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Why Freedom Is Ending

Eric Zuesse

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First, the force that is ending freedom will be identified and described; and, then, the force that they fear and hate the most (and are trying to destroy) will be identified and described.

THE FORCE THAT IS ENDING FREEDOM

The force that is ending freedom is empire.

Every empire is a dictatorship. No nation can be a democracy that’s either heading an empire, or a vassal-state of one. Obviously, in order to be a vassal-state within an empire, that nation is dictated-to by the nation of which it is a colony. However, even the domestic inhabitants of the colonizing nation cannot be free and living in a democracy, because their services are needed abroad in order to impose the occupying force upon the colony or vassal-nation. This is an important burden upon the ‘citizens’ or actually the subjects of the imperial nation. Furthermore, they need to finance, via their taxes, this occupying force abroad, to a sufficient extent so as to subdue any resistance by the residents in any colony. 

Every empire is imposed, none is really voluntary. Conquest creates an empire, and the constant application of force maintains it. Every empire is a dictatorship, not only upon its foreign populations (which goes without saying, because otherwise there can’t be any empire), but upon its domestic ones too, upon its own subjects.

Any empire needs weapons-makers, who sell to the government and whose only markets are the imperial government and its vassal-nations or ‘allies’. By contrast, ’enemy’ nations are ones that the imperial power has placed onto its priority-list of nations that are yet to become conquered. 

There are two main reasons to conquer a nation: 

One is in order to be enabled to extract, from the colony, oil, or gold, or some other valuable commodity. 

The other is in order to control it so as to be enabled to use that land as a passageway for exporting, from a vassal-nation, to other nations, that vassal-nation’s products.

International trade is the basis for any empire, and the billionaires who own controlling blocs of stock in a nation’s international corporations are the actual rulers of it, the beneficiaries of empire, the recipients of the wealth that is being extracted from the colonies and from the domestic subjects.  

The idea of an empire is that the imperial nation’s rulers, its aristocracy, extract from the colonies their products, and they impose upon their domestic subjects the financial and military burdens of imposing their international dictatorship upon the foreign subjects.

Some authors say that there is a “Deep State” and that it consists of (some undefined elements within) the intelligence services, and of the military, and of the diplomatic corps, of any given dictatorship; but, actually, those employees of the State are merely employees, not the actual governing power, over that dictatorship. 

The actual Deep State are always the aristocrats, themselves, the people who run the revolving door between ‘the private sector’ (the aristocracy’s corporations) and the government. 

In former times, many of the aristocrats were themselves governing officials (the titled ‘nobility’), but this is no longer common. Nowadays, the aristocracy are the individuals who own controlling blocs of stock in international corporations (especially weapons-making firms such as Lockheed Martin and BAE, because the only markets for those corporations are the corporation’s own government and its vassal states or ‘allies’); and such individuals are usually the nation’s billionaires, and, perhaps, a few of the mere centi-millionaires. A small number, typically less than 100, of these extremely wealthy individuals, are the biggest donors to politicians, and to think tanks, and to other non-profits (these latter being also tax-write-offs to their donors, and so are tax-drains siphoning money away from the general public and paying the actual benefits, such as PR and increased control over the Government, to the billionaires) that are involved in the formation of the national government’s policies; and, of course, these billionaires also are owners of and/or advertisers in the propaganda-media, which sell the aristocracy’s core or most-essential viewpoints to the nation’s subjects, in order to persuade those voters to vote only for the aristocracy’s selected candidates, and not for any who oppose the aristocracy. These few, mainly but not exclusively billionaires, are the actual Deep State — the bosses over the dictatorship, the ultimate beneficiaries in any empire.

In order to maintain this system, of international dictatorship or empire, the most essential tool is deceit, of the electorate, by the aristocracy.   

The method of control is: the bought agents of the Deep State (including the major ‘news’-media, etc.) lie to the public about what their polices will be if they win, in order to be able to win power; and, then, once they have won power, they do the opposite, which is what they have always been paid by the Deep State (the aristocracy) to do. Thereby, elections aren’t “democratic” but instead ‘democratic’: they are mere formalities of democracy, without the substance of democracy, because there can be no democracy where truth is suppressed and lies are spread instead. All of the well-financed candidates for the top offices are actually the Deep State’s representatives, and virtually none are the representatives of the public, because the voters have been deceived, and were given (by the DNC and RNC) choices between two or more candidates, none of whom will represent the public, if and when elected. Individuals who want to represent the public instead of the aristocracy get drowned by the aristocracy’s campaign-money.

Here are some recent examples of this system — the imperial system, international dictatorship, in action — as shown by its results:

During Donald Trump’s Presidential campaign, he said, “The approach of fighting Assad and ISIS simultaneously was madness, and idiocy. They’re fighting each other and yet we’re fighting both of them. You know, we were fighting both of them. I think that our far bigger problem than Assad is ISIS, I’ve always felt that. Assad is, you know I’m not saying Assad is a good man, ’cause he’s not, but our far greater problem is not Assad, it’s ISIS. … I think, you can’t be fighting two people that are fighting each other, and fighting them together. You have to pick one or the other.” Assad is allied with Russia against the Sauds (who are the chief ally of the U.S. aristocracy), so the U.S. (in accord with a policy that George Herbert Walker Bush had initiated on 24 February 1990 and which has been carried out by all subsequent U.S. Presidents) was determined to overthrow Assad, but Trump said that he was strongly opposed to that policy.

