by John Ward
In a special ‘helicopter view’ post, The Slog looks at what really lies behind the current US > Russia > EU > UK tensions, and asks, “Do we want to be on anyone’s side in all this nonsense?”
I have friends who find the above (now long-standing) feature of the Slog extreme and offensive. They tell me it is a classic of Little Englander bigotry and outdated thinking. In the light of the events of the last week or so, I wonder what they think now.
Let’s just do a brief catch-up on two stories that are, in reality, one: the poisoning of a Russian former spy (perhaps double-agent) in Britain, and the abrupt dismissal of Rex Tillerson. The UK government and its philandering, pro-Singapore neoliberal drunkard Foreign Secretary have suddenly decided to get angry about Russian espionage activities on British soil. If you know anything at all about the real world of ‘spying’ and cyber/chemical warfare, then you will see both the act itself and British reaction to it as standard behaviour.
Putin’s chaps regularly bump off MI6 recruits and off-message oligarchal psychos in this manner. It’s regrettable, but given our species, normal. I’m not excusing it: I’m just calling out the reaction to it as hypocritical in the extreme.
The idea that British spooks and diplomats would start an argument with Moscow in the absence of Washington/State/Pentagon permission is beyond silly: we manufactured (along with the French) a coup against Nasser in 1956, and were told by Eisenhower to withdraw forthwith. That was a long-ago action against a 3rd division nation: this is 2018, and Russia is the sole nuclear power competing with the US. Grow up.
Theresa May’s government has turned to sabre-rattling over this event – still, I might add, a matter of frenzied conjecture – 90% because the US State Department told it to, but 10% because the Brexit-embattled Mayflower crew badly needs a distraction and the Remains need a boost.
36 hours ago, the last civilian geopolitical heavy-hitter in the Trump White House was abruptly told to spend more time with his family. His place was taken by Mike Pompeo – a CIA lifer and military behind-the-lines agitator in league with the nutjob Koch brothers of serial infamy.
Again, it is not my intention to demonise these players as uniquely twisted: they are no better or worse than the monsters around Putin. However, we need to get some perspective here: the civilian FBI was out to get Trump, and the military CIA is now almost certainly controlling Trump….whether he realises it or not. Pompeo’s appointment not only neuters the FBI as a potential force for the Rule of Law in the US: it confirms that what I call “CIA Texas Pentagon” is the real ruling force in the American Republic.
It is, as so often, a question of munnneeeee and oooeeeeuuurrrl.
Vlad the Lad knows he is sitting on a treasure chest of oil, but both windows are limited: in the short term, NATO will have its way and secure the Syria-route pipeline that threatens to nix Putin’s monopoly of supply; and in the medium term, oil consumption will fall in the west as hybrid, electric and fusion cars come on stream. But for now, all is uncertainty because, as always, neither British politicians nor EU bureaucrats have planned for a post-oil world….and the Americans won’t think past oil because the AltState was founded by oilmen who first of all infiltrated the CIA, and then bought Congress. Now – for the third time – they own the White House as well.
The context is as clear as a bell for those who are awake and in possession of objective stereoscopic mind-eyes to see it. Putin has knocked back every US/EUNATO caper in the Ukraine and Syria with the consummate ease of a class-act chess player. But even he can’t change the fact that the West aka CIA Texas Pentagon will have its oil pipeline and we will so have it, so up yours former Commie Russkie bastards.
And as ever, the US élite’s favourite British bumboys fall into line.
For Boris Johnson, of course, the canvas is smaller: with the gruesome avarice of all those who smell the scent of power in their nostrils, he grasps this apparent opportunity to become the sole Churchillian hero-figure in a government that seems spineless in its Brexit negotiations. For BoJo – be in no doubt – this is his last chance for a chancer’s route to 10 Downing Street.
Boris is positively revelling in the diplomatic exclusion claptrap that was always going to be the outcome of this farrago: we’re sending 23 of their spooks home, while they’re deporting an as yet unspecified number of ours. Let us now steel ourselves and send more bicycles to the Polish border…let’s get the Ivans really quaking in their badly-manufactured boots.
Alternatively, for heaven’s sake, think: if they know who our spies are and we know who theirs are, how is it tenable to suggest that this comes as a shock to the British Establishment? If we really do know who engineered the poisoning thing, why not just highlight those assholes who did it – and then send them back to Mother Russia?
