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03 March 2018

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Peter AU

It seems Russia was able to develop all these weapons, right up to the testing phase, in total secrecy. Testing, impossible to conceal, would have been undertaken over the last two years or so, which fits the time frame for US looking at upgrading their weapons. US ABM defense, a big part of US military future, what twenty years in the making for US? is now null and void.

Christian Chuba

If I know my country our reaction will be, 'we beat them in space race, we beat them in the 80's arms race, and dog gone it, we will beat them again'.

We have no interest in examining how we got here or who triggered it. All we see is that a gauntlet has been thrown down. We will go into even more massive deficit spending to whip them again and won't think about it again until we are eating out of garbage cans.

I'm angry at the professional Cold Warriors but even more angry at the MSM. Just today, I heard a Russian expert (aka hater) on FOX intone that Russia never had anything to worry about with our ABM systems because it can't a massive first strike. I naively expected the lady host to ask, 'but maybe they are worried that it would be able to stop a retaliatory strike after we send them to hades'. Needless to say, I was disappointed. Instead, Eboni Williams (mentioning her name to show that I'm not hallucinating, any of them would have reacted the same way), her eyes opened wide, 'we must improve our defenses to stop them'.

There you go, the FOX host, not only didn't see through the guests straw man argument but took it as a given that the U.S. should be able to nuke Russia out of existence with no consequences for us. The entire premise of the START treaty was to preserve MAD with a smaller nuke force to reduce accidents. Mr. Naive again, why should I expect the host to know that or the expert to inform her that MAD is the expected norm.

catherine

''The point is, ladies and gentleman, that war, for lack of a better word, is good. War is right, war works. War clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. War, in all of its forms; war for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind.''

So say the fellows who qualify to sit it out in well stocked gov bunkers and watch it on TV.

Lars

When you qualify any anti-Russian sentiment as "hysteric", you lose a lot of credibility. No doubt there is a lot of noise, but the reality is that economically Russia is a basket case and the US is rapidly joining them.

For the next decade, we are faced with an unstable world and that will cause a lot of damage. However, it is unlikely that it will result in the massive land wars of the past. The biggest potential adversary to both the US and Russia is China. The battle field will be the communications platforms. The good new is that they will remain fragmented and technology will more than likely make it even more so, which will thankfully and eventually localize information, as global solutions are increasingly rejected.

As with these pages, there are a lot of conspiracies published right now, but as they are increasingly dispatched, a standard will be developed. Some will agree with it and others will not and will thus migrate elsewhere. This will be repeated all over the Internet.

I was an early user of the Internet and it quickly became a rather awful place where people were exchanging views. It soon became evident that was not sustainable and things changed. Like in a pond, the scum will rise, until encountering sunlight, when it is transformed and sinks to the bottom, never to be seen again, unless you dig very deep. But the cream will assemble at the top.

Account Deleted
I was an early user of the Internet and it quickly became a rather awful place..
Any causality implied in that statement Lars?
Richardstevenhack

Oh, by the way, according to NBC, Mueller is going to indict the Russians that carried out the DNC hack...

Let me get my laugh in early.

Anna

"...the reality is that economically Russia is a basket case and the US is rapidly joining them."
--Are you aware of the environment in which the last several generations of Russians grew up, as compared to the US prosperity and the absence of major wars on the territory of North America? The sanctions (illegal, btw) have improved the "local" economy in Russia. How well the US population at large will be able to adjust to the approaching decline in living standards?

“The biggest potential adversary to both the US and Russia is China.”
-- Doubtful. China is and will be less dangerous for Russia than the zionized US. The Chinese have been building and constructing, while the US has been spreading ruin and death for the satisfaction of mega war profiteers (banksters & weapon producers/dealers) and for the pleasure of the Lobby.

FB Ali

Crooke is correct in saying that US foreign and defence policies are now out of the hands of the President of the USA, and have been taken over by the 'quartet of generals'. This is ominous for the world. The fact that one of the quartet appears to be Gen Petraeus makes it even more dangerous.

These US generals have shown themselves to be shallow-minded believers in a doctrine of US invincibility and universal dominance that is no longer applicable to the world we live in. It is our misfortune that nothing Putin says or does will change their minds.

