October 5, 2012
Building on a Kernel of TruthBy Michael Reagan
This summer, friends and I took a cruise in Alaska where the tourist shops often featured the Russian matryoshka dolls. The dolls originated in Japan but were made popular in Russia around the time of the Russian Revolution, a century ago. You've seen them -- you pop open an outer doll, and nested inside is another. The magic of the art is that you keep opening layer after layer, only to find another even smaller doll, until at last the final incarnation is just a kernel in size. The successive dolls vary from near exact duplicates with hard-to-identify slight variations to entire chess game piece sets, each nested one inside another. Shoppers pass the various pieces around to their fellow vacationers, amazed at the intricate artwork and comparing the design, shape, and ingenuity with which each piece fits neatly into the next. Eventually somebody, usually not the same person who began this process, starts trying to put it all back together again, in just the right order.
We are at a similar midway point now.
Generations of invaluable life and treasure have been spent dismantling the hollow but vast "Evil Empires," yet we did not destroy them. Their vacuous, threatening shells are all around us now, lying askance in the Globalist's Tourista Dream Shop...waiting...
America, like the rest of the world, just watched the spectacular closing scene of yet another act in a drama that has been unfolding for a very long time. We pause in stunned silence as the curtains close on the four fading visages of our hallowed warrior-poets, handsome and strong. Their lives were dedicated to writing a new future for the "Mid-East Projects" we are engaged in -- and protecting that future. That is our "kernel of truth." Great men keep trying, against all odds, to do what is often a thankless deed...forging and keeping the peace. Congress and this administration are looking at the same kernel of truth we all see: four dead Americans, slain in a magician's fog of lying facts and half-truths.
As the cast changes costumes and makeup, and the crew rearranges the set and backdrops, we the audience will engage in brief hushed murmurs, our questions, apprehensions, and speculations unanswered, but only for a moment. With the preparations nearly complete, the next act in this drama will open shortly. At any moment, the curtains will reopen, and we will be allowed to take in our new surroundings just long enough to almost get our bearings. Then the orchestra will accost us with a rousing stanza, and the next scene will play out before us with even more dramatic thunders and trauma.
Since the current administration is choosing to conduct our response to these evil events as a murder investigation, the obvious first question is "who benefits?" In order to answer that question, we must first know a little more about Ambassador Stevens and his role in the Mid-East chess game we are engaged in.
Mr. Stevens operated the Iran desk early in his career and was widely considered one of the very top experts on Iran in the world. He paid his dues in the early part of his career at the State Department working in Israel/Palestine and Egypt before settling into Syria for several years. Everywhere he went, he developed very extensive contacts and business/personal relationships. At one point during this period he was also director of the Office of Multilateral Nuclear and Security Affairs. Mr. Stevens was an obvious, logical choice when he was selected to go to Libya.
The backstory here is that after 9/11, Col. Gaddafi and his sons expressed a strong desire to turn over Libya's nuclear and chemical WMD materials and plans. This new outreach was not the result of some angelic revelation by Moammar. Instead, it was the direct result of President Bush's hardline, no-nonsense declarations to the world: "You are either with us or against us." Mr. Gaddafi's children (Seif in particular) had expressed a strong desire not to get the hell bombed out of them again, as had happened when my dad reined in Col. Gaddafi during his administration. The Libyan government assisted by providing extensive and risky covert help while the Bush administration identified, exposed, and dismantled the nuclear proliferation club centered in Pakistan and presided over by A.Q. Kahn, the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb. With Mr. Stevens's assistance, the world was given another decade without a nuclear device being exploded by some crazed rogue tyrant. It was one of the greatest achievements of the second Bush administration.
In short, Mr. Stevens had become a very high-value piece on the Mid-East chessboard. But this is chess in 3-D, and there are other boards and bigger agendas, global in scope.
As I write this article, NATO, the U.S., and several other allies, including Saudi Arabia, are engaged in a proxy war with Russia and Iran in Syria. There is a Ho Chi Minh Trail of Muslim Brotherhood supply lines that crisscross North Africa and eventually enter Syria from staging areas next-door in Turkey. The chokepoint of these supply lines is the Libyan port city of Dernah, which is approximately one hundred miles east of Benghazi, where our ambassador was slain. The Syrian freedom-fighters have been tapping Gaddafi's extensive weapons cache like a military storage depot to facilitate their revolutionary activities. Thank goodness the nuclear materials had already been cleared out long ago, and more than half of the chemical weapons destroyed.
The logic being applied by this administration is something like "the enemy of my enemy is my friend." The problem is that Russia, and Mr. Putin in particular, is not going down without a fight. The ability of the Russian Navy to support and project their military prowess in the region is reliant on Syria's Mediterranean deep-water ports. Also, Russia is still the world's largest oil producer, providing the main source of revenue to Russia's own economy. Turkey, next-door to Syria, is the nexus point of a significant portion of the oil and gas flowing from their fields and refineries to customers in the West. Therefore, the Syrian debacle threatens Russia both militarily and economically. The way they see it, the survival of the Assad regime, and their client-state Syria, is their "deep, hard, red line in the sand."
For Russia, Syria, not Iran, is the hidden tripwire for WWIII -- and the battles this time around will not favor us by focusing on our military strengths. Instead, our opponents intend to tear a page from the last chapter of this chronicle and attempt to defeat us by attacking our vulnerable economic underbelly: our oil-backed dollar.
