viernes, 2 de diciembre de 2016

Mazazo



Aislada internacionalmente, afrontando derrota tras derrota en cada escaramuza con los miembros de la etnia houti (foto de arriba), en el oeste de Yemen, y tras la derrota electoral de su candidata en el Imperio, Hillary Clinton, Arabia Saudita se retira de Yemen. La desastrosa campaña de Yemen fue la última aventurita militar del segundo príncipe heredero y ministro de Defensa, Mohammad bin Salman.  A pesar de su enorme superioridad en armamento,  las fuerzas armadas sauditas nunca pudieron realmente imponer sus condiciones en los territorios yemenitas conquistados. El ejército, para algunos, sencillamente carece de la suficiente vocación de combate  (un problemita ahí). Terminaron contratando mercenarios; les fue peor. 

Todo lo de Yemen huele, para Arabia Saudita, a desastre. El país, una potencia regional, no puede imponer su voluntad a Yemen, una de las naciones más pobres del mundo. El mazazo va a ser brutal. Ampliaremos.

Leemos en el sitio web Al Manar:


Título: Sitio de noticias del Golfo: Rey saudí ordena retirada de sus tropas de Yemen

Texto: “El portavoz de la coalición militar anti-yemení, liderada por Arabia Saudí, Ahmed Assiri, ha anunciado que el rey Salman ha ordenado la retirada gradual de las fuerzas saudíes de Yemen”, señala el sitio Gulf Eyes.

.“Según Ahmed Assiri, el rey de Arabia Saudí, Salman bin Abdulaziz, que es también el comandante de las Fuerzas Armadas del reino, ha ordenado que las fuerzas saudíes se retiren gradualmente de suelo yemení”.

El sitio añade que esta decisión fue tomada tras una reunión entre el rey, Salman bin Abdulaziz, y el príncipe heredero, Mohammed bin Nayef. Como pretexto, Assiri dijo que las autoridades saudíes habían tomado la decisión después de haber “establecido la seguridad en las regiones de Yemen que fueron tomadas a los huthis”. Sin embargo, Ansarulá y sus aliados controlan la mayor parte de la región central y del norte de Yemen, incluyendo la capital, Sanaa, además de varias regiones fronterizas saudíes.

El estratégico puerto de Aden que Arabia Saudí y los EAU controlan desde la retirada el año pasado de los combatientes de Ansaralá es la región con más problemas de seguridad de Yemen y varios grupos armados llevan a cabo allí asesinatos, atentados y ajustes de cuentas.

Ahmed Assiri dijo que la retirada de las fuerzas saudíes comenzarán su retirada a partir del 15 de diciembre, pero “el estado de emergencia se mantendrá en toda la frontera de Arabia Saudí con Yemen para evitar cualquier ataque huthi”.

Las fuerzas yemeníes están compuestas, además de por Ansarulá, por soldados del Ejército yemení leales al ex presidente Ali Abdullah Saleh. En más de un año de guerra feroz, las fuerzas yemeníes han llevado la lucha al territorio saudí.

El sitio Gulf Eyes afirma que esta decisión saudí fue tomada después de la formación de un gobierno de salvación nacional en Sanaa. La formación de este gobierno ha demostrado, según los analistas, una derrota política irreparable para Arabia Saudí.

Aunque no existe de momento confirmación de esta noticia de Gulf Eyes en otros medios, varias publicacions y sitios web del área del Golfo Pérsico han estado hablando en los pasados días de una posible retirada saudí de Yemen y del descontento del príncipe heredero, Mohammed bin Nayef, hacia la política belicista promovida en Yemen por su rival y sobrino, el hijo del rey, segundo príncipe heredero y ministro de Defensa, Mohammad bin Salman. La guerra de Yemen está dejando además sentir sus efectos perniciosos sobre la economía saudí.


Trump vs. Trump


El post de hoy tiene dos partes: la primera es una nota de William Engdhal aparecida hace una semana en el sitio web New Eastern Outlook. El tema: ¿Quiénes están detrás del recientemente electo presidente estadounidense Donald Trump? ¿Qué debemos esperar de ellos? A ver qué opinan.


Título: The Dangerous Deception Called The Trump Presidency

Epígrafe: The project called the Trump Presidency has just two months before its formal beginning. Yet already the hopes and fantasies of much of the world are making him into something and someone Donald Trump most definitely is not. Donald Trump is yet another project of the same boring old patriarchs who try again and again to create a one world order that they control absolutely, a New World Order that one close Trump backer once referred to as universal fascism. Ignore the sometimes fine rhetoric in some of his speeches. Talk is cheap. If we consider rather the agenda that’s taking form even in these very early days of cabinet naming, we can see that Donald Trump is the same agenda of war and global empire as Obama, as Bush before him, as Bill Clinton and Clinton’s “tutor”, George H.W. Bush before him. There is no good side to what the world is about to experience with President Trump.

Texto: ‘Ladies and gentlemen, It’s Showtime!’ Today we give you Donald Trump. He will tell you just what many of you want to hear. Trump the showman will tell you he will make America great again; Trump will say he will ship at least 3 million illegals back across the Rio Grande; Trump will introduce a bill to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization; Trump will bring jobs back to America from China and other low wage countries; Trump will sit down with Putin and work out some kind of a deal to calm things down; Trump will scrap the Iran nuclear deal of Obama…

Often during this election campaign, which was more a Hollywood “D” grade movie than any honest debate of policies and ideas candidate Trump made statements that resonated with the “silent majority” of not only so-called blue collar workers, but also the disenfranchised middle class whose earnings have been declining in real terms since the 1970’s. Trump, like an earlier actor-President named Ronald Reagan, has a talent to make himself sound sincere.


Is Trump a Grassroots Revolution?

We should not imagine for one second that the Patriarchy– those loveless old men like David Rockefeller or George Herbert Walker Bush or unnamed others– were so overwhelmed by the political genius of candidate Trump emerging from every scandal more powerful than before, that they were surprised, out-foxed, and just groaned and let it happen.

The Trump Presidency has been planned in minute detail by them and their think tanks. Quite simply, had they continued the policies that Hillary Clinton represented–war and confrontation against Russia, against China, with Color Revolution destabilizations of any and all political leaders who opposed them whether Ghaddafi or Mubarak or even Putin–they saw they were losing power over huge parts of the world, essential geopolitical power.

When a President of the relatively tiny American former colony fears not to openly attack by name an American President as “son of a whore,” and declare in China his Philippines’ “separation” from the United States, when one country after the other comes closer in economic and political cooperation to Russia, to China and to their growing Eurasian economic cohesion around the One Bridge One Road Eurasian infrastructure great project, it was clearly time to install a Plan B President.

That Plan B is casino mogul Donald Trump, a political tabula rasa, a power-possessed person with a blackmail potential that will keep him on program for them, an alpha male who is quite gifted at being able to make people fear.

