with a Canadian fighter squadron stationed near Montreal. From time to time, two or four aircraft from one of the squadrons would fly to the other’s base on a weekend cross country.

‘On one such exchange, I was #3 in a four ship formation led by [former Tuskegee airmanErnie Craigwell (I don’t recall who the other pilots were). As we entered Canadian airspace, cruising at about 40,000 ft., we spotted a contrail well above our altitude (probably at 50,000ft.) and closing very fast.  As the other aircraft appeared to be passing by, we could clearly see the delta shaped wing and knew it was the Avro Arrow that the Canadian pilots had told us about. Then, instead of just passing by, he rolled in on us! Ernie called for a break and we split into elements. When we talked about the encounter afterwards we all agreed that our first thought was, “This guy is in for a surprise; he doesn’t know that he’s taking on the F-102.”  Well, we were the ones in for a surprise. Even with two elements covering each other, not one of us could get on his tail. His power and maneuverability were awesome.  After he had played with us for a few minutes, like a cat with four mice, he zoomed back up to about 50K and went on his way. What an aircraft! What a shame that it never went into production.’

What is perhaps most curious about the Arrow’s demise is that “everything was ordered brutally destroyed; plans, tools, parts, and the completed planes themselves were to be cut up, destroyed, scrapped and everything made to disappear.”  Why? Well, security of course! Don’t engage in conspiracy theories …

The Canadian national anthem finishes with a pledge: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” It should be noted that understandably resentful Loyalists fleeing the US following the American Revolution were a major contribution to the growth of Canada’s English-speaking population. American troops – back when we were the plucky underdog fighting the mighty British Empire – invaded Canada in 1775 and during the War of 1812 but were defeated. Relations got testy during the American Civil War as well, and even afterwards the US was wary of a proposed united “Kingdom of Canada,” hence the choice of the name “Dominion” in 1967. If today’s Canadians think we-all down here don’t know whom they’ve mostly had in mind to “stand on guard” against all this time, they’d better think again.

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence – eh?

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