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American Wars Are off the Charts Under Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel during a visit to the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

American Wars Are off the Charts Under Donald Trump

He’s failed to deliver his promised withdrawals from Afghanistan and Syria, vetoed an order to get out of Yemen, and expanded the U.S. bombing of Somalia, all while eyeing Iran.

Here’s a statement it might be hard to disagree with: American war is off the charts. Still, I’d like to explain — but I’m nervous about doing so. I know perfectly well that the next word I plan to write will send most of you tumbling elsewhere in a universe in which “news” is the latest grotesque mass shooting; the craziest tweet from you-know-who; celebrities marching into court over college-admissions scandals; or even a boy, missing for years, who suddenly turns up only to morph into a 23-year-old impostor with a criminal record.

How can America’s wars in distant lands compete with that? Which is why I just can’t bring myself to write the next word. So promise me that, after you read it, you’ll hang in there for just a minute and give me a chance to explain.

Okay, here goes: Somalia.

A country in the horn of Africa, it once glued American eyeballs, but that was so last century, right? I mean, there was that bestselling book and that hit Hollywood movie directed by Ridley Scott (Blade RunnerAlien!) about the disaster early in Bill Clinton’s presidency that came to be known as Black Hawk Down (aka the battle of Mogadishu).

In the age of Donald Trump, wasn’t that a million presidencies ago? Honestly, can you even tell me anymore what in the world it was all about? I couldn’t have, not without looking it up again. A warlord, starvation, U.S. intervention, 18 dead American soldiers (and hundreds of dead Somalis, but that hardly mattered) in a country that was shattering.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Is Trump Trying to Goad Iran Into War with the US?

Is Trump Trying to Goad Iran Into War with the US?

On Monday President Trump designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization.

Mainstream media is playing it up as an escalation of economic pressures on the country.

The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes

The designation should deepen Iran’s international isolation, another step in the maximum pressure campaign against the regime for its nuclear program. Anyone who provides material support to the group can now be prosecuted more easily and IRGC members are blocked from entering the U.S. IRGC officials will also risk arrest and extradition while traveling.

Don’t believe for a minute this is the half of it.

This is the first time ever that the United States government has named a part of another government as a foreign terrorist organization.

What does it mean?

Labeling any group a foreign terrorist organization allows that group to be targeted by the U.S. government by means of the Authorization for Use of Military Force.

Colonel W. Patrick Lang, a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence and U.S. Army Special Forces, writes:

The AUMF on terrorism has been used far and wide as a hunting license to attack any armed group that could even distantly be thought a terrorist enemy.  The anti-terrorism AUMF makes such attacks legal under US law.

The official designation as “terrorist” of the IRGC which is a 125000 man army with its own navy and air force makes it legal for the US Armed Forces to attack the IRGC and its people wherever they are found and under any circumstances that may occur.  It is a declaration of war.

Former Under-Secretary of State and lead Iran negotiator, Wendy Sherman, told Reuters she worried about implications for U.S. forces.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What Monroe Doctrine?

What Monroe Doctrine?

What Monroe Doctrine?

Because there is a presidential election coming up next year, the Donald Trump Administration appears to be looking for a country that it can attack and destroy in order to prove its toughness and willingness to go all the way in support of alleged American interests. It is a version of the old neocon doctrine attributed to Michael Ledeen, the belief that every once in a while, it is necessary to pick out some crappy little country and throw it against the wall just to demonstrate that the United States means business.

“Meaning business” is a tactic whereby the adversary surrenders immediately in fear of the possible consequences, but there are a couple of problems with that thinking. The first is that an opponent who can resist will sometimes balk and create a continuing problem for the United States, which has a demonstrated inability to start and end wars in any coherent fashion.

