lunes, 31 de julio de 2017


¿Cuál es el sentido último del Acta de sanciones a Rusia que acaba de aprobar el Congreso estadounidense? ¿Un gesto desesperado de una potencia declinante, un acto de agresión gratuita a Rusia, un golpe de estado “blando” al presidente Trump? Acá va una posible versión; apareció hoy en el sitio web The Vineyard of the Saker:

Título: Sanctions, smoke and mirrors from a kindergarten on LSD

Texto: The latest US sanctions and the Russian retaliatory response have resulted in a torrent of speculations in the official media and the blogosphere – everybody is trying to make sense of a situation which appears to make no sense at all.  Why in the world would the US Senate adopt new sanctions against Russia when Russia has done absolutely nothing to provoke such a vote?  Except for Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders, every single US Senator voted in favor of these sanctions.  Why?!  This is even more baffling when you consider that the single biggest effect of these sanctions will be to trigger a rift, and possibly even counter-sanctions, between the US and the EU.  What is absolutely clear is that these sanctions will have exactly zero effect on Russia and I don’t think anybody is seriously expecting the Russians to change anything at all in their policies.  And yet, every Senator except Paul and Sanders voted for this.  Does that make any sense to you?

Let’s try to figure out what is going on here.

First, a simple reminder: like all US politicians, from the county level to the US Congress, Senators have only one consideration when then vote – “what’s in it for me?”.  The very last thing which any US Senator really cares about are the real life consequences of his/her vote.  This means that to achieve the kind of quasi unanimity (98%) for a totally stupid vote there was some kind of very influential lobby which used some very forceful “arguments” to achieve such a vote.  Keep in mind that the Republicans in the Senate knew that they were voting against the wishes of their President.  And yet every single one except for Rand Paul voted for these sanctions, that should tell you something about the power of the lobby which pushed for them.  So who would have such power?

The website “Business Pundit: Expert Driven” has helpfully posted an article which lists the 10 top most powerful lobbies in Washington, DC.  They are (in the same order as in the original article)

Tech Lobby
Mining Industry
Defense Industry
Agribusiness Industry
Big Oil
Financial Lobby
Big Pharma
Pro-Israel Lobby

Okay, why not?  We could probably rearrange them, give them different labels, add a couple (like the “Prison Industrial Complex” or the “Intelligence Community”) but all in all this is an okay list.  Any name on it jump at you yet?

One could make the case that most of these lobbies need an enemy to prosper, this is certainly true of the Military-Industrial Complex and the associated high tech industry, and one could also reasonably claim that Big Oil, Mining and Agribusiness see Russia has a potential competitor.  But a closer look at the interests these lobbies represent will tell you that they are mostly involved in domestic politics and that faraway Russia, with her relatively small economy, is just not that important to them.  This is also clearly true for Big Pharma, the AARP and the NRA.  Which leaves the Israel Lobby as the only potential candidate.

“Israel Lobby” is, of course, a misnomer.  The Israel Lobby has very little interest in Israel as a country or, for that matter, for the Israeli people.  If anything, the Israel Lobby ought to be called the “Neocon Lobby”.  Furthermore, we also have to keep in mind that the Neocon Lobby is unlike any other lobby in the list above.  For one thing, it does not represent US interests.  Neither does it represent the interests of Israel.  Rather, it represents the interests of a specific subset of the US ruling elites, in reality much smaller than 1% of the population, which all share in the one common ideology of worldwide domination typical of the Neocons.

These are the folks who in spite of their 100% ironclad control of the media and Congress lost the Presidential election to Donald Trump and who are now dead set to impeach him.  These are the folks who simply use “Russia” as a propagandistic fulcrum to peddle the notion that Trump and his entourage are basically Russian agents and Trump himself as a kind of “Presidential Manchurian Candidate”.

Keep in mind that the historical record shows that while the Neocons are fantastically driven, they are not particularly smart.  Yes, they do have the kind of rabid ideological determination which allows them to achieve a totally disproportionate influence over US policies, but when you actually read what they write and listen to what they say you immediately realize that these are rather mediocre individuals with a rather parochial mindset which makes them both very predictable and very irritating to the people around them.  They always overplay their hand and then end up stunned and horrified when all their conspiracies and plans come tumbling down on them.

I submit that this is exactly what is happening right now.

First, the Neocons lost the elections.  For them, it was a shock and a nightmare.  The “deplorables” voted against the unambiguously clear “propaganda instructions” given to them by the media.  Next, the Neocons turned their rabid hatred against Trump and they succeeded at basically neutering him, but only at the cost of terribly weakening the USA themselves!  Think of it: 6 months plus into the Trump administration the USA has already managed to directly threaten Iran, Syria, the DPRK and in all cases with exactly zero results.  Worse, Trump’s behavior towards Europe and the anti-Trump propaganda inside Europe has now put the EU and the US on a collision course.  This is absolutely amazing: for the Russians the current tensions between the EU and the USA are a dream come true and yet they had absolutely nothing to do with it – it was all done by the self-defeating stupidity of the Americans who created this situation completely ex nihilo!

So while Kim Jong-un fires missiles on the 4th of July, the Syrian Army is closing in on Deir ez-Zor, the Ukraine is turning into Somalia, the Russian economy is back to growth and Putin’s popularity is as high as ever, the Neocons are totally freaking out and, as is typical of a person losing control, they don’t do things which would make sense but do what they are used to doing: slapping sanctions (even if they are totally ineffective) and sending messages (even if they are totally ignored).  In other words, the Neocons are now engaging in magical thinking, the deliberately chose to delude themselves about their power and influence and they are coping with their full-spectrum failure at everything by pretending that their votes in Congress matter.  They truth is – they don’t.

Here is where we need to turn to the other misconception in this matter, that the Russian reaction to these latest sanctions is really about these sanctions.  It is not.

First, let’s tackle the myth that these sanctions are hurting Russia.  They really don’t.  Even the 100% russophobic Bloomberg is beginning to realize that, if anything, all these sanctions have made both Putin and Russia stronger.  Second, there is the issue of timing: instead of slapping on some counter-sanctions the Russians suddenly decided to dramatically reduce the US diplomatic personnel in Russia and confiscate a two US diplomatic facilities in a clear retaliation for the expulsion of Russian diplomats and seizure of Russian diplomatic facilities by Obama last year.  Why now?

Many observers say that the Russians are “naive” about the West and the USA, that Putin was “hoping” for better relations and that this hope was paralyzing him.  Others say that Putin is “weak” or even “in cahoots” with the West.  This is all total nonsense.

People tend to forget that Putin was an officer in the foreign intelligence branch of the KGB, the so-called “First Main Directorate” (PGU).  Furthermore, Putin has recently revealed that he worked in the highly secretive “Directorate S” of the PGU and he was in charge of contacts with a network of illegal Soviet spies in East-Germany (were Putin was under the official cover of Director of the USSR-GDR Friendship House).  If the PGU was the “elite of the elite” of the KGB, and its most secretive part, then the “Directorate S” was the “elite of the elite” of the PGU and its most secretive part.  This is most definitely not a career for “naive” or “weak” people, to put it mildly!  First and foremost, PGU officers were “specialists of the West” in general, and of the United States especially because the USA was always officially considered as the “main enemy” (even if most PGU officers personally considered the British as their most capable, dangerous and devious adversary).  Considering the superb level of education and training given to these officers, I would argue that the PGU officers were amongst the best experts of the West anywhere in the world.  Their survival and the survival of their colleagues depended on their correct understanding of the western world.  As for Putin personally, he has always taken action in a very deliberate and measured way and there is no reason to assume that this time around the latest US sanctions have suddenly resulted in some kind of emotional outburst in the Kremlin.  You can be darn sure that this latest Russian reaction is the result of very carefully arrived to conclusion and the formulation of a very precise and long-term objective.

