zaterdag 6 oktober 2018

Remember: We, the Salt of the Earth

We, the Salt of the Earth, Take Precedence 
By Paul Craig Roberts
01/07/08 "ICH" -- - - Which country is the rogue nation?  Iraq?  Iran?  Or the United States? Syndicated columnist Charley Reese asks this question in a recently published article.
Reese notes that it is the US that routinely commits “acts of aggression around the globe.”  The US government has no qualms about dropping bombs on civilians whether they be in Serbia, the Middle East, or Africa.  It is all in a good cause--our cause.
This slaughtering of foreigners doesn’t seem to bother the American public.  Americans take it for granted that Americans are superior and that American purposes, whatever they be, take precedence over the rights of other people to life and to a political existence independent of American hegemony. 
The Bush regime has come up with a preemption doctrine that justifies attacking a country in order to prevent the country from possibly becoming a future threat to the US.  “Threat” is broadly defined.  It appears to mean the ability to withstand the imposition of US hegemony.  This insane doctrine justifies attacking China and Russia, a direction in which the Republican presidential candidate John McCain seems to lean.
The callousness of Americans toward the lives of other peoples is stunning.  How many Christian churches ask God’s forgiveness for having been rushed into an error that has killed, maimed, and displaced a quarter of the Iraqi population?  
How many Christian churches ask God to give better guidance to our government so that it does not repeat the error and crime by attacking Iran?
The indifference of Americans to others flows from “American exceptionalism,” the belief that Americans are graced with a special mission to impose their virtue on the rest of the world.  Like the French revolutionaries, Americans don’t seem to care how many people they kill in the process of spreading their exceptionalism.
American exceptionalism has swelled Americans’ heads, filling them with hubris and self-righteousness and making Americans believe that they are the salt of the earth.  
Three recent books are good antidotes for this unjustified self-esteem.  One is Patrick J. Buchanan’s Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War.  Another is After the Reich: The Brutal History of the Allied Occupation by Giles MacDonogh, and a third is John Pilger’s Freedom Next Time.
Buchanan’s latest book is by far his best.  It is spell-binding from his opening sentence: “All about us we can see clearly now that the West is passing away.”  As the pages turn, the comfortable myths, produced by history written by the victors, are swept aside.  The veil is lifted to reveal the true faces of British and American exceptionalism: stupidity and deceit. 
Buchanan’s strength is that he lets the story be told by Britain’s greatest 20th century historians and the memoirs of the participants in the events that destroyed the West’s dominance and moral character.  Buchanan’s contribution is to assemble the collective judgment of a hundred historians.
As I read the tale, it is a story of hubris destroying judgment and substituting in its place blunder and miscalculation.  Both world wars began when England, for no sound or sensible reason, declared war on Germany.  Winston Churchill was a prime instigator of both wars.  He seems to have been a person who needed a war stage in order to be a “great man.”
The American President Woodrow Wilson shares responsibility with Britain and France for the Versailles Treaty, which dismembered Germany, stripping her of territory and putting millions of Germans under foreign rule, and imposed reparations that Britain’s greatest economist, John Maynard Keynes, correctly predicted to be unrealistic.  All of this was done in violation of assurances given to Germany that there would be no reparations or boundary changes.  Once Germany surrendered, the assurances were withdrawn, and a starvation blockade forced German submission to the new harsh terms.
Hitler’s program was to put Germany back together. He was succeeding without war until Churchill provoked Chamberlain into an insane act.  Danzig was 95 percent German.  It had been given to Poland by the Versailles Treaty.  Hitler was negotiating its return and offered in exchange a guarantee of Poland’s frontiers.  The Polish colonels, assessing the relative strengths of Poland and Germany, understood that a deal was better than a war.  But suddenly, the British Prime Minister issued Poland a guarantee of its existing territory, including Danzig, whose inhabitants wished to return to Germany.
Buchanan produces one historian after another to testify that British miscalculations and blunders, culminating in Chamberlain’s worthless and provocative “guarantee” to Poland, brought the West into a war that Hitler did not want, a war that destroyed the British Empire and left Britain a dependency of America, a war that delivered Poland, a chunk of Germany, all of Eastern Europe, and the Baltic states to Joseph Stalin, a war that left the Western allies with a 45-year cold war against the nuclear-armed Soviet Union.   
