It's fashionable, even expected, to pour scorn on the current President of the United States - Donald Trump. Of course, he brings It upon himself with his unmatched egotistical meanderings. That being said, there is a definite method behind his madness that eludes most political commentators. What Trump is very deliberately doing, albeit from many different directions, is attacking China's attempt to replace the United States as the preeminent economy with the world's new reserve currency.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, China has taken a different tact in its march to world supremacy - the economic route. It transformed itself from an insulated and agrarian society to essentially a quasi-capitalistic sweat shop. For decades the Chinese people slaved in factories to produce the cheapest possible products for primarily American multi-nationals. America became almost deindustrialized as a result. However, the American services economy grew exponentially as a result of cheap Chinese imports. It looked like a win-win for the US and Chinese economies.
However, the Chinese government saved a substantial amount of the funds it earned at the hands of its citizens, and reinvested the funds in US real estate, stocks, bonds and currencies. It did the same in many other countries in the world as well. It has stocked up on massive quantities of gold to back its national currency. It has created its own version of the World Monetary Fund. To make a long story short, the Chinese used discipline to place themselves in the position to replace both the US dollar and the American economy as the primary economic pillars of the world today.
So great has the Chinese effort been, that it now can challenge the US dollar as the primary economic, political, and even military tool in the world. Just very recently China has concluded deals with Russia and Iran to purchase oil and other goods in their national currencies, excluding the US dollar as a necessity for trade. Even more perilous for the Us is China's ambition to create the same agreements throughout Asia, Africa, South America, and even Europe. In a nutshell, the American Empire is under direct threat by a "communist" country that has beat them at their own game. The solution? Change the game.
Enter Donald Trump. What the majority of the world seems to be missing is that Trump is not some lunatic fanning his ego with schizophrenic economic and military policies. Nothing could be further from the truth. Rather, he is directing the disassembling of the world order the United States created, because they are losing their own game. His strategy is clear: isolate China by any means. Whether its fanciful deals to bribe North Korea's regime away from China's wing, threats of war against Venezuela's government, appeasing Russia to try and sway it away from Beijing, the result is the same: isolate China. By isolating China Trump hopes to stop China's ambitious "Belt and Road" project and stymie a Eurasian takeover of the world economy. It's that simple. Trump's speech in Poland in 2017 very clearly reinforces that belief:
"The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive. Do we have the confidence in our values to defend them at any cost? Do we have the courage to preserve our civilization in the face of those who would subvert it and destroy it?"
This was just a part of his "Churchillian-type" speech to the people of the West from the capital of Poland in 2017, but it raises some immediate and obvious questions: Is there a threat to the survival of the West that we are unaware of; is it necessary to defend them at "any cost"; and is our civilization under immediate threat of extinction? You could be forgiven for thinking these words were some kind of attempt by Trump to sound Churchillian or Kennedy-like in the depths of the Cold War, but the truth is we aren't in the depth of a Cold War are we? At least not one we are aware of in any case. What we are in is the final stages of American dominance of global affairs using economic tools to foist itself upon the peoples of the world. So if that qualifies as the end of civilization, well, then I suppose we are almost there.
The truth is, like any other politician, Trump is the front man for those in the back ground, or "backroom" as we say here in Canada. It's worth noting that at one point or another his entire cabinet seems to reflect every branch of the US military. It's also worth noting that he threatens countries with maximum consequences, but holds out credence for those that follow his line. So it has been worth watching as he pursues a trade war with China, despite China's attempts to placate him. China now appears to have learned the lesson that they are in fact the strategic target of the US, and as such Trump will go all the way with them. What we in the rest of the world need to understand about Trump is that he is not the "dotard" of the political realm, but rather a very deliberate person doing a very calculated thing, with every intention of taking it all the way. "All the way" means if the economic war does not bring China, and by ricochet Eurasia, to its knees then actual war will follow - "...at any cost?".
Trump is, as they say, dumb as a fox. While the world may be dazzled by his approach, it should not fail to see his aim. Trump, and specifically those behind Trump (read the US "Military Industrial Complex") aim to preserve US hegemony over the world, and to do so they must rip apart the current world order they built and replace it with another. So, belittle and scoff at Trump all you want, but be warned he is most definitely not the court jester you may imagine him to be.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Wed, 16 May 2018 23:56:00 +0000
As we all know, criticizing the State of Israel is considered a dangerous practise. In fact, just today, the State of North Carolina made it a criminal offence to do so. So there you go. That being said, another qualifier is needed. The author has no issue with the Jewish religion or Jewish people in general. Firstly, it would an act of prejudice to lump all people of a group or religion together and cast them in the same light merely because they share a religion. Only the most racist and bigoted (Nazis as an example) would do so. I have friends who are Jewish. They don't live in Israel, so they aren't Israeli, but they are Jewish. This article is about the government of Israel, not about all the people in Israel, or about Jewish people in general.
The Israeli government and the Israeli military are, in a phrase, acting above the law. The "law" being those written and unwritten rules that separate humans from untamed beasts in the wild. During the last few months, in particular, Israel has committed mass violations of International Law: All UN Charters and their respective clauses guaranteeing the rights of refugees, civilians, and the basic rights of people; the Geneva Convention regarding targeted attacks on medical staff and civilians; and the statutes restraining State action banning crimes against humanity, and genocide. Simply put, Israel is now an outlaw state in the family of nations.
That being said, Israel has been getting away with these crimes against humanity because it has, over many decades, carefully influenced people in positions of power all over the world to "see things" from Israel's perspective, when in reality its actions against the Palestinians in particular ought to transcend even the most "influenced people's" bias. The slaughter of nearly 60 people in one day, and the maiming of 1200 more on that same day, was an act that will live in infamy.
The Israeli government's characterization of these victims as "terrorists" is both disgraceful and dangerous. It is disgraceful because it intimates those of any age, who throw themselves at a fence in protest (they had no weapons to use) can be classified as terrorists and summarily executed. It is dangerous for the same reason. Consider the precedent the State of Israel is setting for the rest of the world. Is it now okay for the nations of the world to set up machine guns and snipers at protest and mow down unarmed people? Even if those people are spurred on by another group which may have a darker intent? The answer is as obvious as the massacre that Israel executed against the Palestinian people - no, it's not acceptable.
The brutal massacre of unarmed civilians relates in some ways to the Israeli air strikes being conducted in Syria by the same source - the Israeli Army. The common threads are they both: break international law; they're done in the name of Israel's security; and Israel couldn't care less what the international community thinks. In a word, Israel has gone rogue. It now sits outside the family of nations. Certainly is totally supported by the United States government, although I venture not amongst a majority of the American people. It's also supported by Saudi Arabia, which just happens to be the biggest violator of individual human rights in the world, and, like Israel, is conducting an unsanctioned war against one of the poorest countries in the world - Yemen. Those are the countries Israel has locked up, and clearly Israel feels those are the countries it needs to lock up for support.
However, where is the rest of the world? Certainly Turkey, who has a blemished record on human rights all its own, has taken decisive, and in my opinion leadership worthy action against Israel by immediately recalling its ambassador to Israel, and sending Israel's' ambassador to Turkey packing. Turkey may be many things, but when it comes to defending the rights of peoples less able to defend themselves, especially Palestinians, Turkey can be counted on to be there. The European Union, to its credit, stood against the Americans at the UN and demanded an independent investigation. The Palestinian Authority itself took the strongest move, and the most effective move, by filing a complaint with the International Court of the Hague against Israel today. The Palestinian government only joined the International Court in 2015, and had been persuaded by the US not to file charges on previous occasions, however this time is different. This time the US has lost its influence with the Palestinians, and now Israel faces the prospect of an international war crimes trial - in my opinion well over due.
We simply cannot tolerate Israel, or any other country, committing wanton murder upon unarmed civilians as they protest. It is unacceptable to every value we hold as civilized people living in the 21rst century. In many ways it is incredible that a people so violated, and so persecuted by the Nazi regime of Germany would in turn persecute another in such a violent and indiscriminate way. It boggles the mind. One of the key lessons of the evil that was Nazi Germany surely is that barbarism against people, particularly identifiable (or unidentifiable) groups can never be allowed to happen again. The Palestinians are in every way deserving of this protection now. The Israeli people should know better. It is after all the primary responsibility of the Israeli people to confront their own government when it acts in such a brutal fashion. The international community must, and will, act as well, but surely the Israeli people won't stand for such inhumane treatment of a people already scattered to the four winds - it was not long ago the Jewish people were scattered to those same winds without a home of their own.
What is done is done now. The dead are buried. The thousands of wounded, from the last few weeks of protest, lie at home or in hospitals contemplating life ahead as amputees or orphans, or what have you. The Israeli Prime Minister stands defiantly in the face of the civilized world, his chin firmly in the wind (a lot like former Italian dictator Mussolini), as the Israeli Army continues to "operate freely" in the air space and on the ground in sovereign countries like Syria and Lebanon. Something has very much changed though this week. Israel's slaughter of the Palestinians has cost Israel any moral authority or high ground it thought it may have had. It is now under scrutiny. It may find itself as a war criminal in the Hague. It may find itself boycotted, or even sanctioned. Certainly its reputation will be down there with the Apartheid government of South Africa, or the murderous Croats, Serbs and Muslims from the former state of Yugoslavia who killed each other as if they were animals and not humans. This is the ground Israel now sits on. Perhaps not ground. Perhaps ice. Thin ice.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Thu, 22 Mar 2018 23:48:00 +0000
As sad, and painful, as it is to contemplate, let alone say, it appears the West is going to war with Russia. Yes Russia. The firing of US National Security Advisor McMaster today, and most significantly his replacement with John Bolton point to a direct confrontation against Iran. Bolton has always advocated war with Iran, but never really been in a position to make good on the threat. Now he has been invited to join US President Trump's cabinet - a cabinet already dominated by US Generals (for the most part retired). Trump now has what any clear analysis would point to - a war cabinet.
In a game of one-up-man-ship, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has been blowing the proverbial bridges between Russia and the western world to pieces in the last several weeks with comments that have really been beyond the pale. He suggested that Russian President Putin was the person that gave the go ahead for the attempted assassination of a former Russian spy in England. He then absolutely blew that out of the water by claiming yesterday that holding the World Soccer Cup in Russia was akin to Hitler's 1936 Olympics. This last point I personally took huge exception to, because the fact is the 25 million or so Soviets that died actually fighting Hitler saved England fro German invasion - an invasion that England would have lost hands down. In truth, Johnson might just as well of accused modern day Israel of being a Nazi state. That's just how bizarre Johnson's attack on Russia was. And perhaps more importantly in the scheme of things, how incendiary the attack was.
What is becoming clear is that the US, and its western allies, are laying the groundwork for a massive war, perhaps a world war, with Eurasia and its allies in the Middle East. With the appointment of Bolton on the same day as Trump signed the first trade action against China (and he emphasized it was the first of many) the signs are very clear. The West is going to war with the East. The likely initial targets are Syria, and Iran. Any attack on Iran is a declaration of war on Russia. Iran after all is not just an important ally to Russia, but it sits right on the border with Russia. In other words, Russia would be pulled into such a war out of self-defence if for no other reason.
Bearing Russia's position in mind, think back to last week when Russia announced a number of new generation weapons it stated were untouchable by Western anti-missile capabilities. It is quite obvious that Russia is attempting to dissuade the West from its intended push against one of Russia's most strategic interests - Iran. It's also quite evident from Trump's gestures today that he is completely unmoved by Russia's message. That can only mean one thing - we are going to war. When I say we, I mean the West. As someone who has served, and the son of a World War II veteran I am disgusted by Western aggression toward Eurasia. Yes, I said Western aggression. Have a look around at all the conflicts going on. They're all going on around Russia's or China's backyard - not so much in the West...
Nobody knows for certain how this will play its deadly hand out. One thing is for certain, scrapping of the Iran Nuclear Agreement appears imminent. Also, a reigniting of the Saudi/Iran conflict is sure to follow. The West will need an easily understandable excuse to attack Iran, and that can only be one of three things really: an attack on Israel; coming to the aid of Saudi; or a North Korea style action against Iran having a nuclear weapon once the aforementioned agreement is unilaterally cancelled.
This won't be a picnic for the West though. Leave a direct conflict with Russia and China out of the equation for the moment. Consider that a Saudi/Iran conflict, or an Israeli/Iran conflict would have the affect of tripling oil prices over night. Then consider a massive sell off on the stock market. Factor in the US Federal Reserves increases in its over night lending rates. All these things, and quite a few economic problems not mentioned here, would plummet the Western economies into a cataclysmic spiral. The markets are very jittery as it is, sensing as they do that things have gone quite far off the tracks. Many people have said to me that such an economic collapse would cause Eurasia to fall as well, but I always answer that statement like this: "Remember in 2008 when the market collapsed? China sent 250 million people home to their villages, without a job, and that was that. There was no revolt, or any social turmoil. If that happened in the US or any Western economy, there would be civil insurrection almost over night. Therein lies the difference. While China would be hurt, it can sustain the blow. The Western world cannot. In other words, a war of economic attrition."
I don't know if there is anything the ordinary citizen can do to forestall this madness - as one American recently said to me: "all I can do is vote". But, I suggest if you like the world in one piece and you are concerned about the end of humanity, get out and say something. Be accountable to yourself, to humanity, and the world. Don't be a sheeple.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Sun, 04 Mar 2018 17:28:00 +0000
A strong Russia, or perhaps a strong Eurasia, is in the interest of a peaceful world. That may not be the most politically correct position to take as a writer in the West, but I'm convinced of it. Growing up in the Cold War era wasn't easy on the nerves as the great powers from each side starred each other down, but with age comes wisdom, and for me that means an unshakeable belief that nations are people - people are possessed with "want" - and want creates tension. In other words, we as a species aren't happy unless we can control and consume everything we choose, and when we choose it.
Enter modern day Russia. Enter Putin. Ostensibly, Vladimir Putin is serving the function of President of Russia, but in the bigger picture his role (and responsibility) is far greater than that. He, and Russia, are the major force behind a greater Eurasia. You can call it the "Silk Road" or whatever you like, but in reality Eurasia represents a deterrent to American unilateralism (or domination if you like). Putin's job has been to use oil money to rebuild Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union, and he has done so with great discipline. The question, however, is whether he can place Russia in the shoes of the Soviet Union and re-establish a multi-polar world. That question is both burning and unanswered.
Just like most things in life, Putin's great strengths are also in many ways Russia's great weaknesses. On the one hand, Putin is a master of the concept "don't use a hammer to kill a fly", but on the other hand he is failing to realize that great statesmanship may necessitate the use of a hammer to send a message to the rest of the flies. In other words, a taking of one's place with authority. His decision to allow Russian athletes to compete at the Olympics while Russia itself was humiliated as a sort of "non-country" is a case in point. Putin had all sorts of reasons for sending his athletes, but he failed his country horribly by doing so. A great power, or even just a self-respecting power, does not allow other nations to disrespect its colours. That is as old as humans' presence on this earth. Yet, Russian athletes were subjected to just that in South Korea. It was the Russian men's hockey team that refused to allow that humiliation to taint them, yet their "unlawful" singing of the Russian national anthem was more an act of defiance than a proclamation. That is a key difference. Great nations do not commit acts of defiance, because to do so is to admit they are unequal - as defiance is the act of the weaker while principled decision is the role of the strongest.
