Annual Fundraising Appeal

The US Geological Survey recorded a minor earthquake this morning with its epicenter near Wasilla, Alaska, the probable result of Sarah Palin opening her mail box to find the latest issue of CounterPunch magazine we sent her. A few moments later she Instagrammed this startling comment…

Palin2

The lunatic Right certainly has plenty of problems. We’ve made it our business to not only expose these absurdities, but to challenge them directly. With another election cycle gaining steam, more rhetoric and vitriol will be directed at progressive issues. More hatred will be spewed at minorities, women, gays and the poor. There will be calls for more fracking and war. We won’t back down like the Democrats. We’ll continue to publish fact-based critiques and investigative reports on the shenanigans and evil of the Radical Right. Our future is in your hands. Please donate.

Day10

Yes, these are dire political times. Many who optimistically hoped for real change have spent nearly five years under the cold downpour of political reality. Here at CounterPunch we’ve always aimed to tell it like it is, without illusions or despair. That’s why so many of you have found a refuge at CounterPunch and made us your homepage. You tell us that you love CounterPunch because the quality of the writing you find here in the original articles we offer every day and because we never flinch under fire. We appreciate the support and are prepared for the fierce battles to come.

Unlike other outfits, we don’t hit you up for money every month … or even every quarter. We ask only once a year. But when we ask, we mean it.

CounterPunch’s website is supported almost entirely by subscribers to the print edition of our magazine. We aren’t on the receiving end of six-figure grants from big foundations. George Soros doesn’t have us on retainer. We don’t sell tickets on cruise liners. We don’t clog our site with deceptive corporate ads.

The continued existence of CounterPunch depends solely on the support and dedication of our readers. We know there are a lot of you. We get thousands of emails from you every day. Our website receives millions of hits and nearly 100,000 readers each day. And we don’t charge you a dime.

Please, use our brand new secure shopping cart to make a tax-deductible donation to CounterPunch today or purchase a subscription our monthly magazine and a gift sub for someone or one of our explosive  books, including the ground-breaking Killing Trayvons. Show a little affection for subversion: consider an automated monthly donation. (We accept checks, credit cards, PayPal and cold-hard cash….)
button-store2_19

or use
pp1

To contribute by phone you can call Becky or Deva toll free at: 1-800-840-3683

Thank you for your support,

Jeffrey, Joshua, Becky, Deva, and Nathaniel

CounterPunch
 PO Box 228, Petrolia, CA 95558

Sour Grapes

Big Oil’s “Sore Losers” Lead the Drive to War

by MIKE WHITNEY

“We are witnessing a huge geopolitical game in which the aim is the destruction of Russia as a geopolitical opponent of the US or of the global financial oligarchy…..The realization of this project is in line with the concept of global domination that is being carried out by the US.”

- Vladimir Yakunin, former Russian senior diplomat

“History shows that wherever the U.S. meddles; chaos and misery are soon to follow.”

- Kalithea, comments line, Moon of Alabama

Following a 13 year rampage that has reduced large swathes of Central Asia and the Middle East to anarchy and ruin, the US military juggernaut has finally met its match on a small peninsula in southeastern Ukraine that serves as the primary operating base for Russia’s Black Sea Fleet. Crimea is the door through which Washington must pass if it intends to extend its forward-operating bases throughout Eurasia, seize control of vital pipeline corridors and resources, and establish itself as the dominant military/economic power-player in the new century. Unfortunately, for Washington, Moscow has no intention of withdrawing from the Crimea or relinquishing control of its critical military outpost in Sevastopol. That means that the Crimea–which has been invaded by the Cimmerians, Bulgars, Greeks, Scythians, Goths, Huns, Khazars, Ottomans, Turks, Mongols, and Germans–could see another conflagration in the months ahead, perhaps, triggering a Third World War, the collapse of the existing global security structure, and a new world order, albeit quite different from the one imagined by the fantasists at the Council on Foreign Relations and the other far-right think tanks that guide US foreign policy and who are responsible for the present crisis.

How Washington conducts itself in this new conflict will tell us whether the authors of the War on Terror–that public relations hoax that concealed the goals of eviscerated civil liberties and one world government–were really serious about actualizing their NWO vision or if it was merely the collective pipedream of corporate CEOs and bored bankers with too much time on their hands. In the Crimea, the empire faces a real adversary, not a disparate group of Kalashinov-waving jihadis in flip-flops. This is the Russian Army; they know how to defend themselves and they are prepared to do so. That puts the ball in Obama’s court. It’s up to him and his crackpot “Grand Chessboard” advisors to decide how far they want to push this. Do they want to intensify the rhetoric and ratchet up the sanctions until blows are exchanged, or pick up their chips and walk away before things get out of hand? Do they want to risk it all on one daredevil roll of the dice or move on to Plan B? That’s the question. Whatever US policymakers decide, one thing is certain, Moscow is not going to budge. Their back is already against the wall. Besides, they know that a lunatic with a knife is on the loose, and they’re ready to do whatever is required to protect their people. If Washington decides to cross that line and provoke a fight, then there’s going to trouble. It’s as simple as that.

Perma-hawk, John McCain thinks that Obama should take off the gloves and show Putin who’s boss. In an interview with TIME magazine McCain said “This is a chess match reminiscent of the Cold War and we need to realize that and act accordingly…We need to take certain measures that would convince Putin that there is a very high cost to actions that he is taking now.”

“High cost” says McCain, but high cost for who?

What McCain fails to realize is that this is not Afghanistan and Obama is not in a spitting match with puppet Karzai. Leveling sanctions against Moscow will have significant consequences, the likes of which could cause real harm to US interests. Did we mention that “ExxonMobil’s biggest non-US oil project is a collaboration with Russia’s Rosneft in the Arctic, where it has billions of dollars of investments at stake.” What if Putin decides that it’s no longer in Moscow’s interest to honor contracts that were made with US corporations? What do you think the reaction of shareholders will be to that news? And that’s just one example. There are many more.

