Venezuela is of limited strategic importance to Russia, though it offers symbolic significance in demonstrating Putin’s reach into a region seen as Washington’s backyard. Russia doesn’t have the capacity to send forces there as it did to support Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, limiting itself to publicity stunts like a December visit by two nuclear-capable bombers.
Moscow reads the news too, and while perhaps absent of conscience but mindful of money, it’s confidence in the success of the political societies once aligned, captivated, or enthralled with their relationship to the Soviet may be dimming. While perhaps putting a “little” money in the under-the-table pockets of its own, it has also watched parts of Central and South American states churn into cesspool of competing cartels and gangs destroying communities, exporting the nasty — the full smorgasbord of contraband — and for hundreds of thousands producing flight en masse anywhere that hasn’t become a personal no-security hell. Now the chief Phantom of the Soviet appears to be having a look-see at the future of at least one portfolio of debt accumulated by a once ideologically favored son and the picture just isn’t so wonderful as it must have once appeared.
Banning the trading of Russian bonds have been tossed around ever since Trump got elected. Anti-Russian politicians on both sides of the aisle have taken full advantage of Trump being caught in a Russian scandal to force the president to play super hardball with Vladimir Putin and anyone within a country mile of him. Since taking office, Trump has already signed harsher sanctions against Russian individuals and Russian companies, making some of them extra-territorial. Extra-territorial means sanctions apply to non-U.S. citizens and entities transacting with the sanctioned firm subject to penalties.
In the Party I was beginning to see many people of a different stripe. During the war period I saw how opportunism and selfishness engulfed many comrades. They wore expensive clothes, lived in fine apartments, took long vacations at places provided by men of wealth. There was, for one, William Wiener, former treasurer of the Party, manipulator for a score of business enterprises, who wore Brooks Brothers suits, smoked expensive cigars, and lunched only at the best places. There were the trade union Communists who rubbed elbows with underworld characters at communist-financed night clubs, and labor lawyers who were given patronage by the Party by assignment to communist-led trade unions and now were well established and comfortable.
Communist Party USA leader Bell Dodd’s 1954 remark as relayed by Wikipedia may have special resonance today in the socialist’s disaster continuing to unfold — or perhaps preparing to fold — in Venezuela.
While it had been one thing to share Venezuela’s good fortune and wealth with the public, perhaps especially with massive revenues pumped out of the ground, it has been another for the socialist government to suppress the private ownership of productive ideas and resources while utterly failing to diversify a national economy with the intent to forestall a one-market boom-or-bust (it busted) disaster.
For BackChannels, the cite-quote-cite-quote method has grown tiresome, so the reader may take this post as a reference page but with the suggestion that Maduro’s now patently criminal junta — access the OCCRP and InSight Crime reports cited in reference — may choose to loot and flee the country having proven themselves unable to judiciously and responsibly govern the same — or, in the manner demonstrated by Assad in Syria, they may enjoy being carved up by similarly predatory trade partners.
BackChannels’ humanism in relation to economic development would counsel the damping of dogma in the search for a good mix of private incentives for economic diversification x public policies and programs fit to constituent needs for “basics” plus psychological enthusiasm, fitness, and growth. From the same stance, the messianic self-aggrandizement associated with dictatorships would be viewed as damaging and limiting the greater public experience and potential for good things, starting with community-wide and personal security.
(For related exploration or some meditation on dictatorship, this blog offers portals for “Malignant Narcissism” and its own proposed concept, “Facsimile Bipolar Political Sociopathy“. Neither would differentiate between Far Left and Far Right authoritarianism or kleptocracy — and it would place both as more appropriate in the operating environments of the feudal world and fit to related medieval worldviews associated with “political absolutism” and sovereignty. Wherever placed x space x time, the absence of conscience looms large with dictatorships and the related criminality associated with power becomes glaring and, eventually, beyond bearing).
Bella Dodd, by the way, would renounce Communism toward the end of her journey and again embrace the Catholicism with which she had been born.
