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Mon, 27 Mar 2023
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Valdai director: The West's standoff with Russia and China is a big opportunity for the world's second-tier powers

xi jinping africa china leaders
© Xinhua
Chinese President Xi Jinping chairs a China-Africa leaders' meeting in Osaka, Japan, June 28, 2019.
With the US distracted by its attempts to "contain" Moscow and Beijing, other players have a window of freedom

We can argue all we like about how the new international order will look but one thing is clear: it will not resemble any previous incarnation. History does not tend to repeat itself, which always means that recourse to historical analogies remains a sign of intellectual unpreparedness for contemporary events.

It's the same today - any attempt to find a firm basis for comparison between the past and the processes and phenomena of international life that we currently observe is inevitably confronted with convincing arguments as to why this or that analogy is not appropriate. It was even difficult in the past, when the main issue was the changing power capabilities of a relatively small group of states. It is all the more impossible to find examples now, in a completely changed international context. And it is very likely that paying attention to the context will help us to better visualize the contours of the order that will emerge in a few years, if not over decades.


Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova exposes CNN 'reporter' as propagandist CNN would fire if he weren't

Maria Zakharova Frederik Pleitgen Cnn

CNN hack Frederik Pleitgen attempts to spar with Kremlin spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, March 24, 2023
This CNN reporter, Frederik Pleitgen, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, on 16 June 2022, challenged Russia's press spokesperson Maria Zakharova, by saying that "This is a rules-based forum for the whole world," referring there to the U.S. regime's self-created "rules" instead of to existing international laws, but then he abruptly switched to alleging that Russia's invasion of Ukraine "is a violation of international law." She documented that it is not.

In the process, and in response to Pleitgen's follow-ups, Pleitgen displayed not only ignorance of the history that had led up to and produced this invasion, but he rejected the very idea that the history that had left Russia no realistic alternative to invading after, on 7 January 2022, both the United States and NATO said, in response to Russia's 17 December 2022 formal presentation of their base-line essential national-security demands, which included a promise that Ukraine not be allowed into NATO, not only no, but that they refused even to negotiate about those demands.


Why hypersonic missiles DO actually matter

Game Over missile launch
I recently had the misfortune to read an article on CNN entitled: What to know about hypersonic missiles fired by Russia at Ukraine

I say "misfortune" because clearly, the individual who wrote it was trying very hard to downplay the significance of hypersonic weapons in the hands of the USA's declared adversary - aka Russia.

The above-mentioned article is actually an extended version of a shorter one at CNN published just a day earlier. That earlier article (now missing) was even worse - for both its purely propagandistic nature, as well as the author's breathtaking display of simple ignorance regarding the subject matter of his article.

But, whatever. So let's take a look at hypersonic missiles...

Eye 1

Why Manhattan DA's hush money case against Trump doesn't look sexy anymore

Donald Trump MAGA
© AP Photo / Matt Freed
Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's "hush money" case against Donald Trump is bursting at the seams, with US legal experts ridiculing the DA's effort to put the former president behind bars, and some Democratic lawmakers warning against using the US court system as a pawn in a political game.

Last Saturday, former President Donald Trump signaled that he could be arrested on March 21 in connection with an ongoing investigation by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg concerning Trump's alleged 2016 payment of $130,000 in hush money to adult movie star Stormy Daniels.

Trump's announcement triggered a lively debate, with US conservatives lambasting Bragg for pushing what they called a heavily politicized case.

The potential indictment, mentioned by Trump, should have followed a series of testimonies by former Trump attorney Michael Cohen, a disbarred lawyer and convicted felon who turned against his former client.

While many saw Cohen as Bragg's future "star witness" in a possible trial against Donald Trump, Cohen's former legal adviser Robert Costello came forward on March 20 to testify before the Manhattan grand jury with more than 300 emails contradicting his former client's statements. In addition, another letter on behalf of Cohen to the Federal Election Commission was unveiled shredding Cohen's claims.

Comment: See also:

Quenelle - Golden

Putin says Russia will station tactical nukes in Belarus

Putin Lukashenko
© SPUTNIK/Reuters
Russian president Vladimir Putin with Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko in Moscow in February.
Russia has reached an agreement with Belarus to station tactical nuclear weapons on its smaller neighbour's territory, so bringing some of its arsenal closer to the rest of Europe, Vladimir Putin has said.

The Russian president made the announcement on state television, arguing that it would not breach non-proliferation agreements and that it would match similar arrangements that the US has with several of its European allies.

Putin said he was acting after negotiations with Belarus's president, Alexander Lukashenko, who he said had "long raised the question" of a nuclear deployment on his country's territory.



Poland's PM boasts about €900 million payment for shipping arms to Ukraine

Mateusz Morawiecki

FILE PHOTO: Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki
The European Union will thank Poland for the supply of weapons to the Kyiv regime. This was stated by Prime Minister of Poland Mateusz Morawiecki, speaking to reporters following the results of the EU summit in Brussels.

Morawiecki noted that Warsaw is waiting for "very good compensation" for playing one of the leading roles in supplying Ukraine with a variety of weapons and military equipment. Earlier, the Polish leadership proudly stated that Poland is in second place after the United States in the list of countries providing military assistance to Ukraine.

Comment: This isn't helping dispel the suspicion that some of Poland's representatives intend to become even more involved in the proxy war: Poland's French embassy says they could 'enter conflict' in Ukraine against Russia

Arrow Down

Biden irked by Kamala Harris not 'rising to occasion' or taking 'anything off his plate'

© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
US President Joe Biden • Vice President Kamala Harris
Two former White House officials said President Biden is frustrated with Vice President Kamala Harris' performance — even if he remains committed to keeping her as his running mate in the 2024 election, a new report reveals.

