Russophobic rhetoric persists in Washington, but a counter-argument is emerging.
By Patrick Lawrence
Special to Consortium News
Are Western democracies, the U.S. and France in the lead, rethinking the hostility toward Russia they conjured out of nothing since Moscow responded to the coup Washington cultivated in Ukraine five years ago? Will Trump eventually succeed in putting ties with Russia on a more productive path — triumphing over the hawks hovering around him? Have the Europeans at last grown weary of following the U.S. lead on Russia even as it is against their interests to do so?
In desultory fashion over the past month or so, we have had indications that the policy cliques in Washington are indeed reconsidering the Cold War II they set in motion during the Obama administration’s final years. And President Donald Trump, persistent in his effort to reconstruct relations with Russia, now finds an unlikely ally in Emmanuel Macron. This suggests a nascent momentum in a new direction.
“Pushing Russia away from Europe is a profound strategic mistake,” the French president asserted in a stunning series of remarks to European diplomats immediately after the Group of 7 summit in Biarritz late last month.
This alone is a bold if implicit attack on the hawkish Russophobes Trump now battles in Washington. Macron then outdid himself: “We are living the end of Western hegemony,” he told the assembled envoys.
It is difficult to recall when a Western leader last spoke so truthfully and insightfully of our 21stcentury realities, chief among them the inevitable rise of non–Western nations to positions of parity with the Atlantic world. You have nonetheless read no word of this occasion in our corporate media: Macron’s startling observations run entirely counter to the frayed triumphalism and nostalgia that grip Washington as its era of preeminence fades.
There is much to indicate that the West’s aggressively hostile posture toward Russia remains unchanged. The Russophobic rhetoric emanating from Washington and featured daily in our corporate television broadcasts continues unabated. Last month Washington formally abandoned the bilateral treaty limiting deployment of intermediate-range ballistic missiles, signed with Moscow in 1987. As anyone could have predicted, NATO now suggests it will upgrade its missile defense systems in Poland and Romania. This amounts to an engraved invitation to the Russian Federation to begin a new arms race.
But a counter-argument favoring a constructive relationship with Russia is now evident. This is not unlike the abrupt volte-face in Washington’s thinking on North Korea: It is now broadly accepted that the Korean crisis can be resolved only at the negotiating table.
The Times Are Changing
The New York Times seems to be on board with this this sharp turn in foreign policy. It reported the new consensus on North Korea in a news analysis on July 11. Ten days later it published another arguing that it’s time to put down the spear and make amends with Moscow. Here is the astonishing pith of the piece: “China, not Russia, represents by far the greater challenge to American objectives over the long term. That means President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia and peel it away from China.”
It is encouraging that the Times has at last discovered the well-elaborated alliance between Moscow and Beijing. It took the one-time newspaper of record long enough. But there is another feature of this article that is important to note: It was published as a lead editorial. This is not insignificant.
It is essential, when reading the Times, to understand the close — not to say corrupt — relations it has maintained with political power in Washington over many generations. This is well-documented in histories of the paper and of institutions such as the CIA. An editorial advancing a policy shift of this magnitude almost certainly reflects the paper’s close consultations, at senior levels of management, with policy-setting officials at the National Security Council, the State Department, or at the Pentagon. The editorial is wholly in keeping with Washington’s pronounced new campaign to designate China as America’s most dangerous threat.
It is impossible to say whether Trump is emboldened by an inchoate shift of opinion on Russia, but he flew his banner high at the Biarritz G–7. Prior to his departure for the summit in southwest France he asserted that Russia should be readmitted to the group when it convenes in the U.S. next year. Russia was excluded in 2014, following its annexation of Crimea in response to the coup in Kiev.
Trump repeated the thought in Biarritz, claiming there was support among other members for the restoration of the G–8. “I think it’s a work in progress,” he said. “We have a number of people that would like to see Russia back.”
Macron is plainly one of those people. It was just after Trump sounded his theme amid Biarritz’s faded grandeur — and what an excellent choice for a convention of the Western powers — that the French president made his own plea for repairing ties with Russia and for Europe to escape its fate as “a theater for strategic struggle between the U.S. and Russia.”
“The European continent will never be stable, will never be secure, if we don’t pacify and clarify our relations with Russia,” Macron said in his address to Western diplomats. Then came his flourish on the imminent end of the Atlantic world’s preeminence.
“The world order is being shaken like never before. It’s being shaken because of errors made by the West in certain crises, but also by the choices made by the United States in the past few years— and not just by the current administration.”
Macron is an opportunistic main-chancer in European politics, and it is not at all certain how far he can or will attempt to advance his new vision of either the West or Europe in the Continent’s councils of state. But as evidence of a new current in Western thinking about Russia, the non–West in general, and Europe’s long-nursed desire for greater independence from Washington, the importance of his comments is beyond dispute.
The question now is whether or how soon better ties with Moscow will translate into practical realities. At present, Trump and Macron share a good idea without much substance to it.
Better US-Russia Ties May Be in Pipeline
But Trump may have taken a step in the right direction. Within days of his return from Biarritz, he put a hold on the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative, a military aid program that was to provide Kiev with $250 million in assistance during the 2019 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1 and runs to Sept. 30, 2020. The funds are designated for weaponry, training and intelligence support.
Trump has asked his national security advisers to review the commitment. The delay, coming hard on his proposal to readmit Russia to a reconstituted G–8, cannot possibly be read as a coincidence.
There will be other things to watch for in months to come. High among these is Trump’s policy toward the Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Russian gas fields to terminals in Western Europe, thereby cutting Ukraine out of the loop. Trump, his desire to improve ties with Moscow notwithstanding, has vigorously opposed this project. The Treasury Department has threatened sanctions against European contractors working on it. If Trump is serious about bringing Russia back into the fold, this policy will have to go. This may mean going up against the energy lobby in Washington and Ukraine’s many advocates on Capitol Hill.
