http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/rss.aspx?blogid=3 Tue, 17 Jul 2018 16:50:24 GMT Tue, 17 Jul 2018 16:50:24 GMT Trump-Putin Fallout: Bipartisan Hysteria Against Peace Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/trump-putin-fallout-bipartisan-hysteria-against-peace/ warns him to "stop it." Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) actually calls for the military to move against its commander in chief, who he claims is "in the hands of our enemy." Others have called the Trump-Putin meeting "another Pearl Harbor." The mainstream media churns out exactly the same headline: Trump threw the intelligence community under the bus" by meeting with Putin and expressing skepticism over claims that the Russians hacked the 2016 US presidential election. What's behind the hysteria? Tune in to today's Liberty Report:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/trump-putin-fallout-bipartisan-hysteria-against-peace/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/trump-putin-fallout-bipartisan-hysteria-against-peace/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 16:50:24 GMT
US And Allies Planning Evacuation Of White Helmets From Syria Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/us-and-allies-planning-evacuation-of-white-helmets-from-syria/

Perhaps we are about to witness the final chapter to the controversial White Helmets saga?

As we've detailed many times before both the West and the group's leadership have long claimed it's nothing but a humanitarian non-governmental organization (NGO) devoted to rescuing Syrian's in the midst of war; however, new reports reveal the US and UK are mulling plans to evacuate the group's members who, far from being a "neutral" NGO, are funded by Western governments which have simultaneously sought the ouster of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

US government officials say White Helmets members are in "imminent danger" and face the threat of assassination as pro-government forces advance deeper into southwest Syria.

CNN reports the following based on diplomatic sources:
The fate of some 1,000 volunteers and their family members, and the need to plan a possible evacuation for them, has become a focus of discussions of several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, France and Canada, according to a diplomatic source familiar with the subject and two administration officials.
And CNN reports further that President Trump broached the subject at the NATO summit in Brussels last week:
In the plans under discussion, the volunteer rescue workers, who are officially named the Syrian Civil Defense, would be resettled in several countries; two diplomatic sources mentioned the possibility of resettling some of the group in Canada and the United Kingdom, while another two sources said Germany is expected to take some rescuers.

President Donald Trump discussed the possible need to evacuate members of the group during his meetings at the NATO summit last week, a source confirmed. There were several conversations between the US and UK about the issue during the summit, the source said, adding that Western delegations have convinced the US to help lobby both Israel and Jordan to find escape routes for besieged rescuers.
Among the consistent criticisms leveled at the group has been that its rescuers only operate in al-Qaeda and anti-Assad insurgent held territory — this while being caught on film multiple times bearing arms alongside insurgents and even assisting in al-Qaeda conducted field executions — and the group has received large sums from Western governments even while presenting itself as a homegrown "first-responder" organization.

Yet last June this narrative was again exposed as obviously false as President Trump authorized new funding for the White Helmets to the initial tune of $6.6 million to continue what US officials call "the vital, life-saving operations of the Syrian Civil Defense, more commonly known as the White Helmets."

Soon after the State Department announced the formal resumption of funding, the Syrian Army began a successful offensive to take back Syria's southwest provinces with the help of Russian fighter jets. There's also been a significant uptick in Russian air strikes on al-Qaeda held Idlib province in recent months, which analysts bill as the last significant "opposition-held" territory in the war ravaged country.

Concerning the potential evacuation of White Helmets members, US planners see Russia as a possible obstacle, according to CNN:
Western countries hope to find a way to help the group leave Syria without Russia's aid, the diplomatic source said. They are looking at various possibilities for ground evacuation, but all of them are difficult and negotiations are at a sensitive stage, the source said.
And CBS reports the following statement issued by Trump administration officials:
"We are concerned about the humanitarian situation in the southwest since the Syrian regime and Russia violated the ceasefire,"National Security Council spokesperson Garrett Marquis said in a statement to CBS News' Margaret Brennan."This includes the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the fighting. Among them are many who fear regime reprisals, including specific groups, such as the White Helmets. We are pushing for Russia and the regime to allow international aid convoys to deliver badly needed assistance to the civilians in the Southwest."
Russian officials have accused the White Helmets of helping al-Qaeda groups stage "chemical attack provocations" — such as the latest April 7th suspected chemical attack in Douma — which Western countries and international media as a matter of course blame on the Assad government.

While evacuation plans are being discussed, it is also possible that the fate of the White Helmets could factor into reported ongoing negotiations between world powers to end the Syrian proxy war.

* * *

The White Helmets are a 3,000 member NGO formally known as the Syrian Civil Defense. Established in "late 2012 - early 2013" after a group of 20 Syrians were trained and organized by former British army officer James Le Mesurier. The group then received funding from Le Mesurier's Netherlands-based non-profit group, Mayday Rescue - which is in turn funded by grants from the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments.

The US has in the past provided at least $32 million to the group - around 1/3 of their total funding - through a USAID scheme orchestrated by the Obama State Department and funneled to the White Helmets using a Washington D.C. contractor participating in USAID's Syria regional program, Chemonics.
According to their website, the White Helmets have been directly funded by Mayday Rescue, and a company called Chemonics, since 2014.

Yet there’s evidence that both of those organizations started supporting the White Helmets back in early 2013, right around the time the White Helmets claim to have formed as self-organized groups.

Mayday Rescue, as we said, is funded by the Dutch, British, Danish and German governments. And Chemonics?

They are a Washington, D.C. based contractor that was awarded $128.5 million in January 2013 to support “a peaceful transition to a democratic and stable Syria” as part of USAID’s Syria regional program. At least $32 million has been given directly to the White Helmets as of February 2018. -TruthInMedia
So the US, Dutch, British, Danish and German governments have been funding the White Helmets, a non-governmental organization, through proxies for over five years.

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/us-and-allies-planning-evacuation-of-white-helmets-from-syria/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/us-and-allies-planning-evacuation-of-white-helmets-from-syria/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 05:46:20 GMT
Is President Trump A Traitor Because He Wants Peace With Russia? Paul Craig Roberts http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/is-president-trump-a-traitor-because-he-wants-peace-with-russia/

The US Democratic Party is determined to take the world to thermo-nuclear war rather than to admit that Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election fair and square. The Democratic Party was totally corrupted by the Clinton Regime, and now it is totally insane. Leaders of the Democratic Party, such as Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, my former co-author in the New York Times, have responded in a non-Democratic way to the first step President Trump has taken to reduce the extremely dangerous tensions with Russia that the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes created between the two superpowers.

Yes, Russia is a superpower. Russian weapons are so superior to the junk produced by the waste-filled US military/security complex that lives high off the hog on the insouciant American taxpayer that it is questionable if the US is even a second class military power. If the insane neoconservatives, such as Max Boot, William Kristol, and the rest of the neocon scum get their way, the US, the UK, and Europe will be a radioactive ruin for thousands of years.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives, declared that out of fear of some undefined retribution from Putin, a dossier on Trump perhaps, the President of the United States sold out the American people to Russia because he wants to make peace: “It begs the question, what does Vladimir Putin, what do the Russians have on Donald Trump—personally, politically and financially that he should behave in such a manner?” The “such a manner” Pelosi is speaking about is making peace instead of war.

To be clear, the Democratic Minority Leader of the US House of Representatives has accused Donald Trump of high treason against the United States. There is no outcry against this blatantly false accusation, totally devoid of evidence. The presstitute media instead of protesting this attempt at a coup against the President of the United States, trumpet the accusation as self-evident truth. Trump is a traitor because he wants peace with Russia.

Here is Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer (NY) repeating Pelosi’s false accusation: “Millions of Americans will continue to wonder if the only possible explanation for this dangerous behavior is the possibility that President Putin holds damaging information over President Trump.” If you don’t believe that this is orchestrated between Pelosi and Schumer, you are stupid beyond belief.

Here is disgraced Obama CIA director John Brennan, a leader of the fake Russiagate campaign against President Trump in order to prevent Trump from making peace with Russia and, thus, by making the world safer, threatening the massive, unjustified budget of the military/security complex: “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to and exceeds the threshold of high crimes and misdemeanors. It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Here are many more.

And here is more from the CIA bought-and-paid-for BBC.

NOTICE THAT NOT ONE WESTERN MEDIA SOURCE IS CELEBRATING AND THANKING TRUMP AND PUTIN FOR EASING THE ARTIFICAILLY CREATED TENSIONS THAT WERE LEADING TO NUCLEAR WAR. HOW CAN THIS BE? HOW CAN IT BE THAT THE WESTERN MEDIA IS SO OPPOSED TO PEACE? WHAT IS THE EXPLANATION?

The Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, and the North Koreans, as well as the rest of the world, desperately need to notice the extremely hostile reaction to peace on the part of the US Democratic Party, many members of the Republican Party, including the despicable US Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and the Western Presstitute Media, a collection of people on the CIA payroll according to the German newspaper editor, Udo Ulfkotte, and the CIA itself.

Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and the rest of the corrupt filth that rules over us are all in the pay of the military/security complex. Just go and investigate the donations to their re-election campaigns. The 1,000 billion dollar budget of the military/security complex, amplified by the CIA’s front corporations and narcotics business, provides enormous sums with which to purchase the senators and representatives that the insouciant American voters think that they elect.

Do you know how large 1,000 billion is? You would have to live for thousands of years and do nothing for 24/7 except count to reach that figure. It is a sum that nurtures the recipients, and the recipients regard it as worth protecting.

Therefore, the American public gets not representation, but lies that justify war and conflict. The military/security complex, about which President Eisenhower warned the American people to no effect, is in desperate need of an enemy. In obedience to the military/security complex, the Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes have made Russia that enemy. If Trump and Putin do not understand this, they will easily be made irrelevant.

They both can be assassinated, and that is what the statements from Pelosi, Schumer, McCain, Lindsey Graham, et. al., repeated endlessly in the propaganda ministry that is the Western press, encourages. Trump can be assassinated or overthrown in a political coup for selling out America to Russia, as members of both political parties claim and as the media trumpets endlessly. Putin can be easily assassinated by the CIA operatives that the Russian government stupidly permits to operate throughout Russia in NGOs and Western/US owned media and among the Atlanticist Integrationists, Washington’s Firth Column inside Russia serving Washington’s purposes. These Russian traitors serve in Putin’s own government!

Americans are so unaware that they have no idea of the risk that President Trump is taking by challenging the US military security complex. For example, during the last half of the 1970s I was a member of the US Senate staff. I was working together with a staffer of the US Republican Senator from California, S. I. Hayakawa, to advance understanding of a supply-side economic policy cure to the stagflation that threatened the US budget’s ability to meet its obligations. Republican Senators Hatch, Roth, and Hayakawa were trying to introduce a supply-side economic policy as a cure for the stagflation that was threatening the US economy with failure. The Democrats, who later in the Senate led the way to a supply-side policy, were, at this time, opposed (see Paul Craig Roberts, The Supply-Side Revolution, Harvard University Press, 1984). The Democrats claimed that the policy would worsen the budget deficit, the only time in those days Democrats cared about the budget deficit. The Democrats said that they would support the tax rate reductions if the Republicans would support offsetting cuts in the budget to support a balanced budget. This was a ploy to put Republicans on the spot for taking away some groups’ handouts in order “to cut tax rates for the rich.”

