Wagner had launched a major mutiny in Russia overnight Saturday 24 June 2023, seizing control of the Southern Military District headquarters in the city of Rostov-on-Don, as well as advancing towards Moscow. The insurrection was stopped late on Saturday, following talks between Prigozhin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko, with the PMC leader agreeing to return his units to their “field camps.” The Kremlin has given the following details about the Wagner agreement
The PMC's founder Evgeny Prigozhin will "go to Belarus," Dmitry Peskov says
African delegates from Zambia, Senegal, African Union, South African Republic, Arab Republic of Egypt, Republic of Congo, and Uganda, met with Putin yesterday and proposed a 10-point peace plan for Ukraine. At this meeting Putin told the press that this was the third peace plan offered to Ukraine, which had so far knocked back one from the Pope and one from the Chinese. He also provided
Putin: "Europe is about to throw its achievements in building up its manufacturing capability, the quality of life of its people and socioeconomic stability into the sanctions furnace, depleting its potential, as directed by Washington for the sake of the infamous Euro-Atlantic unity.
What was the importance of Putin's attendance at the Caspian Summit, beginning on June 29, 2022 and the progress of associated alliances? This was a subject of some interesting speculation in a July 2 edition of The Duran, which I have embedded and transcribed below this introduction. For some time now the US and Russia have had increasing proxy confrontations in Russia's backyard, in the areas around and below the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
On May 17, 2022, President Putin had a video-conference meeting on oil industry development with state officers and commercial representatives from the industry. The following is the English translation of the transcript of the meeting, which is sourced from: here.
A friend of mine related today, that at her golf club, after a game, a woman exclaimed, "I wish that someone would shoot the Russian president." Most people there agreed loudly, although a couple of weeks prior, some of them had not even known what Perestroika was. Many people in Australia are confident to the point of arrogance in their belief that they are well-informed about the problems in Ukraine. "I was afraid to speak up, in case they shaved my head," my friend joked blackly.
With his unusual breath of geopolitical and historical knowledge, Alex Mercouris explores the recognition of Donbass Republics from the point of view of the West, Russia, and Greece. He points out that this is not the first time that borders have been changed unilaterally, and notes two precedents executed by the west: 1.
The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the meeting in Moscow between Russian President Putin and Turkey's Erdogan. Erdogan made many outrageous claims, including that Turkey had killed over 2,500 Syrian troops during fighting in Idlib's surrounding areas...a claim which is ridiculous on its face, and exposes how out of touch the Turkish leader is when it comes to this reckless invasion of Syrian sovereignty. See more at The Duran: https://theduran.com
The new film by Andrei Kondrashev, Putin dives into depth about the man the press gossips about, the object of jealousy for other politicians, but about whom we know very little. The film starts with the collapsed Russian economy in Putin's early days of presidency, how he dealt with terrorism, and how he helped Russia recover economically and socially. It was a year in the making and contains personal stories that have never been told on camera before, some of which are described as shocking and stunning: Attempts on the president’s life and the toll of the presidency on Vladimir Putin himself – all combine in what is the most most complete portrait of Vladimir Putin to date. The film runs for two hours and ten minutes.
Russian President Vladimir Putin met his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Sochi on 21st November 2017. The last time Assad visited Russia was at the beginning of the Russian campaign in Syria in 2015. According to the Syrian president, in two years of the Russian campaign the successes achieved have been evident and many residents of the country were able to return to their homes. He noted that thanks to Russia, Syria was saved as a state. (Text by Inessa S.)
The Chief of the Russian Armed Forces General Staff, Valeri Gerasimov, said conditions have been created for the return of refugees to Syria, during the trilateral meeting with his Turkish and Iranian counterparts in Sochi. "The main thing is that the sovereignty, the territorial integrity of the country has been preserved, the civil war was stopped, conditions were created for the restoration of peaceful life and refugees' return," said Gerasimov.
President Putin similarly told his Czech counterpart, Milos Zeman, that "over 98% of the territory of Syria is under the control of Syrian government troops, during their meeting in Sochi. Zeman congratulated Russia for its role in the outcome in Syria, saying: "you have won in Syria, because he [Assad] now controls almost the entire Syrian territory."
The Russian military campaign in Syria began in late 2015, by invitation of the Syrian government. Meanwhile, the Western coalition was carrying out military activity there almost two whole years beforehand, illegally. Under the guise of fighting ISIS, they were simultaneously targeting Assad’s government forces, as well as letting ISIS spread like wildfire.
President Assad and President Putin met on 21st of November to celebrate the defeat of Daesh in Syria, but we hear little of this in the western media, which is distracting people with Hollywood scandals. In this brilliantly documented episode of The Debate, Iranian Press TV has conducted an interview with Janice Kortkamp, a journalist from Washington, and Jonathan Fryer, a London-based writer and lecturer, to discuss "the end of Daesh" terrorist group in Syria and Iraq.
[UPDATE 7 Nov 2017: Added excerpts from President Rouhani's speech.] I was riveted by this video in its presentation of the antithesis of United States policy in new agreements between Russia and Iran. The video begins with a remarkable political message in the ceremonial exchange of documents of agreement on very important material matters, which should make a big difference to politics in the region - and won't please the United States. These included agreements on nuclear energy transport cooperation, oil and gas exploration, technology and information technology, railway electrification, urban construction and development, trade in the energy industry, visa-free travel for groups between Russia and Iran, and agreement on extradition of convicted persons between the two countries and cooperation on legal affairs. In addition they agreed on mutual cooperation in fighting Islamic extremism, the encouragement of cultural exchange and sports, and working on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea. This news conference was part of a trilateral meeting of Vladimir Putin, President of Iran Hassan Rouhani and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. Putin and Rouhani appear in the video. You have to be aware of the momentous nature of the agreements in order to appreciate this otherwise somewhat stilted piece of diplomatic theatre. America has been trying to isolate and weaken Iran, which has both considerable oil reserves and a catbird seat on the shores of the oil-rich (if logistically highly problematic) Caspian Sea. America has backed wars in the region, invaded neighbours, and tried to undermine support for Russia in the Middle East because it wants permanent influence there. Obama, in his negotiations about Iran's use of nuclear power, may have been trying to keep some communications open, but Mr Trump has breached all democracy by openly threatening Iran. Iran (now that Syria has been crippled) is the leading technological and socially progressive power in the region, bitterly resented by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Now, apparently ironically, but actually quite naturally, Russia has resealed and expanded its friendship with Iran. In so doing, it has made Iran much more secure. How will the United States, NATO and the EU respond to this?
Russian President Vladimir Putin's speech
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: I would like to thank the President of Azerbaijan for the idea of holding such summits and thank my Iranian colleague for organising the second summit of the leaders of Azerbaijan, Iran and Russia.
I believe such regular meetings in this format are very much in demand. They make it possible to coordinate positions on the most acute issues on the regional and international agenda, conduct a constructive search for solutions to shared problems in the sphere of security and the fight against terrorism, and promote trade, economic, cultural and humanitarian cooperation.
The main areas of trilateral cooperation are reflected in the Joint Statement that we will sign following today’s summit. I would like to point out several things I consider important.
No doubt, ensuring regional stability and security is one of our principal tasks. It is necessary to improve coordination of the activity of [our] intelligence and law enforcement agencies, establish an intensive data exchange on the activity of international terrorist and extremist organisations, fight drug trafficking and transnational crime, and stop the attempts to transit militants via our countries.
It is important to continue dialogue on Caspian problems – our colleagues just talked about that – and finish the work on the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea as soon as possible.
Needless to say, special priority should be given to promoting mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation. Last year, Russian-Iranian trade was up 70 percent; in the [first] eight months of this year, Russia’s trade with Azerbaijan increased by 62 percent; Azerbaijani-Iranian trade is also marked by stable positive trends.
