A Saigon moment in the Hindu Kush

A Saigon moment in the Hindu Kush


A Saigon moment in the Hindu Kush
The US is on the verge of its own second Vietnam repeated as farce in a haphazard retreat
from Afghanistan
by Pepe Escobar July 7, 2021


US Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade wait
for helicopter transport as part of Operation Khanjar at Camp Dwyer in Helmand Province in
Afghanistan on July 2, 2009. – The US pullout from the Pentagon’s once mighty Bagram Air Base in
the dead of night, while Taliban fighters pour across the country, looks a lot like a military defeat.
Photo: AFP / Manpreet Romana

And it’s all over
For the unknown soldier
It’s all over
For the unknown soldier
The Doors, “The Unknown Soldier”


Let’s start with some stunning facts on the Afghan ground.
The Taliban are on a roll. Earlier this week their PR arm was claiming they hold 218 Afghan
districts out of 421 – capturing new ones every day. Tens of districts are contested. Entire
Afghan provinces are basically lost to the government in Kabul, which has been de facto
reduced to administer a few scattered cities under siege.
Already on July 1, the Taliban announced they controlled 80% of Afghan territory. That’s
close to the situation 20 years ago, only a few weeks before 9/11, when Commander Ahmad
Shah Masoud told me in the Panjshir valley , as he prepared a counter-offensive, that the
Taliban were 85% dominant.
Their new tactical approach works like a dream. First, there’s a direct appeal to soldiers of
the Afghan National Army (ANA) to surrender. Negotiations are smooth and deals fulfilled.
Soldiers in the low thousands have already joined the Taliban without a single shot fired.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video address to the Sixth International Conference Russia and China: Cooperation in a New Era, Moscow, June 1, 2021

https://www.mid.ru/en/foreign_policy/news/-/asset_publisher/cKNonkJE02Bw/content/id/4759576 Mr Wang Yi, Mr Ivanov, Colleagues, friends, The further …

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s video address to the Sixth International Conference Russia and China: Cooperation in a New Era, Moscow, June 1, 2021

Insider view: the tragedy of the US Deep State

http://thesaker.is/insider-view-the-tragedy-of-the-us-deep-state/

Insider view: the tragedy of the US Deep State

May 12, 2021 10 Comments

By Pepe Escobar with cross-postings

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 US national security threat.

Kissinger added US policy toward China must be a mix of stressing US “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 US Deep State showed he had been paying close attention.

This personality – let’s call him Mr. S. – has been one of my invaluable, trustworthy sources since the early 2000s. Mutual confidence was always key. I asked him if I could publish selected passages of his analysis, not naming names. Consent was given – ruefully. So fasten your seat belts. (…)

US-Anordnungen gegen Russland: Italien im Blick – von Manlio Dinucci (il manifesto, April 20, 2021)

https://ilmanifesto.it/ Manlio Dinucci Der italienische Außenminister Di Maio und der italienische Verteidigungsminister Guerini wurden dringend zu …

US-Anordnungen gegen Russland: Italien im Blick – von Manlio Dinucci (il manifesto, April 20, 2021)

Kissinger Warns Washington: Accept New Global System Or Face A Pre-WWI Geopolitical Situation

„…a breakdown of the order is inevitable. And the consequences of a breakdown would be catastrophic…“

Quelle: Kissinger Warns Washington: Accept New Global System Or Face A Pre-WWI Geopolitical Situation

Pepe ESCOBAR Why Russia is driving the West crazy

Why Russia is driving the West crazy

11778 Views February 10, 2021 85 Comments

by Pepe Escobar with permission and first posted on Asia Times

Future historians may register it as the day when usually unflappable Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov decided he had had enough:

We are getting used to the fact that the European Union are trying to impose unilateral restrictions, illegitimate restrictions and we proceed from the assumption at this stage that the European Union is an unreliable partner.

Josep Borrell, the EU foreign policy chief, on an official visit to Moscow, had to take it on the chin.

Lavrov, always the perfect gentleman, added, “I hope that the strategic review that will take place soon will focus on the key interests of the European Union and that these talks will help to make our contacts more constructive.”

