Common Grounds


Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!

February 08, 2024

 

Biden and Blinken Now Poised to Wash Hands in Innocence

 


The Hague, The Netherlands 09 February 2024 | If you know of any story that is decisive, tell the world. We're still searching.

 


'IF ISRAEL DOESN'T OFFER AN ALTERNATIVE AND CHAOS REIGNS IN GAZA, WE'LL END UP WITH HAMAS RULE AGAIN'


"It comes down to this: What is more important – the survival of the prime minister in the current government, or… whether from the atrocities of 7 October, the lowest point in our history, we can achieve something grand, something that will create a new horizon," stressing that Israel has the most to lose by continuing to avoid the question of what will happen in Gaza "the day after" the war.

Our Friday News Analysis | What the World Reads Now!

Displaced Palestinians, who fled their houses due to Israeli strikes, take shelter in a tent camp in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, 6 February 2024.
Credit: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters

 

Click here to listen the podcast

 

Haaretz Israel Podcast
Host Allison Kaplan Sommer
6 February 2024


Israel's former head of military intelligence, Tamir Hayman, now the managing director of the Institute for National Security Studies, joins host Allison Kaplan Sommer on the Haaretz Podcast to discuss Israel's war with Hamas and the critical question: How far is Israel willing to go to bring 130-plus hostages home?


While Hayman believes that the terms of a cease-fire are negotiable on both sides, he is skeptical that Israel's current government would release the political prisoners with blood on their hands that Hamas will demand in exchange. Therefore, "a large-scale hostage deal is not in the cards."


Israeli political considerations, he adds, also stand in the way of what he believes is Israel's best chance: embracing the Biden administration's "American Initiative for Regional Change," which packages a cease-fire in Gaza, acceptance of the Palestinian Authority as a central civilian authority there, and Saudi normalization and regional integration.

 


Israel's former head of military intelligence, Tamir Hayman, is now the managing director of the Institute for National Security Studies


"It comes down to this: What is more important – the survival of the prime minister in the current government, or… whether from the atrocities of 7 October, the lowest point in our history, we can achieve something grand, something that will create a new horizon," Hayman asserts, stressing that Israel has the most to lose by continuing to avoid the question of what will happen in Gaza "the day after" the war.


"If you don't give an alternative... for the population, eventually you will have chaos, and you will end up with Hamas rule," he says.


Four months after 7 October, Hayman says that the question of the failures that led to the surprise attack continues to occupy him. "There is no night that I go to sleep, and I don't think about my time as head of intelligence and ask myself whether I was wrong in my assumptions regarding Hamas."

 

Read more: Our Wednesday News Analysis, ‘From Here, from Gaza’ – Enough, Stop the Genocide Now,’ by Shahd Safi – Gaza, Palestine Chronicle, 5 February 2024.

 

Read more: Our Wednesday News Analysis, ‘My children are crying from hunger. This is a war of starvation,’ by Ruwaida Kamal Amer, +972 Magazine, 31 January 2024.

 

Read more: Our Wednesday News Analysis, ‘War on Gaza pits Palestinian liberation theology against Evangelical Zionism, by Hamid Dabashi, Middle East Eye, 6 February 2024.

 


What is the Side of the Story that is Not Yet Decisive? Edited by Abraham A. van Kempen.

 


COL. DOUGLAS MACGREGOR: TO BOMB OR NOT TO BOMB IRAN

 

Military Analyst Col. MacGregor says it might not be a question of if but when. “Remember Vietnam.”

 

 

Click here to view the video (35 Minutes, 5 seconds)

 

Hosted by Judge Napolitana
Judging Freedom
5 February 2024

 

“If the West bombs Iran, Iran and its allies – the BRICS Alliance – will bomb the West.”

 

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Editor’s Note | “Netanyahu, We Told You So!”

 

 


Still cautiously optimistic, even with World War III brewing, I think we're not heading toward Armageddon, and this might be wishful thinking. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, Argentina, and the United Arab Republic) prefer stability. So do most of the eight billion inhabitants of Planet Earth.

