Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 24, 2019

End Of Sanction Waivers For Iran's Oil Will Hurt Trump's Voter Support

The U.S. is waging a total economic war on Iran:

The United States announced on April 22 it will no longer grant sanctions exemptions to eight countries, including Turkey.
"This decision is intended to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue," the White House said in a statement.

"The Trump administration and our allies are determined to sustain and expand the maximum economic pressure campaign against Iran to end the regime's destabilizing activity threatening the United States, our partners and allies and security in the Middle East," it said.
Eight governments were initially given six-month reprieves from the unilateral U.S. sanctions on Iran. They were China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece.

Iran currently exports about 1 million barrels of oil per day. The current exemptions from unilateral U.S. sanctions end on April 30. Japan, South Korea and Taiwan are U.S. protectorates. They will do as told. Italy and Greece are less dependent and may show signs of resistance. India's reaction depends on the outcome of its current election. China will probably not adhere to the U.S. command. Turkey needs Iranian oil and gas. It can not without it within a reasonable time frame. Iraq is most dependent on Iranian oil and gas which it needs to generate electricity. No electricity during the hot summer would likely lead to riots.

The U.S. Secretary of State, "we lie, we cheat, we steal" (vid) Mike Pompeo, set out 12 demands to Iran which sum up to demanding a total capitulation. Iran will of course not fulfill any of them. It is the U.S. which, without reason, again raised hostility against the country. Given its geography and capabilities Iran has no reason to fear any U.S. aggression.

Iran's leader Ali Khamenei was not impressed by the sanction issue:

Speaking at a meeting with a large group of Iranian workers on Wednesday, Leader played down Washington’s recent decision to end exemptions from sanctions for countries buying oil from Tehran.

“In the first place, such attempts will lead nowhere, and we are capable of exporting as much oil as we need and want,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

The Leader warned that “this act of hostility will not go unanswered,” emphasizing that the Iranian nation “will not sit idly by” in the face of its enemies.

After it withdrew from the international nuclear deal with Iran, the Trump administration made eight requests to start new negotiations. All of these were rejected. As the Russian government says, the U.S. is "not-agreement-capable". The Iranian president has a similar view:

President Hassan Rouhani says Washington’s claims of seeking negotiations with Iran are “mere lies” and that the United States, in fact, intends to force the Iranian nation to its knees.

Contrary to what some are trying to promote, “the US does not possess the willingness for negotiations at all,” the president told a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday.
Rouhani said the US subversive measures against Iran have all failed on international, regional, and political arenas, and that its propagandist attempts targeting the Islamic Republic have all been defeated.

Washington has been and will likewise be frustrated in its anti-Iran economic drive, he added.

Some fear that the U.S. is preparing for war on Iran:

The Trump administration is laying siege to Iran. Taking pages from the Iraq War playbook, senior officials paint a picture of a rogue, outlaw, terrorist regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and whose “malign activities” are the cause of all the chaos in the Middle East. They know what they are doing. They have done it before. They are building a case for war.

The neoconservatives in the Trump administration may want to that. But it is not possible to wage war on Iran without causing a global depression.


As the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Navy rightly points out, the Hormuz Strait, through which most Middle East energy exports flows, is under Iranian control:

"According to international law, the Strait of Hormuz is [an Iranian] waterway and we will close it [to other countries] in case we are banned from using it," the Iranian military commander said.

"In case of any threat, we will not hesitate to support and defend Iran's waters. We will defend our honor and will take reciprocal measures when it comes to protecting Iran's rights," he added.

While Iran will continue to sell some oil, the U.S. sanction threat will certainly reduce its customer base. Iran's economy will suffer, but the country will, as always, muddle through. It will also keep up its relations to the other members of its 'axis of resistance'. Hizbullah, Syria (and Iraq) will continue to receive support from Iran.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE are supposed to make up for the shortfall of oil in international markets. The Saudis were prepared for this when, a year ago, the Trump administration reintroduced oil sanctions on Iran. When it then announced that several countires would receive waivers,  the Saudis suddenly produced more than the market needed and the oil price dropped. They wowed at that time to not repeat that error. The Saudis also have to consider the OPEC quotas to which they and Russia agreed. Will they brake their quota or let the price rise? Trump is betting on the first. My guess is that he will lose that bet.

Gas prices in California are already at $4,70 per gallon. They will likely rise to $6,00 when the full sanctions against Iran set in while the Saudis sit back and appreciate their rising income.

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister said the world’s biggest oil exporter sees no need to take immediate action in the crude market, signaling a cautious response to the U.S. decision to tighten sanctions on Iran.

Any unforeseen event, in Libya or elsewhere, that further constrains the global oil output, will make the costs unbearable for the U.S. consumer. The U.S. economy does not do well under high oil prices.

What is Trump going to do when he finds out that the rising prices, caused by the Zionist demand to subdue Iran, endanger his reelection?

Posted by b on April 24, 2019 at 12:47 UTC | Permalink

next page »

The United States announced on April 22 it will no longer grant sanctions exemptions to eight countries, including Turkey.

Wouldn't it be interesting if Turkey were to respond to US sanctions by sanctioning passage of US ships (both military and civilian) through the Bosphorus? Would be a highly risky policy of course, but interesting to speculate on. The non-nuclear option might be to impose administrative/economic hurdles for all US ships such as highly restrictive time-of day and extremely high fees.

Blocking all US ships from passing would probably be illegal normally, but in response to illegal US sanctions perhaps not so.

Posted by: BM | Apr 24 2019 13:12 utc | 1

The solution for the USA would be a hot war with Iran.

But then, as the author of this blog rightly states, Iran would block the Hormuz, thus starving the USA itself from oil.

That would mean Venezuela is in grave danger, since it could potentially serve as a logistic substitute while the Americans campaign in Persia.

Posted by: vk | Apr 24 2019 13:17 utc | 2

Trump has already been told he will be re-elected. Why else would he be putting his re-election prospects in jeopardy?

Posted by: Robert Browning | Apr 24 2019 13:19 utc | 3

Trump doesn't exist in the same reality shared by the other 7 billion people of this planet. He lives in Lalaland. Trump has been aided most by those supposedly against him, the DNC and the media. He may be approaching the third-rail of American politics with this one, the all mighty Price at the Pumps. However, if the DNC lets anyone but Sanders or Gabbard run against him, it won't even matter.

Posted by: Don Wiscacho | Apr 24 2019 13:23 utc | 4

US might need Venezuela indeed, which means it would be madness to wage war on Iran before Venezuela has been secured. Not that this has stopped them in the past, of course.

Turkey closing the straits to any country is tantamount to a war declaration. Heck, wars have been partly fought over this very reason. So, I don't see it happening, unless war is already ongoing, or a sure thing in the near future. Of course, the same goes when people wonder (or wondered at least) if Turkey would be a nice NATO lapdog and would ban Russian ships, specially military shipments to Syria, from passing through; not going to happen, unless Erdogan is ready to face war against a major power. But there are other ways to hurt and tax US interests.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 24 2019 13:43 utc | 5

As shown in this recent news from Iran, there are issues that Washington should be more concerned about than sanctioning Iran for its nuclear aspirations:

It would appear that the American intelligence community has learned very little from its mistakes prior to 9/11.

Posted by: Charles Homer | Apr 24 2019 13:44 utc | 6

while they've had much more to deal with since 1979 - sanctions, war, mossad nonsense - it seems like the iranians made the same mistake as venezuela and the oil patch MAGAberta area of canada: not diversifying when times were good. if remember correctly they also lack refineries which means they have to ship their own oil out and then bring it back once it's processed.

as much as president bolton and mike plumpguido may want to serve their israeli masters - because yahweh forbid the latter fight their own wars against actual armies - the US military might be a little hesitant to send troops into another middle east conflagration at the behest of those civilian whores and their puppet in the white house.

what i (with my limited knowledge but based on decent sources) worry about is an upcoming attack on lebanon and/or syria that could spread further. if people think the syrian refugee crisis was bad just wait until the pricks in tel aviv decide to use their "mandate" from the recent election. russia and china will make noise at the UN but i'd expect little else.

