Author Archives: Brian Cloughley

Will the military industrial complex permit good relations between the U.S. and China?

At the recent semi-successful United Nations COP26 conference on climate change there was an unexpected revelation that the U.S. and China had engaged in some thirty virtual meetings on the subject over the past year. Their decision to “jointly strengthen climate action” was very welcome from the environment point of view, and even more welcome because it demonstrated that Washington and Beijing could actually get along in one aspect of international relations. It also raised the question as to whether they could ever sit down together and discuss the equally pressing problem of looming conflict. Continue reading

The Middle East powder keg

There are several powder kegs around the world, among them the South China Sea where the Pentagon’s surface warships, surveillance submarines and electronic warfare aircraft try to provoke China to take action against their aggressive operations, to the Baltic and Black Seas in which U.S.-Nato armed forces confronting Russia have the same objective. But in the Middle East, the leaky powder keg that will soon attract an igniting flash is the State of Israel which indulges in equally provocative behaviour. In regard to Palestinians and the Iranian nation the government of Naftali Bennett has been every bit as inhumane, barbaric and confrontational as any of its predecessors. Continue reading

The U.S. and NATO step up military pressure along Russia’s borders

U.S.-NATO military confrontation will continue along Russia’s borders with the aim of provoking Russia to take action, which is a very dangerous policy.

On October 20 the U.S. State Department announced that “Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III met with Ukrainian Minister of Defense Andrii Taran and later with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy today in Kyiv. In both meetings, the leaders affirmed the strength of the U.S.-Ukraine strategic defence partnership, and Secretary Austin pledged continued U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, and Euro-Atlantic aspirations.” According to Voice of America he “called on Russia” to “end its destabilizing activities in the Black Sea” (without mentioning that Russia has a Black Sea coastline of 800 km). Continue reading

Iran’s future is looking dark

Washington considers that Iran is and always will be hostile to the U.S. and there is no indication whatever of desire to initiate discussions

The UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Lebanon, Najat Rochdi, is concerned about the crisis in the country and reports that “Extreme poverty rose threefold during the past two years. More and more Lebanese households are unable to afford basic services like food, health, electricity, water, internet, and child education.” One development, mentioned in the media on September 16, was that Iran had provided desperately-needed fuel oil to that stricken country. Continue reading

Why has Israel got an arsenal of nuclear weapons?

It is far from inconceivable that Israel would employ its nuclear arsenal. After all, for what other reason does it have ninety nuclear weapons?

The main result of the meeting between Presidents Putin and Biden in Geneva on June 16 was the joint statement that “we reaffirm the principle that a nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought.” This welcome recognition that nuclear war would probably destroy the world is especially relevant now, because August sees the 76th anniversary of the first—and so far the last—use of nuclear weapons in war. On 6 August 1945 a U.S. atomic bomb exploded over the Japanese city of Hiroshima, killing some 70,000 people. On August 9 another bomb destroyed Nagasaki city, causing about 40,000 deaths. Japan surrendered on August 15, thereby ending a world war that resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of people, mainly civilians. Estimates vary from 35 to 60 million, but whatever the number, the war was a major catastrophe—but not as great as the cataclysm that would befall the world if nuclear weapons are ever again employed. Continue reading

The U.S. will continue to confront China and the chances of explosion are rising

U.S. provocations in the East are likely to continue and only Beijing knows how much more it will take before there is an explosion.

In July there were senior representatives of the Washington administration bouncing about the globe like a bunch of ping-pong balls, lecturing in one place, suborning in another and announcing everywhere that the U.S. wants a “Rules-Based International Order”, as Secretary of State Blinken told China last March. Continue reading

Washington sanctions Cuba. Why not Saudi Arabia?

Cuba will remain one of Washington’s chosen enemies, while relations with the murderous autocratic Saudi regime will be “recalibrated.”

