Stephen Lendman Reports
President Putin’s Response To Obama’s New Sanctions
It is clear enough who is
the real leader of the world. That person is not in the White House.
Putin’s Response to
Obama’s New Sanctions
by Stephen Lendman
Both leaders are polar
opposites – a mensch in Moscow on the right side of history compared to a US
menace in Washington waging war on humanity. [Mensch means a person of dignity
and honor. See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mensch ]
In response to Obama’s
new sanctions, a same day article quoted Sergey Lavrov, saying Russia “cannot
leave unanswered insults of the kind, reciprocity is the law of diplomacy and
He recommended Putin
respond tit for tat while blasting Obama’s deplorable action. It seemed
certain, but didn’t happen. Putin took the high ground, in stark contrast to
his disgraceful US counterpart, issuing a statement, saying:
the recent unfriendly steps taken by the outgoing US
administration as provocative and aimed at further weakening
the Russia-US relationship.”
“This runs contrary to
the fundamental interests of both the Russian and American
people. Considering the global security responsibilities of Russia
and the United States, this is also damaging to international
relations as a whole.”
“As it proceeds from
international practice, Russia has reasons to respond in kind.
Although we have the right to retaliate, we will not resort
to irresponsible ‘kitchen’ diplomacy but will plan our further steps
to restore Russian-US relations based on the policies
of the Trump Administration.”
“The diplomats who
are returning to Russia will spend the New Year’s holidays with their
families and friends. We will not create any
problems for US diplomats.”
“We will not expel
anyone. We will not prevent their families and children from using their
traditional leisure sites during the New Year’s holidays.”
“Moreover, I invite
all children of US diplomats accredited in Russia
to the New Year and Christmas children’s parties
in the Kremlin.” [ The Russian Orthodox Church uses the old Julian
calendar for religious holidays, which puts Christmas on January 7.]
“It is regrettable that
the Obama Administration is ending its term in this manner.
Nevertheless, I offer my New Year greetings to President Obama
and his family.”
greetings also to President-elect Donald Trump and the American
“I wish all
of you happiness and prosperity.”
Judge for yourself. Who’s
the mensch and who’s the menace? Which way will Trump go?
My personal yearend
greetings and thanks to President Putin for for doing the right thing
consistently on major geopolitical issues. I proudly support his preeminent
A Final Comment
Russian Foreign Ministry
spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained that Obama’s expulsion order disrupts the
lives of 96 Russian nationals – 35 diplomats and family members.
Some targeted diplomats
only arrived in America two months ago. “It is not clear how they could have
participated in (alleged) activities that, according to the secret services,
took place in the spring of 2016,” Zakharova explained.
They have until January 1
to leave – Obama’s happy new year greeting.
Obama has announced new sanctions on Russia based on
unsubstantiated charges by the CIA that the Russian government influenced the
outcome of the US presidential election with “malicious cyber-enabled
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has
issued a report “related to the declaration of 35 Russian officials persona non
grata for malicious cyber activity and harassment.”
The report is a description of “tools and
infrastructure used by Russian intelligence services to compromise and exploit
networks and infrastructure associated with the recent U.S. election, as well
as a range of U.S. government, political and private sector entities.”
Moreover, the report begins with this disclaimer:
“DISCLAIMER: This report is provided ‘as is’ for informational purposes only.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) does not provide any warranties of
any kind regarding any information contained within.” https://diplopundit.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/jar_16-20296.pdf
In other words, the report not only provides no
evidence of the use of the Russian tools and infrastructure in order to
influence the US presidential election, the report will not even warrant the
correctness of its description of Russian capabilities.
Thus the DHS report makes it completely clear that the
Obama regime has no evidential basis for its allegations on the basis of which
it has imposed more sanctions on Russia.
What is going on here?
