Pentagon study declares American empire is ‘collapsing’ Reply

By Nafeez Ahmad

Medium.Com

An extraordinary new Pentagon study has concluded that the U.S.-backed international order established after World War 2 is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing”, leading the United States to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.

The solution proposed to protect U.S. power in this new “post-primacy” environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military expansionism.

The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which U.S. power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.

Having lost its past status of “pre-eminence”, the U.S. now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature is “resistance to authority”.

Danger comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events. These will erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.

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Some Reflections on Anti-Zionism Reply

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51CkxBIxKmL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_.jpg

By Keith Preston

It is fashionable in many of the political circles that I travel in to attribute a range of problems involving international relations, along with other concerns, to “Zionism.” Used in these contexts, Zionism has two meanings, i.e. the state-nationalism of the Israeli regime itself, and the network of Jewish ethno-nationalist supporters of Israel throughout the Jewish diaspora. At times, the critiques of Zionist power represented by these perspectives overlap with traditional anti-Semitic views concerning a supposed “Jewish conspiracy” to undermine civilization by doing all kinds of bad things (The Daily Stormer, Stormfront, and, more articulately, Counter-Currents perspective).

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Left, Right And The Russian Connection: An Interview With Alexander Reid Ross And Eric Draitser Reply

It’s interesting to compare this article with the Caleb Maupin piece. Maupin represents the authoritarian Stalinist Left, while Draister and Reid-Ross represent the authoritarian neo-Marxist/SJW/Antifa Left that is presently being coopted by hammer and sicklers (predominantly Maoists and Trotskyists). The principal different between the two camps seems to be that the Maupin circle continues to hold to the pro-Russian line of Western Communists during the Cold War, which means they have largely and ironically adopted the Duginist narrative regarding international relations, and have maintained a more authentically pro-working class orientation, which means they are less dismissive of the concerns raised by the populist right. The neo-Marxists have adopted an anti-Russian line, which puts them in the middle between neoliberalism and Eurasianism, and continues to emphasize identity politics in opposition to working class populism.

By Yoav Mitvin

Mint Press News

Traditional Russian Matreskas depicting Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump displayed in a shop in Moscow. Nov. 8, 2016. (AP/Pavel Golovkin)

NEW YORK (Interview) —Neoliberal capitalism has failed the vast majority of Americans. It has increased inequality, fostered austerity, destroyed the environment and fomented wars.

Reactionary right-wing politics have largely succeeded in filling this ideological vacuum, embodied by the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States of America.

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Syria, Linda Sarsour & The New Left & New Right 2

Caleb Maupin is a Stalinist associated with the Workers World Party, but I agree with every word of this. I could have written this article. It’s refreshing to see a leftist who takes their anti-imperialism seriously.

By Caleb Maupin

Mint Press News

Women's march organizer, Linda Sarsour. (Photo: still from #InequalityIs: Linda Sarsour on inequality and race and religion)

For many people in the west, the traditional political compass seems broken, and “left” and “right” are almost indistinguishable in a confused political mess. The controversy surrounding the Arab-American figure now embraced by the Democratic Party, Linda Sarsour, illustrates this perfectly.

In Syria, it is very clear who the “right” and the “left” are. The “right” is the group of Wahabbi fanatics that seek to overthrow the Syrian government. The stated goal of many, if not all, of the different groups working to overthrow the Syrian government, is to end religious freedom and establish a government in Syria similar to that of Saudi Arabia.

Fanatics from across the region and the world are pouring in for a fanatical crusade to bring the Syrian government down. The western capitalist powers, the USA, France, Britain, etc. have all enthusiastically backed this campaign, which would replace a Baath Socialist government rooted in the region’s anti-imperialist struggles, with a pro-western, Saudi-style regime. Weapons, funding, supplies, and propaganda from the western capitalist powers are all being unleashed to support the right-wing anti-government forces in Syria.

