Sanctions, Subversion, and Color Revolutions: US Meddling in Cambodian Elections

January 16, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - After a nearly year-long marathon of daily, acrimonious accusations against Moscow for alleged, yet-to-be proven interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, Washington finds itself increasingly mired in its own hypocrisy - openly and eagerly pursing the very sort of interference abroad in multiple nations regarding elections and internal political affairs it has accused Russia of.

Image: US State Department officials threaten Cambodia with sanctions for uprooting US-funded organizations openly engaged in political interference in Cambodia's upcoming elections. 
A particularly acute example of this is Cambodia where recently, the government has begun uprooting and expelling US State Department-funded fronts and media organizations as well as arresting members of the US-backed opposition party while disbanding the party itself - for interfering in preparations for upcoming elections.

The New York Times in its August article, "Cambodia Orders Expulsion of Foreign Staff Members With American Nonprofit," would claim:
Cambodia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday ordered foreign staff members of an American nonprofit that gets support from the United States government to leave the country within a week, part of an apparent attempt to silence opposition voices before national elections next year.
The NYT would elaborate, reporting:
The nonprofit, the National Democratic Institute [a subsidiary of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED)], is loosely affiliated with the Democratic Party in the United States, and has provided training to various Cambodian political parties, including those from the opposition. Local news media organizations with ties to Mr. Hun Sen’s party have accused the nonprofit of conspiring against him.
Unsurprisingly, the NYT attempts to portray Cambodia's uprooting of US government-funded fronts, media, and opposition directly and openly manipulating its political affairs as undemocratic. Such a narrative concurrently takes shape in the NYT's pages side-by-side an entire section titled, "Russian Hacking and Influence in the U.S. Election."

While Western media like the NYT claims foreign interference in America's affairs constitutes the destruction of American democracy, it simultaneously proposes that extensive US meddling in elections abroad - including in Cambodia - constitutes the promotion of democracy.

Unfortunately for many, the hypocrisy this glaring double standard represents goes unnoticed - due in part to the notion of American - and to a larger extend - Western exceptionalism.

Washington's Khmer Marionettes 

The move by Phnom Penh is the culmination of years of US meddling in Cambodia's internal political affairs and political processes including its elections.

Image: Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha being arrested for treason. Kem Sokha has spent over a decade openly conspiring with the United States government to overthrow the Cambodian government and install himself and his political party into power. 
The opposition party - the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) - is led by long-time US proxies Sam Rainsy and Kem Sokha. Both have divided their time and activities between politicking in Cambodia and residing in Western capitals, including Washington D.C. openly conspiring with the US government to overthrow Cambodia's current political order, and install themselves into power.


Flaunting British Neo-Imperialism in Asia-Pacific

January 10, 2018 (Joseph Thomas - NEO) - For over a century, the British Empire exerted control over Asia-Pacific, outright colonising India, Burma, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia while influencing and encroaching upon greater China, Siam and beyond.


It exploited the people and natural resources of the region, fuelled conflict as it waged war with rival European powers seeking to carve out their own colonies in Asia and left an enduring impact on the region, including ethnic and territorial feuds still unfolding today, e.g. the Rohingya crisis in present-day Myanmar.

Rather than make restitution for its decades of war, conquest and exploitation, the United Kingdom today eagerly seeks to reassert itself in the region alongside the United States who has also spent over a century in the region pursuing what US policymakers openly admit is American "primacy."

The Diplomat, a US-European geopolitical publication focused on Asia-Pacific, described this development in its article, "The British Are Coming (to Asia)."

The article featured a single image, that of the HMS Queen Elizabeth, one of the UK's newest warships and its largest. It is one of two "colossal warships" UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson recently pledged to send across the globe to aid Washington in its growing confrontation with Beijing.

The author, US Air Force Major John Wright currently serving as Japan Country Director, International Affairs, Headquarters Pacific Air Forces, Honolulu, Hawaii, attempts to construct a positive argument for the UK's involvement thousands of miles from its own shores.

The article admits that the US has few capable allies in the region willing to "comply with mutual defence needs beyond their own territory." It admits that the US has increasingly looked beyond Asia for partners. The UK then, is about as beyond Asia as any potential partner could be.