First there is the question of the legality of the
sanctions even if there were evidence. I am not certain, but I think that
sanctions require the action of a body, such as the UN Security Council, and
cannot legally be imposed unilaterally by one country. Additionally, it is
unclear why Obama is calling the expulsion of Russian diplomats “sanctions.” No
other country has to do likewise. During the Cold War when diplomats were
expelled for spying, it was not called “sanctions.” Sanctions imply more than
unilateral or bilateral expulsions of diplomats.
Second, it is clear that Obama, the CIA, and the New
York Times are fully aware that the allegation is false. It is also clear that
if the CIA actually believes the allegation, the intelligence agency is totally
incompetent and cannot be believed on any subject.
Third, President Trump can rescind the sanctions in 21
days, a third reason that the sanctions are ridiculous.
One obvious answer is that the neoconized Obama regime
is desperate to ruin US-Russian relations past the point that Trump can repair
them. As the New York Times puts it, “Mr. Obama’s actions clearly create a
problem for Mr. Trump.” The question the New York Times says, is whether Trump
“stands with his democratic allies on Capitol Hill or his authoritarian friend
in the Kremlin.”
Can Trump’s foreign policy be controlled by false
allegations? According to the New York Times, Trump has relented and agreed to
being briefed by the CIA about the Russian hacking now that Republicans such as
Paul Ryan, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham have lined up with Obama and the CIA
in accepting charges for which no evidence has been presented. However, a
briefing without evidence would seem simply to further discredit the CIA in
As I have emphasized in my columns, facts no longer
have a role in the United States and its empire. Allegations alone suffice,
whether in court cases, interrogation centers, foreign and domestic policies,
or classrooms. The US even bases its military invasions on false
allegations—“weapons of mass destruction.” Indeed, the entirely of US foreign
policy since the Clinton regime has been based on nothing but false
The Russian government should have learned by now, but
perhaps Moscow still thinks that facts matter in Washington’s decisions.
Possibly we should consider that more is going on than
meets the eye. Perhaps the propaganda about the Russian cyber threat to
democracy is being used to prepare American and/or European populations for an
incident. The CIA has morphed into a “deep state” that uses disinformation and
propaganda to align decisions of Congress, the executive branch, and foreign
governments with secret behind-the-scenes agendas. Many books, such as Stephen
Kinzer’s The Brothers and Douglas Valentine’s CIA As
Organized Crime have described some of these secret agendas.
In order to deter Trump from restoring normal
relations with Russia, an incident would have to be severe and irreversible.
Rather than accept defeat for their agenda of US world hegemony, the
neoconservatives are prepared to take high risks. The willingness to take risks
is demonstrated by the public effort of the CIA Director to discredit the
As expected, Putin’s response to the latest
provocation is low key as the “sanctions” appear to be meaningless on the
surface. However, in the event that something dangerous is below the surface,
the Russian government might want to consider putting its military forces on
are clear signs that the Neocons running the AngloZionist Empire and its “deep
state” are in a state of near panic and their actions indicate they are truly
The home front
the home front, the Neocons have resorted to every possible dirty trick on the
book to try to prevent Donald Trump from ever getting into the White House:
riots and demonstrations (some paid by Soros money)
the supporters of Hillary to reject the outcome of the elections (“not my
to threaten the Electors and make them either cast a vote for Hillary or
not vote at all
to convince Congress to refuse the decision of the Electoral College and
are now trying to get the elections annulled on the suspicion that the
(apparently almighty) Russian hackers have compromised the election
outcome (apparently even in states were paper ballots were used) and
stolen it in favor of Trump.
is truly an amazing development, especially considering how Hillary attacked
Trump for not promising to recognize the outcome of the elections. She
specifically said that Trump’s lack of guarantees to recognize the outcome
would threaten the very basis of the stability of the US political system and
now she, and her supporters, are doing everything in their power to do just
that, to throw the entire electoral process into a major crisis with no clear
path towards resolution. Some say that the Democrats are risking a civil war.
