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Nord Stream: The Geo-politics of Keeping Germany ‘Down’, Russia ‘Out’, and Instability in Ukraine

It seems reasonable to expect we will have this crisis with us – in its various forms – for at least the next two years, Alastair Crooke writes.

Macron in a remarkably frank interview with a French Journal put his finger on the main structural problems facing the EU: He lambasted the fact that the EU Council (and other EU states) had vetoed the earlier French-German proposal for a Russia-EU summit. The consequences to this omission, he said starkly, was that: ‘Others’ were talking to the Russians on the behalf of the EU. It’s not hard to surmise that he is implying that U.S. ‘interests’ (whether directly or via NATO ventriloquism) were the ones doing the talking. And that ‘Europe’ had lost its voice.

This is not simply a case of wounded amour propre by the French Jupiterian leader. It is rather, that some West European leaders (ie. the Carolingian Axis), belatedly have awoken to the realisation that the whole fake artifice of the ‘imminent Russian invasion’ of Ukraine is about corralling European states back into bloc (NATO) discipline. Macron – to give him his due – showed by his remarks at the Moscow press conference that he understood that silence at this crucial moment could define Europe for the next decades – leaving it bereft of the autonomy (let alone any modicum of sovereignty) that Macron so much wants for Europe.

The account of Macron’s press conference after his long tête-à-tête with Putin represents the contortionism of a French President unable to explicitly diss the dominant Anglo-American narrative on Ukraine, whilst saying – in barely coded language – that he was at one with Russia on all its complaints about the failed European security architecture, and the real risks of its toxicity for Russia that could lead to war in Europe.

Macron explicitly said that new security arrangements in Europe are absolutely needed. (In spite of his care not to poke the U.S. in the eye, he was clearly signalling a non-NATO ‘new’ arrangement). He also flatly contradicted the Washington narrative, saying that he did not believe Russia had an intent to invade Ukraine. Adding that in respect to NATO expansion, mistakes had been made.

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Missiles on the Doorstep and Impending Nuclear Winter

Nobody in their right mind would advocate what is called ‘first use’ of nuclear weapons.

‘Nuclear winter’ is defined in Britannica as “the environmental devastation that certain scientists contend would probably result from the hundreds of nuclear explosions in a nuclear war.” One immediately direct effect of such a conflict would be to block out the sun’s rays, which would lead to “a massive death toll from starvation, exposure, and disease. A nuclear war could thus reduce the Earth’s human population to a fraction of its previous numbers.” There have been innumerable portrayals of what would happen in a nuclear-devastated world of which the most evocative are the film Threads, made in 1984, depicting the ghastly aftermath in the United Kingdom, and the U.S. ABC television movie The Day After, of the previous year, which was even more horrifying, even though there was a lot of censorship before it was permitted to be shown.

It is only too apparent that a nuclear war would be catastrophic — and also that a nuclear exchange would be encouraged, indeed initiated, by the country that first fired or otherwise despatched one of these systems. No nuclear-armed country could accept nuclear devastation in its own lands without retaliating in force. The conclusion is that nobody in their right mind would advocate what is called ‘first use’ of nuclear weapons.

So step forward U.S. legislator, Senator Roger Wicker, who was reported as declaring that if there were conflict between Russia and Ukraine then the U.S. would have to be involved to the extent that this “could mean American troops on the ground.” And taking a massive leap backwards for mankind the senator declared on Fox News on December 8 that in the event of engagement against Russia “we don’t rule out first use nuclear action.”

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

Russia Advises NATO to (Finally) Honor Its ‘Not One Inch Eastward’ Pledge

Unlike in 1990, Russia has many options left to itself if NATO ignores its proposal for peace and continues to advance on the former Soviet space.

As NATO continues its mission creep inexorably towards the Russian border, Moscow issued a security proposal to the Western military bloc, which is in fact nothing less than an ultimatum: halt any further eastward military advances or Russia will be forced to act on behalf of its national interests.

The date February 9, 1990 will be forever remembered among historians as a ‘day of infamy’ as far as NATO-Russia relations are concerned. That was the date when U.S. Secretary of State James Baker famously assured Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, during glasnost-era talks on German unification that the Western military bloc would not advance “one inch eastward” towards Russia’s borders.

The level of deception contained in that empty pledge is easily discernible today as NATO membership has exploded since the Cold War times to 30 member states. In 2004, the former Soviet states of Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia joined NATO at the 2004 Istanbul summit; Albania and Croatia became members in 2009, while North Macedonia joined in 2020.