The supply-side policy did not require budget cuts, but in order to demonstrate the Democrats lack of sincerety, Hayakawa’s aid and I had our senators introduce a series of budget cuts together with tax cuts that, on a static revenue basis (not counting tax revenue feedbacks from the incentives of the lower tax rates) kept the budget even, and the Democrats voted against them every time.

When the combination of tax cuts with defense budget cuts came up for a vote, the legendary senator Strom Thurmond, a 48-year member of the US Senate from South Carolina, tapped me on the shoulder. He said: “son, never set your senator up against the military/security complex. He will not be re-elected, and you will be out of a job.” I replied that we were just establishing for the record that under no conditions would the Democrats, who wanted more government, vote for a tax rate reduction even if there was a case that it would cure stagflation. He replied: “son, the military/security complex doesn’t care.”

My emergence from The Matrix began with Thurmond’s pat on my shoulder. It grew with my time at the Wall Street Journal when I learned that some truthful things simply could not be said. In the Treasury I experienced how those outside interests opposed to a president’s policy marshall their forces and the media that they own to block it. Later as a member of a secret presidential committee, I saw how the CIA attempted to prevent President Reagan from ending the Cold War.

Today, right now, at this moment, we are faced with a massive effort of the military/security complex, the neoconservatives, the Democratic Party, and the presstitute media to discredit the elected President of the United States and to overthrow him in order that the utterly corrupt elite that rule American can continue to hold on to power and to protect the massive budget of the military/security complex that, along with the Israel Lobby, funds the elections of those who rule us. Trump, like Reagan, was an exception, and it is the exceptions that accumulate the ire of the corrupt leftwing, bought off with money, and the ire of the media, concentrated into small tight ownership groups indebted to those who permitted the illegal concentration of a once independent and diverse American media that once served, on occasion, as a watchdog over government. The rightwing, wrapped in the flag, dismisses all truth as “anti-American.”

If Putin, Lavrov, the Russian government, the traitorous Russian Fifth Column—the Atlanticist Integrationists—the Chinese, the Iranians, the North Koreans think that any peace or consideration can come out of America, they are insane. Their delusions are setting themselves up for destruction. There is no institution in America, government or private, that can be trusted. Any government or person who trusts America or any Western country is stupid beyond belief.

The entire Russiagate hoax is an orchestration by the military/security complex, led by John Brennen, Comey, and Rosenstein. The purpose is to discredit President trump for two reasons. One is to prevent any normalization of relations with Russia. The other is to remove Trump’s agenda as an alternative to the agenda of the Democratic Party.

President Trump is almost powerless. Putin, the Chinese, the Iranians, and the North Koreans should recognize this before it is too late for them. President Trump cannot fire and arrest for high treason Mueller and Rosenstein. And Trump cannot indict Hillary for her numerous unquestionable crimes in plain view of everyone, or Comey or Brennan, who declares Trump “to be wholly in the pocket of Putin,” for trying to overthrow the elected president of the United States. Trump cannot have the Secret Service question the likes of Pelosi and Schumer and McCain and Lindsey Graham for false accusations that encourage assassination of the President of the United States.

Trump cannot even trust the Secret Service, which accumulated evidence suggests was complicit in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.

If Putin and Lavrov, so anxious to be friends of Washington, let their guards down, they are history.

As I said above, Russiagate is an orchestratration to prevent peace between the US and Russia. Leading military/security complex experts, including the person who provided the CIA’s daily briefing of the President of the United States for many years, and the person who devised the spy program for the National Security Agency, have proven conclusively that Russiagate is a hoax designed for the purpose of preventing President Trump from normalizing relations between the US and Russia, which has the power to destroy the entirety of the Western World at will.

Here  is the report from the retired security professionals who, unlike those still in office, cannot be fired and deprived of a careet for telling the truth.

Here  is what the clued-in Russian Defense Minister Shoigu has to say about the aggressive actions of the West against the Russian homeland. If Putin doesn’t listen to him, Russia is in the trash can of history.

Keep in mind that no media informs you better than my website. If my website goes down, you will be left in darkness. No valid information comes from the US government or the Western presstitutes. If you sit in front of the TV screen watching the Western media, you are brainwashed beyond all hope. Not even I can rescue you. Nor God himself.

Americans, and indeed the Russians themselves, are incapable of realizing it, but there is a chance that Trump will be overthrown and a Western assault will be launched against the handful of countries that insist on sovereignty.

I doubt that few of the Americans who elected Trump will be taken in by the anti-Trump propaganda, but they are not organized and have no armed power. The police, militarized by George W. Bush and Obama, will be set against them. The rebellions will be local and suppressed by every violation of the US Constitution by the private powers that rule Washington, as always has been the case with rebellions in America.

In the West, which the Russians are so anxious to join, all freedoms are dead—freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, freedom of association, freedom of inquiry, freedom of privacy, freedom from arbitrary search, freedom from arbitrary arrest, along with the Constitutional protections of due process and habeas corpus. Today there are no countries less free than the United States of America.

Why do the Russian Atlanticist Integrationists want to join an unfree Western world? Are they that brainwashed by Western Propaganda?

If Putin listens to these deluded fools, Putin will destroy Russia.

There is something wrong with Russian perception of Washington. Apparently the Russian elite, with the exception of Shoigu and a few others are incapable of comprehending the neoconservative drive for US world hegemony and the neoconservative determination to destroy Russia as a constraint on US unilateralism. The Russian government somehow, despite all evidence to the contrary, believes that Washington’s hegemony is negotiable.

Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/is-president-trump-a-traitor-because-he-wants-peace-with-russia/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/17/is-president-trump-a-traitor-because-he-wants-peace-with-russia/ Tue, 17 Jul 2018 04:24:30 GMT
Trump-Putin Summit Success: Neocons Furious! Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/16/trump-putin-summit-success-neocons-furious/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/16/trump-putin-summit-success-neocons-furious/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/16/trump-putin-summit-success-neocons-furious/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 16:38:18 GMT
The Mueller Indictments and The Trump-Putin Summit: Triumph of the Deep State? Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/16/the-mueller-indictments-and-the-trump-putin-summit-triumph-of-the-deep-state/

The term “deep state” has been so over-used in the past few years that it may seem meaningless. It has become standard practice to label one’s political adversaries as representing the “deep state” as a way of avoiding the defense of one’s positions. President Trump has often blamed the “deep state” for his political troubles. Trump supporters have created big conspiracies involving the “deep state” to explain why the president places neocons in key positions or fails to fulfill his campaign promises.

But the “deep state” is no vast and secret conspiracy theory. The deep state is real, it operates out in the open, and it is far from monolithic. The deep state is simply the permanent, unelected government that continues to expand its power regardless of how Americans vote.

There are factions of the deep state that are pleased with President Trump’s policies, and in fact we might say that President Trump represents some factions of the deep state.

Other factions of the deep state are determined to undermine any of President Trump’s actions they perceive as threatening. Any move toward peace with Russia is surely something they feel to be threatening. There are hundreds of billions of reasons – otherwise known as dollars – why the Beltway military-industrial complex is terrified of peace breaking out with Russia and will do whatever it takes to prevent that from happening.

That is why Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s indictment on Friday of 12 Russian military intelligence officers for allegedly interfering in the 2016 US presidential election should immediately raise some very serious questions.

First the obvious: after more than a year of investigations which have publicly revealed zero collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, why drop this bombshell of an allegation at the end of the news cycle on the last business day before the historic Trump/Putin meeting in Helsinki? The indictment could not have been announced a month ago or in two weeks? Is it not suspicious that now no one is talking about reducing tensions with Russia but is all of a sudden – thanks to Special Counsel Robert Mueller – talking about increasing tensions?

Unfortunately most Americans don't seem to understand that indictments are not evidence. In fact they are often evidence-free, as is this indictment.

Did the Russian government seek to interfere in the 2016 US presidential elections? It’s certainly possible, however we don’t know. None of the Justice Department’s assertions have been tested in a court of law, as is thankfully required by our legal system. It is not enough to make an allegation, as Mueller has done. You have to prove it.

That is why we should be very suspicious of these new indictments. Mueller knows he will never have to defend his assertions in a court of law so he can make any allegation he wants.

It is interesting that one of the Russian companies indicted by Mueller earlier this year surprised the world by actually entering a “not guilty” plea and demanding to see Mueller’s evidence. The Special Counsel proceeded to file several motions to delay the hand-over of his evidence. What does Mueller have to hide?

Meanwhile, why is no one talking about the estimated 100 elections the US government has meddled in since World War II? Maybe we need to get our own house in order?]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/16/the-mueller-indictments-and-the-trump-putin-summit-triumph-of-the-deep-state/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/16/the-mueller-indictments-and-the-trump-putin-summit-triumph-of-the-deep-state/ Mon, 16 Jul 2018 12:48:34 GMT
Five Things That Would Make The CIA/CNN Russia Narrative More Believable Caitlin Johnstone http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/14/five-things-that-would-make-the-ciacnn-russia-narrative-more-believable/

As we just discussed, some major news stories have recently dropped about what a horrible horrifying menace the Russian Federation is to the world, and as always I have nothing to offer the breathless pundits on CNN and MSNBC but my completely unsatisfied skepticism. My skepticism of the official Russia narrative remains so completely unsatisfied that if mainstream media were my husband I would already be cheating on it with my yoga instructor.

I do not believe the establishment Russia narrative. I do not believe that Donald Trump colluded with the Russian government to rig the 2016 election. I do not believe the Russian government did any election rigging for Trump to collude with. This is not because I believe Vladimir Putin is some kind of blueberry-picking girl scout, and it certainly isn’t because I think the Russian government is unwilling or incapable of meddling in the affairs of other nations to some extent when it suits them. It is simply because I am aware that the US intelligence community lies constantly as a matter of policy, and because I understand how the burden of proof works.

At this time, I see no reason to espouse any belief system which embraces as true the assertion that Russia meddled in the 2016 elections in any meaningful way, or that it presents a unique and urgent threat to the world which must be aggressively dealt with. But all the establishment mouthpieces tell me that I must necessarily embrace these assertions as known, irrefutable fact. Here are five things that would have to change in order for that to happen:

1. Proof of a hacking conspiracy to elect Trump.

The first step to getting a heretic like myself aboard the Russia hysteria train would be the existence of publicly available evidence of the claims made about election meddling in 2016, which rises to the level required in a post-Iraq invasion world. So far, that burden of proof for Russian hacking allegations has not come anywhere remotely close to being met.

How much proof would I need to lend my voice to the escalation of tensions between two nuclear superpowers? Mountains. I personally would settle for nothing less than hard proof which can be independently verified by trusted experts like the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Is that a big ask? Yes. Yes it is. That’s what happens when government institutions completely discredit themselves as they did with the false narratives advanced in the manufacturing of support for the Iraq invasion. You don’t get to butcher a million Iraqis in a war based on lies, turn around a few years later and say “We need new cold war escalations with a nuclear superpower but we can’t prove it because the evidence is secret.” That’s not a thing. Copious amounts of hard, verifiable proof or GTFO. So far we have no evidence besides the confident-sounding assertions of government insiders and their mass media mouthpieces, which is the same as no evidence.