It's important to note, and their must be many in Russia that would agree with this, that a country is meant to be run as a country and not an intelligence agency. Putin, out of necessity and likely habit, has run Russia like an intelligence agent - harkening on his old career no doubt. While those skills may have been well placed in placing Russia back to a position of strength, they now hold Russia back from its position as a great power, and without Russia being a great power America is free to continue its relatively unopposed world rule. The best current example of that is Syria.
Syria is really more of a Putin failure than it is an American success. Putin is deathly afraid of "another Afghanistan". Afghanistan rings in the Russian ears as Vietnam rang in American ears before Ronald Reagan. Reagan, however, used his popularity to move the American people past the Vietnam era, and pushed them into global military supremacy. Think what you will of Reagan, but that was an act of great leadership. Unfortunately, it appears Putin is not as confident in his ability to lead the Russian people past their Afghanistan mindset and into their place as an equal super power. Instead he prefers to sit himself, and Russia, in the shadows of international conflicts. His approach is that of an experienced intelligence officer - careful, targeted, and effective. What's wrong with that you might say.
It boils down to this: It's a totally predictable weakness. Great nations make great gestures. The prerequisite of a great nation status is that you will fully commit to the defence of your allies. Now just this week Putin claimed he would do just that, but it's been taken as just talk. And he has often wondered publicly why the West doesn't listen to him. Well the answer is quite simple - they don't respect him. Talk is cheap. The willingness to sacrifice is strength. Putin has not proven by action that he is willing to sacrifice for hos allies or even his country (ie. the recent Olympics). He's going along to get along. Sure Russia has intervened with primarily safe air force assets to stop the overthrow of Assad in Syria, but what else has it accomplished? Syria sits divided, with a now dug in American military presence insuring it remains that way. Instead of taking decisive military action at the very beginning of the conflict, which in this case would have meant sending armed divisions into Syria back in 2013, Putin took the least costly option possible and now faces a direct confrontation with the US to make Syria whole again. Ditto for Ukraine - another frozen conflict and another broken ally.
Indeed, the answer to Putin's public ruminations about the West not listening to his dire warnings lies in his mirror. When unfettered strength has been called for he has used measured responses rather than decisive strength. He has failed to set the tone that would demand respect. You don't pick your battles as the leader of a great nation. Rather, you forcefully engage those that bring battle to your doorstep. If it's war then it's war. If it's peace then it's peace. Israel is a good example of this. The reason the world listens to Israel is because they know that Israel will act - and forcefully so. There is no such feeling now for Russia. That lack of respect is something that is severely undermining the idea of a multi-polar world, and without a multi-polar world then why does Russia even matter? For Putin, the person who is in place at this time in world history to make it happen, the mission is forget your KGB mentality and be a great statesman of a great power.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Wed, 08 Nov 2017 02:53:00 +0000
Make no mistake, the ongoing purge in Saudi Arabia is not about corruption. If you believe that, well, leave your tooth under a pillow for the tooth fairy.The purge is about one thing, and one thing only - power. Specifically, for the power of Mohammed bin Salman. The only questions to be answered is why the power grab, and why now?
The reason why: Saudi Arabia is about to go to war with Iran. There is no doubt that Salman, or MBS as he is known, has been conducting an aggressive covert war against Iran for years now. And, when I say Iran, I mean the Shiite. It's a blood feud going back thousands of years, and both sides take it very seriously. However, until now, Saudi Arabia and Iran have been able to avoid direct war with each other by sponsoring mini-wars with client states - like Lebanon, Syria, and the like. Why is that changing now? The Saudis are losing.
Saudi Arabia's military intervention in tiny Yemen, along with its (and MBS's) staunch ally the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has become a disaster. Not only have the Saudis failed to defeat the Houthis (Shia), but they have lost immense prestige and influence in the Arab world and elsewhere for the failure. What they have achieved is the starvation of hundreds of thousands in Yemen, vast swaps of destruction in Yemen cities, and a massive cholera epidemic affecting hundreds of thousands of Yemen's people. What they have not achieved is any decisive, or otherwise, defeat of the Houthis. Rather than withdraw from this situation, Saudi Arabia just implemented a land, air, sea blockade of the tiny country. By any standard, Saudi Arabia's action in Yemen have been not just a war crime, but a crime against humanity. Yet, you would never hear a peep about it in the western press, or in western houses of parliament.
In addition to the massive failure in Yemen, Saudi Arabia's covert war in Syria has literally blown up in its face. Depending on which organization you believe, hundreds of thousands have been killed and maimed in Syria during the last four or so years, but the result has been abstract failure. While much of Syria lays in ruins, particularly the larger cities outside Damascus, the Syrian government itself was saved by direct Russian military intervention. Saudi Arabia attempted to bribe the Russian government into staying out of Syria by promising to hold terrorists back from attacking the Sochi Olympics - at least that is what was presented in the Russian media. Having failed to convince Russia that way, the Saudis decided to conduct an oil war against Russia. Specifically, they flooded the oil market with product and then refused to freeze or cut back production bringing the price down as low as $30 US a barrel in an all-out effort to destroy Russia's resource based economy. It failed. Instead of crippling Russia financially, the Saudis blew their own legs off, consolidated the Russia-China oil relationship, and severely discredited themselves among oil producing nations.
The common theme to all of MBS's covert and overt actions has been failure. It has become quite obvious that the US and Israel, both the powers behind MBS's moves, have lost patience with the Saudi's attempts to reverse Iranian influence in the Middle East. I say "reverse" because Iran has been present in Hezbollah (Lebanon), Syria, and Yemen for years. Therefore, it's quite obvious that MBS is not responding to any "new" Iranian aggression or threat, but rather simply taking on Iran as a regional actor. In other words, MBS is the aggressor. And by relation so is the US and Israel. There is no better evidence of that relationship than the recent meeting Jared Kushner, son-in-law of US President Trump and well connected member of the Jewish establishment in the US, with MBS just prior to the current purge within Saudi Arabia. In case that doesn't satisfy you, then please refer to Trump's own Twitter remarks where he states MBS "knows what he's doing".
In the nutshell, MBS, with the overt backing of the US and covert backing of Israel, took almost complete reigns over the Saudi state for the purpose of going to war with Iran. MBS's statement most recent statement that Saudi Arabia was in a "state of war" with Lebanon is just the first step. It also jives perfectly with Israel's recent bombings of Lebanon and Syria, and matches the Israeli government's position on Hezbollah to a tee. Unfortunately it smells of desperation. With the war all but lost in Syria, and quagmire in Yemen, MBS is left with one option only - go after Iran itself. There are likely a few ways such a war can play out.
Before the US invaded Iraq, a Sunni-controlled buffer existed between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As I've often said, the only real result of the US invasion of Iraq was the ability of the Iraqi people to elect their own Ayatolla. Now Iraq is dominated by Shia, and thus Iranian, influence. So, bottom-line is this, if Saudi Arabia wants to get at Iran they'll have to do it through Iraq. Iraq and Iran are now strong allies - they're fought together to liberate Iraq from ISIS, and they'll keep fighting together to do the same in Syria - namely against the Kurds. Not to put too fine a point on it, but within the last month or so MBS has made it clear a war with Iran won't be fought on Saudi soil - so there's a process of elimination there.
So if you want to know why MBS has managed to clear the decks of all distractions in Saudi, the answer is that he is going to war with Iran directly and wants complete control of the apparatus of state to do so. If you wonder why now, the answer is he intends to go to war very soon. He has the complete backing of the US, and has given his own green light to Israel taking on Hezbollah in Lebanon - likely simultaneously. No question all of this smells like "Plan B", but we can all see what has happened to "Plan A".
What is key in all of this to remember is what aims all this serves. The world-wide economy is in a state of stagnation - essentially. Central banks have failed to create any real inflationary pressures that might allow them to raise interest rates. Oil is similarly stuck in the post-Saudi oil warfare blues. My feeling is there is a perception among those up high that a massive war in the Middle East will cause inflation to skyrocket world-wide. Saudi would theoretically benefit from a huge price increase in oil - as would the US. Russia's southern border, visa-via an Iranian defeat, would be massively exposed which of course is a major win for the US. Which brings me to a final point-Saudi's partial privatization of its huge state owned oil firm. Does MBS really want to stir Saudi Arabia on a post-oil course and diversify its economy? Or, is he raising a war chest to fight a to-the-death war with Iran? My bet is the latter. A full on war with Iran will likely triple the price of oil, so the Saudis will still get their much loved money, but they need cash to fight a big war, and their failed oil war has left them near a recession. Is it any wonder Trump encouraged Saudi Arabia via Twitter to conduct that initial offering on the New York Stock Exchange - hours before the purges started?
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Mon, 09 Oct 2017 22:24:00 +0000
Let's be honest with each other here, Bitcoin is more of a home science experiment gone amok than a legitimate form of currency. In fact, Bitcoin far more resembles a classic Ponzi scheme than it does a currency, or a monetary system. It was created by a phantom figure known as Satoshi Nakamoto, whose identity has never been confirmed. The Japanese translation of his name roughly equates to "Central Source Wisdom (or Reason) in Japanese.
The basics of Bitcoin resemble a version of a video game you might play from your PlayStation. To enter you must get a "wallet". To create wealth you must "mine" Bitcoin. The mining process was easier at the beginning of the Bitcoin system - known as the "Genesis Block". However, the Bitcoin program was designed to make mining more and more difficult as more and more people joined the process. It has become so difficult that many groups of Bitcoin 'miners" have joined together in pools to share rewards, rather than strike out on their own and have nothing to show for it after months of work. Hence, the Ponzi scheme nature of Bitcoin. Easy money early, but as the pyramid grows the easy money gets to be less and less. Imagine yourself playing a simple video game that has you set up mines here and there, and transporting the "product" back to your fort. As your product grows you can cash it in for stronger fort walls, better soldiers, etc. You get the idea. Essentially, this rather basic concept is the Bitcoin concept.
Beyond the video gaming and Ponzi nature of Bitcoin, there are numerous, serious fundamental flaws in the concept. Firstly, and most importantly, Bitcoin is a decentralized currency. In other words, it is not regulated by anything other than a computer program - essentially. There is no governmental control. There is no central authority like a central bank. In this sense, Bitcoin is almost an anarchy currency - with the important exception that every single transaction of Bitcoin is recorded. Fundamentally any currency, whether gold, salt or paper currency, has as its primary objective to regulate the consumption of resources by people. Given that currency regulates consumption by citizens, and citizens belong to nations, and nations control territory, and territory produces resources, it has always been the case that nations have there own currency - or in the case of the European Union a supra-national currency. The one constant feature is these nations, and even the EU, have governments responsible to their citizens for policy, including the regulation of resource consumption. What Bitcoin attempts to do is take away the regulation of consumption from the state, including the responsibility for that regulation, and hand it over to a computer program that is not responsible for its decisions to anyone. A truly bizarre state of affairs for the human race - one which you might have seen in a sci-fi movie from time to time.
The most dangerous concept of Bitcoin is that it is not rooted in value, but rather transactions. In the Bitcoin world, transactions create value. Essentially, it has no intrinsic value. By contrast, gold is a commodity that is very limited in quantity, is physical, and is almost indestructible. What Bitcoin does is actually emphasize the basic fundamentals of our current financial state. The world now runs on debt rather than value. In this way it regulates how much each person consumes. For example, if you want to purchase a boat, but do not have the necessary cash to do so, you must have enough debt room to borrow to purchase that boat. More often than not, in todays world, you have very little physical wealth to back that loan. However, allowing you to buy that boat now, as opposed to when you have enough dollars to do so, allows companies to keep selling, growing, and so on. Bitcoin takes that a step further. Instead of having debt that is measured in dollars, which have now lost most of their value due to unsupported borrowing, a new Bitcoin system will not require any physical constraint to consumption.
Bitcoin represents a new generation of irresponsible economics, designed primarily to serve the individual rather than the collective society. Its inevitable result is the stripping of social constraints on consumption. For instance, medicare may be paid by taxes in one country, but another country may require private payment for the same services. In a Bitcoin world the transactions for such services would be between the doctor and the patient, leaving no room for societal values. In this sense, Bitcoin represents an extreme Libertarian view of the world. After all, if you take Bitcoin at face value, and take it to its logical conclusion, a Bitcoin world would be dominated solely by Bitcoin transactions - the world currency. If this isn't the case why does Bitcoin exist? It's the old "half-pregnant" argument. There is either a recognized crypto currency in the world or there isn't. If there is such an instrument, then the world recognizes that this currency based on a computer program is legitimate. If that is legitimate, then the current currency model must no longer be legitimate. There cannot be two simultaneous currencies in the world - one which is controlled by central banks and one which is not.
Our financial system is, at the moment, is unsupported and unsustainable. It is based on nothing other than debt. China, Russia and a few other countries are trying to reign in consumption of resources by tying the value of currencies to something meaningful and measurable - gold. China has basically banned Bitcoin operations in its country, and that is a wise move from one of the wisest societies on earth. Instead, it is implementing discipline by implementing a gold standard to measure its currency by. Russia is moving in the same direction. Personally, I see the Bitcoin movement as an attempt to circumvent the direction China and Russia have been moving in. It's simply a very poorly veiled attempt to convert the American dollar as the world's main reserve currency to Bitcoin. By doing so the Americans hope to halt the reestablishment of the gold standard which, if implemented on a world-wide basis, would render the US dollar almost worthless and see the Chinese currency become the world's leading reserve currency. No doubt the Chinese see this themselves as they banned Bitcoin.
The current price for a single bitcoin is $6,025.06 or about four times the price of an ounce of gold. All the gold mined in the world, since recorded history at least, could fill three Olympic sized swimming pools. So what makes Bitcoin so much more valuable than one of the least available commodities in the world? The answer is nothing. It's sheer speculation by the same folks that normally run up the stock market. In fact, they are attempting to create a market where one isn't needed. The reason: greed. It's like a new gold rush. Except it isn't gold. It isn't anything but a play on a simple video game that rewards those in early, and leaves the last arrivals holding the bag. Do yourself a big favour, see Bitcoin for what it is - a mirage.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Mon, 02 Oct 2017 17:03:00 +0000
Dear Premier Ball,
I know it's been awhile, and I know I've sworn off writing about Newfoundland and Labrador politics, but some things just can't be left unsaid. I've watched you now for almost two years, and am constantly amazed at how you let the issues that arise beat the bejezuz out of you before you act. Maybe it's the advice your getting (it's bad advice). Maybe it's you being bull headed (I hear you don't like dissent, but who knows). Perhaps it's a sadomasochistic enjoyment of being pummeled before cluing in (I doubt it, but who knows). Bottom line is this Dwight, when you drag your feet on obvious decisions those back biters in your party love it cause it makes you look like a weak leader, and the PCs who caused the problems in the first place love it cause you begin to wear their dirty clothes. Here's how you can turn that all around.
