Mika B remarked a couple of years ago on the show that she and her sex slave stage in the early morning that the social media were out of control because it is the job of the MSM to tell people what to think. The Hillary stated recently that life was better when there were only three TeeVee news outlets because it was easier to keep things under control. Now? My God! Any damned fool can propagate unauthorized "facts." What? Who?
Well, pilgrims, the US government (along with our British and Israeli helpmates and masters) are the preeminent creators and purveyors of the manufactured virtual facts on which we base our policy. These "facts" are "ginned up" in the well moneyed hidden staff groups of "hidden" candidates that are devoted to the seizure of power made possible by a deluded electorate. These "facts" are then propagated and reinforced through relentless IO campaigns run by executive "bots" in the MSM and in such remarkable and imaginative efforts as the "White Helmets" film company manned by jihadis and managed by clubby Brits left over from the Days of The Raj (sob). These "facts" are now so entrenched in the general mind that they can be used to denounce people like Rep. (major ) Gabbard as traitors because they challenge them.
Some of the "virtual facts:"
- The Soviet Union never ended. Russia is still communist and an inevitable and indeed indispensable enemy of the US. Anyone who challenges that certitude is an obvious agent of the Russian government.
- Iran is the "greatest supporter of terrorism" in the world." Iran is so designated by the State Department on the annual list of terrorism supporting states which asserts this to be true on the basis of Iranian support of Lebanese Hizbullah and Palestinian Hamas, calling them "terrorist" groups rather than anti -Israeli nationalist resistance organizations. This Zionist inspired propaganda is spread far and wide by neocon "useful idiots" like Maria Bartiromo and Jesse Watters.
- The Syrian Arab Government is an abomination on the scale of Nazi Germany and must be destroyed and replaced by God knows what … "They gassed their own people!" Bullshit! There is no objective evidence for that. There are nothing but propaganda statements by the FUKUS governments unsupported by any real evidence. The MI-6 funded (with USAID money) Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (located in a basement in England) as well as the White Helmets murder/propaganda operation states that the SAG is guilty as charged but independent investigation says that assertions of SAG guilt are untrue.
- Saudi Arabia is a deeply friendly state and ally of the US. How mad an idea is this! This theocratic, absolute monarchy is a friend of the US? How insane an idea! Trump has a balance sheet where a soul should be and that is the basis for the belief that MBS and/or his "country" are our friends. pl
Soviet Union ended. Homo soveiticus is still alive.
Iran is a hostile country, but we had an agreement and now we don’t.
Syria is a mess and the US has helped make it so.
Saudi Arabia is a hostile country and the US is pretending that it is not.
Of course there are levels of complexity to all of this, but I agree that the USG is not acting in the best interest of the nation, nor the world. Only for a select group and it has to do with money.
That’s 4 for starters. Glad to have your #2 Ticonderoga back!
Yes I fully concur. We have gone from fact-based news to faith-based fake news led by the MSM. I recall at the start of the Iraq War in March 2003, the line was out that British PM Tony Blair was George W. Bush’s “poodle,” forgetting entirely that it was the first of the British “dodgy dossiers” that made the totally discredited claim that Saddam had gotten tons of yellow cake from Niger. So the British have no military resources but they continue to maintain the idea that they can manipulate the U.S. and make up for the demise of the old British empire.
The Steele dossier was the second British “dodgy dossier” that got the ball rolling on Trump the Russian mole and Putin’s “poodle.”
So much fraud. But now social media must be patrolled and anyone daring to challenge the voice of the MSM must be purged by Google, Facebook, Twitter et al.
My question is: When will the machinations of the Big Lie MSM Wurlitzer cross the line and trigger the backlash that they secretly fear so much? MSM has to destroy Trump by 2020 or else his “fake news” polemic will stick… because there is no much truth to it. The messenger may be crude, but he has the bully pulpit to have a real impact.
I await the release, as Larry Johnson pointed out, of the Horowitz IG report on the origins of the fake Trump-Russia collusion line. Also the pending Barr-Durham larger report which is zeroing in on John Brennan.
This is what happens when the deciders believe their own propaganda. The media now says that a residual force of American troops and contractors will stay behind at the Deir ez-Zor oil fields and Al-Tanf base near the Jordon border. The media moguls dare not mention that the real intention is to prevent the Syrian Arab Army from retaking its own territory or that Turkey is seizing thousands of square miles of Syria. Syrians with Russia, Chinese and Iranian aid won’t quit until Syria is whole again and rebuilt. This means that America continues its uninvited unwinnable war in the middle of nowhere with no allies for no reason at all except to do Israel’s bidding and to make money for military contractors. The swamp’s regime change campaign failed. The Houthis’ Aramco attack shows that the gulf oil supply is at risk and can be shut down at will. Continuing these endless wars that are clearly against the best interests of the American people is insane.
The FUKUS thinks we are all a bunch of brainless sheep to be led by a ring in our noses. The ‘Muktar’ is clueless regarding our Saudi brethren, he’s supposed to administer how the overlords say he’s to administer, nothing more. The CIA administration still has a hard-on because they blew it regarding Iran and they’re still embarrassed about it.
In two days, counting closer to a day and a half will be the sad anniversary (October 23) where the Israeli government willfully with forethought let our Marines and other service personnel bunked with them at the barracks in Beirut die needlessly, because Nahum Admoni wanted U.S. to get our noses bloodied.
Never mind that the Russians lost close to 30 million to the brotherhood of the Operation Paper Clip, and the Bormann Group that today controls from behind the scenes most of the World’s money thanks to Martin creating over 750 corporations initially to start with, that has expanded like a Hydra. Any time that truth (Russia is no longer Communist) rears its ugly head, the Bormann group goes into overdrive to ensure that the big lie perpetuates.
The FUKUS think we’re all a bunch of sheep to be led off a cliff, and the propaganda mills have created the trail right up to the edge of the precipice that the sheep are trotting.
Heaven help our children and grandchildren.
Amen. The landslide of disinformation and bullshit disseminated on a daily basis by a pliant media is happily lapped up by ignorant, uninformed Americans. I’ve had quite an exchange with a liberal friend of mine who was shrieking MSNBC talking points on Syria and the Kurds. Mind you, this fellow never served a day in the military. Never held a clearance in his life. Didn’t know a thing about JOPES and how Special Ops forces use a series of written orders signed off on by the CJCS. Yet, he was qualified to criticize Trump. At the same time not one of his kids or grandkids are signed up to fight on that frontline. I told him politely to STFU and get educated before trying to comment on something he knows nothing about.
There’s a lot of truth there, Colonel. Life would be better with just three TV new outlets, huh. Which three? Can you imagine being limited to three cable new outlets? Actually most people probably limit themselves to three news outlets… or less. They find an echo chamber and stick with it. I thank God I don’t have cable or satellite TV and I have too many interests to engage with talk radio.
I couldn’t agree more with your characterization of “virtual facts” about Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia. I also agree that those who continue to view Russia as an implacable enemy bent on our destruction and world domination are liars and/or fools. The Soviet Union was just a phase, a phase now past. Russia never ended. Conversely, those who insist that Russia is a newly minted nation of glitter farting unicorns incapable of nefarious behavior are also fools and/or liars. Russia is a formidable competitor, fully capable and willing to take prudent actions in pursuit of her interests. We should respect her and seek cooperation where we can and tolerance where we must.
How the never-Trumpers treat Tulsi Gabbard is shameful. What Clinton recently said is mild compared to what others have been saying for quite some time. Calling Tulsi a Russian asset is foolishly wrong. That Russia may prefer Tulsi over other potential Presidential candidates should be seen as a positive thing. A policy of mutual respect, cooperation and tolerance between our two countries would benefit the entire world.
The nonsense is endless.
America needed to restore the Kuwait monarchy for freedom and democracy.
Remember defense Secretary dick cheny sending captured Iraq arms to the Taliban.
Same play book was used to run Libyan arms through Bengazi to wahhabist freedom fighter “ISIS” and the al lindsey McCain head choppers.
Thank you Colonel Lang. I daily peruse NY Times and Wash Post to get a feel for the narrative. After, I check out Naked Capitalism, Moon of Alabama and SST. The Obama debacle left me with little wheat, much chaff.