US military and financial power is used mainly to maintain the US global empire. This worked best in countries ruled by dictators or an oligarchy, since their rulers and elite reaped the advantages accruing from this. The alternative that a resurgent China is presenting through its Belt and Road plans benefits the people of a country, and not just its ruling class. As people everywhere acquire more political rights and power, they will turn increasingly towards what China offers. The US global empire will gradually crumble.

Will the US generals controlling its policy seek to stop and reverse this trend by asserting US military power in the only way left - using nuclear weapons? This is where the danger in the case of North Korea arises, as highlighted by Crooke. An angle he has not dealt with is that Russia may well prefer to see the US act thus.

An exchange of nuclear weapons between the US and North Korea may appear to Vladimir Putin as preferable to the increasing risk of such an exchange between the US and Russia, as evidenced by evolving US military policy and the attitude of its generals. It is likely that a war between North Korea and the US will bring the latter back to reality, just as the Suez war did to the British.

J

A government agency that is part of the rabbit hole is DARPA. I often wonder just how much graft and corruption they have cloaked in their classified world, that neither you nor I have access to their accounting books.

I would like to see a full audit of DARPA complete with a balance sheet down to the penny.

Now DARPA is whining for more money, more m-o-n-e-y.

A Hypersonic 'Arms-Race' Erupts As DARPA Director Demands More Funding To Counter Russia

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-02/hypersonic-arms-race-erupts-darpa-director-demands-more-funding-counter-russia

outthere

Alastair Crooke knows as much about mideast (esp. HezB, Lebanon, Syria, Israel, Iran) as any person on earth who speaks english language.
Wise man, wise words.
I doubt USA will give peace a chance.
Far more important to our leaders to preach war and remain in power.

Anna

Alternative media is trying to bring the MSM owners to senses (which is highly improbable): https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-03/zuesse-americas-news-media-foment-hate
"... there is actually nothing at all in Russia which even begins to approach the outright nazi displays and rallies that are routine in today’s Ukraine, and some of which Ukrainian marches are publicly displaying symbols from Hitler’s regime — in fact, it’s all outright illegal in Russia, which had lost (by far) more of its citizens to Germany’s Nazis (13,950,000, or 12.7% of its population) than did any other country (except Belarus — another state within the Soviet Union — which lost 25.3% of its population). ...
-- On the civil war in Ukraine: "The US regime foisted nazi rule on Ukraine, and backs the ethnic-cleansing program there to kill or else cause to flee from Ukraine into Russia the residents in Ukraine’s far-eastern Donbass region, in which over 90% of the people had voted for the democratically elected Ukrainian President that the US regime overthrew and replaced by fascists and nazis, in February 2014. Obama needed to get rid of those intensely anti-nazi voters, because otherwise the regime that he installed wouldn’t have lasted beyond the first post-coup election. That’s the purpose of ethnic cleansing - to get rid of unwanted voters."
-- Rather a convincing explanation. One wonders, where are the veterans' organizations and the senior-level brass and how come that the US has exposed itself as a protector of the self-proclaimed (not hypothetical) nazis? Where are the activists from the Holocaust biz?

likbez
The compulsive hatred of President Putin in élite western circles has surpassed anything witnessed during the Cold War.  Western states have been hyping political hostility in almost every sphere: In Syria, in Ukraine, across the Middle East, in Eurasia, and now, this hatred has leached into the Security Council, leaving it irretrievably polarised -- and paralysed.  This hostility has percolated too, across to all Russia’s allies, contaminating them. It potends – almost inevitably – further sanctions on Russia (and its friends) under the catch-all Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.  But the real question is: Does this collective hysteria portend war?
Not necessary. With MAD temporary restored on a new level the benefits of the first strike against Russia (if such plans existed) are null and void.

Moreover spending of the current generation of missile defense systems should be partially written off, as their efficiently is not highly questionable (but they can be repurposed into offensive weapons carrying cruise missiles and such)

But the new neo-McCarthyism campaign, which is now in full force in the USA, serves a different purpose than the preparation to the WWIII, and reached such scale and intensity for a quite different reason.

Neoliberalism, which was the social system the the USA adoipted in 1970th and spread around the globe entered a deep crisis. And Russia is a very convenient scapegoat, which allow to avoid difficult question: what to do next as neoliberalism entered the phase of decline (also Russia as a scapegoat allows just to reuse Cold War stereotypes firmly engraved in minds of the considerable part of the US population.)

