Neocon Dilemma: Israeli-Russian Detente

As Official Washington’s neocons lead the charge into a New Cold War – deeming Russia an implacable enemy – an inconvenient truth is that the neocons’ beloved Israel is warming its relationship with Moscow, writes Stephen J. Sniegoski.

By Stephen J. Sniegoski

A great brouhaha has erupted in the U.S. presidential campaign over charges that Donald Trump is a Kremlin tool because of his desire for friendly relations with Russia.

Trump is being condemned from almost all quarters, even by those Democrats who in the past could be categorized as peaceniks, but the strongest opposition to Trump comes from the neoconservatives, who are the most ardent in taking a hard line on Russia. A number of them are actively supporting Hillary Clinton after being allied with Republicans since Ronald Reagan ran for president in 1980.

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin

Now, the neocons are noted for being staunchly pro-Israel, maintaining that Israeli and American interests coincide. Yet neither they nor, for that matter, the American mainstream media have acknowledged the fact that Israel and Russia are developing a close relationship, which encompasses economic and security measures.

That closer relationship is illustrated by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s three visits to Moscow since September 2015 to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

While frequently described as America’s best ally, Israel has essentially placated Russia by distancing itself from the United States on the Ukrainian crisis, even refraining to vote on the U.N. General Assembly’s non-binding resolution that affirmed the “territorial integrity of Ukraine” and declared Crimea’s secessionist referendum to be invalid. The resolution passed by a vote of 100-11, with 58 abstentions.

Israel is the only “Western” country that has not taken part in the international sanctions imposed on Russia over its military intervention in Ukraine. Israel’s only official reaction to the Ukrainian issue was a rather tepid statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry on March 5, 2014, which read in full: “Israel is following with great concern the events in Ukraine, is anxious for peace for all its citizens, and hopes that the situation will not escalate to a loss of human life. Israel hopes the crisis in Ukraine will be handled through diplomatic means and will be resolved peacefully.”

According to Israeli media, Jerusalem agreed to issue the statement only after it was pressured to do so by the U.S. administration.

The neocons should have found themselves in a difficult position here since they were portraying Russian actions as an effort to recreate the Soviet empire and replace democracy with tyranny, thus posing a threat to American security. Some neocons said failure to take strong action would invite aggressive action by regimes around the world.

For example, former Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams maintained that “[t]yrants in places from Tehran to Beijing will also be wondering about the cost of violating international law and threatening the peace and stability of neighbors.”

Going Silent

After fuming about the evil and grave danger of the Russian “invasion” of Crimea, the neocons were largely mum about Israel’s failure to vote against the Russian action in the U.N. Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard did not even mention Israel’s abstention.

Neoconservative pundit William Kristol. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

Neoconservative pundit William Kristol. (Photo credit: Gage Skidmore)

When queried by a reporter from the Times of Israel, Danielle Pletka, who is vice president of the American Enterprise Institute, wrote in an email: “It doesn’t affect support for the democratic state of Israel among American friends. That’s not the way it works. They’re an independent country, and have the right to be foolish; I don’t think anyone devotes even a minute to considering the Israeli position on Ukraine.”

Although generally ignored by the American mainstream media, Israeli-Russian relations have been improving for some time despite Russia’s support for Iran, Syria and the Palestinians. The improvement stems in part from the fact that both countries have a common interest in opposing Islamic terrorism.

Unlike the United States and Western Europe, Israel fully supported Putin’s ruthless suppression of the Chechen rebels. It was Putin’s role in the Second Chechen War, which he launched on Sept. 30, 1999, when serving as prime minister, that gave him the favorable publicity to be elected president.

Since becoming president in March 2000, Putin has worked for better relations with Israel. Meetings and telephone conversations between Russian and Israeli officials have taken place on a regular basis.

In 2005, Putin became the first Russian (or Soviet) head of state to visit Israel; he received a very friendly welcome from Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who called him “a friend of the state of Israel,” and from Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, who said that Putin was “among brothers.”

Though the meeting did not iron out difficulties involving Russia’s support for Israel’s enemies — which largely continue through the present — the visit was a landmark in the development of improved relations between the two countries.

Putin returned to Israel in 2012 to meet with Israeli leaders and inaugurate a monument to the Soviet Army for its victory over Nazi Germany in World War II. In his dedication speech, Putin called the Holocaust “the darkest, most shameful chapter in human history” and lauded the Soviet Army for acting to “smash the head of the Nazi monster and [allow] all nations to survive.”

His words went over quite well with Israelis, but the portrayal of the Red Army as liberators would require substantial caveats for many Eastern Europeans.