The nonsense will end since not even the United States can endure these costs. Did you hear Trump? 8 trillion yankee dollars and nothing to show for it.
What is highly alarming, almost terrifying, is that really well educated people who have achieved great things in their careers and are pillars of society believe this crap.
I had dinner guests last week; a former Chairman of a bank and his wife who is a highly acclaimed Professor of public Health and Epidemiology who told me how awful Trump and Putin are neither of these friends are what you could remotely classify as Social Justice leftists.
My problem is that I don’t know where to start to try and put them right without them thinking I’m a tinfoil hatted conspiracy nut. I wish there was a website dedicated solely to purveying basic truthful information that is not perhaps as esoteric as SST. Should I try and start one or are there already good examples to point to?
The CIA is a clear and present danger.
The US turned a profit on the first Iraq war according to Chas Freeman.
While I agree with the essence of the post I disagree with the characterization of SOHR. It tends to get its stuff right. I have listed several significant events where SOHR disagreed with the official narrative: On Sources And Information – The Syrian Observatory For Human Rights. Those are exactly the moments where SOHR is disregarded by the pressitude.
It is the selective quoting of such sources that paint them as partisan even as they try to stay somewhat neutral.
@Pat – Any comment to the Gen. McRaven op-ed in the NYT?
Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President
If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office.
Isn’t it a call to mutiny? It seems to me to be far beyond the allowed political comment from a retired General.
Those that look up the pole,all they see is assholes.Those that look down all they see is assholes,but those that look straight ahead, they see which path to take.
https://www.wanttoknow.info/ is a useful resource for educating citizens.
One truth remains forever in human populations: Cupiditas est radix malorum.
I am British and did consider the military in my youth but if I were that age now I would not. Having seen what my political master, and yours, have asked the military to do the danger of being sent on some counter product regime change mission or to prop-up someone I would rather fight is just too great. I would only end up refusing to follow orders which I understand the military takes a rather dim view of.
The colonel’s complaint implicitly assumes that things were not always thus. My adult experience since I saw a war up close has been that the “facts” of our public discourse are always simplified and usually grossly distorted. Is the Iranian regime terrible? Well, yes, but it is also a regime that holds real elections and often loses them. Not in the same league of awful with Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. Similarly with the other examples. The “facts” have in each case a basis in truth but do not by themselves give a true picture. Is our discourse more unfair to Russia than it was to Nasser’s Egypt? Is our promotion of Saudi Arabia any worse than our adulation of Chiang Kai-shek?
Coincidence doesn’t exist. Thinking about this a lot lately.
As an information scientist I have automated this to a certain extent. Basically I look at a lot of websites. Essentially I exclude all MSM, with the exception of what MW called “to get a feel for the narrative”.
The automated part is that I look for changes and perform (a sort of) raw pre-analysis on the changed information using a lot of scripts/software I’ve written to piece together other available software/services/techniques to present me with a raw selection (preferably without excluding too much). Eg to get the narrative of MSM I create a sort of word/phrase cloud for MSM that shows the trend at a glance. The link is just an example. This is an example. It evolved into a tool to save me time in automating a lot of repetitive, time-exhausting actions with regard to extraction, selection and categorisation. It works for me but is not a service/website I can easily offer to others. But I’ve been thinking on that.
IMO there are 3 important issues:
1. MSM (and also search engines) are commercial. This affects their independence (advertising, salary etc)
2. Too much information available. Humans have problems with processing the enormous amount of available information. Although information should help making better decisions the overload makes it easy to steer opinions. My personal experience is also that a lot of people get a sort of tunnel vision because of the information overload. MSM (and I include search engines in this) and social media enable groupthink and absence of ‘other’ alternative sources.
3 Personal initiatives are fragile and have a tendency to break (eg when the maintainer is overcome by the workload. Scaling up requires money with the risk of becoming point 1.) It would be better to decentralize this and create a structure/framework that superceeds the individual and does not depend on money.
I’ve been thinking recently on turning this into software as an open source project that people can use and modify. By making it open source (off course with the proper license that disables a takeover of the project) the source code can be investigated to prevent backdoors and it can be compiled to an executable program by the end-user (off course for non-IT people executables or extensive how-to’s have to be provided).
It can be used as a personal information-server for users which they can use as an interface to access all kinds of information sources on the internet using as input website urls and enabling fine-tuning of the output using simple configuration.
These servers should also be able (when required) to communicate with other trusted or untrusted server to exchange/synchronise. Even when run on personal computers or smart-phones. It should also be possible to make this available on the internet as a website.
This is a bit of a brainstorm for me. I also think I’ve found a way to kickstart this without a lot of money, but it will take a lot of work to start it up.
I’m curious if this is something that would be helpful for SST-readers?
He left out thousands dead and injured and not a single one of them a politician, banker, professor or news anchor.
“MSM has to destroy Trump by 2020 or else…”
The MSM are joined by all those folks who were wined, dined, and degraded by Jeffrey Epstein and Hollywood hero Harvey Weinstein. Nobody seems to care about who Jeffrey abused, or who enjoyed his island paradise. Harvey, he’s about to buy a free ride out of jail. Meanwhile we jail idiots who “bribe” there kids way into that “elite” institution – UCLA.
Not only are the MSM married to a narrative but they feel compelled to attack the few who ever challenge the orthodoxy. For example, ‘Tulsi Gabbard met with the war criminal Assad’.
It would do our vaunted free press wonders if they traveled to Damascus instead of repeating the same tired talking points about Syria. I’ll never forget the look on Gabbard’s face when she talked about the Syrians came up to her and said, ‘why are you attacking us, what did we do to you’. Meeting real people can undo a lifetime of blather and must be stopped at all cost.
b Perhaps memory fails me but I think SOHR propagated the SAG gas attacks mythology. I have stated that McRaven should be recalled to active duty and court-martialed. I could find several punitice articles in UCMJ under which he could be charged.
Centrist liberals are much more likely to believe the NYT on Syria than people further to the left. The Nakedcapitalism blog often links to this site as an antidote to what tge mainstream press puts out.
I’m thinking this is so far and so deep there is nothing that can or will be done. Trump’s election and presidency has lifted the curtain on the puppet show. This recent Syria troop removal is Trump’s second attempt at openly declaring troops will be pulled out of Syria only to have the military has said, “Um, no, we will stay and simply relocate.” Trump openly called for FISA warrants to be declassified only to have the DOJ and FBI either ignore and defy him. Groups like Judicial Watch and others go into court to get the requested information through FOIA and DOJ and FBI lawyers and the courts block them. It is beyond scary to see just how entrenched and powerful Deep State is and how it involves/controls both political parties. Trump has faced hurricane winds of opposition from day one and has been constantly subverted by his own party and his own people. I don’t know how he can get up every day and continue to fight the obvious and concerted Deep State coup against him. I pray for him. I pray the rosary for him.
There are members within Trump’s own party who have agreed that there should be an investigation into the impeachment of Trump for running a yellow light (at most). Again, members of his own party. Renowned Constitutional lawyers John Yoo and Alan Dershowitz, from Cal-Berkeley and Harvard laws schools respectively, have said that not only has Trump done nothing, even remotely, which could trigger an impeachment inquiry but if Congress were to do so it would be unconstitutional and illegal. But alas, who would enforce this? Deep State snakes like John Roberts at the Supreme Court? Robert has already signed off on the coup (https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/10/john-roberts-mitch-mcconnell-trump-impeachment-trial.amp).
The only thing that separates America from falling into the abyss is Trump, a handful of people in Washington, a few conservative talk show hosts, and about 40% of America. Many people have talked a good game at points but I think in the end are just double agents of the dark side/Deep State (Lindsey Graham, Mitch McConnell, … IG Horowitz, etc.). And some, such as Chris Wray, are unabashed dark side/Deep State agents in good standing.
As St. Thomas More said, “The times are never so bad that a good man cannot live in them.” I have faith in Barr. I have faith in Durham. Two men whose Catholic faith is integral to every aspect of their lives and work. But with as pervasive, entrenched, and powerful as the Deep State is I’m skeptical they have the power to do anything. Btw, here’s U.S. Attorney John Durham’s lecture before the Thomistic Institute at Yale (hosted by the Dominican Order): https://soundcloud.com/thomisticinstitute/perspective-of-a-catholic-prosecutor-honorable-john-durham
One thing that really amuses me is that the marionettes of Deep State in the media and politics actually believe that once Trump is gone their puppet show theatre can resume like nothing happened. Sorry, but there is no coming back from this. They will be lucky if the worst thing that happens is a sizable part of of the American populace protests by throwing sand in the gears. I’m afraid it will end much worse.
