Cervantes

Hoy es el día más hermoso de nuestra vida, querido Sancho; los obstáculos más grandes, nuestras propias indecisiones; nuestro enemigo más fuerte, el miedo al poderoso y a nosotros mismos; la cosa más fácil, equivocarnos; la más destructiva, la mentira y el egoísmo; la peor derrota, el desaliento; los defectos más peligrosos, la soberbia y el rencor; las sensaciones más gratas, la buena conciencia, el esfuerzo para ser mejores sin ser perfectos, y sobretodo, la disposición para hacer el bien y combatir la injusticia dondequiera que esté.

MIGUEL DE CERVANTES
Don Quijote de la Mancha.

21 de octubre de 2016

While Americans Fight Over Which Clown to Elect, Russia Deployed Its Largest Fleet Since the Cold War

clinton-trump-russiaBy Claire Bernish
Having been subjected to the intellectually insulting shit show of a third and, thankfully, final debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump — likely the two most despised candidates in U.S. electoral history — it’s now imperative Americans train their attention to rapidly unfolding events which, by every indication, comprise blaring alarm bells of impending world war.
And no, despite scaremongering to the contrary, this war — centered around superpowers Russia and the United States — would not inevitably devolve into the hurling of nuclear missiles. In fact, the likelihood of no-holds-barred nuclear war is, at best, negligible — but the odds of unhindered conventional warfare have increased markedly over the past week.
Forget electoral panem et circenses; the current administration has already set in motion an obstinately unstoppable train wreck.
A senior NATO diplomat, who spoke with Reuters under condition of anonymity and cited ‘Western intelligence,’ gave the startling assessment Wednesday that Russia is
deploying all of the Northern fleet and much of the Baltic fleet in the largest surface deployment since the end of the Cold War.
This is not a friendly port call. In two weeks, we will see a crescendo of air attacks on Aleppo as part of Russia’s strategy to declare victory there.
Indeed, Russian ally Syrian President Bashar al-Assad eagerly accepted President Vladimir Putin’s military assistance in its chaotic and complex conflict, which largely involves U.S.-created and Saudi Arabia-funded Islamic State militants; U.S.-trained and armed ‘moderate rebel’ terrorists; Syrian government forces; and the altogether controversial Western-backed, Saudi-led coalition. Considering the decimation taking place, that assistance is absolutely justifiable.
Of course, that farcically simplified explanation requires the contextualization of an intricate web of extenuating circumstances — nearly any one of which could spark a powderkeg.
Russian military endeavors in Syria have already earned a vow by the U.S. to defend itself — and by logical extension, that would include whichever rebel groups it considers ‘moderate’ enough not to deserve being targeted. With Russia planning an all-in offensive, some analysts have warned, the Pentagon could facilely decide to undertake direct ‘defensive’ measures.
At the heart of the U.S.’ multi-fronted proxy war with Russia sits a highly-propagandized, baseless narrative of “Russian aggression” — a claim thoroughly saturating American political rhetoric to shift both focus and blame from the true substantive aggressor the world over: the United States.
Save for scanty disagreement from Western-centric analysts, this American aggression — marked by an obstinate quest for dominance and control — has us all perilously hurtling for needless war on a global scale.
And needless, if not highly suspect, aptly characterizes the U.S. recent destruction of several strategic radar sites inside Yemen following dubious claims the U.S.S. Mason had come under missile attack by Iran-allied Shi’a Houthi rebels. Although American politicians and corporate media swiftly proffered those claims as steel truth — even amid a nascent investigation by the Pentagon — the Department of Defense’s own preliminary statement cast doubt about veracity.
“The initial thoughts is that this [attack] was aimed at them,” DoD spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis stated shortly after the purported incident last Tuesday.
Nonetheless, the belligerent move by the U.S. spurred Iran to deploy an entire fleet of military vessels to the same Gulf of Aden waters from whence the response attack had been launched.
Now, despite the abrupt and official military entree into the Yemeni war, Reuters reported, the “Pentagon declined to say on Monday whether the USS Mason destroyer was targeted by multiple inbound missiles fired from Yemen on Saturday, as initially thought, saying a review was under way to determine what happened.”
But the U.S. propaganda machine truly hit a fever pitch today, thanks to an altogether shady exclusive report courtesy of Reuters — amplifying an altogether unproven claim Iran has been directly supplying Houthi rebels with missiles, arms, and ‘cash.’
In fact an unsurprisingly unnamed and unverifiable “senior U.S. administration official” delivered an accusation of potentially staggering consequence, telling Reuters:
We have been concerned about the recent flow of weapons from Iran into Yemen and have conveyed those concerns to those who maintain relations with the Houthis, including the Omani government.
Oman, of course, flatly denies such allegations.
“There is no truth to this,” Omani Foreign Minister Yousef bin Alwi told Saudi newspaper Okaz in an interview last week. “No weapons have crossed our border and we are ready to clarify any suspicions if they arise.”
In fact, though Reuters cites several anonymous diplomats and officials, the accusation Iran has been supplying anything directly to the Houthis has yet to be unassailably proven — and such reports do little more than proffer a narrative suitable not only to maintain new U.S. military endeavors in Yemen, but to recklessly provoke a proxy Iranian conflict.
Such psychological operations are, of course, not unusual for the United States — and extend to a statement given by President Barack Obama on Tuesday concerning Russia.
In a blatant attempt to discredit Donald Trump for a supposed fondness for Putin, Obama, as usual, invoked the Russian aggression narrative — however, this spiel came complete with a pointedly significant re-characterization about the Russian military.
“We think that Russia is a large, important country with a military that is second only to ours and has to be a part of the solution on the world stage rather than part of the problem,” the president explained, surreptitiously upgrading the Cold War foe’s capabilities than its previous status as mere “regional power” in umpteen previous statements.