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Keith Preston: Trump’s policies making US more isolated from allies Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

US President Donald Trump’s “protectionist” policies on trade, climate change and a host of other issues will further isolate the US from its traditional allies and the rest of the world, says an American analyst.

Keith Preston, director of the AttacktheSystem.org, said the annual G20 summit provided an outlook into the future of Washington’s ties with its allies under Trump.

During Friday’s meeting, there were tough clashes with the US and even talk of a possible transatlantic trade war. The tensions were a result of Trump’s sharp break with previous US policies.

Trump’s isolation was more evident on the issue of trade. The Trump administration has proposed imposing high tariffs on steel and other imported goods from several major trading partners.

European officials at the summit reacted harshly, threatening to retaliate with their own tariffs.

“It is clear that the Trump administration is trying to distance itself from some of the policies that were pursued by previous administrations,” Preston told Press TV on Sunday.

Pointing to Trump’s opposition to the Paris climate deal endorsed by former President Barack Obama, the analyst noted that Trump was representing the faction of US politicians that did not believe in “human-created” climate change.

That is why, he argued, we are seeing a deepening difference of opinion between Trump and other world leaders on climate change and a range of other issues.

“So this actually has some potential to create something of a shift in the power balance on an international level, where the United States can find itself entirely isolated,” Preston further argued.

The same holds true for trade, Preston said, arguing that Trump’s “protectionist” mindset was prompting “retaliatory trade deals” from its allies.

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Trump has repeatedly accused the EU, Japan, China and Mexico of abusing trade agreements and exporting more to the US than they import from it.

The new Republican president has also called for renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a trade deal between the US, Canada and Mexico.

In a clear rebuke to Washington, Japan and the European Union announced a major free trade deal to create the world’s largest open economic zone on the eve of this year’s G20 summit on Thursday.

“So the impact of the policies that the Trump administration is pursuing in these areas would have the effect of separating the United States from not only other G20 nations… but also the traditional military allies of the United States,” Preston concluded.

No, It’s Not about “Globalism vs. Nationalism” 1

It’s about globalism/globalization vs non-state actors.

Some thoughts on the present political polarization, geopolitical rivalries, the G20, and “populist-nationalism.”

The present political polarization represents an effort by the various factions of the ruling class attempting to create constituencies for themselves. Most of the mainstream media represents the dominant centrist and center-left factions, academia represents the furthest left faction of the elite, FOX/GOP/talk radio represents the right-wing of the ruling class. I actually think the Trumpians represent yet another faction that wishes to pursue a new geopolitical strategy devised by Kissinger, but is being thwarted by the dominant faction and the Deep State in the process. https://www.the-american-interest.com/…/donald-trumps…/

One of the many problems with these populist-nationalist tendencies that have emerged in various Western nations is that they are not revolutionaries or even radicals, but reactionaries who resist globalization in the same manner that the anti-modernist movements of the19th century resisted industrialization. The populist-nationalists simply want to turn back the clock to the 20th century model of relatively autonomous nation-states that are middle-class oriented and ethnically, culturally, and religiously homogeneous. They’re not going to be any more successful at this than the Luddites were at blocking the Industrial Revolution, or the throne and altar traditionalists were at blocking the rise of liberal bourgeois republicanism.

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Keith Preston: Chemical attack warning signals another US strike in Syria Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

An ominous warning to the Syrian government against staging a chemical weapons attack indicates that the United States could be on the verge of another military strike inside Syria, an analyst say.

“It sounds as if the United States may be planning an attack on Syria,” Keith Preston, director of Attack the System, told Press TV.

“We have to remember that the last time the White House came out and made an accusation of this kind against Syria, those comments served as a precursor to the subsequent attack on Syria,” he added.

The Pentagon said on Tuesday the US intelligence services had detected increased activity at Shayrat airfield in the central province of Homs, the same base targeted by a massive US cruise missile strike early in April.

“This involved specific aircraft in a specific hangar, both of which we know to be associated with chemical weapons use,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.