It stinks. But most of all, the odour of this ordure emanates from the long-decomposing corpse of that 1940s relic The Special Relationship. It demanded that first Thatcher and then Blair be fellow-travellers on the road to CIA régime change in Iraq. It insisted that Cameron do the same in Gadaffi’s Libya. And only Westminster dissenters stopped Obama, Clinton and Cameron from synchronised bombing in Syria.
The “United” Kingdom engages in these costly and ill-considered foreign adventures because its political class refuses to accept our at best marginal importance in the drive towards American global hegemony over world affairs.
I say no to alliance with the EU (a flimsy veil for NATO to wear) and allegiance to the USA because I have long believed that our future lies in skillfully marketing uniquely British goods to the emerging nouveaux of the Third World. There is oil aplenty under the Mediterranean (if Texas won’t invest in it, then the UK needs to find partners – like Cyprus – who will) but as always the Westminster solution is a diminishing-returns, ecologically dangerous short-term fix: fracking.
Once again, we are delivered unto deep doodoo by the political class and their neoliberal, fast-buck allies who just don’t get investment.
The same fatties who took over the water supply sector and failed to repair the infrastructure are the same clowns desperate now to get American oilco’s frantically digging more holes to screw up the supply yet further. The same vandals keen to saddle an underpaid nation with health insurance bills that will bankrupt them. But the price we’re constantly asked to pay for our Special ReNATOnship seems to be (a) letting every carpetbagging US (or French or German) globalist in to shove out such manufacturing as we have left…..and (b) developing an ever-more visceral hatred of the Russians.
Astonishingly, Labour supporters too won’t hear a word said against NATO, won’t hear a word said against an EU that illegally destroyed the Greek socialist government, and do swallow the Putin threat drivel in one mighty gulp. But perhaps they should ask themselves this: do they know anything about how this is affecting public opinion in the Russian Federation? And what sort of mentality is it breeding in the Kremlin towards the West…..the same one as has been developed by the Arab world, perhaps?
Ordinary Russians I met over two months last year sneered at Britain for what it is: an American lapdog with pathetic pretensions to world “power”. But – whatever they think about Putin himself – they resent the sanctions that followed Ukraine and Crimea, and feel threatened by having 27 Cubas on their borders. I don’t blame them.
We are in fact giving nourishment to the more militarist nutters in the Russian Establishment who look to Putin and his successors to restore Russian pride and independence. This is precisely what CIA Texas Pentagon wants: enemies are good for business. The rest of us have to live in the real world.
Ultimately, things will turn very nasty indeed when the big geopolitical factors change from being rare earth minerals and fossil fuels to clean, drinking water and climate. When it comes to water drawn from Eastern Europe’s water system, Russia has need of it both for health and ‘weaponising’ reasons. Putin is extremely sensitive to any NATO moves further reducing the RF’s access to the Danube and its tributaries. The water modernisation programme initiated by Moscow in 2006 has been largely neglected since 2013 because of pressures on oil income during the world recession, NATO sanctions, and the uncertain value of the Rouble. But beneath the surface of a temporary threat to RF water purity, the Kremlin is rumoured to be looking at a future time when ambitious flow-change projects could cut large areas of Europe off from fresh water.
You see, silly sanctions lead to tensions, and tensions lead to consequences. As a nation, Britain needs to ask whether it really wants to fry in order to keep the Texan oil barons in clover. The bottom line really is that simple, and we Brits need to focus on it.
Join up all these dots – and this is geopolitical fact, not conspiracy theory – every month now it becomes clearer to me what former US contacts in New York, LA and Washington meant when they said five years ago, a propos the EU, “John, come what may, the American Alt State will not allow you to leave….there is too much at stake”.
You don’t have to be of Mensa intelligence to see how ramping up the Russiaphobia could scare Leavers into preferring safety to freedom. Federica Mogherini will get her army…and if we’re “in” at that point, there will be no turning back.
In that context, observing UKIP falling apart like an MFI kitchen unit is beyond sad: it reflects a real and present danger to meaningful Brexit. This is our last chance to use our island status like the Swiss use their mountains: to keep us neutral, and create an orderly system of devolved cantonesque democracy. We mustn’t blow it through cowardice, naivety and ignorance.