Tag Archives: russia

Global tensions surge as NATO, Russia hold rival military exercises

By Alex Lantier
May 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Militaries throughout Eurasia and North America are on high alert as NATO and Russian forces hold rival military exercises within Russia and along its borders.

Moscow responded to the beginning of large-scale, two-week-long air exercises by the NATO powers in the Arctic on Monday by launching its own air defense maneuvers. Roughly 250 Russian aircraft and 12,000 servicemen were mobilized in the Urals and western Siberia as 100 NATO aircraft and 4,000 servicemen from Germany, Britain, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States operated in the Arctic.

NATO’s Arctic exercises, code-named Arctic Challenge, will continue until June 4. The day after, the annual exercises held by NATO in the Baltic Sea region will begin, bringing 4,500 troops from 17 NATO member-states to Russia’s northwestern border.

The Russian Defense Ministry called its operations a “massive surprise inspection” of Russian air defense capabilities. According to Russian media, the maneuvers are meant to train Russian forces to respond to large-scale air attacks from abroad. Beginning last Monday and running until Thursday, their purpose is to prepare the Russian armed forces for a larger military drill, Center 2015, to be held in September.

Yesterday, 10 Russian warships supported by naval aircraft carried out exercises in the Barents Sea, a part of the Arctic Ocean largely consisting of Russian territorial waters.

Meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday in Washington, President Obama denounced Russia for holding its military drills, calling the Kremlin’s posture “increasingly aggressive.”

Stoltenberg, for his part, criticized Russia for not being “more transparent” in holding its military exercises. “We urge the Russians not to… do these kinds of snap exercises,” he told CBS News. “Every nation has a right to exercise its forces, also Russia,” he continued, “but they should do it in a more transparent and predictable way in order to avoid any misunderstandings.”

The denunciations from Obama and Stoltenberg are hypocritical and absurd. It is NATO, not Russia, that is driving the explosive military standoff around Russia’s borders. Having provoked a military crisis by toppling a pro-Russian Ukrainian regime in Kiev in a far-right putsch last year, then launching a proxy war against pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, NATO is now methodically surrounding Russia with hostile military exercises.

According to Russia’s envoy to the NATO alliance, Aleksandr Grushko, the number of NATO exercises close to the Russian border has doubled over the past year, to over 3,000. NATO is also doubling to 30,000 men the size of its European rapid reaction force, which is designed to quickly prepare for combat with Russia in Eastern Europe.

Britain is sending its biggest warship, the HMS Ocean, to the Baltic Sea this week to deploy a unit of Royal Marines in Poland and join naval drills off Russia’s coast at Kaliningrad.

US and Canadian airmen and military aircraft are jointly carrying out NORAD’s annual “Amalgam Dart” exercises in the Arctic. These are billed as operations to train NORAD forces to detect and respond to potentially hostile flights into North America from across the Arctic Ocean and the North Pole—that is, from Russia.

In recent weeks, US forces have also held joint military exercises with Romania and Bulgaria in the Balkans, and with Georgia in the Caucasus. Last month, US troops began training fighters from far-right militias inside Ukraine itself for combat against pro-Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

With international tensions at the breaking point, NATO’s decision to hold multiple military exercises on Russia’s periphery is utterly reckless. In March, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that early in the Ukraine crisis he had placed the Russian military, including its nuclear forces, on alert.

A report last November by the European Leadership Network (ELN) think tank in London found that since the February 2014 putsch in Kiev, 40 “near miss” incidents had almost led to military clashes between Russian and NATO forces. That danger has since been heightened, with armies across Europe on a hair trigger, and thousands of NATO aircraft and military units surrounding Russia. A few collisions or miscalculations could lead to a clash with potentially catastrophic consequences.

Russia and China recently concluded their first joint naval exercises in the Mediterranean Sea, operating out of the Crimean port of Sevastopol, a region of Ukraine that chose to rejoin Russia after the Kiev putsch in a move that was denounced by the NATO powers. Russian and Chinese warships carried out multiple operations, including live-fire exercises, in the eastern Mediterranean. For the Chinese navy, this exercise was by far the most far removed from its home base in China it has ever held.

The holding of military exercises preparing for large-scale conflict demonstrates that the major capitalist powers, above all Washington and its imperialist allies in Europe and the Asia-Pacific, are gearing up for a Third World War. This is the outcome of decades of US-led wars in the Middle East and Central Asia that followed the dissolution of the USSR, and more recently the Ukraine crisis and Washington’s anti-Chinese “pivot to Asia.”

As wars surge across the Middle East in Syria, Iraq and Yemen, and the standoff escalates between the United States and China in the South China Sea, NATO’s confrontation with Russia completes the picture of a Eurasian landmass beset by bloodshed and the imminent danger of war. Under the pressure of a crisis of global capitalism, masses of workers worldwide are being dragged into a horrendous conflict in which they have no interest, and which is developing largely behind their backs.

The critical task facing the international working class is to mobilize itself politically in struggle against capitalism and war. It cannot give any support to the maneuvers of the Putin regime in Moscow or its Chinese counterpart, collections of corrupt business oligarchs which emerged from the restoration of capitalism and which are incapable of appealing to anti-war sentiment in the working class. They oscillate between attempts to work out a deal with imperialism and military bluster that only increases political and military tensions.

US, Israel condemn Russian missile deal with Iran

By Bill Van Auken
April 15, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

Both Washington and Tel Aviv have condemned the decree signed Monday by Russian President Vladimir Putin lifting a ban on the delivery to of advanced S-300 air defense missile systems to the Iranian government.

The action by Moscow is seen by both the Obama administration and the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as cutting across US and Israeli threats to carry out air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Israeli government has repeatedly threatened unilateral military action against Iran, while Washington has maintained that military action is an option that remains “on the table” should Tehran be deemed in violation of a nuclear agreement it is currently negotiating under the umbrella of the P5+1 grouping—the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany.

Amid the controversy over the revived Russian missile deal, the White House announced that President Barack Obama was prepared to sign the version of an Iran nuclear bill approved unanimously Tuesday by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee after the measure appeared to win sufficient Democratic support to override a presidential veto.

While the legislation would grant Congress the right to review any Iran nuclear accord, it explicitly recognizes that it does not have the right to approve or reject a deal reached by the US and the other major powers. It does provide a procedure for Congress to vote for or against lifting unilateral US sanctions that it legislated in the first place. Agreement on the bill could, however, fall apart in the face of Republican amendments linking the nuclear deal to Iran’s recognition of Israel or its ceasing of alleged support for “terrorism.”

Moscow imposed the voluntary ban on the shipment of the surface-to-air missile batteries in 2010, responding to heavy pressure from both the US and Israel.

The missile deal, signed in 2007, was worth $800 million to Russia’s state-controlled arms dealer, Rosoboronexport. Iran has in the meantime brought a $4 billion lawsuit before the Geneva arbitration panel over Russia’s failure to fulfill the contract.

The Pentagon condemned Russia’s decision on the contract Monday. “Our opposition to these sales is long and public. We believe it unhelpful,” US military spokesman Col. Steve Warren told reporters. Asked whether Putin’s decree violated international sanctions against Iran, the Pentagon spokesman responded: “This is for our lawyer to really look through. Any sale of advanced technologies is cause of concern to us.”

A State Department spokesperson reported that Secretary of State John Kerry raised US concerns about the air-defense missile sale in a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday.

“We don’t believe it’s constructive at this time for Russia to move forward with this, but we’ve worked very closely with the Russians on the P5+1 negotiations,” said the spokesperson, Marie Harf. “We don’t think this will have an impact on unity in terms of inside the negotiating room.”

Asked if the missile deal would violate UN sanctions against Iran, she said flatly that it would not.

The head of the US negotiating team in the P5+1 talks, Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman, told the Israeli media Monday that, while the US maintained its military “alternatives” for dealing with Iran, bombing nuclear facilities would be only a short-term solution.

“A military strike by Israel or the US would only set back the nuclear program by two years,” she said. “You can’t bomb their nuclear know-how, and they will rebuild everything. The alternatives are there, but the best option is a diplomatic negotiated solution.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who spoke by phone with Putin Tuesday, railed against both the lifting of the ban and the move toward an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program.

“The sale of advanced weapons to Iran is the result of the dangerous agreement that is emerging between Iran and the [P5+1] powers,” Netanyahu said. “After this arms deal, is there anyone who can seriously claim that the agreement with Iran will increase the security in the Middle East?”

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov defended the decision to go ahead with the missile delivery, stressing that the antiaircraft missile system “is purely defensive in nature, is not suited for the purpose of attack, and does not jeopardize the safety of any state in the region, including, of course, Israel.”

Lavrov noted the voluntary character of the previous ban on the delivery, stating that it was put in effect to “stimulate progress in the negotiations,” which, with the reaching of a framework agreement on Iran’s nuclear program, was no longer necessary.

The Russian foreign minister also noted that as the result of the contract’s suspension, “Russia has not received large sums that are owed to us. We do not see the need for this anymore.”

Virtually simultaneously with the lifting of the ban on the delivery of the S-300 batteries, Russian officials announced the initiation of an oil-for-goods barter deal under which Russia will ship grain, equipment and construction materials to Iran in exchange for crude oil. The deal is said to be worth some $20 billion.

Russia’s actions have clearly provoked concern in Washington and among its European allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel Tuesday declared that countries that had imposed sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program should “lift those sanctions together, as far as possible.” She was speaking for German capitalist interests concerned that Russia is stealing a march on their plans to reap super-profits by reentering the Iranian market.

The decisions taken in Moscow are also, no doubt, meant to counter Washington’s own strategic calculations in pursuing the nuclear deal with Iran. To the extent that it can achieve an effective rapprochement with Iran, US imperialism can shift a greater share of its military might from the region and direct it against both Russia and China.

Greeced Lightning! Will Greece Default? Will Athens Cut a Financial Deal with Moscow and Beijing?

By Bill Holter
April 7, 2015
Global Research

 

The Disinformation Campaign on the Greek Debt and the Rescue Plan by Private CreditorsWe seem to have finally arrived at some sort of moment of truth regarding Greece and their inclusion in the EU.  The speculation is they will be out of money by April 9th, this Thursday, unable to make a less than 500 million euro payment.  Please keep in mind they have already been raiding the country’s pension plans to fund day to day services.  How large of a “dent” they have already made remains to be seen but that is not the point.  The point is this, any person, corporation or government who needs to dig into retirement savings for daily operations is like buying a carton of cigarettes with a credit card at 14.99% …and then carrying the balance!

Before laying out their potential options, please keep in mind that Mr. Varoufakis  was in New York this past weekend meeting with Christine Lagarde , Mr. Tsipras plans a trip to Moscow for Tuesday.  Are they pleading for unpaid bailout funds from the IMF?  And if they don’t get them, do they cut a deal and fall into Russia’s arms?  This, just as so many nations have pledged their allegiance to the East and the AIIB bank (topic for tomorrow), Greece may be forced into a pivot toward the rising Sun.  They do however have something left to offer, they stand between Turkey and Eastern Europe, they can provide a route for Russian gas to flow to Europe.

What options does Greece have left?  As I see it, they really only have three, and all with blurry edges.  First, they can cut some sort of deal with Germany (the EU) and the IMF.  They can kick the can down the road by extending maturities of existing debt and restructuring it.  The IMF still owes past monies pledged in bailouts, will they really throw new money away knowing it cannot be paid back?  Obviously this does nothing to face the real problem, Greece simply has too much debt for the size of their economy (this is a global problem but not “admitted yet”).  This option may have been taken off the table on Friday.  As a side note, it was reported Friday by Der Spiegel the IMF evacuated their Athens office.  Why would they do this?  I can only come up with one or two scenarios.  The IMF is giving up and know it is over … or, they are getting out of town while they still can.  Maybe they realize massive social unrest will be unleashed and don’t want to see their employees hanging from lamp posts?  This was denied by Saturday but interesting nonetheless!

