Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friday, November 25, 2016

SEATTLE TIMES: "Feds to Close Dakota Access Pipeline Protest Camp, Say Thousands Must Move"

Thanks to Lynda Mapes has been there and knows what is going on.


"The company started construction before it had all the permits and easement it needed to complete the $3.7 billion pipeline. It has by now built the pipeline all the way to the edges of the easement it needs from the Corps of Engineers.

The company’s battle for that easement through Corps of Engineers land is tied up in court.

Archambault wants President Obama and the Corps to rescind all permits for the pipeline and deny the easement to cross the Missouri River just 1,500 feet north of the tribe’s reservation and through the tribe’s treaty lands.

“The best way to protect people during the winter and reduce the risk of conflict between water protectors and militarized police is to deny the easement,” Archambault said. “And deny it now.”

The pipeline is planned from Bakken oil fields of North Dakota to Illinois, where it would tie in with an existing pipeline to refineries in the Midwest and on the Gulf coast.

The project was never examined under an environmental impact review but instead was approved under a fast-track process that three federal agencies have stated was not adequate."

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Day of Mourning: Statement by Leonard Peltier -- #FreeLeonardPeltier

Day of Mourning
November 24, 2016
Greetings my relatives,
Here we are again. This time the year is 2016. It has been more than 41 years since I last walked free and was able to see the sun rise and sit and feel the earth beneath my feet. I know there have been more changes then I can even imagine out there.
But I do know that there is a struggle taking place as to whether this country will move on to a more sustainable way of life. This is something we wanted to have happen back in the seventies.
I watch the events at Standing Rock with both pride and sorrow. Pride that our people and their allies are standing up and putting their lives on the line for the coming generations, not because they want to but because they have to. They are right to stand up in a peaceful way. It is the greatest gathering of our people in history and has made us more connected than ever before. We need to support each other as we make our way in these times.
Water IS life and we cannot leave this issue for our children and grandchildren to deal with when things are far worse for the natural world then they are now.
And Mother Earth is already in struggle.
And I feel sorrow for the water protectors at Standing Rock because these last few days have brought a much harsher response from the law enforcement agencies there and our people are suffering.
At least they are finally getting attention of the national media.
My home is in North Dakota. The Standing Rock people are my people. Sitting Bull lies in his grave there at Fort Yates. My home at Turtle Mountain is just a few hours north of Standing Rock, just south of Manitoba, Canada.
I have not seen my home since I was a boy, but I still hold out hope of returning there for whatever time I may have left. It is the land of my father and I would like to be able to live there again. And to die there.
I have a different feeling this year. The last time I felt this way was 16 years ago, when I last had a real chance for freedom. It is an uneasy feeling. An unsettling one. It is a hard thing to allow hope to creep into my heart and my spirit here in these cold buildings of stone and steel.
On one hand, to have hope is a joyful and wonderful feeling, but the downside of it for me can be cruel and bitter.
But today I will choose hope.
I pray that you will all enjoy good health and good feelings and I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart for all you have done and continue to do for me and for our Mother Earth.
Please keep me in your prayers and thoughts as these last days of 2016 slip away.
I send you my love and my respect for all of you who have gathered in the name of mother earth and our unborn generations. I stand with you there in spirit.
In the Spirit of Crazy Horse,
Leonard Peltier

Monday, November 21, 2016

"In French Presidential Elections, It will be Marine Le Pen’s to Lose"--@RT

Neoliberals are getting bit in the butt by their unequal policies.  And so are we!

