New US Ambassador to Australia Obsessed with China

March 17, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - US Ambassador to Australia Arthur Culvahouse Jr. wasted no time at his new diplomatic post to begin strong-arming Canberra into adopting Washington's confrontational policy vis-à-vis Beijing.


A Reuters article published by the South China Morning Post titled, "China using ‘payday loan diplomacy’ in the Pacific, claims new US ambassador to Australia," would claim:
China is using “payday loan diplomacy” to exert influence in the Pacific, the new US ambassador to Australia said on Wednesday, in comments that threaten to inflame regional tensions. 

The United States and its regional allies have been battling China for greater influence in the Pacific – a region that has votes at international forums like the United Nations and controls vast swathes of a resource-rich ocean.

The geopolitical competition has seen both sides increase foreign aid to the region in recent months, which the West says is needed to prevent the Pacific falling into financial distress and becoming susceptible to diplomatic pressure from Beijing. 
The Reuters article would continue by claiming:
The arrival of Culvahouse, the first US ambassador to Australia in more than two years, comes at time of bilateral tensions between Canberra and Beijing. 

In 2017, then Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull accused China of meddling in domestic affairs. In 2018, Canberra banned companies linked to foreign governments from investing in its nascent 5G network, effectively blocking China’s Huawei.
The article also mentions counter-pressure applied on Australia regarding coal China imports, but describes it instead as, "how Beijing is using trade to punish Canberra for its criticism," despite already admitting it is in direct retaliation for Australia's use of trade to punish China first.

The American people for whom Ambassador Culvahouse is a representative, must be perplexed over this diplomat's obsession with China rather than fulfilling his duties of representing the United States in Australia itself.

As the United States does with many other allies, it is attempting to turn Australia into a partner-proxy in Washington's own confrontation with China.

In the process of this otherwise unsustainable confrontation, Washington risks dragging Australia down with it, when Australia could instead be bilaterally resolving issues with China and building constructive relations throughout Asia-Pacific, all while redefining for itself a more positive role in the region, breaking free from its historical role as an extension of Anglo-American hegemony.

Geography 101: China is Located in Asia, the United States is Not 

Interestingly enough, Reuters failed to notice that China is actually located in Asia-Pacific, while the United States is not.

Just as the US is expected to exert a certain amount of influence in North America where it is actually located, it is not unreasonable to expect China to do likewise in Asia. That US foreign policy seems formed around the notion that the US, not China, should hold primacy in Asia is both counterintuitive and fundamentally flawed.


VIDEO: Summary of OPCW's Douma, Syria Report

March 3, 2019 (LD) - Via 21st Century Wire - Patrick Henningsen (21WIRE) and Mike Robinson (UK Column) do a quick overview of the final OPCW report on the April 7, 2018 alleged "chemical attack" in Douma, Syria, just a day before Syrian government forces finally retook the area from US-sponsored terrorists.


Other points to consider include a similar yellow canister turning up at a nearby militant-run bomb factory as well as similar craters on nearby buildings as those the two yellow canisters involved in the supposed attack allegedly passed through - suggesting the canisters might have been placed near pre-existing damage.

Both points - regarding a similar canister found in a militant bomb factory and similar craters in nearby buildings - were specifically noted in the OPCW report itself.  

Assad's Tehran Visit Signals Iran's Victory in Syria

March 9, 2019 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - For the first time since war broke out in Syria in 2011, Syrian President Bashar Al Assad has travelled to Iran to meet Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

President Assad had only travelled outside of Syria on two other occasions during the war - both times to Russia.

The significance of the trip cannot be understated - it was a message sent to those who orchestrated the proxy war against Syria that Damascus has prevailed and instead of driving a wedge between it and its allies in Moscow and Tehran - it has only drawn these regional powers closer together.

The symbol of solidarity between Syria and Iran comes at a time when Washington finds itself vacillating between a full withdrawal from Syria, a redeployment to Iraq, or an attempt to drag out the conclusion of the Syrian conflict for as long as possible by keeping US forces there indefinitely.

The Washington Post in its article, "Syria’s Assad visits Iran in rare trip abroad," would admit:
U.S. officials said Trump’s decision authorizing a small number of U.S. troops to stay is a key step in creating a larger multinational observer force that would monitor a so-called safe zone along Syria’s border with Turkey. The buffer zone is meant to prevent clashes between Turkey and U.S.-backed Kurdish forces. It is also aimed at preventing Assad’s forces and Iran-backed fighters from seizing more territory.
The US will also seek to preserve militants - many of which are openly aligned with designated terrorist organizations - still occupying the northern Syrian governorate of Idlib.