Their second option is to just default.  If they cannot make debt payments, they simply don’t pay and thus become classified as a default.  The next question is whether or not they would stay in the EU?  Would they want to?  Or even be allowed to?  Option number three, an offshoot of number two, is Greece defaults and they decide to leave the EU (or are kicked out) and join team Russia.

My guess is we will see Greece default, leave the EU and cut a gas pipeline deal with Russia becoming a stepping stone for China’s “silk road”.  At this point, it’s the only thing that makes any sense …if you are Greek and try to do what is best for Greece.  A story also making the roundson Friday was preparations to re issue the “drachma” .  If this is true, I would say the decision to leave the EU has already been made except for the formalities!  The next question is the biggie, and one which will affect the entire world.  How do the markets and financial systems react to this?

Before exploring this, James Turk proposed a theory the Greek banks will be bailed in as their deposit balances slip down to equal the close to 100 billion Euros that Greece owes the ECB.  He believes this will be done within the next 10 days or so.  In my opinion, there is one big ”IF” in this theory.  I would question whether or not the ECB or even the BIS would have the authority to do Cyprus style bail ins if Greece leaves or has already left the EU.  Wouldn’t this be a sovereign decision?  One made by the Greeks themselves?  If I were a Greek depositor, I wouldn’t however hang around to see how it turns out, I’m just not sure if the authority exists to bail in Greek banks?  Another story out over the weekend is Germany may be preparing to freeze deposits of wealthy Greeks, will the rest of Europe follow?

As for market reactions, if Greece does end up cutting a deal with Russia/China and in fact does default, the first and most obvious reaction will be a further crash in the Euro itself.  Participants will then turn their attention to Spain, Portugal and Italy and ask “who’s next”?  The thought process will be frenzied with investors wanting out first and asking questions later.

A Greek exit will be extremely complicated.  They owe 350 billion euros, much of this debt was held inside under collateralized German and French bank portfolios, much of this was “swapped” out with the ECB.  A default by Greece would “un swap” these bonds and thus bring the question of solvency to the heart of the Eurozone.  Even more complicated is how the money will be handled for the “Target2″ amounts owed to other Euro nations?  This is a running balance of payments accounting for countries running trade deficits versus surplus nations.  Greece obviously cannot pay for their already accumulated deficits, the question is, who eats the loss?  Then of course there are derivatives at maybe 10 times the amount of debt outstanding, now we are talking big money and in the trillions.

Hedges will be broken, losers busted and winners not paid.  The derivatives chain will be shaken by massive valuation swings and then broken by losing counterparties becoming insolvent.  As I have said many times before, we live in an “instant information” age where computers (programmed algorithms) will all move in the same direction and all at once.  In my opinion, a true Greek default has the potential of shutting down global markets within 48 hours of an announcement.

As I wrote last week, Greece is just one of three or more potential flash points which have the ability to tip our world upside down,  The U.S. has sent 50 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, specifically defying Russia’s warnings.  The Austrian banking system is experiencing a systemic margin call and one that will reach the German banks themselves.  We also have the U.S. throwing political matches all around a very dry Middle East.  We fight against the Iranians in Yemen and alongside them in Iraq.  We back the Saudis who just joined the Asian infrastructure bank against U.S. wishes.  It is not even known if we still back the Israelis who also joined the AIIB.  I have no idea what history will exactly point to as the spark, I do know “Greeced lightning” will be a good description as to the speed of the collapse once started.

Iran nuclear deal: US prepares for new wars

By Peter Symonds
April 6, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

25a0a-war-looms-for-obama-in-iran-syria-and-north-korea-img_The framework nuclear agreement struck last Thursday by the US and its negotiating partners with Iran, while still facing obstacles, marks a significant strategic shift in American foreign policy.

For the entire period since the 1979 Iranian revolution overthrew the US-backed Shah—that is, for 36 years—Washington has maintained a stance of unremitting hostility to the Iranian regime. This has been a constant in US policy in the region and internationally. Now the US has reached a deal that holds out the possibility of a broader rapprochement between Washington and Tehran.

Confronting opposition in the political/military establishment at home and from US allies in the region, President Obama has touted the agreement as the only alternative to “another war in the Middle East.” But the diplomatic efforts to secure a deal with Iran have nothing to do with a turn towards peace. Rather, they are aimed at buttressing US imperialism’s position in the Middle East and Central Asia as it prepares for war with more powerful rivals, Russia and China.

As part of its plans to secure US hegemony in the Middle East, the Bush administration targeted Iran, declaring it in 2002 to be part of an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and North Korea. Flush with apparent victory after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, a senior administration official let the cat out of the bag, declaring in a widely reported remark: “Anyone can go to Baghdad. Real men go to Tehran.”

Even as the US military occupation of Iraq descended into a quagmire, the Bush administration seized on Iran’s nuclear programs as the pretext for pressure and provocations against Tehran, culminating in advanced preparations for American military attacks in 2007.

Bush pulled back from an all-out war with Iran amid rising criticism within the US political establishment of the military disasters he had overseen in Afghanistan and Iraq. In the course of the 2008 election campaign, Barack Obama declared that in bogging the US military down in the Middle East, Bush had failed to counter China’s rising influence, especially in Asia.

In what became known as the US “pivot” or “rebalance” to Asia, the Obama administration has since mid-2009 mounted an aggressive diplomatic, economic and military strategy aimed at subordinating China and the broader Indo-Pacific region to the US, if necessary through war.

At the same time, Obama initiated a “carrot and stick” approach to Iran—holding out the possibility of a negotiated end to the nuclear standoff, while dramatically escalating economic sanctions on Tehran and maintaining the threat of military strikes.

Significantly, one of Obama’s chief foreign policy mentors was former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski, a long-time advocate of a Washington-Tehran axis in line with his insistence that American global hegemony depended on securing US dominance of the vast Eurasian landmass stretching from Eastern Europe through Russia to China. Iran is strategically situated at the crossroads of Central Asia, the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent.

The deepening breakdown of world capitalism since 2008 and rising geo-political tensions have imparted a new urgency and recklessness to Washington’s plans. In August–September 2013, the US came to the very brink of war with Syria, only to pull back at the last minute amid divisions in the American ruling elite over the war aims, the failure of the British government to secure parliamentary backing, and vigorous opposition from Russia and Iran. Tehran had warned Washington that military intervention in Syria could lead to war with Iran.

The Obama administration responded to the debacle by adopting an aggressive two-prong strategy. While moving toward a confrontation with Moscow, which became evident with Washington’s open intervention in Ukraine in late 2013, Obama accelerated nuclear talks with Iran that had already been secretly underway.

He spoke via phone with newly-elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the annual UN meeting in September 2013—the first publicly acknowledged contact between American and Iranian government heads in more than three decades. An interim nuclear agreement was reached in November 2013 and finally implemented in late January 2014, even as Washington’s intrigues in Ukraine intensified, culminating in the fascist-led coup in Kiev in February 2014.

From the outset of negotiations with Iran, the Obama administration made clear that any agreement would be on Washington’s terms. The result has been a drawn-out process extending well beyond the original deadlines, in which Iran’s bourgeois-clerical regime has made sweeping concessions on every issue.

While the US has conceded that Tehran can retain a nominal nuclear program as a face-saving measure, Iranian negotiators have agreed to dramatically reduce the country’s uranium enrichment capacity, wind back existing stockpiles of enriched uranium, and allow the most intrusive inspection regime ever devised.

The US, on the other hand, is bound by nothing—offering only a “suspension” of international sanctions once Iran has fulfilled its many tasks. Moreover, the entire framework of sanctions will be kept at the ready, to be “snapped back” in the event Iran is said to be in “non-compliance.” As a result, the US has free rein to re-impose crippling sanctions without having to secure the support of China and Russia in the UN Security Council.

The agreement has provoked divisions in Iranian ruling circles, but the predominant faction represented by Rouhani insists that a deal is necessary not only to end the immediate sanctions, but also the longstanding US economic blockade. Rouhani was a leading figure in the so-called reform governments of presidents Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, who pressed for a deal with Washington along with a sweeping pro-market restructuring to open up Iran as a cheap labour platform. As the Iranian bourgeoisie aligns itself more and more closely with Washington, it will intensify the attacks on the Iranian working class.

Whether the agreement will be finalised in the next three months is far from certain. The Obama administration is facing bitter opposition from the Republicans in Congress as well as sections of the military/intelligence apparatus, as well as from American allies in the Middle East, particularly Israel and, less publicly, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and Egypt.

While Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continues to warn of the imminent danger of an Iranian nuclear bomb, as he has done for at least a decade, the underlying concern of Israel and other US partners is that a turn by Washington to Tehran could diminish their own importance, and thus their bargaining power with the US. Far from stabilising the Middle East, the finalisation of an agreement could well inflame tensions as Iran’s rivals seek to shore up their own positions.

In a broader historical sense, the deal is not worth the paper it is written on. If and when it is expedient, the US will shred the agreement, as has happened many times in the past. The Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi cut a deal in 2003 to give up its WMD programs only to find itself the target of a NATO-led war for regime-change in 2011. Amid its own economic decline, US imperialism will stop at nothing in its reckless drive for global domination at the expense of its major rivals.

 

 

Obama declares “national emergency” based on alleged cyber threats from Russia, China

By Thomas Gaist
April 3, 2015
World Socialist Web Site

 

In yet another escalation of the drive by the US ruling class to establish unconstrained control over the world’s information networks, US President Barack Obama issued an executive order Wednesday declaring a “national emergency” over cyber attacks on US targets. The order authorizes economic sanctions and the seizure of financial assets and other forms of property from any entity considered a “security risk.”

Obama’s six-page order, “Blocking the Property of Certain Persons Engaging in Significant Malicious Cyber-Enabled Activities,” warns that the sweeping powers, are necessary to combat an “unusual and extraordinary threat to national security” stemming from cyberattacks against US infrastructure. The order also asserts new powers to impose travel restrictions against alleged security threats, which can be exercised against any “partnership, association, trust, joint venture, corporation, group, subgroup, or other organization.”

The executive order also authorizes the US secretary of the treasury to impose financial sanctions on foreign entities accused of hacking American computer systems, clearing the way for escalated confrontation with the Russian, Chinese and Iranian governments, all of which US officials now regularly accuse of sponsoring hacking operations against Western banks and corporations.

The legislation “will give us a new and powerful way to go after the worst of the worst,” Obama wrote in an online post. In a strong indication that the order will be used as the pseudo-legal basis for new sanctions and other provocations against US rivals, Obama directly accused Russian and Chinese hackers of launching cyber attacks on American troops.

“The same technologies that keep our military strong are used by hackers in China and Russia to target our defense contractors and systems that support our troops. Networks that control much of our critical infrastructure—including our financial systems and power grids—are probed for vulnerabilities by foreign government and criminals,” Obama wrote.

“Our primary focus will be on cyber threats from overseas,” Obama wrote, vowing that the White House would move aggressively to ensure that full use is made of the expanded cyberpolicing powers.

Obama also boasted about his administration’s efforts to expand direct data sharing between corporations and the government. The US government is “working to improve our ability to quickly integrate and share intelligence about cyber threats across government and with our foreign partners” and “working to share more information about threats and solutions with industry,” he wrote.

The supposed threat of cyber attacks against US companies and infrastructure is a major component of US war propaganda aimed at preparing public opinion for war with a number of targets, above all China and Russia.