National Front (FN) leader Marie Le Pen is speaking to the issues that people are concerned about. In other words, the declining standard of living, the lack of real job creation, Jack Rasmus, Professor of Political Economy at St. Mary's College, told RT.
The French political landscape is heading for some dramatic changes as former Prime Ministers Alain Juppe and Francois Fillon are heading for the second round of the Republican primaries following a national vote.
Ex-President Nicolas Sarkozy has already been eliminated from the running.
Meanwhile, polls in the build-up to the primaries showed National Front (FN) leader Marie Le Pen ahead in the first round of next year’s vote.
Le Pen has said that if she wins the presidential elections, the world will become a safer place, as France will cooperate with both US President-elect Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“The forces at work in these various elections are ideas, forces which could bring about my election as the president of France next May,” Le Pen said last week.
Fillon, 62, has based his campaign on a program of economic reform – dumping France’s controversial 35-hour week, increasing the retirement age, and cutting public spending, in an effort to spark economic rejuvenation.
RT:  We saw the U.S. media absolutely fail with their predictions in the election there. Are people in France feeling disillusioned with their political establishment?
Jack Rasmus: I think there are a lot of similarities going on here, just as there were with Trump and Brexit in England. What you’ve got is a lot of working class and small business folks who are just fed up with the policies of the last decade, which have emphasized trade and tax benefits for the rich, the concentration of income and the loss of jobs with which people can sustain themselves. What you see are these sectors of society protesting. This is a protest vote, a change vote. And even this primary vote in France with Sarkozy is a small signal of the same thing happening over there. I think Le Pen is in a very strong position here because people are just rejecting the old parties associated with the old policies. They don’t really care how extreme some of their positions may be. We saw that with Trump. No one cared about some of his outrageous statements. All they cared about was that this seemed like he’s going to make a change.
RT:  We saw Sarkozy concede defeat in the primaries - does he simply not represent a change, something new? Will politicians like Sarkozy have difficulty appealing to voters - no matter what they say now?
JR: I don’t think there will be any change by any of the parties and their policies, which are classically neo-Liberal anywhere in continental Europe right now. They are on the same track to defeat here as the people protest that track. All of the Republican candidates are associated with the policies of the past, just as Hollande and the Socialist Party is pretty much defunct now. It doesn’t matter who they put up. Nobody is going to vote for the Socialists. It’s really going to be Le Pen’s election to lose, I think.
If Fillon wins, it’s going to be a Thatcherite government. It’s going to be very complicated in eliminating, he says, 500,000 jobs in public service, and of course being much more hardcore in immigration terms. The good thing is, he is not a warmonger. So there will be an entente cordial between France and Russia, which Europe, the EU, is going to talk to Russia as adults and not like a bunch of kindergarten kids,” Pepe Escobar, independent geopolitical analyst, told RT.
RT:  The acting prime minister of France recently claimed that Le Pen is likely to win the coming election. Why does he see a victory for the far-right in France?
JR: She’s speaking to the issues that people are concerned about. In other words, the declining standard of living, the lack of real job creation. A lot of these jobs are part-time, temp contract jobs you can’t make a living off of them. A lot of the youth can’t find jobs at all; they’re stuck in these low-paid, part-time service employment… so they’re not really addressing those real issues. And of course, when someone comes along like Le Pen, or Trump or the UKIP Party in Britain and says, ‘Look, we’re going to change.’ And it doesn’t matter how detailed they get or don’t get about the details of the change. It’s just here is someone that will give us something different, we can’t up with what we’ve got anymore.

"BARBARIC Dakota Access Oil Police Cause Mass Hypothermia" (also Head Shots w/Rubber Bullets) - @TYTPolitics

Sunday, November 20, 2016

From W.E.B. Dubois

"Facebook Developing Plan to Stop Fake News [Is] Red Flag For Censorship of Legitimate Content" -- by @SanePrgressive


Dear Americans

From this woman's Facebook:

May I say I totally agree with her assessment.  Linda

Dear Americans,

I understand some of you are very worried about the election of Donald Trump. But I want you think about this:

First they went for Yugoslavia, and you didn't worry: a country died

Then they went for Afghanistan and you didn't worry: 220,000 Afghans have died.

Then, they went for Iraq, and you didn't worry: 1 million Iraqis died.