 

BRICS controls a significant share of the world’s natural resources. If Venezuela were to join BRICS, this formidable intergovernmental economic alliance would weigh in with 70 percent of the oil reserves.

 

Expect an oil embargo.

 

However, Israel’s 400 million neighbors in the Middle East might retaliate by bulldozing Tel Aviv identically to how Israel has ravaged Gaza. How will the West respond? The EU-US/NATO Western Alliance will tell Netanyahu to fly a kite. “Netanyahu, we told you so! We wash our hands in innocence.”

 

I assure you, not one person in Europe nor the US wants a nuclear crater in their backyard.


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BREAKING NEWS | NETANYAHU REJECTS HAMAS'S GAZA CEASE-FIRE PROPOSAL, CALLING IT 'DELUSIONAL' – A SETBACK FOR BLINKEN ON HIS ISRAEL TRIP.

 

"The only solution is total victory." – Netanyahu.
"Israelis were dehumanized on 7 October. That can't be a license to dehumanize others." – Blinken.

 


Benjamin Netanyahu chairs a cabinet meeting at the Israeli Ministry of Defense in Tel Aviv, Israel, 31 December 2023 © AFP / Abir Sultan.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Wednesday that a plan proposed by Hamas to halt fighting in Gaza, exchange Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners, and ultimately end the war was a non-starter, adding that Israel would continue its military operation in the south. It was a setback for Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was in Israel seeking to build support for a hostage deal and humanitarian pause.

 

Hamas has proposed a three-stage cease-fire plan over 135 days split into three 45-day phases that would lead to an end to the war. PM Netanyahu called the Hamas proposal "delusional" and that its conditions would "lead to another massacre." A new round of talks between Qatar and Egypt about a hostage release deal is set to begin in Cairo on Thursday. Saudi Arabia stated that there would be no diplomatic relations with Israel unless an independent Palestinian state is recognized on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital and Israeli "aggression" in the Gaza Strip stops.

 

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has shot down a Hamas-proposed plan to end the conflict in Gaza, telling reporters that "there is no other solution besides absolute victory" over the Palestinian militants.

 

The Hamas-authored document proposes a three-stage, 135-day cease-fire during which Israeli hostages would be swapped for Palestinian prisoners, reconstruction work would begin in Gaza, and talks aimed at a permanent truce would be held. In contrast, Israeli troops withdraw from the strip.

 

The plan's text was leaked to Reuters on Tuesday and rejected by Netanyahu a day later.

 

"Surrender to Hamas's delusional demands, that we've just heard, not only would not bring about the freedom of the hostages, it would only invite an additional slaughter; it would invite disaster for Israel that no Israeli citizens want," Netanyahu said at a press conference.

 

Crucially, Hamas' proposal would leave the militant group in place as Gaza's governing authority. In contrast, an earlier proposal by Qatari and Egyptian negotiators should have mentioned who would govern the enclave after the conflict.

 

Netanyahu insisted that "the day after" in Gaza "is the day after Hamas." The Israeli premier said that Israel would "ensure that Gaza is demilitarized forever" and "will act in Gaza wherever and whenever it needs to, to ensure that terror does not again raise its head."

 

"We are on the way to total victory," Netanyahu claimed, adding that "victory is achievable; it's not a matter of years or decades, it's a matter of months."

 

Netanyahu's insistence on "total victory" has strained relations between West Jerusalem and Washington, as has his rejection of a two-state solution to the decades-long conflict with the Palestinians.

 

While the US has not endorsed any particular cease-fire proposal, Secretary of State Antony Blinken met with both Netanyahu and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas on Wednesday, telling the Israeli leader that the US views "the establishment of a Palestinian state as the best way to ensure lasting peace and security" in the region, according to a State Department readout.

 

Israeli forces have been waging war against Hamas for more than 120 days and, according to Netanyahu, have made "unprecedented" gains against the militants. However, while the prime minister claimed that Israeli forces had killed 20,000 Hamas fighters, the Gaza Health Ministry states that around two-thirds of the 27,000 people killed in the enclave have been women and children. As of late last month, US intelligence officials believed that Israel had killed as few as 5,000 militants, according to the Wall Street Journal.