The collapse of neoliberal ideology in 2008 and the collapse of support by the US population of neoliberal elite in 2016 threatens the USA role in the world and this the existence of global neoliberal empire. And, in more distant perspective (a decade of two), the status of dollar as a global reserve currency.

And nobody knowns what to do with this situation, how to approach it.

First it looked to me that the election of Trump was a sign that more forward looking part of the US elite was trying to organize a soft landing: declare victory for neoliberalism and slowly retreat from the large part of the expenses for maintaining the global neoliberal empire. Partially off-loading those costs on EU, Japan, Australia, etc.

In this case enormous resources spent on MIC and empire per se can beredicted internally to placate restive population, and the deepening of the internal crisis on governance and the loss of confidence of population in the ruling elite, which demonstrated itself is such a dramatic manner in Hillary loss in 2016, can be probably be averted.

I was wrong. Multinationals fully and tightly control the US neoliberal elite (and are an important part of it) and they will never allow this. Also large part of neoliberal elite is hell bent of world domination, and, like French aristocracy, "forgot nothing, and learned nothing" after 2016 elections.

With the alarming level of degeneration of the elite clearly visible in both Trump Administration and Congress. But the process itself started long ago (people say that Nixon was the last "real" president ;-). To say nothing about top intelligence agencies honchos.

In any case, it is clear that the US neoliberal elite still is hell-bent of world domination and is resistant to any change of the status quo. And I also noticed that, like in Rome, there is now an influential caste of "imperial servants" also hell-bent on maintaining the status quo.

Which includes not only Pentagon, State Department which have a lot of staff living abroad. But also major intelligence agencies, closely connected with their counterparts (note role of UK-USA connections in Steele dossier) and as such fully "globalized/neoliberalized", at least ideologically. As well the majority of the US Senate and House

That blocks any possibility of change in the US foreign policy and budget priorities. It looks like MIC needs to be fed at all costs. And the power of the "deep state" is such that it took them just three months to emasculate Trump, and put him in line with previous policies.

I would like to remind that Trumpism (or "economic nationalism" as it sometimes it is called) initially was pretty attractive proposition which included the following elements (most of which are anathema to classic neoliberalism):

  1. Rejection of neoliberal globalization;
  2. Rejection of unrestricted immigration;
  3. Fight against suppression of wages by multinationals via cheap imported labor;
  4. Fight against the elimination of meaningful, well-paying jobs via outsourcing and
    offshoring of manufacturing;
  5. Rejection of wars for enlargement and sustaining of neoliberal empire, especially
    NATO role as global policemen and wars for Washington client Israel in the Middle East;
  6. Détente with Russia;
  7. More pragmatic relations with Israel and suppression of Israeli agents of
    influence;
  8. Revision of offshoring of manufacturing and relations with China and India, as well as addressing the problem of trade
    deficit;
  9. Rejection of total surveillance on all citizens;
  10. The cut of military expenses to one third or less of the current level and
    concentrating on revival on national infrastructure, education, and science.
  11. Abandonment of maintenance of the "sole superpower" status and global neoliberal
    empire for more practical and less costly "semi-isolationist" foreign policy;
  12. Closing of
    unnecessary foreign military bases and cutting aid to the current clients.

The truth is that the moment, when the USA could change direction to the regime of "splendid isolation", or whatever such move can be called, was lost.

Moreover, despite Trump capitulation, the color revolution against him continued because he is not accepted as a legitimate POTUS by neoliberal elite, and, especially, neocons. Which further weakens the state. That's another reason why neo-McCarthyism hysteria is still in full swing: it helps to compensate for the damage caused by slash-and-burn political infighting (which is a kind of soft civil war, if you wish)

The problem with witch hunt against Russia is that can speed up the alliance of China and Russia, on most beneficial for China terms. If and when China-Russia alliance materialize, the containment of China would be even more difficult and costly, the threat to dollar more pronounced and all bets are off for the US led global neoliberal empire as "Silk road" project will eat it in Europe and Asia chunk by chunk.