If we were to use conventional psychological definitions I would say the word sociopath fits: “Antisocial personality disorder characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the culture.” Narcissism would be another apt term: “Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one’s own talents and a craving for admiration…” Read his own autobiography and his descriptions of his earlier antics with mob lawyer and mentor, Roy Cohn, at the cocaine-snorting Studio 54 and look more closely at his actual life history, not only what he dismisses as “locker room talk” eleven years ago with Billy Bush. He is definitely no JFK or Charles de Gaulle, not even close.

I state clearly my conviction, and please recall this as Trump Presidency policies unfold after January 20, 2017 to see if I am correct or not: Donald Trump was put into office to prepare America for war, a war the banks of Wall Street and the US military industrial complex are not presently in a position economically or industrially or otherwise, geopolitically, to win. His job will be to reposition the United States for them to reverse the trend to disintegration of American global hegemony, to, as the Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz Project for the New American Century put it in their September, 2000 report, “rebuild America’s defenses.”

To do that preparation, a deception strategy that will fatally weaken the developing deep bonds between Russia and China will be priority. It’s already begun. We have a friendly phone call from The Donald to Vladimir the Fearsome in Moscow. Russian media is euphoric about a new era in US-Russia relations after Obama. Then suddenly we hear the war-mongering NATO head, Stoltenberg, suddenly purr soothing words to Russia. Float the idea that California Congressman and Putin acquaintance, Dana Rohrabacher, is leaked as a possible Secretary of State. It’s classic Kissinger Balance of Power geopolitics–seem to ally with the weaker of two mortal enemies, Russia, to isolate the stronger, China. Presumably Vladimir Putin is not so naïve or stupid as to fall for it, but that is the plot of Trump’s handlers. Such a strategy of preventing the growing Russia-China cooperation was urged by Zbigniew Brzezinski in a statement this past summer.

Because he’s been selected (and not by us dear voters) to play a definite role–to shift tactics of global domination according to the basics of the 1992 Bush-Wolfowitz Doctrine–preempting any nation or group of nations in Eurasia from challenging American Sole Superpower hegemony–the selection of his Cabinet and key policy advisers, is vital. Here we can already see the outlines of the cast of characters who have been chosen to fill out the theater play called Trump Presidency, and the emerging new plot for reconfiguring the Sole Superpower strategy.


The dramatis personae

As of this writing, several key positions have been named. It includes three-star General Mike Flynn to be the President’s National Security Advisor; it includes Congressman Mike Pompeo of Kansas to be Director of Central Intelligence; it includes Jeff Sessions to be US Attorney General and it includes Stephen K. Bannon in a newly-created post as White House “Chief Strategist” and Senior Counsellor to the President.

In this article I’ll look closely at Mike Flynn, the former 3-star general who will be the all-important Trump National Security Advisor, sitting in the White House. Normally perceptive bloggers and analysts have greeted the Flynn appointment with cheers of joy. They cite his opposition to US covert support for ISIS and Islamic terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda’s Al Nusra; he is on record that the 2003 Iraq invasion was a “strategic mistake.” Moreover, Flynn is opposed to stirring up war with Russia and instead calls for waging war against ISIS and other radical terrorist organizations. In fact Obama fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency when Flynn opposed the Obama decision to prioritize the anti-Russia war over the anti-Jihad war, and called for cooperation with Syrian President Assad to that end.

Flynn’s position on war against ISIS and presumably also against the Muslim Brotherhood so beloved by Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration, is not one of a man of peace. Rather it is one of a cold, calculating military professional, a military professional who favors working with the Likud of Netanyahu to advance the global agenda of war.

Flynn’s statements on Assad and ISIS and Iraq must be interpreted not in a vacuum but in light of a military intelligence specialist who sees that the decades-long CIA and Pentagon policy of training Muslim Brotherhood and other fanatic Muslim-origin terrorists to wage surrogate wars of empire have backfired badly. Not only the CIA’s July 15 failed coup using networks of Turkey’s Fethullah Gülen, but rather every CIA-backed Jihad war from Secretary of State Clinton’s war against Mubarak, against Gaddafi, against most of the Islamic world to try to impose US-backed Muslim Brotherhood terror regimes loyal to Washington, has failed. The gross effect has been to drive much of the world away from Washington and their constant proxy wars.

An intelligent military strategist would say it’s time for another plan. This is what Flynn is about. He will advance a shift in Washington policy away from using Muslim Brotherhood and allied terror organizations towards more intimate restoration of full cooperation with Israel’s right-wing Netanyahu Likud government.

Walid Phares, Donald Trump’s adviser on terrorism, and Middle Eastern Affairs, told Egyptian media in comments reported by Ben Shapiro’s conservative US blog, The Daily Wire, that Donald Trump will back efforts to outlaw the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, something the Obama Administration vehemently refused and prevented Congress from doing.

Anyone familiar with my latest book, The Lost Hegemon: Whom the gods would destroy, will know I am in no way a friend of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been in a dark alliance with the CIA since the 1950s. Yet reality is not simplistic as in, “my enemy’s enemy is my friend…” Walid Phares, Donald Trump’s key adviser on terrorism and the Middle East, is also a Senior Fellow of a small very pro-Netanyahu think tank called the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


Foundation for Defense of Democracies?

The Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, was created in the wake of September 11, 2001 by a former Republican National Committee communications director, Clifford May, in order to, as it declares on its website, “promote pluralism, defend democratic values, and fight the ideologies that drive terrorism.”

The notable point about the FDD, whose Senior Fellow, Walid Phares is guiding President-elect Trump on the Middle East and terrorism, is the money trail behind it. It was founded and financed by a group of US billionaires closely tied to Benjamin Netanyahu and his Israeli geopolitical agenda. The donors include the notorious Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas and Macau gambling casino mogul who according to the Israeli press gave the Trump campaign $25 million in the closing critical days. Other FDD financial backers include Jewish American with a long history of funding pro-Israel organizations: Bernard Marcus, co-founder of Home Depot; whiskey heirs Samuel and Edgar Bronfman; Wall Street billionaire speculators Michael Steinhardt and Paul Singer, and Leonard Abramson, founder of US Healthcare.

No surprise then that the main Washington think tank called on to testify against the Obama agenda of coming to a nuclear deal with Iran and lifting sanctions was the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who testified 17 times against the Iran plan. FDD’s executive director, Mark Dubowitz, even helped design the sanctions regime on Iran and its oil sales that was put in place in 2010.

In addition, most other positions of the FDD echo those of the Netanyahu regime in Tel Aviv. Toby Dershowitz, who spent 14 years as AIPAC’s communications head, is the FDD vice president for government relations and strategy. AIPAC, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, was described by John Mearsheimer, University of Chicago professor, as “an agent of the Israeli government with a stranglehold on the United States Congress with its power and influence.” Trump was a featured speaker at the March 2016 AIPAC annual meeting.