 

The Israeli PM denied reports that Hamas was re-establishing itself in northern Gaza but told reporters on Wednesday that eliminating the group was "a process that takes time."

 


HAARETZ TODAY | BIDEN KEEPS ON CHOOSING THE CARROT OVER THE STICK WHEN IT COMES TO ISRAEL

 

The Senate package leaves much to be desired for those hoping that Biden would finally use military assistance as leverage.

 


US President Joe Biden speaks in the State Dining Room of the White House on Tuesday in Washington. Credit: Evan Vucci /AP

 

By Ben Samuels
Haaretz Israel
6 February 2024


WASHINGTON | The White House and Senate Democrats say the finalized version of US President Joe Biden's national security supplemental package is essential for US interests.


If you take them at their word, this includes providing $14 billion in unconditioned aid to Israel while caving to Republican pressure on Palestinian aid and outright ignoring the two-state solution.


The Senate package leaves much to be desired for those hoping that Biden would finally use military assistance as leverage. The bill largely ignores many of the demands widely supported by mainstream Democrats while taking steps backward toward assisting Palestinian civilians.


Senate Democrats indicated there was no appetite for conditioning military aid to Israel inside the supplemental after only 11 senators voted for Sen. Bernie Sanders' resolution requiring a State Department report on alleged Israeli human rights violations. Many Democrats, either publicly or privately, felt Sanders' resolution was too punitive and instead lent support to proposed amendments to the supplemental.

 


Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington in June 2023. Credit: Jose Luis Magana /AP


One example backed by 18 senators required Biden to guarantee that any weapons provided would be used under US and international law. Another, supported by 22 senators, aimed to ensure Congress would be able to review weapons transfers to Israel after Biden twice ignored congressional oversight on arms sales.


Despite these efforts, the bill's final version calls for $10.6 billion in Defense Department assistance and $3.5 billion in foreign military financing, all without the shackles of restrictions or conditions. It will, in fact, only be easier for Biden to circumvent Congress on arms sales thanks to language in the bill waiving congressional notification requirements – not only ignoring demands but flying in their face.


The vast majority of Democrats were ignored not only concerning wonky processes but also core messaging on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


Forty-nine senators (virtually the entire Democratic caucus) backed an effort to affirm US support for a two-state solution formally. The omission of the solution from the bill – the administration's supposed north star – is a painfully missed opportunity.


While the bill's Israeli elements effectively represent a green light, the Palestinian portion adds self-defeating roadblocks to short-term crisis management and long-term aspirations.


No money was earmarked for the Palestinians, and the $9.2 billion stipulated for humanitarian aid is explicitly barred from going to the UNRWA refugee agency. This includes Gaza, where US officials repeatedly stressed it is "the only game in town" before suspending UNRWA funding last month, or in any other neighboring country. It also prevents the agency from receiving the already approved $300,000 US funding, marking a further step backward.

 


A truck marked with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency logo crosses into Egypt from Gaza at the Rafah border crossing in November 2023. Credit: AMR ABDALLAH DALSH/ REUTERS


On this matter, Republicans scored the win here, while the Democratic center was primarily ignored after 20-plus lawmakers in each party dueled on the future of the U.S.-UNRWA relationship.


The bill comes a week after Biden's executive order cleared the path for sanctions on those endangering stability in the West Bank – an undeniably significant step toward accountability.


But if anyone thought the supplemental aid package would be the next step toward Biden using sticks instead of carrots with Israel, the result proves what Biden has been saying this whole time: he has Israel's back.


However, all of this may be for naught as internal GOP angst threatens to derail the efforts despite months of painstaking negotiations over the finalized bill – fueled mainly by dissent from former US President Donald Trump and his allies in Washington.


Should it somehow pass the Senate, it will be dead on arrival in the House, where leadership is set to hold a vote on a standalone bill providing Israel with $17 billion in unconditional aid.


Even this effort, however, faces an uphill battle. It will need to pass by a two-thirds majority on Tuesday's vote amid dissension from the House Freedom Caucus, which argues that the funding needs to be offset by cuts to other federal spending.


No matter what path one follows for providing aid to Israel, all roads seem to hit a dead end.