The Muskrat Falls nightmare. Yes, it's a doozy. One of those damned if you do and damned if you don't, cause you wanted political office too badly and now you have to live it, quagmires. The way out is like this: don't put off an obvious political decision until it looks like you're hiding something to cover your own arse. It's called political foresight. If you don't have it, and none of the people around you have it, do yourself a favour and find someone that does. When it comes to the Muskrat Falls inquiry, I've taken it upon myself to give you a free-bee.
First off, it has to be seen as beyond reproach. That's a pretty tough call in Newfoundland - as one very senior judge in Newfoundland once said to me: "If nothing else Mr. Cabana, you have managed to expose ... I'm not sure if this is the right word ... the incestuous relationship between the court and the legal profession here." When every law firm has a finger in the political pie, it is very difficult if not impossible to get a judge to preside over this inquiry that is beyond fairly easy scrutiny. Here's my suggestion: if not a judge from out of province, then try retired Justice Orsborne. He took on Danny Williams over the naming of the court house in Corner Brook so I think you would have a winner there.
Secondly, the terms of reference. It's not much good to have a great judge and then tie his hands with a restrictive terms of reference. Besides, the finger will be immediately pointed at you for trying to sabotage the inquiry before it even starts. To be honest Dwight, having the "departments" craft the terms of reference is a really bad start. The departments have a vested interest in covering their own butts in any inquiry, and you know they were up to their necks in it. Kinda like asking the thief to judge himself. You have to avoid stuff like that. What you need to do here is use your common sense. Muskrat Falls was a "political issue" from day one, and not a "departmental issue". If you want to get at the truth, and you aren't trying to white wash the deal for say a friend, like I don't know, say Brian Tobin, who is a friend of say Danny Williams, then you have an open terms of reference: The legislation that ran up to it; the awarding of contracts; the sale of the former Premier's assets to companies that won the major bids; etc, etc.
While you are at it Dwight, but only if you want to try and calm the waters, you might want to include the government and Nalcor's treatment of dissidents of the project. After all, Liberals are big champions of the Charter, right? Showing that the government is concerned about citizens being silenced and character assassinated by their own government might win you some points amongst the "Known Critics", and hey, they may not be attacking you and your inquiry every five minutes. A degree of bipartisan support never hurts. Being a statesman is never a disqualification for leadership, and hey, you and I both know some Liberals are sharpening their knives in the shadows. So do yourself a monumental favour, and make this an important part of the inquiry. After all, if a province has healthy dissent its leadership is less likely to pull bone head moves, like, say, Muskrat Falls.
Just an aside Dwight. On the whole forensic audit thing. You might as well announce that too. Just like Scrooge's ghosts, not green lighting this is gonna bury the inquiry, you, and the Liberals. You don't want that right?
Oh ya, one last thing. If you fail to take this free-bee advice, your inquiry is going to blow up into the nightmare your mother warned you about. Imagine it now: the social media, and especially us bloggers, are going to crucify you and the party for covering up for your buddies; radio shows will be giving you a throbbing head ache; and even the press will more than likely join the band wagon. They're all looking for blood - yours, Danny's - you get the idea. Do yourself a favour, Dwight, stop listening to whoever it is that's giving you the shitty advice, probably helping you out the door for their buddies, and do the sensible thing. You can't be faulted for the sensible thing. Come what may.
When does diplomacy become dangerous? The answer: when it is not sincere. Now that may sound a tad naïve, but give me a moment of your time to explain. The purpose of diplomacy is to allow nations to settle differences through talk rather than war. It can work, and it can fail miserably. The most often cited case of diplomacy failing is the now infamous peace plan brokered by British Prime Minister Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler just prior to the outbreak of World War Two, and Chamberlain's famous words "Peace in our time". More often than not diplomacy solves small issues between nations, while the more serious, or strategic issues generally have ended in military action.
In todays world we have all kinds of "diplomacy" happening every day, and all day long, but we also have wars raging during the same period. In fact, diplomacy has been reduced to acts of one-up-man-ship for some theoretical "moral high ground" rather than its intended purpose of resolving disputes. The peril that results from this kind of behaviour leaves mankind with no real dispute mechanism other than war, or the "Law of the Jungle" - might is right and the end justifies the means.
Just recently I had the unfortunate privilege of watching the Israeli military Chief of Staff give a brief interview regarding a possible Kurdish state being formed from the countries of Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. Although that push to create a Kurdish state from these countries is not news, his particular delight in the idea, and his "too cute for words" pronouncement that Israel wouldn't be opposed to such a development, as he smiled into the camera, was in a word shocking. It wasn't shocking because he believed in the idea, but rather it was shocking because he showed no respect for the territorial integrity of the three nations already at war for their survival. In other words, while Israel sits somewhat quietly on the sides of these conflicts, feigning if you will diplomacy, in reality Israel isn't uninvolved or sincere.
Similarly, while the United States sits at one UN Security Council meeting after another, in many cases over Syria, and attempts to diplomatically pressure the Syrian government and its allies, one of its senior Generals recently pronounced that the Syrian army and its allies would not be permitted to cross the Euphrates River to enter Eastern Syria. Take a moment and consider that General's pronouncement. The Syrian army would not be permitted to enter the eastern half of its own country... Where in the rules of international law could this statement be rooted? The idea that a sovereign power cannot exercise sovereignty over its own territory is an affront to the very foundation of nationhood. An exception to this rule can me made in cases of genocide, such as Rwanda, but that is clearly not the case in Syria.
In fact, with the establishment of at least two US airbases in eastern Syria, and according to the Turkish government at least ten US bases of all types in the same area, it is clear that the American government is occupying eastern Syria in order to reinforce the Kurdish annexation of that area in order to establish a Kurdish state. The impending independence vote of the Iraqi Kurds in northern Iraq, an area also heavily aligned with the US government, reinforces the notion. Yet, and here comes the dangerous diplomacy, the Americans continue to posture internationally that they want a peaceful settlement of the Syrian civil war.
The question then becomes, obviously, how sincere are the US diplomatic pronouncements about peace in Syria? The answer quite clearly is they are not serious what-so-ever. That leads to a greater problem: if the US is not serious about its diplomacy in Syria, then is it serious in its diplomacy toward Iran, North Korea, or even Russia and China? Should these countries take American diplomacy seriously at all, or should they rely on military means to resolve their inevitable national clashes of interests? Therein lies the danger of diplomacy without sincerity, and diplomacy that ignores its fundamental foundation which is international law. How nations must act toward other nations.
Real diplomacy has resolved some of the world's most anxious moments. The Cuban missile crisis comes to mind. There was also the fall of the Berlin Wall. These were crisis that, once resolved by diplomacy, gave nations a chance to move forward without the direct use of force. Yes, they had their origins in force, but sincerity and adherence to international law overcame the threat of war, because the nations involved sincerely did not want such a confrontation. That is missing today. On a daily basis we here one side or the other threatening nuclear war, or "limited" nuclear strikes as doable. The aim is not to restore international law, or for that matter international order. The goal quite clearly appears to be the reverse - "strategic interests or national interests" trump (pardon the pun) the law of nations. The same type of scenario the world witnessed just before World War Two and the "peace in our time" declaration. It was not "appeasement" that didn't work in 1939, but the sincerity behind the "appeasement". The exact same conditions exist today. So, yes, dangerous diplomacy is alive and well, and ruling the hearts of men and women who lead their nations, but conveniently toss the lessons of history to the side - at all our peril.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Thu, 10 Aug 2017 12:18:00 +0000
There are only so many coincidences in politics, and even less so in international politics. Today we stand on the precipice of a war with China - all the coincidences point to it.
The Indian military's move into tiny Bhutan, which is located between India and China, is the latest hostile act between the two neighbors. The Indian army allegedly moved troops into the western part of Bhutan at the request of Bhutan's government in order to halt Chinese road construction on what it considers to be its sovereign territory. Each side has its own view of who's territory or claim is the truest, but the bottom line is China now has a mounting, perhaps imminent conflict on its southern border with India. As the Indian deployment in Bhutan remains ongoing, both sides have assembled forces on the border waiting to engage each other should the need rise.
The South China Sea
China's claim to the South China Sea has caused rifts with its neighbors - many of them in fact. From a purely legal point of view, China's claims to the Sea are out of whack with international law which delineates maritime boundaries between nations. The only possible way China can legitimately claim the South China Sea is to prove its has been a part of China. However, putting the legitimacy of the claim aside for the moment, let's take into account what is happening "on the ground" there. The United States navy has been conducting "freedom of navigation" drills, one tiny frigate at a time, in the Sea for months now - three since Trump became president of the US. In addition, the US has mounted aerial challenges to China's claim with mainly electronic surveillance aircraft. These challenges have been met with intercepting Chinese jet fighters. The naval challenges have not been met on the seas to any extent.
Taiwan has been a thorn in the side of China since anti-communist forces retreated to the island after the Chinese civil war. The US, in order to keep the peace presumably, has respected the "one China" policy that views Taiwan as essentially a part of China. However, that has not stopped the US from selling massive amounts of arms to Taiwan, and formally guaranteeing Taiwan's independence from China - essentially a country to country defence treaty. That policy hasn't changed under Trump. Instead, the Trump administration caused a furor when it suggested it may not recognize the long standing "one China" policy. It quickly changed its mind when China became enraged with the suggestion. However, the US did continue to sign multi-billion arms deals with Taiwan for the latest in military hardware.
By far the most pressing issue between the two super powers is that of North Korea. Having been levelled by the US air force during the Korean War of the 1950's, North Korea seems completely unprepared to surrender its nuclear weapons, and/or nuclear program. It claims self-defence, and views the massive military exercises between the US and South Korea as evidence of an ongoing hostility toward it. And on it goes. What has been completely lost in this whole conflict, at least in the mass media and therefore with most of the general public, is that China and North Korea have a "NATO-like" defence treaty known as the Sino-North Korean Mutual Aid and Cooperation Friendship Treaty. The treaty was signed in 1961, renews every 20 years automatically, and Article 2 requires each side to come to the defence of the other in case attacked by an enemy or coalition of enemies. In other words, war with North Korea means war with China.
Now, there can be no doubt that the US government is fully aware of China's obligations to North Korea, yet the US is dramatically escalating the conflict with North Korea. US President Trump has even gone so far as to threaten North Korea with "fire and fury the world has never seen". What the US government is conveniently leaving out of its pronouncements is that, should it attack North Korea, it will immediately be at war with China. That's a revelation that may well alter any war licence the American people might grant their politicians. After all, it is questionable whether North Korea poses a serious threat to the existence of the US, but there is no question that China could end that existence via nuclear war - at least there shouldn't be.
Connecting the Dots
The pressure being placed on China at multiple fronts is very similar to the pressure being placed on Russia at multiple fronts. One similarity is these areas of conflicts are on China's and Russia's borders for the most part - with the exception of Syria. Just this week the top US military types were claiming "thousands would die", but those thousands would be in North Korea and not the United States. So, it seems safe to say, that the deliberate US strategy is to engage China and Russia, in an aggressive fashion, on those countries borders. A second similarity is the deployment of anti-ballistic missile systems by the US on both Chinese and Russian borders. In the case of China, the THADD system set up in South Korea to nominally defend it against ballistic missile attack from North Korea. In the case of Russia, the construction of a "missile shield" in former Soviet bloc countries to thwart potential Iranian missiles. These deployments, however, clearly effect the ground based retaliatory measures either China or Russia could take in the event of a nuclear war - back to the whole only so many coincidences thing.
Just in case you believe all these geopolitical moves have a single thing to do with "saving the world for democracy" or "fighting rouge regimes", pause, take a deep breath, and think. China is eclipsing the US as the dominant world power - a movement that has been happening slowly but surely since the early 1990's. China and Russia are in the midst of building their own world economy - Eurasia, BRICS, and the Silk Road - and this is perceived by the US as a direct threat to its "place in the world". To emphasize the point, in response to this weeks US sanctions against Russia, Russian President Putin announced his country would be dramatically ramping up its "settlement of trades" aim. Essentially, dropping the US currency as the means for trading internationally. China will likely not be far behind. The plain, obvious and simple truth is the move toward wars with China and Russia is all about business. Not the kind of business you often hear about with accusations of the "military industrial complex" looking to make more arms sales. No, not that. It's the war for economic supremacy, or better put the war to maintain economic supremacy. That's all this is about. Don't wrap yourself in a flag over it. If you have to wrap yourself in anything pick a dollar.
My final thought on the machinations happening around the world right now is this: God must be very disappointed in his creation at this time.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Wed, 02 Aug 2017 16:46:00 +0000
Is the United States a world dictator? It's a question I've been wrestling with for some time. Being situated next door to the US, but as a separate country, Canadians get a fairly unique view on the matter. We aren't encumbered, or most of us are not, with wrapping ourselves in an American flag. In fact most Canadians are only quite happy to distinguish themselves from our American cousins to the south. Our foreign policy has typically been based on international law. For example we refused to take part in bombing Syria as we were not invited to do so by the Syrian government or the UN. We refused to take part in the invasion of Iraq for the same reasons. However, under our last Prime Minister, Harper, and apparently under our new Prime Minister, that has somewhat changed. My country has become far more vassal-like which is disturbing and upsetting.
Simply put, the United States has been subjecting the rest of the world to its economic and military will since that cement wall came down in Germany. Slowly at first, but since Bush it has been a dam burst. The US has attacked, militarily and especially financially, countries counter to any semblance of international law. It has become readily apparent that the US considers international law whatever it deems it to be - in other words international law is American law. Nations are defined primarily on their ability to assert their own law within their borders. If a country can't do that it loses sovereignty over areas of its country, and it quickly devolves into a state without borders or control - a failed or non-state.
Some examples of very disturbing, unilateral American actions include: unilateral withdrawal from the anti-ballistic missile defence treaty with Russia; the imposing of economic sanctions against individuals and countries at will; the promotion of escalating tensions by accepting new NATO members of nations that border Russia; encouraging "regime" change in sovereign countries like Venezuela; needlessly provoking conflicts with China, Iran, and North Korea; unilaterally leaving trade agreements like NAFTA or environmental agreements like the Paris Accord; and the list goes on. All these instances have one thing in common though - belligerence. The US government is strutting about the world like a drunk man in a bar, taking swings and pushing people in a desperate quest for a fight.
I realize this sounds harsh, but how else can you credibly describe it? Let's take a moment. When is the last time North Korea, Iran or Venezuela militarily attacked another country - let alone the US? When is the last time Russia, as Russia, invaded another country - let alone the US? How about China? India just invaded a southern part of China which the two sides claim. China has held back from attacking India even though a part of its country has been occupied. That is restraint. What are the odds that the US was behind the scenes on this one? They have a "interest" in dividing the two Eurasian and BRICS partners. That will come out in due time no doubt. The bottom line is the US has not been seriously threatened by any of these countries. Even the US Generals I've listed to have stated North Korea's threats of retaliation (note "retaliation") are not serious given their vast superiority in fire power. So why the aggressive US stance in the world?
