vendredi, 18 avril 2014

Syrie/Ukraine/OTAN : analyse géopolitique

Syrie/Ukraine/OTAN : analyse géopolitique Entretien avec Robert Steuckers

Merci au "Cercle des Volontaires" de Belgique:

http://www.cercledesvolontaires.fr/2014/04/18/syrie-ukrai...

 

Dans le cadre d’un sujet de mémoire d’une étudiante à Bruxelles, Robert Steuckers nous délivre une brillante analyse historique et géopolitique sur la Syrie et l’Ukraine.

Il est revenu sur les révolutions tunisienne et égyptienne ainsi que sur les tentatives de déstabilisation de ces pays. L’Algérie, dont le régime militaire socialiste tente de résister, est sans doute la prochaine tentative de déstabilisation en Afrique du Nord. La Syrie reste une particularité dans ce qu’on appelle le « printemps arabe » et Robert Steuckers expose le rôle de l’armée et du régime baassiste dans le fonctionnement du pays. Nous apprenons aussi que le cas de la Syrie et de la Crimée sont liés historiquement,  ce depuis le XIXe siècle, l’enjeu principal étant le contrôle de la Méditerranée orientale.

L’instrumentalisation d’un islam « radical » par le courant wahhabite dans le Caucase est aussi traité dans cet entretien, mais aussi le rôle que devait jouer l’Union Européenne dans la conférence de Genève II, ainsi que les réformes qui s’imposent dans le cadre des nominations des membres permanents du Conseil de Sécurité de l’ONU.

Ce brillant exposé de Robert Steuckers nous permet de disséquer les enjeux qui se déroulent dans le bassin méditerranéen oriental et le Moyen-Orient.

Pour rappel, Robert Steuckers est une grande figure de ce qu’on appelle la « Nouvelle Droite », ancien membre du mouvement GRECE et fondateur du mouvement « Synergies européennes ».

A diffuser très largement.
E.I.Anass

lundi, 14 avril 2014

Geopolítica, geografía sagrada, geofilosofía

por Claudio Mutti

Ex: http://paginatransversal.wordpress.com

De acuerdo con una definición integral, que intenta sintetizar aquellas proporcionadas por diversos estudiosos, la geopolítica puede ser considerada como “el estudio de las relaciones internacionales en una perspectiva espacial y geográfica, en el que se toman en cuenta la influencia de los factores geográficos sobre la política exterior de los Estados y la rivalidad de poder sobre territorios en disputa entre dos o más Estados, o entre diferentes grupos o movimientos políticos armados” (1).

Por cuán grande sea el peso atribuido a los factores geográficos, aún sigue existiendo la relación de la geopolítica con la doctrina del Estado, por lo que es natural plantearse una interrogante que hasta el momento no parece haber sido tema de reflexión de los estudiosos. La pregunta es la siguiente: ¿Sería posible aplicar también a la geopolítica la famosa afirmación de Carl Schmitt, según la cual “todos los conceptos sobresalientes de la moderna doctrina del Estado son conceptos teológicos secularizados”? (2) En otras palabras, ¿Es posible suponer que la misma geopolítica represente un eco moderno, si no una derivación secularizada de los conceptos teológicos vinculados con la “geografía sagrada”?

Si así fuese, la geopolítica se encontraría en una situación similar no sólo como la descrita sobre la “ciencia moderna del Estado”, sino también con la generalidad de la ciencia moderna. Para ser más explícito, recurramos a una cita de René Guénon: “Queriendo separar radicalmente las ciencias de todo principio superior, so pretexto de asegurar su independencia, la concepción moderna les quita toda significación profunda, e inclusive todo interés verdadero desde el punto de vista del conocimiento, y ella no puede desembocar más que en un callejón sin salida, puesto que las encierra en un dominio irremediablemente limitado” (3).

En cuanto atañe particularmente a la “geografía sagrada”, con la cual -según nuestra hipótesis- se relacionaría de algún modo la geopolítica, es de igual manera Guénon quién nos proporciona una sintética indicación al respecto: “Ahora bien, efectivamente existe una «geografía sagrada» o tradicional que los modernos ignoran tan completamente como los restantes conocimientos del mismo género; existe un simbolismo geográfico en la misma medida que existe un simbolismo histórico y es el valor simbólico de las cosas lo que les da su significado profundo dado que así queda establecida su correspondencia con las realidades de orden superior; no obstante, para que esta correspondencia quede determinada de forma efectiva, es preciso ser capaz de un modo u otro de percibir en las propias cosas el reflejo de tales realidades. Así ocurre que existen lugares particularmente aptos para servir de «soporte» a la acción de «las influencias espirituales» y este es el fundamento que siempre ha tenido el establecimiento de ciertos «centros» tradicionales principales o secundarios, cuyos más claros exponentes fueron los «oráculos» de la Antigüedad así como los lugares de peregrinación; también existen otros lugares particularmente propicios a la manifestación de «influencias» de un carácter completamente opuesto y pertenecientes a las regiones más inferiores del ámbito de lo sutil” (4).

Se ha dicho que rastros de la “geografía sagrada” son reconocibles en algunas características de las nociones geopolíticas, por lo tanto, éstas podrían ser consideradas schmittianamente como “conceptos teológicos secularizados”. Consideremos, por ejemplo, los términos mackinderianos como Heartland y pivot area, los cuales, invocan de manera explicita el simbolismo del corazón y el simbolismo axial, reproducen de alguna manera la idea de “Centro del Mundo” que los antiguos representaban por medio de una variedad de símbolos, geográficos y no geográficos. Muchas veces se ha ofrecido la ocasión para observar que, si la ciencia de las religiones ha demostrado que el homo religiosus “aspira a vivir lo más cerca posible del Centro del Mundo y sabe que su país se encuentra efectivamente en medio de la tierra” (5), esta concepción no ha desaparecido con la visión “arcaica” del mundo, al contrario, ha sobrevivido en una forma más o menos consciente en contextos históricos y culturales más recientes (6).

Por otra parte, dentro de los términos geográficos y geopolíticos existen algunos que las culturas tradicionales han utilizado para describir la realidad perteneciente a la esfera espiritual. Este es el caso del término polo, que en el léxico del esoterismo islámico indica el vértice de la jerarquía iniciática (al-qutb); es el caso de istmo, que en la forma árabe (al-barzakh) indica aquel mundo intermedio al que también se refiere la expresión geográfica de origen coránica: “la confluencia de dos mares” (majma’ al-bahrayn), “confluencia, es decir, del mundo de las Ideas puras con el mundo de los objetos sensibles” (7).

Pero también el concepto de Eurasia puede ser asignado a la categoría de “conceptos teológicos secularizados”.

De hecho, el más antiguo texto teológico de los Griegos, la Teogonía de Hesíodo, nos cuenta que: “Europa ( … ) y Asia” (8) constan entre las hijas de Océano y Tetis, “una sagrada estirpe de hijas (thygatéron hieron genos) que por la tierra se encargan de la crianza de los hombres, en compañía del soberano Apolo y de los Ríos, y han recibido de Zeus este destino” (9).

Cabe destacar que entre las hermanas Europa y Asia también figura Perseis, cuyo nombre está significativamente relacionado no sólo con el griego Perseo, sino también con Perses, su hijo y progenitor de los persas. Escuchemos ahora al teólogo de la historia: “Pero cuando Perseo, hijo de Dánae y de Zeus, llegó al reino de Cefeo, hijo de Belo, y se casó con su hija Andrómeda, tuvo en ella un hijo a quien puso el nombre de Perses, y le dejó allí, porque Cefeo no había tenido hijo varón. De este Perses, pues, tomaron el nombre” (10).

El estrecho parentesco entre Asia con Europa es finalmente proclamado también por el teólogo de la tragedia, quien en la parodia de los Persianos nos presenta a Persia y Grecia como dos “hermanas de sangre, de una misma estirpe (kasignéta génous tautou)” (11), mostrándonos “absolutamente distintas (las dos que, en Herodoto, no pueden evitar ir a la guerra) como de raíz inseparables” (12). Este es el comentario de Massimo Cacciari, para quien la imagen esquilea, representativa de la radical conexión de Europa y Asia, le ha proporcionado el motivo para crear una “geofilosofia de Europa”.

Fabio Falchi intenta ir más allá: en este volumen, él traza las líneas de una “geofilosofía de Eurasia”. Acogiendo la perspectiva corbiniana de Eurasia, cual lugar ontológico teofanico (13), el autor aspira para hacer de la posición geofilosófica el grado de pasaje para aquella “geosófica”, lo cual es completamente inteligible si, y sólo si, se coloca en relación con la perspectiva metafísica” (14).

(Traducción: Francisco de la Torre)

1 Emidio Diodato, Che cos’è la geopolitica, Carocci, Roma 2011.

2 Carl Schmitt, Teología política. Editorial Struhart & Cía. Buenos Aires, 1985, p. 95.

3 René Guénon, La Crisis del Mundo Moderno. Ediciones Obelisco. Barcelona. 1982, p. 44.

4 René Guénon, El Reino de la Cantidad y los Signos de los Tiempos. Ediciones Paidós Ibérica S.A.. Barcelona. 1997, p. 122 y 123.

5 Mircea Eliade, Lo sagrado y lo profano, Guadarrama/Punto Omega, Madrid, 1981, p. 43.

6 Claudio Mutti, La funzione eurasiatica dell’Iran, “Eurasia”, 2, 2012, p. 176; Geopolitica del nazionalcomunismo romeno, in: Marco Costa, Conducǎtor. L’edificazione del socialismo romeno, Edizioni all’insegna del Veltro, Parma 2012.

7 Henry Corbin, Templo y contemplación. Ensayos sobre el Islam iranio. Editorial Trotta, Madrid, 2003, p. 262. Sobre el barzakh, cfr. Glauco Giuliano, L’immagine del tempo in Henry Corbin, Mimesis, Milano-Udine 2009, pp. 97-123.

8 Hesíodo, Teogonía, 357-359.

9 Hesíodo, Teogonía, 346-348.

10 Herodoto, VII, 61, 3.

11 Esquilo, Los persas, 185-186. Sobre esta imagen: cfr. C. Mutti, L’Iran in Europa, “Eurasia”, 1, 2008, pp. 33-34.

12 Massimo Cacciari, Geofilosofia dell’Europa, Adelphi, Milano 1994, p. 19.

13 “Eurasia es, hoy y para nosotros, la modalidad geográfica-geosófica del Mundus imaginalis” (Glauco Giuliano, L’immagine del tempo in Henry Corbin, cit., p. 40).

14 Glauco Giuliano, Tempus discretum. Henry Corbin all’Oriente dell’Occidente, Edizioni Torre d’Ercole, Travagliato (Brescia) 2012, p. 16.

mardi, 08 avril 2014

Ukraine: Geopolitics & Identity

Ukraine - Kiev.JPG

Ukraine: Geopolitics & Identity

The 2014 crisis in Ukraine serves as a reminder that in the quest for strategic advantage, the Western powers will not only exploit popular discontent to carry out regime change, but they also will manipulate currents of nationalism for their globalist agenda. Russian conservative author and publisher Mikhail Smolin shares an in-depth perspective on the origins of Ukrainian nationalism and its relation to the Great Game.

Translation by Mark Hackard.

In 1912 the outstanding Russian jurist, professor and doctor of international law Pyotr Evgenievich Kazansky wrote:

We live in a bewildering time, when artificial states, artificial peoples and artificial languages are founded.

In our own age, old historical fictions are again returning from nothingness. One of the most dangerous is “Ukrainianism,” which attempts to give an ideological and historical-political basis for the dismemberment of the Russian body, separating from it the Little Russians, having self-defined them as “Ukrainians” unknown to history. Such “national formations” have no ethno-historical roots; they are a product of the modern era. Before the Revolution the Russian nation was one, and the terms Velikorus (Great Russian), Malorus (Little Russian) and Belorus (White Russian) were perceived as concepts determining the geographic location of origin of one or another Russian citizen of the Russian Empire. National separatists appropriate ethnographic meanings to these names, at odds with the historical reality of their origin.

The appearance of such concepts as Little Russia, Great Russia, Little Russian, Great Russian, etc., must be related back to the time after the Tatar invasion. A united Rus was dismembered by the enemy into Northern Rus, Vladimir-Suzdal, transformed later into Moscow, and Southwest Rus – Galicia-Volynia – which then entered the Russo-Lithuanian state, and after the union with Poland, into the Rzeczpospolita. Yet under these conditions, political life and the life of the Church among the dismembered parts of the one Rus did not cease. The religious authority of the Patriarchate of Constantinople over the Russian Orthodox Church, which then existed as a bishopric of this patriarchate, was recognized both in Northern Rus and in the Southwest. Political relations between both parts of Rus with the Byzantine Emperor also continued to exist. The necessity of communication with a Rus fragmented in two forced the churchmen and statesmen of Byzantium to differentiate one Rus from the other in their documents, having given each a certain designation. The Byzantines applied ready geographical terms of classical antiquity: the little country and the great country. These geographical terms signify that initial metropole of a given people is called the little land, and the lands colonized by the metropole of this people are named the greater lands.

In Greek pronunciation, u was replaced by o, and therefore the Byzantines called the Russian people Ρώσοι, and our country was known as Ρωσσία. Proceeding from that, Byzantine men of letters termed Galicia-Volynia and Kievan Rus Little, and Northern Rus, Vladimir-Suzdal and Muscovy Great. Through Russian scholars, this terminology penetrated to Rus and became natural both in Little and Great Rus. As such, the historical understandings of Little Russia and Great Russia came to us as the cultural property of the Byzantine Empire.

Now let us cross over to the historical roots of Ukrainian nationalism. Whence appeared “Ukrainians” and “Ukraine” in place of the historical terms Little Russian and Little Russia?

We shall begin from the fact that the word “Ukraine” and “Ukrainian” in Russian chronicles are encountered only in the sense of borderlands, not as a land populated by an unknown “Ukrainian” people. The word Ukraina is only another form of the word okraina (borderland).

Researchers of Ukrainian nationalism relate the appearance of the word Ukraina, in the sense of a proper noun rather than common, to the end of the seventeenth century, when after the Pereyaslavl Rada of 1654 and the “eternal peace” concluded in 1686 between the Russian state and Poland (according to which left-bank Malorussia with Kiev went into the eternal possession of the Russian state), the Poles understood what a real danger the common faith and ethnicity among the residents of the Polish borderlands and the Russian state carried. Aiming to suppress the wish of Russian people living in Poland to reunite with the Russian state, Polish scholars directed all their efforts at proving that there were no Russians in Poland, only a special “Ukrainian” nationality. In historiography, there is a most widespread consensus on the role of Polish influence in divorcing Little Russia from Russia and in the formation of a Ukrainophile movement.

Summing up these opinions, we can repeat along with one of the researchers of this question that the Poles “took upon themselves the role of a midwife during the birth of Ukrainian nationalism and a nanny during its upbringing.”

The Twentieth Century

“Anti-Russian Rus,” founded by the Poles in the nineteenth century under the guise of Ukrainophilism for the national end of struggle against the Russian Empire over their lost sovereignty, changed masters a number of times in the twentieth century. Among them were the Austrians, the Germans and the Americans, but the goal of the movement’s existence was always the same: the dismemberment of the Russian nation.

For its part, Austro-Hungary dreamed of creating an allied Kievan kingdom headed by one or another branch of the Hohenzollerns or Habsburgs. Germany, as the stronger power, outstripped in her designs an Austro-Hungary weakened by internal dysfunction, as the latter empire thought sooner how to preserve what was already in her possession.

Germany’s wish to tear away the entire south of the Russian Empire (the coal of Donetsk, the oil of Baku, etc.) conformed to longtime dreams of a breakthrough to the East – here one can recall the project of a railroad from Berlin to Constantinople to Baghdad, and also the choice of allies for the First World War – Austro-Hungary, Bulgaria and Turkey – again an attempt to create a line from Berlin to Baghdad. Hence the desire to weaken Russia as much as possible before decisive world-scale battles, for which Germany was already preparing over several decades. And so, for example, under the German General Staff long before the First World War, there was organized a section engaged in Ukrainian affairs. This section executed projects and organized disunity inside the Russian nation.

As researcher of Ukrainian nationalism Prince A. M. Volkonsky wrote:

Germany needed to rupture the linguistic ties between the Little Russian and the Great Russian, for having torn away the cultured class of Russia’s south from the Russian literary and academic language, it would be easier to impose her German culture upon the country. The Germans began to support the artificial ‘Ukrainian mova.’ They acted in German fashion, systematically and not losing any time. From the first year of the Great War, Malorussian prisoners were separated into special camps and subjected there to ‘ukrainization’; for the most susceptible, something along the lines of a ‘Ukrainization Academy’ was set up in Koenigsberg. Hundreds of thousands of propagandized prisoners of war returning home to Little Russia in 1918 became the main instrument of spreading the Ukrainian idea in the peasant medium. (Prince A. M. Volkonsky. Historical Truth and Ukrainophile Propaganda. Turin, 1920. Page 129.)

The February Masonic conspiracy of 1917 did not allow Emperor Nicholas II carry out the general spring offensive along the entire front and once and for all break the forces of the exhausted enemy. After several months, Germany was able to bring her protégés to power in Russia – the Leninist Bolsheviks – and Grushevsky’s Mazepites in “independent Ukraine.” Thus Germany received a deferment from unavoidable defeat in the First World War for an entire year.

The south of Russia was vitally important for Germany. Matthias Erzberger, a German minister, said at an institutional gathering:

The Russian question is nothing less than part of a great debate the Germans are conducting with the English over the goal of world domination. We need Lithuania and Ukraine, which should be Germany’s forward positions. Poland should be weakened. And if Poland is in our hands, then we shall close all routes to Russia, and she will belong to us. Is it not clear that only on this path lies Germany’s future?

German statesmen acted completely consciously and systematically on that path, as evidenced by German Chancellor Michaelis in June of 1917:

We should be very careful that the literature by which we hope to strengthen the process of Russia’s collapse does not achieve exactly the opposite end… The Ukrainians still nonetheless reject the idea of total separation from Russia. Open interference from our side in favor of an independent Ukrainian state can doubtless be used by the adversary for the goal of exposing extant nationalist currents as created by Germany.(Zeman, Z. A. Germany and the Revolution in Russia 1915-1918. New York, 1958. P 65-67.)

But all hesitations were cast aside when the question of Germany’s fate became more acute. Hence the notion suggested by the Germans to the ideologues of Ukrainianism about an “independent Ukraine from the Carpathians to the Caucasus without master or servant.” And the Germans considered that from the Caucasus, they themselves could reach the Middle East.

At that time there also appeared ideas of a union from the Black to the Baltic Sea (the restoration of the Rzezcpospolita at a new stage of history?) – the alliance of Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belorussia, and Malorussia. This possibility is now foreseen in further plans in the struggle with Russia: the separation of “Asiatic” Moscow from “civilized” Europe by a wall of “second-class” Europeans…

Ukrainian separatism in the twentieth century becomes ever more unprincipled – it is ready to reconcile with any regime as long as it was on its side, i.e. in one or another fashion supported the Ukrainian movement. And so many advocates for independence, headed by M. Grushevsky, finally ended up in the camp of the Bolsheviks, who recognized the terms “Ukrainian,” “Ukraine” and the “Ukrainian language.” In 1923, after the Twelfth Congress, the Communists declared a policy of indigenization, the development of all non-Russian nationalities (and those considered non-Russian), a program expressed in the Ukraine through the ukrainization of the population and the introduction of the Ukrainian language beginning with state and party officials. Having come to power, the Bolsheviks generally created all the conditions for the growth and maturation of Ukrainian nationalism, which upon the death of its Communist overseer shredded the unity of the Russian people, threatening in time to become a forward bulwark of anti-Russian forces in the world.

The modern state of Ukraine adopts in all manifestations of its policies a consistently anti-Russian position. As at the beginning of the twentieth century, Ukrainian separatism is tasked with founding a nation of “Ukrainians” through the formation of a Ukrainian ideological elite, which should fashion a single nation from the ethnographic distinctions of the Malorussian population of various provinces and from the myth of a unified Cossack tribe. An artificial willed ethnogenesis is created in the cauldron of the Ukrainian state. M. Grushevsky would write that “Ukrainianism in Russia should go beyond the boundaries of ethnographic nationality to become a political and economic factor and attend to the organization of Ukrainian society as a nation now if it doesn’t wish to be several generations late.”

Russian history has shown that the most terrible enemies of the Russian people have been of an internal nature. Russians in their placidity cannot fully believe that among their own might be traitors. Therefore the Ukrainian question is so important, for it is a matter of internal unity of the nation and a new gathering of lands that awaits our national-political awakening. So wrote the ideologue of discord, Dmitry Dontsov:

As a rule, the Ukrainian question appears like a comet over Europe’s political skies every time that a critical moment ensues for Russia.

The national goals of peoples who have matured to activity on a world scale are always directed toward the full mastery of their natural territory and influence upon vital lands adjoining the nation. Therefore, on the one hand, the task of the nation consists in defining the natural borders of the spread of its dominion and in the establishment of necessary influence upon vital neighboring regions. On the other hand, it follows to be wary of ideas such as the notion of world hegemony, as they inevitably lead to an extreme squandering of the nation’s energies and do not bring about the desired result.

For the achievement of the set objectives, the spiritual health and internal unity of the nation are necessary. The former is reached through support of the belief that is truth for the nation. Russians confess Orthodoxy, the only true and saving faith, and therefore the preservation of the Orthodox faith is the main task both for the Church and the state and for every Russian. The latter is reached by correct organization and support of the sovereign, social and cultural life of the nation, which it is necessary to protect from harmful outside influences, especially if they are aimed at, for example, Ukrainianism, the schism of the Russian nation.

lundi, 07 avril 2014

La stratégie de l’Anaconda

anaconda-from-snakespictures.net_.jpg

  La stratégie de l’Anaconda

par Eduard RIX

Pour le géopoliticien allemand Karl Haushofer les Anglo-saxons pratiquent la politique de l’Anaconda, consistant à enserrer progressivement sa proie et à l’étouffer lentement.

Dans Terre et Mer, Carl Schmitt rappelle que les cabbalistes du Moyen-Age interprétaient l’histoire du monde comme un combat entre un animal marin, une puissante baleine, le Léviathan, et un animal terrien, éléphant ou taureau, le Behemoth (1). Ce dernier essaie de déchirer le Léviathan avec ses défenses ou ses cornes, tandis que la baleine s’efforce de boucher avec ses nageoires la gueule du terrien pour l’affamer ou l’étouffer. Pour Schmitt, derrière cette allégorie mythologique se cache le blocus d’une puissance terrestre par une puissance maritime. Il ajoute : « l’histoire mondiale est l’histoire de la lutte des puissances maritimes contre les puissances continentales et des puissances continentales contre les puissances maritimes » (2), axiome que reprendront les géopoliticiens anglo-saxons.

Le Sea Power de Mahan

Premier d’entre eux, l’amiral Alfred T. Mahan (1840-1914), qui estime que la puissance maritime (Sea Power) s’est révélée déterminante pour la prospérité des nations. Pour lui, la Mer peut agir contre la Terre - alors que l’inverse n’est pas vrai - et finit toujours par l’emporter. Profondément persuadé que la maîtrise des mers assure la domination des terres, il énonce : « L’Empire de la mer est sans nul doute l’Empire du monde » (3).

Dans The problem of Asia (1900), il applique à l’Eurasie son paradigme géopolitique, insistant sur la nécessité d’une coalition des puissances maritimes pour contenir la progression vers la haute mer de la grande puissance terrestre de l’époque, la Russie. En effet, sa position centrale confère un grand avantage stratégique à l’Empire russe car il peut s’étendre dans tous les sens et ses lignes intérieures ne peuvent être coupées. Par contre, et là réside sa faiblesse, ses accès à la mer sont limités, Mahan ne voyant que trois axes d’expansion possibles : en Europe, pour contourner le verrou des détroits turcs, vers le Golfe persique et sur la Mer de Chine. C’est pourquoi il préconise un endiguement de la tellurocratie russe passant par la création d’un vaste front des puissances maritimes, des thalassocraties, qui engloberait les USA, la Grande-Bretagne, l’Allemagne et le Japon.

