Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Check out how Jewish Democrats meddle in the *Republican* race

Check out what I found in my email box today:

National Jewish Democratic Council
Dear NJDC Supporter,
Jewish Republicans and Jewish Democrats disagree about so much, but there's one thing on which we see eye-to-eye: Ron Paul is bad news when it comes to Israel.
Click here to watch the video!
The New York Times reported Sunday about some of Paul's fringe following, which also includes white supremacists and anti-Zionists -- and how Paul would "not disavow their support." The Ron Paul newsletters that traffic in racism and conspiracy theories are now legendary. If you have any doubts, watch him in the video slam U.S. support for Israel on Iranian government television ( click here or the image at right to watch the video).
But now comes another discovery surrounding Ron Paul: As JTA reports today, a former Paul staffer, who is Jewish, explains that his boss was "most certainly Anti-Israel, and Anti-Israeli in general." To top it off, he notes that Paul "strenuously does not believe the United States had any business getting involved in fighting Hitler in WWII."
Ron Paul has every reason to be taken seriously given the " rock-solid" campaign he's waging. I wrote in the Huffington Post about how serious a threat Paul is, what NJDC has done surrounding Democratic outliers in the past, and how Jewish Republicans should do more than pay lip service.
With the Iowa Caucus one week away, the time to act is TODAY. Please take these three steps right now to encourage the GOP to take this threat seriously!
Send an email to Mitt Romney (click to send) telling him that you find Ron Paul's views to be abhorrent -- and that as someone who claims to be a leader, the time has come for Romney to break the silence and condemn these dangerous views regarding Israel and so much more.
Send a message to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus (click to send) indicating that as leader of the Republican Party, you demand that he break the silence and condemn the abhorrent positions of Republican Rep. Ron Paul -- the current GOP leader in the polls in the Iowa Caucus.
Forward this critical effort to your friends and family -- help make sure they take action surrounding this presidential frontrunner today.
Both former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and RNC Chairman Priebus have not hesitated to level false criticism at Democrats over Israel; but when it comes to Ron Paul, where Jewish Democrats and Republicans alike agree that he's no friend, Romney and Priebus have been silent.
Please help encourage them to "find their voice" by taking action today.
David A.
David A. Harris
President and CEO 
Note: I hesitated whether to calls this post "Check out how Jewish Democrats meddle in the *Republican* race" or "Check out how Zionist Democrats meddle in the *Republican* race" but then I simply decided to call these folks what they call themselves.   I personally dislike the conflation of Jewish=Zionist, but then neither do I like to use cute euphemisms.  Lastly, not being a Jew myself, it really is not my problem whether these folks give all Jews a bad name or not.   Their problem, let them deal with it.
As for the substance of this email, it really shows to what degree tribalism supercedes largely irrelevant differences between the "Republicrats" and the "Demolicans".  What matters to them is Israel, as for the USA, its just a tool.

The Saker

Russian v. US Elections

by Steve Lendman

Russia's December 4 elections filled 450 State Duma seats, Russia's Federal Assembly lower house.

Claims of electoral fraud followed. All elections have irregularities. At issue is whether results are comprised. Election monitor Golos accusations were spurious. America's National Endowment for Democracy (NED) funds it. It supports regime change in non-US client states.

It backs opposition groups, conducts propaganda campaigns, and does openly what CIA operatives do covertly to destabilize sitting governments.

Its mission is subverting, not promoting democracy. It operates with State Department funding and direction. It serves US imperial interests destructively against targeted countries.

So do USAID, the International Republican Institute (IRI), and the National Democratic Institute (NDI). They meddle internally against sitting governments. One way is by funding Golos.

It calls itself a Russian NGO established in 2000 to defend democratic rights and civil liberties. Claiming it's Russia's only "independent" electoral watchdog is duplicitous. It represents imperial Washington's interests against those of Russia's people and government. Moreover, by taking foreign funding, it violated Russian law.

Since early December, Russia's seen on and off street protests. On December 25, RIA Novesti headlined, "Tens of thousands rally in new election protest in Russia," saying:

Peaceful crowds filled "Moscow's Sakharov Avenue on Saturday to demand a rerun of parliamentary elections they claimed had been rigged, as well as liberal reforms in Russia, turning the temperature up on Vladimir Putin and his plans to return to the Kremlin."

Nonetheless, a VTsIOM December 10 - 11 poll showed most Russians support him. However, his 51% job approval rating dropped from 61% in late November and 68% in January. Street protests and legitimate social justice grievances are responsible.

Even though Russia's GDP rose 70% and living standards improved markedly during his tenure as president, millions of Russians still suffer from Yeltsin's post-soviet era "shock therapy."

As a result, 80% of Russian farmers went bankrupt, 70,000 state factories closed, an epidemic of unemployment raged, half or more of all Russians became impoverished, a permanent underclass was created, and crime, suicides, mortality, alcoholism, drug abuse, and HIV/AIDS soared to intolerable levels.

GDP plunged 50%. Life expectancy fell. An oligarch class accumulated enormous wealth at the expense of millions of harmed Russians.

Ignoring essential needs, Yeltsin let corruption and criminality flourish. One scandal followed another. Money-laundering became sport. Billions in stolen wealth were hidden in Western banks or offshore tax havens.

Many problems remain unresolved, especially given today's global economic crisis. In April, Pravda.ru headlined, "Poverty in Russia grows faster than expected," saying:

According to the Russian Federal Statistics Agency, another 2.3 million joined the ranks of Russia's 22.9 million impoverished population. However, "(m)any experts believe that official statistics (don't) reflect the real state of affairs and (are) very often" understated.

Therefore, poverty remains a major growing problem. For millions, wages and pensions aren't enough to get by. Economic weakness exacerbates conditions. As a result, street protests perhaps reflect hard times more than anger over election results.

In contrast to Russia, America's electoral process is scandalously flawed. More on it below.

Major Media Scoundrels Bash Russia

America's media target all non-US client states, including China and Russia. On December 8, a New York Times editorial headlined, "Mr. Putin Seeks a Scapegoat," saying:

He's "determined to resurrect the Soviet playbook. His United Russia Party tried to steal a parliamentary election on Sunday, and, when the results still delivered a stinging rebuke, he claimed the United States was whipping up protests and demonstrations."