Mike Flynn and Mike Ledeen

Now we return to the anti-Muslim Brotherhood National Security Advisor, Mike Flynn. Flynn, along with CIA director-designate Mike Pompeo, agrees that the Obama Iran nuclear deal should be scrapped and calls Iran a state sponsor of terrorism, a position dear to Netanyahu’s heart.

Flynn also wrote a book together with Michael Ledeen. One doesn’t co-author a book with just anyone. I know. It has to be one whose thoughts are in full harmony with yours. Michael Ledeen is today a Freedom Scholar at, now isn’t this interesting: the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Worth noting, financial investor, Jim Rickards, also is on the Board of Advisors of the Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and former CIA Director James Woolsey, rumored being considered for a top post with the Trump project, is one of four members of the FDD Leadership Council.

This year, 2016, Ledeen co-authored a book with NSC Director-designate Mike Flynn titled, Field of Fight: How to Win the War Against Radical Islam and its Allies. The ties between Ledeen and Trump NSC director are clearly not casual.

Years ago Ledeen–who was implicated in the illegal Iran-Contra arm for cocaine dealings of G.H.W. Bush and his CIA Old Boys network during the Reagan years — wrote a doctoral dissertation which I once saw, today almost impossible to find. It was titled “Universal Fascism,” and dealt with the applicability of Italian fascism of Mussolini to a global model, a fascist one world order if you will.

Michael Ledeen, who prefers to be in the background, is perhaps best characterized as a Godfather of the neoconservatives. He has shaped the policies of the likes of Paul Wolfowitz, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and others of the US war faction.

In 2003 just as the Bush-Cheney-Wolfowitz war on Iraq was underway, Ledeen gave a speech titled, “Time to Focus on Iran — The Mother of Modern Terrorism,” for the pro-Netanyahu Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA) in which he declared, “the time for diplomacy is at an end; it is time for a free Iran, free Syria and free Lebanon.” To “free” Iran, Syria and Lebanon back in 2003, almost a decade before the US war against Assad, Ledeen declared that Iraq, Iran and Syria should get their “freedom” through a US-led “total War.”

According to reports of those near the cabinet selection process of president-elect Donald Trump, two people have decisive influence on who is being selected—Trump’s 35-year-old politically inexperienced son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Mike Flynn. Trump has even asked those two to sit in with him on those highly classified Presidential briefings.

Winston Churchill once said, “In wartime, truth is so precious that she should always be attended by a bodyguard of lies.” It is already clear that the project of the Trump Presidency, to prepare America for a new war, is already being well attended by a bodyguard of lies.



***


La nota que sigue acá abajo, del analista ruso autodenominado “Saker” y aparecido estos días en el sitio web UNZ-Review, contra-argumenta varios puntos y conclusiones del artículo anterior:
  

Título: Is Donald Trump Really Only a Showman Who Will Prepare the USA for War?

Texto: Let me begin by immediately say that I have the utmost respect for F. William Engdahl and that I consider him a person far more knowledgeable of US politics than myself. Furthermore, I want to also make it clear that I am not going to refute a single argument Engdahl makes in support of his thesis simply because I believe that his arguments are fact-based and logical. I strongly urge everybody to read Engdahl’s article “The Dangerous Deception Called The Trump Presidency” in the New Eastern Outlook and carefully consider each of his arguments. Of course, Engdahl only offers indirect, circumstantial evidence and only time will really show whether he is right or wrong. What I propose to do today is to consider the other possibility, that in spite of all the evidence presented by Engdahl, Trump might not be a fraud and a showman. You will see that this conclusion is not necessarily more optimistic than Engdahl’s.

My main argument is much more primitive than Engdahl’s and even more circumstantial: I see clear signs of a real struggle taking place inside the US elites and if, indeed, such a struggle is taking place, then I conclude that Trump is not a showman who has been “selected” (to use Engdahl’s words) by the US elites but that quite to the contrary, his election is a nightmare for these elites.

My subsidiary argument is that even if Engdahl is right and if Trump is a showman, the ploy of the US elites to save the Empire and prepare for war will fail.

Let’s take them one by one:


The reality of the struggle inside the US elites

Frankly, I don’t believe that the imperial “deep state” was so devious and sophisticated to order the mainstream media to organize a year-long hate campaign against Trump because the “deep state” has calculated that only such a demonization of Trump would make him popular and get him elected. Why? I just don’t believe that the US propaganda machine is that flexible. You look at freaks like Rachel Maddows or Martha Raddatz and you can tell that they are for real, in the sense that they were never hired to parrot a specific political line but they were hired because they are the living embodiment of a specific political line. And that goes for 90% of the Trump-bashing media. Yeah, maybe some are cynical presstitutes, but most of them come from what I would call the “tribe of assorted minorities” which viscerally hates everything Trump stands for. Their hate is sincere, it is pure, it comes from their very identity.

Likewise, when I look at the fawning in lockstep before Hillary which the mainstream media carefully nurtured I can only conclude that this is the logical outcome of decades of brainwashing by the liberal propaganda machine. This machine was built around hating the “common” American, the “deplorables” in Hillary’s parlance, and this machine could not do anything but to worship her 24/7.

I am therefore convinced that Donald Trump got elected in spite of, and not thanks to, the “Patriarchy of loveless old men like David Rockefeller or George Herbert Walker Bush“. Furthermore, when I see the desperate efforts by Soros & Co to organize some kind of “color revolution” against Trump under the slogan “not my president” and the efforts by, again, Soros & Co. to get Jill Stein to get a recount only in the states were Trump won, I come to the clear conclusion that the Neocons have still not accepted their defeat and that they are still trying to prevent Trump from occupying the White House. In contrast, Engdahl writes that,

We should not imagine for one second that the Patriarchy– those loveless old men like David Rockefeller or George Herbert Walker Bush or unnamed others– were so overwhelmed by the political genius of candidate Trump emerging from every scandal more powerful than before, that they were surprised, out-foxed, and just groaned and let it happen. The Trump Presidency has been planned in minute detail by them and their think tanks

I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t get the feeling that what is taking place today is the result of something carefully planned. I fully agree that the US deep state did not just “groan and let hit happen“. But rather than letting it happen, I see the US deep state fighting against Trump with everything it has! I don’t think that the post-election anti-Trump hysteria has been planned by the likes of Rockefeller or Bush at all. What I see are the Neocons using every bit of “ammunition” they have to try to oppose and sabotage a Trump presidency.

Engdahl also brings some very strong arguments against the nomination of General Mike Flynn who not only is known for his rather crude anti-Islamic rhetoric, but who even co-authored a book with the notorious Neocon Michael Ledeen. That a man like Flynn could find no better co-author than Ledeen should set off “red alert” alarms in the minds of everybody who understands what Ledeen stands for and represents. And Flynn is most definitely one of the better people around Trump.

In fact, a closer look at the folks around Trump reveals a lot of Neocons, Israelis and Judaics and all in key positions. There is a definite Likudnik smell to a lot of the people Trump has surrounded himself with. But that argument could also be reversed – if indeed Trump is “securely surrounded” by doubleplusgoodthinking Zionists, why their big panic? Could it be that these doubleplusgoodthinking Zionists have some very strong concerns about what Trump might do as a President once he is in full control?