The Pentagon’s statement gave weight to an ominous warning from the White House Monday night, in which Press Secretary Sean Spicer accused President Bashar al-Assad’s government of “potential preparations for another chemical weapons attack.”

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Spicer also threatened that if President Assad “conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price.”

White House spokesman Sean Spicer speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House in Washington, DC, on June 26, 2017. (Photo by AFP)

The April strike on Shayrat followed accusations by US officials that the airfield had been used to launch a gas attack in the town of Khan Shaykhun in the western Idlib province two days earlier.

Syria and its ally Russia said a militant-held chemical arms depot had been damaged in an airstrike on militant positions, causing a leakage of the toxic substance that caused over 80 deaths.

In the days following the missile strike, Defense Secretary James Mattis cautioned that the US was prepared to take further action if Syria launched another gas attack.

The latest accusation, Preston said, “is consistent with the ongoing geopolitical strategy that the United States has been pursuing in the region.”

“While the American government has long been claiming to be fighting ISIS (Daesh) in Syria, that is not certainly the case at all,” he noted. “The United States has actually undermined efforts by other forces in the region to successfully combat ISIS.”

“The primary objection of the United States is the elimination of the Syrian government of President Assad,” Preston said.

Escalation with Russia, Iran 

The latest US threats against Damascus marked a further escalation of tensions in a country where Russia and Iran are also working with the Syrian government to defeat Daesh.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said the White House also aimed to send a message to Russia and Iran that if a chemical attack happens again, “we are putting you on notice.”

“What this seems to indicate is that the Americans are trying to escalate hostilities not only with Syria but also with Russia and Iran even,” Preston said.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said that “such threats to Syria’s legitimate leaders are unacceptable.”

Peskov said that despite Russia’s calls, an independent probe into the April chemical incident was never conducted, adding, “That is why we do not think it is possible to lay the blame on the Syrian armed forces.”

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also posted a tweet in reaction to the latest US threat. “Another dangerous US escalation in Syria on fake pretext will only serve ISIS (Daesh), precisely when it’s being wiped out by Iraqi and Syrian people,” he said.

The US seems keener to strike at Syria’s Assad than it does to destroy Isis Reply

By Robert Fisk

Independent

The extraordinary destruction of a Syrian fighter jet by a US aircraft on Sunday has precious little to do with the Syrian plane’s target in the desert near Rasafa – but much to do with the advance of the Syrian army close to the American-backed Kurdish forces along the Euphrates. The Syrians have grown increasingly suspicious in recent months that most Kurdish forces in the north of Syria – many of them in alliance with the Assad government until recently – have thrown in their lot with the Americans.

Indeed, the military in Damascus is making no secret of the fact that it has ended its regular arms and ammunition supplies to the Kurds – it has apparently given them 14,000 AK-47 rifles since 2012 – and the Syrian regime was outraged to learn that Kurdish forces recently received an envoy from the United Arab Emirates.

There is unconfirmed information that a Saudi envoy also visited the Kurds. This, of course, follows the infamous Trump speech in Riyadh, in which the US President gave total American support to the Saudi monarchy in its anti-Iranian and anti-Syrian policies – and then later supported the Saudi-led isolation of Qatar.

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Keith Preston: ISIL a useful tool for US to destabilize Middle East Reply

Press TV. Listen here.

America’s strategy in Syria has been to utilize terrorist groups to undermine independent governments and wreck havoc in the Middle East, an American political analyst in Virginia says.

“It seems to me that the long-term plan that the United States has is to essentially use ISIS as a means of destabilizing the region, the Middle Eastern region, said Keith Preston, chief editor of AttacktheSystem.com.

“It’s not that the United States has a favorable view of the ISIS but I think that the United States is simply trying to work both ends against the middle in the sense that they want ISIS to be a disruptive force in Syria and in other parts of the Middle East where there are governments that the United States ultimately wants to over-flow,” Preston told Press TV on Wednesday.

