UKRAINE NEEDS TO LEARN FROM WHAT HAPPENED TO AFGHANISTAN

America’s Proxy Wars Typically Rage For Years And Even Decades, Leaving Battleground Countries Like Ukraine In Rubble And The People Suffering For Decades After It Is Over.

The greatest enemy of economic development is war. If the world slips further into global conflict, our economic hopes and our very survival could go up in flames. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists just moved the hands of the Doomsday Clock to a mere 90 seconds to midnight.

The world’s biggest economic loser in 2022 was Ukraine, where the economy collapsed by 35 percent according to the International Monetary Fund. The war in Ukraine could end soon, and economic recovery could begin, but this depends on Ukraine understanding its predicament as victim of a American proxy war with Russia that broke out in 2014.

America has been heavily arming and funding Ukraine since 2014 with the goal of expanding NATO and weakening Russia. America’s proxy wars typically rage for years and even decades, leaving battleground countries like Ukraine in rubble.

Unless the proxy war ends soon, Ukraine faces a dire future. Ukraine needs to learn from the horrible experience of Afghanistan to avoid becoming a long-term disaster. It could also look to the American proxy wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Iraq, Syria, and Libya.

Starting in 1979, America armed the mujahadeen (Islamist fighters) to harass the Soviet-backed government in Afghanistan. As President Jimmy Carter’s national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski later explained, America’s objective was to provoke the Soviet Union to intervene, in order to trap the Soviet Union in a costly war. The fact that Afghanistan would be collateral damage was of no concern to America’s leaders.

The Soviet military entered Afghanistan in 1979 as America hoped, and fought through the 1980s. Meanwhile, American-backed fighters established al-Qaeda in the 1980s, and the Taliban in the early 1990s. The American “trick” on the Soviet Union had boomeranged. In 2001, America invaded Afghanistan to fight al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The American war continued for another 20 years, until America finally left in 2021. Sporadic American military operations in Afghanistan continue.

Afghanistan lies in ruins. While America wasted more than $2 trillion on American military outlays, Afghanistan is impoverished, with a 2021 gross domestic product below $400 per person! As a parting “gift” to Afghanistan in 2021, the American Government seized Afghanistan’s tiny foreign exchange holdings, paralyzing the banking system.

The proxy war in Ukraine began nine years ago when the American Government backed the overthrow of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych. Yanukovych’s sin from the American viewpoint was his attempt to maintain Ukraine’s neutrality despite America’s desire to expand NATO to include Ukraine (and Georgia). America’s objective was for NATO countries to encircle Russia in the Black Sea region. To achieve this goal, America has been massively arming and funding Ukraine since 2014.

The American protagonists then and now are the same. The American Government’s point person on Ukraine in 2014 was Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, who today is undersecretary of state. Back in 2014, Nuland worked closely with Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security advisor, who played the same role for Vice President Biden in 2014.

America overlooked to two harsh political realities in Ukraine. The first is that Ukraine is deeply divided ethnically and politically between Russia-hating nationalists in Western Ukraine and ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine and Crimea. The second is that NATO enlargement to Ukraine crosses a Russian redline. Russia will fight to the end, and escalate as necessary, to prevent America from incorporating Ukraine into NATO.

America repeatedly asserts that NATO is a defensive alliance. Yet NATO bombed Russia’s ally Serbia for 78 days in 1999 in order to break Kosovo away from Serbia, after which America established a giant military base in Kosovo. NATO forces similarly toppled Russian ally Moammar Gadhafi in 2011, setting off a decade of chaos in Libya. Russia certainly will never accept NATO in Ukraine.

At the end of 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin put forward three demands to the American regime: Ukraine should remain neutral and out of NATO; Crimea should remain part of Russia; and the Donbas should become autonomous in accord with the Minsk II Agreement. The Biden-Sullivan-Nuland team rejected negotiations over NATO enlargement, eight years after the same group backed Yanukovych’s overthrow. With Putin’s negotiating demands flatly rejected by the American regime, Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

In March 2022, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seemed to understand Ukraine’s dire predicament as victim of an American-Russia proxy war. He declared publicly that Ukraine would become a neutral country, and asked for security guarantees. He also publicly recognized that Crimea and Donbas would need some kind of special treatment.

Israel’s Prime Minister at that time, Naftali Bennett, became involved as a mediator, along with Turkey. Russia and Ukraine came close to reaching an agreement. Yet, as Bennett has recently explained, America “blocked” the peace process.

Since then, the war has escalated. According to American investigative reporter Seymour Hersh, American agents blew up the Nord Stream pipelines in September. More recently, America and allies have committed to sending tanks, longer-range missiles, and possibly fighter jets to Ukraine.

The basis for peace is clear. Ukraine would be a neutral non-NATO country. Crimea would remain home to Russia’s Black Sea naval fleet, as it has been since 1783. A practical solution would be found for the Donbas, such as a territorial division, autonomy, or an armistice line. Most importantly, the fighting would stop, Russian troops would leave Ukraine, and Ukraine’s sovereignty would be guaranteed by the UN Security Council and other nations. Such an agreement could have been reached in December 2021 or in March 2022.

Above all, the Government and people of Ukraine would tell Russia and America that Ukraine refuses any longer to be the battleground of a proxy war. In the face of deep internal divisions, Ukrainians on both sides of the ethnic divide would strive for peace, rather than believing that an outside power will spare them the need to compromise.

STOKING THE COLD WAR WITH CHINA WAS THE REASON BEHIND THE TIKTOK HEARING

Lawmakers Are Sounding The Alarm About Privacy Concerns With China And TikTok — While American-Based Social Media Companies Are Unaccountably Vacuuming Up Even More User Data.

Members of Congress inveighing against online “harm”; a nervous tech executive defending his company’s policies; thinly veiled threats about regulatory changes. If you tuned into C-SPAN last Thursday, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were looking at the rerun of a pre-2022 hearing, when Democrats used their control of Congress to haul Facebook personnel before them to harangue. Almost, but not quite.

Instead, this particular grilling was made possible by a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, and instead of Facebook, it was TikTok CEO Shou Chew in the firing line. And as a result, there’s now an American ban on TikTok being seriously discussed in the corridors of power.

Over five hours long, the hearing was at times a darkly hilarious reminder that the lawmakers most gung ho about clamping down on tech platforms are not exactly tech-savvy. Rep. Richard Hudson and Chew had an extended back and forth as the GOP House member demanded to know if TikTok “access[es] the home WiFi network.” “How do you determine what age they are then?” Rep. Earl “Buddy” Carter asked, before being told that, like many social media platforms, users are asked their age. Meanwhile, Rep. Dan Crenshaw seemed to think Chew was a Chinese citizen, despite the fact that he’d mentioned four times earlier that he hails from and lives in Singapore.

It was refreshing to hear some lawmakers raise concerns to a tech executive about his company’s censorship policies and their unintended consequences, instead of pressuring him to do more of it. Even so, this line of questioning was not the norm, with committee members from both parties — even the GOP, who have attempted to rebrand themselves as opponents of censorship (despite going into overdrive in pushing their own censorship measures) in recent years — pressing Chew, as per usual, to do more to remove “potentially harmful content” from the platform, whether misinformation and hate speech for the Democrats or the promotion of drugs for Republicans.