In order to further stimulate trilateral exports and imports, it is necessary to streamline customs procedures and eliminate the existing barriers to the free movement of goods and services.
We could also consider increasing the share of national currencies in mutual financial settlements, fostering closer ties between financial and banking institutions and getting business communities in the three countries more actively involved [in these processes].
Transport infrastructure offers good opportunities for developing cooperation. I am referring primarily to the initiative of building the western section of the North-South international corridor – our colleagues just talked about that – which is indeed one of the shortest and potentially the most commercially competitive transit routes from South Asia to Europe.
We support Iran’s plans to begin the construction of the last section of the western Caspian route – the Rasht-Astara railway line. The implementation of this project will make it possible to organise transit more effective and reduce delivery costs.
We see good prospects for deepening energy cooperation. Russia, Iran and Azerbaijan are firmly entrenched in leading positions in the world in terms of hydrocarbons production. I believe that joint prospecting and development of oil and gas deposits and the launching of joint projects in energy production and transit are in our common interests.
Building the Russia-Azerbaijan-Iran energy bridge, integrating our countries’ electric energy systems, remains a priority. Putting this initiative into practice would help enhance energy security of the entire region and ensure reliable energy supplies.
Among other much-needed areas I will single out cooperation in such areas as industry, agriculture, high technology, medicine and drug production. Positive examples of such cooperation have already been mentioned.
Considerable attention should be given to cultural cooperation, the implementation of joint cultural programmes, expanding tourism and youth exchanges and sport contacts and promoting the expansion of direct regional ties between the three countries.
Colleagues, I would like to express my confidence that cooperation between Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran will continue to develop steadily, acquiring a systemic and regular nature.
In closing, I would like to invite you to attend the next trilateral summit in Russia.
Excerpts of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s speech:
President Rouhani said in a press conference after the tripartite summit of the presidents of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan:
“The three countries aim to build closer ties and take advantage of the capacities of the three countries on the path to economic development and the interests of the nations of Iran, Russia and the Republic of Azerbaijan”.
Thanking the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan for their presence in Tehran, Dr Hassan Rouhani said:
“The summit of the Presidents of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan is based on the friendship and neighbourhood of the three countries, and this friendship, closeness and geographical and cultural affinity, has made us more determined to make better use of the capacities of the three countries”.
Referring to the decisions made at the Baku-Tehran summits, including in the area of transit between the three countries and the Eurasian region, Dr Rouhani said:
“Within the framework of this transit route, we will connect north to south, and our decision is to connect Bandar Abbas to Helsinki, connecting Asia to Europe and our route is through Azerbaijan, Russia and Eastern and Northern Europe”.
“We also want to deepen relations in the field of road and maritime connections,”
the president added, saying that the three countries on the Caspian Sea coast should use this sea as a sea of peace for the countries of the region and also the sea of development to use the capacities of coastal development.
Dr Rouhani described energy as another potential for deepening ties between the three countries and said:
“Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan, with huge reserves of oil and gas and the good position in the region and the world, should have their own technological cooperation for the production and extraction of oil and gas in this region as well as joint investments in energy and other fields”.
The president also announced a joint program to connect three countries’ electricity networks, saying:
“Our electricity needs to be connected so that we can use electricity of the three countries at different times”.
The third meeting of the presidents of Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan will be hosted by Moscow next year, the president added.
Dr Rouhani also highlighted regional issues as another focal point of the presidents of the three countries and said:
“Closer relations and the role of the three countries in the stability and security of the region, in particular the fight against terrorism, were discussed at the meeting”.
“It is important for Iran and Russia to cooperate in the establishment of stability and security, and in the fight against terrorism, especially in Syria, and the tripartite cooperation of Iran, Turkey and Russia, which is being pursued in Astana,” he continued.
The president added:
“At the summit, all three countries emphasised regional cooperation for regional peace and stability and the fight against terrorism, drugs and organized crime”.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also said at the press conference that trilateral negotiations between Iran, Russia and Azerbaijan were successful, saying:
“Relations between the three countries are being successfully pursued and we expect a good future for this cooperation”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, also expressed satisfaction with the talks between Iranian, Russian and Azerbaijani presidents, and said:
“I am confident that these cordial and transparent meetings will bring important results and benefits for our nations”.
Referring to the meeting with Dr Rouhani on regional security, he also said that the two presidents discussed Iran’s nuclear issue and the Syrian issue, saying:
“Our cooperation with Iran, especially in the Syrian issue, is very fruitful, and through our cooperation with Iran and Turkey, the fight against terrorism in Syria is going well”.
Seemingly, as a pychologically understandable response to the smearing of Russia by the corporate presstitute media, and now US President Donald Trump, many otherwise well-informed and insightful alternative journalists, who oppose the corporate newsmedia, find it necessary to defend the conduct of the dictator Josef Stalin (1878-1953) with spurious rationalisations.
By September 17, 1939, when Soviet troops crossed the border, the Polish government had ceased to function. The fact that Poland no longer had a government meant that Poland was no longer a state.
In fact, the Polish army and air force fiercely resisted the Nazi invaders. The army and the residents of Warsaw held out until 29 September.
Had the Red Army not invaded 12 days earlier than the surrender of Warsaw, and had France and Britain ended their 'phony war' and launched a real military campaign against Germany, can we presume that Poland might not have been able to triumph against the invaders? At the very least, had Russia not invaded from the East, the price paid by Nazi Germany would have been so high as to greatly reduce Nazi Germany's prospects of winning the subsequent Battle of France in 1940.
The Saker rightly objects to the criminal actions by the Polish government and its NATO allies on the world stage right now in 2017. However, humanity's fight against the Washington warmongers and their Eastern European vassals, is not helped by the Saker's apparent whitewashing of the cynical conduct by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin in the early years of the Second World War. Whilst what the Saker writes of Neville Chamberlain, Edouard Daladier, is true, their betrayal of Czechoslovakia in September 1939 is dwarfed by the effect of the subsequent Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact.
After the signing of that pact, the Soviet Union effectively became an ally of Nazi Germany. As Nazi Germany conquered Poland, with the help of the Soviet Union, Denmark, Norway, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Belgium and France, then tried to subdue Britain with aerial bombardment and U-boats, and then prepared to invade the soviet Union, the German war economy was supplied with raw materials from the Soviet Union.
Whilst what the Saker writes about the treachery of the Polish Pilsudski government and most of the Western democracies prior to 1 September 1939 is true, this cannot excuse the even more cynical conduct of Stalin after the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August 1939 and his subsequent blind trust in Hitler right up to the launch of Operation Barbarossa on 22 June 1941.
This also ignores the fact that Britain under Churchill, tacitly supported by America under President Roosevelt (FDR),  continued to fight Nazi Germany. FDR's support of Britain and the Soviet Union was contrary to the wishes of many of America's wealthy elite.
Stalin's trust in Hitler was so blind that he even ignored warnings by German Communist Richard Sorge (1985-1944), who worked at the German embassy in Tokyo, at least one defecting German soldier (who was shot for his trouble), and by American intelligence, that Nazi Germany was preparing an invasion.
Had Stalin heeded these warnings, then surely the scale of the Red army's military disaster prior to the battle of Moscow in 1941 could have been considerably mitigated.
Instead, Stalin refused to pass on the warnings to Red Army commanders whilst the Soviet Union continued to send, by rail across the border, much of the raw materials, needed by Nazi Germany to both continue its war against Britain and for the coming invasion of the Soviet Union. Raw materials were sent right up until the morning of 22 June 1941.
Unfortunately, the vast tragedy did not end at Moscow in December 1941. Before Nazi Germany was finally vanquished in May 1945, 25 million Soviet citizens, by one rough estimate, were to lose their lives.
By his treachery and misjudgement, Stalin, more than any other individual in history, made possible the triumph of Hitler's Third Reich. Only the terrible sacrifice of tens of millions of people people, including the 25 million lost by the Soviet Union, prevented that.
