Saturday, 30 January 2021

How Saudi Arabia Gets Away with Murder

On Wednesday, the Saudis opened their annual confab in Riyadh, officially called the Future Investment Initiative but widely referred to as “Davos in the Desert.” That nickname had always annoyed the people who run the World Economic Forum and its signature event in Davos, Switzerland, because they—like most of the rest of the world that is concerned about protecting their brand—haven’t wanted much to do with Saudi Arabia and its crown prince in recent years.

That trend may be coming to an end, however. Increasingly, things are back to business as usual in Riyadh. A veritable A-list of Wall Street and private equity titans flew in for the event this week. Gone are the days when the leaders of the financial services industry stayed away, fearing the reputational costs of becoming associated with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi in 2018. The remains of the journalist and onetime courtier to Saudi power centers have yet to be found. But investors have now decided there are deals to be done.

They are making a bet that the stated commitment by human rights organizations, journalists, and a relatively bipartisan group of US lawmakers to hold Saudi Arabia accountable doesn’t amount to much—and they may be right.

There is a general expectation in Washington that the Saudis are going to have a rough time with the new Biden administration. During the presidential campaign, Joe Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris vowed that they would “reassess our [America’s] relationship with the kingdom, end US support for Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, and make sure America does not check its values at the door to sell arms or buy oil.” After being sworn in as president earlier this month, Biden made good on that promise when he froze—at least temporarily—arms sales to Saudi Arabia that his predecessor approved.

Saudi Arabia is a problematic ally. In the last five years, its crown prince launched a futile military campaign in Yemen that has killed and injured tens of thousands of people, oversaw the hit team that dismembered Khashoggi, presided over the arrests and abuse of reformers, and led an international embargo of Qatar [which is also a not a model ally, but it is a critical security partner for the United States]. There are also lingering questions about Saudi Arabia and the role of its citizens in the attacks on New York and Washington in 2001. As much as the Saudis want Americans to forget, there were 15 young Saudi men on those planes, not Qataris.

It is true that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has overseen important social changes in Saudi Arabia that have improved the lives of his citizens, but that does not diminish the entirely reasonable desire to hold the Saudis accountable for his many transgressions. Doing so may be harder than it seems, however.

There was never a chance that the global business community was going to write off Saudi Arabia. Sure, CEOs stayed away for a while, but even at the height of the outrage over Jamal Khashoggi’s brutal murder, Saudi Arabia remained a place where people believed they could make money. And since that is the sine qua non of financiers, consultants, and oil companies—and firms that provide all kinds of services—Mohammed bin Salman was forced to spend some time in the penalty box, but he was never made the international pariah some hoped he would become. Yes, the Saudis have a range of economic problems, the wisdom of vanity projects like the would-be high-tech city of Neom escape most people who look at them, and Riyadh’s efforts to restructure its labor market and establish the institutions of a market economy are enormous and difficult tasks—but the Saudis still have the biggest economy in the Middle East, which makes it an attractive partner to those who showed up in Riyadh for the Future Investment Initiative.

There is an argument to be made that just because business leaders want to consort with the Saudis that does not mean that the US government is obligated to do the same. That’s true enough—but that’s not to say Washington is simply free to do whatever it likes. It faces the constraints of geopolitics. At the same time that leaders of industry were rubbing shoulders in Riyadh, the US military was beefing up its presence in Saudi Arabia just in case there is conflict with Iran. US military planners see Saudi Arabia as an important partner in Iran policy. That includes the potential Iran policies under consideration by the Biden administration, whether they involve rejoining the 2015 nuclear agreement or negotiating a new deal. To make either work, the administration is going to need Riyadh to support the deal, which means that American negotiators are going to have to be sensitive to Saudi concerns.

Related to Iran and the geopolitics of the region is the war in Yemen. The Saudi assault on its neighbor to the south, which began in 2015, accomplished everything the intervention was supposed to prevent. As a result of Riyadh’s poorly thought-out and poorly executed military operations, the Iranians now actually do have a relationship with Ansarullah, and Saudi Arabia is less secure. The war is unwinnable, and the Saudis need to get out. What remains to be seen is whether they can do so without US help. The Saudis would no doubt like that help in the form of enhanced border security, including weapons systems.

This is going to be a tough decision for the administration given the strong strain of animus toward the Saudis in Washington and the Biden-Harris team’s own stated policy to “reassess” America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia. One argument they might respond with is: Screw them. Let them figure out how to get out of their own quagmire. That is understandable, but it’s not wise. It is in America’s interest both for the Saudis to get out of Yemen and for them to maintain good ties with Washington. Like it or not, Saudi Arabia is Washington’s primary interlocutor in the region, and an American deal with Iran is going to have to run at least partway through Yemen.

But should the United States cut the Saudis off from what they seem to love most about America—its fancy weapons systems? This is no longer in the realm of theoretical. The Biden administration’s ongoing review of Saudi Arabia will assess how it uses American weapons, specifically how many civilians it has killed and maimed in the process. Given the damage inflicted by Saudi Arabia in Yemen, such a reckoning is appropriate. But even if it allows Americans to take further steps to end their complicity in Saudi Arabia’s Yemen debacle, one should also acknowledge that it will not end that war.

Lost in all the discussions about “accountability” is the problem of defining what it would actually look like. Do Saudi Arabia’s critics want to see the crown prince replaced or in the dock? The United States is not going to determine Saudi Arabia’s leader. Even if the US intelligence community releases what it knows about the murder of Khashoggi—as the Democratic chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff, has demanded, and as the new director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, committed she would do in her written response to questions from senators during her confirmation hearings—Mohammed bin Salman will be the crown prince the next day and the day after that and the day after that, and so on. No doubt it would cause an international uproar, forcing those currently attending Davos in the Desert to stay away for a few years or maybe more. But they will find their way back to Saudi Arabia so long as they calculate that doing so is still good for business.

Also missing in the chatter about accountability are the potential consequences of imposing it. This isn’t to dismiss the idea of calling out the Saudis and refusing to sell them weapons out of hand but rather a plea to weigh the costs and benefits of such an approach. The Saudis may prove unwilling to work with the United States on a new nuclear deal with Iran or even try to undermine an agreement. Riyadh may feel encouraged to drift toward Washington’s competitors. Folks in Washington might dismiss that as idle threats, but the Chinese have a lot to offer, and the Russians are particularly good at taking advantage of stress between the United States and its traditional partners in the region. At the very least, tighter ties between the Saudis, Chinese, and Russians can make things harder for the United States, especially since great-power competition is now alleged to be the framework for American foreign policy.

Then again, US policymakers may not care about the downside risks of holding the Saudis accountable. Energy resources from the Persian Gulf are still important to the United States, but not like they once were, diminishing the urgency long attached to the Middle East and importance of close ties with countries like Saudi Arabia. The stakes may no longer be so high, giving the Biden team more room to maneuver. It just seems that up until now few inside the Beltway have worked through what accountability means in a rigorous way. That is unfortunate, because foreign policy by exhortation is likely to fail.

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With “Biden” in the White House, the Kremlin now needs to change gear

 ٍSource • JANUARY 27, 2021

First, a clarification. When I speak of “Biden” I don’t mean the fungus (to use Tom Luongo’s apt expression) which was recently planted in the White House, I am referring to the “collective Biden” which I defined here https://thesaker.is/terminology/ . With this caveat, now let’s see why Russia might want to change gears in 2021.

First, let’s begin by the basics:

Russians often say that US politicians change, but US policies don’t. There is much truth to that, we saw that very clearly with Obama and Trump: both promised sweeping changes and both pretty much continued the policies of their predecessors, at least on the foreign policy front. In a way, you could argue that this is normal and even desirable. A shill for the regime would say something along the lines that “well, that is normal, US national security priorities don’t change with each administration, so all this proves is that no matter what any candidate promises during his campaign, once in office he/she becomes aware of the hard realities of this words and then act on it just like their predecessors did“. This argument is deeply flawed, however, because it completely ignores the will of the US people (who, let’s not forget that, voted for change every time they got a chance to, be it with Obama or with Trump) and it assumes that only those “in the know” realize and know what they have to do. This kind of “logic” is typical for the elitism of the US ruling classes.

It also ignores the fact that US Presidents are really puppets, figureheads, even if during their campaign they pretend otherwise. As for the elections, every four years in the US, they are nothing but a grand brainwashing show whose sole purpose is to give the illusion of people power. They could have presidential elections every 2 years, or even every year, none of that would change the fact that the US is a plutocratic dictatorship with much less people power than any other state in the collective West.

In fact, the argument above is just a tiny fig leaf trying to conceal the undeniable fact that the US are not ruled by a person, but are ruled by a class, in the Marxist sense of this world. Personally, I call this ruling class the “US Nomenklatura“. And while both Obama and Trump pretended to want real change, they both lost that chance (assuming they ever wanted this is the first place, which I doubt) when they did not do what Putin did when he came to office: crush the Russian oligarchs as a class (some fled abroad, some died, some lost it all, and some agreed to play by Putin’s new rules). Obama, being the vapid and spineless car salesman that he, is probably never even contemplated any real move against the US Nomenklatura. As for Trump, being the pompous narcissist that he is, he might have even entertained some thoughts of showing “who is boss”, but that lasted only 1 month, until the US Nomenklatura forced Trump to fire Flynn (after that, it was all freefall…).

