Pepe Escobar: Russophobia Is A 24/7 Industry

Authored by Pepe Escobar via The Asia Times,

US President stirs up a hornet's nest with his press conference alongside his Russian counterpart, but it seems that no 'grand bargain' was struck on Syria, and on Iran they appear to strongly disagree

"The Cold War is a thing of the past.” By the time President Putin said as much during preliminary remarks at his joint press conference with President Trump in Helsinki, it was clear this would not stand. Not after so much investment by American conservatives in Cold War 2.0.

Russophobia is a 24/7 industry, and all concerned, including its media vassals, remain absolutely livid with the “disgraceful” Trump-Putin presser. Trump has “colluded with Russia.” How could the President of the United States promote “moral equivalence” with a “world-class thug”?

Multiple opportunities for apoplectic outrage were in order.

Trump: “Our relationship has never been worse than it is now. However, that changed. As of about four hours ago.”

Putin: “The United States could be more decisive in nudging Ukrainian leadership.”

Trump: “There was no collusion… I beat Hillary Clinton easily.”

Putin: “We should be guided by facts. Can you name a single fact that would definitively prove collusion? This is nonsense.”

Then, the clincher: the Russian president calls [Special Counsel] Robert Mueller’s ‘bluff’, offering to interrogate the Russians indicted for alleged election meddling in the US if Mueller makes an official request to Moscow. But in exchange, Russia would expect the US to question Americans on whether Moscow should face charges for illegal actions.

Trump hits it out of the park when asked whether he believes US intelligence, which concluded that Russia did meddle in the election, or Putin, who strongly denies it.

“President Putin says it’s not Russia. I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

As if this was not enough, Trump doubles down invoking the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server. “I really do want to see the server. Where is the server? I want to know. Where is the server and what is the server saying?”

It was inevitable that a strategically crucial summit between the Russian and American presidencies would be hijacked by the dementia of the US news cycle.

Trump was unfazed. He knows that the DNC computer hard-drives – the source of an alleged “hacking” – simply “disappeared” while in the custody of US intel, FBI included. He knows the bandwidth necessary for file transfer was much larger than a hack might have managed in the time allowed. It was a leak, a download into a flash-drive.

Additionally, Putin knows that Mueller knows he will never be able to drag 12 Russian intelligence agents into a US courtroom. So the – debunked – indictment, announced only three days before Helsinki, was nothing more than a pre-emptive, judicial hand grenade.

No wonder John Brennan, a former CIA director under the Obama administration, is fuming. “Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to exceed the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanors.’ It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

How Syria and Ukraine are linked

However, there are reasons to expect at least minimal progress on three fronts in Helsinki: a solution for the Syria tragedy, an effort to limit nuclear weapons and save the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces treaty signed in 1987 by Reagan and Gorbachev, and a positive drive to normalize US-Russia relations, away from Cold War 2.0.

Trump knew he had nothing to offer Putin to negotiate on Syria. The Syrian Arab Army (SAA) now controls virtually 90% of national territory. Russia is firmly established in the Eastern Mediterranean, especially after signing a 49-year agreement with Damascus. 

Even considering careful mentions of Israel on both sides, Putin certainly did not agree to force Iran out of Syria.

No “grand bargain” on Iran seems to be in the cards. The top adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, Ali Akbar Velayati, was in Moscow last week. The Moscow-Tehran entente cordiale seems unbreakable. In parallel, as Asia Times has learned, Bashar al-Assad has told Moscow he might even agree to Iran leaving Syria, but Israel would have to return the occupied Golan Heights. So, the status quo remains.

Putin did mention both presidents discussed the Iran nuclear deal or Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action and essentially they, strongly, agree to disagree. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have written a letter formally rejecting an appeal for carve-outs in finance, energy and healthcare by Germany, France and the UK. A maximum economic blockade remains the name of the game. Putin may have impressed on Trump the possible dire consequences of a US oil embargo on Iran, and even the (far-fetched) scenario of Tehran blocking the Strait of Hormuz.

Judging by what both presidents said, and what has been leaked so far, Trump may not have offered an explicit US recognition of Crimea for Russia, or an easing of Ukraine-linked sanctions.

It’s reasonable to picture a very delicate ballet in terms of what they really discussed in relation to Ukraine. Once again, the only thing Trump could offer on Ukraine is an easing of sanctions. But for Russia the stakes are much higher.

Putin clearly sees Southwest Asia and Central and Eastern Europe as totally integrated. The Black Sea basin is where Russia intersects with Ukraine, Turkey, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. Or, historically, where the former Russian, Ottoman and Habsburg empires converged.