 Churchill is a paradoxical figure. In October 1944, in contrast to his legendary defiance of Nazi Germany during the 1940 Battle of Britain, he cynically betrayed (with Stalin's collusion) the Greek ELAS fighters who had heroically resisted Nazi Germany. They were tricked into disarming, whilst Greeks, who had collaborated with the German occupiers, were rearmed. (See the Greek Civil War, The Kapetanios (1973) by Dominique Eudes.)
 Most of America, including the wealthy elites, opposed the entry of the United States into the Second World War on the side of Britain and the Soviet Union. Many of the wealthy elites opposed war because many were sympathetic to Nazi Germany. On the other hand, ordinary American workers were rightly angry about the loss of 117,465 lives in the pointless First World War. However, FDR understood that, unlike the case in the First World War, humanity had a real stake in the outcome of the Second World War.
To overcome public opposition to war, FDR and some of his top military contrived to provoke Japan into launching a 'surprise' attack on Pearl Harbour. This is described in Day Of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (1999) by Robert Stinnett.
This would be one of very few instances, if not the only instance, in history, where humanity had a stake in a political leader successfully pulling off such a Machaevellian stunt. Had FDR not been able to bring America into the war, the Soviet Union would most likely have lost and its vast stock of natural resources would have been made available to the Nazi German war machine. Nazi Germany and its vassal states would then have been able to rule over a unipolar world.
 Any year 8 student of German would know that 'Sorge' is (roughly) pronounced 'sorga' and not 'sorj', as I originally thought.
 I personally doubt that a country, even as large as the Soviet Union, could have continued to resist Nazi Germany if even more lives had been lost. In comparison, between December 1941 and August 1945, the United States lost 419,400 lives fighting Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and the Japanese Empire. Whilst that is a terrible loss of life, it is still an order of magnitude less than 25 million lost by the Soviet Union.
I won't try to explain here, what I believe are the reasons for this enormous disparity here but I reject any notion that it is due to any inherent inherent inferiority of the Soviet peoples as much of the Eastern Front war porn, written since 1945 says, both explicitly and implicitly.
Interview with Vladimr Putin by NBC News propagandist Megyn Kelly, text published on the website of the President of Russia, June 5, 2017 - https://www.newcoldwar.org/valdimir-putins-televised-interview-on-nbc-june-5-2017/, and a link to Excerpts from transcript of Megyn Kelley interviewing President Putin, et al., St Petersburg International Economic Forum plenary meeting, June 2, 2017 - https://en.kremlin.ru/events/president/news/54667. (If you cannot reach the Kremlin site, try dropping the s in https. We have put the 's' in because of inflexible Firefox padlock tag rules.)
Megyn Kelly: Shifting gears to Syria, our president has said that you are backing an evil guy there. He said that Assad is an evil guy. Do you believe that?
Vladimir Putin: What? That Assad is an evil person? Ask other leaders who have met him. After all, since he was elected, he has been to Europe more often than to Russia. We are not defending so much President Assad as Syrian statehood. We do not want Syria to be confronted with a situation similar to that in Libya or Somalia or Afghanistan, where NATO has been present for many years but the situation is not changing for the better.
We want to preserve [Syrian] statehood and once this fundamental matter is resolved, to move further towards settling the Syrian crisis by political means. Yes, perhaps everyone is to blame for something there. But let us not forget that if it were not for active intervention from the outside we would not have had the situation and the civil war that we are seeing now.
What does President Assad stand accused of today? We know about the charges of using chemical weapons. There is absolutely no proof. As soon as that happened we proposed conducting an inspection right there on the airfield from where President Assad’s aircraft had allegedly taken off with chemical weapons on board. I would like to reiterate because not everyone has heard this: if chemical weapons had been used, if some shells with toxic agents had been loaded, modern analysers, modern control systems would definitely have detected that there were chemical weapons there on board this aircraft, on that exact spot.
They declined. Nobody wants to. There is a lot of talk but no practical action. We proposed conducting an inspection in the area of the attack, “Let us see what there is.” No way again. “Why not?” “It is too dangerous there.” “What is so dangerous there if the strike was allegedly carried out against the good part of the armed opposition? These are normal people out there, why would they be dangerous?” “No, it is not possible there either.” However, it is known for certain that in Iraq (an Iraqi representative is present here, and we also welcome him), in Iraqi Kurdistan, militants used chemical weapons and that fact was established by the entire international community. Therefore, they have them. And judging by the statements made by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, Syria has destroyed these weapons.
You see, if reasons and excuses are invoked, without any intention of looking into the essence of the problem, then one can talk about anything. Let us get down to the heart of the matter. Has Assad made mistakes? He probably has, and quite a few, too. Now, are the people who are up against him angels? Who is killing people, executing children and beheading people there? Are we supposed to support them?
As you know, we argued with our US colleagues until we were blue in the face about whether certain territories could be attacked. “No, that is off limits.” “Why?” “The healthy part of the opposition is based there.” We say: “But ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra are still there.” “Yes, but everything is intermingled there, so it is hard to understand who is where.” “Well, separate them then. What are decent, honest people doing with terrorists? Do you have control over them? Let them go and let us fight terrorists.” “No, do not touch them.” Why not? Should we wait until they come to you or to us? We will not. If you want to agree on something, let’s agree.
The Prime Minister is nodding because India is constantly confronted with the terrorist threat. It is not an imaginary problem. According to our preliminary estimate, there are 4,000 people from Russia alone in Syria, plus 4,500–5,000 from the CIS countries, mainly from Central Asia. It is a real threat to us. They are trying to return. Some are in fact returning. This is precisely why we began our operation in Syria, because we realised where things were headed. So, there should be no name-calling. Let us simply work together on the matter at hand. We are prepared for this. What is needed is a constructive position on your part.
Megyn Kelly: So, we know that Assad has used chemical weapons before, and Russia entered into an agreement in 2013 to stop that. I mean, Russia acknowledged that in 2013 to try to stop that by Assad. The only question is whether he launched the chemical weapons attack that happened a couple of months ago. And I just want to ask you, to press you a little further on this, because we all saw the video of the suffering, dying children, and that was the reason that President Trump dropped the bomb. Do you deny – because Assad denies that those tapes are real, he is purporting to tell us not to believe our lying eyes – do you believe those tapes are fake?
Vladimir Putin: Firstly, when President Obama and I agreed to work together on destroying chemical weapons in Syria, we acted on the premise that those weapons were out there. However, we have never acknowledged that Assad used them. I would ask you to be more accurate.
Secondly, regarding the people killed or injured as a result of the use of weapons, including chemical weapons, this is false information. At the moment, we are absolutely certain that it was simply a provocation. Assad did not use those weapons and all of that was done by people who wanted to blame it on him.
Furthermore, our intelligence services received additional information suggesting that there were plans to re-enact a similar scenario in other parts of Syria, including near Damascus. We made that information public. Thank God, the plotters had enough common sense not to follow through.
Megyn Kelly: If I could just follow up on that, though, because the bodies of the victims were autopsied at Turkey’s and our forensic medicine institution. The autopsies were witnessed by officials from the World Health Organisation and from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and they concluded that the victims were attacked with zarin gas. Are we really to believe that the whole thing was staged? That everybody was in on it – the World Health Organisation, the forensic medicine institution, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons?
Vladimir Putin: The answer is very simple and you know it: it could have been used – however, not by Assad, but by someone else in order to put the blame on Assad. So any further investigation without understanding who did it is senseless. It only plays into the hands of the provocateurs who organised this attack. That is all. What is there you cannot understand? It seems to me that everything is absolutely clear.
However, I would like to ask you a question: why didn’t they immediately go to the spot from where the chemical weapon attack had allegedly been launched? Why did nobody go to inspect the airfield? Why did nobody inspect the aircraft that had allegedly been used to carry out the strike, as we proposed? Why did nobody go to the place of the attack? The answer is simple: because they were afraid that this entire falsification would be uncovered – that is all.