 

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We Are Inches From A New World War, And Clintonists Are To Blame Reply

By Caitlin Johnstone

Medium.Com

This is your fault, Clinton Democrats. You created this, and if our species is plunged into a new world war or extinction via nuclear holocaust, it will be your fault. You knuckle-dragging, vagina hat-wearing McCarthyite morons made this happen.

American military provocations against the pro-Assad coalition in Syria are fast becoming a daily occurrence. In response to the US air force’s gunning down of a Syrian military plane on Sunday, Russia has cut off its hotline with which it was coordinating operations with America to avoid aerial collisions, and has warned that all US aircraft west of the Euphrates river will now be tracked and treated as potential targets. Today, 25 miles northwest of the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, a US reconnaissance plane was intercepted by an armed Russian aircraft which came within five feet of the plane’s wingtip. This on the same day that the US shot down yet another Iranian military drone in Syria.

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U.S. risks further battles as it steps deeper into Syrian quagmire Reply

The US ruling class is the world’s largest collection of idiots. Treason to Washington is loyalty to humanity.

Washington Post

The United States is becoming more perilously drawn into Syria’s fragmented war as it fights on increasingly congested battlefields surrounding Islamic State territory.

On Sunday, a U.S. fighter jet downed a Syrian warplane for the first time in the conflict. By Monday, a key ally of President Bashar al-Assad, Russia, had suspended a pact used to prevent crashes with the U.S.-led coalition in the skies over Syria and was threatening to target American jets.

Separately, Iran said that it had launched a barrage of missiles into Islamic State territory in eastern Syria. That assault marked Tehran’s first official strike against the extremist group in Syria, and it signposted the reach of its military might against foes across the region.

The incident followed a series of U.S. airstrikes against Iran-backed forces advancing on partner forces in a strategically prized swath of land along the Iraqi border.

As the major powers on the opposite sides of Syria’s war intensify operations against the Islamic State, the risks of an accidental conflagration appear to be growing by the day.

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Zbigniew Brzezinski As I Knew Him Reply

By Paul Craig Roberts

Strategic Culture Foundation

Brzezinski’s death at 89 years of age has generated a load of propaganda and disinformation, all of which serves one interest group or another or the myths that people find satisfying. I am not an expert on Brzezinski, and this is not an apology for him. He was a Cold Warrior, as essentially was everyone in Washington during the Soviet era.

For 12 years Brzezinski was my colleague at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, where I occupied the William E. Simon Chair in Political Economy. When I was elected to that chair, CSIS was a part of Georgetown University. However, the president of Georgetown University was one of those liberals who hated Henry Kissinger, who was also our colleague, and the university president also hated Ronald Reagan for his rhetoric, not for his deeds about which the Georgetown president was uninformed. So I also was unwelcome. Whatever I was worth to CSIS, Kissinger was worth more, and CSIS was not going to give up Henry Kissinger.

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US-Led Economic War, Not Socialism, Is Tearing Venezuela Apart Reply

By Caleb Maupin

Mint Press

A pro-government supporter wears a T-Shirt with image of Venezuela's late President Hugo Chavez, as he waits for results during congressional elections in Caracas, Venezuela, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015.

WASHINGTON — (ANALYSIS) The political and economic crisis facing Venezuela is being endlessly pointed to as proof of the superiority of the free market.

Images and portrayals of Venezuelans rioting in the streets over high food costs, empty grocery stores, medicine shortages, and overflowing garbage bins are the headlines, and the reporting points to socialism as the cause.

The Chicago Tribune published a Commentary piece titled: “A socialist revolution can ruin almost any country.” A headline on Reason’s Hit and Run blog proclaims: “Venezuelan socialism still a complete disaster.” The Week’s U.S. edition says: “Authoritarian socialism caused Venezuela’s collapse.”

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Syria’s Assad Just Explained How The U.S. Really Works Reply

Yep.