To date, U.S. threats to retaliate against construction of Nord Stream 2 have done nothing but irritate Europeans, who have ignored them, while furthering the Continent’s desire to escape Washington’s suffocating embrace. This is precisely the kind of contradiction Macron addressed when he protested that Europeans need to begin acting in their own interests rather than acquiesce as Washington force-marches them on a never-ending anti–Russia crusade.
Macron may prove a pushover, or a would-be Gaullist who fails to make the grade. Or he may have just announced a long-awaited inflection point in trans–Atlantic ties. Either way, he has put highly significant questions on the table. It will be interesting to see what responses they may elicit, not least from the Trump White House.
Patrick Lawrence, a correspondent abroad for many years, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune, is a columnist, essayist, author and lecturer. His most recent book is “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale). Follow him on Twitter @thefloutist. His web site is Patrick Lawrence. Support his work via his Patreon site.
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Mr. Lawrence –
The Russia question is a very interesting and useful way to approach the much larger question which is how to manage the “end of Western hegemony”.
Mackinder, Brzezinski and other geo-strategic thinkers have long posited that in order to control the world, one much control Eurasia.
The alliance between China and Russia, by definition, secures their dominance of Eurasia. Even forty years of U.S. trouble-making in Afghanistan, the geographic heart of Eurasia, has only proved to be an annoyance slowing the inevitable partnership of China and Russia, and the growing courtship of India. Recent U.S. interference in the Ukraine was a desperate, rather ham-handed attempt to deny Russia access to its historic, and only warm water, port in Crimea (and interfere with Russian gas pipelines to Europe). The Ukrainians seem to be now coming back to their senses a bit.
[ I may add a comment elucidating some of the long history of Western elite (primarily British, then U.S.) interference in the affairs of both Russia and China, but most CN readers should already be aware of the highlights.]
The EU and the euro, both created to prolong the dominance of the U.S., are now clearly faltering. The EU created a common market and allowed for the expansion of NATO eastward after the breakup of the Soviet Union and Russia’s loss of the Warsaw Pact countries. The euro, directly tied to the U.S. PetroDollar at its creation, facilitated the greater transfer of U.S. debt instruments into the European banks, giving the debt addicted U.S. economy more capacity to expand its financial bubble and extend the era of U.S. dominance. The European central banks are now at their breaking point.
Thus, the era of U.S. PetroDollar supremacy, and with it U.S. dominance, is now coming to an end and the scramble for places in the new global system is heating up. The Greeks, Italians, Germans and Dutch have already signed deals with the Chinese, will the French be far behind?
Russia, the ambitious junior partner to China, can be seen to be both a cultural and geographic buffer between the Chinese juggernaut and Western Europe. The Russians have energy and consumer markets that the Western Europeans need access to if they are going to maintain any semblance of their present standard of living as U.S. economic dominance recedes. The nuclear armed U.S. presence on the continent keeps the Europeans cautious; as does their very precarious debt co-dependency with Wall Street, the Federal Reserve Bank and the U.S. Treasury.
The northern Europeans don’t want to freeze or go broke, so Nord Stream 2 will go ahead. Trump is truly delusional if he thinks he can keep that from happening. Trump’s trade war has only accelerated the Chinese shift away from the U.S. and toward its well-planned future in Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. China and Russia are both stockpiling gold in anticipation of rolling out a new global monetary system to replace the failing U.S. PetroDollar and SWIFT.
The Russian bride is blushing in Berlin, the Chinese are paying for the wedding, the celebrants are attired in yellow vests, the Swiss are still waiting for an invitation and the Brits will probably try to crash the reception. The U.S. may be allowed to sweep the floor after the party is over, assuming they don’t bomb the church first.
(Let’s hope they don’t!)
You should publish this comment as a blog. The last paragraph wants to be a meme. If you don’t post it, I may have to.
I would only add a reference beyond Zbig to Sam Huntington, who saw a very different geostrat position unfolding, which the US could still pivot to if we dumped all the useless self-seeking, nationless neocons. In the original Clash, as cultures return to basics and their religious values, the alignment of geo-partners is shaped by compatible foundation worldviews. Russia needs to trade, not dominate, and the US has a millennial opportunity to be first among multi-polars. Frist we need to figure out who our real friends are, as oligarchs have corrupted the landscape of international diplomacy, perhaps irrevocably.
Thank you. I considered composing a much longer comment and may still add additional comments as there is much to unpack on this subject. Feel free to run with the meme (the Brazilians may well provide the band for the reception!).
As for Huntington, I’m afraid my view of his analysis is that it was carefully crafted to add some “academic” weight to the contrived narrative that supports the “war on radical Islamic terror” fiction* the neocons launched to invade the oil lands and disrupt/control oil production in order to extend the era of the PetroDollar and U.S. global dominance. [*Please see the 1979 Jerusalem Conference on International Terrorism for more on the origins of this fiction]
Of the two, the neocons, who rely more on hard (military) power, are more closely tied to the traditional nation state than the neo-liberals, who have increasingly evolved their soft (financial) power into a trans-global, stateless financial empire. For the past twenty years the imperative to maintain the dominance of the PetroDollar has forced them into a close, but uncomfortable alliance. The neocon financial base has always been the fossil fuel sector and the military industrial complex. Thus, they are quick to employ the latter to dominate the former. The much more financially diversified neo-liberals have needed to extend the PetroDollar era to allow the continued inflation of the global debt bubble as they seek to transition away from the failing U.S. real economy by getting as much of their assets off shore, as possible. It has become quite clear that this enormous everything debt bubble is very close to popping, as was fairly predictable after the last ten years of QE.