But given this is 2023, this was very much a showcase of hostility to China, with committee members mostly using the hearing to raise nonstop concerns about the dangerous implications of TikTok’s role as a medium of information and its collection of users’ data, given its relationship to Beijing.

That is 150 million Americans that [the Communist Party of China] can collect sensitive information on and control what we ultimately see, hear, and believe,” Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, warned.

TikTok has been functioning as a massive surveillance program collecting vast swaths of personal data for more than a billion people worldwide,” said Hudson. “Engineers in China have access to personal data of thirteen-year-olds in the United States,” fretted Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester, while Rep. Debbie Dingell spoke of the very real “dangerous implications” of what happens when you collect people’s geolocation data.

They’re not wrong. As even Chew acknowledged, TikTok, like other social media companies, does vacuum up and store its users’ personal data, and he wouldn’t explicitly rule out collecting users’ health and location data in the future, one of many instances where he evaded questioning a little too skillfully. Social media, like any form of media, can be an effective instrument of social control. And there are legitimate concerns around TikTok at least being influenced by the Chinese government.

Even so, the hyperventilating underway in Washington over this is hard to take seriously for several reasons. It’s true that the world shouldn’t be sanguine about one extremely powerful government’s special level of influence over a globally popular tech platform or the surveillance implications that result. But this is the same argument that one can make about the United States and the various tech companies — Google, Facebook, Twitter, to name a few — headquartered there.

As the “Twitter Files” reporting and recent disclosures have shown, the American government has a shockingly intimate relationship with, and powerful influence over, tech platforms like these, guiding or even directly shaping their censorship policies, right down to what kind of content and which accounts are to be censored. This isn’t totally new: among the revelations of the Edward Snowden documents was that Washington uses social media to push what the National Security Agency (NSA) itself labeled “propaganda” and “deception.” Several recent major studies found that bots pushing American government–aligned messaging were vastly more active than those of America’s adversaries, even if we don’t hear about them as much.

And when it comes to the peoples of the world having their intimate data sucked up, what the Washington Post once termed “Top Secret America” is a far more egregious offender. The Snowden leak, after all, revealed that through the American tapping of undersea Internet cables and various other means, the governments of the Five Eyes network collect and can access “nearly everything a user does on the Internet.” This isn’t exactly new either: these tech companies have been called “surveillance intermediaries” for years now because of their willing complicity with governments’ requests for people’s data, with the American government not the least among them. The government gathers up so much data about its own and the world’s citizens, in fact, that even NSA workers have complained that it’s hard to sift through it all and actually detect threats.

But for Americans who were meant to watch last Thursday’s hearing and come away feeling very, very afraid of the threat China poses to their personal safety, it’s worth remembering a far more important point: that people everywhere have more to fear from the spying their own governments and businesses do than from the surveillance that foreign adversaries do, however unsavory those other governments might be.

Say you’re a Cop City protester in Atlanta, dozens of whom are currently being prosecuted as domestic terrorists by the state government in Georgia. Is TikTok your biggest worry or is it the sprawling post-9/11 national security state, which has repeatedly surveilled and harassed a variety of government critics and which is reportedly keeping tabs on you? Likewise, if you’re an undocumented immigrant, what the Department of Homeland Security does with the enormous breadth of personal information it quietly collects from commercial brokers — including the geolocation data Dingell correctly raised concerns over — will worry you a lot more than what Beijing may or may not do with the same data.

Or turn this thinking around. Can anyone say with a straight face that the average Chinese citizen is more threatened by overseas data collection — one of the justifications the Chinese government has used for its own Internet crackdowns — than they are by that of their own government, which uses this surveillance to ruthlessly stamp out dissent and control its population? Or if Vladimir Putin told the Russian people they should be most worried about American-based tech companies gathering their personal information, all while his government kept tabs on critics and tracked down and arrested dissidents. Would we think they should take his words seriously? Of course not.

But in any case, it’s worth noting that a TikTok ban may not even matter all that much, since in our decentralized, data-saturated world, the Chinese government has a million ways to Sunday for getting its hands on your private information if it really wants to.

As Paris Marx recently argued, what this entire matter is really all about is the gradually erupting and entirely unnecessary new cold war with China that American officials are seemingly hell bent on, creating a climate in which lawmakers want to show “how much Western governments are willing to drive a wedge between themselves and China instead of making any real difference to security or privacy.” Far easier to point the finger at the potential misdeeds of a foreign bad guy, after all, than to do the job of holding one’s own government to account — especially if you’d quietly prefer that most Americans didn’t think about the vast surveillance state they live under or the repression it might enable.

As with all social media, there are constructive policy changes and regulations that should be made in regards to TikTok both to protect its users’ privacy and their mental health. But so far, the American efforts against the platform are looking like they might be the worst of all worlds: unpopular, authoritarian, and pointless.

WHY IS CHINA AMERICA’S ENEMY?

We Hope America Has Been Forced To Contemplate The Mortality Of Its Attempts At Total Economic Dominance.

We cannot readily think of any example in history, of a state which achieved the level of economic dominance China has now achieved, that did not seek to use its economic muscle to finance military acquisition of territory to increase its economic resources.

In that respect China is vastly more pacific than the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain or any other formerly prominent power.

Ask yourself this simple question. How many overseas military bases does America have? And how many overseas military bases does China have?

Depending on what you count, the United States has between 750 and 1100 overseas military bases. China has between 6 and 9.

The last military aggression by China was its takeover of Tibet in 1951 and 1959. Since that date, we have seen the United States invade with massive destruction Vietnam, Cambodia, Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

The United States has also been involved in sponsoring numerous military coups, including military support to the overthrow of literally dozens of governments, many of them democratically elected. It has destroyed numerous countries by proxy, Libya being the most recent example.

China has simply no record, for over 60 years, of attacking and invading other countries.

The anti-Chinese military posture adopted by the leaders of America, UK and Australia as they pour astonishing amounts of public money into the corrupt military industrial complex to build pointless nuclear submarines, appears a deliberate attempt to create military tension with China.

Sunak recited the tired neoliberal roll call of enemies, condemning: “Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, China’s growing assertiveness, and destabilising behaviour of Iran and North Korea”.

What precisely are Iran and China doing, that makes them our enemy?

This article is not about Iran, but plainly western sanctions have held back the economic and societal development of that highly talented nation and have simply entrenched its theological regime.

Their purpose is not to improve Iran but to maintain a situation where Israel has nuclear weapons and Iran does not. If accompanied by an effort to disarm the rogue state of Israel, they might make more sense.

On China, in what does its “assertiveness” consist that makes it necessary to view it as a military enemy? China has constructed some military bases by artificially extending small islands. That is perfectly legal behaviour. The territory is Chinese.

As the United States has numerous bases in the region on other people’s territory, once should truly struggle to see where the objection lies to Chinese bases on Chinese territory.

China has made claims which are controversial for maritime jurisdiction around these artificial islands – and some would argue wrong under the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. But they are no more controversial than a great many other UNCLOS claims, for example the UK’s behaviour over Rockall.

China has made, for example, no attempt to militarily enforce a 200 mile exclusive economic zone arising from its artificial islands, whatever it has said. Its claim to a 12 mile territorial sea is totally valid.