2. Proof that election meddling actually influenced the election in a meaningful way.

Even if Russian hackers did exfiltrate Democratic party emails and give them to WikiLeaks, if it didn’t affect the election, who cares? That’s a single-day, second-page story at best, meriting nothing beyond a “Hmm, interesting, turns out Russia tried and failed to influence the US election,” followed by a shrug and moving on to something that actually matters.

After it has been thoroughly proven that Russia meddled in the elections in a meaningful way, it must then be established that that meddling had an actual impact on the election results.

3. Some reason to believe Russian election meddling was unwarranted and unacceptable.

The US government, by a very wide margin, interferes in the elections of other countries far, far more than any other government on earth does. The US government’s own data shows that it has deliberately meddled in the elections of 81 foreign governments between 1946 and 2000, including Russia in the nineties. This is public knowledge. A former CIA Director cracked jokes about it on Fox News earlier this year.

If I’m going to abandon my skepticism and accept the Gospel According to Maddow, after meaningful, concrete election interference has been clearly established I’m going to need a very convincing reason to believe that it is somehow wrong or improper for a government to attempt to respond in kind to the undisputed single worst offender of this exact offense. It makes no sense for the United States to actively create an environment in which election interference is something that governments do to one another, and then cry like a spanked child when its election is interfered with by one of the very governments whose elections the US recently meddled in.

This is nonsense. America being far and away the worst election meddler on the planet makes it a fair target for election meddling by not just Russia, but every country in the world. It is very obviously moral and acceptable for any government on earth to interfere in America’s elections as long as it remains the world’s worst offender in that area. In order for Russia to be in the wrong if it interfered in America’s elections, some very convincing argument I’ve not yet heard will have to be made to support that case.

4. Proof that the election meddling went beyond simply giving Americans access to information about their government.

If all the Russians did was simply show Americans emails of Democratic Party officials talking to one another and circulate some MSM articles as claimed in the ridiculous Russian troll farm allegations, that’s nothing to get upset about. If anything, Americans should be upset that they had to hear about Democratic Party corruption through the grapevine instead of having light shed on it by the American officials whose job it is to do so. Complaints about election meddling is only valid if that election meddling isn’t comprised of truth and facts.

5. A valid reason to believe escalated tensions between two nuclear superpowers are worthwhile.

After it has been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia did indeed meddle in the US elections in a meaningful way, and after it has then been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Russia actually influenced election results in a significant way, and after the case has been clearly made that it was bad and wrong for Russia to do this instead of fair and reasonable, and after it has been clearly proven that the election meddling went beyond simply telling Americans the truth about their government, the question then becomes what, if anything, should be done about it?

If you look at the actions that this administration has taken over the last year and a half, the answer to that question appears to be harsh sanctions, NATO expansionism, selling arms to Ukraine, throwing out diplomats, increasing military presence along Russia’s border, a Nuclear Posture Review which is much more aggressive toward Russia, repeatedly bombing Syria, and just generally creating more and more opportunities for something to go catastrophically wrong with one of the two nations’ aging, outdated nuclear arsenals, setting off a chain of events from which there is no turning back and no surviving.

And the pundits and politicians keep pushing for more and more escalations, at this very moment braying with one voice that Trump must aggressively confront Putin about Mueller’s indictments or withdraw from the peace talks. But is it worth it? Is it worth risking the life of every terrestrial organism to, what? What specifically would be gained that makes increasing the risk of nuclear catastrophe worthwhile? Making sure nobody interferes in America’s fake elections? I’d need to see a very clear and specific case made, with a ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ list and “THE POTENTIAL DEATH OF LITERALLY EVERYTHING” written in big red letters at the top of the ‘cons’ column.

Rallying the world to cut off Russia from the world stage and cripple its economy has been been a goal of the US power establishment since the collapse of the Soviet Union, so there’s no reason to believe that even the people who are making the claims against Russia actually believe them. The goal is crippling Russia to handicap China, and ultimately to shore up global hegemony for the US-centralized empire by preventing the rise of any rival superpowers. The sociopathic alliance of plutocrats and intelligence/defense agencies who control that empire are willing to threaten nuclear confrontation in order to ensure their continued dominance. All of their actions against Russia since 2016 have had everything to do with establishing long-term planetary dominance and nothing whatsoever to do with election meddling.

Those five things would need to happen before I’d be willing to jump aboard the “Russia! Russia!” train. Until then I’ll just keep pointing to the total lack of evidence and how very, very far the CIA/CNN Russia narrative is from credibility.

Reprinted with permission from Medium.com. Support Ms. Johnstone's writing on Patreon or Paypal.

Don't miss a very special address by Caitlin Johnstone at the Ron Paul Institute's August 18th Washington, DC, Conference! Get your tickets here!

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/14/five-things-that-would-make-the-ciacnn-russia-narrative-more-believable/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/14/five-things-that-would-make-the-ciacnn-russia-narrative-more-believable/ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 14:13:39 GMT
Trump Should Fire Rosenstein Immediately Paul Craig Roberts http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/14/trump-should-fire-rosenstein-immediately/

Does Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s indictment of 12 Russian military intelligence officers for allegedly hacking Hillary’s emails and interfering in the US election have any purpose other than to throw a monkey wrench in President Trump’s upcoming summit with Putin?

Don’t forget that Rosenstein is implicated in the orchestration of Russiagate as a weapon against Trump, a weapon that serves the interests of the Democratic Party and the military/security complex about which President Eisenhower warned us 56 years ago to no avail. Rosenstein’s indictment of 12 Russians for allegedly hacking computers is a political indictment aimed at President Trump. The indictment is otherwise pointless as the Russian government will certainly not turn over its military personnel to a Washington kangaroo court. The indictment serves no purpose except to poison the atmosphere of the summit.

If you read the indictment, you will see that it consists of nothing but improbable accusations. There is no way on earth that the US Justice (sic) Department would be able to acquire the information in this fictional story that Rosenstein has presented. Moreover, there is no sign whatsoever of any evidence in the indictment. Rosenstein knows that he needs no evidence, because the accused will never be brought to trial.

Rosenstein has thrown red meat to the presstitutes, who are assets of the military/security compex and Democratic Party, and the presstitutes will pressure the Republicans to get behind Rosenstein’s call for a united front against Russian interference. You can imagine what would happen if Trump and Putin were to have a successful summit and normalize the relations that Washington ruined between the two countries. If your imagination is not working, consult here.

During the presidential election campaign, I pointed out that Trump was not Washington savy, did not know who would support his positions, which were antithetical to the interests of powerful interest groups such as the military-security complex and global offshoring corporations, and that Trump ran the risk of being destroyed by his own appointments.

Rod Rosenstein is a Trump appointment. Moreover when Trump’s Attorney General ordered Rosenstein’s resignation, Trump refused to accept it and kept Rosenstein in office. Trump’s miscalculation is so enormously wrong that he deserves the knife in the back that Rosenstein just delivered.

If there were a valid indictment of 12 Russians, for the sake of the summit’s success, a normal functioning deputy attorney general would have held the indictment until after the summit results and, if the summit were successful, would have deep-sixed the indictment regardless of whether there is a basis for it. My 25 years in Washington tells me clearly that Rosenstein has knifed Trump in the back. If Rosenstein has caused the summit to fail, Rosenstein has raised the risk of thermo-nuclear warfare.

There is an alternative to the explanation above. The alternative is that Trump, being a bully, was convinced by those in his administration, who most certainly do not want any normalization with Russia, that the indictment would put Putin on the spot and give Trump the advantage in the bullying arena. I can hear the CIA and John Bolton telling Trump that the indictment would put Putin on the defensive and permit Trump to pressure him into a summit outcome favorable to Washington’s hegemony.

This is a clever way of setting Trump up for failure in his meeting with Putin that could possibly poison the relations between the countries ever further without the failure being blamed on Rosenstein. Thus, Rosenstein’s position as Trump’s political assassin would not be threatened. He would still be running Russiagate with a recused Jeff Sessions sitting there useless.

Professor Stephen Cohen is a premier expert on US/Russian elections. His considered view is compatible with mine.

Reprinted with permission from PaulCraigRoberts.org.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/14/trump-should-fire-rosenstein-immediately/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/14/trump-should-fire-rosenstein-immediately/ Sat, 14 Jul 2018 04:53:11 GMT
The Trump And Putin Show RPI Staff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/the-trump-and-putin-show/
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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/the-trump-and-putin-show/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/the-trump-and-putin-show/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 19:09:01 GMT
The Globalist Elite Fears Peace, Wants War Federico Pieraccini http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/the-globalist-elite-fears-peace-wants-war/

The announced meeting between Trump and Putin has already produced a good result by revealing the hypocrisy of the media and politicians. The meeting has been branded as the greatest danger to humanity, according to the Western globalist elite, because of the danger that "peace could break out between Russia and the United States."

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. The following so stretches credulity that sources will have to be cited and an exact quotations given to be believed.

A case in point is the following title: "Fears growing over the prospect of Trump 'peace deal' with Putin." The Times does not here fear a military escalation in Ukraine, an armed clash in Syria, a false-flag poisoning in England, or a new Cold War. The Times does not fear a nuclear apocalypse, the end of humanity, the suffering of hundreds of millions of people. No, one of the most authoritative and respected broadsheets in the world is fearful of the prospect of peace! The Times is afraid that the heads of two nuclear-armed superpowers are able to talk to each other. The Times fears that Putin and Trump will be able to come to some kind of agreement that can help avert the danger of a global catastrophe. These are the times in which we live. And this is the type of media we deal with. The problem with The Times is that it forms public opinion in the worst possible way, confusing, deceiving, and disorienting its readers. It is not by accident the world in which we live is increasingly divorced from logic and rationality.

Even if the outcome of this meeting does not see any substantial progress, the most important thing to be achieved will be the dialogue between the two leaders and the opening of negotiation channels for both sides.

In The Times article, it is assumed that Trump and Putin want to reach an agreement regarding Europe. The insinuation is that Putin is manipulating Trump in order to destabilize Europe. For years now we have been inundated with such fabrications by the media on behalf of their editors and shareholders, all part of the deep state conglomerate. Facts have in fact proven that Putin has always desired a strong and united Europe, looking to integrate Europe into the Eurasian dream. Putin and Xi Jinping would like to see a European Union more resistant to American pressure and able to gain greater independence. The combination of mass migration and sanctions against Russia and Iran, which end up hurting Europeans, opens the way for alternative parties that are not necessarily willing to Washington’s marching orders.