Last but most definitely not least: not only has Jill Stein been used to trigger a recount in some states, but there are now rumors that some Electors are now being pressured not to give their vote to Trump, as the law says they should. Whether true or not, this kind of rumors clearly indicate that the Neocons are willing to do anything and everything to prevent Trump from getting into the White House or, if that is impossible, to maximally weaken him even if that puts the entire country at risk.

Why do I say that?

Because events have a way of getting out of control which makes the kind of reckless doubling-down the Neocons are currently engaged in extremely dangerous. Of course, nobody currently expects the Electoral College to refuse to nominate Trump. But the unexpected seems to be happening a lot these days. So what if something like that happens? Or what if some states accept Trump’s victory, but others don’t? What if the “not my President” slogan really goes viral and infects the minds of many more people than right now? Or even worse, what if this absolutely irresponsible rhetoric ends up in violence with either protesters or Trump himself being shot? We know that the very same US deep state which organized and executed 9/11 also used snipers in Vilnius in 1991, in Moscow in 1993 and in Kiev in 2014 to bring about an insurrection. There are also report that such snipers were used in Libya, Egypt and Syria. Is there any logical reason to think that this time around the deep state would not use such snipers inside the USA?

While it is possible that the current situation has been triggered by the US deep state, it is equally possible that the US deep state is losing control of the situation which might now be developing a momentum of its own. Would the US deep state really take such a risk just in order to put “Trump the showman” into the White House?


The plan

According to Engdahl, Donald Trump was put into office to,

...prepare America for war, a war the banks of Wall Street and the US military industrial complex are not presently in a position economically or industrially or otherwise, geopolitically, to win. His job will be to reposition the United States for them to reverse the trend to disintegration of American global hegemony, to, as the Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz Project for the New American Century put it in their September, 2000 report, “rebuild America’s defenses.” To do that preparation, a deception strategy that will fatally weaken the developing deep bonds between Russia and China will be priority. It’s already begun. We have a friendly phone call from The Donald to Vladimir the Fearsome in Moscow. Russian media is euphoric about a new era in US-Russia relations after Obama. Then suddenly we hear the war-mongering NATO head, Stoltenberg, suddenly purr soothing words to Russia. Float the idea that California Congressman and Putin acquaintance, Dana Rohrabacher, is leaked as a possible Secretary of State. It’s classic Kissinger Balance of Power geopolitics–seem to ally with the weaker of two mortal enemies, Russia, to isolate the stronger, China. Presumably Vladimir Putin is not so naïve or stupid as to fall for it, but that is the plot of Trump’s handlers.


If that was indeed the plan, then I fully agree with Engdahl – Putin is not so naive or stupid to fall for it. In fact, such a possibility has been discussed many times by Russian experts on various Russian talkshows and they all agree that while Russia will definitely tone down its criticism of the USA if Trump appears to be interested in collaborating with Russia, there is no chance in hell that Moscow would in any way let the Americans weaken or otherwise affect the unofficial but extremely strong strategic partnership between Russia and China. Besides, the USA have nothing very interesting to offer the Russians anyway. Why would the Russians spend any capital on a clearly dying Empire when they have an extremely beneficial alliance with a growing superpower? Does anybody in Washington DC really think that two decades of rabid russophobia have suddenly been forgotten or that anybody in Russia will ever trust a word coming out of an American politician’s mouth? For the past two years Russia has been scrambling to prepare for war against the USA and NATO. Now that the danger of President Hillary has almost certainly passed, yes – the Russians are delighted that a thermonuclear war has become unlikely. But they will never forget how close it came and they will most definitely not stop their preparations. At most, they will somewhat slow down some programs, but that’s it. Fundamentally Russia will continue her rapid pace of military development which, considering the situation in the Ukraine and in the Middle-East, is a sound decision regardless of what the Americans do or say.

I think I can very accurately predict what Russia will do during the next four years: Putin will meet with Trump and try to work out with him as many of the outstanding issues between the USA and Russia as possible (that is, assuming the Neocons around Trump don’t torpedo it all before it even starts!). If Trump wants a reasonable solution for Syria and the Ukraine, he will get it from the Russians. If Trump is serious about forcing the CIA & Co. to stop using al-Qaeda & Co., that is to say if Trump is serious about smashing Daesh, the Russians will help him too. And if Trump wants the Russians to help secure a deal for Israel and Palestine, or help mediate some deal with the DPRK – the Russians will oblige again. But what will not stop is the massive re-armament of the Russian armed forces and the Russian efforts to politically decouple the EU from the USA. These are strategic goals of Russia which will not be affected by the USA. Furthermore, even if during the next four years the USA spends X billion dollars on “defense”, Russia will spend far less but get much more than the USA. Why? Because the entire US military-industrial complex is corrupt to the bone and the US armed forces in an advanced state of decay.

Contrary to what some Russian (and non-Russian) hurray-patriots think, Russia is still much weaker than the USA, but she is catching up at a rate which the USA is simply not able to match, Trump or not Trump, so the power ratio of the USA to Russia in four years will be even more favorable to Russia than it is now. If the Neocons really think that they can somehow reverse or even significantly affect this trend they are wrong. The USA are going down and Russia is going up, and nothing can stop this process.

The strongest argument in favor of Engdahl’s thesis is this: while the Neocons have always been clever and very driven, they are not very bright and they can only see as far as the immediate short term. Furthermore, their truly infinite arrogance always brings them to the same solution when presented with a crisis: double down. And if that don’t work, double down again. And again. And again. This is why all their grand plans first kinda work, but then inevitably come crashing down, over and over again.

Right now, there is nothing more stupid and self-defeating the USA could do than to double down on all their failures, miscalculations and mistakes. The smart thing to do is what Trump promises to do: to change course, “drain the swamp” in DC and save the USA by giving up on the AngloZionist Empire. I hope that this is what the slogan “make America great again” means: make it great by dumping the Empire.

My gut-feeling is that Trump is at least partially sincere, how could we explain the current Neocon panic otherwise? They seem to know something which really is freaking them out. Might that be that Trump is serious about kicking their collective rear-end back down to the basement from which they crawled out?

This being said, please don’t conclude that I am any more optimistic than Engdahl. I am not. It’s just that my fear is different from his. He thinks that Trump is a fraud while I think that the Trump is unlikely to have the right combination of intelligence, willpower, courage, abnegation and patriotism to purge the USA from the Neocon rot. Simply put – I don’t think that Trump will be the “American Putin”. Furthermore, I think that the choice of Pence as VP is indicative a deeply misguided hope by Trump that he can appease the Neocons.

Finally, let’s try to make sense out of Trump’s absolutely bizarre and, frankly, irrational phobia of Iran. Is that not his attempt at throwing the Neocons a bone to chew on in the hope that they will let him be if he “gives” them Iran?