Then they went for Libya, and you didn't worry: 30,000 to 50,000 people died. Did you worry when Qaddafi was murdered with a bayonet up his rectum? No. And someone even laughed.

Then they went for Ukraine, and you didn't worry: 10,000 people died and are dying.

Then they went for Syria, and you didn't worry: 250,000 people died

Then they went for Yemen: over 6,000 Yemenis have been killed and another 27,000 wounded. According to the UN, most of them are civilians. Ten million Yemenis don’t have enough to eat, and 13 million have no access to clean water. Yemen is highly dependent on imported food, but a U.S.-Saudi blockade has choked off most imports. The war is ongoing.

Then there is Somalia , and you don't worry

Then there are the countries that reaped the fallout from the collapse of Libya. Weapons looted after the fall of Gaddafi fuel the wars in Mali, Niger, and the Central African Republic.

Now you are worried about yourselves, but there are only the dead and their survivors left for whom you didn't speak up for.

Give me one reason why anybody should worry about you, who seem to believe that only you count because you are Americans.

My very best wishes for your precious safety and comfort and may you continue to look in the mirror and see no one there. Trust me, a mirror does not lie.

One who does not worry about you.

PS By the way the butcher bill I am here presenting is very conservative on the body count and does not include the wounded, the homeless, the refugees, or the cost of the wars to you, who continue to believe that before Trump the world was a nice and comfortable place--for you.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Medicine Creek Treaty Tribes and Allies in Tacoma Stand with #StandingRock--#NoDAPL--#WaterIsLife

Over 500 people gathered to pray, march and stand in solidarity with the struggle at #StandingRock today, November 12, 2016.

Friday, November 11, 2016

"Trump and the Revolt of the Rust Belt" -- [Plausible Explanation of What Happened by London School of Economics Prof.]



This story can be told repeatedly across the Rust Belt. The electoral shift was highly concentrated in territorial terms and Rust Belt territories were ground zero. Trump flipped a full third of the counties that voted for Obama twice. Clinton flipped 6 of the 2200 counties that didn’t vote for Obama. Many of the counties Trump flipped are Rust Belt communities in the Midwest. And those counties, in turn, flipped the electoral college votes of Iowa, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, from Democrat to Republican. Obama’s coalition managed to bridge the dying Rust Belt and the New Economy, but Clinton didn’t and, given her baggage and her policies, could not. Trump snatched the Rust Belt from the Democrats. Trump is president because of a regional revolt.
Many important questions emerge from this. How do voters get from Obama to Trump? What role did racism and misogyny play in flipping people from the Democratic to Republican columns? These are important. But the character of the communities that flipped must be grappled with. These are communities that have been suffering from neglect and decline for decades. Families have gotten poorer and there are few opportunities for people who stay. The people who voted for Trump are very willing to overlook Trump’s abuse of women, Muslims, and people of color, and that is to be condemned. Some percentage of these voters are ideological and practical racists and misogynists. But explaining the electoral shift from someone who stood for the opposite of those things to Trump is impossible without considering the communities where these voters reside and what the candidates offered them. White people generally didn’t deliver the White House to Trump, however much they enabled him; the Rust Belt did. And unless we are attentive to the economic factors involved, as well as the social and attitudinal ones, we leave open the path for future demagogues to exploit the same set of circumstances in the name of securing political power.

Iraq War Veterans Respond to Trump’s Victory --@therealnews

WHAT TO DO.  WE'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE.  WE CAN DO IT AGAIN.  paraphrasing Vet Mike Prysner

Chris Hedges: Trump Will Crush Dissent With Even Greater Violence and Savagery -- @therealnews

Nat'l Defense Auth. Act handed to Trump by the Repubs AND Dems and will be used against citizens.