People resist the shattering of their illusions, and many are angry with Buchanan for assembling the facts of the case that distinguished historians have provided.  
Churchill admirers are outraged that their hero is revealed as the first war criminal of World War II.  It was Churchill who initiated the policy of terror bombing civilians in non-combatant areas.  Buchanan quotes B.H. Liddell Hart: “When Mr. Churchill came into power, one of the first decisions of his government was to extend bombing to the non-combatant area.”
In holding Churchill to account, Buchanan makes no apologies for Hitler, but the ease with which Churchill set aside moral considerations is discomforting.   
Buchanan documents that Churchill’s plan was to destroy 50% of German homes.  Churchill also had plans for using chemical and biological warfare against German civilians.  In 2001 the Glasgow Sunday Herald reported Churchill’s plan to drop five million anthrax cakes onto German pastures in order to poison the cattle and through them the people.  Churchill instructed the RAF to consider drenching “the cities of the Ruhr and many other cities in Germany” with poison gas “in such a way that most of the population would be requiring constant medical attention.”  
“It is absurd to consider morality on this topic,” the great man declared.
Paul Johnson, a favorite historian of conservatives, notes that Churchill’s policy of terror bombing civilians was “approved in cabinet, endorsed by parliament and, so far as can be judged, enthusiastically backed by the bulk of the British people.”  Thus, the terror bombing of civilians, which “marked a critical stage in the moral declension of humanity in our times,” fulfilled “all the conditions of the process of consent in a democracy under law.” 
British historian F.J.P. Veale concluded that Churchill’s policy of indiscriminate bombing of civilians caused an unprecedented “reversion to primary and total warfare” associated with “Sennacherib, Genghis Khan, and Tamerlane.”
The Americans were quick to follow Churchill’s lead.  General Curtis LeMay boasted of his raid on Tokyo: “We scorched and boiled and baked to death more people in Tokyo that night of March 9-10 than went up in vapor in Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined.”  
MacDonogh’s book, After the Reich, dispels the comfortable myth of generous allied treatment of defeated Germany.  Having discarded all moral scruples, the allies fell upon the vanquished country with brutal occupation.  Hundreds of thousands of women raped; hundreds of thousands of Germans died in deportations; a million German prisoners of war died in captivity.
MacDonogh calculates that 2.5 million Germans died between the liberation of Vienna and the Berlin airlift.
Nigel Jones writes in the conservative London Sunday Telegraph: “MacDonogh has told a very inconvenient truth,” a story long “cloaked in silence since telling it suited no one.”  
The hypocrisy of the Nuremberg trials is that the victors were also guilty of crimes for which the vanquished were punished.  The purpose of the trials was to demonize the defeated in order to divert attention from the allies’ own war crimes.  The trials had little to do with justice.
In Freedom Next Time, Pilger shows the complete self-absorption of American, British  and Israeli governments whose policies are unimpeded by any moral principle.  
Pilger documents the demise of the inhabitants of Diego Garcia. The Americans wanted Diego Garcia for an air base, so the British packed up the 2,000 residents, people with British passports under British protection, and deported them to Mauritius, one thousand miles away.  
To cover up its crime against humanity, the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office created the fiction that the inhabitants, which had been living in the archipelago for two or three centuries, were “a floating population.”  This fiction, wrote a legal adviser, bolsters “our arguments that the territory has no indigenous or settled population.”  
Prime Minister Harold Wilson and Foreign Secretary Michael Stewart conspired to mislead the UN about the deported islanders by, in Stewart’s words, “ presenting any move as a change of employment for contract workers--rather than as a population resettlement.” 
Pilger interviewed some of the displaced persons, but emotional blocs will shield patriotic Americans and British from the uncomfortable facts.  Rational skeptics can find a second documented account of the Anglo-American rape of Diego Garcia online at  An entire people were swept away.
Two thousand people were in the way of an American purpose--an air base--so we had our British dependency deport them.
Several million Palestinians are in Israel’s way.  Pilger’s documented account of Israel’s crushing of the Palestinians shows that our “democratic ally” in the Middle East is capable of any evil and has no remorse or mercy.  Israel is an apt student of the British and American empires’ attitudes toward lesser beings. They simply don’t count.
Those who are the salt of the earth take precedence over everything.