Heartland contre World Island

L’universitaire britannique Halford John Mackinder (1861-1947) s’inspirera de Mahan. Une idée fondamentale traverse toute son œuvre : la confrontation permanente entre la Terre du Milieu ou Heartland, c’est-à-dire la steppe centre-asiatique, et l’Ile du Monde ou World Island, la masse continentale Asie-Afrique-Europe.

C’est dans sa célèbre communication de 1904, « The geographical pivot of history » (Le pivot géographique de l’histoire), qu’il formule sa théorie, que l’on peut résumer ainsi : 1°) la Russie occupe la zone pivot inaccessible à la puissance maritime, à partir de laquelle elle peut entreprendre de conquérir et contrôler la masse continentale eurasienne; 2°) en face, la puissance maritime, à partir de ses bastions (Grande-Bretagne, Etats-Unis, Afrique du Sud, Australie et Japon) inaccessibles à la puissance terrestre, encercle cette dernière et lui interdit d’accéder librement à la haute mer.

Pour lui, la steppe asiatique, quasi déserte, est la Terre du Milieu (Heartland), entourée de deux croissants fortement peuplés : le croissant intérieur (inner crescent), regroupant l’Inde, la Chine, le Japon et l’Europe, qui jouxte la Terre du Milieu, et le croissant extérieur (outer crescent), constitué d’îles diverses. Le croissant intérieur est soumis régulièrement à la poussée des nomades cavaliers venus des steppes de la Terre du Milieu. L’ère « colombienne » voit l’affrontement de deux mobilités, celle de l’Angleterre qui amorce la conquête des mers, et celle de la Russie qui avance progressivement en Sibérie.

Avec le chemin de fer, la puissance terrestre est désormais capable de déployer ses forces aussi vite que la puissance océanique. Obnubilé par cette révolution des transports, qui permettra à la Russie de développer un espace industrialisé autonome et fermé au commerce des thalassocraties, Mackinder conclut à la supériorité de la puissance tellurique, résumant sa pensée dans un aphorisme saisissant : « Qui tient l’Europe continentale contrôle le Heartland. Qui tient le Heartland contrôle la World Island ». Effectivement, toute autonomisation économique de l’espace centre-asiatique conduit automatiquement à une réorganisation du flux des échanges, le croissant interne ayant alors intérêt à développer ses relations commerciales avec la Terre du Milieu, au détriment des thalassocraties anglo-saxonnes.

Dans Democratic Ideals and Reality (1919), Mackinder rappelle l’importance de la masse continentale russe, que les thalassocraties ne peuvent ni contrôler depuis la mer ni envahir complètement. Concrètement, il faut selon lui impérativement séparer l’Allemagne de la Russie par un « cordon sanitaire », afin d’empêcher l’unité du continent eurasiatique. Politique prophylactique suivie par Lord Curzon, qui nomme l’universitaire Haut commissaire britannique en « Russie du Sud », où une mission militaire assiste les Blancs de Dénikine et obtient qu’ils reconnaissent de facto la nouvelle république d’Ukraine… Pour rendre impossible l’unification de l’Eurasie, Mackinder préconise la balkanisation de l’Europe orientale, l’amputation de la Russie de son glacis baltique et ukrainien, le « containment » des forces russes en Asie.

Le Rimland de Spykman

L’idée fondamentale posée par Mahan et Mackinder, interdire à la Russie l’accès à la haute mer, sera reformulée par Nicholas John Spykman (1893-1943), qui insiste sur l’impérieuse nécessité de contrôler l’anneau maritime ou Rimland, cette zone littorale bordant la Terre du Milieu et qui court de la Norvège à la Corée. Pour lui, « qui maîtrise l’anneau maritime tient l’Eurasie, qui tient l’Eurasie maîtrise la destinée du monde » (4).

Alors que chez Mackinder le croissant intérieur est un espace de civilisation élevé mais fragile, car toujours menacé de tomber sous la coupe des « barbares dynamiques » du Heartland, chez Spykman le Rimland constitue un atout géopolitique majeur, non plus à la périphérie mais au centre de gravité géostratégique. Pour lui, la position des territoires du Rimland « par rapport à l’Equateur, aux océans et aux masses terrestres détermine leur proximité du centre de puissance et des zones de conflit; c’est sur leur territoire que se stabilisent les voies de communication; leur position par rapport à leurs voisins immédiats définit les conditions relatives aux potentialités de l’ennemi, déterminant de ce fait le problème de base de la sécurité nationale » (5). Après 1945, la politique extérieure américaine va suivre exactement la géopolitique de Spykman en cherchant à occuper tout le Rimland et à encercler ainsi le cœur de l’Eurasie représenté désormais par l’URSS et ses satellites. Dès le déclenchement de la Guerre froide, les Etats-Unis tenteront, par une politique de « containment » de l’URSS, de contrôler le Rimland au moyen d’une longue chaîne de pactes régionaux : OTAN, Pacte de Bagdad puis Organisation du traité central du Moyen-Orient, OTASE et ANZUS.

Toutefois, dès 1963, le géopoliticien Saül B. Cohen proposera une politique plus ciblée visant à garder uniquement le contrôle des zones stratégiques vitales et à remplacer le réseau de pactes et de traités allant de la Turquie au Japon par une Maritime Asian Treaty Organization (MATO) (6).

Le Grand Echiquier

La géopolitique classique tenait l’Eurasie pour le pivot du monde. Avec la disparition de l’URSS en 1991, la superpuissance unique que constituent désormais les USA est devenu le pivot géopolitique mondial et l’arbitre du continent eurasiatique. L’on aurait pu s’attendre à un redéploiement stratégique de l’Amérique et à une rupture avec la vulgate mackindérienne. Il n’en a rien été. A tel point qu’aujourd’hui encore, le conseiller officieux de politique étrangère le plus écouté du président Obama se révèle être un disciple zélé de Mackinder. Il s’agit de Zbigniew Brzezinski, ami de David Rockefeller avec qui il cofonda la Commission Trilatérale en 1973, et ex conseiller à la sécurité nationale du président Carter de 1977 à 1980. Son œuvre théorique majeure, Le Grand Echiquier (1997), reprend la doxa géopolitique anglo-saxonne. En prélude, Brzezinski rappelle que « l’Eurasie reste l’échiquier sur lequel se déroule la lutte pour la primauté mondiale » (7). Les chiffres parlent d’eux-mêmes : « On dénombre environ 75% de la population mondiale en eurasie, ainsi que la plus grande partie des ressources physiques, sous forme d’entreprises ou de gisements de matières premières. L’addition des produits nationaux bruts du continent compte pour quelque 60% du total mondial. Les trois quarts des ressources énergétiques connues y sont concentrées » (8).

Pour que la suprématie américaine perdure, il faut éviter qu’un Etat ou un groupe d’Etats ne puisse devenir hégémonique sur la masse eurasiatique. Considérant que la principale menace vient de la Russie, Brzezinski préconise son encerclement - toujours cette stratégie de l’Anaconda - par l’implantation de bases militaires, ou à défaut de régimes amis, dans les ex- républiques soviétiques. Selon Brzezinski, l’effort américain doit porter sur trois régions clés. D’abord l’Ukraine, car écrit-il « Sans l’Ukraine la Russie cesse d’être un empire en Eurasie » (9). Il ajoute : « Pour Moscou, en revanche, rétablir le contrôle sur l’Ukraine – un pays de cinquante-deux millions d’habitants doté de ressources nombreuses et d’un accès à la mer Noire -, c’est s’assurer les moyens de redevenir un Etat impérial puissant » (10). Autre cible, l’Azerbaïdjan qui, « en dépit de ses faibles dimensions et de sa population limitée, recouvre une zone névralgique, car elle contrôle l’accès aux richesses du bassin de la Caspienne et de l’Asie centrale » (11). Brzezinski précise les enjeux : « Un Azerbaïdjan indépendant, relié aux marchés occidentaux par des pipes-lines qui évitent les territoires russes, permet la jonction entre les économies développées, fortes consommatrices d’énergie, et les gisements convoités des républiques d’asie centrale » (12). A ces deux pivots géopolitiques sensibles, il ajoute l’Asie centrale musulmane qu’il s’agit de désenclaver afin de transporter vers l’ouest et vers le sud le gaz et le pétrole du Turkménistan et du Kazakhstan sans passer par la Russie, l’Etat-clé de la région étant l’Ouzbékistan. Ce dernier, « le plus dynamique et le plus peuplé des pays d’Asie centrale serait l’obstacle majeur à une restauration du contrôle russe sur la région. » (13). Il ne s’agit plus pour l’Amérique de pratiquer l’endiguement de la guerre froide mais le refoulement (roll back).

Conclusion de Brzezinski : « Pour la première fois dans l’histoire, la scène principale du monde, l’Eurasie, est dominée par une puissance non eurasienne » (14), l’Amérique. Cependant « un scénario présenterait un grand danger potentiel » pour le Grand Jeu américain, « la naissance d’une grande coalition entre la Chine, la Russie et peut-être l’Iran » (15). N’assiste-t-on pas à la naissance d’une telle coalition « anti-hégémonique » à l’occasion de la crise syrienne ?

Edouard Rix, Réfléchir & Agir, automne 2012, n°42, pp. 45-47.

Notes

(1) Les noms de Léviathan et de Behemoth sont empruntés aux chapitres 40 et 41 du Livre de Job.

(2) C. Schmitt, Terre et Mer, Le Labyrinthe, Paris, 1985, p. 23.

(3) A.T. Mahan, The problem of Asia an its effect upon international policies,, Sampson Low-Marston, London, 1900, p.63.

(4) N. Spykman, The geography of the peace, Harcourt-Brace, New-York, 1944, p. 43.

(5) Ibid, p.5.

(6) Saül B. Cohen, Geography and politics in a World divided, Methuen, Londres, 1963, 2e édition 1973, p.307.

(7) Z. Brzezinski, Le Grand Echiquier, Bayard éditions, Paris, 1997, p. 24.

(8) Ibid, p. 59.

(9) Ibid, p. 74.

(10) Ibid, p. 75.

(11) Ibid.

(12) Ibid.

(13) Ibid, p. 160.

(14) Ibid, p. 253.

(15) Ibid, p. 84.

dimanche, 06 avril 2014

De la rivalité entre l’Arabie saoudite et le Qatar

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Bernhard TOMASCHITZ:

De la rivalité entre l’Arabie saoudite et le Qatar

Cette rivalité dans la région du Golfe Persique a pour objet l’influence à gagner dans le monde arabe

Depuis le début de ce mois de mars 2014, une fracture divise nettement le “Conseil de Coopération des Etats du Golfe”: l’Arabie saoudite, Bahrein et les Emirats Arabes Unis ont rappelé leurs ambassadeurs en poste au Qatar. Le motif officiel et apparent de cette rupture est dû au soutien que le Qatar apporte aux Frères Musulmans dans la région. Mais il y a plus: Ryad voit d’un très mauvais oeil ce petit émirat du Qatar qui tente de devenir une puissance régionale, alors qu’il n’a qu’une superficie de 11.000 km2 et n’a que 1,7 million d’habitants (dont seulement 250.000 Qataris). Le “New York Times” écrit: “Ce sont surtout les monarques saoudiens qui manifestent leur mauvaise humeur depuis des années parce que le petit Qatar se donne les allures d’un poids lourd. Il utilise ses immenses richesses et la chaîne Al-Jazeera, qui lui appartient, pour asseoir sa puissance dans la région”.

En effet, le petit émirat du Golfe ne passe plus inaperçu sur la scène internationale. En mai 2011, Doha parvient à intercéder en faveur d’un processus de paix au Darfour, réunissant autour de la table de négociations le gouvernement soudanais et les insurgés. En mai 2008 déjà, le Qatar avait oeuvré pour débloquer la situation au Liban et pour permettre que se tiennent des élections présidentielles. Ensuite, Doha favorise les processus de pacification dans les conflits civils qui ravagent le Yémen ou la Somalie et offre ses services diplomatiques pour calmer le jeu dans le conflit frontalier qui oppose l’Ethiopie à l’Erythrée. Dans la guerre civiles syrienne, le Qatar soutient une partie des rebelles islamistes opposés au régime baathiste de Bachar El-Assad.

Le déploiement de la puissance diplomatique qatarie a été rendu possible par trois facteurs, selon l’analyste russe Roman Kot, lié au centre d’études “Strategic Culture Foundation”. D’abord 1), le Qatar table sur ses exportations de gaz naturel qui ont quintuplé depuis le début des années 1990. En 2011, selon les rapports de la CIA, le Qatar était le deuxième fournisseur de gaz naturel dans le monde, avec une capacité de 113,7 milliards de m3. Le Cheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani peut voir l’avenir avec confiance: ses réserves de gaz s’élèvent à 25,2 billions de m3, ce qui le place au rang trois dans le monde.

q2_deb5d11-300x225.jpgEnsuite 2) la chaîne Al Jazeera, d’après Kot, permet de déployer un instrument très performant pour diffuser une propagande appuyant systématiquement, dans tout le monde arabe, la politique étrangère poursuivie par Doha. En effet, Al Jazeera est considérée “comme un gros calibre dans la guerre de l’information qui a précédé et accompagné les printemps arabes”. Enfin 3) le Qatar abrite deux bases américaines et se réjouit d’être ainsi un partenaire important des Etats-Unis. [NDT: La  présence de ces bases rend le territoire qatari inviolable].

Roman Kot décrit la politique extérieure du Qatar comme “un nouveau modèle d’expansion, par lequel une orientation générale pro-occidentale fusionne avec un traditionalisme rigoriste ce qui a pour résultat que les puissances occidentales et surtout les Etats-Unis font désormais confiance à des groupes fondamentalistes voire à des organisations terroristes [soutenues par l’argent qatari]”. Le Qatar représente donc un mixte idéologique alliant l’islam wahhabite au panarabisme, ce qui lui confère un “potentiel agressif”.

Mais lorsque le Qatar perçoit un avantage géostratégique différent de ceux des Occidentaux, il n’hésite pas à agir contre les intérêts directs de Washington. Exemple: en 2011, les Qataris ont certes apporté leur soutien aux attaques aériennes occidentales contre la Libye, afin de provoquer en bout de course la chute de Khadafi. Ce soutien à l’agression occidentale contre la Libye n’a toutefois pas empêché Doha de soutenir les Frères Musulmans et d’autres mouvements islamistes analogues dans les pays arabes en crise ou dans la guerre civile syrienne. Le journaliste américain Anthony Shadid, aujourd’hui décédé et détenteur du Prix Pulitzer, écrivait fin 2011: “Contrairement à l’Arabie saoudite et aux Emirats Arabes Unis, le Qatar entretient des liens étroits avec les Frères Musulmans et leurs émanations en Libye, en Syrie et en Egypte”.

Le conflit larvé qui vient d’éclater début mars 2014 au sein du “Conseil de Coopération du Golfe” a pour motif principal la rivalité qui oppose Saoudiens et Qataris dans leur volonté de gagner en influence en Egypte. Le Qatar a soutenu le Président Mohammed Morsi, renversé en juillet 2013, à coups de milliards de dollars. L’Arabie saoudite et les EAU tentent aujourd’hui de soutenir le régime militaire du Caire, également à coups de milliards de dollars.

Le Qatar, par suite, tente d’inverser la vapeur et de torpiller les visées saoudiennes. Le “Washington Post” écrit à ce propos: “Au cours des huit derniers mois, le Qatar a accueilli un nombre croissant d’islamistes égyptiens contraints à l’exil et leur a permis d’utiliser Al Jazeera comme porte-voix pour lancer leur rhétorique hostile au régime militaire égyptien, ce qui a rendu furieux celui-ci et ses alliés du Golfe”. La rivalité entre les deux Etats islamistes rigoristes de la péninsule arabique a fait que l’Arabie soudite soutient dorénavant un régime séculier au Caire!

A tout cela s’ajoute que les deux protagonistes de ce nouveau conflit cultivent des opinions divergentes quant à l’Iran. Tandis que Doha perçoit l’Iran comme une menace gérable, les Saoudiens le perçoivent comme un danger existentiel. Cela mène Washington à une position inconfortable. Le “New York Times” l’explique: “...les tensions internes (au Golfe) amèneront Washington dans une position toujours plus difficile quand il s’agira de calmer les gouvernement nerveux d’Arabie Saoudite et des EAU pour qu’ils ne sabotent pas les négociations entamées par les Etats-Unis avec Téhéran sur le programme nucléaire iranien”. Qui plus est, l’incident diplomatique imprévu qu’est le retrait des ambassadeurs en poste à Doha n’autorise plus l’espoir de coordonner les efforts contradictoires des uns et des autres, notamment quand il s’agit de renforcer les rebelles syriens. Voilà encore un “projet occidental” qui ne pourra plus se concrétiser.

Bernhard TOMASCHITZ.

(article paru dans “zur Zeit”, Vienne, n°12/2014, http://www.zurzeit.at ).

samedi, 05 avril 2014

Obama tells Saudi Arabia that US values Riyadh

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Obama tells Saudi Arabia that US values Riyadh: Sharia law and Exporting Hatred

Ramazan Khalidov and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ex: http://www.moderntokyotimes.com

If you want to visit a nation state that supports apartheid law to the absolute, then welcome to Saudi Arabia. Yes, in the land of Saudi Arabia not one single Buddhist temple, Christian church, Hindu temple, and other non-Muslim faiths, are tolerated. However, while America, France, the United Kingdom, and other Western states, support multi-cultural values at home; they don’t mind doing business with a nation that bans all non-Muslim faiths, supports apartheid Islamic Sharia laws and child marriage to the tilt.

Of course, Saudi Arabia is not alone in supporting apartheid Islamic Sharia law but to make matters worse, this nation is exporting terrorism, Islamist Salafi indoctrination and funding educational institutions that sprout hatred. Despite this, with the West being in self-destruct mode then Gulf petrodollars are allowed to spread indoctrination and a fifth column in many societies. Therefore, Saudi Arabia spends vast sums on spreading Salafi Islam and buying powerful Western institutions with money in order to make up a false history.  This blatant hypocrisy is tolerated because of the power of energy and the ineptness of major Christian churches and international politicians that are too silent.

In the twenty first century, just like in the late seventh century, apostates in the land of Arabia face death. Meanwhile, in nations like Saudi Arabia and Somalia, if non-Muslim males desire to marry a Muslim female based on “genuine love,” then this may lead to either prison or death. However, white anti-racists, the trendy left and rampant capitalists don’t appear to worry too much about this – in other words, Islamic Sharia law states are allowed to treat non-Muslims with utter contempt when it comes to law.

Can you imagine what would happen if one modern European nation introduced a law whereby Muslim males faced prison or death for marrying non-Muslims? Yes, this would be on the news night and day but of course the West is intent on silencing all critics of this reality by playing the “Islamophobia card.” Strange, because in Somalia the al-Shabaab is beheading all apostates to Christianity that they can find. In other words, this isn’t a phobia because it is a reality in many parts of the world irrespective if by terrorist forces or by state institutions like Saudi Arabia.

Discrimination is a reality in all nations, of course the degrees will vary, but in nation states that support Islamic Sharia law then non-Muslims and minority Muslim sects are deemed second-class citizens based on law. Indeed, when certain nations support killing apostates then obviously the term second-class citizen is too polite. After all, Islamic Sharia law is saying that non-Muslim males are subhuman and worthy of killing based on a legal code that maintains power mechanisms in order enforce dhimmitude and conversions based on fear.

Not all nations enforce the draconian reality of Islamic Sharia law to the full – after all stoning to death for adultery, killing apostates, allowing little girls to marry old men, and so forth, isn’t progressive.  Therefore, some Muslim majority nations adopt Islamic Sharia piecemeal in order to appease clerics at home, while trying to transform society at the same time. Leaders like Ataturk, Nasser and many others have tried to transform society based on modernism. However, with Gulf petrodollars fueling radical Islamic conservatism then even Turkey is under threat. This counter-Islamist revolution is threatening progressive forces in Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Turkey, and other nations – and shockingly, major Western powers are often siding with the Saudi Arabia and Gulf agenda against secular forces in nations like Syria.

Internationally you have many convulsions whereby Muslims face enormous discrimination along with Christians in Myanmar (Burma). It should be remembered that more Christians in Myanmar have been killed over many decades because of central forces in Myanmar fighting the mainly Christian ethnic groups of the Karen, Shan, and Chin. Despite this, some radical Buddhists in Myanmar are singling out Muslims based on the eradication and persecution of Buddhists in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangladesh and in Southern Thailand. In other words, Buddhist radicals fear the Saudi Arabian and Gulf venture of funding forces that seek to eradicate non-Muslims and minority Shia Muslims in the long run. Despite this, militant Buddhists in Myanmar must not follow the Islamic Sharia law mode of thinking by replicating this with equal laws based on anti-Muslim discrimination.

However, while Myanmar may be an anomaly it is clear that Saudi Arabia and other Sharia Islamic law states that support apartheid laws are numerous. Internally, this is a huge threat to non-Muslims, women that seek equal rights and minority Muslim sects that suffer from open discrimination. However, externally Saudi Arabia and other nations like Qatar and Pakistan are openly exporting terrorist and Takfiri Islamist forces to an array of different nations. In other words, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Qatar, and a few others, are dangerous because they are undermining many nation states alongside destroying indigenous Islam in Libya, Indonesia, Syria and in other nations like Bangladesh.

President Obama and other American presidents before him have all sold their collective souls by turning a blind eye to the brutal reality of Saudi Arabia. Of course, other leading Western nations have done the same and in Japan this reality also persists. Yet it is clear that Saudi Arabia and Gulf petrodollars are spreading a dangerous ideology far and wide therefore silence is tainting democracy and multi cultural values at home.

It is time to put real pressure on Saudi Arabia for supporting apartheid laws and exporting radical Salafi Islam. At the same time, it is time to differentiate between the indigenous Islam of Syria and the Levant – progressive Islam in Indonesia – the Alevis and so forth. Indeed, it is progressive Muslim forces that are on the frontline of Gulf petrodollars that seek to crush all moderate forces within “the diverse Muslim world.” Therefore, radical Takfiris are destroying Sufi shrines, Shia mosques, Ahmadiyya mosques, killing indigenous Sunni Muslim clerics in Syria and espousing hatred towards Alawites – and other brutal realities. If this Islam is lost then all hope of co-existence will disappear and wider gulfs will emerge internationally. This reality needs to be acknowledged and then tackled but currently America and other major Western nations are siding with the forces of Gulf petrodollars. Until this ends, then nothing will change therefore a new order needs to emerge in order to break the chains. If not, then democratic nations are sowing the seeds of more hatred, destabilization, and growing sectarianism, based on the whims of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf powers.

leejay@moderntokyotimes.com

http://moderntokyotimes.com

vendredi, 04 avril 2014

Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia: Behind the Scenes of the Visit

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Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia: Behind the Scenes of the Visit

Igor PANKRATENKO |

Ex: http://www.strategic-culture.org

 
The conversation between the U.S. president and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia did not last very long. The ninety-year-old king walks with the help of a walker; during his meeting with Obama, a respirator was standing by for the monarch in the next room. However, besides the king, the two highest-ranking representatives of the dynasty also took part in the negotiations - Crown Prince Salman and the foreign minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, whose words are sufficient for the making of any decisions in the Kingdom.

Even a brief list of the main points of the agenda speaks of the importance of the meeting: relations with Tehran, changes in the approaches to the civil war and foreign intervention in Syria, future policy with regard to Cairo and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, joint actions in Lebanon, «anti-terrorism» operations in Yemen, the situation in the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC), and, finally, the question of questions: joint plans with regard to diversifying supplies of energy resources to NATO member countries and agreeing on actions for lowering gas and oil prices.