I submit that the key to the correct understanding of the Russian response is in the fact that the latest US sanctions contain an absolutely unprecedented and, frankly, shocking feature: the new measures strip the President from the authority to revoke the sanctions.  In practical terms, if Trump wanted to life any of these sanctions, he would have to send an official letter to Congress which would then have 30 days to approve or reject the proposed action.  In other words, the Congress has now hijacked the power of the Presidency to conduct foreign policy and taken upon itself to micromanage the US foreign policy.

That, my friends, is clearly a constitutional coup d’état and a gross violation of the principles of separation of powers which is at the very core of the US political system.

It also is a telling testimony to the utter depravity of the US Congress which took no such measures when Presidents bypass Congress and started wars without the needed congressional authority, but which is now overtly taking over the US foreign policy to prevent the risk of “peace breaking out” between Russia and the USA.

And Trump’s reaction?

He declared that he would sign the bill.

Yes, the man is willing to put his signature on the text which represents an illegal coup d’état against this own authority and against the Constitution which he swore to uphold.

With this in mind, the Russian reaction is quite simple and understandable: they have given up on Trump.

Not that they ever had much hope in him, but they always strongly felt that the election of Trump might maybe provide the world with a truly historical opportunity to change the disastrous dynamic initiated by the Neocons under Obama and maybe return the international relations to a semblance of sanity.  Alas, this did not happen, Trump turned out to be an overcooked noodle whose only real achievement was to express his thoughts in 140 characters or less.  But the one crucial, vital, thing which Trump absolutely needed to succeed in – mercilessly crushing the Neocons – he totally failed to achieve.  Worse, his only reaction to their multi-dimensional attempts at overthrowing him were each time met with clumsy attempts at appeasing them.

For Russia is means that President Trump has now been replaced by “President Congress”.

Since it is absolutely impossible to get anything done with this Congress anyway, the Russians will now engage in unilaterally beneficial measures such as dramatically reducing the number of US diplomats in Russia.  For the Kremlin, these sanctions are no so much an unacceptable provocation has an ideal pretext to move on a number of Russian internal policies.  Getting rid of US employees in Russia is just a first step.

Next, Russia will use the frankly erratic behavior of the Americans to proclaim urbi et orbi that the Americans are irresponsible, incapable of adult decision-making and basically “gone fishing”.  The Russians already did that much when they declared that the Obama-Kerry team was недоговороспособны  (nedogovorosposobny: “non agreement capable”, more about this concept here).  Now with Trump signing his own constitutional demise, Tillerson unable to get UN Nikki to shut the hell up and Mattis and McMaster fighting over delusional plans to stop “not winning” in Afghanistan, the Obama-Kerry teams starts to look almost adult.

Frankly, for the Russians now is the time to move on.

I predict that the Neocon-crazies will not stop until they impeach Trump.  I furthermore predict that the USA will not launch any major military interventions (if only because the USA has run out of countries it can safely and easily attack).  Some “pretend interventions” (like the ill-fated missile strike on Syria) remain, of course, quite possible and even likely. This internal slow-mo coup against Trump will absorb the vast majority of the energy to get anything done, and leave foreign policy as simply another byproduct of internal US politics.

The East-Europeans are now totally stuck.  They will continue to haplessly observe the unfolding Ukrainian disaster while playing at silly games pretending to be tough on Russia (the latest example of that kind of “barking from behind a fence” can be seen in the rather pathetic closure of the Romanian air space to a civilian aircraft with Russian Vice-Premier Dmitri Rogozin amongst the passengers).  The real (West) Europeans will gradually come back to their senses and begin making deals with Russia.  Even France’s Emmanuel Macron de Rothschild will probably prove a more adult partner than The Donald.

But the real action will be elsewhere – in the South, the East and the Far-East.  The simple truth is that the world cannot simply wait for the Americans to come back to their senses.  There are a lot of crucial issues which need to be urgently tackled, a lot of immense projects which need to be worked on, and a fundamentally new and profoundly different multi-polar world which needs to be strengthened.  If the Americans want to basically recuse themselves from it all, if they want to bring down the constitutional order which their Founding Fathers created and if they want to solely operate in the delusional realm which has no bearing on reality – that is both their right and their problem.

Washington DC is starting to look like a kindergarten on LSD – something both funny and disgusting.  Predictably, the kids don’t look too bright: a mix of bullies and spineless idiots.  Some of them have their fingers on a nuclear button, and that is outright scary.  What the adults need to do now is to figure out a way of keeping the kids busy and distracted so they don’t press the damn button by mistake.  And wait.  Wait for the inevitable reaction of a country which is so much more and better than its rulers and which now desperately needs a real patriot to stop Witches’ Sabbath in Washington DC.

I will end this column on a personal note.  I just crossed the USA, literally, from the Rogue River in Oregon to East Central Florida.  During that long trip I did not only see breathtakingly beautiful sights, but also plenty of beautiful people who oppose the satanic ball in DC with every fiber of their being and who want their country to be free from the degenerate demonic powers which have taken over the federal government.  I have now lived  a total of 20 years in the USA and I have learned to love and deeply appreciate the many kind, decent, honorable and simply beautiful people who live here.  Far from seeing the American people as enemies of Russia, I see them has natural allies, if only because we have the same enemy (the Neocons in DC) and absolutely no objective reasons for conflict, none whatsoever.  Moreover, in many ways Americans and Russians are very much alike, sometimes in comical ways.  Just as during the Cold War I never lost hope in the Russian people, I now refuse to lose hope in the American people. Yes, the US federal government is disgusting, evil, ugly, stupid, degenerate and outright satanic, but the people of the USA are not.  Far from it.  I don’t know if this country can survive the current regime as one unitary USA or whether it will break up in several quite different entities (something I see as very possible), but I do believe that the people of the USA will survive and overcome just as the Russian people survived the horrors of the 1980s and 1990s.

[Sidebar: after being accused of being a “paid Putin agent” (Vladimir, please send me money!!), a “Jew-lover” or even a “crypto-Jew” myself, a Nazi and Anti-Semite (which decent and good person has not been called an Anti-Semite” at least once in his/her life), a Communist and a Muslim (or, at least, a “Muslim propagandist”), I will now be called an “USA lover”.  Fine.  Guilty as charged!  I do love this country very much, as I do love its people.  In fact, my heart often breaks for them and for the immense sufferings the Anglo-Zionist Empire also inflicts upon them.  In the fight between the people of the USA and the Empire I unapologetically side with the people whom I see as friends, allies and even brothers.]

Right now the USA appears to be plunging into a precipice very similar to the one the Ukraine has plunged into (which is unsurprising, really, the same people inflicting the same disasters on whatever country they infect with their presence).  The big difference is that immense and untapped potential of the USA to bounce back.  There might not even be a Ukraine in 10 years, but there will most definitely be a USA, albeit maybe a very different one or even maybe several successor states.

