4.25.2016 Top of Fold

since the paltry opposition of Saddam or Muammar or Osama simply did not solve any of the underlying issues–between the real players at the table, which is to say the belly-of-the-beast bombardiers from the District of Columbia, the Dragon dragoons of Beijing and its capital accumulation parade, and the bearish boosters of strategic engagement who operate out of Moscow, a briefing that clearly counterpoints with an analysis  from Pepe Escobar in Information Clearinghouse, via Sputnik, about the brouhaha at Doha and what the recent uproar about a certain “twenty-eight pages” really indicates, both of which constructively complement the insights of another Grand Old Party stalwart, Lawrence Wilkerson, when he argues that the central role of the United States now is to act as the primary merchant of death for thugs and plutocrats and allies to the end of time, growth without end amen: “Washington is currently conducting economic and propaganda warfare against four members of the five bloc group of countries known as BRICS—Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.  Brazil and South Africa are being destabilized with fabricated political scandals.  Both countries are rife with Washington-financed politicians and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).  Washington concocts a scandal, sends its political agents into action demanding action against the government and its NGOs into the streets in protests.korean protest rally demonstration
Washington tried this against China with the orchestrated Hong Kong ‘student protest.’  Washington hoped that the protest would spread into China, but the scheme failed.  Washington tried this against Russia with the orchestrated protests against Putin’s reelection and failed again.

CC BY-NC by mrchrisadams
CC BY-NC by mrchrisadams

To destablilze Russia, Washington needs a firmer hold inside Russia.  In order to gain a firmer hold, Washington worked with the New York mega-banks and the Saudis to drive down the oil price from over $100 per barrel to $30.  This has put pressure on Russian finances and the ruble.  In response to Russia’s budgetary needs, Washington’s allies inside Russia are pushing President Putin to privatize important Russian economic sectors in order to raise foreign capital to cover the budget deficit and support the ruble.  If Putin gives in, important Russian assets will move from Russian control to Washington’s control.

(In the context of plenty of research to support the pendency of war), (a)s I have often pointed out, the neoconservatives have been driven insane by their arrogance and hubris.  In their pursuit of American hegemony over the world, they have cast aside all caution in their determination to destabilize Russia and China.

CC BY-SA by Elvert Barnes
CC BY-SA by Elvert Barnes

By implementing neoliberal economic policies urged on them by their economists trained in the Western neoliberal tradition, the Russian and Chinese governments are setting themselves up for Washington.  By swallowing the ‘globalism’ line, using the US dollar, participating in the Western payments system, opening themselves to destabilization by foreign capital inflows and outflows, hosting American banks, and permitting foreign ownership, the Russian and Chinese governments have made themselves ripe for destabilization.”—PaulCraigRoberts

money international yuan china trade tpp

“(In relation to the Doha imbroglio), (t)he City of London – via the FT – wants to convey the impression to global public opinion that it all boiled down to a dispute between Prince Mohammed bin Salman – the conductor of the illegal war on Yemen —  and Saudi Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi.  The son of  — ailing — King Salman has been dubbed ‘the unpredictable new voice of the kingdom’s energy policy.’money
A famous 3 am call did take place in Doha on Sunday.  The young Salman called the Saudi delegation and told them the deal was off.  Every other energy market player was stunned by the reversion.  Yet the true story, according to a financial source with very close links to the House of Saud, is that ‘the United States threatened the Prince that night with the most dire consequences if he did not back down on the oil price freeze.’

As the source explains, an oil production cut would have ‘hindered the US goal of bankrupting Russia via an oil price war, which is what this is all about. Even the Prince is not that erratic.’  (This fit with Iran’s plans, at the same time that even with a continuation of untrammeled output, prices have stayed above $40/barrel).