Similarly, the United States has objected to pronouncements from China that appear contrary to UNCLOS on passage through straits, but again this is no different from a variety of such disputes worldwide. The United States and others have repeatedly asserted, and practised, their right of free passage, and met no military resistance from China.

So is that it? Is that what Chinese “aggression” amounts to, some UNCLOS disputes?

Aah, we are told, but what about Taiwan?

To which the only reply is, what about Taiwan? Taiwan is a part of China which separated off under the nationalist government after the Civil War. Taiwan does not claim not to be Chinese territory.

In fact – and this is far too little understood in the West because our media does not tell you – the government of Taiwan still claims to be the legitimate government of all of China.

The government of Taiwan supports reunification just as much as the government of China, the only difference being who would be in charge.

The dispute with Taiwan is therefore an unresolved Chinese civil war, not an independent state menaced by China. As a civil war the entire world away from us, it is very hard to understand why we have an interest in supporting one side rather than the other.

Peaceful resolution is of course preferable. But it is not America’s conflict.

There is no evidence whatsoever that China has any intention of invading anywhere else in the China Seas or the Pacific. Not Singapore, not Japan and least of all Australia. That is almost as fantastic as the ludicrous idea that the UK must be defended from Russian invasion.

If China wanted, it could simply buy 100% of every public listed company in Australia, without even noticing a dent in China’s dollar reserves.

Which of course brings us to the real dispute, which is economic and about soft power. China has massively increased its influence abroad, by trade, investment, loans and manufacture. China is now the dominant economic power, and it can only be a matter of time before the dollar ceases to be the world’s reserve currency.

China has chosen this method of economic expansion and prosperity over territorial acquisition or military control of resources.

That may be to do with Confucian versus Western thought. Or it may just be the government in Beijing is smarter than Western governments. But growing Chinese economic dominance does not appear to me a reversible process in the coming century.

To react to China’s growing economic power by increasing western military power is hopeless. It is harder to think of a more stupid example of lashing out in blind anger. It is a it like peeing on your carpet because the neighbours are too noisy.

Aah, but you ask. What about human rights?

Let nobody claim that human rights genuinely has any part to play in who the Western military industrial complex treats as an enemy and who it treats as an ally.

The abominable suffering of the children of Yemen and Palestine also cries out against any pretence that Western policy, and above all choice of ally, is human rights based.

China is treated as an enemy because the United States has been forced to contemplate the mortality of its economic dominance.

China is treated as an enemy because that is a chance for the political and capitalist classes to make yet more super profits from the military industrial complex.

But China is not our enemy. Only atavism and xenophobia make it so.

WHO BLEW UP THE NORD STREAM PIPELINE?

In September 2022, The Nord Stream Gas Pipelines Exploded In One Of The Most Spectacular Political And Environmental Acts Of Terrorism In History.

In the days immediately following the attack, which cut Germany and Europe off from its gas supply and released enormous amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere, the West immediately pronounced judgement against Russia. “No one on the European side of the ocean is thinking this is anything other than Russian sabotage,” said a senior European environmental official. American Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm immediately said that it “seems” Russia is to blame.

But investigations by Sweden, Denmark and Germany, countries close to the explosion site, were slow to report and unable to arrive at conclusions. Then, on December 21, 2022, The Washington Post reported that, after months of investigation, there is nothing to suggest that Russia was responsible. The Post article interviewed “23 diplomatic and intelligence officials in nine countries” who said that “[t]here is no evidence at this point that Russia was behind the sabotage.” It reports that “even those with inside knowledge of the forensic details don’t conclusively tie Russia to the attack.” The Wall Street Journal reports that there is a “growing sense among investigators in the U.S. and Europe that neither Russian-government nor pro-Russian operatives were behind the sabotage.”

But if Russia didn’t do it, then one of us did.

On February 8, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh published a detailed account of the “act of war” that concluded that it was carried out by America.

A month later, The New York Times has now published a story that assigns responsibility to “a pro-Ukrainian group.” The story is so thin and vague in its detail, its sourcing and its reporting that it seems surprising that it met the paper’s criteria for publication. The only thing the article seems to have done well is to divert the blame that Hersh concluded away from America, which was probably its intent.

The Times did not refute Hersh’s reporting. In mentioning his article for the first time, The Times said only that “In making his case, Mr. Hersh cited the president’s pre-invasion threat to “bring an end” to Nord Stream 2, and similar statements by other senior US officials.” But to represent Hersh’s reporting as relying only on public statements by American officials is to diminish the extensive detail provided to Hersh by “a source with direct knowledge of the operational planning.”

Hersh has been accused of relying only on that one source. That too is unfair, not only because of Hersh’s long and reliable record of breaking important stories, but because it is misleading. Hersh’s source is the one who told him the story, but others corroborated it. Hersh has been very clear in making this point. To highlight it, Hersh prefaced the clarification in an interview by saying, “I’m telling you something important.” He then explained that “The people who own companies that build pipelines know the story. I didn’t get the story from them but I learned quickly they know.”

Unlike Hersh’s reporting, there is more in the Times report that is not known than that is known. “US officials,” the report says, “said there was much they did not know about the perpetrators and their affiliations.” The intelligence “does not specify the members of the group, or who directed or paid for the operation.”

But somehow, without knowing much about the perpetrators, their affiliations or who directed or paid for the operation, the one thing the American officials are confident about, as The Times makes clear at the very top of the article, is that there is “no evidence President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine or his top lieutenants were involved in the operation, or that the perpetrators were acting at the direction of any Ukrainian government officials.”

But no evidence is not evidence. And further down in the article, the report says that the American officials say “that there are no firm conclusions about it, leaving open the possibility that the operation might have been conducted off the books by a proxy force with connections to the Ukrainian government or its security services.” They say, too, that “it is possible that the perpetrators received specialized government training in the past.”

American officials told The Times that “there were still enormous gaps in what US spy agencies and their European partners knew about what transpired.” It is not even clear how much credibility they give the account of the sabotage: American officials “who have been briefed on the intelligence” told The Times anonymously that they “are divided about how much weight to put on the new information.”

Since The New York Times broke the story, a second report has come out. The leak, it turns out, is less of a leak than a press conference.

The same day as The Times report came out, Die Zeit reported that joint research by several German outlets found that “traces lead in the direction of Ukraine.” According to the German report, evidence that once unequivocally pointed to a massive operation that had to be carried out by a state actor, now pointed to a small six person operation on a yacht that was “rented from a company based in Poland” but “apparently owned by two Ukrainians.”

Like The New York Times report, the German report is characterized by more uncertainty than certainty. “The nationality of the perpetrators is apparently unclear,” and the investigation has “not yet found any evidence as to who ordered the destruction.” Although “traces lead to Ukraine, the investigators have not yet been able to find out who commissioned the suspected group of perpetrators.”

The next day, The Times of London suddenly reported that NATO had intelligence within a week of the explosion that the attack had been carried out “by a private venture originating in Ukraine.” Like the American and German reports, the British report says that the “private sponsor” was “a Ukrainian not affiliated with President Zelensky’s government.”