Posted by: the pair | Apr 24 2019 13:46 utc | 7

I'm not sure you should believe everything Pepe writes. He is shilling hard for China, and although his style is entertaining, he should definitely be taken with a pinch of salt. The US could easily park a carrier fleet in the straights, and force a full out fight-or-flight scenario. But considering their extremely advanced sanctions enforcement policies, which uses for example high tech ship surveillance combined with an iron grip on global financial institutions, a hot war would hardly be necessary. But if it did come to that, it would be a dream come true for the US MIC: A never ending campaign right in the heart of the middle east, and potentially compliment their never ending Afghan campaign insofar as disrupting the OBOR initiative from multiple fronts.
The US understands perfectly well that their ability to print endless amounts of USD with almost no negative consequences for their government or military is currently under threat. Almost every foreign policy decision they make, they make with this in mind. The inevitable outcome is as obvious to everybody else as it is to them: complete capitulation or war with the worlds most powerful military. There is no space for sovereignty, ideology or independence of any gravity. That, unfortunately, is what happens when the global community keeps allowing the playground bully to run the school for this long.

Posted by: dan | Apr 24 2019 13:48 utc | 8

Robert Browning @3

Hillary and Pelosi's recent comments regarding Trump impeachment support your view. For further info, see my comments here and here.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 24 2019 13:48 utc | 9

Maybe this is the casus belli that the US intends to create?

Iran blocks the straits. The US attacks Iran in order to defend oil supplies to the whole world.

This would not be too difficult to sell to the US public especially if a US vessel is also attacked or sunk.

Posted by: Jiri | Apr 24 2019 13:49 utc | 10

The relentless price rise here in the Golden State has really slowed down, but the oil price will soar if it looks like a closure of the straits is imminent.

Posted by: morongobill | Apr 24 2019 13:55 utc | 11

- The US is still willing to "negotiate" with IRan. The problem is that the US has such extreme demands that Iran simply is unwilling to comply with ALL US demands.

Posted by: Willy2 | Apr 24 2019 14:04 utc | 12

Interesting that Russia is now also applying "maximum pressure" against Ukraine by ceasing all energy trading. Russian ally Belarus has joined with Russia. Almost all of Ukraine's energy imports (which are vital to the economy) came from Russia and Belarus.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 24 2019 14:07 utc | 13

When did the UN vote to make Uncle Sam the King of the World? US arrogance truly takes the breath away. The very idea of upstart Uncle Sam giving or denying permission to the nations of China and India to buy oil must be the ultimate insult and personal affront to proud peoples everywhere.

National leaders who are normally conservative and careful in their dealings with Uncle Sam will be pushed very hard by their indignant citizens to make a real response. It only took a match to ignite the firestorm of World War I. Today we have Uncle Sam throwing Molotov cocktails. The near-term future looks very bleak indeed.

Posted by: Trailer Trash | Apr 24 2019 14:14 utc | 14

Iran, if attacked, will use its assets in Iraq to create a body bag bonanza for US troops and Diplomats, sending home hundreds of US personnel for burial.

As for the coming months or years, Iran will not be able to support Hezbollah as in the past. Nasrallah already discussed this in video interview in Jan-Feb. He warned his followers that tough times were coming.

Iran is in bad shape economically. This sanctions war will have serious social impact.

However, look at Venezuela and see how Russia and China are working in tandem to assist the government and help the people survive against Sanctions. The two superpowers will do the same for Iran if the government allows them to assist.

Another key player in Iran's economic survival is India who is now being pipeline-connected for oil and soon, for ports and rail connections.

Because of the Syrian War, Iran has acquired new relationships with India, Turkey, and even Egypt. These defy the Hegemon's wishes, and are crucial for Iran's survivability.

Also, Russia will be decidedly making moves in many spheres of support.

Posted by: Red Ryder | Apr 24 2019 14:16 utc | 15

It would be interesting to know where that Hormuz graphic comes from B? It raises a few questions. First is the border near Abu Musa and the comment that the islands are occupied by Iran but claimed by UAE that suggests the source is pro-UAE, and raises questionmarks about the border in that area. Occupied by Iran but claimed by UAE does not mean UAE sovereign territory, and rather suggests that the Iranian claim to Abu Musa might be stronger. I hardly believe Iran would get away with occupying Abu Musa if it's claim to sovereignty were weak, in the current geopolitical environment. Around such a strategically vital waterway, there must surely be relatively firmly recognised territorial waters (including, if necessary, specifically delineated areas of unresolved claims). It also does not seem to be renowned for competing sovereignty claims, as far as I know (for example unresolved sovereignty claims are not usually discussed when issues of closing the Straits of Hormuz are discussed in news articles, unlike the South China Sea for example).

The second issue is that the graphic suggests the eastern segment of the waterway is wholly within Omani territorial waters while the western segment is wholly within Iranian waters. My understanding the last time I read an article on this was that the traffic through the Straits in one direction was through Omani waters while the other direction was through Iranian waters - together with the same 2 mile wide shipping lanes and 2 mile wide separation, therefore clearly referring to the western segment. This could easily be a misunderstanding by that other article, but or it could be a repeat of the overzealous anti-Iranian boundary indication by UAE postulated above.

Posted by: BM | Apr 24 2019 14:19 utc | 16

Carrier fleet in the Straits of Hormuz or Persian Gulf would be a sitting duck.

Posted by: lysias | Apr 24 2019 14:20 utc | 17

@8 "The US could easily park a carrier fleet in the straights, and force a full out fight-or-flight scenario."

There is zero possibility of the USA putting a carrier in danger.


A destroyer, sure. Or better yet, one of those ridiculously undergunned littoral combat ships.

But putting a carrier in a confined body of water with the express aim of daring someone to sink it?

Not. Going. To. Happen.

A US aircraft carrier will come as close to Iran as the combat radius of an F-18 Super Hornet will allow, and not an inch closer.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 24 2019 14:21 utc | 18

Indeed. Bolton and Pompeo might be idiotic nuts, but there are still some generals and admirals that realize that the global influence of the US depends, to an extent, on the apparent invincibility of its power projection. All this goes away the minute a US carrier sinks. And it's time enough someone shows the world that they're just sitting ducks waiting to be taken out.

Posted by: Clueless Joe | Apr 24 2019 14:30 utc | 19

As I stated in previous comments on MOA, the motivation for regime change in Venezuela, at this time, was to get a hold of Venezuelan oil, to enable the U.S. to shut down Iranian oil and take military action against Iran.

Without Venezuelan oil, the U.S. can't risk an attack on Iran, and the U.S. has no other back-up source to replace Iranian oil. As b says, the Saudis felt cheated in November, and are not about to cover for the U.S. again.

My reading of the U.S. cancelling of waivers on Iran oil sanctions is that it is simply a question of U.S. credibility. To prolong the waivers, they would lose all credibility regarding their threats to Iran.

As it is, the cancelling of waivers will have no practical effect. Iran will by-pass the sanctions with the help of Russia and China. The U.S. will put any further actions against Iran on hold while they try to solve the Venezuelan situation.

As for Venezuela, the U.S. will try to figure out how to dislodge Russia and China, who are not planning to go anywhere.

I look for a couple of years of U.S. provocations and stalemate, with an eventual change in the U.S. approach after the 2020 U.S. elections.

Posted by: dh-mtl | Apr 24 2019 14:36 utc | 20

One aspect that needs to be remembered is that Lloyd's of London could virtually close the straits of Hormuz just be raising the insurance rates for tankers passing through the straits due to their transiting a conflict zone. Does the US then attack Lloyd's?

Posted by: naiverealist | Apr 24 2019 14:38 utc | 21

The Deep State or the directorate of the capitalism ruling class, which is under the control of US and British top finance people, neoliberals, and Ziocons have been leaning heavily on Trump since his election with 24/7 anti-Trump propaganda, and they've succeeded every time in getting Trump to comply with their policies.

Trump has excellent instincts for power. He knows not to mess with power, but to compromise with power to get want he wants. Because I can't get into his head to see what he wants as a top priority, I can only assume from his past history that he wants to successfully grow his business empire. On the other hand, he may decide that his compromises have thoroughly undermined his basic support among the American people that he won't run again. If the Deep State directors continue their anti-Trump propaganda--and it looks like they are going to--until the primary elections next year, I think he will decide not to run again because he knows he will lose, and he strenuously avoids being a "loser".