The House of Saud, by flooding the market with oil, believed it could accomplish three major feats.
1) Kill off competition – from Iran to the US shale oil industry.
2) Prevent the competition from stealing market share with key energy customer China.

stalin mao china communism
3) Inflict serious damage to the Russian economy.  Now it’s blowback time – as it could come from none other than His Masters’ Voice.
The heart of the whole matter is that Washington has been threatening Riyadh to freeze Saudi assets all across the spectrum if the House of Saud does not ‘cooperate’ in the oil price war against Russia.

(Living in the ‘Mutually Assured Threat’ territory of the magic 28 pages, the avowed dumping of just shy of a trillion dollars in Treasury Bills, and the paradoxical BFF allies that the Prince and President purvey), (f)or all the pledges of eternal love, it’s an open secret in the Beltway that the House of Saud is the object of bipartisan contempt; and their purchased support, when push comes to shove, may reveal itself to be worthless.  Now picture a geopolitical no exit with a self-cornered House of Saud having both superpowers, the US and Russia, as their enemies.  …Whatever happens, Washington needs to sell the fiction that the House of Saud is always an ally in the ‘war on terra,’ now fighting ISIS/ISIL/Daesh (even if they don’t.)  And Washington needs Riyadh for Divide and Rule purposes – keeping Iran in check.  This does not mean that the House of Saud may not be thrown under the bus in a flash, should the occasion arise.  As the source close to Riyadh advances, ‘the real nuclear option for the Saudis would be to cooperate with Russia in a new alliance to cut back oil production 20% for all of OPEC, in the process raising the oil price to $200.00 a barrel to make up for lost revenue, forced on them by the United States.’  This is what the West fear like the plague.  And this is what the perennial vassal, the House of Saud, will never have the balls to pull off.”—Information Clearinghouse

"Linotype machine" by Vitold Muratov
“Linotype machine” by Vitold Muratov

“‘I think Smedley Butler was onto something,’ explained Lawrence Wilkerson, in an extended interview with Salon.  In his day, in the early 20th century, Butler was the highest ranked and most honored official in the history of the U.S. Marine Corps.  He helped lead wars throughout the world over a series of decades, before later becoming a vociferous opponent of American imperialism, declaring ‘war is a racket.’  Wilkerson spoke highly of Butler, referencing the late general’s famous quote: ‘Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints.  The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts.  I operated on three continents.’

CC BY-NC by aftab.
CC BY-NC by aftab.

I think the problem that Smedley identified, quite eloquently actually,’ Wilkerson said, ‘especially for a Marine — I had to say that as a soldier,’ the retired Army colonel added with a laugh; ‘I think the problem is much deeper and more profound today, and much more subtle and sophisticated.’  Today, the military-industrial complex ‘is much more pernicious than Eisenhower ever thought it would be,’ Wilkerson warned.

As a case study of how the contemporary military-industrial complex works, Wilkerson pointed to leading weapons corporations like Lockheed Martin, and their work with draconian, repressive Western-allied regimes in the Gulf, or in inflaming tensions in Korea.  ‘Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO — after George H. W. Bush and [his Secretary of State] James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that we wouldn’t go an inch further east — was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapon sales?’ Wilkerson asked.  ‘You bet it was,’ he answered

. ..
(Congress has essentially become a log-rolling operation for profiteering and plunder, in individual districts and around the planet).  Wilkerson — who in the same interview with Salon defended Edward Snowden, saying the whistle-blower performed an important service and did not endanger U.S. national security — was also intensely critical of the growing movement to ‘privatize public functions, like prisons.’  ‘I fault us Republicans for this majorly,’ he confessed — although a good many prominent Democrats have also jumped on the neoliberal bandwagon.  In a 2011 speech, for instance, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared, ‘It’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity’ for U.S. corporations.

(Privatized war has become a huge money-maker, even as weapons sales remain key).  Lockheed Martin simply ‘plans to sell every aspect of missile defense that it can,’ regardless of whether it is needed, Wilkerson said.  And what is best to maximize corporate interest is by no means necessarily the same as what is best for average citizens.  ‘We dwarf the Russians or anyone else who sells weapons in the world,’ the retired Army colonel continued.  ‘We are the death merchant of the world.'”—Salon