Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
July 28, 2021

Biden Is Not Ending The 'Forever Wars'. He Is Preparing The Path To New Ones.

Daniel Larison writes that Joe Biden's foreign policies are probably worse than Trump's:

Joe Biden’s foreign policy record as president in his first six months has been as bad as his non-interventionist and antiwar critics feared it would be. Biden has made one significant and correct decision that he appears to be following through on, and that is the withdrawal of the last remaining U.S. troops from Afghanistan, but even here there is reason to worry that US forces may be relocated to other nearby countries and the war against the Taliban will continue from afar. On almost every other front, Biden has not only failed to undo some of his predecessor’s worst and most destructive policies, but in many cases he has entrenched and reinforced them.

Biden has failed to stop the U.S./Saudi war on Yemen. He is keeping troops in Iraq and Syria. His retreat from Afghanistan turns out to be fake. He is sabotaging a return to the nuclear with Iran.

The U.S. has, in contradiction to its Doha agreement with the Taliban, restarted its bombing campaign against them and is likely to continue it for years to come:

The top American general overseeing operations in Afghanistan declined to say Sunday night whether U.S. airstrikes against the Taliban would end Aug. 31, the date previously given by officials as a cutoff for such attacks.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of United States Central Command, refused to commit to ending the United States last remaining military leverage over the Taliban: airstrikes.
The Taliban reacted furiously to the strikes, saying they were in breach of the 2020 agreement negotiated between the militant group and the United States.

The concentration of strikes against the Taliban reflected a new sense of urgency in Washington about the imperiled Afghan government.

“I’m just not going to be able to comment about the future of U.S. airstrikes after Aug. 31,” General McKenzie told reporters after meeting with Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, and his aides earlier in the day.

The Taliban have recently done a lot of diplomacy with visits to Moscow, Beijing and Tehran. Together, with Pakistan, which continues to supply the Taliban with weapons and manpower, those countries are planing for a future where the Taliban will have total control of, or at least a significant role in. the Afghan government. They have promised to invest in a Taliban led Afghanistan.

But the U.S. will not allow a rebuilding of the silk road between China and Iran. It will not allow for safe 'Belt & Road' investments in Afghanistan. Instead of controlling Afghanistan for its own purpose, as it did with its occupation, the U.S. will, from now on, do its best to deny others to benefit from the country.

After first pressing the Afghan president to make room for an interim government, Biden is now again backing him. In a phone call last Friday Biden pledged full support for Ghani's continued hardline:

President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today with President Ashraf Ghani of Afghanistan. President Biden and President Ghani discussed the situation in Afghanistan and reaffirmed their commitment to an enduring bilateral partnership. President Biden emphasized continued U.S. support, including development and humanitarian aid, for the Afghan people, including women, girls, and minorities. President Biden and President Ghani agreed that the Taliban’s current offensive is in direct contradiction to the movement’s claim to support a negotiated settlement of the conflict. President Biden also reaffirmed the United States’ commitment to continue supporting the Afghan security forces to defend themselves.

But Ghani's government has no way to survive. The Taliban control Afghanistan's borders and can finance themselves with customs duties and taxes. Ghani thereby lacks the income to run the state. Now Biden is promising him to give $4 billion per year to the Afghan army while having few control over how that money will be spent. Ghani and his circle will do their best to loot the stash.

Instead of leaving Afghanistan alone and letting it find a new balance Biden is revamping the Great Game in which Afghanistan will be again the foremost casualty.

During his campaign Biden had promised to rejoin the nuclear deal with Iran. But no action has followed. Talks with Tehran started too late and were filled with new demands that Iran can not accept without diminishing is military defenses.

The arrogance of the Biden administration is at full display in its believe that it can dictate the terms to Tehran:

If the U.S. determines that Iran is not prepared to return to full implementation, or that Iran’s nuclear program has advanced to the point that the non-proliferation limits in the deal cannot be recaptured, it will explore options, including for tightening enforcement of economic sanctions, but he hopes it does not come to that, he said.

“We will see whether they are prepared to come back,” the senior US diplomat said.

It is not Iran that left the UN endorsed JCPOA deal. It was the U.S. which went back on it and re-introduced a 'maximum pressure' sanctions campaign against Iran. Iran has said it is willing to again reduce its nuclear program to the limits of the JCPOA deal if the U.S. removes all sanctions. It is the Biden administration that is unwilling to do so while making new demands. That is obviously not going to work.

Today Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei met with the outgoing government of President Rohani and warned the incoming government against any hope that the U.S. will  change its unreasonable position: @khamenei_ir - 9:20 UTC · Jul 28, 2021

Others should use the experience of Mr. Rouhani’s govt. One experience is distrusting the West. In this administration it became clear that trusting the West isn’t helpful. They don’t help and they strike a blow wherever they can. When they didn’t, it was because they couldn’t.

Administrations should utterly avoid tying their plans to negotiations with the West, for they’ll certainly fail.
This administration too, wherever it relied on negotiations with the West & the US, they were unsuccessful, & when they relied on domestic potential, they succeeded.

In the recent nuclear talks, the Americans staunchly insisted on their obstinate stance. When making promises & on paper they say they’ll remove sanctions, but in practice they didn’t & won’t. Then they say new articles should be added to the deal that already exists.

The West & the US are totally unjust & malicious in their negotiations. They have no hesitation in breaching their commitments at all. In the previous agreement, they breached their commitments & they give no guarantee they will abide by their commitments in the future either.

