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What Europe Can Do to Avoid WWIII? Say ‘No!’ Now to Its Start

What Europe Can Do to Avoid WWIII? Say ‘No!’ Now to Its Start 

The US Government, which had lied its way into invading and destroying Iraq in 2003 (with a little help from UK and Europeans), wants Europeans to pitch-in for more US-run invasions. Europeans find this disturbing, but not repulsive enough to say, flat-out, “No!” to it. However, only that “No!” can stop the onrush toward a massive US war against both Iran and Iraq, which would spread ultimately into a global nuclear war between US and Russia.

On January 6th, Barbara Wessel, a columnist for Germany’s Deutsche Welle (DW), headlined a common European sentiment: “Trump has Europeans caught in a trap: Europe is suffering under the way Donald Trump makes political decisions on the fly. The only option left is to appeal to Iran’s interest in self-preservation”. But Iranians can’t stop the sanctions against itself, and can’t stop Trump’s other outrageous aggressions. Wessel’s false underlying assumption was that Europe must lecture Iranians. That’s like lecturing to Jews during WWII: “The only option left is to appeal to Jews’ interest in self-preservation.” Victims already do everything they can to stop their being victimized; they cannot stop the victimizer from victimizing them. They don’t cause it. Europe must, at last, say “No!” to US, the tyrant over the entire world — Bolivia, Venezuela, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and more. Wessel, however, understood, at least, that the dangerousness actually comes far more from the US, than it does from Iran. So, she recognized that her thinking on this whole matter was confused. She stated:

Any illusions about the possibility of an even partially rational cooperation on foreign policy with the government in Washington have long been shattered. Cynical remarks by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who accuses the Europeans of not giving enough support in the Middle East, underline their helplessness. …

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

Another Stupid War

Another Stupid War

All I wanted to do this week was work on part 2 of my localism series, but circumstances quickly got the best of me. The assassination of Iran’s top general Qassem Soleimani was an event of such historical significance, I feel obligated to detail my thoughts on what it means and how things unfold from here, especially given how much of a role geopolitics and questions of empire have played in my writings.

First off, we need to understand the U.S. is now at war with Iran. It’s an undeclared, insane and unconstitutional war, but it is war nonetheless. There is no world in which one government intentionally assassinates the top general of another government and that not be warfare. You can argue the U.S. and Iran were already engaged in low-level proxy wars, and that’s a fair assessment, but you can’t say we aren’t currently in a far more serious a state of war. We are.

Soleimani was not only a powerful general, he was a popular figurewithin Iran. Unlike other blows the U.S. and Iran have inflicted upon one another, this cannot be walked back. There’s no deescalation from here, only escalation. Even if you want to pretend this didn’t happen and turn back the clock, it’s impossible. This is a major event of historical proportions and should be seen as such. Everything has been turned up a notch.

Before discussing what happens next and the big picture implications, it’s worth pointing out the incredible number of blatant lies and overall clownishness that emerged from U.S. officials in the assassination’s aftermath. It started with claims from Trump that Soleimani was plotting imminent attacks on Americans and was caught in the act. Mass media did its job and uncritically parroted this line, which was quickly exposed as a complete falsehood.

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

Iran Evaluating 13 Retaliation Scenarios To Inflict “Historic Nightmare” On US

Iran Evaluating 13 Retaliation Scenarios To Inflict “Historic Nightmare” On US

Breaking a 5-day silence over its response for the US killing of General Qassem Soleimani, on Tuesday Iran said it was assessing 13 scenarios to inflict a “historic nightmare” on the US. “Even if the weakest of these scenarios gain a consensus, its implementation can be a historic nightmare for the Americans,” Ali Shamkhani, the head of Iran’s national security council, was cited by Fars news agency, adding that, “For now, for intelligence reasons, we cannot provide more information to the media.”

Iranian officials previously said that U.S. forces in the region will be targets, and overnight the Iranian parliament on Tuesday designated the Pentagon and affiliated companies as terrorists. In response, the U.S. issued a warning to shipping in the Middle East over the possibility of Iranian action against U.S. maritime interests, the Associated Press reported, citing a statement.

Soleimani’s death has rippled through the Middle East, with the U.S. and its allies on high alert for a retaliation attack by Iran.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, said Tuesday that the U.S. would suffer consequences for the killing of Soleimani “at a time and place of Iran’s choosing.” Zarif added the U.S. must leave the Middle East and warned that if they don’t, a new multi-generational war could erupt.

The leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Hossein Salami, told tens of thousands on Tuesday for the burial of Soleimani in the city of Kerman that Iran was ready to “set ablaze those places Americans hold dear” over the killing of the former commander. Thousands chanted “revenge, revenge,” as the IRGC leader declared “we will take revenge. The revenge will be vigorous and unwavering, woeful, and terminal.”

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

Rabobank: “World War 3? The US Has Crossed A Red Line… But It’s Not The One They Think”

Rabobank: “World War 3? The US Has Crossed A Red Line… But It’s Not The One They Think”

“World War Three!” is trending on social media the day I return to work after two weeks off deliberately not reading any news for once: ironic given my reputation for being bearish about geopolitics. Markets, of course, have failed to react much: Middle-East bourses closed down 2-4% on Sunday, which is not exactly end of the world stuff; WTI futures are up around 3%, again not a real panic; while US 10-year yields were down from 1.94% intraday Thursday to 1.79% as of the Friday close – but the weak US ISM survey (47.2 headline; 46.8 new orders; 45.1 employment) could be to blame for that alone.

You know what? For once the markets are arguably right, albeit for all the wrong reasons. Markets think nothing that happens in the Middle East matters because central banks will have their backs regardlessThat is patent nonsense, even if Ben Bernanke is muttering about not ruling out negative rates and further purchases of “private securities” during the next down-turn. If Iran launched a devastating missile attack on Saudi and UAE oil facilities, and means it this time; or on Tel Aviv and the nuclear reactor at Dimona; if it unleashed a wave of global terrorist attacks and assassinations from sleeper agents – none of those things are made better by a lower cost of borrowing. They aren’t even helped by (not) helicopter money, as Bernanke alludes to. Central banks can and would be funding a lot more defence spending immediately on a helicopter money basis in those scenarios, but much of the world economy would take a hit regardless – most so if the oil complex is hit. Sorry Central banks, but in those kind of scenarios–as Ayatollah Khamenei tweeted to US President Trump right before he then killed Iranian Revolutionary Guards Council head Qassem Suleimani–“You can’t do anything.”

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

2020 Begins With A Bang (Literally)

2020 Begins With A Bang (Literally)

A heck of a lot happened this week

It sure didn’t take long for 2020 to get interesting.

Iran

The biggest development of the new year happened Thursday when the US military assassinated Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s most powerful figure after its Supreme Leader, in a surgical drone strike.

This is an extremely serious action; one that Iran is highly likely to respond forcefully against. As the world anxiously awaits what will happen next, #wwwiii suddenly is a top twitter trend.[Update: since this original publication of this article, the US has conducted further airstrikes on Iranian targets located in Iraq, Bagdad’s ‘Green Zone’ which contains the US Embassy has come under attack, and there are unconfirmed reports that US aircraft have hit Iranian targest in Syria.]

Chris has been furiously processing the news flow on this on an hour-by-hour basis in his latest post on the topic here.

If you want to better understand the context behind the current US-Iran tension as well as breaking developments from last night’s bombing and the likely repercussions, read the post and follow Chris’ updatesin its Comments section.

Gold

On Sunday, Chris released this prediction that gold was poised for a big price move. Sure enough, gold closed the week up $40/ounce, certainly helped today by the geopolitical worries escalating between the US and Iran.

The yellow metal is now up nearly $100/oz from a month ago, and over $200/oz from a year ago.

It seems to be finally emerging from its 7-year slumber. Even the long-beaten mining shares are up nicely over the past year.

The start of a new bull market in the precious metals may indeed be upon us.

WTF?! (What The Fed?!)

The first trading day of the year saw the S&P 500 close at an all-time high, suggesting that Fed liquidity was still driving the show as it did for the entirety of 2019.

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

“We Do Not Seek War,” Says President Who Just Started A War

“We Do Not Seek War,” Says President Who Just Started A War

President Trump has been steadfastly assuring the world that the United States government does not wish to start the war it has already started by assassinating Iran’s top general.

“We are a peace-loving nation and my administration remains firmly committed to establishing peace and harmony among the nations in the world,” Trump said in a speech at his luxury Mar-a-Lago getaway on Friday. “We do not seek war, we do not seek nation-building, we do not seek regime change, but as president I will never hesitate to defend the safety of the American people.”

“We took action last night to stop a war. We did not take action to start a war,” the president added.

To be clear, in no way is any part of this a thing. Assassinating a nation’s most senior military official, and then claiming that you do not wish to start a war with that nation, is not a thing.