The article notes that the UK has already deployed warplanes to Japan in addition to the aforementioned future deployment of British warships to the region. It also suggests that:
...the U.K. could revive the old trick of acting as a “fleet in being;” its ability to steam where and when it pleased while possessing no major territory would throw off regional rivals’ military calculus and force them to commit precious reconnaissance assets to monitoring the United Kingdom.
In other words, a European military would be deployed in and harass "rivals" across Asia alongside US warships already engaged in regional meddling. This, the author concludes, "would be a great benefit to stabilising the security troubles of the region."   

Yet, when considering what actually drives "security troubles of the region," it is evident that the presence of US forces far beyond US territory, for example, stationed in South Korea and conducting military exercises along North Korea's borders in a deliberate attempt to provoke Pyongyang is the problem, not the solution. The addition of British warships and aircraft in the region will only further multiply "security troubles" evident in the author's own comments regarding the need for "regional rivals" to commit to tracking and keeping in check British warships.


Omitted from Major Wright's nostalgic review of the UK's historic role in Asia-Pacific was the concept of "gunboat diplomacy," where the British Empire coerced Asian states into making lopsided concessions to London or face British naval firepower. Chunks of Siam were carved off under threat of British "gunboat diplomacy," Hong Kong was outright seized by it and other nations likewise were forced by threat of military aggression to make concessions that benefited only the British.

US "primacy" in Asia-Pacific today closely resembles British "gunboat diplomacy." While literal gunboats training cannons on the capitals of targeted states is no longer feasible, other means of coercion are. These include options categorised under "soft power" including US-European-funded opposition groups which may or may not include armed components. There is also economic warfare. When Thailand ousted US-proxy Thaksin Shinawatra and his political allies from power, the US pursued a campaign of economic sabotage aimed at Thailand's seafood industry and tourism sector.


Google's AI Center in China: Poaching Talent

January 8, 2018 (Ulson Gunnar - NEO) - Artificial Intelligence (AI) is already fundamentally changing information technology and stands poised to permeate and transform technology both online and off ranging from manufacturing and transportation to medicine and military applications. The US, Russia and China have all noted that dominance in this field of technology will be an essential ingredient to holding global primacy in the near future.


What resembles a sort of arms race has emerged between prominent nations around the globe. Perhaps in an effort to provide the US with an edge, or perhaps in an effort to mitigate the impact of such an arms race, Google has opened an AI center in China.

CNN in its article, "Google is opening an artificial intelligence center in China," would announce:
Despite many of its services being blocked in China, Google has chosen Beijing as the location for its first artificial intelligence research center in Asia.
The purpose of the center, according to CNN, citing China's desire to become a global leader in AI technology, will be to:
...help China pursue its aim to become the global leader. The facility will employ a team of researchers who will be supported by engineers the company already has in China.
Considering Google's services being banned, blocked and otherwise unwelcomed in China, the question remains as to why exactly Google would seek to aid China in becoming a leader in AI technology Google itself seeks to position itself as a leader in.

This question may have been at least partially answered in a recent AI summit which included Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google's parent company, Alphabet Inc.

Poaching Foreign Talent

The Washington DC-based Center for a New American Security (CNAS), as part of its Artificial Intelligence and Global Security Initiative, held its Artificial intelligence and Global Security Summit (video) in early November 2017. During Schmidt's question and answer session, he remarked that China would likely overcome America's lead in AI technology by 2025.


While Schmidt offered suggestions on how the US could keep its lead over China, particularly through establishing its own national laboratories for researching and developing AI technology within an enumerated national strategy regarding AI, it would be his comments on US immigration policy that hinted at why Google might open an AI center in China as part of maintaining America's lead.


Iranian Protests: Deep State's Unfinished Business

January 4, 2018 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - Protests have been reported across several cities in Iran over the last  several days of December 2017. Protesters allegedly decry Iran's economy as well as the nation's involvement in nearby Syria.


The Western media has attempted to cultivate two narratives - one focused on portraying the protests as widespread, spontaneous, and having focused first on "economic grievances" before becoming political - another narrative openly admitting to US involvement and praising US President Donald Trump for "standing up" to the "Iranian regime."

Of course, neither narrative is even remotely grounded in reality.