Neo-McCarthyism in this respect might be not such an absurd policy (and it does provide internal benefits in the form of consolidation of society against the fake external enemy -- a classic trick described by Hermann Göring in his famous quote https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/33505-why-of-course-the-people-don-t-want-war-why-should ) as Putin is not eternal and this will be his last term in office. With clear signs of possible political crisis in Russia due to the weakness of the mechanisms for smooth transition of the power to a new leader, or even the selection of the new one.

The danger is that instead of desirable new pro-European president (or at least a person who is inclined to cooperate with the West, but only on equal terms, like Putin) the next Russian president can be a fierce nationalist.

J

Colonel,

Sadly the peckerwood never been in combat JAG is back:

Sen. Lindsey Graham is back wanting to throw other people's kids under the war bus.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-03-03/lindsey-graham-fighting-war-north-korea-would-be-worth-it

aleksandar

Lars
Russia is economically a " basket case " ?
In your dreams.
I will not give you all details about Russian economy, you should suffer a nervous breakdown.
Next time, try to get real figures instead of posting here MSN propagande.

English Outsider

Lars - I don't understand the last three paragraphs of your comment so I may be missing your central point. However, I believe this sentence taken in isolation could do with qualifying:-

"No doubt there is a lot of noise, but the reality is that economically Russia is a basket case and the US is rapidly joining them."

The picture one gets of Russia is of a country slowly digging itself out of the disintegrative corruption of the 90's. Putin's recent remarks indicate how slowly.

President Carter's characterisation of the US as now being an oligarchy shows the US slowly going the other way. Even including Germany that is the general picture in the West.

Some recent remarks and examples from DH show the Russian people, or rather a substantial number of them, soberly and consciously preparing to address the threat from the West. Unless it's all Russian PR there is a sense of national unity there, at least for many, and that is reflected by the Russian leadership.

I'm afraid our host is correct when he characterises the current anti-Russian sentiment in the West as hysterical. That, however, is I believe largely top down. It is a product of PR from the media and from the Western politicians. Behind it is no deep sense of unity or national resolve. In fact we see the reverse - most Western countries are deeply divided within themselves.

The Russians seem also to have escaped the demoralising effects of the more far out social trends in the US and other Western countries.

Therefore, if we must see this in terms of conflict, we see a dramatically less powerful and dramatically poorer but essentially unified Russia facing up to a threat from a West that is far superior militarily and economically but that is divided in itself and slipping further into decline.

This does of course lead to the unstable world you say we are faced with. Dangerously unstable. But I do not believe you are admitting to yourself that it is an instability we in the West are causing.

Babak Makkinejad

I think the term "basket case" in connection to economic conditions of a country, was used in regards to Bangladesh. Russia was never an economic power in comparison to the Western Diocleteans but she was involved and influential in European politics for centuries.

Karel Whitman

I have been reflecting about Reagan too in recent contributions here. Not least since Trump seemed to try to emulate the GOP's greatest hero.

From the original Strategic Statement, casting Russia and China as ‘rivals and competitors’, the subsequent Defense Posture Statement elevated the latter from mere rivals, to ‘revisionist powers’

I stopped listening to McMaster at one point. Quite early really. I wish there was a transcript around. But on first sight there isn't. But yes, 'revisionist' surfaced. As curiously enough this did: "rogue regimes (ME north East Asia) are developing the most destructive weapons on earth."

Maybe I listen to him now. Relevant parts start at 1:45.

https://www.securityconference.de/en/media-library/munich-security-conference-2018/video/statement-by-herbert-raymond-mcmaster/

******
That said, what I still have huge troubles seemingly is to wrap my head around is the huge applause Trump got on SST, while it left me more then a little irritated, when delivering his foreign policy speech in April 2016. That was before Russia-Gate made news.

kooshy

“These US generals have shown themselves to be shallow-minded believers in a doctrine of US invincibility and universal dominance that is no longer applicable to the world we live in.”

General Ali, if I remember correctly you reside in Canada, those who are brought up in and under US system, majority think of their country in this way, it’s part of the mentality that the system educates and trains it’s constituency, to think they are exceptional, invincible and above all others. From what I have learned, this is not unique to just these four generals, this is how even the regular police thinks regardless of state or community they serve. This is how every child has been thought early on.

Babak Makkinejad

I think you are right, once I told an American that the United States will not survive a nuclear war with Russia; he seemed to have been offended.