Anyway, the point is that we should not expect immense, sweeping changes from any administration. Since the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, we should assume that mostly we will get “more of the same, maybe even worse”. What am I talking about here? Here is a (partial) list of these “more of the sames”:

  1. Further vilification of Russia, Russians and everything Russian by the entire western media (which is even less diverse and more uniformly lying than anything Goebbels or Suslov could ever had dreamed up!). You can think of it as “full spectrum russophobia”.
  2. Even more “sanctions” against all Russian interests (economic, political, etc.) worldwide. The US sees this as a pure zero-sum game, any loss by Russia, no matter how marginal and puny is a victory for the AngloZionist Empire.
  3. A return to Obama-era style military missile and air strikes. Probably not on Russian targets (yes, Hillary advocated that, but now this would be much more dangerous than 5 years ago), but definitely on Russian allies like Syria (including attacks on Iranian and Venezuelan vessels on the high seas).
  4. A return to Obama-era petty harassment of Russian diplomats and citizens. The goal here is not to achieve anything meaningful, but rather it is to show that “Russia is weak and cannot prevent us from treating her like a 3rd rate power”. There is nothing the US could do which would really hurt Russia, so Uncle Shmuel will turn his rage on those few diplomats and even civilians it can kidnap, jail, expel, sanction, extort, threaten etc.
  5. Even more sabre-rattling all along the Russian borders. I fully expect that US forces will be deployed in the Baltic statelets on a permanent basis (not on a rotation basis). USAF aircraft and USN ships will continue to harass Russian defenses under the pretext of “innocent passage”, “freedom of navigation” and the like.
  6. Since the Biden Admin is a “who’s who” of Jewish and Ukrainian extremists (some combo!), and since Biden is personally implicated in the Ukraine (along with Hunter), we can also expect a rapid degradation of the political situation in the Ukraine and even more provocations than under Trump. As they say, these folks will “fight Russia down to the last Ukrainian”.

None of that will have any direct impact on Russia (for a detailed discussion, see here). However, this does not mean that Russia should continue to pretend like this is “business as usual” and take blow after blow after blow. Why? For a number of reasons:

  1. There is plenty of evidence that the Russian people are getting fed-up with what they see is a rather weak, if not lame, attitude of Russian officials, especially against the constant flow of petty harassment measures against Russian interests. Folks in the West are never told this (after all, informing is not the mission of the corporate media), but the “patriotic” opposition to the Kremlin is much more dangerous than the hopelessly discredited pro-western “liberal” one (more about that below). The calls for a much more energetic “push-back” are now regularly heard, including from rather mainstream politicians.
  2. There is also plenty of evidence that the “Biden gang” will want not only to fully resume Obama-era policies towards the Ukraine (trigger more violent incidents & support for the Ukie Nazis) but that these policies will now also be extended towards Belarus. The fact that these policies are unlikely to succeed does not mean that Russia’s best response to them is to maintain a “wait and see” position. It is pretty self-evident that any form of restraint by Russia is immediately explained away as “weakness” by the western propaganda machine. Any more such “restraint” will only make things more dangerous and more difficult for Russia and Putin personally. In other words, at this point in time, “restraint” only invites more aggression.
  3. Furthermore, 2021 is an election (Parliament) year in Russia. Now, irrespective of anything Russia does, no matter how transparent or un-falsifiable Russian elections are, the West will use that opportunity to try to get violent riots in the streets of Russia before the elections and, after the election, the West will declare that the Russian elections were “undemocratic” and go on about “supporting the just democratic aspirations of the Russian people” (especially Russian homosexuals, of course!) and the like.
  4. Finally, it is pretty clear that the Biden Cabinet brings together the crème de la crème of Zionist russophobes from the US deep state. These people are characterized by the following and very dangerous characteristics: narcissistic and messianic racist self-love, a “God ordained” racist hatred for all of mankind, a personal/family history of hatred for Russia, deep involvement in many Ukie corruption schemes, an almost total failure to understand that consequences and nature of war combined with a delusional belief in invulnerability and impunity (while the former is false, the latter has been true, at least so far), etc. This is a very dangerous combination, to say the least!

The truth is that pseudo-liberals are amongst the most dangerous creatures out there. Yes, their current “geopolitical toolkit” (the US and the AngloZionist Empire) is weak, but that does not mean that Russia (or the rest of the world) can simply ignore these dangerous psychopaths.

The good (or even excellent!) news is that Trump gave Russia four more years to prepare for what is coming next, and that the Russia+China tandem is in much better shape today than it was 4 years ago. For example, the Russian internal security situation is now the best ever, as witnessed to by the fact that the Russian federal “wanted list” does not include a single Chechen national; the self-styled “last Emir of the Caucasus”, Aslan Byutukayev, was killed on January 20th, which made it possible for Ramzan Kadyrov to “declare a total victory over terrorism” in Russia). In plain English this means that every single Chechen who has ever committed an act of terrorism in Russia has been identified and is now either dead (most of them) or jailed (only a few). Despite these achievements, I am not sure sure about the “total victory over terrorism” because there are still violent groups in several regions Russia. Besides, if the “Axis of Kindness” (US/Israel/KSA, sometimes joined by the country many Russians think of as “Puny Britain”) special services decide to reignite an insurgency in Russia, they might have at least some success, especially initially. The FSB/FSO better not let their guard down, especially in Dagestan, the Far East, Crimea and the Moscow region!

In purely military terms, Russia is completely “out of reach” for the United States armed forces, even with the EU/NATO thrown in. I have written a lot about that, and I won’t repeat any of this here. Suffice to say that Russia now has the best armed forces she has had in decades while the US has an immense, truly grotesquely bloated, military, but not one that can get anything done other than killing (and, at that, mostly civilians). Even if we look just at nuclear strategic forces of Russia they are at least a decade, if not more, ahead of the West. This is the first time since WWII that Russia is that powerful, and now she can reap the many advantages of being militarily secure.

All this being said, I have personally always defended what I called the Kremlin’s “restraint” for the simple reason that when I look at the aggregate power (not just military!) of Russia and the AngloZionist Empire I still see the latter as much stronger. However, I have do admit that the trend of this relationship is a positive one, that is to say that over the past decade or so Russia has become much, much, stronger while the US and the Empire have become much, much, weaker. Under Biden, this trend will only accelerate.

The time has now come for Russia to adapt her own policies to this new reality.

And the very first thing the Kremlin ought to change is its language, its rhetoric. Yes, “restraint” is good, especially when escalation into a full-scale war is amongst the possible outcomes of any crisis, but “restraint” cannot be a goal in itself. For example, while the US+NATO does, objectively, represent a major anti-Russian threat (if only because they are weak and can only count their on nukes to protect them!). Likewise, the ugly “Banderastan” which the Ukronazis turned the good old Ukraine into is not a threat to Russia whatsoever. So why not seriously turn down a few economic screws to make the Ukronazis feel that their never ending stream of insults and (empty) threats can have consequences?

Next, the Kremlin needs to mix strong words with strong actions!

Just this Sunday, January, the 24th, the US Embassy in Moscow was involved in openly coordinating the (small, but violent and illegal!) riots in Moscow, just the same way the NEXTA Telegram channel has done in Belarus. So what did the Kremlin do in response? The Russian Foreign Ministry did order US diplomats to the MID building and… … gave them a note of firm protest.

And that’s it?!

I don’t think anybody in the US Embassy in Moscow gives a damn about Russian protests. If anything, US “diplomats” probably get a good laugh each time they get such protests. And everybody knows that, including the Russian diplomats. So why do they hold to such a lame “communications line”?

The Russian Navy recently gave a very good example of how a good word can have much more effect when backed with some good action: remember when (of all names!) the USS John McCain recently breached the Russian maritime border? The Russian Navy did tell the McCain to withdraw, but it added that the Russian large antisubmarine ship (a “destroyer” in western terminology) Admiral Vinogradov would “ram” the McCain if his warnings were not heeded. Needless to say, the McCain got out really fast (the USN already has experienced this kind of situation in the past, see here). The problem with ramming, at least for the USN, is that you can hardly reply by opening up with your weapons, which would be truly suicidal inside Russian waters and near the (heavily fortified) Russian coastline. As for the Russians, they are “crazy” enough to do that, even when their ship is smaller (ask any US sailor who served in the US submarine force, they know!). The simple truth is that the Russian sailors “mean business” (the one of defending their motherland) whereas the US sailors, well, how shall I put it? They do very much want to “show the flag” and “defend principles”, but not if they might get seriously hurt. That’s just a fact. From the Russian point of view, joining the military means accepting that pain and death come with the territory. 1000 years of warfare have truly imprinted that on the Russian collective psyche.

By the way, a lot of US Americans love to repeat these famous words by General Patton: “No bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country“. This is a neat aphorism, and it very much caters to a typically US view of warfare. It is also almost perfectly wrong, as any Russian, Iranian or Hezbollah fighter could tell you – that is not how you win wars. In fact, this is how you lose them. And this is why putative “dumb bastards” beat the crap out of US forces over and over again…

At the very least, it is high time to reduce the number of US officials in Russia: I am talking about diplomats, of course, but also the entire menagerie of “volunteers”, “NGOs” and, most definitely, US “journalists” accredited in Russia. Reducing their numbers will also make it easier for the FSB/FSO to keep an eye on the rest of them.

Next, I would also show a large number of EU “guests” to the door: after all, why keep them in this nightmarish Putin’s Mordor? Let’s send them back to the “freedom” they, apparently, care for so much (at least when in Russia; when in Paris, Berlin or Rotterdam – not so much).

