RT reports: “The US stands ready to work with Russia,” Kerry told journalists after meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Tuesday. He added that the two countries’ officials had had “a productive day” and the discussions had been “constructive." “Despite our countries’ differences, we demonstrated that when the United States and Russia pull together in the same direction, progress can be made,” Kerry said. (Photograph by Kremlin.ru) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-FLD3fXc524
The song uses the Romance theme from the Lieutenant Kijé Suite by Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev, and its lead-in includes a snippet from the Soviet news program Vremya in which the famed Soviet news broadcaster Igor Kirillov says in Russian: "...The British Prime Minister described the talks with the head of the delegation, Mikhail Sergeyevich Gorbachev, as a constructive, realistic, practical and friendly exchange of opinions...", referring to the meeting of Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher in 1984. The Soviet leader at the time was Konstantin Chernenko.
Also in the background, communications from the Apollo–Soyuz mission can be heard.
Even Western reporters can hardly believe Kerry's rhetorical Volte-face from Washington's previous 'Assad must go' rhetoric
While team Rogue Money's other members digest the implications of the Federal Reserve's 0.25 percent rate hike this mid-week, we were observing the surprising spirit of détente coming out of Secretary of State John Kerry's meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Lavrov in Moscow. Even U.S. Ambassador John Tefft, infamous in Russia for his role in previous 'colored revolutions' in Georgia and preparing the Maidan coup d'etat in Ukraine, and Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland who hand picked Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy 'Yats' Yatsenyuk in the same leaked February 2014 phone call in which she said 'f--- the EU' were at the table with Putin and Lavrov. The expression on Nuland's face captured by an RT photographer as she left the Kremlin following Tuesday night's 3 1/2 hour meeting with Putin was priceless -- if one finds fanatically anti-Russian neoconservatives' tears sweet.
h/t for finding this tweet goes to @BanksterSlayer...we'll miss you too ma'am. We aren't sure if the woman on Nuland's left is the Russian MFA's first female chief spokesperson, Maria Zakharova, but she sure looks like her
On the other hand, after virtually every hint of rapprochement between Washington and Moscow since Cold War 2.0 began in earnest in 2014, some escalation or incident has occurred to sabotage the two sides finding common ground. The most recent example being the Obama-Putin meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Antalya, Turkey last month followed by the treacherous Turkish ambush shoot down of a Russian SU-24 jet just days later. Numerous other incidents, especially the Maidan snipers false flag murders of armed activists and policemen which happened within 24 hours of Russia, the U.S. and Washington's EU allies had reached a deal on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych's peaceful resignation to avert bloodshed, have hardened attitudes in the Kremlin regarding the trustworthiness of the Americans.
Nonetheless, Washington seems to be talking the talk about abandoning the burning ambition of its Turkish, Saudi and Qatari allies to overthrow the regime of Syrian President Bashir al-Assad. Now we shall see if Washington is truly prepared for a peace settlement with the Eurasian axis of Russia and Iran in Syria, or if the forces of desperate hegemony will stage some new 'incident' to justify sending more American and NATO troops into 'Syraq'.
"The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change," Kerry told reporters in the Russian capital after meeting President Vladimir Putin. A major international conference on Syria would take place later this week in New York, Kerry announced.
Kerry reiterated the U.S. position that Assad, accused by the West of massive human rights violations and chemical weapons attacks, won't be able to steer Syria out of more than four years of conflict.
But after a day of discussions with Assad's key international backer, Kerry said the focus now is "not on our differences about what can or cannot be done immediately about Assad." Rather, it is on facilitating a peace process in which "Syrians will be making decisions for the future of Syria."
The Common 'Thread' Between 'Rate Hikes' of a Quarter Percent and Obama's Last Year in Office -- Seeking a 'Soft Landing'
If one can draw a common thread between the Federal Reserve's 25 basis point 'rate hike' announced on Wednesday and the sudden shift in the U.S. diplomatic posture toward Russia and Syria, it may be the idea of a 'soft landing'. That is, the Fed technocrats believe they can arrange for an orderly bursting of the massive dollar bubble they've created, while the State Department led by Kerry have been ordered to seek a face saving solution to the problem of America's Sunni radical and jihadist proxies facing defeat on Syrian battlefields.
