US in Afghanistan: A War By Any Other Name...

June 11, 2021 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - If the promise of a US withdrawal from Afghanistan has been met by extreme skepticism by not only the American public, but by the rest of the world, the US government has only itself to blame. 

The White House published, "Remarks by President Biden on the Way Forward in Afghanistan," on April 14, 2021 included the US President claiming: 

Over the past 20 years, the threat has become more dispersed, metastasizing around the globe: al-Shabaab in Somalia; al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula; al-Nusra in Syria; ISIS attempting to create a califit [caliphate] in Syria and Iraq, and establishing affiliates in multiple countries in Africa and Asia.  

President Biden would continue by claiming:

With the terror threat now in many places, keeping thousands of troops grounded and concentrated in just one country at a cost of billions each year makes little sense to me and to our leaders.

And finally, he would claim: 

I have concluded that it’s time to end America’s longest war.  It’s time for American troops to come home.

And yet - even after reading through the rest of President Biden's remarks - it is abundantly clear that the US is not ending its longest war. 

It is simply planning to wage it by another name - an extensive proxy conflict where the US will continue artificially propping up a client regime in Kabul, continue paying the salaries of some 300,000 Afghan troops, maintain an extensive army of private contractors numbering in the thousands, and the continued operation of at least a few American bases - including most likely an air base. 

Far from a withdrawal and just as Biden's predecessors have done - including President Barack Obama whom he served as Vice President with - the door is being left open not only for a continued, perpetual US military presence in Afghanistan, but the possibility of a troop surge at a moment's notice. 

The US maintains military units thousands of soldiers strong capable of deploying anywhere in the world within 18 hours of being notified. 

Is the "3 Seas Initiative" the West's Answer to China's Belt and Road?

June 9, 2021 (Brian Berletic - NEO) - To counter not only China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) but also Russia's growing ties with Western Europe, an "alternative" infrastructure drive is being proposed that if and when completed, Washington, London, and Brussels hopes will further contain Russia and cut China off from European markets. 

Called the "Three Seas Initiative," it is described in a Bloomberg op-ed titled, "This Is How Europe Can Push Back Against China and Russia," as: 

...a joint endeavor by 12 eastern members of the European Union to update the physical and digital links between the Baltic, Adriatic and Black Seas.

The op-ed argues that the initiative is the only way to fight off "Russian bullying and Chinese meddling." 

But upon closer scrutiny - even the selling points made by the author - Andreas Kluth - reads instead like a thinly veiled attempt to bully and meddle in Europe - and at the expense of the obvious opportunities trade and ties with Russia and China will bring. 

Kluth's argument includes blaming the Soviet Union's neglect of Eastern European nations as the reason they lack modern infrastructure today, claiming: 

Though economically vibrant, most of this region still lags the rest of the bloc in infrastructure. Travel by road and rail takes two to four times longer on average than in the rest of the EU. 

What’s missing in particular is good highways, railway tracks and gas pipes running north and south. This is a legacy of the Cold War. The Soviet hegemons made sure that Russian gas, tanks and troops could easily move east-west, but cared not a hoot about other connections among the countries they occupied.

Yet the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 - 30 years ago. If Eastern Europe currently still lacks modern infrastructure - it would be more appropriate to state that it is Brussels who "cares not" about making improvements. 

A Decade On: West's War on Syria Continues

June 3, 2021 (Brian Berletic - LD) - As Syrian elections approached, the US, France, and Germany  worked together to undermine them.  This was not because they truly believed the elections weren't “free and fair,” but simply because there is no possibility for their client regime of choice to come to power. 

This is despite these same Western nations - hand-in-hand - lecturing the world about “democracy,” and using its alleged "lacking" as a pretext to interfere in the affairs of nations worldwide. 

The true irony is - even as the UN condemns pressure placed on Syrian voters by factions in Lebanon - the UN appears reluctant to condemn similar pressure or outright restrictions the West is placing on Syrians to likewise inhibit their ability to vote. 

AP in an article titled, "Lebanese attack Syrian voters in sign of growing resentment," 

UNHCR said it received reports of intimidation and pressure, according to Lisa Abou Khaled, a spokesperson for the agency, adding that the agency was looking into it “to ensure that refugees are free to decide whether or not to vote.”

The same AP article would claim: 

France and Germany banned any voting at Syrian missions in their country, with a French Foreign Ministry official saying the elections are “null and void” and there is no point in holding them.

No mention is made by AP about what the UNHCR has said - if anything - about outright restrictions on voting placed on Syrians residing in France and Germany - restrictions that surely infringe on Syrian refugees and their right to decide "whether or not to vote." 

Despite these Western nations posing as self-appointed global arbiters of what is and isn't a legitimate election - democracy is a process of self-determination and for Syrians that means a process determined by and for Syrians - not the foreign ministries of France and Germany and certainly not the US State Department. 