As for what you are telling me, it does not convince me in the least but only goes to show that it would be far better not to indulge in speculation or a tug of war but combine efforts against real threats. We know very well what it is like. America is far away and there was a minor explosion, as a result of which, unfortunately, people were hurt at a well-known athletic event. And do you have any idea of how we have suffered here? We know full well, who we have to deal with.
Under no circumstances can anyone from this environment, which is hostile to modern civilisation, be used to address current political issues. Meanwhile, sometimes we see such attempts: “Let’s use these and those to fight Assad.” Why these and those? Because there is nobody else who can fight. Once you use them today, you will never know what will happen to you tomorrow. Then they will start fighting you.
At one time, Al-Qaeda was created to fight against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. And then Al-Qaeda carried out the 9/11 attacks in the United States. This is what this can lead to. It is important to think about the possible long-term consequences.
Recording of a timely and important interview with Tony Kevin, author of Return to Moscow UWA 2017. As a young Australian diplomat, Tony Kevin visited Brezhnev's Soviet Union in from 1969-1971. He returned on official business in 1985 when Chernenko was in power, then again, very briefly, in 1990. During these times he was not able to get to know the Russians due to the policy of both governments against fraternisation, thus Russia ironically became a source of growing fascination for him. He continued to inform his fascination from many sources, always at a distance. Concerned today by the threat to peace from US-NATO anti-Russian propaganda, and more fascinated by Russia than ever, he returned on his own to Russia (no longer the Soviet Union, of course) in 2016. Return to Moscow examines past and present attitudes to the people of Russia and to its leaders through empathic eyes and an understanding of the change in geopolitics from cold war to US interventionist.
On Putin: "Not since Britain's concentrated personal loathing of their great strategic enemy Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars was so much animosity brought to bear on one leader. Propaganda and demeaning language against Putin became more systemic, sustained and near universal in Western foreign policy and media communities than had ever been directed against any Soviet communist leader at the height of the Cold War. This hostile campaign evoked an effective defensive global media strategy by Russia. [...] A new kind of information Cold War took shape, with - paradoxically - Western media voices more and more speaking with one disciplined Soviet-style voice, and Russian counter voices fresher, more diverse and more agile." [Cited from Tony Kevin's book.] The interview in the video took place at Russia House in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. It was organised by Claire Woods of the Traveller's Bookstore. The interviewer was Associate Professor Judith Armstrong, former head of European Languages Department at Melbourne University.
JON FAINE: "Russia's found it can't match the west militarily. It can't match the west financially. It can't match the west in industrial design, invention and technology, but it can undo the west through the west's Archilles' heel - democracy."
TONY KEVIN: "No. Russia can match the west militarily. It has a huge nuclear deterrent. We tend to talk among ourselves as though that doesn't exist anymore. It's as if we've all said, 'if we don't talk about nuclear weapons, they won't be there.' But they are there. There are militaries on both sides of the frontier training all the time in how to use tactical weapons. This is the world we live in. And Russia has also gained the great command of this country that used to be clunky and used to be unable to keep up with the west technologically. They're now world leaders in handling information technology, as you know."
Back to the video of the Russia House talk: In response to a question from the audience, Tony Kevin concludes his interview with this statement:
"And I say it here and I say it because of Jon Faine: Syria is one of the points where World War 3 could start. The other two are Ukraine and the Balkan states, on the border of Russia, because, in all these situations, there's a lack of understanding, of comprehension of the other side's point of view. There's a self-righteousness and there's a - I think if Hillary Clinton had been elected president, we would already have war involving the west, Russia, and Syria. That's how bad it is. [...] I know Russia's got a very bad press on Syria, but my position is that Russia is there at the request of a sovereign government, which is run by a man called President Assad, which has a seat in the United Nations, and Russia is trying to help that government hold that country together. And, what are we doing in Syria? We seem to be supporting a change in cast of opposition elements, many of whom we don't really know what their politics are, some of whom are extremely unpleasant people, who do extremely unpleasant things. And, so Syria is a mess. But I'm glad that Russia is trying to help bring about some peace and order in Syria."
Yes, Return to Russia is a very important book, with its author in a position of unique authority, given the perspective of his age and his experience of different epoques in Russia and western deep state international policies. Fortunately it will be hard for the Establishment to completely bury his opinion, so lucidly expressed.
Here are excerpts from transcripts of Trump's and Clinton's references to Putin and to Syria in the context of the 2nd US presidential debate (Trump vs Clinton). There is complementarity between the Putin references and the Syria ones. We have put the moderator input in black, but Trump in red and Clinton in blue. I think people will find them interesting and get the sense of Trump being better on Syria and Russia than Clinton, by a mile, therefore less likely to start WW3. The debate was less real responses to questions or to the other candidate's arguments than a platform for each candidate. Readers may also be interested in a link to many on-line polls about the debate, collected here: https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2016/10/09/polls-polls-polls-so-who-won-the-second-presidential-debate/. The majority of these polls place Trump squarely as the winner of the debate, whereas Foxnews and one or two others placed Clinton as the winner. The comments under these polls are often interesting to read. We have also embedded the full debate inside the article.
REFERENCES TO PUTIN
MARTHA RADDATZ (Moderator) 9:54 PM
Thank you, Mr. Trump. I want to move on. This next question comes from
the public through the bipartisan open debate coalitions online form where
Americans submitted questions that generated millions of votes. This question
involves Wikileaks release of reported excerpts as Secretary Clinton paid
speeches which she has refused to release and one line in particular in
which you, Secretary Clinton, reportedly say you need both a public and private
position on certain issues. So Tiu from Virginia asks is it okay for
politicians to be two-faced? Is it acceptable for a politician to have a
private stance on issues? Secretary Clinton, your two minutes.
HILLARY CLINTON 9:55 PM
Well, as I recall, that was something I said
about Abraham Lincoln after having seen the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie
called Lincoln. It was a master class watching President Lincoln get the
Congress to approve the 13th amendment. It was principled and it was strategic.
And I was making the point that it is hard
sometimes to get the Congress to do what you want to do and you have to keep
working at it and yes, President Lincoln was trying to convince some people, he
used some arguments, convincing other people, he used other arguments. That was
a great -- I thought a great display of presidential leadership.
But you know, let's talk about what's really
going on here Martha, because our intelligence community just came out and said
in the last few days that the Kremlin, meaning Putin and the Russian
government, are directing the attacks, the hacking on American accounts, to
influence our election. And WikiLeaks is part of that as our other sites, where
the Russians hack information, we don't even know it's accurate information,
and then they put it out.
We have never in the history of our country been
in a situation where an adversary, a foreign power, is working so hard to
influence the outcome of the election, and believe me, they’re not doing it to
get me elected. They're doing it to try to influence the election for Donald
Now maybe because he has praised Putin, maybe
because he says he agrees with a lot of what Putin wants to do, maybe because
he wants to do business in Moscow -- I don't know the reasons that we deserve
answers. And we should demand that Trump release all of his tax returns so that
people can see what are the entanglements and the financial relationships --
DONALD TRUMP 9:58 PM
Well, I think I should respond because, so
ridiculous. Look, now she's blaming - she got caught in a total lie her papers
went out to all her friends at the banks, Goldman Sachs and everybody else, and
she said things, WikiLeaks that just came out and she lied.
Now she's blaming the lie on the late great Abraham
Lincoln. That's one that I haven’t - okay Honest Abe never lied. That’s the
good thing that's a big difference between Abraham Lincoln and you. That's a
big big difference, we're talking about some difference. But as far as other
elements of what she was saying I don't know Putin. I think would be great if
we got along with Russia because we could fight ISIS together as an example.