According to the geopolitical analysis site STRATFOR, sanctions are “a coercive tool to compel a targeted entity to adjust its behaviour” and can be effected in a number of ways and, indeed, applied for very different reasons. An intriguing aspect of sanctions’ imposition is that some of these reasons are not intended primarily to alter the target’s behaviour but rather to penalise it for failing to follow the policies of the punisher. Continue reading

The storms before the possible calm

The English expression “the calm before the storm” is defined as “a period of quiet that comes before a time of activity, excitement, violence, etc.” but in Washington there was no calm before the violent storm that swept through it on January 6, after the president of the United States had declared to a crowd of demonstrators near the White House that “We’re going to walk down to the Capitol. And we’re gonna cheer on our brave senators and congressmen and women. And we’re probably not going to be cheering, so much for some of them, because you’ll never take back our country with weakness, you have to show strength and you have to be strong.” Continue reading

Instability, poverty and nuclear weapons

The president of the United States has the power to fire off thousands of nuclear weapons and destroy the world. As succinctly explained by William Perry and Tom Collina in the New York Times, “Mr. Trump has the absolute authority to start a nuclear war. Within minutes, the president could unleash the equivalent of more than 10,000 Hiroshima bombs. He does not need a second opinion. The defense secretary has no say. Congress has no role.” Continue reading

Take pity on Britain because it is approaching catastrophe

Countless millions in Britain are suffering economically and/or medically from the effects of the government’s erratic whack-a-mole approach to the Covid-19 crisis. On the other hand, criminal gangs and some very rich citizens have prospered greatly from the effects of the pandemic, and morally it is difficult to draw a line between these elements of the community. Continue reading

Washington’s plans for heating up the Arctic

One of the more bizarre indications that Trump Washington is interested in the Arctic was made a year ago when he said he would like to buy Greenland, a vast territory that is administered by Denmark. It is about the same size as Saudi Arabia, and slightly smaller than India—a big country in which there is a Pentagon base at Thule which, among other things, as Defence News tells us, is “the U.S. military’s northernmost base and the only installation north of the Arctic Circle. It is home to the 12th Space Warning Squadron, a cadre of Air Force officers and enlisted personnel that provide 24/7 missile warning and space surveillance using a massive AN/FPS-132 radar. Besides being a critical site for missile defence and space situational awareness, Thule hosts the Defence Department’s northernmost deep-water seaport and airfield. Those assets would come into play in any sort of military conflict in the arctic, giving the Pentagon forward-basing options if needed.” Continue reading

Now is the time to cancel sanctions on Iran

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has often declared that he considers himself to be a devout evangelical Christian, and in November 2019 told the New York Times Magazine that the Bible “informs everything I do.” Continue reading

More about Trump’s Ukraine connections

Hardly a day passes but some new and usually disturbing light is cast on President Donald Trump, and a recent illuminating glimpse came from publication of a recording that showed yet more of his expansive bluster. The video/sound evidence of his performance showed him at a dinner table “in a private suite in his Washington hotel with a group of donors, including two men at the centre of the impeachment inquiry, talking about golf, trade, politics, and removing the United States ambassador to Ukraine.” Continue reading

Drone strikes leave innocent widows and orphans

The killing of Iranian General Soleimani was big news. There were a few points made in the Western mainstream media about its legality being dubious, but nobody seems to be concerned that it contravened international law, in addition to be totally amoral. One wonders if any of the drone operators, the little key-tapping techno-dweebs thousands of miles away, were awarded a medal for their gallantry in prodding buttons to blast human beings to shards of flesh and bone. Continue reading

Trade and peaceful cooperation will beat the warmongers

In the United Kingdom on December 3-4 a gathering of the US-NATO military alliance took place to mark the 70th anniversary of its creation. It might be expected that such an occasion would have been one of jovial self-congratulation for managing to keep such a moribund institution on its expensive feet for so long, but the mood was decidedly downbeat, and divisions between some national leaders were most marked. Indeed the entire affair declined into farce rather than being dignified and productive. Continue reading