What is clear from our investigations is that the following institutions are staffed at the higher echelons by individuals we believe are, or have been, engaged in criminal activity: The Vice Presidency, the Ministries of Interior (Ministerio del Poder Popular del Despacho de la Presidencia y Seguimiento de la Gestión de Gobierno), Defense (Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Defensa), Agriculture (Ministerio del Poder Popular de Agricultura Urbana), Education (Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación), Prison Service (Ministerio del Poder Popular para el Servicio Penitenciario), Foreign Trade and Investment (Ministerio de Estado para el Comercio Exterior e Inversión Internacional), Electricity (Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Energía Eléctrica), the National Guard (Guardia Nacional Bolivariana), the Armed Forces (Fuerzas Armadas Bolivarianas), the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (Servicio Bolivariano de Inteligencia Nacional – SEBIN) and PdVSA.
The penetration of so many key institutions, and the fact that they constitute the state’s main organs in the fight against organized crime, means that Venezuela cannot even contain organized crime, let alone effectively fight it. With so many state actors with interests in criminal activity, be it fuel smuggling, the black market sale of food and medicines or the trafficking of cocaine, this factor alone suggests that Venezuela qualifies as a mafia state.
BackChannels credits Putin with turning Erdogan’s pretty little head back toward the feudal glory of the sultanate — or something like it — with the help of Turkish Stream, encouraging the family business in Hungary, and aiding with the election of the formerly more autocratic President (“Fake News”!) Trump in the United States (the French, better knowing what they’re about, didn’t quite go for his Marine Le Pen; Trump, BC presumes, has been tempered by having gotten himself into a job involving personalities as large as himself and powers greater than known in his organization — America’s democracy has not been overwhelmingly wowed or easily walked over). The popular perception of Putin may respond opposite the viewer’s interests: for old lefties, he’s the world’s greatest reactionary and using revived militarism and the Russian Orthodox Church to assuage bad feelings attending the insult of expanding financial hardship associated with related ambitions in Syria and Ukraine and, ultimately, the way the guy at the top gets his hooks into the best performing businesses.
And for “righties”, he’s still the go-to for “socialist” dictatorships like Assad’s.
Never mind that Assad via the KGB-style political theatrical “Assad v The Terrorists” has been building Syria down, enough so, and so desperately so, for Putin to permanently expand Russia’s military footprint in Hafez’s old sandbox.
After the one step backward into 19th Century and earlier Russian paternal authoritarianism, aristocracy, imperialism, and resurgent nationalism, one may wonder what may be the “two steps forward” if any are ever taken as needs must be: whether Putin likes it or not, the Russian Federation is, alas, multicultural and perhaps yearning — as Navalny might have it — for the liberal devilishness that are “rule of law” and “responsive and responsible governance”.
“On the streets of Gaza people have a sense of security – except when Israel attacks” — In defensive modes, preventive, responsive, retributive.
The Palestinians have long surrendered their dreams to propaganda, the PLO/PA, and Hamas as well as the corruption attending such governments that hold themselves beyond criticism.
From what sense of ethics, integrity, or justice were the greenhouses and synagogues of Gaza destroyed after departure in 2005?
Such rage would seem to have been set loose by officially and socially approved, promoted, and popular anti-Semitic incitement, the same that had Hamas in 2006 proclaiming to Palestinians that Hitler admired them as ideal revolutionaries (PMW: “Hamas: Hitler praised the Palestinians as models”).
Perhaps Israel should treat as poison the disinformation fed to the Palestinians and see the same receive an antidote in an honest telling, for Hamas fairy tales have only enslaved the Palestinians and gotten them to get themselves killed for show.
Posted to YouTube March 30, 2018. Ten more Palestinians were to draw fire and die, and the cause should be clear through what the cameras recorded in the way of “peaceful” demonstration.
One may marvel at the power of bad ideas and failed dreams to continue placing the innocent in harm’s way — and for the global press, the more souls corralled and misled into martyrdom, the better for sympathy and “understanding”, never mind the squandering of billions of dollars intended for Palestinian practical betterment going into the pockets of corrupt and venal leaders and their systems of patronage.
The Soviet Union dissolved in bankruptcy about 26 years, and yet the scenes remain much as Yuri Andropov must have seen them when promoting dictatorship beneath the cover of Popular Liberation Movements.
The peace camps of the west may have to soon decide whether they wish to remain in business by doing their part to sustain the middle east conflict on bogus claims; and Mr. Putin may soon have to decide whether he will take KGB and more general historic Russian barbarism forward with the cynical manipulation and destruction of every space in which Moscow has chosen to play.
Prompt: ” . . . the Arabs . . . will become the majority in Israel, and things will . . . change.”