Any confrontation with Russia will result in asymmetrical attacks on the dollar, the bond market, and oil supplies. Maybe the US could defeat Russian forces in the Crimea. Maybe they could sink the fleet and rout the troops, but there’ll be a heavy price to pay and no one will be happy with the outcome. Here’s a clip from an article at Testosterone Pit that sums it up nicely:

“Sergei Glazyev, the most hardline of Putin’s advisors, sketched the retaliation strategy: Drop the dollar, sell US Treasuries, encourage Russian companies to default on their dollar-denominated debts, and create an alternative currency system with the BRICS and hydrocarbon producers like Venezuela and Iran…

Putin’s ally and trusted friend, Rosneft president Igor Sechin…suggested that it was “advisable to create an international stock-exchange for the participating countries, where transactions could be registered with the use of regional currencies.” (From Now On, No Compromises Are Possible For Russia, Testosterone Pit)

As the US continues to abuse its power, these changes become more and more necessary. Foreign governments must form new alliances in order to abandon the present system–the “dollar system”–and establish greater parity between nation-states, the very nation-states that Washington is destroying one-by-one to establish its ghoulish vision of global corporate utopia. The only way to derail that project is by exposing the glaring weakness in the system itself, which is the use of an international currency that is backed by $15 trillion in government debt, $4 trillion in Federal Reserve debt, and trillions more in unpaid and unpayable federal obligations. Whatever steps Moscow takes to abort the current system and replace the world’s reserve currency with money that represents a fair store of value, should be applauded. Washington’s reckless and homicidal behavior around the world make it particularly unsuitable as the de facto steward of the global financial system or to enjoy seigniorage, which allows the US to play banker to the rest of the world. The dollar is the foundation upon which rests the three pillars of imperial strength; political, economic and military. Remove that foundation and the entire edifice comes crashing to earth. Having abused that power, by killing and maiming millions of people across the planet; the world needs to transition to another, more benign way of consummating its business transactions, preferably a currency that is not backed by the blood and misery of innocent victims. Paul Volcker summed up the feelings of many dollar-critics in 2010 when he had this to say:

“The growing sense around much of the world is that we have lost both relative economic strength and more important, we have lost a coherent successful governing model to be emulated by the rest of the world. Instead, we’re faced with broken financial markets, underperformance of our economy and a fractious political climate.”

America is irreparably broken and Washington is a moral swamp. The world needs regime change; new leaders, new direction and a different system.

In our last article, we tried to draw attention to the role of big oil in the present crisis. Author Nafeez Ahmed expands on that theme in a “must read” article in Monday’s Guardian. Check out this brief excerpt from Ahmed’s piece titled “Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry”:

“Ukraine is increasingly perceived to be critically situated in the emerging battle to dominate energy transport corridors linking the oil and natural gas reserves of the Caspian basin to European markets… Considerable competition has already emerged over the construction of pipelines. Whether Ukraine will provide alternative routes helping to diversify access, as the West would prefer, or ‘find itself forced to play the role of a Russian subsidiary,’ remains to be seen.” (Guardian)

The western oil giants have been playing “catch up” for more than a decade with Putin checkmating them at every turn. As it happens, the wily KGB alum has turned out to be a better businessman than any of his competitors, essentially whooping them at their own game, using the free market to extend his network of pipelines across Central Asia and into Europe. That’s what the current crisis is all about. Big Oil came up “losers” in the resource war so now they want Uncle Sam to apply some muscle to put them back in the game. It’s called “sour grapes”, which refers to the whining that people do when they got beat fair and square. Here’s more from Ahmed:

“To be sure, the violent rioting was triggered by frustration with (Ukrainian President) Yanukovych’s rejection of the EU deal, (in favor of Putin’s sudden offer of a 30% cheaper gas bill and a $15 billion aid package) along with rocketing energy, food and other consumer bills, linked to Ukraine’s domestic gas woes ….. Police brutality to suppress what began as peaceful demonstrations was the last straw…” (Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry, Guardian)

In other words, Yanukovych rejected an offer from Chevron that the EU and Washington were pushing, and went with the sweeter deal from Russia. According to Ahmed, that pissed off the bigwigs who decided to incite the rioting. (“Putin’s sudden offer of a 30% cheaper gas bill and a $15 billion aid package provoked the protests…”)

Like we said before; it’s just a case of sour grapes.

So, tell me, dear reader: Is this the first time you’ve heard a respected analyst say that oil was behind the rioting, the coup, and the confrontation with Moscow?

I’ll bet it is. Whatever tentacles Wall Street may have wrapped around the White House, Capital Hill, and the US judiciary; Big Oil still rules the roost. The Apostles of the Fossil are the oldest and most powerful club in Washington, and “What they say, goes”. As Ahmed so articulately points out:

“Resource scarcity, competition to dominate Eurasian energy corridors, are behind Russian militarism and US interference…Ukraine is caught hapless in the midst of this accelerating struggle to dominate Eurasia’s energy corridors in the last decades of the age of fossil fuels.” (“Ukraine crisis is about Great Power oil, gas pipeline rivalry”, Guardian)

Did I hear someone say “Resource War”?

As we noted in an earlier article, NWO mastermind Zbigniew Brzezinski characterized the conflict with Russia in terms of cutting off “Western access to the Caspian Sea and Central Asia”. For some unknown reason, America’s behemoth oil corporations think the resources that lie beneath Russian soil belong to them. The question is whether their agents will push Obama to put American troops at risk to assert that claim. If they do, there’s going to be a war.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.