Fact check

Though not a decisive majority, United Russia won 49.67% of the vote, compared to the Communist Party's 19.15% second place finish. Hardly a "stinging rebuke." Moreover, independent analysts and observers explained a free and fair process. Results weren't compromised by relatively few regularities.

As explained above, Washington very much interfered as it's done repeatedly in numerous other elections. In Haiti's 2010 first round and 2011 runoff, brazen manipulation rigged the process to install stealth Duvalierist Michel (Sweet Micky) Martelly president. New York Times editorials ignored his illegitimacy, backed fraud, and effectively said Haitians need to move on.

Washington indeed may be behind on and off Russian street protests. The pattern's familiar. Over decades, America advanced the technique. In the 1990s, RAND Corporation strategists developed the concept of "swarming" to explain "communication patterns and movement of" bees and other insects which they applied to military conflict by other means.

Washington used it successfully against Serbia's Milosevic. NED, the International Republican Institute (IRI) and National Democratic Institute were involved.

It repeated during Georgia's Rose Revolution, ousting Edouard Shevardnadze for Mikhail Saakashvili. A US-installed stooge, he's governed ruthlessly and repressively in office.

Ukraine's 2004 Orange Revolution was similar, ousting Viktor Yanukovych for Viktor Yushchenko, Washington's man.

America's manipulated 2007 Myanmar Saffron Revolution and Iran's 2009 Green Revolution failed. Both countries remain targeted for regime change.

Very possibly, Russia's street protests are made-in-the-USA. It wouldn't be the first time nor last. Supportively, America's media pretend otherwise. Putin accused Hillary Clinton of meddling. The Times editorial called his charge "bizarre," saying:

"Mrs. Clinton and the White House did the right thing (by) critici(zing Russia's) vote. She also expressed support for the 'rights and aspirations' of the Russian people."

In fact, political Washington abhors democracy at home and abroad. Imperial wars, numerous coups, internal subversion and destabilization, homeland repression, and rigged elections prevent it. Major media scoundrels approve.

On December 24, they featured Russian protests. New York Times writers Ellen Barry and Michael Schwirtz headlined, "Vast Rally in Moscow Is a Challenge to Putin's Power," claiming 120,000 turned out. Other reports estimated crowd size at from 50 - 80,000.

Ria Novosti said "tens of thousands." So did the Washington Post in an article headlined, "Protesters flood Moscow demanding reforms." It focused on social needs, not electoral fraud in contrast to The Times highlighting comments about dissolving Parliament, holding new elections, and comparing Putin to Brezhnev.

Managed news, misinformation, and hyperbole characterize America's media. Truth and full disclosure aren't their long suit. Or Washington's.

Notorious US Electoral Fraud

Duopoly power runs America. Democrats are interchangeable with Republicans. Differences between them are minor.
  • On major issues mattering most, they agree, including: war and peace;
  • capital's divine right to exploit workers, new markets, and global resources;
  • enriching the nation's aristocracy;
  • forced austerity when stimulus is needed; and
  • targeting dissenters challenging political corruption, corporate crooks, or abuse of power lawlessness.
Moreover, today's technology makes election rigging easy. The entire process lacks legitimacy. Elections and their run-up are mere kabuki theater. Major media and PR industry scoundrels play lead roles. Everything's pre-scripted.

Secrecy and back room deals substitute for a free, fair and open process. Candidates are pre-selected. Big money owns them. Key outcomes are predetermined. Power brokers share fault.

Partisan politics serve privileged elites. They get the best democracy money can buy. Elections give them cover. Independents are shut out. Major media scoundrels ignore them.

Issues are unaddressed. Horse race journalism and trivia substitute. Voter disenfranchisement is rife. Many are peremptorily stricken from rolls. Others are intimidated not to vote or are detered by various illegal practices.

"Vote caging" is one. It suppresses minority voters by delisting them for not answering "do not forward" registered mail sent to homes they're not living at - because they're at school, in the military, or away for other reasons.

Millions can't vote because of past criminal records or current incarceration in the world's largest gulag at around 2.4 million. Around two-thirds are Blacks and Latinos. Most committed minor nonviolent crimes, including illicit drug possession.

Moreover, half of eligible voters opt out because their concerns aren't addressed. Today they include impoverishment, unemployment, homelessness, hunger, and government ignoring their needs.

Post-9/11, elections were privatized. Touchscreen electronic machines vote, not citizens. Over 80% of all 2004 and 2008 votes were cast and counted on corporate-owned, programmed, and operated ones. No verification receipts were provided, and no vetting of corporate "trade secret" software was permitted.

Corporate-run machines are easily manipulated. Votes can be erased, added or changed electronically. As a result, losers are declared winners, and not just for president. Power wins. People lose, and America's democracy is pure fantasy.

Moreover, Western and other governments have proportionally representative (PR) government unlike America's winner-take-all system. PR represents all voters and political parties commensurately with their electoral strength. Thus if candidates from one party win 30% of the votes, they get 30% of legislative seats so that government represents all segments of society fairly.

In contrast, America's system gives a 50.1% majority total power. The other 49.9% is shut out. Democracy is fantasy, not real, especially when results are rigged.

In presidential elections, America's Electoral College system is also systemically flawed, especially when popular totals exceed its count. Examples include Bush v. Gore in 2000 (before months later recount totals showed Gore winning both ways), 1824, 1876, and 1888.

Moreover, in 16 presidential elections, winning candidates fell short of majorities. Under a winner-take-all system excluding runoffs, potential second round favorites lost out.

Bush v. Gore: 2000

On December 12, the Supreme Court hijacked Election 2000. In choosing Bush over Gore, it was the first time in US history a High Court reversed a popular vote (5 - 4) to install its own favorite.

It settled a rigged process to elect Bush. Its outcome hung on Florida's electoral vote. Gross irregularities corrupted it, including:
  • Floridians purged (without verification) because their names, gender, birthplace and race matched countless ex-felons who show up multiple times in state phone directories;
  • alleged crimes listed as committed in future years; and
  • ex-felons of other states removed whose voting rights were restored.
As a result, thousands of names were incorrectly listed and removed from voter rolls pre-election.