By Brandon Turbeville

Information Clearinghouse

While Americans endlessly battle each other over seemingly important choices like Clinton and Trump or Democrats and Republicans, it is clear that the majority of the population has little understanding of how the U.S. government operates. Yet, for those who pay the price for the apathy and confusion of the general population of the West, it often becomes stunningly obvious that neither presidents nor political parties in America represent any discernible difference in the ongoing agenda of the Deep State and the rest of the oligarchical apparatus. Indeed, that agenda always marches forward regardless of who is president or which political party is in control.

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NATO-Like Arab Force in Mideast Meant to Support Israel, Counter Iran: US Analyst Reply

 Tasnim’s interview with Dennis Etler which makes many of the same points I raised in my interview.
اتلر

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – US President Donald Trump, in his Middle East tour, is seeking to create the Arab equivalent of the NATO military alliance to help the Zionist regime of Israel and contain the Islamic Republic of Iran, an American analyst said.

“He (Trump) now seeks to consolidate an alliance of Arab states under US tutelage by courting Saudi Arabia. The main reason for seeking an Arab coalition is to better support Israel in its contention with Iran and re-insinuate the US into the region as a backroom wheeler and dealer. The US position, however, is fraught with contradictions,” Dennis Etler, a professor of Anthropology at Cabrillo College in Aptos, California, told the Tasnim News Agency.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Tasnim: On Saturday, US President Donald Trump opened a nine-day foreign trip in Saudi Arabia. The past four US presidents, when making their first trips abroad, traveled to either Canada or Mexico. Donald Trump, by contrast, has traveled to Saudi Arabia. What is your take on Trump’s visit?

Etler: Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia while couched in terms of seeking peace and development in the Middle East is actually an attempt to shore up US influence in the region by supplying the Kingdom with an unlimited amount of arms to pursue its policy of military confrontation with Iran. The Trump administration views Iran as its principal enemy and Saudi Arabia as its principle ally in the Middle East, even though it is Iran which is fighting against Takfiri terrorism and Saudi Arabia which has been tacitly supporting it.

The reason for this is both ideological and economic. The US was founded as a settler state. The Pilgrims had the expressed purpose of setting up a New Zion on the territory they conquered. Thus the US has always been at heart an expansionist Zionist state. Its support for the Zionist regime of Israel, founded under the auspices of Anglo-American imperialism is a natural outgrowth of its history. Saudi Arabia is also the product of Anglo-American imperialism. Trump’s chief adviser Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, is an orthodox Jew and ardent Zionist. Both Israel and Saudi Arabia have been the bulwark of US power projection in the region and serve as the staging grounds for US intervention and hegemony.

Trump has no concern for the issues dear to neo-liberals which are cast in terms of universal human rights, which more often than not results in cultural imperialism. While this has often served the purpose of providing a cover for US attempts at regime change to install governments more to its liking, it has also served as an impediment to maintaining good relations with some of its surrogates, such as Saudi Arabia which has an abysmal human rights record by US liberal standards. Trump in disregarding these concerns is able to deal arms to Saudi Arabia with complete impunity.

Trump’s first overseas trip to Saudi Arabia and Israel are part of his plan to reinvigorate the US position in the Middle East which is still the crux of US foreign policy, particularly as it is a potential choke point for China’s Belt and Road Initiative if US-China relations sour.

Tasnim: Trump is also scheduled to make a speech for 50 leaders of Muslim countries attending the so-called “Arab Islamic American Summit” during his two-day visit. It seems that Arabs are still excited about Donald Trump, even as the president’s position among his own people continues to collapse. What do you think? Do you believe Trump is looking for more respect abroad?