Frankly, they EU rulers have gone completely insane. Now the EU is seriously considering cancelling the almost completed North Stream 2 over the Navalnyi nonsense! Sacrificing a multi-billion dollar project crucial to the EU economy over the fate of one particularly uninspiring and fake pseudo-dissident whose support in Russia is less than one percent (as shown by the miniscule crowds which violently rioted on is behalf). What the EU leaders fail to appreciate is that Russia needs NS2 much less than the EU does, as Russia’s main gas plans are fully focused on China. There is a good Russian expression about the kind of threats the EU makes: to “try to scare a hedgehog with a naked bottom!”. The EU really needs to be placed on a suicide watch, imho.

Frankly, this entire western “fauna” has become accustomed to living in Russia while making a living hating on Russia. They mostly got away with it in the 80s, they totally got away with it in the 90s, and for the past twenty years the Kremlin has done precious little to change this. I think that the “message” (westerners love “messages”) from the Kremlin should be simple: living and working in Russia is not a right, it is a privilege. If you can’t behave, then you have overstayed your welcome. In the current context, the West has much more to lose from this kind of policy than Russia (especially since Russian diplomats were already expelled, and Russian consular buildings illegally closed).

Next, Russia needs to respond to the US zero-sum-game, but not by accepting such a logic for herself. The main problem with the zero-sum-game mindset is that it is extremely wasteful: the side engaging in it has to spent a lot of time and efforts trying to deny any victory, or even mildly positive development, to the other side. What Russia should do instead, is define a list of vulnerable and important targets/goals of the Empire, and then focus her resources and energy denying them to the US. Such a fully focused effort is much more efficient than the kind of “full spectrum pestering” the US typically engages in. The good news, at least for Russia, is that the US is both vulnerable and weak, economically, militarily, culturally, socially – you name it. As for the Empire, it has been dead for a while already: it simply ceased to operate as an empire a while ago already. Again, this reality is carefully hidden in what I call “Zone A“, but in Zone B everybody knows it, even if they pretend otherwise.

The perfect place for Russia to really make a difference would be Iran. Though the Iranians are extremely sophisticated players, both their diplomats and their military, they badly need Russian help, especially in such fields as early warning systems, targeting, over the horizon radars, air defenses (ground and air based), antisubmarine warfare, coastal defenses, etc. – you name it! Iran is, by far, the most important country in the Middle-East and Iran is therefore constantly under threat by the “Axis of Kindness”. Russia has not, so far, taken the strategic decision to give Iran the means to be safe, at least in part to be able to put pressure on Tehran when needed (Russian and Iranian goals in Syria are similar in some ways, but also distinct in others).

Finally, the Kremlin needs to become much more attuned to the arguments of the “patriotic opposition”. For one thing, many of the arguments of this patriotic opposition are correct, so listening to them is simply common sense. Second, some of these arguments are flawed, but they cannot be ignored: these arguments need counter-arguments. Simply assuming that the Russian people will always support the Kremlin no matter what is delusional and dangerous. Finally, some of these arguments are based on fallacies and only serve the interests of the US/EU/NATO block. The fact that some Russians sincerely repeat them is a dangerous sign of how susceptible some segments of the Russian society still are to US PSYOPs. For all these reasons, the Kremlin has to change its PR policies which are, frankly, becoming stale and sometimes even toxic.

Right now, there are three basic kind of opposition in Russia: the fake opposition in the Duma, which talks a lot, but basically supports the Kremlin, the non-systemic pro-US/EU opposition which probably speaks for about one percent of the Russian people, and the non-systemic “patriotic” opposition, which is also rather small, but which really needs to be represented in the Duma and become “part of the system of institutions” (as opposed to the current “one man show”) of Russia.

I am in no way suggesting that Russia should become confrontational or provocative. All that is needed is for Russia to be less “diplomatic” and much more forceful in the defense of her interests. That in turn means two things: Russian officials need to change their rather demure tone when dealing with western imperialists and, second, Russian officials needs to back their words with real, measurable, actions.

Conclusion: learn from your mistakes

Russian history is filled with cases when diplomats simply wasted the efforts and successes achieved by the Russian military. This is why the Russian military has a saying “the blood of some is spilled because of the incompetence of others” (another version: “some had to become heroes to undo that which cowards did“). Finally, if there is one thing which Russian history has shown beyond any doubt it is that the internal enemy is much, much more dangerous than the external one.

I have always maintained that the Empire and Russia have been at war since at least 2014. This is not the purely military WWIII, of course, but a war which is 80% economic, 15% informational and only 5% kinetic. This is, nonetheless, a total/existential war which will end with only one side standing, the other will vanish. For Russia, this is a war for the survival of the Russian civilizational realm, hardly a minor matter. Besides, this 80/15/5 percent war could quickly turn into a 0/0/100 kinetic one. Thus Russia needed to be very careful indeed. Now, roughly seven or eight years later, we can see that Russia has been winning, which is very good. But this war is far from over, such processes are very slow, and Russia simply cannot assume that “more of the same” from her will be enough to be victorious. All in all, the Russian policy towards the collective West has been both sound and very effective, but now the time has come for meaningful change. Should the Kremlin ignore these changing circumstances, then Russia might, yet again, be forced to solve with her military that which the diplomats failed to protect and preserve. God willing, Putin will heed the lessons taught by the history of Russia.


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Kochavi’s threats and claims, what are their background, and what is the path and response? تهديدات كوخافي وادّعاءاته ما خلفيّتها وما المسار والردّ؟

 **Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original **

Kochavi’s threats and claims, what are their background, and what is the path and response?

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*University Professor  –    Strategist

Whoever listened to the chief of staff of the Israeli army at the Zionist “Institute for National Security Studies” conference would almost imagine that “Israel” is on the verge of launching a comprehensive open war that would lead to the establishment of an empire for itself on the territory of the Middle East and West Asia after destroying, all its opponents from states, entities and organizations opposed to the Zionist-Western occupation project of the region. Where is this perception and perception of reality?   

Kochavi claims that “Israel” now has full strategic military plans to completely destroy Iran’s nuclear program, which is reminiscent of israel’s destruction of iraq’s July nuclear reactor and an end to Iraq’s nuclear ambitions, despite the fact that it had modest ambitions that did not exceed limited civilian affairs and under foreign supervision that did not allow any development towards the limits of the military threat, yet Israel destroyed the reactor and no one in the world has ever mentioned a lip to the aggression and treated as if Israel was exercising its acquired right to prevent others from developing.

He claimed that “Israel” knows very well the locations, stores and missile silos in Lebanon and Gaza, which are accurate and ordinary, places that he claims are located within the populated places, so “Israel” prepared plans to destroy those bases or warehouses and will not dissuade them from carrying out the destruction of the presence of civilians and killing them no matter what. “It’s not like we’re going to be able to do that,” he said.

Kochavi then brags about what “Israel” is doing publicly in pursuing the Iranian presence and the resistance factions from Iran’s allies in Syria and Iraq, and claims that “Israel” continues with a policy of seeking to eradicate that presence and put an end to its effectiveness against the Israeli colonial project, and that “the strategy of working in the battle between wars “It will continue and will not stop.

What is more strange is Kochavi’s claim that Israel will carry out its tasks without slipping into a large-scale open war and that it will remain in control of the field so that the war will stop after the end of the specific mission in Iran, Lebanon and Gaza as well as Syria and Iraq, a task that will not Israel is alone in its implementation, as it claims, and there is a newly emerging military alliance led by Israel, which is in the middle of it and extends from Greece and Cyprus in the west to the UAE and Bahrain in the east and with them, as stated, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Egypt,etc…

Whoever heard what came in the words of Kochavi almost thought that he heard the words of a superficial amateur who has no experience with military science, military plans and military alliances, as reality belies Kochavi’s contempt and expectations in more than one place, including:

1 The chief of staff of the aggression imagines the keys of the field is in his hand to open his doors of his own volition and close it by his decision, and this he thought of the most naive and foolish, and jumping over reality, “Israel” launches the first shot but the last shot is not in its hands, and it is enough to remind him of the war of 33 days in 2006, where “Israel” persisted in asking for a cease-fire, and brought in the major powers and the Security Council to reach that for nothing except because it was no longer able to continue the war on the security and social levels as well as the military and political, and Kochavi forgets that the Axis of Resistance that he will face is practising on long wars, whether they are Confrontations that lead to resolution or attrition operations, and “Israel” is unable to do both, as it cannot now resolve a war and cannot engage in a war of attrition.

2 The enemy chief of staff claims that only a few dozen civilians in “Israel” will be killed while the enemy’s missiles fall on them, and he forgets that the enemy’s entity in all occupied Palestine is under fire and that there are accurate missiles that can destroy the 25 major strategic objectives and important strategic objectives. The 50’s, destroying it 5 times, and that if it opens its squares, the fire will not stop until it achieves all its destructive goals, as there is no opportunity or room for the enemy to move, especially as he failed miserably to implement the saying “a people working under fire.”

3 As for the so-called alliance, Kochavi seems to have ignored that his Gulf alliance is a weak, weak cartoon alliance, a rapidly cracking glass entity on the one hand and a rapidly combustible entity on the other, but in the West, relying on Cyprus and Greece to fight the resistance is objectively and subjectively misplaced.

4 The hope of “Israel” in America remains to protect it from the reaction of the Resistance and its Axis and its participation in the war against it. Here, objectively, we say that if America were ready for the war promoted by Kochavi, it would have started under the reckless fool Trump, who saw a personal interest in it, but under Biden, the matter is so unlikely that it will not happen. Biden’s strategy in his Middle Eastern relations in general and with The axis of resistance in particular is not based on a “hard power strategy,” as it appears from more than one behaviour, not the last of which is the appointment of Robert Malley as a special American representative to Iran, an appointment that made Iran’s enemies describe it as an unfortunate event on them.