Globalisation and Higher Tribalism

Globalisation and Higher Tribalism Peter Myers, December 7, 2002; update January 15, 2006. My comments are shown {thus}. 
Write to me at contact.html
(1) Introducing Higher Tribalism (2) Joel Kotkin on Higher Tribalism

(1) Introducing Higher Tribalism
Is Globalisation making us "one", or are we divided by tribal allegiances? 
Joel Kotkin's book Tribes is a study of five such tribes - Jews, British (which includes "white "Australians & Americans of English/Irish ancestry), Japanese, Chinese and Indians. Each has a homeland core, a diaspora spread around the world, and a cultural sense of uniqueness. More from Kotkin below
Amy Chua, a Filipino of Chinese "tribe", wrote a book called World On Fire, about "market-dominant minorities," groups like the Chinese in Southeast Asia, Jews in Russia, whites in Zimbabwe and Indians in East Africa and Fiji. 
Michelle Goldberg wrote in her review of it: 
'Market-dominant minorities control hugely disproportionate percentages of their countries' resources. Filipino Chinese comprise just 1 to 2 percent of the Philippines' population, but control all of the country's major supermarkets, fast-food restaurants and large department stores, and all but one of the nation's banks. A similar situation obtains in Indonesia. Jews make up a similarly tiny proportion of Russia's population, but of the seven "oligarchs" who control virtually all of the country's business, six are Jewish. Lebanese dominate the economies in Sierra Leone and Gambia, while Indians dominate the economy in Kenya, along with a smaller, indigenous minority tribe called the Kikuyu. Similar examples abound worldwide. ... 
'In Indonesia ... By 1998, Chua writes, Chinese made up 3 percent of the population but controlled 70 percent of the private economy.'
Yuri Slezkine's book The Jewish Century is also about higher tribalism. He wrote: '... The most common way to describe the role and the fate of Indonesia's Chinese is to call them "the Jews of Asia."' (p. 39); Slezkine himself, like Kotkin, is Jewish slezkine.html.
In the US, Benjamin Ginsberg, a Jewish Professor, wrote in his book The Fatal Embrace: "Today, though barely 2% of the nation's population is Jewish, close to half its billionaires are Jews. The chief executive officers of the three major television networks, and the four largest film studios are Jews, as are the owners of the nation's largest newspaper chain and most influential single newspaper, the New York Times. In the late 1960s, Jews already constituted 20% of the faculty of elite universities and 40% of the professors of elite law schools; today, these percentages doubtless are higher." (p.1) ginsberg.html.
When the Vikings invaded Europe, they brought Aryanism (European tribalism and militancy) back into pacifist Europe, and it was blended into Christianity. The Church, unable to resist them militarily, baptised them as Normans. The Norman aristocrats ruled as the First Estate, and the Church as the Second. Pressed by Islam, the Church launched the Crusades, led by the Normans, and the same combination conquered the New World. 
This was not the first expansion of Indo-European-speaking (Aryan) peoples. They had originated in the steppes of Eastern Europe and Central Asia - at that time they cannot be called "Europeans", so "Aryans" must do - and from there conquered India (destroying the Harappan civilization: rig-veda.html), parts of the Middle East (including participating in the Hyksos invasion of Egypt), and Western Europe. 
The chariot appears to have been invented by Aryans in Central Asia, and to have spread both West & East from there. The chariot was the tank of the day, and allowed blitzkrieg invasions. Those invaded had to acquire the technology, one way or the other. 
Old Kingdom Egypt had no chariots. The Hyksos had chariots, which would have helped them to defeat Egypt. Later pharoahs had them, and the Jewish god Yahweh is depicted, in the Bible, sitting on a Merkabah (Merkavah), which means "throne-chariot". 
The chariot reached China from Central Asia. Silk road archeological findings substantiate cultural exchange between East & West. 
The word "Aryan" is today preserved in the names of the countries "Iran" and "Ireland", i.e. "Eire" = "Aryan", showing the extent of the Aryan conquest. Marija Gimbutas, below, shows the reality of Aryan "nobility". 
When we consider the way that Pizarro, with his small band of conquistadores, conquered the Inca empire, with deception and brutality, we ask ourselves, do we support or reject such behaviour. I personally feel very uncomfortable about it. Yet here we are, inheritors of Australia due to similar behaviour of our own ancestors. 
This history of the two waves of Indo-European expansion is embarrassing, in our Internationalist age, and not well covered in history books, so I have included a number of readings from experts, plus links for follow-ups.

NATO Calls Provocation 'Defensive'

Now this is transparency! NATO to deploy 45,000 troops near Russian border, calls it 'defensive'