But this depends on whether the Deep State can come up with a candidate that is 1) free from the contamination of their usual aggressive policies and 2) avoid another financial collapse like 2008. Number 1 suggests that they will insure the nomination (from either party) of a "safe" woman who is presented in their media as something like a maverick. If a financial collapse happens before the election, all bets are off. Nobody can predict what will happen.

Posted by: Ron Horn | Apr 24 2019 14:38 utc | 22

India's reaction depends on the outcome of its current election.

Has anybody seen any good articles discussing the geopolitical implications if Modi loses? From what I have heard the threat of unseating Modi is significant (and like Natanyahu, there are threats of indictment for embezzlement at issue). What are the opposition positions on issues of geopolitical interest, like Iran oil, cooperation with Russia vs US, Russian weapons purchases vs US, relationship with China, BRI, Kashmir, ... quite a lot of important issues actually, why have I seen no discussion anywhere? [B: any bite?]

Domestically there are also issues of electronic voting machines, which many voters believe were used to falsify election results in the last election. Modi has been trying to roll out more of the electronic voting machines, since then.

Posted by: BM | Apr 24 2019 14:51 utc | 23

Posted by: dh-mtl | Apr 24, 2019 10:36:26 AM | 20

Sounds most likely.

Posted by: BM | Apr 24 2019 14:56 utc | 24

thanks b... senior (iranian) officials paint a picture of a rogue, outlaw, terrorist regime (usa-israel) bent on bullying with nuclear weapons and whose “malign activities” are the cause of all the chaos in the Middle East. i agree with them..

@8 dan.. i agree with most of what you say, except the part that @18 yeah right questions.. the us$ being printed with no consequences is a good part of why we are where we are at present.

@dh-mtl.. thanks for the ongoing comments on the oil angle..

Posted by: james | Apr 24 2019 15:10 utc | 25

Evidence for that please, Jackrabbit at 13?

Posted by: Domza | Apr 24 2019 15:29 utc | 26

Multipolarity has taken a back seat. Iranian economy is bad, turkish economy is bad, India stopped buying iranian oil, Brazil got taken over via Bolsonaro, China was intimidated to give better trade conditions, Russian growth rate is weak. Even Khamenei admits that Europe has left the JCPOA in practise. Europe remains a vassal. There are no prospects for european independence from the looks of it.

The growth rates of those who oppose the US have been hit.

Active measures are being taken to oppose multipolarity on all fronts.

The truth is that you guys underestimate the US. They fight good.

Underlying issues though, such as changing demographics and inreasing debt levels are still weakening the US in the long run.

But they are not out of the game and they won't be for at least another 20 years. The US decline is going to be slower that you thought.

Posted by: Passer by | Apr 24 2019 15:44 utc | 27

@27 JR is probably referring to this...

Low quality Russian oil has damaged Byelorussian refineries.

Posted by: dh | Apr 24 2019 15:45 utc | 28

This dopey Yankee bullying reminds me of the traditional understanding which cats have reached with dogs...
"If you don't bite me, I won't shred your face."

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 24 2019 15:51 utc | 29

Domza @27, dh @29

Sorry, I forgot to add the link, here it is:

Russia Delivers Asymmetric Blow To Ukraine

<> <> <> <> <> <>

I'm aware of the differences in Trump's "maximum pressure" offense vs Russia's being fed-up with Ukraine malfeasance. But what "interesting" to me is that both Russia and USA will have now (or soon will) reached the point where they have done everything they can to influence Ukraine and Iran respectively, short of war.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 24 2019 16:23 utc | 30

Passer by at 28
"The truth is that you guys underestimate the US. They fight good. "

Not so sure about that myself. They weren't too bad against basically defenseless targets but with a lot less money and effort the Russians have definitely put a kink in their game.
They do fight dirty I'll give you that but pretty short term thinking in most cases.

Posted by: arby | Apr 24 2019 16:29 utc | 31

Posted by: dan | Apr 24, 2019 9:48:19 AM | 8
(US could park a carrier group in the strait)

- No room to maneuver quickly/safely in all weather conditions.
- Iran has sufficient 200mph torpedoes and supersonic anti-ship missiles to sink 2 carrier groups in 2 hours.
Not a good look for an aggressor famous for its IMPUNITY myth,

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 24 2019 16:31 utc | 32

@22 Ron Horn

You sir are delusional. Trump was dead set against taking down Iran and Venezuela from day one. Trump is a Zionist. I wish people would get that through their thick skulls.

There is no surprise here. Everything is rolling along on schedule according to plan. The Empire can now call the shots unilaterally. You have all allowed for this domination by trying to ridicule and shut down the discussion of Zionism's role in this outcome. We are not free! Millions of people around the world marched against the proposed invasion of Iraq and the Empire's vassals came running to help (I'm pointing especially to you, U.K., trying to take Corbyn down while welcoming the Orange Oaf for an official visit!). The WMD's were a hoax. Bolton admitted that regime change was always the goal, and same goes for Venezuela and Iran.

Trump is not a Zionist hostage suffering from Stockholm syndrome. Let me spell out the writing that has been on the wall from day one: TRUMP IS A ZIONIST. Trump is accelerating the ZEmpire's domination in every way imaginable. Trump die-hard supporters are Zionists of all stripes even if the more liberal ones try desperately to conceal that fact, and the rest are loyal donkeys with blinders on.


I don't expect Russia to come to Iran's rescue. a) Iran is a gas competitor. And b) Zionist Russian oligarchs are deep in Trump's corner.

Israel has been attacking Iran on Syrian soil with Putin's blessing.

I don't know what Putin's game is, but muti-polarity doesn't seem to be at the top of his list as it is with some of us here.

There is only one way to deal with ZUSA aggression: DETERRENCE.

Iran should stop being so prudish regarding nukes. Iran could have had a stockpile by now. Maybe North Korea can start doing business.

Peaceful means of resistance to Zionism do not work! Zionists are only satisfied with total domination and they are proving it.

We are not free. We are powerless. We have already been muzzled left an right and they are trying to legitimize restraint on our rights. We have no democracy. This has been happening while you were all sleeping.

Trump is an enforcer of Zionism and many of you are drunk uncle toms high on his neutralizing moonshine or stealth Zionists still peddling his Zionist bullshet as 4D chess.

Trump is a Zionist enforcer and is accelerating ZEmpire domination. They know the jig is up and time is of the essence. The goal is to make all resistance futile. Some of you here have been helping them achieve this goal, and now your 11th-hour shock and awe and armchair musings ring cheap and hollow.

You are chamberlains unable to call what is steering the Empire's domination by its name: ZIONISM.

How can you fight the enemy you refuse to acknowledge? So here we are, NEXT STOP: IRAN AND WAR.


Posted by: Circe | Apr 24 2019 16:47 utc | 33

The nefarious Jewish lobby is to blame for all this!.

Posted by: Andy | Apr 24 2019 16:54 utc | 34

I wouldn’t doubt Pres. Hump will start to drop bombs and missiles into Venezuela. He needs the oil to be able to fully deal with the Persians on behest of King Bibi, let alone Israel. With the likes of Bolton, Pompeo and VP Dunce egging him on, I wouldn’t pass him starting sooner than you think. Side note. The US economy is not as good as they are leading us to believe. I work for a top Fortune company. The last three quarters were dismal and many predict this final fourth quarter will be just as bad or even worst. And our great MAGA man feels that lower oil prices will fuel the economy to new heights. Well, I’ll just leave it at that.

Posted by: Jose Garcia | Apr 24 2019 17:05 utc | 35

The waivers have NOT been lifted. It's all rouse. Trump is just tough talking at this point whilst they've given a full year to reduce Iranian oil imports. Similar to the trade negotiations with China. Gas prices may go up some but not a lot before they inevitably temper back down. Tom Luongo has thoroughly documented all this and has been right on the money.

Posted by: Jonathan Everett Gillispie | Apr 24 2019 17:05 utc | 36

dh-mtl @20

I think Libya may be more important in the short term than Venezuela. Hence the backing for Haftar. Libyan oil exports have increased but are still about half what they were 2010.

As b points out, Italy, Greece, and Turkey need another source of oil.

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 24 2019 17:06 utc | 38

One more thing: Trump is in the process of outlawing anti-Zionism. Also, remember, at the time of machinations against Iran, when French fries became freedom fries and disks were burned?

I see all resistance to Zionism and opposition to attacking Iran labelled: treason, by Trump.