While the US has certainly failed in its goal of regime change in Syria and even as it appears weak and confused regarding its policy in Syria and the Middle East in general - its potential to prolong the Syrian conflict and leave the nation more or less permanently divided persists.

Iran is in Syria for Good 

President Assad's visit to Iran was not only a symbolic gesture of gratitude for Iran's role in helping Syria prevail over US aggression - it is also a clear sign that Iranian influence has only grown in Syria. Iranian-backed militias have spread across both Syria and Iraq to confront US and Persian Gulf-backed terrorists including various factions of Al Qaeda and the self-proclaimed Islamic State (ISIS) itself.

Washington's gamble banked on what it had hoped would be a relatively quick regime change operation following along the same lines as the US-backed proxy war in Libya. The Syrian government was meant to fold quickly - the US appears not to have anticipated its resilience nor the eventual Russian military intervention in 2015. Washington may also not have anticipated the scale and efficacy of the commitment made by Tehran.

Instead of liquidating one of Iran's allies thus further isolating Tehran ahead of US-backed regime change efforts aimed directly at Iran - the terrorist proxies the US and its regional partners sponsored in Syria served as impetus for Tehran to broaden and deepen the presence of its forces - including militias sponsored by Iran - across the region, and specifically in Syria and Iraq.

US policy papers predating the 2011 proxy war against Syria - including the RAND Corporation's 2009 publication titled, "Dangerous But Not Omnipotent : Exploring the Reach and Limitations of Iranian Power in the Middle East," noted that much of Iran's domestic and regional policies revolved around self-defense.

The RAND paper itself would note:
Iran’s strategy is largely defensive, but with some offensive elements. Iran’s strategy of protecting the regime against internal threats, deterring aggression, safeguarding the homeland if aggression occurs, and extending influence is in large part a defensive one that also serves some aggressive tendencies when coupled with expressions of Iranian regional aspirations. It is in part a response to U.S. policy pronouncements and posture in the region, especially since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. The Iranian leadership takes very seriously the threat of invasion given the open discussion in the United States of regime change, speeches defining Iran as part of the “axis of evil,” and efforts by U.S. forces to secure base access in states surrounding Iran.
RAND also noted Iran's preference for asymmetrical warfare over conventional military forces and the use of resistance militias across the region. The report would note:
Some of Iran’s asymmetric capabilities are threatening. Because of its inferior conventional military forces, Iran’s defense doctrine, particularly its ability to deter aggressors, relies heavily on asymmetric warfare. Iranian strategists favor guerilla efforts that offer superior mobility, fighting morale, and popular support (e.g., the Hezbollah model in Lebanon) to counter a technologically superior conventional power— namely, the United States.
These militias would end up playing a significant role in neutralizing both asymmetrical forces sponsored by the US and its regional partners, as well as conventional military forces deployed by the US and Europe in both Syria and Iraq. It is clear that US policymakers were aware of Iran's capabilities - and either ignored them or believed their own plans had sufficiently accounted for them. 


Ukraine's Neo-Nazis "Suddenly" a Problem as Power Grows

March 9, 2019 (Gunnar Ulson - NEO) - The central role right-wing extremists and literal Neo-Nazis played in Ukraine's "Euromaidan" protests was obvious from the beginning. The square in Kiev the protests unfolded in were filled with the flags of ultra-right party, Svoboda as well as the red and black banners of the Neo-Nazi Right Sector movement.


The Western media never scrutinized who these political parties and militias were leading the protests and often times the violence that eventually overthrew the elected Ukrainian government in 2014. This was a deliberate attempt to portray the protests as spontaneous and popular rather than the efforts of fringe extremists merely portrayed as spontaneous and popular.

Since the NATO-organized coup in 2014, right-wing extremists and Neo-Nazis have played a growing role in the Ukrainian government. From holding public positions to filling up the rank and file of regular and irregular military units with their members, so bad has it gotten that many involved in initially covering up their role in the 2014 Euromaidan protests are now speaking up.

Ian Bond of the Centre for European Reform (CER), a think-tank funded by some of the largest Transatlantic corporate interests, would recently post on social media that:
Ukraine needs to get these people out of Interior Ministry, police & other official structures. They will do more to help Russia, by reinforcing its propaganda about Nazi influence in Kyiv, than Ukraine - regardless of any good that Azov did on frontlines. 

Even as part of Bond's admission, he still attempts to salvage "Azov" (Azov Battalion), a heavily armed Neo-Nazi militia now formally incorporated into Ukraine's National Guard.