Though the media outlets have arrived at this conclusion, German intelligence has not. Die Zeit reports that a German government spokesman told the UN Security Council that investigations by Germany, Sweden and Denmark “are ongoing and that there are still no results.”

In its coverage of the story, The Washington Post says that “[t]he reports are far from conclusive.” The Wall Street Journal says the American report “isn’t definitive.” And not everyone is convinced. German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius raised the questions of the possibility of a false flag operation and of differentiating “whether it was a Ukrainian group that acted on the orders of Ukraine or … without the government’s knowledge.” “As such,” he said, I’m refraining from drawing premature conclusions.”

Russia judged the report as “hardly believable.” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the operation “was too difficult and was only within the scope of abilities of a well-trained, state-run intelligence service.” Former Russian President and current deputy chairman of the Security Council of Russia Dmitry Medvedev evaluated the reports as “blatant low-rating B-movie stuff.” Medvedev said they were meant to trick Europeans, and Peskov said they were meant to overshadow Hersh’s reporting.

Whether the sabotage was carried out by America, as Hersh concludes, or Ukraine, as the German and British stories conclude, will be crucial to figure out. But what is crucial for Germany and Europe right now is that they are faced with a choice between two dangerous and consequential realities.

Either their American NATO ally betrayed and sacrificed them by blowing up the gas pipeline and cutting them off from their gas supply to prevent them from funding Russia’s invasion and from falling short of fully committing to the American led sanctions regime, or Ukraine, the country that they are financing and arming at great national cost, did. The former could have significant foreign policy consequences in the future; the latter could have significant consequences for arming Ukraine in the present.

If the “new intelligence” is true, that it insists that sabotage was carried out independently of the government in Kiev may make little difference to Germany, and not only because the intelligence doesn’t know who the perpetrators are or who they are affiliated with. It may also make little difference because Ukraine’s denials may mean little.

If Kiev were involved, American intelligence may not know it, since The New York Times reports that “US officials and intelligence agencies acknowledge that they have limited visibility into Ukrainian decision-making.”

But American intelligence has been suspicious of Ukraine’s denials of involvement in other recent acts of sabotage. When a car bomb blew up near Moscow in August 2022, killing Daria Dugina, Ukraine denied any involvement. But The New York Times reported in October that “United States intelligence agencies believe parts of the Ukrainian government authorized the car bomb attack near Moscow in August that killed Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent Russian nationalist. . . .” That assessment was shared with the American government who “admonished Ukrainian officials over the assassination.”

And on March 2, two villages in the Bryansk region of Russia on the border of Ukraine suffered an attack that killed at least two people. Responsibility was claimed by a far right nationalist group called the Russian Volunteer Corps. Ukraine has denied directly supporting the group and, according to The Times, “has strongly denied knowledge of either attack.” But the Corps’ founder, who goes both by the name of Denis Nikitin and Denis Kapustin, insists that the “cross-border raid he’d conducted from Ukraine into Russia had the endorsement of Kyiv.” He told The Financial Times that Ukrainian authorities signed off on the attack. “Yes, of course, this action was agreed,” he said, “otherwise it couldn’t have happened.” He went on to say that “If I did not co-ordinate it with anyone [in Ukraine’s military] . . . I think we would simply be destroyed.”

Germany and Europe are confronted with two possible conclusions on who blew up the Nord Stream gas pipelines. Both conclusions are disturbing and dangerous. Either would affect their foreign policy and partnerships, and both could have profound consequences.

THE GATHERING STORM

America’s Self-Inflicted Trouble In Ukraine Aggravates Our Dangerous Trouble At Home.

The crisis of American national power has begun. America’s economy is tipping over, and Western financial markets are quietly panicking. Imperiled by rising interest rates, mortgage-backed securities and American Treasuries are losing their value. The market’s proverbial “vibes”—feelings, emotions, beliefs, and psychological penchants—suggest a dark turn is underway inside the American economy.

American national power is measured as much by American military capability as by economic potential and performance. The growing realization that American and European military-industrial capacity cannot keep up with Ukrainian demands for ammunition and equipment is an ominous signal to send during a proxy war that Washington insists its Ukrainian surrogate is winning.

Russian economy-of-force operations in southern Ukraine appear to have successfully ground down attacking Ukrainian forces with the minimal expenditure of Russian lives and resources. While Russia’s implementation of attrition warfare worked brilliantly, Russia mobilized its reserves of men and equipment to field a force that is several magnitudes larger and significantly more lethal than it was a year ago.

Russia’s massive arsenal of artillery systems including rockets, missiles, and drones linked to overhead surveillance platforms converted Ukrainian soldiers fighting to retain the northern edge of the Donbas into pop-up targets. How many Ukrainian soldiers have died is unknown, but one recent estimate wagers between 150,000-200,000 Ukrainians have been killed in action since the war began, while another estimates about 250,000.

Given the glaring weakness of NATO members’ ground, air, and air defense forces, an unwanted war with Russia could easily bring hundreds of thousands of Russian Troops to the Polish border, NATO’s Eastern Frontier. This is not an outcome Washington promised its European allies, but it’s now a real possibility.

In contrast to the Soviet Union’s hamfisted and ideologically driven foreign policymaking and execution, contemporary Russia has skillfully cultivated support for its cause in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia. The fact that the West’s economic sanctions damaged the American and European economies while turning the Russian ruble into one of the international system’s strongest currencies has hardly enhanced Washington’s global standing.

Biden’s policy of forcibly pushing NATO to Russia’s borders forged a strong commonality of security and trade interests between Moscow and Beijing that is attracting strategic partners in South Asia like India, and partners like Brazil in Latin America. The global economic implications for the emerging Russo-Chinese axis and their planned industrial revolution for some 3.9 billion people in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) are profound.

In sum, Washington’s military strategy to weaken, isolate, or even destroy Russia is a colossal failure and the failure puts Washington’s proxy war with Russia on a truly dangerous path. To press on, undeterred in the face of Ukraine’s descent into oblivion, ignores three metastasizing threats: 1. Persistently high inflation and rising interest rates that signal economic weakness. (The first American bank failure since 2020 is a reminder of America’s financial fragility.) 2. The threat to stability and prosperity inside European societies already reeling from several waves of unwanted refugees/migrants. 3. The threat of a wider European war.

Inside presidential administrations, there are always competing factions urging the president to adopt a particular course of action. Observers on the outside seldom know with certainty which faction exerts the most influence, but there are figures in the Biden administration seeking an off-ramp from involvement in Ukraine. Even Secretary of State Antony Blinken, a rabid supporter of the proxy war with Moscow, recognizes that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s demand that the West help him recapture Crimea is a red line for Putin that might lead to a dramatic escalation from Moscow.

Backing down from the Biden administration’s malignant and asinine demands for a humiliating Russian withdrawal from eastern Ukraine before peace talks can convene is a step Washington refuses to take. Yet it must be taken. The higher interest rates rise, and the more Washington spends at home and abroad to prosecute the war in Ukraine, the closer American society moves toward internal political and social turmoil. These are dangerous conditions for any republic.

From all the wreckage and confusion of the last two years, there emerges one undeniable truth. Most Americans are right to be distrustful of and dissatisfied with their government. President Biden comes across as a cardboard cut-out, a stand-in for ideological fanatics in his administration, people that see executive power as the means to silence political opposition and retain permanent control of the federal government.