Let’s now return to the shock that was the 2016 election. Clinton, the not so secret neocon, against the seemingly wild card Trump. If the neo-liberal faction had felt the debt bubble could be sustained for another 4+ years, I think they would’ve acceded to letting Clinton win and expand the oil wars (supporting the PetroDollar) with an attack on Iran and maybe Venezuela. The global banking elites (Bilderbergers) decided that in the race between the PetroDollar debt bubble and the Chinese growing unwillingness to underwrite it, the Chinese were not going to play along for much longer. Thus, Trump, the unstable bankruptcy specialist, was brought in to play a starring role in the collapse of the PetroDollar and the destruction of the U.S. economy. This provides a perfect narrative covering the critical structural weakness in the present financial paradigm; the rigged fiat monetary system which has been used to keep the Western European elites in power for centuries (a system the Russians and Chinese have been kept out of for most of the last 100 years).
We are now faced with a near imminent global currency collapse and reset.
Will the Chinese play along with the Western Europeans or will they try to forge a wholly separate alliance with the Russians and Indians and force the rest of the world to accept their new currency regime?
Will the Chinese work to avoid a potentially catastrophic world war and help engineer a soft landing for the crashing U.S. economy (and maintain a bit of North American market share) or will they turn to their ready partners in the global south and let their heavily armed foe across the Pacific collapse into domestic chaos?
Will some desperate neocons make a last ditch effort to prolong the U.S. empire and spark a potentially global conflagration?
For all of Trump’s verbal bombast it is pretty clear that he’s conflict adverse when it comes to actual kinetic violence (and arch neocon Bolton is now gone). Thus, when faced with the ignominy of going down as the absolute worst president in history or making a deal that permits the U.S. population a relatively dignified soft landing, he’ll make the deal.
Considering China’s history and temperament, and their recent moves all over the globe, it’s reasonable to anticipate that they will choose to avoid actions that could lead to a catastrophic war. Thus, I think the Chinese will bring the Russians and Indians to the table with the Western Europeans (including the grudging Brexiteers) and engineer a relatively smooth transition to a new global currency and settlement system, one that is transparent and truly equitable. Along with this will have to be a global debt settlement program which softens the transitions for the weaker, more indebted economies, such as the U.S. Ideally, the Chinese will also bring Brazil, Japan, South Korea, South Africa and Nigeria into the discussion, as this will insure greater success in establishing a truly global currency regime and further dilute the influence of the old guard Western European elites (which they have no great love for).
I would not be at all surprised if China insists on abandoning the fiat system entirely and returning to a hard currency basket, which may include some form of Crypto along with gold, silver and platinum.
I would also not be surprised if we see some of the U.S. military’s extensive assets traded as part of the debt settlement. We could likely see most of the foreign bases given up and not insignificant naval assets transferred and/or given benign missions.
Finally, returning to Huntington and culture, I think the dominant global culture is now capitalism and not religion or common customs and traditions. These different flavors of capitalism allow the bridging of differences through pragmatic business transactions with the language of commerce now the universal tongue.
If we survive the coming collapse and transition, the next phase of human history will see whether the new Eurasian and Southern elites, and the old Western elites can come to a long-term, mutually beneficial accommodation, and if the entire paradigm rapidly shifts again with the rise of a truly egalitarian (neoMarxist?) movement replacing the incipient highly unbalanced, oligarchic global hierarchy.
We live in extraordinarily interesting times.
Better start treating Eurasia as Eurasia, not China and Russia. The Russophobes and Sinophobes have done too good a job of burning diplomatic bridges.
Oddly enough, Trump may already sense this. Cancelling Afghan peace talks and being more eager to meet with Iran suggests he’s going after the smaller pieces of Eurasia more aggressively in a last bid to prevent key real estate in rimland Eurasia from being completely sewn into a silk (road) purse.
Its just that the sow’s ear he has been given to offer, will go down worse than usual in those countries.
What can Europe and the US offer Russia? (REAL value not fiat)
Eurasia is the future, only fools do not accept that now.
The idiocracy terror regime in washington will start ww3 to avoid it, that will not help you.
You yanks and southerns will soon suffer from a shitload of karma along with the rest of us serfs born in imperial vassal countries.
Even Ayn Rand knew climate fear porn was just FUD to tax serfs more, why do so many seemingly intelligent people buy into it now? My best guess is $.
Read Andrei Martyanov`s books!!
A few European countries may develop warmer relations .but reproachment with Russia will not happen in our lifetimes. Macron offered nothing but rhetoric. The West continues economic warfare and a militaristic stance toward Russia. Western institutions and interests are too tied into Russo-phobia to give it up–it is a financial and emotional heroin to the West. Break the Russian/Chinese alliance? Ain’t gonna happen.
As for the NYTimes. They recently have published unsubstantiated accounts about some spy close to Putin who swears by gawd that Putin personally ordered Trump’s victory. How is it going to be possible for Trump or even a new democratic president to engage Russia diplomatically with such widely published and accepted propaganda?. Every leading democratic party candidate have sworn to the Russiagate hoax and issued highly aggressive rhetoric. They will be called traitors if they even speak with Putin unless they attempt to punch out Putin.
Now that the war monger Bolton is gone that is good news for pursuing Peace.
It is also good that Patrick points out what has been hiding in plain site from the divide and conquer propaganda from the mass media that the Cold War and the old ones have always been about the West against the East. Maybe the Trump challengers can join the new Pursuit of Peace for the good of Humanity. It Can’t hurt!
Bolton was the figurehead of a power faction, not its leader nor its brains.
There are plenty more like Bolton lying in wait, even if they don’t have his unique charisma.
This is as good a time as any to point to an alternative vision of foreign policy. One based on the principle of non-interference, respect for sovereignty, territorial integrity, and, above all, international law. One based on peaceful coexistence and mutual cooperation. A vision of the world at peace and undivided by arbitrary distinctions. Such a world is possible and even though there are currently players around the world who are striving in that direction we need look no further than our own history for inspiration. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you one Henry A. Wallace, for your consideration.