This not-at-all-minor point most does effectively two things: grows in less cagey American minds the palpability and thus legitimacy of a Russian threat, and renews Cold War propaganda pitting two global superpowers as mortal enemies — ostensibly setting up a pre-justification to act in even pre-emptive self-defense anywhere on the planet this proxy war plays out.
Additionally, in a matter of weeks, disfavor over U.S.’ actions has cemented military and other alliances between a quickly mounting number of former, longstanding American allies and other traditional Western foes — the vast majority of which align with Russia.
After a subtly significant geopolitical snub during a meeting of the U.N. Security Council to negotiate a ceasefire in Syria, which infuriated Saudi Arabia, Egypt fomented a friendly military relationship with UNSC presiding body, Russia.
“[F]or the first time,” beginning October 15, Reuters reported, “joint drills between Egyptian and Russian paratrooper units” began in Egypt, and will continue through the 26th. Further, the growing rift with Saudi Arabia indicated Egypt might have been weighing options for a different ally for some time. Reuters wrote:
A halt to shipments of Saudi fuel to Egypt under a $23 billion aid deal shows that a rift between the Arab world’s richest country and its most populous may be deeper than previously thought, which could leave Egypt desperate for a new sponsor.
Egypt hasn’t been alone in jumping ship — and the Middle East isn’t the sole locus of conflict.
During a four-day visit at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping this week — amid deteriorating relations with the United States — Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte asserted it is “only China that can help us.”
This massive shift in alignment could have highly consequent repercussions in the territorial dispute over the South China Sea — another conflict in which the U.S. has embroiled itself in several proxy wars, including Russian-backed China.
In fact, although the Philippines had been at the center of that quarrel, unnamed Chinese officials prior to the ongoing meeting announced China would “consider giving Filipino fishermen conditional access to disputed waters in the South China Sea after the presidents of the two countries meet in Beijing this week.”
Now, following through on intimations the Philippines would cleave from the West, Duterte just made a historic and stunning announcement today, to an auditorium in Beijing packed with over 200 Chinese and Filipino business people, including Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli:
In this venue, your honours, in this venue, I announce my separation from the United States. Both in military, not maybe social, but economics also. America has lost.
He added,
I’ve realigned myself in your ideological flow and maybe I will also go to Russia to talk to [President Vladimir] Putin and tell him that there are three of us against the world — China, Philippines and Russia. It’s the only way.
As another geostrategic and commercial waterway of international importance, the South China Sea’s role in the U.S. proxy war is second only to the Red Sea and access to it — but the presence of American naval vessels in both those waters and neighboring East China Sea has been deemed an aggressive threat by China and its strengthening ally Russia, as well as North Korea.
Joint naval and military drills conducted by the U.S. and ally South Korea and the planned installation of the U.S.’ Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, or THAAD, missile system along the latter’s borders inflamed tensions with North Korea — who has been testing ballistic missiles for months, much to the consternation of the two nations and ally, Japan.
On Wednesday, in response to this perceived aggression, North Korea issued a severe admonishment to the two countries that even “minor signs of aggression” would greenlight Pyongyang to flatten Seoul in a defensive first-strike nuclear attack.
“It has been too long a time since our revolutionary armed forces switched to a principle of pre-emptive strike in the conduct of war, in response to the aggressive war provocations of our enemies,” Pyongyang stated, as cited by UPI, ominously adding a “ruthless pre-emptive strike is to be applied even in the face of minor signs of aggression.”
Not known for backing down from delicate situations, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared its intent to deploy THAAD “as soon as possible,” after meeting with South Korean officials in Washington, and told the press:
Let me be clear. Any attack on the United States or its allies will be defeated, and any use of nuclear weapons will be met with an effective and overwhelming response.
We do not, and we will not, accept North Korea as a nuclear-armed state.
Leaving nothing open to misinterpretation, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter clarified in a separate press statement that, in defense of Seoul, the United States guaranteed “full spectrum” use of its response capabilities — meaning nuclear missiles are anything but off the table.
Shortly afterward, according to NBC News,
U.S. Strategic Command said it had detected what it believed to be a failed missile launch near the northwestern North Korean city of Kusong.
Director of the North Korean Foreign Ministry’s Institute for American Studies, Lee Yong Pil, told NBC News Pyongyang will absolutely strike first if Pyongyang perceives it necessary, saying,
The U.S. has nuclear weapons off our coast, targeting our country, our capital and our dear leader, Kim Jong Un. We will not step back as long as there’s a nuclear threat to us from the United States.
South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se, saying its allies would employ “all tools in the toolkit” for defense, asserted,
What is most important is to continuously demonstrate our capability and deterrence with our commitment and actions so that Pyongyang can feel the panic under their skins.
North Korea might be known for blustery rhetoric it refuses to back with significant action — but continued provocation by the United States might elicit a response far more detrimental than words.
* * *
Considering the depth and breadth of these entanglements — not to mention a number of equally grave concerns omitted for brevity — it would be wise not to dismiss the methodological march toward world war simply for the infinitesimally minor chance it could take a disastrous nuclear turn.
Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com, where this article first appeared.

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