The official commentary on the visit boils down to assurances of the inviolability of the strategic alliance between America and Arabia. In terms of bilateral sales volumes (52 billion for the first three quarters of 2013), the Saudis are among the top ten most important trade partners of the U.S. Military cooperation between Riyadh and Washington under the 338 contracts currently in force is worth 96.8 billion dollars. The U.S. military contingent has been withdrawn from the Kingdom, but American instructor and «consultant» missions continue active operation, especially in the security field, in close cooperation with the Saudi Ministry of Internal Affairs, intelligence and anti-terrorism divisions, conducting joint operations in Yemen. Finally, almost 74,000 Saudi students are studying in the U.S.; these are the future executives, whose talent pool, ideology and value systems are established in America.

With such a level of cooperation and intertwinement of capital (U.S. companies have around 400 joint projects with the Saudi dynasty in the Kingdom with a total volume of approximately $44 billion), there is no question of any serious disagreements between the American establishment and the Saudis. It is more accurate to speak of disagreements between the ruling dynasty and the Obama administration. But here during the visit a serious shift took place, and satisfaction literally oozes between the lines of the official commentaries on the negotiations.

The parties are to maintain the volumes of military and technical cooperation and increase coordination of military intervention in Yemen, the situation in which is a key factor for the security of Saudi Arabia and at the same time a threat to the ruling dynasty. Washington also approved the monarchy's actions in «subduing» Qatar; the mass repressions in Bahrain which, according to the Saudis, is now the front line in resisting Shiite expansion into the countries of the Persian Gulf; and the expansion of Saudi presence in Lebanon for the same «anti-Shiite» (read: anti-Iran) purposes. 

However, these are questions of a mostly tactical nature. The strategy of joint actions is defined in the questions of Egypt, Syria and oil. Each of them is significant not only for the Middle East, but for the rest of the world as well.

American-Saudi disagreements with regard to Egypt came to the surface last year, and the reason for them, according to the official American explanation, was  Obama's non-acceptance of the overthrow of Muhammad Morsi in a military coup. Like most American explanations, this one has little in common with reality. It is well known that on the day of the coup both Morsi and the Egyptian military spent several hours in telephone negotiations with Riyadh and Washington (the same thing happened, incidentally, in Qatar during the dynastic reshuffle), only after which did the military began to take key objects in Cairo, Port Said and Alexandria under its control. Yes, one of the first to congratulate new acting president of Egypt Adli Mansur was King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz of Saudi Arabia. However, the U.S., although it sent no congratulations, also reported a day later that it was prepared to give the new Egyptian leadership «all possible support».

Differences between Washington and Riyadh on the Egyptian question arose from the scale of the repressions which the Egyptian military leaders, who had undergone training in U.S. academies, rained down on the Muslim Brotherhood. Washington was counting on the participation of the Brotherhood in a coalition government and using the organization's capabilities in its other geopolitical configurations, for example, in Turkey or Syria. But Cairo and Riyadh did not plan on leaving such loopholes for their political opponents, preferring to «pull the weed out roots and all», including the recent death sentences pronounced against over five hundred Brotherhood members. 

During Obama's recent visit, the «misunderstandings» on Egypt were resolved. Riyadh promised that the repressions would be scaled down and that the further development of Egypt would follow the path of «building democratic institutions and reforming the economy in accordance with market demands», for which the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait have already allocated over 15 billion dollars in aid and loans, and they recently signed an agreement with the Egyptian military leadership on 40 billion dollars for a long-term housing construction program.

The topic of Syria dominated the negotiations between Obama and Abdullah, as here the greatest number of disagreements had accumulated with regard to how to overthrow al-Asad. However, it seems that the main disagreements have now been resolved.  

For the most part, the Saudis only wanted one thing from the U.S. with regard to Syria: approval for supplying the rebels with heavy weaponry, including anti-tank systems and MANPADs. Riyadh believes that expanding the list of deliverables will create the main condition for victory over al-Asad. Indeed, changing the balance of power in favor of the rebels will make it possible to solve the two main problems at once. First, military successes achieved by the «secular opposition» with a new level of armament will seriously weaken the position of the radical Islamists, with whom the «secular» rebels are now fighting just as zealously as with the government troops. Second, those same military successes will enable the rebels to finally establish themselves in one of the regions bordering on Turkey and create a support base for the «new democratic government of Syria» there. This «government», naturally, will be recognized by many countries, and it will be able to obtain any kind of armaments on a legal basis, as it were. But the main thing is that it will be able to just as «legally» create a «no-fly zone» over the territory it controls before an attack on Damascus by the coalition of rebels and «foreign volunteers». 

Official sources report that during the negotiations with King Abdullah, President Obama only rejected the idea of direct U.S. military strikes against Syria.  Obama considered everything else, including the delivery of MANPADs to the rebels, to be possible. White House representatives do not speak plainly about this; they begin to prevaricate, but the question can essentially be considered resolved. After the negotiations, it is clear that this summer Riyadh and Washington, in partnership with other «friends of Syria», will once again try to use weapons to «close the issue» of al-Asad and of the Syrian Arab Republic in its current form…

As a result of Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia there is news for Russia as well. The time when Washington and Riyadh agreed, albeit grudgingly, to Russia's participation in the Middle Eastern process, with Moscow having the indefinite status of «cosponsor of peaceful regulation», has ended, and it ended after the Crimean referendum and the reunification of Crimea and Russia. All regional-level issues discussed in the Royal Garden in Riyadh were discussed as if Russia was no longer a factor in the region, and Moscow was a hindrance which must be removed from the region once and for all. As for the question of Saudi participation in the fight to lower prices on energy resources and the Gulf monarchies substituting their oil and gas for the volume Russia now provides to other strategic partners of the U.S., it was decided to consider that separately. Essentially, the Saudis have given their consent on this. The question will be worked out on the level of informal expert groups, which will be the ones who propose a plan for this fight to lower prices. Russia has approximately a year to develop and implement countermeasures in the field of energy strategy. Later, when the informal agreements are formalized in plans and protocols, Russia could end up in a defensive position, which is clearly worse…

Vérités ukrainiennes

ukraine_beautiful_sights_656061.jpg

Vérités ukrainiennes

LE POINT SUR L’UKRAINE

Des vérités qui peuvent déranger

Ex: http://www.terreetpeuple.com

Cet article vient en prolongement du dossier « Pourquoi l’Eurasie » du n° 59 de Terre et Peuple Magazine, en raison de l’évolution de l’actualité de ce pays. On s’y référera pour connaître tous les tenants et les aboutissants de la crise ukrainienne. En bref, l’Ukraine constitue un enjeu géopolitique primordial dans la guerre politico-économique sans merci que livre l’Occident américanisé et mondialisé à la Russie identitaire de Poutine. On connaît bien les preuves de ce containment : adhésion des pays d’Europe de l’Est à l’OTAN, installation d’un bouclier antimissile aux portes de la Russie (Pologne, Roumanie, Turquie), soutien aux révolutions de couleur de toutes sortes (Serbie, Ukraine, Géorgie…) destinées à affaiblir la Russie dans son environnement direct.

Mais les Occidentaux sont allés trop loin et ont offert à Poutine l’occasion de laver l’humiliation vécue avec le bombardement des villes serbes et l’expulsion des Serbes du Kosovo en 1999. Poutine est un grand joueur d’échecs et un champion de judo, la première qualité lui donne l’avantage d’agir avec deux coups d’avance, la seconde lui permet d’esquiver les coups et d’utiliser la force de l’adversaire pour la retourner contre lui. La fessée infligée, en 2008, à la petite Géorgie trop amoureuse de l’oncle Sam, qui a permis de russifier les deux provinces séparatistes d’Ossétie du Sud et d’Abkhazie, aurait dû servir de leçon aux Occidentaux. Que nenni ! Ils ont cru pouvoir arracher l’Ukraine à l’influence du Kremlin.

La première tentative de 2004, dite « révolution orange » permet de mettre au pouvoir des pantins pro-occidentaux, Viktor Iouchtchenko et Ioulia Timochenko. L’incurie et la corruption de leur gouvernement poussent le premier à l’exil et la seconde à la prison. En 2009, par effet de balancier, le prorusse Viktor Ianoukovitch (tout aussi corrompu) revient au pouvoir à l’issue d’élections irréprochables.

Le 21 novembre 2013, Ianoukovitch refuse de signer l’accord d’association avec l’Union européenne. En fait, il n’a pas le choix : cet accord impose à l’Ukraine de pousser progressivement les forces russes hors de Crimée (où, évidemment, l’OTAN ne tarderait pas à s’installer). Dès le lendemain, comme par hasard, la place Maïdan est occupée par des manifestants pro-occidentaux, très bien encadrés. Car, il est vrai que, depuis vingt ans, nombre d’ONG américaines sont à la manœuvre. C’est Victoria Nuland, l’envoyée spéciale judéo-américaine elle-même, qui a déclaré que les Etats-Unis avaient investi plus de 5 milliards de $ dans la révolution ukrainienne et qu’il était temps d’en retirer les fruits (propos auquel elle ajouta la délicieuse phrase : « I fuck European Union » !).

Le 21 février, Ianoukovitch signe un accord avec trois plénipotentiaires de l’Union européenne, le Polonais Sikorski, l’Allemand Steinmeier et le Français Fabius. Cet accord, destiné à ramener la paix civile, met en péril le plan judéo-américain qui exige l’éviction de Ianoukovitch et son remplacement par un gouvernement fantoche. Le lendemain, la place Maïdan s’enflamme, les bâtiments officiels sont attaqués et Ianoukovitch s’enfuit. Des observateurs neutres (il ne s’agit pas des médias français…) remarquent des tireurs sur les toits qui visent systématiquement les policiers ; certaines sources dénoncent la présence d’anciens agents du Mossad pour encadrer les émeutiers (une vieille tradition israélo-étatsunienne). Les forces de l’ordre paient un prix élevé : 17 morts et près de 500 blessés. Mais la démocratie et la liberté sont passées (sic). Tous les pays de l’UE, y compris ceux qui ont signé l’accord de la veille, s’empressent de reconnaître le gouvernement provisoire, au mépris des lois internationales, car il ne s’est agi que d’un coup d’Etat qui a chassé illégalement un président légitimement élu. Qu’à cela ne tienne !

Mais le scénario occidental, si huilé est-il, n’a pas envisagé l’inenvisageable. Comme le renard de la fable « Le corbeau et le renard », Poutine annexe, sans coup férir, la Crimée, acte irréversible s’il en est. Cela lui permet de ramener à la mère-patrie la population russe de la presqu’île, mais surtout de sécuriser la base de Sébastopol et ses annexes. L’ours russe reprend donc le contrôle de la mer Noire et s’ouvre en grand la porte vers la Méditerranée (et la base syrienne de Tartous).

Pour les Ukrainiens, le bonheur promis par l’Union européenne n’est pas pour demain. Comme prévu, Gazprom augmente le prix du gaz russe de plus d’un tiers. Mais les « amis » du peuple ukrainien ne se montrent guère plus généreux : le FMI impose à l’Ukraine un régime drastique avant de verser le premier dollar. Les Ukrainiens auraient dû écouter les Grecs, les Chypriotes et les Espagnols avant de se jeter dans les bras de l’UE. L’avenir de l’Ukraine est d’être un pont entre l’Europe et la Russie, pas d’être la dernière roue de la charrette bruxelloise ou un porte-avions américain au cœur de l’Eurasie.

Voici pour l’état des lieux, en évolution permanente. Mais il faut aussi s’attarder sur quelques zones d’ombre. Les nationalistes ukrainiens sont-ils sincères et manipulés, ou bien sont-ils complices des menées occidentales ? Certains d’entre nous sont fascinés par les mouvements Svoboda ou Praviy Sektor. Les voici déchirés entre leur poutinophilie et une certaine nostalgie. Je vais donc leur permettre de régler ce dilemme. Il ne suffit pas de se promener avec des tatouages et des colifichets pour avoir une conscience politique. La question est plutôt : « dis-moi qui tu hantes et je te dirai qui tu es ».

Le 7 février, soit deux semaines avant le coup d’Etat, Oleh Tyahnibok, leader de Svoboda, parade aux côtés de Victoria Nuland, d’Arseni Iatseniouk, son poulain (futur Premier ministre du gouvernement provisoire) et accessoirement membre de la Trilatérale, et enfin de Viktor Klitschko, le boxeur président du parti UDAR, qui est soutenu par l’International Republican Institute et le National Democratic Institute, tous deux bien connus pour être des courroies de transmission du Département d’Etat américain. On ajoutera que les trois interlocuteurs de Tyahnibok sont juifs, ce qui explique sans doute le soutien indéfectible que leur prodiguent nos produits maison, Fabius et Lévy. De quoi faire se retourner dans sa tombe Stefan Bandera, fondateur de Svoboda, qui ne passait pas pour être philosémite.

Ce n’est pas la première fois que des mouvements qualifiés de populistes, et même de fascistes et de néonazis, se commettent avec les sionistes. Je rappellerai l’étrange voyage en Israël, en 2011, de 35 leaders européens des dits partis : Geert Wilders pour le PW hollandais, Filip Dewinter pour le Vlaams Belang flamand ou Heinz Christian Strache pour le FPÖ autrichien, parmi d’autres (Suédois, Allemands…). J’y ajouterai le pèlerinage de Louis Aliot, vice-président du FN, à Yad Vashem, la même année.

Quant à Praviy Sektor, son cas est encore plus intéressant. Né « spontanément » à l’automne 2013 de l’union de quelques groupuscules qui jugeaient Svoboda trop mou, il est subventionné par la diaspora ukrainienne des Etats-Unis (sic). Bizarrement, en mars 2014, Praviy Sektor fonde une nouvelle structure, Russian Legion, formée de Russes et destinée à lutter contre Poutine, y compris par des actes terroristes en Russie, notamment la destruction de pipelines. Pire encore, Dmitry Yarosh, le chef de Praviy Sektor, a fait alliance avec l’islamiste tchétchène Dokou Oumarov dans le but de « créer un front antirusse de l’Ukraine au Caucase ». Pour finir, j’ajouterai que Yarosh et des leaders du mouvement ont été reçus par l’ambassadeur d’Israël à Kiev, Reuven Din El, et se sont engagés à « lutter contre le racisme et l’antisémitisme ». Ce qui fait tache pour de soi-disant néonazis !

Quant à nous, notre positionnement est clair : les amis de nos ennemis (et les ennemis de nos amis) ne sont pas nos amis. Entre l’Occident (Etats-Unis, UE, Israël et quelques autres) qui veut imposer aux peuples une société mondialisée, déculturée et métissée, et un Poutine qui prône une révolution conservatrice et défend l’identité européenne et blanche, en rejetant l’immigration allogène et en réduisant l’islam conquérant, notre choix est fait.

Il y a vingt ans, j’avais tenté de convaincre mes amis croates et serbes de ne pas se tromper d’ennemis, à savoir les Bosniaques musulmans soutenus par « l’Occident ». Cela n’empêcha pas les néo-oustachis et les néo-tchetniks, les uns partisans de la Grande Croatie et les autres de la Grande Serbie, de s’entretuer au nom de toutes les haines accumulées. Il n’y eut que des vaincus : les Croates ne purent annexer la province d’Herceg Bosna et furent contraints de cohabiter avec les musulmans (qu’ils haïssent), et les Serbes durent abandonner la Krajina et la Slavonie, avant de perdre le Kosovo. Que ceci serve de leçon à tous les nationalistes dont le regard se limite aux rancœurs du passé, particulièrement à l’est de l’Europe.

Il serait ainsi dommage que les nationalistes ukrainiens soient aveuglés par leur russophobie, même si celle-ci est justifiée par le traitement infâme que leur ont infligé les Soviétiques pendant plus de 70 ans. Car l’Ukraine a le malheur de se situer au mauvais endroit tout en étant le « grenier à blé » de l’Europe de l’Est et un réservoir énorme de ressources naturelles. L’Ukraine a tout pour attiser les convoitises. Mais elle est aussi extrêmement fragile, car fracturée entre deux peuples inassimilables : l’Ouest catholique, dont l’histoire et la culture regardent vers la Pologne, la Lituanie et l’Autriche, et l’Est orthodoxe, qui n’a d’yeux que pour Moscou. Ce qui est donc en jeu, c’est un risque immense de guerre civile. Et pire encore. Qu’on se souvienne de ces mots de Jacques Benoist-Méchin, dans L’Ukraine, fantôme de l’Europe : « Et dans ce décor d’enfer, qui défie toute description, cinq armées différentes, venues de tous les coins de l’horizon, vont passer et repasser « comme une râpe » sur le corps sanglant de l’Ukraine : armée polonaise de Pilsudski, armée ukrainienne de Petlioura, armée blanche de Denikine et de Wrangel, armée noire des paysans anarchistes de Makhno, et enfin armées rouges de Staline et de Budienny ». L’Histoire n’est qu’un éternel recommencement.

AC

Why Obama paid a visit to Riyadh?

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Why Obama paid a visit to Riyadh?

The deterioration of the situation in Ukraine made substantial changes in the agenda of talks of U.S. President Obama with Saudi leadership in Riyadh on March 28 this year. The main subject of the discussion included the situation around Ukraine, possible joint steps to decrease energy prices, in order to weaken Russia’s economy, promotion of Iran’s moving to a more pro-Western position, to weaken Tehran’s cooperation with Moscow, and only then about Syria and the situation in the GCC. Obama’s support of the coup in Ukraine and the tough American opposition towards Russia in Ukrainian affairs, led to Washington developing the idea of urgent mobilization of the resources of its rich Arab allies – to oppose Moscow. This is because it turned out that the U.S. and its allies in NATO and the EU had no financial or political leverage, for exerting pressure on Russia.

That is why the White House’s decision, urgently to revive its relations with those major Arab partners, with whom they have not been good recently, seems logical. The more so that, although Riyadh and Washington had differences in the approaches to some international and regional issues, the two countries reduced neither their energy nor military cooperation, as well as intelligence interaction was not stopped in the war being conducted by the United States and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia against Iran and Syria. In addition, the White House decided to try to form a united front with the leading country in the Arab world against Moscow, and to neutralize Tehran at the same time.

As it became known, in the course of the conversation, Obama suggested that the ruling Saudi dynasty “take vengeance” on Russia for Crimea, by making strikes on three fronts. In Syria, in order to take it out of the orbit of influence of Moscow and Tehran, and to put the whole Levant under the U.S. and Saudi control. To provide financial assistance to the new government in Kiev, in order to make Ukraine an outpost of anti-Russian activities in Eastern Europe. To decrease oil and gas prices significantly, which would be a serious blow to Russia’s state treasury, and to achieve substantial reductions in the consumption of Russian oil and gas by the West.

Washington is well aware that Obama cannot act in any of these areas without Riyadh, especially in terms of using the “energy weapon” against Moscow. In exchange, Obama offered to “give a free hand” to the KSA in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The more so, that Riyadh has been granted the right to build a special relationship with Egypt, after the overthrow of Mursi’s government. In general, the U.S. and the West have turned a blind eye to the harsh crushing of the protests of Shiites in Bahrain and the Eastern Province of the KSA. The Saudis received the right to carry out an operation to “subdue” Qatar and to defeat the Muslim Brotherhood. Moreover, the White House has admitted Riyadh to work on the question that is the most important issue for it and Israel, i.e., the Israeli-Palestinian settlement, by giving the Saudis a “green light” to work with Jordan, which now has a special role in the new scheme to settle the Palestinian issue.

However, the rulers of the KSA want much more, and above all, they want Assad’s regime to be destroyed, and American help in order to stop the growing influence of Iran, as well as to form a “Shiite Arc” in the region. Only then can Riyadh recover from the strongly shaken position of the kingdom in the Islamic world. And the overthrow of Assad and capturing Damascus by the pro-Saudi Islamist opposition in Damascus are the only things that can strengthen the position of Saudi Arabia as a leader among the Arab states. This would allow the implementation of its plans for further regional expansion – from establishing a Jordanian-Palestinian federation to the formation of an anti-Shiite league from the Arabian Peninsula to India.

In addition, the Saudis have their own logic here – since Syria can play a key role in supplying Qatari gas to Europe. In 2009-2011, Damascus was the main obstacle to the implementation of a project for the construction of a pipeline from Qatar’s North Field to the EU, which would have allowed a strike at “Gazprom”, via a sharp increase in supplies of cheap Qatari gas to Europe. For various reasons, Damascus did not consent to laying of a gas pipeline through its territory from Qatar to Turkey and the Mediterranean coast of the SAR for further transit to the EU. Thus, while B. Assad stays in power, the construction of the gas pipeline from Qatar to the Mediterranean coast of Syria is impossible. Energy experts calculated back in 2009-2010, that if Sunnis came to power in Syria, instead of the Alawite regime of Bashar Assad, the gas pipeline ‘Qatar – Saudi Arabia – Jordan – Syria – Turkey’ would be built in two years. This would result in huge financial losses for Russia, whose gas cannot compete with Qatari gas, due to the extremely low cost of the latter. Hence, Saudi Arabia is trying to subdue Qatar, through a conflict within the GCC, in order to cut off another option – the construction of a gas pipeline from Iran (South Pars) through Iraq and Syria, which could be a joint project with Russia. Doha would play only a secondary, supporting role, being dependent on Tehran.

Therefore, in Obama’s negotiations with the Saudi rulers, the latter sought U.S. consent to a large increase in the comprehensive assistance provided to Syrian rebels. In particular, to supply heavy weapons and man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), which would reduce to naught the superiority of the Syrian government forces in terms of firepower, and its complete superiority in the air, and thereby change the military balance in favor of “the anti-Assad opposition”. After that, it would be possible to act under the tested scheme: the creation of no-fly zones near Turkish and Jordanian borders, turning this area into a stronghold of militants, supplying arms and sending large mercenary forces there and the organization of a march on Damascus. In this case, according to the logic of the Saudis, Iran would be forced to move to a strategic defense, which would satisfy Riyadh at this stage, before the next move – arranging a coalition aimed at stifling the Islamic regime in Tehran. Obama asked the Saudis to give $15 billion, in return for all that, in order to support current Ukrainian authorities, explaining that the KSA would be compensated for these financial costs and a temporary drop in oil prices later, by the energy “isolation” of Russia and Iran.

The more so, that there was a precedent for this, when President Reagan and Saudi King caused a sharp decline in oil prices by the dumping of Saudi oil on the world market in the mid-1980s, because Soviet troops were sent into Afghanistan, which ultimately led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, because of the subsequent economic problems. Today, a much smaller decrease in oil prices – from the current $107 per barrel to around 80-85 dollars – would be enough to make Russia suffer huge financial and economic damages. This would allow the U.S. president not only to get revenge for Crimea, but also to undermine significantly the economy of the Russian Federation, which would be followed by negative domestic political consequences for the current Russian government.

Earlier, American billionaire George Soros said that the U.S. strategic oil reserves are more than twice larger than the required level, and the sale of a part of these reserves would allow exerting pressure on Russia. That is, the blows would hit Moscow from two directions – from the United States and from the Persian Gulf. However, later on, the U.S. Secretary of Energy denied this possibility.

However, there is the question: Did the U.S. President manage to agree with Saudi Arabia to increase oil supplies to the world market to bring down prices? Does the KSA have a possibility to offer significant volumes of oil on the world market, for example up to 3-4 million b/d?

The fact is that the price of $110 per barrel is just the thing that Saudi Arabia needs, because the leadership of the kingdom has extensive socio-economic obligations. And if the standard of living of the Saudis decreases somewhat, due to the fall in oil prices and due to the fall of oil income, the country would be very much at risk to fall into the situation of the “Arab Spring”, like it was the case in Tunisia, Libya, Egypt. And the Saudis are afraid of a repetition of the Arab revolutions. Apparently, the Saudis are not going to offer additional oil on the market in order to bring down the price, just due to the hatred of the United States for the Russian Federation – as this is not profitable for them at all. They could agree on other things, including Qatari gas, Syria and Iran. In addition, the available production capacity of the KSA is not engaged now. This is about 4 million barrels per day. However, it would be impossible to do this quickly. It could take up to one month to increase the production. This is about as much as Iran produced at one time. However, now Iran is going to increase its production, due to lifting a part of the sanctions, and the Saudis are likely not to increase, but to reduce their production to keep oil prices high. And the prices will remain within the range they have been for quite a long time already. They will be in the range from 100 to 110, as this is the most comfortable range for both consumers and producers. Many countries, especially those that can influence the prices, via some manipulations with supply, are extremely interested in having high level of prices. Socio-economic programs are carried out in Venezuela at a price level of about $120 per barrel. In Iran, this figure is 110, and the same in Saudi Arabia. Thus, no one is interested in bringing down prices.