In summary, we say that an enemy army, like any other army, may have multiple plans to address the dangers it expects. This is self-evident at the military level, but we must distinguish between the existence of the plan as a military duty that must be implemented and the effectiveness of the plan and the ability to implement it  and achieve its objectives on the other.

In our opinion, there are a number of facts and concerns that led the Israeli enemy official to launch these positions and to announce these plans and perceptions, both internal and external, some of which can be mentioned as follows:

1 To send a message of reassurance to the interior that “Israel” has become a level of self-strength and alliance reassuring, a force reached as a result of its military effort and political success, which was represented by normalization with some Arab regimes and the ability to forge regional military alliances with it and others for the first time in the history of “Israel.”

2. Withholding the reality of the Israeli army in terms of deteriorating morale, which the Israeli studies confirm that it is at a moral level that does not qualify it to go to war, especially in terms of the forces of land and the weapon of paratroopers, as well as the failure of the Iron Dome and the like to achieve the objectives for which it was established.

3 To send a message to Biden to dissuade him from returning to the Iran nuclear deal, considering that the alternative military solution to address this issue is ready in Israel and awaits understanding, timing and the U.S. green light.

4 Tightening the nerve of the “new – old allies” of the Arab regimes, especially in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, who fear that America will review its relationship with them, especially after Biden decided to freeze the supply of weapons to them as a matter of the Yemen war.

5 To humiliate the Axis of Resistance that achieved its strategic victory in Syria and Iraq, and to inform the Axis that “Israel” and those with it are ready to prevent the Axis from investing victory, and that “Israel” are ready to return to the field effectively and decisively to make up for the previous losses.


The axis of resistance, with all its components, is well aware of the size, value, truth, and goals of what Kochavi said, and deals with these positions as should be an objective and intelligent deal, and although he realizes that it is a psychological war and intimidation that is not applicable, it is also working on the guidance of saying that “Israel” is at the end will dig her grave with its grave with its own hand, and it will spark the fire that burns it and end it. No one thinks that what was said by the Iranian military official in response to Kochavi that “Haifa and Tel Aviv will be annihilated if Israel implements something of its threats.”


تهديدات كوخافي وادّعاءاته ما خلفيّتها وما المسار والردّ؟


العميد د. أمين محمد حطيط

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*أستاذ جامعي – خبير استراتيجي

مَن استمع إلى كلام رئيس أركان جيش العدو الإسرائيلي في مؤتمر “معهد دراسات الأمن القومي” الصهيوني يكاد يتصوّر بأنّ “إسرائيل” باتت على قاب قوسين أو أدنى من الانطلاق في حرب مفتوحة شاملة تقود الى إقامة امبراطورية لها على مساحة الشرق الأوسط وغربي آسيا بعد أن تدمّر كلّ معارضيها من دول وكيانات وتنظيمات مقاومة للمشروع الصهيونيّ – الغربيّ الاحتلاليّ للمنطقة. فأين موقع هذا التصوّر والظنّ من الحقيقة والواقع؟

يدّعي كوخافي بانّ “إسرائيل” باتت لديها خطط عسكرية استراتيجية كاملة لتدمير البرنامج النووي الإيراني بشكل كامل، يحدوه في هذا القول ما يذكّر بقيام “إسرائيل” بتدمير مفاعل تموز النووي العراقي ووضع حدّ لطموحات العراق النووية رغم أنها كانت طموحات متواضعة لا تتعدّى الشأن المدني المحدود وبإشراف أجنبيّ لا يسمح بأيّ تطوير نحو حدود الخطر العسكري، ومع ذلك دمّرت “إسرائيل” المفاعل ولم ينبس أحد في العالم ببنت شفة استنكاراً للعدوان وتعامل الجميع وكأنّ “إسرائيل” تقوم بممارسة حق مكتسب لها هو منع الآخرين من تطوّر علميّ لا توافق عليه.

وزعم كوخافي بأنّ “إسرائيل” تعلم جيداً مواقع ومخازن ومرابض الصواريخ في لبنان وغزة الدقيقة منها والعادية، وهي أماكن بزعمه تقع ضمن الأماكن الآهلة، ولذلك فإنّ “إسرائيل” أعدّت الخطط لتدمير تلك القواعد او المخازن ولن يثنيها عن تنفيذ عملية التدمير وجود مدنيّين وقتلهم مهما كانت أعدادهم، ثم انه “يمنّ” على هؤلاء بأنه سيعلِمهم قبل ساعات بقرار “إسرائيل” البدء بالقصف التدميريّ ليغادروا المنطقة ويخلوا،الأمر بينه وبين مقاتلي حزب الله في لبنان أو المقاومة الفلسطينية في غزة (لم يقل كوخافي الى أين سيغادر المدنيون خاصة أهل غزة).

ثم يتباهى كوخافي بما تقوم به “إسرائيل” علناً من ملاحقة الوجود الإيراني وفصائل المقاومة من حلفاء إيران في سورية والعراق، ويدّعي انّ “إسرائيل” مستمرّة بسياسة السعي لاجتثاث ذاك الوجود ووضع حدّ لفعاليته ضدّ المشروع الإسرائيلي الاستعماري، وأنّ “استراتيجية العمل بالمعركة ما بين الحروب” سيستمرّ العمل بها ولن تتوقف.

اما الأكثر غرابة في الأمر فهو ادّعاء كوخافي بأنّ “إسرائيل” ستنفذ مهامها دون أن تنزلق الى حرب واسعة مفتوحة وأنها ستبقى مسيطرة على زمام الأمور في الميدان بحيث توقف الحرب بعد أن تنتهي المهمة المحدّدة في كلّ من إيران ولبنان وغزة فضلاً عن سورية والعراق، وهي المهمة التي لن تكون “إسرائيل” وحيدة في تنفيذها كما يدّعي، بل انّ هناك حلفاً عسكرياً ناشئاً حديثاً بقيادة “إسرائيل” التي تتوسّطه ويمتدّ من اليونان وقبرص في الغرب الى الإمارات والبحرين في الشرق ومعهم كما جاء في تخصّصات كوخافي الأردن والسعودية ومصر إلخ…

مَن سمع ما جاء على لسان كوخافي كاد يظنّ بأنه يسمع كلام هاوٍ سطحيّ لا عهد له بالعلم العسكري والخطط العسكرية والأحلاف العسكرية، حيث إنّ الواقع يكذب تخرّصات كوخافي وتوقعاته في أكثر من محلّ نذكر منها:

1 ـ يتصوّر رئيس أركان العدوان مفاتيح الميدان هي بيده يفتح أبوابه بإرادته ويغلقه بقراره، وهذا ظنّ فيه منتهى السذاجة والحمق، والقفز فوق الواقع، فـ “إسرائيل” تطلق الطلقة الأولى لكن الطلقة الأخيرة ليست بيدها، ويكفي أن نذكره بحرب الـ 33 يوماً في العام 2006، حيث استماتت “إسرائيل” مستجدية وقف إطلاق النار وأدخلت القوى الكبرى ومجلس الأمن للوصول الى ذلك لا لشيء إلا لأنها لم تعد قادرة على الاستمرار في الحرب على الصعد الأمنية والاجتماعية فضلاً عن العسكرية والسياسية، وينسى كوخافي انّ محور المقاومة الذي سيواجهه تمرّس على الحروب الطويلة سواء كانت مواجهات تفضي الى حسم او عمليات استنزاف، و”إسرائيل” لا تقدر على الأمرين فهي لا تستطيع الآن أن تحسم حرباً ولا تستطيع ان تنخرط في حرب استنزاف.

2

ـ يدّعي رئيس أركان العدو أنه فقط بضعة عشرات من المدنيين في “إسرائيل” سيُقتلون خلال هطول صواريخ العدو عليهم، وينسى انّ كيان العدو في فلسطين المحتلة كلها بات تحت النار وانّ هناك من الصواريخ الدقيقة ما يمكن من تدمير الأهداف الاستراتيجية الأساسية الكبرى الـ 25 والأهداف الاستراتيجية الهامة الـ 50، تدميرها 5 مرات، وانّ النار إذا فتحت أساطينها لن تتوقف إلا بتحقيق أهدافها التدميريّة كلها حيث لا يبقى للعدو فرصة او مجال لحركة خاصة أنه فشل فشلاً ذريعاً في تطبيق مقولة “شعب يعمل تحت النار”.

3

ـ أما عن الحلف المزعوم، يبدو أنّ كوخافي تجاهل أنه حلف كرتوني واهن ضعيف، ففي الخليج هو كيان زجاجي قابل للتكسير السريع من جهة وكيان سريع الالتهاب قابل للاحتراق السريع من جهة أخرى، اما في الغرب فإنّ التعويل على قبرص واليونان لمحاربة المقاومة ظنّ في غير محله موضوعياً وذاتياً.

4

ـ يبقى أمل “إسرائيل” بأميركا لتحميها من ردّ فعل المقاومة ومحورها وتشاركها في الحرب عليها. وهنا وبشكل موضوعي نقول لو كانت أميركا جاهزة للحرب التي يروّج لها كوخافي لكانت باشرتها في ظلّ الأحمق الأرعن ترامب الذي كان يرى له مصلحة شخصية فيها، أما في ظلّ بايدن فإنّ الأمر مستبعَد الى حدّ القطع بعدم إمكان حدوثه، فاستراتيجية بايدن في علاقاته الشرق أوسطية عامة ومع محور المقاومة خاصة لا تقوم على “استراتيجية القوة الصلبة”، كما يبدو من اكثر من تصرف او سلوك ليس آخرها تعيين روبرت مالي ممثلاً أميركياً خاصاً لدى إيران، التعيين الذي جعل أعداء إيران يصفونه بأنه واقعة شؤم عليهم.