As our Washington D.C. energy consultant source texted this week, as a long time observer of Lebanese and Mideast politics:
So on the cusp of [a] real shift of power in the region, w[ith] Houthis pushing KSA to brink, FSA on the brink, Kurds about to erupt within TR [Turkey], and US outsourcing its ME power posture to RU [Russia] and IR [Iran].
We rather believe both the Fed and the State Department are badly mistaken about there being any easy or face-saving way out of the messes they've created. However, with the rumors reported by Dr. Jim Willie and others that the Fed now answers to China to some extent, it is most definitely in the interests of China and the Eurasian bloc to let the dollar and Washington down slowly, rather than risk the covert world war underway going 'hot' in the Middle East. Sun Tzu's 2,500 year old treatise the Art of War advises to never press a desperate foe too hard, and Moscow took this advice in September 2013 when Putin offered the Obama Administration a face-saving way out of its 'red line' over Assad's alleged chemical weapons use. The Syrian chemical weapons were shipped out of the country and destroyed in the presence of Russian and U.S. technicians, while the threat of another major sarin false flag attack by the Turks and Saudis was defanged.
Through exercising the KGB-invented doctrine of reflexive control and logic of judoka, Putin turned the Administration's momentum toward an all out U.S. assault on Syria the U.S. Joint Chiefs didn't want to the advantage of the Kremlin and its allies. Perhaps as we've speculated with the help of the 'Kings of the East' or the rumored 'Eastern globalists/White Dragon societies' Putin came out smelling like a rose and a peacemaker, while Obama and the neocons who demanded he uphold his 'red line' bluster looked like chumps. The revenge taken for this Russian humiliation of official Washington, in the form of a U.S.-sponsored coup in Kiev, did not make the situation 'right' but worse. Because as we'll explore in a post later this week, Washington is now further stained with the clown car freak show in Ukraine, and even the professional Russia bashers at The Economist can't spray enough perfume on that stinking manure pile of corruption and stupidity.
This idea of a 'soft landing' for the American elites if not the King Dollar empire (the latter being impossible to save in its current form) was discussed by an exiled Ukrainian expert, Rotislav Ischenko, in an essay published last month at OrientalReview.org/Zerohedge. Being Ukrainian by birth, Ischenko is no stranger to observing political and economic systems spinning out of control, like centrifuges wrecking themselves at thousands of RPM after the control software gets infected with a Stuxnet computer virus. Nor is he under any illusions regarding the narrowing of the interests favoring war or taking the world to the brink of a global conflagration in order to preserve a failing reserve currency (emphasis in the original ZH post):
The contradiction between the concept of escaping the crisis, which has been adopted the US elite, and the alternative concept – proposed by Russia and backed by China, then by the BRICS nations and now a large part of the world – lay in the fact that the politicians in Washington were working from the premise that they are able to fully control the globalized world and guide its development in the direction they wish. Therefore, faced with dwindling resources to sustain the mechanisms that perpetuate their global hegemony, they tried to resolve the problem by forcefully suppressing potential opponents in order to reallocate global resources in their favor.
If successful, the United States would be able to reenact the events of the late 1980s – early 1990s, when the collapse of the Soviet Union and the global socialist system under its control allowed the West to escape its crisis. At this new stage, it has become a question of no longer simply reallocating resources in favor of the West as a collective whole, but solely in favor of the United States. This move offered the system a respite that could be used to create a regime for preserving inequitable relationships, during which the American elite’s definitive control over the resources of power, raw materials, finance, and industrial resources safeguarded them from the danger of the system’s internal implosion, while the elimination of alternative power centers shielded the system from external breaches, rendering it eternal (at least for a historically foreseeable period of time).
The alternative approach postulated that the system’s total resources might be depleted before the United States can manage to generate the mechanisms to perpetuate its global hegemony. In turn, this will lead to strain (and overstrain) on the forces that ensure the imperial suppression of those nations existing on the global periphery, all in the interests of the Washington-based center, which will later bring about the inevitable collapse of the system.