Veterans Head To #StandingRock To Support 'We The People' #NoDAPL -- The Real News


Chris Hedges: The Surrender of the Liberal Left to Neoliberalism Gave Us Proto-fascism--TheRealNews

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Cindy Sheehan's Facebook Post After the Apparent Trump Win -- RIGHT ON, CINDY!


Maybe Sanders could have beaten Trump, but these are some of the reasons he wasn't the nominee for the DNC:
1) the DNC cheated
2) Sanders refused to hammer Clinton on her immense weaknesses...instead always insisting that he would support his "good friend" IF she got the nomination.
3) Sanders did not fight for the "political revolution" but instantaneously succumbed to the political counter-revolution.
4) Sanders sold out his voters after the DNC eviscerated them.
5) "I am tired of hearing about those damn emails." (WOW)
6) He's always supported the warmongering Democraps.

The Democrats care as much about YOU as the Republicans do. Fuck both of the parties and grab your pitchforks and torches. This shit is real and the entire world has been suffering at the hands of the US Empire forever, so suck it up Buttercup. 

"Don't mourn, organize" (Joe Hill)

"America is the Israel of the West" -- Anonymous Protector at Atlanta Action in Solidarity with Standing Rock




Atlanta Stops the Trains in Solidarity with Standing Rock (and the Rest of Humanity) -- 20 min but very inspirational


Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Standing Rock Protectors BRUTALIZED By Cops In Standoff--Nov. 2, 2016

"How Economic and Social Rights Disappeared" -- Matt Peppe [STUNNING--to me anyway]