A Greater Black Sea implies the geopolitical convergence of what’s happening in both Syria and Ukraine. That’s why for the Kremlin only an overall package matters. It’s not by accident that Washington identified these two nodes – destabilizing Damascus and turning the tables in Kiev – to cause problems for Moscow.

Putin sees a stable Syria and a stable Ukraine as essential to ease his burden in dealing with the Balkans and the Baltics. We’re back once again to that classic geopolitical staple, the Intermarium (“between the seas”). That’s the ultra-contested rimland from Estonia in the north to Bulgaria in the south – and to the Caucasus in the east. Once, that used to frame the clash between Germany and Russia. Now, that frames the clash between the US and Russia.

In a fascinating echo of the summit in Helsinki, Western strategists do lose their sleep gaming on Russia being able to “Finlandize” this whole rimland.

And that brings us, inevitably, to what could be termed The German Question. What is Putin’s ultimate goal: a quite close business and strategic relationship with Germany (German business is in favor)? Or some sort of entente cordiale with the US? EU diplomats in Brussels are openly discussing that underneath all the thunder and lightning, this is the holy of the holies.

Take a walk on the wild side

The now notorious key takeaway from a Trump interview at his golf club in Turnberry, Scotland, before Helsinki, may offer some clues.

“Well, I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe. Russia is a foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they are a foe. But that doesn’t mean they are bad. It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they are competitive.”

Putin certainly knows it. But even Trump, while not being a Clausewitzian strategist, may have had an intuition that the post-WWII liberal order, built by a hegemonic US and bent on permanent US military hegemony over the Eurasian landmass while subduing a vassal Europe, is waning.

While Trump firebombs this United States of Europe as an “unfair” competitor of the US, it’s essential to remember that it was the White House that asked for the Helsinki summit, not the Kremlin.

Trump treats the EU with undisguised disdain. He would love nothing better than for the EU to dissolve. His Arab “partners” can be easily controlled by fear. He has all but declared economic war on China and is on tariff overdrive – even as the IMF warns that the global economy runs the risk of losing around $500 billion in the process. And he faces the ultimate intractable, the China-Russia-Iran axis of Eurasian integration, which simply won’t go away.

So, talking to “world-class thug” Putin – in usual suspect terminology – is a must. A divide-and-rule here, a deal there – who knows what some hustling will bring? To paraphrase Lou Reed, New Trump City “is the place where they say “Hey babe, take a walk on the wild side.”

During the Helsinki presser, Putin, fresh from Russia’s spectacular World Cup soft power PR coup, passed a football to Trump. The US president said he would give it to his son, Barron, and passed the ball to First Lady Melania. Well, the ball is now in Melania’s court.

Comments

beemasters NidStyles Tue, 07/17/2018 - 20:37 Permalink

There were a few things Putin "admitted" in his Wallace interview. He repeated his denial it was "Russian state" hacking the DNC server, then he justified the hacking by saying it was revealing truth and last, he said it could be individual "patriotic" Russians who might have done it.
This is certainly going in the wrong direction. Illegally obtained (by a foreign entity), those emails might not stand as an evidence (from a legal viewpoint) against Hillary, DNC, Podesta. This sucks.

In reply to by NidStyles

Jim in MN beemasters Tue, 07/17/2018 - 21:01 Permalink

Ha ha ha.  The part of the indictment I liked was the made up stuff about data compression.  Clearly the FBI goon squad is trying to fabricate some way to break the laws of physics (on paper) to make it possible for the scale of file transfer to be remotely executed.  As Pepe nicely points out in the article.

Just because Russians, and everyone else (I recall some dozen various intruders) were wandering about in the Dem computers, with or in this case without removing gigabytes of data, doesn't make the facts any less, shall we say, factual.  Just get the info to the public, it will be the end of them regardless of any court action. 

In reply to by beemasters

bshirley1968 powow Tue, 07/17/2018 - 21:35 Permalink

Have you noticed the lack of these terms in the media?

Terrorist, Al qadea, Taliban, and ISIS

It's like they just went away. Now we have a new/old boogie-man called Russia. Got to keep the sheeple scared and the "terrorism " thing had lost its effectiveness. It's so obvious as every movie villain is either Russian or some eastern block country that was "once part of Russia". They run the "Milosevik" scenario or some other kind of eastern block gangsta over and over again.