Under orders from Governor Jeb Bush, other obstructive practices occurred before and on election day, including:
  • African-American district ballot boxes missing and uncounted;
  • in black precincts, state troopers (near polling sites) intimidating and delaying voters for hours by searching cars and setting up roadblocks;
  • some precincts asking for two photo IDs; Florida law requires only one;
  • obstructing African-American students illegally at polling stations;
  • turning away Black voters for fabricated reasons;
  • failing to mail requested absentee ballots; and
  • forging those received for Bush.
The 1965 Voting Rights Act bans discriminatory practices, disenfranchising blacks, other minorities or anyone. Florida did it egregiously.

Bush v Kerry: 2004

Election 2004 was worse than 2000. The 2002 Help America Vote Act (HAVA) smoothed the way with electronic ease. It was the first electoral law designed to facilitate fraud. It initiated privatized voting.

Kerry was heavily favored. Florida and Ohio proved decisive. Both were stolen for Bush. Incontrovertible evidence proved it. Voter  disenfranchisement was rife.

Nearly half those requesting absentee ballots never got them. However, military personnel expected to support Bush received theirs.

The Republican National Committee hired consulting firm Sproul & Associates to register voters in six battleground states. They refused to register Democrats.

Malfunctioning New Mexico voting machines wiped out 20,000 votes to let Bush carry the state by a 5,988 margin.

Faulty voting equipment spoiled one million or more ballots. Another three million Black and Latino district ones weren't counted.

Exit polls in 30 or more states differed from final results by amounts beyond margins of error. In all but four states, discrepancies favored Bush. Exit polling is acknowledged to be highly reliable. Election 2004 was the exception to reelect Bush when, in fact, Kerry won handily.

Ohio was especially rigged. Tens of thousands of eligible voters were illegally purged from rolls. Nearly 360,000 overwhelmingly Democrat voters were prevented from casting ballots or didn't get theirs counted. Bush's victory margin was 118,599.

Republican precincts outnumbered Democrat ones. Democrat precincts got fewer voting machines than Republican ones. People waited up to 12 hours to vote. Some gave up and went home. Others were told they were at the wrong precinct.

One in four registrants were told they weren't listed. Republican Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell purged them illegally.

These and other practices were rampant in Ohio, Florida, and other key battleground states. As a result, voter preferences didn't count. Major media scoundrels suppressed truth to reelect Bush over Kerry who won handily but gave it up without protest.

A Final Comment

America's democracy is pure fantasy. Rigged elections lack credibility. Either way, duopoly power runs things. People have no say whatever.

In September, OWS erupted. Change depends on them. Organized people can beat organized money when they fight back and won't quit.

It's how all great battles are won. Millions are in this together. Given the state of today's America, the stakes are too high for failure. There's no turning back now, and they know it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.   Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Doomsday View of 2012

By James Petras for Information Clearing House

The economic, political and social outlook for 2012 is profoundly negative. The almost universal consensus, even among mainstream orthodox economists is pessimistic regarding the world economy. Although, even here, their predictions understate the scope and depth of the crisis, there are powerful reasons to believe that beginning in 2012, we are heading toward a steeper decline than what was experienced during the Great Recession of 2008 – 2009. With fewer resources, greater debt and increasing popular resistance to shouldering the burden of saving the capitalist system, the governments cannot bail out the system.

Many of the major institutions and economic relations which were cause and consequence of world and regional capitalist expansion over the past three decades are in the process of disintegration and disarray. The previous economic engines of global expansion, the US and the European Union, have exhausted their potentialities and are in open decline. The new centers of growth, China, India, Brazil, Russia, which for a ‘short decade’ provided a new impetus for world growth have run their course and are de-accelerating rapidly and will continue to do so throughout the new year.

The Collapse of the European Union

Specifically, the crises-wracked European Union will break up and the de facto multi-tiered structure will turn into a series of bilateral/multi-lateral trade and investment agreements. Germany, France, the Low and Nordic countries will attempt to weather the downturn. England – namely the City of London, in splendid isolation, will sink into negative growth, its financiers scrambling to find new speculative opportunities among the Gulf petrol-states and other ‘niches’. Eastern and Central Europe, particularly Poland and the Czech Republic, will deepen their ties to Germany but will suffer the consequences of the general decline of world markets. Southern Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy) will enter into a deep depression as the massive debt payments fueled by savage assaults on wages and social benefits will severely reduce consumer demand.

Depression level unemployment and under-employment running to one-third of the labor force will detonate year-long social conflicts, intensifying into popular uprisings. Eventually a break-up of the European Union is almost inevitable. The euro as a currency of choice will be replaced by or return to national issues accompanied by devaluations and protectionism. Nationalism will be the order of the day. Banks in Germany, France and Switzerland will suffer huge losses on their loans to the South. Major bailouts will become necessary, polarizing German and French societies, between the tax-paying majorities and the bankers. Trade union militancy and rightwing pseudo-‘populism’ (neo-fascism) will intensify the class and national struggles.

A depressed, fragmented and polarized Europe will be less likely to join in any Zionist inspired US-Israeli military adventure against Iran (or even Syria). Crisis ridden Europe will oppose Washington’s confrontationalist approach to Russia and China.

The US: The Recession Returns with a Vengeance

The US economy will suffer the consequences of its ballooning fiscal deficit and will not be able to spend its way out of the world recession of 2012. Nor can it count on ‘exporting’ its way out of negative growth by turning to previously dynamic Asia, as China, India, and the rest of Asia are losing economic steam. China will grow far below its 9% moving average. India will decline from 8% to 5% or lower. Moreover, the Obama regime’s military policy of ‘encirclement’, its economic policy of exclusion and protectionism will preclude any new stimulus from China.

Militarism Exacerbates the Economic Downturn

The US and England will be the biggest losers from the Iraqi post war economic reconstruction. Of $186 billion dollars in infrastructure projects, US and UK corporations will gain less than 5% (Financial Times, 12/16/11, p 1 and 3). A similar outcome is likely in Libya and elsewhere. US imperial militarism destroys an adversary, plunging into debt to do so, and non-belligerents reap the lucrative post-war economic reconstruction contracts.

