Wednesday, 25 February 2015

What the US has in mind for Russia

Collapse of Russia will prove major test for US – Stratfor

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24 February, 2015

American think-tank Stratfor has issued a new 'Decade Forecast,' which says the EU will decay, China will end up in "a communist dictatorship," and Russia will disintegrate...though it hasn't done so yet, despite such predictions taking place in the past.

It is unlikely that the Russian Federation will survive in its current form,” the forecast’s chapter dedicated to Russia begins. The research maintains that Moscow’s “failure to transform energy revenues into self-sustaining economy” will eventually lead to a “repeat of the Soviet Union's experience in the 1980s and Russia's in the 1990s,” with the process accompanied by a demographic decline that is set to “really hit” Russia.

However, the forecaster's founder and CEO, George Friedman, recently said that Russia has the ability to emerge from US-led sanctions and the recent drop in the ruble due to falling oil prices. "Russians' strength is that they can endure things that would break other nations," Friedman said, suggesting that the country "has military and political power that could begin to impinge on Europe."

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Learn how in the latest Minsk talks Russia came out ahead. 

According to the forecast, Russia’s territorial losses will not be limited to the European part of the country. Its control over the North Caucasus is also predicted to “evaporate,” while maritime regions in Russia’s Far East will “move independently” to the countries they are “closely linked to” – namely China, Japan, and the US. Additionally, Karelia will “seek to rejoin” Finland. The US think-tank, sometimes referred to as a “shadow CIA” due to its employment of former CIA analysts, also warns that this time Russia's alleged tendency of solving problems with "secret police" won't work, and the Federal Security Service will be unable to rescue the country.

The collapse of Russia “will be a major test for the United States,” the research warns, concluding that “Washington is the only power able to address the issue.” However, the research leaves room for possible incidents and some nuclear missiles being “fired in the process.”

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US will have to be cautious as it attempts to steer Russia toward a cease-fire in east Ukraine 

Whatever it will take to seize control of Russia’s nuclear forces, inventing a military solution to the problem or imposing a “stable and economically viable government,” this issue will have to be addressed, the research claims, “likely in the next decade.”
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In "Russia: Rumors Indicate Security Services Shift" 

'EU has fragmented, will decay'

According to the report, it's not only Russia that will fall to pieces. Stratfor’s researchers believe that “inter-European relations will be increasingly unpredictable and unstable” due to major political tendency of moving “away from multinational solutions to a greater nationalism.”

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FREE VIDEO: Stratfor explains Ukriane's primary geographic challenge. 

No single policy can suit all of Europe,” Stratfor says, explaining that Europe has already fragmented into at least two parts. “What benefits one part of Europe, harms another.” The European Union "might survive in some sense," but its members relations will be "not binding" and "governed primarily by bilateral or limited multilateral relationships.”

'China will end up in dictatorship'

Just like Japan and the “Asian tigers” Taiwan and South Korea, China “has completed its cycle as a high-growth, low-wage country and has entered a new phase,” Stratfor says. This phase will be characterized by an “expansions climax,” or slowdown.

China is following a “hybrid path” of its own by centralizing political and economic powers, ensuring the Communist Party’s control over the military, and consolidating the nation’s fragmented industries. According to Stratfor, this will result in the construction of a communist dictatorship.

Elsewhere, there will be further defragmentation and conflicts spreading through the Middle East and North Africa.

The latest “Decade Forecast” is the fifth published by Stratfor in the last two decades, following reports in 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2010.

'World will remain a dangerous place'

The geopolitical intelligence firm provides strategic analysis and forecasting to individuals and organizations around the world. Publishing their 'Decade Forecast' every five years, Stratfor has repeatedly tried to predict various paths that international governments and political leaders may take. Although the company claims its forecasts are "about predicting the unexpected," quite often they tend to depict its vision of the world's future in broad terms.