Etler: When US Presidents have troubles at home as Trump now has their natural inclination is to seek some sort of foreign triumph to distract attention from their domestic problems. In order to shore up his credentials in the face of the Russiagate scandal Trump has reversed his positions first on dealing with China and then on his assessment of Islam. He now seeks to consolidate an alliance of Arab states under US tutelage by courting Saudi Arabia. The main reason for seeking an Arab coalition is to better support Israel in its contention with Iran and re-insinuate the US into the region as a backroom wheeler and dealer. The US position, however, is fraught with contradictions. While attempting to forge an alliance with Russia against Takfiri terrorism it seeks to isolate and contain Iran, a vital ally of Russia and Syria in their fight against ISIS. Trump’s antagonism towards Iran serves only the geopolitical interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia, who are the main logistical supporters of the terrorists Trump has vowed to fight.

Tasnim: According to a recent article published in the Atlantic, “US strategists have long dreamed of creating an indigenous military coalition in the [Persian] Gulf that could take some of the security burden off the 35,000 US troops stationed there—or perhaps free up some of those 35,000 troops to do jobs elsewhere in, say, the Asia-Pacific region.” Kindly share your thoughts with us.

Etler: Trump has long complained of the fact that the US has been footing the bill for regional security, with the countries who benefit from US largess getting a free ride. This is a half-truth at best but speaks to the fact that the US wants the countries within its sphere of interest to take on more of the burdens of imperialism. The US is more than willing to sell these countries arms so long as they shoulder more of the responsibility to protect US interests in the region.

Tasnim: As you know, since March 25, 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to fugitive former president Abd RabbuhMansour Hadi. According to Yemen’s Legal Center of Rights and Development, the Saudi campaign has claimed the lives of over 12,000 Yemenis and left more than 20,000 others wounded. Media reports suggest that Trump will use his Saudi Arabia trip to announce one of the largest arms sales deals in US history – somewhere in the neighborhood of $98bn to $128bn worth of arms. What’s your take on Saudi military aggression on Yemen and US support for it?

Etler: Saudi Arabian aggression against Yemen is akin to its aggression against both Iraq and Syria. The only difference being that Saudi aggression in Yemen is an example of direct intervention rather than surreptitious infiltration. For all its talk of human rights during the Obama administration, the US nonetheless supported Saudi aggression in Yemen and elsewhere. Under Trump, the US is now doubling down in its support of Saudi Arabia. This is simply raw power politics as the US tries to regain lost ground throughout the region.

Arab Regimes under Influence of ‘Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabist’ Triangle: US Analyst Reply

My latest interview with Tasnim.

کیث پرستون

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – An American political analyst said the majority of Arab regimes in the region are under the control of ‘Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabist’ triangle.

“The majority of Arab governments are controlled by forces that are part of the wider Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabist triangle, particularly those in the Persian Gulf, so it is certainly predictable that they would welcome greater recognition from the Trump administration,” Keith Preston, the chief editor and director of attackthesystem.com, told the Tasnim news agency in an interview.

Keith Preston was born in Lynchburg, Virginia, United States. He received degrees in Religious Studies, History, and Sociology from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the founder and director of American Revolutionary Vanguard and the chief editor of AttacktheSystem.Com. He has also been a contributor to LewRockwell.Com, Antiwar.Com, Anti-State.Com,Taki’s Magazine, Radix Journal, and AlternativeRight.Com . He is the author of six books, and was awarded the 2008 Chris R. Tame Memorial Prize by the United Kingdom’s Libertarian Alliance. Keith has been a featured speaker at conferences of the National Policy Institute, H. L. Mencken Club, and Anarchapulco. He has been interviewed on numerous radio programs and internet broadcasts, and appeared as a guest analyst on Russia Today, Press TV and the BBC.

The following is the full text of the interview.

Tasnim: On Saturday, US President Donald Trump opened a nine-day foreign trip in Saudi Arabia. The past four US presidents, when making their first trips abroad, traveled to either Canada or Mexico. Donald Trump, by contrast, travelled to Saudi Arabia. What is your take on Trump’s visit?