This tendency to get caught in a quagmire in a situation that might have been resolved through diplomacy has been exacerbated by the current White House’s negotiating style, which is to both demand and expect submission on all points even before discussions begin. That was clearly the perception with North Korea, where National Security Advisor John Bolton insisted that Pyongyang had agreed to American demands over its nuclear program even though it hadn’t and would have been foolish to do so for fear of being treated down the road like Libya, which denuclearized but then was attacked and destroyed seven years later. The Bolton mis-perception, which was apparently bought into by Trump, led to a complete unraveling of what might actually have been accomplished if the negotiations had been serious and open to reasonable compromise right from the beginning.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

If Donald Trump is the King of Debt, these guys were the Kings of Inflation

If Donald Trump is the King of Debt, these guys were the Kings of Inflation

Maximilian Bern had saved up 100,000 German marks for what should have been a modest, but comfortable retirement.

But in 1923, he withdrew every last cent, and spent it all on one purchase: a subway ticket.

He rode around his city one last time before returning home, and locking himself in his home, where he died.

He didn’t kill himself. He starved to death… simply because he could no longer afford food. A single egg at the market would cost millions of marks, more than Maximilian Bern had saved over his entire life.

This was one of the most famous episodes of hyperinflation, certainly in modern history.

In the wake of World War One, Germany (known as the Weimar Republic) was completely broke.

The War to end all Wars had bankrupted them; and on top of losing the war, Germany was forced to make ‘reparation payments’ to the victors, including France, the UK, etc.

That took Germany’s overall war debt to impossible levels. So in a feeble attempt to keep the economy afloat and meet its war debt obligations, the German government printed massive amounts of paper money.

Prior to World War I, one US dollar was worth 4.2 German marks.

By 1923, a single US dollar was worth 4.2 TRILLION marks.

We’ve seen this in our own lifetime in places like Zimbabwe, and now Venezuela.

I remember the first time I went to Venezuela the official exchange rate was four bolivars to the US dollar—and the black market rate was eight to one.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Media, Mueller, the Big Con and the Democratization of Narrative

The Media, Mueller, the Big Con and the Democratization of Narrative

Falling for a con is painful. The first reaction is to deny being conned, of course. The second is to blame skeptics for being correct in their skepticism.

Here’s the fundamental “story” of the Mueller Investigation: elites don’t like “the little people” democratizing public narratives. The elites–who reckon theirright to rule is self-evident–want to set the narrative and the context, because that’s the foundation of power: once you get the citizenry to agree on your narrative and context, you secure two valuable things: 1) political legitimacy and 2) their obedience.

Elite anxiety over the “the little people” democratizing narratives is not a new phenomenon. Elites have demanded control of any media outlet that doesn’t parrot their line and have tried to declare skeptical inquiry sedition for generations, stretching back to the founding of the Republic.

The elite interest in controlling the narrative and context long predates the era of “fake news.” Please read this excerpt from the 1991 book The Radicalism of the American Revolution about the democratization of everyday life in post-Revolutionary War America (1790 – 1830):

“The result of all these assaults on elite opinion and celebrations of common ordinary judgment was a dispersion of authority and ultimately a diffusion of truth itself to a degree the world had never seen. With every ordinary person being told his ideas and tastes, on everything from medicine to art to government, were as good as, if not better than, those of “connoisseurs” and “speculative men” who had college degrees, it is not surprising that truth and knowledge became elusive and difficult to pin down.”

This democratization deeply unsettled the elites, who were accustomed to leading by setting the “acceptable” narrative and context. Democracy, they discovered to their chagrin, isn’t a force that one can bottle up and dispense in measured doses around election time; it spreads throughout every sphere of the society.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

From ‘Humanitarian Aid’ to a Nationwide Blackout: What Next for Trump’s Coup in Venezuela?

From ‘Humanitarian Aid’ to a Nationwide Blackout: What Next for Trump’s Coup in Venezuela? 

Washington is growing increasingly desperate as its coup efforts go further south in Venezuela, argues Jorge Martin.

US Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams has threatened even harsher sanctions against the South American country as Washington's efforts to oust the Maduro government continue to falter. (AP)

US Special Envoy to Venezuela Elliott Abrams has threatened even harsher sanctions against the South American country as Washington’s efforts to oust the Maduro government continue to falter. (AP)By Jorge Martin – In Defense of Marxism Mar 13th 2019 at 12.29pmTOPICSInternationalTAGS23 January 2019 CoupHumanitarian AidMarch 2019 BlackoutSHORT URL: 

The failure of the February 23 “humanitarian aid” provocation on the Venezuelan border was a serious blow for Trump’s ongoing coup attempt. There were mutual recriminations between self-appointed Guaidó, Colombian President Duque and US Vice-President Pence. The US could not get a consensus from its own Lima Cartel allies in favour of military intervention.

The coup was losing momentum. Then, on March 7, just days after Guaidó’s anti-climactic return to Caracas, the country was plunged into a nationwide blackout from which it has not yet fully recovered. What caused it? How is it related to the “regime change” attempt? And, most importantly, what are imperialism’s plans and how can they be fought?

February 23 was supposed to be the coup’s D-Day. The idea was never to actually deliver “humanitarian aid” into the country, but rather to create a “people’s power” moment, where large crowds of opposition supporters on both sides of the border defied the Venezuelan armed forces, which, when faced with a large crowd of peaceful demonstrators, would then switch sides and join Trump’s puppet, Juan Guaidó. On the day, however, things did not go according to Washington’s plan. The crowds of opposition supporters did not materialise in the expected numbers. “Aid” trucks did not cross the border and by the end of the day, Rubio, Abrams and Guaidó were left with egg all over their faces.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power As Maduro Accuses Trump, Guaido Of “Sabotage”

China Offers To Help Venezuela Restore Power As Maduro Accuses Trump, Guaido Of “Sabotage”

China offered on Wednesday to help Venezuela repair its power grid after the country was plunged into its worst blackout on record, now in its sixth day, reports Reuters

With the power blackout in its sixth day, hospitals struggled to keep equipment running, food rotted in the tropical heat and exports from the country’s main oil terminal were shut down.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said China had noted reports that the power grid had gone down due to a hacking attack.

China is deeply concerned about this,” Lu said. –Reuters

“China hopes that the Venezuelan side can discover the reason for this issue as soon as possible and resume normal power supply and social order. China is willing to provide help and technical support to restore Venezuela’s power grid,” added Lu.

President Nicolas Maduro, who retains control of the country’s military and has the support of both Russia and China, has accused US President Donald Trump of cyber “sabotage.” 

The United States’ imperialist government ordered this attack,” Maduro said in a 35-minute televised address on Monday night accusing the White House of launching an imperialist “electromagnetic attack.” 

“They came with a strategy of war of the kind that only these criminals – who have been to war and have destroyed the people of Iraq, of Libya, of Afghanistan and of Syria – think up,” Maduro added. 

Maduro claimed that the Trump administration conducted the attack in coordination with “puppets and clowns” from the Venezuelan opposition in order to bring about a “a state of despair, of widespread want and of conflict” to justify a foreign invasion. 

Caracas-based political analyst Dimitris Pantoulas tweeted on Tuesday that Maduro appeared “worried, anxious and absolutely desperate,” adding that it’s clear that the government is not in control of the situation. 

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Whistleblowers say NSA still spies on American phones in hidden program

Whistleblowers say NSA still spies on American phones in hidden program

Meanwhile, the bulk of the NSA’s surveillance and “offensive” information warfare capabilities remain completely unknown

On Monday 4th, the New York Times reported that the National Security Agency has “quietly” shut down a controversial phone records surveillance program revealed by whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013.

The claim was made by a senior Republican congressional aide who told the newspaper that the Trump administration had stopped using the program, which analyses the domestic call and text logs of American citizens, due to technical problems.

On Twitter Snowden hailed the news as a “victory”, while Intercept journalist Glen Greenwald, who broke the Snowden story to international acclaim, took the story at face value. Neither of them raised the obvious question — is the “shut down” of this program merely a smokescreen to continue spying on American phones under new or different secretive programs?

