This is the personal blog of Rick Staggenborg, MD. The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Take Back America for the People, an educational 501.c3 nonprofit established by Dr Staggenborg.

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Friday, December 5, 2014



The US may understand the consequences of imperial overreach sooner than anyone thought possible. Russia’s decision to drop the South Stream natural gas pipeline in favor of a deal with key NATO member Turkey may be the first of a series of events that could challenge and ultimately destroy the Anglo-American empire.  Turkey’s bold decision risks its standing with its western allies by undercutting the EU’s efforts to bully Russia, but promises enormous benefit to Turkey’s economic influence in Europe.

While President Erdogan hasn’t shown his full hand, it may play out such that the West’s quixotic quest to control the Mideast could end sooner than seemed possible. EU and US insults to Turkey have driven it into Russian arms. The anti-Putin coalition seems to have burned both bridges between Eastern fossil fuel sources and Western markets. Energy costs to citizens of EU nations will skyrocket. If they protest vigorously enough, their puppet governments may finally decide that their cozy relationships with the Anglo-American alliance are not worth the cost.

Turkey has been rebuffed repeatedly in its efforts to join the EU. That is an insult to a proud nation, a member of NATO with a stronger economy than many of the former Soviet satellites. These weaker nations joined this coalition of Western belligerents after the fall of the USSR, violating 1994 agreements by NATO not to expand toward Russian borders.  Unlike Turkey, many of them were also enticed to join the EU. None of these newer states have benefited much from inclusion in Europe’s economy. They are suffering from the same austerity measures as the rest of the EU. Like Ukraine, corruption has remained as endemic in many countries under its governance as it was under the old Soviet system.

A number of these Eastern European nations would have benefited from South Stream, getting access to cheap gas and profiting from transit fees.  Politicians in Bulgaria, which in 2013 witnessed some of the largest demonstrations in Europe since the crash, initially lobbied for the pipeline but ultimately sided with the EU against their own national interests. Now Bulgarians will pay the price along with the rest of the EU for its outrageous demand that Russia surrender ownership of the pipeline. This was a condition of the Third Energy Package, which Russia never ratified.  It was designed to punish Russia for refusing to privatize its fossil fuel industry during the looting of Russia that followed the Yeltsin coup. Some speculate that Bulgaria or Greece might make separate deals with Russia for gas via subsidiary pipelines, the price for which may be other economic and even military alliances.

According to some analysts, the last straw for Turkey was US arming of the Kurdish fighters in Syria, which Turkey considers allied with the PKK, Kurdish separatists who are listed by both Turkey and the US as a terrorist group. The US states that the change in policy was for the humanitarian purpose of protecting the residents of the Syrian border town of Kobani from ISIS siege. However, US bombing did little to effectively degrade ISIS forces before the mercenary army invaded Kobani and melted into the city. Now, air strikes that might hit the terrorist infiltrators would be as likely to kill remaining civilians.

Arming of the PYD (the Syrian Kurdish defense forces) led to the natural suspicion that Turkey was being pressured to invade Syria in self-defense. The US had been demanding that Turkey supply the ground troops to fight ISIS, which sprang from the NATO/GCC/Israeli attempt to use terrorists to topple Assad. Erdogan’s government has been deeply involved in providing routes for terrorists and weapons to enter Syria since the outbreak of the “civil war,” along with limited military assistance. He has insisted on a plan prioritizing the defeat of the Assad government rather than ISIS, over which Western intelligence agencies seem to still exercise some control. All of these conflicts have followed US finger pointing at Turkey’s complicity in the creation of ISIS, while ignoring its own role.

US foreign policy is driven by the ambitions of the psychopaths on Wall Street who virtually run the government. They are guided by the knowledge of the inevitable failure of the dollar. This is the reason that the US has been waging all-out war for global corporate domination. The manic military policies of the last two administrations are a last ditch effort to control fossil fuel supplies and transit routes not just for profit, but to continue to prop up the Petrodollar. It may be too late. Russia and China are taking the lead in weaning themselves from dependence on the dollar not only to sell or buy fossil fuels but for other goods. The two nations signed an agreement in October to settle international debts in their own currencies. That trade is projected to more than double by 2020 to $200 billion.  Meanwhile, the BRICS bank may ultimately free other nations from dollar domination by providing an alternative to the IMF, whose loan conditions include removing currency controls designed to prevent Western speculators from destabilize their national currencies.

The key event to watch out for is the response of Angela Merkel. With the largest economy in Europe, Germany has the biggest voice in the EU and weaker states are sure to follow its lead. Merkel has been largely cooperating with the sanctions on Russia, while at the same time speaking out against more draconian measures for the most part. As with Obama, her bombastic claims about “Russian imperialism” in the Ukraine are for domestic consumption. The German industrialists whose interests she represents understand this, but have been concerned about the effects of the sanctions on the national and EU economies, which have been teetering toward yet another recession. The loss of cheap gas from Russia may be the one consequence of slavish adherence to US foreign policy objectives they will not tolerate.

If ordinary Germans join influential business leaders in Germany in calling for an end to allowing the US to dictate its foreign policies, the question of the wisdom of EU support for NATO might arise with the general public. If so, the revolt could spread elsewhere. Eventually, the contagion of rebellion could even reach US shores. A lot depends on how willing normally staid German society is willing to demand an end to its government’s complicity in yet another attempt at establishing what amounts to global fascism. They are already angry at revelations of US spying on their government officials and of CIA manipulation of their corporate media. Having already experienced the consequences of allowing their government to engage in imperialist wars, they may rise to stop it this time around. We can only hope that generations of post-war prosperity have not made them as docile as their American counterparts.

The question has become one of how much Europeans are willing to bear to sustain a global system that is nearing its end. The cost of the collapse of the financialized, debt-based world economy is leaving them and the entire developed world with declining living standards and mounting debt. Meanwhile, the rich get richer. It is only a matter of time before Europe wakes up to what the developing nations have always known: Capitalism is based on exploitation and its aim is to monopolize resources for the benefit of the few. All that remains to be seen is whether the People unite to take down this system before the only way to fight the police state Europe and the US are becoming is violence.

As this global game of Monopoly winds down to its conclusion, at some point the people of the world must rise up and change the rules of the game. The alternative is economic chaos and suffering on a scale never before witnessed, followed by the consignment of our children and all future generations to debt slavery.