Preston: The Trump administration is in the process of sealing a major arms deal with the regime in Saudi Arabia. The Saudis will be purchasing $110 billion in weaponry from American armaments manufacturers, and this will be a major boon to the domestic U.S. armaments industry. The US is also attempting to strengthen the Saudi state in its war efforts in Yemen. The war is a manifestation of the ongoing conflict in the region between the Resistance Block and the Saudi-led Wahhabist block which aspires to hegemony in the Middle East. The triangular relationship between the United States, Saudi Arabia, and Israel is one that wishes to prevent the ascendency of any force in the region that could potentially challenge the dominance of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, or Israel’s ongoing expansionist program. The ambition of the United States in attempting to strengthen the Saudi military is to counter the influence of independent regimes in the region that resist U.S. hegemony such as Iran or Syria, and to oppose non-state tendencies which also resist US hegemony such as Hezbollah. The relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia with regards to the petroleum industry must also be considered. The current US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, is the former CEO of the Exxon Mobil petroleum firm, which is the largest foreign investor in Saudi Arabia.

Tasnim: Trump made a speech for 50 leaders of Muslim countries attending the so-called “Arab Islamic American Summit” during his two-day visit. It seems that Arabs are still excited about Donald Trump, even as the president’s position among his own people continues to collapse. What do you think? Do you believe Trump is looking for more respect abroad?

Preston: The Arab states to which you refer are those states in the Middle East which are part of the wider triangular relationship between the Atlanticist, Zionist, and Wahhabist forces that I previously mentioned. At present, the hegemonic influence of this triangle is being challenged in the region by the actions of the various forces that collectively comprise the Resistance Block, and by the efforts of certain nations within the BRICS axis to assist this challenge. In particular, the United States is opposed to the development of a closer relationship between Iran and Russia, Iran’s support for on the ground forces such as Hezbollah that are resisting the growth of Salafist terrorism in the Middle East, the military assistance that has Russia has given to President Assad of Syria during the course of the civil war in that country, the role of Iran and Syria along with Hezbollah as counter forces to Israeli expansionism, and the ambitions of China to assume a more active role in the economic development in the region, particularly in Afghanistan. The majority of Arab governments are controlled by forces that are part of the wider Atlanticist-Zionist-Wahhabist triangle, particularly those in the Persian Gulf, so it is certainly predictable that they would welcome greater recognition from the Trump administration.

Tasnim: According to a recent article published in the Atlantic, “US strategists have long dreamed of creating an indigenous military coalition in the [Persian] Gulf that could take some of the security burden off the 35,000 US troops stationed there—or perhaps free up some of those 35,000 troops to do jobs elsewhere in, say, the Asia-Pacific region.” Kindly share your thoughts with us.

Preston: A major difficulty that the nations of the Persian Gulf have faced is their failure to maintain effective military forces that are capable of engaging in combat with their rivals in the region. The performance of the Saudi military in the past, for example, has been very lackluster. Rather than seeking to develop their own forces, the states in the Persian Gulf have sought to rely on the support and protection of U.S. military forces that are stationed in the region. This constitutes a major military commitment on the part of the United States. If the Persian Gulf nations such as Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and others were to develop an effective and competent military coalition of their own, the United States would be able to relocate its own troops to other areas where the US has a perceived interest. The Asia-Pacific region is certainly one of these given the growing dispute over the South China Seas islands, the ongoing conflict with North Korea, and the desire of the U.S. to prevent China from becoming the hegemonic power in the region.

Tasnim: As you know, since March 25, 2015, Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies have been carrying out airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement in an attempt to restore power to Hadi. According to Yemen’s Legal Center of Rights and Development, the Saudi campaign has claimed the lives of over 12,000 Yemenis and left more than 20,000 others wounded. Media reports suggest that Trump will use his Saudi Arabia trip to announce one of the largest arms sales deals in US history – somewhere in the neighborhood of $98bn to $128bn worth of arms. What’s your take on Saudi military aggression on Yemen and US support for it?

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