Months before that, Trump had said: “I think Assad is a bad guy, a very bad guy, all right? Lots of people killed. I think we are backing people we have no idea who they are. The rebels, we call them the rebels, the patriotic rebels. We have no idea. A lot of people think, Hugh, that they are ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t be fighting ISIS and fighting Assad. Assad is fighting ISIS. He is fighting ISIS. Russia is fighting now ISIS. And Iran is fighting ISIS. We have to do one thing at a time. We can’t go — and I watched Lindsey Graham, he said, I have been here for 10 years fighting. Well, he will be there with that thinking for another 50 years. He won’t be able to solve the problem. We have to get rid of ISIS first. After we get rid of ISIS, we’ll start thinking about it. But we can’t be fighting Assad. And when you’re fighting Assad, you are fighting Russia, you’re fighting — you’re fighting a lot of different groups. But we can’t be fighting everybody at one time.”

In that same debate (15 December 2015) he also said: “In my opinion, we’ve spent $4 trillion trying to topple various people that frankly, if they were there and if we could’ve spent that $4 trillion in the United States to fix our roads, our bridges, and all of the other problems; our airports and all of the other problems we’ve had, we would’ve been a lot better off. I can tell you that right now. We have done a tremendous disservice, not only to Middle East, we’ve done a tremendous disservice to humanity. The people that have been killed, the people that have wiped away, and for what? It’s not like we had victory. It’s a mess. The Middle East is totally destabilized. A total and complete mess. I wish we had the $4 trillion or $5 trillion. I wish it were spent right here in the United States, on our schools, hospitals, roads, airports, and everything else that are all falling apart.”

Did he do that? No. Did he instead intensify what Obama had been trying to do in Syria — overthrow Assad — yes. As the U.S. President, after having won the 2016 Presidential campaign, has Trump followed through on his criticism there, against the super-hawk, neoconservative, Republican U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham? No. Did he instead encircle himself with precisely such super-hawks, such neoconservatives? Yes. Did he intensify the overthrow-Assad effort, as Graham and those others had advocated? Yes. Did America’s war against Syria succeed? Not yet. Did he constantly lie to the voters? Yes, without a doubt. Should that be grounds for impeaching him? A prior question to that one is actually: Would a President Mike Pence be any different or maybe even worse than Trump? If yes, then what would be achieved by removing Trump from office? Maybe it would actually make things a lot worse. But how likely would the U.S. Senate be to remove Trump from office if the House did impeach Trump? Two-thirds of the U.S. Senate would need to vote to remove the President in order for a President to be removed after being impeached by the House. A majority of U.S. Senators, 53 of them, were Republicans. If just 33 of them voted not to convict the President, then Trump wouldn’t be removed, and he wasn’t. In order to remove him, not only would all 47 of the Democrats and Independents have had to vote to convict, but 20 of the 53 Republicans would have needed to join them. That’s nearly 40% of the Republican Senators. How likely was that? Almost impossible. What would their voters who had elected them back home think of their having done such a thing? How likely would such Senators have then faced successful re-election challenges that would have removed those Senators from office? Would 20 of the 53 have been likely to take that personal risk? Why, then, were so many Democrats in the House pressing for Trump’s impeachment, since Trump’s being forced out of the White House this way was practically impossible and would only have installed a President Pence, even if it could have succeeded? Was that Democratic Party initiative anything else than insincere political theater, lying to their own gullible voters, Democratic Party voters, just being phonies who manipulated voters to vote for them, instead of who were actually serving them? Is that what democracy is, now: such insincere political theater? Is that “democracy”? America’s voters are trapped, by liars, so it’s instead mere ‘democracy’. It’s the new form of dictatorship. But it’s actually as ancient as is any empire. There’s nothing new about this — except for one thing: the U.S. regime is aiming to be the ultimate, the last, the final, empire, the ruler over the entire planet; so, it is trying especially hard, ‘to defend freedom, democracy and human rights throughout the world’, as Big Brother might say.

Trump’s Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, was just as evil, and just as insincere, as Trump, but a far more skillful liar, who deceived his voters to think that he would fight corruption, work to improve relations with Russia, provide a public option in his health-insurance plan, and otherwise work to reduce economic inequality, to improve the economic situation for disadvantaged Americans, and to prosecute banksters. He abandoned each one of those stated objectives as soon as he won against John McCain, on 4 November 2008, and then yet more when he defeated Mitt Romney in 2012. And aren’t some of those promises the same ones that candidate Trump had also advocated and then abandoned as soon as he too was s‘elected’?