Two hundred, or even one hundred years ago, politicians would have acted on the principle of “what is falling, that one should also push” and prepared to divvy up the legacy of yet another crumbling empire. However, the globalization of not only the world’s industry and trade (that was achieved by the end of the 19th century), but also global finance, caused the collapse of the American empire through a policy that was extremely dangerous and costly for the whole world. To put it bluntly, the United States could bury civilization under its own wreckage.
Consequently, the Russian-Chinese approach has made a point of offering Washington a compromise option that endorses the gradual, evolutionary erosion of American hegemony, plus the incremental reform of international financial, economic, military, and political relations on the basis of the existing system of international law.
America’s elite have been offered a “soft landing” that would preserve much of their influence and assets, while gradually adapting the system to better correspond to the present facts of life (bringing it into line with the available reserve of resources), taking into account the interests of humanity, and not only of its “top echelon” as exemplified by the “300 families” who are actually dwindling to no more than thirty. In the end, it is always better to negotiate than to build a new world upon the ashes of the old.
A deranged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatening Russia and China for blocking UN authorization for Libya-style 'humanitarian war' in Syria back in 2012-2013
Pining for the Reagan Years, But With No Reagan In Sight: The Real Subtext of the GOP's Losers and Trump's Rise
The goal of the elite families Ischenko correctly recognizes as 'running America' at least since the November 1963 coup in Dallas if not the establishment of the Federal Reserve banking system in 1913 has been to stay 'on top'. And the means by which they hope to remain large and in charge have not changed all that radically since the successful effort during the 1980s to subvert the Soviet Union, an effort that wouldn't have succeeded without a considerable portion of the Politburo/KGB nomenklatura choosing peace rather than WWIII.
Similarly, we doubt the vast majority of the U.S elite and even the .01% wishes to live in a fallout shelter or decamped somewhere in the Southern Hemisphere after even a 'limited' nuclear war, though many American elites are still gripped by arrogant notions of easy American dominance over a combined Russia-China alliance in conventional war, or the notion that the Russians and Chinese simply would never dare fight or even challenge the U.S. See for example, this now-funny quote from U.S. Naval War College Professor Tom Nichols, adamantly declaring in a blog post supporting U.S military action against Assad in August 2013 that [http://tomnichols.net/blog/2013/08/28/the-realities-of-the-coming-syrian-war/]:
5. The Russians aren’t going to do a damned thing.
The Russians not only will not go to war over Assad, they can’t. I don’t know where people get these ideas (first guess: Google University), but the Russian Navy isn’t even remotely capable of getting in NATO’s way in the Med. Unless Vladimir Putin wants to threaten a nuclear war for Bashar Assad, this is not an issue. The Russians, as my colleague Nick Gvosdev points out, will get their pound of flesh for this in some way later, but not in a war.
That quote remains on Nichols' blog, without so much as a subsequent 'oops, I got it wrong, mea culpa' from the good professor. If a President Hillary Clinton is getting this kind of advice on Russian capabilities and intentions, then we probably will see some stupid move either in Ukraine or Syria to attack the Russians by proxy only to watch as the U.S. proxy force, whether Ukrainian or Turkish, gets absolutely massacred for NATO to finally 'get it'.
As Agent W the Intelligence Insider has patiently explained many times on the Guerrilla Radio program, as someone who was part of the Reagan rollback of Communism, the game has changed today. The opposition in Beijing and especially Moscow have read the Cold War 1.0 playbook and are well-prepared to counter it, if not execute some the same plays against a weakening 'USSA' empire. The formulas of armed Islamic insurgents if not large CIA and Saudi funded mercenary armies and colored revolutions have both met their match in their own way, just as the massive investments the Soviets made in a bloated military industrial complex and subversion worldwide eventually exhausted and disillusioned the Russian people with Communism.