Already, the Western military bloc abuts Russia’s northwestern border in the Baltic States of Latvia and Estonia. But now with the political tinderbox known as Ukraine actively seeking membership in NATO, Moscow has produced what amounts to an ultimatum, where the carrot is simply the preservation of peace among the world’s nuclear superpowers.

Will the US-led organization bite? On the question of NATO, the draft agreement on security states that “The United States of America shall take measures to prevent further eastward expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and deny accession to the Alliance to the former USSR republics.”

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

Ukrainian Crisis: Are We on the Verge of WWIII or Pax Multipolarity?

The highpoint in the Ukrainian crisis and the big visits by Nuland to Moscow and Austin to Kiev might actually be attempts by Washington to make lemons out of lemonade, Tim Kirby writes.

The Mainstream Media Eye of Sauron has turned its horrid gaze to the Ukraine. This is always cause for concern because it indicates that this is what the elites want America to be focusing on. This would not be so much of a problem if this growing game of chicken in the Donbass did not resemble a Cuban Missile Crisis for the 21st century. The Mainstream Media’s headlines read of warnings to Russia not to attack, and move their own troops away from the border within their own territory for the sake of peace, while at the same time pumping up Kiev with support-based confidence to do just that – escalating the war in the Donbass towards a potential apocalyptic scenario. Since Moscow has already handed out citizenship to the residents of the breakaway republics and even given their leaders party membership into Putin’s dominant United Russia, along with executing many forms of bureaucratic “integration” the Donbass, we can clearly see that the region is de facto Russian again.

Image: Leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic Denis Pushilin is now a card-carrying party member of United Russia. Source: Anna News.

This means that a massive attack from Kiev, would be met by a full force response from Moscow, the “Russianness” of the region has now become essentially non-negotiable – “not one step back” can be taken as Stalin put it. With so many “instructors” and other assets from NATO working with Kiev it is overwhelmingly likely that a Russian counterattack to any offensive would kill some foreign troops…

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Now or Never: The Great ‘Transition’ Must Be Imposed

A new wave of restrictions, more lockdowns, and – eventually – trillions of dollars in new stimmie cheques may be in prospect.

Were you following the news this last week? Vaccine mandates are everywhere: one country, after another, is doubling-down, to try to force, or legally compel, full population vaccination. The mandates are coming because of the massive uptick in Covid – most of all in the places where the experimental mRNA gene therapies were deployed en masse. And (no coincidence), this ‘marker’ has come just as U.S. Covid deaths in 2021 have surpassed those of 2020. This has happened, despite the fact that last year, no Americans were vaccinated (and this year 59% are vaccinated). Clearly no panacea, this mRNA ‘surge’.

Of course, the Pharma-Establishment know that the vaccines are no panacea. There are ‘higher interests’ at play here. It is driven rather by fear that the window for implementing its series of ‘transitions’ in the U.S. and Europe is closing. Biden still struggles to move his ‘Go-Big’ social spending plan and green agenda transition through Congress by the midterm election in a year’s time. And the inflation spike may well sink Biden’s Build Back Better agenda (BBB) altogether.

Time is short. The midterm elections are but 12 months away, after which the legislative window shuts. The Green ‘transition’ is stuck too (by concerns that moving too fast to renewables is putting power grids at risk and elevating heating costs unduly), and the Pharma establishment will be aware that a new B.1.1.529 variant has made a big jump in evolution with 32 mutations to its spike protein. This makes it “clearly very different” from previous variants, which may drive further waves of infection evading ‘vaccine defences’.

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

NATO Sliding Towards War Against Russia in Ukraine

As far as Ukraine goes, Ankara seems to be setting the pace for NATO’s deepening involvement in the country’s war.

Russia is investigating reports of Turkish attack drones being deployed for the first time in Ukraine’s eight-year civil war. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF) under the command of the Kiev regime claimed that the drones were used earlier this week in combat against ethnic Russian rebels.

This is a potentially dramatic escalation in the smoldering war. For it marks the direct involvement of NATO member Turkey in the conflict. Up to now, the United States and other NATO states have been supplying lethal weaponry to the Kiev regime to prosecute its war against the breakaway self-declared republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.