Frankly, the US's problems are not military, but rather financial. Russia, China, and Iran are now trading in their own currencies. In short order those trades will be backed by gold bullion - including trades in oil. As these vast markets trade in their own currencies, and/or gold bullion, the US petro dollar, established by Nixon with Saudi Arabia in the 1970's, will be undermined - thus undermining its position as the world reserve currency. In other words, it will no longer be needed in the fastest growing and most important markets in the world. As its demand falters so goes its value, and US dominance at home and abroad. That is really what you are witnessing play out on the world stage right now. It's a very big game of chess to try and preserve the "American century". The goals are quite obvious: alienate Iran from Iraq; alienate Syria from Iran; alienate India from China; alienate Russia from Europe; and eventually alienate China from all the above. A divide and conquer strategy, by any means, to; stop the Eurasian economic block from forming. If the Eurasian block, or the "Silk Road" as China terms it, does not successfully form the threat to the US dollar from gold backed currencies is removed.
The biggest question in the room is this: do the ends justify the means? Or, what does it benefit a man to win the world, but lose his soul? That's a question a lot of American should be asking themselves. What if the US wins? We have a world subjugated into virtual economic dictatorship by the US houses of Congress, the Senate, and the Presidency? Isn't the United States supposed to be the country that was founded on freedom and liberty when it rebelled against... wait fir it ... the dictatorship of the English Crown? Isn't freedom the most defining value most Americans associate with their nationality? Yet, those very same people are prepared to see the rest of the people on this earth denied that same freedom in the name of "American national interest"? That very notion sticks in the back of the throat as a stone too large to swallow.
Yes, the US government is acting as though it were a world dictator. Of that nobody can have any serious doubt. It does so without the concern over the impact it may have on the other nations and their people. It does so without the implied or express consent of those people. It meats out sanctions and military action against nations without regard to the suffering of others. In essence it has become the bully of the world. If you believe that we reap what we sow, then the US may well be in for a rocky road in the near future. Just like those early American patriots that rebelled against an oppressive King, nations capable of fighting back against the thwarting of their sovereign rights will do so. Unfortunately for us all, the result can only be a devastating world war that leaves no part of the earth untouched.
Let's call one world government what it is: Corporate World Government - primarily American Corporate World Government. Now most of us in the world do not have a problem with business, or labour, or profit, etc. We understand that the world only has so many resources, and those resources have to be rationed in a responsible way amongst those of us existing on the planet at any given time. Without those controls, which are supposed to be in the form of national currencies, we would quickly consume what the world could offer and be left without resources for the basics of life. So all that is a given.
However, the key question is what form should the controls placed against us take, and who should be responsible for that control. Whether it be trade, barter, or purchases, we have come to accept that we must contribute in order to receive. The exception to that is welfare policy that is meant to give those unable to contribute a subsistence living, but no more than that. It doesn't seem that the give to get policy in human affairs is in danger. What is in the process of attempting to unfold itself is the "who controls it" part.
You can call them the Rockefellers, the Bilderberg's, the Bankers - they're all the same lot. Through various bodies and mechanisms over decades they have not just influenced governments, but also decided who will participate in governing, what they will implement, and so on. In fact, one only needs to watch the news every night and see the decisions made by our political parties, to realize that those parties are making decisions that clearly benefit other people at the expense of those they are meant to represent. Today that realization, and the revolt against it, can be seen from Greece to the United States, and everywhere in between.
The problem this "group" faces is the innate desire of human beings to be free. Freedom is simply an impediment that needs overcoming to them. Give them credit though, they've been hard at work changing all that. There's the "war on terror" for example. One of the most tried and true ways of getting people to surrender their freedom is to scare the hell out of them. How many times do you think you've seen the World Trade Centre crashed into by planes, and fall into a great heap? Probably thousands of times. It's meant to bend your perspective, to sacrifice your freedom for the "greater good" of security. The simple truth is far more people are killed by drunk drivers on North American freeways than by any crazed terrorists running around creating mayhem, and interrupting your daily visit to Walmart.
Climate change is another big one. Yes the earth is heating up, but let's face it, the earth was heating up well before the advent of the automobile. In fact the earth would have to have been much hotter than it is today at one point, because if it wasn't we would still have three mile thick ice surrounding the entire planet. That's just common sense. Man made activity is adding to global heating, but it's a trend that cannot be stopped by man. The earth is it's own organism. It expands an it contracts due to forces well above the paid grade of man. The expansion, the resulting earthquakes and volcanoes, and the subsequent clouding of the atmosphere will put earth into another ice age regardless of what we do or don't do. That's the real "inconvenient truth". It's been going on for hundreds of millions, perhaps billions of years. However, it's great licence for the above mentioned groups to require national governments to lose further control of governing for the sake of humanity - or earth.
These are what I like to call "motherhood strategies". The first characteristic of a motherhood strategy is that it cannot be defined. In other words, it is without end. The war on terror cannot end, because the definition of terrorism continues to grow to the point that any country who stands against the desired outcome of the groups previously mentioned is classified as a "regime". Now that "regime" has more than likely been elected by its citizens, and that "regime's" leader was likely elected with a greater voter turnout and a higher percentage of vote than your local Western government, but don't bog me down with details - it's a regime cause we say it is. But it doesn't end there. The "regime" has little other regimes as friends and they also sponsor, you guessed it, "terrorism". And so it goes, and so it goes. The wheel never stops, and neither do the wars, and therefore the necessity to sacrifice "freedom for security". Ditto for climate change. It never stops till the place is iced over again.
The second characteristic of "motherhood strategies" is their unassailable truth. You can't argue against a "war on terror", because then you would be arguing to let the terrorists take over the whole place. In effect, you'd be aiding them in their quest, and so it goes. Nobody can argue terrorism is a good thing, so nobody can argue that a war on it isn't a good thing. An unassailable truth. Ditto for climate change. It doesn't seem to matter that climate change is part of the natural evolution of the earth, coming and going as the earth regulates itself. No, the human species must not add to that which is already occurring, otherwise it will be disaster. Well, strangely enough, that "disaster" is coming whether we all ride bikes and hug trees. Sure we can take steps to make ourselves feel, as my wife would say, "warm and fuzzy" about ourselves, but is that justification for global treaties that tie the hands of national governments? Again, you can't ague that either another ice age or a melt down is a good thing, so it's an "unassailable truth".
The third characteristic of "motherhood strategies" is they require sacrifice of sovereignty and therefore freedom. If you consider that a nation is but a summation of its people, and if you consider that those people granted their government the right to govern them within certain parameters (ie: a Constitution), then you must agree that those people's freedom can only be taken away to the extent, and in the fashion, prescribed by their national Constitution. The one world folks portray these constitutional restraints as archaic. Boulders in the way of progress. Small mindedness in the greater scheme of things. If a measure, like a war on terror or a war on climate change, contains the necessity to sacrifice your constitutional rights for world "necessities" then it is a motherhood strategy. After all, you must be a very selfish person if you don't want to surrender your right to privacy, etc for the betterment of all right?
As international trade agreements, climate agreements, and even military alliance agreements continuously expand their ever encroaching shadows over our world, we must really take a moment and ask ourselves: "Who does this benefit?" The answer to that is very, very clear - multi-national corporations. It's gone beyond the point of obvious to the realm of certain. Ask yourself this question: Does my government make decisions that make me believe they're dancing to another's tune? Then ask yourself this very important question: Why? As our earth divides daily between the forces of Eurasia and the Western world, and the separate visions they reflect, we need to decide as people whether or not corporations are worth losing our world for. Do they reflect our values as our Constitutions are meant to? Do they guard our rights and freedoms as our Constitutions are meant to? Do they mean anything at all to us?
Omar Khadr was not a terrorist then, and isn't one now. He was never a terrorist. Yes, I get that might leave some frothing, but the truth needs to be spoken.
At the age of ten Khadr was taken, along with other male family members, by his father to live in a Taliban ruled Afghanistan. Then 911 happened. At the time the Taliban ruled most of Afghanistan, with a small faction known as the "Northern Alliance" fighting a losing battle with them for that control. Post 911 the US government demanded the Taliban government of Afghanistan, yes I said "government of Afghanistan" because that is what they were in 2001, hand over 911 mastermind Osama Bin Laden to them. The Afghan government refused on the traditional Islamic grounds that he was an "invited guest" in their country, and they were therefor obligated not to hand him over. At least that's what they said.
Bottom line is that didn't wash with the US and a small coalition of countries, and under a UN mandate they went to war with Afghanistan. It was a war. Not a policing action. Not an anti-terrorist operation. So let's agree on that point, because it is important. The United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and others went to war with the ruling power in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, US President George Bush, and many US politicians, claimed that if you supported the terrorists you were in fact a terrorist yourself. That was pretty convenient for the US government as they then treated Taliban (then the Afghan Armed Forces) as enemy combatants, or more accurately "unlawful combatants".
In reality, the captured Taliban forces in Afghanistan were really prisoners of war. By skirting the use of the proper term "prisoner of war", and by housing these people in Cuba, the US was able to skirt international and for that matter their domestic law. That allowed the US to, as former US President Obama said: "we tortured a few folks." Bush and company referred to it as "enhanced interrogation".
On July 27, 2002, Omar Khadr was involved in a battle against US Delta force soldiers. A battle for his life. One small battle, or more accurately "fire fight" in the midst of a far larger war. He was severely injured with two massive bullet exit wounds to his chest, and a lost eye - among other injuries. In the midst of the chaos he is alleged to have thrown a grenade that killed a US medic, and cost another US serviceman an eye. For this act he was charged with a war crime. But was it a war crime? Battle is chaos no matter what you might think. The old saying that the plan only lasts as long as the first contact with the enemy holds true. In order for this act to be considered a war crime he would have to be deliberately attempting to kill a marked medic. In any case, whether he did or didn't commit a war crime is not the issue here.
The issue here is whether he is a "terrorist" or a "prisoner of war". Certainly the US medic who saved his life on that day did not consider him as a terrorist:
"This is a human life. This is war. This is something that most people can't fathom, and they want to be real quick to give an opinion just because it makes them feel good about themselves ... but there's more to this story than just talking points."
The Canadian Press story then goes on to summarize Donnie Bumanglag's take on the circumstances:
"At the time, he is clear that Speer and Morris were grown men who had signed on the line to become elite professional soldiers, knowing the risks of their jobs. On the other hand, Bumanglag also makes it clear he empathizes with the young Canadian who was taken by his father to another country and thrown into an ideologically motivated war over which he had no control."
You can't put it any more truthfully, or correctly then that. You can read Donnie Bumanglag, the medic who saved Khadr's life,
Take a moment and have a good long look at our world today - specifically our scientific world. I've found myself doing that quite frequently as of late. We appear to be on the verge of a new technological revolution that is the modern day equivalent of the personal computer revolution of prior decades. Almost suddenly, artificial intelligence has sprung upon us in a great wave of media hype. Self-driving cars, robots (yes even sex robots), robotic weapons of war are all on the verge of joining such miracles of modern know how as the drones that now dot the earth doing the nasty business of killing people from a video terminal. Brave new world indeed.
These technologies all have intended consequences, but they also have many unintended consequences - at least to the normal mind. Take for instance cellular phones. Two decades ago the mobile phone, as it was known, was strictly a tool for well off business people to remain in contact while literally mobile. It's use then exploded when much cheaper versions were marketed to the public. They became popular, but it wasn't until those cellular phones became mini-computers that owning one became a must. Now every child, and every adult has one. Even the poorest populations, the least able to afford such luxuries (like India for example) find a way to get them and become "connected". All these years later humans have gone from being "erectus" to becoming "hunched". Hunched meaning that whether walking, sitting, or even communicating people have their heads and necks bent down toward the source of their interest - the "smart" phone screen.
There is an ominous warning for all of us from the cellular revolution - we are changing. Not the sort of change that elevates the human spirit, but rather the sort of change that isolates humans one from another. That's perhaps the best way to characterize the effects of our current technological dependency - "human isolation". Take that a step further. Consider what the technological community has in store for us. Self-driving cars for instance. Why do we need self driving cars? We have all the necessary skills to drive our own cars - at least most of us. Perhaps the reasoning is us humans will have more time then to focus our attention on other tasks - like starring endlessly into our smart phones...
The real kicker though has to be the personal robotic evolution. You may have noticed that the biggest media splash on robotics has been reserved for sex robots. Last I checked there were roughly the same number of each sex in most populations, so why the need for robots to do the job? Would it free us from having to have a relationship with our significant other so that we could maintain a normal sexual relationship? Perhaps it will free us from having a relationship with another human at all. A robot for cleaning and housework. A sex robot for that need. And of course cyber space will satisfy the need to communicate and socialize. However, is it really sex to have a one way gratification with a piece of machinery? Is it really independent living when a robot feeds you and cleans up after you? Is it really freedom to travel in a vehicle that drives without you?
Some people will say yes. The more technology the more freedom. The one question these people normally have a hard time answering is: The freedom to do what? Also, freedom at what cost? We don't have to travel to see the world anymore - simply watch tv, or if that's too old fashion, get an app and watch other people do it. There's also things like Google Earth. We don't have to count money anymore, simply press a button on your smart phone and it can count and send it for you. With "artificial intelligence" you won't have to think anymore, so more time to think doesn't seem to be in the equation.
It would seem that technology, present and in the near future, really just has one definite effect on us all: we are becoming much less human. We are in fact becoming more like the machines that are sold to us as making our lives that much easier. That much less stressful. Strange then that modern life is wholly characterized by massive stress throughout the world, and whole masses of people who "just can't find the time" or are "too busy". That's an odd by product of a technological revolution meant to make our lives better isn't it? The rat race, the road rage, the violent crime, the break down of the family and marriages all signal something quite different.
The real and true effect of all this technology, soon to be compounded with much more dangerous evolutions, is the isolation of the individual person from those around him/her. That isolation takes us back to a time before humans gathered into communities from their individual caves. It takes us back to a time when we could not communicate with each other, except perhaps with grunts and groans. It turns us away from human values like compassion, empathy, love, understanding, and the like. In its place it leaves us with rationalization, efficiency, etc. We have become emotionless observers of others framing our existence as a species into the cold calculations of technological dependence. We cannot think for ourselves. We cannot act for ourselves. Unless we have a machine to assist us with it. After all, we now live in a world where we are seriously discussing the "ethical ramifications" of having sex with a machine. Need I say more.
Just as any species can eventually become extinct, mankind is no different. Perhaps it is even becoming arguable that mankind is already extinct, and a "machine-kind" has replaced him in the name of "progress". Perhaps we are now incapable of independent thought, or emotion unless we are prompted to it by some artificial means - and by those that control those means. In that way it seems we have in a sense become the "androids" of science fiction lore. Half human. Half machine. Unable to feel real emotion, or express it, and simply created for efficiency. If we aren't there yet, then we better be very aware of the dangers these new "artificial intelligence miracles" hold for us. We can't afford, as a world, to become any less human than we already are. We can't afford to inherit the earth, but lose our souls. Our souls are what makes us different than any other species. Without that soul we can easily face the same extinction that many species before us have.