Several years ago the Occupy movement captured the imagination an American public disillusioned with the country’s socioeconomic system, which had failed to provide them with a standard of living commensurate with wealth of the richest country in the history of the world. Occupy provided a forum for average citizens to express their dissatisfaction with the status quo, and created a framework to view what was happening in society as a class war waged by the 1% against the 99%.
Many economic and social goals were proposed such as a living wage, free higher education, and single-payer healthcare system, to name a few. While many would consider those all worthy goals in the public interest, none have been implemented by the federal government.  It is striking that in the 21st century it is even necessary to have this debate in the United States. All of these things and more are birth rights for all U.S. citizens as much as free speech and the right to vote.
For the last 65 years, economic and social rights have been systematically denied to U.S. citizens, who have been led to believe these things are not even rights at all. While Occupy started to remove the wool from our eyes, it was quickly pulled back down.
Human rights are not abstract principles; they are specific privileges listed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This monumental accord was adopted unanimously by the UN General Assembly by a vote of 48-0. It served as the basis for a series of international human rights treaties that followed it, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966).
The United States signed both Covenants more than a decade later under Jimmy Carter, but only ratified the first. The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has never been ratified, and with good reason: powerful elite interest groups refuse to recognize that economic and social rights exist.
“Signing a treaty laden with economic rights is foolish,” writes the Heritage Foundation in a piece laughably titled “Human Rights Treaty Poses Dangers for America”. “It accepts as a premise that government can create wealth. If the 75-year communist experiment proved anything, it is that government gets in the way of producing goods and services. Abundant health care, housing, and food are byproducts of wealth created by private individuals pursuing a profit. Even the most hard-core former communists in Russia and China have come to understand this.”
The Heritage Foundation fails to recognize that the greatest economic gains in the history of the United States came at a time of state planning during and after WWI, or that there would be no Microsoft, Apple, Google, Amazon or Facebook without decades of government funding to develop the technologies and infrastructure for the Internet. But that is beside the point. The Heritage Foundation argument is simple: economic rights don’t exist. They are a violation of “the intellectual spirit of freedom and individual liberties that has characterized America since its founding.”
The Universal Declaration overtly asserts a series of economic rights, such as article 25: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
Other rights include “social security”; “the right to work”; “the right to rest and leisure”; “special care and assistance for motherhood and childhood”; and “the right to education,” which “shall be free, at least in the elementary and fundamental stages.” These economic rights are reiterated in The Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Human rights treaties are ignored and banished from public consciousness, lest they give people any crazy ideas about actually being entitled things that would require private wealth to be taxed and redistributed.
Neoliberal policies – privatizing government assets and services, liberalizing trade, deregulating industry, lowering taxes, and aggressively cutting social services – long ago became the only economic policies that any candidate of either major U.S. political party would ever conceivably support.
The completely disastrous and completely predictable consequences of neoliberalism like soaring inequality, outsourcing of labor, undercutting of locally produced products, and the exacerbation of fossil fuel extraction and burning have all occurred. Yet the public is indoctrinated with the idea that there does not even exist an alternative to the status quo. Countries that refuse to accept the Washington Consensus – Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia or Brazil, like the USSR, Yugoslavia, Vietnam and Angola before them – are viciously smeared as an authoritarian tyrannies and serial violators of human rights. Their governments are subjected to relentless destabilization, subversion and economic sabotage.
The ability of global capital and its institutions to maintain this illusion of neoliberal inevitability is dependent on their appropriation of human rights. The perversion of human rights literally erases the existence of economic and social rights, creating a new definition that excludes them altogether.