I used to take a victory lap every time one of these stories came out. It felt good to see history vindicate my decision to expose the government’s wrongdoing. Nowadays I just wish it hadn’t taken me so long to speak up. If only I hadn’t been so afraid.https://www.politics/nsa-phone-records-program-shut-down.html 

Since then, further doubt was cast on the NYT report when NSA chief General Paul Nakasone refused to confirm or deny the story. But he did tell a major security conference on Wednesday that the agency was still “in a deliberative process” about whether to use a revamped version of the vast database of American phone records.

All of this, however, is an elaborate ruse. According to two former top NSA officials interviewed by INSURGE, there is no credible reason to believe that NSA phone surveillance has truly been shut down.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Russiagate Grand Wizard Deceives Audience About Assange

Russiagate Grand Wizard Deceives Audience About Assange

When it was first revealed in November that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is under secret charges by the Trump administration, I spent the next few days being told by Russiagaters that this was proof that I have been wrong about their demented cold war cult all along, because #MuellerTime is fast approaching. At long last, they vehemently assured me, Assange was going to prison for working with Russia to deprive Queen Hillary of her rightful throne.

None of those people have come back to apologize or admit that they were wrong when subsequent evidence disproved their claims. None of them ever do.

As it turns out, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has been subpoenaed to testify before a grand jury in a secret case investigating Assange for his 2010 role in the WikiLeaks publication of military war logs and diplomatic cables. Manning served seven years in prison for leaking those documents to the transparency advocacy outlet before her sentence was commuted by President Obama, meaning, obviously, that this sealed case has nothing to do with the 2016 leaks Russiagaters have been fiendishly obsessing over. Indeed, the Washington Post reported yesterday that “U.S. officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of grand jury secrecy, say the case is based on [Assange’s] pre-2016 conduct, not the election hacks that drew the attention of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.”

So there you have it. Democrats like Center for American Progress president Neera Tanden who have been cheering for Assange’s arrest have actually been cheering on the Trump administration’s prosecution of a journalist for publishing facts about Bush administration war crimes. They thought they were supporting the agenda to punish Assange for publishing leaks that hurt the Hillary campaign, but in reality they were defending two Republican administrations while helping to manufacture support for a prosecution that would set a devastating precedent for press freedoms throughout the entire world.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Mike Pompeo’s War Warning to China

Mike Pompeo's War Warning to China

Mike Pompeo’s War Warning to China

Could America sustain such a commitment? More important, why should we? Has the White House thought through the implications of what the Pompeo threat may bring?

As President Trump flew home from his Hanoi summit with Kim Jong Un, Mike Pompeo peeled off and flew to Manila. And there the Secretary of State made a startling declaration.

Any armed attack by China on a Philippine ship or plane in the South China Sea, he told the Philippine government, will be treated as an attack on an American ship or plane, bringing a U.S. military response.

“China’s island building and military activities in the South China Sea threaten your sovereignty, security and, therefore, economic livelihood, as well as that of the United States,” said Pompeo. “As the South China Sea is part of the Pacific, any armed attack on Philippine forces, aircraft or public vessels in the South China Sea will trigger mutual defense obligations under article 4 of our mutual defense treaty.”

Article 4 requires the U.S. and the Philippines to come to the defense of the other if one is attacked. The treaty dates back to August 1951. There are Americans on Social Security who were not born when this Cold War treaty was signed.

Pompeo’s declaration amounts to a U.S. war guarantee.

Why would we make such a commitment? Why take such a risk?

Is Trump aware of what Pompeo’s promise could entail?

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For years, Beijing has claimed as national territory virtually the entire South China Sea. Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines all reject China’s claims to the Paracel and Spratly Islands within that sea. But Beijing has occupied and expanded half a dozen islets; landed planes and troops; and fortified them as military and naval bases.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Merkel Stands Against Trump’s Energy Dominance

Merkel Stands Against Trump’s Energy Dominance

Merkel Stands Against Trump’s Energy Dominance

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech at the Munich Security Conference this weekend was met with resounding approval from the gathering. Throwing barbs back at US Vice President Mike Pence over a myriad of issues Merkel expressed Europe’s dissatisfaction with the Trump administration’s belligerence and lack of diplomacy.