The case of Omar Khadr has created a lot of upset in certain circles in Canada. As a teenager, Khadr was spirited off to Afghanistan, by his father, to take up the fight against the US military in that country. Clearly brain washed, Khadr was a 15 year old left by his father to fight a grown man's war. During a fire fight with American troops he stands accused (and convicted in the US) of throwing a grenade that killed a US combat medic. He was captured barely alive and, after having sustained severe wounds, including the loss of an eye, was spirited off to an the Bagram Air base. Here he was treated for his wounds, extensively interrogated, and then extradited to the infamous Gitmo prison in Cuba. That's the gist of the story that most Canadians associate with him.
That back story is not the reason Khadr just received $10.5 million dollars from the Canadian government, along with an official apology. It has absolutely nothing to do with it at all. The reason Khadr was compensated so lavishly in an arbitration settlement by the Canadian government was not to "reward a terrorist", as some politicians and self-interested groups are putting it. Far from it. The reason he received what he got was a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada that the Canadian government had violated his Charter rights by using agents of CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Agency) to interrogate him in Cuba, who then passed that information to their US counterparts, which resulted in him remaining in a situation that not only violated the Geneva Convention, but also the Charter. The reason it violated the Charter was the participation of the Canadian government, against its own citizen, in a process that involved torture and suspension of any and all human rights.
This is from the decision of the Supreme Court of Canada in 2010:
"Canada actively participated in a process contrary to its international obligations and contributed to K's ongoing detention as to deprive him of his right to liberty and security of the person, guaranteed by section 7 of the Charter, not in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice.... The Charter applies to the participation of the Canadian officials in a regime later found to be in violation of fundamental rights protected by international law....There is a sufficient connection between the government's participation in the illegal process and the deprivation of K's liberties and security of the person. The interrogation of a youth without access to counsel, to elicit statements about serious criminal charges while knowing that the youth had been subjected to sleep deprivation and while knowing that the fruits of the interrogation would be shared with the prosecutors, offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth." I found it insightful, given the Supreme Court of Canada's finding in favour of Khadr, to view Khadr's submissions to the Court, which included a very disturbing excerpt from an interview conducted with him by CSIS agents. I place this in here to give the story some balance, and because it sheds a light on why the Supreme Court made the decision it did.
CSIS: You look tired. Okay, so I brought you a burger. It’s very hot though. What’s happening? OMAR: [indiscernible] CSIS: Pardon me? OMAR: … something that’s very important, but I’m afraid to say it. CSIS: Okay, take your time and could you do me a favour today while we’re talking? Just make sure you talk nice and loud, so I can keep that air conditioning on so we’re cool. OMAR: There’s something that I’m scared to say. DFAIT: You don’t have to be scared of anything from us. CSIS: What are you scared to say? OMAR: Promise me you’re going to protect me. CSIS: Why don’t you just tell us what it is you have to say? OMAR: Promise me you are going to protect me from the Americans. CSIS: From the Americans? OMAR: Yes. CSIS: Okay, what’s going on with the Americans? OMAR: Promise me that you are going to protect me if I tell you. CSIS: Well we can’t protect you if we don’t know what it is that you have to say directly. OMAR: Promise me you’re going to protect me if I tell you. CSIS: Well, the only thing I’ll promise is that I’ll listen to you, and I’ll talk to the Americans for you here. OMAR: And after you go? CSIS: Pardon me? OMAR: And after you go? CSIS: And after I go, then I’ll listen to what you know, then I’ll come back and talk to you again. Make sure everything’s alright. Tell me what’s changed from yesterday. OMAR: I’m scared to tell you. CSIS: Well, I’ll tell you, there’s not much we can do, unless I know what you’re talking about. OMAR: Everything that I said to the Americans was not right, I just said that because they tortured me very badly in Bagram. So I had to say what I said.
The conversation shows, quite clearly, a terrified youth. It is important to remember that.
Now the Conservative Party, and some veterans among others, have spoken out publicly against any financial settlement with Khadr - this group also includes former Prime Minister Harper. Ironically, the Supreme Court found that it was the deliberate actions of the Harper government that led directly, and profoundly to the violation of Khadr's Charter rights. It was the political decision of the then Prime Minister to align himself completely and without hesitation to the American invasion of Afghanistan and other US military foreign interventions. The attitude that prevailed was that when it came to "terrorism" there were no boundaries restraining the western powers and how they responded. The Khadr story is simply a footnote of that policy. Essentially, the Harper government's policy was the end justified the means. That was the US policy as well, which resulted in torture being used against prisoners.
Bottom line is this, the ends do not justify the means. The Charter of Rights enshrines that very view. Our governments in Canada, federal and provincial, have their hands tied by the Charter so as not to violate the freedoms and rights we as Canadians take for granted. Those rights and freedoms are so much a part of who we are as a people that any violation of them is really a violation of us - or that is how it should be treated. Unfortunately, during the ongoing wars in the Middle East, Canadians have become numb in many cases, and fail to respect that people from the areas of war are just that - people. A really good example of this was the recent "celebration" of a Canadian soldier's sniper shot that killed an insurgent in Afghanistan. I was left with the very disturbing impression that Canadians viewed this "achievement" in the same way one might view the killing of an animal in a hunt. It is a reoccurring theme that has somehow permeated our core beliefs since the start of all these Middle Eastern wars - that people from this area are somehow "inhuman" and not viewed with the same humanness as say the soccer mom down the street. The Harper government's treatment fit that billing, and the Supreme Court of Canada saw it in that light.
As Canadians we've been here before. It wasn't that long ago that all people of Japanese ancestry were herded into concentration camps for the duration of the Second world War - in Canada. It wasn't that long ago that Aboriginal people were herded into residential schools - in Canada. We are not as Lilly white and pure as we like to see ourselves. We have a history of sacrificing other peoples rights to suit our own agendas - as ugly and disturbing as that is to admit. Omar Khadr is just the latest case of the ends justify the means. The latest victim. Luckily for Khadr we now have the Charter, which we did not back in the aforementioned cases, and he had recourse. He used that recourse. The Supreme Court of Canada agreed with him, and wholly condemned the federal government's actions.
Mr. Harper, and the rest of the people who believe the end justifies the means, and justice is allocated based on the colour of your skin, have been served a message by the highest court - the days of the ends justify the means are over. Nothing can be more serious for a citizen, other than death, than to have their dignity stripped from them by a government that violates the very code meant to protect them from such actions. It is the social contact of all humans across the planet - we agree to be governed by you within these limits. It's often referred to as a constitution. The federal government violated Khadr's and it paid the price for it. Not enough Canadians stood up against their government to stop it from happening, and so we will all pay that bill. No matter who you think you are, or what you think of another, you are only ever their equal, and the Charter ensures it stays that way. Thank God.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:57:00 +0000
The United States is wrong in Syria, and the Middle East in general. Wrapping naked ambition in the cloak of national interest only serves to accentuate the gross abuse of power it wields there. There is no recognizable high ground, or moral imperative, that the US can trot out to justify its flagrant disregard for the rules of international law and state craft. It has to be said, and it must be said by people of good conscience, that the US is behaving like a barbaric, unrestrained colonial empire from the pages of our world's darkest history.
Having covertly, but obviously, supported the Islamic State in its attempt to overthrow the Assad government in Syria, the US now finds itself in the position of "Plan B". Plan B means upping its support for the Kurds to split Syria in half while green lighting Saudi Arabia and its allies into a coalition directly opposing Iran. In other words, having failed to overthrow Assad, the US is now aiming to make the new battlefield Iran itself. The newly named Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia said as much when he stated the upcoming battlefield would be in Iran and not in Saudi Arabia. In effect, the US has established Saudi Arabia as the attack dog of the Middle East.
Saudi has been very aggressive in its war of regional influence with Iran over the last year. It invaded Yemen after to counter an Iranian-friendly Houthi uprising deposed the Saudi-friendly president of the country. It led an "Arab NATO" exercise of 350,000 troops aimed directly at invading Syria. It has just recently led an economic and geographic blockade of the Iranian-friendly Qatar. On and on it goes. Essentially, the US is now employing Saudi directly in the region, which means Iran will become even more involved in the region, and so it goes. Bottom-line is this, the US is escalating the world's path to war in the Middle East like a child playing with matches in the fire works factory.
This is not a case of Iranian aggressive action against its neighbors. Nor is it the case that Russia is attempting to physically extend its influence or power in the region. The battle ground in Syria is an excellent case in point. The US and its allies were not invited by the Syrian government to militarily intervene in the conflict there. Prior to the Islamic State's armed insurrection in Syria the country was firmly in the grip of Russian and Iranian influence. That was the status quo, and has been for decades. There was no attempt by Syria to expand its influence. In fact, years before, Syria completely withdrew its military from Lebanon. In other words, there were no grounds for any country becoming involved militarily on Syrian soil.
Israel, which has up to recently been fairly prepared to remain on the sidelines while its enemies killed each other, has become more and more involved in the regional fight. Its air force has conducted numerous attacks on the Syrian army in the last year with apparent impunity. Furthermore, and in a sign of things to come, its ministers have made comments insinuating a coming invasion of Lebanon to take on Hezbollah - another Iranian ally in the region. Hezbollah has not been conducting any military assaults on Israel, but it has been an invited military ally of Assad in the current conflict.
It is a fair conclusion that prior to Russia's direct military intervention in Syria, with Iran and Hezbollah in tow, that the US, Israel, and Saudi were prepared sit back and covertly support the various Islamic militant groups that were tearing Syria apart. However, after the Russian led alliance stopped, and then reversed, theses groups battle field successes, all bets were off. It is all a matter of record now. No imputation of fact or speculation is required.
While the US has grossly abused its power and position to drive the world to the brink of war, the Russians are not without fault - just for the opposite reason. The Russians have been far too uncommitted for a country that purports to lead the bloc which seeks a multi-polar world. Russia is failing both Syria and its vision of a multi-polar world by not forcefully coming to the aid of an ally in crisis. By the way, China could also be included in that criticism. Both Russia and China have very large militaries, and both have the capacity to employ those forces far from home. Before now, well before now, the Russians should have deployed forces on a divisional level to assist in the destruction of militant groups in Syria.
Unfortunately, for regional and world stability, the Russians have decided to give Syria piece meal assistance rather than decisive support. Instead of a division or two of Russian troops rolling over the militant groups, and ending the war there swiftly and decisively, the Russians committed some air force support, but left control of the ground to Syria's army and Hezbollah. A minimal risk scenario for Russia, but not the actions of a world power intent on creating a multi-polar world. In effect, a timid response. That has left the door open to the US on the ground in Syria, and the US has taken advantage of that.
Less than a year ago there were essentially no US forces on the ground in Syria. Today the US has established at least one base, if not more, in Kurdish held Eastern Syria. Ditto for the southern border of Iraq and Syria, where the US has now established a base with missile artillery that has an effective range of 300 km. Now, instead of the Russians having to simply rid Syria of militant ground forces, they must engage American forces directly to free Syria from uninvited guests. The prospect of having to engage US forces that have invited themselves onto Syrian territory raises the spectre of a Russian-American direct conflict.
Make no mistake, the current crisis in Syria and now the Middle East in general, is as much a fault of Russian inaction as it is of US intervention. This cannot be overstated. The Americans no longer take Russian threats over Syria seriously, because Russia has failed to adequately respond to US and Israeli strikes against the Syrian armed forces. The US and Israel have been able to impose military action upon a key Russian ally with no consequences whatsoever. This is where the blame for Syria's destruction and the danger for our world meet. A habitually aggressive superpower vs a habitually over cautious superpower creates an imbalance that leads to conflict on a global scale. Russia by its lack of serious military commitment in Syria is for all intense and purposes appeasing the US, and in doing so emboldening the US to go ever further with its plans for the Middle East - and the world in general.
The only solution for the crisis of balance we face in the world is for the Russian and Chinese governments to become resolute in their responsibilities as world powers. That doesn't mean Russia and China should become overly aggressive with their militaries, but a minimum requirement of a super power is to safeguard its weaker allies against the aggressions of another state - particularly another super power state. If Russia and China fail to take decisive action in Syria, and force the Americans out by facts on the ground, it won't be long before we will have the following wars: an Israeli invasion of Lebanon; a Saudi led war on Iran; and God knows what from there. The Russians and Chinese have a responsibility to act so this does not occur - for the world's sake. Balance in world affairs, in line with the rule of international law, must be restored to this place we call home, or the natural consequence may be that none of us have a home anymore.
I said some time ago (years actually) that the United States is facing two choices: war with China; or surrender of its position as global financial king. Two stark choices with no grey area. Why? That answer is a little more complicated.
Since the Berlin Wall fell in the 90's the Chinese have adopted a deliberate policy to out play the Americans at their own game - capitalism. Essentially, the Chinese are mimicking the path the US took to super power status. Firstly, they became very disciplined and kept their cost of production of goods and services to the bare bone, thereby capturing the lion's share of global manufacturing trade. Secondly, they stayed out of wars. Security for China became a gradual building of their military capabilities without the expense of fighting wars in the process. Thirdly, they became a lender to nations all over the world, thus spreading their political and economic influence to the point they are indispensable. Much like the early American policies of industrialization, free trade, open seas, and non-interventionism. Now China is what the US used to be, and the US has become what the British Empire was. We all know what happened to the Empire.
China's dominant financial position globally has allowed it to lead in the development of BRICS, Eurasia, and its own version of the IMF. In other words, the Chinese, along with Russia have turned the world economic, and therefore political, order on its head. The US is now attempting to pivot. US encouragement of Britain exiting the EU is a good example. The US is desperately trying to create a viable trading bloc to counter Eurasia/BRICS. It is apparent that their answer is a British Commonwealth 2.0 - ie: US, Canada, Britain, Australia, etc. In a strange little clue, former Vice-President Biden, after making his final remarks on the make election loss, whispered "God save the Queen" as he walked from a still live mike. The truth is that no combination of countries can stand up to the resources, demographics, etc of the combined Eurasia/BRICS.
The US has had some successes putting dents in BRICS though. Most notably in South America. The pro-Russian leaderships in Brazil and Argentina have been replace by more western oriented leaders. Also, the President of South Africa is under intense pressure to resign, including resignation of his finance minister. So far that hasn't worked, and South Africa has a new finance minister. While these are victories for the US, and have somewhat stymied the Chinese/Russian momentum, they are no where near enough to hobble Eurasia.
The real dent in the Eurasian shield, however, must be made in China. That brings us North Korea - China's proverbial guard dog on its southern border. Trump has offered the Chinese a carrot and stick approach on North Korea. If the Chinese denuclearize North Korea the US will offer it better trade terms and not label it a currency manipulator.(which is closer to blackmail, because either you are a currency manipulator or you aren't) The Chinese, having just seen the stick approach offered to Russia in Syria, are taking the Americans seriously. They have a mutual defence pact with North Korea, as does Russia. An attack on one is an attack on all. That's why 150,000 Chinese troops have been moved to the border with North Korea. Russia has also stockpiled troops on its small border with North Korea. They are there to defend North Korea should it be required, and not to stem refugees as the western media has been playing it.