Trump will be the reason resistance will go under ground. I once stated Netanyahoo was the most dangerous man on the planet. I now correct that statement which I made way before Trump announced his candidacy: Trump is the most dangerous man on the planet. So now we have two psychos working together.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 24 2019 17:09 utc | 39

Correction: first mention of Iran in my comment @40 should be Iraq.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 24 2019 17:11 utc | 40

Nobody cares what Italy and Greece need. They are good little vassals and will do what told. Turkey is of course a bigger problem, but might just be mostly overlooked and ignored.

The big fish are China and India. Those are the major users of iranian oil, and neither of them is likely to desist. What will the US do with them? Not possiple to financially sanction China.

That's why I think there will be lots of talk, but no action against anyone still buying iranian oil. Especially since Venezuela is not resolved. Nobody, not even the US, intends to march into Venezuela to "liberate" any oil wells any time soon.
While Maduro might some day collapse under his camarilla's corruption and his own incompetence, it will take a long time, probably years. Especially the opposition against him is similary incompetent. My guess is, it will take longer than Trump will be in office.

Posted by: nervos belli | Apr 24 2019 17:17 utc | 41

at Robert Browning #3

Trump has already been told he will be re-elected. Why else would he be putting his re-election prospects in jeopardy?

I see this quite the other way around. If Trump fears not being re-elected, he will declare a war and use that to rally support.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Apr 24 2019 17:35 utc | 42

@6 Charles H - that is really interesting news. Thank you!

Posted by: roza shanina | Apr 24 2019 17:41 utc | 43

@ Posted by: BM | Apr 24, 2019 10:51:17 AM | 23

It seems India is kinda its own world.

I once read a piece in Global Times which I agree fully: India is China without the Communist Revolution.

It has the history, the culture, the population and the national identity China has -- but what is missing for India is socialist planned economy China has. This leaves India without a plan, without a north. Without a north, it falls to the default mode of the late 20th century/beginning of the 21st century(neoliberalism). It stays closer to neofascism (Modi) than any kind of national development.

From the same problem suffers Iran, albeit on a much smaller scale.

Posted by: vk | Apr 24 2019 17:49 utc | 44

Pepe's item mentions the $2.5 Quadrillion of derivatives "would start a chain reaction of destruction" in response to rapid spikes in oil price that per previous discussions would rebound asymmetrically onto Outlaw US Empire and generate a massive crisis far worse than soaring gasoline prices as that would constitute a direct hit on Deep State interests and it would take casualties for the first time.

Oh, 100K Tons of "diplomacy" boast/threat made by the Empire's ambassador to Russia:

"Diplomatic communication and dialogue coupled with the strong defence these ships provide demonstrate to Russia that if it truly seeks better relations with the United States, it must cease its destabilising activities around the world."

Two Imperial carrier groups are now in the Med offering themselves as juicy targets. Huntsman's bluff and buster is yet another example of Pompeo's idiocy. I thought the RT headline "Mask off? US ambassador to Russia says US practices diplomacy with aircraft carriers" more appropriate for its item about Huntsman's hubris.

A check of San Francisco gas prices via GasBuddy shows a very broad range from $3.99-4.59/gal, while here in Oregon it's @3.25; and at Refinery Central--Houston--it's not over $3/gal yet. So, there's a ways to go before the pain threshold is reached nationally.

Today marks day 2 for the 8th annual Moscow Conference on International Security whose "main topic" this year focuses on Middle East Issues, which will certainly include the undeclared hybrid war between Iran and the Outlaw US Empire. Hopefully we will get some reporting on the discussions taking place there. Shoigu spoke yesterday, while Lavrov speaks today.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24 2019 17:55 utc | 45

Great. Now can you please proof-read your copy before posting? You're starting to look like Counterpunch.

Posted by: Chris | Apr 24 2019 18:03 utc | 46

In a related development, the Parliamentary Baghdad Summit had its one day and reportedly didn't accomplish much aside from getting former adversaries together in the same room. I'm hopeful of finding a more detailed report. That most of the GCC wasn't invited seems to be due to the Summit's theme being Iraqi neighbors. One might have expected either Iran or Saudi to not send a representative given past/current enmity, but both attended and didn't attack each other. That Saudi and UAE sent flood relief aid to Iran is a very good sign that the Umma is finally reforming to deal with its primary enemies--Zionistan and the Outlaw US Empire. Of course, in any armed conflict between Iran and the Empire, being on better terms with GCC and Saudi will be important--there'll be no coalition of the bullied and bribed Arab NATO.

What I'm seeing is Iran gaining more regional allies at the expense of the Outlaw US Empire. The just concluded visit of Pakistan PM Khan to Iran is a major case in point as is the détente between Iran and Qatar. And continued flack targeting Saudi within the US Congress is certainly affecting King Salman's viewpoints. Blowback from previous Imperial hubris initiated by Bolton and Pompeo's CIA predecessors is working against their policy goals. IMO, the "waiver holders" are unlikely to waver as there're no market substitutes for Iranian oil. If they get targeted too, then an escalation in blowback will occur as every Outlaw US Empire move is illegal and immoral.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24 2019 18:29 utc | 47

".....senior officials paint a picture of a rogue, outlaw, terrorist regime bent on acquiring nuclear weapons and whose “malign activities” are the cause of all the chaos in the Middle East...".

well, that pretty well sums it up about the USA, now doesn't it?

Terrorist Regime

Making chaos throughout the region

.....bent on using, once again, its nuclear weapons.....?

Posted by: michael72 | Apr 24 2019 18:31 utc | 48

Iran should complete their oil terminal and associated pipeline to Bandar-e-Jask which lies outside the Gulf bottleneck at full speed.

They should then surreptitiously seed the southern end of the Gulf with mines. Modern mines, uplifting payloads, etc are unsweepable. (weirdly, the tens of thousands of articles on uplifting payloads have all disappeared from the internet in the last year....they are devices which sleep on the sea floor - or burrowed beneath - for decades if need be and are triggered by events or commands to wake up, rise to the surface and do their job. )

Then watch the first 200 000 ton tanker sink and scream bloody murder that this is obvious yankee provocation. Shipping will collapse as insurance is declined.

Offer replacement supplies from Bandar-e-Jask.

Posted by: Guy Thornton | Apr 24 2019 19:16 utc | 49

@51Guy Thornton

Uh, maybe I'm out of my league on this, but it's one thing to sink a U.S. destroyer or military vessel and quite another to sink a tanker and cause a grave man-made environmental disaster Iran can do without and destroy the lives of its crew having nothing to do with this attack on Iran.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 24 2019 19:55 utc | 50

"Why the United States has a special relationship with Israel."

Posted by: arby | Apr 24 2019 20:05 utc | 51

It's complete fiction that the US is going after Venezuelan oil so as to confront Iran. If Maduro goes so does Venezuela as civil war erupts and spreads to other countries. No oil company is going to put itself and it's employees in such a danger zone. It is also complete fiction that Trump was against going after Venezuela as he has been on them almost from day one and every time Trump announces more sanctions or makes threats he's as giddy as a kid in a candy store and relishes handing out the pain. In one of his latest speeches to a gathering of the faithful he not only gleefully stomped on Venezuela but also announced the US is going to overthrow the governments of Cuba and Nicaragua. Trump was barely in office when the US undid the efforts by Obama to normalize relations with Cuba and as of the first of the year put sanctions on Nicaragua. This after NED and USAID last summer brought radicals from Nicaragua to DC for training in riots and rabble rousing. Which they did after returning home. In his speech Trump claimed that by overthrowing those governments this hemisphere will be the "only totally free hemisphere in the world". If the plan was to get Venezuelan oil so as to shut off Iran the US would have supported Maduro, Venezuela is no danger to US security, and offered to send in the best engineers to get the oil industry rolling. The US is now sanctioning the tankers so as to cut off even more revenue to Venezuela and deprive Cuba of oil.

Plenty of people still fool themselves into believing Trump has been captured by the deep state and is only going along with them to stay alive. Bunk. Ever since Trump sat in the power chair he willingly joined the deep state. He's even going one further and his goal is a one world government led by the US. He knows the American populace won't condone a new war so his weapons are sanctions, the dollar, and trade wars. All viable tools as long as the US continues to control the financial system. If the US does attack Iran it will be a Libya affair using only air power to cripple them and cause internal chaos.