But for the time being, I can only repeat what Floridians say when a hurricane comes barreling down on them: “hunker down” and brace for some very difficult and dangerous times to come.

Paso a paso

Paso a paso se van estableciendo las condiciones y un posible teatro de operaciones para una guerra entre la NATO y Rusia. La militarización del espacio escandinavo es un paso importante por parte de naciones como Noruega y Suecia, tradicionalmente neutrales en la confrontación Este-Oeste. Ya no más. Así lo cuenta esta nota de Alex Gorca para el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation

Título: Militarization of Scandinavian Peninsula: Time to Ring Alarm Bells

Texto: Much has been said about NATO reinforcements in the Baltic States and Poland perceived in Moscow as provocative actions undermining security in Europe, while very little has been said about gradual but steady militarization of Scandinavia. The theme does not hit headlines and it is not in focus of public discourse but one step is taken after another to turn the region into a springboard for staging offensive actions against Russia.

Ørland in southern Norway is being expanded to become Norway’s main air force base hosting US-made F-35 Lightnings – the stealth aircraft to become the backbone of Norwegian air power. Norway has purchased 56 of such aircraft. F-35 is an offensive, not defensive, weapon. The nuclear capable platforms can strike deep into Russia’s territory.

Providing training to Norwegian pilots operating the planes carrying nuclear weapons, such as B61-12 glider warheads, constitutes a violation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) of 1968. Article I of the NPT prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons from NWS (nuclear weapons states) to other states: «Each nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to transfer to any recipient whatsoever nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or control over such weapons or explosive devices». Article II requires NNWS (non-nuclear weapons states) not to receive nuclear weapons: «Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transfer or whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices». How can Russia be sure that these aircraft don’t carry nuclear weapons when there is no agreement of any kind in place to verify compliance with the NPT?

Ørland is located near Værnes - the base that hosts 330 US Marines. In May, the base hosted the biennial NATO military exercise «Arctic Challenge Exercise 2017» to involve over 100 planes from 12 nations. It was the first time a US strategic bomber (B-52H) took part in the training event.

The choice of the base was carefully calculated to keep the planes away from the reach of Russian Iskander missiles (500 kilometres) but no location in Norway is beyond the operational range of Kalibr ship-based sea-to-shore missiles and aircraft armed with long-range air-to-surface missiles.

In June, Norway’s government announced that the decision was taken to extend the rotational US Marine Corps force stationed at Værnes through 2018. The move contradicts the tried-and-true Norwegian policy of not deploying foreign military bases in the country in times of peace.

Also in June, the United States, United Kingdom and Norway agreed in principle to create a trilateral coalition built around the P-8 maritime aircraft to include joint operations in the North Atlantic near the Russian Northern Fleet bases.

Norway is to contribute into NATO ballistic missile defense (BMD) system by integrating its Globus II/III radar in the Vardøya Island located near the Russian border just a few kilometers from the home base of strategic submarines and 5 Aegis-equipped Fridtjof Nansen-class frigates. The radar construction is underway. The Vardøya radar can distinguish real warheads from dummies. Another radar located in Svalbard (the Arctic) can also be used by US military for missile defense purposes.

The country’s ground forces are stationed in Lithuania as part of a NATO multinational force under German command.

Sweden, a close NATO ally, has been upgrading its military with a sharp hike in spending. Last December, the Swedish government told municipal authorities to prepare civil defense infrastructure and procedures for a possible war. The move was prompted by the country’s return to the Cold War-era ‘Total Defense Strategy’. In September, 2016, 150 troops were put on permanent service on the island of Gotland to «defend it from Russia». Sweden maintained a permanent military garrison on Gotland for hundreds of years until 2005.The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) has ordered a review of 350 civilian bunkers on the island. The shelters are designed to protect people against the shock wave and radiation from a nuclear detonation, as well as chemical and biological weapons.

In March, Stockholm announced plans to reintroduce compulsory military service abandoned in 2010. The conscription will come into force on January 1, 2018.

Sweden said in June it wishes to join a British-led «Joint Expeditionary Force», making Swedish participation in a general European war all but inevitable.

This month, the Swedish military announced plans to conduct its largest joint military exercise with NATO in 20 years. Called Aurora 17, the training event is scheduled for September. The drills will take place across the entire country but focusing on the Mälardalen Valley, the areas around cities of Stockholm and Gothenberg and on the strategic island of Gotland. More than 19,000 Swedish troops will take part along with 1,435 soldiers from the US, 270 from Finland, 120 from France and between 40-60 each from Denmark, Norway, Lithuania and Estonia.

In June, Russian President Putin warned «If Sweden joins NATO this will affect our relations in a negative way because we will consider that the infrastructure of the military bloc now approaches us from the Swedish side».

In June, 2016, Finland took part in NATO BALTOPS naval exercise. It was the first time NATO forces trained on Finnish territory (The coastal area at Syndale). Back then, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told his Finnish counterpart, Timo Soini, that the Kremlin would take unspecified measures to respond to increased NATO activity in the Baltic region. According to Lavrov, «We do not hide our negative attitude to the movement of NATO's military infrastructure towards our borders, to dragging new states into the military activity of the bloc».

All these facts and events summed together demonstrate that militarization of Scandinavia is progressing by leaps and bounds to undermine the security in Europe. No hue and cry is raised in the Russian media but the developments are closely watched by Moscow. Visiting Finland on July 27, President Putin said Russia was «keeping an eye on certain intensification in the movement of military aircraft, ships and troops. In order for us to avoid negative consequences, situations that no one wants, we need to maintain dialogue». He also stressed readiness for dialogue with neutral countries that border the Baltic Sea like Finland which is not part of the NATO military alliance.

The facts listed above show the situation is grave enough to top the agenda of the NATO-Russia Council. But it’s not the case as yet. Last year, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the current President of Germany who was Foreign Minister at the time, slammed NATO for «saber-rattling and war cries» and provocative military activities in the proximity of Russia’s borders. He called for an arms control deal between the West and Russia. Fifteen other members of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) joined Steinmeier's initiative: France, Italy, Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Sweden, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Portugal.

Actually, the initiative to relaunch the negotiation process does not belong to Germany. Russia’s proposal to discuss a new European security treaty was rejected by the West. The draft document was published in 2009. In March 2015, Russia expressed its readiness for negotiations concerning a new agreement regarding the control of conventional weapons in Europe.

Moscow has never rejected the idea of launching talks to address the problem. It does not reject it now. The NATO-Russia Council could make a contribution into launching discussions on the matter. It has not done so as yet. Actually, nothing is done to ease the tensions in Europe and the Scandinavian Peninsula in particular. Meanwhile, the situation is aggravating misunderstandings and whipping up tensions. 

sábado, 29 de julio de 2017

Mientras tanto, en Brasil...

Siguen mal las cosas en Brasil, con Michel Temer que no termina de caer (attenti, Mauri), y la economía de ese país que posiblemente termine el año nuevamente con signo negativo. Las dos notas que siguen son de Eric Nepomuceno para Página/12. La primera es de ayer:

Título: Sobrevivir a cualquier precio

Texto: Pocas cosas son tan patéticas, y a la vez tan reveladoras, como las que vive Brasil en estos tiempos de tinieblas. Tenemos a un presidente ilegítimo, un traidor vil que sirvió de elemento esencial para que el gran capital y el neoliberalismo más fundamentalista lograsen lo que las urnas electorales les había negado desde 2003: el poder.

