By Paul Craig Roberts:
American Herald Tribune: You believe that no agreement with Washington can ever be trusted; what does history teaches us in this regard?
There is a t-shirt that says: “Sure you can trust the government — just ask an Indian.” Some governments are more trustworthy than others. Reagan, for example, said he would end stagflation and we did. Reagan said that he wanted to end the Cold War, and we did. Eisenhower warned us about the danger to democracy presented by the military/industrial complex, and we ignored it.
It seems that when there are chances for big gains in power and the government is in the hands of those with undeclared agendas, the agendas are imposed by deceiving the people. For example, “The War on Terror” is really a war on Muslim countries with foreign policies independent of Washington and Israel; it is a war on US civil liberty, and a war on Middle Eastern countries in the way of Israeli territorial expansion. But Washington pretends that it is a “war for democracy,” a “war for freedom from terrorism,” etc.
The Russians have learned, or should have, that no agreement with Washington means anything. When Russia agreed to the reunification of Germany, Russia was promised that NATO would not move one inch to the East, but the Clinton regime placed NATO on Russia’s borders. The Bush regime flushed down the toilet the Anti-ABM treaty, and Russia is now threatened with ABM missile sites on its borders.
You don’t have to look very hard to see that Washington’s word is in most instances worthless.
Why do you call EU states, US vassals? What are the costs for Europeans?
All of Europe, Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan, and South Korea are Washington’s vassals. They are not permitted independent foreign or economic policies. Europe, for example, has no interest whatsoever in conflict with Russia, but they are forced into conflict by Washington. NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which since the disappearance of the Soviet Union no longer has any purpose, serves as cover for Washington’s war crimes in the Middle East, Serbia, and North Africa. European leaders, with the exception of Charles deGaulle, serve Washington, not their own peoples.
None of Washington’s vassals are sovereign states. If France, for example, was a sovereign state, it would be France’s decision whether a French bank lent to companies doing business with Iran. But France is not sovereign, and the large French bank was forced to pay billions of dollars to Washington for financing companies doing business with Iran. Another example is the French ship building company that built under contract with Russia military ships that Washington prevented the French shipbuilder from delivering. A week or so ago the government of Germany was informed by Washington that if it participated in the construction of the Nord 2 gas pipeline from Russia, Germany would be sanctioned.
The examples are endless.
You have repeatedly criticized Russia for trying to appease Washington; why do you believe Russia is compromising?
I have not criticized Russia for turning the other cheek in an attempt to reach agreement with Washington. I respect Russia’s effort to avoid war. What I have done is to raise the question whether this effort avoids war or leads to war. I have expressed concern that Putin’s high tolerance for insults and provocations encourages more of the same until Russia has no alternative other than war. I have suggested that perhaps putting down a firm Russian foot would send a message that would alarm Europe over Washington’s aggression and cause Europe to adopt an independent policy toward Russia that would reduce the likelihood of war.
Can Russia walk a fine line between Iran and Israel in Syria?
If the Russian government does not understand that Washington’s policy in the Middle East is determined by Israel, the Russian government is out to lunch. Israel wants Syria and Iran destabilized, because these two countries are the suppliers of Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has twice frustrated Israel’s attempted occupation of southern Lebanon. Israel wants the water resources that are there. If Israel can use the US military to clear her foes out of the way, Israel can go about her business unimpeded.
The Russian government surely understands that a destabilized Iran is even more of a threat to Russia than a destabilized Syria.
There is this famous quote of you saying: “Russia can be part of the West only if Russia surrenders to Washington’s hegemony.” Can you elaborate on this?
The United States is an empire that like Rome has scant toleration of independent countries. The basis of 21st century US foreign policy was promulgated in 1991 by top Pentagon official Paul Wolfowitz. Known as “the Wolfowitz doctrine” (available online), it defines the principle goal of US policy to be the prevention of the rise of any other state, with Russia specifically named, that could serve as a check on Washington’s unilateralism. The Wolfowitz Doctrine is fully in force and is the reason that Russia and its president have been demonized with the most outrageous lies and false accusations ever since Russia blocked Obama’s intended invasion of Syria and bombing of Iran. The neoconservatives are incensed that Russia (and also China) rose to sufficient power that allows them, alone among all countries in the world, to be noncompliant with Washington’s will.
What is the best way to deal with the US?
The best way for Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea to deal with Washington is to ignore Washington and go about their own business. They should fully disengage from the Western systems that are used to control them—such as the SWIFT clearing mechanism, the US based Internet, the use of the US dollar for transactions, financial balances in Western banks, acceptance of Western financed non-governmental organizations in their countries, acceptance of foreign ownership of media in their countries, acceptance of Western capital and Western banks in their economies. Most of this applies to Russia and China. North Korea is closed, but Iran is partially open as evidenced by the attempted US-financed “Green Revolution” a few years ago.
If truth be known, American propaganda has been the most successful force in the world since World War II. There are people and even politicians in every country, excepting perhaps North Korea, who believe the American propaganda. They all want to be like the success that American propaganda presents.
As you have written before: “Washington’s issue with Iran has never been Iran’s nuclear energy program”; what is then?
Washington has two issues with Iran. One is that Iran is a sovereign country at odds with US policy. The other issue is that Iran is in Israel’s way. Iran supports Hezbollah, and Hezbollah prevents Israel from annexing southern Lebanon.
A week before signing the Iran nuclear deal you wrote: “The contrived nuclear issue serves as a cloak for Washington’s intention to overthrow the independence of Iran; yet the Iranian government and Iranian media have followed the lead of Washington and its presstitutes in accepting this contrived issue as the real issue. If Iran survives, it will be a miracle.” Do you still believe Iran made a mistake by signing the deal? Has anything changed since that time?
I did not say that Iran made a mistake in signing the agreement. Indeed, Iran had no choice. If Iran had not signed the agreement, Iran would have sacrificed the protection that Russia gave it. I simply warned Iran that Washington would not keep the agreement and would get out of it as fast as it could. Clearly, I was correct. Among the first things that President Trump did was to withdraw from the multi-nation signed Iran nuclear agreement and threaten the other signers of the agreement with sanctions if they also did not renounce the agreement.
For Trump Iran is about Israel in whose hands Trump resides. Every informed person on earth knows that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons project and, according to the CIA, gave up pursuit of such a weapons program years ago. Iran has kept the nuclear agreement that it signed. It is the US that refuses to keep the agreement. The question is whether the UK, France, and Germany will keep the agreement or be ordered off by Washington. Clearly Russia and China, unless the two governments are struck with insanity, will keep the agreement.
What practical measures do you suggest Iranians to counter the US withdrawal from the deal?
My answer to this question is essentially the same as my answer to question 6. Iran should disengage entirely from the West.
Iran should seek security agreements with the Russian-Chinese alliance. Iran should use its oil wealth for a basic support system for its citizens and for investment in Russia, China, and in conjunction with China in other Asian economies. Iran should realize that its religious beliefs are internal and not for export and should focus on making Iran a successful country. Under attack as Iran is from Washington and Israel, Iran needs the support of its people, this means that Iran cannot be governed as America is and cannot afford policy that benefits only the rich and well-positioned.
Iran, like Russia, is trying to have a moral population immune to the debauchery of the West.
The question is whether the Russians and Iranians can resist the West’s debauchery and lead the way to the future.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal.