How China’s Infrastructure Bank Threatens U.S. Hegemony

Glen Ford: 57 nations, many of them U.S. allies, sign on to become members of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, providing an alternative to U.S. military might and World Bank dominance –

June 30, 2015

Now joining us from New Jersey is Glen Ford. Glen is the executive editor of the Black Agenda Report and he’s a regular contributor to The Real News. Thanks for being with us, Glen.GLEN FORD, EXEC. EDITOR, BLACK AGENDA REPORT: Oh, thank you for having me.DESVARIEUX: So Glen, today, Monday, we have, 57 nations were in Beijing to sign on as part of a signing ceremony for the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. You’ve been tracking this story. What is the significance of this bank?FORD: Yes, most people wouldn’t think that that’s a very exciting occasion, and I guess if you’re not a banker it probably isn’t. But in fact what went on in China was an historically very important development. It’s as important as the U.S. pivot to the Pacific. It’s as important as Barack Obama’s bid to pass his super-secret Trans-Pacific trade bill. It’s as important as the U.S. provocations against Russia in Ukraine.And in fact, all of these developments are related. And they’re related to the reason for starting this Chinese-based bank. The United States-based Infrastructure Investment Bank, or rather, the Chinese-based infrastructure bank, is considered by the United States to be a mortal danger to its rule. That is, to U.S. imperialism in the world.The purpose of the United States military, its huge war machine that is more expensive than all the other militaries of the world combined, the purpose of that machinery is to put the United States and keep the United States in a position to control the terms of trade, and to enforce the domination of the dollar, and to give U.S. corporations and friendly European corporations an unfair advantage in the world, advantages that nobody else has. And without those unfair advantages, and without the coercive power of the U.S. military, American and European domination of the world would be doomed and we would see an end to half a millenia of Euro-American control of the world.That’s something that the United States does not want to contemplate, and that is the source of the tensions in the world. That’s why the United States did everything it could to dissuade its allies from joining this new Chinese-led infrastructure and investment bank, but many of its allies did join anyway. Including the Brits, and including Australia. And they joined because China is at the center of global economic development, and because Britain and Australia and other U.S. allies don’t want to be left out of that development.The new bank means that the U.S. and Europe cannot strangle Asian development. Because of their control, and they’ve been in control since the end of World War II, their control of the International Monetary Fund, of the World Bank, and their Japanese allies control of the Asian development bank. The Chinese have also been central in the creation of another bank. They’re putting a whole new infrastructure together. And that bank will be operational by the end of this year. It’s designed specifically to enhance the economic prospects of the BRIC nations, and that’s China and India and Russia and South Africa.The reason that this bank is so important is because it’s designed to protect the currencies of those BRIC nations from attacks by world capitalist financial extortionists and players. Players like George Soros, who make a killing out of devaluing everybody else’s country. So the BRICs nations have banded together to protect each others’ currencies, and therefore ensure that they have a smooth road to development.The purpose of these new banking institutions is to develop the economic potential of the world in a more rational way, and to integrate the economies not just of Asia, but also of Africa and of Latin America. It’s designed to develop the world in ways that are not suited only for the profits of American and European corporations.So we’re not talking about revolutionary banks, and I don’t know if there ever could be such a thing in today’s world as a revolutionary bank. But these two banks do represent a great danger to U.S. imperialism, and because of that this is a very good thing for the planet.DESVARIEUX: Glen, do you have a sense that the policies that are going to be presented in this Chinese-led infrastructure bank are going to be more in the interests of everyday people? How do we prevent, let’s say for example, China from taking an imperialist course?FORD: Everyday people, not necessarily. But the countries involved and certainly the corporations of those countries involved, yes.We have to really distinguish between the fight against U.S. imperialism and the fight of socialism. They are not necessarily the same thing. But we do know that U.S. imperialism if it is allowed to stand will prevent human life itself from being possible on planet earth. So it’s, it’s a necessity that we fight the concentration of power in these old European and American hands, and give chance to the rising nations together, banding together against, and consciously against the imperial powers, to come up with an order in the world that is fairer to its peoples.These banks, no, are not going to be taking on projects solely because they will help the common man. The common man will not be represented except to the extent that they’re represented in their governments. But new economic forces and especially state forces that can decree that the world move in a more orderly manner will have the upper hand in this bank, because China is the most important member.

Fonte: TRNN

Keiser Report: Debauchery Against Money

La nueva geopolítica del petróleo

¿En qué contexto general se está dibujando la nueva geopolítica del petróleo? El país hegemónico, Estados Unidos, considera a China como la única potencia contemporánea capaz, a medio plazo (en la segunda mitad del siglo XXI), de rivalizar con él y de amenazar su hegemonía solitaria a nivel mundial. Por ello, Washington instauró secretamente, desde principio de los años 2000, una “desconfianza estratégica” con respecto a Pekín.
El presidente Barack Obama decidió reorientar la política exterior norteamericana considerando como criterio principal este parámetro. Estados Unidos no quiere encontrarse de nuevo en la humillante situación de la Guerra Fría (1948-1989), cuando tuvo que compartir su hegemonía mundial con otra “superpotencia”, la Unión Soviética. Los consejeros de Obama formulan esta teoría de la siguiente manera: “Un sólo planeta, una sola superpotencia”.
En consecuencia, Washington no deja de incrementar sus fuerzas y sus bases militares en Asia Oriental para intentar “contener” a China. Pekín constata ya el bloqueo de su capacidad de expansión marítima por los múltiples “conflictos de los islotes” con Corea del Sur, Taiwán, Japón, Vietnam, Filipinas… Y por la poderosa presencia de la VIIª flota de Estados Unidos. Paralelamente, la diplomacia norteamericana refuerza sus relaciones con todos los Estados que poseen fronteras terrestres con China (exceptuando a Rusia). Lo que explica el reciente y espectacular acercamiento de Washington con Vietnam y con Birmania.
Esta política prioritaria de atención hacia el Extremo Oriente y de contención de China sólo es posible si Estados Unidos logra poder alejarse de Oriente Próximo. En este escenario estratégico, Washington interviene tradicionalmente en tres ámbitos. En primer lugar, en el ámbito militar: Washington se encuentra inmerso en varios conflictos, especialmente en Afganistán contra los talibanes y en Irak-Siria contra la Organización del Estado Islámico. En segundo lugar, en el ámbito de la diplomacia, en particular con la República Islámica de Irán, con el objetivo de limitar su expansión ideológica e impedir el acceso de Teherán a la fuerza nuclear. Y, en tercer lugar, en el ámbito de la solidaridad, especialmente con respecto a Israel, para quien Estados Unidos sigue siendo una especie de “protector en última instancia”.
Esta “sobreimplicación” directa de Washington en la región (particularmente después de la Guerra del Golfo en 1991) ha mostrado los “límites de la potencia norteamericana”, que no ha podido ganar realmente ninguno de los conflictos en los cuales se ha implicado fuertemente (Irak, Afganistán). Conflictos que han tenido, para las arcas de Washington, un coste astronómico con consecuencias desastrosas incluso para el sistema financiero internacional.
Actualmente, Washington tiene claro que Estados Unidos no puede realizar simultáneamente dos grandes guerras de alcance mundial. Por lo tanto, la alternativa es la siguiente: o Estados Unidos continúa implicándose en el “pantanal” de Oriente Próximo en conflictos típicos del siglo XIX; o se concentra en la urgente contención de China, cuyo fulgurante impulso podría anunciar a medio plazo la decadencia de Estados Unidos.
La decisión de Barack Obama es obvia: debe hacer frente al segundo reto, pues éste será decisivo para el futuro de Estados Unidos en el siglo XXI. En consecuencia, este país debe retirarse progresivamente –pero imperativamente– de Oriente Próximo.
Aquí se plantea una pregunta: ¿por qué Estados Unidos se ha implicado tanto en Oriente Próximo, hasta el punto de descuidar al resto del mundo, desde el fin de la Guerra Fría? Para esta pregunta, la repuesta puede limitarse a una palabra: petróleo.
Desde que Estados Unidos dejó de ser autosuficiente en lo que al petróleo se refiere, a finales de los años 1940, el control de las principales zonas de producción de hidrocarburos se convirtió en una “obsesión estratégica” norteamericana. Lo cual explica parcialmente la “diplomacia de los golpes de Estado” de Washington, especialmente en Oriente Medio y en América Latina.
En Oriente Próximo, en los años 1950, a medida que el viejo Imperio Británico se retiraba y quedaba reducido a su archipiélago inicial, el Imperio estadounidense lo reemplazaba mientras colocaba a la cabeza de los países de esas regiones a sus “hombres”, sobre todo en Arabia Saudí y en Irán, principales productores de petróleo del mundo, junto con Venezuela, ya bajo control estadounidense en la época.
Hasta hace poco, la dependencia de Washington respecto al petróleo y al gas de Oriente Próximo le impidió considerar la posibilidad de retirarse de la región. ¿Qué ha cambiado entonces para que Estados Unidos piense ahora en retirarse de Oriente Próximo? El petróleo y el gas de esquisto, cuya producción por el método llamado “fracking” aumentó significativamente a comienzos de los años 2000. Eso modificó todos los parámetros. La explotación de ese tipo de hidrocarburos (cuyo coste es más elevado que el del petróleo “tradicional”) fue favorecida por el importante aumento del precio de los hidrocarburos que, en promedio, superaron los 100 dólares por barril entre 2010 y 2013.
Actualmente, Estados Unidos ha recuperado la autosuficiencia energética e incluso está convirtiéndose otra vez en un importante exportador de hidrocarburos. Por lo tanto, ya puede por fin considerar la posibilidad de retirarse de Oriente Próximo, con la condición de cauterizar rápidamente varias heridas que, en algunos casos, datan de más de un siglo.
Por esa razón, Obama retiró casi la totalidad de las tropas norteamericanas de Irak y de Afganistán. Estados Unidos participó muy discretamente en los bombardeos de Libia y se negó a intervenir contra las autoridades de Damasco, en Siria. Por otra parte, Washington busca a marchas forzadas un acuerdo con Teherán sobre el tema nuclear y presiona a Israel para que su gobierno progrese urgentemente hacia un acuerdo con los palestinos. En todos estos temas se percibe el deseo de Washington de cerrar los frentes en Oriente Próximo para pasar a otra cuestión (China) y olvidar así las pesadillas de Oriente Próximo.

Todo esto se desarrollaba perfectamente mientras los precios del petróleo seguían altos, cerca de 100 dólares el barril. El precio de explotación del barril de petróleo de esquisto es de aproximadamente 60 dólares, lo que deja a los productores un margen considerable (entre 30 y 40 dólares el barril).
Aquí es donde Arabia Saudí ha decidido intervenir. Riad se opone a que Estados Unidos se retire de Oriente Próximo. Sobre todo si Washington establece antes un acuerdo sobre el tema nuclear con Teherán, lo que los saudíes consideran demasiado favorable a Irán. Además, según la monarquía wahabita, expondría a los saudíes, y a los suníes en general, a convertirse en víctimas de lo que llaman “el expansionismo chií”. Hay que tener presente que los principales yacimientos de hidrocarburos saudíes se encuentran en zonas de población chií.
Considerando que dispone de las segundas reservas mundiales de petróleo, Arabia Saudí decidió usar el petróleo para sabotear la estrategia norteamericana. Oponiéndose a las consignas de la Organización de Países Exportadores de Petróleo (OPEP), Riad decidió, contra toda lógica comercial aparente, aumentar considerablemente su producción y hacer de ese modo bajar los precios del petróleo, inundando el mercado de petróleo barato. La estrategia dio rápidamente resultados. En poco tiempo, los precios del petróleo bajaron un 50%. El precio del barril descendió a 40 dólares (antes de subir ligeramente hasta aproximadamente 55-60 dólares actualmente).
Esta política asestó un duro golpe al “fracking”. La mayoría de los grandes productores estadounidenses de gas de esquisto están actualmente en crisis, endeudados y corren el riesgo de quebrar (lo que implica una amenaza para el sistema bancario norteamericano que, generosamente, había ofrecido abundantes créditos a los neopetroleros). A 40 dólares el barril, el esquisto ya no resulta rentable. Ni las excavaciones profundas “off shore”. Numerosas compañías petroleras importantes ya han anunciado que cesan sus explotaciones en alta mar porque no son rentables, provocando la pérdida de decenas de miles de empleos.
Una vez más, el petróleo es menos abundante. Y los precios suben ligeramente. Pero las reservas de Arabia Saudí son suficientemente importantes para que Riad regule el flujo y ajuste su producción de manera que permita un ligero aumento del precio (hasta 60 dólares aproximadamente) pero sin que se lleguen a superar los límites que permitirían reanudar la producción mediante el “fracking” y en los yacimientos marítimos a gran profundidad. De este modo, Riad se ha convertido en el árbitro absoluto en materia de precio del petróleo (parámetro decisivo para las economías de decenas de países entre los cuales figuran Argelia, Venezuela, Nigeria, México, Indonesia, etc.).
Estas nuevas circunstancias obligan a Barack Obama a reconsiderar sus planes. La crisis del “fracking” podría representar el fin de la autosuficiencia de energía fósil en Estados Unidos. Y, por lo tanto, la vuelta a la dependencia de Oriente Próximo (y también de Venezuela, por ejemplo). Por ahora, Riad parece haber ganado su apuesta. ¿Hasta cuándo?

Fonte: Le Monde

Martin Wolf: “The embattled future of global trade policy”

The embattled future of global trade policy

Ingram Pinn illustration

Should proposed US plurilateral trade agreements be welcomed? This is a big question, not least for those who consider the liberalisation of world trade to be a signal achievement. It is also highly controversial.

Since the failure of the “Doha round” of multilateral negotiations — launched shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11 2001 — the focus of global trade policy has shifted towards plurilateral agreements restricted to a limited subgroup of partners. The most significant are US-led: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. As a study by the US Council of Economic Advisers puts it, the Obama administration’s trade agenda aims to put America “at the center of an integrated trade zone covering nearly two-thirds of the global economy and almost 65 per cent of US goods trade”.

The TPP is a negotiation with 11 countries, most importantly Japan. Its partners account for 36 per cent of world output, 11 per cent of population and about one-third of merchandise trade. The TTIP is between the US and the EU, which account for 46 per cent of global output and 28 per cent of merchandise trade. The main partner not included in these negotiations is, of course, China.

Some of the countries participating in the TPP still have quite high barriers to imports of goods. The CEA notes the relatively high tariffs in Malaysia and Vietnam and agricultural protection in Japan. It also argues that the TPP partners and EU have higher barriers to imports of services than the US.

Yet lowering barriers is only a part of the US aim. The CEA report adds that, in the TPP, Washington is proposing “enforceable labor protections and greener policies”. But it is also seeking “strong enforcement of intellectual property rights”. In the TTIP, “both sides seek agreement on crosscutting disciplines on regulatory coherence and transparency” — in other words making rules more compatible with one another and more transparent for business. Thus, both the TPP and TTIP are efforts to shape the rules of international commerce. Pascal Lamy, former director-general of the World Trade Organisation, argues that “TPP is mostly, though not only, about classical protection-related market access issues . . . TTIP is mostly, though not only, about . . . .  regulatory convergence”.

Whether these negotiations succeed will depend on whether the administration obtainstrade promotion authority from Congress. But should we want them to succeed?

The straightforward points in favour are: plurilateral agreements are now the best way to liberalise global trade, given the failure of multilateral negotiations; their new rules and procedures offer the best template for the future; and they will bring significant gains.

These arguments have force. Yet there are also counter-arguments.

Martin Wolf 1

With limited political capital, the focus on plurilateral trade arrangements risks diversion of effort from the WTO. That might undermine the potency of global rules. Jagdish Bhagwati of Columbia University stresses such risks. Furthermore, preferential trading arrangements risk distorting complex global production chains.

Another concern is that the US is using its clout to impose regulations that are not in the interests of its partners. I would be less concerned about labour and environmental standards, though both might be inappropriate, than about protection of intellectual property. It is not true that tighter standards are in the interest of all. On the contrary, if US standards were to be imposed, the costs might be very high.

Do you think Britain should repeal the Human Rights Act?

Finally, the economic gains are unlikely to be large. Trade has been substantially liberalised already and any gains decline as barriers fall. A study of the TPP by thePeterson Institute for International Economics in Washington suggests the rise in US real incomes would be below 0.4 per cent of national income. A study of the TTIP published by the Centre for Economic Policy Research in London comes to slightly higher figures for the EU and US. Completion of the TPP and TTIP might raise US real incomes by 1 per cent of GDP. This is not nothing, but it is not large.

Martin Wolf 2

The US-EU agreement does not raise concerns about the US ability to bully its partners. In trade, the two sides are equally matched. There are three further concerns with the TTIP, however.

First, Jeronim Capaldo of Tufts University has argued that estimates of the gains ignore macroeconomic costs. His Keynesian approach argues that the EU will lose demand because of a fall in its trade surplus. This is ridiculous. Macroeconomic problems should be addressed with macroeconomic policies. Trade policy has different goals.

Second, some of the barriers they are attempting to remove reflect different attitudes to risk. The negotiators will have to devise a text that allows co-ordination of regulatory procedures — over drug testing, say, without imposing identical preferences. If Europeans do not want genetically modified organisms, they must be allowed to preserve that preference. If trade policy treads on such sacred ground, it will die.

Martin Wolf 3

Finally, we have the vexed issue of investor-state dispute settlement. Many complain that political choices — publicly-funded health systems or the right to control drug prices — might be put at risk by systems biased in favour of business. Negotiators fervently deny this. They had better be right.

On balance, the benefits of the TPP and TTIP will probably be positive, but modest. But there are risks. They must not become an alternative to the WTO or an attempt to push China to the margins of trade policy making. They must not be used to impose damaging regulations or subvert legitimate ones. Tread carefully. Overreaching could prove counterproductive even to the cause of global trade liberalisation.

martin.wolf@ft.com

. . .

Letter in response to this column:

The macroeconomic angle on the trade debate / From Jeronim Capaldo

Fonte: Financial Times

Entrevista exclusiva al Pdte. Evo Morales, Cumbre de las Américas 2015

Origins of ISIS – Special Coverage

Publicado em 5 de mar de 2015

In a special report, RT America examines the origins, power and expansion of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State (IS, formerly known as ISIS). RT’s Ben Swann delves into the roots of the organization while Ameera David explains how the group amasses the millions of dollars it requires to operate. Finally, Manuel Rapalo explores how the Iraqi army fell apart despite benefiting from billions of dollars of US money – and military hardware – meant to ensure security.

Fonte: RT

How Putin Blocked the U.S. Pivot to Asia

Originalmente publicado em:  MARCH 6-8, 2015

The collapse of the Soviet Union removed the only constraint on Washington’s power to act unilaterally abroad…. Suddenly the United States found itself to be the Uni-power, the ‘world’s only superpower.’  Neoconservatives proclaimed ‘the end of history.’”

—  Paul Craig Roberts,  former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury

“Don’t blame the mirror if your face is crooked.”

— Russian proverb

On February 10, 2007,   Vladimir Putin delivered a speech at the 43rd Munich Security Conference that created a rift between Washington and Moscow that has only deepened over time.  The Russian President’s blistering hour-long critique of US foreign policy provided a rational, point-by-point indictment of US interventions around the world and their devastating effect on global security.   Putin probably didn’t realize the impact his candid observations would have on the assembly in Munich or the reaction of  powerbrokers in the US who saw the presentation as a turning point in US-Russian relations. But, the fact is, Washington’s hostility towards Russia can be traced back to this particular incident, a speech in which Putin publicly committed himself to a multipolar global system, thus, repudiating the NWO pretensions of US elites. Here’s what he said:

“I am convinced that we have reached that decisive moment when we must seriously think about the architecture of global security. And we must proceed by searching for a reasonable balance between the interests of all participants in the international dialogue.”

