Obama’s ‘strategy’ against Russia

 

 Yes We Can!

Yes We Can!

By Pepe Escobar – Pepe Escobar is a Brazilian investigative journalist. He initially became famous in Brazil during the 80s, writing cultural criticism for the Folha de São Paulo newspaper.

The Barack Obama administration seems to love the sound of unilateral sanctions in the morning. It must feel like “victory“.

Real, hardcore sanctions, if ever applied, would be devastating mostly for North Atlantic Treaty Organization poodles, not Moscow. Meanwhile, (energy) adults continue to do business as usual.

There’s no way to understand Cold War 2.0 without a flashback to November 2010, when Vladimir Putin directly addressed German business/industry, proposing an economic community from Lisbon to Vladivostok.

German interest in this key strategic relationship has been reciprocal. Amplified to other nations, that implies in the long run a full European Union-Russia economic/trade integration, and, in the bigger picture, a step closer to Europe-Asia integration. Which translates as absolute anathema for the embattled, Monopoly-addicted hyperpower/hegemon.

For all of US Think Tankland talking and theorizing, breathlessly, about “containment” of a “rogue state” – which in itself is laughable, as if Russia was Somalia – the Obama administration’s overarching “strategy” is really in a class by itself. This masterpiece of juvenile delinquent diplomacy boils down to “ignore Putin“.

Call it the “I don’t like you; I don’t wanna talk to you; I just wish you’d die” school of diplomacy. How come Talleyrand never thought if it? Well, with advisers such as the astonishing mediocrity Ivo Daalder, a former ambassador to NATO, no wonder Obama does not need enemies.

All we need is Lavrov
The sanctions hysteria is designed to force President Putin to bow to the hegemon’s whims, as part of the overall “strategy”; forging an “international consensus” to “isolate” Russia and turn it into a “pariah state”. “Pariah states” that do energy mega-deals, as in here and here.

Still, the predominant wishful thinking revolves around the economic strangulation of Russia – as it was relentlessly attempted against Iran (and bravely resisted by Iranians). Inside their bubble, the wishful thinkers even believe Beijing will be on board, oblivious to the fact that Beijing clearly sees the sanction hysteria/ignore Putin “doctrine” as a branch of the “pivoting to Asia” – which is essentially military containment of China.

In the end, the Kremlin has also reached a similar conclusion: it’s useless to talk to Washington. After all, the hegemon’s laundry list remains the same – the Kremlin is not allowed to support popular protests in eastern and southern Ukraine; everyone must submit to the neo-nazi/neo-fascist-allied regime changers in Kiev; and Crimea must be “returned” – to NATO – so NATO can kick Moscow out of the Black Sea.

Washington’s ultimate wet dream would be to interrupt gas shipments by Gazprom from Russia to the EU – in fact trade sabotage, which Moscow would undoubtedly interpret as an act of war. Meanwhile, Washington/NATO’s “Plan A” remains to lure the Kremlin into an “invasion” – so Putin can be (in fact already is) denounced as “the new Hitler” and the ultimate threat to the EU.

So much for the “containment/isolation” martini cocktail of arrogance, ignorance, impotence and irresponsibility. Diplomatic finesse? Forget it. In terms of a real diplomat at work, feel free to admit “All We Need Is Lavrov“.

Go back to Game of Thrones
Moscow has so many ways to retaliate real hard against the hegemon: in Syria; on the Iran nuclear dossier; on NATO’s ignominious withdrawal from Afghanistan via the Northern Distribution Network, which goes through Russia; on the future of Afghanistan.

If the White House and the US State Department really wanted to listen to how Putin frames the relationship between the West and Russia, that has been voiced repeatedly by the Kremlin. Russia expects respect from “our Western partners”, who since 1991 have treated it not as “an independent, active participant in international affairs”, with “its own national interests that need to be taken into account and respected”, but as a backward or dangerous nation to dismiss and “contain”.