Positive Attitude toward Jews

It should also be mentioned that Putin’s Russia has treated Russian Jews very favorably, especially in contrast to the way they were treated in the Soviet Union from the latter part of the Stalinist era.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sept. 21, 2015.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Sept. 21, 2015.

In late 2012, what is purported to be the largest Jewish history museum in the world opened in Moscow — the first Jewish museum to exist in Russia for more than 60 years. Its construction was funded by oligarchs close to Putin who himself personally donated one month of his salary.

It is true that many of the oligarchs who dominated Russia during the Yeltsin era were Jewish, and Putin did remove a number of them from their positions of power. Some fled the country or served jail sentences, or did both; and a few died in questionable circumstances. But those Jewish oligarchs were removed because of their opposition to Putin rather than their Jewish ethnicity.

Many Jewish oligarchs who have supported Putin have continued to flourish, and a high number of new super-wealthy Jews have emerged under Putin’s rule. Leading ones include Alexei Miller, Oleg Deripaska, Vladimir Potanin, Roman Abramovich, Michael Fridman (or Friedman), Moshe Kantor, Lev Leviev, Viktor Vekselberg, and Arkadi and Boris Rotenberg (Putin’s judo sparring partners in his youth).

Konstanty Gebert, a noted Polish journalist of Jewish ethnicity (and a dissident during Communist rule in Poland), writes in Momentum Magazine, “In fact, with the partial exception of his immediate predecessor, the hapless Boris Yeltsin, Putin is the only leader in modern Russian history who seems to have no apparent problem with Jews being Jews and Russians simultaneously.”

In April 2014, writing in the online Jerusalem Post, Amotz Asa-El described the Russo-Israeli relationship thus: “Not only are relations between Jerusalem and Moscow normal, in many ways they are even warm. Traffic between the two countries is free and hectic, Russia has become Israel’s major oil supplier, it is a potentially deep destination for Israeli exports, and the two countries are in the process of finalizing a free-trade agreement.”

Asa-El asserted that it is simply not in Israel’s interest to do anything that would harm those good relations that took so long to establish. Israel, he noted, has to consider the regional power factor: “The past three years’ upheaval across the Arab world has for now resulted in increased Russian presence and diminishing American prestige.” Confronted with “such a Russian comeback, Israel would be foolhardy to squander its hard-earned relations with post-Communist Russia.”

Asa-El observed also that there is no reason for Israel to take part in “distant East European squabbles” that don’t really concern Israel’s interests.

“Neutrality in this conflict,” he concluded, “seems for now Israel’s only plausible choice, and Jerusalem apparently expected Washington to understand this, as indeed does the Israeli opposition, where no one has so far attacked this policy.”

Regional Interests

Now those are very justifiable reasons for Israel not to become involved in Eastern European affairs; in fact, they should be a guide for the United States as well and should pertain to relations with Israel and the Middle East as well as with the rest of the world.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria "Toria" Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, flanked by Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria “Toria” Nuland, addresses Russian President Vladimir Putin in a meeting room at the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, at the outset of a bilateral meeting on July 14, 2016. [State Department Photo]

If Washington were to follow Israel’s wise policy, it would certainly be much less supportive of Israel, since its current unwavering support of the Jewish state harms its relationship with the rest of the Middle East, ensnares it in unnecessary wars, and makes it a leading target for Islamic terrorists.

It is also the case, however, that Israel’s position is not simply one of non-involvement but is actually antithetical to current U.S. policy. Both Russia and Israel are interested in expanding their mutual trade.

Russia is especially interested in acquiring Israeli technology; Israel, in turn, is interested in being a world leader in advanced technology — especially that which has military applicability. For example, Israel has been the world’s largest exporter of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles — drones), many of which have military applications.

At the same time, Israel would like to increase its Russian imports, which largely consist of raw materials — oil and oil products, natural gas, metals, wood and wood products. The sanctions that the United States and Europe have imposed on Russia have given Israel the opportunity to expand its trade with Russia, and the two nations are planning a “free-trade” agreement — actually, Israel would make that agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), of which Russia is the leading country. (The EAEU comprises Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan, and came into existence on Jan. 1, 2015.)

More needs to be said about Israel’s sale of (unarmed) drones to Russia, which began in 2010 and continued after the conflict began in Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and the U.S.-backed Ukrainian government.

By providing weapons and even American troops to countries on Russia’s border, the United States is essentially defining Russia as an enemy — and the neocons take a very hard line on that issue — so Israel, from this perspective, is equipping America’s enemy.

By the first decade of the 21st Century, the Russian army had fallen far behind the West in terms of high technology; Russia had greatly cut spending on its military in the 1990s. UAVs require miniaturized components, which had always been a challenge for Soviet industry. If it were not to become a second-rate power, the Russian army needed to modernize.