Meanwhile the Americans are moving a carrier strike group to the shores off North Korea. In addition, new intelligence has a total of two other aircraft carriers joining the group within the next ten days - about the time joint US/South Korean forces finish their massive annual war games. The US also has positioned massive air power at its various bases throughout the region.
The question is: Will all this result in war. The answer is yes. It is not a matter of North Koreas nuclear program, or Syria's "rabid dictator", or Russia's "meddling" in Europe, or China's "sea grab" in the South China Sea. No it's not any of these things. They are just stuff to spin to get the US people worked up and scared. The reason is Empire - either there will be one or their won't. The US simply cannot allow itself to lose at the economic game it set up. The only way to stop that is to create a world war that defeats China and Russia, but mostly China. After that, if there is a world left, the US will redraw the economic rules once again to keep them on top. While China and Russia stockpile gold, either to underpin their currencies or to pay for a major war, the US maintains the same course of ruinous debt, now even moving to strip the only real safeguards from their securities markets - a safeguard designed to stop a repeat of the Great Depression. So, if you've been thinking the world has been on its head, and kind of crazy the last while, well that's a reasonable interpretation of the chaos caused by the moves underway.
Nobody can say with certainty what will happen when the "Great American Armada" approaches North Korea. Traditionally, armadas haven't faired well in this kind of scenario. The North Koreans did give a bit of a hint though. During their massive military parade to honour the "Day of the Sun" the speaker stated North Korea will use its "own style" of nuclear war if necessary. One has to interpret that as an unconventional use of nuclear weapons. It may well be that the missiles and launching platforms paraded last weekend are a bit of a ruse. North Korea is well adept at deception. It may well be something far simpler, which the US may not be able to neutralize easily with their own missiles. Perhaps tunneling or submarines acting as delivery vehicles, rather than missiles. After all, how hard would it be for North Korea to retrofit some of its subs with a nuclear war head making them the delivery vehicles. A sub only has to get so close off shore to detonate itself and destroy an American city without launching a single missile. Ditto for the American Armada. A sub close by detonates and takes the works down. Three aircraft carriers is a real tempting target for them. So are we heading for war in North Korea, and elsewhere? The answer is yes. Unfortunately, the Americans are unable to accept the consequences of being economically outplayed, and are willing to take the whole house down with them. My sole hope is that technological superiority on one side or the other will prevent total waste being wrought over our planet.
It's ironic, in a way, that my country of Canada is today celebrating a bloody victory over Germany during World War I at Vimy Ridge, meanwhile the current world desperately races to repeat a similar but worse slaughter. Sad and ironic.
The United States, hand-in-hand with Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia had planned to take over Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon to erase Iranian influence in the region. Saudi Arabia's job was to take out the Iranian allied Houthi in Yemen. The American and Israelis left the job of Syria to Islamic militants. Lebanon hasn't happened yet, but that will likely be left to the Israelis. That was the plan. Once that was finished the goal no doubt was to turn the sights on Iran itself. All this had the benefit of not just an American dominated and controlled Middle East, but also a relegated and isolated Russia, which in turn would isolate China. A grand strategy if you will.
However, as they say, a plan only lasts as long as its first contact with the enemy. Saudi Arabia, with American assistance, was able to oust the Houthi government in Yemen, but has been unable to proceed much past that. The traditional Houthi lands of Yemen remain in Houthi control and the Saudis are bogged down in a hopeless quagmire. The Sunni Islamic State was unable to capture Iraq as Iran intervened just as they were at the gates of Bagdad. A Sunni victory in Iraq would have brought that country into US control, rather than the current state of Iraq as a Shia friendly government to Iran. As the Islamic State retreated out of Iraq, Russia intervened in Syria. Again, the Islamic State was right at the doorsteps - this time in Damascus. As it became clear to the Americans, that ISIS could not take Iraq, they jumped on the band wagon to destroy ISIS so they could stay in the game.
So much for Plan A, the Americans turned to plan B. Plan B calls for a direct American invasion of Syria, in conjunction with Turkey and Israel (perhaps even with the Saudis). While the partition of Syria seems to be the goal at the moment, it may well be a ruse. The US has been shipping equipment and men to Lebanon and Jordan on the quiet. However, as an example, that quiet was shaken yesterday as 20 US tanks and infantry had to intervene at the Syrian/Jordan border to rescue their new allied militia, which had become encircled by ISIS. In other words, the US has assembled significant forces in Jordan. Earlier this week there were reports of US ships delivering equipment and men to Lebanon. Furthermore, it's common knowledge that the US has moved most of the 82nd Airborne into the Syrian theatre, as well as special forces nd artillery units. This buildup is being complimented by two new US air bases in Eastern Syria. All in all, the US are preparing to take all of Syria - not just a simple partition of it.
On the Russian border, US and allied forces have been mobilizing from one end to the other. A move that serves the purpose of tying Russian forces down on their own border, thereby limiting their flexibility to respond to such conflicts as Syria, and establishing a force to attack Russia with. In other words, the West is attempting to pin Russia down while it manoeuvers to destroy its influence and power in the Middle East. If Russia sits back in a defensive posture, and allows the US to impose its will on the Middle East, then Russia will be next. It's only a matter of time.
As worrisome as all this is, the US is also acting against China. A US carrier task force, also referred to as a "strike force" is enroute to the waters off North Korea. US President Trump has stated that if China will not reign in North Korea, well, then the Americans will. It seems that Trump is making good on his threat. We can expect a strike on North Korea's nuclear program, including arms, but also on the massive artillery forces poised to level Seoul, capital of South Korea. It has been estimated that the North could level Seoul with conventional artillery in hours - if not less. That ability has always been the North's greatest guarantee of non-intervention by the US. However, with a strike looming, it makes sense that the US would also be planning a massive bombing campaign of those artillery forces north of Seoul.
China, meanwhile, can not simply stand by idly while this happens. It has been targeted by the US itself for its claims in the South China Sea. All this must be in the US calculations. It's safe to say that if the Americans conduct the assault on North Korea that is expected, they will also in effect be going to war with China. Engaging China militarily also means engaging China economically, and the US has no hope of winning that one. It is very probable that China will release the "Chinese nuke", which is dumping all its American debt and currency on the market at once, thereby crashing the world economy. Even a simple strike on North Korea, that results in the North leveling Seoul, would more than likely be enough to crash the world's stock exchanges and currency markets.
I wonder if the Western world, with our fat cat life styles and Walmart mentalities, can fathom the result of an international financial collapse? The reality is most people will not even commit their minds for a moment to consider it. Ditto for the massive destruction caused by a conventional or nuclear war. Yet, we sit right on the precipice of it all. Watching as if somehow it wasn't our responsibility to think or speak of it, or against it. A great gaggle of sheep herded to the slaughterhouse doors, but taking comfort that there are other sheep before us, closer to the executioner's axe, and therefore we're okay for the moment. It can't happen to us. We're safe and sheltered from it all. It's really a damning commentary on us all to be frank. With all our education, technology and civilization we can't muster a better way than hoping the executioner gets tired before the sheep in front of us turns into us.
Make no mistake, the Syrian war is about to become an international conflict in a major way. The proverbial "wizard's chess" is in full play. With the chemical weapons explosion that occurred in Northern Syria this week the dogs of war are moving quickly, and some players are frankly coming into the light.
Take Israel for instance. Israel's approach until now has been to kill two birds with one stone. There really isn't a better scenario for Israel than Islamic militants killing Syrians soldiers, and vice a versa. That's been going on for years now, and both of these enemies of Israel have now been significantly weakened by the experience. That's the good news for Israel. The bad news is that Russia and particularly Iran have decided to move in and help save Syrian President Assad, and frankly Syria itself, from becoming another part of the Islamic State. Perhaps this eventuality was not foreseen by the architects of the Syrian civil war, or perhaps it was. In any case, the Russian/Iranian involvement has raised the stakes of Israel or the US intervening to new heights.
Two very significant incidents have developed this week with Israel and the Syrian conflict. Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, Jared Kushner, Trump's Jewish son-in-law, has managed to force Trump's Steve Brannon out of the National Security Council. That's a big one if you want to clear the way for a strike on Syria, and this a move against Russia. This author has expressed concern from the beginning that Trump's appointment of Kushner as Special Advisor on the Middle East created an obvious conflict of interest given his religious back ground, and the view he may take of Israeli actions. Then, literally just hours later, came the news that the Israeli Cabinet is meeting this Sunday to discuss a "humanitarian" intervention in Syria. This after several airstrikes on Syria in the last few weeks. It is clear that given the Russian/Iranian/Hezbollah success on the ground in Syria that Israel wants the US, and others to join it in taking down the Assad government by force.
Trump himself, having suffered near paralysis in attempting to govern the US as President, appears to be moving toward the "establishment" position on Syria that he had so vehemently rejected. His reasoning that the chemical "attack" gives him no choice is almost laughable. Consider that several mass casualty incidents have happened in the last few weeks by the American air force on schools and mosques in both Syria and Iraq. In Mosul alone, last week, over 200 people, yes including many children and babies, were blown to pieces when the mosque they were attending was struck by a US bomb. Is it somehow okay they were slaughtered by being blown to bits rather than suffocated by gas as happened in Syria? Or is it that because it was a US bomb it was somehow less of an indictment than a Syrian bomb? This entire argument enters the theatre of the absurd - which is where this reasoning of Trump's best rests.
The truth is that all the evidence in Syria has pointed toward a serious, and permanent US intervention and partitioning of Syria for some time now. Trump's shift in position is merely him aligning with the forces that were already at play in Syria. That's good news for them, but potentially catastrophic news for the rest of the world. The question is, though, will Russia rise to the occasion or be relegated back to the backbenches?
Much has been made of the Russian intervention in Syria, and too some extent with good reason. Russia has firmly tilted the balance in favour of the Syrian government with its air forces, and its strategic anti-missile forces in particular. With the S-400 batteries Russia moved into Syria, the Russian air defence forces can impose an almost complete air defence umbrella over all of Syria - except its most North eastern region. Those systems are capable of taking out any US, Turkish or Israeli aircraft, as well as their missiles - including cruise missiles fired from the US fleet off Syria's coast. In addition, Russian naval units have their own cruise missiles, and anti-ship missiles deployed with their naval units off the Syrian coast.
The real question for Russia is this: Are you serious about Syria or not? Some would say that Russia's commitment to defend Syria proves they are serious, and to some degree that is obvious. However, what is Russia actually willing to commit to on the ground? This is where they are being out-flanked by the US, Turks, and soon to be Israelis. Russia has a relatively small ground force in Syria, which leaves it very vulnerable and reliant on the somewhat unreliable Syrian army. Putin has failed to match the foreign forces in Syria by committing Russian divisions to the fight. Where the US has just assigned a good part of the 82nd airborne to the fight in Iraq, but mostly for Raqqah, the Russians have not matched it with their own airborne. And so it goes. It appears Russian President Putin's defensive posture is focused on the Russian border with Europe as NATO builds a small deterrent there, and not on saving Syria for the Russian sphere of influence.
If Russia is more committed to Syria, Iran, and Hezbollah than their troop numbers show, will Russia defend Syria against a US and/or Israeli strike against it? Certainly it could if it wanted to. The S-400 is a state of the art defence system. The Russian naval group is armed to the teeth, and Iran has offered Russia one of its airbases nearby to for its air forces. Is Russia prepared to allow Israel to oust Iran from its position of influence in Syria, and also by ricochet Lebanon?
There are many moves afoot right now - including major moves with China and North Korea. However, the strategic position of Russia and Iran in the Middle East is what is at stake right now. Make no mistake. If Putin gets cold feet and allows the US to run rough shod over Syria, even more than it has already, Russia's credibility as a super power in the region is over ... ditto Iran. If that happens then Obama will have been right to refer to Russia as a "regional power". Of course, that would defy Russia's strength and history, but only time will tell how far Putin will go to protect that. Will Russia impose its own no-fly zone over Syria backed by its S-400's and air force? Will Russia commit meaningful forces to the ground fight so as not to be out flanked at every turn by Western- backed militaries? Nobody knows for sure except Russian President Putin himself. As much as it is Syria's time of truth, it is also very much Russia's. In a game of poke chest a super power doesn't turn and walk away.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Wed, 29 Mar 2017 20:29:00 +0000
As leadership races go, the race to replace Stephen Harper has been a very low key affair - with a few exceptions. It is a peculiar mix of back room types, previous ministers and even a flashy billionaire for good measure. There has been some very controversial, bordering on out right racist comments made by a number of the front runners - which have marred the race with a distasteful brush. Comments like "Canadian values" tests, bans based on race, and the list goes on. Comments that do not belong in Canadian society let alone a race to lead one of Canada's two contending political parties. A disgraceful race to the guttural bottom.
There is Bernier from Quebec who was sprinkled with pixy dust way back by then Prime Minister Mulroney. Carefully groomed through the ranks, Bernier was seen as a Quebec star apparent until he left confidential national security notes in his Hells Angels girlfriend's bedroom. He was demoted out of Cabinet for that "little mishap", placed in a very quiet place, and kept out of the lime light so he could be brought back at a time like this. Aside from his major mistakes, Bernier is a non-starter outside Quebec. Look to Bernier as a king maker for an Ontario-based contender.
Then there is Kevin O'Leary, the out spoken and somewhat detested billionaire who has made a public career out of running people into the ground - not exactly appealing. Apart from his corrosive personality, O'Leary brings a jump to the race as he does his best to impersonate Donald Trump - for better or worse. The truth is by the time the next Canadian election will be held, the already notorious Trump will be viewed in a much dimmer light. Hardly the role model to lead your party into an election in Canada. For that reason, and that reason alone O'Leary should be ruled out.
The person I initially thought would have the best shot at leadership was Kellie Leitch. Well educated, and well known in Conservative circles, Leitch has all the connections to get her to the top. However, and it always struck me odd, the unwritten rules really forbid a backroom-type from running for the front room, yet that is exactly what Leitch is doing. Even more odd, even bizarre, is her choice of the "Canadian values" flag as her standard. She has really caused herself some significant brand damage with that position - the kind of damage that sticks and never goes away.
Which brings me to the best choice for a brand new leader - Erin O'Toole. O'Toole is an experienced politician. He took the absolutely poisoned Department of Veterans Affairs over from Julian Fantino - a man who managed to completely isolate the Conservatives military vote. In reality, O'Toole's rescue of Veterans Affairs shows he can take a severely damaged brand, and turn things around completely. That is the true test of a good politician and leader. O'Toole is also from Ontario, where the Conservatives need to win big. He is unassuming, down to earth, friendly, but also serious. He inspires trust - a key necessity for the Conservatives. He is also the perfect contrast to Trudeau. He is not flash and dash with no substance. It cannot be emphasized enough that the perfect foil to Trudeau's terrible performance will be key in the next election.