THE THREAT TO THE EMPIRE

Empire always depends upon lies; it is always built upon lies; and, so, the biggest threat to it is the truth, and especially the champions of truth, who are the whistleblowers. The whistleblowers are up against two enemies: the aristocracy, and the aristocrats’ agents who censor-out truth and leave only lies which the aristocracy’s agents spread to the public. Censorship always serves liars, because it is imposed from above and serves the aristocracy, against the public. Every dictatorship needs censorship. No democracy does.

The heroic fighters for the freedom of everyone in the world are the whistleblowers, who report to the public the corruption and evil that they see perpetrated by their superiors, their bosses, and perpetrated by people who are on the public payroll or otherwise obtaining increased income by virtue of being selected by the government to become government contractors to serve an allegedly public function. All liars with power hate whistleblowers, and want to make special examples of any part of the press that publishes their truths, their facts, their stolen documents. These documents are stolen because that’s the only way for them to become public and thereby known to the voters so that the voters can vote on the basis of truths as in a democracy, instead of to be deceived as in a dictatorship. Even if the truth is stolen from the liars, instead of being kept private (“Confidential”) for them, are the whistleblowers doing wrong to steal the truth from the liars? Or, instead, are the whistleblowers heroes: are they the authentic guardians of democracy, and the precariously thin wall that separates democracy from dictatorship? They are the latter: they are the true heroes. Unfortunately, the vast majority of such heroes are also martyrs — martyrs for truth, against lies. Every dictatorship seeks to destroy its whistleblowers. That’s because any whistleblower constitutes a threat to The System — the system of aristocratic control.

In all of U.S. history, the two Presidents who pursued whistleblowers and their publishers the most relentlessly have been Trump and Obama. The public are fooled to think that this is being done for ‘national security’ reasons instead of to hide the government’s crimes and criminality. However, not a single one of the Democratic Party’s many U.S. Presidential candidates is bringing this issue, of the U.S. government’s many crimes and constant lying, forward as being the central thing that must be criminalized above all else, as constituting “treason.” None of them is proposing legislation saying that it is treason, against the public — against the nation. Against the public.

Every aristocracy tries to deceive its public, in order to control its public; and every aristocracy uses divide-and-rule in order to do this; but it’s not only to divide the public against each other (such as between Republicans versus Democrats, both of which are actually controlled by the aristocracy), but also to divide between nations, such as between ‘allies’ versus ‘enemies’ — even when a given ‘enemy’ (such as Iraq in 2003) has never threatened, far less invaded, the United States (or whatever the given imperial ‘us’ may happen to be), and thus clearly this was aggressive war, and an international war-crime, though unpunished as such, because it was done by the empire. The public need to fear and hate some ‘enemy’ which is the ‘other’ or ‘alien’, in order not  to fear and loathe the aristocracy itself — the actual source of (and winner from) the systemic exploitation, of the public, by the aristocracy. It’s distract, and divide, and rule. 

The pinnacle of the U.S. regime’s totalitarianism is its ceaseless assault against Julian Assange, who is the über-whistleblower, the strongest protector for whistleblowers, the safest publisher for the evidence that they steal from their employers and from their employers’ government. He hides the identity of the whistleblowers, even at the risk of his own continued existence. Right now, the U.S. regime is raising to a fever-pitch and twisting beyond recognition not only U.S. laws but the U.S. Constitution, so as to impose its will against him. President Trump is supported in this effort by the corrupt U.S. Congress, to either end Assange’s life, or else lock him up for the rest of his heroic life in a dungeon having no communication with the world outside, until he does finally die, in isolation, punishment for his heroic last-ditch fight for the public’s freedom and for democracy — his fight, actually, against our 1984 regime. What Jesus of Nazareth was locally to the Roman regime in his region, Assange is to the U.S. regime throughout the world: an example to terrify anyone else who might come forth effectively to challenge the Emperor’s authority.

A key country in this operation is Ecuador, which is ruled by the dictator Lenin Moreno, who stole office by lying to the public and pretending to be a progressive who backed his democratically elected predecessor, Rafael Correa, but then as soon as he won power, he reversed Correa’s progressive initiatives, including, above all, his protection of Assange, who had sought refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London.

On 11 April 2019, RT headlined “Who is Lenin Moreno and why did he hand Assange over to British police?” and reported that:

Following his 2017 election, Moreno quickly moved away from his election platform after taking office. He reversed several key pieces of legislation passed under his predecessor which targeted the wealthy and the banks. He also reversed a referendum decision on indefinite re-election while simultaneously blocking any potential for Correa to return.

He effectively purged many of Correa’s appointments to key positions in Ecuador’s judiciary and National Electoral Council via the CPCCS-T council which boasts supra-constitutional powers.

Moreno has also cozied up to the US, with whom Ecuador had a strained relationship under Correa. Following a visit from Vice President Mike Pence in June 2018, Ecuador bolstered its security cooperation with the US, including major arms deals, training exercises and intelligence sharing.

Following Assange’s arrest Correa, who granted Assange asylum in the first place, described Moreno as the “greatest traitor in Ecuadorian and Latin American history” saying he was guilty of a “crime that humanity will never forget.”