The US economy will fall into recession in 2012, and the “jobless recovery of 2011” will be replaced by a steep increase of unemployment in 2012. In fact, the entire labor force will shrink as people losing their unemployment benefits will fail to register.

Labor exploitation (“productivity”) will intensify as capitalists force workers to produce more, for less pay, thus widening the income gap between wages and profits.

The economic downturn and growth of unemployment will be accompanied by savage cuts in social programs to subsidize financially troubled banks and industries. The debates among the parties will be over how large the cuts to workers and retirees will be to secure the ‘confidence’ of the bondholders. Faced with equally limited political choices, the electorate will react by voting out incumbents, abstaining and via spontaneous and organized mass movements, such as the “occupy Wall Street” protest. Dissatisfaction, hostility, and frustration will pervade the culture. Democratic Party demagogues will scapegoat China; the Republican Party demagogues will blame the immigrants. Both will fulminate against “the Islamo-fascists” and especially against Iran.

New Wars in the Midst of Crises: Zionists Pull the Trigger

The “52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organizations” and their “Israel First” followers in the US Congress, State Department, Treasury, and the Pentagon will push for war with Iran. If they are successful it will result in a regional conflagration and world depression. Given the extremist Israeli regime’s success in securing blind obedience to its war policies from the US Congress and White House, any doubts about the real possibility of a major catastrophic outcome can be set aside.

China: Compensatory Mechanisms in 2012

China will face the global recession of 2012 with several possibilities of ameliorating its impact. Beijing can shift toward producing goods and services for the 700 million domestic consumers currently out of the economic loop. By increasing wages, social services, and environmental safety, China can compensate for the loss of overseas markets. China’s economic growth, which is largely dependent on real estate speculation, will be adversely affected when the bubble is burst. A sharp downturn will result, leading to job losses, municipal bankruptcies and increased social and class conflicts. This can result in either greater repression or gradual democratization. The outcome will profoundly affect China’s market-state relations. The economic crisis will likely strengthen state control over the market.

Russia Faces the Crisis

Russia’s election of President Putin will lead to less collaboration in backing US promoted uprisings and sanctions against Russian allies and trading partners. Putin will turn toward greater ties with China and will benefit from the break-up of the EU and the weakening of NATO.

The western media backed opposition will use its financial clout to erode Putin’s image and encourage investment boycotts though they will lose the Presidential elections by a big margin. The world recession will weaken the Russian economy and will force it to choose between greater public ownership or greater dependency on state funds to bail out prominent oligarchs.

The Transition 2011-2012: From Regional Stagnation and Recession to World Crises

The year 2011 laid the groundwork for the breakdown of the European Union. The crises began with the demise of the Euro, stagnation in the US and the outbreak of mass protests against the obscene inequalities on a world scale. The events of 2011 were a dress rehearsal for a new year of full scale trade wars between major powers, sharpening inter-imperialist struggles and the likelihood of popular rebellions turning into revolutions. Moreover, the escalation of Zionist-orchestrated war fever against Iran in 2011 promises the biggest regional war since the US-Indo-Chinese conflict. The electoral campaigns and outcomes of Presidential elections in the US, Russia and France will deepen the global conflicts and economic crises.

During 2011 the Obama regime announced a policy of military confrontation with Russia and China and policies designed to undermine and degrade China’s rise as a world economic power. In the face of a deepening economic recession and with the decline of overseas markets, especially in Europe, a major trade war will unfold. Washington will aggressively pursue policies limiting Chinese exports and investments. The White House will escalate its efforts to disrupt China’s trade and investments in Asia, Africa and elsewhere. We can expect greater US efforts to exploit China’s internal ethnic and popular conflicts and to increase its military presence off China’s coastline. A major provocation or fabricated incident in this context is not to be excluded. The result in 2012 could lead to rabid chauvinist calls for a costly new ‘Cold War’. Obama has provided the framework and justification for a large-scale, long-term confrontation with China. This will be seen as a desperate effort to prop up US influence and strategic positions in Asia. The US military “quadrangle of power” – US-Japan-Australia-South Korea – with satellite support from the Philippines, will pit China’s market ties against Washington’s military build-up.

Europe: Deeper Austerity and Intensified Class Struggle

The austerity programs imposed in Europe, from England to Latvia to southern Europe will really take hold in 2012. Massive public sector firings and reduced private sector salaries and job opportunities will lead to a year of permanent class warfare and regime challenges. The ‘austerity policies’ in the South, will be accompanied by debt defaults resulting in bank failures in France and Germany. England’s financial ruling class, isolated from Europe, but dominant in England, will insist that the Conservatives ‘repress’ labor and popular unrest. A new tough neo-Thatcherite style of autocratic rule will emerge; the Labor-trade union opposition will issue empty protests and tighten the leash on the rebellious populace. In a word, the regressive socio-economic policies put in place in 2011 have set the stage for new police-state regimes and more acute and possibly bloody confrontations with workers and unemployed youth with no future.

The Coming Wars that End America “As We Know It”

Within the US, Obama has laid the groundwork for a new and bigger war in the Middle East by relocating troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and concentrating them against Iran. To undermine Iran, Washington is expanding clandestine military and civilian operations against Iranian allies in Syria, Pakistan, Venezuela, and China. The key to the US and Israeli bellicose strategy toward Iran is a series of wars in neighboring states, worldwide economic sanctions, cyber-attacks aimed at disabling vital industries, and clandestine terrorist assassinations of scientists and military officials. The entire push, planning, and execution of the US policies leading up to war with Iran can be empirically and without a doubt attributed to the Zionist power configuration occupying strategic positions in the US Administration, mass media and ‘civil society’. A systematic analysis of American policymakers designing and implementing economic sanctions policy in Congress finds prominent roles for such mega-Zionists (Israel-Firsters) as Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Howard Berman, Dennis Ross in the White House, Jeffrey Feltman in the State Department, and Stuart Levy, and his replacement David Cohen, in the Treasury. The White House is totally beholden to Zionist fund raisers and takes its cue from the 52 Presidents of the Major American Jewish Organization.