US Meddling in Iran Stretches Back Decades 

US regime-change operations targeting Iran stretch back decades and have continued within a singular geopolitical strategy, regardless of who has occupied the White House, including under the more recent US administrations of George Bush, Barack Obama, and now Donald Trump.

While pro-war circles in the US claim the 1979 Iranian Revolution was an instance of Iran drawing first blood, the revolution was in fact a direct response to then already decades of US meddling in Iran stretching back as early as 1953 with the US Central Intelligence Agency's Operation AJAX.


Regarding Operation AJAX, in an entry on the CIA's own website titled, "All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror," it admits (emphasis added):

The target was not an oppressive Soviet puppet but a democratically elected government whose populist ideology and nationalist fervor threatened Western economic and geopolitical interests. The CIA's covert intervention—codenamed TPAJAX—preserved the Shah's power and protected Western control of a hugely lucrative oil infrastructure. It also transformed a turbulent constitutional monarchy into an absolutist kingship and induced a succession of unintended consequences at least as far ahead as the Islamic revolution of 1979—and, Kinzer argues in his breezily written, well-researched popular history, perhaps to today.
The article - a review by the CIA's own history staff of a book regarding Operation AJAX - admits that US policy regarding Iran merely picked up where the British Empire left off in an effort to reassert rapidly-slipping Western control over the globe. In no way was US efforts to undermine and control the government of Iran described in terms of protecting US national security or promoting democracy - and in fact was characterized instead as undermining Iranian self-determination.

It is this admission that reveals the core truth of today's tensions between Iran and the United States. The West still seeks to reassert itself and its economic interests in the Middle East. Notions of "freedom," "democracy," as well as threats of "terrorism," "nuclear holocaust," and even the ongoing conflict with nearby Israel, Saudi Arabia, and other Persian Gulf States are but facades behind which this self-serving neo-imperial agenda is pursued.


The Quad: US Searches Edge of Asia for Allies to Contain Beijing

December 28, 2017 (Tony Cartalucci - NEO) - There has been a recent buzz promoted around the so-called Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) - a coalition of sorts counting the United States, India, Australia, and Japan as members. Promoted by familiar corporate-financier funded policy think thanks, the Quad is being portrayed as a step past Washington's ill-fated "pivot to Asia" to address its waning power in the region.


Understanding that the US "pivot" was meant to co-opt and coerce Southeast Asia into forming a united front aimed at containing China's economic, diplomatic, and military rise in the region in order to preserve and perhaps even expand US primacy in Asia Pacific, helps explain why it ultimately failed, and goes far in explaining what the Quad is and why it is being so eagerly promoted.

The Pivot's Failure and Declining American Power 

Southeast Asia, through the supranational Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) resisted attempts by Washington to realign regional policy to suit US interests at the cost of ASEAN's growing ties with Beijing.

There were various components to the pivot including US efforts to undermine, overthrow, and replace with obedient client regimes the governments of several ASEAN states including Myanmar, Thailand, and Malaysia.

The expansion of US "soft power" across ASEAN was a part of this component, particularly through the US State Department's ongoing long-term efforts via the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) and its "Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative" (YSEALI) launched in 2013.

These efforts have so-far failed, with only limited success in placing a US client regime in power in Myanmar in the form of Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

Image: Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has sealed several pivotal economic, infrastructure, and military deals with China since ousting the US-backed government of Yingluck Shinawatra from power in 2014. 

Elsewhere - in 2014 - the US-backed government of Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of long-time US ally Thaksin Shinawatra, was ousted in a military coup. Protests in Malaysia led by the US-funded and directed "Bersih" front have yet to materialize substantial results. And in Cambodia, the government under Prime Minister Hun Sen has begun an aggressive campaign to uproot and expel the US State Department's media and opposition fronts including the arrest of opposition leader Kem Sokha and the dissolution of his Cambodia National Rescue Party - a move that may be replicated in some form or another by other ASEAN states if successful.

Another component was a series of artificial conflicts the US manufactured and then served as mediator in resolving surrounding the ongoing South China Sea territorial dispute. ASEAN collectively refused to become involved, and even supposed claimants in the dispute - Vietnam and the Philippines - have drifted away from the hardline approach proposed by the US to confront Beijing.