But I don't know Putin. But I notice anytime anything wrong happens they like
to say the Russians we don't know if it's Russian.
She doesn’t know if it’s the Russians doing the
hacking, maybe there is no hacking. But they always blame Russia and the reason
they blame Russia because they think they are trying to tarnish me with Russia.
I know nothing about Russia. I know, I know about Russia but I know nothing
about the inner workings of Russia.
I don't deal there, I have no businesses there have
no loans from Russia.
Have a very very great balance sheet, so great that
when I did the old post office on Pennsylvania Avenue, the United States government,
because of my balance sheet, which they actually know very well, chose me to do
the old post office between the White House and Congress, chose me to do the
old post office, one of the primary things in fact perhaps the primary thing
was balance sheet.
But I have no loans with Russia. You could go to
the United States government and they would probably tell you that because they
know my sheet very well in order to get that development I had to have -- now
the taxes are very simple thing. As soon as -- first of all, I pay hundred of
millions of dollars in taxes. Many of her friends took bigger deductions.
Warren Buffett took a massive deduction. Soros, who is a friend of hers, took a
massive deduction. Many of the people that are giving her all this money that
she could do many more commercials than me gave her took massive deductions. I
pay hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes but but as soon as my routine
audit is finished, I'll release my returns I'll be very proud to. They’re
actually quite good.
REFERENCES TO SYRIA:
MARTHA RADDATZ (moderator): The heartbreaking video of a five -year-old
Syrian boy named Omran sitting in an ambulance after being pulled from the
rubble after an airstrike in Aleppo, focused the world’s attention on the
horrors of the war in Syria, with 136 million views on Facebook alone.
But there are much worse images coming out of Aleppo every day now where
the past few weeks alone four hundred people have been killed, at least one
hundred of them children. Just days ago, the State Department called for a war
crimes investigation of the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad and its allies
Russia for the bombardment of Aleppo. So this next question comes from social
media through Facebook. Diane from Pennsylvania asked, if you were president,
what would you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? Isn't it a
lot like the Holocaust when the U.S. waited too long before we helped?
Secretary Clinton, we will begin with your two minutes.
HILLARY CLINTON10:12 PM
Well, the situation in Syria is catastrophic.
And every day that goes by, we see the results of the regime by Assad in
partnership with the Iranians on the ground, the Russians in the air,
bombarding places, in particular Aleppo, where there are hundreds of thousands
of people, probably about 250,000 still left. And there is a determined effort
by the Russian Air Force to destroy Aleppo in order to eliminate the last of
the Syrian rebels who are really holding out against the Assad regime. Russia
hasn't paid any attention to ISIS. They’re interested in keeping Assad in
power. So I, when I was Secretary of State, advocated. And I advocate today a
no-fly zone in safe zones.
We need some leverage with the Russians because
they're not going to come to the negotiating table for a diplomatic resolution
unless there is some leverage over them. And we have to work more closely with
our partners and allies on the ground. But I want to emphasize that what is at
stake here is the ambitions and the aggressiveness of Russia.
Russia has decided that it's all in in Syria.
And they also decided who they want to see become president of the United
States, too. And it's not me. I've stood up to Russia. I've taken on pollutant
and others. And I would do that as president. I think wherever we can cooperate
with Russia, that's fine. And I did at Secretary of State, that’s how we got a
treaty reducing nuclear weapons. It’s how we got the sanctions on Iran that put
a lid on the Iranian nuclear program without firing a single shot. So I would
go to the negotiating table with more leverage that we have now. But I do
support the effort to investigate for crimes -- war crimes committed by the
Syrians and the Russians and try to hold them accountable.
DONALD TRUMP10:15 PM
First of all, she was there as the secretary of
state with the so called line in the sand.
No, I wasn’t. I was gone. I hate to interrupt
you but at some point, we need to do some fact checking.
Excuse me. You were in total contact with the White
House. And perhaps, sadly Obama probably still listened to you. I don't think
he would be listening to you very much anymore. Obama draws the line in the
sand, it was laughed at all over the world what happened. Now with that being
said, she talks tough against Russia. But our nuclear program has fallen way
behind. And they have gone wild with their nuclear program. Not good. Our
government should not have allowed that to happen. Russia is new in terms of
nuclear. We are old. We are tired. We are exhausted in terms of nuclear. A very
bad thing. Now, she talks tough, she talks really tough against Putin. And
against Assad. She talks in favor of the rebels. She doesn’t even know who the
rebels are. Every time we take rebels. Whether it's in Iraq or anywhere else.
We are arming people. And you know what happens? They end up being worse than
the people. Look what she did and Libya with Gaddafi. Gadhafi is out. It’s a
mess. And by the way ISIS has a good chunk of their oil.
I’m sure you probably have heard that. It was a disaster.
Because the fact is that everything that she has done an foreign-policy has
been at the stake and it has a been a disaster. And if you look at Russia -- is
take a look at Russia and look at what they did this week. Where I agree she
was not there, but possibly she was consulted. We sign a peace treaty,
everyone's all excited. Well what Russia did with Assad, and by the way with
Iran who made very powerful with the dumbest deal I have ever seen in the
history of dealmaking with the Iran deal. With the 1.7 in cash, which is enough
cash to fill this room.
But look at that deal. Iran now and Russia are now
against us. So she wants to fight, she wants to fight for rebels. There’s only
one problem. You don’t even know who the rebels are.
And those three have now lined up because of our
weak foreign policy.
MARTHA RADDATZ 10:17 PM
Mr.Trump, let me repeat the question. If you were president, what would
you do about Syria and the humanitarian crisis in Aleppo? And I want to remind
you what your running mate said. He said provocations by Russian need to be met
with American strength and that if Russia continues to be involved with
airstrikes along with the Syrian government forces of Assad, the United States
of America should be prepared to use military force to strike the military
targets, of the Assad regime.
DONALD TRUMP10:18 PM
Okay. He and I haven’t spoken and I disagree.
MARTHA RADDATZ10:18 PM
You disagree with your running mate?
DONALD TRUMP10:18 PM
We have to knock out ISIS. Right now Syria is
fighting ISIS. We have people that want to fight both at the same. But Syria's
no longer Syria. Syria’s Russia and it’s Iran which she made strong, and Kerry,
and Obama made into a very powerful nation. And a very rich nation. Very, very
quickly. I believe we have to get ISIS. We have to worry about ISIS before we
can get too much more involved. She had a chance to do something with Syria.
They had a chance and that was the line.
MARTHA RADDATZ10:19 PM
What do you think will happen if Aleppo falls?
DONALD TRUMP10:19 PM
I think Aleppo is a disaster humanitarian-wise.
MARTHA RADDATZ10:19 PM
What do you think it will happen if it falls?
DONALD TRUMP10:19 PM
I think that it basically has fallen. OK? It
basically has fallen.
Let me tell you something, you take a look at
Mosul. The biggest problem I have with the stupidity of our foreign policy. We
have Mosul. They think a lot of the ISIS leaders are in Mosul. So we have a lot
of announcements coming out of Washington and coming out of Iraq, we will be
attacking Mosul in three weeks or four weeks. All of these bad leaders from
ISIS are leaving Mosul. Why can't they do it quietly why can't they do the
attack, make it a sneak attack. After the attack is made, inform the American
public that we have knocked out the leaders, we’ve had tremendous success.
People leave. Why do they have to say we're going to be attacking Mosul within
the next four to six weeks? Which is what they are saying. How stupid is our
MARTHA RADDATZ10:20 PM
There are sometimes reasons the military does that. Psychological
DONALD TRUMP10:20 PM
I can't think of any.
MARTHA RADDATZ10:20 PM
It might be to help get civilians out.
DONALD TRUMP10:20 PM
Look, I have two hundred generals and admirals who
endorsed me. I have twenty one Congressional medal of honor recipients who
endorsed me. We talk about it all the time. They understand why can't they do
something secretively? Where they go in and they knock out the leadership. How
-- why would these people stay there? I’ve been reading now for weeks...