Now this is transparency! NATO to deploy 45,000 troops near Russian border, calls it 'defensive'
Amid ceaseless accusations of Russian aggression, NATO will deploy 45,000 troops to Northern Europe in what will be the alliance's largest "defensive" exercise since the end of the Cold War. 
Fifty aircraft, 70 vessels, and around 10,000 land vehicles will take part in NATO's Trident Juncture 18 drills, which are set to begin on October 25, with live field exercises continuing until November 7. Thirty-one allied countries and partners are slated to participate.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg described the massive military maneuvers as "defensive and transparent," adding that all members of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), including Russia, had been invited to send observers.
The drills will simulate the defense of a member state being attacked by a "fictional" aggressor, but the drills' set locations in Norway, Finland, and Sweden leave little to the imagination. Observers have noted this setting of this year's drills may have been prompted by the growing struggle with Russia for control of the strategically-vital Arctic.
The drills will also test the alliance's ability to operate in cold weather – but it appears that at least some NATO states failed to properly prepare their troops for the chilly Norwegian weather: Around 1,000 Dutch soldiers set to take part in the drills were asked to shop on their own for suitable warm underwear, with the Dutch government reportedly giving each soldier €1,000 (US$1,167) to stock up on warm undies.
Although it's not the first Trident Juncture exercise, this year's drills will be larger than anything seen since at least the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. The Trident Juncture 2015 exercises, for example, involved 36,000 international troops accompanied by 60 warships and about 200 aircraft.
NATO has significantly increased its military presence and activity along the Russian border, including in the Baltic states and eastern Europe, since Crimea's reunification with Russia and the outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014. In the last few months alone, the alliance has held a number of high profile drills. In June, more than 18,000 soldiers from 19 countries took part in the two-week Saber Strike exercise, held in Poland and the Baltics. Then at the end of August, Latvia hosted the biggest war games ever staged on its territory since gaining its independence. Some 10,000 troops from more than a dozen NATO countries participated in the drills.
The number of NATO troops stationed in the region has also increased. Poland has offered the US $2 billion to establish a permanent military base on its territory, and in Norway, a contingency of US Marines has been increased from 330 to 770.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented earlier this week that "the escalation of NATO's military and political activity in the Arctic region, namely, in the immediate vicinity of Russia on the territory of northern Norway, hasn't gone unnoticed."

And while NATO gears up for its largest military drills in more than two decades, the alliance is also taking aim at Russia on the cyber front: A barrage of accusations against Russia over alleged government-ordered hacking was curiously timed to coincide with a NATO meeting on cyberwarfare.

NOS Leugens en Propaganda voor Oorlog met Rusland

NOS liegt heel Nederland voor en stuurt aan op conflict met Rusland

De NOS werd op 9 september 2014 ontmaskerd door een filmpje wat grote bekendheid kreeg via o.a. Geenstijl. Dat de mainstream media niet altijd onpartijdig is wisten de meeste mensen waarschijnlijk inmiddels wel. Maar dat de NOS bewust knipt in filmpjes om zo een eigen politieke agenda te zetten is wel heel schokkend.
Helemaal als die agenda er eentje is van het aansturen op een conflict met Rusland. Iets wat ze tot op de dag van vandaag zijn blijven doen ondanks hun ontmaskering van ruim 3 jaar geleden.
Het filmpje hieronder laat zien dat de NOS doet alsof Poetin een BBC verslaggever negeert waardoor het lijkt of alle slachtoffers hem koud laten. Hiermee roept het een beeld op alsof het een soort stille schuldbekentenis van Poetin is. In de realiteit nam Poetin echter rustig de tijd om de verslaggever helder en duidelijk te woord te staan. Bekijk eerst het fragment dat de NOS uitstuurde en dan de werkelijkheid …
Toch fijn om dit zwart op wit te hebben en te weten dat de NOS, betaald met uw belastinggeld, opzettelijk filmpjes verknipt om zo heel kijkend Nederland bewust op het verkeerde been te zetten en op te stoken tegen Rusland. Dat Marcel Gelauff vervolgens ook alles nog probeert te bagatelliseren laat zien hoe misselijkmakend de NOS te werk gaat.
Aanzetten tot grootschalig conflict via bewuste media manipulatie van het Nederlandse publiek en daar gewoon mee door blijven gaan over meerdere jaren tijd… Wordt het tijd voor het Nederlandse volk om het ontslag aan te vragen van de hoofdredacteur van NOS Marcel Gelauff?
Dat de NOS bewust een agenda zet terwijl er nog steeds 0 bewijs is van Russische betrokkenheid bij MH17 is misselijkmakend. Daarnaast wijzen alle pijlen van onafhankelijke onderzoekers naar een False Flag van de CIA Puppet president Petro Porosjenko in Kiev en de VS zelf. Want wat zijn de feiten momenteel?
Uit een wikileak van 28 April 2006 wordt de huidige president Petro Porosjenko een insider genoemd in de wikileaks. Een insider van de geheime diensten van de VS, kortom een CIA asset.
Date: 2006 April 28, 14:35 (Friday) Canonical ID: 06KIEV1706_a
Current Classification: CONFIDENTIAL
“B. KIEV 1663
Classified By: Ambassador for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).

