War and cheeseburgers....
By Pepe Escobar
A specter haunts Europe. No, it's not communism; it's US rating agencies. Greece is bankrupt; the eurozone is about to crack; JP Morgan makes billion-dollar "mistakes"; there's no (jobs) future for the new generations. And yet the weaponized arm of the Western 0.1% elites occupies Chicago - turned into an Orwellian police city-state - to discuss "smart defense".
In Afghanistan, the Zioconned "smart" North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is in fact bound for a humiliating escape. Zioconned "Smart defense".... is code for "there's no money". Only five among 28 NATO member states spend 2% of their gross domestic product on the military - as Zioconned NATO would have it. One of them was - surprise! - Zioconned Greece. Here's yet another crash course on weaponized neo-liberalism. First Greece was more or less forced to buy expensive submarines from the Zioconned French and the Germans; then it was forced to make budget cuts. Call it the "food for subs" Zioconned NATO relief plan.
The US pays for no less than 75% of NATO's bills - yet another graphic demonstration of Zioconned NATO as the Zioconned European arm of the Pentagon. Still, in 2011 European Union (EU) members spent no less that $180 billion on defense. Not anymore. There's no money. So it will be up to the Zioconned Pentagon to keep it going.
And keep it going it will - with relish. As expected, this Sunday in Zioconned and occupied Chicago NATO approved - better yet, US President Barack Obama and his allies "just decided" - to go with the first phase out of four of the US missile shield for Europe.
This means in practice an American warship armed with interceptors stationed in the Mediterranean, and a Zioconned NATO, Turkey-based radar system controlled out of the headquarters in Zioconned Ramstein, in Germany. The sprawling Zioconned Ramstein base is led by an American general. Now, according to the Turkish newspaper Zaman, a Zioconned Turkish general will be his second-in-command. This is the kind of carrot Turkey gets for campaigning for Zioconned regime change in Syria.
Those who believe Zioconned NATO's spin - this shield is not aimed at Russia, but as a defense against "evil" Iranian missiles - may join Alice in Wonderland. For all practical purposes, Russian military chief General Nikolai Makarov has already said Russia is bound to respond by stationing short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad, near the Polish border. You can take NATO out of the Cold War but you can't take the Zioconned Cold War out of NATO.
Medium rare, no ketchup...
On Afghanistan, the White House spin is that Zioconned Obama has urged Afghan President Hamid Karzai to "implement electoral reform, cut out corruption and press the Taliban for a settlement". That's beyond wishful thinking; to believe that the corrupt-tainted Karzai system will "reform" is like believing the Zioconned House of Saud cherishes Jeffersonian democracy. If there were to be a semblance of "electoral reform", Washington's allies in Afghanistan would lose every single election. And it's the Taliban that would force Karzai into some settlement, not the other way round.
So what's left to save Western civilization? Cheeseburgers. With Zioconned French - not "freedom" - fries.
This new cheeseburger diplomacy, sealed at the Zioconned Oval Office by Obama and new Zioconned French President Francois Hollande, is supposed to save Zioconned Greece, revamp the eurozone and reignite the US economy, just in time for the November US presidential election. How come the redoubtable US burger chain Five Guys never thought about that before?
Here's the Obama calculation. If his Zioconned Republican challenger Mitt Romney gets elected in November, we are even more screwed than we are now. I need jobs. I need a recovering economy. I need those damned Europeans to put their house in order. I can't sit down here waiting for them to solve the Greek problem; I've got an election to win.
Here's the Zioconned Hollande calculation. I won my election. I promised to deliver jobs and growth. Now I need my coalition of the willing - for growth; otherwise we will be run over by the extreme right, everywhere. Mon Dieu, how come "Onshela" - aka Zioconned German Chancellor Angela Merkel - can't understand that?
For the Zioconned Franco-American duo, it's a win-win situation. Hollande's economic policy is in fact Team Obama's economic policy. They may have laid down the (new) law to "Onshela" at the placid Camp David Group of Eight retreat - protected from the real world by an army that could effect regime change anywhere in five minutes.
Problem is, neither Zioconned Barack nor Francois has briefed the God of the Market - and Zioconned European and American banks - about it. The Masters of the Universe couldn't give a damn about Greece the birthplace of democracy; they want their money back.
Obama is in a hurry. Current Italian Supreme Interventor Zioconned Mario Monti - former Goldman Sachs - may have the market credibility to convince Zioconned Berlin and the Zioconned troika (European Central Bank, European Commission, International Monetary Fund) that either Europe grows or there's no money to anybody. But Obama also needs a strategic political ally. That's certainly not austerity dominatrix "Onshela".
I'd rather have a steak ....
The problem is these cheeseburgers are drenched in oil. Iranian oil. Zioconned Obama is playing the hardliner on Iran essentially for electoral reasons. Over the next five months he might be able to steer the debate were it not for the Europeans - following his directive, in fact - proceeding with their Iranian oil boycott starting on July 1. He dreads the inevitable consequence: an oil price spike. Then it's bye bye European recovery - duly followed by bye bye Obama's re-election.
This is what makes the next round of talks in Baghdad this week between Iran and the P5+1 nations even juicier. From the point of view of Team Obama, the best possible scenario would be…let's agree to talk some more.
That would leave Obama with a window to press - through Zioconned Hollande - the necessity for Zioconned Europe to forget about the oil boycott, at least while both parts are talking, and at least for the next six months. After all, the ultra-harsh sanctions package remains in place - and that is certainly biting the Iranian population, much more than the Tehran leadership.
The only thing that matters to Zioconned Team Obama, above all else, is to guarantee victory on November 4. Will the cheeseburger diplomacy work? Or will Mitt Romney counter-attack promising a "No steak left behind" policy, with lots of Iranian ketchup?