As for Iran, only one thing is clear for the time being: President Barack Obama has reassured Saudi King Abdullah that he would not agree to a “bad deal” with Iran on the nuclear issue. That is, Riyadh did not get what it wanted even on the Iranian issue. After the two leaders discussed their “tactical disagreements”, they both agreed that their strategic interests coincide, said an administration official. The statement of the White House on the results of the two-hour talks reads that Obama reaffirmed the importance for Washington of strong ties with the world’s largest oil exporter. At the same time, the administration official said that the parties had no time to discuss the situation with human rights in Saudi Arabia during their negotiations. In addition, a trusted source in the U.S. State Department said that Washington and Riyadh also discussed the conflict in Syria. According to him, the two countries carried out good joint work aimed at reaching a political transition period, and the support of moderate factions of the Syrian opposition. As for a possible supply of man-portable air defense systems to opposition militants, an informed source in Washington said that the U.S. still was concerned regarding the provision of such weapons to the rebels. However, there is information that Obama’s administration is considering the possibility of lifting the ban on the supply of MANPADS to the Syrian opposition. According to this source, the recent successes of the Syrian Army against the opposition forces may force the U.S. president to change his point of view.

Apparently, Obama and King Abdullah failed to reach clear and specific agreements on all issues on the agenda. There are differences, and the financial and economic interests are more important to Saudi Arabia than helping Washington in implementing its “revenge” on Russia for Crimea. Riyadh is well aware that Moscow and its partners on energy matters have things with which to respond to Saudi Arabia if the kingdom is blindly led on a string by the White House. And it is aware even more that Moscow has levers of political influence in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. The U.S., in turn, is not ready to resume its confrontation with Iran, especially when Tehran is fulfilling agreements to freeze its nuclear uranium enrichment program. In addition, Washington cannot work actively on Syrian affairs now, in the conditions of ongoing tensions in Ukraine. In addition, the chemical arsenal of the SAR has been half destroyed. And, apparently, Obama saw for himself during his, albeit short, stay in the kingdom that great changes are coming there, associated with the upcoming replacement of the current elderly generation of rulers by another one, which might be accompanied by unpredictable internal perturbation in the KSA. Hence, there is almost complete absence of victorious statements about the “historical” success of the U.S. President’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Alexander Orlov, political scientist, expert in Oriental Studies, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

mercredi, 02 avril 2014

Pourquoi la Russie a raison

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Pourquoi la Russie a raison

par Guillaume Faye

Les provocations anti russes

En 1991, au moment de la fin de l’URSS, du Pacte de Varsovie et des menaces qu’ils représentaient, l’Otan aurait dû se dissoudre. Les vrais buts de l’Otan, instrument géostratégique de Washington, apparurent alors : non pas tant la défense de l’Europe que l’encerclement et l’endiguement de la Russie et le recul vers l’Est de sa sphère d’influence. Contrairement à ce qu’avait promis aux Russes Helmut Kohl, au nom de l’Occident, d’anciens pays de la zone ”socialiste” entrèrent dans l’UE (erreur économique de l’élargissement à tout le monde) et surtout dans l’Otan, ce qui apparut comme une provocation.

Seconde provocation dont les Russes se souviennent : la guerre de Yougoslavie menée par l’Otan (sans que l’Onu eût voix au chapitre) qui démembra la Yougoslavie, arracha le Kosovo à la Serbie, permit le bombardement de Belgrade. Puis ce furent l’affaire du ”bouclier antimissile” américain installé en Europe centrale, et les révolutions ”orange” en Ukraine et ”rose” en Géorgie, financées et pilotées par Washington, toujours pour grignoter la sphère géopolitique russe et ravaler la Russie post soviétique au rang de puissance régionale moyenne. Les mains tendues de Gorbatchev (la « Maison commune ») et de Poutine (la « Grande Europe ») furent repoussées avec mépris. En effet, le cauchemar de l’administration américaine est une union euro-russe, économique et militaire, de l’Atlantique au Pacifique, et la dissolution de l’Otan qui s’ensuivrait. Serviles, les chancelleries européennes ont suivi, abdiquant toute indépendance, piétinant leurs propres intérêts, la France reniant sa tradition gaullienne. 

On comprend, dans ces conditions, que le Kremlin, surtout depuis le principat de Poutine, s’estime être l’agressé. Jusqu’à présent, jamais les Russes n’avaient réagi à ces provocations, faisant profil bas. Jamais la Russie n’avait menacé l’Ouest ni tenté d’y pousser ses pions. L’Occident, piloté par Washington, a pratiqué le deux poids, deux mesures et la diplomatie à la tête du client.

Sans réfléchir, l’UE s’est alignée, comme toujours, sur les Etats-Unis, sans comprendre que son intérêt est l’alliance continentale russe et non pas l’alliance américaine de soumission. Si les vrais gaullistes étaient toujours au pouvoir en France, ils auraient fait une politique rigoureusement inverse. Le but, logique, de Washington est de casser tout renouveau de puissance russe et d’empêcher à tout prix un axe euro-russe. Donc, de réveiller la guerre froide.

Le but constant des Américains, que suivent les Européens serviles : empêcher la Russie de redevenir impériale, comme du temps des Tzars et de l’URSS, et la contenir dans un rôle de station-service, style super-Arabie du Nord. Il est logique que tout président américain, qu’il soit démocrate ou républicain, suive cette politique, qui est la logique même du tropisme thalassocratique (1).  Les USA sont peut-être maladroits dans la tactique mais remarquablement constants dans leur stratégie mondiale, depuis Wilson.

Le seul point où la Russie paraît avoir tort concerne l’irrespect du ”Mémorandum de Budapest”. Elle le signa en 1994 avec les USA et la Grande-Bretagne pour garantir l’intégrité territoriale de l’Ukraine contre l’abandon par cette dernière de l‘arsenal nucléaire hérité de l’URSS. Mais les raisons de cet abandon sont parfaitement compréhensibles d’un point de vue de russe puisque l’Occident n’a pas respecté sa parole.

Les craintes d’une menace militaire russe de la part des anciens pays du glacis soviétique, notamment les pays baltes où résident des minorités russophones et de la Pologne membres de l’UE, sont parfaitement infondées et surjouées.

On se scandalise que Poutine veuille rétablir la puissance et le prestige de la Russie en restaurant son influence dans l’ancien espace soviétique, de manière ”impériale”, en faisant obstacle à toute avancée de l’Otan et de l’UE dans ses marches géopolitique de l’Est. Mais enfin, cette visée est parfaitement légitime et correspond à l’histoire russe. Les Etats-Unis, eux, ne se gênent pas pour essayer d’établir leur ”empire” sur l’Amérique latine et une partie du Moyen-Orient, au prix d’interventions militaires brutales ou de déstabilisations. Deux poids deux mesures.

Ce n’est nullement la Russie de Poutine qui voulait la relance de la guerre froide : il s’agit d’une stratégie élaborée à Washington dès l’an 2000 lorsque Poutine a pris la succession de l’impotent Eltsine. Les Américains, au moins, défendent leurs intérêts de puissance. Alors que les Européens ont abandonné toute realpolitik au profit de lubies idéologiques, humanitaro-pacifistes.  Les Européens, aveuglés, dans le déni de leur déclin, se laissent abuser par une pseudo menace russe, alors que la véritable menace vient du Sud. Il n’est pas besoin de faire un dessin. 

Le rattachement légitime de la Crimée

La Crimée est russe depuis le XVIIIe siècle et la manière dont elle fut cédée à l’Ukraine par l’URSS de Kroutchtchev en 1954 contrevient au droit des peuples et n’a pas de valeur. Concernant le président ukrainien pro-russe, Ianoukovitch, certes un satrape – mais pas plus, voire moins, que des dizaines de dirigeants dans le monde courtisés par l’Occident – il fut élu régulièrement et il a été renversé illégalement. Issu d’émeutes et de la rue, le nouveau gouvernement provisoire ukrainien est illégitime. La décision prise en février par le nouveau pouvoir de Kiev de priver les russophones de l’officialité de leur langue fut non seulement une provocation irresponsable mais une mesure répressive violant toutes les règles de la démocratie. Les dirigeants occidentaux, partiaux, ne s’en sont pas émus. Cette mesure illégale a d’ailleurs été l’amorce des événements actuels.     

Contrairement à la propagande, l’armée russe n’a jamais envahi la Crimée. La présence des forces russes à Sébastopol était conforme aux traités internationaux. Certes, des milices pro-russes ont désarmé (pacifiquement) les forces ukrainiennes, mais nul ne peut contester la validité du référendum populaire de rattachement de la Crimée à la Russie. Poutine n’a rien manipulé du tout, il a saisi la balle au bond. C’est au contraire l’Occident qui a jeté de l’huile sur le feu en attisant une confrontation manichéenne entre une Russie impérialiste et agressive et une pauvre Ukraine victime. Tout cela dans le but de réveiller la guerre froide, afin d’affaiblir une Russie dont le retour de puissance offusque Washington et l’Otan.

Ce n’est pas la Russie de Poutine qui a décidé d’annexer illégalement la Crimée, c’est la Crimée qui a décidé, à la faveur d’une réaction ukrainienne russophobe attisée par l’Occident, de rejoindre sa mère-patrie, la Russie. De plus, en aucun cas les minorités ukrainiennes ou tatars de Crimée n’ont été menacées. Elles seront parfaitement protégées, y compris dans leurs droits linguistiques, par les autorités russes. Ce sont au contraire les russophones d’Ukraine qui prennent peur. 

En soutenant le coup d’État de Kiev, les démocraties occidentales (et avec elles l’inconstant BHL) ont passé par pertes et profit le fait que le gouvernement autoproclamé est en partie constitué de membres de Svoboda, un parti néo-nazi. Ce qui conforte parfaitement la prétendue ”propagande” russe. Oleg Tiahnybok, le président de ce parti, adepte sur les tribunes de quenelles en position haute, c’est-à-dire de saluts hitlériens, avait déclaré l’urgence de « purger l’Ukraine de 400.000 juifs ».

Le principe de l’intangibilité des frontières européennes qui, en 1992, après l’indépendance de l’Ukraine, avait interdit à la Russie de demander le retour de la Crimée en son sein, a été violé par l’Occident après la reconnaissance de l’indépendance du Kosovo arraché à la Serbie malgré l’opposition de Moscou, mais aussi de l’Espagne et de la Grèce. Ce qui a donné une bonne raison à Poutine d’annexer sans un seul coup de feu la Crimée, après un référendum incontestable.

D’autre part, la récupération, sans usage de la force, de la base navale absolument vitale de Sébastopol était parfaitement compréhensible : la menace de la résiliation du bail par les autorités ukrainiennes et la possibilité très sérieuse de voir cette base enclavée et donc neutralisée dans un pays risquant d’être inféodé à l’Otan étaient inacceptables pour les Russes. 

Moscou a raison de refuser de négocier avec  un gouvernement provisoire autoproclamé, russophobe, qui a fait voter une loi inique retirant au russe son statut de langue officielle dans les régions russophones. Le droit international est une matière encore plus complexe que le droit pénal. Dans cette affaire, s’il n’a pas été entièrement respecté par la Russie, il l’a été moins encore par l’Occident qui, depuis l’invasion de l’Irak, n’a pas de leçons à donner.

En annexant la Crimée, la Russie a-t-elle perdu l’Ukraine ? C’est le leitmotiv constant des commentateurs occidentaux. Rien n’est moins sûr. L’Ukraine dépend économiquement et financièrement de la Russie bien plus que de l’Occident. L’industrie ukrainienne, par exemple, fournit largement l’armée russe. Le marché russe est indispensable à l’industrie ukrainienne. Sans l’aide financière russe, l’Ukraine ne peut pas s’en sortir. Les Occidentaux se contentent de promesses de prêts alors que Moscou a déjà prêté 3 milliards de dollars et les banques ukrainiennes ont été abondées de 20 milliards.

Faire miroiter à l’Ukraine la possibilité d’entrer dans l’UE – ce qui est une aberration économique – a été l’amorce de la crise. Il s’agissait d’une provocation à l’égard de la Russie, qui souhaitait depuis 1991 (avec l’accord des Occidentaux) maintenir ce pays frère dans la CEI-Communauté des États indépendants, bloc économique autour de la Russie.

En signant le 21 mars l’accord (économiquement irréalisable) d’association de l’Ukraine à l’UE avec le premier ministre ukrainien Arseni Iatseniouk, document que l’ex-président Ianoukovitch avait renoncé à signer le 21 novembre sous la pression russe, les Vingt-Huit ont commis un geste délibéré d’hostilité récidivée envers la Russie.  Les réactions de cette derrière sont d’ailleurs assez modérées.

Le salaire minimum en Ukraine est inférieur de 30% à celui des Chinois. Faire entrer l’Ukraine dans l’UE, comme la Géorgie, après des accords bidons d’association et de libre-échange avec Bruxelles, assortis de  promesses de prêts de la part d’une UE déjà financièrement exsangue, relève du mensonge diplomatique. L’intérêt de l’Ukraine est l’alliance économique avec la Russie.

Des sanctions économiques inappropriées 

Les Européens, en suivant les Américains dans des sanctions économiques absurdes, inefficaces, insultantes et ridicules contre la Russie, se tirent une balle dans le pied et nuisent à leurs intérêts. La Russie est le troisième partenaire économique de l’Europe. Les Allemands ont un besoin vital du gaz russe et les Britanniques des investissements russes dans la City. Le piètre chef de la diplomatie française, M. Fabius (qui avait voté contre Maastricht, donc contre l’élargissement inconsidéré de l’UE et qui maintenant veut y arrimer l’Ukraine !), est en train de torpiller le renouveau des relations franco-russes, au nom d’une conception pervertie de la ”démocratie” et par obéissance à ses maîtres. Les socialistes français – qui critiquaient le retour de la France dans le commandement intégré de l’Otan – s’alignent servilement sur la position de Washington et de Bruxelles (même entité) au mépris de l’indépendance nationale et des intérêts de l’Europe, entendue dans son vrai sens.        

À moyen terme, les sanctions économiques contre la Russie vont nuire à cette dernière : baisse des investissements en Russie, recherche d’autres fournisseurs de gaz et de pétrole, déstabilisation monétaire et financière. D’autant plus que la Russie a un besoin vital d’investisseurs étrangers car son tissu économique, hors industrie primaire d’hydrocarbures, est très insuffisant, surtout dans les nouvelles technologies. Néanmoins, les Occidentaux et notamment les Européens commettent deux lourdes erreurs : dépendants à 25% du gaz russe, ils s’exposent à une crise très grave d’approvisionnement ; d’autre part, les sanctions vont pousser les Russes à privilégier les investisseurs et exportateurs chinois au détriment des entreprises européennes. La Chine se frotte les mains. L’Empire du Milieu reste neutre, réarme et  compte les points.

Mais Washington  est un joueur de poker un peu nerveux et trop pressé. Car l’administration américaine a laissé voir son jeu le 26 mars lorsque Mr. Obama a déclaré aux dirigeants  agenouillés de l’Union européenne que les USA offraient leur gaz de schiste à la place du gaz russe (une source d’énergie que la France frileuse refuse d’exploiter sur son sol !), en poussant les licences d’exportation ; ce qui a pour but de faire signer aux Européens les accords de libre-échange unilatéraux et inégaux USA-UE. Le jeu de Washington est assez clair, sans vouloir sombrer dans la théorie du complot, et banalement machiavélien : créer une crise entre l’Europe et la Russie, les découpler ; 2) affaiblir les liens économiques euro-russes au profit d’exportations américaines sans contreparties.

Pour la France, ces sanctions sont très ennuyeuses : elles risquent de remettre en cause le marché de fournitures de navires de guerre porte-hélicoptères BPC à la marine russe. Ce qui va parfaitement dans le sens des intérêts de Washington, furieux de voir la France – pays de l’Otan – entamer une large coopération militaire avec la Russie, ce qui est complètement contraire au logiciel géostratégique américain. 

La nouvelle russophobie 

Mais une des raisons de la russophobie qui s’est emparée d’une partie des élites occidentales est que le régime russe ”poutinien” ne respecterait pas la démocratie et les valeurs humanistes. Ce syndrome idéologique fait bien rire les géostratèges cyniques de l’Administration américaine. L’hypocrisie est totale : on ne pousse pas ces cris de vierges effarouchées quand on reçoit en grande pompe le président chinois ou quand on traite avec les monarchies arabes despotiques. Notre clergé droit-de-l’hommiste se scandalise de l’interdiction de la Gay Pride ou de la propagande homo dans les écoles russes mais fait peu de cas de la peine de mort réservée aux homos dans maints régimes islamiques ”amis”.  

On rabâche avec une exagération ridicule que ” Poutine se comporte comme un despote du XVIIIe siècle ”, qu’il musèle les médias, que la Russie n’est pas un État de droit, etc. On a même comparé les récents événements à l’intervention soviétique en Tchécoslovaquie en 1968 et à la politique hitlérienne en 1938-39. Pourtant, le régime russe et sa politique  sont largement plébiscités par la population ; ce qui n’est pas le cas pour les dirigeants français, imbus de leur suffisance morale. Mais, vous comprenez, ce n’est pas de la ”démocratie”, c’est du populisme. C‘est-à-dire du néo-fascisme, n’est-ce pas ? En France, la démocratie, ce n’est pas l’opinion du peuple mais celle des élites éclairées, ”républicaines”.

Poutine exaspère l’hyperclasse intellectuelle, politicienne et médiatique, parce qu’il défend des valeurs identitaires, parce qu’il traite de décadentes les sociétés européennes, parce qu’il adopte les positions de la révolution conservatrice.  Parce qu’il veut redonner son rang à son pays. Péché capital.  Bien sûr, la Russie n’est pas le paradis terrestre (le sommes-nous ?) mais la présenter comme une dictature dirigée par un nouveau Néron qui a tort sur tous les dossiers relève de la désinformation la plus inconséquente.   

 Notes:

(1) Contrairement à l’idée véhiculée par tous les journalistes, le Président des USA  ne ”dirige” pas, comme peut le faire par exemple le PR français. Il est plutôt le porte-parole des forces qui l’ont élu et surtout le jouet, en politique extérieure principalement, des influences croisées de la CIA, du State Department et du Pentagone, qui sont les gardiens du temple (cf mon essai Le Nouvel impérialisme américain, Éd. de l’Aencre). On l’a bien vu avec Bush junior : isolationniste avant d’être élu, les néoconservateurs et le Pentagone l’ont forcé à retourner sa veste et à se lancer dans les campagnes militaires que l’on sait. De même, Obama, qui se désintéressait de la question russe et voulait un apaisement, a été forcé de se réaligner sur la position anti-russe. Une position qui est d’ailleurs de plus en plus critiquée par beaucoup d’analystes américains, pour qui la russophobie est une impasse dramatique. Mais c’est un autre débat.    

L'atlantisme est un piège!...

L'atlantisme est un piège!...

par Bertrand Renouvin

Ex: http://metapoinfos.hautetfort.com

Nous reproduisons ci-dessous un point de vue de Bertrand Renouvin, cueilli sur son blog et consacré à l'atlantisme et à ses œuvres...

Obama Europe.jpg

L'atlantisme est un piège

Les manifestants de Kiev qui brandissaient des drapeaux bleus ont obtenu ce qu’ils voulaient : la signature du volet politique de l’accord d’association entre l’Union européenne et le pouvoir né de l’insurrection. Ils feraient bien de lire ce texte et de le mettre en relation avec les conditions posées par le Fonds monétaire international au début des discussions sur le prêt à l’Ukraine.

Il va presque sans dire que l’accord signé le 21 mars détruit définitivement l’illusion d’une intégration de l’Ukraine dans l’Union. En attendant la signature du volet économique qui devrait avoir lieu après l’élection présidentielle du 25 mai, les Ukrainiens noteront qu’ils sont désormais soumis aux principes de l’économie de libre marché (titre I, article 3) et qu’ils sont engagés dans une coopération impliquant des contacts militaires (titre II, article 5) avec des pays qui sont membres de l’Otan. Il s’agit donc d’un accord d’association européo-atlantique, qui réjouit les plus occidentalistes des Ukrainiens, soucieux de trouver assistance et protection contre le voisin russe. Leur joie sera de courte durée. Ils ont déjà constaté que l’Occident n’a pas empêché le rattachement de la Crimée à la Russie et ils auraient déjà dû s’apercevoir que l’économie de marché est celle du renard libre dans le poulailler libre. Pourquoi ?

Parce que le FMI exige, comme d’habitude, les « réformes » qui entraînent l’appauvrissement et le pillage des pays qui les acceptent : privatisations, annulation des subventions, augmentation des taxes, augmentation de l’âge de la retraite, augmentation des tarifs du gaz et de l’électricité,  réduction de la protection sociale et des dépenses d’éducation… Choisi par les Etats-Unis et soutenu par Bruxelles, Arseni Yatseniouk, qui fait fonction de Premier ministre, a déjà engagé un programme de restrictions budgétaires pour prouver sa pleine et entière collaboration à cette sauvagerie programmée.

L’Ukraine est dans la mâchoire du piège atlantiste. La France aussi.

A Kiev, l’accord d’association et le prêt de 15 milliards de dollars constituent l’appât. A Paris, il se présente sous la forme du Pacte transatlantique sur le commerce et l’investissement (PTCI). Avec d’autres peuples européens, nous sommes confrontés à la même idéologie libre-échangiste assortie de la même promesse d’avenir radieux par les progrès de la concurrence sur le marché dérégulé. En France et dans d’autres pays, nous constatons que le gouvernement des Etats-Unis est le maître de la manœuvre commerciale et financière comme il est, avec l’Otan, le maître de la manœuvre militaire. La solidarité avec les Ukrainiens insurgés n’est pas plus gratuite que le partenariat transatlantique : il s’agit d’assurer la domination américaine sur un territoire européen aussi étendu que possible afin qu’un bloc atlantique puisse être opposé à la Chine – par ailleurs bordée par le Partenariat transpacifique.

Il ne s’agit pas d’un complot machiavélique mais d’une logique de puissance qui s’est réaffirmée après l’effondrement de l’Union soviétique. Au mépris de la promesse faite par James Baker à Mikhaïl Gorbatchev, l’Otan s’est étendue à l’Est, puis l’influence américaine s’est renforcée dans les Balkans, la France, divine surprise, est revenue dans le commandement militaire intégré et il a paru possible de rejeter la Russie encore plus loin vers l’Est par une révolution en Ukraine en attendant de faire la même opération en Biélorussie. Le Partenariat transatlantique ferait quant à lui l’affaire des multinationales américaines dans des secteurs-clés et permettrait à l’Allemagne de réorienter son approvisionnement énergétique. Alors que la France a tout à redouter d’un accord qui mettrait en péril ses secteurs les mieux protégés, François Hollande a souhaité une conclusion rapide des négociations pour éviter « une accumulation de peurs, de menaces, de crispations ». Cela signifie que, comme le retour dans l’Otan sous Nicolas Sarkozy, le PTCI doit être adopté sans débat public, à l’insu des peuples qu’on espère berner par la promesse d’un « plus de croissance ».

Face au déni de démocratie, face au piège atlantiste, nous développerons, avec nos amis, le projet salutaire d’une confédération européenne des Etats nationaux de l’ensemble du continent. L’avenir de l’Europe ne doit plus s’écrire à Washington.