The apartheid — the separation of Palestinians in camps in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Egyp — is Arab.
The exploiting of misery and leveraging of anti-Semitic perception is Russo-Arabian from the Soviet Era (and Russia’s 19th Century history as regards the libel of “The Protocols”).
Political suppression — suppression of criticism, of open speech, of election — may be credited to PLO/PA and Hamas.
Corruption and the skewing of financial distribution of UNRWA support has produced wealthy leaders — Arafat, Abbas, Haniyeh, Mashaal — and affluence among the patronized.
For those who feel diminished by not getting “one-up” on the Jews, the Jews in liberation theology got one-up on Pharaoh.
So many of the things you have heard have, perhaps, been intended to manipulate you, to make you angry, to exploit a bad situation.
Palestinian general good: never so loudly addressed.
The interest is there. The conscience, modernity, and will: absent.
Addendum – From the Same Day
The prompt had to do with Jews as outsiders, a trope coughed up frequently by the Palestinian holdovers from the era of Soviet cadre. (URL added, of course).
The Point of No Return blog will tell a substantial part of the story of the Jews and their return to capital and land of the Hebrews.
A fast look-up of “KGB, Arafat” and “KGB, Abbas” will tell you a little bit about the origin, design, and handling of the Palestinian Liberation Organization, PFLP, and others.
A revisiting of the Gaza’s historic Jewish community, its more recent (2005) displacement by force, and the destruction of its synagogues, which were to remain accessible, will tell you also about where Israel’s Jews have come from and what they valued where they were settled.
We do not reconcile good with evil: we grow the good — and “the good”, if it is good, has integrity.
Families of a number of detained protesters have not been able to obtain any information about their loved ones. Among them are Ashkan Absavaran, a 20-year-old male detainee, and Sepideh Farhan (Farahabadi), a young female. Ashkan Absavaran informed his family of his detention in a telephone call on 4 January. Officials of Evin prison told his family later that he had disappeared.
The IRGC and its affiliated paramilitary force, the Basij, have been mainly responsible for the heavy crackdown on the protesters. Having initially denied direct involvement in repressing the protesters, the IRGC commander declared on 3 January that they had taken action in three provinces. Furthermore, the IRGC has been responsible for torturing the detainees in order to make false confessions in Wards 2A and 240 of Evin prison.
There’s one famous Buddhist monk who was on the cover of Time magazine a couple of years ago, and he’s described as a “Buddhist Bin Laden.” His name is Ashin Wirathu. He’s a very strange character because he wears the Buddhist garb, which is worn to demonstrate your withdrawal from the world. At the same time, he has diamond-studded watches; he flies on a private jet. It’s completely contradictory. He’s one of the main instigators of the violence. Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and Wirathu and followers of his Buddhist nationalist 969 movement believe that the Rohingya minority have all reincarnated from snakes and insects. So when you actually kill them, you’re not actually killing people, you’re actually just killing snakes and insects. That laid the foundation for the current situation that we’re in.
Who would know the beauty of a malignantly narcissistic kleptocracy better than Moscow?
And I will add, though it may be irrelevant, what hypocritical kleptocratic and medieval entity would know how to infiltrate and support terrorists worldwide better than Tehran?
Give the transitive formula a moment to sink in:
Chechnya : Myanmar
Ingush : Rohingya
The world has been once again drawn into global warfare, Moscow’s way.
By way of wholesale abuse and slaughter, the innocent of war have been pushed in both regions into flight and defensive conflict while being branded as “The Terrorists” — perhaps not unrelated to the process that has burned through Syria but the very facsimile of it.
Given how Moscow / Moscow-Tehran work, the world gets “The Terrorists” — and, oh, they’re real in an of themselves, they’re channeled with their ranks filled out by the efforts of manipulating “leaders” greater than themselves.
Related in the News
There is an urgent need for de-escalation in levels of violence in Rakhine State as there is a strong possibility of other displaced Rohingyas being radicalised by Sunni fundamentalist groups including the Bangladesh chapter of the Islamic State to take to arms. The Rohingya displacement is a matter of serious concern but the root cause of increased animosity among the Burmans and other ethnic groups against the minority community should also not be glossed over. The international community has questioned Myanmar for the crisis but has forgotten the bloody contribution of Pakistan-based jihadist groups to this catastrophe.