If the U.S. does not come back into the JCPOA deal, without any further conditions, Iran will eventually leave the deal and proceed with its nuclear program as it wants. That would be an utter failure of Biden's hardline tactics. One wonders what the Biden administration has planned to do when that happens.

As Larison summarizes:

Biden’s foreign policy so far is largely made up of failures to achieve his stated goals and failures to overturn the worst policies that he inherited from Trump. In some cases, Biden has not even made the effort to overturn them. The Biden administration likes to use the phrase "America is back" as its foreign policy motto. Judging from Biden’s first six months this just means that America is back to more of the same destructive and inhumane policies that we have had for decades.

Instead of ending the 'forever wars', as Biden promised during his campaign, he is prolonging old ones while preparing the path for new ones.

That is a path that will not go well for the U.S. of A.

Posted by b on July 28, 2021 at 16:16 UTC | Permalink

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How did you get monetarily ENSLAVED in your nation state [cell]? by: Max @ 27

My explanation with regards to the USA. Abe Lincoln was shot because he wanted to continue to have the USA issue script as reserve currency.

The Silver Crisis of 1890's was used to produce a binary in the narrative that conditioned the population to the need to reduce the monetary chaos created by the binary narrative, to something more stable. of course, better is a matter of perception.. it depends on which side of the binary one is, as to how "better" is understood.

It all started when "Debts contracted and Engagements entered" <=clause in Article VI ..was included in the Constitution of the USA, which words were written by the few, for the few, and which constitution was self ratified (1788) by the same few.

This constitutional provision allowed the same few that ran things for the British Empire before the American Revolution (1776-1778) took place, to once again stand as the powerful few, who would run things in America. This time, they would run things, with support from a constitutional army instead of from a British army. Don't forget the first President of the USA was John Hanson, elected 1781; the US Constitution was ratified 1788. in an event I call the Oligarch revolution in America because it terminated states rights and the Articles of Confederation. .

But in 1912, just one year before WWI(1913), the same Oligarchs (British Bankers and Traders, railroad, vehicle and Energy providers) were jockeying to destroy the rising star <=highly technical state (known as Germany), and to take from the Ottoman empire the massive quantities of oil that lay beneath the Ottoman property <= on which millions had been peacefully living for several centuries.

After WWI, the Ottoman land became British Palestine, and French occupied Syria, Egypt etc.

The Oligarch needed to establish control over the oil in the rich lands and they needed to kill off the German leadership adding things of value to the world causing severe loss in wealth to the Oligarchs in democracy nation states. But as luck would have it, the European states needed to take on the Ottoman and German groups <=were too poor to finance such a war. Worse the would be fighters from Europe, were too few in numbers and technically unable to man the modern sophisticated instruments of war effectively. Something had to be done, to supply the money to fight WWI, and to supply the manpower needed to staff the armies ..

That's where Wilson comes in, the Silver monetary Chaos, the need to fund a war, the need to use technology to finance and produce the machines of war, and the need to finance and train sufficient numbers of men to fight the war in Europe.. all these things, play a part in the 16th amendment (which amended Article I, Section 9, paragraph (4) of the constitution of the United States. the amendment changed "cannot [tax] to can [tax]" "word for word" terms).

Ratified, the 16th amendment allowed the income tax Act of 1913 (which Act s/h/b labeled the WWI collateral act, since it enabled tax revenues to be used as collateral, bank loan guarantee, and the like ), and within a few days later the Federal Reserve Act of 1913..

Hence USA taxes [extracted by constitutionally enabled rule of law from USA governed Americans], would guarantee and pay off the bonds the Bankers would issue and sell to finance the war in Europe. Note<=in due time the USA instituted the Draft which provided the necessary manpower..

this is my take.. on how USA governed Americans were enslaved to the monetary system.

Posted by: snake | Jul 29 2021 11:14 utc | 101

President Biden emphasized continued U.S. support, including development and humanitarian aid, for the Afghan people, including women, girls, and minorities.

What, no support for Blacks?

If there is no Biden support for Afghan BLM riots, billions in property damage, and the loss of inncent life, how can the US foreign policy establishment consider the country to be civilized?

Posted by: Sushi | Jul 29 2021 11:22 utc | 102

To the folks who enjoyed listening to Kishore Mahbubani,you might want to listen to this episode from the Asian Peace Programme that he set up.

In this episode he speaks with George Yeo, a former Singaporen Foreign Minister. Mr Yeo was also a very able man, but unfortunately he lost his parliamentary seat in an election some time ago, so was forced to relinquish his Foreign Minister post.

Have a listen, George Yeo is steeped in knowledge of things Chinese, so it is well worth your 40 minutes.

See the youtube video

Posted by: Littlereddot | Jul 29 2021 12:04 utc | 103

I doubt that Biden is even in the loop on Afghanistan.

Posted by: aqualech | Jul 29 2021 12:15 utc | 104

Sometimes it takes a broken clock to tell us the correct time:

America’s ‘Great Retreat’ is well underway, by Stephen Bryen

People here talking about Japan, Germany, Taiwan etc. etc. are not seeing the forest from the trees. Decades of American domination of the capitalist world has hollowed out these nations you grew up learning to love and respect. They were never much more than provinces of the American Empire. They were never destined to really compete at the world stage.

So, when Biden talks about fighting only with an alliance, he's merely repeating, with Democrat rhetoric, the Trumpist doctrine that stated Western Europe, South Korea and Japan should pay for the American defenses in their territories. It means one obvious thing: the USA is running out of resources. It's having to cut costs - for the first time in its history. But there's a first time for everything.