And that’s putting it mildly.

Trump’s pressuring Germany over the Nordstream 2 pipeline, withdrawing from the JCPOA and increasing NATO funding all have a common theme which even for an EU-firster like Merkel is a non-starter.

Trump is trying to make Germany’s economy uncompetitive by raising the cost of imported energy.

This is obvious when we look at the US’s opposition to Nordstream 2. Trump has made no bones about his distaste for the pipeline because he’d rather Germany, his ally, buy beautiful, clean LNG from Cheniere in Louisiana rather than from dirty, nasty gas from Russia, his enemy.

The other two issues, however, are just as energy-focused for Trump, or at least, economically-focused. Let’s start with Iran.

The JCPOA was signed in 2015 when it looked like the Operation to Blow Apart Syria for Fun and Profit was on the verge of victory. Giving Iran a lifeline to begin selling oil on the open market again was Europe’s ‘get’ in that war.

Turkey would ‘get’ Idlib, Aleppo, Afrin and Manbij. The Saudis and Qataris would ‘get’ gas pipelines into Europe. Israel breaks up the Shia Crescent with the newly-independent Kurdish territory and ‘get’ a US/Israeli campaign to undermine Iran’s government while leaving a hotbed of terrorism to export around the region.

Elijah Magnier called this creating a ‘Syrian jungle.’ I just call it vile.

But it didn’t work because of Putin, Hezbollah and the IRGC with China playing silent partner.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

With Trump Pushing Regime Change in Venezuela, Critics Warn News Outlets Failing US Viewers Once Again

With Trump Pushing Regime Change in Venezuela, Critics Warn News Outlets Failing US Viewers Once Again

“If the US had a major state TV network it would sound exactly like this. 100% pure, uncritical cheerleading.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks about Venezuela before the arrival of President Donald Trump during a rally at Florida International University on February 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. President Trump is scheduled to speak about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) speaks about Venezuela before the arrival of President Donald Trump during a rally at Florida International University on February 18, 2019 in Miami, Florida. President Trump is scheduled to speak about the ongoing crisis in Venezuela. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Ahead of a speech in Miami on Monday in which President Donald Trump promoted the ouster of Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, progressive media critics continued their warnings that corporate news outlets like CNN, MSNBC, and others are carrying water for the White House’s regime change policy in the country despite interventionist failures like the invasion of Iraq in 2002, the overthrow of the Libyan government in 2011, and the long U.S. history of backing bloody coups and civil wars in Latin America going back to the 1980s.

“The self-aggrandizing ‘factchecking’ brigade that emerged to confront the Trump administration is suddenly nonexistent as it rolls out a transparent, cynical PR strategy to delegitimize a Latin American government it’s trying to overthrow.” 
—Adam Johnson, media critic

Leading the charge is journalist Adam Johnson, a contributor to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) and host of the Citations Needed podcast, who recently warned that the “same U.S. media outlets that have expressly fundraised and run ad campaigns on their image as anti-Trump truth-tellers have mysteriously taken at face value everything the Trump White House and its neoconservative allies have said in their campaign to overthrow the government of Venezuela.”

According to Johnson, “The self-aggrandizing ‘factchecking‘ brigade that emerged to confront the Trump administration is suddenly nonexistent as it rolls out a transparent, cynical PR strategy to delegitimize a Latin American government it’s trying to overthrow.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fables, Fairy Tales and the Gold Standard

Fables, Fairy Tales and the Gold Standard

President Trump often tweets about the strength and health of the U.S. economy, and two weeks ago, he tweeted that the U.S. economy was the Gold Standard throughout the World.

The fact that Trump capitalized the words “Gold Standard” may have piqued the interest of those who believe in sound money principles.  Trump has in fact spoken in the past about a return to the Gold Standard, and some of the issues surrounding this are summarized in an October 2018 article: Trump Puts Gold Standard On The Table.