America is at war with Iran currently. What that war will end up looking like is anyone’s guess right now, but there is no question that a war has been initiated. If any nation had assassinated a top US general via airstrike and then openly admitted to it, the US would immediately be at war with that nation. Without question. An extreme military retaliation would be in the works within minutes of the announcement, and the entire political/media class would fully support that retaliation in whatever form it took.

This may come as a surprise to some Americans, but that same principle holds true for other nations as well.

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

The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative

The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative

The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.

No, the lesson they have learnt is never to admit they lied, never to admit they were wrong. They see the ghost-like waxen visage of Tony Blair wandering around, stinking rich but less popular than an Epstein birthday party, and realise that being widely recognised as a lying mass murderer is not a good career choice. They have learnt that the mistake is for the Establishment ever to admit the lies.

The Establishment had to do a certain amount of collective self-flagellation over the non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, over which they precipitated the death and maiming of millions of people. Only a very few outliers, like the strange Melanie Phillips, still claimed the WMD really did exist, and her motive was so obviously that she supported any excuse to kill Muslims that nobody paid any attention. Her permanent pass to appear on the BBC was upgraded. But by and large everyone accepted the Iraqi WMD had been a fiction. The mainstream media Blair/Bush acolytes like Cohen, Kamm and Aaronovitch switched to arguing that even if WMD did not exist, Iraq was in any case better off for having so many people killed and its infrastructure destroyed.

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

The News Churn Memory Hole: How The MSM Lies Even When Telling The Truth

The News Churn Memory Hole: How The MSM Lies Even When Telling The Truth

“This goofy ass Trump letter is gonna get more outraged coverage than the bombshell report on the entire Afghanistan war being a lie and frankly I don’t know if I can handle that right now,” popular Youtube commentator Kyle Kulinski tweeted today.

The post was just one of the many observations that Kulinski tosses into the Twitterverse every day, presented in his typical casual, offhand way without any self-significance. But if you actually pause and think about what he’s saying here, how true it is and what it says about the mass media institutions which people rely upon to form their worldviews, it’s actually a damning indictment of our entire society.

It is a fact that far more news media energy is going into one trivial aspect of an impeachment agenda that will with absolute certainty fail to remove Trump from office than there is for the known fact that the US government fought to suppress indisputable proof that American officials have been consistently lying about an 18-year military occupation which continues to this day. This fact should, by itself, be sufficient to completely discredit the mainstream press. This one tiny piece of information, that there’s vastly more buzz about an irrelevant impeachment sideshow than there is over the Afghanistan Papers, should in and of itself cause everyone to regard the entire establishment media complex with the same amount of respect as it gives the Flat Earth Society.


This last week teaches us that temporarily freezing and then unfreezing future military aid to one of our many far-flung client states is huge national emergency but the government systematically lying about every aspect of the longest war in US history is a forgettable non-issue


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

Is it Jaw-Jaw or War With Iran?

Is it Jaw-Jaw or War With Iran?

Is it Jaw-Jaw or War With Iran?

Strategically, economically and politically, the Islamic Republic of Iran seems to be in almost desperate straits.

“Jaw-jaw is better than war-war,” is attributed, wrongly, say some historians, to Winston Churchill. Still, the words lately came to mind.

While last week ended with a hopeful U.S.-Iranian prisoner exchange that was hailed by President Donald Trump — “Thank you to Iran for a very fair negotiation. See, we can make a deal together” — a few days earlier, the week produced more ominous news.

In a startling front-page story Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. is to send 14,000 troops to the Middle East, in addition to the 14,000 we have sent since May.

The reason for the reinforcements, said the Journal, is Iran.

“The Trump administration is considering a significant expansion of the U.S. military footprint in the Middle East to counter Iran, including dozens more ships … and as many as 14,000 additional troops.”

By week’s end, Defense Secretary Mark Esper had knocked down the Journal story, saying no major new deployment is planned and U.S. forces in the region are sufficient to deal with the situation in Iran.

And what is that situation?

Strategically, economically and politically, the Islamic Republic of Iran seems to be in almost desperate straits.

U.S. sanctions have slashed Iran’s oil sales from 2.5 million barrels per day to, by one estimate, 400,000 barrels. After the Nov. 15 announcement of a 50% hike in gas prices to close a budget gap, a week of riots exploded. Within days, protesters were calling for the overthrow of the regime.

Security forces answered with gunfire. In the bloodiest political violence since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, hundreds were killed, with thousands wounded. Amnesty International says it has documented more than 200 deaths.