Americans are not fools. They know that members of Congress flagrantly trade stocks based on inside information, creating conflicts of interest that would land most citizens in jail. They also know that since 1965 Washington led them into a series of failed military interventions that severely weakened American political, economic, and military power.

Far too many Americans believe they have had no real national leadership since January 21, 2021. It is high time the Biden administration found an off-ramp designed to extricate Washington, D.C., from its proxy Ukrainian war against Russia. It will not be easy. Liberal internationalism or, in its modern guise, “moralizing globalism,” makes prudent diplomacy arduous, but now is the time. In Eastern Europe, the spring rains present both Russian and Ukrainian ground forces with a sea of mud that severely impedes movement. But the Russian High Command is preparing to ensure that when the ground dries and Russian ground forces attack, the operations will achieve an unambiguous decision, making it clear that Washington and its supporters have no chance to rescue the dying regime in Kiev. From then on, negotiations will be extremely difficult, if not impossible.

THE RACKET OF THE COLD WAR IS BACK

Chinese Leader Xi Jinping Has Issued A Direct Critique Against The American Government’s Policy Of Containment When It Comes To China.

According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, the critique is unusual in that it comes directly from China’s leader rather than indirectly through governmental spokespersons.

The Journal article quotes Shirley Martey Hargis, fellow at the Washington think tank Atlantic Council, who suggests that Xi might just be shifting the blame for economic problems in China. “It’s either take the blame or shift it,” she said.

Notwithstanding China’s economic problems, however, the fact is that Xi is right. There is no denying that the American national-security establishment, led by the Pentagon and the CIA, have been pursuing a Cold War policy of containment against China, with the aim of renewing its old Cold War racket.

Of course, as the Russians will attest, the Pentagon and the CIA have been doing the same with them — doing everything they can to gin up their old Cold War racket against Russia, just as they are doing against China.

Take a look at the above map. You might be shocked, or maybe not. It displays the number of American military bases near China. Tom Orsag, a freelance leftist journalist, points out that “China is effectively encircled by US bases all across the Pacific.” Orsag adds, “The U.S. is the biggest bully in the Pacific, with rings of military bases blocking and threatening China.”

Now, we would like to show you a map of the number of Chinese military bases near the United States. But the number is? Zero! So there is nothing to show on a that map. In fact, according to an article at Eurasia Times entitled “Over 750 Military Bases Across 80 Countries: How the American Military Overshadows China In Projecting Power Overseas,” China has the grand total of one foreign military base — in Djibouti, which is more than 7,000 miles away from the United States.

We would also like to show you a map depicting the number of Russian bases around America but again the number is ZERO!

Let’s just imagine that the situation was reversed. Let’s assume that the United States had no military bases overseas whatsoever and had a non-empire, non-interventionist foreign policy. And let’s imagine that the United States was encircled by the same number of Russian and Chinese military bases that the Pentagon and the CIA have encircling Russia and China.

What do you think would be the reaction of American officials? The fact is that they would be going ballistic and directly objecting to China’s and Russia’s policy of encircling and containing the United States, just as Russia and China are currently objecting to American encirclement and containment of their countries.

Are China and Russia justified in their concern over the Pentagon’s encirclement of their nations? Martin Luther King, whose birthday American officials honor each year with a federal holiday, pointed out that the United States was the greatest purveyor of violence in the world. And that was before the American invasions and wars of aggression against Afghanistan and Iraq! Given such, why wouldn’t China and Russia be concerned about being encircled and contained by the Pentagon and the CIA?

The Wall Street Journal article cited above quotes Jessica Chen Weiss, a Cornell University professor and former State Department advisor, saying in response to the escalating tensions between China and the America, “The current tit-for-tat spiral serves no one.”

Is Weiss really that innocent and naive? Serves no one? Are you kidding us? It serves the entire American national-security establishment, including its army of “defense” contractors who eat out our substance by feeding voraciously at the public trough. The current tit-for-tat spiral gives the American national-security establishment its old — and extremely lucrative — Cold War racket back.

ENDLESS WARS ARE THE REAL ENEMY OF FREEDOM

War Has Become A Huge Money-Making Venture, And The American Government, With Its Vast Military Empire, Is One Of Its Best Buyers And Sellers.

Autocrats only understand one word: no, no, no. No you will not take my country, no you will not take my freedom, no you will not take my future… A dictator bent on rebuilding an empire will never be able to ease the people’s love of liberty. Brutality will never grind down the will of the free.”—President Biden

Oh, the hypocrisy.

To hear President Biden talk about the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, you might imagine that Putin is the only dictator bent on expanding his military empire through the use of occupation, aggression and oppression.

Yet the United States is no better, having spent much of the past half-century policing the globe, occupying other countries, and waging endless wars.

What most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with propping up a military industrial complex that has its sights set on world domination.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and the American government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

America’s part in the showdown between Russia and the Ukraine has already cost taxpayers more than $112 billion and shows no signs of abating.

Clearly, it’s time for the American government to stop policing the globe.

The American military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world.

American troops are stationed in Somalia, Iraq and Syria. In Germany, South Korea and Japan. In Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. In Niger, Chad and Mali. In Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Incredibly, America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

After 20 years of propping up Afghanistan to the tune of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, the American military may have finally been forced out, but those troops represent just a fraction of our military presence worldwide.

In an ongoing effort to police the globe, American military service people continue to be deployed to far-flung places in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This is how the military industrial complex, aided and abetted by the likes of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others, continues to get rich at taxpayer expense.

Yet while the rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are policing the globe, these wars abroad aren’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, are certainly not making America great again, and are undeniably digging America deeper into debt.

War spending is bankrupting America.

Although America constitutes only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Since 2001, the American government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the American government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the American government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.

Unfortunately, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs.

As investigative journalist Uri Friedman puts it, for more than 15 years now, the United States has been fighting terrorism with a credit card, “essentially bankrolling the wars with debt, in the form of purchases of US Treasury bonds by U.S.-based entities like pension funds and state and local governments, and by countries like China and Japan.”

War is not cheap, but it becomes outrageously costly when you factor in government incompetence, fraud, and greedy contractors. Indeed, a leading accounting firm concluded that one of the Pentagon’s largest agencies “can’t account for hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of spending.”

Unfortunately, the outlook isn’t much better for the spending that can be tracked.

A government audit found that defense contractor Boeing has been massively overcharging taxpayers for mundane parts, resulting in tens of millions of dollars in overspending. As the report noted, the American taxpayer paid:

$71 for a metal pin that should cost just 4 cents; $644.75 for a small gear smaller than a dime that sells for $12.51: more than a 5,100 percent increase in price. $1,678.61 for another tiny part, also smaller than a dime, that could have been bought within DoD for $7.71: a 21,000 percent increase. $71.01 for a straight, thin metal pin that DOD had on hand, unused by the tens of thousands, for 4 cents: an increase of over 177,000 percent.

That price gouging has become an accepted form of corruption within the American military empire is a sad statement on how little control “we the people” have over our runaway government.

Mind you, this isn’t just corrupt behavior. It’s deadly, downright immoral behavior.