MARTHA RADDATZ10:20 PM
Tell me what your strategy is.
DONALD TRUMP10:20 PM
I have a reading for weeks about Mosul that is the
harbor between Raqqa and Mosul. This is where they think the ISIS leaders are.
Why would they be - they’re not staying there
anymore. They are gone. Because everybody is talking about how Iraq, which is
us with our leadership, goes in to fight Mosul. With these two hundred admirals
and generals, they can't believe it. All they say is this. General George Patton,
General Douglas MacArthur are spinning in their grave at the stupidity of what
we're doing in the Middle East.
You talk about diplomatic efforts, those have
failed. Ceasefires have failed. Would you introduce the threat of U.S. military
force beyond the no-fly zone against the Assad regime, to back up diplomacy?
HILLARY CLINTON10:21 PM
I would not use American ground forces in Syria.
I think that would be a very serious mistake. I don't think American troops
should be holding territory, which is what they would have to do as an
occupying force. I don't think that is a smart strategy. I do think the use of
special forces, which we're using, the use of enablers and trainers in Iraq,
which has had some positive effects, are very much in our interest. And so I do
support what is happening. But let me --
MARTHA RADDATZ10:22 PM
So what would you do differently than the President Obama is doing?
HILLARY CLINTON10:22 PM
Well, Martha, I hope that by the time I -- hope
by the time I am president that we will have pushed ISIS out of Iraq. I do
think that there is a good chance that we can take Mosul. And you know Donald
says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. No, he doesn't.
There are a lot of very important planning going
on. And some of it is to signal to the Sunnis in the area, as well as Kurdish
fighters that we all need to be in this. And that takes a lot of planning and
preparation. I would go after Baghdadi. I would specifically target Baghdadi
because I think our targeting of Al Qaeda leaders, I was involved in a lot of
those operations, highly classified ones, made a difference. So I think that
I would also consider arming the Kurds. The
Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there
is a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think that they should
have the equipment they need so that the needs of Kurdish and Arab fighters on
the ground are the principal way that we take Rocco after pushing ISIS out of
Video and translation: This comment by Putin, about United States aggression and its abandonment of protocol to limit the risk of nuclear destruction, was made to representatives of various media outlets during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in June 2016. It was filmed and has been translated by Inessa S and we have imbedded the video in the article with her translation. It seems particularly timely to publish this in the wake of the release of Hillary Clinton's lost emails. "Nobody has anything to gain from a nuclear stand-off against Russia. The power hungry decision-makers are few in number, but powerful enough to have subverted mainstream media to misrepresent Russia as the main threat to international security." (Vladimir Putin).
Nobody has anything to gain from a nuclear stand-off against Russia. The power hungry decision-makers are few in number, but powerful enough to have subverted mainstream media to misrepresent Russia as the main threat to international security.
If you are a journalist or a blogger, please do your part and share this message. Time is of the essence , especially in light of the recent NATO summit in Warsaw (July 2016) where the alliance stipulated that Russia is the main threat to international security (did you think that might be ISIS?) YouTube would not let me upload the video I did on the Summit, but it can be found on my Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/174777588
Back in 2007, Putin informed the Western world that Russia will develop its weaponry to counter US advances. This was said in response to the US missile defense system that was starting to be developed at the time (previously prohibited in international law.)
With the NATO missile defense system on Russia’s doorstep – the threat to international security is very real; not that you would know it via mainstream Murdoch media.
In 2002, the United States unilaterally and without consultation, withdrew from the landmark Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty. President George W. Bush noted that the treaty is “now behind us,” describing the ABM Treaty as a Cold War relic.
Signed in 1972, the ABM Treaty barred both the US and the USSR from deploying national defenses against long-range ballistic missiles. The treaty was based on the premise that if either superpower constructed a strategic defense, the other would build up its offensive nuclear forces to offset the defense.
The superpowers would therefore quickly be put on a path toward a never-ending offensive-defensive arms race, as each tried to balance its counterpart’s actions. Until Bush took office, the Treaty was referred to as a “cornerstone of strategic stability” because it facilitated later agreements, reducing U.S. and Russian strategic nuclear arsenals.
The US, assuming that a weakened Russia will never again be in a position to counter US hegemonic power, proceeded to encroach on Russia’s borders through its manipulation of NATO objectives.
Today, there is no instrument in international law that prevents the possibility of mutually assured destruction. Putin has been sending out warnings for over 10 years – all of which fell on deaf ears. Who will push the button first?
The comments of the Russian Ambassador to the UK are worth noting. On the sidelines of the Valdai Club conference, Russia’s ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, said the “only logical way” to explain Britain’s behaviour in Iraq and Syria was a desire that Isis would depose Assad.
“The idea was to remove Assad using force, and to use force to seize Damascus. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories, but this is the only way to explain why de facto neither Britain nor the US has ever properly fought against Isis,” Yakovenko said.
He said with the number of airstrikes Britain had carried out in Iraq, “you could have destroyed the whole region”, but instead Isis had only grown in strength.
An analysis by Reuters of Russian defence ministry data *claimed* to show this week that almost 80% of Russia’s declared targets in Syria have been in areas not held by Isis. Perhaps responding to these claims, subsequently, Yakovenko said he had a meeting at the Foreign Office in London last week in which he asked for intelligence to be shared on the location of Isis targets in Syria, but was rejected. He also asked for information on the Free Syrian Army.
“We are looking closely at the Syrian Free Army. We understand there is not a single command centre, and that some of these divisions have different goals. But if among the FSA there are divisions that are really ready to fight with Isis, who is our main enemy in Syria, and if you think there are people or commanders or other contacts which could be useful and to cooperate with them, we would be grateful for such information,” he said. “We were again rejected.”
This of course was the same message as was shared around the Western media yesterday as ‘Putin says ready to work with Free Syrian Army’ – but stripped of its essential details such as Putin asking the West to ‘tell us where we can find this ‘free syrian army’...
Shaun Walker’s pathological Russophobia means that things are often in quotes, because Walker can’t be seen to be endorsing such things as ‘Playing with words’ and ‘double game’. Surely we all know what a double game is, so that it doesn’t need to be in quotes? – but then we might think that what Putin said was actually true, and that there IS a double game, and we hadn’t been told!
Of course this ‘working with the FSA’ [Free Syrian Army] won’t go anywhere, because there is no such thing as a ‘patriotic’ FSA – all the men who were in the ‘FSA’ but who were patriots have taken amnesty and are maybe now fighting with the SAA anyway, or just keeping quiet.
It doesn’t matter how many times or how loudly Putin or Lavrov talk about the non-existence of the ‘moderate opposition fighters’ or that such a concept itself is ridiculous – what can be moderate about someone who shoots to kill the soldiers of his own country? – but one statement from a Western leader about ‘discussing with FSA leaders’ or some such just reconfirms the lies we have been told by our own media so many times...
The mainstream media have created a chasm here at everyone's peril and we badly need a bridge across it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Monday and said sadly that the West was making an "enormous mistake" by not cooperating with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the struggle against ISIS. With regard to US-NATO conduct in Middle Eastern affairs he said,“I cannot help asking those who have caused this situation: Do you realize now what you have done? [...] "[...]It is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one's service in order to achieve one's own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them. To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they're in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it."
PUTIN (via interpreter): Your excellency Mr. President, your excellency Mr. Secretary General, distinguished heads of state and government, ladies and gentlemen, the 70th anniversary of the United Nations is a good occasion to both take stock of history and talk about our common future.
In 1945, the countries that defeated Nazism joined their efforts to lay solid foundations for the postwar world order.
But I remind you that the key decisions on the principles guiding the cooperation among states, as well as on the establishment of the United Nations, were made in our country, in Yalta, at the meeting of the anti-Hitler coalition leaders.