The understanding of human rights in the United States has long been of “negative” rights, or rights that prevent the government from interfering with you. Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, habeas corpus, are all examples of negative rights. However, human rights law is also explicit about positive rights. These are rights like education, health care, food and housing that require physical entitlements.
In his book Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-opted Human Rights, James Peck explains that there are two “currents” of human rights.
“The first current largely embodies the popular American view, which emphasizes civil and political rights and embraces a moderate, democratic, step-by-step incorporation of human needs into a kind of rights-based legalism,” writes Peck. ““The second current has less to do with individual freedom and more to do with basic needs. It is associated with popular mass movements, revolution by populations in desperate straits, and resistance. From this perspective, the human rights movement emerged … out of the movements for independence that broke the grip of European colonialism.”
As examples of the second current of human rights, Peck lists “challenges to corporate power, state repression, foreign occupation, and global economic inequality, as well as the protection of collective means of struggle, from labor unions to revolution.” He states that this type of human rights is “far more prevalent outside the dominant Western spheres of power.”
In a 2009 report, Human Rights Watch explains that the U.S. has been left behind as they have long ignored human rights treaties and put vulnerable populations such as children, women and people with disabilities at risk.
“The US has not ratified any international human rights treaties since December 2002, when it ratified two optional protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” HRW writes. “Since that time, important new treaties have been adopted and other long-standing treaties have gained new member states. Unfortunately, the US has too often remained outside these efforts.”
Even when it does approve human rights treaties, the Senate adds qualifications that virtually eliminate their teeth.
“For example, when the Senate approved the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (in 1992) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (in 1994), it did so only after securing reservations that stipulated that the treaties would have no legal force in U.S. courts absent further congressional or state action,” writes David Kaye in Foreign Affairs. “As a result, when it comes to a wide range of human rights issues covered by these treaties — such as protections against torture, the right to a fair trial, freedom of expression, religious liberty, the right to political participation, and so on — the United States lacks a formal mechanism to affect how other states and international courts interpret the evolving norms.”
The result has been a drastic deterioration in social justice within the United States. In a 2011 SGI study, the United States “with its alarming poverty levels” was ranked 27 out of 31 among OECD states. This study considered various factors such as poverty prevention, access to education, labor market inclusion, health and intergenerational justice.
U.S. social and economic policies are so extremist that government safety net programs are on the level with poor, undeveloped nations ravaged by centuries of colonialism rather than other nations with advanced, developed economies.
For example, the United States is one of three of the 34 members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) that does not offer universal health insurance. It is the only OECD country with any significant privatized health insurance (53%).
The United States is the only country in the OECD that does not require employers to offer paid vacation time.
The Unites States is one of only four countries in the world not to offer paid parental leave. The other three countries are Papa New Guinea, Suriname and Liberia.
Historically it was understood that economic and social rights were necessary to ensure a democratic society. In 350 B.C., Aristotle wrote: “The true friend of the people should see that they be not too poor, for extreme poverty lowers the character of democracy; measures therefore should be taken which will give them lasting prosperity; and as this is equally the interest of all classes, the proceeds of the public revenues should be accumulated and distributed among its poor.”
Every single American is legally and morally entitled to a decent standard of living, affordable health care, economic security regardless of whether they work, and much more. It is only through neglect of human rights obligations and unrelenting propaganda that the government and elite interests have managed to hide this. The fact that a movement like Occupy is even necessary in the 21stcentury to seek rights that should have been guaranteed to every citizen decades ago is indicative of just how cruel U.S. policy makers and the programs they carry out are.
Matt Peppe writes about politics, U.S. foreign policy and Latin America on his blog. His writing has appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Latino Rebels and other outlets. You can follow him on twitter.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