The Israeli-Zionist strategy is to encircle Iran, weaken it economically and attack its military. The Iraq invasion was the US’s first war for Israel; the Libyan war the second; the current proxy war against Syria is the third. These wars have destroyed Israel’s adversaries or are in the process of doing so. During 2011, economic sanctions, which were designed to create domestic discontent in Iran, were the principle weapon of choice. The global sanctions campaign engaged the entire energies of the major Jewish-Zionist lobbies. They have faced no opposition from the mass media, Congress or the White Office. The Zionist Power Configuration (ZPC) has been virtually exempt from criticism by any of the progressive, leftist and socialist journals, movements or grouplets – with a few notable exceptions.

The past year’s re-positioning of US troops from Iraq to the borders of Iran, the sanctions and the rising Big Push from Israel’s Fifth Column in the US means expanded war in the Middle East. This likely means a “surprise” aerial and maritime missile attack by US forces. This will be based on a concocted pretext of an “imminent nuclear attack” concocted by Israeli Mossad and faithfully transmitted by the ZPC to their lackeys US Congress and White House for consumption and transmission to the world. It will be a destructive, bloody, prolonged war for Israel; the US will bear the direct military cost by itself and the rest of the world will pay a dear economic price. The Zionist-promoted US war will convert the recession of early 2012 into a major depression by the end of the year and probably provoke mass upheavals.


All indications point to 2012 being a turning point year of unrelenting economic crisis spreading outward from Europe and the US to Asia and its dependencies in Africa and Latin America. The crisis will be truly global. Inter-imperial confrontations and colonial wars will undermine any efforts to ameliorate this crisis. In response, mass movements will emerge moving over time from protests and rebellions, and hopefully to social revolutions and political power.

James Petras, a former Professor of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York, owns a 50-year membership in the class struggle, is an adviser to the landless and jobless in Brazil and Argentina, and is co-author of Globalization Unmasked

Personal announcement - request for information

Dear friends,

Today I though I would turn to you to ask you for some assistance.  Believe it or not, but I have a relative who sincerely doubts the fact that the West is behind the so-called "color revolutions".  Nope, she sincerely believes that all this is the expression of a "deep longing for freedom" by "the people"...

For me this has never been even an issue, so I have never bothered collecting any evidence or documents on this topic.  Frankly,  from my "bad old years" as a military analyst, I remember the role of Carnegie, Open Society Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, USAID, the International Republican Institute, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, Freedom House, the various committees of "friends" of country XYZ or for the "liberation" of country XYZ, etc. etc. etc.  Heck, I even know the true nature of "humanitarian" organizations such as the ICRC, Medecins Sans Frontieres, the various EU "observers" and most of the "humanitarian" crowd.

But what I know in my head I cannot, for various reasons, put on paper myself.  Nor can I just rely on quoting the various government agencies in the target countries since my relative automatically assumes that the "bad guys" always lie about everything.

I remember coming across many well researched articles and reports which did a superb job detailing this entire "democracy fostering constellation" and its links to the "color coded revolutions", "spontaneous" "democracy movements" and the various uprisings and election result overturns which they achieved (or failed to achieve as in Iran and Russia).  Alas, I never bothered to write down the URLs or download the articles.

So here is my request to you: could you please point me to some thoroughly researched documents showing the financial, organizational and logistical links between Uncle Sam and his European minions and the various color-coded 'revolutions' (Serbia Georgia, Ukraine, Lebanon, Iran, Belarus, Burma, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan)? I would also be interested in documents connecting the various Latin American pro "democracy" movements (Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba, etc.) with Uncle Sam and his Latin American minions (Colombia).

Now the limitations: the documents must be written in English and not be authored by any of the governments against whom these"democratization" efforts have been directed.  The best possible source would be something written by the Western corporate media (I know, I know, but remember, this is not for me but for this relative of mine... sigh, rolleyes, sigh again...)

Anyway, if you can help me with that, I would be most grateful.  If not, not big deal, as my efforts are probably futile anyway (I am sure you know the type: they actually really really sincerely believe all the propaganda the Western corporate media saturates their brains with on a daily basis...).

Many thanks and kind regards,

The Saker

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season's greetings!

I wanted to send some sort of holiday greeting to my friends and colleagues, but it is difficult in today's world to know exactly what to say without offending someone. So I met with my lawyer yesterday, and on his advice I wish to say the following :

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, nonaddictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday practiced with the most enjoyable traditions of religious persuasion or secular practices of your choice with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2012, but not without due respect for the calendar of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make our country great (not to imply that this country is necessarily greater than any other country) and without regard to the race, creed, colour, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms :

This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher actually to implement any of the wishes for her/him or others and is void where prohibited by law, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. The wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

Best Regards (without prejudice)

Name withheld (Privacy Act).

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Hezbollah says U.S. behind Syria attacks

Hezbollah accused the United States Friday of orchestrating the suicide bombings that ripped through the Syrian capital earlier in the day killing over 40 people and wounding scores more.

“These bombings which resulted in the deaths and wounding of tens of people, mostly women and children, is the specialty of the United States, the mother of all terrorism,” Hezbollah’s press office said.

“[The U.S.] specializes in targeting the innocent, killing and terrorizing them to force them to comply to American politics to achieve the Zionist interest which Americans place above all else,” the statement added.

Hezbollah, Syria’s staunchest ally in Lebanon, maintains that a foreign conspiracy led by the United States and Israel aims to target the Syrian leadership for its alliance with Iran and its support for resistance groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

In its statement Friday, Hezbollah also said the attacks were the beginning of a series of reprisals following what the party described as America’s defeat in Iraq.

“This horrible terrorist crime, which was committed by the enemies of humanity, comes a day following coordinated blasts in Baghdad and other Iraqi cities, which suggests that those affected by the major defeat of the United States in Iraq, has begun a cowardly, bloody operation of reprisal,” the statement said.

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Meqdad said over 30 people were killed and more than 100 wounded as a result of the attacks that struck just before midday Friday.

State TV said the explosions took place in the upscale Kfar Sousa district and targeted the building housing state security and a nearby intelligence building in the neighborhood.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Nietzsche, Hitchens & God

"God is dead!" Nietzsche.  
"God never existed!" Hitchens.
"Nietzsche and Hitchens are  both dead!" God.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Just in case you had any doubts here is...