Considering that several key Republican Congressmen have said they do support
the notion of an investigation into the “Russian hackers” fairy tale, I submit
that the Republicans are doing exactly the same thing, that this is not a
Democrat vs Republican issue, but a “deep state vs The People of the USA”
experts agree that none of these tactics are going to work. So this begs the
question of whether the Neocons are stupid, whether they think that they can
succeed or what their true objective is.
guess is that first and foremost what is taking place now is what always
happens when the Neocons run into major trouble: they double down, again. And
again. And again. That is one of the key characteristics of their psychological
make-up: they cannot accept defeat or, even less so, that they were wrong, so
each time reality catches up to their ideological delusions, they automatically
double-down. Still, they might rationalize this behavior by a combination of
hope that maybe one of these tricks will work, with the strong urge to do as
much damage to President-Elect Trump before he actually assumes his office. I
would never underestimate the vicious vindictiveness of these people.
is rather encouraging is Trump’s reaction to all this: after apparently long
deliberations he decided to nominate Rex Tillerson as his Secretary of Defense.
From a Neocon point of view, if General Michael Flynn was bad, then Tillerson
was truly an apocalyptic abomination: the man actually had received the order
of “Friend of Russia” from the hands of Vladimir Putin himself!
Trump not realize how provocative this nomination was and how it would be
received by the Neocons? Of course he did! That was, on his part, a totally
deliberate decision. If so, then this is a very, very good sign.
might be mistaken, but I get the feeling that Trump is willing to accept the
Neocon challenge and that he will fight back. For example, his reaction to the
CIA accusations about Russian hackers was very telling: he reminded everybody
that “these are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass
destruction”. I think that it is now a safe bet to say that as soon as
Trump take control heads will roll at the CIA.
is it not amazing that the CIA is offering its opinion about some supposed
Russian hacking during the elections in the USA? Since when does the CIA have
any expertise on what is going on inside the USA? I thought the CIA was only a
foreign intelligence agency. And since when does the CIA get involved in
internal US politics? Yes, of course, savvy observers of the USA have always
known that the CIA was a key player in US politics, but now the Agency
apparently does not even mind confirming this openly. I don't think that Trump
will have the guts and means to do so but, frankly, he would be much better off
completely dissolving the CIA. Of course, that could get Trump killed – messing
with the Fed and the CIA are two unforgivable crimes in the USA – but then again
Trump is already very much at risk anyway, so he might as well strike first].
One the external front
the external front, the big development is the liberation of Aleppo by Syrian
forces. In that case again, the Neocons tried to double-down: they made all
sorts of totally unsubstantiated claims about executions and atrocities while
the BBC, always willing to pick up the correct line, published an article about how much the situation in Aleppo is similar to
what took place in Srebrenica. Of course, there is one way in which the events in
Aleppo and Srebrenica are similar: in both cases the US-backed Takfiris lost
and were defeated by government forces and in both cases the West unleashed a
vicious propaganda war to try to turn the military defeat of its proxies into a
political victory for itself. In any case, the last-ditch propaganda effort
failed and preventing the inevitable and Aleppo was completely liberated.
Empire did score one success: using the fact that most of the foreign forces
allied to the Syrians (Hezbollah, Iranian Pasdaran, Russian Spetsnaz, etc.)
were concentrated around Aleppo, the US-backed Takfiris succeeded in breaking
the will of the Syrians, many of whom apparently fled in panic, and first
surrounded and then eventually reoccupied Palmyra. This will be short lived
success as I completely agree with my friend Alexander Mercouris who says that Putin will soon liberate Palmyra once again, but until this happens the reoccupation
of Palmyra is rather embarrassing for the Syrians, Iranians and Russians.