(The following excerpts from an article by Dr. Dennis Etler. Link to the full article provided below.)—
The highest profile figure who articulated an alternative vision for American foreign policy was the politician Henry Wallace, who served as vice president under Franklin D. Roosevelt from 1940-1944 and ran for president in 1948 as the candidate of the Progressive Party.
After he became vice president in 1940, as Roosevelt was increasingly ill, Wallace promoted a new vision for America’s role in the world that suggested that rather than playing catch up with the imperial powers, the United States should work with partners to establish a new world order that eliminated militarism, colonialism and imperialism.
Wallace gave a speech in 1942 that declared a “Century of the Common Man.” He described a post-war world that offered “freedom from want,” a new order in which ordinary citizens, rather than the rich and powerful, would play a decisive role in politics.
That speech made direct analogy between the Second World War and the Civil War, suggesting that the Second World War was being fought to end economic slavery and to create a more equal society. Wallace demanded that the imperialist powers like Britain and France give up their colonies at the end of the war.
In diplomacy, Wallace imagined a multi-polar world founded on the United Nations Charter with a focus on peaceful cooperation. In contrast, in 1941 Henry Luce, publisher of Time Magazine, had called for an ‘American century,’ suggesting that victory in war would allow the United States to “exert upon the world the full impact of our influence, for such purposes as we see fit and by such means as we see fit.”
Wallace responded to Luce with a demand to create a world in which “no nation will have the God-given right to exploit other nations. Older nations will have the privilege to help younger nations get started on the path to industrialization, but there must be neither military nor economic imperialism.” Wallace took the New Deal global. His foreign policy was to be based on non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries and mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.
Sadly, since then, despite occasional efforts to head in a new direction, the core constituency for US foreign policy has been corporations, rather than the “common man” either in the United States, or the other nations of the world, and United States foreign relations have been dominated by interference in the political affairs of other nations. As a result the military was transformed from an “arsenal for democracy” during the Second World War into a defender of privilege at home and abroad afterwards.
Foreign aid for Wallace was not a tool to foster economic dominance as it was to become, but rather “economic assistance without political conditions to further the independent economic development of the Latin American and Caribbean countries.” He held high “the principle of self-determination for the peoples of Africa, Asia, the West Indies, and other colonial areas.” He saw the key policy for the United States to be based on “the principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other nations and acceptance of the right of peoples to choose their own form of government and economic system.”
Wallace’s legacy suggests that it is possible to put forth a vision of an honest internationalism in US foreign policy that is in essence American. His approach was proactive not reactive. It would go far beyond anything Democrats propose today, who can only suggest that the United States should not start an unprovoked war with Iran or North Korea, but who embrace sanctions and propagandist reports that demonize those countries.
Rather than ridiculing Trump’s overtures to North Korea, they should go further to reduce tensions between the North and the South by pushing for the eventual withdrawal of troops from South Korea and Japan (a position fully in line with Wallace and many other politicians of that age).
Rather than demonizing and isolating Russia (as a means to score political points against Trump), progressives should call for a real détente, that recognizes Russia’s core interests, proposes that NATO withdraw troops from Russia’s borders, ends sanctions and reintegrates Russia into the greater European economy. They could even call for an end to NATO and the perpetuation of the dangerous global rift between East and West that it perpetuates.
Rather than attempt to thwart China’s rise, and attack Trump for not punishing it enough, progressives should seek to create new synergies between China and the US economically, politically and socioculturally.
In contrast to the US policy of perpetual war and “destroying nations in order to save them,” China’s BRI proposes an open plan for development that is not grounded in the models of French and British imperialism. It has proposed global infrastructure and science projects that include participants from nations in Africa, Asia, South and Central America previously ignored by American and European elites—much as Wallace proposed an equal engagement with Latin America. When offering developmental aid and investment China does not demand that free market principles be adopted or that the public sector be privatized and opened up for global investment banks to ravish.
The United States should be emulating China, its Belt and Road Initiative and Community of Common Destiny, as a means of revitalizing its political culture and kicking its addiction to a neo-colonial concept of economic development and growth. Rather than relying on militarization and its attendant wars to spark the economy, progressives should demand that the US work in conjunction with nations such as China and Russia in building a sustainable future rather than creating one failed state after another.
Link to the full article provided below.
This is an excellent post, Stephen M. I hope many read it.
Could we be in touch abt what one might read between hard covers on Wallace. He and his time have long interested me, and you write as if there is a considerable literature. I have previously considered him from a forn policy perspective only superficially. If you would, I’d appreciate a connection via my web site address, [email protected].
V grateful you took the trouble to write.
That’s a good vision, but lacks accounting for the middleman powers behind trans-national Globalism and their innate hostility towards national sentiment, good or bad but especially good.
The object of any good deal is to cut out or minimize the middlemen between producers and consumers (unless the middleman is you). The Europeans cut out the Ottoman middlemen from trade with Asia by going directly overseas starting 1497 when Vasco da Gama rounded the Cape of Good Hope to set up shop in Goa, India.
A Euro-based Anglo financial aristocracy became dominant middlemen as a result. 500 years later, the winners of messy grande imperialism are not going to let the U.S. or anyone else circumvent the middle they’ve carved for themselves.
Its a many-layered affair; Trump’s trade war with China, for example, cuts off middle class American producers from Chinese consumers for the benefit of large American and by extension globalist middlemen, the financial aristocracy. The trade war at home is more about who gets empowered by foreign trade more.
A world united between the great natural powers of the U.S., Russia, India, and China; more specifically, united and dominated by their indigenous middlemen, is an anathema to the present globalist order. The great natural powers may be as great rocks needing only to be joined to ascend the firmament, but octopus are good at squeezing into and between tight places.
Much of what Wallace proposed came to pass, at least initially. The United Nations was created and non-defensive warfare was legally abolished by its Charter. But Wallace did not rise from original seed. Others had planted the ground before him. I whole-heartedly recommend a fairly recent book by Dona Hathaway and Scott Sharpiro, The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World. https://www.amazon.com/Internationalists-Radical-Outlaw-Remade-World/dp/1501109863 (.) Although it’s legal history, at least to me it tends to read more like a novel. It’s extremely well written and researched. Fascinating stuff.
