For Barack Obama, the G20 summit in St. Petersburg will be like side-stepping into an IED when he comes face-to-face with Mr. Putin, the first encounter since the chemical weapon attack in Damascus. One of these gentlemen flinched; the other one remains very focused. Guess who flinched?
I’m sure Putin’s first question would be, “Why did you cancel the date?” That would have been the first meeting between Obama and Putin since their ongoing stand-off over Syria began after the chemical weapon attack in Damascus on August 21. Perhaps the Syrian crisis could have been avoided altogether had the presidents met, as long planned, in a one-on-one summit in Moscow last August. But, again, Obama canceled it. Now we’re talking G-20, somewhat more complicated.
According to The Washington Post (August 7, 2013), that was “a rare, deliberate snub that reflects the fresh damage done by the Edward Snowden case [the young National Security Agency contractor given political asylum last month by Russia] to an important relationship already in decline. . . . With that announcement, Obama effectively wrote off more than a year of effort to build cooperation with Putin.”
At the time, White House press secretary Jay Carney explained: “Following a careful review begun in July, we have reached the conclusion that there is not enough recent progress in our bilateral agenda with Russia to hold a US-Russia summit in early September.” Not enough progress in the agenda to hold a summit with a leader of a world superpower? How dumb is that?
Political hindsight now shows that there are either a) Very serious flaws in the White House’s decision-making process; b) The escalation process leading to (what they hoped would be) war on Syria was then already firmly on the US-UK agenda; so that Obama had better not get himself embarrassed by having a smiley-smiley meeting with Putin just days before a Syria strike; or c) Worse still, “somebody else” is calling the shots at the White House and in the State Department. Could that be possibly by Israel? Yes, it certainly could.
Additionally, John McCain delivered his comments at the front entrance of the White House, having just emerged from a meeting with Obama. Flanked by his fellow Republican senator and ally, Lindsey Graham, he said that if Congress withholds its authorization of military action “the credibility of this country among friends and adversaries alike would be shredded, and the impact would last not only for this presidency but for future presidencies as well.” McCain added: “The consequences would be catastrophic”.
His fellow Republican senator and hawk, Lindsey Graham, parroted McCain’s rhetoric to a “T.”
He joined the debate, saying, “Whatever the reasons, last week was a bleak one indeed for the US, UK and Israel alliance’s endeavors to get themselves into war with Syria, so that they could apply that old black magic learned so well in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Balkans and Libya;” a pretty sickening remark to make if I say so myself. For me, it falls just short of putting a nuclear option on the table and proposing to take the Middle East out with the ‘Big Boy.’
After the purported Damascus chemical weapons attack, the White House and Downing Street began a threat escalation fury, saying they were “ready to attack Syria.” US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel gave notice to the world that “the US military stands ready to heed Obama’s attack order at a moment’s notice,” and even President Francois Hollande made France join the saber-rattling party. The commonality of the collective idiocy sends shivers of dread up my spine; for this reason, I wrote The tragedy of starting a war on Syria.
By then it all began falling apart. First, on August 29, Britain’s House of Commons said “No,” to David Cameron’s plea to authorize British bombing of Syria together with its US ally.
Then UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki-Moon said his inspectors had confirmed that the attacks took place, but it would be several weeks before we could know who the culprits were. He was always obliging mainstream media in trying to whip up a war frenzy, going so far as to say that Saturday, August 31 would be “D-Day.” But Saturday came and all we got was an Obama speech saying something like “the US is ready to attack Syria, but we’re not quite sure when: it could be one day from now, or one week, or one month . . .” How about never?
Even France’s Hollande had to backtrack when confronted with his countrymen’s overwhelming opposition to attacking Syria, a former French colony, demanding that at least France’s deputies have a say. After all, France too is supposed to be “democratic . . .”
But what really seems to have made all the difference were those basic common sense statements coming out of the Kremlin in Moscow, some of them quite personal from President Putin to President Obama . . .
Putin began by stating that the horrific Damascus chemical weapons attack was being used by the Western allies as an excuse to attack Bashar al-Assad, adding: “I am sure this was no more than a provocation by those looking to drag other countries into the conflict and obtain the support of powerful international players, particularly the United States.” Kudos for Putin!
He also shrugged off the West’s accusations, pointing out that “claims that the proof exists but is classified and cannot be presented to anybody are beneath criticism,” while he challenged Mr. Obama to come clean once and for all: “If the US has proof that the al-Assad regime is responsible for that attack, then submit that evidence to the UN Security Council.” Which would then, no doubt, make a unanimous decision. Obama did not reply . . .
Putin continued, “Common sense points to the perpetrators being that wide assortment of criminal fighters wreaking havoc inside Syria, which include the Al-Qaeda offshoot Al-Nusra, [aka “Syria Freedom Fighters” and Syrian National Council], armed, funded and trained by the US. Putin added: “In such conditions, to give a trump card to those who are calling for foreign military intervention is foolish nonsense.” And I would add, dangerously apocalyptic.