One thing is absolutely certain: if the Americans attack Iran, any rapprochement with Russia will immediately go down the tubes. There is no way Trump can get some kind of partnership with Russia while threatening Iran. Yet another contradiction in the putative Neocon plan.

God knows I hope that I am wrong. And, of course, I hope that Engdahl is wrong too. Miracles do happen and sometimes seemingly mediocre or hesitant individuals end up showing a strength and willpower which can change the course of history. But I think that Engdahl is asking the right questions and sounding the right warnings. While it is legitimate to hope for a miracle, one must never forget miracles happen very rarely and that it is far more likely that they will not happen.



Después de Alepo


Como lo venimos diciendo, las provocaciones a Rusia por parte del Imperio, la NATO y sus satélites van a alcanzar niveles de paroxismo en las próximas semanas. La Caída de Alepo marca un punto de inflexión en el contexto geopolítico, y ya se perfilan ganadores y perdedores. Estos últimos van a intentar un zarpazo final; de ahí el peligro de los tiempos que se avecinan. Adicionalmente, la tentación de dejarle un hecho consumado a Donald Trump, cosa de limitarle su margen de acción en el frente externo, será grande. Via Zero Hedge encontramos esta nota de Tom Luongo publicada originalmente en el sitio web PlanetFreeWill.com:


Título: The Battle For Aleppo Is Over, Now The Real War Has Begun

Texto: The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) has essentially reclaimed the city of Aleppo in the past couple of days.  The failure to break the siege from the Southwest coupled with the Turkish Army not resupplying militants meant the situation wouldn’t hold for long.

Aleppo is the key to the Syrian ‘civil war.’ Now that pro-Assad forces have won the day it touches off a number of responses around the region.  This further breaks down the position of U.S/NATO-backed forces trying to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power, regardless of what Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has to say about it.

It also ushers in the next potential escalation of the proxy war between the outgoing Obama administration, doing the bidding of the U.S. Deep State, and its opponents coalescing around Russia and its front-man President Vladimir Putin.

The Aleppo Fulcrum
Aleppo is the strategic key to Assad remaining in power.  This is why it has been fought for with such vigor by all sides.


The only thing left for the U.S./NATO/GCC coalition is a diplomatic solution.  But, given the military facts on the ground there is little hope of that as well.  The time for that was back in February when U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov brokered a cease-fire and Russia announced the removal of military assets from Syria.

That agreement, however, held no more water than the Minsk II agreement over Ukraine or the later ceasefire in September. That one was broken within 24 hours by a ‘mistaken’ U.S. military strike on SAA forces near Deir Ezzor.

And now that the battle for Aleppo is over, the whole regional situation becomes more dangerous, not less.  Because the window for any kind of victory for those within the U.S. and NATO that pushed for this conflict is closing as each day brings us closer to the inauguration of President Trump.

And Trump has all but said that his primary foreign policy goal is to reverse this operation and assist Russia and Iran in wiping out ISIS.

The Responses to Aleppo
Within hours of the news that the Sunni militant resistance in eastern Aleppo collapsed, the U.S. House passed House Bill 5732, authorizing an investigation into creating a No-Fly-Zone over Syria.

In other words, the U.S. House is looking for ways to start a hot war in Syria with Russia.  This may just be more impotent sabre rattling by a fading group of back-bencher neoconservatives – think Lindsay Graham and John McCain– but it is something that bears witness all the same.

The goal of a No-Fly Zone is to implement the ‘Plan B’ strategy to break Syria up into two separate countries.  Then they can create some form of Greater Kurdistan across parts of Syria, Iraq, Iran and eastern Turkey.

Russia’s deployment of S-300 and S-400 missile defense systems around Syria and delivering them as well to Iran is an important counter-move to this plan.

On the other side, Sunni Egypt pledged to send pilots to Syria to help Assad wipe out what remains of the ISIS/Al-Qaeda resistance in the South and East of the country.

When you have Sunni Egyptians fighting alongside Shi’ite Syrians it is time to seriously re-assess any conventional narrative you might have in your head.  Egypt has now openly sided with Russia in stopping the expansion of U.S.-fomented chaos around the Middle East and North Africa.

And it seems the election of Donald Trump was the impetus to break open these old definitions of who is on which side.

Wither Saudi Arabia
When all of this is viewed within the context of the goings-on at the latest OPEC meeting the picture becomes even clearer.

The agreement by OPEC to cut production by 1.2 million barrels was done to prop up oil prices in the medium term. This is an attempt by the Saudis to remain the marginal oil producer in the world, a status they have not held now for the past couple of years with the emergence of U.S. shale production.

But cutting production to raise prices alone will not plug the massive hole in the Saudi’s budget.  So, they threw Indonesia out of OPEC to allow individual GCC members to pump more oil under the rubric of OPEC but cut overall production.

As this situation gets more desperate for the U.S./Saudi forces trying to hold onto power in the region, expect more aggressive counter moves.

We’re seeing provocations by Ukraine into Crimea now.  Erdogan was likely forced to make that statement about Turkey’s invasion of Syria being in service of ousting Assad.

The European Union and Canada are contemplating and/or enacting new anti-Russian sanctions.


All of this means that the likelihood of some ugly false flag incident rises by the hour.  I expect Putin understands this and will not take the bait but there are no guarantees.

jueves, 1 de diciembre de 2016

Provocaciones


Como Trump ya avisó que quiere bajar los decibeles de la confrontación con Rusia, los ucranianos están tratando de dejarle un hecho consumado, aguna provocación que obligue a los EEUU a reaccionar contra los rusos. Así hay que leer a los próximos ejercicios misilísticos de Ucrania en proximidades de Crimea, hasta hace poco territorio de ese país. Leemos en RT en español: 


Título: Buques de la Armada rusa salen al mar por los lanzamientos de misiles ucranianos cerca de Crimea

Subtítulo: Las naves han tomado posiciones frente a la costa occidental de Crimea y podrían pasar en breve al estado de alerta, según una fuente militar rusa.

Texto: Buques de guerra rusos de la Flota del Mar Negro han tomado posiciones frente a las costas occidentales de Crimea para garantizar la defensa aérea durante los ensayos de disparos de misiles por parte del Ejército de Kiev en el sur de Ucrania, ha informado a RIA Novosti una fuente militar radicada en la Península rusa.

"Los buques de la Flota del Mar Negro integrados en el sistema de defensa aérea del Distrito Militar del Sur han tomado posiciones frente a la costa oeste de Crimea para el periodo de ejercicios de lanzamiento de misiles de [el Ejército de] Ucrania, programados para el 1 y 2 de diciembre", ha precisado la fuente, que no descarta que en breve las naves rusas puedan recibir una orden para pasar al estado de alerta.

Asimismo, esta misma persona ha explicado que "las armas de fuego antiaéreo de las naves están destinadas, en primer lugar, a la destrucción de misiles de crucero y misiles antibuque pesados".