Our primary chessmaster opponents in this match are still stinging from their last loss, which concluded the Cold War, ending four decades of proxy wars around the world. The final straw then was the collapse of the ruble over a four-month period of time, followed immediately by the "tear[ing] down [of] this wall!" -- with all the humiliations that accompanied that defeat. "Revenge is a dish best served cold," and Mr. Putin and crew are aching to serve up a dish of that humble pie if we so desire.
It is critically important that this administration and the next (whosever that may be) understand with clarity the real risk a broader Mid-East conflict poses to the United States and the dollar. For over half a century, we, the American People, have almost singlehandedly promoted and protected the safe and predictable free flow of oil throughout the world with our blood and treasure. As a result, oil transactions everywhere in the world, including Russia and China, are denominated with dollars. We purchase their oil with our dollars, and they return with those same paper dollars and employ Americans by buying our goods and services. This system is also crucial to the security of our diplomatic and legal infrastructure, which is ultimately backed by our military. It's the core of our foreign policy. It's a reasonable fair exchange that has made sense since long before President Nixon closed the gold window.
It is incorrect when people suppose that the dollar is no longer backed by anything of value. The gold and silver that originally backed the dollar "neither spin nor toil"; these metals are only an intermediate store of wealth. Oil, on the other hand, is dynamic, active; consumption of oil results in creative production and facilitates our industrial activity and growth. The United States and the modern, Westernized world run (or don't run) on oil -- yes, oil! Or to be even more precise -- and it's not wasted breath to repeat this -- it is "the safe, free flow of oil throughout the world, at fair market prices," that is the dollar's new but fluid foundation. As a result, the dollar is the primary reserve currency of the world. It backs all other currencies. So pay close attention to what I'm saying here: any attack on the free flow of oil is an attack on the dollar. Any attack on the dollar is an attack on our ability to project power and protect Western democracies, economies, and ideals. God have mercy on us all if that attack is successful!
Russia's diplomatic corps has been challenging us privately and, before the U.N., asking, "What is the strategic advantage you [that is to say we, the American people] hope to achieve if the Muslim Brotherhood/al-Qaeda freedom-fighters succeed in collapsing the Assad regime and taking power in Syria? Another Egypt? What if Syria does fold, and the Muslim Brotherhood takes control? Where do they go next for an encore? The other Muslim-dominated regions of Russian Empire?"
We have not even considered the other ominous presence at the game board: China. Their line in the sand is Iran, and they also sense danger from their own emboldened and radicalized Muslim population! President Putin and his cohorts in China well understand the threat presented to them by the Muslim Brotherhood, with the Brotherhood's long-range goal of a pan-Arab state stretching well beyond their current Mid-East confines. Both Russia and China will prefer to engage this battle while it is still a fair distance from their shores.
Inexplicably, over the last several months, this administration has answered these inquiries by accelerating and expanding the trafficking of personnel and supplies through Libya to Syria. Remember Iran Contra and the Boland amendment? It handcuffed our intelligence agencies from direct monetary support for the rebels in Nicaragua. So Col. North got creative. Which new czar occupies Col. North's old chair now? I suppose the reason why Congress isn't more involved in oversight of our covert proxy war in Syria is because you don't need much money for arms -- only for administration -- when you already have storehouses full of the best arms money can buy. Free for the taking and pre-staged, only a few klicks away, in eastern Libya.
Iran for its part is glad to assist the Assad regime and its Russian and Chinese protectors; Iran's mullahs are elated to help promote such a strong diversion for our attention, since all the Iranians need now is time to complete their nuclear mischief. Israel is understandably dismayed that we are so easily diverted from the greater tangible threat that Iran currently presents.
And Ambassador Stevens knew personally all the parts of the Frankenstein monster this administration has been cobbling together. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly -- Stevens had 'em on speed-dial. He was following orders, doing the bidding of this administration and his boss, Secretary of State Clinton, overseeing and coordinating the "Intelligence Agency Operatives (from several countries)" with their logistical needs.
If you, my fellow citizens, are as stunned as I am to find this all out now, let me help the still doubting Thomases with one additional fact. It has been reported that Mr. Stevens' last meeting in his official capacity ended at 8:00 PM, an hour and a half before the attacks began, and whom was it with? The Turkish consul general. How would you like to have been a fly on that wall?
The loss of Ambassador Stevens throws a monkey wrench in the works. Whatever the truth of Mr. Stevens and his associate's deaths, the greatest beneficiary, at least for the moment, is Mr. Putin. With the world press paying closer attention to the region, it will most likely be increasingly difficult to operate the proxy war, at least temporarily.
So much for the "who benefits" and "why" parts of the story -- the rest is just connect-the-dots mechanics. We have a suspect, and a possible motive.
While we are focused on the flash-bang pyrotechnics and dissipating smoke of the Libyan/North African debacles at the south end of the stage, the magician Mr. Putin and his assistants will be working deftly to pull something out of the sleeve of his other hand to the north. This is a very dangerous moment, and we dare not blink. Whatever the result of the coming election, the "Evil Empire's" shells are being rearranged and reassembled for the promised "change" heralded by the current administration.
For me, however, after contemplating the whole situation, it appears that "the more things change, the more they stay the same" here in the Globalist's little shop of horrors. It is likely that we will soon be staring down a hall of mirrors -- directly into the faces of some monsters we thought were long dead, or at least tamed.
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