The Yalta system was actually born in travail. It was won at the cost of tens of millions of lives and two world wars.
This swept through the planet in the 20th century.
Let us be fair. It helped humanity through turbulent, at times dramatic, events of the last seven decades. It saved the world from large-scale upheavals.
The United Nations is unique in its legitimacy, representation and universality. It is true that lately the U.N. has been widely criticized for supposedly not being efficient enough, and for the fact that the decision-making on fundamental issues stalls due to insurmountable differences, first of all, among the members of the Security Council.
However, I'd like to point out there have always been differences in the U.N. throughout all these 70 years of existence. The veto right has always been exercised by the United States, the United Kingdom, France, China, the Soviet Union and Russia later, alike. It is absolutely natural for so diverse and representative an organization.
When the U.N. was established, its founders did not in the least think that there would always be unanimity. The mission of the organization is to seek and reach compromises, and its strength comes from taking different views and opinions into consideration. Decisions debated within the U.N. are either taken as resolutions or not. As diplomats say, they either pass or do not pass.
Whatever actions any state might take bypassing this procedure are illegitimate. They run counter to the charter and defy international law. We all know that after the end of the Cold War — everyone is aware of that — a single center of domination emerged in the world, and then those who found themselves at the top of the pyramid were tempted to think that if they were strong and exceptional, they knew better and they did not have to reckon with the U.N., which, instead of [acting to] automatically authorize and legitimize the necessary decisions, often creates obstacles or, in other words, stands in the way.
It has now become commonplace to see that in its original form, it has become obsolete and completed its historical mission. Of course, the world is changing and the U.N. must be consistent with this natural transformation. Russia stands ready to work together with its partners on the basis of full consensus, but we consider the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as extremely dangerous. They could lead to a collapse of the entire architecture of international organizations, and then indeed there would be no other rules left but the rule of force.
We would get a world dominated by selfishness rather than collective work, a world increasingly characterized by dictate rather than equality. There would be less of a chain of democracy and freedom, and that would be a world where true independent states would be replaced by an ever-growing number of de facto protectorates and externally controlled territories.
What is the state sovereignty, after all, that has been mentioned by our colleagues here? It is basically about freedom and the right to choose freely one's own future for every person, nation and state. By the way, dear colleagues, the same holds true of the question of the so-called legitimacy of state authority. One should not play with or manipulate words.
Every term in international law and international affairs should be clear, transparent and have uniformly understood criteria. We are all different, and we should respect that. No one has to conform to a single development model that someone has once and for all recognized as the only right one. We should all remember what our past has taught us.
We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.
It seemed, however, that far from learning from others' mistakes, everyone just keeps repeating them, and so the export of revolutions, this time of so-called democratic ones, continues. It would suffice to look at the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, as has been mentioned by previous speakers. Certainly political and social problems in this region have been piling up for a long time, and people there wish for changes naturally.
But how did it actually turn out? Rather than bringing about reforms, an aggressive foreign interference has resulted in a brazen destruction of national institutions and the lifestyle itself. Instead of the triumph of democracy and progress, we got violence, poverty and social disaster. Nobody cares a bit about human rights, including the right to life.
I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, do you realize now what you've done? But I am afraid no one is going to answer that. Indeed, policies based on self-conceit and belief in one's exceptionality and impunity have never been abandoned.
It is now obvious that the power vacuum created in some countries of the Middle East and North Africa through the emergence of anarchy areas, which immediately started to be filled with extremists and terrorists.
Tens of thousands of militants are fighting under the banners of the so-called Islamic State. Its ranks include former Iraqi servicemen who were thrown out into the street after the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Many recruits also come from Libya, a country whose statehood was destroyed as a result of a gross violation of the U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973. And now, the ranks of radicals are being joined by the members of the so-called moderate Syrian opposition supported by the Western countries.
First, they are armed and trained and then they defect to the so-called Islamic State. Besides, the Islamic State itself did not just come from nowhere. It was also initially forged as a tool against undesirable secular regimes.
Having established a foothold in Iraq and Syria, the Islamic State has begun actively expanding to other regions. It is seeking dominance in the Islamic world. And not only there, and its plans go further than that. The situation is more than dangerous.
In these circumstances, it is hypocritical and irresponsible to make loud declarations about the threat of international terrorism while turning a blind eye to the channels of financing and supporting terrorists, including the process of trafficking and illicit trade in oil and arms. It would be equally irresponsible to try to manipulate extremist groups and place them at one's service in order to achieve one's own political goals in the hope of later dealing with them or, in other words, liquidating them.
To those who do so, I would like to say — dear sirs, no doubt you are dealing with rough and cruel people, but they're in no way primitive or silly. They are just as clever as you are, and you never know who is manipulating whom. And the recent data on arms transferred to this most moderate opposition is the best proof of it.
We believe that any attempts to play games with terrorists, let alone to arm them, are not just short-sighted, but fire hazardous (ph). This may result in the global terrorist threat increasing dramatically and engulfing new regions, especially given that Islamic State camps train militants from many countries, including the European countries.
Unfortunately, dear colleagues, I have to put it frankly: Russia is not an exception. We cannot allow these criminals who already tasted blood to return back home and continue their evil doings. No one wants this to happen, does he?
Russia has always been consistently fighting against terrorism in all its forms. Today, we provide military and technical assistance both to Iraq and Syria and many other countries of the region who are fighting terrorist groups.
We think it is an enormous mistake to refuse to cooperate with the Syrian government and its armed forces, who are valiantly fighting terrorism face to face. We should finally acknowledge that no one but President Assad's armed forces and Kurds (ph) militias are truly fighting the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations in Syria.
We know about all the problems and contradictions in the region, but which were (ph) based on the reality.
Dear colleagues, I must note that such an honest and frank approach of Russia has been recently used as a pretext to accuse it of its growing ambitions, as if those who say it have no ambitions at all.
However, it's not about Russia's ambitions, dear colleagues, but about the recognition of the fact that we can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world. What we actually propose is to be guided by common values and common interests, rather than ambitions.
On the basis of international law, we must join efforts to address the problems that all of us are facing and create a genuinely broad international coalition against terrorism.
Similar to the anti-Hitler coalition, it could unite a broad range of forces that are resolutely resisting those who, just like the Nazis, sow evil and hatred of humankind. And, naturally, the Muslim countries are to play a key role in the coalition, even more so because the Islamic State does not only pose a direct threat to them, but also desecrates one of the greatest world religions by its bloody crimes.
The ideologists (ph) of militants make a mockery of Islam and pervert its true humanistic (ph) values. I would like to address Muslim spiritual leaders, as well. Your authority and your guidance are of great importance right now.
It is essential to prevent people recruited by militants from making hasty decisions and those who have already been deceived, and who, due to various circumstances found themselves among terrorists, need help in finding a way back to normal life, laying down arms, and putting an end to fratricide.
Russia will shortly convene, as the (ph) current president of the Security Council, a ministerial meeting to carry out a comprehensive analysis of threats in the Middle East.
First of all, we propose discussing whether it is possible to agree on a resolution aimed at coordinating the actions of all the forces that confront the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations. Once again, this coordination should be based on the principles of the U.N. Charter.
We hope that the international community will be able to develop a comprehensive strategy of political stabilization, as well as social and economic recovery, of the Middle East.
Then, dear friends, there would be no need for new refugee camps. Today, the flow of people who were forced to leave their homeland has literally engulfed first neighboring countries and then Europe itself. There were hundreds of thousands of them now, and there might be millions before long. In fact, it is a new great and tragic migration of peoples, and it is a harsh lesson for all of us, including Europe.