Según la fuente, junto con las unidades de defensa aérea de tierra con base en la Península, los buques "construyen una barrera prácticamente impenetrable para los misiles enemigos".

Según el jefe del centro de prensa del Mando Aéreo Sur de Ucrania, Vladímir Krzhizhanovski, los ensayos de disparos de misiles en el sur de este país ya han comenzado y se están ejecutando a pleno rendimiento.

Moscú ha advertido de que estos lanzamientos podrían afectar al espacio aéreo sobre aguas territoriales rusas cerca de Crimea. La Agencia Federal de Transporte Aéreo de Rusia ha calificado los lanzamientos previstos por Kiev de medida "provocadora".


El Ministerio ruso de Defensa, por su parte, ha entregado al agregado militar de la Embajada de Ucrania una nota de protesta. El portavoz del presidente ruso Vladímir Putin, Dmitri Peskov, ha advertido de que Rusia derribará los misiles que Kiev tiene previsto lanzar durante sus ensayos si suponen un peligro.

miércoles, 30 de noviembre de 2016

Juan advierte


Para el director saliente de la CIA, John Brennan (foto) sería "un error" romper con los acuerdos alcanzados con Irán en torno al programa nuclear de ese país. El aviso es para Donald Trump, el presidente electo. Nos preguntamos qué es lo que quieren hacer en/con Irán estos chicos. porque romper con los acuerdos casi siempre es un error, John. Leemos en el diario español El País


Título: El director saliente de la CIA cree sería una “locura” romper el pacto nuclear con Irán

Subtítulo: John Brennan cree que esta decisión ayudaría a que Teherán y otras regiones se embarquen en sus propios programas nucleares

Texto: El director saliente de la CIA, John Brennan, ha asegurado que sería "una locura" para el presidente electo estadounidense Donald Trump romper el acuerdo nuclear de Washington con Teherán que limita el programa nuclear iraní a cambio de un levantamiento de sanciones porque haría más probable que Irán y otras regiones de la zona adquirieran armas nucleares.

En una entrevista con la BBC, este miércoles, Brennan señaló que esta decisión "podría conducir a un programa de armas dentro de Irán que podría llevar a otros estados de la región a embarcarse en sus propios programas ". "Creo que rozaría la locura que la próxima administración de los Estados Unidos rompiera ese acuerdo ", añadió.

Las históricas relaciones entre el Reino del Desierto y EE. UU. atraviesan momentos difíciles a causa, en parte, la firma del acuerdo nuclear con Irán el año pasado tras dos años de laboriosas negociaciones, tal y como contaba Ángeles Espinosa, corresponsal de EL PAÍS en Dubái, tras la victoria de Trump. El presidente electo habló durante la campaña de romper el acuerdo, algo que de producirse daría alas a los sectores más inmovilistas de Irán que siempre han desconfiado de esa firma.

Durante la entrevista, Brennan también dijo que al tratar con la crisis siria, Trump debe ser cauteloso en tratar de trabajar con Rusia. "Espero que vaya a haber una mejora en las relaciones entre Washington y Moscú ", confió. "El presidente electo Trump y la nueva administración deben ser cautelosos con las promesas rusas porque yo tengo en mente algunas promesas que no nos han cumplido", añadió.

martes, 29 de noviembre de 2016

Un triángulo dorado para Eurasia



Acá va una interesante nota de William Engdahl publicada la semana pasada en su sitio web (http://www.williamengdahl.com/). El tema: el triángulo estratégico conformado por China, rusia e Irán. A ver si te gusta:


Título: The Iran-Russia-China Strategic Triangle

Epígrafe: The developing economic, political and military links binding Iran, China and Russia in what I see as an emerging Golden Triangle in Eurasia, are continuing to deepen in significant areas. This, while it seems to be US geopolitical strategy in a prospective Trump Administration to distance Washington from both Iran and from China, while dangling the carrot of lessened confrontation between Washington and Moscow–classic Halford Mackinder or Kissinger geopolitics of avoiding a two-front war that was colossally backfiring on Washington by trying to shift the power balance. At present, the dynamic of the past several years of closer cooperation by the three pivotal states of the Eurasian Heartland is gaining strategic momentum. The latest is the visit of China’s Minister of Defense and of Russian senior officials to Teheran.

TextoOn November 14-15 in Teheran, during a high-level visit of the Chinese Defense Minister, General Chang Wanquan, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, the two major Eurasian nations signed a deal to enhance military cooperation. The agreement calls for intensification of bilateral military training and closer cooperation on what the Iran sees as regional security issues, with terrorism and Syria at the top of the list. Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, said Iran is ready to share with China its experiences in fighting against the terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria. Dehghan added that the agreement represents an “upgrade in long-term military and defense cooperation with China.”

In recent weeks China has directly become engaged, joining Russia and Iran, at the behest of the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad, in the war against ISIS and other terrorist groups including Al Qaeda-Al Nusra Front and its numerous spinoffs. The formal agreement with Teheran, which has considerable on the ground experience with the fight in Syria, clearly represents a deepening of bilateral China-Iran relations.

At the same time as China and Iran were meeting in Teheran, Viktor Ozerov, head of the Defense and Security Committee of the Russian Federation Council, the upper house of the Parliament, was also in Teheran. There, he told RAI Novosti that Russia and Iran are in talks over an arms deal worth around $10 billion. It calls for Russia to deliver T-90 tanks, artillery systems, planes and helicopters to Iran.

In brief, we have a deepening of military defense links between the three points of the emerging Eurasian Triangle. This will have huge consequences, not merely for stabilization of Syria and Iraq in the Middle East. It will also give a major boost to the emerging economic links between the three great powers of the Eurasian Heartland.

Halford J. Mackinder, the father of British geopolitics variously called Russia the Heartland Power, and towards the end of his life, in a 1943 guest article in Foreign Affairs, journal of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, suggested China might equally play the geographic and political role of Russia as the Eurasian Heartland Power.

Today, given the enormous growth since 1943 of the geopolitical importance of the Persian Gulf oil and gas-producing nations for the world economy, the bonding together of Iran to China and to Russia forms a new Heartland Power, to stay with the designation of Mackinder.

The added element since 2013 is the initiative of China President Xi Jinping to criss-cross all Eurasia and even South Asia with what he calls China’s One Belt, One Road infrastructure. Both China and Russia have formally agreed to coordinate with China in this multi-trillion dollar vast infrastructure project to link entire new emerging markets of Central Asia, Iran–and potentially Turkey– to a coherent high-speed rail and maritime port network that within the end of this decade will already begin to transform the economic worth of the entire Eurasia.


China-Iran Trade

Already despite onerous US and EU economic sanctions on Iran, Sino-Iranian trade had grown even before the 2015 nuclear agreement loosened some sanctions. Bilateral trade grew from $400 million in 1989 to almost $52 billion in 2014. Today the Iran-China Chamber of Commerce and Industries (I.C.C.C.I.), has grown from 65 members in 2001 to 6,000, an indication of the intensity of economic cooperation.