Following the lead of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the US media and political establishment hyped accusations beginning in November that North Korea had launched a cyberattack on Sony Pictures. The US government subsequently imposed sanctions against North Korean officials supposedly involved in the attack.

Wednesday’s decree grants broadly defined emergency powers to the Treasury Department modeled on those give to the “counterterrorism” agencies in the wake of 9/11.

The order gives the government “a powerful new tool” against “those who would exploit the free, open, and global nature of the Internet to cause harm,” according to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, and will enable the Treasury to project power against overseas US cyber-adversaries, according to John Smith of the US Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The US government requires “the full range of tools across the spectrum in order to actually confront the cyber threats that we face,” White House cybersecurity chief Michael Daniel told reporters Wednesday.

Claims of the US government to be defending legality are laughable. US cyber operations systematically violate democratic protections established in the Bill of Rights against arbitrary searches and seizures. The FBI has aggressively sought changes to Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure which would dramatically loosen Fourth Amendment-based warranting requirements for electronic hacking operations by the government, and effectively enable agents to implant malware on any computer they choose, without asking a judge for specific authorization.

As a result of programs initiated under the Bush administration and expanded under Obama, the National Security Agency and other federal bureaucracies already enjoy virtually complete access to data stored on the servers of the major telecommunications providers. FBI Director James Comey insisted in appearances last year that major cellphone providers grant back doors into their security systems to ensure that US agents free access to cellular data of US smart phone users. Obama has presided over the expansion of programs run by the NSA and FBI to collect, analyze and share personal data from the general population in vast quantities.

Rather than a concern for security, the Obama administration’s cyber-emergency decree is part of efforts by the US government to establish essentially limitless powers for its intelligence agencies to spy on and hack rival governments and working people around the world.

Numerous experts have warned that complex malware technology deployed by US agencies is accelerating the spread and evolution of weaponized software. Extensive purchasing by the US government of “zero day” hacking “exploits,” programs specially tailored to exploit previously unknown vulnerabilities in widely used software platforms, has fueled the growth of markets for new offensive hacking techs and other pathological forms of software.

Trailing ISIS to Tel Aviv

By Gordon Duff
March 25, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

israels-premier-netanjahu-usaSince 2011, Israeli planes and helicopters have flown over a hundred verified sorties against the Syrian army and its allies, direct combat support for ISIS/ISIL units operating inside Syrian territory. Such missions would be impossible without forward air controllers on the ground inside Syria, Israeli operatives with ISIS.

Similarly, Israeli mobile artillery in Syrian territory occupied after the 1973 War has stretched a protective umbrella well into Syria in support of ISIS units. Sources within the UNTSO (United Nations Treaty Supervision Organization) operating with advanced radars inside the DMZ (De-militarized Zone) indicate that hundreds of violations have been observed but not reported.

More recently something curious has come to light. Israel has long worked to dominate social media and other internet outlets including Wikipedia. US aid dollars are used to subsidize classes for unemployed housewives, numbering in the hundreds, who “troll” chat rooms, publish smears on Wikipedia and now, after breaking through endless shifting IP addresses, ISIS announcements and threats originate in Israel as well, from the same group.

Recent threats against United States Marines and their families come from the same sources beheading videos originate, also the same sources so many “phony bin Laden” audio tapes and bizarre photographs came from as well. The infamous “Bin Laden Studios” in Tel Aviv is also “ISIS Productions” as well.

Rita Katz of SITE Intelligence, source for much of the fabricated intelligence used by the Bush and Blair administrations to justify the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan after the demolition of the World Trade Center in 2001, now “finds” ISIS material as well. She finds it; a dozen American intelligence agencies including the NSA and CIA lack the skills and equipment of a Brooklyn housewife.

It Gets Worse, So Much Worse

At the beginning of the US air campaign against ISIS, the US Air Force destroyed all potential fuel facilities ISIS could use including Syrian facilities they were afraid might be taken. There are in fact no facilities that produce gasoline or diesel for the thousands of vehicles ISIS uses.

There is no source of fuel for the buses ISIS operates in Mosul, no fuel for their tanks or earth moving equipment, so vital to building their defenses.

Fuel for ISIS has long come from Turkey, supplying ISIS and Al Nusra fighters, the ones who met with Senator John McCain, operating around Aleppo.

The rest of the fuel used by ISIS follows the same routes that brought the heavy weapons into both Syria and Iraq, the endless stream of professionally modified Toyota pickup trucks. That route originates in Israel and crosses Jordan and operates under an air umbrella supplied not only by the IAF but Jordanian Air Force as well.

Long ago, it was established that the now tens of thousands of Jihadists flocking into Mosul have transited Turkey and Israel. Last week two girls from the EU were intercepted inside Turkey, heading for Mosul. That same week, however, nearly 1000 fighters transited Israel and Jordan and none were intercepted. Most were flown from Libya using the same planes that CIA rendition services used for moving torture victims to and from black site prisons, planes often laden with Afghan heroin as well.

These planes still carry drugs but now they have other cargo as well including stolen antiquities and refugees captured for organ harvesting or to be trafficked.

Wikipedia

Last week, a delegation from the Palermo based International Parliament, including former Iraqi Prime Minster Maliki, was threatened. They have been investigating war crimes committed against the Iraqi and Syrian people, an investigation leading not only into Turkey and the EU but into Israel as well.

Wikipedia has sought to smear the Parliament and its members through what by its own standards is considered an outrageous article. Tracing the authorship of the Wikipedia “editor” involved also led to the source of the death threats as well, IP addresses operating from Haifa, Israel.

The same bank of IP address is also the root source for endless “sockpuppet” pro-Israeli “trolls” and nearly a dozen new “alternative news” sites, some tied to the InfoWars group, believed to be an Israeli intelligence front tied to the Canadian based Bronfman Cartel.

The hand of ISIS, albeit Haifa and Tel Aviv based, was busy recently with wild conspiracy claims of either the death or overthrow by coup of President Putin. Immediately after those rumors were put to rest, stories from the same sources were then circulated citing that the Russian government had been moved to nuclear bunkers after an attempted coup in the United States.

The idea is simple, keep a continual narrative of disinformation going, coordinating the wild conspiracy theories of the controlled alternative media with the wild conspiracy theories that now pass for news in the mainstream media.

Bigger than Thought

What has been discovered is not just a group of miscreant housewives living their sexual frustration on the internet under the auspices of a government financed terrorist support program.

The money, the message and the players go further afield than initially believed. Sources inside Nigeria have confirmed that an international organization with access to cash and highly sophisticated communications equipment, not unlike that used by Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World in its blackmail of British police and intelligence officials, is being used there in support of Boko Harum.

An outside spy agency operating in Nigeria has been bribing and blackmailing elected officials and providing Boko Harum with advance knowledge of military actions against them.

The same group may well have orchestrated the shootdown of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 over the Ukraine, supplying advanced radar spoofing equipment to hide the identity of the real aircraft involved. Considering the capabilities of these modules, the ability to hide type of aircraft, position, altitude, speed and origin, the plane involved could have originated anywhere and been of any type.

The story is the same, use of advanced military and intelligence capability followed by “spin” using planted stories, phony leaked intelligence, doctored photographs, wild conspiracies now so quickly accepted by the mainstream media.

“Charlie”

We have now established a recognizable pattern, signs that a merry band of the “usual suspects,” a veritable traveling circus, is orchestrating events. Despite their training, the obvious massive funding and advanced equipment, despite the ability to plant stories in the media, those who deem themselves “Masters of the Universe” do err from time to time. The Paris “Charlie” attacks is a glaring example.

Numerous sources confirm that he Charlie attacks and the subsequent hijacking of the aftermath by the unwanted guest of all time, Benjamin Netanyahu, was an Israeli operation intended to help provide cover for the rigged Israeli elections.

Yes, when vote results differ from exit polls, you have a rigged election. Gambling boss Sheldon Adelson was willing to spend up to $100 million to guarantee Netanyahu’s continued rule over Israel. Without his status as a world leader, Netanyahu would be far less effective not only as a “handler” for espionage rings operating against the United States but as a direct representative of Adelson’s gambling empire in Japan and around the world.

The “Charlie” attacks were simply a favor for Netanyahu, a few phony videos, the murder of a French police official who got too close to the truth, that and the obscene circus, another case of the perpetrator mourning the victims.

Strange Bedfellows

This week, President Obama indicated a change in the US relationship with Israel. Statements made by Netanyahu involving a Palestinian solution, wildly differing statements, has permanently burned any relationship between Israel and the Obama presidency.

Sources indicate that not only is Obama considering backing a UN resolution for a “two state solution” in Palestine, he is also considering having Israel named “an illegal nuclear state” as well. This designation, long backed by US security assessments, requires no legislative approval but immediately triggers laws requiring broad sanctions including freezing accounts, ending foreign aid and placing many key Israeli leaders on “ban” lists.

Both American and UN nuclear non-proliferation organizations have established that Israel is the world’s most blatant trafficker in illegal highly enriched uranium and restricted processing equipment.

What parallels this is the cooling in relations between the Russian Federation and Israel. US backing of the Kiev junta and the propaganda war against not only Russia but the endless personal attacks against President Putin originate from Israel or press organizations long recognized as Israeli controlled.

Conclusion

Thus, at a time when the US seems to softening its position on Syria and the removal of President Assad, both Russia and the US have become increasingly suspicious of Israeli interference in their domestic political affairs.

Part and parcel to this, as an adjunct to the seemingly endless stream of press hoaxes, Syrian “no fly zones” or the missile attack on MH17, is that other trail, arms to ISIS, jihadists on a “magic carpet” to Mosul and, of course, Wikipedia and the “Tel Aviv troll brigade,” all telling the same story. The trail leads to Israel.

Gordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War that has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades and consulted with governments challenged by security issues. He’s a senior editor and chairman of the board of Veterans Today, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

 

Why We’re Drifting Towards World War 3

By WashingtonsBlog
March 20, 2015
Washington’s Blog

 

Financial Experts:  World War Looms … Unless We Stop It

The Economist argues that there are ominous parallels between the conditions which led to the first world war and today:

The United States is Britain, the superpower on the wane, unable to guarantee global security. Its main trading partner, China, plays the part of Germany, a new economic power bristling with nationalist indignation and building up its armed forces rapidly. Modern Japan is France, an ally of the retreating hegemon and a declining regional power. The parallels are not exact—China lacks the Kaiser’s territorial ambitions and America’s defence budget is far more impressive than imperial Britain’s—but they are close enough for the world to be on its guard.

Which, by and large, it is not. The most troubling similarity between 1914 and now is complacency. Businesspeople today are like businesspeople then: too busy making money to notice the serpents flickering at the bottom of their trading screens. Politicians are playing with nationalism just as they did 100 years ago. China’s leaders whip up Japanophobia, using it as cover for economic reforms, while Shinzo Abe stirs Japanese nationalism for similar reasons.

The New Republic points out that global downturns can lead to war:

As the experience of the 1930s testified, a prolonged global downturn can have profound political and geopolitical repercussions. In the U.S. and Europe, the downturn has already inspired unsavory, right-wing populist movements. It could also bring about trade wars and intense competition over natural resources, and the eventual breakdown of important institutions like European Union and the World Trade Organization. Even a shooting war is possible.

The Telegraph notes that the economic crisis in Europe is increasing tensions:

Tensions between European countries unseen in decades are emerging.

(Indeed, Europe is stuck in a downturn worse than the Great Depression.)

Well-known economist Nouriel Roubini tweeted from the gathering of the rich and powerful at the World Economic Forum in Davos last year:

Many speakers compare 2014 to 1914 when WWI broke out & no one expected it. A black swan in the form of a war between China & Japan?