In reply to by powow

Giant Meteor bshirley1968 Tue, 07/17/2018 - 22:31 Permalink

“I hold both countries responsible. I think that the United States has been foolish. We’ve all been foolish,” Trump said during a joint news conference alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

Good Christ, that has to be, bar none, the most honest statement I've ever heard uttered by a POTUS, sitting or otherwise, or for that matter any other national "leader." ..

Now one could argue or not the sincerity or intent of delivering this large chunk of truth, it has certainly created a shitstorm. Frankly, with all the evidence at hand, well documented evidence, and historical record, easily discovered, well known, I'm not quite sure how folks could dispute it with a straight face.

Then again, upon sampling the various MSM media accounts, meltdowns, hyperbole etc. aside from the feelings of instant revulsion they invoke, and I do not spare FOX in this, it is no wonder the masses remain asses ..

What a fucking disgrace, not of Trump, but of all these fucks running around with their hair on fire, feigning shock, shock I say, that the Nation they reside in, has stirred up more shit around the globe than the rest of them put together. Anyone else is merely attempting to "keep up."

Shining city on the hill? Nah, that received a bullet in the brain pan, circa 1962. Far from settled business. See other wide and varied examples. And if that doesn't do it for ya, revisit the take over of the nations financial system without shot being fired, the Vietnam war (shot's fired), or more recent, the monumental false flag, quintessential inside job known as NINE ONE ONE .. along with it's boot stepping, boot strapping, face stomping, Orwellian I spy, "patriot acts, the mass surveilance and MEDDLING in EVERYONES's fucking lives (lies) from the bridge of the good ship USNSA, in this, our Alice In Wonderland deep state, deep holed parallel universe of of fantastical land, naïveté , USA

And no, I'm neither a Trump, NOR Putin fanboy, although at this point they largely look like the adults in the room. I appreciate various comments of both men, words all too seldom heard.

“Truth is treason in the empire of lies.” Dr. Paul, I believe

In reply to by bshirley1968

Scipio Africanuz Giant Meteor Wed, 07/18/2018 - 12:46 Permalink

First Lady Melania Trump has been absolutely gracious! She's a conservative "babe" imbued with magnificent class, elan, and support of her man! That's what being a woman is about. So powerful, a man feels like a king around her, not like the feminist tyrants of today. I love the observation that she protects her young, by stabilising the progenitor, if only we red blooded men could be that fortunate!

President Trump, the first lady is an asset, find out how to deploy her feminity, and demureness, it'll solidify support amongst conservative women.

Next, deploy Ben Carson, the physician, and other non-caucasoid members of the team so folks can know for sure, all branches of the human race are represented in the Trump administration!

Then, integrate the knowledge of folks who know the score of intelligence, like William Binney, who built the NSA infrastructure, and Ray McGovern, who shoots straight, concerning CIA operations.

These two, can debunk the assertions of the compromised intelligence agencies bosses, pertaining to honest intelligence assessments.

Sir, the war is really against the compromised managers of the intelligence agencies, not the rank and file, but the managers. In Justice, we need a fearsome bulldog who's not afraid to bite, and chew through bone, in service of the Rule of Law, Elliott Spitzer, comes into play there.

Mr President, no more conciliation, let's go for the "scorched earth pokicy", the Republic is at stake!...

In reply to by Giant Meteor

el buitre beemasters Tue, 07/17/2018 - 23:35 Permalink

Well I didn't hack the DNC server either but I was pleased that the truth was revealed to the public.  Guess I, like Putin, am "going in the wrong direction."  As to using the server as evidence, Hillary, Wasserman-Schutz, and Podesta have each committed so many felonies that Inspector Clouseau (or even Comey - a step down in competence from Clouseau)  could put them all away for life and 9999 years.  As the Donald asked in his presser, where is the server.  Q says that the "Patriots" have it which, I guess, would put it in New England. And where's Huma's multi GB "Life Insurance" folder on Carlos Danger's laptop, probably with videos of the Hildabeast sodomizing babies, or worse.

In reply to by beemasters

Giant Meteor ???ö? Tue, 07/17/2018 - 22:56 Permalink

Well, I really hate to be the fly in the ointment, but after reading various Israeli op eds on the recent Helsinki meet and greet, it seems to me villification may be misdirected .. Accordingly, Nut and yahoo, had maintained cordial relations with both playahs, as is wont to do, playing percentages on both sides, although they're giving this round to Putin, who you know, is their strong man of choice at the moment, cordial relations and all ..

In reply to by ???ö?