Posted by: snedly arkus | Apr 24 2019 20:06 utc | 52

The truth is that you guys underestimate the USA Passer @28 < maybe but another reality is the
desire of most Americans to bring home the troops and close down the budgets that are funded
from their tax dollars. Close the foreign bases..

the rising oil prices will let Pump to Restrict America oil and gas consumption to oil and gas produced, refined and sold in America.

The real enemy is false and misleading propaganda, fake news, and foreign influence in control of various nation states.
How can the masses in the world shut down false and misleading propaganda?
How can the masses in the world tame the ruthless monopoly powered corporations and their wealthier
than most nation state corporate owners?

"interesting" to me is that both Russia and USA will have now (or soon will) reached the point
where they have done everything they can to influence Ukraine and Iran respectively, short of
war. Jackrabbit @ 31 <= yes, a song explains=> another day older, and deeper in debt.. as
the people of the nations of the world owe their souls to the BIS and the Federal Reserve.

re Circe @ 34 Nominations for king of Zionism and king of corporate empires are now open?

Posted by: snake | Apr 24 2019 20:17 utc | 53

"...Will Hurt Trump's Voter Support

It's just an opinion, but mine is that boat has already sailed. Trump has been giving the finger to his "base" from the outset, and his ego-driven government shutdown was probably the last straw. There are always going to be a few knuckleheads who will love him forever, and my estimate of that group would be on the order of 25%. Unless the Democrats put up a candidate who is even worse, the man is a goner in political terms.

This means Pompeo has to move quickly. If the fat slug picked up anything at West Point, he understands that to mobilize the US requires the other side to shoot first. In the case of his nominal boss, you can put that in neon lights. Trump is a gullible old man, and Pompeo needs to be able to point to something 'drastic' so as to galvanize Trump into action. The CIA torture woman found faked pictures of dead ducks (!) and sick children worked. Pompeo would find a sizable number of US military men or women in body bags extremely useful in his desperate efforts to suck up to the pissant apartheid state and hopefully pull the ripcord of The Second Coming.

On the other side of this, Iran needs to avoid starting the shooting, no matter what! The Confederates attacked a US fort to start the Civil War. It was about the most stupid thing possible for them to have done. Japan attacked Pearl Harbor - again the dumbest thing imaginable. I'd expect Iran has been consulting with India and China about its options. China probably has every storage tank in the country topped off, and will be immune to an "oil shock" for a long time. In any event, it can afford to outbid everybody else is things came to that. Just off the top of my head, Iran mining the Strait of Hormuz, then making a public announcement about it looks like a workable plan. The US mine-sweeping capability is beyond-belief awful - and why that is I don't understand. Any mines there which are found and destroyed can be easily and quickly be replaced by small boats, submarines, or aircraft dropping them.

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 24 2019 20:22 utc | 54

With the oligarchs around the globe winning on all fronts, I can't see the DJT regime starting a shooting war. If they do, it could start a world-wide depression, which would cause the peons to actually revolt.
Yellow vests globally? No way do the rulers want that.

Enjoy the Kabuki, as the ruling 1%ers bend us over.

Guess it's time to admit though, wouldn't it be nice to see the terrorist empire get it's butt kicked by anyone?

Posted by: ben | Apr 24 2019 20:33 utc | 55

@ karlof1 | Apr 24, 2019 2:29:03 PM | 48

Most of the of the amateurs reporting "derivative amounts" are stated in notional values, which is wrong (Love Pepe's work, but he is not a financial economist.) It's the offset value (not including counter-party amounts) that matter and it's far less than notional. So, no end of the world hysteria needed.

Also, it's marginal price of gas relative to a person's balance sheet that matters. I think that's what b is referring to. In english, most people have a fixed monthly income and gas is a big chunk of expenses (for those who actually work). A gas price increase of $0.25 or more means that they have to reduce expenses somewhere else (unlikely since 'mericans love their lifestyles) or go further into debt, which means they pull-forward future consumption. That’s what partly causes the slowing of economic future activity. That is ONE reason this extended (FED) monetary policy is so destructive to the real economy.

Posted by: Variance Doc | Apr 24 2019 20:42 utc | 56

Back in the old school days in my youth, when in the smoking yard, after repeated threats, show downs, words, dirty looks, you just knew that to settle you had to get the drama over with and take care of business. That meant blood at times, but at the end the matter was solved. You want to be a man, be one. Want to be a pussy, get a dress. This USA shit is getting tiresome indeed.

Posted by: Taffyboy | Apr 24 2019 20:46 utc | 57

Yeah, Right

Ok, maybe not a carrier. But massive naval presence.
By the way, my understanding is that without nukes, carriers are so compartmentalized they are virtually unsinkable, although relatively easily disabled.
The overwhelming reaction by the US to any attack on any of its vessels, carriers or not, would also send a message to rest of the world: Fuck with us, and we will make a real meal of destroying you.
At a higher level,the US military does not seem to operate on any conceivable military doctrine that I know of. It is a business, and a very lucrative one. Think Blackwater, only smarter in that it has the perfect guise of public defense. It is waaaay bigger than any fortune 500 company, and employs more people than all of them combined.
Im pretty sure they would do anything to further their "shareholders" interests.

Posted by: dan | Apr 24 2019 21:08 utc | 58

@ 8 Dan
Yes, I mourn the dimming of Pepe Escobar’s brilliance as he churns out article after article about the fucking silk or belt road, but I guess we have to live and to eat and in Pepe’s case to travel.

Trump was bought by the Zionists a long time ago. He had to go cap in hand to Carl Icahn in the early 1990s to get bailed out. That’s Carl Icahn the famous greenmail crook of the 1980s. Greenmail consisted in buying a large stake in a company and making demands. Management would then make a very generous offer to just go away, much like the mafia operate. When greenmail was banned, Icahn carried on terrorizing companies by buying a hefty stake and demanding a seat on the board. From there he would insist on the sale of a subsidiary, the proceeds from which would swell his coffers. The company, now reduced in size, would then be attacked by another hedge fund in the form of a hostile takeover. Icahn and others, such as Nelson Pelz, were just two of a vast number of Jewish financiers who took full advantage of the liberalization of financial markets begun by Reagan and Thatcher and masterminded by Milton Friedman. The huge sums of money gained by private equity/hedge funds could now be used to finance the political campaigns of those supportive of Zionism, buy up media and a long etc.

Where I disagree with many on the right and some on the left is in the extent of Jewish power before this period. It is a tremendously complex area which I try to approach in my research without prejudice, more like a detective than a historian. I found out surprising things, such as Jewish people were not allowed into the top gentlemen’s clubs in the US until the 1960s. The whole narrative about the Russian revolution being a totally Jewish conspiracy is also open to question. Lord Salisbury, three times British Prime Minister and of good English aristocratic stock (The Cecil family) was talking about fomenting revolution in Russia as early as 1888.

Posted by: Lochearn | Apr 24 2019 21:46 utc | 59

Variance Doc @58--

It's not the amount per se; rather, it's who would be affected--Deep State actors, not deplorables. That such entities would find themselves victimized by Trump's actions provides motivation to deter same. IMO, the numerous studies done over the decades since the Iranian Revolution and the futile attempt to overthrow it by waging war upon it via Iraqi proxy has proven to the US military that waging war again on Iran's a fatal policy mistake. The Bully Foursome--Bolton, Pompeo, Pence, and Trump--seem to believe they can get Iran to submit where all other previous efforts have failed. Instead, their bullying tactics and gifts to Zionistan generated blowback that's enlarging the Arc of Resistance, while alienating Europe. What's a Deep State actor to do? Pence is even more of a tyro than Trump and his rise to POTUS must be avoided. If they could both be impeached and removed, then they'd get Pelosi, which would likely be a relief. With her as POTUS, it might be possible to derail Sanders. But it must be admitted, grave damage to the Empire's facade's been done that's beyond repair.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24 2019 22:25 utc | 60

@ Lochearn

"Jews", I don't know or care about. It might be an interesting study, but its approaching a very fine line between a distinct culture and the outright fascism that exists within Zionism.
So many otherwise seemingly intelligent souls cant quite seem to distinguish between Israelis and their own native Jewish populations, and perhaps that is by design. Most Ethiopians I have met, despite their obvious heritage, blindly defend the Israeli agenda tooth and nail, despite its incredibly apparent apartheid policies.
For the most part, at least when it comes to commentators on the Interwebs, Israeli policies combined with a massive Zionist drive in western politics has created a blowback whereby everything "Jewish" is scorned and denigrated.
It distracts from the very real, tangible issues at stake.