Trump's focus for the meeting will be to convince Putin to put even more pressure on Europe and Iran, perhaps in exchange for the recognition of Crimea and the ending of sanctions. For Putin and for Russia it is a strategic issue. While sanctions are bad, the top priority for Moscow remains the alliance with Iran, the need to further strengthen relations with European countries, and to defeat terrorism in Syria. Perhaps only a revision of the ABM treaty and the withdrawal of these weapons from Europe would be an interesting offer for Putin. However, reality shows us that the ABM treaty is a pillar of Washington’s military-industrial complex, and that it is also Eastern European countries that want such offensive and defensive systems in their own countries, seeing them as a deterrents against Russia. Are they victims of their own propaganda, or are billions of dollars pouring into their pockets? Either way, it does not really matter. The most important point for Moscow will be the withdrawal of the Aegis Ashore ABM systems as well as military ships with the same Aegis system. But this is not something that Trump will be able to negotiate with his military leaders. For the military-industrial complex, the ABM system, thanks to maintenance, innovation and direct or indirect commissions, is a gravy train that too many interests intend to keep riding.

From the Kremlin's point of view, the removal of sanctions remains necessary for the restoration of normal relations with the West. But this would be difficult to achieve, given that Moscow would have little to offer Washington in exchange. The strategists at the Pentagon demand a withdrawal from Syria, an end to support for Donbass, and a cessation of relations with Iran. There is simply too much divergence to reach a common position. Moreover, Europe’s sanctions against Russia benefit Washington, as they hurt the Europeans and thereby undermine what is a major trading competitor to the US. The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be looked at in the same light, blocking US allies from doing business with Iran.

Putin will keep faith with his commitments to Syria and with his allies, unwilling to betray his word even for the recognition of Crimea. On the other hand, as already mentioned, the priority remains the removal of the ABM; and while Crimea is already under the control of the Russian Federation, Syria remains an unstable territory that risks propelling Islamist terrorism to Russia’s soft underbelly in the Caucasus. For Moscow, involvement in Syria has always been a matter of national security, and this certainly remains the same now, even with Donald Trump's unrealistic offers.

It should be kept in mind that Putin is aiming for a medium- to long-term strategy in the Middle East, where Iran, Syria and the entire Shiite arc serves to counter Saudi and Israeli aggression and hegemony. This strange alliance has emerged as the only way to deter war and dial down the heat in the region, because the crazy actions from Netanyahu or Mohammad bin Salman are deterred by a strong Iranian military. Preventing a confrontation between Iran and Saudis/Israelis also means not making Tehran appear weak or isolated. Such considerations seem beyond the strategists in Washington, let alone in Tel Aviv or Riyadh.

While it is difficult to achieve a positive outcome from the meeting between Trump and Putin, it is important that there is a meeting in the first place, contrary to what The Times thinks. The media and the conglomerate of power that revolves around the US deep state fear diplomacy in particular. The same narrative that was proclaimed weeks before and after the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un is being repeated with regard to Trump’s meeting with Putin.

Washington bases its power on force, both economic and military. But this power also rests on the posture assumed and image projected. The United States and its deep state considers negotiating with opponents to be wrong and counterproductive. They consider dialogue to be synonymous with weakness, and any concession is interpreted as surrender. This is the result of 70 years of American exceptionalism and 30 years of Unipolarity, has allowed the US the ability to decide unilaterally the fate of others.

Today, in a multipolar world, the dynamics are different and therefore more complex. You cannot always employ a zero-sum mentality, as The Times does. The rest of the world recognizes that a dialogue between Putin and Trump is something positive, but we must not forget that, as in Korea, if diplomacy does not bring significant progress, then the hawks surrounding Trump will again be in the ascendant. The tasks for Rouhani, Putin and Kim Jong-un are complex and quite different from each other, but they share in common the belief that dialogue is the only way to avoid a catastrophic war. But apparently, peace is not the best possible result for everyone.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/the-globalist-elite-fears-peace-wants-war/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/the-globalist-elite-fears-peace-wants-war/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 13:36:46 GMT
Mr. Trump Tear Down This Alliance Tom Luongo http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/mr-trump-tear-down-this-alliance/

NATO is obsolete. Donald Trump made this argument back on the campaign trail. This week, in his typically hyperbolic manner, he dressed down the organization for its hypocrisy over its mandate, which is to counter any aggression from Russia.

But, the potential threat of a Russian invasion of Europe is nil. And, literally, everyone involved in this farce of a summit knows this. So, Trump was right to call out the hypocrisy, but wrong about how to solve it.

Attacking Germany over the Nordstream 2 pipeline is nonsense. Trade, especially energy trade, stitches economies and peoples together. But to Trump energy is different. Energy is a defense issue.

As such, it should be tightly controlled and only deployed to the benefit of those he approves of (or is allied with) against those he doesn’t (China).

And this is what is fundamentally wrong with geopolitically-dominant thinking. Everything gets reduced to the metaphoric chess board. People stop thinking about their individual needs and can only think in terms of nations and governments.

And it makes it easy for authoritarians like Trump, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and all the rest to push the public’s buttons, openly stoking people’s in-group/out-group bias against their own best interest.

This is ultimately what allows for equally odious people like Donald Trump and Angela Merkel to achieve and maintain power. NATO is obsolete because the thinking behind why it is necessary is obsolete.

It’s not Russian aggression that everyone has to be worried about, it is the aggression of those who have to this point mismanaged everything they were empowered to take care of in the first place, i.e. the very politicians at the meeting.

The US has subsidized European social welfare states by outsourcing their defense. We, in turn, empowered a corporatocracy built around selling increasingly unnecessary weapons back to them under the false rubric of the evil Russians.

Trump’s position about NATO members not "paying their fair share" is beside the point. NATO’s budget would be far better spent contracting Russia to build the Nordstream 2 pipeline itself than bullying Italy into buying another tank it doesn’t need.

This is nothing more than him trying to turn an obsolete NATO into yet another Keynesian job creation program.

“Buy more of our over-priced, under-performing crap like the F-35 (a plane that should be considered treason by any rational metric of the term) so we can destroy even more precious capital while everyone goes broke issuing more debt to keep the party going a little while longer.”

In Trumpspeak however, this comes out as “Jobs. Yuge jobs!”

It would be better in the end to just give the engineers rocks to throw at windows the assembly team builds. At least there wouldn’t be the massive waste of raw materials. Glass is recyclable after all, though not profitably.

His real complaint, however, is on an imbalance of trade between the US and Europe. This is something he can’t fix without giving up the very source of the power he’s wielding with reckless abandon right now: the US dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency.

Triffin’s paradox is real for the country that issues the currency that liquefies world trade. And for that to occur, that country must run a trade deficit to issue more currency. Dollars go out, goods come in.

The trade deficit is an accounting anomaly, and as Martin Armstrong consistently points out, can be manipulated by the interplay between it and the country’s current account.

The question isn’t the amount of money going out it is the value for that money in the goods received for it. In that respect, the only economic respect that matters, the US gets paid handsomely.

The endless preening and virtue signaling by dead-ender politicians trying to justify their existence while mouthing the will of the lobbyists and rentier-class financiers who stand behind him is worse than nauseating.

It is culturally and psychologically destabilizing. Resistance to change by the bureaucracy is on daily display on both sides of the pond. From the Peter Strzok hearings to Theresa May’s betrayal of Brexit, none of these people want their ox gored while they continue to live at the expense of others for their benefit, not those they supposedly serve.

Trump has a real opportunity to quell his critics on the left and from libertarians like me to remake the way the business of geopolitics is done when he sits down with Putin next week. His performance at the NATO summit was, as always with him, three steps forward and two steps back.

He’s needs an unfettered five-k jog in Helsinki.

And that means cutting through the nonsense, stopping the demagoguery and getting down to the real business of putting our own houses in order. And that means for Trump, regardless of the agreements he gets from his European counterparts, to pull the US out of NATO, to tear down this alliance that is an albatross around the neck of everyone who lives under the weight of it.

Reprinted with permission from TomLoungo.me.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/mr-trump-tear-down-this-alliance/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/13/mr-trump-tear-down-this-alliance/ Fri, 13 Jul 2018 12:46:24 GMT
On the Purpose of NATO & the Cost of European Defense John Glaser http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/12/on-the-purpose-of-nato-the-cost-of-european-defense/

The anxiety leading up to this week’s NATO summit is unusually intense, thanks in large part to President Trump’s fractious relationship with European allies. Trump’s political values are often in tension with that of his transatlantic counterparts, and the White House is inching ever closer to an all-out trade war with Europe and Canada, but the real drama of the NATO summit will center on Trump’s brash accusations of allied free-riding. He recently sent letters to many European capitals berating them for not meeting their pledge to spend at least 2 percent of GDP on defense.

In a post at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Lucie Béraud-Sudreau and Nick Childs try to push back on the notion that providing for European defense is all that costly for the United States. While it is true that the $602.8 billion the United States spent on its military in 2017 “was the equivalent of 70.1% of aggregate spending by all NATO member states,” this exaggerates the true cost, they argue.

Direct US spending on European defense, by their estimate, is only about $30.7 billion in 2017 and $36 billion in 2018, or between 5.1% and 5.5% of the total US defense budget.

How do they calculate this number? They tally up the cost of three things: (1) direct funding for NATO, including common procurements; (2) the costs of the US military presence in Europe; and (3) US foreign military assistance.

Now, $30-$40 billion every year is nothing to sniff at. That is an enormous chunk of change for an America that is $21 trillion in debt to be spending on the defense of a region that is remarkably rich, powerful, and safe.

The problem, however, is that this understates the true cost of America’s NATO commitments. It is misleading to count the US contribution to NATO solely as a sum of direct annual costs. The tally should also account for the indirect cost of maintaining a military big enough to fulfill our security commitments in Europe. It must account for some share of the permanent force structure that would shift to the reserves, or disappear entirely, if the United States wasn’t pledged to treating an attack on Paris, France or Podgorica, Montenegro as synonymous with attacks on Paris, Texas, or Portland, Maine. This more inclusive count is very difficult if not impossible to calculate with precision, but it is more honest.

Moreover, if the debate about NATO burden sharing boils down to bickering over budget accounting, it would seem like proponents of the status quo are playing hide the ball. The object of US foreign policy is to discourage other countries from spending more on defense. It is disingenuous to pretend otherwise. Free riding is not a bug of US grand strategy, it is a feature of it — a point made perhaps too candidly by the Manhattan Institute’s Claire Berlinski: “How is it, then,” she asks, “that suddenly, we’re consumed with rage that Europe is ‘taking advantage’ of us? How have we forgotten that this is the point of the system? We designed it this way…”

She’s right. As Hal Brands, one of the leading scholarly proponents of America’s post-war grand strategy, explains in his book American Grand Strategy in the Age of Trump, the United States provides “protection that allows other countries to underbuild their militaries.” Or, as Christopher Layne writes in his book The Peace of Illusions, Washington “used NATO…to foreclose the possibility that the West European states would re-nationalize their security policies.”

If America is going to have a debate about security guarantees, it must be an informed one. It should not rest on downplaying the true costs of such policies, nor should it pretend that free riding is some kind of mistake. It seems rather futile to defend the strategy by arguing against its very logic.