I can’t read tea leaves well enough to see how it’s going to play out other than to see that U.S. hegemony will end when the petro-dollar is no longer the world’s settlement currency, coming soon. But the entire concept of international law, particularly the law governing warfare, has been under attack in the U.S. for many years. (And that didn’t begin with Trump.) One can hope that John Bolton’s successor in the White House will have more respect for our nation’s Treaty Clause.
Thank you so much for writing this post. I knew about Wallace, but not about the extent of his vision. I agree that Progressives should emulate Wallace and put aside the idiocy of Russiagate and the New Cold War. Unfortunately, the poison of Russiaphobia is extensive and otherwise intelligent people ascribe to it, more is the pity.
Now it is clear why the CIA spilled the phony beans on a spy they had in Putin’s inner circle – to revive the anti-Russian animus that has been dying down.
But if there is a rapprochement between the U.S. and Russia, will that put the brakes on the new arms race?Surely, the defense industry will fight that with every fiber of their being. China alone is not so great a potential military adversary as to warrant so a great expenditure. Or is it? I have little doubt that some interested parties will see it that way.
And thanks, Patrick. Again, glad to see your work here on Consortium News. Hopefully Joe and Elizabeth will book you for the CN Live show. I’ve gone without TV for a dozen years or so and what’s happening with YouTube (besides their constant fucking with the streaming of those with whom they disagree politically) is reason to hope that we can have our own reality-based “Meet The Press” kind of show once again. CN’s off to a good start.
Hey everybody—Keep Julian in your thoughts and hopefully deeds too.
Same goes for Suzie Dawson, Chelsea Manning, Jeremy Hammond, Kim Dotcom and Ola Bini too. And how many others…?
There’s a real vicious war against freedom of the press going on. (I know you know, but just saying.)
Thanks the note. Appreciated.
Are you in a position to tell me about the YouTube censorship syndrome? And the wider scene, indeed. It would be useful for a project I have going. Please email via the website: [email protected].
THE ECONOMIC BASIS
Patrick Lawrence seems only incidentally to address the economic basis of Europe’s declaration of liberty from
US isolationism. The constraints these policies place on our European friends are, as Lawrence observes, “insufferable”.
Many of the economic needs and wants of European nations are bound not only. with Russia but also with China. For them these
economic necessities are always “in the pipeline”. It is a pipeline in which US demands (eg sanctions etc.) can have
While Lawrence observes:
“There will be other things to watch for in months to come. High among these is Trump’s policy toward the Nord Stream 2 pipeline linking Russian gas fields to terminals in Western Europe, thereby cutting Ukraine out of the loop…”
This near elimination of economic factors is a flaw in this article by Lawrence usually so on target.
To this one must add that Macron was an investment banker prior to becoming President of France. The roles of
affected industries should have been central in this analysis and are noticeably absent.
(These roles would, of course, play out not only in Europe but also in the US.)
Peter Loeb, Boston
A breath of fresh air…?
Dare we hope?
Good luck peeling away Russia from China, they have some very solid bonds established. Besides, who in their right mind would trust the U.S. anymore for any reason? Money talks, but the Russians have dug in and adapted to U.S. sanctions. Those sanctions have hurt Putin politically, but this thaw (U.S. acceptance of reality or a feint?) might leave him room to wiggle through, especially with Lavrov working the behind the scenes. It’s the Western big bank cabal calling the shots and Macron is one of their errand boys much as Obama ever was, but so be it if we can relieve some of these macho-driven nuclear tensions. We’ve gone too far down the wrong path already and we’re past due for turning around.
These fools have walked us out on a nuclear tightrope with no safety net, goddamn them. Jesus H,, adult supervision needed immediately! (Are we there yet?)
Well, for far too long has Europe allowed itself to be “run” by the US. And sadly, Europe – up to now- has lacked the backbone to stand up to the Americans. Time to realize that, even without the US, the sun will still rise in the East…America this…America the other…why should we have to wait until the US makes up it’s mind on anything. We are grown up folks who can manage very well by ourselves without constantly having to worry as to what the US might do or say. Enough of this blackmail.
Prime Minister Abe favors readmitting Russia into the G7:
“Prime Minister Abe favors readmitting Russia into the G7:
Whilst some remember Mr. Groucho Marx that he wouldn’t join a club that would have him as a member.
Such is the way of paradox instead of orthodox.
Insightful, Patrick. This new shift will present many new challenges and opportunities for the US and Russia. I can see that if Trump is permitted (by deep state and NATO) as much access to Putin as Netanyahu has had, I can see a far more balanced US foreign policy and certainly a large step toward reducing world conflicts. Iran may be convinced to negotiate with Trump for removal of sanctions coupled with a new nuclear deal. I have no idea if this will impact the Iran-China oil/security agreement which is a (very expensive, unpopular but necessary) lifesaver for Iran and huge investment opportunity for China (backed with up to 5000 Chinese military). Syria needs the removal of US sanctions to stabilize its economy, and with the US onside, more pressure can be put on Turkey to stop arming the terrorists in Idlib, enforce their removal/surrender, and accommodate the Kurds within Syria. Finally, with EU participation, I can see rapid settlement of the civil war in Eastern Ukraine, and normalization of trade with Russia. Until now, the conflict with Russia has resulted in the conversion of the Ukrainian (and other formerly eastern bloc countries) economy from highly industrial to a supplier of cheap labor, some agricultural products, and raw materials to the EU.
Mr Lawrence, apparently the tune has not changed re Russiagate, not really. That is if the news item on the BBC World Service this a.m. is owt to go by.