Figura de estatura ínfima en todos los sentidos, de la política a la moral, Michel Temer representa, a la vez, uno de los más graves equívocos de Lula da Silva y del PT, que determinaron que semejante tipo fuese el compañero de fórmula electoral de Dilma Rousseff.

¿Por qué? Porque la legislación electoral en Brasil es absurda. Existen hoy como 28 partidos con representación parlamentaria, lo que hace imposible que el presidente electo llegue con mayoría en el Congreso. Pactar es inevitable. El problema, entonces, es otro: ¿pactar con quién? Pues con el que pueda asegurar esa mayoría. Alianzas espurias, desde luego, pero al fin y al cabo, alianzas. Y Temer, sólido corrupto y conocedor de los vericuetos de la compra y venta de diputados, parecía el tipo indicado.

Es en este punto específico que aparece el peligro: cuando se convive, como ha sido el caso de Dilma Rousseff en su segundo y frustrado mandato, con la peor, en todos los aspectos –moral, ético, ideológico–, legislatura en décadas, es casi inevitable que esa alianza se dé con canallas. Todos sometidos al poder del entonces vicepresidente, Michel Temer, y todos, claro, dispuestos a traicionar a cambio de diez porotos.

Si a ese cuadro se suma una presidenta sin carisma popular y de escasísimo talento para la negociación, se tiene completo el cuadro de antecedentes que llevó Brasil al callejón sin salida en que se encuentra.

Luego de la cuarta derrota electoral consecutiva frente al PT, el gran capital, las multinacionales, los medios hegemónicos de comunicación y esa sacrosanta e inasible entidad llamada “mercado” se dieron cuenta de que ya era hora de terminar con la fiesta. Y así nació el golpe armado y estructurado por el senador Aécio Neves (luego grabado cometiendo altos actos de corrupción), ejecutado por el entonces presidente de la Cámara de Diputados Eduardo Cunha (ahora en la cárcel), avalado por el ex presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso (que trata de armar escudos contra denuncias), y llevado a cabo por un Congreso en el que más de un tercio de los diputados y senadores se encuentran bajo investigación o fueron denunciados por corruptos.

Pasado más de un año desde la destitución de Dilma Rousseff y sus 54 millones 500 mil votos, lo que se ve es un país devastado. Los últimos sondeos indican que el gobierno ostenta el respaldo de alrededor del cinco por ciento de los brasileños.

Mientras llueven fundadas denuncias contra Temer y sus asesores más directos y poderosos, los medios hegemónicos de comunicación que fueron fundamentales para el golpe abandonan al náufrago, en especial Globo, principal responsable de que se llegara donde se llegó. También las federaciones patronales no ocultan su malestar por la demora en implantar “reformas” que benefician al capital y destrozan derechos laborales y sociales, y por la inmensa incapacidad del gobierno para impedir que la recesión no solo persista como se profundice

Los neoliberales del PSDB del ex presidente Cardoso están divididos entre los que defienden mantenerse en el gobierno y los que exigen la salida. Involucrados en sus propios escándalos, no quieren ver los de Temer y su pandilla sumado a los suyos.

La economía desangra y hay amenaza de colapso: varios sectores públicos disponen de presupuesto solamente hasta septiembre, y no se sabe de dónde sacar lo que falta. Los cortes drásticos de recursos en educación, salud pública, seguridad, hicieron que ya no haya de dónde amputar más.

Frente a ese cuadro drástico, ¿qué hace el gobierno? Trata de sobrevivir a cualquier precio e impedir que Temer sea defenestrado, lo que provocaría una fuerte presión popular para que se anticipen las elecciones previstas para octubre del año que viene. Además, destituidos, Temer y su grupo irían a parar directamente a la justicia común.

Para resistir, el gobierno aumenta de manera espectacular los gastos con publicidad inútil y distribuye océanos de dinero para comprar los votos de diputados para impedir que la Corte Suprema lo investigue.

El temor de Temer, sin embargo, no está solamente en que lo catapulten por corrupción: es que aunque la escandalosa compra de diputados resulte, él podrá ser expelido por inviable a los intereses del mercado. Ya quedó claro que el déficit fiscal previsto en astronómicos 139 mil millones de reales (unos 44 mil millones de dólares) no será alcanzado. Se prevé al menos unos siete mil millones de dólares más.

No hay la más ínfima perspectiva de retorno de inversiones, ni para que se recupere parte significativa de puestos laborales a mediano plazo. El consumo, mientras tanto, está por los suelos, y la tendencia es que se hunda cada vez más.

Para evitar ser juzgado, Temer distribuye alegremente miles de millones mientras su ministro de Hacienda, Henrique Meirelles, insiste en cortar gastos básicos (hasta la emisión de pasaportes fue suspendida) en defensa del tan ambicionado ‘equilibrio fiscal’.

Por si todo eso fuera poco, ahora se supo que Meirelles, el niño mimado del mercado, ganó nada menos que 86 millones de dólares como “consultor”. Es una cifra capaz de provocarle surtos de envidia en consultores, digamos, del porte de Henry Kissinger.

Sobran razones para sospechar que esa montaña de dinero no vino exactamente de “consultorías”, sino de algo más. El dinero, claro, fue depositado en el exterior.

Cada vez que uno cree que no hay más cómo hundir al país, aparece algo nuevo para indicar que el pozo no tiene fondo.


La nota que sigue, del mismo autor, es del 16 de julio:

Título: Temporal de maldades en un país destrozado

Texto: La destrucción de un país –el más poblado y que tiene la mayor economía de América Latina– a raíz del golpe institucional del año pasado se da en varios niveles. Los que llevan adelante un plan macabro cuyo objetivo es arrasar todo lo conquistado en las últimas décadas, parte (pequeña, es verdad, pero real) bajo los mandatos del presidente Fernando Henrique Cardoso pero muy especialmente bajo los de Lula da Silva y, mal que bien, preservados por su sucesora, Dilma Rousseff, no cesan de dar amplias y consistentes pruebas de que desconocen límites. Con tal de atender a la voluntad soberana de esa sacrosanta e invisible entidad llamada ‘mercado’, disparan una formidable secuencia de maldades impensadas hasta hace poco.

En el campo ético, por ejemplo, Michel Temer y su nutrido grupo de bucaneros luce un repertorio infinito de maniobras increíbles. ¿Hay que votar en la Comisión de Constitución y Justicia de la Cámara de Diputados un pedido de apertura de juicio al presidente en el Supremo Tribunal Federal? Ningún problema. Basta con maniobrar a los líderes de partidos sin vestigio de escrúpulos para reemplazar los miembros de poco fiar.

Resultado: 40 votos favorables al presidente acusado, con hartísimas pruebas, de corrupción. Claro que todo en la vida tiene su precio. En este caso, de los 40 votos favorables a Temer, 36 fueron dados por diputados que tuvieron liberadas, de ultimísima hora, ‘enmiendas presupuestarias’. Valor total: 134 millones de reales, o sea, unos 42 millones de dólares. Poco más de un millón cien mil dólares por voto. Es poco: al fin y al cabo, si no fueran los que reemplazaron los integrantes originales de la Comisión, Temer hubiera sido derrotado.