Reprinted with permission from Cato.org.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/12/on-the-purpose-of-nato-the-cost-of-european-defense/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/12/on-the-purpose-of-nato-the-cost-of-european-defense/ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 18:51:32 GMT
Trump Is Seeding War Clouds Over Iran Michael S. Rozeff http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/12/trump-is-seeding-war-clouds-over-iran/

Trump and Pompeo are squeezing Iran where it hurts. They are trying to prevent Iran from selling oil internationally. They are applying maximum pressure upon Iran. This is overt. It is announced policy. For example, the State Department says:
Very broadly, Saudi Arabia is a key partner in our effort to isolate and pressure Iran. And as I said, we had a number of bureaus from the State Department to discuss energy, diplomacy, security, and economic pressure. We were also joined by Treasury Under Secretary Sigal Mandelker for some of these meetings so that they can hear from Treasury officials and coordinate our efforts on applying maximum economic pressure on Iran.
The US is threatening China and India if they buy Iranian oil:
On Tuesday a senior State Department official described tightening the noose on Tehran as ‘one of our top national security priorities’.

The official warned countries including China and India, who are key buyers of Iranian oil, that they should stop purchasing crude from the country before the November deadline or face US sanctions.
Saudi Arabia, a US ally and enemy of Iran, will pump more oil to mitigate price effects of cutting Iran out of the international market. This increases enmity between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

The economic isolation of Iran via an economic blockade deprives Iran of essential revenues. In essence, the US policy is an act of war. Trump is seeding war clouds over Iran. He wants Iranians to overturn their government. Failing that, he appears to want Iran to attack American assets or engage in some other act of retaliation, perhaps in Europe or the Persian Gulf, that can be made into a cause of war so that the US and its allies (NATO, Israel, Saudi Arabia) can attack Iran in force. At least, that is what he is risking. For example, Pompeo is criticizing Iran for planning to terrorize Iranian opposition persons (National Council of Resistance of Iran) on European soil. He also threatens to keep the Persian Gulf open if Iran disrupts its traffic. This is a war threat.

Trump’s policy on Iran augments the longstanding US policy of sanctioning Iran and treating Iran as an enemy. Trump is escalating the past low-level and medium-level pressure upon Iran into higher-level and much more serious warfare. The US cannot blockade Iran, if such a blockade via sanctions is successful, without causing serious consequences.

In the imaginations of American leaders, Iran has assumed the shape of a demon whose appearance must be exorcised in order to obtain psychological relief. Not peculiar to Trump, this has been the case for the US Congress, the US Executive and Israel ever since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. (Similarly, the US trade deficits are a new demon peculiar to Trump’s mind that he is attempting to destroy via trade wars.)

Trump unilaterally withdrew from the JCPOA with Iran, the first major step in seeding the war clouds. Piling on a severe set of sanctions is his second big step toward war. Iran is being backed into a corner.

Is war with Iran necessary for American security? How does Iran threaten America and Americans? The largest possible threat was the nuclear threat, but that was mitigated through the deal that Trump abandoned. Iran does not threaten America and Americans directly. Iran is said by General Votel to be “the major threat to US interests and partnerships in the Central Region”. A threat to the US (government) is not the same as a threat to America and Americans. The Central Region includes “Egypt to Pakistan and from Kazakhstan to Yemen”. The threat appears to be oil supply, but it is not. Iran needs to sell oil as a source of revenue. The US fears the political influence of Iran in the region. That is why Votel warns:
Iran has extended its tentacles across the region through numerous proxies, including Lebanese Hizballah operating in multiple countries, hardline Iranian-backed Shia Militia Groups (SMGs) in Iraq and Syria, and Iranian support has enabled the Houthis.
The US fears Iranian influence in Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen; and it fears further influence in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Kazakhstan. To prevent the growth of that influence, the US wants a government in Tehran that is not expansionary or revolutionary. The US long-term aim is to have this entire region be under the wing of America. No US government will be satisfied until this happens, whether it takes 50-100-200 years. A resurrected Persian Empire is highly unlikely, because all these countries have their own peoples, histories, religions, ethnic groups, languages and interests. Yet the idea of a rival in the Central Region haunts the minds of American leaders a continent and ocean away.

Supposing that the expansion of the American empire is the fundamental aim of the US government, what means are more likely to achieve it? War measures against Iran or peace measures that bring other countries into the American fold through mutual gains? War in Afghanistan has proven fruitless. War against Iraq has augmented Iranian influence. The attempt to bring Syria’s Assad down by war has amplified Iran’s presence in Syria. The support of Saudi Arabia’s war against Yemen is leading to a genocide.

The US cannot expand what it claims to be a “good” empire by means of war and imperialism that produce mass evils. It cannot build nations, states and nation-states. It cannot manufacture wholesome governments that are free of corruption. It cannot accomplish that even in this country. It cannot elevate the economies of foreign countries by means of government projects and investments.

The extension of property rights, sound law, sound government and free markets to backward regions is simply not something that the US government knows how to do or can do. Our government is attempting to do this through military special forces who are trained to work with foreign security forces and peoples. This won’t succeed. Successful social systems do not arise and persist via the injection of some foreign elements that are thought to be critical or missing, be they capital projects, laws, leaders, literacy, or security forces.

The US government is implementing incorrect theories of social improvement, both abroad and here. The US government doesn’t know how civilizations form, succeed and fail. The federal government of America doesn’t know how to foster civilized life, even the particular brand of civilized life that we call American or Western.

Reprinted with permission from LewRockwell.com.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/12/trump-is-seeding-war-clouds-over-iran/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/12/trump-is-seeding-war-clouds-over-iran/ Thu, 12 Jul 2018 18:22:37 GMT
NATO is a Con Game Raúl Ilargi Meijer http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/11/nato-is-a-con-game/

Okay, well, Trump did it again. Antagonizing allies. This time it was Germany that took the main hit, over the fact that it pays Russia billions of dollars for oil and gas while relying on the US for its defense … against Russia. And yes, that is a strange situation. But it’s by no means the only angle to the story. There are many more.

For one thing, The US has by far the largest military industry. So it makes a lot of money off the billions already spent by NATO partners on weaponry. Of course Raytheon, Boeing et al would like to see them spend more. But once they would have done that, they would clamor for even more after.

At some point one must ask how much should really be spent. How much is enough, how much is necessary. The military-industrial complex (MIC) has every reason to make the threat posed by ‘enemies’ as big as they possibly can. So knowing that, we must take media reports on this threat with tons of salt.

And that is not easy. Because the MIC has great influence in politics and the media. But we can turn to some numbers. According to GlobalFirePower, the US in 2018 will spend $647 billion on its military, while Russia is to spend a full $600 billion less, at $47 billion. And the US Senate has already voted in a $82 billion boost recently.

There are other numbers out there that suggest Russia spends $60 billion, but even then. If Moscow spends just 10% of the US, and much less than that once all NATO members’ expenditure is included, how much of a threat can Russia realistically be to NATO?

Sure, I’ve said it before, Russia makes weapons to defend itself, while America makes them to make money, which makes the latter much less efficient, but it should be glaringly obvious that the Russia threat is being blown out of all proportions.

Problem with that is that European nations for some reason love playing the threat card as much as America does. After all, Britain, France and Germany have major weapons manufacturers, too. So they’re all stuck. The Baltic nations clamor for more US protection, so does Sweden, Merkel re-focused on Putin just days ago, the game must go on.

Another way to look at this is to note that UD GDP in 2017 according to the IMF was $19.3 trillion, while Russia’s was $1.5 trillion. NATO members Germany France, Britain, Italy and France all have substantially higher GDP than Russia as well. European Union GDP was $17.3 trillion in 2017.

If this economically weak Russia were really such a threat to NATO, they would be using their funds so much better and smarter than anyone else, we’d all better start waving white flags right now. And seek their help, because that sort of efficiency, in both economics and defense, would seem to be exactly what we need in our debt-ridden nations.

The solution to the problems Trump indicated this morning is not for Germany et al to spend more on NATO and their military in general, but for the US to spend less. Much less. Because the Russian threat is a hoax that serves the interests of the MIC, the politicians and the media.

And because America has much better purposes to spend its money on. And because we would all be a lot safer if this absurd theater were closed. To reiterate: developments in weapons technology, for instance hypersonic rocket systems make most other weapons systems obsolete. Which is obviously a big threat to the MIC.

Russia attacking NATO makes as much sense as NATO attacking Russia: none whatsoever. Unwinnable. Russia attacking Germany and other European countries, which buy its oil and gas, makes no sense because it would then lose those revenues. From that point of view, European dependence on Russian energy is even a peacemaker, because it benefits both sides.

Can any of the Russiagate things be true? Of course, Russia has ‘bad’ elements seeking to influence matters abroad. Just like the US does, and France, Britain, Germany, finish the list and color the pictures. How about the UK poisoning stories? That’s a really wild one. Russia had no reason to poison a long-lost double spy they themselves let go free years ago, not at a time when a successful World Cup beckoned.

342 diplomats expelled and risking the honored tradition of exchanging spies and double agents from time to time. Not in Moscow’s interest at all. Britain, though, had, and has, much to gain from the case. As long as its people, and its allies, remain gullible enough to swallow the poisoned narrative. Clue: both poisonings, if they are real, occurred mere miles from Porton Down, Britain’s main chemical weapons lab.

And c’mon, if Putin wants his country strong and independent, the last thing he would do is to risk his oil and gas contracts with Europe. They’re simply too important, economically and politically. Trump may want some of that action for the US, understandably, but for now US LNG can’t compete with Russian pipelines. Simple as that.

Let’s hope Trump and Putin can talk sense in 5 days. There’s a lot hanging on it. Let’s hope Trump gets his head out of NATO’s and the US and EU Deep State’s asses in time. There’s no America First or Make America Great Again to be found in those dark places. It’s time to clear the air and talk. America should always talk to Russia.

Funny thing is, the more sanctions are declared on Russia, the stronger it becomes, because it has to learn and adapt to self-sufficiency. Want to weaken Russia? Make it depend on your trade with it, as opposed to cut off that trade. Well, too late now, they won’t trust another western voice anymore for many years. And we’re too weak to fight them. Not that we should want to anyway.

We’re all captive to people who want us to believe we’re still stuck in the last century, because that is their over-luxurious meal ticket. But it’s all imaginary, it’s an entirely made-up narrative. NATO is a con game.

Reprinted with permission from The Automatic Earth.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/11/nato-is-a-con-game/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/11/nato-is-a-con-game/ Wed, 11 Jul 2018 18:42:13 GMT
'Pay Up You NATO Deadbeats...Or Else!' Eric Margolis http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/pay-up-you-nato-deadbeatsor-else/ undefined

"We are the schmucks" thundered President Donald Trump, using a favorite New York City Yiddish term for penis. The object of Trump’s wrath at his Make America Great Again’ rally in Great Falls, Montana was the craven, stingy European members of NATO, only 16 of 22 members are on budget for their US-commanded military spending. Trump wants them to spend much more. 