In the case of Montenegro, a tiny country on the Adriatic Sea that NATO bombed over fifteen years ago, the Maidan George Soros playbook might even be used in reverse against American dominance of the historically pro-Serbian and Russia-friendly nation. In the FYR of Macedonia, another shard of old socialist Yugoslavia, massed rallies by pro-NATO Albanians ran into opposition from Montenegrins, Serbs and Macedonian natives. In Ukraine, Washington's proxy war to provoke Russia into a choice between invading and a costly occupation to break the Russians' fight or surrendering ethnic Ukrainians and pro-Russians in the Donbass failed. The Ukrainian army, having failed to achieve victory and unable to continue the offensive for fear of crushing defeat, wound up in a World War One-style static defensive posture that leads to morale and psychological decay. The ridiculous brawls in the Ukrainian Rada that in the past week dragged in Washington's now single digit approval rating Prime Minister have made the State Department's slogans about 'reforms' and the 'rule of law' a punchline in Europe.
Whereas in Syria Russia had to apply direct military power to successfully blunt Washington's proxy war effort, in Ukraine the Russians tried to use the least amount of force possible and counted on the internal contradictions of Ukrainian nationalism and failing economics to do the rest, just as the first independent Ukrainian state collapsed after its Imperial German and Polish sponsors lost interest in it after WW1. Whereas Moscow denied Washington ownership of Syria or rather a rump Sunnistan between the dissolved borders of Syria and Iraq for a Qatari gas pipeline to Turkey and thence Europe, in Ukraine the Russians forced upon the Americans former Secretary of State Colin Powell's 'pottery barn' rule: you broke it, now you own it. That means Washington owns the Rada deputies grabbing Yats by the balls and hoisting him like a mannequin, Ambassador Geoff Pyatt.
Turning to Tuesday night's ludicrous GOP debate in Las Vegas, in which corpulent New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie called for shooting down Russian planes if they enter a U.S.-imposed no fly zone in Syria, the subtext was if the U.S. elects a president who's ready to act 'tough enough' it'll be roaring mid-80s Morning in America again. When Christie in particular was challenged by Sen. Rand (not his father Ron) Paul of Kentucky on whether he'd be willing to start World War III, he retorted after the debate that the U.S. is already in WWIII, but with the Islamic State and that the Russians weren't in Syria to fight ISIS.
Besides the lie that the Russians and their Syrian Arab Army allies haven't done any damage to ISIS (the SAA and the Russians are on the outskirts of Palmyra and have obliterated the tanker trucks ISIS used to sell stolen oil that the U.S. left untouched for months), nobody in mainstream media is going to ask Christie how starting a war with Russia that could quickly escalate to a nuclear exchange wouldn't please the leaders of Daesh, convinced that Allah has infected the infidels with madness as they destroy each other so the Caliphate inherits the earth.
If a blithering idiot like Gov. Chris Christie actually got elected, Putin would reply, "And our no fly zone is already in place Mr. President, good day"
The real subtext of Christie, Jeb Bush, and to a lesser extent Marco Rubio's Establishment-favored war and mass surveillance mongering is that Putin's Russia is even weaker than the once mighty Soviet Union was, and if we just push the Russians hard enough they'll back down. The fact that modern Russia isn't as big as the USSR but also lacks the Soviets' two Achilles heels of an officially atheistic system and failing centrally planned economy basically goes over the heads of candidates who only know how to repeat Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute or Council on Foreign Relations talking points. Nor do they have a clue how brittle many of the American allies they would shower with weapons to provide 'boots on the ground' are -- none of them got the memo about the Saudis' humiliating, failed war in Yemen, or have a clue just how shattered the Ukrainian Army was by losing over 14,000 KIA and double that number of wounded in just a few months of fighting. They still probably believe that the Turkish Army leading a Sunni 'Arab coalition' could invade Syria and occupy the former territory of the Islamic State in Iraq without facing serious opposition, if not in the case of Syria a massive defeat at the Russians and Syrians' hands. (More likely, Turkish armored columns would run into Smerch/Tornado MLRS cluster bombardment like this):
If you're a Turkish Army tank commander not assured of any air support during a U.S.-ordered invasion of Syraq, do you feel lucky watching this?