في الخلاصة نقول بأنّ جيش العدو كأيّ جيش قد تكون لديه خطط متعددة لمعالجة الأخطار التي يتوقعها. وهذا أمر بديهي على الصعيد العسكري، ولكن يجب ان نميّز بين وجود الخطة كواجب عسكري لا بدّ من تنفيذه وبين فعالية الخطة والقدرة على تنفيذها وتحقيق أهدافها من جانب آخر، ومع هذا التمييز قد نسلّم بوجود الخطط، ولكن موقفنا من النتائج يختلف، وهنا نقول بأنّ العراضة القوليّة التي جاء بها كوخافي، مقرونة بالأعمال الجوية الاستعراضيّة في الأجواء اللبنانية بما في ذلك إدخال طائرات F35، كلها من قبيل الحرب النفسية او عمليات الضغط لتحقيق مآرب أخرى، فما هي هذه الأهداف التي يرمي اليها رئيس أركان العدوان؟

برأينا إنّ هناك جملة من وقائع ومخاوف حملت مسؤول العدو الإسرائيلي على إطلاق هذه المواقف والإعلان عن هذه الخطط والتصوّرات منها الداخلي ومنها الخارجي ويمكن ذكر بعضها كالتالي:

1

ـ توجيه رسالة طمأنة للداخل بأنّ “إسرائيل” باتت في مستوى من القوة الذاتية والتحالفية مطمئن وهي قوة وصلت اليها نتيجة جهدها العسكري ونجاحها السياسي الذي تمثل بالتطبيع مع بعض الأنظمة العربية والقدرة على صياغة تحالفات إقليمية عسكرية معها ومع غيرها لأول مرة في تاريخ “إسرائيل”.

2

ـ حجب حقيقة الجيش الإسرائيلي من حيث المعنويات المتردّية والتي تؤكد الدارسات الإسرائيلية بأنه في مستوى معنوي لا يؤهّله لخوض حرب، خاصة على صعيد قوى البرّ وسلاح المظليين فضلاً عن فشل القبة الحديدية وما شابهها في تحقيق الأهداف التي من أجلها أنشئت.

3

ـ توجيه رسالة الى بايدن لثنيه عن العودة الى الاتفاق النووي الإيراني، باعتبار انّ الحلّ العسكري البديل لمعالجة هذا الأمر جاهز في “إسرائيل” وينتظر التفاهم والتوقيت والضوء الأخضر الأميركي.

4

ـ شدّ عصب منظومة “الحلفاء الجدد – القدامى” من الأنظمة العربية خاصة في السعودية والإمارات الذين يخشون من مراجعة أميركا للعلاقة معهم خاصة بعد أن قرّر بايدن تجميد تزويدهم بالأسلحة من باب حرب اليمن.

5

ـ التهويل على محور المقاومة الذي حقق انتصاره الاستراتيجي في سورية والعراق، وإعلامه بأنّ “إسرائيل” ومن معها جاهزون لمنعه من استثمار الانتصار، وأنهم جاهزون للعودة للميدان بشكل فاعل وحاسم لتعويض الخسائر السابقة.

انّ محور المقاومة بكلّ مكوّناته يدرك جيداً حجم وقيمة وحقيقة وأهداف ما جاء على لسان كوخافي ويتعامل مع هذه المواقف كما يتوجب ان يكون التعامل الموضوعي الفطن، ورغم انه يدرك أنها حرب نفسية وتهويل غير قابل للتطبيق فإنه يعمل أيضاً على هدي القول بانّ “إسرائيل” في نهاية المطاف ستحفر قبرها بيدها وستقتدح النار التي تحرقها وتنهيها ولا يظنّن أحد أنّ ما جاء على لسان المسؤول العسكري الإيراني رداً على كوخافي بأنّ “حيفا وتل أبيب ستبادان إنْ نفّذت إسرائيل شيئاً من تهديداتها”.



River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Friday, 29 January 2021

American Prospect

January 27, 2021

by Sushi for the Saker Blog

If you wish to understand the concerns of those who attended the 1/6 Save America rally, you can learn much by watching the first three minutes of this video . If you wish to understand the issues that lie at the heart of the Nancy Pelosi – Never-Trump response, you can do no better than watching the same three minutes. Three minutes is not a long time. Maybe it saves the Republic. Perhaps not.

I recognize many of the locations shown; it was in Seattle that I met my first wife and my memory of the city is tainted by the youthful hormones associated with love and romantic attachment. Dispense with those gemütlich thoughts, strip all the romance away, and the video remains a searing reintroduction to an America in decline.

The Articles of Impeachment cite Trump for the remark,” ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.’ He said those words because he believed them to be true. His supporters believed them to be true. The founders of this country believed them to be true. The ghosts of Concord, Omaha, Antietam, Betio, and a thousand other forgotten battles, laid down their lives to consecrate those words. America is drenched in blood. Is it worth asking who spilt it and why?

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At the end of President Regan’s term in office, America was the greatest exporter of manufactured goods, the world’s largest creditor nation, the world’s largest importer of raw materials. Each year, America created the greatest value added in the history of the world. Today all these numbers are reversed. America is the world’s greatest debtor nation, America imports almost all its manufactured goods, and the main source of value added is found in the FIRE sector.

In an earlier era, America hired people to add value to raw materials and sell the finished products. People had good jobs. They lived the American dream. Today, they live the American nightmare. Today the route to wealth is found in the creation of SPACs and CDOs and other pieces of paper backed by little more than a promise. Or it is found in creating a new virtual universe composed entirely of electrons. The plungers have bid up the market to incredible heights of fantasy, interest rates border on the negative, and Biden is in the process of adding a few trillion more dollars to the top of an already teetering matchstick pyre. As the great sage of America once said: “What, me worry?”

In the years since President Regan, middle America has been in constant decline. Republicans came into office, made a lot of promises, and when they left office the majority of America was worse off than before. The Democrats came into office, promised hope and change, and when the Democrats left office the majority of America was worse off than before. The Red Hatters suspect the emergence of a pattern.

There have been 16 years of Republican presidents: Bush 41, Bush 43, Trump 45, and 16 years of Democrat presidents Clinton and Obama. Trump’s supporters have learned, much to their chagrin, and at great personal expense, that it does not matter who you vote into office, the outcome is always the same. The average American is yearly worse off, their savings erode, their debt explodes as increased debt is the only way to keep their head above water, send their children to school, pay their bills. On the coasts, and in Washington, live the elites who get richer and richer every year. The banks collapse and wipe out the savings of ordinary Americans? No problem. We bail out the culprits with trillions of dollars and the bank executives, the ones who created the funny money in the first place, they give themselves multi-million-dollar bonuses. For what? For crashing the world economy and coming out on top? Nice work if you can get it. And the ordinary folk? They lose their job, their savings, possibly their home. Some get the bonus of a cardboard mansion.

When Enron collapsed, people went to jail. When the savings and loans collapsed people went to jail. In the financial crisis fat paychecks and get out of jail cards went to a small segment of the population. None of them wore Red Hats. The systemic causes were never addressed, except as a band-aid solution, which implies they remain as a hidden set of weaknesses ready to rip open at the next great signs of stress.

The Democrats want you to believe that 1/6 was a coup, a rebellion, a putsch, an overthrow of a legitimate government. It is unclear how you claim to be a legitimate government, of the people, by the people, for the people, when each year the elites get more and more wealthy and ordinary folk are driven into poverty and then laughed at. Called Deplorables. Despicables. Traitors. Insurrectionists. Domestic Terrorists. Refused airline travel because of their political views. Refused legal counsel because of their political views. Have their employment threatened because of their political views. Have their insurance contracts revoked because of their political views. Have their communications media cancelled because of their political views. Put on watch lists because of their political views. Labelled as American ISIS for their political views. Al Qaeda in America. Bin Laden’s corpse is adrift in the Arabian Sea but he is winning.

Two observations. The first is that the Red Hatters have legitimate grounds for grievance. The elites that populate the coasts and inhabit the Capitol appear greatly unwilling to acknowledge that fact. In fact, the response of the Washington and coastal elites appears dedicated to the destruction of any form of political unorthodoxy. The Red Hatters strike me as empiricists. They experience the fact of reduced opportunity, reduced paychecks, a decline in their standard of living. These are the people who staff small business, the fire stations, the police stations, who are shipped overseas to combat the war on error. Those who send them overseas, who seek assistance from the fire stations, the police stations, are ideologues. And the ideologues are disconnected from reality and therefore indifferent to the plight of their fellow citizens. They hold the belief that the physical and financial distress the Red Hatters claim to experience is all in their head. If they removed the hat all would be fine. And what they really require is ostracization. A period of re-education and indoctrination. A few years in the Gulag. Ship them out to the Xinjiang re-education camps. Store them in Gitmo. It’s the American way.

The Ideologues have it all. And they want even more. Their appetites are immense and unyielding. Any form of challenge, appeal, or protest, is to be crushed. Legitimate grievance will be labelled Al Qaeda in America and destroyed. The orange man who appears to have provoked the uprising; he too will be destroyed. None can be allowed to remain standing because the sheer fact of their presence threatens the Ideologues beatific view of a world in which they have absolute mastery. Political mastery, commercial, and military.