Despite his overwhelming power and influence, however, Moreno and his family are the subject of a sweeping corruption probe in the country, as he faces down accusations of money laundering in offshore accounts and shell companies in Panama, including the INA Investment Corp, which is owned by Moreno’s brother.  

Damning images, purportedly hacked from Moreno’s phone, have irreparably damaged both his attempts at establishing himself as an anti-corruption champion as well as his relationship with Assange, whom he accused of coordinating the hacking efforts.

On 14 April 2019, Denis Rogatyuk at The Gray Zone headlined “Sell Out: How Corruption, Voter Fraud and a Neoliberal Turn Led Ecuador’s Lenin to Give Up Assange

Desperate to ingratiate his government with Washington and distract the public from his mounting scandals, Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno has sacrificed Julian Assange – and his country’s independence”, and he described some of the documentation for the accusations that Moreno is corrupt.  

On 12 April 2019, Zero Hedge headlined “Facebook Removes Page Of Ecuador’s Former President On Same Day As Assange’s Arrest”, and opened: “Facebook has unpublished the page of Ecuador’s former president, Rafael Correa, the social media giant confirmed on Thursday, claiming that the popular leftist leader violated the company’s security policies.”

On 16 April 2019, Jonathan Turley bannered “‘He Is Our Property’: The D.C. Establishment Awaits Assange With A Glee And Grudge”, and opened:

They will punish Assange for their sins

The key to prosecuting Assange has always been to punish him without again embarrassing the powerful figures made mockeries by his disclosures. That means to keep him from discussing how the U.S. government concealed alleged war crimes and huge civilian losses, the type of disclosures that were made in the famous Pentagon Papers case. He cannot discuss how Democratic and Republican members either were complicit or incompetent in their oversight. He cannot discuss how the public was lied to about the program.

A glimpse of that artificial scope was seen within minutes of the arrest. CNN brought on its national security analyst, James Clapper, former director of national intelligence. CNN never mentioned that Clapper was accused of perjury in denying the existence of the National Security Agency surveillance program and was personally implicated in the scandal that WikiLeaks triggered.

Clapper was asked directly before Congress, “Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?”

Clapper responded, “No, sir. … Not wittingly.” Later, Clapper said his testimony was “the least untruthful” statement he could make.

That would still make it a lie, of course, but this is Washington and people like Clapper are untouchable. In the view of the establishment, Assange is the problem.

On 11 April 2019, the YouGov polling organization headlined “53% of Americans say Julian Assange should be extradited to America”.

On 13 April 2019, I headlined “What Public Opinion on Assange Tells Us About the US Government Direction”, and reported the only international poll that had ever been done of opinions about Assange. Its findings demonstrated that, out of the 23 nations which were surveyed, U.S. was the only one where the public were anti-Assange, and that the difference between the U.S. and all of the others was enormous and stark. The report opened:

The only extensive poll of public opinion regarding Julian Assange or Wikileaks was Reuters/Ipsos on 26 April 2011, “WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange is not a criminal: global poll”, and it sampled around a thousand individuals in each of 23 countries — a total of 18,829 respondents. The Reuters news-report was vague, and not linked to any detailed presentation of the poll-findings, but it did say that “U.S. respondents had a far more critical view” against Wikileaks than in any other country, and that the view by Americans was 69% “believing Assange should be charged and 61 percent opposing WikiLeaks’ mission.” Buried elsewhere on the Web was this detailed presentation of Ipsos’s findings in that poll. Here are what those findings were:

Oppose Wikileaks:

61% U.S.

38% UK

33% Canada

32% Poland

32% Belgium

31% Saudi Arabia

30% Japan

30% France

27% Indonesia

26% Italy

25% Germany

24% Sweden

24% Australia

22% Hungary

22% Brazil

21% Turkey

21% S. Korea

16% Mexico

16% Argentina

15% Spain

15% Russia

15% India

12% S. Africa

Is the U.S. a democracy if the regime is so effective in gripping the minds of its public, as to make them hostile to the strongest fighter for their freedom and democracy?

On 13 April 2019, washingtonsblog headlined “4 Myths About Julian Assange DEBUNKED”, and here was one of them:

Myth #2: Assange Will Get a Fair Trial In the U.S.

14-year CIA officer John Kiriakou notes:

Assange has been charged in the Eastern District of Virginia — the so-called “Espionage Court.” That is just what many of us have feared. Remember, no national security defendant has ever been found not guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia. The Eastern District is also known as the “rocket docket” for the swiftness with which cases are heard and decided. Not ready to mount a defense? Need more time? Haven’t received all of your discovery? Tough luck. See you in court.

… I have long predicted that Assange would face Judge Leonie Brinkema were he to be charged in the Eastern District. Brinkema handled my case, as well as CIA whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling’s. She also has reserved the Ed Snowden case for herself. Brinkema is a hanging judge.