Read more from Haaretz Israel about Israel's war against Hamas:


■ Zaka may have cost Israel its case against Hamas at the world court


■ When it comes to hostage deals, staying in power is always Netanyahu's paramount concern


■ God forbid Israelis show any humanity to innocent Palestinians in Gaza


■ Israeli army probing death of 12 hostages in Kibbutz Be'eri house shelled on orders of the senior officer


■ Hamas is in no hurry to seal a hostage deal. Neither is Netanyahu's government


■ Israeli army investigating dozens of suspected violations of international law by its soldiers in Gaza


■ Blinken visits Israel: Expected to discuss hostage negotiations, Gaza day-after plans


■ 'I'm not dead, but I don't exist': A Gazan family starts over from nothing in Europe



THE PRESIDENT VS. THE GENERAL


Ukrainian General Valery Zaluzhny wants the war to end now, and President Volodymyr Zelensky may just have fired him.

 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky shakes the hand of Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny, during the official celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day on 24 August 2023 in Kyiv. / Photo by Alexey Furman/Getty Images.

 

By Seymour Hersh
Substack.com
1 February 2024

 

It's suddenly a tabloid war. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is reported to have demanded that General Valery Zaluzhny, the battle-scarred and much-respected commander of Ukraine's armed forces, resign. Zaluzhny has said nothing publicly, but his spokesman denied that his boss was fired.


The ongoing drama between the pair has caused consternation in Washington since Zaluzhny said last fall in an interview with the Economist that the war against Russia was a stalemate. He had not shared his dour message in advance with Zelensky, though it was known to a few in Washington.


Some at the Pentagon and the intelligence community welcomed Zaluzhny's assessment as the beginning of an inevitable peace process. I reported in December that Zaluzhny had been in secret discussions with his Russian counterpart, General Valery Gerasimov, on the many complicated issues that needed to be resolved if the war ended. Gerasimov was keeping his boss in Moscow, Vladimir Putin, informed Zaluzhny was not doing the same in Kyiv.


One immediate issue was re-establishing prisoner exchanges, which had initially been implemented with the help of Turkey on a limited basis early in the war but soon dwindled. That such exchanges had been re-established in negotiations between the two involved armies became an issue last week when the Ukrainian military shot down a Russian military transport plane now believed to have been involved in prisoner repatriation.


There is no evidence that Zelensky knew that sixty-five of his fellow Ukrainians, all captured by the Russian Army, were on board the plane. Still, he certainly knew, a knowledgeable American official told me, that the prisoner exchanges had been going on for many weeks.


The incident was harrowing for even the best of America's newspapers to assess. The New York Times noted that if Ukraine "did shoot down a Russian plane with its soldiers aboard, even unwittingly, it would be a painful setback at a difficult time for its war effort, which is severely challenged by ammunition and personnel shortage and fears that Western support is eroding."


Zelensky's desire to fire his commanding general is the result, some Americans believe, of his knowledge that Zaluzhny had continued to participate—whether directly or through aides is not known—in secret talks since last fall with American and other Western officials on how best to achieve a cease-fire and negotiate an end to the war with Russia. Those talks led Zaluzhny to declare to the Economist that the war was stalemated. Zelensky has talked of mobilizing 500,000 more soldiers via another draft and trying again this spring to launch another counteroffensive against the Russians. Ukraine, of course, would need renewed funding from the Biden administration to do so. It is unclear whether Republicans in Congress are prepared to finance another counteroffensive, but there is little doubt that the Biden administration would lobby hard for the funds. (On Thursday, the EU approved funding for Ukraine over 50 billion euros.)


All of this comes at a time when there has been renewed interest among some in the American military and intelligence community in finding a way to both support significant reform in the Ukrainian government and support Zaluzhny's efforts for far-reaching talks with Russia about a settlement in the war. A few hints of the details were provided last week to the Washington Post in a story headlined "In Ukraine, US dials back plans to take turf." The article left open the possibility of Ukraine undertaking future military action against Russia. The Post reported that the key elements are supported for Ukraine's battered industrial and export base and funding for the political reforms required for full integration into Western Europe.