I’m an extremely grateful for you and your blog. We are all very fortunate to have you.
Thank you for this refuge from the noise. How long before the strangling of information makes its way here, and to Craig Murray, Naked Capitalism, and others who look on with clear eyes?
It strikes me, as a matter of observable fact, that the Houthi attack had almost no long run affect on oil production. Everything was back to normal within 10 days. I think that the attack was allowed to occur for exactly one reason and that was to start a shooting war between the USA as KSA’s great defender and Iran as the horrible nation that has a mild dislike for Israel.
It failed. So far.
To believe that the 24/7/52 AWACS, Ground radar, Israeli radar, and the overlapping close in radar coverage of the Saudi oil fields all failed to detect the drones and cruise missiles is to believe in more miracles than I can handle on a good day. It also means that assets in other parts of this world covered by these same type of radars are just as vulnerable to local disaffected groups.
Humans are copy/paste artists and generally not very good at creative thinking. When shown a series of steps to achieve a reward people will repeat all the steps including clearly unnecessary ones. Monkeys will drop unnecessary steps and frequently show more creativity by using a different method to achieve the reward instead of copying.
The old story goes how a woman always cut the ends off a roast before putting it in a pan. When her daughter asks why she doesn’t know, asks her mother who doesn’t know and asks the great grandmother who laughs and says her pan was too small.
I suspect it is a functional tradeoff that lets us transfer great amounts of cultural information and maintain a civilization of sorts. It creates a tough environment for innovators and allows for easy manipulation of the majority.
Nature of course always has a sprinkling of minority traits in the gene pool to allow for sudden changes in the environment. Most likely those of us that are more critical thinkers and like in depth, multi-dimensional viewpoints and historical knowledge are always going to be standing by watching the crowd do their copy/paste thing.
The rise of the internet giving easy access to more “sources” means more fragmentation in worldviews than ever before depending on where people copy/paste from.
When McCain returned from the Hanoi Hilton he could have been prosecuted for treason he was not because “peace with honour” overrode UCMJ and honour. McRaven is being offered up as a distraction. Call him back to active duty yes, and assign him somewhere dreary, unimportant and far from CONUS. Ignore the stuff he is blathering while he is retired, if he repeats blather while on active duty then the navy might be able to recover some honour.
To be fair, Russia is portrayed as a sort of resurrected Soviet Union intent on world conquest when the audience are conservatives.
Russia portrayed as a fascist theocracy when the audience are liberals.
Refering to what, Diana?
The “sex slaves” among us?
Re: only three TV channels and they all said the same thing!
Once Upon a Time, not so long ago, publishing news was hard. For one thing, you needed a printing press, which was big, expensive and required housing and specialized technicians to operate it. Not only that, but a printing press cost money for every sheet of paper printed, and you had to spend more money to distribute what he printed.
They say that “freedom of the press belongs to those who own one” but there’s more! Unless you were already rich and planned to publish as an expensive and time-consuming hobby, you needed an income stream. You would get some money from subscriptions, but subscriptions are really a means to sell advertising. Dependence on advertising meant that there were some people the publisher had to keep happy, and others he could not afford to annoy.
Anyone who knows anything about local news knows this. At best, it’s a tightrope walk between giving subscribers the news they want to know, and not infuriating your advertisers. The result was a sort of natural censorship. Publishers had to think long and hard before they published anything that would tork the bigwigs off. The fact that a publisher was tied to a physical location and physical assets also made libel suits much easier.
The same thing applied to broadcast TV, only more so. It took orders of magnitude more money, and you were restricted to a limited amount of bandwidth.
The internet changed all that. Now, any anonymous toolio with a laptop ($299 cheap at WallyWorld) and WiFi (free at many businesses) can go into the news publishing business by nightfall, and with worldwide distribution and an advertising revenue stream, to boot. Marginal cost of readership is zero.
Needless to say, this development has The People That Matter very concerned, and they are working hard to stuff that genie back into the bottle.
It wasn’t that there were just 3 stations IMO, it was the era of tri-opoly accidentally was a condition in which the networks didn’t care if their news shows made a profit or not. They could indulge in journalism, objective research, et al.
Now they MUST make a profit. Now we have “news” which must pander to a particular “P1” audience, a small audience that doesn’t channel surf away during commercials. The advertisers are very keen on this demographic and have sophisticated methods of sussing it’s existence or lack thereof. Thereby, TeeVee “news” became largely a pandering to an excited group, and everybody likes to hear what they wish to hear. Or perhaps the staging of Punch and Judy shows (CNN). A “good conversation” has become an entertaining one, what a “good match” is in professional wrestling.
The worst part may be their taking control of the nominating process for both parties. Not many people who should be running for office will have anything to do with the process, not many at all.
I suggest exploring Epsilon Theory which uses clustering and graphs to discern the “narrative” being peddled and how “common knowledge” is manufactured.
I know Ben Hunt well from his days using game theory on portfolio construction.
Great response Harper,
an ideal study would no doubt want to look into the Italy-GB-US angle already concerning the “first dossier”, or whatevers. Didn*t that have mediawise an intermediate French angle?
But is that what is looked at? At present?
For what it’s worth, I found the late Udo Ulfkotte’s personal-experience book “Bought Jounalism” to be quite interesting on this topic, as it details the kind of nuts-and-bolts of print-media prostitution. But I would really like to see an org-chart sometime of the overlapping, possibly competing, mission control centers (if that’s the right phrase) that control the various “Wurlitzer” messaging and who, ultimately, is on charge of these. It has been intriguing to watch, since Kerry uttered his “the Internet makes it very hard to govern” line years ago, the blurry outline of a vast operation to shut down any non-approved media messages, now including all social media. To give credit where credit is due, “they” sure have done a bang-up job in feeding bullshit across all platforms down the throats of a Western people, like a goose being fattened up for foie gras.
… regime change mission or to prop-up someone I would rather fight is just too great.
once upon a time, and strictly I had opted not to believe either side before that, but yes, at one point I wondered fully aware they may be legitimate complaints, how would the UCK, or the Kosovo Liberation Army become the “Western” partner in war.
In hindsight I was made aware of this one grandiose British officer … once upon a time.
”…the US government (along with our British and Israeli helpmates and masters) are the preeminent creators and purveyors of the manufactured virtual facts on which we base our policy.”
I’ve been perplexed for some time what the objectives are of these virtual fact creators? When one digs into who the movers & shakers are in the virtual fact creation apparatus then it seems very much analogous to the Jeffrey Epstein orbit. Folks bound together through the carrot of extraordinary personal gain and the stick of personal destruction. Your Drinking the Koolaid, is a seminal work in exploring how these virtual facts are created and how those who challenge the creation are marginalized and even destroyed personally.
IMO, policy making on the basis of virtual facts extends beyond foreign policy to economic and financial policy as well as healthcare policy in the US. The symptoms are seen in growing wealth inequality and increased market concentration globally and financial policy completely unmoored from common sense and sophistry an important element in virtual fact creation.
We’re seeing signs of the early breakdown in social cohesion with social unrest in France, Spain, Hong Kong, Chile, Lebanon, Ecuador. Brexit and the election of Trump despite the intensity and vitriolic nature of how the media was used against them. The impeachment of Trump another tool in the desperate attempt to retain and consolidate power. Maybe we’re in the Fourth Turning as Howe & Strauss label it.
“if I were that age now…” That is the same line used by the American left since the ’60s.
“I would only end up refusing to follow orders…”
Samantha Power at the UN and James Comey at the FBI both had a “higher loyalty” than to the elected government or the Constitution on which it is based. That’s why they are busy trying to subvert it.
“The Soviet Union never ended. Russia is still communist …”
In the interest of specificity and accountability, where/who in the MSM are asserting that?
You (PL) are making a serious charge.
Just who is guilty of perpetrating such a blatant falsehood?