Posted by: dan | Apr 24 2019 22:28 utc | 61

snedly arkus @54:

Ever since Trump sat in the power chair he willingly joined the deep state.

I've argued (many times) that he joined the Deep State well before he "sat in the power chair".

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Apr 24 2019 22:41 utc | 62

Astute persons will recollect the Persian Defeat @ Salamis. This was a littoral situation, as is the strait of H - the locus ad hoc. Trumpie-the Clown and his junta never heard of this classic defeat. Every Iranian has. It was matter of supply, as is the sitrep today. The bald fact is that all surface ships are merely targets and may be taken out of combat condition in seconds by Iran, or any determined and fairly well-equipped agency. Though it uses land force, the Imperial method relies, because of geography, on thalassocratic enforcement; aka "sea-power". Turkey has similar options as Iran, eg it is a land power can can, at will, close their strait and thus control what passes into or from the Black Sea. In war-time, which this is, Treaty Law permits this in the present example. US demands are characteristic of formal war, which this also is. Most people assume that Imperial Defeat is not possible. That's plain silly. Grave danger of this becoming a nuclear affair as Imperial delusions meet Reality...

Posted by: Walter | Apr 24 2019 22:56 utc | 63

It's amazing to see there are still some who believe Trump has intimidated the chinese into anything. It was Trump who went to the Chinese on his knees begging for a ceasefire on the tariffs, after the Chinese refused to talk to his trade team for 6 months(see what Kudlow said). This was a declaration of US surrender n obvious statement that Trump had no more ammunition to fight his trade war or was unwilling to increase tariffs because it was alrdy hurting his farmers n US businesses n consumers too much. His team is making demands now, and the Chinese are just smiling and saying no to everything important. Their viewpoint is that they have already won and they are holding the strong hand here. They may give some cosmetic concessions to Trump to help him declare a dubious victory to his delusional supporters and move on, but nothing will change. In fact, this episode will only increase the decline of the US in technology and manufacturing, as the rest of the world no longer trusts the US on anything and increases efforts to stop supplying the bankrupt US with fresh capital and stop using the US dollar.

Posted by: freetrade | Apr 24 2019 22:58 utc | 64

@ freetrade | Apr 24, 2019 6:58:00 PM | 66

Just a little too optimistic. This is about sticks, not carrots. The Chinese do not hold a very strong hand when it comes to raw military power. Nevertheless, I hope you're right.

Posted by: dan | Apr 24 2019 23:07 utc | 65

A question that is becoming more and more pertinent as the U.S. government goes more and more teetery on the economic brink, is: What are we going to do when our U.S. economy goes over, when, without the VIP (Very Important Precedent) being presently established in Commercial United States (the current regime/system) and International Law, by President Trump's dismissal of Law of Contract in the Iran Nuclear Deal, and other instances, we could all, as a nation and as individuals, become responsible for our debts?

Under the Precedent President Trump has, to this point, appeared to be successful in establishing we, like Him, have, and will have, power and authority to renege our contracts, abandon the wife, cock a snook at the credit-card Co.s, make a beard at student debts, flip our bankers the bird, and on and on in a glorious chain-display of Fiscal Freedom.

Some of us are so looking forward to the new Trump-inaugerated Era, when we can tell them all to go suck eggs, from local traffic courts to IRS tax-lienster...

Where will we be if the world should slap back at the one-percent example invoked anarchy that we have been promised will trickle down to control also in our economy?

Some of us, we woho are still accruing, who have not yet exercised our options, are becoming worried about this.

Posted by: Evangelista | Apr 24 2019 23:13 utc | 66

China has quite a dilemna:
a) violate sanctions and risk severe penalties; or
b) go along with sanctions but if Iran pulls the pin on the world economy, China could very well completely crash economically, to the point that I wonder if there could be a revolution. Also, everyone knows about China's Muslim issues, Iran could say "it would be shame if someone armed those tens of million of Muslims you have".
I don't envy their position.

Posted by: Schmoe | Apr 24 2019 23:20 utc | 67

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif has conducted an interview with Reuters saying Trump didn't want war but could be "lured into one." As usual, Reuters doesn't just provide a transcript of the interview, only publishing what it wants to publish. We'll need to await the official Iranian transcript to note what else was said and what was reported out-of-context.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24 2019 23:21 utc | 68

Schmoe @69--

China will ignore the illegal Outlaw US Empire diktat and carry on as before. If it's challenged, it has the means to defend itself and will. The Empire is beholden to China not the other way-round.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 24 2019 23:30 utc | 69


Understand this if nothing else, Khalifa Haftar is a terrorist hand puppet of the CIA. He is a thief, a liar, a thug, and a traitor to Libya. He threatens legitimate Libyans daily and uses the NSA listening equipment (brought into Libya in 2011) to target any Libya who speaks his name. Khalifa Haftar would not ever be supported by Russia. This lie has been perpetrated in the mainstream for years. Now they have stepped up their game and have stated that Russian mercenaries are in Libya supporting Haftar at the behest of the leader of Russia. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

The Great Tribes have confirmed to me everything that I have written.

Libya has lost their country to terrorist thugs, their infrastructure has been destroyed, their wealth has been stolen and continues to be stolen. They have had one million Libyans killed and yet the media, run by the Khazarian mafia New World Order, continues its attacks. It is the assets and geographical location that they would own. The ruination, destruction and death of Libya and her people are just acceptable collateral damage to achieve their evil agenda.

Posted by: marie | Apr 24 2019 23:37 utc | 70

Assuming Imperial Defeat leads to the question of what then becomes of America? Can, for example, Federal suzerain control over the States, as has been the condition following the Northern War of Aggression (aka the US Civil War) be maintained if there is no Empire?

Of course everybody knows what Panarin predicted. Dissolution according to regions.


Pretty map...

Posted by: Walter | Apr 24 2019 23:44 utc | 71

@ Lochearn | Apr 24, 2019 5:46:46 PM | 61; Dan 8, et al

FWIW, I appreciate the serendipitous validation about Pepe Escobar. I thought it was just me.

I've never followed his work closely, but when I began reading him a few years back I developed a high opinion of his journalistic ability and insights.

I haven't really had a change of heart, or mind. But I got tired of reading article after article lauding China's Silk Road initiative.

In a way, it's a refreshing change of pace to read analyses that are optimistic and even enthusiastic rather than dour and cynical-- I have enough of the latter in my own head.

But the articles are so repetitious that Pepe may as well be a full-time publicist for the OBOR project.

Posted by: Ort | Apr 24 2019 23:50 utc | 72

@60 "By the way, my understanding is that without nukes, carriers are so compartmentalized they are virtually unsinkable, although relatively easily disabled."

Sorta' like the Titanic, heh?

Not one Nimitz-class carrier has ever suffered so much of a scratch, so there has been no demonstration of how resilient they are.

But look at a photo of a Nimitz-class, and note the complete absence of an armoured belt.

So unless there is an internal armoured belt (why? it would be a nightmare to repair after battle damage) then I'm suspecting there is nothing except structural steel between the reactor core and a torpedo hit.

And nothing but structural steel between the jet fuel stores and an anti-ship missile.

So the crew can close every water-tight compartment and it wouldn't help a bit if the reactor melts down or the jet fuel catches fire. Either way the ship is - literally - toast.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 25 2019 0:20 utc | 73

China's BRI is a big deal. It is something Escobar is justified in being excited about. The BRI makes the Marshall Plan seem like small potatoes in comparison, and the end result will be even more transformative. Furthermore, China holds all of the trump cards at this time.

"But what if America stops buying their stuff? Where will they get 'money'?"

"Money"? You mean fiat currency? Essentially worthless paper? China now has the majority of the world's manufacturing base. The entire supply chain. What do they need paper for? Planned economies cannot have overproduction problems like market economies do, so China cannot be hurt in any strategic way by even 100% elimination of exports to the USA. Sure, they want to avoid that because there is still lots of development they can do with the current arrangement (the BRI?), but ultimately there is nothing American can do to hurt them short of nuclear war. The psychopath West is snarling and waving their guns around so the Chinese are calmly telling them whatever they want to hear. That's how you deal with delusional psychopaths who have lost all touch with reality. China is obviously not going to stop developing their domestic technological base just because America is fouling their panties over it. Instead they will reassure the psychopath West that everything is OK and that China will do whatever America wants, while continuing their current plans.