On 20 May 2019, former British Ambassador Craig Murray (who had quit so that he could blow the whistle) headlined “The Missing Step” and argued that the only chance that Assange now has is if Sweden refuses to extradite Assange to the U.S. in the event that Britain honors the Swedish request to extradite him to Sweden instead of to the U.S. (Sweden, however, subsequently dropped its charge against Assange, and so now only Donald Trump and Boris Johnson are keeping him imprisoned until he will die.)

How can it reasonably be denied that the U.S. is, in fact (though not nominally) a dictatorship? All of its allies are thus vassal-nations in its empire. This means acquiescence (if not joining) in some of the U.S. regime’s frequent foreign coups and invasions; and this means their assisting in the spread of the U.S. regime’s control beyond themselves, to include additional other countries. It reduces the freedom, and the democracy, throughout the world; it spreads the U.S. dictatorship internationally. That is what is evil about what in America is called “neoconservatism” and in other countries is called simply “imperialism.” Under American reign, it is now a spreading curse, a political plague, to peoples throughout the world. Even an American whistleblower about Ukraine who lives in the former Ukraine is being targeted by the U.S. regime.

This is how the freedom of everyone is severely threatened, by the U.S. empire — the most deceitful empire that the world has ever experienced. The martyrs to its lies are the canaries in its coal mine. They are the first to be eliminated.

Looking again at the top of that rank-ordered list of 23 countries, one sees the U.S. and eight of its main allies (or vassal-nations), in order: U.S., UK, Canada, Poland, Belgium, Saudi Arabia, Japan, France, Indonesia. These are countries whose subjects (‘citizens’) are already well-controlled by the empire. They already are vassals, and so these nations are ordained (accepted by America’s aristocracy) as being ‘allies’.

At the opposite end (as of 2011, when that poll was taken), starting with the most anti-U.S-regime, were: S. Africa, India, Russia, Spain, Argentina, Mexico, S. Korea, Turkey. These were countries where the subjects were not yet well-controlled by the empire, even though the current government in some of them is trying to change its subjects’ minds so that the country will accept U.S. rule. Wherever the subjects reject U.S. rule, there exists a strong possibility that the nation will become placed on the U.S. regime’s list of ‘enemies’ and be subjected to at least attempts at “regime-change.” Consequently, wherever the residents are the most opposed to U.S. rule, the likelihood of an American coup or invasion is real. The first step toward a coup or invasion is the imposition of sanctions against the nation. Any such nation that is already subject to them is therefore already in severe danger. Any such nation that refuses to cooperate with the U.S. regime’s existing sanctions — such as against trading with Russia, China, Iran, or Venezuela — is in danger of becoming itself a U.S.-sanctioned nation, and therefore officially an ‘enemy’ of today’s version of nazism (as Nuremberg defined it: imperialistic fascism).

And this is why freedom and democracy are ending. 

Unless and until the U.S. regime itself becomes conquered — either domestically by a second successful American Revolution (this one to eliminate the domestic aristocracy instead of to eliminate a foreign one), or else by a World War III in which the U.S. regime becomes destroyed even worse than the opposing alliance will — the existing insatiable empire will continue to be on the war-path to impose its dictatorship to everyone on this planet.

The force that is ending freedom is empire, and it’s now being wielded by the U.S.A. Like all empires, it thrives on lies, and therefore its biggest enemies are whistleblowers.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

Latin America – Russia: An Agenda for Constructive Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era

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On Tuesday, August 4, the outstanding video-conference “Latin America – Russia: an Agenda for Constructive Cooperation in the Post-COVID-19 Era” was held organized by the Valdai Club , the Russian Embassy in Guatemala, the American Chamber of commerce  (AmCham), the Central American Parliament  (Parlacen) the SIECA(Central American Secretariat for Economic Integration), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the CRIES of Argentina (Regional Coordination of Economic and Social Research).

The video conference was attended by Alexis Rodzianko as moderator (president of AmCham Russia). And an outstanding panel of speakers with:

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov; Nadia de León (chairman of PARLACEN) Melvin Redondo (general secretary of the SIECA); Yaroslav Lissovolik (programme director at Valdai Club); Richard Kozul Wright (director of division on globalization and development strategies UNCTAD);  Daniel Russell (Ceo of USRBC) and Lila Roldan Vásquez (head of the CARI –Argentina- Eurasian studies group)

After a brief presentation and comments by the moderator Alexis Rodzianko (president of the Russian-American Chamber of Commerce) on the nature of the video-conference and the panelists in it, Russian Deputy-Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Ryabkov started the dialogue expressing his satisfaction with the existence of this kind of spaces for reflection in such difficult global times. We quote some of his more outstanding phrases:

Russia and the United States continue their dialogue on joint efforts to combat the pandemic, and this is good news”.

Washington, however, does not abandon its claims for global hegemony. This poses a threat to international stability and security.”.

He stated the need to increase channels of cooperation when the coronavirus is ravaging the entire planet, for the first time in humanity, it faces a threat that affects the entire planet, this poses a dramatic challenge, the frustrating statistics of Covid- 19 have the same effects as a war, this era requires the consolidation of international efforts together and that Russia hopes that large-scale cooperation can act as a vector for a more multipolar world.