Don't be intimidated by these crazy stories about sending Japan, Turkey or the EU to fight China and Russia. They merely mean the Empire is having to fall back. Those provinces are merely fighting between each other not to be the American Dacia, their armed forces mean absolutely nothing.

The war hawks are already weeping.

Posted by: vk | Jul 29 2021 14:41 utc | 105

According to UnzSite/Israel_Shamir, there are CoVID19-Lockdown-PharmaVaxx-Related Riots and Regime-Change Assassinations going on.

Posted by: IronForge | Jul 29 2021 14:49 utc | 106

Oops, sorry

Posted by: IronForge | Jul 29 2021 14:49 utc | 107

Just saw this. Related to @ 104:

U.S. urges Japan to shoulder more of costs for hosting American troops

Look at this lamentable state:

For fiscal 2021 through next March, Japan will shoulder ¥201.7 billion ($1.84 billion) in so-called host nation support, around the same level as the previous year.

The spending covers some of the expenses for the approximately 55,000 U.S. military personnel stationed in Japan, including utility and labor costs.

Japan wants the United States to understand that it is contributing as much as possible under tight finances and is also financially supporting works related to U.S. forces’ realignment, the sources said.

Japan also hopes to avoid increasing its contribution by convincing the United States that it is doing its part in strengthening the bilateral security alliance, including in cyberspace and outer space where China is increasing its clout, they said.

Japan has now become a Beggar State.

Posted by: vk | Jul 29 2021 15:08 utc | 108

The war hawks are already weeping.

Posted by: vk | Jul 29 2021 14:41 utc | 104

Thanks, I just read that too. It's really fills it in, what's happening. I think this shift started right around the time we backed off in Ukraine. I'm wondering who made that decision, and how, and why. I've seen a few other disturbances in the Force lately, but this is more direct. Now, of a sudden, we have Blinken saying he thinks it might be good to have China helping Afghanistan. Interesting times. "All that is solid melts into air". Indeed.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 29 2021 15:09 utc | 109

'That's a Positive Thing': Blinken Lauds China's Outreach to Taliban

Posted by: Bemildred | Jul 29 2021 15:15 utc | 110

@ snake (#99 & 100), really appreciate you sharing your perspectives and insights. Thank you.

It is really a tragedy to see how our nation lost its way. It is time for Americans to end their and world’s enslavement. Let nations be SOVEREIGN and define their destiny.

“One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we've been so credulous. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.”
- Carl Sagan

This challenge is at the very heart, essence and innate nature of humanity and must be confronted today by every individual on the planet.

“A Bug’s Life” is an even more relevant film now than it was two decades ago. Nearly every aspect of “A Bug’s Life” is a calculated piece of an allegorical puzzle.

Who wants to be the Flik of the 21st century?

Posted by: Max | Jul 29 2021 15:21 utc | 111

Posted by: snake | Jul 29 2021 9:30 utc | 99

re on getting enslaved...

Namely, "the box" as in [dis]ability to think outside the box.

The box was established to enable subsequent updates on any and all matters, limited only by the desires of others to control others, itself one of many built-in ["natural"] compulsions.

My take on this? The authors or origination of the box have been researched to at best only slight success, though evidence of its existence abounds...and any funding of such inquiry most probably tainted by suspect intentions. [For example, the works of Pavlov, Bernays and many others serve as effective evidence of such a box, irrespective of intentions.]

Pretty slick tech to enslave spiritual phenomena.

Posted by: chu teh | Jul 29 2021 15:53 utc | 112

As always with Biden, ignore the splashy headlines and read the fine print.

As always when dealing with an Empire such as the United States, you can always safely assume that it is dealing in bad faith, and you will be but rarely disappointed.

Posted by: Feral Finster | Jul 29 2021 16:00 utc | 113

@ chu teh (#111), good points.

“The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.”
– Edward Bernays (1928)

Is this a good overview of the RULING POWER of the U$A & world?

Posted by: Max | Jul 29 2021 16:31 utc | 114

As you all say, it's not just Biden:

GOP Senators Threaten to Block Treasury Nominees Unless Biden Admin Reverses Nord Stream 2 Policy

The capitalist anarchic system (Bellum omnium contra omnes, the Hobbesian utopia) is devouring itself in the absence of an external enemy to devour.

Posted by: vk | Jul 29 2021 16:41 utc | 115

Pepe Escobar's been writing a lot because there's much to report. Here he presents a round-up of the many recent meetings and focuses closer on the SCO's role in the peace making. He does make one important observation about the Taliban:

"The most important fact is that the Taliban are, de facto, a constellation of warlord militias. What this means is that Mullah Baradar in Tianjin does not speak for the whole movement. He would have to hold a shura with every major warlord and commander to sell them whatever political road map he agrees with Russia and China.

"This is a huge problem as certain powerful Tajik or Uzbek commanders will prefer to align themselves with foreign sources, say Turkey or Iran, instead of whoever will be in power in Kabul.

"The Chinese might find a detour around the problem by literally buying everyone and his neighbor. But that still wouldn’t guarantee stability."

And while the SCO has perhaps the best insight into the overall problem:

"The SCO, for its part, has kept an Afghan contact group since 2005. Afghanistan is an SCO observer and may be accepted as a full member once there’s a political settlement.

"The key problem inside the SCO will be to harmonize the clashing interests of India and Pakistan inside Afghanistan. [My Emphasis]

And that's where as several have mentioned where the Outlaw US Empire can continue to destabilize the region. But we won't have to worry about Pakistan doing its best:

"Pakistan, meanwhile, is working closer and closer within the SCO framework. Prime Minister Imran Khan could not be more adamant when addressing US public opinion: 'Washington aimed for a military solution in Afghanistan, when there never was one,' he said.