A simple interpretation of Trump’s tweet means that the U.S. economy is the envy of the world, the benchmark by which other economies measure themselves.

Nevertheless, Trump’s tweet can be viewed as valid in another way, whether this interpretation was intended or not.  When the U.S. dollar was de-linked from the value of gold in 1971, the U.S. dollar and its economy became the Gold Standard.  The U.S. dollar is the primary reserve currency throughout the world, and therefore almost everything bought or sold in the world has a reference point to the value of the dollar.

The value of the dollar is related to the health of the U.S. economy, and the U.S. economy, absent a “real” gold standard, IS the monetary standard throughout the world.

We are not suggesting that Trump will help navigate the world back to a Gold Standard, and any political, strategic or tactical discussions on that point are above our pay grade.  In fact, we prefer to summarize our understanding of the gold market by way of two children’s stories.

Fables and Fairy Tales

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Making Globalism Great Again

Making Globalism Great Again

Maybe Donald Trump isn’t as stupid as I thought. I’d hate to have to admit that publicly, but it does kind of seem like he has put one over on the liberal corporate media this time. Scanning the recent Trump-related news, I couldn’t help but notice a significant decline in the number of references to Weimar, Germany, Adolf Hitler, and “the brink of fascism” that America has supposedly been teetering on since Hillary Clinton lost the election. I googled around pretty well, I think, but I couldn’t find a single editorial warning that Trump is about to summarily cancel the U.S. Constitution, dissolve Congress, and proclaim himself Führer. Nor did I see any mention of Auschwitz, or any other Nazi stuff … which is weird, considering that the Hitler hysteria has been a standard feature of the official narrative we’ve been subjected to for the last two years.

So how did Trump finally get the liberal corporate media to stop calling him a fascist? He did that by acting like a fascist (i.e., like a “normal” president). Which is to say he did the bidding of the deep state goons and corporate mandarins that manage the global capitalist empire … the smiley, happy, democracy-spreading, post-fascist version of fascism we live under.

I’m referring, of course, to Venezuela, which is one of a handful of uncooperative countries that are not playing ball with global capitalism and which haven’t been “regime changed” yet. Trump green-lit the attempted coup purportedly being staged by the Venezuelan “opposition,” but which is obviously a U.S. operation, or, rather, a global capitalist operation. As soon as he did, the corporate media immediately suspended calling him a fascist, and comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and so on, and started spewing out blatant propaganda supporting his effort to overthrow the elected government of a sovereign country.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

What’s Emperor Trump Doing? He is Busy at Splitting the Empire in Two

What’s Emperor Trump Doing? He is Busy at Splitting the Empire in Two

Donald Trump seems to be doing what Roman Emperors like Diocletian, Constantine, and Theodosius did long ago: splitting the empire into two halves. Trump may not have consciously decided to do that, but an Empire can only be as large as it can afford to be, and the American Empire can’t afford anymore to dominate the whole world. 

Flavius Theodosius Augustus “The Great” (347- 395 CE) was the last emperor to rule over the whole Roman Empire. His success was probably due in large part to his habit of plundering Pagan temples for the gold he needed to pay his troops. But Pagan temples were a limited resource and Theodosius himself seemed to understand that when, shortly before his death, he partitioned the Empire between his two sons, Arcadius and Honorius. Afterward, the empire would never be whole again.

The Roman Empire had been a strong centralized power during its heydays, but it never was very interested in creating an ethnical and linguistic unity among its subjects. The Roman authorities understood very well that it was less expensive to tolerate diversity than to force uniformity — a typical policy of most empires. So, the Empire remained split into two main linguistic halves: the Latin-speaking Pars Occidentis and the Greek-speaking Pars Orientis. Theoretically, Latin was the official language of the Empire but, in practice, it remained a bilingual entity and, during the 2nd and 3rd centuries, the Roman elite would rather speak Greek — considered more refined and classy.

The split of the two sides of the Empire was not just linguistic, it was economic as well. The Pars Occidentis remained based on mineral wealth which, in turn, fueled the Empire’s military power.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

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