1. (C) During an April 28 meeting with Ambassador, Our Ukraine (OU)
insider Petro Poroshenko emphatically denied he was using his influence with the Prosecutor General to put pressure on Tymoshenko lieutenant Oleksandr Turchynov (refs A and B).
[ … ]
false-flag-chalkboard (1)We weten ook dat er een boel rare politieke wisselingen zijn geweest de laatste tijd in de Oekraïne onder buitengewoon verdachte omstandigheden. In februari van dit jaar werden bij opstanden in het land door scherpschutters op de demonstranten geschoten en het lijkt erop dat vooral mensen betrokken bij het huidige regiem daar wel eens achter kunnen zitten. Uiteraard werd deze daad in de schoenen van de oppositie geschoven om zo zelf de macht te grijpen. Een standaard False Flag.
En voor de mensen met een goed geheugen … scherpschutters die op demonstranten schieten, je oppositie daar de schuld van geven en dat gebruiken om zelf de macht te grijpen … klinkt dat niet ergens bekend? Jawel, dat is precies hetzelfde mechanisme dat door de CIA in 2002 werd ingezet om een coup te plegen in Venezuela op toenmalig president Hugo Chavez. Bekijk de documentaire The Revolution will not be Televised voor de details. Precies hetzelfde draaiboek dat 12 jaar geleden werd afgedraaid in Zuid Amerika lijkt hier te zijn herhaald in de Oekraïne.
Om dit beter te kunnen plaatsen is het belangrijk om weet te hebben van het verleden. En dan specifiek van geheime operaties van bepaalde elementen in de geheime diensten van de VS in Europa onder de codenaam Gladio. Onder deze operatienaam werden vanuit de CIA en de NAVO in de jaren 70/80 aanslagen gepleegd op Europese burgerdoelen en politici waarbij dodelijke slachtoffers vielen. Dit terrorisme op ‘bevriende staten’ werd vervolgens in de schoenen geschoven van communistisch extremisme om zo Europa en Rusland tegen elkaar uit te spelen ten voordele van de VS.
Als ik deze feiten bij elkaar optel dan lijkt het zeer waarschijnlijk dat de ramp met MH17 een nieuwe Operation Gladio is, waarbij bepaalde elementen vanuit de VS koste wat het kost Europa en Rusland tegen elkaar op proberen te zetten en tegen elkaar uit proberen te spelen om daar als VS zelf beter van te worden. Overigens gaf een vooraanstaande geopolitieke denktank Stratfor in de VS recentelijk ook openlijk toe dat ze graag een conflict zien ontstaan tussen Rusland en Europa en dat het al een heel lange tijd als groot belang van de VS wordt gezien om Europa en Rusland niet te laten samenwerken.
Dat een CIA puppet uit 2006 in 2014 opgeklommen is tot president van de Oekraïne en vanaf dat moment dit land het centrum is van vreemde vliegtuigongelukken is dan opeens wat beter te begrijpen. Helemaal als er vervolgens een boel oorlogshitserij vanuit de mainstream media over het volk wordt losgelaten die dat ongeluk aangrijpen als excuus om maar een conflict met Rusland uit te lokken. Wederom een standaard False Flag truc.
Bekijk hier deel 3 van een 5-delige documentaire serie: Counter Intelligence, Shining a Light on Black Operations  met de titel: A Strategie of Tension, waarin uitgebreid in wordt gegaan op False Flags vanuit onder meer Israël en de VS. Operation Gladio komt vanaf minuut 15 uitgebreid aan bod.

Kees van der Pijl: UK, Dutch Hacking Accusations Against Russia 'Coordinated Action'

UK, Dutch Hacking Accusations Against Russia 'Coordinated Action' - Scholar © AFP 2018 / Bart Maat / ANP
21:00 04.10.2018

UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) cited data, purporting to be technical details, which point to the GRU being “almost certainly” involved in the theft of secret WADA documents. Shortly afterwards, the Netherlands alleged that four Russians had attempted to conduct a cyberattack on the OPCW in The Hague. Moscow vigorously denied the claims.

Kees van der Pijl, a Dutch political scientist, fellow at the Centre for Global Political Economy and professor emeritus at the School of Global Studies at the University of Sussex, told Sputnik that he personally “would be very suspicious and look for similarities between the Skripal case and the OPCW affairs.”

He went on to question the British and Dutch secret services’ ability to know beforehand that people arriving in their countries “happily chatting” and “obviously showing very few signs of undercover behavior,” “will commit certain acts.”