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

Blocking SWIFT Access Would Be “Declaration Of War”: Russia Warns Against US ‘Nuclear Option’

Blocking SWIFT Access Would Be “Declaration Of War”: Russia Warns Against US ‘Nuclear Option’

Last year during the height of controversy over the Kerch Strait incident, while two dozen Ukrainian sailors were still being held by Russia, Washington’s special envoy to Ukraine at the time, Kurt Volker, floated the possibility of Washington blocking Russian banks from SWIFT. He told Voice of America at the time that it was considered “a nuclear option” and it would have huge costs which would even inadvertently impact US allies.

“People refer to it as a nuclear option. It would have costs for everybody involved,” he said. “Big costs for Russia, but big costs for allies as well. Ultimately, we have to keep it on the table as a possibility because we just can’t continue to see Russia launch further steps of aggression in its neighborhood like this.”

No doubt it’s still in Washington’s playbook as a ‘nuclear option’ long after the Kerch Strait incident was diffused with an historic prisoner swap, and the Kremlin has taken note.

Russia’s Central Bank, via Wiki Commons.

On Thursday Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev took Washington to task over the prior warning, telling reporters that Moscow is well aware of discussions to take sanctions further, even cutting off the country’s access to some 11,000 banks and financial institutions in over 200 countries by blocking SWIFT. This is exactly what the Trump White House did vis-à-vis Iran months after it pulled out of the 2015 JCPOA.

Medvedev said such far-reaching action would be tantamount to a declaration of war. According to statements reported in Russian media:

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Medvedev recalled the West once seriously considered the option, and Moscow is aware of it.

“This would in fact be a declaration of war, but nevertheless it was discussed,” the Russian prime minister said, adding that this is one of the reasons why the government is looking into ways to protect the Russian part of the internet.

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

The Blob: Still Chasing After Pax Americana

The Blob: Still Chasing After Pax Americana

After all the failure, they still look at our wars in the Middle East as some kind of golden age.

Credit: U.S. Air Force/Flickr

I wish to call attention to an instructive essay about U.S. policy in the Middle East—instructive in the sense that it reveals the utterly impoverished nature of establishment thinking on this subject. The title of the essay is “The US Has One Last Chance to Halt Its Withdrawal from the Middle East.” The author is a former deputy assistant secretary of defense, who shall remain nameless since I bear him no ill will. Let us refer to him simply as X, in honor of George Kennan, author of a famous 1947 essay offering counsel on how to deal with the Soviet Union. Kennan published that essay under the pseudonym X. And so shall I refer to the author of “One Last Chance.”

Kennan’s purpose was to sound the alarm regarding the Soviet threat and to propose what came to be called the strategy of Containment. The purpose of our present-day Mr. X is to sound the alarm about the United States lowering its profile in the Middle East. To avert that prospect, he proposes what can only be termed a strategy of staying-the-course-while-ignoring-the-facts.

X concedes that throughout the region, things have not gone especially well for the United States over the last couple of decades. He rightly notes that Americans are “still reeling from costly wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and the continuing chaos in Syria, Yemen, and Libya.” He ever so briefly acknowledges that this is “a region where even pro-American governments are often undemocratic and can be disdainful of fundamental human rights” and “where billions of dollars are spent that would be better used at home.”

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

“We Are Going To War”: Has The Final Apocalyptic Conflict Between Israel and Her Enemies Now Begun?

“We Are Going To War”: Has The Final Apocalyptic Conflict Between Israel and Her Enemies Now Begun?

On Tuesday, terrorists in the Gaza Strip fired hundreds of rockets at Israel in retaliation for Israel’s targeted killing of the senior commander of Islamic Jihad in Gaza.  Many of the rockets were intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, but quite a few got through, and some even reached as far as Tel Aviv.  Following those rocket attacks, Israeli tanks and aircraft pounded Islamic Jihad positions in the Gaza Strip, and Israeli officials are pledging to continue to respond to any additional attacks.  Unfortunately, it certainly sounds like more attacks are coming.  According to Islamic Jihad’s Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala, his organization is “going to war” with Israel.  The following comes from the Times of Israel

We are going to war. [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu has crossed all the red lines in assassinating Al-Quds Brigades Commander Baha Abu al-Ata. We will respond forcefully,” PIJ Secretary-General Ziad al-Nakhala told the Dar al-Hayat Arabic-language news site.

Israeli officials felt that they had no choice but to kill Baha Abu al-Ata once they had a clear opportunity to do so.  According to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, he was an “archterrorist” and was “the main instigator of terrorism from the Gaza Strip”.  The Israeli people are fed up with the endless rocket attacks, and so it makes sense that Israel would target the man that initiated so many of those attacks.