...President Obama Speaking at the 71st General Assembly of the Union for Reform Judaism:

Egyptian cops go berserk on demonstrators

Pensacola City Priest threatened with arrest over Free Speech!

So, a priest walks into a city council meeting — stop me if you’ve heard this one — and is nearly hauled away by the police for speaking calmly to his elected officials.

Hilarious, right?

Father Nathan Monk wasn’t laughing at last night’s City Council meeting. During the Boyd Forum, an open comment period named in honor of the late civic activist LeRoy Boyd, Father Monk chided the council members — and Council President Sam Hall in particular — for their actions at Monday’s Committee of the Whole meeting. At that meeting, several citizens had spoken in opposition to the proposed anti-homeless ordinances, and in doing so made unflattering comparisons to historical figures (one person mentioned Heinrich Himmler’s “Final Solution“) and questioned the Christian charity of any council member who would support the ordinances. Council members DeWeese and Johnson took offense at the accusations, and Hall had asked Police Chief Chip Simmons to remove several speakers he deemed “out of order.”

At last night’s meeting, Monk told the council they had no right to dictate the content of their speech, and suggested that they instead examine any actions by the city that would prompt such comparisons.

“As Americans, we have the right to redress our government without fear of being arrested,” he said. “Whether or not they’re connecting dots from Hitler to George Wallace to Barney … you should be asking, ‘well what are we doing that’s allowing people to connect those dots?’ It was a sick and gross abuse of power.”

Council President Hall interrupted Monk at that point. “Your time is up, sit down,” he said.

“No, I have a minute and 12 seconds left,” Monk said, looking at the timer at the speaker’s lectern.

“I’m ruling you out of order,” Hall said.

When Monk refused to leave, noting that he had not violated any rules of conduct, Hall asked Police Chief Simmons and two other uniformed police officers in attendance to remove him. He refused to budge until his allotted time was up, after which he was escorted from council chambers by the officers.

During the standoff, council members Sherri Myers and John Jerralds stood up and left their seats in protest.

“I am leaving this chamber as you are in violation of the people’s First Amendment right,” Myers said. “I will be outside if you want to want to address your grievances to your government.”

Returning to her seat later in the meeting, she strongly criticized the “chilling effect” such censorship can have on the public right to speech.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

50 Economic Numbers From 2011 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

By Economic Collapse

Even though most Americans have become very frustrated with this economy, the reality is that the vast majority of them still have no idea just how bad our economic decline has been or how much trouble we are going to be in if we don't make dramatic changes immediately. If we do not educate the American people about how deathly ill the U.S. economy has become, then they will just keep falling for the same old lies that our politicians keep telling them. Just "tweaking" things here and there is not going to fix this economy. We truly do need a fundamental change in direction. America is consuming far more wealth than it is producing and our debt is absolutely exploding. If we stay on this current path, an economic collapse is inevitable. Hopefully the crazy economic numbers from 2011 that I have included in this article will be shocking enough to wake some people up.

At this time of the year, a lot of families get together, and in most homes the conversation usually gets around to politics at some point. Hopefully many of you will use the list below as a tool to help you share the reality of the U.S. economic crisis with your family and friends. If we all work together, hopefully we can get millions of people to wake up and realize that "business as usual" will result in a national economic apocalypse.

The following are 50 economic numbers from 2011 that are almost too crazy to believe....

#1 A staggering 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be "low income" or are living in poverty.

#2 Approximately 57 percent of all children in the United States are living in homes that are either considered to be "low income" or impoverished.

#3 If the number of Americans that "wanted jobs" was the same today as it was back in 2007, the "official" unemployment rate put out by the U.S. government would be up to 11 percent.

#4 The average amount of time that a worker stays unemployed in the United States is now over 40 weeks.

#5 One recent survey found that 77 percent of all U.S. small businesses do not plan to hire any more workers.

#6 There are fewer payroll jobs in the United States today than there were back in 2000 even though we have added 30 million extra people to the population since then.

#7 Since December 2007, median household income in the United States has declined by a total of 6.8% once you account for inflation.

#8 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16.6 million Americans were self-employed back in December 2006. Today, that number has shrunk to 14.5 million.

#9 A Gallup poll from earlier this year found that approximately one out of every five Americans that do have a job consider themselves to be underemployed.

#10 According to author Paul Osterman, about 20 percent of all U.S. adults are currently working jobs that pay poverty-level wages.

#11 Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs. Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

#12 Back in 1969, 95 percent of all men between the ages of 25 and 54 had a job. In July, only 81.2 percent of men in that age group had a job.

#13 One recent survey found that one out of every three Americans would not be able to make a mortgage or rent payment next month if they suddenly lost their current job.

#14 The Federal Reserve recently announced that the total net worth of U.S. households declined by 4.1 percent in the 3rd quarter of 2011 alone.

#15 According to a recent study conducted by the BlackRock Investment Institute, the ratio of household debt to personal income in the United States is now 154 percent.

#16 As the economy has slowed down, so has the number of marriages. According to a Pew Research Center analysis, only 51 percent of all Americans that are at least 18 years old are currently married. Back in 1960, 72 percent of all U.S. adults were married.

#17 The U.S. Postal Service has lost more than 5 billion dollars over the past year.

#18 In Stockton, California home prices have declined 64 percent from where they were at when the housing market peaked.

#19 Nevada has had the highest foreclosure rate in the nation for 59 months in a row.

#20 If you can believe it, the median price of a home in Detroit is now just $6000.

#21 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 18 percent of all homes in the state of Florida are sitting vacant. That figure is 63 percent larger than it was just ten years ago.

#22 New home construction in the United States is on pace to set a brand new all-time record low in 2011.

#23 As I have written about previously, 19 percent of all American men between the ages of 25 and 34 are now living with their parents.

#24 Electricity bills in the United States have risen faster than the overall rate of inflation for five years in a row.

#25 According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, health care costs accounted for just 9.5% of all personal consumption back in 1980. Today they account for approximately 16.3%.

#26 One study found that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt.