Trump and his fellow neocons want NATO to serve as a sort of US foreign legion in Third World wars in Africa and Asia. NATO was formed as the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to defend western Europe, not to fight in Afghanistan and who knows where else?

Equally bad, according to Trump, is that the US runs a whopping trade deficit with the European Union which is busy shipping high-end cars and fine wines to the US. The wicked foreigners don’t buy enough American bourbon, corn, and terribly abused pigs.

Trump is quite right that America’s NATO allies, particularly Germany and Canada, don’t spend enough on defense. Germany is reported to have less than twenty operational tanks. Canada’s armed forces appear to be smaller than the New York City police department.

But the Europeans ask, "defense against whom?" The Soviet Union was a huge threat back in the Cold War when the mighty Red Army had 55,000 tanks pointed West. Today, Russia’s land and naval power has evaporated. Russia has perhaps 5,500 main battle tanks in active service and a similar number in storage, a far cry from its armored juggernaut of the Cold War. 

More important, Russia’s military budget for 2018 was only $61 billion, actually down 17 percent from last year. That’s 4.3 percent of GDP. Russia is facing hard economic times. Russia has slipped to fourth place in military spending after the US, China and Saudi Arabia. The US and its wealthy allies account for two thirds of world military spending. In fact, the US total military budget (including for nuclear weapons and foreign wars) is about $1 trillion, 50 percent of total US government discretionary spending.

In addition, Russia must defend a vast territory from the Baltic to the Pacific. The US is fortunate in having Mexico and Canada as neighbors. Russia has North Korea, China, India, the Mideast and NATO to watch. As with its naval forces, Russia’s armies are too far apart to lend one another mutual support. Two vulnerable rail lines are Russia’s main land link between European Russia and its Pacific Far East.

Trump’s supplemental military budget boost this year of $54 billion is almost as large as Russia’s entire 2018 military budget. As for Trump’s claim that Europe is not paying its fair share of NATO expenses, note that that Britain and France combined together spend more on their military forces than Russia.

In Europe, it’s hard to find many people who still consider Russia a serious threat except for some tipsy Danes, right wing Swedes, and assorted Russophobic East Europeans. The main fear of Russia seems concentrated in the minds of American neoconservatives, media, and rural Trump supporters, all victims of the bizarre anti-Russian hysteria that has gripped the US.

Equally important, most civilians don’t understand that neither US and NATO forces nor Russia’s military are in any shape to fight war that lasts more than a few days. Both sides lack munitions, spare parts, lubricants, and battlefield equipment. The overworked US Air Force, busy plastering Muslim nations, has actually run low on bombs. US industry can’t seems to keep up supplies. There has even been talk of buying explosives from China!

These essentials of war have been seriously neglected in favor of buying fancy weapons. But such weapons need spares, electronics, fuel depots, missiles and thousands of essential parts. As former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld observed, "you go to war with what you have." Neither side has enough. A war would likely peter out in days after supplies were exhausted. Besides, no side can afford to replace $100 million jet fighters or $5 million apiece tanks after a war, however brief.

President Trump has learned about war from Fox TV. Europeans have learned from real experience and don’t want any more. 

Reprinted with permission from EricMargolis.com.

 

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/pay-up-you-nato-deadbeatsor-else/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/pay-up-you-nato-deadbeatsor-else/ Mon, 09 Jul 2018 14:42:41 GMT
'No Nerve Agents' In Douma: OPCW Report Demolishes White House Sarin Narrative Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/no-nerve-agents-in-douma-opcw-report-demolishes-white-house-sarin-narrative/

A preliminary report published Friday by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) found no traces of any nerve agent at the site of a suspected chemical attack in the Syrian city of Douma. The OPCW report states this unambiguously as follows:
"No organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties."
Compare the newly published official OPCW findings with the 5-page White House assessment released on April 13th, just days after the alleged attack. Now contradicted by the new OPCW findings, the White House asserted that sarin was used at Douma:
A significant body of information points to the regime using chlorine in its bombardment of Duma, while some additional information points to the regime also using the nerve agent sarin.
Firebrand British MP George Galloway responded as follows moments after the OPCW's findings were made public:
Was that, was that the news? What about Douma? The chemical weapons attack? The nerve agent bombs that rained down on Douma that took us to the brink of World War 3?

The OPCW have just reported, well two hours ago... There was no nerve gas attack on Douma. There was no nerve agent deployed on Douma. We were taken to World War 3’s brink on a crock. A crock of vile propaganda. Ring any bells?
No Nerve Agents, Concludes OPCW Report

The April 7th alleged chemical attack, widely blamed by Western countries and the media on Assad's forces, resulted in massive US-led retaliatory airstrikes mostly concentrated on suspected chemical production facilities in Damascus.

Though at the time both UN and OPCW officials urged caution in the rush to blame "animal Assad" for "using nerve agents" as many world headlines breathlessly concluded a mere moments after videos purporting to show scores of chemical attack victims first surfaced (and though CW experts themselves warned that not a single neutral observer was on the ground to verify such claims when it happened), the latest OPCW report flatly contradicts the narrative that quickly solidified in the mainstream.
Nerve agents like sarin were quickly associated in headlines with unverified allegations of a chlorine attack, for example in the following major UK headline a day after the incident: Syrian government accused of using nerve agents as death toll from Douma 'chemical weapons attack' rises.

Like dozens of others, the story uncritically promoted the following:
The pro-opposition Ghouta Media Centre alleged that a helicopter had dropped a barrel bomb containing sarin, and another organisation claimed that a hospital had been hit by a chlorine bomb

With images of women and children foaming from the mouth and nose circulating on social media, the death toll from Saturday evening’s attack on the town was said to have risen to at least 49, with some observers saying more than 150 people have been killed.
This as the White House said it had "very high confidence" the Syrian government carried out the attack, basing its assessment, as MSNBC reported at the time, in part on the following: "blood and urine samples obtained by the U.S. from victims of the chemical strike tested positive for chlorine gas and a nerve agent." 

The 5-page White House assessment released on April 13th asserted that sarin was used at Douma, something now contradicted by the OPCW
A significant body of information points to the regime using chlorine in its bombardment of Duma, while some additional information points to the regime also using the nerve agent sarin.
Media Headlines Debunked

Throughout April and subsequent months, journalists and pundits continued to connect the suffering of victims in Douma with the deadly sarin nerve agent, as one NPR piece with the emotionally gripping headline, Syrian 7-Year-Old: 'I Want To Be A Doctor So I Can Help In A Chemical Attack', suggested: "The U.S. says it's highly confident that evidence points to the use of chlorine and possibly a nerve agent, perhaps sarin."

The White House began building its case against Assad upon this mysterious blood and urine "data", ultimately leading to President Trump unleashing over 100 tomahawk missiles on Damascus, was nowhere to be found in the OPCW's findings released Friday.

Here's CNN reporting in the days after events at Douma: But again, Friday's OPCW preliminary report, which unlike most others among its assessments included a verified full OPCW chain of custody for most samples as its investigators actually studied the site (notably, the April 2017 Khan Sheikhoun alleged CW attack site was never visited by investigators), reads as follows:
OPCW designated labs conducted analysis of prioritised samples. The results show that no organophosphorous nerve agents or their degradation products were detected in the environmental samples or in the plasma samples taken from alleged casualties. Along with explosive residues, various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites, for which there is full chain of custody. Work by the team to establish the significance of these results is on-going. The FFM team will continue its work to draw final conclusions.
'Chlorinated Organic Chemicals' But No Chlorine Confirmation

Interestingly, headlines are now making much of the mention of "various chlorinated organic chemicals" — with Reuters for example emphasizing, Chemical weapons agency finds 'chlorinated' chemicals in Syria's Douma.

The word "chlorine" is only used twice in the OPCW interim report, both in characterizations of social media and does not contain any declaration "confirming" chlorine allegations, in spite of current media reports wrongly suggesting the OPCW has found victims at Douma that died from chlorine exposure.

Apparently both Reuters and the BBC were forced to quickly correct their reporting of Friday's OPCW document, as both initially claimed that OPCW investigators confirmed chlorine used at Douma, whereas the document reads various chlorinated organic chemicals were found in samples from two sites (Reuters issued the following correction: Corrects to “various chlorinated organic chemicals” instead of chlorine; and the BBC changed its headline from "chlorine gas" to "possible chlorine").

This subtle distinction is significant as Moon of Alabama blog explains:
The "various chlorinated organic chemicals" are unsurprising. Chlorine is widely used for water purification and cleaning and "chlorinated organic chemicals" will be found in any household.

In the technical notes of the OPCW report note that one of its laboratory found "Dichloroacetic acid", "trichloroacetic acid", "chloral hydrate", "trichlorophenol" and "chlorphenol" in some of the samples its fact finding mission took at the claimed incident sites. These are all substances that are no surprise in any upbuild environment and especially within any home. Dichloroacetic acid" is for example "a trace product of the chlorination of drinking water". Chloral hydrate is likewise "a minor side-product of the chlorination of water when organic residues such as humic acids are present". The other substances are also not uncommon and of various household uses.
And importantly, the interim report does not include indications of quantities or concentrations in which these common substances were found, making it impossible to conclude further whether they were part of a chemical attack or were weaponized.

Instead, listed repeatedly throughout the technical notes of samples taken is "No chemicals relevant to CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] have been found." The OPCW report for example, concludes of a separate alleged chemical attack site in the same report: "the FFM [Fact-Finding Mission] cannot confidently determine whether or not a specific chemical was used as a weapon in the incidents that took place in the neighbourhood of Al-Hamadaniyah and in the area of Karm al-Tarrab."

'Non-persistant, irritating substance'

The report did have this interesting line, however: "The FFM noted that the persons affected in the reported incidents may, in some instances, have been exposed to some type of non-persistent, irritating substance."

This appears consistent with sources we highlighted in Famed War Reporter Robert Fisk Reaches Syrian 'Chemical Attack' Site, Concludes "They Were Not Gassed" — sources which suggested, as one doctor interviewed by Robert Fisk in Douma testified, that "the patients... were overcome not by gas but by oxygen starvation" due to conventional weapons landing on or near an underground shelter in which civilians were hiding. 

Fisk identified the doctor by name — Dr. Assim Rahaibani — which is notable given the fact that all early reporting from Douma typically relied on "unnamed doctors" and anonymous opposition sources for early claims of a chlorine gas attack (which had quickly morphed into an unverified "mixed" chlorine-and-sarin attack).

Fisk detailed the Syrian doctor's testimony for The Independent. The doctor was adamant in his emphasis that civilians were suffocating en masse, and were not gassed:
“I was with my family in the basement of my home three hundred metres from here on the night but all the doctors know what happened. There was a lot of shelling [by government forces] and aircraft were always over Douma at night–but on this night, there was wind and huge dust clouds began to come into the basements and cellars where people lived. People began to arrive here suffering from hypoxia, oxygen loss. Then someone at the door, a “White Helmet”, shouted “Gas!”, and a panic began. People started throwing water over each other. Yes, the video was filmed here, it is genuine, but what you see are people suffering from hypoxia–not gas poisoning.”
Major pro-rebel outlet said 'mass asphyxiation' after shelter collapse

The doctor's testimony was consistent with that of the well-known Syrian opposition group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which initially reported based on its own pro-rebel sourcing that heavy government bombardment of Douma city resulted in the collapse of homes and underground shelters, causing civilians in hiding to suffocate.

