Category Archives: Global South

What game is the House of Saud playing?, by Pepe Escobar

pepe2
Reuters / Todd Korol

The House of Saud now finds itself in times of extreme trouble. Their risky oil price war may eventually backfire. The succession of King Abdullah may turn into a bloodbath. And the American protector may be musing a change of heart.

Let’s start with oil – and some background. As much as US supply has increased by a couple of million barrels a day, enough oil from Iran, Kirkuk in Iraq, Libya and Syria has gone out of production; and that offsets extra US oil on the market. Essentially, the global economy – at least for the moment – is not searching for more oil because of European stagnation/recession and the relative China slowdown.

Since 2011, Saudi Arabia has been flooding the market to offset the decrease in Iran exports caused by the US economic war, a.k.a. sanctions. Riyadh, moreover, prevented OPEC from reducing country production quotas. The House of Saud believes it can play the waiting game – as fracked oil, mostly American, is inexorably driven out of the market because it is too expensive. After that, the Saudis believe they will regain market share.

In parallel, the House of Saud is obviously enjoying “punishing” Iran and Russia for their support of Bashar Assad in Damascus. Moreover, the House of Saud is absolutely terrified of a nuclear deal essentially between the US and Iran (although that’s still a major “if”) – leading to a long-term détente.

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Art Has to Fight for Justice, by André Vltchek

photo

It was 30th May, deep autumn in Argentina. The streetlights had been turned on an hour earlier, just as I was entering the house/museum. Now inside, it was dark, silent, warm and cozy.

Magda Konopacka de Bruzzone brought two cups of tea upstairs, after locking the gate. For a while, we sat in silence.

“Now tell me about the world outside,” she whispered, after I took my first sip.

“People are freezing to death,” I said. “Argentinean people are dying.”

She looked at me and then her eyes moved somewhere behind, way beyond me.

***
She was the love of his life.

To me he was one of the greatest artists of 20th century Latin America. His name was Alberto Bruzzone. Magdalena was his last wife, his muse, his model, and his companion – his everything for the last 3 decades of his life. They met when he was in his late 50’s and she was still a very young woman. They never separated. He died in 1994, here, in Mar del Plata, at the age of 87. She turned their entire house into a stunning museum and cultural center: into “Casa Bruzzone”.

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The Empire is Crumbling, That is Why it Needs War, by André Vltchek

who said it is over_

Last night, in Beijing, I sat in a historic Szechuan restaurant with a friend who happens to be a Chinese diplomat. We exchanged some stories, ordered food, and then, suddenly, my throat felt dry and my eyes got misty.

I bowed and thanked her for the heartfelt offer China made to rescue Russia.

Just before leaving my hotel, I read the news on the RT:

“China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in Yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister.

‘Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,’ Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists. China Daily reported Monday: ‘If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.’”

By no means was I representing the Russian Federation here, in Beijing, nor was my friend representing China that night, at the dining table. It was an informal meeting attended by just a few friends, nothing more.

Not to mention that I am not really, ‘technically’ a Russian. Yes, I was born in Leningrad but almost my entire life I spent elsewhere… all over the world, to be precise. And in my veins, not that it really matters; it is also all confused… there circulates an explosive mixture of Russian, Chinese and European blood.

But lately, to be Russian, to me and to many others, is much more than just about blood. ‘I am a rebel; therefore I am Russian’, to paraphrase Albert Camus. Or: ‘I am Russian because I refuse to abandon the struggle.’

‘Ya Russkii!’ or ‘Cubano soy!’ It simply feels good, and makes one proud, and stronger.

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Washington Plays Russian Roulette, by Pepe Escobar

These are bleak times. I’ve been in serious conversation with some deep sources and interlocutors – those who know but don’t need to show off, privileging discretion. They are all deeply worried. This is what one of them, a New York strategic planner, sent me:

The propaganda attack against Putin equating him with Hitler is so extreme that you have to think that the Russians cannot believe their ears and cannot trust the United States anymore under any circumstances.

I cannot believe how we could have gotten ourselves into this situation to protect the looters in the Ukraine that Putin would have rid the Ukraine of, and even had the gall to place in a leadership role one of the worst of the thieves. But that is history. What is certain is that MAD [mutually assured destruction] is not a deterrent today when both sides believe the other will use nuclear weapons once they have the advantage and that the side that gains a decisive advantage will use them. MAD is now over.

Priceless map on the wall of the American Studies Group, a small think tank in Tehran http://www.vineyardsaker.co.nz/category/american-studies-group/
Priceless map on the wall of the American Studies Group, a small think tank in Tehran http://www.vineyardsaker.co.nz/category/american-studies-group/

That may sound somewhat extreme – but it’s a perfectly logical extension, further on down the road, of what the Russian president intimated in his already legendary interview with Germany’s ARD in Vladivostok last week: the West is provoking Russia into a new Cold War. [1]

Mikhail Gorbachev just stressed a few days ago the new Cold War is already on. Princeton’s Stephen Cohen says the Cold War in fact never left. The Roving Eye reported about Cold War 2.0 months ago. Brits – still stranded in the 19th century new Great Game – prefer to spin the “strident toxic personality” of “diminutive Putin”; [2] he is the “ruthless, charming and ultimately reckless” man who “put the cold war back in vogue”. The Council on Foreign Relations, predictably, mourns the end of the post-Cold War world, blasts the current “disorder”, and dreams of the good ol’ unchallenged exceptionalist days. [3]

For arguably the best detailed background on how we came to this perilous state of affairs, it’s hard to beat Vladimir Kozin of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies. [4] Read him carefully. And yes, it’s Cold War 2.0, the double trouble remix; between the US and Russia, and between NATO and Russia.