Now having stated that Erin O'Toole should be the next leader of the Conservative Party, I wonder if the Party itself can see the forest for the trees. Will it be another case of a pre-set leadership race, with pre-planned alliances giving us the all too predictable result - as has been the case in the past? Will Bernier cross the floor to Leitch to crown her, and she in turn make him her Quebec lieutenant? Or could it be visa versa? Time will tell, but the Conservatives need to make the right decision this time. No Harper like candidate (read Leitch or O'Leary). No Quebec-first candidate (read Bernier). No Mr. Nice Guy but no substance candidate (like the ex-Speaker). What they need is a reasonable and trustable person, who has a good record in government with no associated negative baggage. That bill fits Erin O'Toole perfectly. If the Conservative Party of Canada has learned anything, the next Conservative Party leader will be Erin O'Toole.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Sun, 12 Mar 2017 16:15:00 +0000
You could be excused for thinking the world has taken a madness pill, and jumped off the deep end. Whether it is the schizophrenic American political scene, the deep and divisive European internal political battles, the Middle East in turmoil, or the fact that the stock markets continue on as if nothing is happening, the place has lost the plot. Speaking of lost the plot, this post focuses on the almost unbelievable actions of foreign nations in Syria, and what may well come next.
Let's start with the rules. The Laws of Wars encompassed within the Convention of the Hague, 1907, specifically defines how a war amongst nations must be declared:
The Contracting Powers recognize that hostilities between themselves must not commence without previous and explicit warning, in the form either of reasoned declaration of war or of an ultimatum with conditional declaration of war."
The United States and Turkey signed this Convention. Ironically, Syria did not. Now Syria is the victim of hostilities perpetuated upon it by two countries who have solemnly sworn not to do so. All the rest flows from this. When the Syrian "uprising" began it was people on the streets - unarmed people. They didn't have small arms, artillery, tanks, or anti-aircraft weapons. Where did all that come from? They didn't have bank accounts with hundreds of millions of dollars to fund a 4 year long conventional war against their own government. Where did that come from? It came from the United States, Turkey and Saudi Arabia - that's where.
Having abandoned the very basic convention of declaring a war on Syria, there was no reason to believe that the rest of the war would be any different. No rules. No holds barred. The law of the jungle where might is right seeped into the country of Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been slaughtered in the name of ... regime change. That's really what it boils down to. The Russians and Iranians want to keep a strategic ally in the region, and the Americans, Turks and Saudis want them gone. Let's not disgrace the name of democracy and liberty by suggesting the war in Syria has a thing to do with those tenants of freedom.
So where are we going from here in Syria? The map below will tell you where we are now:
As you can see, the blue area in the top to middle part of this picture is the area of Northern Syria controlled by Turkey after it invaded with armed militia supporters. The yellow areas are controlled by essentially the Kurds (backed with armed Americans). The green areas are controlled by the Syrian, Russian, and Iranian forces. Several things come to mind. Firstly, the Kurds are quite divided in the territories they hold. To the west they hold large parts of northern Aleppo. To the east they hold the areas around Manbij. In between them the Turks hold the area around Al-Bab. What makes things tricky for the Kurds is they cannot unite their territories in the east and west without engaging Turkish forces, which would give Turkish President Erdogan the excuse he needs to go full in with large military forces. So, realistically, the Kurds have no hope of holding the area of Northern Aleppo.
They also have no realistic hope of holding their territories on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River centered on Manbij. As I write this, Syrian and Russian forces are making big advances shown as pink on the map. (see operational map below) They are pushing to and reaching the Euphrates River to the southern flank of the Kurds Manjib beach head. It is now only a matter of time before the Kurds will have to withdraw from the Manbij area to the eastern bank of the Euphrates River. Here their position is far more defensible from the Syrian army, and to a lesser extent the Turkish Army.
That makes the Euphrates River the new dividing line in the battle for Syria - the divide between the Kurds/Americans and everyone else. There is, however, a weak link in that line of defence - Deir al- Zour. This city and nearby airbase is controlled by the Syrian army, and is located to the south of Al- Raqqa (the ISIS self declared capital on the Euphrates. This map gives you a good idea of the area and the cities involved:
Deir al- Zour bridges the Euphrates and leaves any Kurdish partition of North Eastern Syria highly vulnerable. In fact, it makes such a complete partition almost impossible to defend. Currently, the Kurds and Americans are concentrating their forces on the battle to retake Al-Raqqa. They have it surrounded on three sides with its back to the Euphrates. The US has just deployed 2200 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, and 1000 reservists to Kuwait in preparation for the final battle of Al-Raqqa. They have also deployed air mobile artillery, and the 400 troops that go with it, directly to the Al-Raqqa front. As of this morning the Americans and Kurds were within 50 km of the northern gates to Al-Raqqa. It may be a grind, but ISIS has no hope of winning that battle. Al-Raqqa will be laid to waste by American artillery and air strikes.
What comes then? Well, if the American and Kurdish intention is to create a Kurdish territory out of North eastern Syria, which this writer considers a foregone conclusion, then a battle for Dier-al-Zour will be next. It is a strategic must to seal a gaping hole in the Euphrates River defence concept. That will involve the Americans and Kurds attacking the Syrian and Russian military located there. A dangerous proposition indeed.
It has always been the case, since the ISIS advance was halted on the door steps of Bagdad, that the real danger of foreign powers throwing international law to the wind would play itself out once their common menace had been eliminated. We are almost at that point now. Mosul is essentially finished for ISIS. Al-Raqqa is surrounded. It's like the final weeks of Nazi Germany for ISIS right now. What unfolded after Nazi Germany fell was the iron curtain, the Berlin Wall, and the Cold War. Will that happen in Syria? Will the Americans put the brakes on and hold the Kurds to the eastern banks of the Euphrates? Will the Syrians and Russians be prepared to allow that to happen while they turn their attention toward the areas around Damascus and Ibdib that still require action to rid them of Islamic and Turkmen militias? Would that be a fatal move for Syria? And what of Turkey? Would it be prepared to allow a new Kurdish region to be added to the autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Iraq? That would leave just the South Eastern area of Turkey for the Kurds to capture and form their treasured vision of a united Kurdistan - one that already has the implicit and military backing of the United States.
The most plausible scenario, given the pragmatic chess strategy of Russian President Putin, is that the Syrians take the western bank of the Euphrates, and the Kurds/Americans take the Eastern bank - for now. Then the Russians and Syrians will turn their focus to the pockets of resistance in North Western Syria, and isolated pockets around Damascus and their border with Lebanon (Hezbollah and Iran likely playing a predominant role there). It seems Putin is willing to forestall any one-on-one confrontation with the US until after his rearmament program is finished - around 2020. In the mean time he is in the defensive mode, as is clearly demonstrated in the conflict in Eastern Ukraine. The problem with his strategy, as can be quite clearly seen in the Ukraine conflict, is that it gives the Americans time to establish positions in the area, and reinforce/bolster the local military. Now, instead of Russia taking on an isolated Ukrainian military of 50,000 it faces an unofficially NATO aligned country with over 200,000 troops. The same scenario is almost certainly going to play out in the Kurdish territories. In some ways, if you're Putin, you're damned if you do and damned if you don't.
The real lesson in all of this is that abandoning the rules of order for expediency can never be sanctioned, and that to see it any other way is to invite chaos to the orderly conduct of societies around the world. It has to be said, because it is patently obvious, that the Americans hold the full responsibility for chaos that their cavalier actions have created in the world. They have changed the term "national interest" into the all encompassing "national right". They have claimed the world as their own with no right to do so. An unfortunate, but predictable consequence of the fall of the Soviet Union. A living case of power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely. They have perverted the "peace dividend" that was so greatly lauded when the Berlin Wall fell into a "we'll take what we want when we want dividend", and in doing so turned the world against them. It is the Americans who were not invited into Syria to help fight ISIS. Just as it was the Americans that fanned the flames of the civil unrest in Syria to begin with, and it was the Americans, in conjunction with the Saudis, that financed it.
The only solution for Syria is that Syrians decide what their country will be. To demand otherwise is to place yourself in a type of arrogance not befitting the average person. Always remember it is not righteous people who start wars, it is the self-righteous. The ones that place their beliefs above all others and enforce them over all others. Recent history has shown that the Americans will not allow the Syrians to decide the future of their country, and that is a terrible indictment upon them. It is also a terrible indictment against the rest of us that we allow this type of "God syndrome" to have a place in the civilized world we claim ours to be. In that way, Syria today is a reflection on all of us - our greed, our arrogance, our uncaring hypocrisy. The very same traits that have their roots in all our conflicts of the past. It shows that despite all our achievements as a species, when all that is stripped away, we continue to act as though we still carry clubs and dwell in caves. That's the really sad part of it all.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Sat, 18 Feb 2017 12:42:00 +0000
The old Chinese proverb "may you live in interesting times" rings so very true these days. A "populist" billionaire is elected as a "man of the people" in the United States, and sends the internal organs of the American elite into convulsion. It's hard to watch what is loosely called the land of the free, and remain uncommitted to one side or the other - by design perhaps. With every passing day the venom grows, the accusations become more shrill, and President Trump becomes more destabilized. It's the type of "regime change" actions we routinely witness the United States commit in the rest of the world now being visited on its own, by its own.
Make no mistake, what is happening in the United Sates right now has absolutely nothing to do with Russia, or any other foreign country. Nor is it some sort of spontaneous movement against a "crazed despot". What we are witnessing is the very calculated destabilization of the American presidency by those that are sworn to uphold the American constitution, and those that aren't sworn but claim to uphold it. In other words, an internal insurrection.
To be fair, Trump seemed to anticipate this sort of reaction to his election - even well before election day. He shrewdly calculated that the American establishment would use all their means to thwart him, and even unseat him. So, right back to the early days of the campaign, he began marshalling people toward a common set of causes in order to create what he termed as "the greatest movement in US history" - a"Trump Nation" if you will. He was so successful that the US political establishment quickly realized that should they try and impede him that Trump would appeal to his base, which was primarily Republican voters, and they would place decisive pressure on those Republican Senators and members of Congress that stood in his way. In fact, it is quite clear that Trump is not really a Republican at all, but an independent who chose to use the Republican Party as a vehicle to gain office. And his plan succeeded perfectly.
However, since the election, things have changed. It is quite obvious now that the US establishment are not prepared to accept the results of the election - ironically what they accused Trump of preparing to do should he have lost the election. Instead they have chosen to launch a campaign against President Trump, from a multitude of sources, to first destabilize his presidency by eroding his support with his base, and then.. well we'll get to that.
As bizarre as it might seem to be to accuse governmental organizations within the United States of acting to over throw their own duly elected President, it must be said that all the evidence points to that fact. It becomes obvious when you look at previous US intelligence operations in other countries to see the same MO here. The damaging internal intelligence leaks. The 24-7 vicious media attacks. All designed to decimate the credibility of President Trump in the eyes of "Trump Nation" - the source of Trump's power, and incite hatred and contempt towards the man. Once his credibility has been sufficiently destroyed they will move to replace him.
There are a number of solid pieces of evidence that clearly demonstrate they are maneuvering to distance VP Pence from Trump as we speak. For example, the recent firing of Trump's national security advisor. It has been made clear, especially in the media, that the reason he was fired was for "lying to VP Pence" over his contacts with Russia. Within days of that spin, Pence is jettisoned off to an international security conference in Europe where he is portrayed as "the voice of reason" by the US media. His diplomatic skills are emphasized. There are no peculiar and unflattering pictures of him published. In other words he is being promoted, but by whom?
The choice of Pence as running mate for Trump was often described by the US media as a nod to the Republican establishment, but many people thought it could also prove to be his undoing. Short term gain for long term pain. You will notice that throughout the Republican campaign, and the actual election, not one negative story about Pence has been filed. Why? Through two years of campaigning the media could not find any dirt on Pence? Seems very unlikely. The answer is clear - they're protecting him. Why have they protected him from the get go, and are now not just protecting him, but also promoting him? Cause he's their man. The man they intend to take over from Trump when they move to remove him. The vehicle of removal? With the obvious vilification of Trump by the media on the issue of Russia it seems this will be the chosen route for seeking his impeachment. However, it would seem that impeaching the man before he has barely attained the throne might not be the most prudent course. Then again, when it comes to loss of control, perhaps expediency will trump prudency.
The US political establishment, and the US security establishment walk hand in hand. Never let that simple fact be lost on you. Therefore, when the political establishment is threatened with a loss of control so is the intelligence establishment. Nobody expected Trump to become President Trump (well some of us did call it) and what we're witnessing now is a sort of emergency surgery by the US establishment. They always had Pence as their go to card, but likely never believed they would need it - if the coverage by CNN is any example.
The bottom line is that the duly elected President of the United States is facing a coup from within the US political, security and media establishments. A very distasteful travesty to be perpetuated upon the "leader of the free world". The expediency of breaking the rules is always tempting to those in power, but it also has devastating consequences that are normally unintended. Whoever chose the expedient assassination of John F. Kennedy likely didn't fully realize that the assassination would create permanent, deep seeded distrust about the American government with the American people. It severely undermined the credibility of the establishment, and has fostered a now almost impenetrable distrust of all the government agencies within government.
Today the preferred method of dealing with these sort of situations is character assassination and not actual assassination. However, the reaction to this action may well be the same. Now many within the US establishment are attempting to show Russian President Putin as the puppet master behind Trump's rise to power. That may be true, or it may not be true. One thing is for certain though, Putin has to be the happiest camper on the block with Trump's election. The Divided States is now more divide than ever - bypassing the Vietnam War era. If something were to happen to President Trump the only real benefactor would be Putin. The internal unrest that would result from a coup against Trump would rip the US apart as "Trump Nation" lost its proverbial mind over his ouster. If he isn't ousted, and the US establishment simply continues to create an atmosphere of chaos within the country, Putin wins here too. Putin would certainly be the man sitting in the nose bleed section, devouring his popcorn as the US imploded. Looking at it from that perspective is even more worrisome, yet all too real to be ignored. Putin may have helped Trump get elected, but he may have done it in careful consideration of the reaction by the establishment to a Trump victory and not any possible sweet deals he could get as a result of his assistance. This seems far more likely to me.
If I had a message for the US establishment it would be: careful what you wish for. For every action there is a reaction, and the unintended consequences of surgery may be fatal for their place they have become accustomed to. Certainly that is what history has shown - in the US or elsewhere. The far better approach is to allow the man to exercise the responsibility he earned by winning the election. Rely and trust in your democratic process. Put aside your ambitions and ego. Let nature take its course. Do not open Pandora's Box. Be careful what you wish for. If I had a message for President Trump it would be: whoever is feeding you lines that your electoral college seat count is the highest since Reagan's victory is giving you "bad advice" for an intended purpose. I'm a proud Canadian, and happy this isn't transpiring in my country, but this world is for all of us to be responsible for. Coups are not responsible exercises of power. This one, in that way, is no different.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Fri, 03 Feb 2017 12:14:00 +0000
As far as civil wars go, the war in Eastern Ukraine is as ugly and hateful as any. It started with a popular revolt in the republics of Lugansk and Donetsk against the removal of the Ukrainian president by popular revolt in Western Ukraine - during the Sochi Olympics. Back then unarmed civilians were standing in front of tanks and armoured personnel carriers to stop Ukrainian troops from entering their cities and towns. People took over government buildings and protested against the government in Kiev. We're a long way from those days now.