In addressing his comments to Obama, Putin said he was speaking to him not as the US president, but as a holder of the Nobel Peace Prize. “We need to remember what’s happened in the last decade, the number of times the United States has initiated armed conflicts in various parts of the world. Has it solved a single problem?” Afghanistan, Iraq . . . There is no peace there, no democracy, which our partners allegedly sought.”
Denying as “utter nonsense” the idea that Assad’s forces would use chemical weapons when they were winning the civil war, Putin looked steely and confident. After months of pressure to abandon Assad, Putin sent the West a strong message: he is ready to fight over Syria in the St. Petersburg G20 Summit. Too bad Obama, McCain and Graham, the killing party’s over.
He added that “of course, the G20 is not a formal legal authority. It’s not a substitute for the UN Security Council; it can’t take decisions on the use of force. But it’s a good platform to discuss the problem. Why not take advantage of this? Is it in the United States’ interests once again to destroy the international security system, the fundamentals of international law? Will it strengthen the United States’ international standing? Hardly.”
Putin said the attack may have been a provocation by rebels fighting Assad, intended to hasten US military intervention.
A senior US administration official in Washington said that Russian officials “and certainly the Russian media” (I wonder who?) are continuing to say that the United States has an agenda focused on regime change in Syria, and that “the United States is driving tumult in the Middle East for its own ends.”
Twenty heads of state will be meeting for the two-day summit. President Putin’s official welcome says that “the forthcoming Leaders’ Summit in St. Petersburg will reaffirm the G20′s role as an efficient mechanism for coordinating the world’s leading economies’ policy approaches to global economy and finance.”
Behind it all, the predator banks
But to really understand the world of the 21st century, we must begin by shedding many 20th century paradigms that still distort our worldview. For instance, the one that insists that the economy reigns supreme over all mankind, as explained by former US President Bill Clinton’s famous 1992 campaign slur against George Bush Sr. “It’s the economy, stupid!” It got Slick Willy into the White House for eight full years, by the way.
But that was in the 20th century. We have “progressed” . . . The 21st century is no longer just about the economy. Actually, it’s much more about anything BUT the economy and, as Slick Willy would say, you’d have to be really stupid to think otherwise.
People are starting to realize that if you really want to tackle the economic problems of the G8, G20 or G179, then world leaders would be very well advised to first and foremost tackle one fundamental hideous problem: the global mega-bankers’ power to consistently rip off the entire planet by getting governments to bail them out every time their criminal shady business deals (and wars) go sour.
That’s when grabbing taxpayer money, the Fed’s hyperinflationary Quantitative Easing I, II and III come in: workers lose their jobs, countries go into debt defaults, and the specter of (hyper) inflation starts to loom on the horizon.
If these summits do not address this key issue, then it’s like the proverbial Emperor with No Clothes. If you avoid addressing the obvious, all you get in the end is more business as usual. Some hollow end-of-global-summit statements; some wishful thinking statements, and it’s “Bye, see you at next year’s G8, G20 or G179 meeting . . .” )
Why then are these issues never ever on any economic agenda? Because the mega-bankers are too damn powerful, too damn strong and too damn threatening to government leaders. Only a very few dare to take action to force them to behave properly, ethically, morally and peacefully. That’s what true sovereignty is all about.
Banksters need the war system; they thrive upon it. Ever since the days of bankster founding father Meyer Amschel Rothschild, they need a perpetual war system to survive. They always have.
There is no such thing as a “banks too big to fail”—whether it’s Goldman Sachs, CitiCorp, Wells Fargo, Bank of America or HSBC. What we see are banks that are too powerful to fall; which means that their power, leverage and control reach all the way up to the White House, 10 Downing Street and the Palais d’Elysee.
If any government or parliament does not bow to their demands, well . . . the banksters have the global mechanisms to make sure that government or parliament does not survive too long . . .
In short, the real agenda behind this week’s G20 Summit is how the ongoing superpower geopolitical tug-of-war plays out, which definitely includes the banks.
Meanwhile, let the blind lead the blind: let the other G20 presidents and ministers—Rouseff of Brazil, Kirchner of Argentina, Mexico’s Peña Nieto, Indonesia’s Bambang, Italy’s Letta, Australia’s Rudd, Canada’s Harper et al—talk about “the economy” and blah, blah, blah . . . Let the mainstream media put that on their headlines and news flashes . . .
Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin will continue to stare at Barack Obama who will be the first to flinch, whilst no doubt China’s Xi Jinping will join them with a typical enigmatic Chinese smile. And that’s about as dumb as making chemical weapon war on Syria can get.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.