In 2012, David Axe wrote in Wired magazine that Russia was 20 years behind the United States in drone technology and that it lagged not only behind the United States in this area but also behind many other First World militaries. Its weakness was made manifest in its 2008 war with Georgia, which was equipped with Israeli-made drones.

Drone Technology

Patrick Hilsman, a freelance journalist, writes in the Middle East Eye: “Russia’s disadvantage in UAV technology was highlighted after Georgian forces were able to inflict surprisingly high casualties against the invading Russians in 2008.”

A Predator drone.

A Predator drone.

Hilsman underscores the critical military significance for Russia of Israeli technology. “The push to modernise Russia’s air force,” he observes, “lead [sic] to the 2010 deal on Israeli and Russia military cooperation. The deal signed between Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Russian government through Oboronprom, a Russian defence company, was much more than an arms sale, and involved direct military cooperation with Israel training at least 50 Russian officers on UAV operations in Tel-Aviv.”

Hilsman adds: “Most interestingly, IAI and Oboronprom agreed to jointly produce UAVs inside Russia. Many of Russia’s new UAVs are a direct result of the programme. Earlier this year [2015], Ukrainian forces shot down and released photos of the Russian version of an IAI Searcher drone which was presumably acquired or built as part of the 2010 deal.”

While Russia is a new entrant in developing sophisticated drones, it supposedly has recently taken the lead in developing a hydrogen-powered drone that is able to stay aloft far longer than previous types. So in one important respect, Russia, as a result of help from Israel, has developed drones that are superior to those the United States possesses.

What did Israel expect to gain from selling drones to Russia and contributing to its ability to manufacture drones? Obviously, it wanted to increase its exports and imports of key items. Furthermore, Israel likely wants to use the sale of UAVs as leverage to persuade Russia to curtail its provision of sophisticated military hardware to Iran and Syria.

As Jane’s Defence Weekly stated: “It is reasonable to argue that Israel viewed UAV sales and joint military technology activity as a means of bringing influence to bear on Moscow.”

Those few pro-Israel observers who openly acknowledge the Israel-Russia rapprochement argue, basically, that the alleged retrenchment of the United States from the Middle East — especially in its unwillingness to remove Syria’s Bashar Assad and its purported appeasement of Iran in the nuclear agreement — has forced Israel to come to terms with the new dominant power in the Middle East, Russia.

There is also an energy factor in the growing Israel-Russia cooperation. Russia would like to participate in the development and exploitation of the massive offshore Tamar and Leviathan natural-gas fields, which were recently discovered in Israeli waters.

The gas needs to be efficiently extracted and transported to markets, and Russia has expressed interest in performing those tasks through its state-controlled company Gazprom (the Russian government holds a 50.1 percent interest).

Energy Expertise

Moscow would like not only to profit from the venture but also to prevent competition with its own gas sales to Europe. From the Israeli perspective, Gazprom has the technical and financial ability to develop the gas reservoirs and market the gas to customers.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 1, 2013. (UN Photo by Evan Schneider)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to the United Nations General Assembly on Oct. 1, 2013. (UN Photo by Evan Schneider)

Russian participation in Israel’s gas industry would give Israel leverage over Russia to induce it to protect Israeli interests. In fact, Russia’s very presence could play a direct role in maintaining the safety and security of Israel’s gas infrastructure, preventing possible attacks by Iran, Syria, or Hezbollah.

While Israel has a definite rationale for cozying up to Russia, it still seems odd that America’s supposed best ally is acting contrary to American foreign policy while it receives more foreign aid from the United States than any other country — including cutting-edge military technology — as well as guarantees of military protection, and also can rely on Washington to veto every measure brought up in the U.N. Security Council that Israel deems to be contrary to its interests.

American military aid to Israel is intended to provide Israel with what is termed a “qualitative military edge” in conventional warfare over its enemies even if they joined together. And in any possible war, Israeli damage and casualties would be minimal. Furthermore, the United States actively works to guarantee a regional nuclear monopoly for Israel. In short, the United States guarantees that Israel will remain, by far, the dominant military power in the Middle East.

Although Israel has been involved in selling UAVs to Russia, which can be used for military purposes, Israel apparently is not transferring actual American military technology to Russia, as was the case in its dealings with China. But American aid does indirectly facilitate the Israeli-Russian relationship. Hilsman writes:

“U.S. aid comprises a small percentage of Israel’s economy, but it frees up a significant amount of resources for research and development. IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) is at least partially subsidized by the U.S. government, which provided funding for the development of the Iron Dome missile defence system.