American, British and Canadian military advisors are also known to have carried out training missions with UAF combat units. Britain is in negotiations to sell Brimstone missiles to the Ukrainian navy.

But the apparent deployment of Turkish attack drones is a potential game-changer. Russia’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov hinted at the graveness when he announced Wednesday that Moscow was carrying out urgent investigations about the purported participation of Turk-made Bayraktar TB2 Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.

Previously, Lavrov rebuked Turkey to stay out of the conflict and to not feed Ukrainian hostilities.

Last week, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that NATO’s support to the Kiev regime was posing a direct threat to Russia’s national security. The Kremlin’s assessment can only be more alarmed on the back of NATO member Turkey being now implicated as one of the war’s protagonists. In all likelihood, Turkish military personnel would be required to assist in operating the drone flights.

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

 

Insider View: The Tragedy of the U.S. Deep State

Pepe Escobar explains why Henry Kissinger must have lost the diplomatic plot.

Henry Kissinger, 97, Henry the K. for those he keeps close, is either a Delphic oracle-style strategic thinker or a certified war criminal for those kept not so close.

He now seems to have been taking time off his usual Divide and Rule stock in trade – advising the combo behind POTUS, a.k.a. Crash Test Dummy – to emit some realpolitik pearls of wisdom.

At a recent forum in Arizona, referring to the festering, larger than life Sino-American clash, Henry the K. said, “It’s the biggest problem for America; it’s the biggest problem for the world. Because if we can’t solve that, then the risk is that all over the world a kind of cold war will develop between China and the United States.”

In realpolitik terms, this “kind of Cold War” is already on; across the Beltway, China is unanimously regarded as the premier U.S. national security threat.

Kissinger added U.S. policy toward China must be a mix of stressing U.S. “principles” to demand China’s respect and dialogue to find areas of cooperation: “I’m not saying that diplomacy will always lead to beneficial results…This is the complex task we have… Nobody has succeeded in doing it completely.”

Henry the K. actually must have lost the – diplomatic – plot. What Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov are now involved in, full time, is to demonstrate – mostly to the Global South – how the American-enforced “rules-based international order” has absolutely nothing to do with international law and the respect of national sovereignty.

At first I had archived these Henry the K. platitudes out of sight. But then someone who used to hold a stellar position at the top of the U.S. Deep State showed he had been paying close attention.

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

So Who Wants a Hot War?

CNN’s Blatant Disinformation About Russia-Ukraine Activity

MSNBC host Joe Scarborough’s belittling comments against fair and balanced Russia related journalism relate to an April 12-13 CNN airing on recent matters concerning Russia and Ukraine. The segment at issue begins with CNN reporter Matthew Chance joining Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky at the frontline of the demarcation area between the forces of the Ukrainian government and Donbass rebels. Thereafter, CNN news anchor John Vause follows up with longtime US academic/mass media journalist Jill Dougherty.

The false spin is given that Russia increased tension by amassing troops along its border with Ukraine. In actuality, the Kiev regime’s dramatic military buildup near the Donbass rebels occurred beforehand. This oversight is in line with the aforementioned CNN segment misidentifying Ukrainian forces as being Russian.

The CNN bit gives an inaccurate psychoanalysis of what’s motivating the recent Russian military activity. Omitted, is some otherwise valid insight of what could very well be influencing Zelensky and the Russian response to him. Zelensky’s low poll numbers are in part due to the miserable socioeconomic conditions in Ukraine and some faulty decision-making on the part of his government. Unable to get a prompt delivery of Western Covid-19 vaccinations, the Ukrainian government shot down the possibility of acquiring the Russian Sputnik vaccine. That stance can be reasonably seen as a shortsighted nationalist stance. It’s not as if Russia and Ukraine don’t commercially interact. Despite the differences between their governments, Russia remains a key trading partner of Ukraine.

Zelensky won the last Ukrainian presidential election on a platform that wasn’t as confrontational towards Russia as his opponent Petro Poroshenko. The former has since done an about face with brazen comments towards Russia and the Donbass rebels…

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Setting the Scene for Global Destruction. Now It’s the Arctic

The U.S. is preparing for war in the Arctic, and the “boiling point” might not be far away, Brian Cloughley writes.

On April 8 the front pages of the main U.S. newspapers noted that President Biden was “open to compromise” and a quick glance prompted optimism that Uncle Joe might be seeing some sense about international developments. He said that “Debate is welcome. Compromise is inevitable. Changes are certain,” which is a deep and important statement that would be immensely heartening if it referred to U.S. relations with China and Russia.