What we're trying to say is that the likes of Christie, Jeb, or Rubio want to repeat the Reagan strategy of defeating the USSR, but lack the economic, moral, and even perhaps soon military strength to accomplish the job against a Russian-Chinese bloc that's stronger and more determined today than the 1980s Soviets were. Nor do they understand that the old magic of arming whoever today's 'mujaheddin' are -- the phantom 'Free Syrian Army', the Saudis or Turks -- cannot be repeated because proxy war has become a two way street. The Saudis sending fighters and arms to Pakistan to fight the Russians in the 1980s didn't have to worry about Soviet weapons in Yemeni hands killing Saudi soldiers inside the Kingdom, nor Iranian ballistic missiles killing scores at Saudi bases.
Today, instead of cheering on their president and jeering 'the Commies' in the Kremlin, many Americans are disgusted with Obama and politics as usual, and a few even openly express admiration for Russia''s leader:
One month into a new job covering the US presidential campaign, I am starting to find that the Trump phenomenon is more understandable when viewed through the lens of a Putin-Trump Venn diagram — or, rather, the Venn diagram of their supporters.
Two weeks ago in Macon at a stadium full of diehard Trump supporters, I met Tal Wollschlaeger, a law student, who declared apropos of nothing and with no knowledge of my background that he wanted to see a US president more like . . . Mr Putin.
“I think Putin is brilliant!” the twenty-something Mr Wollschlaeger told me as two of his friends nodded in agreement. “He’s taking care of business the way he has to. His country loves him. He’s done well for them. He does what he says and he gets the job done.”
He continued: “We just have to reassert ourselves. We’ve got to the point where Britain and France can’t look to us for advice because we can’t make the first move any more, because really we’re too weak. We need to get our seat back at the table.”
At first it seemed like a one-off, a random Putin fan sprouting up like a unicorn in a southern US city nicknamed the Heart of Georgia. But I don’t think Mr Wollschlaeger is an outlier.
In Dubuque, Iowa, a crucial primary state, the Associated Press recently spoke to Duane Ernster, a local Trump supporter who also offered the Putin comparison. “Maybe we need a warrior instead of a politician,” he said. “People compare Mr Trump to Putin. There’s something to be said about the man who takes care of the Russian people.”
Washington is Running Out of Time and the Internal Fight Between 'Realist' Globalists and War Party Hardliners is Only Going to Get Worse
In short, the candidates angling for the support of the shrinking ranks of billionaire Cold Warrior hard liners vastly overestimates the strength of America's alliances and moral standing in the world, while underestimating the potency of the Eurasian camp's asymmetric warfare, especially in the economic realm. The field of information warfare, where the NATO has increasingly been portrayed as a sort of Warsaw Pact alongside the sclerotic, trans nationalist European Union which is commonly derided as the 'EUSSR', is another area where Western leaders like Hillary Clinton admit to 'losing the war'.
Kremlin funding for political parties within the EU, playing the game Washington has long played through its Atlanticist think tanks and (G)NGOs like George Soros immense Open Society institute money laundering apparat, has become an obsession for many. But it's a drop in the bucket compared to what Washington is spending to hold on to its increasingly wayward, Chinese-deals cutting under the table European vassals.
Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges appears on a German talk show in recent months -- as a guest or representative of the occupying power 70 years on?
This is the backdrop for Ischenko's observation together with many other Russian analysts that Washington is suddenly turning back to diplomacy with Russia and China where force, proxy war and subversion have all failed:
Up until 2015, America’s elite (or at least the ones who determine US policy) had been assured that they possessed sufficient financial, economic, military, and political strength to cripple the rest of the world, while still preserving Washington’s hegemony by depriving everyone, including (at the final stage) even the American people of any real political sovereignty or economic rights. European bureaucrats were important allies for that elite – i.e., the cosmopolitan, comprador-bourgeoisie sector of the EU elite, whose welfare hinged on the further integration of transatlantic (i.e., under US control) EU entities (in which the premise of Atlantic solidarity has become geopolitical dogma) and NATO, although this is in conflict with the interests of the EU member states.