John Helmer has today published a comprehensive piece on Syria.
The details of history and current affairs are comprehensive.
Highly recommended, a reference work.
His cartoon is good too!
I doubt there is any magic bullet website or other source of information that would turn people over night. A good start would be encouraging them to read transcripts of various Putin and Lavrov speeches and pressers, also Valdai Club, economic forum ect.
Most only get to see the odd sentence or paragragh in western MSM with an entirely fictional story built around it, so perhaps and MSM piece like that and the transcript of the relevant presser or speech alongside it.
I suspect the fine detail in Putin and Lavrov’s replys to press questions
rather than cliches would surprise many people.
pardon me, should have said the article that John Helmer published
was written by Gary Busch
well it seems to me that the groundwork is being laid for an authoritarian state – and it already has sophisticated tools that are unprecedented in their scope and depth and ability to store data. And the whole enterprise is based on three rules:
1) secrecy – data is restricted to “insiders”;
2) deception – the “outsiders” (you know, the citizens) are regarded as a herd of cattle to be managed – with lies and disinformation so we don’t get any ideas;
3) ruthless enforcement to dehumanize and destroy dissent. Just consider the torture and destruction of Journalist Julian Assange: https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/
Not sure what the appropriate response is but I spend a lot of time at my camp working in the woods. Thanks, Colonel Lang, for maintaining this site.
You are more and more interesting.
This is my opinion. I am uninterested in proving anything to you. If you listen to what is said on the MSM (including Fox) it is evident that in the “minds” of the media squirrels Russia is just the USSR in disguise. Try listening to what they are saying as sub-text.
TV and I have too many interests to engage with talk radio.
curious,Twisted, last time I thought about it, there seemed to be the image that Americans have their TV sets turned on 24/24 no matter what they do. After that I read an argument about talk radio.
Talk radio surely seems to be something else, from that perspective. … Marketing wise, maybe too … No? Still relevant?
What do you can tell me about it.
Thank you pl!
The request was not just for my benefit, but with the thought that it would be useful to document the occurrences of such clearly false statements in the media.
It is certainly true that Russia is being demonized in all the MSM I have sampled.
A frequent criticism is that Putin, like Assad, and earlier Saddam and Quadaffi,
is essentially an illegitimate ruler of his country,
ruling through brute force and without the consent of his countrymen.
(Thus the WaPo editorials routinely call Putin a “thug”,
just as they call Assad a “butcher”.)
I am certainly not endorsing that view, just reporting what I hear and read.
When I hear that, I harken back to my graduate school days,
when the same sort of charges were leveled against America, which was usually spelled “Amerika”, or sometimes “AmeriKKKa”, and described as a racist, imperialist, fascist country whose establishment must be “Smashed”.
I believe the core group of people who so wanted a revolution in America in 1970
(which they essentially got, as we have seen over the last 50 years)
are much the same as those now demonizing Russia.
Here is some specificity on their complaints against Russia back then:
They were not opposed to the USSR, or communism.
Many of them were in effect communists.
The cry among many was : “Marx, Mao, and Marcuse”
(Herbert Marcuse was a former Brandeis professor who extolled cultural Marxism).
What they did have, in spades, was a feeling that their ancestors had been victimized by the Czarist regime in Russia,
which, among other supposed sins, had not done enough to prevent pogroms against them.
They seemed to have a deep fear of the Russian people,
based on their long experience with them.
My suspicion (actually, belief) is that the opposition to Putin is based on the fact that he is sometimes viewed as a throwback to the the Czars,
and that is definitely not something looked upon favorably by many Jews.
Walrus–100% my experience as well. Many dinners with “liberal” even “progressive” friends, mostly of the retired kind require great psychic energy. Their Overton Window is 1″-square, making exchanges very difficult to squeeze even minimal bits of political reality. My daily blog tour, like MW’s above, takes me through: Moon of Alabama, Naked Capitalism, SST, Caitlin Johnstone, Grayzone and a few others. I’m intel gathering –but I need to figure out how to convey broader perspectives even to my 40-45 year-old children and their friends. Inside the Beltway assumptions are hard to de-program.
This is SOHR, Tweet, Dec. 6, 2014
“Regime forces use Chlorine gas to stop ISIS advances in Der-Ezzor military airport http://fb.me/4qb09QhnH
3:01 AM – 6 Dec 2014″
I would suggest including the Ian Welsh blog in with SST and NaCap. Sic Semper Tyrannis and Naked Capitalism and Ian Welsh are my three go-to blogs.
Plus random other blogs on other subjects , time permitting.
“Trump has a balance sheet where a soul should be and that is the basis for the belief that MBS and/or his “country” are our friends.”
Not to defend Trump and his balance sheet mindset with respect to the Saudis, the reality is that both parties and presidents from George H.W to Bill Clinton to W and Obama have treated the Saudi monarchy as our “friend”, even when they sponsored the terrorists that attacked us on 9/11.
Tony Blair became a wealthy man after his prime ministership on the back of money thrown his way by the Arab sheikhs.
This news just broke:
Google “Russia like USSR”. It has to be google tho, not Qwant or Duckduckgo. The bias is thick on google.
Back in the U.S.S.R.? How Today’s Russia Is Like the Soviet Era
Russia vs. Ukraine: More Russians Want the Soviet Union and Communism Back Amid Continued Tensions
Putin’s Russia is becoming more Soviet by the day
Joseph Stalin: Why so many Russians like the Soviet dictator
Putin says he wishes the Soviet Union had not collapsed and many Russians agree.
To the commentators who are trying to educate your friends or family who seem hopelessly lost in the propaganda you are wasting your time. An individual either gets it or they don’t.
IMO, Moon of Alabama is an anti-American propaganda outlet. b is plain anti-American and everything he writes about is slanted with that bias. On one hand everything is an American conspiracy with the American security agencies omnipotent, on the other hand he claims the US security agencies are incompetent when it is convenient for his story line.
He will completely defend the Chinese Communists’ totalitarianism and excuse the organ harvesting of Uigyurs in concentration camps as an example of his utter hypocrisy and bias. Look at the criticism and debate we are having here about American foreign policy, if anything similar is even tried in communist China, expect to be tortured in a Chinese gulag. Yet b will extoll the virtues of Chinese communist authoritarianism while pissing on America.
The fundamental problematic in Europe is that the Russian Federation cannot be subtracted from the politics of Europe – Eastern or Western.
The fundamental problematic of the Middle East is that Iran cannot be subtracted from the politics of the Persian Gulf, Levant, and Central Asia.
The fundamental problematic of East Asia is that China cannot be subtracted from the politics of East Asia, Central Asia, the Sub-continent of India and South China Sea.
Until these facts are thoroughly assimilated by Western leaders and planners, we will not have any prospects of an enduring peace; we would continue to see the West as the source of global instability, and we would be flirting with World War III or and on-going Forever War as Orwell had predicted.
I’ll start to believe simian creative potential is superior to mine when monkeys come visit me in a zoo.
Thanks for the link to Dr Busch’s article republished by Helmer, it is excellent and I’d second your recommendation. The original, unabridged is below btw. I don’t know how this eminent fellow has stayed off my radar so far.
I would be very surprised if Czar Putin in not awarded the epithet “the Great” soon after his demise. He has truly Made Russia Great Again.
Trump’s essence remains an enigma to me. On one hand his soul does appear absent – but perhaps that is simply with regard to non-Americans. On the other, I cannot account for the enduring tenacity you describe by reference to his colossal ego alone. He must be all too aware of what he has gotten into and he has had many opportunities to reach an accommodation with the Deep State. But whatever is really driving this man seems to be more powerful than the need for self preservation. Trump must now either win (i.e. the Deep State must capitulate) or he, his family and as some have expressed it; his supporters, must be utterly destroyed. In either case we seem certain to see a level of disruption not seen for generations. My preconceptions of what martyr should look like have been challenged.
I suggest you condense this into a post about 20% as long and ask that question again.
I wonder how many of us still check the NYT only to determine the current narrative and the agenda of some directing PTB?
Once there used to be real information and some difference of opinion in the paper, as long as you got off the front page. Maybe there still is a little. But the ratio to hot air and selective “facts” has shifted. It would take the patience of a panner for gold to read.