With backing from the United States, the Ukrainian government turned its army on the rebels in both Republics. In response, Russia assisted the rebels with arms, intelligence and some allege men. In any case, the popular unrest against the coup in Kiev turned into a war for the two republics independence. Shockingly, and brutally, the Ukrainian government ordered its own military forces to attack the towns and cities of Donetsk and Lugansk, and the death toll of civilians ran into the thousands. The Ukrainian government never seriously looked to negotiate with the people of Eastern Ukraine. They simply tried to put them down. That's were anger over the coup turned into pure hatred. A blood hatred. Too many lives were touched by death and destruction at the hands of their own government to ever forgive.
Today, as I write this, the guns of war have shattered what was always a shaky ceasefire known as the Minsk Accord. Minsk was always destined to failure as it never fully took into account the blood hate in Ukraine. I wrote about it back then here . The truth is neither side wants a thing to do with the other. The Ukrainian government is acting as though the people in Eastern Ukraine are trying to steal their territory, and the people who reside there have no right to self-determination. Not a very European view, which the new government there claims to be.
The Ukrainian army has been conducting a "creeping" offensive almost since Minsk was signed, but in recent days that has accelerated dramatically. They have been moving into small towns and areas that were agreed to be no man's land, or left alone by both sides. They were in the de-militarized zone that divided the two sides along the complete front lines. The forces of Donetsk and Lugansk, I call them NAF or Novorossiya Armed Forces, after the name the Lugansk and Donetsk Republics gave their new political entity (Novorossiya = New Russia), are responding to these incursions now. Massive artillery duels between the two sides have escalated dramatically. Civilian areas are being leveled once again, and Ukrainian tanks have been filmed in the "de-militarized" zone near the city of Donetsk.
It appears that a freshly rearmed Ukraine, with masses of new military recruits, is again planning on asserting itself on the two republics. That being the case, where are the guarantor nations of the Minsk Agreement? Russia, Germany and France brokered the deal, but they aren't forcing the Ukrainian government to restrain itself. In fact, they haven't been able to get Ukraine to live up to any of the required steps outlined in the Minsk Agreement. Instead, Minsk has served as a shaky truce at best - often violated over the last three years, but not to the degree it has been today.
Russia, Germany and France have the responsibility to enforce Minsk. Not just the truce aspect of Minsk, but also the structural requirements that the Ukraine government was meant to do under the agreement. While Russia would not have much influence to bring to bare on the government in Kiev, Germany and France certainly could. The United States certainly could. Instead, these governments, including my own in Canada, have turned this into a rearming and retraining exercise of the Ukrainian military - essentially treating Ukraine as a member of the NATO alliance. In other words, there has been no good faith given to the Minsk Agreement, and the sole focus has been meeting force with force.
Russia has a role to play in all this that it has refused, and that is to occupy the two republics. The Ukrainian government feels it has a free hand in attacking when and how it chooses, and most of the casualties that result are civilians. This has to stop. The only way to stop the Ukrainian government from attacking its own civilians in the republics is to place a barrier in front of them that will deliver a much more serious blow to them that they could inflict on the other side. The Russian army would and should constitute such a barrier. I say that not to wave the Russian flag, but in serious reflection on reality. Russia will not, understandably, allow foreign armies enmasse on its border. Nobody would. It would take an army to stop the two sides from killing each other. The majority of both republics either identify themselves as Russian or are Russian speakers. The Russians in these circumstances would be trusted by the people of Donetsk and Lugansk.
Russian military intervention in the republics is necessary, pragmatic, and humane. The Western world needs to come to this conclusion, and support it before all out carnage raises its ugly head there again. The stupid, outdated ideas of Russian imperialism and all that nonsense need to be put to the side. The Russian government must also wake up and smell the coffee. Russia claims to be a source of major influence in the world, and a leader in a new multi-polar world. If that is to be the case, then Russia must exert itself correspondingly if it wants to be taken seriously.
Of course, Russia itself is in the middle of a rearmament program, and in that sense it may not want to bite off more than it can chew - which in a sense is understandable. However, when mass slaughter is happening on your won border, and people of your decent are the victims of a government that shells its own people, then it is incumbent on you to act decisively. By way of example, the Turkish incursion into Syria to establish a "safe zone". Russia could, and should do the same in Donetsk and Lugansk. A safe zone that protects those people from being slaughtered at random by their own government. That isn't being imperialistic or ambitious. It is being humane and showing leadership. It is plain and obvious, that after three years of Minsk, the Ukraine government simply can't resist the temptation to put down the people of Donetsk and Lugansk by force. No further evidence is required. Russia sitting on its hands makes Russia look weak on its own border, and with its fellow Slavs. So, Mr. Putin, show the leadership a leader of the multi-polar world must, and make Donetsk and Lugansk a "safe zone" for the people that live there. Don't they deserve that much?
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Sun, 22 Jan 2017 13:28:00 +0000
The United States is at war - with itself at the moment. Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States, wants to reverse all the wrongs he sees plaguing his country. Fair enough. New leaders often come in with the strongest of intentions. Nothing new there. This time it's different though. It is said that politics is the game of rich men. Trump won the presidency without having to cut deals with the US establishment. In doing so he cut them out of the power equation they have been used to holding, and that has become dangerous. Only a rich man could do it. One who could fund his own campaign. One who could pay for his own mistakes. That is Trump, and that's exactly what he did.
Now we have the aftermath. An unprecedented situation in western political history which many would welcome, but which also holds real danger for all. Trump is not controlled by the US elite. He now has the power in many ways to act unilaterally on the international scene - including deploying US forces into conflict. The Chinese refer to politics as war without bloodshed, and to war as politics with bloodshed. A very accurate way to measure the dynamics of mankind. Today we are at the point of war without bloodshed - at least in the West. In the near future we will be immersed in politics with bloodshed - unfortunately for us all.
A troubling sign of this was Trump's election campaign, and the constant reference to Iran as a pariah state. Another was a similar view of China. In my mind though, the Iran war is more immanent than the Chinese conflict. The reason for that conclusion? In a word - Israel. Trump has made his son-in-law his strategic adviser on the Middle East. His son-in-law is Jewish. That creates an immediate problem of perception. For instance, what if his son-in-law was Saudi or Palestinian? The optics are quite obvious - the strategic advice is more than likely to be slanted in one direction. That creates real danger for the world. It leaves him open to influence.
On the campaign trail, a bombastic Trump promised the crowds that he would "rip up" the Iranian nuclear deal which is just months old. That in itself is troubling. Even more troubling is the fact that such an act is fully inline with Israel's policy on the agreement. Just remember that without a nuclear deal Israel was pressing for a military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. It appears that is now back on the table. They aren't talking about it publicly yet, but a curious, foreboding message was just released from the Israeli Prime Minister. The video message is directed at the Iranian people, and not the Iranian government he says. In it he calls the Israeli and Iranian people friends who are being separated by a religious dictatorship (regime). At one point, in the two minute video, he let's slip that the Iranian people will not he under the yoke of this regime much longer. The inference is clear. Iran is on the cusp of being "liberated". Regime change. War is coming, and he is asking the Iranian people to view Israel as a liberator.
That simple insinuation says a few things. Firstly, it says that the Israeli Prime Minister knows there is a war coming with Iran - otherwise he wouldn't have put the words in that context. It also jives with the new US President's view toward Iran. Trump has promised to stop the US's foreign wars, and essentially make the US a pre-World War One isolationist power, so is there a contradiction in his view of Iran? Consider that Israel was prepared to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities prior to the nuclear agreement, but former President Obama would not "green light" that operation. Israel was held back. Now, however, the water on the beans has changed. Trump, it appears, is fully prepared to allow Israel a free hand in dealing with Iran. And that is very dangerous indeed.
It is now almost certain that Israel with attempt to bomb Iran. It's just as certain the Trump will turn a blind eye to it, with a quiet promise the US will back Israel if things get ugly. It's curious that just last week two unidentified drones were spotted over Iran's capital city - one was shot down. It's also interesting that during the same time Russia moved state of the art s-400 anti missile systems into the Moscow area, and placed them on "combat alert". The war of words with China dramatically escalated, as well, to the point Trump threatened China with a naval blockade. China, in turn, said it would not be deterred in the South China Sea by "word bombs" from the US. Clearly the world is moving dramatically toward conflict - armed conflict more likely than not. I suggest the first concrete step in that conflict will be Israel bombing Iran - sadly.
On the face of things it seems odd that Trump would be seeking to repair relations with Russia on the one hand, but raise the spectre of war with Russia's two most important allies, China and Iran, on the other hand. There seems to be a disconnect there. Of course, Trump is accused by his detractors as having many different disconnects on many different issues, so perhaps this is just another case. Or perhaps it is a ruse. Perhaps it's an attempt to split Russia away from China like Hitler tried to do with Britain and Europe. In any event, Russia is not about to abandon its eternal alliance with China, and strategically important alliance with Iran, to make nice with the Americans. That is not going to happen. So when Israel bombs Iran, and Iran and Israel go to war, it would seem inevitable that the US would back Israel and Russia/China would back Iran. Such a situation, if you can put the thought of nuclear destruction out of your mind for a moment, would give Trump the ammunition he needs to block China's access to many markets - a key plank in his way of thinking. Made in America, not made in China, is his goal. It fits pretty nicely.
One last very key point. The US is more divided as a country now than it has been since their civil war. Trump is not the cause, but he is the symptom. As Lincoln said: "a house divided against itself cannot stand." Has there ever been a clearer example of that than today's United States? The US, as a country, is in desperate need of a unifying cause. The US loves to unite for causes. In today's case, Trump is looking to use a war for that purpose. Dislike of Iran is almost universal in the US. It's almost a safe bet that the American people would rally around that - especially if Israel was attacked in retaliation for the bombing of its nuclear facilities. You can hear it now: "USA...USA..USA". Unfortunately, a war for the United States has become almost a national imperative. A patriotic duty to keep the country from breaking apart at the seams. The fact that such a war will almost certainly lead to a wider conflict with Russia and China will likely not mean a lot to a people in desperate need of a unifying cause.
rocksolidpolitics.blogspot.com | Sun, 08 Jan 2017 20:10:00 +0000
It's a new year, but it might as well be an extension of the year just passed. A year that saw the beginnings of a cataclysmic split between the global elites and the citizens of this earth. A movement of defiance. A global movement of defiance that is. In other words, a revolution. Sounds extreme I realize, but sit back and absorb what has taken place and where it must all lead.
Think of the world today as a "reaction". For every action their is a reaction as the old saying goes. What is the world of today reacting to? Well that's evident enough - the world of yesterday. Perhaps a better word is "movement" rather than "world". The movement of yesterday was a movement promising one world government, or as Bush senior out it "a new world order". Bush junior clarified it when he boldly stated: " you're either with us or against us". A force that could not be interrupted or delayed. A manifest destiny. A new world order according to, and ruled by, the United States and to a much lesser extent other worldly allies.
In many respects the movement really took its first bold baby steps with the Canada - US Free Trade Agreement signed by US president Ronald Reagan and his Canadian counterpart Brian Mulroney. The goal was to reduce and/or eliminate restrictions on capitalism. The fact that such actions would cause significant dislocation in some areas within each country were for the most part ignored. The truth is that at that time the countries economies were very closely tied so that upheaval was never that much of a threat, but then Mexico jumped in. Then China jumped in. And so it goes. The point is that the fat cat societies of the world, and their populations, had become very accustomed to a certain way of life and certain comforts. Comforts that the rest of the world, the vast majority, could never dream of attaining. World free trade agreements offered them that hope.
What Reagan, Bush, Clinton, the other Bush, and Obama offered was the biggest transfer of wealth in human history. A transfer of wealth from the old world to the underdeveloped world. In fact, these great icons of capitalism acted as the greatest socialists of all time. Socialism is after all a transfer of wealth from those that have it to those that don't. The result was massive imports of cheap goods from these underdeveloped countries that swamped and drowned the industrial bases of the first world. All of which was perfectly foreseeable, and all of which served a purpose - a one world economy or new world order. I say "economy" because integrated economies require integrated policies and standards, which necessarily causes integration, which makes political segregation unnecessary and even unhelpful. The economics will dictate the politics in other words.
Of course all this is premised on the idea that people are really not that different. That nationalities are artificial. That languages are unimportant. That cultures are racist incumbrancers to unity. Essentially, human beings are as interchangeable as parts on your car, and it really doesn't matter where they are made. They will do as they are programmed to do. This is where the fallacy of the one world economy, one world government, new world order fails the test of history and human nature, and that failure is the "reaction" we are beginning to experience today.
The truth, despite what you hear daily on your television, is that economics was meant to serve mankind - not the other way around. The human being is the central figure in our existence - not the dollar. Economic was only ever meant to do one thing, and that was to regulate consumption of resources. Obviously no world could survive for any period of time if every person just took as much as they wanted from it. There is only so much food, so much water, so much shelter, etc. Putting a price on those resources curbed their consumption - rationed them if you will. It's been that way since the beginning of time in one form or another. So economic models, in today's case capitalism, were a means to an end. Today the world is in a state where the economic model has become the end and human beings have become the means. Granted it has been that way for some time - which has caused such things as communist revolutions, etc. However, people always had their religion, customs, cultures and nationalities to take comfort in. To insulate themselves with. The new world order began to strip those last vestiges of dignity and security from people - and they rebelled. That is today.
Where there is rebellion there is chaos before there is resolution. In fact chaos is the first result of any revolutionary movement. Or to put it less "radically", chaos is the natural result of the "reaction" to the elite's push to global governance and control. 2016 saw the first few examples: Brexit; the rise of Russia and China; and of course the now infamous Trump win in the US. In the case of Brexit and Trump the "elite or establishment" campaigned viciously to stop both movements. All the polls predicted the movements would fail. The mainstream media predicted they would fail. They were all wrong. The people voted to "get their countries back". They voted for a return to the days before Reagan started signing free trade agreements. They wanted control of their economic, political, and sovereign institutions back. They rebelled against what the new world order had told them was just and right. They placed the world onto the path of the unknown. The vortex of chaos.
There can only be one result of this "reaction" or "revolt" if you will. The result can only be war. Not a war of hearts and minds, because it appears that war has been lost by the one world types, but a war of retribution. In other words, the establishment will attempt to cause significant retribution on the people of the world to show us the "error of our ways". I expect that war to take the form of serious economic consequences including stock market and currency collapses. I also expect part of the establishments retribution to include real war - unfortunately. Trump has insinuated a desire to take on Iran and China which could be helped along by the establishment. Give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself. If Trump is viewed by Americans as the leader of the anti-establishment movement then it seems logical they would do everything they can to give him all the rope necessary. That will include support in the US Houses for aggressive actions internationally which will have devastating results, and more importantly to them prove to people that this revolt is unwise.
Because none of us has a crystal ball we can't predict exactly how it will all play out. We look around us at the world today, and instinctively we know things are very wrong. We sense that the world is heading to a very dark place. Yet, we're not sure exactly where that place is or how dark it is. That is the chaos. The time just before the storm when the winds are just beginning to pick up and the skies are clouding over, but its destructive result isn't yet known or experienced. Our time of chaos.