According to SOHR, which has long been a key go-to source for mainstream media over the course of the war, "70 of them [women and children] have suffered suffocation as a result of the demolition of home basements over them due to the heavy and intense shelling."

Though outlets from The Guardian to The Washington Post to The New York Times had quoted SOHR on a near daily basis throughout the pior six years of war, the anti-Assad opposition outlet's reporting of mass asphyxiation due to collapse of shelters remained notably absent from the same publications.

Though the mass asphyxiation theory is speculation at this point (we weren't there and neither were the hundreds of journalists claiming while writing from hundreds or thousands of miles outside Syria that "Assad gassed his own people"), it will be interesting to see what the future full and complete OPCW report includes.

But at least at this still somewhat early point in what will likely be a continued lengthy investigation, we have absolute scientific confirmation from the OPCW that the White House once again lied us into bombing yet another Middle East country based on spurious "nerve agent" claims. 

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/no-nerve-agents-in-douma-opcw-report-demolishes-white-house-sarin-narrative/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/no-nerve-agents-in-douma-opcw-report-demolishes-white-house-sarin-narrative/ Mon, 09 Jul 2018 14:08:38 GMT
Why Trump’s Iran Isolation Plan May Backfire Ron Paul http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/why-trump-s-iran-isolation-plan-may-backfire/

In May, President Trump pulled the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal despite Iran living up to its obligations and the deal working as planned. While the US kept in place most sanctions against Tehran, China and Russia - along with many European countries - had begun reaping the benefits of trade with an Iran eager to do business with the world.

Now, President Trump is threatening sanctions against any country that continues to do business with Iran. But will his attempt to restore the status quo before the Iran deal really work?

Even if the Europeans cave in to US demands, the world has changed a great deal since the pre-Iran deal era.

President Trump is finding that his threats and heated rhetoric do not always have the effect he wishes. As his Administration warns countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November or risk punishment by the United States, a nervous international oil market is pushing prices ever higher, threatening the economic prosperity he claims credit for. President Trump’s response has been to demand that OPEC boost its oil production by two million barrels per day to calm markets and bring prices down.

Perhaps no one told him that Iran was a founding member of OPEC?

When President Trump Tweeted last week that Saudi Arabia agreed to begin pumping additional oil to make up for the removal of Iran from the international markets, the Saudis very quickly corrected him, saying that while they could increase capacity if needed, no promise to do so had been made.

The truth is, if the rest of the world followed Trump’s demands and returned to sanctions and boycotting Iranian oil, some 2.7 million barrels per day currently supplied by Iran would be very difficult to make up elsewhere. Venezuela, which has enormous reserves but is also suffering under, among other problems, crippling US sanctions, is shrinking out of the world oil market.

Iraq has not recovered its oil production capacity since its “liberation” by the US in 2003 and the al-Qaeda and ISIS insurgencies that followed it.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that “a complete shutdown of Iranian sales could push oil prices above $120 a barrel if Saudi Arabia can’t keep up.” Would that crash the US economy? Perhaps. Is Trump willing to risk it?

President Trump’s demand last week that OPEC “reduce prices now” or US military protection of OPEC countries may not continue almost sounded desperate. But if anything, Trump’s bluntness is refreshing: if, as he suggests, the purpose of the US military – with a yearly total budget of a trillion dollars - is to protect OPEC members in exchange for “cheap oil,” how cheap is that oil?

At the end, China, Russia, and others are not only unlikely to follow Trump’s demands that Iran again be isolated: they in fact stand to benefit from Trump’s bellicosity toward Iran. One Chinese refiner has just announced that it would cancel orders of US crude and instead turn to Iran for supplies. How many others might follow and what might it mean?

Ironically, President Trump’s “get tough” approach to Iran may end up benefitting Washington’s named adversaries Russia and China - perhaps even Iran. The wisest approach is unfortunately the least likely at this point: back off from regime change, back off from war-footing, back off from sanctions. Trump may eventually find that the cost of ignoring this advice may be higher than he imagined.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/why-trump-s-iran-isolation-plan-may-backfire/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/09/why-trump-s-iran-isolation-plan-may-backfire/ Mon, 09 Jul 2018 12:59:45 GMT
Skripal 2.0: It’s High Time for the British Government to Explain Itself – Here’s 10 Easy Questions to Help Them Out Rob Slane http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/skripal-20-it-s-high-time-for-the-british-government-to-explain-itself-here-s-10-easy-questions-to-help-them-out/

In his statement to the House of Commons on 5th July, the British Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, stated the following:
The use of chemical weapons anywhere is barbaric and inhumane. The decision taken by the Russian government to deploy these in Salisbury on March 4 was reckless and callous – there is no plausible alternative explanation to the events in March other than the Russian state was responsible. The eyes of the world are on Russia, not least because of the World Cup. It is now time the Russian state comes forward and explains exactly what has gone on.
Anyone with their wits about them will immediately notice the cognitive dissonance in Mr Javid’s statement. On the one hand, he states that the Russian government took a decision to deploy chemical weapons in Salisbury on 4th March, 2018. This is an emphatic declaration, and implies that the British Government possesses irrefutable evidence that this is so. Then in the next breath, he states that there is “no plausible alternative”. This is very much less than emphatic, and the word “plausible” implies that the British Government does not have irrefutable evidence to back up their claim.

This is not a subtle difference. It is the difference between suspecting something and knowing something. If you know something to be true, because you have the hard evidence to back it up, you don’t use equivocal phrases like “no plausible alternative.” You simply say, “here is the evidence to prove it beyond reasonable doubt.” On the other hand, if you do not possess irrefutable evidence of something, as the weasel phrase “no plausible alternative” suggests, then you have no right to pronounce definitively on the matter, as Mr Javid felt fit to do.

Still, he’s only the Home Secretary. You can’t expect him to understand such petty legal concepts.

As it happens, there are plenty of plausible alternatives, as Mr Javid no doubt knows only too well. If he’s interested, he can check out the one I have put forward here. Of course, regardless of whether my “plausible alternative” is correct or not, it is unlikely that Her Majesty’s Government would want investigations to follow the line of inquiry I advanced, since it might raise an awful lot of troublesome questions about the role of British Intelligence in the attempt to stop Donald Trump getting elected. Apparently, they want to keep that quiet. Which is why they slapped D-Notices on various aspects of Skripal 1.0 to hush all that up.

So Mr Javid states that Russia must explain itself, but in so doing unwittingly admits that the Government has no hard evidence of Russian state involvement. It merely is unable to imagine a “plausible alternative,” which either means that its members are somewhat lacking in imagination, or they don’t wish other “plausible alternatives” to be discussed (of course, it could even be both). Nevertheless, since he and the Government are the ones making the claim, I’d say that actually it is incumbent on them to explain themselves, not the ones they are accusing. That is how these things are supposed to work, is it not?

This being the case, I have a number of questions for them, which urgently need answering. Urgent, because they could prove vital to the investigation. However, before I come onto the questions, I must explain the nature of them, which may well come as something of a surprise, given the latest twist to this sorry tale in Amesbury. The surprise is that not one of the 10 questions relates to the Amesbury case. This might seem odd, but there is a very important reason for it.

At the moment, very few details have emerged about the Amesbury case, and so it is not exactly clear which questions could even be asked. True, the details that have emerged so far in the official narrative are about as coherent and plausible as those in the original case, one of which I have already debunked here. However, what Mr Javid sought to do, with a very clever sleight-of-hand to cover his case of cognitive dissonance, is to make definitive claims about Case 2, based on the assumption that Case 1 has somehow been proven. But of course it hasn’t. Not even remotely. In fact, there are a ton of questions about Case 1 still hanging in the air that have not been answered, and I really don’t think that we should let Mr Javid and Co. off the hook before they’ve given us the answers to them.

But in the spirit of decency, let’s make it extremely easy for them. Let’s not ask them any hard questions. Nothing like, “C’mon, tell us the names of the people wot did it,” for instance. No, let’s instead satisfy ourselves by asking them some remarkably simple questions that they – or at least the Metropolitan Police – must know the answers to if their narrative is correct, and for a very simple reason, as you will see. So here goes:

1) What were Mr Skripal’s and Yulia’s movements on the morning of 4th March?

2) Why were their phones switched off?

3) Did Mr Skripal see anyone or anything suspicious near his house that day?

4) According to witnesses in Zizzis, Mr Skripal appeared to be very agitated. Was this because he was feeling unwell?

5) According to witnesses in Zizzis, Mr Skripal appeared to be in a hurry to leave. Was this because he had an appointment to keep?

6) What did Mr Skripal do after he left Zizzis?

7) Can he confirm or deny that the couple seen on the CCTV camera in Market Walk, one of whom was carrying a large red bag, are him and Yulia?

8) Did either Sergei or Yulia have a large red bag with them that day?

9) What are his last memories before collapsing at the bench?

10) Is Mr Skripal prepared to make a public statement answering the above, and will members of the international media be free to ask him questions?

So why must they know the answers to these questions? Simple. Because all they have to do to get answers to them is ask Sergei Skripal. They know where he is, don’t they? They must have questioned him, haven’t they? And Mr Skripal must surely have been eager to answer them, since the answers he gives could prove vital in helping to find out who poisoned him and his daughter, mustn’t he?

Just pause there for a second and think about it. Here we are, a third of a year after Skripal 1.0, with both Mr Skripal and his daughter having recovered months ago, and we still don’t know the answers to these basic, vital, but extraordinarily easy-to-establish questions. Isn’t that amazing?

I could even make it easier for them by boiling it down into one question:
When will the world hear from Mr Skripal about the events and circumstances of 4th March 2018, from the time he awoke until 4pm that afternoon?
C’mon British Government. It really isn’t hard. Or at least it wouldn’t be if the case you’ve presented is true. Just ask Sergei. But in the continued absence of answers to these simple questions, it seems that there might well be no “plausible alternative” but to assume that your case simply does not stack up. Which is why the onus is on you, not those you accuse, to explain yourselves.

Reprinted with permission from The BlogMire.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/skripal-20-it-s-high-time-for-the-british-government-to-explain-itself-here-s-10-easy-questions-to-help-them-out/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/skripal-20-it-s-high-time-for-the-british-government-to-explain-itself-here-s-10-easy-questions-to-help-them-out/ Sat, 07 Jul 2018 16:50:10 GMT
Diplomacy 101 Case Study: Singapore Summit Peter Van Buren http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/diplomacy-101-case-study-singapore-summit/

While I can say there isn’t a formal class at the American State Department called Diplomacy 101, some training offered to new hires comes pretty close. Those basic tenets of statecraft, largely unchanged from Thucydides to Bismarck to Pompeo, are important to review in light of the widespread criticism of the Singapore Summit.