Truth for me equates to wisdom; those interpretations of events most likely to stand the test of time. Such interpretations must be formed by someone who is both learned (has read many books) and who understands human behavior (has read many men). Our host is uniquely qualified in both respects.
SST is not esoteric, it is a repository of plain old fashioned wisdom and tremendously valuable as such. The fundamental problem is that previously self-evident truths have become lost thru the process of contemporary ‘education’ being corrupted by the belief that knowledge is superior to wisdom and that the former is a benefit of modernity. In fact almost the opposite is true. Merely reporting facts accurately will not fix this, people need to start by relearning an appreciation for wisdom.
I would suggest your friends start right here. By all means ease them in gently, but bear in mind that replacing a belief system cannot be a painless process. Most people cling to comfortable truths simply because they are not willing to have the abyss stare back at them, it is frightening.
You are conflating “creative potential” with armed might.
Gregory Bateson pointed out to me that porpoises have no fingers, no place for rings, no way to hold onto possessions. Their society is focused on relationships and not on possessions. They are NOT less creative for that. They work and play together in ways that we humans are just barely becoming aware.
“Imagine no possessions, I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people, sharing all the world”
John Lennon “Imagine”?
And when neither one of these will suffice, there’s plan B which is that all Slavic speaking peoples are knuckle draggers who want to have their way with your women.
Why is oh why is the Trump administration giving the ‘White Helmets’ $4.5 Million of hard-earned U.S. Taxpayer Dollars?
Well, I’m one. I check out the Mockingbird media every day along with SST and various alt sites just to keep up with the latest talking points. Triangulate. No one has the time to read anywhere near everything that slides downhill, like excrement to us plebs. Fortunately, one can just read the headline in many cases to see what they want us to believe. Usually some variant of Russia Bad , Warmongers good.
The infantilization of our society is pervasive; TV and internet news, movies, our pitiful political life, so depressing. There are very smart people out there, but the’re atomized into little fiefdoms, squabbling instead of collaborating. And then you have an ever expanding class of sheep-walkers, content to countenance and accept evil so long as they are able to indulge in their preferred personal obsession.
BP, while b’s biases are obvious, the real question is whether his analysis is accurate and often it is.
I follow RT/sputnik/zerohedge to see analysis on US FP – to get analysis of Russian FP, I go elsewhere (not the US media or state dept., which is too mired in unreality and alternate facts). Russian biases are quite obvious, but they really enjoy describing in detail what they call hypocrisy, and what I call incoherency that has led to many US policy failures when reality asserts itself.
And with regards to China, if the protestors in Hong Kong attempted to do to the police in NY or LA or … what they are doing in HK, the US protestors would be dead. Or how many yellow vests have the French killed – and the French protestors have been peaceful. Funny, you never hear about it.
And MSM, CNN, and Fox would describe them as deserving of what they had coming. And the National guard or army would move in.
Sure I wish the world was different, and I want a billion dollars and a unicorn and a pet dragon…. Life’s unfair on earth, news at ten.
Bias is no reason to ignore good analysis.
Well said. I heartily agree.
I don’t know why I took the time to actually find this again for you, but I did:
“Putin says he wishes the Soviet Union had not collapsed and many Russians agree.”
I will cherrypick this line.
I believe the quote was something on the order of… if don’t miss the the Soviet Union, you don’t have heart. And if you want it back, you don’t have a brain.
The ultimate problem with conflating Russia with the Soviet Union, is that the two are certainly not the same, they have, and had, very different world views, and different foreign policies as a consequence.
The Soviet Union was a revolutionary power, that continually looked to export the revolution. It was also a Russophobic state that understandably viewed Russian nationalism as a threat to its continued existence.
Modern Russia, by contrast, is an incredibly conservative power which has little interest in revolutionary politics. And appears, to me at least, to be hobbled by the same problems that troubled the Tsars. Take for example the corrupt village headman from a classic novel, using his power to steal from his village. Then open the paper, and read about a local mayor who has stolen a company from some local entrepreneurs.
The other complexity we overlook, is that Putin is trying to heal the wounds of the revolution. I would point to the way he’s redeemed White Russian icons, and supported the return of the Orthodox Church as the moral center of the country. He does this, just as he acknowledges the strengths and (limited) virtues of the Soviet era.
All of this is missed, and we ended up talking about something that doesn’t exist. A neo Soviet state.
Russia will continue to suprise us, as long as we think this way.
A post by Paul Craig Roberts that contains a link to a talk by Ulfkotte. Translated transcript included:
Thinking on it a bit more, many people have a strong safety in numbers or herd instinct. Reason people are likened to sheep at times. No amount of reason will separate them from a large mob.
Meanwhile we jail idiots who “bribe” there kids way into that “elite” institution – UCLA.
What is worse, Fred, those winners that can afford to bribe their kids into “elite institutions”*? or UCLA?
* Stanford, MIT, Havard, Eton, Princeton what is the present rank of UCLA?
Alfred Harmsworth, 1st Viscount Northcliffe, would be proud. the founder of virtual facts.
There is a coup going on and the NYT is complicit.
I’m a lefty and despise Trump, but this is insane.
In the light of this interesting discussion, some comments on an argument made by TTG may be to the point. He suggested that: ‘Russia is a formidable competitor, fully capable and willing to take prudent actions in pursuit of her interests.’
Unfortunately, this suggestion illustrates a problem with much ‘realist’ thought. Arguments about ‘national interests’ are of very limited explanatory value, unless one attempts seriously to explore the ways that such ‘interests’ are interpreted by different players inside the society one is trying to understand.
Here, it is I think material to pay heed to the arguments made by the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, Dmitri Trenin, published in ‘Foreign Affairs’ on Christmas Day, 2016, under the title ‘Russia’s Post-Soviet Journey: From Europe to Eurasia.’
(See https://carnegie.ru/2016/12/25/russia-s-post-soviet-journey-pub-66569 .)
Having noted that Russian élites are still hoping for an improvement in relations with (continental) Europe, Trenin suggests a radical and irreversible change has taken place in their view of their country’s interests:
‘But such a thawing will not turn back the clock to the 1990s, when, for a brief moment, Russia fancied itself a part of Europe. The greater Europe for which Putin was advocating as late as 2010 will not emerge anytime soon. It has been replaced in the Kremlin’s thinking by a greater Eurasia comprising China, India, Japan, Turkey, and – the EU.)’
Actually – as with other rather significant recent contributions easily available in English, by figures like Sergei Karaganov and Vladislav Surkov – Trenin is writing about something yet more fundamental. What all are suggesting is that the ‘Petrine’ period of Russian history may be over.
This bears upon current discussions in a number of ways. So Larry referred, in his most recent exposé of the conspiracy, to the smearing of Dimitri Simes.
In fact, one of the most fascinating moments in the frankly demented ravings which Glenn Simpson produced in front of the House Intelligence Committee in November 2017 was when the – even more demented – Adam Schiff asked what else, in the way of ‘active measures’, they should be investigating, The response:
‘So I guess the first one that I think that we haven’t covered at all, would be the Center for the National Interest and the people involved in the Center for the National Interest. And among other things – well, importantly Dimitri Simes is known in the Russian expat community as a suspected Russian agent. And I believe he is known to the FBI as a suspected Russian agent.’
As to what the real offence of Simes has been, one has only, I think, to look the article he published in the in the November/December issue of ‘Foreign Affairs’ entitled ‘Losing Russia: The Costs of Renewed Confrontation.’
(See https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2007/10/losing_russia.html .)
What Simes had grasped was that underlying the Gorbachev-era ‘new thinking’ was, as it were, the emergence from the shadows of a very significant portion of the Soviet élite who had, over the years, been coming to the conclusion that communism was not in either the Soviet, or Russian, ‘national interest.’
Our colleague Dr. Patrick Armstrong has described the impact on his thinking of a key indicator of this change, the article which Yevgeny Primakov published in ‘Pravda’ in July 1987, under the title ‘A New Philosophy of Foreign Policy.’
As a result of having paid attention to others of the very small number of Western analysts who did not dismiss the ‘new thinking’ as ‘active measures’, I and a colleague ended up interviewing some of the leading figures involved in Moscow for BBC Radio in February 1989.