But to Islamic Jihad, Baha Abu al-Ata was a greatly beloved hero, and his death sent shockwaves throughout the entire Middle East.  Once news of his death got out, terrorists in Gaza fired “more than 200 rockets into Israel”

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

How Central Banks Fund Our Age of Endless War

How Central Banks Fund Our Age of Endless War

[This talk was delivered at the Mises Circle in New York City on September 14, 2012.]

The 20th century was the century of total war. Limitations on the scope of war, built up over many centuries, had already begun to break down in the 19th century, but they were altogether obliterated in the 20th. And of course the sheer amount of resources that centralized states could bring to bear in war, and the terrible new technologies of killing that became available to them, made the 20th a century of almost unimaginable horror.

It isn’t terribly often that people discuss the development of total war in tandem with the development of modern central banking, which — although antecedents existed long before — also came into its own in the 20th century. It’s no surprise that Ron Paul, the man in public life who has done more than anyone to break through the limits of what is permissible to say in polite society about both these things, has also been so insistent that the twin phenomena of war and central banking are linked. “It is no coincidence,” Dr. Paul said, “that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.”

He added:

If every American taxpayer had to submit an extra five or ten thousand dollars to the IRS this April to pay for the war, I’m quite certain it would end very quickly. The problem is that government finances war by borrowing and printing money, rather than presenting a bill directly in the form of higher taxes. When the costs are obscured, the question of whether any war is worth it becomes distorted.

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

In A Society Built On War, We Must Do More Than Just Prefer Peace

In A Society Built On War, We Must Do More Than Just Prefer Peace

American activist Angela Davis once said, “In a racist society it is not enough to be non-racist, we must be anti-racist.” Our responsibility to truth and justice isn’t fulfilled by merely witnessing the perverse tendency in western society toward white supremacy without participating in it, any more than our responsibility is fulfilled by merely witnessing but not participating in a gang rape. Simply choosing not to participate in a grave injustice while giving it our tacit permission to continue is insufficient, especially if the color of your skin gives you an advantage resulting from that injustice. This injustice must be forcefully opposed.

The same is true of war, which is the glue that holds together the empire which dominates our society.

There is a painfully common notion among leftists and progressives that it is perfectly acceptable to focus on domestic policy while de-emphasising the importance of foreign policy, or even ignoring foreign policy entirely. Politicians can generate immense support for themselves simply by promoting decent domestic policies while maintaining foreign policy that is not terribly distinct from the CIA/CNN mainstream consensus. I’m not as familiar with right-wing political circles, but I gather that libertarians and other right-leaning anti-interventionists often encounter a similar deprioritization of sane foreign policy.

War is the worst thing in the world. In terms of death, destruction and suffering caused to human beings, nothing else comes close: it’s just the absolute worst thing. It is worse than economic injustice. It is worse than racism. It is worse than sexism. It is worse than homophobia and transphobia. It is worse than draconian drug policies and immigration policies. All of those things are bad. War is worse. The politics of anyone who claims to care about people should reflect this.

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

Trump Warns: Warmongering Will Not End, The US “May Have to Get Into Wars”

TRUMP WARNS: WARMONGERING WILL NOT END, THE US “MAY HAVE TO GET INTO WARS”

President Donald Trump’s words don’t set him apart from the past president’s intent on raining down terror in other countries.  Trump has said that the United States’ warmongering will not end, and the U.S. “may have to get into wars.”

Inevitably, everyone calling for war doesn’t have to potentially fight or die in one. And Trump seems to be specifically threatening Iran, according to Politico. The president says the U.S. will strike Iran “like they’ve never been hit before” if the regime provokes Washington. Those comments appeared confusing because the president also claimed on Monday that he was working to bring soldiers home.

So he is going to bring U.S. soldiers home by sending them off to other conflicts? “I’m trying to get out of wars. We may have to get in wars, too. OK? We may have to get in wars,” Trump told reporters at the White House. He reiterated the part about getting into wars twice while only saying he wants to get out of wars once.

“We’re better prepared than we’ve ever been,” he continued. “If Iran does something, they’ll be hit like they’ve never been hit before. I mean, we have things that we’re looking at.” Politico reported further that Trump in recent days has sought to promote a temporary cease-fire agreement that Vice President Mike Pence negotiated last week with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, aimed at halting the slaughter of U.S.-allied Kurdish fighters in Syria by Turkish forces.

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

Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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