Professor Pijl stated that the UK and the Netherlands “have proven on several occasions” that they want to “raise the temperature of the new Cold War,” in light of big parts of the EU being “more inclined to normalize relations with Russia,” citing Germany, Hungary, Italy, etc., as examples.

“The timing of the UK accusations of Russian hacking, now this Dutch press conference, and the immediate joint statement of  May and Rutte all point to a well-prepared and closely coordinated action,” Pijl went on to say.

He assumed that Russia may indeed take an interest in the specifics of the OPCW’s operations and that “Russian agents may be active here” but he “can’t imagine they are so clumsy as to arrive with all colors flying.”

He said it is indeed “not unreasonable” to try to find out what the OPCW is engaged in, given that “this organization is under heavy pressure from the West to assist in keeping alive the 'Assad did it' story of gas incidents in Syria  (meant as a trigger for a major Western intervention there).”

NATO Supports UK, Dutch Cyberattack Accusations Against Russia - Stoltenberg
“To call that 'an attack on international stability' by countries who invaded Iraq (the Dutch agreed with that at the time), Libya etc. is a bold statement,” the scholar rounded off.

On October 4, the Dutch Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country’s intelligence had thwarted a hacking attack on the OPCW, which was, allegedly, to be carried out by four Russian citizens. According to Defense Minister Ank Bijleveld, the suspected Russians, who had diplomatic passports, were expelled from the Netherlands on April 13.

READ MORE: Dutch, British 100% Correct Attributing Recent Cyberattacks to Russia — Mattis

NATO states called for Russia to “stop its reckless pattern of behavior,” with the alliance's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, noting that in response, NATO will strengthen its defense against hybrid threats and cyberattacks.

The EU, in turn, expressed deep concerns over the cyberattack attempt and called it an act of aggression that undermines international law and institutions, according to a joint statement by the heads of the European Council, European Commission and EU diplomatic service. European Council President Donald Tusk announced that cybersecurity issues will be looked into at an EU summit on October 18, in light of the attempted attack on the OPCW.

A source with the Russian Foreign Ministry stated that there were no and there can’t be any attacks on the OPCW on behalf of Russia, because Moscow already has access to the organization’s files. He billed the Dutch accusations “an example of some Western states’ policies reaching the point of bigotry.” The ministry noted that Western “spy mania is gaining momentum.”

Preemptive Military Strike Against Russia

Tue Oct 2, 2018 03:27PM
US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison briefs the media ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 2, 2018. (Reuters photo)
US Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison briefs the media ahead of a NATO defense ministers meeting at the Alliance headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, October 2, 2018. (Reuters photo) 
The United States has threatened to launch a preemptive military strike against Russia if it does not halt developing a banned cruise missile system.
Washington claims Moscow is violating a Cold War treaty and developing a ground-launched cruise missile which could empower Russia to launch a nuclear strike on Europe at short notice. Russia has repeatedly denied any such violation.
“At that point, we would be looking at the capability to take out a (Russian) missile that could hit any of our countries,” US ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison said at a news conference on Tuesday in Brussels.
“Counter measures (by the United States) would be to take out the missiles that are in development by Russia in violation of the treaty,” she added. “They are on notice.”
Russia has not so far made any comment on the unprecedented threat issued by the top US official permanently stationed in the NATO headquarters.
In the past, Moscow has said it is ready for talks with Washington to preserve the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty and would comply with its rules and regulations if the United States did.
In 2017, the US State Department accused Russia of violating its obligations “not to possess, produce, or flight-test” a ground-launched cruise missile with a range capability of 500 km to 5,500 km (310-3,417 miles).
A US official in the same year said that the United States would consider its own system if Russia continued its covert development of the banned system.
The three-decade-old arms control treaty bans the development of medium-range missiles capable of hitting Europe or Alaska.
“We have been trying to send a message to Russia for several years that we know they are violating the treaty, we have shown Russia the evidence that we have that they are violating the treaty,” Hutchison said.
“We are laying down the markers so that our allies will help us bring Russia to the table,” she added.
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis (L) speaks next to French Defense Minister Florence Parly during a press conference after their meeting at the French Defense ministry in Paris on October 2, 2018. (AFP photo)
Meanwhile, US Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis said he would raise the issue with his NATO counterparts in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.
“I cannot forecast where it will go, it is a decision for the president, but I can tell you that both on Capitol Hill and in State Department, there is a lot of concern about this situation and I’ll return with the advice of our allies and engage in that discussion to determine the way ahead,” he told reporters in Paris on Tuesday following his meeting with French Defense Minister Florence Parly.