While attempting to deny the presence of Neo-Nazis throughout the present day Ukrainian government and military, even official US policy regarding Ukraine reflects their presence and the obvious dangers (or at least, political inconvenience) they pose.

Articles like, "National Guard Decides Not To Give U.S. Arms To Azov Regiment On Request Of United States," clearly illustrate awareness in Washington of the dangers/political inconvenience of yet another one of its client regimes around the globe being cobbled together with some of the most unsavory elements in that nation's society.

As Ian Bond of the CER noted, the Azov Battalion has performed well on "frontlines." Just as designated terrorist organizations in Syria, including Al Nusra and the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS) proved the most capable forces in the US proxy war against Damascus, Neo-Nazis are proving themselves the most loyal and dedicated proxies in Washington's continued confrontation with Russia.

It is clear that despite "official" US policy being not to arm or train Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, the fact that the Ukrainian government whom the US does arm and train, in turn arms and trains militias like the Azov Battalion, makes such US policy mere window dressing than anything else.

Again, the US arming and supporting the governments of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, who in turn admittedly are arming and funding US designated terrorist organizations, is in actuality Washington's enthusiastic support for such militant groups simply "laundered" through its Gulf ally intermediaries.

The Real Problem 

The real problem isn't that Ukraine's Neo-Nazi political and armed organizations are growing in power, it is the political nightmare of Washington being seen as openly associating with and even supporting them.

Just as the US has played a sort of geopolitical dance in Syria, circling around IS and Al Nusra, while at other times outright shielding them from destruction, attempting to pose as fighting them while clearly preserving their fighting capacity, the US is preparing to perform a similar dance in Ukraine.


Thai Elections: US Seeks Regime Change vs China

March 9, 2019 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Heavily biased headlines emanating from US and European media should already make it abundantly clear which side of upcoming Thai elections in March Western special interests are on.


The current Thai government is led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a general of the Royal Thai Army and the leading figure of a 2014 coup that ousted the regime of now ex-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of also-ousted ex-Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Both Shinawatras are now convicted criminals and live abroad as fugitives evading jail.

Despite these apparent complexities, the story is very simple.

The Shinawatras lead neo-liberal forces the US has been cultivating inside Thailand (as well as other nations around the globe through organisations like the National Endowment for Democracy) to eventually transform the nation into a client state.

Thailand's military, a powerful and independent institution, along with the nation's constitutional monarchy, have opposed these forces, or more accurately, have attempted to accommodate them without ceding too much of Thailand's national sovereignty in the process.

Current Government's Pivot Toward China

The current government has decisively pivoted toward Beijing and other emerging global powers. It has begun replacing aging Vietnam War-era US military hardware with modern Chinese, Russian and European defence systems. In addition to the Cold War-era "Cobra Gold" military exercises held annually with the US, Thailand is now taking part in joint exercises with China.

Thailand is also in the middle of negotiating large infrastructure deals with China regarding mass transit systems including a high speed rail network that will connect Thailand to China via neighbouring Laos. Thailand represents one of several key pillars to China's global One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative.


It is clear then why the US seeks to not only remove the current government from power in upcoming elections, but also why it seeks to permanently reduce the Thai military's role in politics to prevent such a dramatic pivot from ever taking place again.

The US goal in Thailand, as it is in every nation along China's peripheries, is the creation of an obedient client state that serves US interests both economically and geopolitically. Failing that, the US would settle, as it has in Iraq, Syria, Libya or even neighbouring Myanmar, for a divided and weak nation that offers no benefit toward China's regional and global rise.

The US Backs Shinawatra  

Thaksin Shinawatra currently runs multiple nominee parties competing in upcoming elections. He has spread out his political machine to guard against the obvious possibility of any one of these parties being disbanded on grounds they are openly run by a convicted criminal and fugitive.

These parties include Pheu Thai, Thai Raksa Chart, Pheu Chart, Pheu Thaam and Future Forward. Members of these parties are in regular contact with Shinawatra or his senior executives and in several cases, candidates have legally changed their first names to "Thaksin" and "Yingluck" to eliminate any doubt as to whom they serve.

Despite a fugitive openly running for office in Thailand, Western media organisations like the BBC, CNN, AP, AFP, Reuters and more consistently omit this fact, portraying efforts by the current Thai government to stop Shinawatra's multiple parties as simply "oppressive."

The policies of these parties are also just as predictably transparent. In addition to rudimentary vote-buying schemes, they seek to reverse all ties with China, including scrapping rail projects and cancelling arms deals as well as reducing the Thai military's budget in an effort to reduce the military's ability to intervene against them in future political crises.