The historical record clearly shows Washington does not respect the national interests of anybody; the only thing that matters is that they should always be subordinated to Washington’s interests.

The Kremlin, in a nutshell, has invited Washington to play realpolitik. Not Monopoly. The Obama administration, at best – and we are being very lenient here – plays checkers. Moscow plays chess. A mad drive to instill chaos in Russia’s western borderlands while “ignoring” Putin won’t change the Kremlin’s defense of what it perceives as Russia’s national interests.

Let’s say the “project” was to seize Ukraine, kick Moscow out of the Sevastopol base, and thus from the Eastern Mediterranean; and then take over Syria, so Qatar – and not Iran-Iraq-Syria – may get “its” share of Pipelineistan via Jordan and a Sunni-ruled Syria towards EU markets. The “project” is miserably failing.

Yet the sanctions game will persist (like it did with Cuba, Iraq, Iran). The White House is already concocting more of the same. No adults in Europe will follow. Even poodles are able to sniff that the Obama administration does not even qualify to play Game of Thrones on PlayStation 3.

Pepe Escobar is the author of Globalistan: How the Globalized World is Dissolving into Liquid War (Nimble Books, 2007), Red Zone Blues: a snapshot of Baghdad during the surge (Nimble Books, 2007), and Obama does Globalistan (Nimble Books, 2009).

 

 

 

Foxygen Announce 2014 Summer Tour, Nearly Finished with New Album

foxygen14

Foxygen

 

 

After laying low for nearly a year, during which time frontman Jonathan Rado and drummer Shaun Fleming released solo albums, California’s Foxygen returned to the stage at Coachella earlier this month. Looking to keep the momentum going, the band has now announced a summer tour.Set almost exclusively in their home state, the outing includes dates in Petaluma, Big Sur (for the Woodsist Festival), Sonoma, Los Angeles, and Pioneertown. However, they’ll venture out of The Golden State briefly for a performance Pickathon. Consult the full schedule below.As you may recall, the band canceled several tour dates last summer after member Sam France broke his leg. That incident came just shortly after rumors arose of the band’s possible break-up.As a press release notes, the band is nearly finished with the follow-up to last year’s We Are the 21st Century Ambassadors of Peace and Magic. They’ve already debuted two untitled songs during the first weekend of Coachella, so expect more new music on the forthcoming tour.Foxygen 2014 Tour Dates:
07/31 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos *
08/01-03 – Happy Valley, OR @ Pickathon
08/04 – Petaluma, CA @ Lagunitas Brewing Company *
08/06 – Big Sur, CA @ Woodsist Festival
08/07 – Sonoma, CA @ Gundlach Bundschu Winery
08/08 – Visalia, CA @ Cellar Door
08/13 – Solana Beach, CA @ Belly Up Tavern
08/14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
08/16 – Pioneertown, CA @ Woodsist Festival

* = w/ Woods and Steve Gunn

Album Review: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, ‘Midnight Sun’

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl

Sean Lennon and Charlotte Kemp Muhl

 

 

Music is one of the only fields where we hold the sins, or saintliness, of the father against the son. Sean Lennon has had it both a lot harder, and a lot easier, than most musicians over the years. His second release as the Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, his group with his girlfriend Charlotte Kemp Muhl, should lend credence to both the misgivings of critics and the joy of fans. In short, there’s a lot of Lennonesque psychedelia going on here, the “Tomorrow Never Knows”-style backward guitars and Eastern tones of “Xanadu” in particular. “Too Deep” sounds like Oasis doing their Beatles shtick. But on the title track, where Muhl takes a more prominent vocal role, the song’s sitar-funk sounds like a Mod-era soundtrack to a car chase. “Golden Earrings” is a meandering, pensive slice of cinematic psychedelia, while “Great Expectations” is a descent into the watery abyss. It’s an accomplished, enjoyable record from start to finish, regardless of references or lineage. (Out Today)

 

ESSENTIAL “Xanadu”

The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger performs at Brighton Music Hall on June 7.