Human rights and hypocrisy in the White House and Congress

For months Western media outlets have been retailing stories about riots in Hong Kong. With lip-smacking relish there have been such reports as “On October 1, China’s National Day, the first live round to hit a protester was fired by riot police pursued by protesters in the distant suburb of Tsuen Wan.” Unfortunately for the anti-China zealots in the US and Europe there were no deaths of rioting students, except one “who fell from a parking garage during a police dispersal operation… escalating tensions between police and the public that have been increasingly strained over the months of worsening violence.” The two incidents in which rioters were shot by policemen made Western headlines. Continue reading

How surveillance and propaganda work in ‘the Free World’

A Bloomberg report of October 22 was concise and uncompromising in declaring Russia to be a surveillance state. Harking back to the good old days of the Cold War, as is increasingly the practice in much of the Western media, Bloomberg recounted that “The fourth of 10 basic rules Western spies followed when trying to infiltrate Russia’s capital during the Cold War—don’t look back because you’re never alone — is more apt than ever. Only these days it’s not just foreigners who are being tracked, but all 12.6 million Muscovites, too. Officials in Moscow have spent the last few years methodically assembling one of the most comprehensive video-surveillance operations in the world. The public-private network of as many as 200,000 cameras records 1.5 billion hours of footage a year that can be accessed by 16,000 government employees, intelligence officers and law-enforcement personnel.” Continue reading

Trump’s Cuba sanctions are sadistic and spiteful

The history of sanctions is grim, and it is generally acknowledged that they penalise ordinary people to an unjustifiable degree. It is difficult to forget the excruciating pronouncement by Madeleine Albright, President Clinton’s Secretary of State, when she was ambassador to the UN and commented on their effects in Iraq in the 1990s, in the run-up to the US invasion. In a media interview her questioner said that in Iraq “We have heard that half a million children have died. I mean, that is more children than died in Hiroshima. And, you know, is the price worth it?” Continue reading

Britain is out of control

One of the rallying cries of the Brexit movement, whose supporters want Britain to leave the European Union, is the slogan “Let’s Take Back Control”—meaning, in the words of The Atlantic magazine, they imagine that by quitting Europe “they would be returning power from Brussels back to lawmakers in Westminster and, by extension, to the British people themselves.” The “Vote Leave” group declared “We’ve lost control of trade, human rights, and migration” and there was an intensive and most misleading campaign waged to encourage the British people to believe that they had endured decades of unproductive cringing subservience to the EU. Continue reading

Now for confrontation in space

There was much international news in mid-March, although little of it was encouraging for those who prefer peace to war, handshakes to sabre-rattling, and cooperation to confrontation. Continue reading

Is the world closer to conflict because of Trump?

President Trump has recently flown out of Hanoi, having failed to reach any sort of agreement in negotiations with President Kim of North Korea, who went back home by train, with his tail up and wagging—having laid a wreath at the mausoleum commemorating Ho Chi Minh, the Vietnamese leader who led his country’s fight for independence for so many years. Continue reading

The US mainstream media prefer confrontation to cooperation

The Washington Post is a noisily anti-Russian newspaper which every weekday by email produces for subscribers (of whom I am one) the Daily 202 (“Power Post—Intelligence for Leaders”) which covers US politics, a little international stuff, and a section called “There’s a Bear in the Woods” aimed at denigrating, belittling and generally insulting Russia. Continue reading

Britain prepares for war against Russia

The headline in the UK newspaper the Daily Mail on August 7 encapsulated much that is paranoid in sad modern Britain. It read “Russian warships pass through English Channel as Putin’s armed forces ratchet up pressure on the Royal Navy.” Continue reading

Washington is intent on destroying Iran

On February 18, the leader of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, declared that Iran “is trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza. This is a very dangerous development for our region.” Netanyahu’s presentation was dismissed by the Iranian foreign minister as “a cartoonish circus,” but it was nonetheless a reflection of the policy of the United States, which is Israel’s mentor and unconditional ally. Continue reading