On the lifting of sanctions this January, 2016 China President Xi Jinping went to Teheran where the two countries signed major economic agreements. After their January 23 talks, Iranian president Rouhani announced that, “Iran and China have agreed to increase trade to $600 billion in the next 10 years,” adding that both countries, “have agreed on forming strategic relations, reflected in a 25-year comprehensive document.” Moreover, Iran agreed to nuclear energy cooperation and formally participating in China’s One Belt, One Road which Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union countries had formally agreed to join in 2015.


Iran – Key Link

China’s One Belt, One Bridge, sometimes referred to as her New Economic Silk Road, is a brilliant geopolitical, economic, military and cultural project. It will enable the member nations to be far more shielded from USA Naval power to interdict vital goods trade by sea from Europe or the Middle East that must pass through the US-patrolled Strait of Malacca. As well, while Washington and Brussels impose economic sanctions on Russian trade with Europe, the Ukrainian crisis forced a far more serious Russian “pivot to the East,” notably to China.

What has emerged since the crisis created for Russia with the USA February 2014 Ukraine coup d’etat, is a strategic cooperation between the three major powers–Iran, China and Russia, what Zbigniew Brzezinski described in his 1997 book, The Grand Chessboard, as the largest geopolitical challenge facing continued Sole Superpower supremacy of the United States following Washington’s destruction of the Soviet Union in 1989-91.

Brzezinski declared then, accurately, “…how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world’s three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa’s subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania (Australia) geopolitically peripheral to the world’s central continent. About 75 per cent of the world’s people live in Eurasia, and most of the world’s physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for about three-fourths of the world’s known energy resources.”

For the Eurasian cohesion under the China OBOR infrastructure developments, Iran is strategic. Not only is China a major buyer of Iranian oil, Iran’s largest export customer. But Iran is also vital to China’s vision to create entirely new manufacturing and logistics centers or hubs in Central Asia and Europe. And, as Indian strategic consultant, Debalina Ghoshal points out, China, “has a keen interest in Iran’s geostrategic location, bordering both the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf. The location enables China to carry out the One Belt One Road agenda.

Iran is already partly linked to a recently-completed section of China’s OBOR rail-port infrastructure great project. In early 2015 rail freight began to move across the new Zhanaozen—Gyzylgaya—Bereket—Kyzyl Atrek—Gorgan railway, completed in December, 2014 in the impressive time of five years from start.

That rail line links Iran to China via the rail line through Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, a founding member of the OBOR idea since Xi Jinping first unveiled it in a visit to Kazakhstan in 2013. The new rail link, known as the North-South Transnational Rail Corridor connects Iran to Kazakhstan via Turkmenistan and on to the China border. The new rail line runs 908 kilometers, beginning at Uzen in Kazakhstan (120 km), then through Gyzylgaya-Bereket-Etrek in Turkmenistan (700 km) and ending at Gorgan in Iran (88 km). As a result of the new rail link, freight traffic is shifting from truck to rail as the line connects all key ports and terminals of the entire Caspian region.

The recently completed Uzen to Gorgan rail line as part of the OBOR is transforming the economic importance of an entire part of Central Asia

The new Iran-Turkmenistan-Kazakhstan to China rail line will transform the entire economic significance of the vast Central Asian region. Bereket in Turkmenistan — which is at the crossroads of the existing Trans-Caspian rail line linking Turkmenbashi on the Caspian Sea with Uzbekistan, Eastern Kazakhstan and China — is now to be site of a large locomotive repair depot together with a modern state-of-the-art freight terminal, making it a major freight hub.

Further, the Turkmen government is building a huge port at Turkmenbashi that would enable further trade links potentially to the Russian Federation by sea. The rail link to Gorgan in Iran already is linked to Iran’s national railway grid and will thereby enable rail transport between China, Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. The connection will shorten the route by 400 km, and reduce freight transport time more or less in half, from 45-60 days at present to 25-30 days. This is a huge economic gain.

Since April this year as well, Moscow and Teheran have been engaged in discussions of building a ship canal from the Caspian Sea to the Persian Gulf through Iran. Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran also agreed to speed up the talks on a North-South transport corridor that partly would go along the western coast of the Caspian Sea from Russia to Iran through Azerbaijan. The North-South corridor, when completed will reduce the time of cargo transport from India to Central Asia and Russia from at present about 40 days from Mumbai, India to Moscow to 14 days and bypass the congested and expensive Suez Canal.


Everywhere we go today across Eurasia, from the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea to Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and on to China, there is a process underway for the first time since the original Silk Road era of more than two thousand years ago, of building up an entire new economic space, the Eurasian Heartland. Were the Turkish government to join the OBOR project wholeheartedly, the potentials for a Eurasian transformation would become enormous. It remains to be seen what a USA with a Trump presidency will do or not do to try to destroy this beautiful Eurasian build up. If he is as wise as his sound bites make him sound, he will recognize that this kind of development is the only true future for his United States other than bankruptcy, economic depression and wars of destruction. If not, more and more much of the rest of the world seems determined to go it without the “Sole Superpower.”


NATO al borde de un ataque de nervios


La elección de Donald Trump en los EEUU dejó descolocados a unos cuantos en Europa, en particular a esos generales típicos de la actitud "Animémonos y vayan" en lo que se refiere a las confrontaciones con Rusia. Un pañal descartable ahí. Leemos en Sputnik:


Título: Election of Donald Trump as US President ‘Shocks’ NATO States

Epígrafe: Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 US elections shocked the member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) due to the president-elect's views on cooperation with Russia, Russia's envoy to NATO Alexander Grushko said Tuesday. 

Texto: Grushko added that the "shock" was mostly caused due to the position of those, who expressed fear that possible improvement of the US-Russian relations could damage the policy NATO had been following in the past years. 

"Speaking about the developments on the NATO platform, election of [Donald] Trump as the new US president left a shocking impression," Alexander Grushko said in response to a RIA Novosti query. Trump repeatedly said during his presidential campaign that Washington should review its relationships with NATO allies which he insisted should pay more for having their security guaranteed by the United States. 

Earlier in the day, Carter Page, who served as an adviser to Trump during his presidential campaign told Sputnik that  the US president-elect and Russian leader Vladimir Putin need to establish mutual respect for each other on a personal level to promote a fair dialogue between the two states. 

Trump reaffirmed his willingness to normalize US relations with Russia in the first ever phone with President Vladimir Putin on November 14. Trump, who beat his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the November 8 presidential elections, has repeatedly noted during his public speeches and interviews that "it would be nice" to have a good relationship with Russia. In his victory speech, the president-elect pledged to prioritize US national interests, but he also promised to treat fairly all other nations.