We expect Moscow's authority to weaken substantially, leading to the formal and informal fragmentation of Russia. 
"As in the period prior to World War I, prosperity and instability will go hand in hand," Stratfor said in its forecast for 1995-2005. Having predicted that the decade would be "a period of increasing disharmony both between nations and within nations," with China expected to suffer "growing instability, including the strong possibility of fragmentation and civil war," it has only been the US that has been envisioned by the think-tank as "the world's only superpower - the only power able to project its forces globally."

In the 2005-2015 report, the US was predicted to militarily "maintain control of the seas as well as of space, ensuring strategic global domination." At the same time, Stratfor expected its country to "disengage from Iraq – and also from the rest of the Islamic world." However, Stratfor has said the previous report "suffered a deep flaw when failed to forecast the US-jihadist war and, in fact, miscalculated on the Middle East as a whole."

Forget Nostradamus: @Stratfor predicts disintegration of Russia in next 10 yrs 

Regarding Russia, already in the 2005 published report it "has been collapsing slowly but surely."

"The elite holding on to Russia's capital and center while the rest of the country crumbles," was expected to "result in the delegitimization of the Russian state and hence disintegration,” it said. "An attempt by Washington to replace Putin with a more accommodating Russian president" should have happened by 2015, according to Stratfor.

"The turning point could come soon, or it could be years away," the previous forecast said.

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Since 1880, the United States has been on an uninterrupted expansion of economy and power. 

Sources and methods used by the company have received criticism over the years, especially after the now jailed hacker Jeremy Hammond broke into the Stratfor network as part of the hacktivist collective Anonymous and handed over obtained documents to WikiLeaks for publication. Hammond has admitted in court that he had collected millions of sensitive inner-office emails among other items from the Texas-based company’s computers.

The Stratfor emails released by WikiLeaks and its partners reveal that the intelligence firm's employees have had close – and potentially illegal – connections with the US government and law enforcement officials. The leaked documents also suggest that Stratfor has been occasionally hired by multi-national corporations to target their opponents.

Within numerous correspondence collected by Hammond and his colleagues was also an email from Stratfor vice president Fred Burton, a former government official with strong ties to law enforcement. In the email, he insisted that an indictment against Julian Assange had already been finalized. Accusations that the firm investigated peaceful protestors within the Occupy Wall Street movement, along with members of the non-violent civil disobedience movement US Day of Rage and many others were among other emails.

When Hammond "easily" gained access to the Stratfor system, he was astonished to find that the company’s credit card data had not been encrypted, with the fact later becoming one of the major embarrassments for the intelligence firm. Hammond is currently serving a 10-year jail sentence – one of the longest terms ever handed down to a US hacker.

Financial War: US wants to trigger wave of Russian bankruptcies

Finanz-Krieg: USA wollen Pleite-Welle von russischen Unternehmen auslösen

Eric Zuesse

Der britische Außenminister Philip Hammond hat am Wochenende von US-Außenminister John Kerry erfahren, welche Maßnahmen die USA als nächste gegen Russland planen. Washington erwartet, dass die EU mitzieht, um die russische Wirtschaft in die Knie zu zwingen. (Foto: dpa)
Der britische Außenminister Philip Hammond hat am Wochenende von US-Außenminister John Kerry erfahren, welche Maßnahmen die USA als nächste gegen Russland planen. Washington erwartet, dass die EU mitzieht, um die russische Wirtschaft in die Knie zu zwingen. (Foto: dp

24 February, 2015

The US government insists on a tightening of sanctions against Russia, and demands that the EU follow suit. Washington now wants sanctions that will have a "devastating” effect, which Russia must “suffer.” Financial measures are planned to trigger a wave of bankruptcies in Russia.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond over the weekend had a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry, concerning the US plan. Washington expects the EU to cooperate to force the Russian economy to its knees.

The US will drastically tighten sanctions against Russia: US Secretary of State John Kerry said this weekend in London that Russia was "guilty of gravely violating the Minsk truce." Kerry said Russia had the city Debalzewo attacked, and supported paramilitary warriors in the region, and contracted new troops near Mariupol. Kerry said: "This is a violation of the ceasefire. We are serious: there will be more actions that cause additional pain in the Russian economy.”

