Wednesday 1st of February 2023

the last thing the US want: people free from the rules-based shitty US order......

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s keynote address at the Valdai Club last Thursday appears to have put Russia on a collision course with the U.S.-led “Rules Based International Order” (RBIO).

The Biden administration two weeks earlier released its 2022 National Security Strategy(NSS), a full-throated defense of the RBIO which all-but declares war on “autocrats” who are “working overtime to undermine democracy.”


By Scott Ritter
Special to Consortium News


These two visions of the future of the world order define a global competition that has become existential in nature. In short, there can be only one victor.

Given the fact that the main players in this competition comprise the five declared nuclear powers, how the world manages the defeat of the losing side will, in large part, determine whether humanity will survive into the next generation.

“We are now in the early years of a decisive decade for America and the world,” U.S. President Joe Biden wrote in the introduction to the 2022 NSS. “The terms of geopolitical competition between the major powers will be set … the post-Cold War era is definitively over, and a competition is underway between the major powers to shape what comes next.”

The key to winning this competition, Biden declared, is American leadership: “The need for a strong and purposeful American role in the world has never been greater.”

The 2022 NSS laid out the nature of this competition in stark terms. Biden claimed:“Democracies and autocracies are engaged in a contest to show which system of governance can best deliver for their people and the world.”

American goals in this competition are clear:

“[W]e want a free, open, prosperous, and secure international order. We seek an order that is free in that it allows people to enjoy their basic, universal rights and freedoms. It is open in that it provides all nations that sign up to these principles an opportunity to participate in, and have a role in shaping, the rules.”

Standing in the way of the accomplishment of these goals, Biden says, are the forces of autocracy, led by Russia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC). “Russia,” he declared,

“poses an immediate threat to the free and open international system, recklessly flouting the basic laws of the international order today, as its brutal war of aggression against Ukraine has shown. The PRC, by contrast, is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to advance that objective.”

Russia & China

Of course, Russia and China take umbrage at Biden’s world view, and in particular their role in it. This objection was voiced back on Feb. 4, when Putin met with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, where the two leaders released a joint statement that served as a veritable declaration of war against the RBIO.

“The sides [i.e., Russia and China] intend to resist attempts to substitute universally recognized formats and mechanisms that are consistent with international law [i.e., the Law Based International Order (LBIO)],” the joint statement read, “for rules elaborated in private by certain nations or blocs of nations [i.e., the RBIO], and are against addressing international problems indirectly and without consensus, oppose power politics, bullying, unilateral sanctions, and extraterritorial application of jurisdiction.”

Far from seeking confrontation, Russia and China, in their joint statement, went out of their way to emphasize the need for cooperation among nations:

“The sides reiterate the need for consolidation, not division of the international community, the need for cooperation, not confrontation. The sides oppose the return of international relations to the state of confrontation between major powers when the weak fall prey to the strong.”

Russia and China believe the problems confronting the world come from pressures brought on by the collective West, led by the United States. This point was emphasized by Putin in his Valdai address. 

“[I]t can be said,” Putin noted, “that in recent years, and especially in recent months, this West has taken a number of steps toward escalation. Strictly speaking, it always relies on escalation; that is not new. These are the instigation of the war in Ukraine, the provocations around Taiwan, and the destabilization of global food and energy markets.”

According to Putin, there is little that can be done to avoid this escalation, since the root of the problem is the very nature of the West. He said:

“The Western model of globalization, neocolonial at its core, was also built on standardization, on financial and technological monopolism, and on the erasure of all differences. The task was clear: to strengthen the unconditional domination of the West in the world economy and politics, and to this end to put at its service the natural and financial resources, the intellectual, human, and economic capacities of the entire planet, under the guise of the so-called new global interdependence.”


Western Supremacy 

There can be no longer any concept of cooperation between Russia and the West, Putin said, because the American-dominated West steadfastly adheres to the supremacy of its own values and systems, at the exclusion of all others.

Putin took aim at this exclusivity. “Western ideologists and politicians,” he said, “have been telling the whole world for many years: There is no alternative to democracy. However, they talk about the Western, so-called liberal model of democracy. They reject all other variants and forms of democracy with contempt and – I would like to emphasize this – arrogance.”