“American officials have often expressed concern over the proliferation of Israeli technology to third parties, and the Israeli Russian UAV program puts the American government in an especially awkward position.”

While Israel is working at cross-purposes with the United States regarding Russia, virtually nothing about it gets mentioned in the American mainstream media. As pointed out earlier, Israel, of course, is acting not foolishly but in its own interests. Given the power of the Israel lobby in the United States, the pressure on Israel to cater to American foreign-policy goals is minimal.

In contrast, despite a fairly substantial Jewish population in Russia and the existence of Jews with considerable wealth, no equivalent Israel lobby exists there. Thus, to gain favor from Russia, it is necessary for Israel to reciprocate diplomatically.

Russian Allies

Russia is not going to give up its support for its existing Middle East allies, Syria and Iran, but it is likely willing to limit its support for them in order to receive benefits from Israel. Moreover, Iran and Assad’s Syria have little bargaining power vis-à-vis Russia because they have no other major power on which to rely for comparable military assistance. (China could provide such aid but in recent years has been unwilling to do so.)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (left) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo credit: Press TV)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (left) shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek on Sept. 13, 2013. (Photo credit: Press TV)

But why do the neocons take a position hostile to Russia? For one thing, they not only concern themselves with advancing Israel but pursue other interests as well, though the welfare of Israel is primary.

One goal, pointed out by numerous commentators, is strengthening support for democracy throughout the world; the neocons are thus described as neo-Wilsonians. (But as Paul Gottfried has accurately observed, this democracy may not always mean majority rule or freedom of speech but rather represent what he terms “managerial democracy,” which is the ideology of modern American liberalism.)

The neocons are hostile to Russia for a number of reasons, which include Putin’s authoritarian rule; his support for traditional values such as state-supported Russian Orthodoxy, heterosexuality over homosexuality, and raising the Russian-ethnic birth rate; his opposition to American globalism and “regime change” strategies; and his aid to Israel’s enemies.

Though it is speculative, I would like to advance one explanation that aligns the neocon position on Russia with Israel’s interests. By generating greater U.S. hostility toward Russia, the neocons push the U.S. government to place more sophisticated weaponry on Russia’s borders, which, in turn, causes Russia to seek more high technology with military applications from Israel.

The more that Russia depended on Israeli high tech, the more leverage Israel would have over Russia. Israel would then be in a position to pressure Russia to restrain its allies, Iran and Syria, from taking belligerent actions against Israel. (That, in turn, would result in Iran and Syria restraining Hezbollah.)

Undoubtedly, America’s unconditional support for Israel and its simultaneous hostile approach toward Russia could not co-exist if there existed, in the mainstream, a logical discussion of Israel’s aid to Russia. [Another factor in the neocons’ push for a new Cold War with Russia is the neocons’ desire to open even wider the sluice gates of military spending: see, for instance, Consortiumnews.com’s “US Arms Makers Invest in a New Cold War” and “A Family Business of Perpetual War.”]

If Putin were a diabolical threat to the West, as claimed by the neocons and much of the mainstream, how could a truly good country, as Israel is purported to be, be friendly toward Russia to the extent of strengthening its military power? Given the mainstream media’s depiction of Putin’s Russia as Hitlerian, it would be the equivalent of a country voluntarily (sans military pressure) arming Nazi Germany during World War II.

It follows that if Israel wants to befriend and aid a “dangerous enemy” of America and the West, it is not the ideal ally it is purported to be, and the United States should curtail its support for it.

On the other hand, if Israel is really a stellar country, then Russia must not be such an evil and dangerous one, and Washington should cease treating it as an enemy. That would be the logical approach, but one can be assured that in the mainstream discourse, it is not logic but doublethink that ineluctably prevails in discussions about Israel.

Stephen J. Sniegoski earned his doctorate in American history, with a focus on American foreign policy, at the University of Maryland. He is the author of the book: “The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda, War in the Middle East, and the National Interest of Israel” (2008). [This article was originally published at the Last Ditch, www.thornwalker.com/ditch/snieg_russia_israel.htm]

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21 comments for “Neocon Dilemma: Israeli-Russian Detente