He went on: "There is a serious discussion between us and our European allies, as to what sanctions we will bring next and when they are due to come into force. I am confident that there will be additional measures in response to Russia's violations of the ceasefire.”

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond fully backed the remarks by Kerry. A few months ago American Vice President Joe Biden explained how the US created the EU’s role in the strategy directed against Russia. The collaboration now appears to function somewhat smoother than it did at first.

At the EU level, politicians can apparently no longer resist America’s pressure. Thus, the EU observer reported several unnamed permanent EU officials saying that further sanctions are inevitable. The EU Observer also quoted a senior US official, explaining America’s strategy. Whether this official is Daniel Fried, who coordinates the sanctions between the US and the EU, is unknown.

The Americans hope that the next step will have "devastating" impact on the Russian economy. Thus, there could be a wave of bankruptcies among Russian companies, because many companies risk bankruptcy if loans due in dollars during the coming year cannot be rolled over. [Bankruptcy would be expected because the value of the ruble has plunged and many more of them will thus be needed in order to pay the balance due.]

To achieve this goal and take advantage of the plunged ruble, the US government intends to resort to a technical trick to shorten the duration of existing loans and credits, which Russian banks, energy companies and arms companies have in European and American banks. US officials told the EU observer: "If we want, we can make sure that they are really suffering. The inability to raise new capital hurts most -- there is no alternative to US and European financial markets.” [Thus, there will be bankruptcy.]

Another US contact said in Brussels, that the exclusion of Russia from the SWIFT payments system [the ability to transact business electronically instead of via paper records] would again be discussed and again reinforced. The Americans had tried this step, which is particularly feared by the Russians, a few months ago, by direct pressure, but failed because the independent SWIFT organization refused to obey Washington. However, when America succeeds on this, the cash flow to Russian companies will be suppressed. Russia is therefore rushing to install an alternative to the SWIFT system, hoping to reduce the impact on the Russian domestic payments when America pulls the plug and disconnects Russia from SWIFT.

The American rating agencies have already strengthened sanctions by classifying Russian government bonds as junk. This downgrade means that some large US pension funds are legally obliged to withdraw from their Russian government bonds. [That forces the ruble’s value down even further.] 

EU observer also reports that the Americans intend to deliver weapons soon to Ukraine. This is the next step [in America’s war against Russia], which is set in a recently adopted US law.

The Russian violations of the ceasefire, that are alleged by the Americans, line up with the previously existing [dubious American] argument, as follows: 

a: It is completely unclear who shot at Maidan [the coup in February 2014]. 

b: The shooting down of passenger flight MH17 is also not even beginning to be elucidated. 

c: The killers of civilians in Odessa [in a massacre of pro-Russian demonstrators by burning them in the Trade Unions Building on 2 May 2014] are also unclear. 

d: Who is shelling Mariupol is likewise unclear. 

e: Who was behind the rocket attack on the bus in Donetsk is also unknown.

Each one of these events had been taken by the Americans as an opportunity to impose tougher sanctions against Russia. [Each one of these excuses by America for economic sanctions against Russia was dubious, but the EU went along anyway.]

It is not known whether there will be any response by the West to the actions of Ukraine’s Right Sector and other anti-Russian Ukrainian extremists: The right-wing paramilitary militias have informed that they’ll not even adhere to the Minsk agreements [but Kerry ignores that]. They also have established their own general staff, and refuse to follow orders from the official Ukrainian army regarding their military operations against the pro-Russian rebels.

On the behavior of the extreme right in Ukraine, the opinion of the EU and of the Americans is not known. [Publicly, there is no opinion on that, but only on attacking Russia.]


Because Zuesse has found German Economic News to be the world’s most reliable general-news source, especially on matters pertaining to international relations, he frequently cites it as a source, and this is also why he translates some of its articles into English, so as to make them available in the English-speaking world as well.

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