And:

Both Abe and an influential Chinese analyst don’t rule out a military confrontation between China and Japan. Memories of 1914?

Paul Craig Roberts – former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under President Reagan, former editor of the Wall Street Journal, listed by Who’s Who in America as one of the 1,000 most influential political thinkers in the world, PhD economist – wrote an article about the build up of hostilities between the U.S. and Russia titled, simply: “War Is Coming”.

Similarly, Ronald Reagan’s head of the Office of Management and Budget – David Stockman – is posting pieces warning of the dispute between the U.S. and Russia leading to World War 3.

Investment adviser Larry Edelson – who has long studied the “cycles of war” – wrote last month:

This year … we will also be hit by another ramping up of the related war cycles.

***

All part and parcel of the rising war cycles that I’ve been warning you about, conditions that will not abate until at least the year 2020.

Former Goldman Sachs technical analyst Charles Nenner – who has made some big accurate calls, and counts major hedge funds, banks, brokerage houses, and high net worth individuals as clients – says there will be “a major war”, which will drive the Dow to 5,000.

Veteran investor adviser James Dines forecast a war as epochal as World Wars I and II, starting in the Middle East.

Armstrong wrote pieces recently entitled, “Why We will Go to War with Russia“, and another one saying, “Prepare for World War III“.

Bad Economic Theories

What’s causing the slide towards war? We discuss several causes below.

Initially, believe it or not, one cause is that many influential economists and talking heads hold the discredited belief that war is good for the economy.

Therefore, many are overtly or more subtly pushing for war.

Challengers Give Declining Empires “Itchy Fingers”

Moreover, historians say that declining empires tend to attack their rising rivals … so the risk of world war is rising because the U.S. feels threatened by the rising empire of China.

The U.S. government considers economic rivalry to be a basis for war. Therefore, the U.S. is systematically using the military to contain China’s growing economic influence.

Competition for Resources Is Heating Up

In addition, it is well-established that competition for scarce resources often leads to war. For example, Oxford University’s Quarterly Journal of Economics notes:

In his classic, A Study of War, Wright (1942) devotes a chapter to the relationship between war and resources. Another classic reference, Statistics of Deadly Quarrels by Richardson (1960),extensively discusses economic causes of war, including the control of “sources of essential commodities.”A large literature pioneered by Homer-Dixon (1991, 1999) argues that scarcity of various environmental resources is a major cause of conflict and resource wars (see Toset, Gleditsch, and Hegre 2000, for empirical evidence).

***

In the War of the Pacific (1879–1884), Chile fought against a defensive alliance of Bolivia and Peru for the control of guano [i.e. bird poop] mineral deposits. The war was precipitated by the rise in the value of the deposits due to their extensive use in agriculture.

***

Westing (1986) argues that many of the wars in the twentieth century had an important resource dimension. As examples he cites the Algerian War of Independence (1954–1962), the Six Day War (1967), and the Chaco War (1932–1935). More recently, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait in 1990 was a result of the dispute over the Rumaila oil field. In Resource Wars (2001), Klare argues that following the end of the Cold War, control of valuable natural resources has become increasingly important, and these resources will become a primary motivation for wars in the future.

Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan (and many world leaders) admitted that the Iraq war was really about oil, and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill says that Bush planned the Iraq war before 9/11. And see this and this. Libya, Syria, Iran and Russia are all oil-producing countries as well …

Indeed, we’ve extensively documented that the wars in the Middle East and North Africa are largely about oil and gas. The war in Gaza may be no exception. And see this. And Ukraine may largely be about gas as well.

And James Quinn and Charles Hugh Smith say we’re running out of all sorts of resources … which will lead to war.

Central Banking and Currency Wars

We’re in the middle of a global currency war – i.e. a situation where nations all compete to devalue their currencies the most in order to boost exports. Brazilian president Rousseff said in 2010:

The last time there was a series of competitive devaluations … it ended in world war two.

Jim Rickards agrees:

Currency wars lead to trade wars, which often lead to hot wars. In 2009, Rickards participated in the Pentagon’s first-ever “financial” war games. While expressing confidence in America’s ability to defeat any other nation-state in battle, Rickards says the U.S. could get dragged into “asymmetric warfare,” if currency wars lead to rising inflation and global economic uncertainty.

As does billionaire investor Jim Rogers:

Trade wars always lead to wars.

Given that China, Russia, India, Brazil and South Africa have joined together to create a $100 billion bank based in China, and that more and more trades are being settled in Yuan or Rubles – instead of dollars – the currency war is quickly heating up.

Indeed, many of America’s closest allies are joining China’s effort … which is challenging America and the Dollar’s hegemony.

Multi-billionaire investor Hugo Salinas Price says:

What happened to [Libya’s] Mr. Gaddafi, many speculate the real reason he was ousted was that he was planning an all-African currency for conducting trade. The same thing happened to him that happened to Saddam because the US doesn’t want any solid competing currency out there vs the dollar. You know Gaddafi was talking about a gold dinar.

Indeed, senior CNBC editor John Carney noted:

Is this the first time a revolutionary group has created a central bank while it is still in the midst of fighting the entrenched political power? It certainly seems to indicate how extraordinarily powerful central bankers have become in our era.

Robert Wenzel of Economic Policy Journal thinks the central banking initiative reveals that foreign powers may have a strong influence over the rebels.

This suggests we have a bit more than a ragtag bunch of rebels running around and that there are some pretty sophisticated influences. “I have never before heard of a central bank being created in just a matter of weeks out of a popular uprising,” Wenzel writes.

Indeed, some say that recent wars have really been about bringing all countries into the fold of Western central banking.

Finally, trend forecaster Gerald Celente – who has been making some accurate financial and geopolitical predictions for decades – says WW3 will start soon.

Debt

Martin Armstrong argued that war plans against Syria are really about debt and spending:

The Syrian mess seems to have people lining up on Capital Hill when sources there say the phone calls coming in are overwhelmingly against any action. The politicians are ignoring the people entirely. This suggests there is indeed a secret agenda to achieve a goal outside the discussion box. That is most like the debt problem and a war is necessary to relief the pressure to curtail spending.

The same logic applies to Ukraine and other countries.

Billionaire hedge fund manager Kyle Bass writes:

Trillions of dollars of debts will be restructured and millions of financially prudent savers will lose large percentages of their real purchasing power at exactly the wrong time in their lives. Again, the world will not end, but the social fabric of the profligate nations will be stretched and in some cases torn. Sadly, looking back through economic history, all too often war is the manifestation of simple economic entropy played to its logical conclusion. We believe that war is an inevitable consequence of the current global economic situation.

Runaway Inequality

Paul Tudor Jones – founder of the Tudor Investment Corporation and the Tudor Group, which trade in the fixed-income, equity, currency and commodity markets – said this week:

This gap between the 1 percent and the rest of America, and between the US and the rest of the world, cannot and will not persist.

Historically, these kinds of gaps get closed in one of three ways: by revolution, higher taxes or wars.

And see this.

Distraction

Billionaire investor Jim Rogers notes:

A continuation of bailouts in Europe could ultimately spark another world war, says international investor Jim Rogers.

***

“Add debt, the situation gets worse, and eventually it just collapses. Then everybody is looking for scapegoats. Politicians blame foreigners, and we’re in World War II or World War whatever.”

Economist and investment manager Marc Faber says that the American government will start new wars in response to the economic crisis:

Martin Armstrong – who has managed multi-billion dollar sovereign investment funds – wrote in August:

Our greatest problem is the bureaucracy wants a war. This will distract everyone from the NSA and justify what they have been doing. They need a distraction for the economic decline that is coming.

War Is Destroying Our National Security, Our Democracy and Our Economy

We spent trillions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yet a top Pentagon official say we’re no safer – and perhaps less safe – after 13 years of war. Indeed, war only PROMOTED the dramatic expansion of even worse terrorists.

Never-ending wars are also destroying our democratic republic. The Founding Fathers warned against standing armies, saying that they destroy freedom. (Update). Perversely, our government  treats anti-war sentiment as terrorism.

The Founding Fathers – and the father of free market capitalism – also warned against financing wars with debt. But according to Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, the U.S. debt for the Iraq war could be as high as $5 trillion dollars (or $6 trillion dollars according to a study by Brown University.)

Indeed, top economists say that war is destroying our economy.

But war is great for the bankers and the defense contractors. And – as discussed above – governments are desperate for war.

So it’s up to us – the people – to stop wider war.

 

 

Who is Killing Opposition Members?

By Vladimir Odintsov
March 18, 2015
New Eastern Outlook

 

N45345345Foreign experts, including those living in countries that have had a first hand experience with “color revolutions”, continue to discuss the provocative murder of Boris Nemtsov committed some 250 yards away from the Kremlin’s walls. Most of them agree that there are two primary possibilities behind this assassination.

The first is an all time favorite of all the media sources owned by Washington, which states that there must be some kind involvement by Russian authorities. But aside from purely propagandist concerns there’s no reason to assume something so utterly absurd, since there’s no scenario in which Nemtsov could present any real threat to Russia’s leading politicians. However, the former US Ambassador to Russia, Michael McFaul, had made attempts, as fruitless as they may be, to make Boris Nemtsov the “Leader of the Opposition”, although he got only 4% of votes in the Russian parliamentary elections in December 2003, and failing to win the Sochi mayor election in 2009.

However, when considering this version, one can’t fail to notice how prompt and well-coordinated the anti-Putin voices were, starting with the US President and the media accountable to the White House and followed by US intelligence agencies. And this, in turn, unwittingly suggests that there actually was some sort of Western involvement in the murder of Boris Nemtsov. This version is perhaps the most popular one, since it has been voiced internationally by a number of independent observers. It should be noted that two years ago Vladimir Putin himself had already expressed his concerns that the West may attempt to create an “involuntary martyr” by murdering a member of the Russian opposition to try to “demonize Russia’s image even further.

It curious that in less than 30 days after the assassination, US propaganda has been trying to push blame on Russian leaders by claiming that the investigation is being “intentionally delayed”, yet nobody has mentioned the investigation into the assassination of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, which has been intentionally delayed for 30 years.

Still, there’s a certain percentage of Western citizens who seem unwilling to question the West’s official narrative, and should recall certain known facts about the CIA’s involvement in political assassinations all across the globe aimed at destabilizing certain sovereign states that are allegedly “not friendly enough” to the US.

Recently the Washington Post has reported that the CIA was involved in the assassination of the leader of Hezbollah in Damascus back in 2008. But somehow, the international community has not condemned this crime, even though it was a vivid case of political assassination carried out in the territory of a sovereign foreign state. For some reason the UN which should be leading the international fight against such criminality has not introduced sanctions against the US, sanctions that should immediately follow any acts of state sponsored terrorism or assassinations according to the resolutions that had been previously adopted by the UN!

However, such acts of terrorism carried out by the US intelligence community are no longer surprising. In the past seven decades of its existence, the CIA and its operations have taken the lives of millions in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

Recently, well-executed rouge murderings of political activists have become the modus operandi of choice of the White House aimed at creating chaos in certain countries that still await the promotion of American-style “democracy.” These tactics have been used a countless number of times by US intelligence agencies, while the “martyrs” of the opposition are then brought forward by the United States as a matter of contention. Should such opposition figures fail to achieve political destabilization in a country, they are often used as sacrificial lambs, with their deaths usually followed by a massive propaganda campaign aimed to build tension in a targeted state. This well-tested CIA “recipe” is at least fifty years old, and was even described in the “Handbook on Political Murder”, used time and time again in Latin America and other regions.

Recently a case similar to the Nemtsov murder happened in Argentina. It was the “mysterious death” of chief prosecutor Alberto Nisman, the blame for which Washington and US intelligence agencies have been trying to shift on the President of Argentina Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and thereby destabilize the political situation in the country .