He was referring to the EU heads of state and government’s summit at the European Council next month, where they will discuss Russia. Lavrov harbors no illusions the “unreliable partners” will behave like adults.

Yet something immensely intriguing can be found in Lavrov’s opening remarks in his meeting with Borrell: “The main problem we all face is the lack of normalcy in relations between Russia and the European Union – the two largest players in the Eurasian space. It is an unhealthy situation, which does not benefit anyone.”

The two largest players in the Eurasian space (italics mine). Let that sink in. We’ll be back to it in a moment.

As it stands, the EU seems irretrievably addicted to worsening the “unhealthy situation”. European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen memorably botched the Brussels vaccine game. Essentially, she sent Borrell to Moscow to ask for licensing rights for European firms to produce the Sputnik V vaccine – which will soon be approved by the EU.

And yet Eurocrats prefer to dabble in hysteria, promoting the antics of NATO asset and convicted fraudster Navalny – the Russian Guaido.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, under the cover of “strategic deterrence”, the head of the US STRATCOM, Admiral Charles Richard, casually let it slip that “there is a real possibility that a regional crisis with Russia or China could escalate quickly to a conflict involving nuclear weapons, if they perceived a conventional loss would threaten the regime or state.” (…)

Why Russia is driving the West crazy

Full document you will read here (PDF):

The Making of US Empire at the dawning of its end

21.01.2021 – https://asiatimes.com/2021/01/the-making-of-us-empire-at-the-dawning-of-its-end/

The Making of US Empire at the dawning of its end

by Pepe Escobar

As the Exceptional Empire gets ready to brave a destructive – and self-destructive – new cycle, with dire, unforeseen consequences bound to reverberate across the world, now more than ever it is absolutely essential to go back to the imperial roots.

The task is fully accomplished by

Tomorrow, the World: The Birth of U.S. Global Supremacy, by Stephen Wertheim, Deputy Director of Research and Policy at the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft and a research scholar at the Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies at Columbia University.

Here, in painstaking detail, we can find when, why and especially who shaped the contours of US “internationalism” in a roomful of mirrors always disguising the real, ultimate aim: Empire.

Wertheim’s book was superbly reviewed by Prof. Paul Kennedy. Here we will concentrate on the crucial plot twists taking place throughout 1940. Wertheim’s main thesis is that the fall of France in 1940 – and not Pearl Harbor – was the catalyzing event that led to the full Imperial Hegemony design.

This is not a book about the U.S. industrial-military complex or the inner workings of American capitalism and finance capitalism. It is extremely helpful as it sets up the preamble to the Cold War era. But most of all, it is gripping intellectual history, revealing how American foreign policy was manufactured by the real flesh and blood actors that count: the economic and political planners congregated by the arch-influential Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the conceptual core of the imperial matrix.

(…)

10 Worst Things Trump Did & 5 Things He Didn’t Do – Consortiumnews

10 Worst Things Trump Did & 5 Things He Didn’t Do – Consortiumnews
— Weiterlesen consortiumnews.com/2021/01/20/10-worst-things-trump-did-5-things-he-didnt-do/

Assange Extradition Ruling Is a Relief, But it Isn’t Justice

https://consortiumnews.com/2021/01/04/assange-extradition-ruling-is-a-relief-but-it-isnt-justice/

Assange Extradition Ruling Is a Relief, But it Isn’t Justice

January 4, 2021 

Caitlin Johnstone says the judge supported virtually every U.S. prosecutorial argument, no matter how absurd and Orwellian.

British Judge Vanessa Baraitser has ruled against U.S.  extradition for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but not for the reasons she should have.

Baraitser’s frightening ruling supported virtually every U.S.  prosecutorial argument that was made during the extradition trial, no matter how absurd and Orwellian. This includes quoting from a long-discredited CNN report alleging without evidence that Assange made the embassy a “command post” for election interference, saying the right to free speech does not give anyone “unfettered discretion” to disclose any document they wish, dismissing arguments from the defense that U.K. law prohibits extradition for political offenses, parroting the false claim that Assange’s attempt to help protect his source Chelsea Manning while she was exfiltrating documents she already had access to was not normal journalistic behavior, saying U.S.  intelligence might have had legitimate reasons to spy on Assange in the Ecuadorian embassy, and claiming Assange’s rights would be protected by the U.S.  legal system if he were extradited.