Talking to people first-hand, it was clear that those who thought the ‘new thinking’ was largely ‘active measures’ were clueless. What only became clear to me later was that, in the background, there was a fundamental argument, as to what the Cold War was about.
This was, I now think, reflected in what we were told by General-Mayor Larionov, who was the mentor and collaborator of Andrei Kokoshin, then Georgy Arbatov’s deputy at the Institute of the U.S.A. and Canada.
There was a very visible generational difference – Larionov, like Arbatov, was an ‘Old Mohican’, a member of the generation that had gone to war as teenagers, while Kokoshin was my generation, who were children in the immediate post-war period.
One of the first things Larionov told us was that, to understand the ‘new thinking’, one had to go back to the realisation of Soviet planners, in the ‘Seventies, that it was not possible to win a nuclear war. He then talked at some length about a strategist of the ‘Twenties, Aleksandr Svechin, who he said had been ‘repressed’ under Stalin.
And he also discussed the study ‘Game Plan’ which Mika B’s father had published in 1986, referring to him as ‘Brzezinski – “nash drug” (our friend) – a Pole.’
Unfortunately, at that time I had not come across what was then the Soviet Army Studies Office, now the Foreign Military Studies Office, and the work of Dr Jacob W. Kipp, who had already written extensively about Svechin. Only when I did, some years later, did I get a better grasp of what Larionov was trying to tell us.
It turned out that he was in a rather good position to say that much of what Brzezinski was saying was wrong, because he had compiled and co-authored the book which was at the centre of debates about the role of nuclear weapons in Soviet military thinking, the original 1962 edition of the study ‘Military Strategy’ published under the name of Marshal Sokolovsky.
And it also turned out that the book was actually a bluff. As Kipp explains in a 1999 discussion of Kokoshin, Larionov explained that Khrushchev wanted to reduce the heavy burden of spending on conventional weapons, so he was trying to persuade the West that he had a ‘credible’ strategic deterrent, when in fact he did not.
So, according to Kokoshin, the instructions given to Sokolovsky and his team were ‘to scare them to death.’ Unfortunately, the bluff backfired.
(See https://fas.org/nuke/guide/russia/agency/990100-kokoshin.htm .)
This history, I later realised, was also part of the complex background to the advocacy by Kokoshin and Larionov of a Svechin-style defensive military posture, which among other things involved abandoning contingency planning in which Eastern Europe was seen as an indispensable ‘glacis’, and ‘springboard.’
The $60,000 question in the background of what Larionov was saying, I also later realised, was how far the Cold War had been simply a Soviet ‘own goal’.
An alternative interpretation, one that he certainly rejected at that time, was that Western policy was underpinned by ‘geopolitical’ interests and historical antagonisms, that would mean that the liquidation of the Stalinist security posture, and even the abandonment of communism, would do little to mitigate Western hostility.
In the 2007 article by Simes, there is a section entitled ‘Eat Your Spinach’ – an allusion to a famous statement by Victoria Nuland, which rather well summed up the Clinton Administration’s approach to Russia: ‘That’s what happens when you try to get the Russians to eat their spinach. The more … he more you tell them it’s good for them, the more they gag.’
What Simes was arguing was that it might turn out that, in the end, this approach was really not in the ‘national interest’ of the United States. In fact, it was in 1996 that the same Primakov who had been a figure of moment in the ‘new thinking’, and became Foreign Minister that year, concluded that, if ‘spinach’ was all that was likely to be on offer, it was time for his countrymen to develop a taste for ‘Peking Duck’.
It has long seemed to me that it was not in the American, or indeed British, ‘national interest’ to encourage this taste.
The conventional wisdom however was the reverse. A most interesting discussion of the ‘spinach strategy’, as applied to Ukraine, comes in a recent article, also in the ‘National Interest’, by Nicholas K. Gvosdev, entitled ‘Where Will Ukraine Go from Here?’ A key paragraph:
‘For the last thirty years, U.S. policy towards Ukraine has been guided by former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski’s aphorism: a Russia with Ukraine is an empire (and by extension, a threat to the security of the Euro-Atlantic area), but a Russia without Ukraine has the chance to become a “normal” nation-state (and, by implication, is better “balanced” vis-à-vis the principal European powers of France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy).
(See https://nationalinterest.org/feature/where-will-ukraine-go-here-87936 .)
For a perhaps more relevant epitaph on all this, one can usefully read the interview published on 22 September in ‘Moskovskij Komsomolets’, entitled ‘Sergei Shoigu Revealed How The Russian Army Was Salvaged’. Also relevant is an interview on 3 October by in ‘VZGLYAD Newspaper’, headlined ‘Sergei Karaganov: Protecting the Whole World Could Become Russia’s New Mission.’
(For English translations, see https://www.memri.org/reports/russian-minister-defense-shoigu-russia-returned-her-senses-1999-thwart-western-designs ; http://karaganov.ru/en/news/533 .)
These appear to represent a resolution of the argument of which I was dimly aware, back in 1989.
A slightly tongue-in-cheek rendering of the conversation which appears to be implicit in these interviews might roughly as follows:
Put vulgarly, Shoigu appears to be saying something along the lines of. ‘Phew. We had a lucky escape there. Had Clinton followed the kind of strategy Simes commends the George H.W. Bush Administration for following, then in the end the West would have succeeded in “destroying and enslaving our country.”
‘However, the “spinach strategy” had succeeded in making even the Larionovs, Kokoshins and Karaganovs realise that, both after the Cold War and during it, Western policy was really run by a coalition of ‘Anglo’ Russophobes and the “insulted and injured” from the “borderlands”.’
Meanwhile, Karaganov is making a ‘mea culpa’, along the following lines: ‘Yes, I admit it, our failure to grasp that the Western threat was real, and infatuation with “democracy”, did a lot to ensure that the Soviet Union was destroyed, rather than reformed. However, I have seen the light, am rediscovering my “inner Mongol”, and embracing “Eurasianism” with the enthusiasm of the convert.’
Bad jokes apart, there is a very fundamental point about perceptions of ‘national interest.’
As both Shoigu’s and Karaganov’s writings make clear, people in London and Washington have failed to grasp that their counteparts in Moscow see the potential threat in the ‘borderlands’ with China as one that can be managed, by a combination of ‘appeasement’ and ‘deterrence.’
A corollary is that they have had difficulty in grasping that, once Russia abandoned the project of integration into ‘Greater Europe’, both the imperatives of ‘appeasement’ and that of diluting a possibly overwhelming Chinese preponderance suggested that it was imperative that they should attempt to bring as much as possible of ‘Eurasia’ away from ‘Anglo’ influence.
Precisely as Trenin intimated in his piece, key long-term targets with be India, and continental Europe, in particular Germany.
However, one does not do this by crude and transparent interference in Western political systems. The people who have an interest in doing this are the ‘Galician’ nationalists, on whom suspicions are quite rightly falling. How far some of the Balts may also be involved is an interesting question.
So, SST is just more BS to triangulate from?
I read such sources to find out what the conventional wisdom is for that day.
Or any one of about 56,945,273 russiagate conspiracy theory memes witha hammer and sickle motif.
All those “virtual facts” line up except for the last one. Isn’t it Trump who insists that Saudi Arabia is our friend?
I understand that the Mainland Chinese press has already given V.V. Putin this label, and extolled him as a model for cadres to learn from.
Lord knows that I detest Trump, but if he has (probably inadvertently) rendered the country one service, he has demolished the myth that the MSM is not flagrantly biased.
Or, more accurately, he has caused the MSM to nail its colors to the mast.
Today, Russia-Africa summit in Sochi begins, 44 heads of state, 3000 other guests much on offer from Russia to Africa.
And Russia has just forgiven another $20 bn in debt owed by African nations, on top of $32 bn forgiven to Cuba.
The US sanctions are certainly hampering the Russian economy and foreign policy initiatives.
appreciated, eakens. Thanks. Only trying to understand within my limited means.
He will completely defend the Chinese Communists’ totalitarianism and excuse the organ harvesting of Uigyurs in concentration camps as an example of his utter hypocrisy and bias.
That allegation is 100% false. I have never written about the Uigyurs and alleged organ harvesting.
Take it back you lying piece of s***.