However, the crisis in Ukraine, which has dragged on much longer than originally planned, Russia’s impressive surge of military and political energy as it moved to resolve the Syrian crisis (something for which the US did not have an appropriate response) and, most important, the progressive creation of alternative financial and economic entities that call into question the dollar’s position as the de facto world currency, have forced a sector of America’s elite that is amenable to compromise to rouse itself (over the last 15 years that elite has been effectively excluded from participation in any strategic decisions).
The latest statements by Kerry and Obama which seesaw from a willingness to consider a mutually acceptable compromise on all contentious issues (even Kiev was given instructions “to implement Minsk “) to a determination to continue the policy of confrontation – are evidence of the escalating battle being fought within the Washington establishment.
It is impossible to predict the outcome of this struggle – too many high-status politicians and influential families have tied their futures to an agenda that preserves imperial domination for that to be renounced painlessly. In reality, multibillion-dollar positions and entire political dynasties are at stake.
However, we can say with absolute certainty that there is a certain window of opportunity during which any decision can be made. And a window of opportunity is closing that would allow the US to make a soft landing with a few trade-offs. The Washington elite cannot escape the fact that they are up against far more serious problems than those of 10-15 years ago. Right now the big question is about how they are going to land, and although that landing will already be harder than it would have been and will come with costs, the situation is not yet a disaster.
But the US needs to think fast. Their resources are shrinking much faster than the authors of the plan for imperial preservation had expected. To their loss of control over the BRICS countries can be added the incipient, but still fairly rapid loss of control over EU policy as well as the onset of geopolitical maneuvering among the monarchies of the Middle East. The financial and economic entities created and set in motion by the BRICS nations are developing in accordance with their own logic, and Moscow and Beijing are not able to delay their development overlong while waiting for the US to suddenly discover a capacity to negotiate.
'Stabbing the Empire' -- The USSR was not brought down solely by unsustainable economics, falling oil prices, popular revolutions in the Baltics, but also by elite 'betrayal' aka an agreement reached against the wishes of 80% of the Soviet population that wished to maintain the Union
The reason we led off this piece for RogueMoney with the quote from Sting's 1985 hit "Russians" is to emphasize, that back then it was newly installed young reformer 'Gorby' who called talks with the Americans and British realistic and constructive. Today, with the 'USSA' in crisis and its elites at odds like the Politburo of the mid-1980s, it's Obama playing the role of Gorbachev and Putin that of a quasi-Reagan. When Barack Obama took office after the initial shock of the 2008 financial crisis had hit, many Russian commentators like Prof. Igor Panarin compared him to Gorbachev. But what went over the heads of CNN, Glenn Beck and others who noticed this trend back then was that the comparison on the part of the Russians was not flattering. Over the last twenty years, 'Gorby' has been one of the most despised men in Russia.
As Ft. Russ reported this week, some Russian parliamentary deputies want 'Gorby', who was reduced to doing Pizza Hut commercials and Louis Vutton bag ads to pay his bills in retirement, investigated for high treason:
A member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, Georgy Fedorov, has sent a request to the Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika to check the contents of the talks between senior officials of the USSR and the US President for compliance with such articles of the Criminal Code as "treason" and "leaking state secrets" and, if necessary, to prosecute.
This stems from declassified transcripts of telephone conversations in which the top political leadership, namely Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin, report to George HW Bush about the destruction of the USSR.
The transcripts of telephone conversations held on December 8 and December 25, 1991, have been published in the media (in particular, in the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda).
According to Konsomolskaya Pravda, Boris Yeltsin called US President Bush and had a talk with him longer than 28 minutes, immediately after the signing of the Bialowieza agreement (on the creation of the CIS) on 8 December 1991
Two weeks later, December 25, the first (and final) president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev telephoned George W. Bush, and the conversation lasted 22 minutes.
In 2030 will old American neocons like Max Boot be sitting around a fire place, cursing Obama as a traitor whose betrayal together with the likes of Edward Snowden and John Kerry hastened the late great American Anglo-Globalist Empire into its untimely collapse?