The drone attacks on the Aramco oil refinery at Abqaiq and Khurais oil field is – in my opinion – one of the best carried out operations in decades. It’s so open to interpretation, and it serves the hegemon’s narrative so well. If the Houthis have such tactical and strategic capabilities, why didn’t they deploy them sooner against Saudi Arabia? Something must have changed. They must have received better equipment, training or specialists, plus intel. Or maybe the Saudis deliberately let their guard down? The whole thing doesn’t smell right. If it was indeed carried out by Iran via proxy, then it’s a hands down master stroke; the message being: that’s how strong we are, and we can inflict a lot worse if you invade us.
Putting that question aside, war with Iran, even if it would appease the Zionists and the Saud crime family, it would kill Trump’s chances of reelection. He can’t win simply with the hardcore republicans, he needs the moderate vote too. And even his loyalists, some of them at least, are deploring his hawkish policy toward Iran – because he vowed to keep the country out of another Middle Eastern quagmire. Anti-war Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard shot a tweet to the president, saying: “Trump awaits instructions from his Saudi masters. Having our country act as Saudi Arabia’s bitch is not “America First.” Not really a bold remark, since she didn’t include Israel next to Saudi Arabia, but we’ll take what we can get… A day after that, Trump posted on Iran in better spirits, adopting a wait and see attitude: “Remember when Iran shot down a drone, saying knowingly that it was in their “airspace” when, in fact, it was nowhere close. They stuck strongly to that story knowing that it was a very big lie. Now they say that they had nothing to do with the attack on Saudi Arabia. We’ll see?”
Given the circumstances, I believe Trump will hold back from giving the order to attack Iran, at least until he secures a second term. That has been the established war course in the US for some time. Bush Jr and Obama unleashed the big, war operations in their second terms. And it’s unlikely that Trump will break with this tradition. The ‘locked and loaded’ expression is part of the same intimidation doctrine employed by the sick, murderous neocons [this includes Killary and Obomber]. Trump is probably hoping to squeeze a meeting with Rouhani, which he can talk up as a success of diplomacy, a success obtained by his own personal skill as the ‘greatest’ negotiator. Contrary to previous statements – no talks with the US until Washington lifts sanctions – Iran’s supreme leader might change his mind and agree to a meeting between Rouhani and Trump without preconditions. Let’s not forget that the Iranian political establishment is composed of factions too; and they may have different opinions about how to handle this situation as it develops; and a little bit of Russian brokerage may smooth things out. That’s a very optimistic scenario. Realistically speaking, however, the possibility of meeting without preconditions is slim to none. In all likelihood, the Trump Administration will find some way to levy more sanctions and further strong-arm third parties from doing business with Iran. Bribes may work too, or at least, the promise of bribes…
US unilateralism [war with Iran] will impact a great many countries. It’s going to be a supply shock, a financial shock, and no doubt terrorist activities will spawn all over the place in the West – and not necessarily just from Islamic fundamentalists or sleeper cells. It’s up to the remaining great powers to firmly express opposition, not just via press statements, but via military operations as well. Needless to say, the Europeans won’t be much help, since Western Europe and the Balkans harbor US bases and US soldiers, and European mainstream politicians, right and left, are corrupt and spineless. The rest of the sane world must convince the Deep Staters to back off; to accept the fact Iran has escaped their [irrational] grand plans of early 21st century hegemony through destabilization and invasion. If Trump really cares about being popular and about winning, he should listen to real patriots like Douglas Macgregor, get the troops out and accept the multi-polar world system. A true patriot fights to pull/keep his nation out of war, not into it.
At CNN’s Climate Town Hall this month, Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said that he “strongly supports” using US public money to fund abortions in foreign countries in an effort to control global population growth.