seems exceedingly unlikely to me that the Daesh movement towards Palmyra was
undetected by the various Syrian, Iranian and Russian intelligence agencies (at
least once source reports that Russian satellites did detect it)
and I therefore conclude that a deliberate decision was made to temporarily
sacrifice Palmyra in order to finally liberate Aleppo. Was that the correct
yes. Contrary to the western propaganda, Aleppo, not Raqqa, has always been the
real “capital” of the US backed terrorists. Raqqa is a relatively small town:
220,000+ inhabitants versus 2,000,000+ for Aleppo, making Aleppo about ten
times larger than Raqqa. As for tiny Palmyra, its population is 30,000+. So the
choice between scrambling to plug the holes in the Syrian defenses around
Palmyra and liberating Aleppo was a no-brainer. Now that Aleppo has been
liberated, the city has to be secured and major engineering efforts need to be
made in order to prepare it for an always possible Takfiri counter-attack. But
it is one thing to re-take a small desert town and quite another one to re-take
a major urban center. I personally very much doubt that Daesh & Co. will
ever be in control of Aleppo again. Some Neocons appear to be so enraged by
this defeat that they are now accusing Trump of
“backing Iran” (I
wish he did!).
tiny Palmyra was given a double-function by the Neocon propaganda effort: to
eclipse the “Russian” (it was not solely “Russian” at all, but never mind that)
victory in Aleppo and to obfuscate the “US” (it was not solely “US” at all, but
never mind that) defeat in Mosul. A hard task for the tiny desert city for sure
and it is no wonder that this desperate attempt also failed: the US lead
coalition in Mosul still looks just about as weak as the Russian lead coalition
looks strong in Aleppo.
comparison between these two battles is simply embarrassing for the USA: not
only did the US-backed forces fail to liberate Mosul from Daesh & Co. but
they have not even full encircled the city or even managed to penetrate beyond
its furthest suburbs. There is very little information coming out of Mosul, but
after three months of combat the entire operation to liberate Mosul seems to be
an abject failure, at least for the time being. I sincerely hope that once
Trump takes office he will finally agree to work not only with Russia, but also
with Iran, to finally get Daesh out of Mosul. But if Trump delivers on his
promise to AIPAC and the rest of the Israel Lobby gang to continue to
antagonize and threaten Iran, the US can basically forget any hopes of
defeating Daesh in Iraq.
of despair and spite, the US propaganda vilified Russia for the killing of
civilians in Aleppo while strenuously avoiding any mention of civilian victims
in Mosul. But then, the same propaganda machine which made fun of the color of
the smoke coming out of the engines of the Russian aircraft carrier Admiral
Kuznetsov (suggesting that she was about to break down) had to eat humble pie
when it was the US navy’s most expensive and newest destroyer, the USS Zumwalt,
which broke down in the Panama canal and had to be immobilzed, while the
Kuznetsov continued to do a very good job supporting Russian operations in
and over again, the AngloZionist propaganda machine has failed to obfuscate the
embarrassing facts on the ground and it now clearly appears that the entire US
policy for the Middle-East is in total disarray and that the Neocons are as
clueless as they are desperate.
The countdown to January 20th
is pretty obvious that the Neocon reign is coming to an end in a climax of
incompetence, hysterical finger-pointing, futile attempts at preventing the
inevitable and a desperate scramble to conceal the magnitude of the abject
failure which Neocon-inspired policies have resulted in. Obama will go down in
history as the worst and most incompetent President in US history. As for
Hillary, she will be remembered as both the worst US Secretary of State the US
and the most inept Presidential candidate ever.
light of the fact that the Neocons always failed at everything they attempted,
I am inclined to believe that they will probably also fail at preventing Donald
Trump from being sworn in. But until January 20th, 2017 I will be
holding my breath in fear of what else these truly demented people could come
for Trump, I still can’t figure him out. On one hand he nominates Rex Tillerson
in what appears to be a deliberate message of defiance against the Neocons,
while on the other hand he continues to try to appease the Israel Lobby gang by
choosing a rabid Zionist of the worst kind, David M. Friedman, as the
next US ambassador to Israel. Even worse then that, Donald Trump still does not
appear to be willing to recognize the undeniable fact that the US will never
defeat Daesh as long as the anti-Iranian stance of the Neocons is not replaced
by a real willingness to engage Iran and accept it as a partner and ally.
now the Trump rhetoric simply makes no sense: he wants to befriend Russia while
antagonizing China and he wants to defeat Daesh while threatening Iran again.