I would like to stress refugees undoubtedly need our compassion and support. However, the — on the way to solve this problem at a fundamental level is to restore their statehood where it has been destroyed, to strengthen the government institutions where they still exist or are being reestablished, to provide comprehensive assistance of military, economic and material nature to countries in a difficult situation. And certainly, to those people who, despite all the ordeals, will not abandon their homes. Literally, any assistance to sovereign states can and must be offered rather than imposed exclusively and solely in accordance with the U.N. Charter.
In other words, everything in this field that has been done or will be done pursuant to the norms of international law must be supported by our organization. Everything that contravenes the U.N. Charter must be rejected. Above all, I believe it is of the utmost importance to help restore government's institutions in Libya, support the new government of Iraq and provide comprehensive assistance to the legitimate government of Syria.
Dear colleagues, ensuring peace and regional and global stability remains the key objective of the international community with the U.N. at its helm. We believe this means creating a space of equal and indivisible security, which is not for the select few but for everyone. Yet, it is a challenge and complicated and time-consuming task, but there is simply no other alternative. However, the bloc thinking of the times of the Cold War and the desire to explore new geopolitical areas is still present among some of our colleagues.
First, they continue their policy of expanding NATO. What for? If the Warsaw Bloc stopped its existence, the Soviet Union have collapsed (ph) and, nevertheless, the NATO continues expanding as well as its military infrastructure. Then they offered the poor Soviet countries a false choice: either to be with the West or with the East. Sooner or later, this logic of confrontation was bound to spark off a grave geopolitical crisis. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine, where the discontent of population with the current authorities was used and the military coup was orchestrated from outside — that triggered a civil war as a result.
We're confident that only through full and faithful implementation of the Minsk agreements of February 12th, 2015, can we put an end to the bloodshed and find a way out of the deadlock. Ukraine's territorial integrity cannot be ensured by threat of force and force of arms. What is needed is a genuine consideration for the interests and rights of the people in the Donbas region and respect for their choice. There is a need to coordinate with them as provided for by the Minsk agreements, the key elements of the country's political structure. These steps will guarantee that Ukraine will develop as a civilized society, as an essential link and building a common space of security and economic cooperation, both in Europe and in Eurasia.
Ladies and gentlemen, I have mentioned these common space of economic cooperation on purpose. Not long ago, it seemed that in the economic sphere, with its objective market loss, we would launch a leaf (ph) without dividing lines. We would build on transparent and jointly formulated rules, including the WTO principles, stipulating the freedom of trade, and investment and open competition.
Nevertheless, today, unilateral sanctions circumventing the U.N. Charter have become commonplace, in addition to pursuing political objectives. The sanctions serve as a means of eliminating competitors.
I would like to point out another sign of a growing economic selfishness. Some countries [have] chosen to create closed economic associations, with the establishment being negotiated behind the scenes, in secret from those countries' own citizens, the general public, business community and from other countries.
Other states whose interests may be affected are not informed of anything, either. It seems that we are about to be faced with an accomplished fact that the rules of the game have been changed in favor of a narrow group of the privileged, with the WTO having no say. This could unbalance the trade system completely and disintegrate the global economic space.
These issues affect the interest of all states and influence the future of the world economy as a whole. That is why we propose discussing them within the U.N. WTO NGO (ph) '20.
Contrary to the policy of exclusiveness, Russia proposes harmonizing original economic projects. I refer to the so-called integration of integrations based on universal and transparent rules of international trade. As an example, I would like to cite our plans to interconnect the Eurasian economic union, and China's initiative of the Silk Road economic belt.
We still believe that harmonizing the integration processes within the Eurasian Economic Union and the European Union is highly promising.
Ladies and gentlemen, the issues that affect the future of all people include the challenge of global climate change. It is in our interest to make the U.N. Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Paris a success.
As part of our national contribution, we plan to reduce by 2030 the greenhouse emissions to 70, 75 percent of the 1990 level.
I suggest, however, we should take a wider view on this issue. Yes, we might defuse the problem for a while, by setting quotas on harmful emissions or by taking other measures that are nothing but tactical. But we will not solve it that way. We need a completely different approach.
We have to focus on introducing fundamental and new technologies inspired by nature, which would not damage the environment, but would be in harmony with it. Also, that would allow us to restore the balance upset by biosphere and technosphere (ph) upset by human activities.
It is indeed a challenge of planetary scope, but I'm confident that humankind has intellectual potential to address it. We need to join our efforts. I refer, first of all, to the states that have a solid research basis and have made significant advances in fundamental science.
We propose convening a special forum under the U.N. auspices for a comprehensive consideration of the issues related to the depletion of natural resources, destruction of habitat and climate change.
Russia would be ready to co-sponsor such a forum.
Ladies and gentlemen, colleagues, it was on the 10th of January, 1946, in London that the U.N. General Assembly gathered for its first session.
Mr. Suleta (ph) (inaudible), a Colombian diplomat and the chairman of the Preparatory Commission, opened the session by giving, I believe, a concise definition of the basic principles that the U.N. should follow in its activities, which are free will, defiance of scheming and trickery and spirit of cooperation.
Today, his words sound as a guidance for all of us. Russia believes in the huge potential of the United Nations, which should help us avoid a new global confrontation and engage in strategic cooperation. Together with other countries, we will consistently work towards strengthening the central coordinating role of the U.N. I'm confident that by working together, we will make the world stable and safe, as well as provide conditions for the development of all states and nations.
For those of you who are confused about what is happening vis a vis Ukraine in European negotiations with Russia and the US talking up weapons-supply with Kiev , Peter Lavelle's Crosstalk, "Saving Ukraine" on RT today came up with some useful analysis from guests Mary Dejevsky (Independent and Guardian, columnist, UK), Alexander Mercouris, (writer and analyst on legal affairs, London), and James Jatras, (former advisor to the US Senate Republican leadership). The issue was, "Will peace be given one last chance? The French president and German chancellor head to Moscow for talks to end Ukraine’s civil war. At the same time the US Secretary of State arrives in Kiev to arrange training and arms transfers. Which approach will prevail?"
Emerging from this discussion was that the US's recent hawkish talk of supplying weapons to Kiev (the West Ukraine government that is bombing its people in East Ukraine) is going too far for Europe. Europe does not want a war on its territory. The US is showing incredible insensitivity to this rational unwillingness of Europeans to expand the Ukraine civil war. The US seems to expect European governments to do anything it wants. The Europeans are afraid of the US but they are more afraid of war in Europe. Angela Merkel (German Chancellor) and Francois Hollande (French President) have taken a crucial step of going to Russia to meet with President Putin independently of the United States. Whilst the European Union is under the thrall of US influenced financial institutions it is difficult for the members of the EU to act independently of the US. Only the threat of war could make them risk US disapproval. Someone had to stand up to the United States, however. Another reason that these two European leaders may have decided to act independently is that the people in their countries disapprove of the US role in drumming up war in the Ukraine. Furthermore, Greece's recent left-wing party, Syriza's win of government might precipitate a domino effect in the European Union with other left-wing parties achieving government and defaulting on their debts, making new alliances and abandoning the Euro.
Some facets of the discussion in the video above were:
The Kiev Donesk or Ukraine vs East Ukraine conflict is a civil war, but it is being presented by US media as if it were a conflict between Russia and the United States. John Kerry and Putin have already agreed on ways to resolve it but the Kiev Government and Donetsk won't carry these out. This is a really big war, with hundreds of thousands now dead because of it and one million refugees currently living in Russia. Russia's position was to stand back and encourage Ukraine to resolve the issue through federalisation, but the situation is now much deteriorated and it is unlikely that East Ukraine could accept that. It is not reasonable to propose a temporary buffer zone round East Ukraine when this could be broken at any time by renewed warfare - which happened when Kiev renewed hostilities after a ceasefire was negotiated in early December last year. If Kiev is incapable of regaining East Ukraine, would it become defacto Russian territory by default? If that happened there would be a danger of the US media misrepresenting this as a 'coup' by Russia.