This stuff is easy to see. Just look at the economics of the situation, and by economics I mean where the punch press hits the sheet metal and not the fictitious wealth represented by financial institution portfolios.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 25 2019 0:23 utc | 74

On Objections to Pepe Escobar's BRI "Diary"--

The primary reason Pepe writes so much about BRI is not even a handful of other journalists are--in English--it's being 100% omitted by BigLie Media. Plus, since he's primarily published by Asia Times Online, its natural for a Hong Kong-based publisher to concentrate on Chinese happenings. When "Spengler" was consistently published by ATOL, Pepe wrote much more on geopolitics as his foil. He has written several books; have any of you read any of them, particularly Globalistan and Empire of Chaos?

Yes, I'm a fan, and have read him for 20+ years. His multilingualism, ability to weave diverse cultures into his excellent descriptive writings in a non-native language, and ability to converse with people at all levels of society and differing cultures is unique. IMO, millions of people are being deprived of learning and enriching their knowledge base by not even being aware of his existence. "Where the Silk Roads meet the mighty Mekong" is his latest on BRI. Yes, you'll need to read closely to hear his concern for the Laotian environment and traditional way of life that BRI will forever alter. At least when he's writing for another publication, he can allow his indignation and other emotions through to color his prose, as with his Consortium News item b linked to.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 25 2019 0:34 utc | 75

Yeah, Right @75--

A highschool buddy was a Hull-Tech on the Nimitz and would agree with your assessment. To deal with hull breeches, they use the old fashioned method of employing large wooden beams to brace the hull so a patch can be applied. He described an incident to me where a massive rogue wave hit amidships and caved in a considerable hull section below the waterline causing a small breech--about a 2 foot-long tear that immediately began to grow. He said it took an extremely frantic hour to staunch the breech and another 4 hours to fashion the patch. Harrowing and he had pictures of the aftermath to prove his tale. Sure, compartments can be closed, but the tear in the hull skin can grow beyond them to a point where the list will become severe enough to capsize the ship.

Posted by: karlof1 | Apr 25 2019 0:50 utc | 76

@77 karlof1

This is serendipitous, reaching the end of the thread with your comment.

I totally agree, of course, and for the same reason that both you and Escobar, and anyone who's really watching the rise of Eurasia, agrees - one is simply overwhelmed by how many geo-political former squabbles are neutralized and rendered moot by the genius that lies at the heart of this play.

The hand of China caressing the world situation is like watching the Tao as it it moves - nothing is hurried, yet everything is accomplished.

Mackinder is thrown to the oceanic winds, because who needs his Rimland anymore when the Heartland rules?

The Silk Road is more than simply the biggest thing happening in the geo-political world. It is in fact changing the world. There is the world before BRI, and there is the world after BRI (and because of BRI). Thank goodness for Pepe Escobar and his clued-in eye for good things happening - and his love for it - in a world filled with total crap from its former "owners".

To repeat - this is the biggest thing happening in the world. Centuries of legacy and inheritance that European imperialism lays claim to are being overturned and recompensed.

One retains the right to be oblivious to all this.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 25 2019 1:02 utc | 77

U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet, VIDEO, THREAD:

“When you have 200,000 tons of diplomacy that is cruising in the Mediterranean. This is what I call diplomacy, this is forward deployed diplomacy." Jon Huntsman, U.S. Ambassador to Russia

#Power4Peace #SteadyPresence
@cnni @USEmbRuPress @USEmbRu @USApoRusski @USNATO @US_EUCOM


George Carlin: We Like War

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 25 2019 1:08 utc | 78

US Ambassador to Russia: Each of Our Carriers “Represents 100,000 Tons of Diplomacy”

America's chief diplomat/psychopath to Russia hails a US suppercarrier drill in the Med as "200,000 tons of diplomacy" arrayed behind him

Posted by: John Smith | Apr 25 2019 1:15 utc | 79

@80, 81 John Smith

As I know you're aware of, we're really talking about 200,000 tons of target.

No one has done it yet. No one has called that bluff, and destroyed the US facade.

I personally think two things: (1) lots of people can do it, and (2) no one sees that the moment is right yet.

Like a fool rushing to self destruction, the US keeps pushing the world in an adolescent dare - but the grown-ups watching all this are waiting for the moment. The "moment" is when the supercomputers and the humans agree that one can destroy the machismo of the US and not trigger nuclear escalation.

At this very moment - or rather, in the moments, hours and days after it - we can all relax and start to parse the new world coming forth, absent US aggression.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 25 2019 1:28 utc | 80

Ron Horn | Apr 24, 2019 10:38:41 AM | 22:

"...they will insure the nomination (from either party) of a "safe" woman who is presented in their media as something like a maverick."

Hmmm...who could that be? ;)

dan | Apr 24, 2019 5:08:12 PM | 60:

By the way, my understanding is that without nukes, carriers are so compartmentalized they are virtually unsinkable, although relatively easily disabled

That's all you really need. Disable it to take it out of the fight.

Posted by: Ian | Apr 25 2019 1:38 utc | 81

@71 karlof1

I would not say advantage US; for example China needs US semiconductors. To me if feels like the US and China are two pilots locked in a kamikaze plane together; both nations are floating on a sea of debt and IMO prone to massive downside risk during a recession (eg, US corporate balance sheets are in very poor shape due to debt used to fund stock buybacks). The US has the reserve currency, but China has sane leadership and doesn't have to carry around other countries. Interesting times.

@ William Gruff
"Planned economies cannot have overproduction problems like market economies do" I don't agree with that; look at China's empty cities (overproduction of everything in that city). The recent book China's Great Wall of Debt went through China's massive overproduction of certain items (do they really need that much cement?). The book's thesis is that China builds what it knows how to build, whether it needs it or not.

Posted by: Schmoe | Apr 25 2019 1:41 utc | 82

Both Yeah, Right at #75 and karlof1 at #78 remark about the 'stoutness' of a US aircraft carrier. During early WW2 carriers which weren't sunk tended to get badly hit. Modern ones are much larger, and better defended, but in the end they're just large ships with a flat top. Navies around the world have had over 70 years to devise ways to neutralize them. IMO it's folly to imagine some of the special weapons won't do the job. Consider the large Japanese battleship Yamato. The wiki for this 65,000 ton ship speaks of a side belt of 16" armor, and deck armor of 8". Sinking it - even though it was essentially undefended from air attack - wasn't easy.

From the first attack at 12:37 to the explosion at 14:23, Yamato was hit by at least 11 torpedoes and six bombs. There may have been two more torpedo and bomb hits, but this is not confirmed.

A modern US carrier will cost several billion dollars, and the airplanes aboard it will be an additional large fraction of that sum. A modern anti-ship missile costs around 2 million dollars. In theory you could fire three or four thousand such missiles and still break even if you destroyed the ship. But in practice, can anyone imagine a carrier surviving an attack of 100 such AS missiles? They'd be coming in from all directions, and some of them would be homing on the defensive radars. Perhaps jamming those radars. At some point the carrier would just run out of defensive armaments. In my humble opinion Ambassador Jon Huntsman Jr. is a complete and total moron. One more time with that quote:

US Ambassador to Russia: Each of Our Carriers “Represents 100,000 Tons of Diplomacy”

Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 25 2019 2:19 utc | 83

@ Schome who wrote
The book's thesis is that China builds what it knows how to build, whether it needs it or not.
The West's thesis is that it builds what makes profit, whether anyone needs it or not.

From what I am reading, China is growing into this central planning with a socialist bent while having 80% of economy being private little/big companies. Are they perfect, no! But their socialist intention seems far better than the debt slavery for most that the West offers.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 25 2019 2:25 utc | 84

@78 Yep, I suspect it would not end well if a Nimitz-class met the pointy end of a torpedo.

Not because it would be torn in two, or sunk rapidly, but because the internals of the ship simply aren't protected.

Q: And what is inside an aircraft carrier?
A: Jet fuel. Lots and lots of jet fuel.