Saudi Arabia as a Failed State

Is Saudi Arabia the Middle East’s Next Failed State?


Ibn Khaldun—the famous Tunisian historian, geographer and social theorist—believed that decadence leads to collapse for Muslim dynasties. Such a scenario may be playing out with the Saudis, reports Daniel Lazare.

Special to Consortium News
Reports are growing that Muhammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s hyperactive crown prince, is losing his grip. His economic reform program has stalled since his father, King Salman, nixed plans to privatize 5 percent of Saudi Aramco. The Saudi war in Yemen, which the prince launched in March 2015, is more of a quagmire than ever while the kingdom’s sword rattling with Iran is making the region increasingly jumpy.
Heavy gunfire in Riyadh last April sparked rumors that MBS, as he’s known, had been killed in a palace coup. In May, an exiled Saudi prince urged top members of the royal family to oust him and put an end to his “irrational, erratic, and stupid” rule. Recently, Bruce Riedel, an ex-CIA analyst who heads up the Brookings Institution’s Intelligence Project, reported that the prince is so afraid for his life that he’s taken to spending nights on his yacht in the Red Sea port of Jeddah.  
A statue of Ibn Khaldun in Tunis, Tunisia. (Kassus / Wikimedia)
Channeling Ibn Khaldun
What does it all mean? The person to ask is Ibn Khaldun, the famous Tunisian historian, geographer, and social theorist. You might have trouble getting him on the phone, though, since he died in 1406. But he’s still the single best guide to the deepening Saudi crisis.  
If you do somehow channel him, the message might be grim. In a nutshell, it’s that if MBS goes, he’ll likely take the Al-Saud with him, and that the people waiting in the wings will not be the “moderates” beloved of Washington, but ISIS and al-Qaida. A modern state bristling with shopping malls, superhighways, and high-tech weaponry thus will succumb to a ragtag militia riding Toyota pickups and waving AK-47s.
Ibn Khaldun, a member of an upper-class Spanish-Muslim family that fled to North Africa after the fall of Seville in 1248, was one of the most remarkable personalities of the late Middle Ages on either side of the Christian-Muslim divide. He wrote The Muqaddimaha book-length prologue to his six-volume world history, which British historian Arnold Toynbee praised “as undoubtedly the greatest work of its kind that has ever yet been created by any mind in any time or place.” The anthropologist Ernest Gellner described Khaldun as a forerunner of modern sociology. The Muqaddimah, a strange blend of faith, fatalism, and science, is best known for its musings on the subject of the urban-nomadic conflict and the process by which dynasties rise and decay. 
As Ibn Khaldun put it:
[T]he life of a dynasty does not as a rule extend beyond three generations. The first generation retains the desert qualities, desert toughness, and desert strategy. … They are sharp and greatly feared.  People submit to them. … [T]he second generation changes from the desert attitude to sedentary culture, from privation to luxury and plenty, from a state in which everybody shared in the glory to one in which one man claims all the glory for himself while the others are too lazy to strive for glory. …  The third generation … has completely forgotten the period of desert life and toughness, as if it never existed…. Luxury reaches its peak among them, because they are so much given to a life of prosperity and ease.
Decadence leads to collapse as fierce nomadic fundamentalists gather in the desert and prepare to mete out punishment to the city dwellers for their religious laxity. “[A] new purge of the faith is required,” summed up Friedrich Engels, who evidently read Ibn Khaldun, “a new Mahdi [i.e., redeemer] arises, and the game starts again from the beginning.”
It’s a recurrent cycle that has held true for a remarkable number of Muslim dynasties from the seventh century on. 
Evidence of Instability
The big question now is whether the pattern will hold true for the Saudis.  
The answer so far is that it will. Events are proceeding on course. Ibn Saud, the founder of the modern Saudi state, by allying himself with Wahhabism, the local version of Islamic ultra-fundamentalism, embodied Ibn Khaldun’s concept of a ruthless desert warrior who uses religion to mobilize his fellow tribesman and battle his way to the throne in 1932. Once Saud took power, he proved to be a tough and cagey politician who put down rebellion and expertly played Britain and America off against one another to solidify his throne.
But the half-dozen sons who followed were different. The first, Saud, was a heavy spender who brought the kingdom to the brink of bankruptcy. The second, Faisal was an autocrat who was so out of his depth that he believed Zionism somehow begat communism. Khalid, who took power in 1975, was an absentee monarch who was gripped by paralysis when hundreds of rebels took over Mecca’s Grand Mosque in November 1979 and had to be rescued by French commandos flown in specially for the occasion. Fahd, who succeeded to the throne in 1982, was obese, diabetic, and a heavy smoker who ultimately fell victim to a massive stroke.  Abdullah, his successor, also was sickly and obese, while Salman, who assumed the throne in 2015 at age 79, has suffered at least one stroke and is said to exhibit “mild dementia.” A video of the king landing in Moscow in 2017 shows a doddering old man who can barely descend a staircase.