“'And people like me who kept saying that there’s no military solution, who know the history of Afghanistan, we were called – people like me were called anti-American,' he said. 'I was called Taliban Khan.'"

Pepe linked to Dawn's report about Khan's PBS interview yesterday, which covers more ground than just the Afghan/Taliban situation and is worth the read, or you can watch the video, which is linked at the article. Here's that item's lead:

"Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the United States 'really messed it up in Afghanistan' as he questioned the American motive of Afghan invasion in the first place and then their subsequent attempts of seeking a political solution with the Taliban from a position of weakness."

Pepe also links to this interview in German with Russian Taliban expert Andrei Kazantsev. However, I must report that Kazantsev isn't immune to Outlaw US Empire propaganda:

"The attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York were linked to Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. Bin Laden and many of his leaders hid in Afghanistan with the Taliban. The US demanded his extradition - if the Taliban had complied with this demand, there would have been no war. It is an important point: the Americans were initially willing to continue to work quietly together, but the Taliban did not betray Bin Laden." [My Emphasis]

We all know that the Taliban offered to extradite bin Laden IF the Empire provided evidence, which of course was never supplied, and he never appeared on the FBI's Most Wanted List--Ever. That's a very unfortunate way to start an interview by dissing your own credibility. However, he does know a few important facts:

"Andrei Kazanev: Many do not understand the structure of the Taliban. The Taliban are a construct of troops of warlords. The real role in this is not played by the people who travel the world on behalf of the Taliban and conclude agreements, the so-called political wing. But the real warlords, who can often conduct their own policies completely independently of the official positions of the Taliban. This results in problems.

"The Taliban sign a peace agreement and yet there are a number of terrorist attacks by individual field commanders. The Taliban claim that these are not their attacks, but in reality, of course, they are warlords who must be seen as part of their movement.

"Only that they are often not controlled by the political wing. Another problem is that there are many groups in Afghanistan that are funded by external actors, solving problems that have absolutely nothing to do with peace for Afghanistan and can hardly be included in an agreement.

"These are, for example, the Fatimyun troops, which are financed by Iran. Fatimyun is an important force currently fighting in Syria. In the event of an escalation in the civil war, Fatimyun would return to Afghanistan and become a major force against the Taliban. In addition, there are field commanders of Uzbek or Tajik origin who openly turn to either Turkey or Russia in search of support. The Taliban, in turn, have many ties to Pakistan, especially the political wing."

As I mentioned, the interview with Telepolis is in German. And so it continues as we learn more about the many complexities needing to be addressed to establish a peaceful political settlement. IMO, finding a solution in Myanmar will be just as complex.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 29 2021 16:55 utc | 116

karlof1 @ 90, if you are not a judo black belt by now, you should be! And for our friend who loves to ask questions, Professor Hudson asks many, especially in the final paragraph you quote. I will just give the lovely one he puts a bit before that here for us to properly digest. (Spoiler: he kinda also gives the answer.)

"..."What if China let many billionaires begin buying out companies and creating monopolies? It wouldn’t happen there, and it didn’t used to happen in the United States under the anti-monopoly laws here. You can’t reform only one part of the economy, like finance, without reform the rest of the system. So you need systemic reform: Monetary and financial reform have to go together with fiscal reform, policy reform and legal reform..."

[I have helpfully bolded the question part. Suggestion to commenters: answering one's own questions is a very helpful way to proceed, if one has an important message to impart.]

Posted by: juliania | Jul 29 2021 17:02 utc | 117

psychohistorian is very helpful in his posts insisting we not forget the money impulse in all of this. (Remembering as we do that there was a forged bond between bellicosity and profit at one point in our history, so that warmaking is our one industry now in the US - if you don't count printing money, which has been a bit sidelined as the digital US dollar came into its own.)

That being the case, Biden is obliged to continue along that path, at least in his speeches. And he has some unused weaponry still, since that is this country's source of income; the question being how long can new weapons replace the ones he uses or has used up? And following my mantra to answer my own questions, I would guess there is a finite end to such manipulations, an end which we are fast approaching. (I will leave it to others more qualified to assess the hard realities.) The rot is already underway as we see once again the whistleblowers come to the forefront in industries formerly under the protection of government secrecy mandates. Enough of that, and we might just be getting somewhere.

The whistleblower effect is now to be seen in other areas as well. I have been following the revelations at with respect to covid - small letters as cut and dried it is as Biden would have us believe. Caution against a nasty illness, yes; but the push to 'vaccinate' is having a significant backlash and enlightening many who put their trust in the government. The vaccines are not only shortlived in efficacy; the vaccinated are being shown to be carriers, spreaders of the virus - this is huge.

It is another case of making use of old technologies in order to profit from them, never mind that said technologies were warned against by their makers, who knew what they were talking about. The story of the century, I do believe. Very, very sad that families are suffering due to the misplaced emphasis on profit once again. But at the very least, another crack in the dam. Enlightenment is coming at an enormous price for many, but it is coming.

Posted by: juliania | Jul 29 2021 17:34 utc | 118

Editing :- '...small letters as not as cut and dried...'

Posted by: juliania | Jul 29 2021 17:37 utc | 119

Still just chopping at the trunk...

The ROOT of ALL problems is that of perpetual growth on a finite planet. Wipe out all the oligarchs (I shall not shed a tear) and toss aside Capitalism (also no shedding of tears) and as long as you're still operating under a growth paradigm The End will be the same.