You make peace by talking to your adversaries. Diplomacy is almost always a process and rarely a big-bang scale event. Steps backward are expected along with steps forward. Realizing America’s foreign policy goals often means dealing with bad people. As an American diplomat I purposely flattered and befriended gangsters in Japan to help American citizens in trouble, Irish Republican Army terrorists when a change in administration in Washington saw them eligible for visas, and militia leaders in Iraq who sought deals during the Surge. So has every diplomat, along with most intelligence officers and military officers. Many in the media have done exactly the same things to cultivate sources.

The Etruscans, Ethiopians, Egyptians, Eritreans, and Everyone else from A-Z have been conducting diplomacy with adversaries of all flavors, titles, and moral standards since before the word was even invented by the French. A leader whose family has been the sole ruler of his nation for seven some decades, who controls nuclear weapons, whose nation has a seat at the United Nations and embassies in multiple countries around the world already meets any practical test of “legitimacy.” Kim’s nuclear weapons exist whether or not he meets a sitting American president, or ex-presidents Clinton and Carter, though the only chance those weapons may someday be gone rests in such meetings.

Now protocol is always tricky. President Obama had no obligation to bow to the Emperor of Japan, but decided to convey respect; same with American male diplomats holding the hands of or exchanging kisses with their Arab counterparts; I kissed a lot of bearded men while on duty myself. Mistakes happen — Trump did not need to salute that North Korean general — but what matters most is the effect on your counterparts. No damage was done, and maybe even some additional humility was conveyed in a situation where offense could have easily derailed more important matters.

Diplomacy 101 advises you can’t control how your adversary, or even your friends, will portray events. Signals to the international community are important, but if you get too concerned about controlling them you’ll end up advising your boss she better just stay in Washington. One expert writes, “Foreign policymaking is not an omnidirectional antenna that clearly emits messages in all directions, which are correctly interpreted and acted upon by the intended audiences. Indeed, refraining from pursuing diplomatic initiatives because of how an adversary might characterize that initiative is surely a signal of weakness. And in the case of North Korea, allowing the propaganda efforts of a totalitarian government to influence United States policy making priorities is just self-crippling.”

It’s different with created messaging directed at your adversary, because nobody else matters. Much mockery was slathered on the video Trump played for Kim in Singapore, depicting him as a great leader facing a history-bending decision. The video was spiced full of symbols that resonate with Koreans, including sacred places and holiday images that mean little to outsiders. The audience was one man, and the video was designed to do one thing, speak to Kim in a visual language he understood. Diplomacy 101 suggests everyone else might stand aside, the way older folks should do when people say such-and-such a new dance song is good or bad, knowing they’re not the intended audience.

Negotiations are rarely an even exchange. But how long will you sit at the table if someone else seems to win every hand? Everyone has to at least feel they can win, so they don’t have a reason to cheat, and thus stay in the game. Even when stakes are high the good news it’s hard to give away “the store.” The store in whatever form usually isn’t something that can be irrevocably stopped, boxed up for shipment, or destroyed forever. Never mind the checks, balances, and bureaucratic brakes built into something as complex as the United States government, or even what may appear to be mostly a one-man-rule system. Diplomacy 101 encourages a thoughtful approach to score keeping, knowing the score only really matters at the end anyway.

Diplomacy 101 also reminds the most important purpose of a good first date is to make sure there’s a second. It doesn’t make sense to call it a failure if no marriage proposal follows dessert. Love at first sight is best left for the movies. A kiss goodnight is great, but international relations is a chaste process and demanding or expecting too much too early isn’t a long game strategy. Setting an artificial clock running alongside something as delicate as nuclear disarmament accomplishes nothing. Negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union sometimes spanned administrations.

Even failures are part of the process. William Johnson, a Foreign Service Officer who served as the State Department’s political advisor on special operations to the United States’ Pacific Command, explained to me “Diplomacy is often a series of failures, and in the best case, the failures become incrementally less bad, until sometimes the least spectacular failure is declared success. Diplomacy is a game where the goalposts are supposed to move, and often, to move erratically. Trump needs a plan, with specific goals, each laid out neatly in a set of talking points, not because he will attain those goals, but because he needs to figure out how short of them he can afford to fall or how far beyond them he can push his interlocutor.”

A future Diplomacy 101 class may examine the Singapore Summit alongside President Richard Nixon’s summit with Chinese leader Mao Tse Tung. That 1972 meeting ended over two decades of isolation between the two nuclear-armed countries, and is universally hailed as brilliant diplomacy. But looking back, the main takeaway, the ShanghaiCommunique, is full of vague phrases promising to meet again, to somehow make “progress toward the normalization of relations,” and “reduce the danger of international military conflict.” The status of Taiwan, which had almost brought the Americans and Chinese to war, was dealt with in almost poetic terms, able to be read with multiple meanings.

There was no timeline for anything. No specific next steps listed, though Nixon did agree to the “ultimate objective of the withdrawal of all US forces and military installations from Taiwan.” Nothing about China’s horrendous human rights situation. Few details at all, and the biggest problem was treated obliquely. It took seven more years before full diplomatic relations were restored. Yet scholars see the visit as one of the most impactful ever by an American president, to the point where the term “Nixon to China” is now shorthand for a breakthrough leaders’ meeting.

It is of course too early to fully assess the Singapore Summit, never mind to see if it will rank anywhere near the Nixon-Mao meeting. But we do know personal diplomacy has sometimes been the right strategy, and that Americans have met with dictators, nuclear-armed and not, before. Simply amending “But Trump!” to those and other realities of diplomacy does not change them. As the United States-North Korea relationship evolves, it is important to avoid valuing the sharp elbows of partisan politics over the earned lessons of Diplomacy 101. Class dismissed — for now.

Reprinted with permission from WeMeantWell.com.]]>
http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/diplomacy-101-case-study-singapore-summit/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/diplomacy-101-case-study-singapore-summit/ Sat, 07 Jul 2018 16:32:53 GMT
Syria: 'Rebels Played Russian Roulette, And Lost' Tyler Durden http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/syria-rebels-played-russian-roulette-and-lost/

Middle East analysts are appropriately noting, "Rebels played Russian roulette, and lost" after Syrian Army ground forces accompanied by overwhelming Russian airstrikes in Syria's contested southwest region have collapsed anti-government lines with rapid speed. 

Early Friday a major strategic victory was announced as government forces took the Nassib border crossing after recapturing a string of over 8 border outposts in Daraa province.

The Nassib crossing is among Syria's most important and busiest international border crossings, and sits along the Damascus-Amman international highway. Prior to the war it was a main artery for Syrian exports to GCC countries. 

Opposition leaders have confirmed the crossing will now be controlled by Syrian government and Jordanian authorities for the first time after the FSA flag long flew over the outpost since anti-Assad militants captured it in 2015. 

The ongoing major offensive to take back Daraa and Al-Quneitra provinces from long entrenched FSA, al-Qaeda, and ISIS groups began last month, and though predicted by many to be a long and grinding affair that held the potential for external state military intervention, the unexpectedly rapid advance of pro-government forces has stunned observers. 

Al Masdar reports that three quarters of the region that witnessed the start of armed conflict in 2011 is now back under the control of Damascus:
As a result of these advances, the Syrian Army finds themselves in control of approximately 72 percent of southwest Syria. The remaining 28 percent is under the control of the Free Syrian Army, Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham and Jaysh Khaled bin Walid (ISIS affiliate).
Meanwhile Reuters reports that hundreds of troops in a large military convoy with Russian and Syrian flags have been seen heading to the newly liberated Nassib border crossing as anti-government fighters are laying down their weapons in droves.

According to Reuters:
Syrian rebels reached a deal with Russian officers on a phased handover of their weapons and the deployment of Russian military police near the Jordanian border, a rebel spokesman said.

Ibrahim Jabawi said the agreement was reached during ongoing talks in a town in southern Syria that also includes a cessation of hostilities by both sides.
The past week especially has witnessed mass handovers as well as abandonment of weaponry on the part of anti-government insurgents, resulting in some interesting photographs. 

Since the Syrian Army offensive in the southwest, many thousands of weapons have been recovered, including advanced anti-tank and shoulder fired rockets — a significant bulk of them originally supplied via the US, UK, Saudi Arabia, and other western allies:
Anti-tank "TOW" missiles supplied as part of a CIA program have been recovered recently:
And in some cases Israeli supplied items have been recovered in Syria's southwest, near the contested Golan border:
Even this far into the Syrian conflict and after many other such weapons seizures throughout the country, analysts and journalists have commented that the sheer numbers of advanced weapons — in most cases obviously externally supplied — are "staggering."

Meanwhile, all of this begs the question: where will all the surviving jihadists currently fleeing the Syrian battlefield go? (assuming Syria-Russia will hit the last major expansive jihadist bastion of Idlib next).

Days ago Middle East based journalist Elijah Magnier translated a command issued and circulated by senior al-Qaeda operatives in northern Syria.

The al-Qaeda terror leaders urged followers to take action outside Syria now that the government and Russia are emerging victorious: "put your explosive belt on, take your family to a safe place, don't think of coming to Idlib for there only humiliation & rely on guerrilla/ insurgency."
Communiqué by AQ in Syria (Hurras al-Deen) to foreign fighters & Syrian fighting among Mujahedeen: "put your explosive belt on, take your family to a safe place, don't think of coming to Idlib for there only humiliation & rely on guerrilla/ insurgency"
As we've never been shy to point out over the years, the West and its gulf allies armed al-Qaeda to the teeth in Syria — something so well documented that international arms monitoring groups can pinpoint weapons serial numbers down to identifying particular European transit points through which weapons flowed as part of CIA covert shipments.

Surely, just as many or more quantities of weapons as have already been recovered will remain in the hands of jihadists seeking to exit Syria... but where will they go?

Very unfortunately, we have an idea of where they might end up... as we predicted years ago in the following: They Sow the Cyclone - We Reap the Blowback

Reprinted with permission from ZeroHedge.

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/syria-rebels-played-russian-roulette-and-lost/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/07/syria-rebels-played-russian-roulette-and-lost/ Sat, 07 Jul 2018 14:46:57 GMT
CIA Plots Iran Coup - Partners With Terrorist Group Daniel McAdams http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/06/cia-plots-iran-coup-partners-with-terrorist-group/ Mojahedin) MeK had been on the US terrorism list for more than 15 years...until Secretary of State Hillary Clinton decided to remove them from the list in 2012. They've killed plenty of Americans, including high-ranking US military officers. Now the CIA, along with neoconservatives and many US politicians, has embraced the MeK as the best "democratic" alternative to Iran's current government. Did you know the "former" terrorist MeK paid current Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao $50,000 for a five minute speech in 2015? Crazy? Her husband is the Senate Majority Leader. In Washington that's money well-spent. The CIA's incredibly stupid plan for Iranian regime change in today's Liberty Report:

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http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/06/cia-plots-iran-coup-partners-with-terrorist-group/ http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2018/july/06/cia-plots-iran-coup-partners-with-terrorist-group/ Fri, 06 Jul 2018 17:08:24 GMT