The second observation is that history has gone out of fashion. It is an outdated subject well past its best before date. America’s history of rebellion and revolution is outmoded and inapplicable. Not pints, but gallons, hundred of gallons, VLCCs brimming with blood, all of it spilt, and none of it matters. Because this time its different. Those history guys in their funny hats, weird britches, and leggings, they did not have computers. They knew nothing of social media. If any remain alive today, they are dodos, too stupid to know they went extinct years ago. The problem is exacerbated by a Fourth Estate which is of the belief that “goebbels” is a noise made by turkeys, or the description of a rushed and greedy eater. People who do not know history are forever condemned to repeat it. That includes 1929 as well as 1776.

I remain confident of one thing. Joe Biden will unify the country.

The truth of this is found in his first initiatives. His imposition of a $15 minimum wage, his approval of increased immigration, his grant of amnesty to those present in the country illegally, his increase in corporate taxes, and his termination of the XL pipeline, coupled with the termination of drilling on Federal lands, will increase the cost of energy which will act as a regressive tax on those who can least afford it. These initiatives will have negative impact on Blacks, Latinos, hard hats, and Red Hats. All will have a negative impact on jobs and employment.

Biden’s single greatest achievement is the executive order stipulating that those males who self-identify as a woman are to be free to participate in women’s sports. For any impoverished youth seeking a higher education the best means to a scholarship is now to self-attest to female identity and win a post-secondary sports scholarship.

By this initiative alone, Biden will add fifty percent of the population to the group of persons already united against him. He only needs another 15% to 20% and he will have achieved 100% of his inaugural goals. I think he can do it.

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There has been some feedback from persons who attended the Save America rally on 1/6. They dispute my estimate of crowd size which was based on the only aerial photograph I was able to locate. I have since found other imagery which confirms a new estimate of close to 500,000. It was standing room only in the ellipse and there was a multitude on the West end of the mall and to the East of the George Washington Monument.

When the British burned the Capitol, they came with a small brigade of 4,500 men. That small force burned the Capitol, the White House, the US Treasury, and the War Department. Then they blew up Fort McNair. That was achieved by 4,500 men.

Does anyone honestly believe there would be much of Washington left standing if a force of 500,000 had been incited to attack?

The current public estimate is of 800 people having entered the Capitol (I believe this to be high. The available imagery does not support such a high number. The F.B.I. presently has case files on 200 persons). If the full size of the crowd was 500,000 then the entrants are 0.0016 of the total participants. The Democrats and the press are gleefully slandering large numbers of people possibly creating grounds for a class action suit. The litigants would have grounds for damages based on loss of employment and loss of reputation.

Second, Incitement requires that people attacking the Capitol, heard what Trump had to say, listened to it as instruction, command, or direction, and acted as they did because of what he said. Press reports show the first attacks commenced at 12:50 and Trump did not complete his remarks until 13:13. The alleged incitement did not occur until the end of his speech. In addition, the significant size of the crowd completely swamped the available cell towers. Many Save America attendees reported no cell phone reception.

Third, incitement requires that those persons allegedly incited are in fact guilty of some crime. Marching to the Capitol is not a crime. Thousands of tourists do it every day. The words: ‘if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore’ is language not found in the criminal statutes. It is used as a legitimate form of grievance and has been used throughout history for exactly that purpose. Trump never incited burglary. He never told anyone “steal Pelosi’s lectern” In fact, it is unclear what exactly it is presumed he incited.

Fourth, there may still exist in this country a legal tradition known as the presumption of innocence. All of those charged by the state for alleged criminal activity are innocent of that criminal charge until such time as the legal process pronounces them guilty. Madame Pelosi and her compatriots in the House have put the cart before the horse. What if every alleged criminal is found innocent? What then is Trump to be found guilty of inciting? An Antifa conspiracy? Was Trump a secret BLM plotter?

Fifth, the evidence suggests that there were multiple independent groups at the Capitol on 1/6. This citizen report by a person with some knowledge of special forces activity claims there were at least four different groups present: 1) Plainclothes militants; 2) Agents-provocateurs; 3) Fake Trump protesters; 4) Disciplined, uniformed column of attackers. This citizen account confirms details found in The Defense of Mr. Trump: there was a relatively minor observed police presence, there was limited, or no, cell phone reception, the majority of the crowd was jovial and friendly, and included people of all ages, and races, including parents with children. There was minimal sense of threat.

Sixth, this new account supports the fact that among the Save America participants there were persons who were not Trump supporters but who sought to appear to be Trump supporters. Some were dressed in militant gear. The exact numbers of these militants, and their pollical affiliation, will not be known until the police complete their investigation (if the police complete an investigation) and have obtained statements. Trump cannot be accused of inciting people who were part of a pre-existing disciplined and militant cadre, persons who conspired to disrupt the Save America rally, and attack the Capitol, weeks before Trump made his remarks. The fact that some of those charged are alleged conspirators suggests the police are aware the violence was pre-meditated well in advance of Trumps remarks at the Save America rally.

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Seventh, it is well known that in the summer of 2020 there were riots across the United States and these riots were led by groups known as Antifa and BLM. These riots and violence were described as “peaceful” by both the press and political leaders. In the summer of 2020, a group of violent militants had been permitted to raise havoc. There was no condemnation of this rioting and violence. It was applauded. The Vice-President worked to provide bail for those arrested. These rioters were not Trump supporters. Trump condemned this violent action. If Antifa and BLM agitators were present on 1/6, as it appears that they were, if they conspired to stir up a peaceful protest (as it appears that they did), if they ordered Save America participants forward into the attack (as it is reported that they did), if they sought to prevent peaceful participants from departing the scene (as it is reported that they did), then those individuals are guilty of incitement. If they are found guilty of conspiracy and incitement, then why the impeachment of Trump?

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Eighth, by not condemning the violence occurring in the summer of 2020, the political leaders communicated to the citizens that violent protest was acceptable. That to burn buildings was acceptable. To proclaim an independent state was acceptable, That police defunding and disbanding was acceptable. The press, and the political leadership who failed to condemn activity that put lives at risk, condoned unlawful deaths, and caused over 1 billion in property damage. Certain groups known to have led the 2020 violence are reported to be complicit in the events of 1/6. The political leaders and the press, by virtue of their lack of condemnation, gave notice to Antifa and BLM that their actions would be tolerated, that there would be no legal sanctions, that the police would not arrest them, and the state would not prosecute them. They sent entirely the wrong message to the hoodlums. Did sending this inaccurate message lay the foundation for the riots at the Capitol? Was it misleading to claim Antifa to be just an idea? The press reporting during this period, and in prior periods, also gave endorsement to Antifa. Support for Antifa was seen as a means to undermine a sitting President. Does such conduct rise to the level of sedition? Is it possible the wrong president is being impeached? If you can impeach an out of office president, should others also be held to account for their conduct?

I do not have the answer to these questions. But I think the following sums up the situation:

The president-elect’s demeanor and furor certainly were not compatible with his media image as the supposedly angelic uniter of the country. Within 24 hours he had gone from blasting the police authorities as racists to the old reductio ad Hitlerum trope of comparing a few Republican senators to Nazi propogandist Joseph Goebbels, in a hysterical rant that descended into incoherent numerology about the bombing of Dresden. I’m sure Xi Jinping and Ayatollah Khamenei were impressed by his historical recollections. (see American Greatness)

Lastly, if disputing an election result is an impeachable offense what does this say about the Democrats who have disputed election results multiple times in the past? What does it say about the Speaker of the House, the person who bears ultimate responsibility for the security of the Capitol and appears to have been negligent in the discharge of her duties? On 1/6 did she fail to properly execute her responsibilities toward Congress? Is this the reason for her attack on legitimate assembly and grievance? To reassign blame for her own failure? Should Pelosi be subject to impeachment?

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Part One of this series: On Democracy

Part Two of this series: What is to be Done?

Part Three of this series: The Defense of Mr. Trump


River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Blog!

Russian President Putin Delivers Speech at Virtual World Economic Forum

 January 27, 2021

This is the live stream video.  The transcript is now being posted as it becomes available.

Update: Transcript complete.

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Schwab, dear Klaus,

Colleagues,

I have been to Davos many times, attending the events organised by Mr Schwab, even back in the 1990s. Klaus [Schwab] just recalled that we met in 1992. Indeed, during my time in St Petersburg, I visited this important forum many times. I would like to thank you for this opportunity today to convey my point of view to the expert community that gathers at this world-renowned platform thanks to the efforts of Mr Schwab.

First of all, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to greet all the World Economic Forum participants.

It is gratifying that this year, despite the pandemic, despite all the restrictions, the forum is still continuing its work. Although it is limited to online participation, the forum is taking place anyway, providing an opportunity for participants to exchange their assessments and forecasts during an open and free discussion, partially compensating for the increasing lack of in-person meetings between leaders of states, representatives of international business and the public in recent months. All this is very important now, when we have so many difficult questions to answer.

The current forum is the first one in the beginning of the third decade of the 21st century and, naturally, the majority of its topics are devoted to the profound changes that are taking place in the world.

Indeed, it is difficult to overlook the fundamental changes in the global economy, politics, social life and technology. The coronavirus pandemic, which Klaus just mentioned, which became a serious challenge for humankind, only spurred and accelerated the structural changes, the conditions for which had been created long ago. The pandemic has exacerbated the problems and imbalances that built up in the world before. There is every reason to believe that differences are likely to grow stronger. These trends may appear practically in all areas.

Needless to say, there are no direct parallels in history. However, some experts – and I respect their opinion – compare the current situation to the 1930s. One can agree or disagree, but certain analogies are still suggested by many parameters, including the comprehensive, systemic nature of the challenges and potential threats.