He also denounced international actors, the countries that privilege self-interest over those of the international community in times of crisis due to the pandemic. He cataloged irresponsible and short-sighted countries that ignoring the UN declarations, mainly the western powers, continue with sanctions measures to other countries, sanctions that hinder the acquisition of medical supplies and assistance, including Latin American countries, without even foreseeing the lifting of sanctions even for the time of the pandemic.

He was also very critical of the attitude of the United States in various multilateral fields such as its withdrawal from the Open Skies treaties; missile weapons treaties such as INF and START II; the North-American withdrawal from the World Health Organization.

On the cooperation agenda of Latin America – Russia, he highlighted the negative factors that Latin America faces in its current situation:

Latin America continues to face dramatic social inequalities and political de-stabilizations: The US continues its efforts to redraw the political map of Latin America to serve its interests.”

He stressed that:

From Russia with much disappointment and concern some time ago we observed how the Monroe Doctrine and all the ideology linked to it was officially reintroduced by the United States.”.

As positive factors he pondered that for Russia, Latin America has always been a region of political tolerance, economic opportunities and cultural affinity:

  • For Russia, the relationship with Latin America is a value in itself of its foreign policy and bases its cooperation agenda in the region based on a pragmatic and de-ideological vision, Russia does not seek to engage its partners in geopolitical dilemmas where they must choose between friends and enemies”.
  • And these links have always had a positive dynamic in energy, communications, technology, medicine, logistics and transportation. We seek technological and commercial alliances, diversifying their bases”.
  • “A paramount of Russian cooperation with Latin America was the activation in 2019 of the Latin American Institute of Biotechnology (in Managua, Nicaragua) that produces, insulin and interferon and vaccines for Latin American consumption”.

Despite the delicate situation worldwide, the deputy-minister remained optimistic that crises improve prospects for international cooperation, and that Russia-Latin America cooperation will continue to consolidate.

 “During this pandemic, Russian assistance has been received by: Costa Rica, the Dominican Republic, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Cuba, in testing teams and personal health protection, in addition to humanitarian aid.”

The possibility of assistance to other countries in the region such as Paraguay, Colombia, and Peru has been addressed.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund announced the signing of an agreement under which 150,000 Avifavir packages will be sent to seven Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay and Uruguay. In addition, Russia will also send supplies of the antiviral drug to South Africa and transfer the technology to Bolivian firm Sigma Corp SRL in order for it to be produced locally.

Closing of the presentation

The deputy-minister Ryabkov cerró su presentación marcando que en las difíciles circunstancias actuales es fundamental evitar la politización de la situación de la pandemia, un verdadero desafío global, que requiere esfuerzos conjuntos entre todos los Estados, y que Rusia está preparada para hacer su aporte y que lo está haciendo.

The deputy-minister Ryabkov closed his presentation by stating that in the current difficult circumstances it is essential to avoid politicizing the situation of the pandemic, a true global challenge, which requires joint efforts between all States, and that Russia is ready to make its contribution, and it’s doing it.

Questions and Answers Section

In the questions and answers section of the dialogue, he answered a question about the role of Russia in the binomial-dilemma that would appear to present itself to Latin America in the strategic competition between the US and China:

Russia won’t be part of that geopolitical game” 

He made it clear that Russia will surely not be part of a possible geopolitical triangular game with the US and China in Latin America, since it does not have the same capabilities as the other two actors (US-China) and that from the strategic vision of Russia relations with Latin America should be characterized by a cooperative logic of mutual benefit (win-win) and pragmatism, the relationship with this region should not emulate previous models of relations between center and periphery and he highlighted the Russian-Argentine relationship as an example of a link of mutual benefit.

Russia will not act for Latin America as an actor to support itself in a counterbalance, to offset the competition between Beijing and Washington in the region, but it will continue to maintain cooperative relations with Latin America, although he clarified that trilateral cooperation, as in the case of the Covid-19 pandemic should not be ruled out.

 “Those practices go against the core elements and principles of international law and the United Nations Charter.”

It was his answer to the question about Russia’s position on the persistent US policies of imposing economic sanctions unilaterally (such as in the blockades against Cuba and Venezuela) that impede the fluidity of international cooperation (in times of pandemic, necessary international aid) and that Russia has also been suffering the same extortionary measures since the referendums that consecrated the return of the Crimean territories to Russia in 2014, and in which in this aspect Russia has not found a “common ground” with the United States for dialogue.

“We have to find ways to ensure relief to the countries most in need and with the fewest resources” 

He argued that it is the responsibility of institutions such as those of the Breton Woods system, the G20, the Club de Paris, the economic powerhouses to find coherent strategies to achieve this objective. Macroeconomic policies of expansion, not austerity, should be promoted globally.

My own questions

As an observer-participant of the digital event, I was able to ask the Deputy-Minister two questions:

 “is there any prospect from Russia to collaborate with South American efforts to “catch up” with the latest technology?”