Americans have thus far allowed themselves to be spoon-fed a steady diet of pro-war propaganda that keeps them content to wave flags with patriotic fervor and less inclined to look too closely at the mounting body counts, the ruined lives, the ravaged countries, the blowback arising from ill-advised targeted-drone killings and bombing campaigns in foreign lands, or the transformation of our own homeland into a warzone.

That needs to change.

The American government is not making the world any safer. It’s making the world more dangerous. It is estimated that the American military drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes. Since 9/11, the United States government has directly contributed to the deaths of around 500,000 human beings. Every one of those deaths was paid for with taxpayer funds.

The American government is not making America any safer. It’s exposing American citizens to alarming levels of blowback, a CIA term referring to the unintended consequences of the government’s international activities. Chalmers Johnson, a former CIA consultant, repeatedly warned that America’s use of its military to gain power over the global economy would result in devastating blowback.

The 9/11 attacks were blowback. The Boston Marathon Bombing was blowback. The attempted Times Square bomber was blowback. The Fort Hood shooter, a major in the Army, was blowback.

The military’s ongoing drone strikes will, spur yet more blowback against the American people.

The war hawks’ militarization of America—bringing home the spoils of war (the military tanks, grenade launchers, Kevlar helmets, assault rifles, gas masks, ammunition, battering rams, night vision binoculars, etc.) and handing them over to local police, thereby turning America into a battlefield—is also blowback.

James Madison was right: “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” As Madison explained, “Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes… known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few.”

We are seeing this play out before our eyes.

The government is destabilizing the economy, destroying the national infrastructure through neglect and a lack of resources, and turning taxpayer dollars into blood money with its endless wars, drone strikes and mounting death tolls.

Clearly, our national priorities are in desperate need of an overhauling.

At the height of its power, even the mighty Roman Empire could not stare down a collapsing economy and a burgeoning military. Prolonged periods of war and false economic prosperity largely led to its demise. As historian Chalmers Johnson predicts:

The fate of previous democratic empires suggests that such a conflict is unsustainable and will be resolved in one of two ways. Rome attempted to keep its empire and lost its democracy. Britain chose to remain democratic and in the process let go its empire. Intentionally or not, the people of the United States already are well embarked upon the course of non-democratic empire.

This is the “unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex” that President Dwight Eisenhower warned us more than 50 years ago not to let endanger our liberties or democratic processes.

Eisenhower, who served as Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe during World War II, was alarmed by the rise of the profit-driven war machine that emerged following the war—one that, in order to perpetuate itself, would have to keep waging war.

We failed to heed his warning.

As long as America’s politicians continue to involve us in wars that bankrupt the nation, jeopardize our servicemen and women, increase the chances of terrorism and blowback domestically, and push the nation that much closer to eventual collapse, “we the people” will find ourselves in a perpetual state of tyranny.

THE COST OF AMERICA’S ENDLESS WARS

A Dictator Bent On Rebuilding An Empire Will Never Be Able To Ease The People’s Love Of Liberty. Brutality Will Never Grind Down The Will Of The Free.”—President Joe Biden

To hear President Biden talk about the Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, you might imagine that Putin is the a leader bent on expanding his military empire through the use of occupation, aggression and oppression.

Yet the United States is no better, having spent much of the past half-century policing the globe, occupying other countries, and waging endless wars.

What most Americans fail to recognize is that these ongoing wars have little to do with keeping the country safe and everything to do with propping up a military industrial complex that has its sights set on world domination.

War has become a huge money-making venture, and the American government, with its vast military empire, is one of its best buyers and sellers.

America’s part in the showdown between Russia and the Ukraine has already cost taxpayers more than $112 billion and shows no signs of abating.

Clearly, it’s time for the American regime to stop policing the globe.

The American military reportedly has more than 1.3 million men and women on active duty, with more than 200,000 of them stationed overseas in nearly every country in the world.

American troops are stationed in Somalia, Iraq and Syria. In Germany, South Korea and Japan. In Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Oman. In Niger, Chad and Mali. In Turkey, the Philippines, and northern Australia.

Those numbers are likely significantly higher in keeping with the Pentagon’s policy of not fully disclosing where and how many troops are deployed for the sake of “operational security and denying the enemy any advantage.” As investigative journalist David Vine explains, “Although few Americans realize it, the United States likely has more bases in foreign lands than any other people, nation, or empire in history.”

Incredibly, America’s military forces aren’t being deployed abroad to protect our freedoms here at home. Rather, they’re being used to guard oil fields, build foreign infrastructure and protect the financial interests of the corporate elite. In fact, the United States military spends about $81 billion a year just to protect oil supplies around the world.

The reach of America’s military empire includes close to 800 bases in as many as 160 countries, operated at a cost of more than $156 billion annually. As Vine reports, “Even US military resorts and recreation areas in places like the Bavarian Alps and Seoul, South Korea, are bases of a kind. Worldwide, the military runs more than 170 golf courses.”

This is how a military empire occupies the globe.

After 20 years of propping up Afghanistan to the tune of trillions of dollars and thousands of lives lost, the American military may have finally been forced out, but those troops represent just a fraction of our military presence worldwide.

In an ongoing effort to police the globe, American military service people continue to be deployed to far-flung places in the Middle East and elsewhere.

This is how the military industrial complex, aided and abetted by the likes of Joe Biden, Donald Trump, Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and others, continues to get rich at taxpayer expense.

Yet while the rationale may keep changing for why American military forces are policing the globe, these wars abroad aren’t making America—or the rest of the world—any safer, are certainly not making America great again, and are undeniably digging America deeper into debt.

WAR SPENDING IS BANKRUPTING AMERICA

Although Americans constitute only 5% of the world’s population, America boasts almost 50% of the world’s total military expenditure, spending more on the military than the next 19 biggest spending nations combined.

In fact, the Pentagon spends more on war than all 50 states combined spend on health, education, welfare, and safety.

The American military-industrial complex has erected an empire unsurpassed in history in its breadth and scope, one dedicated to conducting perpetual warfare throughout the earth.

Since 2001, the America government has spent more than $4.7 trillion waging its endless wars.

Having been co-opted by greedy defense contractors, corrupt politicians and incompetent government officials, America’s expanding military empire is bleeding the country dry at a rate of more than $32 million per hour.

In fact, the American government has spent more money every five seconds in Iraq than the average American earns in a year.

Future wars and military exercises waged around the globe are expected to push the total bill upwards of $12 trillion by 2053.

Talk about fiscally irresponsible: the American government is spending money it doesn’t have on a military empire it can’t afford.

Unfortunately, even if we were to put an end to all of the government’s military meddling and bring all of the troops home today, it would take decades to pay down the price of these wars and get the government’s creditors off our backs.

INFLATION IS UP, BALLOONS ARE COMING DOWN AND MORE WAR IS ON THE WAY

At Least We Are Starting To Get Some Clarity. America Is Not Being Attacked By Aliens And Probably Not By The Red Chinese. But, It Is Definitely Being Bombarded By Inflation & War Fever.

But the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB) is apparently the risk we face today according to the regime in Washington.

Last week’s media frenzy about intruders in the skies has gone stone cold silent on the likes of CNN and in The New York Times. Maybe that’s because Sleepy Joe himself has now assured us that the last three intruders shot down with half-million dollar Sidewinder missiles were not sent by the Chicoms, after all.