Earlier, another “mysterious death” of journalist Georgy Gongadze in Ukraine in 2000 was used by US intelligence agencies to foment the “orange revolution” that allowed a pro-Western politician, Viktor Yushchenko, to take power.

As it was pointed out by prominent historian and researcher William Blum, in the period from 1945 to 2003, the United States attempted to overthrow the governments in more than 40 countries, created more than 30 alleged “patriotic movements” overseas, which resulted in the deaths of several million people. With this US “tool of destruction” – the Central Intelligence Agency carries on its subversive activities around the world, murdering political activists en masse in attempts at destabilizing countries that refuse to follow the instructions issued by Washington. It’s only a matter of time before US fingerprints arefound in Nemtsov’s murder case.

Vladimir Odintsov, political commentator, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Global Shift in the Balance of Power Is Moving from West to East

By Joachim Hagopian
March 18, 2015
Global Research

 

chinadollarA major recent event last week largely went unnoticed by both MSM and independent news sources alike. The British are apparently jumping ship away from the US dollar/petrodollar in an overt effort to align itself more closely with the BRICS alliance as it seeks a new standard international currency. For several years Russia, China, Brazil, India and South Africa (BRICS) have been preparing the world for its transition from USD standard international currency to its own alternative-in-the-making. America’s so called mother country England has seen the writing on the wall and knows the global balance of power is rapidly tilting in favor of where the sun always rises in the emerging East. 

The European central banking cabal from the City of London, a separate and private political and financial entity apart from the rest of both London and England, sent British royalty Prince William to China to quietly sign a deal to become a founding member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). This surprising new development is a clear indication that the royal Bank of England is placing its financial bet and future on China and the East as its rock solid anchor. Much of the world has been looking to move away from and abandon the longtime global financial stronghold of the US Federal Reserve, its World Bank and US dollar standard. A US official feebly chastised UK in the Financial Times:

We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China, which is not the best way to engage a rising power.

More consternation arose when Germany, France and Italy have additionally made overtures in the same direction. This worldwide trend spells utter defeat for Obama and his disastrous foreign policy. After Washington’s been exerting strong-armed pressure on Australia as its key allied partner supporting its failing Asian pivot designed to check China’s growing regional and global dominance in the Pacific Asian market, Australia is now also looking to follow suit accepting and embracing China’s lead.

According to international investor and entrepreneur Simon Black, the US is experiencing major economic blowback after two plus decades of aggression as the only global superpower:

     … After years of endless wars, spying, debt, money printing, bailouts, and insane regulations, the

rest of the world has had enough. And they’re looking for an alternative.

Enter the China led BRICS alliance and its New Development Bank and now China’s other investment bank entry AIIB. Simon takes liberty in his interpretation of Britain and Europe’s bold rebellion after decades relegated to being a mere puppet of the US Empire:

Look, you have $18.1 trillion in official debt, you have $42 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and you’re kind of a dick. I’m dumping you.

Perhaps some Americans may feel a bit betrayed and unsettled by our longtime strongest global allies one by one seemingly abandoning the US dollar and American Empire in its reckoning time of need. If these geopolitical and economic trends are examined beyond their face value though, the changes occurring now may reflect much more significant, deeper changes than a mere alteration of standard international currency (as impactful as that will likely be for the US). These deep rooted fundamental changes have everything to do with the major global shift now taking place where the West’s ruling power elite itself is losing to the emerging global power rising in the East.

The latest act of bold economic defiance breaking rank with US Empire interests mirrors last month’s bucking trend that Europe exercised when putting the skids on the US campaign for sending heavy armaments to Ukraine and pushing for war against Russia. The fact is Europe and especially Germany depend on natural gas from Russia and the US imposed sanctions on Russia hurt Europe even more than Russia. That along with wanting to avoid war in their own backyard has nations like Germany and France softening their hardline, US pushed anti-Russian posturing.

Several weeks ago German and French leaders attended meetings in Mink, Belarus to negotiate a peaceful way out of the escalating violence in Eastern Ukraine between the government forces in Kiev and the ethnic Russian separatists seeking autonomy in the Donetsk and Lugansk region. In the same way Netanyahu attempted to fan the war flames against Iran, the same day Germany and France were gathering in Minsk to meet with Putin and Ukraine leaders, Secretary of State Kerry showed up in Kiev mouthing the same worn out lie of “Russian aggression” in a transparent feeble attempt to sabotage the Minsk talks. Again, the tie-in is the Israeli-US crime cabal constantly at work every chance they get peddling and promoting more global violence, death and war.

For over a year now Washington’s war drums have been beating louder for NATO to join forces with Ukraine, pressuring Europe to submit as it always has in going along with its permanent war agenda, all the while falsely demonizing Russia’s President Putin with outrageous propaganda lies and nonstop false flags not unlike the WMD lies against Hussein in 2002-3 Iraq. But in a rare gesture of independence, unwilling to start a war so close to home against nuclear powered Russia that Europe relies heavily as a critical source for its natural gas consumption, the powers of Europe are seeking a non-violent resolution to its regional conflict that carries the devastating potential of triggering World War III.

Meanwhile, NATO Supreme Commander US Air Force General Philip Breedlove fashions himself to be a Dr. Strangelove incarnate, making repeated bogus claims and lies of Russian army presence inside Eastern Ukraine in a vain yet persistent attempt to foment war. Having such a deluded and deceitful warmonger in charge of the NATO nuclear arsenal poses a calamitous threat to the entire world. Yet his commander-in-chief Obama has chosen not to relieve him of command. Instead German leaders have openly criticized Breedlove and the European Union wants to replace NATO with its own continental army. This very public geopolitical conflict over such widely differing Western approaches toward Ukraine seriously undermine American Empire’s global influence and power, again underscoring simultaneous developments around the world that indicate consistent across the boards US foreign policy failures and from the broader context, a rapid US decline as the sole global hegemonic superpower.

Putin advisor Sergei Glazyev nailed it when he said:

The war has been provoked to destroy the Russian World, to draw Europe into it, and to surround Russia with hostile countries. Unleashing this world war, America is trying to deal with its own internal problems.

Current economic turmoil reverberating in Japan is in large part due to the notorious corruption of the Abe government that may soon have additional problems to contend with once accusations over a fraudulent past elections get fully exposed. Abe has been a subservient tool used by the same international crime syndicate controlled by subversive Israeli-American forces. As such, Japan will also be moving away from the USD/West geopolitics and very likely pivoting toward China and a Pacific alliance that excludes the US Empire finding itself increasingly isolated on the outs.

Though incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu is the apparent winner in today’s Israeli election, the despot had to claw and fight for his political life to survive another day. Recent revelations that he’s been a Russian spy surfaced right after his disgraceful debacle in front of the Israeli captured US congressional audience on Capitol Hill two weeks ago and then came the despicable treasonous display of 47 Republican senators threatening letter to Iran. Bibi’s days of hate, war and paranoia are numbered as the ugly truth about his evildoing will continue to unfold that will soon bring him down. Showing his true evil colors right to the end, the day before the election Netanyahu once again reminded the world that an autonomous Palestinian state will never come to pass while on his watch.

Within the last couple weeks other mysterious events suggesting some cataclysmic, behind-the-scenes development included the apparent disappearance of Vladimir Putin for 11 consecutive days, fueling speculation from an internal political coup to possible sickness and/or death to witnessing the birth of his child at the bedside of his girlfriend in Switzerland. Because so many monumental breaking stories and developments seem to abound every week, Putin’s normally high profile lifestyle would naturally generate even higher profile speculation over his abrupt, extended disappearance. Of course it begs the question asking if it’s merely coincidental with these other earth-shaking events or very much related.

For years the CIA and US Empire have been hard at work in nations from Eastern Europe through the Caucasus to Central Asia all the way to China courting the favor of corrupt dictators and supporting coups promoting anti-Russo-Sino US puppet governments along the entire corridor bordering Russia and China. Despite such Obama’s plan after the 2008 Russian-Georgia conflict was to a reset relations with Russia. But with last year’s US-induced Ukrainian coup and Russia’s annexation by consensual vote of Crimea that “reset” plan went out the window. In 2011 Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan signed the economic alliance of the Eurasian Union. Meanwhile, recognizing the strategic importance of the land bridge between Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Putin has made inroads strengthening ties with the three South Caucasus nations. Putin enticed Armenia to also join the Eurasian Union and has mediated hostilities between Armenia and oil rich Azerbaijan while seeking to repair and realign with Georgia that previously leaned toward the West. US Empire has largely failed to gain a foothold in this part of the world.

Other key geopolitical developments that have been ongoing for some time center in such remote places as western China’s mineral and oil-rich Xinjiang Province. With the powerful US Navy patrolling and to a great extent controlling Pacific waters in conjunction with Obama’s flop of an Asian Pacific pivot, the geopolitics chessboard strategy to hem the two adversarial giants in with hostile neighbors has generally backfired. Furthermore, the US was not prepared for Russia and China to suddenly renew an ultra-close economic, political and military bond that would effectively counter US Empire’s hegemonic aggression. They promptly signed a $400 billion oil-gas pipeline deal that will span a landlocked pathway, thereby foiling the US plan to seal off the China’s energy access via the Pacific. Hence, Moslem populated Xinjiang Province that is the proposed pipeline passage route has become a highly contentious target where the West and CIA in particular have been funding and supporting a separatist movement and acts of terrorism as a disruptive interdiction tactic. Overall this covert strategy has failed.

The Western cabal controlled crime syndicate led by the likes of kingpin Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu financed and supported by the likes of multibillionaire Sheldon Adelson and the Saudi royal family along with congressional henchman and ISIS friend Senator John McCain and the rest of his treasonous Republicans, the rogue US intelligence agency the CIA and NATO’s General Breedlove are all bent on plunging the US Empire-NATO forces into World War III on multiple warfronts at every global hotspot – Ukraine, Syria, Iran, the Caucasus all the way eastward to China’s Xinjiang Province and northward to the oil-rich Arctic against the forces of the two most powerful nations of the East – Russia and China. As a desperate last ditch attempt to retain its many centuries of Rothschild-Rockefeller power and dominance, these evil-minded, megalomaniacal psychopaths know that their hitherto unchallenged global control and strength that have bankrupted and nearly destroyed the planet is fast slipping away. So they seem all the more erratically resolute in seeking revenge by taking the entire earth down with them.

The truth about the horror and destruction these Western oligarchs have conspired and caused worldwide for centuries cannot even be fathomed. They have ensured a permanent state of war (in the US alone 93% of its 239 years) right up to the present Bush crime family-neocon fabrication of the “war on terror,” then under Obama this last year alone wrongly plunging America into another dangerous cold war with Putin’s Russia, and dozens of tragic false flag events like 9/11 designed to demonize Moslems into becoming the instantaneous post-Communist designated enemy of the twenty-first century with the US-Saudi-Israeli creation of al Qaeda/ISIS. These dark malevolent forces of evil that have propagated so much misery and suffering on humanity for so long are finally at last being exposed like never before.

The Western oligarch agenda to inflict a globalized system of absolute totalitarian fascist police state NWO control on every nation and people on earth trapped in hopeless debtor bondage may just be running into a brick Eastern wall as clear losers in the ongoing economic/currency war. Despite the constant jabbing of Putin and his Russian bear in vain attempts to manipulate him to react with military force in eastern Ukraine and despite the failed overt assault in the form of US Empire’s Asian pivot designed to close in and isolate China from the rest of Pacific Asia, ironically it’s the United States that finds itself increasingly alone as the longtime global village bully that’s finally met its match about to get its comeuppance. The smarter, economically stronger forces emerging from the East are winning the power war potentially without even firing a single shot against Western oppressors. Hopefully peace will prevail and the international crime syndicate that has long controlled the West will be deposed of as the murderous traitors to both peace and humankind.