Sanders was asked a blatant loaded question about the current rate of population growth being unsustainable, about the need to educate people and empower women to curb this growth. No mention of economics, of the fact that developed countries – countries with high living standards – are characterized by stagnant, even negative population growth. The solution of this favorite politician among so-called progressive circles is Government-funded abortions far and wide, irrespective of context. The people so eager to “fix” the issue of “over-population,” which is debatable when contrasted to global landmass as a whole and present technology levels, don’t even think to ask what these foreign countries wish to do. Perhaps they don’t want such ‘aid’ money for abortions. Maybe they’d prefer a helping hand from the West [the US in particular] in the form of geopolitical laissez-faire, instead of the West sponsoring ethnic and sectarian conflicts, regime change ops, financial and resource looting schemes, and social engineering programs in their countries.
The consequences of population control policies inspired and sponsored by Western Governments and Western NGOs are felt in countries like India, China, Vietnam, and Korea; where an imbalance in the gender population is causing a huge wave of child abductions due to a lack of women for marriage. Around 170 million women are ‘missing’ from the demographic count; they were never born due to State policy agendas, touted as humanist programs destined for humanitarian purposes.
Sanders accepted, at best, a tenuous premise and proposed a fake solution. To make an analogy, if the price of groceries is going up and increasingly larger sections of the population can’t afford their daily groceries – the solution isn’t to levy a VAT or increase the VAT if one is already present; that won’t make groceries more affordable, it will only increase inflation. Instead, a solution would be to suspend the importation of non-essential goods [things like luxury watches and cheese in spray cans] and prioritize the importation of essential goods [like milk, grain, vegetables etc]. But to the contemporary progressives, Government-funded abortions no matter the context is their fetish. If Donald Trump would have proposed such a measure, the ‘woke’ media would have accused him of waging a racist war on black and brown nations.
Steve Bannon and Kyle Bass discuss America’s current geopolitical landscape regarding China. Bannon and Bass take a deep dive into Chinese infiltration in US institutions, China’s aggressiveness in the South China sea, and the potential for global conflict in the next few years. The interview was filmed last year in October at an undisclosed location.
My comment: Steve Bannon, by far the most clever guy behind the Trump campaign and the Trump phenomenon itself, talks geopolitics and economics. As any good, proud, Christian Zionist, he sells mixtures of reality and sophistry; and Bannon knows to mix them and to sell them better than anybody else. I’ll tackle first the hawkish, geopolitical issue, then the economic problem. I encourage the reader to first see the interview, to make it easier to digest what I’m about to say.
Steve Bannon’s suggestion to the Trump Administration is to give China an ultimatum of 72 hours, to get all their military assets off those tiny islands [stationary weapons platforms and airfields] in the South China sea, otherwise the US navy will take it out for them. Kyle Bass labels this as Bannon wanting to go ‘kinetic,’ and Bannon disagrees with the characterization – then deflects the issue of war by saying that what the Chinese have done is illegal under international law; but Bannon makes no mention of bringing the issue to the UN and resolving it there diplomatically. Instead, what he’s arguing is for more unilateralism; the same type of gung ho, ruinous behavior responsible for Afghanistan, Iraq, and other places. To his credit, Kyle Bass poses a different scenario to Bannon – how about the US simply packs up and leaves? Bannon makes it clear that’s not an option. To argue his position, he invokes the USA’s history as a Pacific power, plus the need to defend US allies in the region. I ask, why not give the means for these allies to defend themselves? Also, did nuclear warheads suddenly vanish off the face of the earth, after the USSR imploded? No. Bannon’s arguments are just excuses, excuses which don’t match reality – they only match the warped reality the hegemon tries to push on the rest of the world, bust mostly on US citizens.
This type of behavior in foreign policy is a characteristic of both the non-mainstream right and left. For instance, Noam Chomsky stated his opposition to the US leaving Syria, by invoking the humanitarian issue of the Kurds – saying that if the US leaves, the Kurds will fall prey to Assad and to Turkey, emphasis on Turkey. He [rightly] received a backlash for it among a good portion of his following.