Yes, he made it worse following the Israeli lead provided through Jared and as I said his balance sheet soul.
Yes. As the 22nd century opens, he will be regarded as the outstanding statesman of at least its predecessor’s first half.
I’m worried about this bit –
” One result of the catastrophic transformation of Syria since the start of its current civil war has been the reduction of the control of the tribes and clans by their traditional chiefs. These changes have induced the tribes to ally themselves in the war, changeably and unpredictably, with the Syrian Government, or with the Syrian rebels – the Syrian Defence Forces (SDF) and ISIS (Daesh).
“As the contemporary conflict in Syria spread, the different tribes  became identified with one or more of the civil war combatants.”
ISIS now spoken of as “Syrian rebels” or “civil war combatants”? No mention of where the arms came from, what was the make up of their forces?
Is this man doing a Charles Lister? Or am I misreading him and he’s on the level.
Not at all, Colonel. Here’s where that work is done.
Your pilgrims straggle a lot, at least this one does, but they’re all after the same grail – how does one get to what lies behind the Roveian illusion?
As “Dividab” says above, many thanks to you and your committee for soldiering on with that work.
A fascinating comment, as always. The Karaganov interview was a good read. The headline quote; “Formalizing the fact that Russia is a supplier of international security for the world and for itself should be one of the underlying ideas of Russia’s foreign policy” looks like becoming a reality in the age of Trump – and at a pace that few of us can currently comprehend. If the contrast between US neocon-fomented chaos and Russian-imposed order in Syria is anything to go by, it cannot happen soon enough.
I remain to be convinced by the extent to which Russians will “develop a taste for Peking Duck”. More likely, if the above forecast is accurate, the rest of us, Chinese and all, will need to develop a taste for Beef Stroganoff or Borscht.
“key long-term targets (will) be India, and continental Europe, in particular Germany.”
1. Blow continental Europe, Mr Habakkuk, though if the Germans had any sense they’d realise that a trading arrangement with Russia would be a marriage made in heaven. What about UK/Russian trade? It would be difficult to see a better trading partner for us.
We’re already dipping a toe into the Eurasian project. Do you see this involvement developing? Pre-revolution, for all the “Great Game”, Russia was an important export market. We invested there heavily (my family lost their all in Russian railways after the revolution, or so legend has it) and should do so again. Reliable trading partners and lots to trade. Any sign of our masters coming to their senses and seeing that?
And do you see a shift in US policy that would mean similar involvement with Russia there? More profitable to trade than to destabilise.
2. Your last paragraph. Would it be possible to go into further detail on that?
If 70 million Americans were out on the street protesting our government, there would be changes for sure. There’s no way SWAT teams would be beating them up.
I lived in HK for many years and know people who’ve lived there for generations. There are many reports that CCP provocateurs are taking actions to discredit the many people of HK who don’t want to be serfs to the Chinese Communist Party.
Can’t stand being called out for being a bootlicker of the totalitarian Chinese communists, eh? Why aren’t you living in that communist utopia and reciting Xi Thought every morning?
I’m curious how the relationship between Russia and China will evolve. My experience being involved with a few companies who did business in China is that the Chinese commitments even on paper where in their mind not something they had to adhere to once they got what they needed.
It is not balance sheet. US could have sold more to Iran than to Saudi Arabia. MBS is US man, and thus must be preserved. Trump is hiding behind “balance sheet”, carrying out the same bone-headed policies in the Middle East since 1968.
One slip in my previous comment – I left out the 2007, in describing the ‘Losing Russia’ piece by Dimitri Simes as having been in the November/December 2007 issue of ‘Foreign Affairs’.
More recently he has, unlike so many Western ‘experts’, taken the trouble actually to talk to relevant people in Russia about how their attitudes to China have changed.
A useful account was published in an article in the ‘National Interest’ back in July headlined ‘Is Russia Worried About China’s Military Rise? Strained relations between Moscow and Washington are making Russians more accepting of Chinese military power.’
(See https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/russia-worried-about-china’s-military-rise-70201 .)
The short answer is, yes, Russian experts can see plenty of potential problems with China, and might in private be less sanguine than they will be talking to an American.
But they do not regard it as anything like the kind of threat they see the United States as being. Accordingly, creating a situation where the Chinese will have a long-term interest in co-operation is their least worst option.
It is worth looking further at the intellectual evolution of one of those Simes quotes, Alexander Lukin, whom he describes as ‘A China scholar at the Higher School of Economics.’
Back in January, Strobe Talbott published an article in ‘Politico’ headlined: ‘It’s Already Collusion. We don’t need news reports to tell us that Trump is giving Putin what he wants. Take it from this longtime Russia hand: It’s staring us in the face.’
The following month, in response, Lukin published in the ‘National Interest’ an ‘insider’s account’ of the devastating effect of the ‘spinach strategy’ not just on the attitudes of his countrymen to the United States but on the prospects for liberalism in Russia – a cause with which he was once himself strongly identified, under the title: ‘How the United States Got Russia Wrong.’
(See https://nationalinterest.org/feature/how-united-states-got-russia-wrong-42977 .)
A key paragraph:
‘Many Russians who advocated democratic reforms in the early 1990s and for whom both the Yeltsin kleptocracy and the Communist dictatorship were anathema now have reason to blame Talbott and his like-minded associates for contributing to authoritarianism in Russia. Those policies served to discredit Russia’s pro-Western forces completely because everything was lumped together in the public’s perception – kleptocracy, corruption, Western aid, pro-Western policies, and Russia’s abasement. And it was the policies developed by Talbott and his associates that gave rise to this perception.’
Developing his argument, Lukin suggests that people like Talbott are really ‘neo-Brezhnevites’, unable to understand the realities of other societies and their own because of a bizarre combination of outdated ideological dogma and humbug. And he concludes:
‘From this perspective, Trump’s policies are far more understandable because they are less ideologized and hypocritical. Trump candidly states that his goal is to preserve the U.S. hegemony and economic advantage. He wanted to improve relations with Moscow not because of some mythical collusion, but because he viewed Russia as less of a threat than China and Iran. This position is at least rational. Talbott and his like-minded associates in Washington’s political class, however, prevented Trump for pursuing this plan. I think both Russians and Americans will not be grateful to them for this, just as they will not be grateful to them for the U.S. foreign policy of the 1990s.’
Whether, if Trump’s efforts to make your country pursue a more ‘realist’ policy succeeded, apprehensions about China might again play a much larger role in Russian thinking is an interesting question.
As it happens, evidence coming out as a result of ‘Russiagate’ has reinforced my longstanding conviction that the notion that, somehow, if they serve up more helpings of ‘spinach’, they can have the ‘Nineties back again, dies very slowly among American, and British élites.
Unless there is a radical change in this situation, the Russians who matter are likely to continue to think ‘appeasement’ of China their least worst option.
Great link eakens…… thank you
Yes Blair was keener than Bush on the invasion of Iraq, the poodle thing was perhaps to quell the discontent of the antiwar left, whatever happened to the antiwar left?
Blair was lavishly funded by Zionists.
Indeed Blair himself was just a telegenic front man for Peter Mandelson(Mendelsohn) and Alastair Campbell, he of the Iraq war dodgy dossier fame. Campbell had worked for Robert Maxwell at his newspaper the Daily Mirror. Probably just a coincidence but it is funny how Maxwell people keep turning up, Bill Browder worked for Maxwell.
You raise some fundamental questions, not least in relation to what our country should do. The caravan is now moving on, as it were, but I will attempt to say something about your final one.
It is often difficult, with Trump, to know whether statements which are taken to be ludicrous reflect confusion or concealed calculation.
One case in point was the reference to the ‘server’ in the conversation with Zelensky. If one assumes that the reference is to the DNC server, it appears absurd.
An alternative possibility, that the actual suggestion is that ‘CrowdStrike’ collaborated with Ukrainians in producing a ‘false flag’ that left what appeared to be Russian traces on the DNC servers, does not seem to me absurd at all.
And then we have Trump’s suggestion to Hannity, on Monday, in relation to the dossier supposedly compiled by Steele, that ‘he had been hearing about Ukraine, that ‘I heard Clinton was involved,’ and that ‘I heard they got somebody who wrote the fake dossier was out of Ukraine.’