This is lunacy. Still, I am willing to give him the benefit of the doubt, but
somebody sure needs to educate him on the geopolitical realities out there
before he also end up making a total disaster of US foreign policy.
yet, I still have a small hope.
hope is that the latest antics of the Neocons will sufficiently aggravate and
even enrage Trump to a point where he will give up on his futile attempts at
appeasing them. Only by engaging in a systematic policy of “de-neoconization”
of the US political establishment will Trump have any hopes of “making
America great again”. If Trump’s plan is to appease the Neocons long enough
from him to be sworn in and have his men approved by Congress – fine. Then he
still has a chance of saving the USA from a catastrophic collapse, but only as
long as he remains determined to ruthlessly crack down on the Neocons once in
power. If his hope is to distract the Neocons by appeasing them on secondary or
minor issues, then his efforts are doomed and he will go down the very same
road as Obama who, at least superficially, initially appeared to be a
non-Neocon candidate and who ended up being a total Neocon puppet (in 2008 the
Neocons had placed their bets on McCain and they only infiltrated the Obama
Administration once McCain was defeated).
way or another, we are headed for a crisis, the only open question whether the USA will come out
of this crisis liberated or doomed.
I appreciate the insightfulness of Dmitry Orlov and The Saker. In this
article, Orlov examines the effects of Obama’s foreign interventions and
concludes that Obama has been more successful than a Russian spy in advancing
Sometimes a case
looks weak because there is no “smoking gun”—no obvious, direct evidence of
conspiracy, malfeasance or evil intent—but once you tally up all the evidence
it forms a coherent and damning picture. And so it is with the Obama
administration vis à vis Russia: by feigning hostile intent it did everything
possible to further Russia’s agenda.
And although it
is always possible to claim that all of Obama’s failures stem from mere
incompetence, at some point this claim begins to ring hollow; how can he
possibly be so utterly competent… at being incompetent? Perhaps he just used
incompetence as a veil to cover his true intent, which was always to bolster
Russia while rendering the US maximally irrelevant in world affairs.
Obama’s major foreign policy initiatives from this angle.
greatest achievement of his eight years has been the destruction of Libya.
Under the false pretense of a humanitarian intervention what was once the most
prosperous and stable country in the entire North Africa has been reduced to a
rubble-strewn haven for Islamic terrorists and a transit point for economic
migrants streaming into the European Union. This had the effect of pushing
Russia and China together, prompting them to start voting against the US
together as a block in the UN Security Council.
In a single
blow, Obama assured an important element of his legacy as a Russian agent: no
longer will the US be able to further its agenda through this very important
presided over the violent overthrow of the constitutional government in the
Ukraine and the installation of an American puppet regime there. When Crimea
then voted to rejoin Russia, Obama imposed sanctions on the Russian Federation.
These moves may seem like they were designed to hurt Russia, but let’s look at
the results instead of the intentions.
regained control of an important, strategic region. Second, the sanctions and
the countersanctions allowed Russia to concentrate on import replacement,
building up the domestic economy. This was especially impressive in
agriculture, and Russia now earns more export revenue from foodstuffs than from
weapons. Third, the severing of economic ties with the Ukraine allowed Russia
to eliminate a major economic competitor. Fourth, over a million Ukrainians
decided to move to Russia, either temporarily or permanently, giving Russia a
major demographic boost and giving it access to a pool of Russian-speaking
skilled labor. (Most Ukrainians are barely distinguishable from the general
Russian population.) Fifth, whereas before the Ukraine was in a position to
extort concessions from Russia by playing games with the natural gas pipelines
that lead from Russia to the European Union, now Russia’s hands have been
untied, resulting in new pipeline deals with Turkey and Germany.