  1. Fergus Hashimoto
    September 14, 2016 at 4:30 am

    I see I am outnumbered here.
    I respectfully address the majority of readers of Consortium News and these are my words:
    Your arguments on the Palestinian issue are often fairly persuasive. But you argue from factual premises that in my opinion are not based on any serious study of the Arab-Israeli conflict, by which I mean you do not seem familiar with the actual events that have occurred in Palestine over the last century.
    I think that is an important objection, from my own personal experience: I had always had the impression that Israel deliberately provoked all or most of the wars in which it has been involved. However on reading about the events of 1920, 1947-48, 1967 and 1973 in Wikipedia and elsewhere, each time I wound up concluding that I had been mistaken. In each of those 4 conflicts between Jews and Arabs in Palestine, it was the Palestinian Arabs, backed by their cousins elsewhere, who had deliberately provoked the conflict, often justifying their actions with illogical or otherwise hazy statements.
    I have come to seriously doubt much of the Palestinian argument that is so vociferously espoused by what is, for some reason, still called “the Left”. Perhaps another way of putting it is that it seems that in order to support the Palestinian side you have to flatly ignore a lot of facts.
    I am open-minded and suggest that if you want to change my mind, you should point me toward serious academic work, not just hack lit.
    [By the way Wikipedia is not a Zionist stomping ground, as far as I can see.]

  2. delia ruhe
    September 10, 2016 at 4:52 pm

    “[It] seems odd that America’s supposed best ally is acting contrary to American foreign policy while it receives more foreign aid from the United States than any other country — including cutting-edge military technology — as well as guarantees of military protection, and also can rely on Washington to veto every measure brought up in the U.N. Security Council that Israel deems to be contrary to its interests.”

    Israel, together with its powerful US lobby, has the power to ruin the career and reputation of any US president or congressperson, simply through a combination of accusations of antisemitism and the bankrolling of his/her opposition. That keeps US money and war toys flowing into Israel. Let’s wait and see if that kind of blackmail works on Putin or his successor.

    In the meantime, what needs to be factored in here is that Washington has effectively driven Moscow into the arms of Beijing largely by coercing America’s European vassals into joining Washington in slapping sanctions on Russia. Xi has recently responded by inviting Russia to join China in an alliance that moves beyond their already established economic relationship — an alliance that (in Xi’s words) will render NATO powerless against them. China’s economic power and Russia’s superior military know-how (I’ll bet Russian engineers are reverse-engineering those Israeli drones right now), would make a formidable team. Together, they have got much bigger fish to fry than Israel — which is called One Belt One Road, a super-megaproject that involves those Israeli enemies as important partners.

  3. jimbo
    September 9, 2016 at 9:41 am

    What a bunch of whiners. This Israel-Russia bond is good news. If, as the writer hopes, the US gets on board the peace train more good will blossom and hopefully enemies of Israel will, by dint of momentum, deal with the Jewish state. I have news for you, Israel is not going away, especially now that we have more and more countries treating Israel as an equal, as a trading partner, as a high-tech expert. The Palestinian issue is thorny but it won’t get solved by dredging up the Liberty, etc.

    • Tannenhouser
      September 9, 2016 at 4:38 pm

      Because pretending it never happened has worked out so well right?

  4. Evangelista
    September 8, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Stephen J. Sniegoski’s “Neocon Dilemma: Behind the Israeli-Russian Detente” is a much more sophisticated and specifically targeted Israel-Propaganda piece than Zach Battat’s “Behind the Russian-Israeli Detente”, but it is still pure and unadulterated Israel-Prop, purposed to filling and painting over the seams, welds and misfits to picture Israel’s actions as ‘not really actions’ and deliberate manipulations, or attempts to manipulate, but as ‘reactions’, ‘necessities’ and so on. It is better fitted for presentation in a ConsortiumNews forum, where the background is Putin being recognized non-demonic and more than mainstream analysis being the order, with some ambiguity painted in and multiple viewpoint references glommed in, all, however, of course, for “a truly good country” and “really a stellar country”, “as Israel is purported to be”…

    Somehow the overtly instigative actions by Israel, of Netanyahu pushing for war and war actions against Middleeast nations, in U.S. Congress and U.N. assemblies, and Israel ‘fencing’ the Da’esh stolen oil that 1. financed the Da’esh military campaign, 2. financed Turkey’s staging of Da’esh in aid of its campaign and 3. glutted the world oil market to push oil prices down in coordination with the other economic sanctions and “hybrid war” attack strategies all coordinatedly launched against Russia, and effective until Russia launched its aid-to-Syria campaign, enabling it to destroy the Da’esh stolen oil convoy pipelines and end the theft-transport-sales network that would have been illegal had Israel not been the fence and Israel’s goon-stooge, the USA not been the blind-tiger cop on the beat.

    But now that Russia has changed the game there, and the costs of the failing Western campaign are carrying the U.S. and E.U. to the brink, with no way to stop going over, hey, what can “stellar” nation Israel do but try to get a foot on board the Asian Economic Alliance Partnership, to be able to step away from the Western ship the “good” nation, with its international backers, has plundered and wrecked to a hulk more apparently sure to go down than the Liberty.