Bertrand Renouvin (Blog de Bertrand Renouvin, 25 mars 2014)

mardi, 01 avril 2014

The U.S. Empire Is Trying Desperately To Contain the Eurasian Alliance

belarusrepublicflag.png

The U.S. Empire Is Trying Desperately To Contain the Eurasian Alliance of Russia, China, Central Asian Nations, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Pakistan

By

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

The U.S. and its puppets, especially the E.U. and Nato, have been trying to weaken the rebuilding Russian empire as much as possible to contain it, while maintaining the  U.S. Global Empire.

This has become a vital, crucial goal because of the rapid growth of Chinese power and the ever closer Alliance of Russia, China, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Central Asia, Pakistan, etc.

The U.S. and E.U. are desperate to stop Russia from rebuilding its vast Central Asian states within the Russian Federation and this new Alliance, especially because of the vast Caspian Sea oil and gas. The E.U. is highly dependent on Russia for gas and on Russia, Iraq, Iran and the pro-Russian Caspian Sea powers, especially Kazakhstan. The Russian move into the Black Sea is another major step in that direction. Kazakhstan publicly supported the Russian move to reunite with the Crimea. Kazakhstan is the great prize, with 30% of its population  Russian and a vast border with Mother Russia. Russia is probably not at this time trying to reunite Kazakhstan with Russia, since that would involve many more problems, but simply to keep it as a close ally, as the Ukraine was until the violent overthrow of the Kiev government by the U.S. supported coup.

Russia, Iran, Iraq, and their Central Asian allies are close to a vast oligopoly on the oil and gas exports of the world, especially to the E.U., U.K., China, India, etc.

Saudi Arabia is desperate to break the growing Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hizbollahp-Russian-Central Asian power block. Right now it is trying desperately to build its own military forces to offset the U.S. withdrawal from the region, but that is absurd. In the long term, Saudi Arabia will align with Russia-China-Iran-Central Asia or be overthrown from within by those who will become reasonable.

China, now firmly in the Russian-Central Asia-Iran-Iraq block with gas lines from Russia, etc., is moving forcefully into all of the South China Sea to control oil and gas there. The U.S. is desperate to stop that, but China keeps moving out.

All of that puts the dying U.S. Empire on a collision course with the vast Russian-Chinese-Iranian-Central Asian Alliance. Pakistan has become very anti-U.S. because of the U.S. attacks in Pakistan and is allying more and more with China. Even India is working more and more closely with Iran and its allies to get the gas they need. Just yesterday the president of Iran spoke in Afghanistan calling for a great regional entente, working together more and more closely. That is the likely route for Iranian oil and gas to India.

Ultimately, the U.S. Empire must withdraw from its vast over-stretch to save itself financially and economically, politically and militarily.

The E.U. knows that, so Germany’s Prime Minister talks privately with Putin in German and Russian about the American Global Crisis. [She knows Russian and he knows German, so it's easy.] Germany, the E.U. and Russia are moving toward a long run understanding once the crippled U.S. implodes financially or withdraws to save itself. The CEO of Siemens, the giant and vital German technology corporation, has just visited with Putin in Russia and made public statements of strong plans to continue working with Russia very closely. Other German CEO’s have done the same, acting as informal reassurances from the Prime Minister that her public words going along with the U.S. more or less do not mean any kind of break with the close relations with Russia.

President Xi calls on China, Germany to build Silk Road economic belt

President Xi calls on China, Germany to build Silk Road economic belt

(Xinhua) - Ex: http://www.chinadaily.com

 

President Xi calls on China, Germany to build Silk Road economic belt
 
Chinese President Xi Jinping (center) visits Port of Duisburg of Germany March 29, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]

 

DUSSELDORF, Germany - Chinese President Xi Jinping Saturday called on China and Germany to work together to build the Silk Road economic belt.

Xi made the remarks during a visit to Port of Duisburg, the world's biggest inland harbor and a transport and logistics hub of Europe.

 

 

 

 

The Chinese leader expressed the hope that Port of Duisburg will play a bigger role in the China-Germany and China-Europe cooperation.

Xi witnessed the arrival of a cargo train at the railway station in Duisburg from the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing. The train had travelled all the distance along the Chongqing-Xinjiang-Europe international railway.

The Chinese president, accompanied by Vice German Chancellor and Minister of Economics and Energy Sigmar Gabriel, was warmly welcomed by Hannelore Kraft, premier of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, and Soren Link, mayor of the city of Duisburg.

Kraft and Link, in their speeches at the welcome ceremony, said the state and the city will grasp the opportunities that the initiative on the Silk Road economic belt brings to them, and step up the cooperation with China.

dimanche, 30 mars 2014

Revue Conflits: que veut Poutine? ...

Revue Conflits : que veut Poutine? ...

Le premier numéro de la revue Conflits, dirigée par Pascal Gauchon et consacrée à la géopolitique vient de sortir en kiosque. Une belle initiative à soutenir !

Conflits 1.jpg

Présentation de la revue Conflits

Pourquoi une nouvelle revue de géopolitique ?

La géopolitique est à la mode. Peut-être trop. Peut-elle échapper au règne de l’immédiat et à la superficialité ?

C’est ce que nous espérons faire à Conflits. Nous entendons apporter une réflexion de fond sur cette discipline qui constitue d’une certaine façon la culture générale de notre époque, ce qui nous permet d’avoir un regard synthétique sur le monde.

Pour cela nous voulons faire de Conflits le carrefour de toutes les géopolitiques, celle des universitaires, celle des militaires, celle des hauts fonctionnaires, celle des entreprises, car la géopolitique ne se réduit pas aux relations entre Etats.

Le « manifeste pour une géopolitique critique » que nous définissons dans le premier numéro fixe nos principes d’analyse :

- géopolitique du temps long qui se méfie des émotions immédiates,

- géopolitique du terrain qui assume ses liens de filiation avec la géographie,

- géopolitique globale qui étudie l’ensemble des forces à l’œuvre, politiques, économiques, sociales ou culturelles,

- géopolitique réaliste qui se méfie des bons sentiments,

- géopolitique du soupçon qui cherche à déceler les intérêts à l’œuvre derrière les discours…

Principes fondateurs : Fondée sur des principes solides, Conflits n’est cependant pas une revue destinée aux seuls spécialistes. Nous entendons attirer à la géopolitique non seulement les étudiants, mais aussi le grand public averti. Notre présentation en témoigne, mais aussi l’originalité de beaucoup de nos rubriques : « grande stratégie» qui présente la géopolitique d’un Empire ancien, «géopolitique fiction » qui imagine l’avenir à partir d’un événement possible (pour ce numéro, la tentative d’annexion de Taiwan par la Chine), « tourisme géopolitique» qui présente une grande ville sous l’angle de son rayonnement et de sa puissance, « polémique » qui défend une thèse inattendue voire paradoxale à laquelle nos lecteurs peuvent réagir sur notre site Internet.

Conflits présente ainsi un visage original et attrayant de la géopolitique. Elle entend démontrer que la géopolitique est partout (une rubrique qui apparaîtra dès le numéro 2), que partout le rapport de forces structure l’espace, de la maison familiale à la Lune en passant par les stades comme par les musées. C’est une autre façon de voir le monde que nous proposons à nos lecteurs.

L'équipe de Conflits:

L’équipe des rédacteurs comprend une quinzaine d’auteurs permanents, pour la plupart jeunes enseignants auxquels s’ajoutent des militaires et des cadres d’entreprise. La moyenne d’âge de ce «noyau dur » est de 34 ans. Ils partagent la même conception de la géopolitique et sont en relation permanente. Plusieurs articles sont le fruit d’un véritable travail d’équipe, ainsi la chronologie qui figure au début de la revue.

Conflits fait par ailleurs appel à des spécialistes pour des articles précis et interrogent des personnalités reconnues de la géopolitique.

C’est ainsi qu’interviennent dans le numéro 1 Yves Lacoste, « père de la géopolitique » française, François Godement, spécialiste de la Chine, Pascal Marchand, spécialiste de la Russie, Xavier Raufer, spécialiste de la criminalité internationale, Pascal Lorot qui a popularisé la notion de «géoéconomie » ou Christian Harbulot, créateur de l’Ecole de guerre économique.

 

Au sommaire du numéro 1 :

Editorial

Actualité 

Enjeux

Entretien. Yves Lacoste

Polémique. Barack Obama, un grand président ! par Thomas Snégaroff

Portrait. L’inconnue Xi-Jinping par François Godement

Afghanistan. Les Américains ont-ils mieux réussi que les Russes ? par Mériadec Raffray

Afrique. Guerres ethniques ou guerres religieuses ? par Mathieu Lhours

 

Histoire et prospective

Grande stratégie. La géopolitique des Chevaliers Teutoniques par Sylvain Gouguenheim

Bataille. Koulikovo : la Russie sort du bois par Pierre Royer

Encarté

Dossier

Eurasie. L’Europe doit-elle regarder à l’est ?

Lu, vu, entendu, visité

Le nouvel ordre américain

Livres

Revues, colloques, sites

Cinéma, séries, jeux

Géotourisme. Berlin et la nouvelle puissance allemande par Thierry Buron

samedi, 29 mars 2014

Rusia, Crimea y un baño de Realpolitik

por Santiago Pérez 

Ex: http://paginatransversal.wordpress.com

Ultrarrealismo en la crisis ucraniana y en la política internacional de hoy.

La caída de Víktor Fédorovich Yanukovich al frente del gobierno ucraniano generó movimientos en la estructura de poder de la más alta política internacional. Con su alejamiento, Moscú perdió un confiable aliado, quien protegía sus intereses y mantenía al país del este europeo bajo la esfera de influencia del Kremlin. El asenso de Oleksandr Turchínov a la presidencia y su intención de acercamiento a occidente dispararon, en forma virtualmente automática, los mecanicemos de defensa rusos.

No quedan dudas que el proceso interno ucraniano se vio de alguna forma influenciado desde el exterior. Se trata de un país estratégico tanto para la Unión Europea como para la OTAN y la Federación Rusa, tres poderosos actores que, como es de esperar, mueven sus piezas dentro el tablero geopolítico mundial. Pero, al mismo tiempo, sería impreciso adjudicar en forma excluyente a estos jugadores la crisis interna del país. Las diferencias culturales que conviven en el seno de la sociedad ucraniana han alimentado innegablemente las tensiones. En Ucrania hay quienes desean acercarse a occidente y hay quienes desean acercarse a Rusia, elementos suficientes para generar un conflicto, más allá de lo que hagan o dejen de hacer las potencias extranjeras. En definitiva, el fin del gobierno de Yanukovich puede definirse como un fenómeno multicausal, impulsado por fuerzas tanto internas como externas.

Pero más allá de las idas y vueltas de la sociedad ucraniana, el hecho relevante de esta crisis para el análisis de la política internacional es la rapidez, efectividad y contundencia con la que ha operado el Kremlin. Sin prestar mayor atención al derecho internacional (como es esperable de cualquier gran potencia) y a pocas horas del cambio de gobierno en Kiev, fuerzas especiales rusas “ocuparon” en una acción unilateral la estratégica península de Crimea. La relevancia de la cruzada para el equilibrio político regional ha colocado a ucranianos y rusos en el centro de la escena global. Todos los actores de peso dentro del sistema internacional están hoy con la mirada depositada en Crimea.

¿Ha actuado Moscú dentro de la legalidad? ¿Es este accionar legítimo? Desafortunadamente estas son preguntas que poco importan al momento de leer el escenario en cuestión. La anarquía del sistema internacional y la lógica ultrarrealista de Vladimir Putin han permitido que, de facto, sea Rusia quien ejerza la soberanía sobre Crimea. Los reclamos de occidente y del flamante gobierno ucraniano difícilmente puedan superar la etapa retórica o argumentativa. No hay nada que hacer para la Unión Europea, Estados Unidos, el G7 o la mismísima OTAN: los rusos han desembarcado y no se apartarán. La defensa de la base naval de Sebastopol es un tema demasiado delicado para los intereses geoestratégicos de Moscú como para colocarlo sobre la mesa de negociaciones. La única forma de desplazar a los rusos sería por la fuerza, pero los costos de intentar semejante acción transforman a esta alterativa en absolutamente inviable. Nadie en Washington (y posiblemente en ningún lugar del mundo) está pensando seriamente en una acción militar.

Al no ser reconocido ni por occidente ni por la propia Ucrania el referéndum celebrado en la península funciona principalmente como un elemento de presión política. En los hechos, Simferópol dejó de responder a Kiev inmediatamente después de la ocupación rusa, situación anterior a la votación que supuestamente aportó legitimidad y legalidad a la escisión. En otras palabras, con o sin referéndum, la anexión ya se había materializado.

Más allá de reconocerla diplomáticamente o no, las potencias occidentales acabarán por aceptar de hecho la soberanía rusa sobre Crimea y diseñarán sus estrategias de defensa en consecuencia. El statu quo regional se ajustará naturalmente a las nuevas circunstancias y las Relaciones Internacionales continuarán su curso.

Ya lo dijo el canciller ruso, Sergei Lavrov. “Crimea es más importante para Rusia que las Islas Malvinas/Falklands para Gran Bretaña”. Un mensaje conciso, de alto contenido político y emitido en el idioma que solo hablan las superpotencias. Cuando de intereses estratégicos se tarta, el poder (por sobre la legalidad) es lo único que realmente importa.

Fuente: Equilibrio Internacional

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Eurasisme, Alternative à l'hégémonie libérale

Eurasisme, Alternative à l'hégémonie libérale

 

vendredi, 28 mars 2014

Deutscher Altkanzler Schmidt zeigt Verständnis für russische Krim-Politik

Deutscher Altkanzler Schmidt zeigt Verständnis für russische Krim-Politik

Thema: Die Zukunftsentscheidung auf der Krim

 
MOSKAU, 26. März (RIA Novosti).

schmidt-helmut.jpgDer deutsche Ex-Bundeskanzler Helmut Schmidt nimmt die Wiedervereinigung der ukrainischen Schwarzmeerhalbinsel Krim mit Russland verständnisvoll auf und hält die westlichen Sanktionen gegen Moskau für dumm. 

Das Vorgehen Russlands auf der Krim sei „durchaus verständlich“, sagte Schmidt der Zeitung „Die Zeit“. Dagegen kritisierte er das Verhalten des Westens im Krim-Konflikt scharf und bezeichnete die Sanktionen der EU und der USA gegen Russland als „dummes Zeug". Weiter gehende wirtschaftliche Sanktionen würden ihr Ziel verfehlen und „den Westen genauso wie die Russen treffen“.

Auch kritisierte Schmidt, der 1974 bis 1982 Bundeskanzler der Bundesrepublik Deutschland war, die Entscheidung der G7, die Zusammenarbeit mit Russland einzustellen. Die G8 sei in Wirklichkeit nicht so wichtig wie die G20, bei der Russland weiter Vollmitglied ist. Die Situation in der Ukraine ist laut Schmidt „gefährlich, weil der Westen sich furchtbar aufregt.“ „Diese Aufregung des Westens sorgt natürlich für entsprechende Aufregung in der russischen öffentlichen Meinung und Politik.“

Die politische Krise in der Ukraine war eskaliert, nachdem das Parlament (Oberste Rada) am 22. Februar die Verfassung geändert, Staatspräsident Viktor Janukowitsch für abgesetzt erklärt und einen Oppositionspolitiker zum Übergangspräsidenten ernannt hatte. Oppositionsfraktionen stellten eine Übergangsregierung.

Von Russen dominierte Gebiete im Osten und Süden der Ukraine haben die neue, von Nationalisten geprägte Regierung in Kiew nicht anerkannt. Auf der Schwarzmeer-Halbinsel Krim stimmten mehr als 96,7 Prozent der Teilnehmer eines Referendums für eine Abspaltung von der Ukraine und eine Wiedervereinigung mit Russland. Kurz danach unterzeichneten Russland und die Krim einen Vertrag über die Eingliederung der Halbinsel in die Russische Föderation. Die USA und die Europäische Union verhängten daraufhin Sanktionen gegen Russland. Unterdessen haben Tausende Demonstranten in mehreren Großstädten der Süd- und Ostukraine ein Referendum nach dem Vorbild der Krim gefordert.

jeudi, 27 mars 2014

Lo que se juega Alemania en Rusia

Ex: http://www.elespiadigital.com

6.200 empresas alemanas comercian con Rusia o han realizado inversiones en el país y 300.000 puestos de trabajo alemanes dependen del negocio ruso. La inversión germana en Rusia se cifra en 20.000 millones, por eso la aplicación de sanciones contra Moscú tendría consecuencias desastrosas para la primera economía europea.

Como es habitual antes de la celebración de un Consejo Europeo, Merkel ha comparecido ante el Bundestag para dar cuenta de las negociaciones que se llevarán a cabo en Bruselas. Pasados los peores batacazos de una crisis económica que Alemania todavía no da por superada y con una Unión Bancaria en ciernes, el grueso de las conversaciones de la cumbre de marzo se centrará en la gestión de la crisis abierta en Ucrania.

Los socios europeos encaran este encuentro dispuestos a aplicar la tercera fase de las sanciones contra Rusia, que se extenderían al ámbito económico. Este es un paso que Berlín observa con preocupación y que Merkel ha intentado evitar por todos los medios insistiendo en sus últimas apariciones públicas en que, de forma paralela a las sanciones impuestas, debe permanecer abierta la vía del diálogo. Sin embargo, en su última intervención, este jueves en el Bundestag, la canciller ha abandonado el discurso tibio de los últimos días, llegando incluso a dar por suspendido temporalmente la celebración del G-8.

En la crisis ucraniana Angela Merkel está jugando un papel principal, actuando como mediadora ante Moscú para evitar un agravamiento de las relaciones entre este y oeste. Sus constantes comunicaciones vía telefónica con Vladimir Putin también habrían servido para templar los ánimos del sector empresarial, preocupado por las consecuencias económicas que podrían derivarse de un aislamiento de Rusia.

En Berlín, la crisis abierta en Ucrania preocupa no solo por la dependencia energética de Moscú -Alemania importa de Rusia el 35% del gas que consume- sino también por sus enormes intereses empresariales en el país. Alemania tiene mucho que perder si se materializa una espiral de sanciones económicas contra Rusia.

6.200 empresas alemanas comercian con Rusia o han realizado inversiones en el país y 300.000 puestos de trabajo alemanes dependen del negocio ruso. El volumen comercial bilateral se sitúa en los 76.400 millones de euros, con exportaciones valoradas en 36.000 millones e importaciones en 40.400 millones. En total, los alemanes han invertido en Rusia 20.000 millones de euros, según ha confirmado recientemente Anton F. Börner, presidente de la Asociación Federal Alemana de Comercio Exterior y Al Por Mayor (BGA), en un encuentro con medios extranjeros en Berlín, entre ellos, la Cadena Ser.

Rusia es el undécimo socio comercial de Alemania, un país al que la locomotora europea exporta, sobre todo, bienes de consumo de alto valor, maquinaria, productos electrónicos y coches. De aplicarse sanciones contra Moscú, la economía alemana podría resentirse en 2014. "Calculamos que las exportaciones alemanas aumentarán un 3% y las importaciones un 2% este año, por lo que se daría una balanza comercial con un superávit de 215.000 millones de euros, unos planes que se podrían ir al traste en caso de la crisis en Ucrania continúe escalando", señala Börner.

En su opinión, la crisis abierta no debe solucionarse a favor o en contra de Rusia, sino "con Rusia" y teniendo en cuenta que el recrudecimiento de las relaciones también afecta a los intereses económicos rusos en Europa. No en vano, Alemania es el tercer socio comercial de Rusia y las exportaciones de energía de Rusia suponen más de la mitad de los ingresos públicos del país y un 25% su PIB. "Más de un 80% de las exportaciones de energía rusas van a parar al oeste, el volumen comercial de entre Europa y Rusia es de un 1% del PIB de la UE mientras que supone el 15% del PIB ruso", recuerda el presidente de la BGA.

Fuente: Cadena SER

Le basculement de la Crimée est-il le premier d’une longue série?

Crimea-flag.jpg

Le basculement de la Crimée est-il le premier d’une longue série?

Auteur : Al Watan (Syrie)
Ex: http://www.zejournal.mobi

Au-delà des pleurs emphatiques de l’Occident face à l’adhésion de la Crimée à la Fédération de Russie, le vrai enjeu est de savoir s’il s’agit d’un événement orphelin ou s’il préfigure le basculement de l’Europe orientale vers Moscou. N’ayant plus que l’asservissement à la bureaucratie bruxelloise à offrir, Bruxelles craint que ses actuels clients soient attirés par la liberté et l’argent de Moscou.

Les Occidentaux s’époumonent à dénoncer l’« annexion militaire » de la Crimée par la Russie. Selon eux, Moscou, revenant à la « doctrine Brejnev », menace la souveraineté de tous les États qui furent membres non seulement de l’ex-URSS, mais aussi du Pacte de Varsovie, et s’apprête à les envahir comme il le fit en Hongrie en 1956 et en Tchécoslovaquie en 1968.

Est-ce bien vrai ? Manifestement, les mêmes Occidentaux ne sont pas convaincus de l’imminence du danger. S’ils assimilent en paroles l’« annexion » de la Crimée par Vladimir Poutine à celle des Sudètes par Adolf Hitler, ils ne pensent pas que l’on se dirige vers une Troisième Guerre mondiale.

Tout au plus ont-ils pris des sanctions théoriques contre quelques dirigeants russes —y compris criméens— en bloquant leurs comptes, au cas ou ils voudraient en ouvrir dans des banques occidentales, ou en leur interdisant d’y voyager, si l’envie leur en prenait. Le Pentagone a bien envoyé 22 avions de combats en Pologne et dans les États baltes, mais il n’a pas l’intention de faire plus que cette gesticulation, pour le moment.

Que se passe t-il au juste ? Depuis la chute du Mur de Berlin, le 9 novembre 1989, et le sommet de Malte qui l’a suivie, les 2 et 3 décembre, les États-Unis n’ont cessé de gagner du terrain et, en violation de leurs promesses, de faire basculer un à un tous les États européens —sauf la Russie— dans l’Otan.

Le processus a débuté quelques jours plus tard, à la Noël 1989, avec le renversement des Ceau?escu en Roumanie et leur remplacement par un autre dignitaire communiste subitement converti au libéralisme, Ion Iliescu. Pour la première fois, la CIA organisait un coup d’État aux yeux de tous, tout en le mettant en scène comme une « révolution » grâce à une nouvelle chaîne de télévision, CNN International. C’était le début d’une longue série.

Une vingtaine d’autres cibles allaient suivre, souvent par des moyens tout aussi frauduleux : l’Albanie, l’Allemagne de l’Est, l’Azerbaïdjan, la Bosnie-Herzégovine, la Bulgarie, la Croatie, l’Estonie, la Géorgie, la Hongrie, le Kosovo, la Lettonie, la Lituanie, la Macédoine, la Moldavie, le Monténégro, la Pologne, la Serbie, la Slovaquie, la Slovénie, la Tchéquie et l’Ukraine.

Aucun document ne fut signé lors du sommet de Malte, mais le président Bush Sr., conseillé par Condoleezza Rice, prit l’engagement oral qu’aucun membre du Pacte de Varsovie ne serait accepté dans l’Otan. En réalité, l’Allemagne de l’Est y entra de facto, par le simple jeu de son adhésion à l’Allemagne de l’Ouest. La porte étant ainsi ouverte, ce sont aujourd’hui 12 États ex-membres de l’URSS ou du Pacte de Varsovie qui y ont adhéré et les autres qui sont en attente de rejoindre l’Alliance.

Cependant, « les meilleures choses ont une fin ». La puissance de l’Otan et de son versant civil, l’Union européenne, vacille. Certes l’Alliance n’a jamais été si nombreuse, mais ses armées sont peu efficaces. Elle excelle sur de petits théâtres d’opération, comme en Afghanistan, mais ne peut plus entrer en guerre contre la Chine, ni contre la Russie, sans la certitude de perdre comme on l’a vu en Syrie cet été.