Moreover, Putin noted, “[T]he arrogant pursuit of world domination, of dictating or maintaining leadership by dictation, is leading to the decline of the international authority of the leaders of the Western world, including the United States.”

The solution, Putin declared, is to reject the exclusivity of the American RBIO model. “The unity of humanity is not based on the command ‘do it like me’ or ‘become like us,’” Putin said, noting rather that “it is formed taking into account and based on the opinion of all and with respect for the identity of each society and nation. This is the principle on which long-term engagement in a multipolar world can be built.”


Battle Defined by Ideas

The battle lines have been drawn — American-led singularity on one side, and a Russian-Chinese led multipolarity on the other.

A direct military-on-military clash between the proponents of the RBIO and those backing the LBIO would, literally, go nuclear, destroying the very world they are competing to control. 

As such, the looming Armageddon won’t be a battle defined by military power, but rather of ideas — of which side can sway the opinion of the rest of the world to come over to its side. Herein lies the key to determining who will win — the established RBIO, or the up-and-coming LBIO?

The answer increasingly seems clear — it’s the LBIO by a long shot.

America is in decline. The American model of democracy is failing at home, and as such is incapable of being responsibly projected on the world stage as something worthy of imitation. The RBIO is coming apart at the seams. 

On every front, it is being confronted by organizations which embrace the LBIO vision and failing. The G-7 is losing against BRICS; NATO is fracturing while the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is expanding. The European Union is collapsing, while the Russian-Chinese vision for a trans-Eurasian economic union is thriving.

“Power over the world,” Putin declared at Valdai, “is exactly what the so-called West has been betting on. But this game is certainly a dangerous, bloody and, I would say, dirty game.”

There can be no avoiding the coming conflict. But, as Putin noted, paraphrasing the Biblical passage from Hosea 8:7, “He who sows the wind will, as the saying goes, reap the storm. The crisis has indeed become global; it affects everyone. There is no need to be under any illusions.”

To this should be added Matthew 24:6: “And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.”

All things must come to pass.

But the end is not yet.

The decline of American hegemony in global affairs does not require the four horsemen of the apocalypse to be unleashed on the planet.

America has had its moments. As Paul Simon sang in his classic song, American Tune, “We [America] come in the age’s most uncertain hour.”

History will never forget the American Century, where the strength of its industry and people not once, but twice, came to the aid of the world “in its most uncertain hour.”

But the age of American supremacy has passed, and it’s time to move on to what the future holds — a new age of multi-polarity where America is but one among many.

We can, of course, decide to resist this transition. Indeed, Biden’s 2022 NSS is literally a roadmap of such a resistance. We can, as the poet Dylan Thomas penned, opt not to “go gentle into that good night”, but rather “Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

But at what cost? The end of American singularity does not have to mean the end of America. The American dream, once removed from the need to dominate the world to sustain it, can be an attainable possibility.

The alternative is grim. Should the U.S. opt to resist the tides of history, the temptation to use the final weapon of existential survival — America’s nuclear arsenal — will be real.

And no one will survive.

In the end, the decision of whether to “burn the village in order to save it” is up to the American people. 

We can buy into the flawed “democracy versus autocracy” suicide pact inherent in the 2022 NSS, or we can insist that our leaders use what remains of American leadership and authority to help guide the planet into a new phase of multilateralism where our nation exists as one among equals.



Scott Ritter is a former U.S. Marine Corps intelligence officer who served in the former Soviet Union implementing arms control treaties, in the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Storm and in Iraq overseeing the disarmament of WMD. His most recent book is Disarmament in the Time of Perestroika, published by Clarity Press.

The views expressed are solely those of the author and may or may not reflect those of Consortium News.





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negotiate, please.....



U.S. foreign policy is filled with overused and tiresome cliches designed to resonate with a preferred partisan audience. For example, hawks like to label any resistance to aggressive strategy “appeasement,” or say that world leader X is “weak” or Y politician has “no strategy” towards whatever the foreign “threat” of the day may be. 

We hide behind these phrases and tropes and often substitute toughness and machismo for what is needed most of the time — and that’s talking, complicated negotiations, and compromise. 