    Propaganda covering manipulating and double-dealing. Probably better than just the naked manipulating and double-dealing, which history has recorded, in the inflating and market manipulating in Europe in the early 1920s that created the anti-semitic backlash that produced World War Two…

    • Tannenhouser
      September 9, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Evangelista. I would be interested in some sources for ‘naked manipulation and double dealing’ in the 20’s. Care to share?

      • Evangelista
        September 9, 2016 at 8:19 pm

        Look for “When Money Dies” by Adam Fergusson.

        It is available through the web, free download, including goldonomic.com/WhenMoneyDies.pdf

      • Zachary Smith
        September 11, 2016 at 10:51 pm

        See if your library can get you “The Greatest Swindle in the World. The story of German reparations” on interlibrary loan. That one opened my eyes to what happened in Germany after WW1. Until the gigantic thefts by Big Bankers in 2008 USA, I’m not aware of a bigger financial crime. There may have been others, but they’re unknown to me.

        https://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Swindle-reparations-Honourable-Vansittart/dp/B000QF6TTU

        The criminals wiped out the internal debts, destroyed the savings of millions of Germans, stole huge sums from Americans, and laid the foundation for WW2.

    • Northern Observer
      September 9, 2016 at 9:07 am

      Anti Semitic moron-ism on full display. Please regale us from your worn file folder with torn clipping and fading articles on “Rothschild banking conspiracies”, the Illuminati, the Masons, Lloyd George, etc….. It’s all so entertaining.

      The problem with a democratic ethos is people who don’t know they don’t know how to know, find a way to push their crazed ignorance into the public form, either for their own ego satisfactions, or to further the agendas of the propaganda and forgery writers. From the Czars secret police to today is a short ride.

      • Tannenhouser
        September 9, 2016 at 4:33 pm

        As opposed to plain old Moron-ism? Besides name calling and what appears to be a makebelife you are superior, you haven’t added anything…..useful. Just saying. Criticizing Israel hardly constitutes Anti Semitism. Must be something you wish others NOT to discuss, otherwise you would have added something worthwhile. Yes?

      • Evangelista
        September 9, 2016 at 8:38 pm

        I don’t hate anyone, Northern Observer, including Arabs, Palestinians, Ethnic Jews and any other Semitics.

        I tend to be more on than off in my observations and deductions, so maybe you have me there.

        I am, alas, without any torn clippings or faded articles in re. the topics you name. But I am curious about such things, so if you can provide photo-stats of your collection, I will be interested.

        Also, if you can provide me a copy of, or directions to a source for, the origianal and authentic “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, that the known “Forgery” is a forgery of, I will be most grateful, having been a-hunt for that for ages, with no success. (I expect, though, that you won’t have any more success in that line than I, since, if you read the “forgery” you will come to a line that asserts the “original” made by the writers of the Septuagint… An assertion that you can’t help but recognize, from only the writing to that point, to evidence the writer a hack with a HUMONGUS Ego, but no idea what intelligence, intellect or literary capability might possibly be.

  5. Tannenhouser
    September 8, 2016 at 9:45 am

    Not convinced israel actually has an interest, common or otherwise in combating islamic terrorism. A crazy person might even wonder why it seems to, in fact actually benefit Israel. I’m not crazy tho.

  6. NBrady
    September 8, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Always appreciate Stephen’s insights and well researched analyses regarding the neocons, even emailed with him several times to get additional information from him. While this article is typically excellent, I quibble with one small point:
    “…the safety and security of Israel’s gas infrastructure, preventing possible attacks by Iran, Syria, or Hezbollah”

    Israel has been attacked once in 1973 and I don’t believe ever in its own territory (but it has no internationally recognized borders, which disqualifys it from legal statehood). Any “security” issues are self inflicted and are resistance responses to brutal murderous and illegal aggression. Iran has attacked no country in the modern era unless at war (Iraq per U.S support). It poses zero threat to Israel and has no stated policy of aggression toward Israel. Media propaganda to the contrary is false. Syria is all too aware of Israeli nukes and has only responded to Israeli illegal occupation, Golan, terror or aggression, and it has all but given up on the lucrative and strategic Golan occupation. Hezbollah is a military resistance to repeated attacks by Israel within Lebanon. It never existed until israel illegally invaded in 1982(?) and formed to defend its legal sovereign nation. It is a resistance to the terrorist state of Israel funded by the larger global terror threat the USA (our US tax dollars at work). Hamas and its pre-WW1 rockets are 99% retaliatory to Israeli aggression and terror , either mowing the lawn in Gaza or brutal inhuman policies in the occupied West Bank.

    I know Stephen is fully aware of all this, but I had to clarify with my $.02.