En définitive, les Occidentaux sont stupéfaits de la rapidité et de l’efficacité russes. Durant les jeux Olympiques de Sotchi, Vladimir Poutine n’a stoïquement livré aucun commentaire sur les événements de la place Maidan. Mais il a réagi dès qu’il a eu les mains libres. Chacun a pu alors constater qu’il abattait des cartes qu’il avait préparées durant son long silence. En quelques heures, des forces pro-russes ont neutralisé les forces pro-Kiev de Crimée tandis qu’une révolution était organisée à Semferopol pour porter au pouvoir une équipe pro-russe. Le nouveau gouvernement a appelé à un référendum d’autodétermination qui a enregistré une immense vague pro-russe, population tatare incluse. Puis, les Forces officielles russes ont fait prisonniers avec leurs matériels les soldats se réclamant encore de Kiev. Tout cela sans tirer un coup de feu, à l’exception d’un sniper ukrainien pro-Otan qui fut arrêté à Semferopol après avoir tué une personne de chaque bord.

Il y a vingt ans, les mêmes Criméens auraient certainement voté contre la Russie. Mais aujourd’hui, leur liberté est bien mieux assurée par Moscou que par Kiev, où un tiers du gouvernement revient aux nazis et les deux autres tiers aux représentants des oligarques. En outre, leur économie en faillite a immédiatement été relevée par la Banque de Russie, tandis que, malgré le FMI et les prêts des États-Unis et de l’UE, Kiev est condamné à une longue période de pauvreté. Il n’était pas nécessaire de parler russe pour faire ce choix et, malgré la propagande occidentale, les musulmans Tatars l’ont fait comme les russophones. C’est également le choix de 88 % des militaires ukrainiens stationnés en Crimée, qui se sont ralliés à Moscou avec la ferme intention de faire venir leurs familles et de leur obtenir la nationalité russe. C’est aussi le choix de 82 % des marins ukrainiens qui se trouvaient en mer, trop heureux de pouvoir devenir Russes, ils se sont ralliés à Moscou avec leurs bâtiments sans y être contraints d’aucune manière.

La liberté et la prospérité, qui ont été les arguments de vente de l’Occident depuis presque 70 ans, ont changé de camp.

Il ne s’agit pas d’affirmer ici que la Russie est parfaite, mais de constater que pour les Criméens et en réalité pour la plupart des Européens, elle est plus attractive que le camp occidental.

C’est pourquoi l’indépendance de la Crimée et son adhésion à la Fédération de Russie marquent le retour du balancier. Pour la première fois, un peuple ex-soviétique décide librement de reconnaître l’autorité de Moscou. Ce que craignent les Occidentaux, c’est que cet événement ait un effet comparable à la chute du Mur de Berlin, mais dans l’autre sens. Pourquoi ne verrait-on pas des États membres de l’Otan —comme la Grèce— ou simplement de l’Union européenne —comme Chypre— suivre le même chemin ? Le camp occidental se déliterait alors et sombrerait dans une très forte récession —comme la Russie d’Eltsine—.

En outre, la question de la survie des États-Unis ne manquerait pas de se poser. La dissolution de l’URSS aurait dû entrainer celle de son ennemi et néanmoins partenaire, ces deux super-puissances n’existant que l’une face à l’autre. Or, il n’en fut rien. Washington étant débarrassé de son compétiteur se lança à la conquête du monde, globalisa l’économie et installa un Nouvel Ordre. Il fallut deux ans et un mois à l’Union soviétique pour se dissoudre après la chute du Mur de Berlin. Verrons-nous bientôt la dissolution des États-Unis et de l’Union européenne en plusieurs entités, ainsi que l’enseigne Igor Panarin à l’Académie diplomatique de Moscou ? L’effondrement sera d’autant plus rapide que Washington réduira ses subventions à ses alliés et Bruxelles ses fonds structurels.

Personne ne doit craindre l’attractivité de la Russie, car c’est une puissance impériale, mais pas impérialiste. Si Moscou a tendance à rabrouer les petits pays qu’il protège, il n’entend pas étendre son hégémonie par la force. Sa stratégie militaire est celle du « déni d’accès » à son territoire. Ses armées sont les premières au monde en termes de défense anti-aérienne et anti-navale. Elles peuvent détruire des flottes de bombardiers et de porte-avions. Mais elles ne sont pas équipées pour partir à la conquête du monde, ni déployées dans quantité de bases extérieures.

Il est particulièrement étrange d’entendre les Occidentaux dénoncer l’adhésion de la Crimée à la Fédération de Russie comme contraire au droit international et à la Constitution ukrainienne. N’est-ce pas eux qui démembrèrent l’URSS et le Pacte de Varsovie ? N’est-ce pas eux qui rompirent l’ordre constitutionnel à Kiev ?

Le ministre allemand des Affaires étrangères, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, déplore une prétendue volonté russe de « couper l’Europe en deux ». Mais la Russie s’est débarrassée de la dictature bureaucratique soviétique et n’entend pas restaurer le Rideau de fer. Ce sont les États-Unis qui veulent couper l’Europe en deux pour éviter l’hémorragie vers l’Est. La nouvelle dictature bureaucratique n’est plus à Moscou, mais à Bruxelles, elle se nomme Union européenne.

D’ores et déjà, Washington tente de fixer ses alliés dans son camp, il développe sa couverture de missiles en Pologne, en Roumanie et en Azerbaïdjan. Il ne fait plus mystère que son « bouclier » n’a jamais été destiné à contrer des missiles iraniens, mais est conçu pour attaquer la Russie. Il tente aussi de pousser ses alliés européens à prendre des sanctions économiques qui paralyseraient le continent et pousseraient les capitaux à fuir… aux États-Unis.

L’ampleur de ces ajustements est telle que le Pentagone examine la possibilité d’interrompre son « pivot vers l’Extrême-Orient », c’est-à-dire le déplacement de ses troupes d’Europe et du Proche-Orient pour les positionner en vue d’une guerre contre la Chine. Quoi qu’il en soit, toute modification de sa stratégie à long terme désorganisera encore plus ses armées sur le court et le moyen terme. Moscou n’en demandait pas autant, qui observe avec volupté les réactions des populations de l’Est de l’Ukraine et, pourquoi pas, de la Transnistrie.

mercredi, 26 mars 2014

Putin’s Triumph

youll-never-catch-putin-in-a-skirt-in-fact-his-persona-is-more-like-that-of-a-lumberjackwarrior-here-putin-recharges-on-a-visit-to-the-siberian-khakasiya-region.jpg

Putin’s Triumph

Ex: http://orientalreview.org/

By Israel SHAMIR (Israel)

Nobody expected events to move on with such a breath-taking speed. The Russians took their time; they sat on the fence and watched while the Brown storm-troopers conquered Kiev, and they watched while Mrs Victoria Nuland of the State Department and her pal Yatsenyuk (“Yats”) slapped each other’s backs and congratulated themselves on their quick victory. They watched when President Yanukovych escaped to Russia to save his skin. They watched when the Brown bands moved eastwards to threaten the Russian-speaking South East. They patiently listened while Mme Timoshenko, fresh out of gaol, swore to void treaties with Russia and to expel the Russian Black Sea Fleet from its main harbour in Sevastopol. They paid no heed when the new government appointed oligarchs to rule Eastern provinces. Nor did they react when children in Ukrainian schools were ordered to sing “Hang a Russian on a thick branch” and the oligarch-governor’s deputy promised to hang dissatisfied Russians of the East as soon as Crimea is pacified. While these fateful events unravelled, Putin kept silence.

He is a cool cucumber, Mr Putin. Everybody, including this writer, thought he was too nonchalant about Ukraine’s collapse. He waited patiently. The Russians made a few slow and hesitant, almost stealthy moves. The marines Russia had based in Crimea by virtue of an international agreement (just as the US has marines in Bahrain) secured Crimea’s airports and roadblocks, provided necessary support to the volunteers of the Crimean militia (called Self-Defence Forces), but remained under cover. The Crimean parliament asserted its autonomy and promised a plebiscite in a month time. And all of a sudden things started to move real fast!

The poll was moved up to Sunday, March 16. Even before it could take place, the Crimean Parliament declared Crimea’s independence. The poll’s results were spectacular: 96% of the votes were for joining Russia; the level of participation was unusually high – over 84%. Not only ethnic Russians, but ethnic Ukrainians and Tatars voted for reunification with Russia as well. A symmetrical poll in Russia showed over 90% popular support for reunification with Crimea, despite liberals’ fear-mongering (“this will be too costly, the sanctions will destroy Russian economy, the US will bomb Moscow”, they said).

Even then, the majority of experts and talking heads expected the situation to remain suspended for a long while. Some thought Putin would eventually recognise Crimean independence, while stalling on final status, as he did with Ossetia and Abkhazia after the August 2008 war with Tbilisi. Others, especially Russian liberals, were convinced Putin would surrender Crimea in order to save Russian assets in the Ukraine.

 

Vladimir Putin delivering his address on reunification with Crimea. Source: Kremlin.ru

Vladimir Putin delivering his address on reunification with Crimea. Source: Kremlin.ru

But Putin justified the Russian proverb: the Russians take time to saddle their horses, but they ride awfully fast. He recognised Crimea’s independence on Monday, before the ink on the poll’s results dried.  The next day, on Tuesday, he gathered all of Russia’s senior statesmen and parliamentarians (video) in the biggest, most glorious and elegant St George state hall in the Kremlin, lavishly restored to its Imperial glory, and declared Russia’s acceptance of Crimea’s reunification bid. Immediately after his speech, the treaty between Crimea and Russia was signed, and the peninsula reverted to Russia as it was before 1954, when Communist Party leader Khrushchev passed it to the Ukrainian Soviet Republic.

This was an event of supreme elation for the gathered politicians and for people at home watching it live on their tellies. The vast St George Hall applauded Putin as never before. The Russians felt immense pride: they still remember the stinging defeat of 1991, when their country was taken apart. Regaining Crimea was a wonderful reverse for them. There were public festivities in honour of this reunification all over Russia and especially in joyous Crimea.

Historians have compared the event with the restoration of Russian sovereignty over Crimea in 1870, almost twenty years after the Crimean War had ended with Russia’s defeat, when severe limitations on Russian rights in Crimea were imposed by victorious France and Britain. Now the Black Sea Fleet will be able to develop and sail freely again, enabling it to defend Syria in the next round. Though Ukrainians ran down the naval facilities and turned the most advanced submarine harbour of Balaclava into shambles, the potential is there.

Besides the pleasure of getting this lost bit of land back, there was the additional joy of outwitting the adversary. The American neocons arranged the coup in Ukraine and sent the unhappy country crashing down, but the first tangible fruit of this break up went to Russia.

A new Jewish joke was coined at that time:

Israeli President Peres asks the Russian President:

-        Vladimir, are you of Jewish ancestry?

-        Putin: What makes you think so, Shimon?

-        Peres: You made the US pay five billion dollars to deliver Crimea to Russia. Even for a Jew, that is audacious!

Five billion dollars is a reference to Victoria Nuland’s admission of having spent that much for democratisation (read: destabilisation) of the Ukraine. President Putin snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, and US hegemony suffered a set-back.

The US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power screaming at the Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin after Russia has blocked the US draft resolution "on situation in Ukraine" at the Security Council meeting on March 15, 2014.

The US Ambassador to the UN Samantha Power screaming at the Russian counterpart Vitaly Churkin after Russia has blocked the US draft resolution “on situation in Ukraine” at the Security Council meeting on March 15, 2014.

The Russians enjoyed the sight of their UN representative Vitaly Churkin coping with a near-assault by Samantha Power. The Irish-born US rep came close to bodily attacking the elderly grey-headed Russian diplomat telling him that “Russia was defeated (presumably in 1991 – ISH) and should bear the consequences… Russia is blackmailing the US with its nuclear weapons,” while Churkin asked her to keep her hands off him and stop foaming at the mouth. This was not the first hostile encounter between these twain: a month ago, Samantha entertained a Pussy Riot duo, and Churkin said she should join the group and embark on a concert tour.

The US Neocons’ role in the Kiev coup was clarified by two independent exposures. Wonderful Max Blumenthal and Rania Khalek showed that the anti-Russian campaign of recent months (gay protests, Wahl affair, etc.) was organised by the Zionist Neocon PNAC (now renamed FPI) led by Mr Robert Kagan, husband of Victoria “Fuck EC” Nuland. It seems that the Neocons are hell-bent to undermine Russia by all means, while the Europeans are much more flexible. (True, the US troops are still stationed in Europe, and the old continent is not as free to act as it might like).

The second exposé was an interview with Alexander Yakimenko, the head of Ukrainian Secret Services (SBU) who had escaped to Russia like his president. Yakimenko accused Andriy Parubiy, the present security czar, of making a deal with the Americans. On American instructions, he delivered weapons and brought snipers who killed some 70 persons within few hours. They killed the riot police and the protesters as well.

The US Neocon-led conspiracy in Kiev was aimed against the European attempt to reach a compromise with President Yanukovych, said the SBU chief. They almost agreed on all points, but Ms Nuland wanted to derail the agreement, and so she did – with the help of a few snipers.

These snipers were used again in Crimea: a sniper shot and killed a Ukrainian soldier. When the Crimean self-defence forces began their pursuit, the sniper shot at them, killed one and wounded one. It is the same pattern: snipers are used to provoke response and hopefully to jump-start a shootout.

Novorossia

While Crimea was a walkover, the Russians are far from being home and dry. Now, the confrontation moved to the Eastern and South-Eastern provinces of mainland Ukraine, called Novorossia (New Russia) before the Communist Revolution of 1917. Alexander Solzhenitsyn in his later years predicted that Ukraine’s undoing would come from its being overburdened by industrial provinces that never belonged to the Ukraine before Lenin, – by Russian-speaking Novorossia. This prediction is likely to be fulfilled.

Who fights whom over there? It is a great error to consider the conflict a tribal one, between Russians and Ukrainians. Good old Pat Buchanan made this error saying that “Vladimir Putin is a blood-and-soil, altar-and-throne ethno-nationalist who sees himself as Protector of Russia and looks on Russians abroad the way Israelis look upon Jews abroad, as people whose security is his legitimate concern.” Nothing could be farther away from truth: perhaps only the outlandish claim that Putin is keen on restoring the Russian Empire can compete.

Putin is not an empire-builder at all (to great regret of Russia’s communists and nationalists). Even his quick takeover of Crimea was an action forced upon him by the strong-willed people of Crimea and by the brazen aggression of the Kiev regime. I have it on a good authority that Putin hoped he would not have to make this decision. But when he decided he acted.

The ethno-nationalist assertion of Buchanan is even more misleading. Ethno-nationalists of Russia are Putin’s enemies; they support the Ukrainian ethno-nationalists and march together with Jewish liberals on Moscow street demos. Ethno-nationalism is as foreign to Russians as it is foreign to the English. You can expect to meet a Welsh or Scots nationalist, but an English nationalist is an unnatural rarity. Even the English Defence League was set up by a Zionist Jew. Likewise, you can find a Ukrainian or a Belarusian or a Cossack nationalist, but practically never a Russian one.

Putin is a proponent and advocate of non-nationalist Russian world. What is the Russian world?

Russian World

Pavel Ryzhenko "A photo in memoriam" painting (2007) depicting the last Russian Emperor Nikolay II with family visiting a military camp during WWI.

Pavel Ryzhenko “A photo in memoriam” painting (2007) depicting the last Russian Emperor Nikolay II with family visiting a military camp during WWI.

Russians populate their own vast universe embracing many ethnic units of various background, from Mongols and Karels to Jews and Tatars. Until 1991, they populated an even greater land mass (called the Soviet Union, and before that, the Russian Empire) where Russian was the lingua franca and the language of daily usage for majority of citizens. Russians could amass this huge empire because they did not discriminate and did not hog the blanket. Russians are amazingly non-tribal, to an extent unknown in smaller East European countries, but similar to other great Eastern Imperial nations, the Han Chinese and the Turks before the advent of Young Turks and Ataturk. The Russians did not assimilate but partly acculturated their neighbours for whom Russian language and culture became the gateway to the world. The Russians protected and supported local cultures, as well, at their expense, for they enjoy this diversity.

Before 1991, the Russians promoted a universalist humanist world-view; nationalism was practically banned, and first of all, Russian nationalism. No one was persecuted or discriminated because of his ethnic origin (yes, Jews complained, but they always complain). There was some positive discrimination in the Soviet republics, for instance a Tajik would have priority to study medicine in the Tajik republic, before a Russian or a Jew; and he would be able to move faster up the ladder in the Party and politics. Still the gap was small.

After 1991, this universalist world-view was challenged by a parochial and ethno-nationalist one in all ex-Soviet republics save Russia and Belarus. Though Russia ceased to be Soviet, it retained its universalism. In the republics, people of Russian culture were severely discriminated against, often fired from their working places, in worst cases they were expelled or killed. Millions of Russians, natives of the republics, became refugees; together with them, millions of non-Russians who preferred Russian universalist culture to “their own” nationalist and parochial one fled to Russia. That is why modern Russia has millions of Azeris, Armenians, Georgians, Tajiks, Latvians and of smaller ethnic groups from the republics. Still, despite discrimination, millions of Russians and people of Russian culture remained in the republics, where their ancestors lived for generations, and the Russian language became a common ground for all non-nationalist forces.

If one wants to compare with Israel, as Pat Buchanan did, it is the republics, such as Ukraine, Georgia, Uzbekistan, Estonia do follow Israeli model of discriminating and persecuting their “ethnic minorities”, while Russia follows the West European model of equality.

France vs Occitania

In order to understand the Russia-Ukraine problem, compare it with France. Imagine it divided into North and South France, the North retaining the name of France, while the South of France calling itself “Occitania”, and its people “Occitans”, their language “Occitan”. The government of Occitania would force the people to speak Provençal, learn Frederic Mistral’s poems by rote and teach children to hate the French, who had devastated their beautiful land in the Albigensian Crusade of 1220. France would just gnash its teeth. Now imagine that after twenty years, the power in Occitania were violently seized by some romantic southern fascists who were keen to eradicate “800 years of Frank domination” and intend to discriminate against people who prefer to speak the language of Victor Hugo and Albert Camus. Eventually France would be forced to intervene and defend francophones, at least in order to stem the refugee influx. Probably the Southern francophones of Marseilles and Toulon would support the North against “their own” government, though they are not migrants from Normandy.

Putin defends all Russian-speakers, all ethnic minorities, such as Gagauz or Abkhaz, not only ethnic Russians. He defends the Russian World, all those russophones who want and need his protection. This Russian World definitely includes many, perhaps majority of people in the Ukraine, ethnic Russians, Jews, small ethnic groups and ethnic Ukrainians, in Novorossia and in Kiev.

Indeed Russian world was and is attractive. The Jews were happy to forget their schtetl and Yiddish; their best poets Pasternak and Brodsky wrote in Russian and considered themselves Russian. Still, some minor poets used Yiddish for their self-expression. The Ukrainians, as well, used Russian for literature, though they spoke their dialect at home for long time. Nikolai Gogol, the great Russian writer of Ukrainian origin, wrote Russian, and he was dead set against literary usage of the Ukrainian dialect. There were a few minor Romantic figures who used the dialect for creative art, like Taras Shevchenko and Lesya Ukrainka.

Solzhenitsyn wrote: “Even ethnic-Ukrainians do not use and do not know Ukrainian. In order to promote its use, the Ukrainian government bans Russian schools, forbids Russian TV, even librarians are not allowed to speak Russian with their readers. This anti-Russian position of Ukraine is exactly what the US wants in order to weaken Russia.“

Putin in his speech on Crimea stressed that he wants to secure the Russian world – everywhere in the Ukraine. In Novorossia the need is acute, for there are daily confrontations between the people and the gangs sent by the Kiev regime. While Putin does not yet want (as opposed to Solzhenitsyn and against general Russian feeling) to take over Novorossia, he may be forced to it, as he was in Crimea. There is a way to avoid this major shift: the Ukraine must rejoin the Russian world. While keeping its independence, Ukraine must grant full equality to its Russian language speakers. They should be able to have Russian-language schools, newspapers, TV, be entitled to use Russian everywhere. Anti-Russian propaganda must cease. And fantasies of joining NATO, too.

This is not an extraordinary demand: Latinos in the US are allowed to use Spanish. In Europe, equality of languages and cultures is a sine qua non. Only in the ex-Soviet republics are these rights trampled – not only in Ukraine, but in the Baltic republics as well. For twenty years, Russia made do with weak objections, when Russian-speakers (the majority of them are not ethnic Russians) in the Baltic states were discriminated against. This is likely to change. Lithuania and Latvia have already paid for their anti-Russian position by losing their profitable transit trade with Russia. Ukraine is much more important for Russia. Unless the present regime is able to change (not very likely), this illegitimate regime will be changed by people of Ukraine, and Russia will use R2P against the criminal elements in power.

The majority of people of Ukraine would probably agree with Putin, irrespective of their ethnicity. Indeed, in the Crimean referendum, Ukrainians and Tatars voted en masse together with Russians. This is a positive sign: there will be no ethnic strife in the Ukraine’s East, despite US efforts to the contrary. The decision time is coming up fast: some experts presume that by end of May the Ukrainian crisis will be behind us.

Source: CounterPunch

Neocons’ Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit

Neocons’ Ukraine-Syria-Iran Gambit

by Robert Parry

Ex: RINF Alternative News

You might think that policymakers with so many bloody fiascos on their résumés as the U.S. neocons, including the catastrophic Iraq War, would admit their incompetence and return home to sell insurance or maybe work in a fast-food restaurant. Anything but directing the geopolitical decisions of the world’s leading superpower.

But Official Washington’s neocons are nothing if not relentless and resilient. They are also well-funded and well-connected. So they won’t do the honorable thing and disappear. They keep hatching new schemes and strategies to keep the world stirred up and to keep their vision of world domination – and particularly “regime change” in the Middle East – alive.

Now, the neocons have stoked a confrontation over Ukraine, involving two nuclear-armed states, the United States and Russia. But – even if nuclear weapons don’t come into play – the neocons have succeeded in estranging U.S. President Barack Obama from Russian President Vladimir Putin and sabotaging the pair’s crucial cooperation on Iran and Syria, which may have been the point all along.

Though the Ukraine crisis has roots going back decades, the chronology of the recent uprising — and the neocon interest in it – meshes neatly with neocon fury over Obama and Putin working together to avert a U.S. military strike against Syria last summer and then brokering an interim nuclear agreement with Iran last fall that effectively took a U.S. bombing campaign against Iran off the table.

With those two top Israeli priorities – U.S. military attacks on Syria and Iran – sidetracked, the American neocons began activating their influential media and political networks to counteract the Obama-Putin teamwork. The neocon wedge to splinter Obama away from Putin was driven into Ukraine.

Operating out of neocon enclaves in the U.S. State Department and at U.S.-funded non-governmental organizations, led by the National Endowment for Democracy, neocon operatives targeted Ukraine even before the recent political unrest began shaking apart the country’s fragile ethnic and ideological cohesion.

Last September, as the prospects for a U.S. military strike against Syria were fading thanks to Putin, NED president Carl Gershman, who is something of a neocon paymaster controlling more than $100 million in congressionally approved funding each year, took to the pages of the neocon-flagship Washington Post and wrote that Ukraine was now “the biggest prize.”

But Gershman added that Ukraine was really only an interim step to an even bigger prize, the removal of the strong-willed and independent-minded Putin, who, Gershman added, “may find himself on the losing end not just in the near abroad [i.e. Ukraine] but within Russia itself.” In other words, the new hope was for “regime change” in Kiev and Moscow.

Putin had made himself a major annoyance in Neocon World, particularly with his diplomacy on Syria that defused a crisis over a Sarin attack outside Damascus on Aug. 21, 2013. Despite the attack’s mysterious origins – and the absence of any clear evidence proving the Syrian government’s guilt – the U.S. State Department and the U.S. news media rushed to the judgment that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad did it.

Politicians and pundits baited Obama with claims that Assad had brazenly crossed Obama’s “red line” by using chemical weapons and that U.S. “credibility” now demanded military retaliation. A longtime Israeli/neocon goal, “regime change” in Syria, seemed within reach.