Ten Years On: The West's War on Syria Continues

Ten years on since the US launched its proxy regime change war against Syria - the Western media continues claiming the ongoing conflict is a "civil war." 

It is this fundamental lie that is used to not only justify the latest round of suppressing Syrian voters, but Western intervention in Syria altogether. 

AP would claim: 

Syria has been engulfed in civil war since 2011, when Arab Spring-inspired protests against the Assad family rule turned into an armed insurgency in response to a brutal military crackdown.

Yet since as early as 2011 the Western media has piecemeal admitted to the US-engineered nature of both the so-called "Arab Spring" and the fact that the war in Syria was driven by US-armed militants flooding into the country, not "rising up" from within. 

New Zealand Refuses to Accuse China of "Genocide"

May 31, 2021 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - New Zealand increasingly finds itself straddling East and West, balancing between participation in the rise of Asia and a strong economic partnership with China and pressure placed on it by the West, the United States and United Kingdom in particular, and their common goal of encircling and containing China. 

This balancing act was highlighted again recently when New Zealand's Parliament voted on a statement regarding allegations surrounding Xinjiang, China. 

The motion was pushed forward by the highly unpopular ACT Party which holds only 10 out of 120 seats in New Zealand's parliament. The original draft proposed by ACT characterized the situation in Xinjiang as a "genocide."  

Reuters would report in its article, "New Zealand parliament says Uyghur rights abuses taking place in China," that: 

New Zealand's parliament unanimously declared on Wednesday that severe human rights abuses were taking place against Uyghur people in China's Xinjiang region, spurring the Chinese embassy to decry the move as interference in internal affairs.

All parties discussed and supported a motion by New Zealand's smaller ACT Party, but only after it was revised to drop the word "genocide" from the text.

Removing the word "genocide" from the text is an important part of New Zealand's balancing act.

China was obligated to condemn the motion nonetheless, because however out-of-step New Zealand's Parliament might be with the other "Five Eyes" nations (the US, Canada, UK and Australia), accusations of "severe human rights abuses" are still unfounded, constituting part of a US-driven propaganda war waged against China. 

New Zealand's Balancing Act

New Zealand's government may have multiple reasons for breaking with the US and its Western allies. 

For one, there is no genocide taking place in China's Xinjiang region. 

US Maritime Bullying Targets "Ally" India

May 27, 2021 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - Tensions temporarily spiked between Washington and New Delhi when US warships conducted a "freedom of navigation operation" (FONOP) inside India's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in early April. 

The US' own 7th Fleet website in an announcement would claim: 

On April 7, 2021 (local time) USS John Paul Jones (DDG 53) asserted navigational rights and freedoms approximately 130 nautical miles west of the Lakshadweep Islands, inside India’s exclusive economic zone, without requesting India’s prior consent, consistent with international law. India requires prior consent for military exercises or maneuvers in its exclusive economic zone or continental shelf, a claim inconsistent with international law. This freedom of navigation operation (“FONOP”) upheld the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law by challenging India’s excessive maritime claims.

The Times of India in its article, "In unusual move, US navy conducts operation near Lakshadweep without India's consent," would report concerns by India's Ministry of External Affairs (MEA): 

"The USS John Paul Jones (US guided missile destroyer) was continuously monitored transiting from the Persian Gulf towards the Malacca Straits. We have conveyed our concerns regarding this passage through our EEZ to the US government through diplomatic channels,” added the MEA.

The article would also note: 

...the “tone and tenor of the aggressive public declaration” of FONOPs in India’s EEZ, at a time when the US is seeking India’s closer cooperation through the Quad and other mechanisms to foster “credible deterrence” against China in the Indo-Pacific, raised the hackles of the Indian security establishment.

Washington's claims that it conducted this operation to uphold "the rights, freedoms, and lawful uses of the sea recognized in international law" means that it sailed its warships into India's EEZ solely for this purpose, fitting into a much wider pattern of America's self-appointed role of enforcing its own interpretations of international law.  

According to the 2015, "US Department of Defense Freedom of Navigation Program Fact Sheet," the US claims:  

The Program is actively implemented against excessive maritime claims by coastal nations in every region of the world, based upon the Department's global interest in mobility and access. The Program is principle-based, in that it is administered with regard to the excessive nature of maritime claims, rather than the identity of the coastal nations asserting those claims. As a result, U.S. forces challenge excessive claims asserted not only by potential adversaries and competitors, but also by allies, partners, and other nations.

But of course FONOPs are inherently political, because they provoke political reactions from those targeted by them. Those reactions are most certainly calculated and understood before FONOPs are conducted. 

Thus, far from objectively "enforcing" what the US claims is "international law," the US FONOP in India's EEZ had a definitive political message; the US holds primacy over the Indo-Pacific region, not only primacy over adversaries like China, but also primacy over "allies" like India.