In this response, he expressed his wish that such cooperation be carried out, since Russia has a lot to contribute, he said regarding the digitization of public services, of special interest today in public health services, other axes of technological cooperation could include biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and he stated that Russia is not exaggerating by claiming that it has made important advances in the development of drugs that help combat Covid-19 in the near future. Regarding this, he highlighted the observations of his presentation, where he mentioned that Russia has significantly promoted the installation of technology in Central America (the Latin American Institute of Biotechnology).Other areas of cooperation of interest mentioned were telecommunications and the peaceful use of nuclear power, agricultural technology.

These cooperation dynamics, he argued, will always be guided by pragmatic visions; Russia will not subject its partners to geopolitical dilemmas.

 is there any interest from Russia to improve Argentina’s naval capabilities in fishing, hydrocarbons, naval surveillance, etc?

In this regard, he pointed out that initial contacts had taken place in the Macri administration and that he is sure that under the administration of President Alberto Fernández these contacts would continue.

He quoted the slogan: “it is the economy, stupid” when explaining the interest that exists between both governments and their respective businessmen to associate in relation to the naval field, but the contacts are still distant.

Regarding fishing exploitation, he acknowledged his lack of knowledge about any Russian-Argentine association project on the subject, but he stressed that this doesn’t mean that it is not an interesting area of cooperation to continue advancing the in the bilateral agenda.

For the last, he emphasized that when travel and contacts will be reestablished, all those axes of cooperation can be discussed further, without major impediments.

From our partner International Affairs

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Americas

Hiroshima and the Peace of the Bomb

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Seventy five years ago this week, the world witnessed a cataclysm that was to change the nature of war forever:  The atom bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, and worse — while the Japanese argued among themselves about whether and how to surrender — a second bomb was dropped on Nagasaki three days later on August 9th.  Now there was no other rational choice, and the Japanese gave up.

If anything good ever came out of a war, it was the generous peace.  The US helped in the reconstruction of the defeated nations.  As a teenaged student in London, I remember visiting Germany a dozen years after the war ended.  Major centers had been flattened by the bombing.  In Hamburg, one would see a few residential buildings and then ruins as far as the eye could see as if a massive earthquake had hit.  A never ending horror across all major cities and a shortage of labor.  So the Turks came … and stayed.  Welcome then, not so much now.   

The Germans were humble — a humility that would gradually diminish with the country’s resurgence as one observed over succeeding decades.  Cleanliness and order are part of the national psyche, particularly the latter.  Everything in order — ‘Alles in ordnung‘.  It even applies on a personal level as someone might ask exactly that if you appear disturbed.  It then means, ‘Everything okay?’

A grease spot on the otherwise fresh tablecloth at breakfast, my fastidious six-year old daughter complained.  It was whisked away with apologies and immediately replaced.  Order restored.  Ordnung muss sein says the German proverb.

In dollar terms, Germany is now the world’s fourth largest economy, Japan the third.  The world has not ended despite economic interests being often cited as a cause of war.  In fact, we are grateful for their products judging by the numbers of their automobile names in the US.  Japan appears to have eclipsed the famed auto giants of the past, GM, Ford and Chrysler and UK icons long forgotten.  And Donald J. Trump has a beef with both countries and is busy pulling out troops from Germany.   Of course the giant dragon of exporters to the US, namely China, is for President Trump our public enemy number one.

The bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were not the end, merely the beginning, and at the back of our minds remains the terrifying hope that it is not the beginning of the end.

Following the US, there soon were other nuclear powers:  the UK and the Soviet Union followed by France, then China.  After China, India was not to be left behind, and after India the same logic applied to Pakistan.  Then there is Israel seeking external security while like diseased fruit, it rots from the inside.  And let us not forget nutty North Korea.

When the US and the Soviet Union faced off with thousands of nuclear weapons, the strategists produced the theory of mutually assured destruction.  Its acronym MAD was closer to the truth than its Pentagon proponents could ever have imagined for they would have destroyed not just each other but the world.

Even India and Pakistan with 100-plus weapons each could cause a nuclear winter from the fall-out and the dust covered skies.  The subsequent crop losses and famines would kill many more across the world than the devastation wrought by the bombs.  It is just one more reason why nation states could eventually become obsolete.

Fortunately, for the human race, nuclear war is more potent in the threat than in the execution; the latter  would certainly certify MAD.  The response to a military threat carrying the phrase ‘by all means necessary’ is enough to cool things down quickly.  It was Pakistan’s reply to India’s threat to expand an incident in the disputed Kashmir region with an attack on mainland Pakistan.  In that sense, nuclear weapons have become a sort of insurance policy.  Pakistan and India have fought several major wars but none since both sides acquired nuclear weapons.  The cost is unthinkable, and one hopes will remain so in the minds of strategists.

Such is the world my generation is leaving to you:  flawed but holding together all the same.