El problema ahora es saber cuánto podrá costar cada voto favorable en el pleno de la Cámara, cuya reunión está prevista para el miércoles dos de agosto. Nuevas y poderosísimas bombas seguramente irán explotar en las próximas dos semanas –en el Brasil actual dos semanas son toda una eternidad–, y el precio de cada voto podrá llegar a las nubes.

Temer y sus acólitos consideran que esa primera victoria lo fortaleció junto a la ‘base aliada’, y en este punto tienen razón. Se olvidan, sin embargo, que nuevas y muy peligrosa amenazas siguen brotando a cada día.

El pasado viernes, por ejemplo, se supo la propuesta de “delación premiada” del ex diputado y actual presidiario Eduardo Cunha, fue aprobada por el Ministerio Público Federal. Cunha había sido un elemento clave en el golpe que destituyó a la presidente Dilma Rousseff e instaló en el poder al grupo encabezado por Temer, dirigido por el senador Aecio Neves y sometido a todas las exigencias del “mercado”. A cambio de disminuir su condena de 15 años de cárcel, Cunha se compromete a revelar el mecanismo de compra de votos de colegas para destituir Dilma Rousseff. Además de indicar los respectivos partidos, las cantidades, las fuentes pagadoras y los intermediarios de las negociaciones y revelar cuáles fueron los colegas contactados directamente por él, Cunha también nombraría a los que quedaron bajo encargo del propio Michel Temer .

Mientras, prosigue la destrucción del país. El Senado aprobó, y Temer sancionó, una reforma laboral que más que imponer la precarización de las condiciones de trabajo las destroza. Una victoria incontestable del empresariado, del “mercado”,  que prevé barbaridades. Es fácil darse cuenta que el significado de  “derecho laboral” sufrió una inversión total.  

Por ejemplo: los trabajadores contratados tendrán el derecho a negociar con sus patrones si a cada ocho horas de labor dispondrán de 30 minutos para almorzar, la mitad de lo que prevé la actual legislación. Si prefieren jornadas de doce horas diarias, y no las de ocho actuales. Si en lugar de vacaciones de 30 días seguidos, prefieren repartirlas en periodos menores. Las mujeres gestantes o lactantes, a su vez, tendrán derecho a trabajar en condiciones y ambientes de insalubridad, siempre que el médico del trabajo las autorice. Empleados y empleadas, además, tendrán el derecho a aceptar el resultado de negociaciones bilaterales aunque violen lo que prevé la ley. Y más: los reajustes salariales podrán ser conducidos por la patronal ya no se negociarán con los sindicatos, sino de empresa a empresa y, si se da el caso, con cada sector de una misma compañía.

El Ministerio Público del Trabajo aseguró que la “reforma laboral” aprobada por el Congreso no se sabe a qué precio destroza la clase trabajadora y significa un retroceso brutal. La Organización Internacional del Trabajo recriminó con insólita contundencia la nueva legislación.

Pues así andan las cosas en el país que tuvo en Lula da Silva el primer presidente obrero de su historia. Y que con ese presidente avanzó, en términos sociales, todo lo que ahora se retrotrae de manera impiadosa.

El mismo presidente que fue condenado por un juez fundamentalista sin prueba alguna. Y que si no lo inhabilitan en un golpe judicial, participará, como franco favorito, en las presidenciales del año que viene. 

viernes, 28 de julio de 2017

Camaradas en acción

Como todo camarada del Partido ya debe saber, hace pocos días se reunió en Washington, en la House of Representatives, el pleno del Secretariado General a los efectos de sancionar una nueva ley de castigo a la potencia revisionista rusa. La nueva ley, cargada de sanciones acorde con el pensamiento estratégico del Politburó de la Revolución Capitalista Globalizada, fue adecuadamente votada por 419 votos a favor contra tres en contra. Estos últimos ya fueron convenientemente hospitalizados para su reeducación. Así lo informa Michael Krieger para el sitio web Liberty

Título: The U.S. Empire Continues to Stumble Towards Ruin


"There is a true law, a right reason, conformable to nature, universal, unchangeable, eternal, whose commands urge us to duty, and whose prohibitions restrain us from evil. Whether it enjoins or forbids, the good respect its injunctions, and the wicked treat them with indifference. This law cannot be contradicted by any other law, and is not liable either to derogation or abrogation.

Neither the senate nor the people can give us any dispensation for not obeying this universal law of justice. It needs no other expositor and interpreter than our own conscience. It is not one thing at Rome and another at Athens; one thing today and another tomorrow; but in all times and nations this universal law must for ever reign, eternal and imperishable. It is the sovereign master and emperor of all beings. God himself is its author,—its promulgator,—its enforcer. He who obeys it not, flies from himself, and does violence to the very nature of man. For his crime he must endure the severest penalties hereafter, even if he avoid the usual misfortunes of the present life."

– Marcus Tullius Cicero

There’s been a lot going on this week, so it’s unsurprising that an extremely important vote in Congress failed to get the attention it deserves. What I’m referring to is the recent Russia/Iran/North Korea sanctions bill passed by the House of Representatives in a frighteningly lopsided 419-3 vote.

Let’s turn to Bloomberg for a quick analysis on the Russian reaction:

Russia threatened to retaliate against new sanctions passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, saying they made it all but impossible to achieve the Trump administration’s goal of improved relations.

The measures push U.S.-Russia ties into uncharted territory and “don’t leave room for the normalization of relations” in the foreseeable future, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said Wednesday, according to the Interfax news service.

Hope “is dying” for improved relations because the scale of “the anti-Russian consensus in Congress makes dialogue impossible and for a long time,” Konstantin Kosachyov, chairman of the international affairs committee in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Facebook. Russia should prepare a response to the sanctions that’s “painful for the Americans,” he said.

The bill, passed by a vote of 419-3 on Tuesday, would strengthen sanctions against Russia less than three weeks after President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held their first official meeting at the Group of 20 summit. The measure, which now goes to the Senate, would let Congress block any effort by Trump to unilaterally weaken sanctions imposed under the Obama administration for Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential elections and its support for separatists in Ukraine. The White House has sent mixed signals about whether Trump will sign the bill.

U.S. Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Wednesday that senators want to examine North Korea sanctions added to the bill by the House. If senators insist on changes to the bill, passage could be delayed, possibly until September, when lawmakers return from a recess.

“We all want this to become law before we leave here for the recess,” Corker told reporters in Washington. He added: “The White House doesn’t like this bill. The State Department doesn’t like this bill. This bill is going to become law, OK.”

The sanctions are “pretty sad from the viewpoint of Russian-American relations and prospects for developing them, and no less depressing from the perspective of international law and international trade,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Wednesday on a conference call. Putin will decide on a response if the bill becomes law, he said.

Trump will sign the law because “he’s a prisoner of Congress and anti-Russian hysteria,” Alexei Pushkov, a senator in Russia’s upper house of parliament, said on Twitter. The sanctions are “a new stage of confrontation,” he said.

Russia has prepared “economic and political measures that will be adopted if the Senate and Trump support the bill,” said Vladimir Dzhabarov, deputy chairman of the international affairs committee in the upper house, the RIA Novosti news service reported. Relations with the U.S. “are at such a low level that we have nothing to lose” by retaliating, he said.

To summarize, the entire House of Representatives other than three Republicans, Justin Amash of Michigan, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and John Duncan of Tennessee, voted for this thing. Not a single Democrat voted against the sanctions.

