Tuesday, January 7, 2020


In the extreme. 
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Pentagon on Monday distanced itself from President Donald Trump’s assertions that he would bomb Iranian cultural sites despite international prohibitions on such attacks. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the U.S. will “follow the laws of armed conflict.” When asked if that ruled out targeting cultural sites, Esper said pointedly, “That’s the laws of armed conflict.” The split between the president and his Pentagon chief came amid heightened tensions with Tehran following a U.S. drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force. Trump had twice warned that he would hit Iranian cultural sites if Tehran retaliates against the U.S. Esper’s public comments reflected the private concerns of other defense and military officials, who cited legal prohibitions on attacks on civilian, cultural and religious sites, except under certain, threatening circumstances.
As I continue to say non-stop: while there are a lot of questions regarding US military's conduct, truth is--it is the last American institution which still has some vestiges of competence and common sense surviving within itself. The rest of US governance class is an Exhibit A of insanity and outright criminality. 
“We have targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD," he tweeted. His Twitter message caught administration officials off-guard and prompted an immediate outcry from legal scholars, national security experts and Democratic lawmakers. But the president stood by his threat the following day. “They’re allowed to kill our people. They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people,” he told reporters traveling with him on Air Force One. “And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural sites? It doesn’t work that way.” By international law, however, it does.
I think the signals from US political top coming since the treacherous assassination of General Soleimani who was on a diplomatic mission in the third country are a testament to a complete breakdown of any command and control chains within Administration. They also testify to a continuous and accelerating ripping of the fabric of American statehood due to US "elites" reaching or nearing the limits of corruption, dual loyalty and incompetence beyond which governance becomes impossible and the system implodes. Those signs are all around us. Indeed, for the Head of State to threaten to attack holiest places of an ancient civilization--this is unprecedented. What would Donald Trump do if tomorrow (let's imagine unimaginable, as an example) Russian President would state that Russia will hit very fast and very hard Lincoln Memorial, Arlington Cemetery and Capitol, granted Russia can actually do it, what would the reaction be? There are things one simply doesn't do in the position of the Head of State even verbally, even in private--threatening national holy sites of immense religious and cultural significance. But, I guess, for NYC real estate shyster this element of state dignity and, in case of the United States, whatever remains (not much, if any) of moral "high" ground is completely unknown. But this is not what I am trying to say here, others did it better than me already, anyway. Such as Pepe Escobar.

My point is different. I think Vladimir Putin had it. Today he traveled unannounced, after all, who now knows what DJT or other factions in the US and Israel have in mind, to Syria. To meet Bashar Assad and, considering the presence of both Shoigu and Gerasimov in the delegation, to discuss some other "issues".  While in Damascus,  Putin visited both Umayyad Mosque and Holy Virgin Mary Orthodox Church. A rather very contrasting message to one(s) being produced by Trump Administration. But presence of Shoigu and Gerasimov, of course, was more than just symbolic. Syria borders Israel and is a key barrier to the attack of Iran either by Israel or whatever assets US Navy may decide to bring in the Eastern Med--it is about 900 miles (as the crow, or TLAM or JASSM fly) from Eastern Med to Tehran, so a bit of a pep-talk and maybe some check up of Russian forces in Syria, including ever important Air Defense part, was needed. We ARE in the state of war between US/Israel and Iran/Iraq. Bibi can spew whatever BS he wants, but Israel and its American governing neocon faction's culpability in assassination is unquestionable. After all, the United States fought few wars for its most trusted "ally" and only "democracy" in the Middle East.  

So, is Russia trying to contain the situation? Difficult to say at this stage since, in the end, it was and is clear to anyone who didn't spend last 10 years under the stone that "resolution", that is supplantation of the rotting and increasingly insane Pax Americana with real rules-based world order is bound to happen one way or another. The world is already very deep into the increasingly visible and felt multi-polarity, so, who knows, Russia may see some opening for final formalization of this new geopolitical reality by "helping" the United States to depart from largely self-proclaimed status of Hegemon. Iran could be, and, highly likely is this "Bridge Too Far" for the United States and if it takes the form of a proxy US-Iranian conflict initially, this could be the arrangement Russia be OK with. But there was some funny little piece of news today which, while by no means any confirmation of anything, still could be a somewhat circumstantial evidence of the whole "End of History" thingy coming apart at the seams. 

French Minister of Economy and Finances Bruno Le Maire, yesterday, suddenly felt an urge to "relaunch economic ties with Russia" by using "innovative ways" to circumnavigate US sanctions (in Russian). Here is the first question any normal Russian asks: what for? France is a second tier economic "partner" for Russia, with trade between two nations barely hitting EUR12 billion. Of course, Le Maire frames this "intention" as an action within Macron's plan of "improving strategic ties" with Russia. Well, it is all fine and dandy, but it is Germany and her market Russia primarily is interested in. But Le Maire's announcement is symptomatic, nonetheless. Macron and whoever "consults" him, obviously, figured it out that EU is America's sacrificial lamb and France, unlike totally emasculated Germany, still experiences phantom pains of European superpower, the seat of European culture and so on. Sure. The issue for Russia, however, is the fact that pains or no pains, France is United States' slap bitch and France depends greatly on American market, which the scale of trade between the two confirms. Unlike puny EUR12 billion of Russian-French trade, US-France trade reaches almost exactly an order of magnitude larger figure than the same with Russia, namely $139 billion. Add here France's special role (indeed, it was special) in the American history and voila'--things become very clear. US will order France to jump, French will ask how high. Thankfully for Russia, nobody of real power there exercises any illusions on "strategic relations" with France. Russia prefers to deal with sovereign nations. Among European sheeple, it is Germany which is more attractive as an economic partner, not France. After all, recall that it was Germany before 2014 which was Russia's main trade partner globally. Anyhow, try to find France in this list.  

France, as an American vassal has no future. Nor does she make any sense in terms of major economic partner, let alone some "strategic relations" partner, for Russia. Russia is not there to save anyone who is in the American fold, US sanctions on Russia are permanent and will only increase in scale and scope, so, no amount of "innovative ways" can change for Russia the fact that she is re-industrializing with a very good tempo and has very little cultural or metaphysical interest in what today passes for the "West", certainly not represented by France. But still, those weak voices of dissent from Europe are funny in terms of indication of a rudimentary self-interest guarding synapses appearing in otherwise dead European brain. Could it be a start of a long process of growing a spine against the background of the US departure? Well, the time for that growing has long since passed and for that Europeans have only themselves to blame. Russia, meanwhile, has a much bigger fish to fry.

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