(See https://www.foxnews.com/media/trump-hannity-barr-ukraine-hillary-clinton-steele-dossier .)
It has long been my view that Steele’s primary role in that document was in giving a veneer of intelligence legitimacy to a ‘camel produced by a committee’, put together by his long-term collaborators inside Fusion GPS – and also making it possible to disguise where the material, insofar as the gang had not simply invented it themselves, originated.
I have from the start been puzzled by the use of the transliteration ‘Alpha’ for the Fridman/Aven/Khan group.
It could be expected that someone whose native language was English, like Steele, the Ohrs, and Simpson, would use the company’s own transliteration, ‘Alfa’. If the memo was drafted by someone whose native language was Ukrainian, and/or Russian, it would make better sense.
Also, if you look at the ‘Manafort Chronology’ which Nellie Ohr produced within Fusion, and which her husband emailed to himself on 5 December 2016, you will see that it draws, repeatedly, on the ‘Third Complaint’ in Yuliya Tymoshenko’s lawsuit against Dymtro Firtash and others.
By the time that document was submitted, in November 2014, those included Mogilevich, Yanukovych and Manafort.
The document is freely available on the ‘Courtlistener’ site, as is its dismissal – ‘with prejudice’ – by Judge Kimba M. Wood in September 2015.
(See https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/4615105/tymoshenko-v-firtash/ )
Certainly, this dismissal does not mean that the factual claims made by the Tymoshenko camp on which Nellie Ohr relied can simply be assumed to be false.
By the same token, however, there are no grounds for simply discounting the account of Tymoshenko’s allegedly criminal involvement in gas trading in the ‘Counterclaim’ filed by Firtash on 11 July 2011, which can be accessed at http://uaba.org/Resources/Documents/Blog Docs/11-07-16 Universal Trading v Tymoshenko Counterclaim.pdf .
When ‘pots’ are busily accusing ‘kettles’, a prudent person should be cautious about taking sides, as not only the Ohrs but very many people in Washington and London have done.
In fact, the conventional wisdom according to which Yanukovych, Firtash and Manafort were instruments of a dastardly plot by Putin to keep Ukraine in the grip of his corrupt ‘tenacles’, from which Tymoshenko, Yushchenko, Poroshenko et al have been striving to free it, has always been BS.
Rather obviously, the disasters to which the attempt to split Ukraine totally from Russia have led have meant that some of the proponents of this course in the former country have had every reason to do everything possible to prevent Trump’s election.
By the same token the fact that powerful elements in the United States have so patently sided with Tymoshenko – among other things waging a protracted battle to get Firtash extradited to the U.S., on charges that look somewhat questionable – has provided his camp with strong reasons to use their intelligence capabilities, which I suspect may be formidable, on Trump’s side.
Also needing to be added into the ‘mix’ are two recent pieces by Eric Zuesse – one of many figures writing about the post-Soviet space whose material needs to be handled with great caution, but is sometimes very useful.
On 28 September, he published a piece on the ‘Vineyard of the Saker’ site headlined ‘Here is the dirt Trump wanted from Zelensky about the Bidens and why Zelensky doesn’t want to give it to him – hidden by rampant falsehoods in the press.’
A follow-up piece on the ‘Strategic Culture Foundation’ site, on 19 October, was headlined ‘Ukrainegate: Is It Waterloo for Trump, or for America’s ‘News’-Media?’
(See https://thesaker.is/here-is-the-dirt-trump-wanted-from-zelensky-about-the-bidens-and-why-zelensky-doesnt-want-to-give-it-to-him-hidden-by-rampant-falsehoods-in-the-press/ ; https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/10/19/ukrainegate-is-it-waterloo-for-trump-or-for-americas-news-media/ .)
A central claim underlying these pieces is that control of Burisma, the company which is at the heart of all the questions relating to Biden and his son, passed in 2011 from Mykola Zlochevsky, who had been associated with Yanukovych, to the ferociously anti-Russian – and spectacularly corrupt and unpleasant – oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky: to whom Zelensky is linked.
What makes this rather hard to ignore is that the research on which Zuesse is drawing was published back in 2014 on the ‘Naked Capitalism’ site by Richard Smith, who is a long-term collaborator of Susan Webber, aka ‘Yves Smith’, who runs it. Both have high and patently deserved reputations for analytical competence and integrity.
One does not need to swallow Zuesse’s claims about the implications of this hook, line and sinker to agree that if indeed Hunter Biden was being employed not by Zlochevsky but by Kolomoisky, then the suggestion that his father was seriously concerned with corruption collapses – and a lot else with it.
Also interesting here are the recent closed door testimony of William B. Taylor, who was U.S, Ambassador in Ukraine from 2006-9, and is now back there as Chargé d ‘Affaires, to the House impeachment inquiry.
In a discussion on the ‘National Interest’ site, Hunter DeRensis writes that this figure’s ‘Manichean introductory and concluding remarks suggested that he views Russia as an inveterate enemy of America and Ukraine as a white knight.’
(See https://nationalinterest.org/feature/blob-strikes-back-90471 .)
One then comes back to the fact that the – common and egregious – misrepresentation of Manafort’s role is bound up with a peculiarly ‘Manichean’ understanding of the conflict between Firtash and Tymoshenko.
Here, it becomes very interesting to read the cables which Taylor sent back to Washington, following visits by Firtash to the Embassy in December 2008 and March 2009, which have been published by ‘WikiLeaks.’ Some useful context is provided by cables from his predecessor, John Herbst, notably one from 14 April 2006.
(See https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08KYIV2414_a.html ; https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/08KYIV2414_a.html ; https://wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/06KIEV1531_a.html .)
One thing that comes out clearly is that Firtash, like Manafort, had been championing an alternative strategy for wresting the whole of Ukraine away from Russia: based on the argument that Tymoshenko’s opposition to Yanukovych was deepening the East/West divide, and it was crucial to co-opt the ‘Party of the Regions’ into a pro-Western orientation.
Also very interesting is the account which Firtash gave to Taylor about the history of his relations with Semyon (misspelled Seymon by both Taylor and Herbst) Mogilevich.
This, however, needs to be set in the context of – thoroughly plausible – allegations discussed in the April 2006 cable from Herbst, that two key associates of Tymoshenko, the then chairman of the SBU, Oleksandr Turchynov and his deputy had ordered the destruction of ‘13 volumes of material on Mogilievich, dating back to 1993’ – the day before she was sacked as Prime Minister.
In an interview with Betsy Woodruff of the ‘Daily Beast’ back in March, Firtash produced a clearly tongue-in-cheek response on the subject if his relations with Mogilevich.
‘“Half of the Soviet Union knows him, everyone knows him,” Firtash said. “He’s from Ukraine. Everyone knows him, I’m not the only one who knows him.’
(See https://www.thedailybeast.com/indicted-oligarch-dmytro-firtash-praises-paul-manafort-says-trump-has-third-grade-smarts .)
The response to Ms. Woodruff’s question as to whether Putin was manipulating Trump was also entertaining:
“Bullshit,” Firtash replied. “It’s just the Mogilevich fairytale, Part 2.”
In fact, the whole history of the gas trade to and through Ukraine, and of the role of Mogilevich in it, which underpins the scare stories about that figure, is complex.
It is symptomatic of the ‘Manichean’ mentality of Taylor and so many others that, commenting in his March 2009 cable on what Firtash had had to say about the recent gas dispute with Russia, he should write ‘Although no friend of PM Tymoshenko, he echoed her claims that 1) Russia caused the crisis, and that 2) Ukraine had not stolen any Russian gas.’
It is too complex to go into here, but an alternative view has long been that the background to the existence of the intermediary companies, and the involvement of Mogilevich and the ‘Solntsevskaya Bratva’, had to do with the difficulties of making the gas trade work in the chaotic world created by the collapse of the Soviet Union.
And part of the problem, it has been cogently argued, is that Ukraine was exploiting its stranglehold on Russian gas exports to Europe to get gas without paying for it.
However, so many have committed their reputations, and indeed their self-esteem, to an account of post-Soviet realities which is not simply ‘Manichean’ but frankly ‘fairytale’, that the ‘information operations’ contests in Ukraine are now being carried over into American politics.