***

Actualización:

Una interesante nota de Brian Cloughley para el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation complementa bien la nota anterior. Acá va:


Título: NATO’s Rear-Guard Actions

Texto: In the military a rearguard action is defined as ‘a defensive action carried out by a retreating army’ and it is an appropriate description of the desperate scrabbling by NATO to convince the rest of the world — and especially Donald Trump — that its existence is justified.

President-elect Trump has never said that the US should actually leave NATO. Certainly Hillary Clinton declared that he ‘wants to pull out of NATO’ but this was just another of her lies, and what he said back in April was that it is ‘obsolete’ which is a gentle way of indicating that it’s hopeless. He did, after all, tell a town hall meeting in Wisconsin: «Maybe Nato will dissolve and that’s OK, not the worst thing in the world», but although that may have sent shivers up the supple spine of NATO’s Secretary General Stoltenberg, it was by no means a definitive statement of intention.

The fact remains that The Donald is unhappy with NATO, and he’s perfectly right to consider that it’s a vastly expensive and largely ineffective military grouping that indeed should be disbanded. On the other hand, the massive propaganda campaign waged against Russia has convinced much of the world that Moscow has expansionist plans and that the only way to counter its supposed ambitions is to spend more money — lots and lots more money — and deploy troops and aircraft and ships all over the place to make it look as if gallant little NATO is defending the so-called Free World against the might of an illusory aggressor.

Trump may not have examined the minutiae of the NATO shambles, but in spite of being a bit of a blowhard whose knowledge of international affairs is modest, he’s not a fool, and even he can perceive that NATO has a record of catastrophe.

The Financial Times reported him as saying «Its possible that we're going to have to let Nato go. When we’re paying and nobody else is really paying, a couple of other countries are but nobody else is really paying, you feel like the jerk». He said that if elected president he would contact many of the other 27 Nato members and put pressure on them to make a larger financial contribution or leave. «I call up all of those countries…?and say 'fellas you haven't paid for years, give us the money or get the hell out’», he said, to loud cheering.

This may have been populist rhetoric, but it played to the people who matter to him — to the people who elected him. When he becomes President he might well think that he owes them a lot more than he does to NATO.

In March Stoltenberg told NATO countries that «the time has come to invest more in defence» but his motives for doing so were not those of Mr Trump, because Trump, like any businessman, wants to look carefully at expenditure and go on to make a profit, while Stoltenberg wants to spend money — including a great deal of American money — to justify existence of the costly monolith that has grown larger, more expensive and less effective over the past twenty years.

Stoltenberg sought to vindicate NATO’s record by writing an article for Britain’s Observer newspaper to say that NATO had strongly supported the United States following the 9/11 atrocities by joining it in its war in Afghanistan. ‘This,’ he declared, ‘was more than just a symbol. Nato went on to take charge of the operation in Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of European soldiers have served in Afghanistan since. And more than 1,000 have paid the ultimate price in an operation that is a direct response to an attack against the United States.’

The truth differs from what Stoltenberg claims. He is correct in saying that NATO became heavily involved (and lost a thousand troops for no reason at all), but gives the impression that NATO was there, poised and ready to take the leap into action when the US and Britain invaded Afghanistan in October 2001. Certainly the forces of the US and the UK were joined by troops from other countries — but it wasn’t until August 2003 that NATO itself managed to become involved, when, as the BBC reported, it ‘assumed control of peacekeeping in Afghanistan - the alliance's first ever operational commitment outside Europe.’ And things went screaming downhill from that time.

There was no need for NATO, as such, to become involved, because there were plenty of alliance countries with contingents already in Afghanistan (for example, the Germans had been there since January 2002 and Canadians and Italians since December 2001). All that NATO added to the foreign military machine in Afghanistan was yet another layer of military bureaucracy. The result was described in, among other histories, ‘The Good War’, an excellent account of the catastrophe by Jack Fairweather who describes the reaction of President Bush’s National Security Adviser, General Douglas Lute, who saw the map of NATO operations in 2008 and was of the opinion that «each nation was fighting its own private war. Nobody was running the show, and there was no common purpose».

In present-day NATO there are far too many people «running the show» and the purpose of the show itself is far from clear. Stoltenberg and other champions of the continuing existence of the expensive farce claim that there’s a threat from Russia — but if they genuinely believe that Russia is going to invade a NATO member country they belong in a lunatic asylum.

To be blunt, had Russia wanted to invade Ukraine at the time of the US-engineered coup in 2014 (recollect Obama’s admission that the US ‘brokered a deal to transition power in Ukraine’), it could have done so with ease. It would have taken about three weeks to defeat the Ukrainian military and occupy the country right up to the border with Poland. But why on earth would it have wanted to do that?

Russia would have been extremely unwise to take such action, because once you invade a country you have to occupy and pacify it, which is extremely difficult — as US-NATO has found to its enormous cost in lives and money in the Afghanistan debacle.

Similarly, for what possible reason would Russia attempt to invade Estonia or Latvia, or any other country for that matter? It would be insane to do so, yet this totally imaginary threat is trotted out as the reason for NATO’s present posture of confrontation. There is never explanation for the US-NATO expansion up to Russia’s borders that took place from 1999 to 2009, which is rightly regarded as confrontational by the Russian people. (And remember that it’s not correct in the west to refer to ‘the Russian people’. Rather, it is mandatory to call the country ‘Putin’s Russia’.)

Stoltenberg’s message to President-elect Trump is that the US-NATO military grouping must continue to confront ‘Vladimir Putin’s Russia’, but Trump has other priorities, not the least being the appalling economic circumstances in regions where he received most support. He’s no fool, and he’s going to pay attention to these voices rather than the plaintive wailing of Stoltenberg who rests his case for US expenditure on the foundation that ‘our proud history is one of common challenges overcome together’.

One thing that Secretary General Stoltenberg had better bear in mind is that President-elect Donald Trump does not care about history, and most decidedly not the history of Europe. He cares about the hard facts of here and now. Not intellectually, but practically. He is devoid of sentiment. Europe and NATO mean nothing to him in terms of nostalgia and all that sob-stuff.

And he’s not going to forget the volume of insults delivered by European political leaders and media, such as ‘loudmouth’ and ‘hatemonger’. In the British parliament he was described as a ‘buffoon, demagogue and wazzock’. The British foreign minister, Boris Johnson (who really is a buffoon), said in June that ‘the only reason I wouldn't visit some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump’. French President Hollande (another fool) declared that Trump’s ‘excesses’ made him ‘want to retch’ and in one particularly amusing reaction to Trump’s election, Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament, said ‘We hope that Donald Trump will respect the fundamental rights and rules of the European Union,’ in which, be assured, Mr Trump has not the slightest interest.

President-elect Donald Trump might not be the ideal person to enter the White House in January (although Clinton would have been a disaster), but he’s going to try to look after America. NATO’s wellbeing comes way down on his priorities. NATO Secretary General and confronter-in-chief Stoltenberg will continue fighting his rearguard action to keep his wobbly and mega-expensive military circus in existence, but it’s possible that Mr Trump might make the world a safer place by letting the whole thing collapse.