#27 If you can believe it, one out of every seven Americans has at least 10 credit cards.

#28 The United States spends about 4 dollars on goods and services from China for every one dollar that China spends on goods and services from the United States.

#29 It is being projected that the U.S. trade deficit for 2011 will be 558.2 billion dollars.

#30 The retirement crisis in the United States just continues to get worse. According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, 46 percent of all American workers have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, and 29 percent of all American workers have less than $1,000 saved for retirement.

#31 Today, one out of every six elderly Americans lives below the federal poverty line.

#32 According to a study that was just released, CEO pay at America's biggest companies rose by 36.5% in just one recent 12 month period.

#33 Today, the "too big to fail" banks are larger than ever. The total assets of the six largest U.S. banks increased by 39 percent between September 30, 2006 and September 30, 2011.

#34 The six heirs of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton have a net worth that is roughly equal to the bottom 30 percent of all Americans combined.

#35 According to an analysis of Census Bureau data done by the Pew Research Center, the median net worth for households led by someone 65 years of age or older is 47 times greater than the median net worth for households led by someone under the age of 35.

#36 If you can believe it, 37 percent of all U.S. households that are led by someone under the age of 35 have a net worth of zero or less than zero.

#37 A higher percentage of Americans is living in extreme poverty (6.7%) than has ever been measured before.

#38 Child homelessness in the United States is now 33 percent higher than it was back in 2007.

#39 Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

#40 Sadly, child poverty is absolutely exploding all over America. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 36.4% of all children that live in Philadelphia are living in poverty, 40.1% of all children that live in Atlanta are living in poverty, 52.6% of all children that live in Cleveland are living in poverty and 53.6% of all children that live in Detroit are living in poverty.

#41 Today, one out of every seven Americans is on food stamps and one out of every four American children is on food stamps.

#42 In 1980, government transfer payments accounted for just 11.7% of all income. Today, government transfer payments account for more than 18 percent of all income.

#43 A staggering 48.5% of all Americans live in a household that receives some form of government benefits. Back in 1983, that number was below 30 percent.

#44 Right now, spending by the federal government accounts for about 24 percent of GDP. Back in 2001, it accounted for just 18 percent.

#45 For fiscal year 2011, the U.S. federal government had a budget deficit of nearly 1.3 trillion dollars. That was the third year in a row that our budget deficit has topped one trillion dollars.

#46 If Bill Gates gave every single penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for about 15 days.

#47 Amazingly, the U.S. government has now accumulated a total debt of 15 trillion dollars. When Barack Obama first took office the national debt was just 10.6 trillion dollars.

#48 If the federal government began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the national debt.

#49 The U.S. national debt has been increasing by an average of more than 4 billion dollars per day since the beginning of the Obama administration.

#50 During the Obama administration, the U.S. government has accumulated more debt than it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that Bill Clinton took office.

Of course the heart of our economic problems is the Federal Reserve. The Federal Reserve is a perpetual debt machine, it has almost completely destroyed the value of the U.S. dollar and it has an absolutely nightmarish track record of incompetence. If the Federal Reserve system had never been created, the U.S. economy would be in far better shape. The federal government needs to shut down the Federal Reserve and start issuing currency that is not debt-based. That would be a very significant step toward restoring prosperity to America.

During 2011 we made a lot of progress in educating the American people about our economic problems, but we still have a long way to go.

Hopefully next year more Americans than ever will wake up, because 2012 is going to represent a huge turning point for this country.

Monday, December 12, 2011

US outed, and far from drawn down

The United States-Pakistan relationship has reached a turning point reminiscent of the run-up to October 1958, when Washington encouraged General Ayub Khan's coup, apprehending the coming into power of an elected government in Pakistan that might have refused to collaborate as the US's Cold War ally against the Soviet Union.

An innocuous-looking thing happened on Sunday - Pakistan regained possession of the Shamsi air base in Balochistan near the border with Iran after evicting the US military presence
from there. The base itself had been leased to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) since 1992.

The event is at once symbolic and tactical, while at the same time highly strategic even as war clouds are on the horizon over Iran. Symbolic in the sense that it is an assertion of Pakistan's sovereignty; tactical because the US war strategy, which heavily depended on the drone attacks on North Waziristan, will now have to be reworked. Is the drone era in the Afghan war coming to a brusque end?

However, in all of this, what needs some careful analysis is why the US's eviction from Shamsi holds strategic implications.

A mild stimulus 

Washington initially viewed Islamabad's decision to expel the US personnel and drone systems from Shamsi with disbelief as a knee-jerk reaction by the Pakistani generals upset over the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's (NATO) air strike on the border post at Salala in the Mohmand Agency on November 26, which killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. Thus, Washington pressed its ally the UAE into a mediatory role.

UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zeyed al-Nahyan met President Asif Ali Zardari to seek revocation of the Pakistani decision or at least an extension of the 15-day deadline, but returned empty-handed. On getting the bad news from the sheikh, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton phoned Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, which was followed by a call a day later by President Barack Obama to Zardari.

Both Clinton and Obama drew a blank and thereafter the Pentagon reluctantly began the evacuation from Shamsi.

Clearly, the US underestimated the downstream consequences of the November 26 attack on Pakistan. Pakistani director general of military operations, Major General Ashfaq Nadeem told the federal cabinet and the parliament's defense committee last week in a detailed briefing in Islamabad that the NATO attack bore the hallmark of a well-planned "plot" by the US and NATO command in Afghanistan.

If the likely US intention was to "engage" the Pakistani military leadership with a mild stimulus of "shock and awe", it proved counter-productive. The civil-military leadership in Pakistan still continues to talk in the same voice. Gilani's "ex-post facto" endorsement of army chief General Ashfaq Kiani's decision to deploy the defense systems on the Afghan border to "detect any aircraft or helicopter and to shoot it down", at their meeting in Islamabad on Saturday is the latest evidence of this.

But the crux of the matter is that the Obama administration has once again ceded policy to the Pentagon. With the Central Intelligence Agency also headed by an army general, David Petraeus, the Pentagon is pushing through a long-term military presence in Afghanistan although a political solution is Obama's stated goal. The US military aims to step up the fighting. The "drawdown" strategy outlined by Obama last year is being conveniently reinterpreted for this purpose.