Thanks to (? someone posting above, sorry I didn't want to wade back to look) I was reminded to check on Caitlin Johnstone's latest and ran across this recent article which provides a great segway...>

^^^ THIS is a parallel track, and, if you agree with Lewis Mumford's understanding of human history and its trajectory (I believe him to be correct), it is that robots will displace humans. The precision required of our Systems has demanded increased mechanical controls; such is basically self-reinforcing. There will be, as he notes, a stark class divide in which the lower class will be slowly pushed out. NOTE: Mumford's The Myth Of The Machine, which I highly recommend people read, is a two book series (first book is a little slow, but sets the necessary background).

We can blame this and that, but there are underlying currents that ALL rides on, and that if we don't understand what those are we will NOT have any chance at making any meaningful (moral) changes.

"The chief cause of problems is solutions." -- Eric Sevareid

Posted by: Seer | Jul 29 2021 17:46 utc | 120

The pullout from Afghanistan is just a replay of Obama's Iraq pullout. The American regime will funnel arms and Uyghur jihadists through Afghanistan to western China, like Obama sent them to Syria.

Posted by: Hank2 | Jul 29 2021 17:59 utc | 121

Obviously, the u.s. presidential election of 2020 was no different from the one in 2016 - in both cases voters were given the choice between Scylla and Charybdis. Biden is slowly but surely turning into a disaster. For example, if he really continues to bomb Afghanistan after August. Nothing is likely to happen in Iraq either, the u.s. soldiers will remain - from the end of the year on without a combat mission, but that can be changed with the stroke of a pen.
His statements on a possible war with a 'great power', i.e. China or Russia, due to a cyber-attack emanating from such a power, are all the more disturbing. In fact, with that statement he has given himself carte blanche to start a war of aggression. A casus belli can be fabricated, especially easily in the form of a cyberattack.

Posted by: pnyx | Jul 29 2021 18:25 utc | 122

Interesting references to Putin's sub-optimal management of economic / industrial development in comparison with China's. First, very few countries would seem anything but sub-optimal in comparison to China and its development.

But other that criticism of Putin's continued support for a neoliberal central bank head, I haven't seen much substantive comment. The military design bureaus were praised; is it because other initiatives would have seemed too familiar, to lean too far toward Communists, and thereby give them more oxygen?

I myself suspect that Putin has too much respect for Western capitalist innovation and financial expertise, but am interested in substantive criticisms from the many at the Whisky Bar with far greater expertise than I.

@karof1? @Grieved? @Gordog? @James? @Gruff? b?

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jul 29 2021 19:46 utc | 123

@William Gruff (53)
Logically speaking, with Japan being the monkey to the USian organ grinder on the other side of the Pacific, wouldn't it make better sense for China to attack American ships first, as Japan has no independent foreign policy?

Posted by: joey_n | Jul 29 2021 21:18 utc | 124

Paul Damascene @123--

A few threads ago, I wrote a bit about what I saw as Putin's political-economy. First lets look at his top two goals both of which need the other to progress: Making Russia a Great Nation; uplifting the Russian people to a comfortable and sustainable condition with as much opportunity as they're capable of grasping. There's actually an overall Strategic Plan whose time-scope was just extended to 2030 and there's a government group tasked with design and implementation. Putin's hardcore focus is on the Russian family, particularly young people just getting started, and a great deal of support's gone in that direction both prior to and during Covid. Infrastructure is perhaps next after providing for the common defense. Gazprom was tasked with the job of connecting all households to gas mains, which given Russia's vastness is a tall task but one that must be accomplished. Same with roads, internet, water, and social services. Yes, the latter is seen as an infrastructure requirement. Diversification of Russia's economy in a manner that provides greater opportunities for Russians. Some of that's discussed in this op/ed.

As for Russia's central bank, it's firmly under the Kremlin's control, and its director--the supposed Neoliberal--has performed very well in providing traditional capital input in support of the overall Russian economy. Furthermore, most if not all of Russia's Natural Monopolies are run by state-owned companies--the energy and military sectors being most prominent. As Putin has said dozens of times, the sanctions proved to be a blessing.

A point I made in that previous thread was Russia has had to recover twice from two major wars waged against it and its people, the most recent being the 1990s Neoliberal Rape where many millions again died from Western Aggression, and in too many ways Russia resembled its war ravaged post WW2 self--recovery from which took almost two generations but by the early 1980s proved stillborn: We pretend to work and they pretend to pay us. For all intents and purposes, Russia is still recovering from the 1990s Rape. Both are the primary reason why in some areas Russia lags behind China. Perhaps the most farsighted action Putin took early in his tenure was to propose and consummate the Treaty of Friendship with China and thus put to rest the completely unnecessary and counterproductive strife between the two nations, which are now the symbiotic partners they should have become. But that's another story.

The easiest way to follow what Putin is doing to and for Russia is to read the Kremlin's website. For example, here and here he meets with the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects, the group I mentioned up top, and I do suggest reading both transcripts. In 2018, Putin signed an executive order prioritizing National Projects you can read here. A year later, that list was somewhat modified, and you can read that here. As Putin notes in his meetings, these National Projects suffered setbacks due to the pandemic but progress was made nonetheless. Note that the idea conforms to the Soviet 5-Year Plan format, although that was recently altered as you'll read.