Alas, his words referred to purely domestic affairs, in that the White House was preparing to compromise with the blinkered Republican Party which is intent on defending business interests — and especially those concerned with weapons’ production — at the expense of the average citizen. Joe declared that he is “sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced,” which is an understandable point of view. But the way he’s heading in foreign policy means that these ordinary people, and everyone else in the U.S. and all round the world, may well be conned, and possibly terminally. They are facing ever-increasing danger of being destroyed, because Joe is backing the sabre-brandishers in their encouragement of confrontation and provocation that could well lead to major war.

Make no mistake : there is going to be no such thing as “limited” war if the U.S.-Nato military alliance continues to goad and antagonise Russia and China. If there is a clash of military forces there will be escalation, and the ensuing conflict will inevitably heighten the risk of nuclear exchanges which would destroy the planet.

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The Puppet Masters: Is There Really a Deep State?

The danger posed by the Deep State is that it wields immense power but is unelected and unaccountable, Phil Giraldi writes.

As a former intelligence officer, I find it amusing to read articles in the mainstream media that blithely report how the latest international outrages are undoubtedly the work of CIA and the rest of the U.S. government’s national security alphabet soup. The recurring claim that the CIA is somehow running the world by virtue of a vast conspiracy that includes the secret intelligence agencies of a number of countries, using blackmail and other inducements to corrupt vulnerable politicians and opinion makers, has entered into the DNA of journalists worldwide, frequently without any evidence that the current crop of spies is capable to doing anything more complicated than getting out of bed in the morning.

One problem with the theory about total global dominance through espionage is the sheer logistics of it all. Directing political and economic developments in two hundred nations simultaneously must require a lot of space and a large staff. Is there a huge office hidden in Langley? Or the Pentagon? Or in the White House West Wing itself? Or is it in one of the secure facilities that have been popping up like mushrooms just off of the Dulles Toll Road in Herndon Virginia?

To provide evidence that intelligence agencies extend their tentacles just about everywhere, the other claim that is nearly always made is that all former spooks are part of the conspiracy, as once you learn the secret handshake to join CIA, NSA or the FBI you never stop being “one of them.” Well, that might be true in some cases but the majority of former spooks are quite happy to be “former,” and one might also observe that many voices in the anti-war movement, such as it is, come from intelligence, law enforcement or military backgrounds…

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

Philip Giraldi, strategic culture foundation, deep state, united states, cia, central intelligence agency, fbi, federal bureau of investigation, nsa, national security agency, government, journalism,

From Overstretch to Collapse

From Overstretch to Collapse

In less than three decades, a mere blink of the eye in historical terms, the United States has gone from the world’s sole superpower to a massive foundering wreck that is helpless before the coronavirus and intent on blaming the rest of the world for its own shortcomings. As the journalist Fintan O’Toole noted recently in the Irish Times:

“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the U.S. until now: pity.”

Quite right. But how and why did this pitiable condition come about? Is it all Donald Trump’s fault as so many now assume? Or did the process begin earlier?

The answer for any serious student of imperial politics is the latter. Indeed, a fascinating email suggests that the tipping point occurred in early to mid-2014, long before Trump set foot in the Oval Office.

Sent from U.S. General Wesley Clark to Philip Breedlove, Clark’s successor as NATO commander in Europe, the email is dated Apr. 12, 2014, and concerns events in the Ukraine that had recently begun spinning out of control. A few weeks earlier, the Obama administration had been on top of the world thanks to a nationalist insurrection in Kiev that had chased out a mildly pro-Russian president named Viktor Yanukovych. Champagne glasses were no doubt clinking in Washington now that the Ukraine was solidly in the western camp. But then everything went awry. First, Vladimir Putin seized control of the Crimean Peninsula, site of an all-important Russian naval base at Sevastopol. Then a pro-Russian insurgency took off in Donetsk and Luhansk, two Russian-speaking provinces in the Ukraine’s far east. Suddenly, the country was coming apart at the seams, and the U.S. didn’t know what to do.

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Get Ready for the Next Game-Changer: the Digital Yuan

Get Ready for the Next Game-Changer: the Digital Yuan

A new, radical paradigm shift is in progress. The U.S. economy may shrink as much as 40% in the first semester of 2020. China, already the world’s largest economy by PPP for a few years now, may soon become the world’s largest economy even in exchange rate terms.