Jim in MN serotonindumptruck Tue, 07/17/2018 - 21:11 Permalink

Populations in a closed system always exhibit a sigma curve.  The exponential increase stops and population plateaus at a high but stable level.

Doesn't matter if it's bacteria in a dish, sheep in a field, or us.

Global population is already leveling off.  China leveled theirs too fast, doing severe damage to their population pyramid with the one child policy (skewed to the male side as girls were aborted or killed).  It's why India will pull ahead of them in a couple of decades.

For an amazing look at this find the old book 'World Population and Human Values' by Jonas and Jonathan Salk.  Quite amazing.  It is now being reissued, good timing.

What's the growth RATE look like in a sigma curve?  It's zero, then spikes, then falls back to zero.  That spike has never happened before in human history and will never happen again.  It runs roughly from 1750 to 2100.  Just 350 years, or ten generations. 

Only ten generations of humanity have ever or will ever live in this growth rate spike.

Why the fuck would anyone think we have the social tools to adapt to it?  On the other hand, the hallmark of human nature is extreme flexibility.  So that right there is the ultimate question hanging over the Earth's people.  Adapt or....on a long enough timeline....

War and global conflict may be the end game but they are absolutely not necessary.

In reply to by serotonindumptruck

Know thy enemy Tue, 07/17/2018 - 20:07 Permalink

The soccer ball handoff between Putin and Trump was masterful. Putin said as he handed it over to Trump, "The ball is in your court." That was no average soccer ball because it came with a chip for accessing the thumb drive they handed to Trump as he and Melania deplaned in Helsinki - https://youtu.be/zeqbVTT8DnY - the deep state is shitting their pants - as we speak!  

Herdee Tue, 07/17/2018 - 20:13 Permalink

Where's the server? Over 700,000 communications from that server were transferred onto Anthony Weiner's laptop. The NYPD already looked at it and discovered pedo stuff that was very troubling. The U.S. Justice Department has that data that went from the server to the laptop. That's what the President is referring to because he's giving you a clue about the coming indictments. It involves an international criminal, money laundering and child sex trafficking organizations. Hundreds of millions laundered including what Obama was involved with. Iran indicated that it paid off foreign leaders with bribes.Many will be brought to justice including Obama, Brennan, Clintons and Comey and multiple hundreds of others including Soros that were part of a global conspiracy which included trying to rig the recent election against Trump. Uranium1 with little mafia boy Frankie from Canada will tie in former Prime Minister of Canada Stephen Harper and his Defense Chief who are both NeoNazi scum. As the President indicated, this is bigger than Watergate.

Consuelo Herdee Tue, 07/17/2018 - 20:35 Permalink

Watergate doesn't even register on any scale worthy of weights & measures by comparison.  This Klinton Krime Kabal (and make no mistake of where the center of all this lies) scheme of pay-to-play, going all the way back to the very first days of the Out House in 1993, is the Largest criminal conspiracy in modern history, bar none.

In reply to by Herdee

Winston Churchill Tue, 07/17/2018 - 21:06 Permalink

I'm still wondering why Trump asked for the meeting and was prepared to look like a supplicant by

having to go to Putin's doorstep to get it.If he was hoping to split China and Russia , that was never in the cards.

Watch Xi's State visit this weekend, there may well be a big announcement that affects the petrodollar, that's the

whisper I heard.The GCC is about to start selling oil for yuan.

WTFUD Tue, 07/17/2018 - 21:30 Permalink

Not receiving assurances from the EU (Germany ) on Nord-Stream 2 is the wake-up call for American Interests.

Trump's predecessors fucked up Big-Time and left him with little wriggle room, salvaging whatever he can with the poor hand he was dealt.

The Hyena Fucking Parasites back home in Dodge, USSofA, crying out for his head should face summary execution.

This Act of Patriotism could garner Trump a SEAT at the Top Table with Russia & China, showing he means business.

A CULL of these Deep State THUGS is Our Only Hope here in U-SUK.  

Davidduke2000 Tue, 07/17/2018 - 22:18 Permalink

the more the americans and the eu bash Russia the more I have respect for Russia and Putin. there is a reason for all this bashing, it's because Russia is a superior country and the rest of them are jealous. 

hanekhw Tue, 07/17/2018 - 22:33 Permalink

I see a business opportunity here. Creating 'foam' for the 'masses' because the signs, the screaming and chanting just isn't 'effective' any longer.

Presented with thousands of screaming 'foaming' demonstrators may be just what Democrats, Communists, Marxist lunatics need to make their 'message' effective'.

Of course, first thing the Democrats would want to do is heavily tax it if it became popular.