As a necessary qualifier, actual real life tends toward shades of gray far more than black and white. Undoubtedly elements of corruption and evil lurk behind all the most powerful nations in both the West and the East. But the forces of China and Russia appear to be seeking a far more rational, humane and even peaceful resolution to the West-instigated West vs. East geopolitical military showdown sinisterly orchestrated by the international crime cabal’s global agenda of polarization, militarization, privatization and unsustainable, insurmountable debt-driven feudalism based on pure theft, deception, exploitation, impoverishment and pervasive planetary destruction.

Seeking to avoid the inevitable bloodbath that would result from world war and possible nuclear annihilation of all life forms on earth, the East appears to be seeking to avert such global disaster by ensuring that this ongoing war is won by successfully transitioning to an international currency backed once again by the gold standard. The Western central banking cabal consisting of the Bank of England and other European central banks, America’s Federal Reserve Board, its World Bank and International Monetary Fund along with the Israeli-US government crime cabal all stand to ultimately be stripped of their absolute power that have the entire world drowning in debt, crushing destabilization and impoverished despair. But now a light at the end of the tunnel at least is shining a little brighter.

Joachim Hagopian is a West Point graduate and former US Army officer. He has written a manuscript based on his unique military experience entitled “Don’t Let The Bastards Getcha Down.” It examines and focuses on US international relations, leadership and national security issues. After the military, Joachim earned a master’s degree in Clinical Psychology and worked as a licensed therapist in the mental health field for more than a quarter century. He now concentrates on his writing and has a blog site at http://empireexposed. blogspot. com/.

Fifty Years of Imperial Wars: Results and Perspectives

By James Petras
March 2, 2015
Dissident Voice

 

unclesam_lind_pdOver the past 50 years the US and European powers have engaged in countless imperial wars throughout the world. The drive for world supremacy has been clothed in the rhetoric of “world leadership”, the consequences have been devastating for the peoples targeted. The biggest, longest and most numerous wars have been carried out by the United States. Presidents from both parties direct and preside over this quest for world power. The ideology which informs imperialism varies from “anti-communism” in the past to “anti-terrorism” today.

Washington’s drive for world domination has used and combined many forms of warfare, including military invasions and occupations; proxy mercenary armies and military coups; financing political parties, NGO’s and street mobs to overthrow duly constituted governments. The driving forces in the imperial state , behind the quest for world power, vary with the geographic location and social economic composition of the targeted countries.

What is clear from an analysis of US empire building over the last half century is the relative decline of economic interests, and the rise of politico-military considerations. In part this is because of the demise of the collectivist regimes (the USSR and Eastern Europe) and the conversion of China and the leftist Asian, African and Latin American regimes to capitalism. The decline of economic forces as the driving force of imperialism is a result of the advent of global neoliberalism. Most US and EU multi-nationals are not threatened by nationalizations or expropriations, which might trigger imperial state political intervention. In fact, MNCs are invited to invest,trade and exploit natural resources even by post-neoliberal regimes. Economic interests come into play in formulating imperial state policies, if and when nationalist regimes emerge and challenge US MNCs as is the case in Venezuela under President Chavez.

The key to US empire building over the past half-century is found in the political, military and ideological power configurations which have come to control the levers of the imperial state. The recent history of US imperial wars has demonstrated that strategic military priorities – military bases, budgets and bureaucracy – have expanded far beyond any localized economic interests of MNCs. Moreover, the vast expenditures and long term and expensive military interventions of the US imperial state in the Middle East has been at the behest of Israel. The take-over of strategic political positions in the Executive branch and Congress by the powerful Zionist power configuration within the US has reinforced the centrality of military over economic interests

The ‘privatization’ of imperial wars – the vast growth and use of mercenaries contracted by the Pentagon- has led to the vast pillage of tens of billions of dollars from the US Treasury. Large scale corporations which supply mercenary military combatants have become a very ‘influential’ force shaping the nature and consequences of US empire building.

Military strategists, defenders of Israeli colonial interests in the Middle East, mercenary military and intelligence corporations are central actors in the imperial state and it is their decision-making influence which explains why US imperial wars do not result in a politically stable, economic prosperous empire. Instead their policies have resulted in unstable, ravaged economies, in perpetual rebellion..

We will proceed by identifying the changing areas and regions of US empire building from the mid 1970’s to the present. We then examine the methods, driving forces and outcomes of imperial expansion. We will then turn to describe the current ‘geo-political map of empire building and the varied nature of the anti-imperialist resistance. We will conclude by examining the why and how of empire building and more particularly, the consequences, and results of a half century of US imperial expansion.

Imperialism in the post Vietnam Period: Proxy Wars in Central America, Afghanistan, and Southern Africa

The US imperialist defeat in Indo-China marks the end of one phase of empire building and the beginning of another: a shift from territorial invasions to proxy wars. Hostile domestic opinion precluded large scale ground wars. Beginning during the presidencies of Gerald Ford and James Carter, the US imperialist state increasingly relied on proxy clients. It recruited, financed and armed proxy military forces to destroy a variety of nationalist and social revolutionary regimes and movements in three continents. Washington financed and armed extremist Islamic forces world-wide to invade and destroy the secular, modernizing, Soviet backed regime in Afghanistan, with logistical support from the Pakistan military and intelligence agencies, and financial backing from Saudi Arabia.

The second proxy intervention was in Southern Africa, where the US imperial state financed and armed proxy forces against anti-imperialist regimes in Angola and Mozambique, in alliance with South Africa.

The third proxy intervention took place in Central America, where the US financed, armed, and trained murderous death squad regimes in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras to decimate popular movements and armed insurgencies resulting in over 300,000 civilian deaths.

The US imperial state’s ‘proxy strategy’ extended to South America: CIA and Pentagon backed military coups took place in Uruguay (General Alvarez), Chile (General Pinochet) Argentina (General Videla), Bolivia (General Banzer) and Peru (General Morales). Empire building by proxy, was largely at the behest of US MNCs which were the principal actors in setting priorities in the imperial state throughout this period.

Accompanying proxy wars, were direct military invasions: the tiny island of Grenada (1983) and Panama (1989) under Presidents’ Reagan and Bush, Sr. Easy targets, with few casualties and low cost military expenditures: dress rehearsals for re-launching major military operations in the near future.

What is striking about the ‘proxy wars’ are the mixed results.The outcomes in Central America, Afghanistan and Africa did not lead to prosperous neo-colonies or prove lucrative to US multi-national corporations. In contrast the proxy coups in South America led to large scale privatization and profits for US MNCs.

The Afghan proxy war led to the rise and consolidation of the Taliban “Islamic regime” which opposed both Soviet influence and US imperial expansion. The rise and consolidation of Islamic nationalism in turn challenged US allies in South Asia and the Gulf region and subsequently led to a US military invasion in 2001 and a prolonged (15 year) war (which has yet to conclude), and most probably to a military retreat and defeat. The main economic beneficiaries were Afghan political clients, US mercenary military “contractors”, military procurement officers and civilian colonial administrators who pillaged hundreds of billions from the US Treasury in illegal and fraudulent transactions.

Pillage of the US Treasury in no way benefited the non-military MNCs. In fact the war and resistance movement undermined any large scale, long-term entry of US private capital in Afghanistan and adjoining border regions of Pakistan.

The proxy war in Southern Africa devastated the local economies, especially the domestic agricultural economy, uprooted millions of laborers and farmers and curtailed US corporate oil penetration for over two decades. The ‘positive’ outcome was the de-radicalization of the former revolutionary nationalist elite. However, the political conversion of the Southern African “revolutionaries” to neoliberalism did not benefit the US MNCs as much as the rulers turned kleptocratic oligarchs who organized patrimonial regimes in association with a diversified collection of MNCs, especially from Asia and Europe.

The proxy wars in Central America had mixed results. In Nicaragua the Sandinista revolution defeated the US-Israeli backed Somoza regime but immediately confronted a US financed, armed and trained counter-revolutionary mercenary army (the “Contras”) based in Honduras. The US war destroyed many of the progressive economic projects, undermined the economy, and eventually led to an electoral victory by the US backed political client Violeta Chamorro. Two decades later the US proxies were defeated by a de-radicalized Sandinista led political coalition.

In El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, the US proxy wars led to the consolidation of client regimes presiding over the destruction of the productive economy,and the flight of millions of war refugees to the United States. US imperial dominance eroded the bases for a productive labor market which spawned the growth of murderous drug gangs.

In summary, the US proxy wars succeeded, in most, cases in preventing the rise of nationalist-leftist regimes, but also led to the destructive of the economic and political bases of a stable and prosperous empire of neo-colonies.

US Imperialism in Latin America: Changing Structure, External and Internal Contingencies, Shifting Priorities and Global Constraints

To understand the operations, structure and performance of US imperialism in Latin America, it is necessary to recognize the specific constellation of competing forces which shaped imperial state policies. Unlike the Middle East where the militarist-Zionist faction has established hegemony, in Latin America the MNCs have played a leading role in directing imperial state policy. In Latin America, the militarists played a lesser role, constrained by (1) the power of the MNC, (2) the shifts in political power in Latin America from right to center-left, (3) the impact of economic crises and the commodity boom.

In contrast to the Middle East, the Zionist power configuration has little influence over imperial state policy, as Israel’s interests are focused on the Middle East and, with the possible exception of Argentina, Latin America is not a priority.

For over a century and a half, the US MNCs and banks dominated and dictated US imperial policy toward Latin America. The US armed forces and CIA were instruments of economic imperialism via direct intervention (invasions), proxy ‘military coups’, or a combination of both.

US imperial economic power in Latin America ‘peaked’ between 1975-1999. Vassal states and client rulers were imposed via proxy military coups, direct military invasions (Dominican Republic, Panama, and Grenada) and military-civilian controlled elections.

The results were the dismantling of the welfare state and the imposition of neoliberal policies. The MNC-led imperial state and its international financial appendages (IMF, WB, IDB) privatized lucrative strategic economic sectors, dominated trade and projected a regional integration scheme which would codify US imperial dominance.

Imperial economic expansion in Latin America was not simply a result of the internal dynamics and structures of the MNC but depended on (1) the receptivity of the ‘host’ country or more precisely the internal correlation of class forces in Latin America which in turn revolved around (2) the performance of the economy – its growth or susceptibility to crises.

Latin America demonstrates that contingencies such as the demise of client regimes and collaborator classes can have a profound negative impact on the dynamics of imperialism, undermining the power of the imperial state and reversing the economic advance of the MNCs.

The advance of US economic imperialism during the 1975-2000 period was manifest in the adoption of neoliberal policies, the pillage of national resources, the increase of illicit debts and the overseas transfer of billions of dollars However, the concentration of wealth and property, precipitated a deep socio-economic crises throughout the region which eventually led to the overthrow or ouster of the imperial collaborators in Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay and Nicaragua. Powerful anti-imperialist social movements especially in the countryside emerged in Brazil and the Andean countries. Urban unemployed workers movements and public employees unions in Argentina and Uruguay spearheaded electoral changes, bringing to power center-left regimes which ‘re-negotiated’ relations with the US imperial state.

US MNC influence in Latin America waned. They could not count on the full battery of military resources of the imperial state to intervene and re-impose neoliberal clients because of its military priorities elsewhere: the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Unlike the past, the US MNCs in Latin America lacked two essential props of power: the full backing of the US armed forces and powerful civilian-military clients in Latin America.