With that one formulation, Putin rejected the United States assumed role as the world’s only superpower and steward of global security, a privileged position which Washington feels it earned by prevailing in the Cold War and which entitles the US to unilaterally intervene whenever it sees fit. Putin’s announcement ended years of bickering and deliberation among think tank analysts as to whether Russia could be integrated into the US-led system or not.  Now they knew that Putin would never dance to Washington’s tune.

In the early years of his presidency, it was believed that Putin would learn to comply with western demands and accept a subordinate role in the Washington-centric system. But it hasn’t worked out that way. The speech in Munich merely underscored what many US hawks and Cold Warriors had been saying from the beginning, that Putin would not relinquish Russian sovereignty without a fight.  The declaration challenging US aspirations to rule the world, left no doubt that  Putin was going to be a problem that had to be dealt with by any means necessary including harsh economic sanctions, a State Department-led coup in neighboring Ukraine, a conspiracy to crash oil prices, a speculative attack of the ruble, a proxy war in the Donbass using neo-Nazis as the empire’s shock troops, and myriad false flag operations used to discredit Putin personally while driving a wedge between Moscow and its primary business partners in Europe. Now the Pentagon is planning to send 600 paratroopers to Ukraine ostensibly to “train the Ukrainian National Guard”, a serious escalation that violates the spirit of Minsk 2 and which calls for a proportionate response from the Kremlin. Bottom line: The US is using all the weapons in its arsenal to prosecute its war on Putin.

Last week’s gangland-style murder of Russian opposition leader, Boris Nemtsov, has to be considered in terms of the larger geopolitical game that is currently underway. While we may never know who perpetrated the crime, we can say with certainly that the lack of evidence hasn’t deterred the media or US politicians from using the tragedy to advance an anti-Putin agenda aimed at destabilizing the government and triggering regime change in Moscow.  Putin himself suggested that the killing may have been a set-up designed to put more pressure on the Kremlin. The World Socialist Web Site summed up the political implications like this:

“The assassination of Russian opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is a significant political event that arises out of the US-Russia confrontation and the intense struggle that is now underway within the highest levels of the Russian state. The Obama administration and the CIA are playing a major role in the escalation of this conflict, with the aim of producing an outcome that serves the global geo-political and financial interests of US imperialism…

It is all but obvious that the Obama administration is hoping a faction will emerge within the Russian elite, backed by elements in the military and secret police, capable of staging a “palace coup” and getting rid of Putin….

The United States is not seeking to trigger a widespread popular revolt. (But) are directed entirely at convincing a section of the oligarchy and emerging capitalist class that their business interests and personal wealth depend upon US support. That is why the Obama administration has used economic sanctions targeting individuals as a means of exerting pressure on the oligarchs as well as broader sections of the entrepreneurial elite…

It is in the context of this international power struggle that one must evaluate Nemtsov’s murder. Of course, it is possible that his death was the outcome of his private dealings. But it is more likely that he was killed for political reasons. Certainly, the timing of the killing—on the eve of the opposition’s anti-Putin demonstration in Moscow—strongly indicates that the killing was a political assassination, not a private settling of accounts.”  (Murder in Moscow: Why was Boris Nemtsov assassinated?, David North, World Socialist Web Site)

Just hours after Nemtsov was gunned down in Moscow, the western media swung into action releasing a barrage of articles suggesting Kremlin involvement without a shred of  evidence to support their claims. The campaign of innuendo has steadily gained momentum as more Russia “experts” and politicians offer their opinions about who might be responsible. Naturally, none of the interviewees veer from the official storyline that someone in Putin’s charge must have carried out the attack.  An article in the Washington Post is a good example of the tactics used in the latest PR campaign to discredit Putin.  According to Vladimir Gel’man, Political Scientists European University at St. Petersburg and the University of Helsinki:

“Boris Nemtsov, one of the leaders of political opposition, was shot dead nearby the Kremlin. In my opinion, it has all the hallmarks of a political assassination provoked by an aggressive Kremlin-induced campaign against the “fifth column of national traitors”, who opposed the annexation of Crimea, war with the West over Ukraine, and further decline of political and civil freedoms in the country. We may never know whether the Kremlin ordered this killing, but given the fact that Nemtsov was one of the most consistent critics not only of the Russian regime as such but also of Putin in person, his dissenting voice will never upset Putin and his inner circle anymore.”  (What does Boris Nemtsov’s murder mean for Russia?, Washington Post)

The article in the Washington Post is fairly typical of others published in the MSM. The coverage is invariably long on finger-pointing and insinuation and short on facts. Traditional journalistic standards of objectivity and fact-gathering have been jettisoned to advance a political agenda that reflects the objectives of ownership. The Nemtsov assassination is just the latest illustration of the abysmal state of western media.

The idea that Putin’s agents would “whack” an opposition candidate just a stone’s throw from the Kremlin is far fetched to say the least.  As one commenter at the Moon of Alabama blog noted:

“Isn’t the image of a dead political opponent lying on a bridge overlooked by the Kremlin a bit rich? I mean, short of a dagger lodged between his shoulder blades with the inscription “if found, please return to Mr Putin”, I can’t think of a more over-egged attempt at trying to implicate the Government. And on the night before an opposition rally Nemtsov hoped to lead. I mean, come on.”

While there’s no denying that Moscow could be involved, it seems unlikely. The more probable explanation is that the incident is part of a larger regime change scheme to ignite social unrest and destabilize the government. The US has used these tactics so many times before in various color-coded revolutions, that we won’t reiterate the details here. Even so, it’s worth noting that the US has no red lines when it comes to achieving its strategic goals.  It will do whatever it feels is necessary to prevail in its clash with Putin.

The question is why? Why is Washington so determined to remove Putin?

Putin answered this question himself recently at a celebration of Russia’s diplomatic workers’ day. He said Russia would pursue an independent foreign policy despite pressure in what he called “today’s challenging international environment.”

“No matter how much pressure is put on us, the Russian Federation will continue to pursue an independent foreign policy, to support the fundamental interests of our people and in line with global security and stability.” (Reuters)

This is Putin’s unforgivable crime, the same crime as Venezuela, Cuba, Iran, Syria and countless other nations that refuse to march in lockstep to Washington’s directives.

Putin has also resisted NATO encirclement and attempts by the US to loot Russia’s vast natural resources. And while Putin has made every effort to avoid a direct confrontation with the US, he has not backed down on issues that are vital to Russia’s national security, in fact, he  has pointed out numerous times not only the threat that encroaching NATO poses to Moscow, but also the lies that preceded its eastward expansion. Here’s Putin at Munich again:

“I would like to quote the speech of NATO General Secretary Mr. Woerner in Brussels on 17 May 1990. He said at the time that: “the fact that we are ready not to place a NATO army outside of German territory gives the Soviet Union a firm security guarantee….

Where are these guarantees?”

Where, indeed. Apparently, they were all lies.  As political analyst Pat Buchanan said in his article “Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”:

Though the Red Army had picked up and gone home from Eastern Europe voluntarily, and Moscow felt it had an understanding we would not move NATO eastward, we exploited our moment. Not only did we bring Poland into NATO, we brought in Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, and virtually the whole Warsaw Pact, planting NATO right on Mother Russia’s front porch. Now, there is a scheme afoot to bring in Ukraine and Georgia in the Caucasus, the birthplace of Stalin….

… though Putin gave us a green light to use bases in the old Soviet republics for the liberation of Afghanistan, we now seem hell-bent on making those bases in Central Asia permanent.

… through the National Endowment for Democracy, its GOP and Democratic auxiliaries, and tax-exempt think tanks, foundations, and “human rights” institutes such as Freedom House,… we have been fomenting regime change in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet republics, and Russia herself….