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Americas

China Replacing Russia as the Boogeyman in the U.S. Presidential Campaign

Danil Bochkov

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During the 2016 U.S. Presidential bid, Russia was picked as a scapegoat to justify the loss endured by the Democratic party candidate. Moscow was vilified for interfering in the election via the dissemination of false information. After the election, a judicial investigation was launched, ending with no evidence of the collusion.

Despite that fact, in 2017 and 2018, the U.S. imposed economic sanctions against Russian entities. This led to the further aggravation of already sour ties undermined by the Ukrainian crisis in 2014. As an act of reprisal for Moscow’s alleged meddling into the conflict, U.S. Congress initiated new economic sanctions.

Russia became what can be regarded as a boogeyman to be reprimanded for whatever misfortune happens — be it ex-spy Sergei Skripal’s poisoning in 2018 or Russia’s alleged bombings of peaceful residents in eastern Aleppo. Russia got blamed for everything, even though the evidence was missing.

In 2017 the U.S. and Russia crossed swords in a diplomatic row by cutting staff numbers and closing each other’s consulates. Since then, both countries have been experiencing alienation from one another, culminating in the recent cancellation of several arms control agreements (i.e., INF, Open Skies).

By the same token, the U.S. has recently upped the ante in handling thorny issues with China, which came under the spotlight during the American presidential campaign. Both candidates — J. Biden and D. Trump — appeal to their supporters using China, competing for the reputation of leaders with the toughest stance towards Beijing.

China is an obvious target of criticism for the U.S. President, who is adamant about securing his second term in office. It is hard to find any other positive agenda as soon as he failed to deliver an efficacious response to the pandemic, which has already put the country’s economy at risk of recession with a gloomy long-term economic outlook.

Russia can no longer alone serve as a scapegoat for misdoings of U.S. politicians. Such rhetoric has been present in American media for such a long time that it has eventually lost some of its appeal to the U.S. audience.

Following a blueprint tailored for Russia, the U.S. has resorted to a maximum pressure campaign against China. In 2018 a full-scale trade war erupted and was followed by sanctions introduced against the most vital industry for China’s global rise — the hi-tech sector. Huawei and ZTE were swiped from the U.S. market. The U.S. also has been widely applying its longer-used instrument of sanctions not solemnly limited to hi-tech giants. Chinese officials in Xinjiang and foreigners doing business in Hong Kong also fell under various restrictions.

As for now, the pendulum has swung from economic agenda to geopolitics and ideology — with the latter being a novelty for U.S. policy towards China. Despite that, China and Russia were already labelled “rival powers … that seek to challenge American values” in 2017, Trump’s national strategy.

In January 2020, Secretary of State M. Pompeo called the Communist Party of China (CPC) the “central threat of our times.” As for Russian ideology, the country was already eloquently described as an “evil state” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign. In July 2020, Mr. Pompeo called on the Chinese people to help “change the behavior” of their government. Thus, he designated CPC as an ideological and independent entity separate from Chinese citizens.

In order to sharpen the rhetoric, U.S. politicians stopped addressing Xi Jinping as “president,” calling him “general secretary” instead — an act which deprives Mr. Xi of political legitimacy usually bestowed upon the elected leader. Another menacing sign is that the U.S. is reportedly reviewing a proposal to ban CPC members from traveling to the U.S., which would basically mean the start of an active phase of ideological confrontation.

Similar to the 2017 Russian-American diplomatic row, today the U.S. and China are also exchanging attacks on each other’s diplomatic missions. For example, from geostrategic perception, in mid-July, the U.S. officially recognized China’s claims in the South China Sea as “unlawful” and made it clear that its strengthening of the policy with regard to SCS is aimed at halting China’s use of coercion.

Both countries do not want to play alone in a tit-for-tat game. The U.S. has already summoned its allies to form a group of democratic countries to oppose the CPC. France and Britain have recently bowed to long-term U.S. pressure to convince allies to steer clear of the Chinese 5G technology.

China is also gearing up by upholding contacts with its tried and tested partners — namely Russia. Despite a minuscule slide in bilateral trade (a 4% decline compared to 2019) amid COVID-19, political cooperation has been developing. In early July, both countries demonstrated close coordination in high-level international organizations by vetoing extension of cross-border aid in Syria. During a telephone call to Vladimir Putin on July 8, President Xi vowed to intensify coordination with Russia internationally, including in the UN.

Russia and China currently maintain close and regular cooperation. According to the Russian ambassador to China A. Denisov, up to now, both presidents have held four telephone conversations and are currently working on preparation for a state visit of the Russian President to China, as well as on the participation of Xi Jinping in SCO and BRICS forums in Russia with open dates.

A new trend in China-Russia cooperation can be noted in the sphere of coordination of bilateral actions to oppose Western ideological pressure in the media. On July 24, spokespeople of the Ministries of foreign affairs held a video-conference on the information agenda. The parties recognized Western powers’ attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of China and Russia by disseminating fake news and placing restrictions on journalists’ work.

U.S. attempts to alienate and isolate China provide Beijing with no other choice but to seek further expansion of cooperation with like-minded states, be it Russia or any other country open for cooperation.

From our partner RIAC

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