Look at the fate of two of the three American Yorktown-class (and their diminutive half-sister USS Wasp) in the Pacific war. None sank rapidly (Hornet actually fell into the hands of the Japanese).

The Yorktown's were no-compromise designs with impressive armoured belts and excellent protection for the avgas stores, whereas the Wasp was a one-off diminutive designed to use up remaining treaty-tonnage.

Something had to give, and in Wasp that "give" was in protection.

Look at the photos of the Yorktown and Hornet slowly rolling over to their doom, and then compare those with the famous photo of Wasp engulfed in flames and smoke as she went down.

That's the difference between carefully protecting the vitals of a ship versus not bothering with all that stuff.

The modern US carriers don't bother with all that stuff.

They are four times bigger than those WW2 carriers, sure, they are.

They won't sink quickly, sure, they won't.

But if someone slipped a few torpedos into a Nimitz, or struck it with a couple of anti-ship missiles then that Nimitz will end up with the same fate as the USS Wasp - very, very quickly ablaze from end to end and very, very doomed.

Posted by: Yeah, Right | Apr 25 2019 2:36 utc | 85

I would like to know if the waivers to the Iranian sanctions are actually ending now, as b implies, or are ending through another "winding down" period of a further year, as Tom Luongo states:

Trump Kicks the Sanctions Can on Iran Oil

This article was also offered by a commenter up-thread @37 & 38.

Normally I would take b's read of the situation, but Luongo seems very positive about his facts. I don't have time to research this right now, but I can try to check it all out over time. If someone has the ready answer, I would be grateful to hear it.

Posted by: Grieved | Apr 25 2019 2:53 utc | 86

@88 Well he's already watered down sanctions on the IRGC ...

so Pompeo is probably just talking out of both sides of his mouth.

Posted by: dh | Apr 25 2019 3:26 utc | 87

@72 marie

Can I say how impressed I am with your comment here? People who are as straightforward as you deserve to be read and reread. I understand your reply is to Jackrabbit here, but you ploughed straight through dozens and dozens of previous bullshet-ridden comments on the subject of Haftar like a guided missile. Thank you for that! I'm hoping to read more from you.

Posted by: Circe | Apr 25 2019 3:55 utc | 88

What a beautiful analysis! Take a bow b!

Posted by: Niraj | Apr 25 2019 4:42 utc | 89

Will Hurt Trump's Voter Support
It's just an opinion, but mine is that boat has already sailed. Trump has been giving the finger to his "base" from the outset, and his ego-driven government shutdown was probably the last straw. There are always going to be a few knuckleheads who will love him forever, and my estimate of that group would be on the order of 25%. Unless the Democrats put up a candidate who is even worse, the man is a goner in political terms.
Posted by: Zachary Smith | Apr 24, 2019 4:22:20 PM | 56

There's no need to guess Trump's popularity rating. It's being tracked every single week. I watch PBS Newshour a couple, or more, times a week to find out what the MSM thinks (or is pretending to think) is newsworthy.
Just this week a couple of neocon cut-outs were tearing their hair out over the fact that Trump's popularity rarely falls below 40% and usually hovers around 45% no matter how 'crazy' his public utterances.
Their frustration is probably due to the fact that 45% is within EASY striking distance of 51% and all Trump has to do to bridge that gap is toss the Deplorables a couple of tasty bones and they'll be back in the MAGA-OK Corral.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 25 2019 4:47 utc | 90

Trump's twittering gives him unprecedented DIRECT access to Public Opinion and vice versa. He responds to Public Opinion which tends to create the impression that he LISTENS.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 25 2019 5:08 utc | 91

@ Hoarsewhisperer who wrote
He responds to Public Opinion which tends to create the impression that he LISTENS.
Just because you capitalize the first letters in Public Opinion does not make it exist, nor be reflective of real public opinion

Where does this Public Opinion come from that you refer to? Perhaps it is as manufactured as Trump's script in response

And to our last back and forth, I do understand how any outside of the US would be cheering Trump on for what he is seemingly doing against TPTB....too bad it is just a faction of TPTB and we (mostly the US but all of the West) get to be the losers of their battles.

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 25 2019 5:21 utc | 92

Posted by: psychohistorian | Apr 25, 2019 1:21:39 AM | 94

I hope I didn't over-personalise my responses to comments you made in our recent back and forth. If I did so, in your opinion, then I apologise without reservation. I've developed a convenient habit of cherry-picking relevant passages from a pertinent comment as a foundation from which to launch my own opinion. I wasn't trying to hurt your feelings and I'm sorry if I did.
On the other hand Public Opinion has an accepted, if not unequivocally precise meaning. Just politely ask the next stranger you meet what Public Opinion means to him/her? You'll get AN answer.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 25 2019 5:48 utc | 93

To psychohistorian.
Start the quiz with "Excuse me, do you mind if I ask you a question?"

No-one knows whether they mind or not until they've heard the question, so 99 times out of 100 they'll be hooked.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Apr 25 2019 6:07 utc | 94


George was great. Watching this clip made me think of Thatcher (who had an even bigger boner for war...)

"Don't go all wobbly on me George"

Posted by: Some Random Passer-by | Apr 25 2019 6:17 utc | 95

Dan @ 60
By the way, my understanding is that without nukes, carriers are so compartmentalized they are virtually unsinkable, although relatively easily disabled.

Pretty impressive and this is from 2015.

Posted by: V | Apr 25 2019 7:07 utc | 96

karlof1 | Apr 24, 2019 8:34:32 PM | 77

As the resident historian here; have you read Joseph Heller's "Picture This"?
It's brilliant...

Posted by: V | Apr 25 2019 9:14 utc | 97

marie @ 72

since you're presumably so well connected to The Great Tribes, perhaps you could share some more useful information. what's up in Bani Walid? where's Saif? what about Ayesha? the only thing that's clear to me is that the Libyan people, for the most part, despise both Haftar and Sarraj.

the second hour of this interview presents a presumably credible report on the situation on the ground, n'est-ce pas?

Posted by: john | Apr 25 2019 10:15 utc | 98

Schmoe @84 sez: "... look at China's empty cities ..."

lol! Yes indeed, look at China's 'empty cities'! That was a huge corporate mass media forced meme a decade ago but we don't see much followup on those stories these days, do we? And when we do see anything in the fake news western media about "Chinese ghost cities" they are using the same imagery from a decade ago, or from construction.

This is what I was talking about. In a market economy if a developer doesn't sell a property in the same fiscal quarter that they finish construction on that property then they are ruined. A planned economy can develop properties and infrastructure that they intend to utilize a decade later without any negative consequences. In fact, since China's plan involves radically increasing Chinese incomes to where their middle class is 1.3 billion strong they are better off as a nation doing expensive real estate and infrastructure development in advance while wages are still relatively low. Are the Chinese better off building, let's say high speed rail infrastructure, that will not be fully utilized until 2030 over the last decade when construction worker wages were $5/hr or wait until wages hit $30/hr?

The Chinese will keep riding this gravy train as long as the American cash cow hauling it can still be milked. As long as they can still make bucket-loads of capital off selling cheap Walmart crap to mindless American consumers, they will continue development and delayed gratification. Once that cash cow runs dry they will switch China to full bore consumerism and discard the empty husk of America.

How will they switch? Easy as can be! As Deng Xiaoping switched on market reforms in the 1970s with "Getting rich is glorious!" propaganda, the CCP can now turn on the "Being unionized is glorious!" marketing and give aggressive labor organizations an official boost. Or they can just raise the minimum wage as they have already been experimenting on, doesn't matter. There will be a little economic dislocation in the process, but nothing China's economic planners cannot handle. This economic dislocation will mostly impact investors and financial elites, who will be permanently turned off to investment in China. This means the switch that China has to make is a one way street. They cannot go back once they pull the trigger so they will delay it until they are certain the time is right. Trump's trade war is making them feel the time for throwing that switch is near, though I am guessing they are hoping to hold off until around 2030 at the earliest.

Posted by: William Gruff | Apr 25 2019 10:55 utc | 99


No, it is not some sort of Godzilla 46 remake movie.
Joe Biden has tossed his kippah into the ring and now
it is Establishment Biden vs wrecking ball Trump.




Stay tuned for MAGA vs MEGA

Posted by: librul | Apr 25 2019 11:00 utc | 100

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