I hope you and others who read this and its linked items will come away with a better idea of what's happening in Russia. An important final point is both Russia and China require peace to further their development, whereas the Outlaw US Empire which cares nothing about the condition of its people prefers to wage war and destabilize nations. That requirement explains quite a lot about the actions taken and not taken by Xi and Putin. Yet, it's not that simple for the Outlaw US Empire as its vassals--except the UK--also need peace and that does tie its hands to a degree as we just saw with Germany and NS2.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 29 2021 23:42 utc | 125

Where the hell did my long comment/reply to Paul @123 disappear to???!!!! It was there after I refreshed the page as I always do to ensure it "stuck." That comment took 90 minutes to compose with its links and all!!! FUCK!!!!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 30 2021 0:16 utc | 126

@Karlofi 125,
Very disappointed to hear it. It's a topic I was hoping to hear from you about.
Hopefully it will 'turn up'?
Thank you in any event for your generous gesture.


Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jul 30 2021 0:53 utc | 127

continuing to destabilize the region once gone will be very difficult for the Outlaw US Empire.

i hope you're right karlof1

Posted by: annie | Jul 30 2021 3:55 utc | 128

@49 vk
Their disdain for corruption is one of the Talibans few redeeming qualities. However, it takes more than just good intentions in order to run a country.

The Taliban should have accepted the power-sharing egreement while they still had the opportunity to do wo. It had been a foul compromise that heavily favoured the Americans. The USA, on the other hand, will leave central Asia anyway within the next 20 years or so. The Taliban might very well got themselves and Afghanistan just another 20 years of war and nothing else.

The same with Iran. Yes, not reaching an agreement would be a political failure for Biden. But in that case Washington can and will keep the sanctions in place perpetually. Just see Cuba and North Korea. The US santions don`t lead to regime change or faciliate any political solution but they still seriously impair the economic and social development. The Iranians should swallow their pride and just take what they can get. The current talks in Vienna might by the last opportunity to get rid of the sanctions for the next century.

Posted by: m | Jul 30 2021 6:38 utc | 129

I thnk US military and politicians have at last realized that it is easier to wage a war with 'remote control'.
Fighting a war with 'boots on the ground' has been obsolete since the day they were able to put a pimply faced, snot nosed brat behind a computer that was connected to a fleet of drones loaded with hellfire missiles and tell him to destroy everything he wants.
(BTW I said he/him for the sake of simplicity, it could well be an LGBTQXZYW++++ person and the outcome will not change for people on the receiveing end).
So leaving Afghanistan or Iraq is not a defeat, but a clever way to keep these countries under control with the least effort. For instance, Afghanistan with Chinese help starts building a factory. At the right moment it will be 'hellfired' to rubble with the excuse CIA reported it was an ISIS base and so on.

Posted by: mauro rossini | Jul 30 2021 10:44 utc | 130

It’s mildly amusing that The Taliban get to have Twitter accounts, but not the former POTUS.

Posted by: Ash Naz | Jul 30 2021 12:42 utc | 131


Sincere commiseration! Happens to me too. It happened to me consistently about half a year ago to the point where I figured that the site owner had me on a kill list. Maybe not, but you never know.

Whenever I want to post something that's more than a few sentences on any site, I always type it up in LibreOffice (Linux-platformed word processing software), then copy/paste and hope for the best. If the comment is "lost" I can always try again, editing if I feel I may have run afoul of a site god, such as happens all the time at any site using that ghastly OpenWeb.

Posted by: corvo | Jul 30 2021 16:17 utc | 132

I see that b has resurrected my long reply to Paul Damascene @125 above. Thanks very much, b!!!

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 30 2021 17:45 utc | 133

"She was very helpful and said she had received them from a colleague in Hamburg. I got in touch with him, and upon taking a closer look confirmed the benign interpretation above. It seems the malicious version stems from the initial translation published by the US think tank CSET, latter corrected due to feedback from the audience"
IT SEEMS TO ME that all these mis-translations have been plannedly doctored, concocted and distributed in mis-translated versions -- both in Englishe , German and in the doctored Chinese versions by one single German doctor from Institut für Asiankunde in Hamburg who now lives in Berlin and gets paid through (very indirect) CIA funding. I can provide his name. lAs Leibnitz said about the falsofications provided by Newton to (falsely ) prove he (Newton) had invented calculus: "FERAT LEO!" (I see the claws of the lion at work.
+47 07484988

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Jul 30 2021 18:28 utc | 134

karlof1@133, again, thank you for your links & perspective. i've followed putin through the kremlin site & other sources for 13 or more years...certainly not with your historian's eye & mind but i am profoundly impressed by lavrov's, putin's sublime hand in our globe's security & well being. your posts, karlof, are gratefully appreciated & as you've just experienced sometimes posts or responses are lost---more than half a dozen of mine to you have simply vanished. i resigned myself to having faith that you know your work & insights are vastly appreciated & extremely important in marking our truth & voyage through the propaganda toward it & peace & universal prosperity. i have often wished you well in your work & i hope great book, for i believe you ought to write the history of our time. as michael hudson does in his field so you in yours.

Posted by: emersonreturn | Jul 30 2021 18:31 utc | 135

emersonreturn @135--

Thanks very much for your gracious reply! While doing my daily rounds, I was treated to further information about what Russia and Putin are doing to better improve the lives of all Russians and even those from other nations in this report presented to Putin by General Director of ANO Russia--Land of Opportunity--Alexei Komissarov. His testimony backs my steadfast assertion that Putin's primary aim is the development of Russia's Human Capital which provides the foundation for Russia's current development and future accomplishments:

"You have repeatedly stated that people are our country’s key asset. They are indeed talented, caring and highly motivated.