Seeing red
In his ARD interview, Putin stuck to actual facts on the ground: “NATO and the United States have military bases scattered all over the globe, including in areas close to our borders, and their number is growing ? Moreover, just recently it was decided to deploy special operations forces, again in close proximity to our borders. You have mentioned various [Russian] exercises, flights, ship movements and so on. Is all of this going on? Yes, it is indeed.”

For the Russia-demonizing hordes, it’s always convenient to forget that NATO expansion to Georgia and Ukraine was clinched at a NATO meeting in Bucharest in April 2008. The Georgia op spectacularly failed in the summer of 2008. Ukraine is a work in progress.

Crucially, in the ARD interview, Putin also told the EU coalition of the clueless/vassals/puppets/ that Russia can bring down the Ukraine House of Cards in a flash; Moscow just needs to emphasize it’s time to collect the humongous amounts of cash it is legally owed.

Putin also made it very clear Moscow won’t allow – and that was categorical: won’t allow – Donbass to be overrun/smashed/ethnic-cleansed by Kiev: “Today there is fighting in eastern Ukraine. The Ukrainian central authorities have sent the armed forces there and they even use ballistic missiles. Does anybody speak about it? Not a single word. And what does it mean? What does it tell us? This points to the fact, that you want the Ukrainian central authorities to annihilate everyone there, all of their political foes and opponents. You want that? We certainly don’t. And we won’t let it happen.” [5]

Donetsk Airport - 9 Oct 2014
Donetsk Airport – 9 Oct 2014

According to Kiev’s own figures, no less than 65% of residential buildings and 10% of schools and kindergartens in Donbass have been destroyed. Over 40,000 medium-sized companies are paralyzed. Unemployment – Ukraine-wide, is over 40%. External debt may reach US$80 billion – and don’t expect the International Monetary Fund, which now owns Ukraine, to go philanthropic. Most of all, Kiev can’t pay its billionaire gas bills to Gazprom because it spends a fortune terrorizing eastern Ukraine citizens. This Poroshenko rant sums it all up – with the US and EU fully complicit.

So NATO has been warned about Russia’s real red lines. Still, substantial sectors of the Washington/Wall Street elites can’t get enough of war. And they like it hot. [6] No one should ever underestimate the unlimited stupidity of the Return of the Living Neo-con Dead using their favorite pulpit, the editorial page of the Wall Street Journal.

The “logic” behind Cold War 2.0 – now in full swing – couldn’t give a damn about European stability. The Obama administration launched it – with NATO as the spearhead – to in fact prevent Eurasian integration, building a New Berlin Wall in Kiev. The immediate target is to undermine Russia’s economy; in the long run, regime change would be the ultimate bonus.

So the logic of escalation is on. The economically devastated EU is a joke; the only thing that counts for the US is NATO – and the overwhelming majority of its members are in the bag, sharing the prevailing mood in Washington of treating Putin as if he were Milosevic, Saddam Hussein or Gaddafi. There are no signs whatsoever Team Obama is willing to de-escalate. And when the Hillarator President-in-Waiting ascends to the throne, all bets are off.

Source:http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-01-211114.html

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), andObama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

He may be reached at pepeasia@yahoo.com.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

Notes:
1. Putin’s Sunday Interview on German TV (Dubbed + Transcript), Russian Insider, November 19, 2014.
2. The new cold war: are we going back to the bad old days?, The Guardian, November 19, 2014.
3. The Unraveling: How to Respond to a Disordered World, foreignaffairs.com, December 2014 issue.
4. See here.
5. The broken-down beauty of Eastern Ukraine, 25 years after the end of the USSR, Quartz, November 15, 2014.
6. The Wall Street Journal Wants the US to Go To War in Ukraine, Russia Insider, November 18, 2014.

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An Introduction to the Control Freak’s demented Paradise…, by Paul Matthews

“The Frontier Thesis or Turner Thesis, is the argument advanced by historian Frederick Jackson Turner in 1893 that American democracy was formed by the American frontier. He stressed the process—the moving frontier line—and the impact it had on pioneers going through the process. He also stressed results, especially that American democracy was the primary result, along with egalitarianism, a lack of interest in high culture, and violence. “American democracy was born of no theorist’s dream; it was not carried in the Sarah Constant to Virginia, nor in the Mayflower to Plymouth. It came out of the American forest, and it gained new strength each time it touched a new frontier,” – said Turner ( Turner Thesis).

Depuis le 1er septembre, les forces de l'ordre tentent de déloger les manifestants du site. © REMY GABALDA / AFP
Depuis le 1er septembre, les forces de l’ordre tentent de déloger les manifestants du site. © REMY GABALDA / AFP


Dear Friends and Colleagues
Nothing is more gullible, fickle or malleable than public opinion. But a widening consensus indicates that the locomotive driving the American Dream may be finally about to hit the buffers. [1] It’s taken time for the gilt to wear off the gingerbread. For over 60 years – in the wake of the Atlantic Charter (1941), Bretton Woods (1944), GATT and the Marshall Plan (1948), the WTO (1995) – humankind’s infatuation with the US style consumer society has endured. Now there’s no going back to the honeymoon period of post-war years, before the mask of humanity was stripped from the countenance of a turbo-charged capitalist alliance otherwise known as NATO or the Anglo-Zionist Empire. A law unto themselves, operating hand in glove with the mainstream media, the West’s intelligence mafia, notably the CIA and Mossad, openly trades in terror and is running a protection racket. 9/11, 7/7, MH17 are part of a time honoured pattern of false flag operations endorsing a rapport de force to ensure that North America, Europe, Australasia and their satellite nations retain this dire partnership to subdue and enslave the world.

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Continue reading An Introduction to the Control Freak’s demented Paradise…, by Paul Matthews

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