Russia reaped all the benefits from the Ukrainian stalemate, while the US
gained an unsavory, embarrassing dependent.
“achievement” was in carefully shepherding the Syrian conflict into a cul de
sac. (Some insist on calling it a civil war, although virtually all of the
fighting there has between the entire Syrian nation and foreign-funded outside
To this end,
Obama deployed an array of tactics. He simultaneously supported, armed, trained
and fought various terrorist groups, making a joke of the usual US technique of
using “terrorism by proxy.” He made ridiculous claims that the Syrian
government had used chemical weapons against its own people, which immediately
reminded everyone of similarly hollow claims about Saddam’s WMDs while offering
Russia a legitimate role to play in resolving the Syrian conflict. He made
endless promises to separate “moderate opposition” from dyed-in-the-wool
terrorists, but repeatedly failed to do so, thus giving the Russians ample
scope to take care of the situation as they saw fit. He negotiated several
cease fires, then violated them.
There have been
other achievements as well. By constantly talking up the nonexistent “Russian
threat” and scaremongering about “Russian aggression” and “Russian invasion”
(of which no evidence existed), and by holding futile military exercises in
Eastern Europe and especially in the geopolitically irrelevant Baltics, Obama
managed to deprive NATO of any residual legitimacy it once might have had,
turning it into a sad joke.
Obama’s most significant service on behalf of the Russian nation was in
throwing the election to Donald Trump. This he did by throwing his support
behind the ridiculously inept and corrupt Hillary Clinton. She outspent Trump
by a factor of two, but apparently no amount of money could buy her the
presidency. As a result of Obama’s steadfast efforts, the US will now have a
Russia-friendly president who is eager to make deals with Russia, but will have
to do so from a significantly weakened negotiating position.
As I have been
arguing for the last decade, it is a foregone conclusion that the United States
is going to slide from its position of global dominance. But it was certainly
helpful to have Obama grease the skids, and now it’s up to Donald Trump to
finish the job.
Obama’s contribution was especially helpful to Russia, I propose that he be
awarded the Russian Federation’s Order of Friendship, to go with his Nobel
Russian Foreign Ministry: Entire World 'Disgusted' by Obama's Disastrous Foreign Policy
Finally, someone says it
Let us take a few moments to meditate on the last eight years.
The U.S. is still bogged down in Iraq.
The U.S. military is still protecting poppy fields in Afghanistan. It's been America's longest poppy field protection operation. And its longest war.
The first black president expanded AFRICOM and the shadow wars and classified drone operations in Africa.
He also destroyed Libya, the most prosperous, developed nation in North Africa. As expected, his justification for doing so was later revealed to be massive baloney bullshit.
He "created a secret drones program to kill terrorist suspects worldwide without public acknowledgement or due process. Under his watch, the US has expanded the field of battle in the "war on terrorism" to a dozen countries and constructed institutions and routines of surveillance and assassination – such as the so-called 'disposition matrix' and 'Terror Tuesdays' that will have serious consequences beyond his presidency."
Then there's Ukraine. Don't even get us started.
The "Asia pivot" is also working out great. So glad that we're now provoking the Chinese in an ocean called the South China Sea.
And of course, there's Syria. The Obama administration's greatest, most moderate success.
In general, everything is terrible.
Finally, someone has just come out and said it: Eight years of Obama has made the world vomit in disgust:
The Barack Obama administration’s foreign policy over the eight years of Obama’s presidency "evokes aversion of the entire world," Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday.
"I think this man [Obama] and his team - naturally, speaking about the man we mean the team which has proved to be bad for all on the global arena," she said in an interview with the Sunday Evening weekly news roundup on the Rossiya-1 television channel.
Obama's legacy can be summarized as the normalization of Bush-era horrors, complimented by the perpetuation of endless, covert war and cowardly drone programs.
It's been a disgusting eight years. Thank god that there is at least one country left on this earth that isn't afraid to tell it like it is.