Muhammad bin Salman and Ash Carter in 2016. (Air Force Tech. Sgt. Brigitte N. Brantley / Department of Defense)
The upshot is a group study in decrepitude. MBS, who all but took over the throne in 2015, meanwhile personifies all the foolishness and decadence that Ibn Khaldun attributed to the third generation. He’s more energetic than his father. But as one would expect of someone who has spent his entire life cosseted amid fantastic wealth, he’s headstrong, impractical, and immature. Appointed minister of defense by his father at the ripe old age of 29, he declared war on Yemen, Saudi Arabia’s neighbor to the south, two months later and then disappeared on a luxury vacation in the Maldives where a frantic Ashton Carter, Barack Obama’s secretary of defense, was unable to reach him for days.
A year later, MBS unveiled Vision 2030 a grandiose development plan aimed at bringing Saudi Arabia into the 21st century by diversifying the economy, loosening the grip of the ultra-intolerant Wahhabiyya,and putting an end to the country’s dual addiction to oil revenue and cheap foreign labor. In a country in which young men routinely wait years for a comfortable government sinecure to open up, the goal was to rejigger the incentives to encourage them to take private-sector jobs instead.  
It hasn’t worked. In a rare moment of candor, a pro-government newspaper recently reported that thousands of employers are evading government hiring quotas by paying Saudi workers not to show up. “Employers say young Saudi men and women are lazy and are not interested in working,” it said, “and accuse Saudi youth of preferring to stay at home rather than to take a low-paying job that does not befit the social status of a Saudi job seeker.” 
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (lawepw / Wikimedia)
Some 800,000 foreign workers have left the country while capital is fleeing in the wake of last November’s mass roundup in which hundreds of princes and businessmen were herded into the Riyadh Ritz-Carlton and forced to turn over billions in assets. Foreign direct investment has plummetedfrom $7.5 billion to $1.4 billion since 2016 while a series of super-splashy development projects are in jeopardy now that Saudi Aramco privatization, which MBS was counting on as a revenue source, is on hold.  
While granting women permission to drive, MBS has imprisoned women’s rights advocates, threatened a dissident cleric and five Shiite activists with the death penalty, and cracked down on satirical postings on social media.  He preaches austerity and hard work, yet plunked down $500 million for his yacht, $450 million for a painting by Leonardo da Vinci, and $300 million for a French chateau. The hypocrisy is so thick that it’s almost as if he wants to be overthrown.  
Fundamental Enemies
As for the lean and hungry fundamentalists whom Ibn Khaldun said would administer the final blow, there’s no doubt who fits that bill: ISIS and al- Qaida. Both are fierce, warlike, and pious, both inveigh against a Saudi regime drowning in corruption, and both would like nothing more than to parade about with the crown prince’s head on a pike.  
In May, al-Qaida denounced Saudi religious reforms as “heretical” and urged clerics to rise up against a “moderate, open Islam, which all onlookers know is American Islam.” 
In July, Islamic State took credit for an attack on a Saudi security checkpoint that claimed the life of a security officer and a foreign resident. 
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in 2004.
In August, ISIS chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi accused Saudi Arabia of “trying to secularize its inhabitants and ultimately destroy Islam.”  
These are fighting words. Both groups meanwhile enjoy extensive support inside the kingdom. Prior to the attack on the World Trade Center, wealthy Saudis, including members of the royal family, helped fund al-Qaida to the tune of $30 million a year, according to Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan’s 2011 best seller, The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11 and Osama bin Laden
In 2009, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confided in a diplomatic memo that “donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide.” More than three thousand Saudis have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join up with al-Qaida, ISIS and other Islamist forces. Once they return home, such jihadis might constitute a fifth column threatening the royal family as well. A crumbling royal family could fall like a ripe date into their outstretched palm.
Could Saudi Arabia become the Middle East’s next failed state? 
Washington is filled with so-called Middle East experts contributing to one disaster after another. Could it be that the best Mideast hand worth listening to is a North African scholar who died more than six centuries ago?

Daniel Lazare is the author of The Frozen Republic: How the Constitution Is Paralyzing Democracy (Harcourt Brace, 1996) and other books about American politics.  He has written for a wide variety of publications from The Nation to Le Monde Diplomatique and blogs about the Constitution and related matters at

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