We supposedly live in a “representative democracy,” but 99% of our so-called representatives voted for this bill. Does this really represent the will of 99% of the public? These are the kind of numbers you’d expect to see in totalitarian states, and the ironic thing is the vote was driven by a desire to put a stop to supposedly fascist Trump. We’ve got much bigger problems than Trump.

Michael Tracey put it perfectly on Twitter earlier today:

Michael Tracey ? @mtracey
The complete conformity of views in the political/media class re: sanctions -- virtually no dissent at all -- should be a major warning sign
7:34 PM - Jul 26, 2017

As troubling as the bill is for relations with nuclear armed Russia where tensions are already high, the response from European allies is arguably more concerning.

As much as I hate to quote CNN, it actually published a pretty good article on the subject. Here’s some of it:

The European Union has delivered a stern warning to the US over a plan to impose new sanctions on Russia, opening up the prospect of a rift between the two allies over how to deal with Moscow’s foreign interventions.

EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said the bloc would act “within days” if it does not receive reassurances on the potential impact of new sanctions on European interests.

The EU has previously coordinated with the US over sanctions in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. But it fears the latest measures could hit companies that are involved in the financing of a controversial new pipeline, Nord Stream 2, that would carry natural gas from Russia to Germany.

Juncker said the bill could have “unintended unilateral effects” on the EU’s energy security. “This is why the Commission concluded today that if our concerns are not taken into account sufficiently, we stand ready to act appropriately within a matter of days,” Juncker said. “America first cannot mean that Europe’s interests come last.”

Germany, which strongly backs the new pipeline, said it was concerned over the sanctions. It would be “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interests of US industry policies,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Schäfer said Wednesday.

France called the US bill “unlawful” due to its “extraterritorial reach,” saying it could impact Europeans if enacted. “We have challenged similar texts in the past,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws.”

The European Union expressed frustration that it had not been consulted over the new proposals. “New sanctions should always be coordinated between allies,” EU President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.

The EU and the US imposed coordinated sanctions in 2014 over Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. President Barack Obama imposed further sanctions in late 2016 over alleged interference in the 2016 US election. Sanctions were also imposed under the 2012 Magnitsky Act, which targets Russians whom the US considers human rights abusers.

These are major EU allies furious with this bill, which makes you ask the obvious followup question. Did 99% of the House of Representatives not realize the implications of what they were voting for in their blind rage against Russia? If so, these people are extremely dangerous and have no business making important decisions for 320 million of us.

This is exactly how empires implode. Corrupt, power-drunk , disconnected elites living in an echo chamber of hubris always destroy everything in their path at the end of a geopolitical cycle. First they lose the trust of their own people (this has already happened), and then they lose the trust of their allies. This last part is happening rapidly and it’s moving much faster than even I imagined.

Unless something major changes we have to assume the U.S. empire is going down, and need to start thinking about what a post-imperial America can look like. There are countless dangers in such a scenario, but also many opportunities for a vastly improved and freer society.

jueves, 27 de julio de 2017

No retorno

Recientemente se dio a conocer un documento del Instituto de Estudios Estratégicos de la Escuela de Guerra de la Armada de los EEUU, en el que se detallan posibles cursos de acción en un mundo "post-primacía" ( Así vienen las cosas, chicos; el punto de no retorno parece haber llegado. La nota que sigue es de Eric Zuesse para el sitio web Strategic Culture Foundation:

Título: The Historical Turning-Point Has Arrived

Texto: It affects both international relations, and America’s domestic policies.

We see it all around us. 

Regarding international relations: On June 29th, Politico bannered «House panel votes to force new debate on terror war», and reported that, «Congress may finally be getting fed up with war on autopilot. A powerful House committee voted unexpectedly Thursday to require Congress to debate and approve US military action in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and other far-flung countries». 

On July 23rd, the always-insightful Wayne Madsen at Strategic Culture Foundation headlined «The End of the ‘New American Century’ Pronounced by the Pentagon», and reported that, «The days of US-led dubious «coalitions of the willing» taking unilateral military action are over». He summarized an extremely important new study, which had been commissioned by the Obama Administration but was issued only recently (last month), titled «AT OUR OWN PERIL: DOD RISK ASSESSMENT IN A POST-PRIMACY WORLD» (, which calls for the US government to abandon unilateralism altogether, and to employ military power only in conjunction and cooperation — as equals — with a small circle of four historically long-term international allies (page 100) «the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and France are particularly active US global partners» on a global basis, but «the regional variety» of ally includes (in addition to those four) «Japan and the Republic of Korea in the Pacific, and Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Israel in the Middle East come to mind in this regard.

Obviously, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Alliance is a clear example of a regionally-based entente as well». In other words (page 103): «There is universal recognition as well that the United States and its defense establishment no longer exercise the degree of unchallenged strategic dominance enjoyed from the end of the Cold War through the immediate post-9/11 period». Bullying by America («regime-change») is, in so many words, said to be passé — not wrong, just no longer practicable (except, perhaps, when it has the participation of those ‘allies’, such as it did in Iraq, and in Libya, and — what are they really trying to say there — other than, perhaps, what they think the new President, Trump, might be wanting them to say?). 

For such a document to be asserting that NATO — America’s oldest, largest, most formalized, and most clearly military, alliance — is of only «regional» military concern to the United States, comparable to the military concern that the US has regarding individual countries such as Jordan or Japan elsewhere, is a huge break away from prior US military thinking. It is certainly a repudiation of the Cold War conception of US military commitments and objectives. It upends them.

This is also (whatever it is) a repudiation of Barack Obama’s famously repeated assertions that all other nations except the US are «dispensable». In the imperial view, only the imperial nation is essential; all other nations are mere vassal-states, of subordinate (if any) concern. It was always the view that imperial nations held. It might even be said to define «imperialism». Typical from Obama was this — that imperial President’s most thorough statement of the imperial doctrine, on 28 May 2014, to graduating cadets at West Point, «Remarks by the President at the United States Military Academy Commencement Ceremony»:

Meanwhile, our economy remains the most dynamic on Earth; our businesses the most innovative. Each year, we grow more energy independent. From Europe to Asia, we are the hub of alliances unrivaled in the history of nations. America continues to attract striving immigrants. The values of our founding inspire leaders in parliaments and new movements in public squares around the globe. And when a typhoon hits the Philippines, or schoolgirls are kidnapped in Nigeria, or masked men occupy a building in Ukraine, it is America that the world looks to for help. (Applause.) So the United States is and remains the one indispensable nation. That has been true for the century passed and it will be true for the century to come.

But the world is changing with accelerating speed. This presents opportunity, but also new dangers. We know all too well, after 9/11, just how technology and globalization has put power once reserved for states in the hands of individuals, raising the capacity of terrorists to do harm. Russia’s aggression toward former Soviet states unnerves capitals in Europe, while China’s economic rise and military reach worries its neighbors. From Brazil to India, rising middle classes compete with us, and governments seek a greater say in global forums. And even as developing nations embrace democracy and market economies, 24-hour news and social media makes it impossible to ignore the continuation of sectarian conflicts and failing states and popular uprisings that might have received only passing notice a generation ago.

It will be your generation’s task to respond to this new world. The question we face, the question each of you will face, is not whether America will lead, but how we will lead.