This was all about some supposed CIA asset in the Kremlin that they got out in 2017 (Smolenkov according to RT and Sputnik) who played a role, so the BBC said in furtherance of maintaining Russophobia, in providing said “reputable” secret agency (as now so viewed by the Demrats and DNC) with info about Russian – nay, Putin’s personal – interference in the 2016 US presidential election. All of the (dis/mis) information that the MSM presstitutes have been selling us on both sides of the pond re the “heinous” activities of Russia-Putin were rehearsed again from Russiagate to Russian attempted and completed assassinations of escaped/released ex-spies, Skripal among them.
They, the US-UK-IS deep states, will not let it go. And their stenographers in the MSM continue to propagate the real dis/misinformation in order to keep the corporate-capitalist-imperialist western dominance warmongering/war-profiteering status quo in operation.
Meanwhile, NPR (and PBS doubtless) are to be headed by one John Lansing, who till now was in charge of that dispenser of “the truth, whole and unadulterated” the Voice of America and Radio Marti; and the BBC is partnering with DARPA-Mossad via Google, FB, Twit and the rest of the internet behemoths, as they told us (well, they didn’t advert to the underlying structure, of course). Why is the BBC so doing? In order, they said, to ensure that we, the plebeians, the mindless bewildered herd, are no longer subjected to, no longer have our perspectives distorted by “Dis or Misinformation.”
Heartening to know, ain’t it, that they – the really existing state-funded and controlled media – have our best interests at heart?
I’m v pleased you picked up on this shard of nonsense, AnneR, and then took the trouble to write of it. I thought to do the same while reading this morn’s New York Times. A flimsier, more obvious propaganda ploy I have not seen in a while, and this is saying something. This fellow must be Guccifer 2’s in-law or something. My read: Those who recklessly over-invested in the Russiagate universe thought it would go away the instant HRC was elected. They’re now stuck w/ it three years on, and this is another effort to keep it alive long enough to get it into the histories. They’ll never make it. Transparently horse-droppings. Tks again for writing. Patrick.
Thank you for reading and taking time to respond to my comment, Mr Lawrence. And yes indeed, it screams (well, it does to those who aren’t ardent “Russia/Putin did it” Dems forever types) propaganda. The timing is awfully suspicious, too, I think. Just as the whole Mueller farrago and its attempted mystification of the reality that there was no “there there” had faded into the nothingness that it actually was, and the American populace still refuses to hate Russia properly (including typically Dem voters), up pops this “handy” story.
The empire’s war machine always needs a boogeyman. Macron is proposing transitioning to a multi-polar world, and ending its vassal status to empire. Good luck with that. We can only hope that Putin’s countering of our war machine keeps MAD a reality, and that the example that Russia and China are setting in opposition to empire will encourage other vassals to rebel. Waging peace in a multi-polar world is the only moral course of action. The war machine, with its huge waste of manpower and resources, is the main factor in our current path to extinction. Reining it in is the first step to ensure mankind’s survival.
America has earned the mistrust of most of the world. Although establishing a good relationship with Russia is a good idea, using it to isolate Russia probably will not work. Meremark’s comments puts it very well. Meeremark is on the mark.
Many of Patrick’s observations are astute and well-reasoned. But he is ABSOLUTELY WRONG to put any faith whatsoever in Trump being able to negotiate ANYTHING of importance, whether it be with North Korea or Russia. Wake up! There is “no one home” in Donald Trump!! We are witnessing a severely incapacitated, mentally ill individual pretending to be a leader, who is endangering the entire planet. If this doesn’t scare the shit out of you, you need to have your head examined!
Do you really think any of these problems would have been dealt with better by Hillary? The neo-cons and the neo-liberals have been in bed together creating this mess. Striving for global hegemony and a uni-polar empire is the act of a group of severely mentally ill individuals. Your obsession with Trump is blinding you to deeper truths. My diagnosis is severe TDS.
The US has been fed b.s. for so long and it’s hard to see getting the country in any decent shape, foreign policy or otherwise. The Pentagon and alphabet agencies have been calling the shots since the days of the Dulles bros. I can’t see anything other than a top heavy collapse since this long con. It’s good to hear Macron saying this and good for Orange Bejesus wanting to get along with Russia, but how far gone have humans gone before Mother Nature gives us the swiftest kick due to our stupidity?
“PATRICK LAWRENCE: The Establishment is Changing its Tune on Russia”
Strategies and tactics should never be conflated, although they often are.
Perhaps the gentleman would be advised to consider – What is ” The United States of America” and how is it facilitated ?
Framing in sole and/or prime agency precludes wise strategic analyses, strategic formulation, strategic implementation and strategic evaluation, thereby encouraging the bridging of doubt by belief to attain “confirmation” and/or “plausible denial”when outcomes appear to diverge from expectations, and the acceleration of contingent/subsequent outcomes diverging from expectations.
Strategies of opponents are often in significant assay based upon “precedent”, although even Mr. Donne and others understood that – Time and tide wait for no man.
The lover of medals and the last hurrahs of the ” red experts” in some assay did agree to “detente on the bases of spheres of influence” which did at significant “blowback” in part facilitate the ongoing lateral process of the transcendence of ” The Soviet Union” by The Russian Federation.
Perhaps as a consequence of aspects outlined above the gentleman is assigning a significance of changing tunes and perhaps even lyrics that others do not assign?
“Hope” is often best avoided in matters of strategy.
I agree with Patrick Lawrence’s perceptive analyse of ‘frayed triumphalism and nostalgia’. An empire on the rise, for example modern China, is probably less dangerous than one in decline. There are more of the latter type, making geopolitics dangerously unstable, and increasingly difficult to prevent world war, where the pattern of history seems to be pointing us.
Zhu, if you are not aware, China has just delivered the biggest F.You to the US in geopolitical history by more or less buying Iran.
China is to invest $US280 billion upgrading Iran’s oil and gas sectors, unlocking a further $500 billion of otherwise unrecoverable oil, upping it’s own oil purchases, opening factories to make “made in China” products, etc.