The post-Planet Lockdown world – still a hazy mirage – may well need a post-Planet Lockdown currency. And that’s where a serious candidate steps into the fray: the fiat digital yuan.

Last month, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) confirmed that a group of top banks started trials in electronic payment in four different Chinese regions using the new digital yuan. Yet there’s no timetable yet for the official launch of what is called the Digital Currency Electronic Payment (DCEP).

The man with the plan is PBOC governor Yi Gang. He has confirmed that apart from the trials in Suzhou, Xiong’an, Chengdu and Shenzhen, the PBOC is also testing hypothetical scenarios for the 2022 Winter Olympics.

While DCEP, according to Yi, “has made very good progress,” he insists the PBOC will be “cautious in terms of risk control, especially to study anti money-laundering and ‘know your customer’ requirements to incorporate in the design and system of DCEP.”

DCEP should be interpreted as the road map for China leading to an eventual, even more groundbreaking replacement of the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency. China is already ahead in the digital currency sweepstakes: the sooner DCEP is launched the better to convince the world, especially the Global South, to tag along.

The PBOC is developing the system with four top state-owned banks as well as payment behemoths Tencent and Ant Financial.

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

Capitalism on Life Support… Time for a Cure

Capitalism on Life Support… Time for a Cure

The Covid-19 pandemic is unleashing obscene bailouts of Western industries and companies, as well as lifelines for billionaire business magnates.

It is grotesque that millions of workers are being laid off by corporations which are in turn receiving taxpayer funds. Many of these corporations have stashed trillions of dollars away in tax havens and have contributed zero to the public treasury. Yet they are being bailed out due to shutdowns in the economy over the Covid-19 crisis.

Why aren’t the banks and corporations being forced by governments to pay for their workers on sick leave or in lockdown? It’s because the governments are bought and paid-for servants of the top one per cent. Some political leaders are the embodiment of the one per cent, like Donald Trump and senior members of the U.S. Congress.

The biggest orgy of funny money is seen in the U.S. where the Trump administration and Congress have approved the printing of trillions of dollars to prop up corporations and banks. Meanwhile crumbs are being thrown at millions of workers and their families.

In just five weeks, unemployment has hit a staggering 26.4 million people in the U.S. – and that’s the official figure. The real level is doubtless much higher. It is reported that the job losses have wiped out all the employment gains made over the past decade since the last financial crisis in 2008. As with the present crisis, the U.S. government arranged trillion-dollar bailouts for banks and industries back in 2008-2009. It didn’t last long until the next binge.

In truth is this is a familiar pattern over the past century where the economy is continually salvaged from ruin by the government at the expense of ordinary workers, small businesses and taxpayers. The recurring rescue is proof that the system of private capital and supposed free markets is a myth.

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Will Quiet Middle East Last? Or Is It Lull Before Next Storm?

Will Quiet Middle East Last? Or Is It Lull Before Next Storm?

Across the Middle East, the coronavirus is stirring up both upheavals and more subtle changes from Tel Aviv to Riyadh, little reported and when covered little understood in the Western media.

In Israel, the virus has enabled that master political magician Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pull off yet another spectacular escape as improbable as any in a James Bond or Star Wars movie to remain in power indefinitely.

After matching him in three successive national elections, Blue and White opposition leader, former Army Chief of Staff retired Lieutenant General Benny Gantz finally blinked: Because of the coronavirus pandemic crisis, he agreed to enter into a coalition with Netanyahu leading it for the first 18 months.

This is more than enough time for Netanyahu, a master political infighter and intriguer to splinter Blue and White into fragments. Indeed, Gantz has already done the biggest part of the job for him.

His own top allies in the new party, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid and former Defense Minister and Army Chief of Staff Moshe Ya’alon both firmly opposed any agreement to compromise with Netanyahu refused to go along with it. Currently, even Gantz and Netanyahu have not yet finalized their agreement, but Netanyahu has seized the initiative from him. His record in power over the past decade suggests he will not release it easily.

Netanyahu can at least boast that his lockdown has kept Israel relatively isolated from the pandemic. That is not the case in Iran, which boasts close trade and energy ties with China and where the virus has been raging ferociously.

That of course, is also the case in the United States. Extremist US hawks have been gloating – hopefully – that the crisis in Iran might discredit and topple the government there. That seems very unlikely at the moment.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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