We are seeing a crisis of the previous models and instruments of economic development. Social stratification is growing stronger both globally and in individual countries. We have spoken about this before as well. But this, in turn, is causing today a sharp polarisation of public views, provoking the growth of populism, right- and left-wing radicalism and other extremes, and the exacerbation of domestic political processes including in the leading countries.

All this is inevitably affecting the nature of international relations and is not making them more stable or predictable. International institutions are becoming weaker, regional conflicts are emerging one after another, and the system of global security is deteriorating.

Klaus has mentioned the conversation I had yesterday with the US President on extending the New START. This is, without a doubt, a step in the right direction. Nevertheless, the differences are leading to a downward spiral. As you are aware, the inability and unwillingness to find substantive solutions to problems like this in the 20th century led to the WWII catastrophe.

Of course, such a heated global conflict is impossible in principle, I hope. This is what I am pinning my hopes on, because this would be the end of humanity. However, as I have said, the situation could take an unexpected and uncontrollable turn – unless we do something to prevent this. There is a chance that we will face a formidable break-down in global development, which will be fraught with a war of all against all and attempts to deal with contradictions through the appointment of internal and external enemies and the destruction of not only traditional values such as the family, which we hold dear in Russia, but fundamental freedoms such as the right of choice and privacy.

I would like to point out the negative demographic consequences of the ongoing social crisis and the crisis of values, which could result in humanity losing entire civilisational and cultural continents.

We have a shared responsibility to prevent this scenario, which looks like a grim dystopia, and to ensure instead that our development takes a different trajectory – positive, harmonious and creative.

In this context, I would like to speak in more detail about the main challenges which, I believe, the international community is facing.

The first one is socioeconomic.

Indeed, judging by the statistics, even despite the deep crises in 2008 and 2020, the last 40 years can be referred to as successful or even super successful for the global economy. Starting from 1980, global per capita GDP has doubled in terms of real purchasing power parity. This is definitely a positive indicator.

Globalisation and domestic growth have led to strong growth in developing countries and lifted over a billion people out of poverty. So, if we take an income level of $5.50 per person per day (in terms of PPP) then, according to the World Bank, in China, for example, the number of people with lower incomes went from 1.1 billion in 1990 down to less than 300 million in recent years. This is definitely China’s success. In Russia, this number went from 64 million people in 1999 to about 5 million now. We believe this is also progress in our country, and in the most important area, by the way.

Still, the main question, the answer to which can, in many respects, provide a clue to today’s problems, is what was the nature of this global growth and who benefitted from it most.

Of course, as I mentioned earlier, developing countries benefitted a lot from the growing demand for their traditional and even new products. However, this integration into the global economy has resulted in more than just new jobs or greater export earnings. It also had its social costs, including a significant gap in individual incomes.

What about the developed economies where average incomes are much higher? It may sound ironic, but stratification in the developed countries is even deeper. According to the World Bank, 3.6 million people subsisted on incomes of under $5.50 per day in the United States in 2000, but in 2016 this number grew to 5.6 million people.

Meanwhile, globalisation led to a significant increase in the revenue of large multinational, primarily US and European, companies.

By the way, in terms of individual income, the developed economies in Europe show the same trend as the United States.

But then again, in terms of corporate profits, who got hold of the revenue? The answer is clear: one percent of the population.

And what has happened in the lives of other people? In the past 30 years, in a number of developed countries, the real incomes of over half of the citizens have been stagnating, not growing. Meanwhile, the cost of education and healthcare services has gone up. Do you know by how much? Three times.

In other words, millions of people even in wealthy countries have stopped hoping for an increase of their incomes. In the meantime, they are faced with the problem of how to keep themselves and their parents healthy and how to provide their children with a decent education.

There is no call for a huge mass of people and their number keeps growing. Thus, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), in 2019, 21 percent or 267 million young people in the world did not study or work anywhere. Even among those who had jobs (these are interesting figures) 30 percent had an income below $3.2 per day in terms of purchasing power parity.

These imbalances in global socioeconomic development are a direct result of the policy pursued in the 1980s, which was often vulgar or dogmatic. This policy rested on the so-called Washington Consensus with its unwritten rules, when the priority was given to the economic growth based on a private debt in conditions of deregulation and low taxes on the wealthy and the corporations.

As I have already mentioned, the coronavirus pandemic has only exacerbated these problems. In the last year, the global economy sustained its biggest decline since WWII. By July, the labour market had lost almost 500 million jobs. Yes, half of them were restored by the end of the year but still almost 250 million jobs were lost. This is a big and very alarming figure. In the first nine months of the past year alone, the losses of earnings amounted to $3.5 trillion. This figure is going up and, hence, social tension is on the rise.

At the same time, post-crisis recovery is not simple at all. If some 20 or 30 years ago, we would have solved the problem through stimulating macroeconomic policies (incidentally, this is still being done), today such mechanisms have reached their limits and are no longer effective. This resource has outlived its usefulness. This is not an unsubstantiated personal conclusion.

According to the IMF, the aggregate sovereign and private debt level has approached 200 percent of global GDP, and has even exceeded 300 percent of national GDP in some countries. At the same time, interest rates in developed market economies are kept at almost zero and are at a historic low in emerging market economies.

Taken together, this makes economic stimulation with traditional methods, through an increase in private loans virtually impossible. The so-called quantitative easing is only increasing the bubble of the value of financial assets and deepening the social divide. The widening gap between the real and virtual economies (incidentally, representatives of the real economy sector from many countries have told me about this on numerous occasions, and I believe that the business representatives attending this meeting will agree with me) presents a very real threat and is fraught with serious and unpredictable shocks.

Hopes that it will be possible to reboot the old growth model are connected with rapid technological development. Indeed, during the past 20 years we have created a foundation for the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution based on the wide use of AI and automation and robotics. The coronavirus pandemic has greatly accelerated such projects and their implementation.

However, this process is leading to new structural changes, I am thinking in particular of the labour market. This means that very many people could lose their jobs unless the state takes effective measures to prevent this. Most of these people are from the so-called middle class, which is the basis of any modern society.

In this context, I would like to mention the second fundamental challenge of the forthcoming decade – the socio-political one. The rise of economic problems and inequality is splitting society, triggering social, racial and ethnic intolerance. Indicatively, these tensions are bursting out even in the countries with seemingly civil and democratic institutions that are designed to alleviate and stop such phenomena and excesses.

The systemic socioeconomic problems are evoking such social discontent that they require special attention and real solutions. The dangerous illusion that they may be ignored or pushed into the corner is fraught with serious consequences.

In this case, society will still be divided politically and socially. This is bound to happen because people are dissatisfied not by some abstract issues but by real problems that concern everyone regardless of the political views that people have or think they have. Meanwhile, real problems evoke discontent.

I would like to emphasise one more important point. Modern technological giants, especially digital companies, have started playing an increasing role in the life of society. Much is being said about this now, especially regarding the events that took place during the election campaign in the US. They are not just some economic giants. In some areas, they are de facto competing with states. Their audiences consist of billions of users that pass a considerable part of their lives in these eco systems.

In the opinion of these companies, their monopoly is optimal for organising technological and business processes. Maybe so but society is wondering whether such monopolism meets public interests. Where is the border between successful global business, in-demand services and big data consolidation and the attempts to manage society at one’s own discretion and in a tough manner, replace legal democratic institutions and essentially usurp or restrict the natural right of people to decide for themselves how to live, what to choose and what position to express freely? We have just seen all of these phenomena in the US and everyone understands what I am talking about now. I am confident that the overwhelming majority of people share this position, including the participants in the current event.

And finally, the third challenge, or rather, a clear threat that we may well run into in the coming decade is the further exacerbation of many international problems. After all, unresolved and mounting internal socioeconomic problems may push people to look for someone to blame for all their troubles and to redirect their irritation and discontent. We can already see this. We feel that the degree of foreign policy propaganda rhetoric is growing.

We can expect the nature of practical actions to also become more aggressive, including pressure on the countries that do not agree with a role of obedient controlled satellites, use of trade barriers, illegitimate sanctions and restrictions in the financial, technological and cyber spheres.

Such a game with no rules critically increases the risk of unilateral use of military force. The use of force under a far-fetched pretext is what this danger is all about. This multiplies the likelihood of new hot spots flaring up on our planet. This concerns us.

Colleagues, despite this tangle of differences and challenges, we certainly should keep a positive outlook on the future and remain committed to a constructive agenda. It would be naive to come up with universal miraculous recipes for resolving the above problems. But we certainly need to try to work out common approaches, bring our positions as close as possible and identify sources that generate global tensions.

Once again, I want to emphasise my thesis that accumulated socioeconomic problems are the fundamental reason for unstable global growth.

So, the key question today is how to build a programme of actions in order to not only quickly restore the global and national economies affected by the pandemic, but to ensure that this recovery is sustainable in the long run, relies on a high-quality structure and helps overcome the burden of social imbalances. Clearly, with the above restrictions and macroeconomic policy in mind, economic growth will largely rely on fiscal incentives with state budgets and central banks playing the key role.

Actually, we can see these kinds of trends in the developed countries and also in some developing economies as well. An increasing role of the state in the socioeconomic sphere at the national level obviously implies greater responsibility and close interstate interaction when it comes to issues on the global agenda.

Calls for inclusive growth and for creating decent standards of living for everyone are regularly made at various international forums. This is how it should be, and this is an absolutely correct view of our joint efforts.

It is clear that the world cannot continue creating an economy that will only benefit a million people, or even the golden billion. This is a destructive precept. This model is unbalanced by default. The recent developments, including migration crises, have reaffirmed this once again.