According to a knowledgeable American official, the first step of the new concept is a long-standing issue: financial reform. Zelensky must be told: "You've got to get rid of corruption before we do anything more." The second step does not exist today in Ukraine: a severe audit of all government funding. The official said Zelensky should consider the billions he needs "as our money, as an investment with all of the rules" for its disbursement "to be laid out. and followed."


Last year, CIA Director William Burns secretly flew to Kyiv to warn Zelensky face-to-face that Washington was aware of his corruption and his unwillingness to dismiss any of the dozens of officials named by Burns—known to be deeply involved in diverting defense funds to personal accounts. As I reported, Burns also told the president that there was anger among some of his subordinates because he was taking too large a cut of the spoils.


"The third step," the official said, is for Zelensky to use the funds "to build infrastructure and the economy. The fourth and final step is to defend your country."


The official said that the plan is the new American message for Zelensky. "There is no mention in our plan about a cease-fire. We kept the word fighting in there. Let's keep the Russians spending as they have in the war." He said nothing in the new message would prevent Ukraine and Russia from accepting "the essential territorial divisions that now exist" in the ongoing secret talks between representatives of Gerasimov and Zaluzhny.


The actual concept is far more complicated and ambitious, the official told me, and envisions sustained support for Zaluzhny and reforms that would lead to the end of the Zelensky regime. The talk this week of firing Zaluzhny left some of the planners dismayed. The official told me that forging a new strategy requires "consultation and education of key patriotic and realistic Ukrainians." The danger with such reform is that there will be leaks to the press and "an effort by the entrenched corrupt beneficiaries of the US' free lunch' policy to derail the process."


He referred to tensions between Zelensky and Zaluzhny: "This is an old-fashioned power struggle. We all know that stopping this madness won't be easy and may fail, but many lives are at stake, and integrity demands the best efforts. We couldn't have gotten airborne without a willing and courageous pilot," referring to General Zaluzhny.


"Of course, Zelensky knew that Zaluzhny was dealing with the West," the official said. "But Zelensky will be a dead man walking with the army, which favors the general. He's going to have a mutiny on his hands."


The current plan evolved among intelligence and military bureaucracy experts without input from the White House, the State Department, or the National Security Council. "It stems from the American and Ukraine general staffs, and it is putting investments" from private industry, the official said, "and not solely government funding and grants as the ticket out.


"Putin, too," the official said, "is looking for a way out. And he's got the message." The Russian leader has won the four oblasts that formed the core of his battle plan after earlier losses in the war, and his control of Crimea is no longer an open question. "The strategy now being proposed," the official suggested, in talks a few blocks from the White House but light-years away in attitude, "is to settle the war and the financial plan for Ukraine."

 


ANALYSIS | HERE’S WHY THE US CAN’T GET ALONG WITH THE OTHER MAJOR GLOBAL POWERS

 

American elites believe in democracy at home and dictatorship abroad; that’s why the world is so dangerous right now.

 

US President Joe Biden answers questions while departing the White House on 30 January 2024, in Washington, DC © Getty Images.

 

By Andrey Sushentsov
HomeWorld News
31 January 2024

 

Ukraine is a convenient, relatively cheap tool for the US to weaken and contain Russia and to force its European allies to keep their discipline and obey. This is all part of an international struggle for a new hierarchy.


Of course, it’s just a temporary phenomenon until a new balance of power, recognized by all, is established. Until this point is reached, we will see foreign policy experiments by various countries. The position of small and medium-sized states is increasingly attracting the attention of the great powers, which are negotiating the formation of a new balance. We are at a point where a small state can demand much more than it would in a rigid hierarchy system.


In the struggle to increase its status in the world hierarchy, Russia feels well prepared to defend its national interests and restore justice. It is through such a stress test, like the one we see now, that the realism of assessments, national qualities, and the strength of resources and strategy are put to the test.


In essence, this crisis tests the quality of the strategy of all participants: Everyone enters it with their initial understanding of what the world looks like, how it works, and where history is going.


