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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/18/16

Interview: Trump - 'the wise fool'

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Eric Walberg
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1/ There is much talk of a third world war in the press these days. Francois Fillon, former French Prime Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, said there is a "global war" and that "French society as a whole must mobilize against Islamic totalitarianism". Are these empty words?

1/ The threat of all-out nuclear war no longer hangs over us, but at present there are more than 30 wars/ conflicts in the world. Between 1950, when the Korean War started, and 2007, when the death toll in the Iraq war finally started to drop, there were 148,000 deaths per year from war. From 2008 to 2012 that figure dropped dramatically, to 28,000 per year. It could even be lower today.

Yet international tensions are at a high, and terrorist attacks continue. Many argue that WWIII has already started, perhaps on two fronts, with the Arab Spring in 2011 giving new life to Islamists, and with protagonists Russia and China lining up against the West.

European leaders wring their hands over Syrian refugees and Daesh suicide bombings, blaming this on Islamists. Fillon (Islamophobe Nicolas Sarkozy's prime minister) is now blaming Muslims for "global war", but this scenario merely deflects attention from the underlying causes of war.

The problem is not just Muslims, Russia or China. A few hundred Europeans died in the tragic terrorist bombings in Paris, Brussels and Nice. Up to 9,000 have died in the Ukraine stand-off. That contrasts with the hundreds killed daily in Syria, and the millions dead in Afghanistan and Iraq since 9/11. Obama is personally responsible for 7,000 drone deaths since 2009.

Hopes were high for Barak Obama in 2008, but he was more embarrassed than honoured by his 2009 Nobel peace prize, defending US invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq as "just wars" to the Peace Prize committee. On the day of the announcement, Obama stated, "I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments but rather an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations."

After a short respite in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union, western media has been noting the drift to all-out war, targeting in the first place Russia. What looked like a crystal-clear Founding Act on Mutual Relations between NATO and Russia in 1997, in which both sides agreed to avoid stationing troops near each others' borders, was signed by Yeltsin and Clinton.

Fast forward to 2014, as the latest NATO prospect, Ukraine, descends into anarchy. The 1997 promise was long ago revealed as just a piece of paper, and the 100th anniversary of WWI in 2014 was marked by a Europe again on the edge of war, under the guidance of "American leadership". The US announced that the 1997 treaty was now null and void, supposedly because Russia violated it (by welcoming an independent Crimea into the Russian Federation). The breakaway ethnic Russian mini-republics in eastern Ukraine were compared to the assassination of the Austrian archduke in Bosnia in 1914.

True, it was an assassin that started WWI, where European countries were allied against each other in anticipation of the coming war. And who is the assassin expert today? And what countries are lining up, joining the western Cold War bloc targeting Russia? Who is stationing hostile troops around Russia, the latest taunt being by the four NATO countries that border Russia--Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia--who have formed a "special force" on Russia's borders.

At every turn, it seems Russia is the bad guy, America innocent, though it is the US that holds the world ransom, lining up more NATO troops on Russia's border, invading Afghanistan and Iraq, supporting dubious Islamists in Syria. It is this ever more reckless US politics, cloaked in Cold War rhetoric by a Peace President, that is undermining all faith in the international order, leading the world to war.

After 2001, Islam joined Russia as the villain. By 2009 Obama became the 'drone president' (eight times more drones than Bush during his term), blurring the line between warfare and assassination. Whoever is responsible for 9/11, it signaled the new Hot War against Islam.

Even though Iran reached out to the US after 9/11, it was rebuffed, the logic being any Muslim was now suspect. But it seems Obama finally realized there were too many irons in the fire, and finally managed to defuse the war cries against Iran, leaving the main enemies Russia and China.

Obama also stopped the wholesale funding of insurgents in Syria. Daesh exposed the danger of funding these Wahhabi extremists, with its bombings in Europe, Turkey and of a Russian airliner. Another lesson for Obama.

Fillon is a bit late with his diatribe against Islam. Effectively eliminating the threat of Islamic 'terrorists' requires addressing the source of the disease -- American lawlessness, and recognizing the perverse nature of all the war-mongering, including against Muslims, Russia and China.

Perhaps the claim that WWIII is already underway is closest to the truth. In presenting the Defense Plan of Russia to President Putin in 2013 (before Ukraine fell apart), Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, "A peculiar feature of modern conflicts is a wide use of non-military methods -- humanitarian, economic and political sanctions." Sanctions against Russia soon followed, as if by clockwork. But as with US-European sanctions against Iran, with little effect.

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Eric Walberg Social Media Pages: Facebook Page       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Eric writes for Al-Ahram Weekly and PressTV. He specializes in Russian and Eurasian affairs. His "Postmodern Imperialism: Geopolitics and the Great Games", "From Postmodernism to Postsecularism: Re-emerging Islamic Civilization" and "Canada (more...)

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