We must now proceed from stating facts to action, investing our efforts and resources into reducing social inequality in individual countries and into gradually balancing the economic development standards of different countries and regions in the world. This would put an end to migration crises.

The essence and focus of this policy aimed at ensuring sustainable and harmonious development are clear. They imply the creation of new opportunities for everyone, conditions under which everyone will be able to develop and realise their potential regardless of where they were born and are living

I would like to point out four key priorities, as I see them. This might be old news, but since Klaus has allowed me to present Russia’s position, my position, I will certainly do so.

First, everyone must have comfortable living conditions, including housing and affordable transport, energy and public utility infrastructure. Plus environmental welfare, something that must not be overlooked.

Second, everyone must be sure that they will have a job that can ensure sustainable growth of income and, hence, decent standards of living. Everyone must have access to an effective system of lifelong education, which is absolutely indispensable now and which will allow people to develop, make a career and receive a decent pension and social benefits upon retirement.

Third, people must be confident that they will receive high-quality and effective medical care whenever necessary, and that the national healthcare system will guarantee access to modern medical services.

Fourth, regardless of the family income, children must be able to receive a decent education and realise their potential. Every child has potential.

This is the only way to guarantee the cost-effective development of the modern economy, in which people are perceived as the end, rather than the means. Only those countries capable of attaining progress in at least these four areas will facilitate their own sustainable and all-inclusive development. These areas are not exhaustive, and I have just mentioned the main aspects.

A strategy, also being implemented by my country, hinges on precisely these approaches. Our priorities revolve around people, their families, and they aim to ensure demographic development, to protect the people, to improve their well-being and to protect their health. We are now working to create favourable conditions for worthy and cost-effective work and successful entrepreneurship and to ensure digital transformation as the foundation of a high-tech future for the entire country, rather than that of a narrow group of companies.

We intend to focus the efforts of the state, the business community and civil society on these tasks and to implement a budgetary policy with the relevant incentives in the years ahead.

We are open to the broadest international cooperation, while achieving our national goals, and we are confident that cooperation on matters of the global socioeconomic agenda would have a positive influence on the overall atmosphere in global affairs, and that interdependence in addressing acute current problems would also increase mutual trust which is particularly important and particularly topical today.

Obviously, the era linked with attempts to build a centralised and unipolar world order has ended. To be honest, this era did not even begin. A mere attempt was made in this direction, but this, too, is now history. The essence of this monopoly ran counter to our civilisation’s cultural and historical diversity.

The reality is such that really different development centres with their distinctive models, political systems and public institutions have taken shape in the world. Today, it is very important to create mechanisms for harmonising their interests to prevent the diversity and natural competition of the development poles from triggering anarchy and a series of protracted conflicts.

To achieve this we must, in part, consolidate and develop universal institutions that bear special responsibility for ensuring stability and security in the world and for formulating and defining the rules of conduct both in the global economy and trade.

I have mentioned more than once that many of these institutions are not going through the best of times. We have been bringing this up at various summits. Of course, these institutions were established in a different era. This is clear. Probably, they even find it difficult to parry modern challenges for objective reasons. However, I would like to emphasise that this is not an excuse to give up on them without offering anything in exchange, all the more so since these structures have unique experience of work and a huge but largely untapped potential. And it certainly needs to be carefully adapted to modern realities. It is too early to dump it in the dustbin of history. It is essential to work with it and to use it.

Naturally, in addition to this, it is important to use new, additional formats of cooperation. I am referring to such phenomenon as multiversity. Of course, it is also possible to interpret it differently, in one’s own way. It may be viewed as an attempt to push one’s own interests or feign the legitimacy of one’s own actions when all others can merely nod in approval. Or it may be a concerted effort of sovereign states to resolve specific problems for common benefit. In this case, this may refer to the efforts to settle regional conflicts, establish technological alliances and resolve many other issues, including the formation of cross-border transport and energy corridors and so on and so forth.

Friends,

Ladies and gentlemen,

This opens wide possibilities for collaboration. Multi-faceted approaches do work. We know from practice that they work. As you may be aware, within the framework of, for example, the Astana format, Russia, Iran and Turkey are doing much to stabilise the situation in Syria and are now helping establish a political dialogue in that country, of course, alongside other countries. We are doing this together. And, importantly, not without success.

For example, Russia has undertaken energetic mediation efforts to stop the armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, in which peoples and states that are close to us – Azerbaijan and Armenia – are involved. We strived to follow the key agreements reached by the OSCE Minsk Group, in particular between its co-chairs – Russia, the United States and France. This is also a very good example of cooperation.

As you may be aware, a trilateral Statement by Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia was signed in November. Importantly, by and large, it is being steadily implemented. The bloodshed was stopped. This is the most important thing. We managed to stop the bloodshed, achieve a complete ceasefire and start the stabilisation process.

Now the international community and, undoubtedly, the countries involved in crisis resolution are faced with the task of helping the affected areas overcome humanitarian challenges related to returning refugees, rebuilding destroyed infrastructure, protecting and restoring historical, religious and cultural landmarks.

Or, another example. I will note the role of Russia, Saudi Arabia, the United States and a number of other countries in stabilising the global energy market. This format has become a productive example of interaction between the states with different, sometimes even diametrically opposite assessments of global processes, and with their own outlooks on the world.

At the same time there are certainly problems that concern every state without exception. One example is cooperation in studying and countering the coronavirus infection. As you know, several strains of this dangerous virus have emerged. The international community must create conditions for cooperation between scientists and other specialists to understand how and why coronavirus mutations occur, as well as the difference between the various strains.

Of course, we need to coordinate the efforts of the entire world, as the UN Secretary-General suggests and as we urged recently at the G20 summit. It is essential to join and coordinate the efforts of the world in countering the spread of the virus and making the much needed vaccines more accessible. We need to help the countries that need support, including the African nations. I am referring to expanding the scale of testing and vaccinations.

We see that mass vaccination is accessible today, primarily to people in the developed countries. Meanwhile, millions of people in the world are deprived even of the hope for this protection. In practice, such inequality could create a common threat because this is well known and has been said many times that it will drag out the epidemic and uncontrolled hotbeds will continue. The epidemic has no borders.

There are no borders for infections or pandemics. Therefore, we must learn the lessons from the current situation and suggest measures aimed at improving the monitoring of the emergence of such diseases and the development of such cases in the world.

Another important area that requires coordination, in fact, the coordination of the efforts of the entire international community, is to preserve the climate and nature of our planet. I will not say anything new in this respect.

Only together can we achieve progress in resolving such critical problems as global warming, the reduction of forestlands, the loss of biodiversity, the increase in waste, the pollution of the ocean with plastic and so on, and find an optimal balance between economic development and the preservation of the environment for the current and future generations.

My friends,

We all know that competition and rivalry between countries in world history never stopped, do not stop and will never stop. Differences and a clash of interests are also natural for such a complicated body as human civilisation. However, in critical times this did not prevent it from pooling its efforts – on the contrary, it united in the most important destinies of humankind. I believe this is the period we are going through today.

It is very important to honestly assess the situation, to concentrate on real rather than artificial global problems, on removing the imbalances that are critical for the entire international community. I am sure that in this way we will be able to achieve success and befittingly parry the challenges of the third decade of the 21st century.

I would like to finish my speech at this point and thank all of you for your patience and attention.

Thank you very much.

Klaus Schwab: Thank you very much, Mr President.

Many of the issues raised, certainly, are part of our discussions here during the Davos Week. We complement the speeches also by task forces which address some of the issues you mentioned, like not leaving the developing world behind, taking care of, let’s say, creating the skills for tomorrow, and so on. Mr President, we prepare for the discussion afterwards, but I have one very short question. It is a question which we discussed when I visited you in St Petersburg 14 months ago. How do you see the future of European-Russian relations? Just a short answer.

Vladimir Putin: You know there are things of an absolutely fundamental nature such as our common culture. Major European political figures have talked in the recent past about the need to expand relations between Europe and Russia, saying that Russia is part of Europe. Geographically and, most importantly, culturally, we are one civilisation. French leaders have spoken of the need to create a single space from Lisbon to the Urals. I believe, and I mentioned this, why the Urals? To Vladivostok.

I personally heard the outstanding European politician, former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, say that if we want European culture to survive and remain a centre of world civilisation in the future, keeping in mind the challenges and trends underlying the world civilisation, then of course, Western Europe and Russia must be together. It is hard to disagree with that. We hold exactly the same point of view.

Clearly, today’s situation is not normal. We need to return to a positive agenda. This is in the interests of Russia and, I am confident, the European countries. Clearly, the pandemic has also played a negative role. Our trade with the European Union is down, although the EU is one of our key trade and economic partners. Our agenda includes returning to positive trends and building up trade and economic cooperation.

Europe and Russia are absolutely natural partners from the point of view of the economy, research, technology and spatial development for European culture, since Russia, being a country of European culture, is a little larger than the entire EU in terms of territory. Russia’s resources and human potential are enormous. I will not go over everything that is positive in Europe, which can also benefit the Russian Federation.

Only one thing matters: we need to approach the dialogue with each other honestly. We need to discard the phobias of the past, stop using the problems that we inherited from past centuries in internal political processes and look to the future. If we can rise above these problems of the past and get rid of these phobias, then we will certainly enjoy a positive stage in our relations.

We are ready for this, we want this, and we will strive to make this happen. But love is impossible if it is declared only by one side. It must be mutual.

Klaus Schwab: Thank you very much, Mr President.


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