They also get to deploy 5,000 Chinese “security officers” so if the US attacks Iran they could kill lots of Chinese military.
Should be “not submit, noy obey.”
IMHO, it is a fool’s errand for our policy makers to think that Russia can be “peeled away from China”, or that Russia and China has not seen through that strategy as another ploy by the West to retain hegemony. As for inviting Russia back into the G-8 and Russia’s response, the following exchange at last week’s Eastern Economic Forum in Vliadivostok is instructive [Yandex/Google translation of the Russian text]:
Sergey Brilev: Mr Abe, I would like to ask you about this. When I just said, “the big Seven” … We all heard the report that President Trump was at the last summit of the “Seven” a kind of lawyer [advocate] for the Russian Federation and Vladimir Putin. You’ve seen it from the inside. Without breaking any obvious rules, after all it is a closed club, maybe you will tell how it was? (Laughter.)
Shinzo Abe: As for the G–7, there used to be a G-8, there was a discussion that creative influence on the international community is important. But as President Putin is well aware, because he took part in the” G-8″, there are such rules: you can only quote yourself, so other leaders can not be quoted. So I can’t say exactly what President Trump said there, for example. But I personally said that Russian influence, Russian creative influence, plays an important role in solving international problems. Therefore, I raised the issue of Russia’s possible return to this format. (Applause.)
Sergei Brilev: if they call, will you go, Mr President?
Vladimir Putin: Where?
S. Brilev: The “G-8”. In the States, I think it’s next. There, however, will be the height of Trump’s campaign.
Vladimir Putin: At the time, the next “G-8” was to be held in Russia.
Sergei Brilev: In Sochi, yes.
Vladimir Putin: We are open. If our partners want to come to us, we will be happy. (Applause.) But we did not postpone it, our partners postponed it. If they want to restore the “Eight”, please. But I think it’s clear to everyone today, and President Macron just recently said publicly that the West’s leadership is coming to an end. I cannot imagine an effective international organization that works without India and without China.
Any format is always good, it is always a positive exchange of views, even when it is held in a raised tone, as far as I understand, and it was this time in the “Seven”, it is still useful. Therefore, we do not refuse any format of cooperation.
It not like splitting Russia from China isn’t the most obvious tactic left, since China isn’t splitting from Russia.
Never mind the endless promotion of the idea from both armchair and professional geopolitical strategists.
“Never mind the endless promotion of the idea from both armchair and professional geopolitical strategists. “
Ideas and their rigorous analyses are lands of opportunity to which it is wise to be mindful.
Framing always conditions output as do all means; and words are catalysts of connotations as the example “both armchair and professional geopolitical strategists” illustrate.
The Russian Federation was/is named the Russian Federation for various purposes, and some engaged in “strategy” refer to themselves as practitioners; also for various reasons.
Immersion in What-you-see-is-what-you-getism facilitates what you get is what you don’t see as a function of your complicity encouraging the opponents to iterate resort to belief to bridge doubt to attain “certainty/expectation/significance”.
Seeking simplicity, whether in pursuance or not of seeking significance, is always to facilitate misrepresentation and opportunities derived therefrom, although many are engaged in such quests.
The link below is undermined by its assumptions, expectations, framing and projections.
However it has some nuance and utility, which may be of interest.
“Never mind the endless promotion of the idea from both armchair and professional geopolitical strategists.”
For those with facility the framing of others are lands of opportunities, enhanced when others are increasing their bets at the roulette table in the misguided assumption that they own the house.
There are accelerating and increasing examples of the above including but not restricted to:
I have to object on several levels, Patrick.
“Are Western democracies, the U.S. and France in the lead, rethinking the hostility toward Russia they conjured out of nothing since Moscow responded to the coup Washington cultivated in Ukraine five years ago?” Good question but it beggars the truth that The West has been hostile to Russia since its inception as a non-monarchy in 1917. The US refused to recognize it until 1933. The classic phrase “godless communist hordes” was intended to drive home the point that the commies were theoretically atheists and they were not capitalists. Russia helped it along by trying to spread communism just as the US is trying to spread capitalism now (we like to claim we’re spreading democracy but that’s bunk.) I’m not sure which is more distasteful, having some foreign economic structure shoved down your throat (communism) or some foreign political structure shoved down your throat (totalitarian dictatorship). Both suck.
“China, not Russia, represents by far the greater challenge to American objectives over the long term. That means President Trump is correct to try to establish a sounder relationship with Russia and peel it away from China.” I realize you’re quoting the Times but mind if I ask, what, precisely, are American objectives? If our objective was to simply live peaceably with the other nations of the world and dazzle them with the brilliance of every little thing we did, nobody, not Russia, not China, nobody could challenge that objective. But that’s not our objective, now is it? It could be best characterized by the weekly exchange between Pinkie and The Brain. Pinkie: What are we going to do this week, Brain? Brain: Same thing we do every week, Pinkie. Establish world domination. That’s never going to work. There are too many people in this world and too many countries in this world who will not put up with diktats from somebody else for the Brain to succeed.
As for the G7 becoming the G8, as I’ve already said, it’s not gonna happen. Putin has already said that it should include India and China. The West won’t accept that. Frankly, if membership in “the club” can be lifted as easily as it was last time, why should Russia be interested? As I’ve said, I think that Russia has turned eastward. If the west has something on offer, great but they wouldn’t be looking for it. Russia has managed to make the sanctions regime very painful for the EU even though the EU doesn’t seem to notice. Offering Russia a very junior chair at the G7 whilst maintaining the sanctions and other visions of economic warfare against Russia is not a calculus that Russia will be interested in.
This could turn into the one bridge too far for the Europeans.
It’ll be China, China, china, next. How dare they prosper! How dare they submit and not obey!
Much of China’s prosperity over the last couple of decades has been built on cheating and theft. I have no problem with Trump or anyone else pushing back on them and making them abide by the rules that everyone else competes under.