All of this is precisely what is happening today with regard to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and why the United States and its allies won’t do the one thing that might help end the bloodshed: talk to Moscow. 

Clearly, Washington and its allies should be finding ways to open up communications with Russian President Vladimir Putin to try to end the fighting — as hard and politically difficult as that will be, given his latest annexation of Ukrainian territory and jeremiad lambasting the United States and the West on Friday. But it is nonetheless clearly in our national interest to do so. Right now, new sanctions and even a new U.S.-led military command are being set up for the long, hard slog, but what about back-channel diplomacy?

In fact, it seems that tensions are rising by the second. 

Considering the stakes — among them, the possibility that Russia will feel so boxed in that it will turn to its arsenal of 6,400 nuclear warheads and try to end the Ukraine war on its own terms despite the risk of a nuclear holocaust — one would think talks would already be happening as we speak. Sadly, due to the Western narrative that Ukraine is “winning” the war against Moscow, the Biden administration appears to believe it can put enough pressure on Putin with more weapons for Ukraine that he will give up his newly annexed territories and go home with his atomic tail between his legs. 

But Kyiv does not have the manpower, resources, or overall military capability to win anything right now. Yes, they have been successful recently as the Biden Administration is flooding them with weapons from our own military stockpiles like the HIMARS rocket system and other precision-strike platforms while giving Ukraine’s soldiers a crash course on how to use them. This means Washington is literally conducting a proxy war with Russia, and the pressure will mount daily to give Ukraine more and more advanced weapons to keep what is amounting to a war of attrition going.

Here is where we enter dangerous waters. I have fought more than thirty combat simulations in wargames under my own direction for a private defense contract over the last several months, looking at various aspects of the Russia-Ukraine war, and one thing is clear: the chances of a nuclear war increase significantly every day that passes. 

In every scenario I tested, the Biden Administration slowly gives Ukraine ever more advanced weapons like ATACMS, F-16s, and other platforms that Russia has consistently warned pose a direct military threat. While each scenario has postulated a different point at which Moscow decides to use a tactical nuclear weapon in order to counter conventional platforms it can’t easily defeat, the chances that Russia uses nukes grow as new and more powerful military capabilities are introduced into the battlefield by the West.

In fact, in 28 of the thirty scenarios I have run since the war began, some sort of nuclear exchange occurs. 

The good news is there is a way out of this crisis — however imperfect it may be. In the two scenarios where nuclear war was averted, direct negotiations led to a ceasefire. The Biden Administration and its NATO allies should be testing Putin’s recent comments about a ceasefire to test his seriousness. While Kyiv might not want a cessation of hostilities, thinking it can somehow regain not only territories lost this year but Crimea as well, it should be reminded that U.S. and NATO weapons are what has enabled and turbo-charged its resistance.

Kyiv must also understand that there are no guarantees that it can sustain its momentum against a Russian military that still has them outmanned and outgunned — and that it is not in the U.S. interest to continue bankrolling another forever war with no end in sight.

Next is the hard part: what does a settlement actually look like? To be frank, it could take many months or years to hammer out any agreement, and it might not even take place until Putin leaves office as he may have politically painted himself into a corner.

Nonetheless, the possibility of nuclear war demands that the West try to seriously explore what may be possible. Clearly, Ukraine cannot join NATO as Russia would be most unlikely to accept such an outcome given that preventing Ukraine from joining the alliance was the casus belli initially cited by Putin for his invasion. However, offering up front that Ukraine will never join NATO — removing one of Russia’s great geopolitical fears — as leverage could get the diplomatic ball rolling. While Kyiv put in a formal bid to join the alliance on Friday, it simply cannot happen, no matter how much Ukraine complains publicly or in the media.

From there, things will get more difficult, and there is no guarantee a ceasefire deal can be struck. In fact, Ukraine could end up one giant “frozen conflict” — like many others Russia seems to have created and let simmer over the last decade or so. And while no one wants to see that happen, one can argue that it would undoubtedly be better than a slow and steady march toward nuclear war in which billions of people could perish in the process. 







FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW......  HE IS A "people THAT SHOULD BE ABLE to enjoy basic, universal rights and freedoms".... With assange in prison, Biden's hypocrisy oozes like tar in a Californian tar pit.....