"The systemic work that is being pursued at your initiative, the work to identify, promote and develop talents, is yielding good results. In 2017, you took the decision to launch the Leaders of Russia contest. The same year, we launched a programme to train a personnel reserve at the Higher School of State Administration, RANEPA, dubbed the 'school of governors' by the media.

"In your 2018 Address to the Federal Assembly, you noted that a single platform was necessary. In fact, on May 22 you signed an Executive Order on the creation of the Autonomous Non-Profit Organisation Russia – Land of Opportunity. We have a mission that sounds rather serious: 'We are creating Russia’s future, opening equal opportunities for everyone.'

"Much has been done during these three-odd years. With your permission, I will share some figures and facts. These, incidentally, cover what has been done since the Supervisory Board’s meeting that you chaired in March, not only during these three years. There are changes in evidence. But first, I would like to share some sociological data.

"Polls show that 64 percent of our people believe that young people have an opportunity to realise their potential in Russia, to put their talents to use, and to succeed in life. As for those who took part in our projects, 93 percent think this.

"83 percent of the contestants said that taking part in our projects had a positive effect on their personal fulfilment, 65 percent said it helped them find their vocation, 97 percent mentioned the positive effect of our projects, 78 percent said their self-confidence had been boosted and 50 percent said that they have become happier. And it was not us conducting the polls, it was VTsIOM who are independent." [My Emphasis]

As you read further, you'll discover that Putin's initial initiative has spawned a galaxy of associated contests and organizations all aimed at Making Russia Great, many of which have roots in the Soviet Era. The stats are impressive. And this revelation proves Russia is anything but isolated:

"We received about 11,000 applications from 150 countries, which really amazed me. It is incredible: 150 countries have shown an interest in this competition. It is probably not all that surprising, because the prizes there are substantial. Thanks to your decision, finalists can apply for a simplified residence permit, and winners are even eligible for Russian citizenship. In fact, we have not found such examples anywhere in the world, where participants are transparently selected to obtain such opportunities. It seems to me that this is very important."

Clearly, Russia's attention to cultural outreach in its foreign relations are responsible for such a response, along with the prestige of Russia's educational institutions. And for someone my age, I find it excellent that Russia's elderly, "People of the 'silver age,'" also avail themselves of this opportunity at self-improvement and social activity. And these programs are still in their infancy. Clearly they can provide the basis for Russia's own meritocratic system for the proper utilization of every Russian's talent.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 30 2021 20:33 utc | 136

Karlof1 @125
Thanks to you for the detailed, thoughtful response, and to b for restoring it from posting purgatory.

I have often been impressed with the attention to detail, encyclopedic breadth of knowledge and practical execution in VVP's domestic-development activities, to the limits of my awareness of these. But perhaps these are qualities shared by many thinking Russians.

I know that I will not be the first to express sincere concern about the extent to which these are initiatives driven by the energy and vision of a singular, extraordinary leader, and not necessarily the expressions of a system or projet de societe as seems to be the case in China, although to be fair theirs is a mature multi-generational project based on a number of abiding principles. 'Socialism with Chinese characteristics.'

But, as you point out, Russia has had to rebuild at least 3 times in a similar interval -- post WWII, from the decline of civilian infrastructure during the Cold War, then, as you say, during the attempted final deconstruction of Russia as a viable state and potential future adversary of the AngloZionist Empire.

I do wonder at your support for a Western-style Central Bank when a public bank would seem to be at least a vital complement and enabler to Russia's big national projects, if not the central financer.

But those who know Russia better than I do will have a better understanding of why a people's bank is not an imperative for Russia.

Thank you again for the grace and courtesy of your thoughtful post.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jul 30 2021 21:09 utc | 137

Paul Damascene @137--

Thanks for your kind reply! On the issue of Russia's central bank and Russia's banking system generally, what I see is adherence to the national development plan, which includes very generous help to young Russians wanting to buy a house--the democratization of land ownership which is a vital component for a balanced economy and national equity. Much like Germany, there's direct involvement of regional and national banks with industry as well as small and medium businesses, which is often a topic of the meetings on the economy held with Putin. The seemingly microscopic focus on Putin despite there being many other organizations and people involved in Russia's betterment is a product of "language transparency" since Kremlin products are published in English whereas specialist and Russian media is mostly Russian. My comment @136 is an example of that issue. There are times when I feel that I do a much better job of "Russia Watching" than those hired to do so by my government, although my POV would likely be rejected because it's anti governmental aims that I completely disagree with. That situation produces the sort of Group Think that produces far more harmful than good policy. But as long as the banking system operates as a public utility because that's how its directed politically, I don't see the need to try and legislate that it become what it's already doing, although before he retires Putin might suggest that be done.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 30 2021 21:58 utc | 138

BM | Jul 29 2021 7:41 utc | 99

Um, no. The S-500 is primarily an ABM system, the next level up in performance against that kind of target from the S-400.

More likely that the Russians are getting tired of the IAF tactics and are giving more assistance to the Syrians. The real sea change will be when the Syrians are allowed by the Russians to use their S-300 systems in 'chase the launch aircraft home mode' shooting down IAF planes over Lebanon/Jordon etc.

Mind you, I doubt the Russians will expose their full capabilities in Syria.

Posted by: JohninMK | Jul 30 2021 22:04 utc | 139

@138 karlof1 & 137 Paul Damascene

Interesting discussion, many thanks.

We all worry about Russia's future after Putin, and Russia's central bank, but karlof1 is least worried of us all and perhaps he puts his finger on the vital point: that Putin cares about the ordinary people of his land, which in more calculating terms can be called "human capital", the greatest asset any country can possess.