Steve, you have bought into the Washington Consensus narrative about China and actually parrot Trump’s ‘rules’ that ensure neoliberal world dominance. Cheating? You think that the US does not manipulate currency? Theft? There were no pirates demanding capitalists to build products in China; US patent law is well-known as theft ensuring monopolistic profits for international capital.
“Much of China’s prosperity over the last couple of decades has been built on cheating and theft.”
Once upon a time there was an activity branded as Kremlinology – an approximate analogue of resort to studying the entrails
In pursuance of studying the entrails some of the practitioners of Kremlinology studied the appearance and proximity of some standing atop a mausoleum every 7th of November since they deemed such to be of significance.
If you were not standing on the side of the square where GUM was behind you and St. Basil’s cathedral to the left of you, you can be subject to unfortunate perspectives.
On November 7th on this particular square it is normally cold which is increased by the chill factor of the wind from the river making entry into the square from those atop the mausoleum’s right hand side.
Those standing on the mausoleum tended to be men of a certain age often with less than rigorous bladders.
Atop the mausoleum there was no toilet facilities since given the mausoleum’s function such provision was not deemed appropiate.
Consequently those atop the mausoleum seeking remedy sought it elsewhere, which was regulary “interpreted” by some “Kremlinologists” as signifying their relative significance in the “hierarchy”.
Perhaps your comment is as misguided as those of the Kremlinologists?
I hope what you intended to say follows:
How dare they not submit and obey!
I must agree. Why does china have to be considered a threat or an enemy rather than the partner it is to so many other nations and would like to be with the USA as well?
“Why does china have to be considered a threat”
A rigorous analysis of “What is the United States of America and how is it facilitated?” may illuminate your quest.
Perhaps the links below may aid in your quest.
Output is a function of framing.
In respect of /52256.htm the output is a function of the framing of notions of shared purpose and its derivation as the concept “victory” and hence the output is in significant assay a misrepresentation.
In contrast /52257.htm was facilitated by a practitioner aware that output is a function of framing and hence the output is in significantly less assay a misrepresentation since omniscience is never an option in any lateral endeavour.
The New York Times has played an effective Orwellian role in recent years, simply by reflecting unannounced policy directives – notably the smooth shifts in designated official enemies from ISIS to Russia/Putin to China/Xi all in the space of six short years. Judging by the Times’ own comment sections, a fair number of the general public are quick to internalize a hatred of the “enemy” without reflection on how/why the object of their ire can be one day one villain, and then a whole new villain the next.
The Times has become nothing but a bunch of stenographers for the Intelligence Community. The days of them treating their sources with skepticism are LONG gone. I’m no fan of Ben Rhodes, but that guy was spot-on when he referred to the Washington press corps as a bunch of 20-something know-nothings whose ignorance makes them easily manipulated into becoming an echo chamber of support for whatever policies their government sources are pushing.
Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia.
“….. notably the smooth shifts in designated official enemies from ISIS to Russia/Putin to China/Xi all in the space of six short years.”
You nailed it in calling it Orwellian. ISIS as “official” enemy indeed is a classic representation of ‘doublespeak.’ All of those *accidental* U.S. arms-drops on their positions, helicopters showing up to rescue their leaders, the apparent invisibility of those oil tanker fleets freely and blatantly running the highways into Turkey for several years. (The Russians sure found them in a hurry.) As much of that oil was shipped to Israel by Erdogan’s kid at below market prices, it was another testament to the duplicitous nature of the entire scheme to bring Syria down. Fail. Epic fail. I love it. That egg looks great on Netanyahu’s face.
Shifts from Oceania to Eurasia then to Eastasia. The commander’s intent is always clear to NYT and without much ado, they apply themselves to it. As for warming up to Putin ( they claim Putin, not Russia ), a thousand-year war they’ve been waging on Russia will not be swept under the rug easily. The US just took over the policies that have been a constant of the European past.
Trump and the establishment punish and sanction Russia but get along fine with MBS Mohammad Bone Sawman. I voted for Trump but got Hillarys foreign policy. The Devil runs America.
Yes Bob, it would be a good change, except, if Britain is co-opted by the US, then it will be a wholly owned subsidy and block change in Europe.
Just hope Brexit is negotiated and Britain is not fully taken over by Washington as a new investment opportunity.
US corporations did indeed anticipate that post Brexit UK would be a new investment opportunity. The US health insurance industry, for example, was poised to swoop down on the UK as soon as the Tories finished destroying the NHS. But thanks to BoJo’s bungling of Brexit, the Tories could lose the next general election, so they’ve reversed direction and are appeasing angry Brits by promising to save the NHS. By bringing down the Tories, BoJo may make Britain great again (#MBGA).
RT said Putin says Russia in G-8 is improvident without China and India economies and geo-strategies also figured in. A G-10 league?
Putin’s chessmanship is operaticly clean. not to be confused with poker as people generally do confuse. This lacks the bluffing of poker; in this the pieces of global power projection are standing on the board, chess obvious.
Maybe not so easy to peel Russia apart from China, if that’s Plan B kicking around the Pentagon.
At some point maybe they can consider Plan Delta ? which stands for change.
Let’s be honest, the G-7 is pretty outdated. Canada and Italy are pretty much out of their league. America’s hat and a fourth western European power seem unnecessary. Replace them with China and India, and bring Russia back in to make it the G-8.
Thank you, Meremark. Putin does not take his directives from the NYT.
Macron, a Rothschild pawn, gives as much abut true Democrat as he does about the Yellow Vests’ protest…
No, no, not the Hong Kong, US flags waving goons, but ordinary French citizens who’re fed up with the direction their government moves onward to, the ones you hear nothing about.
Thank you Patrick Lawrence, if your analysis is correct it would be a turning point in international relations and extremely significant. I like to think that the web has put us about a week or two ahead of the headlines here at CN, so if the NYT is finally calling the events accurately, it would by a stunning breakthrough…