The US sincerely believes that foreign policy is part of domestic policy. Moreover, every American external strategy is a component of internal struggles. Of course, the country’s self-absorption makes its allies near and far very nervous and creates uncertainty in the development of the situation. I do not see any objective conditions for Washington to reduce its involvement in Ukrainian affairs. The current decision to suspend funding is technical: Most likely, the US will find a way to transfer the necessary funds to Ukraine from another source.


The US is eliminating any impulses for strategic autonomy by Western Europeans and is cutting off resources from that side of the continent. The Americans “sold” the conflict to the Euros as a quick victory over Russia, leading to more accessible access to large amounts of resources and the opportunity to enrich themselves. As the conflict dragged on, the relative gains for the Americans and the Western Europeans began to decline. The resources that the latter should use for their development are now channeled into purchasing energy resources, the primary material basis of any development, at inflated prices or supplying arms and military equipment to Ukraine. Therefore, we will not see anything new in the American strategy. Since the latest draft of the Russian budget assumes the preservation of military conditions for the next three years, I do not believe that the Americans will be ready to abandon their asset in the form of Ukraine.

 

Another observation is that Americans never “hold” a falling asset. As investors, they realize that they need to put their dollars into something else quickly. And maybe, at some point, they will feel that Ukraine is an asset constantly costing them money but has stopped adding value.


The Americans could be forced to withdraw their support from Ukraine by an emergency in another part of the world, causing them to concentrate their efforts there. Taiwan or a crisis in the Western Hemisphere comes to mind.


The suspension of funding for Ukraine would not have happened if Kyiv had shown signs of being a good investment and if the media image of a “victorious Ukraine” and “doomed Russia” painted by the Americans was a reality. The problem for Ukraine and the West is that reality does not support the constant production of imaginary ideas. This makes it harder to “hold” the asset.

 

Instead of positive images associated with victory: triumph, and good returns on investment, other news comes in a stalled offensive, corruption scandals, President Vladimir Zelensky’s attempt to pressure allies, and scandals with Nazi collaborators in which he is directly involved. The shocking episode of honoring a World War Two Waffen SS criminal in the Canadian Parliament is symptomatic of a more significant problem.


Throughout the decades, as the sizeable Ukrainian diaspora in Canada has grown in influence, the US has turned a blind eye to the cult around the OUN-UPA [Ukrainian nationalists who were aligned with Adolf Hitler’s Germany] in its ranks, where it is expected to honor Nazi collaborators and indoctrinate children in schools. The Ukrainian government, realizing this is already a legitimized phenomenon, is beginning to use it in its official propaganda.


However, some changes are taking place: For the first time, the Americans are correcting the Ukrainians when they stage provocations, including information provocations, in an attempt to shift responsibility for their crimes onto Russia. The missile strike on civilian facilities in Kostantinovka, which, by a strange set of circumstances, coincided with Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit to Kyiv, was attributed by Ukrainian propaganda as a “Russian crime.” Washington seemingly corrected Kyiv for the first time by pointing out that the missile was Ukrainian. The fact that such disagreements have arisen suggests that, at some point, the interests of the US and Ukraine may diverge. I believe the Kyiv elites should consider what a “plan B” would look like for them because they put all their eggs in one basket and thus cut off any path to negotiations, retreat, or some other scenario.

 

Could the American election campaign impact the Ukrainian conflict? I would consider a scenario in which it would not make anything better for Russia, and I would start from the premise that we should be indifferent to who sits in the White House. Frankly, discussions with the Americans on regional crises are repetitive. I remember them on the Syrian conflict when Washington’s experts said that it would have a strong negative impact on Russia’s domestic politics, that we would be at odds with the Islamic world, and that our relations with Türkiye, Iran, and others would collapse. All this was unfounded speculation. Russia acted in its interests and, in the end, achieved the optimal picture for itself.


It must be recognized that the US is becoming increasingly cynical and no longer observes many of the rules it once espoused.


We see this in the series of terrorist attacks by Ukraine against Russian public figures, which Washington does not condemn. The issue of counter-terrorism, for example, once united the Americans and Moscow – in the early 2000s, we even tested the possibility of deep cooperation. But this is all gone now.


First, communication with our country in the fight against terrorism has been interrupted, even though this is a vital area of interest in which cooperation is crucial.