To call it what it is, Bannon’s “Economic Nationalism” has nothing to do with the USA defined in Westphalian terms as a nation state, but everything to do with the empire state, with America-First hegemony. Bannon cannot escape hypocrisy on this issue. He basically says US hegemony good, Chinese hegemony or wannabe hegemony bad. Just like the mindless liberals meme ‘Orange man bad,’ so do the likes of Alex Jones and Steve Bannon, Zionist-backed [just like Breitbart] demonize China and promote US manifest destiny [to manifest itself all across the world]. Meanwhile, the darling US-ally Israel gets away with selling military tech to the godless, totalitarian, repressive Chinese communists, but you’ll never hear Trump or his backers criticize Israel or Netanyahu for it.
Returning to the question of nationhood vs empire – the interests of the nation state and that of the empire are inimical to each other, given their radically different nature. No sovereign nation wants an empire to come in and diminish her ability to run her own affairs. And no empire feels content with being surrounded by sovereigns, it’s only content if it’s surrounded by vassal states. Not receiving tribute from these nations is viewed as a declaration of war. Nationalism, again defined in Westphalian terms, is incompatible to empire – whether this empire takes the form of an ethnic, supremacist dominion or that of [neo] feudal masters. Nationhood was birthed in opposition to feudalism, and real nationalists, real patriots will always be opposed to that scourge of nations and races called empire – in our days – the feudal dominion of international shareholders. It’s in the interest of peace, justice, and prosperity for all sovereign nations to make sure that none of them rise at the cost of someone else’s injury. For that is how empires are born and how nations succumb to thralldom and are reduced to mere territories. Steve Bannon serves the interest of the US empire state, and thus, works against the interest of the US nation state and all other sovereigns.
The shameless indulgence in hypocrisy peaks in Bannon when he accuses the Chinese of investing too much in their military, which is unproductive. By far, the biggest unproductive military in the world is that of the USA. Subsequent administrations have spent far too much capital on so-called defence, a war budget really. And I’m talking about physical capital, materials and equipment, which could have been used for civilian production.
On the economic question, again Steve Bannon mixes fact with mythology. First, he equates the presence of Chinese investment in Africa and South America to the Chinese version of the British East India Company. However, Chinese money into these regions didn’t come via gunboat diplomacy. For more info on what the Chinese have been doing in African countries, as opposed to the British Empire, see these articles: China’s Africa and Why Africa loves China. To qualify this particular segment, Bannon is engaging in fake news and spreading Sinophobia – just as liberals spread Russophobia.
One thing Bannon gets right is that the [bipartisan] elites – what he calls the Party of Davos – absolutely betrayed the US working class when they achieved their deals with the Communist leadership of China. This graph makes it abundantly clear. However, what Bannon didn’t say, was that, while the Chinese went along with the Western neoliberal consensus, the US was encircling them militarily. While the Chinese were using their hard-earned US reserves to purchase US treasuries [among physical goods and technology legally available for them to buy], the hegemon was busy working to contain China. Yes, there has to be a geopolitical counter to China’s rise, but I wish that counter would be diplomatic, instead of hawkish, unilateralist, and downright syphilitic. Every country that grows in power has a tendency to project influence, and to financialize [other states]… military imperialism is a consequence of the former.
On the subject of tariffs and protectionism I’ve written before; and I’ll try to condense and better explain the solution to the Chinese trade problem [for the US]. Instead of replying to economic warfare with kinetic means [outright war], like Steve Bannon wants to do, it’s much better to shoot financial bullets instead of live rounds. Washington can progressively hike tariffs on Chinese goods, practically taxing the US dollars the Chinese Central Bank holds in checking and saving accounts at the Federal Reserve, and leaving the Chinese with fewer dollars with which to purchase output. While this is going on, something else has to happen. Washington needs to plug the gap in Chinese imports to the US with goods from other countries – but the safest approach would be to plug that gap with as many goods from domestic production as possible. On the other side of the equation lies the demand for US products overseas, which will take a huge hit, since their access to China’s home market will collapse. Washington has to ensure that this fall in demand is replaced. It can be done via state contracts for domestic producers and through bilateral loan accords. The latter isn’t outrageous or experimental and it bypasses the debt ceiling rule. It’s what the US did with Western Europe and with Japan after WW2. Loan dollars to a partner country, so that country is able to absorb US exports. The old comedy show Yes, Minister detailed this mechanism in one of its episodes [The Official Visit] from 1980. As for addressing the issue of rising prices for consumers… what does it matter if you are able to achieve and maintain full employment through a comprehensive scheme of nation-wide state-led investment [investment in the real, physical economy, which creates good-paying jobs]. Bannon has a problem with demand; he rarely mentions it. In fact, a year ago speaking at Black Americans For A Better Future Summit, he was constantly stressing the need to ensure access to capital to new entrepreneurs. A youth spoke out on this issue, basically saying what about securing some demand, access to customers? Bannon skillfully dodged the point. I think the youth in question no longer has any hopes out of the Trump presidency [if he had any to begin with] on this particular issue.