The US's most recent statements have shed the strategic ambiguity over the "drawdown" and it is now crystal clear that tens of thousands of American combat troops are after all going to remain in Afghanistan beyond 2014 for an indeterminate future in addition to the trainers and advisers devoted to "capacity-building" of the Afghan armed forces.

The New York Times noted that Pentagon had been "quietly pushing" for this policy shift for some time. In essence, even as the negotiations over the US-Afghan strategic pact paving the way for the establishment of American military bases in Afghanistan have come to the final stage, the US is discarding the strategic ambiguity about the scope and nature of its long-term military presence.

Demand-driven partnership 

This shouldn't have come as a surprise. But Pakistan is facing a difficult situation. Contrary to Pakistan's line of thinking that the military path is futile, the US is sticking to the "fight-talk" approach, which is to go on fighting while exploring the scope for opening talks with a militarily degraded Taliban from a position of strength.

Two, the US is not willing to concede a central role for Pakistan in the peace talks and is non-committal about Pakistan's wish to have a "friendly" government in Kabul, because it seeks to choreograph a settlement that first and foremost would meet the needs of its regional strategies.

Three, paradoxical as it may seem, the continued fighting actually suits the US in the coming period, because it not only provides the justification for the long-term deployment of combat troops in Afghanistan despite regional (and Afghan) opposition but also gives the raison d'etre for the Northern Distribution Network (read US-NATO military presence in Central Asia), which Russia is showing signs of linking to the resolution of the dispute over the US's missile defense system and the dissipation of the US-Russia "reset".

Over and above all this, Obama's decision to keep a large force of combat troops in Afghanistan needs to be viewed against the backdrop of the growing tensions in the US-Iran relations. In the eventuality of any conflict with Iran in a near future, this sort of massive military presence on Iran's eastern flank would be a great strategic asset for the US and NATO.

Make no mistake, the US intends to use the military bases in Afghanistan as a springboard to invade eastern Iran if conflict erupts, no matter what President Hamid Karzai may think or say. By the way, Shamsi is also key air base close to the Iran border. Unsurprisingly, NATO is considering a "joint center" in the Persian Gulf region with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Thus, the US hopes to "box in" Iran militarily from the Persian Gulf on one side and Afghanistan on the other.

Indeed, NATO is fast transforming as a "smart alliance" based on a security partnership between the 28 members and the rest of the world, thanks to the military intervention in Libya. Ivo Daalder, the US ambassador to NATO, put it explicitly in a recent briefing:

The Libya operation was a logical outflow of the view that we need to have partnerships with countries around the world ... The United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Jordan and Morocco not only supported the operation, but also participated in it ... Lebanon was also a key in the operation, as it was president of the UN Security Council at that time and enacted the 1973 resolution ... This is a demand-driven partnership. A demand by Arab countries.
All in all, therefore, the "hidden agenda" of the Afghan war is out in the open. Pakistan finds itself between the devil and the deep blue sea. First of all, the Pakistani military distrusts the US's intentions behind such large-scale intelligence penetration of its security apparatus in the recent years under the pretext of the "war on terror", including the Inter-Services Intelligence and the military. In particular, the military leadership fears that the US harbors intentions of seizing Pakistan's nuclear assets at an opportune moment.

Obama's unprecedented decision to promote Petraeus as the Central Intelligence Agency head rang alarm bells in the Pakistani mind. Second, US interests and priorities in Afghanistan are increasingly in conflict with Pakistan's. Third, Pakistan simply cannot afford to alienate China and Iran (or Russia for that matter). Finally, the US will sooner or later deploy its missile defense system in the region, which will threaten Pakistan's strategic capability.

Shaking the albatross 

The message of the US strike of November 26 was a test case intended to "soften up" the Pakistani military leadership and compel it to fall in line with the US's strategy. Sheikh Nahyan tried to talk some good sense into the minds of the Pakistani generals. But the Shamsi episode underscores that the contradiction in US-Pakistan relations is far too acute to be reconciled easily or in a near term.

The point is, it is turning out to be contradiction of a fundamental character. The implications are serious. Pakistan is "obstructing" the US's regional strategy. Put differently, Pakistan is a vital cog in the wheel of the US strategy.

Pakistan dissociated openly from the agenda of the recent Istanbul conference (November 2), which aimed at creating an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe-type regional security mechanism for Central and South Asia and launching the New Silk Road project aimed at rolling back Russian and Chinese influence in Central Asia. Pakistan also boycotted the Bonn conference (December 5) that was expected to legitimize the long-term US military presence in Afghanistan. To be sure, the two events floundered.

Washington is now left guessing whether Pakistan's strategic defiance is for real. Its historical experience is that the Pakistani elites eventually buckle under American pressure. But the "strategic defiance" over Shamsi would come as a surprise. Meanwhile, by ceding Afghan policy to the Pentagon (and CIA), Obama has taken the precaution of minimizing the scope of this problem area causing controversy during his re-election bid next year. Petraeus is also well liked by the Republicans.

This is an "Ayub-Khan moment" in the US-Pakistan relationship. Once again, popular opinion in Pakistan threatens to intrude into the relationship. But then, there are key differences, too. Kiani is far from the jovial Sandhurst-trained general Ayub Khan was, who was fond of his drink and all good things in life and was used to obeying orders.

Besides, China is not only not the Soviet Union or an adversary of Pakistan, but is in reality its one and only "all-weather friend". How can or why should Pakistan possibly collaborate with the US's containment strategy toward China?

The most important difference between 1958 and 2011, however, is, firstly, that Kiani's "nativist traditions" require him to act within the collegium of corps commanders who are acutely conscious of the mood within the armed forces, which is that Pakistan should shake off the albatross that was hung around its neck in late 2001.

Second, the Pakistani army is taking great and meticulous care that while traversing the shark-infested waters in the months ahead, it holds the hands of the country's civilian leadership at every stage, every moment.

The challenge facing the US is to locate an Ayub Khan, but it is an improbable challenge.

Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar was a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service. His assignments included the Soviet Union, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Germany, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Turkey.