 

Second, Americans often use the groups that are recognized in our country as terrorist groups instrumentally to achieve their goals. Americans are utterly blind to the terrorist actions of the Ukrainian armed forces, the government, and the unique services that openly target civilian infrastructure and intimidate the civilian population. It is as if they are turning a blind eye to this, as well as to all manifestations of Nazi elements in Ukrainian politics.

 

The structural problems of the US in its relations with Russia and other major countries are as follows: Washington cannot imagine that human dignity and self-respect can be possessed by anyone other than itself and that other countries have their points of view. What the Americans practice pretty well in their domestic politics – attention to every voice, different communities, freedom of speech – they cannot tolerate in international affairs. The principle of sovereign equality of countries is complicated for them.


Valdai Discussion Club first published and translated this article edited by the RT team. Andrey Sushentsov is the program director of the Valdai Club.

 


JUST IN | TRUMP'S BALLOT ACCESS CASE ON TRIAL

 

As the Supreme Court reviews Colorado's decision to remove Donald Trump from the ballot, press delusions multiply

 

 

By Matt Taibbi
Substack.Com
8 February 2024


Reading news on a flight to Las Vegas for tonight’s caucus… The CNN headline: “Supreme Court faces its greatest test yet from Trump.” Oral arguments are being heard in the high court today in Donald Trump’s ballot access case, about which CNN commentator Stephen Collinson seems to have no opinion, apart from being sure Trump’s response to its adjudication will be sociopathic and end human civilization as we know it:


Few critical US democratic institutions have escaped unsullied from a tangle with Donald Trump… given Trump’s chronic refusal to accept the rules and results of elections, no one would be surprised if the court is dragged deeper into the partisan fray before or after November’s presidential election… no modern president has gone further than Trump in daring to shatter the notion that judges are obligated to pursue a higher calling than partisan politics – preserving the rule of law…


He goes on:


The four times criminally indicted Trump repeatedly sets out to lean on or discredit institutions that can hold him accountable, restrain his power, or contradict his incessantly spun alternative realities… [His] mantra of victimization is now at the center of a presidential campaign based on the perception that he’s being politically persecuted… History shows that however the court rules, Trump’s response will be filtered through his highly developed sense of injustice, suspicion of accountability institutions, and his often self-serving interpretation of the law…


Every day for nearly nine years now, it’s been the same redundant passages in quantity, the same devotional rituals, no different from the ceremonially slaughtered pigs or goats nervous aristocrats used to offer up in classical times. I’m convinced most pundits and even most senior Democrats know by now that these endless lawsuits (with accompanying Trump-as-Antichrist press bleatings) cut against them politically. Still, because the cause is religious rather than strategic, they cannot stop.


The cause will take them where it takes them, beginning with this current clash with the Supreme Court, which I’d guess won’t uphold the Colorado Supreme Court decision, but weirder things have happened of late.


Please continue reading

 

 

BUILDING THE BRIDGE! | A WAY TO GETTING TO KNOW THE OTHER AND ONE ANOTHER


Making a Difference – The Means, Methods, and Mechanism for Many to Move Mountains

 

Photo Credit: Abraham A. van Kempen, our home away from home on the Dead Sea

 

By Abraham A. van Kempen
Senior Editor
Updated 19 January 2024


Those who commit to 'healing our broken humanity' build intercultural bridges to learn to know and understand one another and others. Readers who thumb through the Building the Bridge (BTB) pages are not mindless sheep following other mindless sheep. They THINK. They want to be at the forefront of making a difference. They're in search of the bigger picture to expand their horizons. They don't need BTB or anyone else to confirm their biases.


Making a Difference – The Means, Methods, and Mechanism for Many to Move Mountains

 

Accurate knowledge promotes understanding, dispels prejudice, and awakens the desire to learn more. Words have an extraordinary power to bring people together, divide them, forge bonds of friendship, or provoke hostility. Modern technology places unprecedented possibilities for good at our disposal, fostering harmony and reconciliation. Yet its misuse can do untold harm, leading to misunderstanding, prejudice, and conflict.

 

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