He was telling America’s future military leaders that they would be waging wars for the only «indispensable nation», against the BRICS nations, where «rising middle classes compete with us» (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), wars under the guise or cover of excuses such as «the values of our founding» and «to attract striving immigrants» and in instances such as when «masked men occupy a building in Ukraine» (whom his own Administration had actually hired to execute his coup to overthrow the then-existing Russia-friendly President of Ukraine by a rabidly anti-Russia fascist regime on Russia’s very border — but he didn’t mention any of that), etc.

When Obama’s agent who handled Ukraine told the US Ambassador in Ukraine, 23 days before the coup culminated, to appoint «Yats» to run that country after the coup would be completed, and she said there privately to that American Ambassador, «F—k the EU!» this was Obama’s unilateralism, in the raw, not fit for public consumption but far more real than his exquisitely deceitful public words ever were. (George W. Bush had lacked such PR skill, of which Obama was a master.) And, now, this landmark military study, which his Administration had commissioned, says: It’s over. That era is ended. The era which culminated with the regimes of George W. Bush and of Barack Obama, is now a proven disaster and must therefore be replaced. (That it’s a proven disaster is known to everyone except the propagandists — including ‘news’media — for America’s Establishment; but, that America’s military policy must be changed in accord with this recognition, is, until now, real news, to everyone.)

And, the evidence that the historical turning-point has arrived regarding also America’s domestic policies, was clearly shown and explained in my article «Obama US Economic Recovery was America’s Weakest»; and, it was additionally placed into the broader global economic perspective by the current Chief Economist for the World Bank, Paul Romer, when he delivered a now-historic address on 5 January 2016 titled «The Trouble With Macroeconomics», in which he documented that (the mostly US-created, but globally regnant) macroeconomic theory itself, is a lie, and is known privately among economists to be fraudulent, though they don’t say so in public. Bloomberg News bannered about that speech, on 18 November 2016, «The Rebel Economist Who Blew Up Macroeconomics», which reported that the lecture «landed among Romer’s peers like a grenade». Only outside of the world of professional economists does the fact that economic theory is fraudulent remain still unknown, or in any sense «news».

We are living in a new world, and don’t really know yet where it’s going. The only thing that’s clear is that the turning-point has been reached, and that we are there, right now. The turning-point is now. But where the US and the world are heading, can only barely be glimpsed. The latest landmarks, summarized here, might indicate the way forward.

martes, 25 de julio de 2017

Nueva Alianza

Según algunos analistas, la política del presidente estadounidense Donald Trump en Medio Oriente es coherente con su declamada lucha contra el terrorismo islámico. Una consecuencia de dicha política sería el alineamiento de varios países clave en la región; casi casi, la medialuna chiíta: Líbano, Siria, Iraq e Irán. Sobre esto elabora Thierry Meyssan en una nota reciente para Red Voltaire. En la misma aparece la siguente leyenda de la figura de arriba: De derecha a izquierda (sentido de la lectura de las imágenes en el mundo árabe), Bachar al-Assad, presidente de la República Árabe Siria; sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, secretario general del Hezbollah libanés; el general Mohammed Alí Jafari, comandante en jefe de los Guardianes de la Revolución iraníes; Michel Aoun, presidente del Líbano; y Haider al-Abadi, primer ministro de Irak, se ven convertidos de hecho en camaradas de armas contra los yihadistas.

Título: Surgimiento de una nueva alianza en el Gran Medio Oriente

Epígrafe: Comienza a concretarse la política del presidente Trump en el Gran Medio Oriente. Hasta ahora, Estados Unidos y sus aliados habían tratado de destruir los Estados de la región e imponer el caos, pero ahora están legitimando las alianzas contra los yihadistas. En los discursos, Irán, Siria y el Hezbollah siguen siendo los enemigos que habría que liquidar, pero en la práctica se han convertido en socios. Esta nueva situación podría permitir a los Estados de la región sacar a las transnacionales del juego político y lograr el restablecimiento de la paz.

Texto: Poco a poco, comienza a concretarse la política exterior del presidente Trump. En el Medio Oriente ampliado –o Gran Medio Oriente– Trump ha logrado, con ayuda de su consejero de seguridad nacional, el general H. R. McMaster, y de su director de la CIA, Mike Pompeo, poner fin a los programas secretos de ayuda a los yihadistas.

Contrariamente a lo que trata de dar a entender el Washington Post, aunque es cierto que esa decisión se tomó antes del encuentro que Trump sostuvo al margen del G20 con el presidente ruso Vladimir Putin, es importante el hecho que su adopción es también anterior a la preparación de la cumbre de Riad, celebrada a mediados de mayo. El objetivo de esa decisión no era arrodillarse ante el zar ruso, como afirma la clase política estadounidense, sino poner fin a la utilización del terrorismo, como Donald Trump había anunciado durante su campaña electoral.

Por supuesto, toda la prensa occidental se hizo eco de las insinuaciones del Washington Post. Si bien es posible imputar esto último al usual comportamiento de manada de los periodistas occidentales, se trata más probablemente de una nueva demostración del hecho que los grandes medios de difusión están en manos de los organizadores de la guerra que asola el Medio Oriente y de la confrontación con Rusia.

Las revelaciones provenientes de Bulgaria sobre la existencia de una gran red de tráfico de armas, creada por el general estadounidense David Petraeus cuando era director de la CIA –en 2012– y posteriormente controlada por el propio Petraeus desde su oficina privada en el fondo de inversiones KKR, demuestran el enorme poder de los partidarios de la guerra.

Al menos 17 Estados han participado en esa operación, identificada como «Timber Sycamore», durante la cual Azerbaiyán garantizó el transporte de 28 000 toneladas de armas destinadas a los yihadistas mientras que Israel proporcionaba documentos falsos sobre la destinación final de todo ese armamento. Todo indica que David Petraeus y KKR actuaron con ayuda del secretario general adjunto de la ONU, el también estadounidense Jeffrey Feltman. Por supuesto, nadie será juzgado –ni en los países implicados, ni en el plano internacional– por haber participado en ese gigantesco tráfico de armas, cuyo volumen no tiene precedente en la historia.

Ya resulta más que evidente que, desde hace 4 años, los pueblos del Levante han estado luchando no sólo contra otros Estados sino, ante todo, contra un consorcio de transnacionales –o sea, una alianza de empresas privadas que incluye a los grandes medios de difusión internacionales– y varias potencias o Estados de nivel medio que, juntos, imparten órdenes a pequeños Estados, los que a su vez se encargan del trabajo sucio.

En todo caso, las dificultades que Donald Trump ha venido enfrentando para imponer su voluntad a la CIA y al Pentágono, así como la existencia misma de esa red paralela –de naturaleza simultáneamente pública (estatal) y privada– permiten entrever la complejidad de su tarea en el marco de un orden mundial que se halla bajo la nefasta influencia de intereses privados.

En un primer momento, y aunque se registraron varios incidentes, las fuerzas estadounidenses no han detenido la ofensiva de los ejércitos de Irak y Siria que tratan de restablecer la ruta de la seda.

La ofensiva que el Ejército Árabe Sirio emprendió con el Hezbollah, y en coordinación con el ejército libanés, en el jurd de Ersal es el primer resultado visible de la nueva política de Washington. Aunque mantiene sus fuertes críticas contra la participación del Hezbollah en esa ofensiva, el primer ministro libanés Saad Hariri autorizó el ejército del Líbano, a pedido de Arabia Saudita, a participar en la operación. Es la primera vez que los ejércitos del Líbano y Siria y el Hezbollah actúan oficialmente de manera coordinada. Aunque mantiene su retórica contra Irán y el Hezbollah, Riad estimó que resulta más conveniente trabajar, al menos momentáneamente, junto al Hezbollah y priorizar la liquidación de los yihadistas.