The US MNCs’ plan for US centered integration was rejected by the center-left regimes. The imperial state turned to bilateral free trade agreements with Mexico, Chile, Colombia, Panama and Peru. As a result of the economic crises and collapse of most Latin American economies, “neoliberalism,” the ideology of imperial economic penetration, was discredited. Neoliberal advocates marginalized.

Changes in the world economy had a profound impact on US-Latin America trade and investment relations. The dynamic growth of China and the subsequent boom in demand and the rising prices of commodities, led to a sharp decline of US dominance of Latin American markets.

Latin American states diversified trade, sought and gained new overseas markets, especially in China. The increase in export revenues created greater capacity for self-financing. The IMF, WB and IDB, economic instruments for leveraging US financial impositions (“conditionality”), were sidelined

The US imperial state faced Latin American regimes who embraced diverse economic options, markets and sources of financing. With powerful domestic popular support and unified civilian-military command, Latin America moved tentatively out of the US sphere of imperialist domination.

The imperial state and its MNCs, deeply influenced by their “success” in the 1990s, responded to the decline of influence by proceeding by ‘trial and error,’ in the face of the negative constraints of the 21st century. The MNCs backed policymakers in the imperial state continued to back the collapsing neoliberal regimes, losing all credibility in Latin America. The imperial-state failed to accommodate changes – deepening popular and center-left regime opposition to “free markets” and the deregulation of banks. No large scale economic aid programs, like President Kennedy’s effort to counter the revolutionary appeal of the Cuban revolution by promoting social reforms via the ‘Alliance for Progress”, were fashioned to win over the center-left,probably because of budget constraints resulting from costly wars elsewhere.

The demise of neoliberal regimes, the glue that held the different factions of the imperial state together, led to competing proposals of how to regain dominance. The ‘militarist faction’ resorted to and revived the military coup formula for restoration: coups were organized in Venezuela, Ecuador, Bolivia, Honduras and Paraguay … all were defeated, except the latter two. The defeat of US proxies led to the consolidation of the independent, anti-imperialist center-left regimes.Even the “success”of the US coup in Honduras resulted in a major diplomatic defeat,as every Latin American government condemned it and the US role,further isolating Washington in the region.

The defeat of the militarist strategy strengthened the political-diplomatic faction of the imperial state. With positive overtures toward ostensibly ‘center-left regimes’, this faction gained diplomatic leverage, retained military ties and deepened the expansion of MNCs in Uruguay, Brazil, Chile and Peru. With the latter two countries the economic imperialist faction of the imperial state secured bilateral free trade agreements.

A third MNC-military faction, overlapping with the previous two, combined diplomatic-political accommodations toward Cuba, with an aggressive political destabilization strategy aimed at “regime change” (coup) in Venezuela.

The heterogeneity of imperial state factions and their competing orientations, reflects the complexity of interests engaged in empire building in Latin America and results in seemingly contradictory policies, a phenomenon less evident in the Middle East where the militarist-Zionist power configuration dominates imperial policy-making.

For example the promotion of military bases and counter-insurgency operations in Colombia (a priority of the militarist faction) is accompanied by bilateral free market agreements and peace negotiations between the Santos regime and the FARC armed insurgency (a priority of the MNC faction).

Regaining imperial dominance in Argentina involves: (1) promoting the electoral fortunes of the neoliberal governor of Buenos Aires Macri; (2) backing the pro-imperialist media conglomerate Clarin, facing legislation breaking up its monopoly; (3) exploiting the death of prosecutor and CIA-Mossad collaborator Alberto Nisman to discredit the Kirchner-Fernandez regime; (4) backing New York speculators’ (vulture) investment fund attempting to extract exorbitant interest payments and, with the aid of a dubious judicial ruling, blocking Argentina’s access to financial markets.

Both the militarist and MNC factions of the imperial state converge in backing a multi-pronged electoral and coup approach, which seeks to restore a US controlled neoliberal regimes to power.

The contingencies which forestalled the recovery of imperial power over the past decade are now acting in reverse. The drop in commodity prices has weakened post neoliberal regimes in Venezuela, Argentina, and Ecuador. The ebbing of anti-imperialist movements resulting from center-left co-optation tactics has strengthened imperial state backed right-wing movements and street demonstrators. The decline in Chinese growth has weakened the Latin American market diversification strategies. The internal balance of class forces has shifted to the Right, toward US backed political clients in Brazil, Argentina, Peru and Paraguay.

Theoretical Reflections on Empire Building in Latin America

US empire building in Latin America is a cyclical process, reflecting the structural shifts in political power, and the restructuring of the world economy – forces and factors which ‘override’ the imperial state and capital’s drive to accumulate.Capital accumulation and expansion does not depend merely on the impersonal forces of “the market” – because the social relations under which the “market” functions, operate under the constraints of the class struggle.

The centerpiece of imperial state activities-namely the prolonged territorial wars in the Middle East – are absent in Latin America. The driving force of US imperial state policy is the pursuit of resources (agro-mining), labor power ( low paid autoworkers), markets (size and purchasing power of 600 million consumers). The economic interests of the MNCs are the motives for imperial expansion.

Even as, from a geo-strategic vantage point, the Caribbean, Central America as well as South America are located most proximate to the US, economic not military objectives predominate.

However, the militarist-Zionist faction in the imperial state, ignore these traditional economic motives and deliberately choose to act on other priorities – control over oil producing regions, destruction of Islamic nations or movements or simply to destroy anti-imperialist adversaries. The militarists-Zionist faction counted the “benefits” to Israel, its Middle East military supremacy, more important than the US securing economic supremacy in Latin America. This is clearly the case if we measure imperial priorities by state resources expended in pursuit of political goals.

Even if we take the goal of “national security”, interpreted in the broadest sense, of securing the safety of the territorial homeland of the empire, the US military assault of Islamic countries driven by accompanying Islamophobic ideology and the resulting mass killings and uprooting a millions of Islamic people, has led to “blowback”: reciprocal terrorism. US “total wars” against civilians has provoked Islamic assaults against the citizens of the West.

Latin America countries targeted by economic imperialism are less belligerent than Middle Eastern countries targeted by US militarists. A cost/benefits analysis would demonstrate the totally “irrational” nature of militarist strategy. However,if we take account of the specific composition and interests that motivate particularly imperial state policymakers, there is a kind of perverse “rationality”. The militarists defend the “rationality” of costly and unending wars by citing the advantages of seizing the ‘gateways to oil’ and the Zionists cite their success in enhancing Israel’s regional power.

Whereas Latin America, for over a century was a priority region of imperial economic conquest, by the 21st century it lost primacy to the Middle East.

The Demise of the USSR and China’s conversion to Capitalism

The greatest impetus to successful US imperial expansion did not take place via proxy wars or military invasions. Rather, the US empire achieved its greatest growth and conquest, with the aid of client political leaders, organizations and vassal states throughout the USSR, Eastern Europe, the Baltic States the Balkans and the Caucuses. Long term, large scale US and EU political penetration and funding succeeded in overthrowing the hegemonic collectivist regimes in Russia and the USSR, and installing vassal states. They would soon serve NATO and be incorporated in the European Union. Bonn annexed East Germany and dominated the markets of Poland, the Czech Republic, and other Central European states. US and London bankers collaborated with Russian-Israeli gangster-oligarchs in joint ventures plundering resources, industries, real estate, and pension funds. The European Union exploited tens of millions of highly trained scientists, technicians, and workers – by importing them or stripping them of their welfare benefits and labor rights and exploiting them as cheap labor reserves in their own country.

“Imperialism by invitation” hosted by the vassal Yeltsin regime, easily appropriated Russian wealth. The ex-Warsaw Pact military forces were incorporated into a foreign legion for US imperial wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria. Their military installations were converted into military bases and missile sites encircling Russia.

US imperial conquest of the East, created a “unipolar world” in which Washington decision-makers and strategists believed that, as the world’s supreme power, they could intervene in every region with impunity.

The scope and depth of the US world empire was enhanced by China’s embrace of capitalism and its ruler’s invitation to US and EU MNCs to enter and exploit cheap Chinese labor. The global expansion of the US empire, led to a sense of unlimited power, encouraging its rulers to exercise power against any adversary or competitor.

Between 1990 and 2000, the US expanded its military bases to the borders of Russia. US MNCs expanded into China and Indo-China. US backed client regimes throughout Latin America dismantled the national economies, privatizing and denationalizing over five thousand lucrative strategic firms. Every sector was affected: natural resources, transport, telecommunications, and finance.

The US proceeded throughout the 1990s to expand via political penetration and military force. President George H. W. Bush launched a war against Iraq. Clinton bombed Yugoslavia and Germany and the EU joined the US in dividing Yugoslavia into ‘mini states’

The Pivotal Year 2000: the Pinnacle and Decline of Empire

The very rapid and extensive imperial expansion, between 1989-1999, the easy conquests and the accompanying plunder, created the conditions for the decline of the US empire.

The pillage and impoverishment of Russia led to the rise of a new leadership under President Putin intent on reconstructing the state and economy and ending vassalage.

The Chinese leadership harnessed its dependence on the West for capital investments and technology, into instruments for creating a powerful export economy and the growth of a dynamic national public-private manufacturing complex. The imperial centers of finance which flourished under lax regulation crashed. The domestic foundations of empire were severely strained. The imperial war machine competed with the financial sector for federal budgetary expenditures and subsidies.

The easy growth of empire, led to its over-extension. Multiple areas of conflict, reflected world-wide resentment and hostility at the destruction wrought by bombings and invasions. Collaborative imperial client rulers were weakened. The world-wide empire exceeded the capacity of the US to successfully police its new vassal states. The colonial outposts demanded new infusions of troops, arms and funds at a time when countervailing domestic pressures were demanding retrenchment and retreat.

All the recent conquests – outside of Europe – were costly. The sense of invincibility and impunity led imperial planners to overestimate their capacity to expand, retain, control and contain the inevitable anti-imperialist resistance.

The crises and collapse of the neoliberal vassal states in Latin America accelerated. Anti-imperialist uprisings spread from Venezuela (1999), to Argentina (2001), Ecuador (2000-2005) and Bolivia (2003-2005). Center-left regimes emerged in Brazil, Uruguay and Honduras. Mass movements, in rural regions,among Indian and mining communities gained momentum. Imperial plans formulated to secure US centered integration were rejected. Instead multiple regional pacts excluding the US proliferated-ALBA, UNASUR, CELAC. Latin America’s domestic rebellion coincided with the economic rise of China. A prolonged commodity boom severely weakened US imperial supremacy. The US had few local allies in Latin America and over ambitious commitments to control the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa.

Washington lost its automatic majority in Latin America: its backing of coups in Honduras and Paraguay and its intervention in Venezuela (2002) and blockade of Cuba was repudiated by every regime, even by conservative allies.

Having easily established a global empire, Washington found it was not so easy to defend it. Imperial strategists in Washington viewed the Middle East wars through the prism of the Israeli military priorities, ignoring the global economic interests of the MNC.

Imperial military strategists overestimated the military capacity of vassals and clients, ill-prepared by Washington to rule in countries with growing armed national resistance movements. Wars, invasions and military occupations were launched in multiple sites. Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Pakistan were added to Afghanistan and Iraq. US imperial state expenditures far exceeded any transfer of wealth from the occupied countries.

A vast civilian-military-mercenary bureaucracy pillaged hundreds of billions of dollars from the US Treasury.

The centrality of wars of conquest, destroyed the economic foundations and institutional infrastructure necessary for MNC entry and profit.