Perhaps in this regard, Russia has indeed grasped the single greatest virtue and strength of modern China: that it empowers its people. The secret of China can only lie in its people, who hold its culture, and who make everything work and grow better. From the first writings of Dr. Sun, it was the remarkable populace, vast and brilliant, which was China's great asset (and also an altruistic boon to the world, even then, in Sun's astonishing vision). And Mao's greatly misunderstood Cultural Revolution largely finished the task of ennobling the peasantry, with self rule and education - upon which foundation, China has surged forward ever since.

And so perhaps Russia does in fact see this aspect of China for what it is. The great, easy to miss, asset of China is her people, educated, febrile, and increasingly confident as the younger generations step into their roles in life. Perhaps Putin sees the same ennobling of what used to be serfs not so long ago as the building of the nation's greatest asset, upon which the future civilization can be trusted to stand, and from which all of its leaps forward will proceed.

I am also certain that Putin has long made plans for his succession, and perhaps the fate of the bank rests with the next person to dispense. Putin, perhaps, is exclusively focused on building the wealth of the nation, in its people, from which all else can easily follow.

I hadn't thought this until now. Hopefully this makes some sense.

Posted by: Grieved | Jul 31 2021 2:54 utc | 140

Karlof1 @138 and Grieved @140

Thank you both for the thoughtful replies. Interesting points on the banking system from which I take away that if the banking system is functioning as a public utility, rather than as an extractive siphon by the oligarchy, then it is doing its job regardless of how it's chartered.

And the perspective that the raising up of the common people, again regardless of the political theory, may be a crucial if little noted common denominator between Russia and China.

Posted by: Paul Damascene | Jul 31 2021 14:32 utc | 141

Grieved @140--

Thanks very much for your well considered reply!

As you're aware, I've been writing about the basic need for nations to tend first and foremost to their human capital since that's the basic component of any economically viable nation. For most of its existence, the USA has NOT valued its people when it comes to aiding their development--a fault many sociologists blame on the Puritans and their ill-effects considering their small percentage of the population. The regressive mantra that people are 100% responsible for the conditions they must contend with has long been behind the very high poverty rate, particularly among minorities subjected to economic discrimination. That form of regressive ethos is absent within Chinese and Russian cultures; they've always been far more collective and nurturing--although the Chinese attitude toward women was very regressive for a very long time and its hangover's still present. Looking at Anglo history, we can see that a longstanding Class War bordering on genocide existed prior to North America's colonization, and that attitude is very much alive in all Anglo nations, and there was no compunction about killing all the natives to steal their land which is the primary basis of Capital formation. We also know the genocide of First Peoples was driven by the elite as many White Slaves would escape to live a better life of freedom within their tribes; and then later, white commoners would emulate their masters in the killing since it was clearly okayed socially. Thus the 1% have no moral grounding capable of deterring them from their actions as they don't give a damn about the decline in the condition of the masses within their nations. That's one of the main reasons why I chronical Putin's efforts as much as I do primarily because they're opposite of what we see from Anglos. Trump said he wanted to MAGA but did zip. And the same goes for Biden. When looked at closely from the outside, the examples of Russia and China are very powerful compared to Anglo Anti-Humanism. Failure to make the Four Freedoms a reality within their own nations is one of the major reasons Anglo nations no longer enjoy the sort of soft power they did in the first two decades after WW2, and is a big reason why JFK was adored internationally because he spoke of the need to finish the job.

Given the above combined with the fact that there's no more native land to steal or nations to exploit and expropriate, Russia, China and other likeminded nations merely need to stay their course of prioritizing the uplifting of their human capital while being prudent economically, meaning not to become too overly indebted in a currency not your own. Russia and China can help facilitate other nations by doing business in each others currencies, a trend that's occurring but must be escalated. Knowing what not to allow to occur within a nation's political-economy is paramount, the main issue being public control/direction of the financial system by having it promote the real economy and the masses that make it happen. Another key point is to jettison Neoliberalism and its Junk economics and adopt traditional industrial capitalism while nationalizing all natural monopolies and adopting modes of taxation that eliminate the Free Lunch provided by economic rent. A citizenry that are substantial owners of their national wealth with no detrimental Class divisions is what ought to be the ultimate goal of political-economy.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 31 2021 18:24 utc | 142

Max @98--

By the way, no Rockefeller had any connection with The Chicago Plan.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jul 31 2021 21:01 utc | 143

The internal fights in Afghanis^n is alo a conflict between the dities' elites and th peasantries and nomad tribes. This story seldomly gets told, because top tribal leaders ar also beholfrlden to their City spinsors doubly.

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 7 2021 19:12 utc | 144

CORRECTION: : not "beholfrlden" -- but "beholden""

Posted by: Tollef Ås/秋涛乐/טלפ וש | Aug 7 2021 19:16 utc | 145

Posted by: m | Jul 28 2021 17:51 utc | 16

m, if I may do a little advertisement. Is it? Anyway, in a presentation about NATO (solution or problem?), Ottawa prof of International Relations, Paul Robinson, referred at one point to a visit by a man of the US military with experience in Afghanistan. Apparently the officer said, not verbatim: to some extent the huge sums of money that got pushed into Afghanistan necessarily to had been trickling down to the Taliban. What assets other than weapons have they already taken over? And don't forget the Taliban earlier supporters, Pakistan and the Wahhabis.

NATO: Solution or Problem?

Posted by: LeaNder | Aug 13 2021 18:45 utc | 146

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