El hecho es que esta guerra, concebida para destruir los Estados de la región, está arrojando un resultado exactamente inverso ya que está forjando la unidad entre las fuerzas iraníes, iraquíes, sirias y libaneses.

China se prepara, al norte y al sur

Las dos noticias que siguen se refieren a preparativos de China ante la eventualidad de conflictos armados, uno al noreste, en la frontera con Corea del Norte, y el otro al suroeste, en la frontera con India. Este último no parece muy serio, pero el primero sí. Veamos las dos noticias, que aparecen hoy en Zero Hedge:

Título: "Time Is Running Out" - China Is Planning For A Crisis Along North Korean Border

Texto: Despite Chinese officials reassurance that "military means shouldn’t be an option," WSJ reports that China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea and realigning forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a potential crisis across their border, including the possibility of a U.S. military strike.

While all eyes in America are once again distracted by "Russia"-related narratives and the dismal GOP efforts to replace, repeal, re-who-knows-what Obamacare, the threat of North Korea has not gone away... and neither has China's preparations. As President Trump stepped up the rhetoric, pressuring China to do more to 'solve' the North Korean problem, and threatening military action to halt Kim's nuclear weapons program ambitions, it is clear that China has used this crisis to not just prepare for potential problems with North Korea but to reinforce military forces elsewhere.

The Journal writes that a review of official military and government websites and interviews with experts who have studied the preparations show that Beijing has implemented many of the changes in recent months after initiating them last year.

Recent measures include establishing a new border defense brigade, 24-hour video surveillance of the mountainous frontier backed by aerial drones, and bunkers to protect against nuclear and chemical blasts, according to the websites.

China’s military has also merged, moved and modernized other units in border regions and released details of recent drills there with special forces, airborne troops and other units that experts say could be sent into North Korea in a crisis.

They include a live-fire drill in June by helicopter gunships and one in July by an armored infantry unit recently transferred from eastern China and equipped with new weaponry.
China’s Defense Ministry didn’t respond directly when asked if the recent changes were connected to North Korea, saying only in a written statement that its forces “maintain a normal state of combat readiness and training” on the border.

While Chinese authorities have been preparing for North Korean contingencies - including economic collapse, nuclear contamination, or military conflict - according to U.S. and Chinese experts who have studied Beijing’s planning, perhaps more intriguing, as Mark Cozad, a former senior U.S. defense intelligence official for East Asia, now at the Rand Corp, explains..

China’s contingency preparations “go well beyond just seizing a buffer zone in the North and border security."

In other words, China is not letting a good crisis go to waste. Coad goes to note:

Once you start talking about efforts from outside powers, in particular the United States and South Korea, to stabilize the North, to seize nuclear weapons or WMD, in those cases then I think you’re starting to look at a much more robust Chinese response."

If you’re going to make me place bets on where I think the U.S. and China would first get into a conflict, it’s not Taiwan, the South China Sea or the East China Sea: I think it’s the Korean Peninsula.”

As The Journal further notes, Beijing also appears to be enhancing its capability to seize North Korean nuclear sites and occupy a swath of the country’s northern territory if U.S. or South Korean forces start to advance toward the Chinese border, according to those people. That, they say, would require a much larger Chinese operation than just sealing border, with special forces and airborne troops likely entering first to secure nuclear sites, followed by armored ground forces with air cover, pushing deep into North Korea. It could also bring Chinese and U.S. forces face to face on the peninsula for the first time since the war there ended in 1953 with an armistice - an added complication for the Trump administration as it weighs options for dealing with North Korea.

China has long worried that economic collapse in North Korea could cause a refugee crisis, bring U.S. forces to its borders, and create a united, democratic and pro-American Korea. But as WSJ's Ben Kesling  reports, China’s fears of a U.S. military intervention have risen since January as Pyongyang has test-fired several missiles, including one capable of reaching Alaska. In a notably outspoken article written in May, retired Maj. Gen. Wang Haiyun, a former military attaché to Moscow now attached to several Chinese think tanks, made his view clear (while carefully noting he did not speak for the PLA)...

China should “draw a red line” for the U.S.: If it attacked North Korea without Chinese approval, Beijing would have to intervene militarily.

Time is running out,... We can’t let the flames of war burn into China.”

China should demand that any U.S. military attack result in no nuclear contamination, no U.S. occupation of areas north of the current “demarcation line” between North and South, and no regime hostile to China established in the North, his article said.

If war breaks out, China should without hesitation occupy northern parts of North Korea, take control of North Korean nuclear facilities, and demarcate safe areas to stop a wave of refugees and disbanded soldiers entering China’s northeast,” it said.

Beijing’s interests “now clearly extend beyond the refugee issue” to encompass nuclear safety and the peninsula’s long-term future, said Oriana Skylar Mastro, an assistant professor at Georgetown University who has studied China’s planning for a North Korean crisis.

China’s leaders need to make sure that whatever happens with (North Korea), the result supports China’s regional power aspirations and does not help the United States extend or prolong its influence,” Ms. Mastro said.

In other words, China may appear to be preparing for a North Korean crisis... but is really building its capabilities should President Trump decide the time is right for more international distractions.


Título: China Adds Troops To India Border, Will Defend Sovereignty At "Whatever Cost"

Texto: With attention focused on geopolitical tensions involving North Korea, the world may have missed that another, potentially more troubling conflict is brewing on the border between India and China, where as we reported over the weekend, China threatened with military action after a "blatant sovereignty infringement." Since then tensions have grown, and on Monday China warned on Monday that it will step up its troop deployment in a border dispute with India, vowing to defend its sovereignty at "whatever cost".

The latest standoff started more than a month ago after Chinese troops started building a road on a remote plateau, which is disputed by China and Bhutan.  Indian troops countered by moving to the flashpoint zone to halt the work, with China accusing them of violating its territorial sovereignty and calling for their immediate withdrawal.

"The crossing of the mutually recognised national borders on the part of India... is a serious violation of China's territory and runs against the international law," Chinese defence ministry spokesman Wu Qian told a press conference quoted by AFP, adding that "the determination and the willingness and the resolve of China to defend its sovereignty is indomitable, and it will safeguard its sovereignty and security interests at whatever cost."

He also said that "border troops have taken emergency response measures in the area and will further step up deployment and trainings in response to the situation," without giving any details about the deployment.

Meanwhile, showing no signs that either nation is willing to relent, India and China both said they have foreign support for their positions on the conflict. As AFP adds, India-ally Bhutan has said construction of the road is "a direct violation" of agreements with China. Bhutan and China do not have diplomatic relations.

India, which fought a war with China in 1962 over a separate part of the disputed Himalayan border, supports Bhutan's claim, although India should "not have any illusions" that its position will prevail, Wu said.

"The history of the PLA (People's Liberation Army) over the past 90 years has proven that our resolve to safeguard (China's) sovereignty and territory... are indomitable," he said.  "It is difficult to shake the PLA, even more difficult than to shake a mountain."

India and China have vied for strategic influence in South Asia, a key component of China's "One Belt One Road" initiative, with Beijing ploughing large sums into infrastructure projects in Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. Bhutan has remained closely allied to India.