    • Rikhard Ravindra Tanskanen
      September 8, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      That doesn’t disqualify it from legal statehood. The state existed, but its annexation of Jerusalem is not recognized. The border between Yemen and Saudi Arabia was undefined – that didn’t mean Yemen and Saudi Arabia didn’t exist.

  7. Joe Tedesky
    September 8, 2016 at 1:02 am

    If Netanyahu isn’t just playing Putin for the fool, and if Russia is allowed to advocate for what’s good for Russia, then Truman should have definitely listened to George Marshall. Marshall insisted that Truman stay out of the Jewish Palestine state issue, because it wasnt good for our own American interest which was mostly oil, and that by recognizing this new Zionist state would be literally going against our well respected American good name. Remember Marshall’s State Department had built up a working relationship with the Middle East Arab leaders at that time, so this Palestine/Israel state and name issue was in Marshall’s eyes was seriously bad for business.

    Mr Sniegoski with Findley & Gottfried mentioned how invading Iraq wasn’t what the oil companies necessarily wanted. As we now know the Neoconservatives got their way and invaded Iraq anyway, but who’s way was best served? The following is from their book; ‘The Transparent Cabal: The Neoconservative Agenda’

    “In the early days of the Bush II administration —as was the case for much of the Clinton presidency —the powerful U.S. oil lobby was intensely lobbying Congress to ease, even to remove, sanctions on Iraq and two other oil producing “rogue” states —Iran and Libya. But an even more influential bloc, the pro-Israel lobby, consistently scuttled the oil lobby’s efforts, which would have allowed Washington to re-establish economic relationships with Israel’s enemies. A May 2001 piece in Business Week by Rose Brady reported that the easing of sanctions on rogue states “pits powerful interests such as the pro-Israeli lobby and the U.S. oil industry against each other. And it is sure to preoccupy the Bush Administration and Congress.” 75 Interestingly, Cheney was identified as being in the anti-sanctions camp.”
    ………………………………………………………………..
    America needs leaders who will finally put their foot down, and say enough is enough. Take a lesson from Putin. Putin seems to have a new friend in Bibi, and yet he is still serving Russia’s interest. Of course both of these leaders could be stabbing each other in the back, but for now Putin hasn’t had to sell his soul all for the love of dear sweet Israel. George Marshall scolded Truman for taking the Israeli lobby money for his 1948 presidential campaign, as Truman in return recognized Israel as a state. Marshall thought that this divide in Palestine belonged to be settled at the UN, but Truman decided otherwise.

    Netanyahu does a lot of things we don’t like, but you can’t say he isn’t a smart politician. Netanyahu could possibly see how Russia may replace the dominant U.S. in the Middle East, and hey Bibi’s gonna be there. Netanyahu also could be a conduit for Hillary, and likewise Vlad. Picture Bibi in the middle of a Hillary to Vlad conversation. Bibi would be in heaven if Hillary and Vlad didn’t speak to each other, but only through Bibi. Okay, I’ll stop, but I can see how Netanyahu by doing everything diplomatic could come out ahead no matter who ends up on top…or at least that could be the plan.

    Putin I’m sure knows what he is dealing with, but it would be a mistake for if he were to forget who brought him to the dance. Putin knows why Erdogan, and Netanyahu are now his new BFF’s, because this coming year will be remembered as the year that Russia and China aligned their two nations militaries together, and to say they are now open for business.

    Although the U.S. is quite a lot bigger than Russia and China with it’s defense spending budget, it could come down to who spent they’re money more wisely. Netanyahu wouldn’t bother visiting Putin four times so far this year, if it were not good for Israel. The U.S. is a global military, but Russia and China combined may be able to cover they’re bases just fine in a defensive manner. I’m not even going to try and contemplate who would win in a large battle, or even if it wouldn’t just go nuclear within the first day, but if you like hedging your bets then just book a flight to Moscow, and say hi Vlad let me buy ya a drink.

  8. Joe B
    September 7, 2016 at 6:02 pm

    (posted too late a few days ago)

    A Modest Mideast Proposal

    Yes, there is now hope. Now Turkey, Iran, and Russia are well positioned to make a great peace initiative. Simply make a deal with Israel to move to Cyprus with its vastly better natural defenses as an island, at the expense of building mansions for the Cypriots in Turkey or Greece (paid for by funds lost by the US DOD). Now Turkey has Palestine which it donates to Daesh and AlQaeda with one-way tickets. Now the Sunnis of E Iraq move to Syria or ISIsrael as they please, making room for the separatist Kurds of Turkey (at some distance from Turkey). Everyone lives happily ever after without a hint of disharmony.