How Putin Derailed the West -- Mike Whitney [By Jove, I think he's got it]


“Nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state.”
— Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Between Two Ages: The Technetronic Era”, 1971
“I’m going to continue to push for a no-fly zone and safe havens within Syria….not only to help protect the Syrians and prevent the constant outflow of refugees, but to gain some leverage on both the Syrian government and the Russians.”
— Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Third Presidential Debate
Why is Hillary Clinton so eager to intensify US involvement in Syria when US interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya have all gone so terribly wrong?
The answer to this question is simple. It’s because Clinton doesn’t think that these interventions went wrong. And neither do any of the other members of the US foreign policy establishment. (aka–The Borg). In fact, in their eyes these wars have been a rousing success. Sure, a few have been critical of the public relations backlash from the nonexistent WMD in Iraq, (or the logistical errors, like disbanding the Iraqi Army) but–for the most part– the foreign policy establishment is satisfied with its efforts to destabilize the region and remove leaders that refuse to follow Washington’s diktats.
This is hard for ordinary people to understand. They can’t grasp why elite powerbrokers would want to transform functioning, stable countries into uninhabitable wastelands overrun by armed extremists, sectarian death squads and foreign-born terrorists. Nor can they understand what has been gained by Washington’s 15 year-long rampage across the Middle East and Central Asia that has turned a vast swathe of strategic territory into a terrorist breeding grounds? What is the purpose of all this?
First, we have to acknowledge that the decimation and de facto balkanization of these countries is part of a plan. If it wasn’t part of a plan, than the decision-makers would change the policy. But they haven’t changed the policy. The policy is the same. The fact that the US is using foreign-born jihadists to pursue regime change in Syria as opposed to US troops in Iraq, is not a fundamental change in the policy. The ultimate goal is still the decimation of the state and the elimination of the existing government. This same rule applies to Libya and Afghanistan both of which have been plunged into chaos by Washington’s actions.
But why? What is gained by destroying these countries and generating so much suffering and death?
Here’s what I think:  I think Washington is involved in a grand project to remake the world in a way that better meets the needs of its elite constituents, the international banks and multinational corporations. Brzezinski not only refers to this in the opening quote, he also explains what is taking place: The nation-state is being jettisoned as the foundation upon which the global order rests. Instead, Washington is  erasing borders, liquidating states, and removing strong, secular leaders that can mount resistance to its machinations in order to impose an entirely new model on the region, a new world order. The people who run these elite institutions want to create an interconnected-global free trade zone overseen by the proconsuls of Big Capital, in other words, a global Eurozone that precludes the required state institutions (like a centralized treasury, mutual debt, federal transfers) that would allow the borderless entity to function properly.
Deep state powerbrokers who set policy behind the smokescreen of our bought-and-paid-for congress think that one world government is an achievable goal provided they control the world’s energy supplies, the world’s reserve currency and become the dominant player in this century’s most populous and prosperous region, Asia. This is essentially what Hillary’s “pivot” to Asia is all about.
The basic problem with Washington’s NWO plan is that a growing number of powerful countries are still attached to the old world order and are now prepared to defend it. This is what’s really going on in Syria, the improbable alliance of Russia, Syria, Iran and Hezbollah have stopped the US military juggernaut dead in its tracks. The unstoppable force has hit the immovable object and the immovable object has prevailed…so far.
Naturally, the foreign policy establishment is upset about these new developments, and for good reason. The US has run the world for quite a while now, so the rolling back of US policy in Syria is as much a surprise as it is a threat. The Russian Airforce deployed to Syria a full year ago in September, but only recently has Washington shown that it’s prepared to respond by increasing its support of its jihadists agents on the ground and by mounting an attack on ISIS in the eastern part of the country, Raqqa. But the real escalation is expected to take place when Hillary Clinton becomes president in 2017. That’s when the US will directly engage Russia militarily, assuming that their tit-for-tat encounters will be contained within Syria’s borders.  It’s a risky plan, but it’s the next logical step in this bloody fiasco. Neither party wants a nuclear war, but Washington believes that doing nothing is tantamount to backing down, therefore, Hillary and her neocon advisors can be counted on to up the ante. “No-fly zone”, anyone?
The assumption is that eventually, and with enough pressure, Putin will throw in the towel. But this is another miscalculation. Putin is not in Syria because he wants to be nor is he there because he values his friendship with Syrian President Bashar al Assad. That’s not it at all. Putin is in Syria because he has no choice. Russia’s national security is at stake. If Washington’s strategy of deploying terrorists to topple Assad succeeds, then the same ploy will be attempted in Iran and Russia. Putin knows this, just like he knows that the scourge of foreign-backed terrorism can decimate entire regions like Chechnya. He knows that it’s better for him to kill these extremists in Aleppo than it will be in Moscow. So he can’t back down, that’s not an option.
But, by the same token, he can compromise, in other words, his goals and the goals of Assad do not perfectly coincide. For example, he could very well make territorial concessions to the US for the sake of peace that Assad might not support.
But why would he do that? Why wouldn’t he continue to fight until every inch of Syria’s sovereign territory is recovered?
Because it’s not in Russia’s national interest to do so, that’s why. Putin has never tried to conceal the fact that he’s in Syria to protect Russia’s national security. That’s his main objective.  But he’s not an idealist, he’s a pragmatist who’ll do whatever he has to to end the war ASAP. That means compromise.
This doesn’t matter to the Washington warlords….yet. But it will eventually. Eventually there will be an accommodation of some sort. No one is going to get everything they want, that much is certain. For example, it’s impossible to imagine that Putin would launch a war on Turkey to recover the territory that Turkish troops now occupy in N Syria. In fact, Putin may have already conceded as much to Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan in their recent meetings. But that doesn’t mean that Putin doesn’t have his red lines. He does.  Aleppo is a red line. Turkish troops will not be allowed to enter Aleppo.
The western corridor, the industrial and population centers are all red lines. On these, there will be no compromise. Putin will help Assad remain in power and keep the country largely intact. But will Turkey control sections in the north, and will the US control sections in the east?
Probably. This will have to be worked out in negotiations, but its unlikely that the country’s borders will be the same as they were before the war broke out. Putin will undoubtedly settle for a halfloaf provided the fighting ends and security is restored. In any event, he’s not going to hang around until the last dog is hung.
Unfortunately, we’re a long way from any settlement in Syria, mainly because Washington is nowhere near accepting the fact that its project to rule the world has been derailed. That’s the crux of the matter, isn’t it? The bigshots who run the country are still in denial. It hasn’t sunk in yet that the war is lost and that their nutty jihadist-militia plan has failed.
It’s going to take a long time before Washington gets the message that the world is no longer its oyster. The sooner they figure it out, the better it’ll be for everyone.
MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at