But Putin brokered a deal in which Assad agreed to surrender Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal (even as he continued to deny any role in the Sarin attack). The arrangement was a huge letdown for the neocons and Israeli officials who had been drooling over the prospect that a U.S. bombing campaign would bring Assad to his knees and deliver a strategic blow against Iran, Israel’s current chief enemy.

Putin then further offended the neocons and the Israeli government by helping to facilitate an interim nuclear deal with Iran, making another neocon/Israeli priority, a U.S. war against Iran, less likely.

Putting Putin in Play

So, the troublesome Putin had to be put in play. And, NED’s Gershman was quick to note a key Russian vulnerability, neighboring Ukraine, where a democratically elected but corrupt president, Viktor Yanukovych, was struggling with a terrible economy and weighing whether to accept a European aid offer, which came with many austerity strings attached, or work out a more generous deal with Russia.

There was already a strong U.S.-organized political/media apparatus in place for destabilizing Ukraine’s government. Gershman’s NED had 65 projects operating in the country – training “activists,” supporting “journalists” and organizing business groups, according to its latest report. (NED was created in 1983 to do in relative openness what the CIA had long done in secret, nurture pro-U.S. operatives under the umbrella of “promoting democracy.”)

So, when Yanukovych opted for Russia’s more generous $15 billion aid package, the roof fell in on him. In a speech to Ukrainian business leaders last December, Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, Victoria Nuland, a neocon holdover and the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan, reminded the group that the U.S. had invested $5 billion in Ukraine’s “European aspirations.”

Then, urged on by Nuland and neocon Sen. John McCain, protests in the capital of Kiev turned increasingly violent with neo-Nazi militias moving to the fore. Unidentified snipers opened fire on protesters and police, touching off fiery clashes that killed some 80 people (including about a dozen police officers).

On Feb. 21, in a desperate attempt to tamp down the violence, Yanukovych signed an agreement brokered by European countries. He agreed to surrender many of his powers, to hold early elections (so he could be voted out of office), and pull back the police. That last step, however, opened the way for the neo-Nazi militias to overrun government buildings and force Yanukovych to flee for his life.

With these modern-day storm troopers controlling key buildings – and brutalizing Yanukovych supporters – a  rump Ukrainian parliament voted, in an extra-constitutional fashion, to remove Yanukovych from office. This coup-installed regime, with far-right parties controlling four ministries including defense, received immediate U.S. and European Union recognition as Ukraine’s “legitimate” government.

As remarkable – and newsworthy – as it was that a government on the European continent included Nazis in the executive branch for the first time since World War II, the U.S. news media performed as it did before the Iraq War and during various other international crises. It essentially presented the neocon-preferred narrative and treated the presence of the neo-Nazis as some kind of urban legend.

Virtually across the board, from Fox News to MSNBC, from the Washington Post to the New York Times, the U.S. press corps fell in line, painting Yanukovych and Putin as the “black-hat” villains and the coup regime as the “white-hat” good guys, which required, of course, whiting out the neo-Nazi “brown shirts.”

Neocon Expediency

Some neocon defenders have challenged my reporting that U.S. neocons played a significant role in the Ukrainian putsch. One argument is that the neocons, who regard the U.S.-Israeli bond as inviolable, would not knowingly collaborate with neo-Nazis given the history of the Holocaust (and indeed the role of Ukrainian Nazi collaborators in extermination campaigns against Poles and Jews).

But the neocons have frequently struck alliances of convenience with some of the most unsavory – and indeed anti-Semitic – forces on earth, dating back to the Reagan administration and its collaboration with Latin American “death squad” regimes, including work with the World Anti-Communist League that included not only neo-Nazis but aging real Nazis.

More recently in Syria, U.S. neocons (and Israeli leaders) are so focused on ousting Assad, an ally of hated Iran, that they have cooperated with Saudi Arabia’s Sunni monarchy (known for its gross anti-Semitism). Israeli officials have even expressed a preference for Saudi-backed Sunni extremists winning in Syria if that is the only way to get rid of Assad and hurt his allies in Iran and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

Last September, Israel’s Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren told the Jerusalem Post that Israel so wanted Assad out and his Iranian backers weakened, that Israel would accept al-Qaeda operatives taking power in Syria.

“The greatest danger to Israel is by the strategic arc that extends from Tehran, to Damascus to Beirut. And we saw the Assad regime as the keystone in that arc,” Oren said in the interview. “We always wanted Bashar Assad to go, we always preferred the bad guys who weren’t backed by Iran to the bad guys who were backed by Iran.”

Oren said that was Israel’s view even if the other “bad guys” were affiliated with al-Qaeda.

Oren, who was Israel’s point man in dealing with Official Washington’s neocons, is considered very close to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and reflects his views. For decades, U.S. neocons have supported Netanyahu and his hardline Likud Party, including as strategists on his 1996 campaign for prime minister when neocons such as Richard Perle and Douglas Feith developed the original “regime change” strategy. [For details, see Consortiumnews.com’s “The Mysterious Why of the Iraq War.”]

In other words, Israel and its U.S. neocon supporters have been willing to collaborate with extreme right-wing and even anti-Semitic forces if that advances their key geopolitical goals, such as maneuvering the U.S. government into military confrontations with Syria and Iran.

So, while it may be fair to assume that neocons like Nuland and McCain would have preferred that the Ukraine coup had been spearheaded by militants who weren’t neo-Nazis – or, for that matter, that the Syrian rebels were not so dominated by al-Qaeda-affiliated extremists – the neocons (and their Israeli allies) see these tactical collaborations as sometimes necessary to achieve overarching strategic priorities.

And, since their current strategic necessity is to scuttle the fragile negotiations over Syria and Iran, which otherwise might negate the possibility of U.S. military strikes against those two countries, the Putin-Obama collaboration had to go.

By spurring on the violent overthrow of Ukraine’s elected president, the neocons helped touch off a cascade of events – now including Crimea’s secession from Ukraine and its annexation by Russia – that have raised tensions and provoked Western retaliation against Russia. The crisis also has made the continued Obama-Putin teamwork on Syria and Iran extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Like other neocon-engineered schemes, there will surely be much collateral damage in this latest one. For instance, if the tit-for-tat economic retaliations escalate – and Russian gas supplies are disrupted – Europe’s fragile recovery could be tipped back into recession, with harmful consequences for the U.S. economy, too.

There’s also the certainty that congressional war hawks and neocon pundits will press for increased U.S. military spending and aggressive tactics elsewhere in the world to punish Putin, meaning even less money and attention for domestic programs or deficit reduction. Obama’s “nation-building at home” will be forgotten.

But the neocons have long made it clear that their vision for the world – one of America’s “full-spectrum dominance” and “regime change” in Middle Eastern countries opposed to Israel – overrides all other national priorities. And as long as the neocons face no accountability for the havoc that they wreak, they will continue working Washington’s corridors of power, not selling insurance or flipping hamburgers.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his new book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and barnesandnoble.com). For a limited time, you also can order Robert Parry’s trilogy on the Bush Family and its connections to various right-wing operatives for only $34. The trilogy includes America’s Stolen Narrative. For details on this offer, click here.

Who Has Been More Aggressive?

Bush-Krieger_Spiegel.jpg

Who Has Been More Aggressive?

Who has been more aggressive, George H.W. Bush in Panama or Vladimir Putin in Crimea? Who has been more aggressive, the U.S. in its actions against Noriega or Russia with respect to Crimea?

These two situations differ but they are comparable in important respects. The U.S. launched a full-scale invasion of Panama. Russia, whatever it did in Crimea, it didn’t launch a full-scale invasion. The U.S. was trying to get rid of Noriega for some years. Russia had not been trying to annex Crimea. It acted in response to Ukraine events in a region it deemed very important just as the U.S. acted in a region it deemed important for reasons of its own. What were they? I won’t go into the detail this invasion deserves. Let’s see what George H.W. Bush’s invasion message said.

“For nearly two years, the United States, nations of Latin America and the Caribbean have worked together to resolve the crisis in Panama. The goals of the United States have been to safeguard the lives of Americans, to defend democracy in Panama, to combat drug trafficking and to protect the integrity of the Panama Canal Treaty. Many attempts have been made to resolve this crisis through diplomacy and negotiations. All were rejected by the dictator of Panama, Gen. Manuel Noriega, an indicted drug trafficker. Last Friday, Noriega declared his military dictatorship to be in a state of war with the United States and publicly threatened the lives of Americans in Panama. The very next day forces under his command shot and killed an unarmed American serviceman, wounded another, arrested and brutally beat a third American serviceman and then brutally interrogated his wife, threatening her with sexual abuse. That was enough.”

The Russians have made the claim too of safeguarding Russians as well as their bases. They too have made the claim of safeguarding democracy and there has been a vote to back that claim up. No drug trafficking is involved in Crimea, but that was a poor excuse for Bush to have used anyway. Russia has made the claim that the coup in Ukraine introduced a rogue government just as the U.S. made claims against Noriega. Bush mentioned the failure of negotiations. Whatever they were or weren’t or how they were handled, let’s note that the Ukrainian government had reached an agreement on Feb. 21 that was soon broken by violent mob activity. This was in Ukraine, not Crimea, but there is a political link and it does provide Russia with a parallel rationale that it has used.

These comparisons suggest, at a minimum and understating the case, that the Russians have not behaved in a way that differs that much from how the U.S. has behaved. But in fact the Russian actions have been much milder. There has been no big invasion. A vote was held. The Russians had standing treaty rights in Crimea.

Bush also claimed that Noriega declared war against the U.S. This claim inverted the truth. Noriega said that the U.S. had declared war on Panama. See author Theodore H. Draper’s work on that claim. I quote Draper:

“As I have now learned, Bush’s statement was, at best, a half-truth, at worst a flagrant distortion. On December 15, Noriega had not simply declared war on the United States. He said, in effect, that the United States had declared war on Panama, and that, therefore, Panama was in a state of war with the United States. Just what Noriega said was known or available in Washington by December 16 at the latest. How Noriega’s words came across as a simple declaration of war is a case history of official management of the news and negligence by the press.

“The key passage in Noriega’s speech on December 15 accused the President of the United States of having ‘invoked the powers of war against Panama’ and ‘through constant psychological and military harassment of having created a state of war in Panama, daily insulting our sovereignty and territorial integrity.’ He appealed for ‘a common front to respond to the aggression,’ and stressed ‘the urgency to unite as one to fight against the aggressor.’

“The resolution on December 15 by the Panama Assembly also took this line—’To declare the Republic of Panama in a state of war for the duration of the aggression unleashed against the Panamanian people by the US Government.’”

This war item may appear to digress from the comparison because the Crimean situation doesn’t involve antagonism between Russia and Crimea, whereas the Panama-U.S. situation did. Its relevance is that the U.S. went considerably further militarily in Panama than Russia did in Crimea, using a false and exaggerated claim as an important reason.

Let us reach a conclusion. If the U.S. could launch a large-scale aggression against the government of Panama for some reasons similar to those invoked by Russia (protection of citizens and democracy) and for one unjustifiable reason (drugs), and also with a lie or half-truth (Noriega unilaterally declaring war on the U.S.), then do not the Russian actions in Crimea, where it has treaty rights for bases and military personnel and where it has a longstanding interest in an adjacent strategic region, appear not to be anything excessive as such things go and far milder than the U.S. action in Panama? This seems to be an inescapable conclusion.

If Russia is the big bad bogeyman in Crimea, what was the U.S. in Panama in 1989? If the U.S. claimed noble aims and getting rid of a criminal in Panama’s government, how far different are the Russian claims that the Crimeans have a right to dissociate from a criminal gang in Kiev and to do so by a peaceful vote? Whose actions are milder, those of the Russians in Crimea or those of the U.S. in Panama? Whose actions are more aggressive, those of the Russians in Crimea or those of the U.S. in Panama? It may be that the Russians will invade Ukraine itself, in which case they will be open to much greater and more severe criticism. For the moment, we are addressing Crimea.

There is a difference between Panama and Crimea in that Crimea has voted to join the Russian Federation whereas Panama was a separate country and remains so. However, the U.S., having once invaded the country, obviously has reserved its option, by violence if necessary, to make and unmake Panama’s government at its will and according to its interests.

Seen against this comparison, the statements being made by top U.S. officials or former officials like Hillary Clinton, that Putin is a new Hitler, are wild exaggerations. If Russia has violated international law through its activities surrounding the Crimean vote, as the warmongers in the U.S. shout, how much more did Bush’s invasion of Panama violate international law? And, by the way, how could Bush invade Panama and then inform Congress when it is Congress that must declare war? And how could Bush invade Panama without a U.N. Security Council Resolution authorizing it? This U.S. invasion was not even a case of applying the already-expansive Monroe Doctrine, for there was no foreign force invading this hemisphere.

I have not explained why Bush invaded Panama or why the U.S. was so concerned about Noriega in the years preceding that invasion. I have limited the discussion to one question, which is this. Who has been more aggressive, George H.W. Bush in Panama or Vladimir Putin in Crimea? I think it’s evident that Bush was far more aggressive.

Before too many U.S. officials get too upset over Putin, before they absorb too much of the neocon warmongering nonsense and exaggerations, before they lead the U.S. into dangerous confrontations for which there is no need, before they shock the world’s economy with armed confrontations, it would pay them on behalf of Americans in this land to study their own history as well as that of Russia and to gain some much needed perspective so that they can behave with at least some degree of maturity and statesman-like wisdom.

The time is long past for those in Washington and throughout this land who understand and despise the neocon ideas to stand up against them and marginalize them. The neocons should be viewed, not as a constraint on appropriate political actions and responses, but as a spent moral force lacking in moral standing that has been wrong time and again in recommending actions that supposedly benefitted Americans but in reality have dragged this country further and further down.

Remaking the world, freeing peoples, playing global saviour, acting as the world’s policeman, and attempting to be the world’s conscience have all got to be seen as bad and wrong for any state. States cannot do any of these things without becoming monsters of power who are creatures of their own interests and their own bureaucracies who oppress the people they rule. The wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Syria should all attest to that. Even the Vietnam War should attest to that.

A  state that has the power to do supposedly good things will invariably have the power to do very bad things, and it will. This is both basic human nature and the basic outcome of bureaucratic governments. Power corrupts. Of equal importance is that any such state will consist of bureaucracies that do the actual ruling, and they become self-perpetuating and separated from the interests of the people for whom they are supposedly doing good. Instead, they become unjust, out for themselves, corrupt, slow to act, inconsistent in their actions, and impervious to accountability.

The basic neocon idea is that of an expanding U.S. hegemony according to U.S. political ideas and blueprints. The idea is a monopoly of power, a superpower. This is the basic idea of empire, and it is both bad and wrong, practically and morally. A monopoly on power is the wrong way to strive for the good. The good needs to be constantly discovered and re-discovered at a decentralized level, within each person’s mind and conscience. A person’s own life and willing associations with others provide more than ample scope for challenging a person to figure out what is good and bad as well as what is right and wrong. No one person and certainly no one powerful state knows the good or can achieve it. The good is not provided in any blueprint. It is always a work in progress, dependent on local and individual details and conditions that are unknown to state powers. The attempts by states to achieve the abstract good must fail. They are going against the nature of the human condition.

America has a very serious problem, which is that both parties stand for the empire and the neocon ideas are very much tied in with the ideas that ground the empire. Right now, the empire is viewed by far too many people as good and right. As long as those who might separate themselves from neocon ideas and criticize them strenuously remain locked in support of the empire and/or reluctant to take issue with it, both parties are going to be tools of neocon thinking.

mardi, 25 mars 2014

La Crimée épicentre d’un séisme mondial… Vers la guerre ?

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La Crimée épicentre d’un séisme mondial… Vers la guerre ?

par Jean-Michel VERNOCHET
Ex.: http://www.bvoltaire.fr

Ex-chef des Services de Renseignement ukrainien, le général Smeshko ne mâche pas ses mots : « Poutine place l’Europe au bord d’une Troisième guerre mondiale ».

Ce n’est pas un quelconque tabloïd qui publie ce propos mais Le Figaro, et le jour du printemps ! N’est-ce pas un peu vite dit ? En tout cas Paris, toujours aussi bien avisé, se propose d’envoyer des avions de combat en Pologne aux abords de la frontière ukrainienne à l’instar du Pentagone qui a déjà acheminé douze F16 et 300 GI’s… au prétexte de manœuvres.

« On » voudrait faire monter la tension que l’on ne s’y prendrait pas autrement. Au demeurant on ne se prive pas de dire que « Poutine ne comprend rien à l’Ukraine » [ibid.Smeshko]. Il n’en demeure pas moins que ce sont les gens de Bruxelles qui ont mis le feu aux poudres en aguichant les Ukrainiens avec un accord de partenariat que l’Union voulait exclusif, cela sans tenir le moindre compte des réalités géopolitiques et historiques.

Bravo donc Catherine Asthon qui a su faire miroiter aux Ukrainiens une manne céleste pourtant aujourd’hui introuvable… mais que distribuait naguère, et avec largesse, les eurocrates aux pays du Sud de l’Europe… ceux qui justement, Grèce, Portugal, Espagne, Italie des Pouilles et de la Calabre, tous à présent dans la plus noire panade.

Bref, n’y avait-il pas là, de la part de du Moloch bruxellois, une sorte d’escroquerie morale qu’il convient d’épingler ? Comment en effet une Europe envasée dans l’actuel marasme structurel qui est le sien, aurait-elle pu utilement venir au secours de Kiev ?

Cependant, ce serait faire une injure trop grande aux technocrates que de leur imputer une erreur aussi grossière consistant à sous-estimer la capacité de réaction du Kremlin. Surtout après l’annexion manquée d’août 2008, celle de l’Ossétie du Sud par la Géorgie.

Il va de soi que nul, en tel domaine, ne refait deux fois les mêmes erreurs. Notons que, suite à leur déconfiture géorgienne, les Européens échaudés – à rebours – par la « crise du gaz » de l’hiver 2008/2009, ont pris dès cette époque des dispositions pour réduire à la fois leur dépendance vis-à-vis des fournitures russes, mais également pour palier toute éventuelle rupture d’approvisionnement en modifiant en conséquence les réseaux de gazoducs en Europe orientale.

Deux autres conflits gaziers russo-ukrainiens – en 2005/2006 et en 2007/2008 – avaient précédé l’épisode de 2009. Épisodes qu’il serait d’ailleurs vain d’interpréter ou d’analyser en faisant abstraction du contexte géopolitique régional et de l’attraction déjà exercée par la sphère occidentaliste sur les Ukrainiens et plus encore sur leurs puissantes oligarchies.

Pendant que la classe dirigeante française joue à la bataille navale et règle leurs comptes dans ce qui ressemble de plus en plus furieusement à une « voyoucratie » politicienne, le séisme dont l’épicentre se situe sur la Péninsule de Crimée, commence ainsi à faire sentir ses inquiétantes répliques un peu partout… à Venise et en Transnistrie tentées à leur tour par l’autodétermination. Cette dernière, entité séparatiste pro-russe de Moldavie – l’État qui n’existe pas – donne des sueurs froides à Kiev, et pas seulement.

Ici la question se pose de savoir si un détramage général de l’Europe n’a pas été enclenché pas sur le Maïdan de Kiev ?

Comment en effet ne pas penser aux Flandres, à la Catalogne, au Pays basque ? Samedi 22 mars des soldats russes investissaient la base aérienne de Belbek en Crimée. Les choses vont vite, très vite. Pour l’heure, l’Union européenne n’a à opposer aux forces qu’elle a libérées que sa mauvaise humeur et sa mauvaise foi.

Tel est pris qui croyait prendre : la ville de Donetsk, capitale économique et industrielle du Donbass et de l’Ukraine, se mobilise, bannières russes flottant au vent. La foule ne demande pour l’instant que le retour du président déchu Viktor Ianoukovitch, mais les choses pourraient aussi ne pas en rester là !

lundi, 24 mars 2014

Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch

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Corporate Interests Behind Ukraine Putsch

Behind the U.S.-backed coup that ousted the democratically elected president of Ukraine are the economic interests of giant corporations – from Cargill to Chevron – which see the country as a potential “gold mine” of profits from agricultural and energy exploitation, reports JP Sottile.

By JP Sottile

On Jan. 12, a reported 50,000 “pro-Western” Ukrainians descended upon Kiev’s Independence Square to protest against the government of President Viktor Yanukovych. Stoked in part by an attack on opposition leader Yuriy Lutsenko, the protest marked the beginning of the end of Yanukovych’s four year-long government.

That same day, the Financial Times reported a major deal for U.S. agribusiness titan Cargill.

Despite the turmoil within Ukrainian politics after Yanukovych rejected a major trade deal with the European Union just seven weeks earlier, Cargill was confident enough about the future to fork over $200 million to buy a stake in Ukraine’s UkrLandFarming. According to Financial Times, UkrLandFarming is the world’s eighth-largest land cultivator and second biggest egg producer. And those aren’t the only eggs in Cargill’s increasingly-ample basket.

On Dec. 13, Cargill announced the purchase of a stake in a Black Sea port. Cargill’s port at Novorossiysk — to the east of Russia’s strategically significant and historically important Crimean naval base — gives them a major entry-point to Russian markets and adds them to the list of Big Ag companies investing in ports around the Black Sea, both in Russia and Ukraine.

Cargill has been in Ukraine for over two decades, investing in grain elevators and acquiring a major Ukrainian animal feed company in 2011. And, based on its investment in UkrLandFarming, Cargill was decidedly confident amidst the post-EU deal chaos. It’s a stark juxtaposition to the alarm bells ringing out from the U.S. media, bellicose politicians on Capitol Hill and perplexed policymakers in the White House.

It’s even starker when compared to the anxiety expressed by Morgan Williams, President and CEO of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council — which, according to its website, has been “Promoting U.S.-Ukraine business relations since 1995.” Williams was interviewed by the International Business Times on March 13 and, despite Cargill’s demonstrated willingness to spend, he said, “The instability has forced businesses to just go about their daily business and not make future plans for investment, expansion and hiring more employees.”

In fact, Williams, who does double-duty as Director of Government Affairs at the private equity firm SigmaBleyzer, claimed, “Business plans have been at a standstill.”

Apparently, he wasn’t aware of Cargill’s investment, which is odd given the fact that he could’ve simply called Van A. Yeutter, Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Cargill, and asked him about his company’s quite active business plan. There is little doubt Williams has the phone number because Mr. Yuetter serves on the Executive Committee of the selfsame U.S.-Ukraine Business Council. It’s quite a cozy investment club, too.

According to his SigmaBleyzer profile, Williams “started his work regarding Ukraine in 1992” and has since advised American agribusinesses “investing in the former Soviet Union.” As an experienced fixer for Big Ag, he must be fairly friendly with the folks on the Executive Committee.

Big Ag Luminaries

And what a committee it is — it’s a veritable who’s who of Big Ag. Among the luminaries working tirelessly and no doubt selflessly for a better, freer Ukraine are:

–Melissa Agustin, Director, International Government Affairs & Trade for Monsanto

–Brigitte Dias Ferreira, Counsel, International Affairs for John Deere

–Steven Nadherny, Director, Institutional Relations for agriculture equipment-maker CNH Industrial

–Jeff Rowe, Regional Director for DuPont Pioneer

–John F. Steele, Director, International Affairs for Eli Lilly & Company

And, of course, Cargill’s Van A. Yeutter. But Cargill isn’t alone in their warm feelings toward Ukraine. As Reuters reported in May 2013, Monsanto — the largest seed company in the world — plans to build a $140 million “non-GM (genetically modified) corn seed plant in Ukraine.”

And right after the decision on the EU trade deal, Jesus Madrazo, Monsanto’s Vice President for Corporate Engagement, reaffirmed his company’s “commitment to Ukraine” and “the importance of creating a favorable environment that encourages innovation and fosters the continued development of agriculture.”

Monsanto’s strategy includes a little “hearts and minds” public relations, too. On the heels of Mr. Madrazo’s reaffirmation, Monsanto announced “a social development program titled “Grain Basket of the Future” to help rural villagers in the country improve their quality of life.” The initiative will dole out grants of up to $25,000 to develop programs providing “educational opportunities, community empowerment, or small business development.”