    If the US spent on this what it has wasted in destroying the Mideast for fifteen years, it could pay these thirty million happy migrants about one hundred thousand per household plus infrastructure, a mini-mosque for every family in a thousand McMeccas.

    Now if Israel does not agree, the best thing Russia could do is to give Daesh, AlQaeda & the Chechens free tickets to south Syria, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Gaza, and have them attack Israel. Russia arranges to “defend” Saudi Arabia and Egypt to preclude US intervention. With all those US SAMs etc, they should get past any air force and into the cities for some door-to-door exercises. Any Israeli first-use of nukes (if they really have any) would be on their own territory. Such neighbors should make Israel consider Cyprus an attractive option.

  9. Chris Chuba
    September 7, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    It is nice that all unwanted behavior by Israel (as well as Saudi Arabia and Turkey) is always blamed on the U.S. not doing enough to them but we never extend this graceful attitude towards Iran or Syria. Nope, those countries are just plain evil.

  10. Zachary Smith
    September 7, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Although Israel has been involved in selling UAVs to Russia, which can be used for military purposes, Israel apparently is not transferring actual American military technology to Russia, as was the case in its dealings with China.

    I”m glad the author included the word “apparently” here. His entire theme is that Israel looks out for #1 in all instances, and they DO have a track record of selling technology they’ve been given or stolen to just about anybody if the price is right.

    As for Russia becoming ‘hooked’ on Israel for UAVs, I doubt it. Israel simply got an earlier start than anybody else with that technology, and it’s cheaper – and safer! – for Russia to play catch-up by buying the devices for a while. It’s my opinion Germany has kept giving its super-advanced submarines to Israel to assist sales with other nations. Longer term, Israel is going to sell the secrets of those silent subs to other interested parties. Ditto for any really nice parts of the F-35. Engine, radar, stealth materials – stuff like that.

    Despite being an extremely unreliable “ally”, Israel continues to watch US taxpayer money arrive by the boat-load. So why on earth would the murderous and thieving little nation change its ways?

    • Peter Loeb
      September 8, 2016 at 6:56 am

      PREMISED ON PRESUMED ISRAELI WORLD HEGEMONY?

      I agree with Zachary Smith’s comment above. The Sneigoski article
      seems to have been written very much from the perspective (or
      hegemonic illusions) of Israeli leadership.

      For all the documentation, I doubt there will be a major shift in Russian
      policy now or in the forseable future. There will be no “Israeli
      leverage” over Russian politics.

      Palestine is mentioned once sayhing Russia supports them.
      What have they done. for Palestinians: Ans: Very little. )
      Russia has become deeply involved in the Middle East with
      close buddies of Israels—Hezbollah, Iran, Syria. This
      support will continue to be vital if not increased
      (via SCO?).

      But then, as the saying goes in the US, “business is business”.

      A very odd theme in the above article is that Israel conquers
      all as it wishes and Russia and its allies are weak etc.

      Left out of this analysis is the increasing weakness of the
      US. While both presidential candidates
      in the US have promised to fix this, it is doubtful that wither one
      will. Instead it the the US and “West” which despite military
      displays is in basic decline (eg recent conference of the G 20
      in China).

      Meanwhile Palestinians continue to die, have their homes and
      lands possessed and destroyed by Israel, function under
      Israeli Military Law and blacks continue to be murdered
      both day and night in the US. The response
      of Israeli and US authorities is that they should be polite and
      nice and accept their oppressions.

      Once more, thanks to Zachary Smith for his comment.

      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

  11. Herman
    September 7, 2016 at 9:50 am

    “Those few pro-Israel observers who openly acknowledge the Israel-Russia rapprochement argue, basically, that the alleged retrenchment of the United States from the Middle East — especially in its unwillingness to remove Syria’s Bashar Assad and its purported appeasement of Iran in the nuclear agreement — has forced Israel to come to terms with the new dominant power in the Middle East, Russia.”

    Provocative article, but surprised by the contention that the US was unwilling to oust Assad and our appeasement of Iran. A hint of where the author is coming from.

    But the article does make one thing clear. Israel does what it thinks best for Israel and its control of American policy in the Middle East causes it to ignore what would otherwise be condemned as working against our Cold War aims and our commitment to human rights in general.

    Doing what is best for Israel and pushing a stick in our eye of its “friends” is not new. The British sponsored immigration of Jews at the end of World War I but when the British attempted to be even handed, they faced a guerrilla war by the Jews, who had already found a more powerful sponsor in the United States.

    There are numerous examples such as the attack on the USS Liberty, their rapport with apartheid South Africa, and those instances cited by the author.

    America is corrupted by our special interest politics and there is no greater example than our treatment of the Jews and Arabs in the Middle East.

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