These are Putin’s grievances. Does he not have a small point?” “(Doesn’t Putin Have a Point?”, Pat Buchananantiwar.com)

Now the US wants to deploy its missile defense system to Eastern Europe, a system which–according to Putin “will work automatically with and be an integral part of the US nuclear capability. For the first time in history, and I want to emphasize this, there are elements of the US nuclear capability on the European continent. It simply changes the whole configuration of international security…..Of course, we have to respond to that.”

How can Putin allow this to happen?  How can he allow the US to situate nuclear weapons in a location that would increase its first-strike capability and undermine the balance of deterrents allowing the US to force Russia to follow its orders or face certain annihilation. Putin has no choice but to resist this outcome, just as has no choice but to oppose the principle upon which US expansion is based, the notion that the Cold War was won by the US, therefore the US has the right to reshape the world in a way that best suits its own economic and geopolitical interests. Here’s Putin again:

“What is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term,  it refers to a type of situation where there is one center of authority, one center of force, one center of decision-making.   It is world in which there is one master, one sovereign. At the end of the day, this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within…

I consider that the unipolar model is not only unacceptable but also impossible in today’s world…. the model itself is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization…” (Munich, 2007)

What sort of man talks like this? What sort of man talks about “the moral foundations for modern civilization” or invokes FDR in his address?

Putin:  “‘Security for one is security for all’. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said during the first few days that the Second World War was breaking out: ‘When peace has been broken anywhere, the peace of all countries everywhere is in danger.’ These words remain topical today.”

I urge everyone to watch at least the first 10 minutes of Putin’s speech and decide for themselves whether they think the characterization (and demonization) of Putin in the media is fair or not. And pay special attention to Minute 6 where Putin says this:

We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law. And independent legal norms are, as a matter of fact, coming increasingly closer to one state’s legal system. One state and, of course, first and foremost the United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way. This is visible in the economic, political, cultural and educational policies it imposes on other nations. Well, who likes this? Who is happy about this?” (Vladimir Putin’s legendary speech at Munich Security Conference)

While Putin is making this statement, the camera pans to John McCain and Joe Lieberman who are sitting stone-faced in the front row seething at every word uttered by the Russian president. If you look close enough, you can see the steam emerging from McCain’s ears.

This is why Washington wants regime change in Moscow. It’s because Putin refuses to be pushed around by the United States. It’s because he wants a world that is governed by international laws that are impartially administered by the United Nations. It’s because he rejects a “unipolar” world order where one nation dictates policy to everyone else and where military confrontation becomes the preferred way for the powerful to impose their will on the weak.

Putin:  “Today we are witnessing an almost uncontained hyper use of force that is plunging the world into an abyss of permanent conflicts…The United States, has overstepped its national borders in every way….And of course this is extremely dangerous. It results in the fact that no one feels safe. I want to emphasize this — no one feels safe.” Vladimir Putin, Munich 2007

Putin isn’t a perfect man. He has his shortcomings and flaws like everyone else. But he appears to be a decent person who has made great strides in restoring Russia’s economy after it was looted by agents of the US following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. He has lifted living standards,  increased pensions,  reduced poverty, and improved education and health care which is why his public approval ratings are currently hovering at an eye-watering 86 percent.  Even so, Putin is most admired for standing up to the United States and blocking its strategy to pivot to Asia. The proxy war in Ukraine is actually a struggle to thwart Washington’s plan to break up the Russian Federation, encircle China, control the flow of resources from Asia to Europe,  and rule the world.   Vladimir Putin is at the forefront of that conflagration which is why he has gained the respect and admiration of people around the world.

As for “democracy”, Putin said it best himself:

“Am I a ‘pure democrat’? (laughs) Of course I am. Absolutely. The problem is that I’m all alone, the only one of my kind in the whole world. Just look at what’s happening in    America, it’s terrible—torture, homeless people, Guantanamo, people detained without trial or investigation.     And look at  Europe—harsh treatment of demonstrators, rubber bullets and tear gas used in one capital after another, demonstrators killed on the streets….. I have no one to talk to since Gandhi died.”

Well said, Vladimir.

Fonte: Conter Punch