The 80-year-old Biden, who has gone out of his way to praise Harris in recent public remarks, reportedly has griped about his No. 2's reluctance to take on risky assignments.

One former White House official told Reuters:
"A point of tension in their relationship is that I don't think that the president sees her as somebody who takes anything off of his plate" due to a "fear of messing up. If he did not think she was capable, he would not have picked her. But it is a question of consistently rising to the occasion. I think his running for re-election is less about her and more about him, but I do think that she and the Democratic bench [are] a factor."
Another former White House official told the wire service that Biden, already the oldest-ever president, intends to seek a second term in part because he's concerned that Harris may not be able to beat former President Donald Trump, who is seeking the GOP nomination.
© AP/Alex Brandon
President Biden • VP Harris
Former official: Biden doesn't believe Harris is 'rising to the occasion'

Comment: The 'low' and 'lower' hanging fruit.

Chart Pie

Where the $1.3 trillion per year U.S. Military budget goes

© defense.gov
Nobody can give a precise dollar-number to U.S. 'Defense' spending because the U.S. 'Defense' Department has never been able to pass an audit, and is by far the most corrupt of all federal Departments (and is the ONLY Department that has never passed an audit), and also because much of America's military spending is being paid out from other federal Departments in order to keep down the published annual U.S. Government 'Defense' expenditure numbers (which come from ONLY the U.S. 'Defense' Department). Those are expenditures for America's privatized and overwhelmingly profit-driven Military-Industrial Complex. (By contrast: Russia and China require, by law, that their armaments-firms be majority-owned by the Government itself.)

According to the best available estimates, the U.S. Government has been spending, in total, for over a decade now, around $1.3T to $1.5T annually on 'defense', and this is around half of all military spending worldwide by all 200-or-so nations, and is more than half (around 53%) of all of the U.S. federal Government's 'discretionary' (or congressionally voted for) annual expenditures.

Black Magic

Top official says Pentagon diversity officer won't face discipline for anti-white tweets

kelisa wing dod social justice woke military
© Twitter/Screenshot | Kelisa Wing
Kelisa Wing, a DEI chief officer at the Department of Defense education wing said that she is a "woke administrator."
The Pentagon does not have plans to discipline an employee who was the Department of Defense's chief officer of diversity, equity, and inclusion for their anti-white tweets that have come under fire from Republican lawmakers, according to a top DOD official.

Kelisa Wing, the employee who has been found to have a history of tweets critical of white people, has been reassigned to a different role, Gilbert Cisneros Jr., undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness in the Biden administration, wrote in a Tuesday letter to House Republican Conference Chairwoman Elise Stefanik (R-NY). However, Wing has not faced discipline despite the DOD's determination that the employee was "speaking in a personal capacity," Cisneros, who was grilled by Republicans on Thursday during a House Armed Services Committee, added.

"I do agree that that is not acceptable," Cisneros said in the hearing. "It's not something that I would condone, and it's not condoned by [Department of Defense Education Activity] or the Department of Defense."

Comment: Russia and China are laughing their heads off behind closed doors. Neither of them have anything to fear from the woke U.S. military, other than some crazed psychopath deciding that nukes are the only option.

'Woke warfighters': GOP report claims Biden admin, Pentagon policies weakening military


Iraq War 20 years on... Collective western amnesia over Anglo-American crime of century

US Soldiers in Iraq
© Public Domain
This week, March 20, saw the 20th anniversary of the U.S.-British war launched on Iraq. The war resulted in over one million deaths and a decade of brutal military occupation. It spawned sectarian civil war, millions of displaced and destitute, and terrorism that engulfed the entire Middle East, as well as large swathes of Africa and Asia. Iraq and several other ancient nations have been destroyed because of the Anglo-American war. And it was a war based on flagrant American and British lies over alleged Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

The 20th anniversary of the U.S.-British war on Iraq, which was also supported by NATO partners, should be an occasion for proper accounting with Nuremberg-standard war crimes prosecutions of American and British political and military figures. Persons such as George W Bush, the former U.S. President, and Tony Blair, the ex-British premier, should be facing jail time for capital crimes. The current U.S. President Joe Biden should also be in the dock since his role as a senior Senator at the time was crucial in enabling the war. Also up for indictment are several Western media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post which promulgated the lies that made the case for war.

Despicably, the man who shed so much light on the crimes, publisher Julian Assange, is the one who languishes in a prison torture dungeon.

Twenty years on, there is an eerie sense of collective amnesia among Western politicians and media over the colossal war crimes associated with Iraq. It's almost as if it did not happen. The Western protagonists and their propaganda outlets have gotten away with mass murder.

This week marked another odious anniversary, which shamefully, was met with the same Western silence and indifference. On March 24, 1999, the U.S.-led NATO military alliance unilaterally began bombing former Yugoslavia for 78 consecutive days. Thousands of civilians were killed in a military assault on that country - under the cynical pretext of "humanitarian protection" - which was not approved at the time by the United Nations. The bombing campaign was conducted, like the Iraq War only four years later, on the basis of unilateral action by Washington and its Western allies.

Lamentably, a glance at the calendar would throw up countless such vile anniversaries of unlawful American and Western military aggression. March 19, for example, marked the NATO bombing of Libya in 2011.