“Judge is just repeating the U.S.  case, including its most dubious claims, in Assange case,” tweeted activist John Rees during the proceedings.

In the end, though, Baraitser ruled against extradition. Not because the U.S.  government has no business extraditing an Australian journalist from the U.K. for exposing its war crimes. Not because allowing the extradition and prosecution of journalists under the Espionage Act poses a direct threat to press freedoms worldwide. Not to prevent a global chilling effect on natsec investigative journalism into the behaviors of the largest power structures on our planet. No, Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition because Assange would be too high a suicide risk in America’s draconian prison system.

Assange is still not free, and he is not out of the woods. The U.S.  government has said it will appeal the decision, and Baraitser has the legal authority to keep Assange locked in Belmarsh Prison until that appeals process has been carried through all the way to its end. Discussions on bail and release will resume on Wednesday, and Assange will remain imprisoned in Belmarsh at least until that time. Due to Assange’s bail offense which resulted from taking political asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in 2012, it’s very possible that bail will be denied and he will remain imprisoned throughout the U.S.  government appeal.

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA), the Australian trade union to which Assange belongs as a journalist, has released a statement on the ruling which outlines the situation nicely.

“Today’s court ruling is a huge relief for Julian, his partner and family, his legal team and his supporters around the world,” said MEAA Media Federal President Marcus Strom. “Julian has suffered a 10-year ordeal for trying to bring information of public interest to the light of day, and it has had an immense impact on his mental and physical health.”

“But we are dismayed that the judge showed no concern for press freedom in any of her comments today, and effectively accepted the U.S.  arguments that journalists can be prosecuted for exposing war crimes and other government secrets, and for protecting their sources,” Strom added. “The stories for which he was being prosecuted were published by WikiLeaks a decade ago and revealed war crimes and other shameful actions by the United States government. They were clearly in the public interest. The case against Assange has always been politically motivated with the intent of curtailing free speech, criminalisingjournalism and sending a clear message to future whistleblowers and publishers that they too will be punished if they step out of line.”

Indeed, the ruling today was a huge relief for Assange, his family, and for all his supporters around the world. But it wasn’t justice.

“It’s good to hear that court has ruled against the extradition of Julian Assange but I am wary of the fact it’s on mental health grounds,” AP’s Joana Ramiro commented on the ruling. “It’s a rather feeble precedent against the extradition of whistleblowers and/or in defence of the free press. Democracy needs better than that.”

“This wasn’t a victory for press freedom,” tweeted journalist Glenn Greenwald. “Quite the contrary: the judge made clear she believed there are grounds to prosecute Assange in connection with the 2010 publication. It was, instead, an indictment of the insanely oppressive U.S.  prison system for security ‘threats’.”

It is good that Baraitser ultimately ruled against extradition, but her ruling also supported the entirety of the U.S.  government’s prosecutorial narrative that would allow for extradition of journalists under the Espionage Act in the future. The ruling is a significant step toward freedom for Julian Assange, but it changes nothing as far as global imperialist tyranny is concerned.

So, the appropriate response at this time is a sigh of relief, but not celebration. The Assange case has never been about just one man; the greater part of the battle, the one we are all fighting, continues unabated.

That said, the message of the empire here was essentially “We totally coulda extradited you if we wanted, but you’re too crazy,” which sounds a lot like the international diplomacy equivalent of “I could kick your ass but you’re not worth it.” It’s a way of backing down while still saving face and appearing to be a threat. But everyone looking on can see that backing down is still backing down.

I think it’s a safe bet that if this case hadn’t had such intense scrutiny on it from all over the world, we would have heard a different ruling today. The empire did what it could to try and intimidate journalists with the possibility of prison for exposing its malfeasance, but in the end, it backed down.

I’m not going to take that as a sign that we’ve won the war, or even the battle. But it is a sign that our punches are landing. And that we’ve got a fighting chance here.