No matter how much Bannon stresses the words “populism” and “economic nationalism,” his words ring hollow. No matter how much he tries to blow smoke up the president’s ass, Trump hasn’t made it better for working people in the States, nor has he outlined any plan for doing so, he didn’t even build a mile of new wall [a key promise to his core base]. All Trump has done in this sphere is to feign economic populism, simulate fights, while giving more boons to rent-seekers, usurers, and war profiteers.
All in all, I enjoyed this interview, done by Kyle Bass, and I applaud Steve Bannon for his skills as an agent of manipulation. Israel is certainly most proud of him. Out of all the rest, Bannon really knows what he’s doing.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the economic and political divorce unfolding between the US and China. President Trump announced last week he would add 10 percent tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods starting on September 1st. The move covers all goods the US buys from China. In response, Beijing allowed its currency, the yuan, to weaken to more than 7 per 1 USD, a level many analysts considered important. Trump called the slide in the Chinese yuan “a major violation.” For the first time in 15 years, the US Treasury Department proceeded to name China a currency manipulator.
My comment: Alexander Mercouris is right on the benefits inherent to mutually assured deterrence. I believe the divorce between the two super-powers is inevitable as well. And just to be clear, even though the process kicked off under Trump’s term, it was taught out well before he took office. That’s why US trade sanctions and military escalation have bipartisan support; and why pro-peace voices are labeled as “Putin stooges.” I’m also disappointed by the Chinese… they continue to put the exports sector ahead of domestic consumption. What’s the point in another devaluation of the yuan vs the USD? You retain your chunk of the US market. For what purpose? All dollars owned by the Chinese as checking and saving accounts at the US central bank are at risk, given the geopolitical situation between the two. It’s high time China recycled some of its trade surpluses in other countries, to the benefit of foreign exporters and their own citizens.
With regard to the European Union. I’m highly skeptical of any major divergence from Washington’s dictates. Western Europe is US military occupied territory. The US can strangle Europe in more ways than one – and its propaganda outlets are stronger than ever. National intelligence services of EU member states are in the USA’s pockets. A military switch of allegiance would result in economic warfare, sabotage, and widespread unrest. Regardless of who’s in the right or wrong, those who control the propaganda machine control the narrative. And unless there’s a massive economic crisis, no significant geopolitical shift will occur. The unipolar moment is gone; and new alliances are shaping the world…
Libya has become a country of the West’s experimentation of new military technologies and recycling of old weapons. Itself a crime against humanity. Armed drones, armoured vehicles and pick-up trucks fitted with heavy armaments machine guns, recoilless rifles, mortar and rocket launchers have been recently transferred to Libya by unscrupulous foreign countries with their own selfish interests being their uppermost consideration. […]
The security vacuum created by the conflict in and around Tripoli continues to be exploited by Da’esh in remote areas in the country’s southern and central regions. […]
To search for a consensus Libyan candidate that would be acceptable to both Haftar and Serraj. Rumours abound in Libya that such an acceptable third ‘candidate’ to all sides in the conflict is known. Such third way is being spoken of in both Tripoli and Tobruk as well as London, Washington and Moscow..and, according to some sources, the person stands ready in waiting.
Read the full article by Richard Galustian on the Duran website.