VietnamVet

All

This week NBC News described the White House as “unglued”. The owner of Comcast that owns NBC, Brian L. Roberts (Barrack Obama's friend), and the five other media moguls want Donald Trump gone. All that has stopped them so far are four Generals. This is highly unstable. The USA has already killed Russians in Syria. Turkey is heading towards attacking American troops in Manbij. U.S. trainers are in the trenches with Ukraine troops in the Donbass. Anyone who is against this madness is labeled as a Russian collaborator.

Senator Lindsey Graham wants to attack North Korea. China promises to defend North Korea if attacked by the USA. If nuclear weapons are used by anyone; destroying Seoul, Pyongyang, Kyoto, Tokyo or Guam, the war will explode. China has 65 hardened ICBMs that can survive a first attack and destroy every major American city. Russia cannot sit out a world war blowing up directly South of Siberia.

Simply put, Washington DC has become unhinged. The military is free to do whatever it wants. The western economic system is in slow-motion collapse. There is too much debt. Either the people will force the oligarchs to write down the debt and end the wars; or, fighting over the remains, the corrupt elite will kill off mankind.

If somehow, the use of nuclear weapons is avoided; at best, South Korea, the heart of the Asian Economy, will be destroyed. The drumbeats for war with North Korea, Iran and/or Russia is crazy.

turcopolier

Alastair Crooke

I agree that the "Four of Hearts" among the generals now running US foreign policy are a great danger. These men seem incapable of rising above the Russophobia that grew in the atmosphere of the Cold War. They yearn for world hegemony for the US and to see Russia and to a lesser extent China and Iran as obstacles to that dominion for the "city on a hill." Trump is as yet indifferent to such matters and is in pursuit of his mercantilist view of economics. He has given the quartet too much leeway and they for some naïve reason are far too willing to listen to the Israelis always whispering in their ears. GC Marshall was right when he warned Truman against a future dominated by the existence of Israel. pl

kooshy

The first time i really understood and encounter this mentality, was in American government class back in 74 or 75, I even believed in it for a while.

stefan

Russia a basket case economy?
I am a European expat living in Moscow. My cousin, who works for Mercedes at their HQ in Germany, came last month to visit me. After a few days in Moscow he told me: "Shit, there are more Mercs here, than in Stuttgart at HQ, where every mid level employee gets one as company benefit".
The "state" is rich, controls almost all mineral resources, biggest banks, airlines and many companies which do profits (e.g. Sberbank did 17 billion USD last year). Plus, here international corporates pay full tax, instead of 0% elsewhere, otherwise they are thrown out. Salaried taxes are 13%.
Medium,small business and many salaried people is all black economy, so unaccounted in GDP. At the end Russia adds 10 billion each month to the state's coffers, debts are about 17% of GDP, despite lots of infrastructure works (metro, roads, Crimea Bridge, ...)
As for the armaments, science, hi tech stuff, here a PhD's employee costs you 15/20 k, where in US/Europe at least 100 k. And imagine here there special Maths based schools from age of 6. And Russian parents get crazy to get their kids in these schools. At my kids "super smart" expat school most of the local Russians do extra maths lessons at home, because british/american maths curriculum is crap they say.
So consider rich state, cheap wages for abundant and extremely strong science PhDs.

Reggie

Here's an interesting opinion from Military Review:

http://www.armyupress.army.mil/Journals/Military-Review/English-Edition-Archives/March-April-2018/Rojansky-Victory-for-Russia/

Not In Istanbul

Stefan lists interesting anecdotes, but seems to forget Moscow is not Russia. Many of those signs of prosperity are merely the symbols of increasing inequality under a neoliberal system. Russia doesn't provide any alternative to the American system, it only offers a possible moderation of unhinged American exceptionalism, a slower decent to the hell of an overtaxed world.

You shouldn't judge a system by the winners, but by the losers. Neoliberalism requires that nearly everyone loses for the rich to win.

As someone who has lived in many places and worked with the poor and the rich alike, I can tell you that the rich have a boundless appetite for things that will never fulfill them. And the people who pay for that are the poor and the rest of the society (and the world).

If you are intent on playing the neoliberal game, and one probably must play if they are welcomed into the walled gardens of expatistan, then you are feeding into the same system thats keep American exceptionalism alive and vibrant. The US thanks you for keeping the reserve status of the US dollar alive and well.

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