Once entrenched in strategic military conceptions of empire, the military-political leadership of the imperial state fashioned a global ideology to justify and motivate a policy of permanent and multiple warfare. The doctrine of the ‘war on terror’ justified war everywhere and nowhere. The doctrine was ‘elastic’ – adapted to every region of conflict and inviting new military engagements: Afghanistan, Libya, Iran and Lebanon were all designated as war zones. The ‘terror doctrine’, global in scope, provided a justification for multiple wars and the massive destruction (not exploitation) of societies and economic resources. Above all the “war on terrorism” justified torture (Abu Gharib) and concentration camps (Guantanamo), and civilian targets (via drones)anywhere. Troops were withdrawn and returned to Afghanistan and Iraq as the nationalist resistance advanced. Thousands of Special Forces in scores of countries were active, purveying death and mayhem.

Moreover, the violent uprooting, degradation and stigmatization of entire Islamic people led to the spread of violence in the imperial centers of Paris, New York, London, Madrid, and Copenhagen. The globalization of imperial state terror led to individual terror.

Imperial terror evoked domestic terror: the former on a massive, sustained scale encompassing entire civilizations and conducted and justified by elected political officials and military authorities. The latter by a cross section of ‘internationalists’ who directly identified with the victims of imperial state terror.

Contemporary Imperialism: Present and Future Perspectives

To understand the future of US imperialism it is important to sum up and evaluate the experience and policies of the past quarter of a century.

If we compare, US empire building between 1990 and 2015, it is clearly in decline economically, politically and even militarily in most regions of the world, though the process of decline is not linear and probably not irreversible.

Despite talk in Washington of reconfiguring imperial priorities to take account of MNC economic interests, little has been accomplished. Obama’s so-called “pivot to Asia” has resulted in new military base agreements with Japan, Australia, and the Philippines surrounding China and reflects an inability to fashion free trade agreements that exclude China. Meantime, the US has militarily re-started the war and reentered Iraq and Afghanistan in addition to launching new wars in Syria and the Ukraine. It is clear that the primacy of the militarist faction is still the determinant factor in shaping imperial state policies.

The imperial military drive is most evident in the US intervention in support of the coup in the Ukraine and subsequent financing and arming of the Kiev junta. The imperial takeover of the Ukraine and plans to incorporate it into the EU and NATO, represents military aggression in its most blatant form: The expansion of US military bases and installations and military maneuvers on Russia’s borders and the US initiated economic sanctions, have severely damaged EU trade and investment with Russia. US empire building continues to prioritize military expansion even at the cost of Western imperial economic interests in Europe.

The US-EU bombing of Libya destroyed the burgeoning trade and investment agreements between imperial oil and gas MNCs and the Gaddafi government. NATO air assaults destroyed the economy, society, and political order, converting Libya into a territory overrun by warring clans, gangs, terrorists and armed thuggery.

Over the past half century, the political leadership and strategies of the imperial state have changed dramatically. During the period between 1975-1990, MNCs played a central role in defining the direction of imperial state policy: leveraging markets in Asia; negotiating market openings with China; promoting and backing neoliberal military and civilian regimes in Latin America; installing and financing pro-capitalist regimes in Russia, Eastern Europe, the Baltic and Balkan states. Even in the cases where the imperial state resorted to military intervention, Yugoslavia and Iraq, the bombings led to favorable economic opportunities for US MNCs. The Bush Sr regime promoted US oil interests via an oil for food agreement with Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

Clinton promoted free market regimes in the mini-states resulting from the break-up of socialist Yugoslavia .

However, the imperial state’s leadership and policies shifted dramatically during the late 1990’s onward. President Clinton’s imperial state was composed of long-standing MNC representatives, Wall Street bankers, and newly ascending militarist Zionist officials.

The result was a hybrid policy in which the imperial state actively promoted MNC opportunities under neoliberal regimes in the ex-Communist countries of Europe and Latin America, and expanded MNC ties with China and Viet Nam while launching destructive military interventions in Somalia, Yugoslavia, and Iraq.

The ‘balance of forces’ within the imperialist state shifted dramatically in favor the militarist-Zionist faction with 9/11: the terrorist attack of dubious origins and false flag demolitions in New York and Washington served to entrench the militarists in control of a vastly expanded imperial state apparatus. As a consequence of 9/11, the militarist-Zionist faction of the imperial state subordinated the interests of the MNCs to its strategy of total wars. This in turn led to the invasion, occupation and destruction of civilian infrastructure in Iraq and Afghanistan (instead of harnessing it to MNC expansion). The US colonial regime dismantled the Iraqi state (instead of re-ordering it to serve the MNC). The assassination and forced out-migration of millions of skilled professionals, administrators, police and military officials crippled any economic recovery (instead of their incorporation as servants of the colonial state and MNC).

The militarist-Zionist ascendancy in the imperial state introduced major changes in policy, orientation , priorities and the modus operandi of US imperialism. The ideology of the “global war on terror” replaced the MNC doctrine of promoting “economic globalization”.

Perpetual wars (“terrorists” were not confined to place and time) replaced limited wars or interventions directed at opening markets or changing regimes which would implement neoliberal policies benefiting US MNCs.

The locus of imperial state activity shifted from exploiting economic opportunities, in Asia, Latin America and the ex-Communist countries of Eastern Europe to wars in the Middle East, South Asia and North Africa – targeting Muslim countries which opposed Israel’s colonial expansion in Palestine, Syria, Lebanon and elsewhere.

The new militarist-power configuration’s conception of empire building required vast – trillion dollar – expenditures, without care or thought of returns to private capital. In contrast, under the hegemony of the MNCs, the imperial state, intervened to secure concessions of oil, gas and minerals in Latin America and the Middle East. The costs of military conquest were more than compensated by the returns to the MNC. The militarist imperial state configuration pillaged the US Treasury to finance its occupations, financing a vast army of corrupt colonial collaborators, private mercenary ‘military contractors’ and, soon to be millionaire, US military procurement (sic) officials.

Previously, MNCs directed overseas exploitation led to healthy returns to the US Treasury both in terms of direct tax payments and via the revenues generated from trade and the processing of raw materials.

Over the past decade and a half, the biggest and most stable returns to the MNC take place in regions and countries where the militarized imperial state is least involved: China, Latin America, and Europe. The MNCs have profited least and have lost most in areas of greatest imperial state involvement.

The ‘war zones’ that extend from Libya, Somalia, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Ukraine, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan are the regions where imperial MNCs have suffered the biggest decline and exodus.

The main “beneficiaries” of the current imperial state policies are the war contractors and the security-military-industrial complex in the US. Overseas the state beneficiaries include Israel and Saudi Arabia. In addition Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi, Afghani, and Pakistani client rulers have squirreled away tens of billions in off-shore private bank accounts.

The “non-state” beneficiaries include mercenary, proxy armies. In Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Ukraine tens of thousands of collaborators in self-styled “non-governmental” organizations have also profited.

The Lost-Benefit Calculus or Empire-Building under the Aegis of the Militarist-Zionist Imperial State

Sufficient time has passed over the past decade and a half of militarist-Zionist dominance of the imperial state to evaluate their performance.

The US and its Western European allies, especially Germany successfully expanded their empire in Eastern Europe, the Balkans and the Baltic regions without firing a shot. These countries were converted into EU vassal states. Their markets dominated and industries denationalized. Their armed forces were recruited as NATO mercenaries. West Germany annexed the East. Cheap educated labor, as immigrants and as a labor reserve, increased profits for EU and US MNCs. Russia was temporarily reduced to a vassal state between 1991-2001. Living standards plunged and welfare programs were reduced. Mortality rates increased. Class inequalities widened. Millionaires and billionaires seized public resources and joined with the imperial MNCs in plundering the economy. Socialist and Communist leaders and parties were repressed or co-opted. In contrast, imperial military expansion of the 21st century was a costly failure. The ‘war in Afghanistan’ was costly in lives and expenditures and led to an ignominious retreat. What remained was a fragile puppet regime and an unreliable mercenary military. The US-Afghanistan war was the longest war in US history and one of the biggest failures. In the end the nationalist-Islamist resistance movements – the so-called “Taliban” and allied ethno-religious and nationalist anti-imperialist resistance groups – dominate the countryside, repeatedly penetrate and attack urban centers and prepare to take power.

The Iraq war and the imperial state’s invasion and decade long occupation decimated the economy. The occupation fomented ethno-religious warfare. The secular Ba’thist officers and military professionals joined with Islamist nationalists and subsequently formed a powerful resistance movement (ISIS) which defeated the imperial backed Shia mercenary army during the second decade of the war. The imperial state was condemned to re-enter and engage directly in a prolonged war. The cost of war spiraled to over a trillion dollars. Oil exploitation was hampered and the US Treasury poured tens of billions to sustain a “war without end’.

The US imperial state and the EU, along with Saudi Arabia and Turkey financed armed Islamic mercenary militias to invade Syria and overthrow the secular, nationalist, anti-Zionist Bashar Assad regime. The imperial war opened the door for the expansion of the Islamic-Ba’thist forces-ISIS into Syria. The Kurds and other armed groups seized territory, fragmenting the country. After nearly five years of warfare and rising military costs the US and EU MNCs have been cut off from the Syrian market.

US support for Israeli aggression against Lebanon has led to the growth in power of the anti-imperialist Hezbollah armed resistance. Lebanon, Syria, and Iran now represent a serious alternative to the US, EU, Saudi Arabia, Israeli axis.

The US sanctions policy toward Iran has failed to undermine the nationalist regime and has totally undercut the economic opportunities of all the major US and EU oil and gas MNCs as well as US manufacturing exporters. China has replaced them.

The US-EU invasion of Libya led to the destruction of the economy and the flight of billions in MNC investments and the disruption of exports.

The US imperial states’ seizure of power via a proxy coup in Kiev, provoked a powerful anti-imperialist rebellion led by armed militia in the East (Donetsk and Luhansk) and the decimation of the Ukraine economy.

In summary, the military-Zionist takeover of the imperial state has led to prolonged, unwinnable costly wars which have undermined markets and investment sites for US MNCs. Imperial militarism has undermined the imperial economic presence and provoked long-term, growing anti-imperialist resistance movements, as well as chaotic, unstable and unviable countries out of imperial control.

Economic imperialism has continued to profit in parts of Europe, Asia, Latin America, and Africa despite the imperial wars and economic sanctions pursued by the highly militarized imperial state elsewhere.

However, the US militarists’ seizure of power in the Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia have eroded EU’S profitable trade and investments in Russia. The Ukraine under IMF-EU-US tutelage has become a heavily indebted, broken economy run by kleptocrats who are totally dependent on foreign loans and military intervention.

Because the militarized imperial state prioritizes conflict and sanctions with Russia, Iran, and Syria, it has failed to deepen and expand its economic ties with Asia, Latin America and Africa. The political and economic conquest of East Europe and parts of the USSR has lost significance. The perpetual, lost wars in the Middle East, North Africa, and the Caucuses have weakened the imperial state’s capacity for empire building in Asia and Latin America.

The outflow of wealth, the domestic cost of perpetual wars has eroded the electoral foundations of empire building. Only a fundamental change in the composition of the imperial state and a reorientation of priorities toward centering on economic expansion can alter the current decline of empire. The danger is that as the militarist Zionist imperialist state pursues losing wars, it may escalate and raise the ante, and move toward a major nuclear confrontation: an empire amidst nuclear ashes!

James Petras was Director of the Center for Mediterranean Studies in Athens (1981-1984) and adviser to Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou (1981-84). He resigned in protest over the PM expulsion of leading trade unionists from PASOK for organizing a general strike against his ‘stabilization program’. Petras is co-author of Mediterranean Paradoxes: The Politics and Social Structure of Southern Europe. His latest books include Extractive Imperialism in the Americas: Capitalism’s New Frontier (with Henry Veltmeyer) and The Politics of Empire: The US, Israel and the Middle East. Read other articles by James, or visit James’s website.