“The intelligence community’s current assessment is that these three objects were most likely balloons tied to private companies, recreation, or research institutions studying weather or conducting other scientific research,”

Then for good measure, the White House’s always risible press secretary, Karine Jean-Pierre, assured that they weren’t the spawn of extraterrestrial aliens, either.

“I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no – again, NO – indication of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns.”

Whew! Good to know.

Still, we now learn that there is even more good news. According to a report from Aviation Week, at least one of the objects may have been a hobby balloon reported missing by a club in Illinois that launches small balloons with tracking devices that are capable of traveling the globe at high altitudes.

The club, the Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB), said its $12 balloon with attached ham radio was last picked up via radio signal on Feb. 10 at 38,910 feet off the west coast of Alaska, and that it was projected to float over central Yukon territory the following day on February 11.

By the way, that was the same day a US F-22 shot down an object in the same area, which surely makes it the most expensive takeout in military history.

Alas, this felled balloon has disappeared into the white stuff below – so we don’t yet have the official proof from the intrepid defenders of America’s airspace that it wasn’t a menacing Red Balloon. But the NIBBB assures that it did launch what is known as a “pico balloon” that traversed the above described territories on the indicated days and times.

In any event, a “pico balloon” is a small silver-coated party-style balloon that carries a transmitter. Coincidentally, a Pentagon memo described the object that was shot down over Canada as a “small, metallic balloon with a tethered payload below it.”

So, as Edward Snowden tweeted,

…… please tell me the white house did not spend the month of February scrambling jets to fire $400,000 missiles at the local hobby club’s TWELVE DOLLAR BALLOON…….. lord have mercy.

Yes, the tiny little green thing in the gentleman’s hand above is the dangerous “payload” Joe Biden ordered to be obliterated.

There remains, of course, the original balloon spotted over Montana by naked eyes that triggered the whole frenzy. But for our money, we seriously doubt that it was a hostile Chinese surveillance balloon.

After all, the Chicoms have launched upwards of 100 surveillance satellites loaded with state of the art snooping technology, which told them long ago all they need to know about America’s Minuteman missile sites. And, of course, that’s nothing compared to Washington’s 350 odd snooping satellites (including private sector draftees), which track anything and everything–civilian and military – which is launched into the skies over the Middle Kingdom.

Indeed, the Red Balloon gambit is so ludicrous as to remind the newbies to the Deep State’s relentless propaganda that it was nearly 63 years ago that Gary Powers was shot down over the Soviet Union and captured alive. That dominated the headlines of the day, too, in part because it was revealed that his U-2 spy plane was carrying photographic equipment which could capture images as small as three-feet wide at ground level.

For crying out loud, that was six decades ago!

In the interim, the surveillance business has graduated from high altitude aircraft to far, far higher altitude satellites, equipped with high tech surveillance equipment that even Gary Powers would have thought to be pure science fiction. Based on such capabilities, China already knew all there was to know about the Montana/South Dakota Minuteman sites.

That is, the extra-secret stuff they couldn’t have gotten from public sources!

As to how the Chinese balloon crossed over the Aleutians into Alaska and then headed south into Montana, it was probably not owing to a Chinese Air Force pilot sitting behind a real time computer screen, joystick in hand.

And don’t take our word for it. The smoking gun explanation below likely comes straight from the CIA via its wholly owned patsy otherwise known as the Washington Post:

By the time a Chinese spy balloon crossed into American airspace late last month, U.S. military and intelligence agencies had been tracking it for nearly a week, watching as it lifted off from its home base on Hainan Island near China’s south coast.

US monitors watched as the balloon settled into a flight path that would appear to have taken it over the US territory of Guam. But somewhere along that easterly route, the craft took an unexpected northern turn, according to several US officials, who said that analysts are now examining the possibility that China didn’t intend to penetrate the American heartland with its airborne surveillance device.

Around Jan. 24, when the balloon would have been roughly about 1,000 miles south of Japan, model simulations show it began to gain speed and rapidly veer north. This would have been in response to a strong cold front that had unleashed exceptionally frigid air over northern China, the Korean Peninsula and Japan.

Ordinarily, atmospheric steering motions would have kept the balloon on much more of a west to east course, historical weather data shows. However, the intense cold front forced the jet stream and high altitude steering currents to dip south and may have scooped the balloon northward.

The balloon floated over Alaska’s Aleutian Islands thousands of miles away from Guam, then drifted over Canada, where it encountered strong winds that appear to have pushed the balloon south into the continental United States, the officials said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to describe sensitive intelligence. A US fighter jet shot the balloon down off the coast of South Carolina on Feb. 4, a week after it crossed over Alaska.

This new account suggests that the ensuing international crisis that has ratcheted up tensions between Washington and Beijing may have been at least partly the result of a mistake.”

You don’t say!

But just consider the implications. Washington is so rife with war fever that apparently all it took was two cold fronts, one over north China and one over west Canada, to turn this wandering Big Red Balloon into a menacing attack on the the very sovereignty of the homeland.

As the always astute Moon of Alabama observed, the balloon hysteria was never credible in the first place:

This also dismisses the laughable Pentagon claims that the balloon had propellers and a rudder and was thereby steerable. There is nothing that solar driven propellers can do when a huge object like a 200 feet high balloon is drifting in 200 mph jetstream winds. The whole idea was obviously bonkers. The only way to somewhat steer a balloon is by raising or lowering its altitude until one finds an air current that blows it in the wished for direction. While this will work at an altitude of a few hundred feet there is no real chance to do that in the upper atmosphere.”

If the Chinese balloon attack was more or less “fake,” this same news cycle encompassed another attack on sovereign territory that was most definitely real. We are referring to Seymour Hersh’s bombshell revelations last week that Washington was indeed the culprit which blew up the Nord Stream pipelines.

As Jim Kunstler summarized:

If you think the reasons behind the First World War were incomprehensible, imagine what historians of the future – pan-frying peccary loins over their camp fires – will think about World War Three. Some people started something in Ukraine… and then the USA blew up the main energy supply line of its NATO ally, Germany… say, what…?!?

Weird, a little bit. A sane person in a sane world would call sabotaging the Nord Stream pipelines an act-of-war against a friendly nation, since the result was to virtually destroy the basis of Germany’s industry, not to mention the domestic comfort of German citizens. Now, thanks to 85-year-old Seymour Hersh, the independent investigator who uncovered the My Lai Massacre in 1969 and reported on the depraved antics of American jailers at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq in 2004, we have a pretty good idea how the Nord Stream caper went down.

For a year before the op, “Joe Biden” and Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland – architect of the 2014 Maidan Coup in Ukraine, which kicked-off the present fiasco there – blabbed about “ending” the Nord Streams. Curiously, the Germans said nothing. Meanwhile, the US made a deal to beef up military bases in Norway, an original NATO signatory (1949), for staging the Nord Stream sabotage op. Of course, Norway, being Western Europe’s sole remaining oil-and-gas exporter, had an interest in eliminating its competition.

In June of 2022, under cover of an annual NATO naval exercise in the Baltic Sea, US Navy divers attached mines to the Nord Stream pipelines. The mines had triggers that could be activated remotely at any chosen time, and that moment came on September 26… kaboom!

Ms. Nuland and Secretary of State Antony Blinken gloated publicly. Naturally, the US blamed Russia. America’s news media – catamite of the Intel Community – amplified the charge, despite the absurdity of Russia blowing up its most lucrative source of export revenue. The New York Times has so far made no mention of Mr. Hersh’s recent update of the Nord Stream sabotage.

Germany, too, has hardly made a peep, nor did the rest of Western Europe, which now faces a future that looks, energy-wise, like a fairly swift return to the Fourteenth Century. Maybe they’re all jaded with modern life, all that tiresome bathing and malingering in the brightly-lit cafes. Under the sagacious guidance of the WEF they were all going “green,” anyway – but was that green like the heart-shaped leaves of the linden tree or green like the moldy veins in Roquefort cheese? I guess they’ll find out.”

Finally, let’s not neglect the final attack of the week. We are referring, of course, to another burst of inflationary pressure that has KO’d the Wall Street delusion that the inflation battle has been won and done, and that the Fed will soon be turning on the printing presses for another round of bubilicious fun.

The 6.3% Y/Y gain in the January CPI reported earlier this week was well hotter than expected, but what really cast the die was new upstream indications that inflation is not rolling-over rapidly as had been predicted by the permabulls and Biden minions alike.

For instance, wholesale prices are plateauing at a high level, with the January PPI coming in at +8.7% on as Y/Y basis. However, the fact is that if producer prices are not coming down rapidly, there is virtually no chance that downstream retail prices will plunge in the months immediately ahead, either.

It is long past time for people to get real – inspite of that they are told to do…

IMAGINE IF CHINA DID TO AMERICA WHAT AMERICA IS DOING TO CHINA

Imagine A Strange, Dark Timeline Where China Is Encircling America With Military Bases And Weapons Of War In Literally The Exact Same Way America Is Doing It To China Right Now.

This past Thursday Senator Josh Hawley gave a speech at the Heritage Foundation — a warmongering think tank with immense influence in the DC swamp — that is a perfect representation of a couple of interesting dynamics occurring in American foreign policy thought today.

The Trump-endorsed Hawley is a perfect example of the faux-populism in the “MAGA” branch of the Republican Party: a rich Ivy League alum who makes a big display of standing up to the elites on behalf of the little guy, while consistently advancing the longstanding agendas of western oligarchs, DC neocons, and secretive American government agencies.

Hawley’s latest performance of pretending to fight the Deep State while directly assisting the Deep State appears in his speech titled “China and Ukraine: A Time for Truth,” wherein he denounces the “endless proxy war in Ukraine,” the “Uniparty” of “neoconservatives on the right and liberal globalists on the left,” and the way American wars in the Middle East cost “billions of dollars there and lost hundreds of American lives” (a massive understatement on both counts).

In typical MAGA Republican fashion, Hawley then takes all this populist-sounding rhetoric and uses it to argue that all the wealth, resources and military firepower that’s going toward those foreign policy blunders overseas should instead be used to help prepare for war with China over Taiwan. It’s no wonder that Hawley is a favorite guest of another faux-populist, the virulent anti-China propagandist Tucker Carlson, who often makes the same argument.

Calling China “a new imperially-minded power” (in comparison to World War II Axis powers, not the United States), Hawley claims that PRC president Xi Jinping “wants control of the Pacific,” and will swiftly move from taking over Taiwan to militarily encircling the United States if he isn’t stopped.

After fearmongering about mass product shortages “of everything from basic medicine to consumer electronics” should Beijing take Taiwan, Hawley then began describing a “dark future” in which the world finds itself surrounded by Chinese war machinery, even in Washington’s neck of the woods:

If China takes Taiwan, it will be able to station its own military forces there. It can then use its position as a springboard for further conquest and intimidation—against Japan, the Philippines, and other Pacific islands, like Guam and the Northern Marianas.

As Asia’s new reigning power, China could restrict U.S. trade in the region—perhaps block it altogether. Maybe we’ll be allowed in, but only on terms favorable to China.

There’s more. We recently witnessed a Chinese spy balloon cruise across the American heartland. But things can get much worse.”

Imagine a world where Chinese warships patrol Hawaiian waters, and Chinese submarines stalk the California coastline. A world where the People’s Liberation Army has military bases in Central and South America. A world where Chinese forces operate freely in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean.

Yeah, imagine that Josh. Imagine a strange, dark timeline where China is encircling America with military bases and weapons of war. You know, in literally the exact same way America is doing it to China right now.

There recently was a freakish bit of war propaganda put out by Sky News Australia about the threat of “China’s aggression” provoking a third world war. Hilariously, about halfway through the special, Sky News flashes a graphic showing the immense sprawling military presence that America has built up around China in “a vast network of operations that extend from Hawaii all the way to India.”

The Sky News special is titled “China’s aggression could start new world war,” but your brain would have to be made of soup not to look at that graphic and understand who the real aggressor is here. America is plainly acting aggressively, and China is plainly reacting defensively to those aggressions. This is obvious because America would never tolerate China doing to it what it has been doing to China, as evidenced by the fact that people like Josh Hawley describe that exact hypothetical as the absolute worst-case “dark future” nightmare scenario.

If Hawley wants to play a game of imagining things, perhaps he should imagine what the United States would do if China suddenly began doing the things he described. Chinese warships sailing around near California and Hawaii, in the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean, under the same aggressive “freedom of navigation” exercises that American warships routinely perform in waters near China to the anger of Beijing. People’s Liberation Army military bases in Central and South America, like the network of military bases America has set up around China and continues to build up to this very day.

Imagine that, Josh.

It’s not pleasant to imagine what would happen in such a situation, because it would mean an immediate world war. America would immediately regard China’s building up a military presence in the western hemisphere as an act of war and begin attacking those forces like hostile invaders. We all know this is true because of the American empire managers like Josh Hawley talk about such a prospect.

It will never stop being funny the way American supremacists melodramatically rend their garments over the idea of nations like Russia and China asserting small spheres of influence over former Soviet states and the South China Sea, meanwhile they themselves insist on asserting a sphere of influence across the globe.

It’s nonsensical for the American empire loyalists to continually bitch about foreign governments doing things the American empire does constantly. Stop creating the dynamic you claim to oppose. If you sincerely want peace, stop waging endless wars. If you sincerely oppose spheres of influence, stop asserting them yourself far more egregiously than anyone else. If you sincerely want an end to things like election interference, espionage and propaganda, stop being the world’s worst perpetrator of them. If you sincerely don’t want a world war, stop accelerating toward one. Be the change, bro.

Of course none of those changes will be made by the drivers of the American empire, because they do not sincerely want those things. What they want is power and global domination.

One of the strangest things the mainstream worldview asks us to accept is that the American government (A) should be the leader of the entire world and (B) wants to be the leader of the world solely for righteous and beneficent reasons.

Anyone else who wants to rule the world gets called a megalomaniac. We all grew up watching movies and shows about evil villains who want to rule the world. Yet the mainstream worldview asks us to accept that the American government wants to rule the world solely because it loves us all and wants to give everyone freedom and democracy.

This whole imperial song and dance is the most ridiculous thing in the world.