The well-crafted moniker “Grain Basket of the Future” is telling because, once upon a time, Ukraine was known as “the breadbasket” of the Soviet Union. The CIA ranks Soviet-era Ukraine second only to Mother Russia as the “most economically important component of the former Soviet Union.”

In many ways, the farmland of Ukraine was the backbone of the USSR. Its “fertile black soil” generated over a quarter of the USSR’s agriculture. It exported “substantial quantities” of food to other republics and its farms generated four times the output of “the next-ranking republic.”

Although Ukraine’s agricultural output plummeted in the first decade after the break-up of the Soviet Union, the farming sector has been growing spectacularly in recent years. While Europe struggled to shake-off the Great Recession, Ukraine’s agriculture sector grew 13.7% in 2013.

Ukraine’s agriculture economy is hot. Russia’s is not. Hampered by the effects of climate change and 25 million hectares of uncultivated agricultural land, Russia lags behind its former breadbasket.

According to the Centre for Eastern Studies, Ukraine’s agricultural exports rose from $4.3 billion in 2005 to $17.9 billion in 2012 and, harkening the heyday of the USSR, farming currently accounts for 25 percent of its total exports. Ukraine is also the world’s third-largest exporter of wheat and of corn. And corn is not just food. It is also ethanol.

Feeding Europe

But people gotta eat — particularly in Europe. As Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors assessed in 2011, Ukraine is poised to become Europe’s butcher. Meat is difficult to ship, but Ukraine is perfectly located to satiate Europe’s hunger.

Just two days after Cargill bought into UkrLandFarming, Global Meat News (yes, “Global Meat News” is a thing) reported a huge forecasted spike in “all kinds” of Ukrainian meat exports, with an increase of  8.1% overall and staggering 71.4% spike in pork exports. No wonder Eli Lilly is represented on the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council’s Executive Committee. Its Elanco Animal Health unit is a major manufacturer of feed supplements.

And it is also notable that Monsanto’s planned seed plant is non-GMO, perhaps anticipating an emerging GMO-unfriendly European market and Europe’s growing appetite for organic foods. When it comes to Big Ag’s profitable future in Europe, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

For Russia and its hampered farming economy, it’s another in a long string of losses to U.S. encroachment — from NATO expansion into Eastern Europe to U.S. military presence to its south and onto a major shale gas development deal recently signed by Chevron in Ukraine.

So, why was Big Ag so bullish on Ukraine, even in the face of so much uncertainty and the predictable reaction by Russia?

The answer is that the seeds of Ukraine’s turn from Russia have been sown for the last two decades by the persistent Cold War alliance between corporations and foreign policy. It’s a version of the “Deep State” that is usually associated with the oil and defense industries, but also exists in America’s other heavily subsidized industry — agriculture.

Morgan Williams is at the nexus of Big Ag’s alliance with U.S. foreign policy. To wit, SigmaBleyzer touts Mr. Williams’ work with “various agencies of the U.S. government, members of Congress, congressional committees, the Embassy of Ukraine to the U.S., international financial institutions, think tanks and other organizations on U.S.-Ukraine business, trade, investment and economic development issues.”

As President of the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council, Williams has access to Council cohort — David Kramer, President of Freedom House. Officially a non-governmental organization, it has been linked with overt and covert “democracy” efforts in places where the door isn’t open to American interests — a.k.a. U.S. corporations.

Freedom House, the National Endowment for Democracy and National Democratic Institute helped fund and support the Ukrainian “Orange Revolution” in 2004. Freedom House is funded directly by the U.S. Government, the National Endowment for Democracy and the U.S. Department of State.

David Kramer is a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and, according to his Freedom House bio page, formerly a “Senior Fellow at the Project for the New American Century.”

Nuland’s Role

That puts Kramer and, by one degree of separation, Big Ag fixer Morgan Williams in the company of PNAC co-founder Robert Kagan who, as coincidence would have it, is married to Victoria “F*ck the EU” Nuland, the current Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

Interestingly enough, Ms. Nuland spoke to the U.S.-Ukrainian Foundation last Dec. 13, extolling the virtues of the Euromaidan movement as the embodiment of “the principles and values that are the cornerstones for all free democracies.”

Nuland also told the group that the United States had invested more than $5 billion in support of Ukraine’s “European aspirations,” meaning pulling Ukraine away from Russia. She made her remarks on a dais featuring a backdrop emblazoned with a Chevron logo.

Also, her colleague and phone call buddy U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt helped Chevron cook up their 50-year shale gas deal right in Russia’s kitchen.

Although Chevron sponsored that event, it is not listed as a supporter of the Foundation. But the Foundation does list the Coca-Cola Company, ExxonMobil and Raytheon as major sponsors. And, to close the circle of influence, the U.S.-Ukraine Business Council is also listed as a supporter.

Which brings the story back to Big Ag’s fixer — Morgan Williams.

Although he was glum about the current state of investment in Ukraine, he’s gotta wear shades when he looks into the future. He told the International Business Times, “The potential here for agriculture/agribusiness is amazing … production here could double.  The world needs the food Ukraine could produce in the future. Ukraine’s agriculture could be a real gold mine.”

Of course, his priority is to ensure that the bread of well-connected businesses gets lavishly buttered in Russia’s former breadbasket. And there is no better connected group of Ukraine-interested corporations than American agribusiness.

Given the extent of U.S. official involvement in Ukrainian politics — including the interesting fact that Ambassador Pyatt pledged U.S. assistance to the new government in investigating and rooting-out corruption — Cargill’s seemingly risky investment strategy probably wasn’t that risky, after all.

JP Sottile is a freelance journalist, radio co-host, documentary filmmaker and former broadcast news producer in Washington, D.C. His weekly show, Inside the Headlines w/ The Newsvandal, co-hosted by James Moore, airs every Friday on KRUU-FM in Fairfield, Iowa and is available online. He blogs at Newsvandal.com or you can follow him on Twitter, http://twitter/newsvandal.

The NATO Syndrome, the EU’s Eastern Partnership Program, and the EAU

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Kto Kogo?*

 

The NATO Syndrome, the EU’s Eastern Partnership Program, and the EAU

By

Ex: http://www.lewrockwell.com

In 2009, Poland and Sweden, ever attentive to the US’s geostrategic goals of isolating Russia and gaining control of China thereafter, initiated the Eastern Partnership program, which its sponsors said was intended to tighten ties with former Soviet Republics, such as Moldova, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Ukraine.  A trade pact is a part of the Partnership’s Association Agreement (AA) deal.

What the Russians saw in the EU initiative was a repeat of the “NATO Syndrome,” in that what was promised would soon be betrayed, i.e. no NATO expansion in exchange for a Soviet agreement to the reunification of Germany.

To Russian eyes, NATO’s 1999 expansion throughout Eastern Europe and the subsequent celebratory bombing campaign against Serbia, inaugurated just one month later, and the still later Albanian annexation of Serbia’s heartland province of Kosovo, were altogether the Clinton Administration’s triple-combo opening salvos in an American campaign to recreate the Versailles Treaty’s cordon sanitaire.  And the 2009 Association Agreement is but a Trojan horse whose only practical purpose is to advance US and EU interests at the expense of the former Soviet republics’ naïve hopes and Russian security.

Dangling the Association Agreement’s implied – but not certain – right of eventual EU membership before the economically struggling former Soviet republics was but a means to beguile them into the EU orbit and thus US control with a future as NATO base hosts and IMF lab rats.

When the terms of the AA are examined, Russian skepticism is understandable.  The 350 laws alone that Ukraine would be required to institute over a ten-year period at a cost of twice the nation’s projected GNP in the same time period would overwhelm the struggling country, few of whose industrial and manufacturing products are either wanted or needed in the EU.

But whether or not Ukraine ever managed to fulfill EU conditions for membership would be of no importance to the U.S.  Once bound tight with IMF conditions and saddled with World Bank loans and perpetual debt, thereafter the west could leave the AA’s signatories to rot in limbo for years while their territory, cheap labor and resources were put to other, alien purposes.

The Russians saw as well that both the countries of the former Soviet Union and Russia, sandwiched as they are between large geopolitical units (China and the EU,) are disadvantaged when negotiating trade treaties and other matters.  Thus was born the idea of a new structure, the Eurasian Union (EAU), which began with the establishment of a Customs Union between Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2010.  The Russian plan was to inaugurate the Eurasian Union in 2015 with the inclusion of Armenia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.

It is the Russian EAU initiative which is said to be Putin’s ham-fisted attempt to re-establish the Soviet empire, and not the plan of a man who accepts the world’s current political configuration and is attempting to place his country within that configuration as advantageously as possible.  It’s been a hard sell.

Without Ukraine, a Eurasian Union is at risk of never coalescing usefully, leaving the former republics and Russia vulnerable to neocon and globalist raids and incursions, possibly under cover of staged terrorist events.  In effect, the consequences might not be dissimilar from the days when Russian princes were run ragged repelling Tartar incursions from the south or the east, only having to turn and race westerly to beat back Lithuanian or Polish brigands.

By the week of the EU’s Eastern Partnership’s signing debut at the end of November 2013, Vladimir Putin had told Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovich that he could continue flirting with the EU, if he wished.  But if Ukraine wanted a trade agreement with Russia, with whom the lion’s share of Ukraine’s trade actually occurs, $15 billion in the coming year, cut-rate gas prices, industrial co-operation projects, and possible further credits, the country would agree to the EAU.  Compared to the $200 million the EU offered out of a total of $799 million for all eight targeted Association Agreement signers and a certain decade in EU cold storage while the country underwent an IMF-directed mauling, Yanukovich made the prudent choice.

When the Ukrainian president informed the EU that Ukraine’s participation in the AA would require further discussion, a reasonable position considering the AA as drafted, and that the country had agreed to the join the EAU, thousands of misguided and confused protestors appeared in the Maidan.  Once the terms of the Russian offer were made public, the protests began petering out.

But in both the Russians’ EAU game plan and that of the US’s effort to sabotage the EAU, Ukraine is key.  Protest crowds on the Maidan began to grow again amid reports that many in the crowd were working for a daily wage.  Whether paid or unpaid, bussed in from Moldova or fresh off the Kiev city tram, it’s certain Ukrainians were not demonstrating for the establishment of NATO bases or IMF agreements, a number of which have already floundered and failed.

Recent events are not the first time the US has used Ukraine in an attempt to displace Russia as a significant power by piercing its sphere of influence.

In 2004, Putin and then Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich had begun to tackle the politicized supply structure Stalin created to make permanent the Soviet Union.  By changing national borders and spreading key industrial components over two or more republics, Stalin bound the Soviet empire together.  When the 15 constituent republics that made up the Soviet Union became independent nations in 1992, this cross-border supply structure created havoc.

Mighty Soviet aluminum smelters were located in Siberia, but supplies of bauxite were to be had only in Ukraine.  A component an electronics manufacturer in Kharkiv needed could only be obtained from a manufacturer in Vilnius.  Multiplying the complications for obtaining key inputs throughout the industrial and manufacturing sectors of 15 nascent and bankrupt governments gives a fuller understanding of why the former republics have failed to successfully restructure their national economies.

Putin’s and Yanukovich’s initial efforts were beneficial, particularly to eastern Ukraine, in which the republic’s industrial sector is concentrated.  In 2004, Ukraine experienced a 12% increase in GNP, and the national currency, the hryvnia, enjoyed a modest appreciation.

The US-sponsored 2004 Orange Revolution put paid to the Putin-Yanukovich initiatives, and the Ukrainian cycle of state officials’ theft and oligarchical favoritism began anew under US-presidential pick Viktor Yushchenko, a recent tradition of sorts which Yanukovich was eager to honor, as well.

Fast forward to 21 February 2014, the day of the Yanukovich government’s violent ouster.  Earlier that day, Germany, France and Poland had brokered a compromise agreement between the elected Ukrainian government and the protestors’ spokesmen.  Having already agreed and executed much of the protestors’ agenda, the pre-2004 Ukrainian constitution was to be restored and Yanukovich, in turn, would stay in the diminished office of the presidency until new elections could be organized.

Within 12 hours of the agreement’s signing, dozens of corpses of demonstrators and police killed by sniper fire were reported in the Maidan.  On Saturday, in an un-constitutional procedure the Ukrainian parliament impeached Yanukovich, who then fled to Russia in fear of his life.

The Russian Foreign Ministry Russian Foreign Ministry observed that the Friday agreement was used “with the tacit consent of its external sponsors” as a “cover to promote the script of a forced change of power in Ukraine.”  In other words, the Russians smelled a high-stakes trick.

Now that the Ashton-Paet tape has leaked, and despite its being obediently ignored by the mainstream media, one wonders what other actions the west may have known about, but left unremarked on that Friday. Did the EU negotiators know that the opposition they were then championing in accordance with US preferences had possibly directed snipers into the Maidan to murder demonstrators and policemen alike?

Russian warnings to the US and the EU about the rough crowd in Kiev they’d taken up with were ignored. An arrogant Washington, in accord with a famous Leninism regarding the expediency of temporary alliances, sees no problem.  Once Ukrainian hotheads and thugs have been bled of all possible utility, they will be eliminated. Think Egypt.

In response to the coup, Moscow swiftly drew a red line so bright it might as well have been flashing in neon: within a day of Yanukovich’s shambolic impeachment 150,000 Russian soldiers were engaged in military exercises not so very far from Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine, almost overnight Crimea was under Russian military control, a bottled-up Ukrainian navy was registering little alarm at their predicament, and further payments on the remaining $12 billion of the $15 billion cash infusion and cut-rate prices for Russian gas Putin had earlier agreed with the overturned Yanukovich government were shelved.

What the US and the EU immediately claimed was a Russian invasion of Ukraine was a long term leaseholder’s defense of its property right.  Even with 16,000 troops in Ukraine, Russia is not in violation of the terms of its lease on the Sevastopol naval base.  The lease, a treaty in fact, permits the stationing and multiple movements on Crimean territory of as many as 25,000 Russian troops.

The west’s claim of a Russian invasion of Crimea is intended to support Ukrainian control of the Kerch Strait, a waterway at the northern end of the Black Sea which separates Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula from the coast of Southern Russia and is one of Ukraine’s three potentially oil-producing provinces. Gas reserves lie offshore of the peninsula.

The US believes Ukraine’s long term needs for energy and income can be satisfied by cutting deals with Big Oil to drill for oil and gas, which can then be shipped through Ukrainian pipelines to the EU, and Europe’s dependence on Russian gas a forgotten inconvenience.

Complicating western media scripts, the Crimean parliament voted on 6 March to rejoin the Russian Federation.  A public referendum on Sunday, 16 March, confirmed the parliament’s earlier vote and the 96.7% of the electorate that voted its approval tallies with a 93.2% approval when the same question was put to the electorate in a 1991 referendum.  In the run-up to the recent public vote, 1000s-strong pro-Russian demonstrations erupted in the eastern Ukrainian cities of Donetsk and Lugansk at which possibly western mercenaries hired by wealthy Ukrainian oligarchs played the role of spoilers.

Without foreign largesse, the new Ukrainian coup government can’t even pay the nation’s light bill much less a single Ukrainian soldier’s combat pay.  In fact, the cost of tidying up a Ukraine that has been criminally misgoverned for over two decades in order to accommodate EU standards and procedures is in the neighborhood of a $200 billion, years-long taxpayer liability.

To date, the US has pledged $1 billion and the EU is planning a $1.5 billion emergency transfer to tide the coup government over prior to an IMF agreement and all before the 25 May elections.  Within a week of their elevation-by-mob, interim government leaders embarked on a palms-out Grande Tour of sorts.  A combined sum of $35 billion in promised IMF loans is now the west’s opening bid.

US policy achievements on behalf of American taxpayers for their $5 billion investment to date:  State Department-approved Ukrainian coup government officials have asked for money to finance an “independent Ukraine,” the US and the EU have offered up a promise of $35 billion to insure an “independent Ukraine,” and an “independent Ukraine” has agreed to take the money.

Where are the Pravy Sektor defaulters when you need them?  Hmm?

Over the horizon lies a propaganda campaign devoted to browbeating at least some of the Ukrainians’ requested billions from Russia’s earlier deal with the Yanukovich government on what will be said to be a “humanitarian” basis.  Rather like the ancient practice of the condemned paying the executioner’s fee, it will be an effort to maneuver Russia into paying the initial costs of Ukraine’s first steps towards EU membership.

When the Ukrainian people understand that the price for daydreams of strolling the Champs d’Elysées with a pocketful of euros is an IMF restructuring that entails the devaluation of the hryvnia, cuts in pensions, benefits and salaries to state employees, raising of the retirement age, the removal of subsidies to coal and other underperforming industries, the growth of natural gas prices, and other toxic rules and conditions that will translate into a life harder and colder than it now is, more turmoil is guaranteed.

Turmoil is the very aim of contemporary US statecraft.  In the “divide and rule” political schemata of empire, US blunders are but new opportunities to tighten the screws on what the US policymakers regard not as nations, but as subject territories.

What is extraordinary is that EU officials are persisting in the attempt to squeeze agreement with the IMF and to the Eastern Partnership from Ukraine’s coup government prior to the 25 May elections, and thereby secure their agents’ permanent presence in the country as a thing done.  The EU rush speaks to the insincerity and weakness of any substantial EU commitment to aid Ukraine or her people.

The Russians’ refusal to recognize the coup government is correct; doing so would only work to support the inevitable US effort to trade a Ukrainian agreement to the AA to Russia in return for Ukraine’s acceptance of the loss of Crimea.

In the wake of the Crimean referendum, a hysterical western and specifically US-aligned media has been shouting warnings of a sudden Russian grab for eastern Ukraine.  Stalin could have written the script – for the Americans, who without any foreign influence whatsoever long ago established their own history of provoking attacks.

Confused overnight media reports of the death of a Ukrainian soldier in Crimea, which imply that Russian troops are responsible, but which locals say was a tragic consequence of a dust-up with Crimean self-defense forces and an unknown sniper,  are indicative of the Russians’ concern that the west will create the evidence that compels Putin to make good his promises of protection of Russians in western Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Russian support for an OSCE observer mission in Ukraine is based on the need “of preventing provocations by ultranationalist and radical forces against Russian speakers and our compatriots in southeastern Ukraine and other regions.”

Contrary to western media’s repeated provocations, Russia has no interest in a divided Ukraine.  A divided country would only open Russia to endless enmity from western Ukrainians, and ongoing cross-border violence.  A division would be a tragedy for western Ukraine, which would bring increased economic misery and leave the country subject to a possible Polish annexation.

In truth, US scheming and bellicosity in Ukraine have only worked to drag the world back to the tired rhetoric of the cold war and to that era’s nuclear dangers and destructive tit-for-tat policies of economic sanctions, asset freezes, and boycotts.  The only bit of “new” is the threat of kicking Russia out of the irrelevant G-8’s treehouse.

The experience is rather like watching dinosaurs crashing about in a Steven Spielberg film.

The world is de-centralizing, and neither the rapidly changing times nor the world’s finances favor out-of-date multinational organizations, run-a-muck central banks, or rolling superpower seditions and military aggressions.

If so, then what explains Germany’s support of the US lead?  Since Russia supplies a third of the gas for Germany’s economy, risking Russia’s alienation seems unwise.

The cat western media doesn’t let out of the bag is the fact that Germany has a full tank of gas, and there’s plenty more from where that came from.

Gazprom’s Baltic Sea ‘Nord Stream’ project is complete and is now transporting Russian gas to Germany through a pipeline that transverses the bottom of the Baltic Sea, and the pipe’s capacity is double the amount of gas Germany purchased from Russia in 2012.  Since 2005, the chairman of the supervisory board of the management company of Nord Stream is Gerhard Shröder, the former German chancellor.

Gazprom in conjunction with Italy, France and Germany is building a second pipe, South Stream. The former SPD mayor of Hamburg, Henning Voscherau, plays the same supervisory role at South Stream Transport AG as Shröder does at Nord Stream.

Interestingly, the Financial Times reported that the City’s skittishness in the wake of John Kerry’s idiotic ultimatum to Putin to renounce in advance the results of the referendum in Crimea put ‘half a dozen live deals to fund some of Russia’s biggest companies” in limbo.”  But the FT article highlighted one deal that was not put in limbo:  “South Stream announced that it had signed a contract worth about EUR2 billion with Saipem of Italy to build the offshore stretch of the route under the Black Sea from Russia to Bulgaria. Construction is scheduled to start in June.”

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller has been quoted as saying that the two projects in combination with the already-existing Belorussian “Beltansgaz” pipe would turn Ukraine’s network of gas pipelines and biggest strategic asset into “scrap.”

In other words, Germany’s verbal support for the west’s initiatives costs Germany exactly nothing.  Any actions beyond the symbolic would cost Germany.  Therefore, there will be no EU sanctions of consequence.  Even were Germany on side for a US-decreed suicide mission, twenty-eight nations’ governments are not going to agree to economic policies that will take the cost out of their own hides. In other words, no State Department neo-con princess is going to ‘’F**k the EU.”

With the Nord and South stream projects in hand, Germany, which has prospered mightily from the euro, but whose taxpayers are weary of bankrolling the sinking Mediterranean countries’ loans made by the prosperous north’s banks, has positioned itself remarkably well; in an EU financial pile-up, exiting the EU wouldn’t amount to much more than a fender bender.

Now that west has adopted Bolshevik political tools, the Russians ought to keep turning the tables and counter with what the west advocates only with words, i.e. freedom and economic competition.

An EAU based on free trade in which there are no tariffs, no quotas, and no favoritism by or for any member and which allowed for associate members would put the Soviet boogieman back in the closet.  A free trade pact would allow Russia and the former republics to reap the benefits of the spontaneous order that the world’s people are building daily on the internet without any state’s direction or even much of an awareness of what they are doing.

There would be costs to Russia for such an arrangement, and a subsidized energy program for certain former republics would have to be included initially, (and would be difficult to retire when no longer needed.)  But those initial costs would be less than the long term ones of state-managed trade agreements at which literally thousands of government lawyers and bureaucrats labor continually in order to first design and then police the treaties, which protect and favor individual nation’s corporate political funders at consumers’ expense.

An unhindered market-driven trade block would quickly rationalize the last vestiges of Stalin’s cross-border supply system at no cost to the Kremlin.  Endemic corruption would diminish since no bribes need be paid for permissions no longer required.  Overall, commerce and enterprise would be favored throughout the EAU.

A trade apparatus in which competing private entities provide reliable and efficient transport, short and intermediate term trade finance, goods insurance, and rapid dispute resolution in private courts would work to swell EAU membership rolls.  An EAU supportive of co-operative and unfettered trade would draw foreign investment, and new applicants for membership both within and outside of the CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States).

Would Russia ever initiate such a system?

The Russian love of everything big rather than the small and the quick argues against.  An unfortunate predilection towards monopoly, a modern manifestation of the legacy of the votchina structure of property rights established in the ancient Kievian state of ‘Rus, also posits a no.  Ditto the exhaustively detailed agreements covering every right and every duty between contracting parties. These elements all boil down to, for instance, Gazprom’s cultural and business preference for signing a single, complex, multi-year contract with Germany’s Ruhrgas, and not many agreements with a plethora of independent suppliers.

Still, the west would be wrong to write off the possibility of having to compete with a lean and mean EAU trade block.  Russia has demonstrated a capability for surprise.

After all, who would have thought in 2001 that the president of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, would liberate the greatest number of people on the planet?

“Say what!?” you ask.

If any reader knows of another leader of a major power, who instituted a flat tax of 13% or less, and thereby liberated his people from the necessity of burdensome record keeping and government tracking, while eliminating from households’ budgets the grievous costs of accountants, tax lawyers, offshore scams, and sparing everyday life the social costs inherent in a society riven by the divisiveness that comes of progressive taxation, then, dear reader, please do email me that name.

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Kto kogo? was one of Vladimir Lenin’s favorite expressions. Literally, the phrase means “Who of whom,” and is perhaps best translated as “Who will triumph (over whom)?”  The ‘g’ in kogo is pronounced as a ‘v’.