Brian Cloughley: “The greatest achievement of Mr. Trump would be engage in positive discussions with Russia and China”

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Brian Cloughley. DR.

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: Don’t you think that we are in a continuation of the cold war between the USA and its allies in NATO on one side and China and Russia on the other, and who has interest to provoke a confrontation between these superpowers?

Brian Cloughley: It’s not so much a continuation as a resurrection of the Cold War.  After the Warsaw Pact disbanded in March 1991, NATO, although deprived of any reason to continue in existence, managed to keep going, and in 1999 added Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary to its 16 members. As the BBC noted, these countries became “the first former Soviet bloc states to join Nato, taking the alliance’s borders some 400 miles towards Russia.”  With good reason Moscow wondered what on earth the US-NATO military alliance might be planning.

In spite of facing no threat whatever from any country in the world,  NATO continued to expand around Russia’s borders, inviting Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to join in 2002, which they did two years later.

As President Putin observed in an interview with Italy’s Corriere della Sera “we are not expanding anywhere; it is NATO infrastructure, including military infrastructure, that is moving towards our borders. Is this a manifestation of our aggression?”

The US is also implacably hostile to China and does what it can to provoke it in the South China Sea, but NATO has not yet ventured into Eastern waters.

There is certainly confrontation — but it was originated by the western powers at the behest of Washington. It is dangerous to indulge in military menaces, but the US appears determined to continue such a policy, and the world as a whole will certainly not benefit from its posture.

How do you explain the silence of the media and Western Governments on the infamous war led by Saudi Arabia against the people of the Yemen?

The most important things are money and oil. Western governments and mainstream media may from time to time make statements that “regret” the Saudi war on Yemen, but they will never take action against the Riyadh royal dictatorship that might make it cease its merciless blitz on the Yemeni people.  The US State Department records that in Saudi Arabia its “citizens lack the right and legal means to change their government” while there are “pervasive restrictions on universal rights such as freedom of expression, including on the internet, and freedom of assembly, association, movement and religion; and a lack of equal rights for women . . .”, but Washington takes no action to encourage the Saudi monarchy to relax or even modify its domestic tyranny.

Saudi Arabia is a valued ally of the United States and indulges in “torture and other abuses [and] arbitrary arrest and detention,” while “freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law.”  It might be imagined that the President of the United States might feel it proper to indicate his disapproval of the fact that in Saudi Arabia “civil law does not protect human rights, including freedom of the speech and of the press.”  — but no US president will ever do anything to discourage the Saudi monarchy from continuing its domestic tyranny and murder of so many innocents in Yemen.

Don’t you think that, with Hillary Clinton President of the USA, we’ll have a total war, knowing that she is supported by the neocons and the military-industrial complex?

Under a Clinton administration there would have been no cessation of US havoc-wreaking wars around the world, and desperate refugees would have died in their thousands. Her regime would have ensured that the Pentagon’s fleets continue to go down to the seas in confrontation, and the bombers would have streaked across the skies, deliberately provoking China and Russia.  Remember that she is one of the Washington-Brussels war-drum beaters who planned the 2011 aerial blitz on Libya to destroy the government of President Gaddafi, about whose murder she giggled that “We came; We saw; He died.” The US-NATO attacks on Libya caused massive suffering and destruction, opened the way for feuding bands of militants to fight each other for control of parts of the country, and created a haven for the lunatic extremists of Islamic State.

Hillary Clinton has not criticised or questioned Obama’s years of aerial bombardment around the world and her foreign policy adviser, Jeremy Bash, told London’s Daily Telegraph that she would order a “full review” of US strategy on Syria as a “first key task” of her presidency, resetting the policy to emphasise the “murderous” nature of the government. He said that Mrs. Clinton would work to get Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, “out of there.”

President Assad has been selected as another target for the Clinton policy of “We came; We Saw; He died,” and his country appears doomed to a rerun of the Libya fiasco.

If Hillary Clinton had become President of the United States, as seemed only too likely, there would have been even greater emphasis on global airstrikes and military confrontation.  Greater turmoil, chaos and catastrophe were to come.

Several reports mention deliveries of Western arms to groups activated in Syria, weapons that ended up in the hands of terrorist groups, such as ISIS-Daesh and al-Nusra. How do you explain the miscalculation of governments that have delivered weapons to terrorists to find these weapons turned against them, as we have seen in various attacks on European soil?

The US supplies weapons to many rebels and insurrectionists around the world.  One of the most absurd of these supply chains was in the 1980s when they gave hundreds of Stinger missiles to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, then had to buy them back for half a million dollars each when it was realised that the Mujahideen were about to use them against civilian airliners. The British have also supplied ground-to-air missiles to insurrectionists groups, with much less publicity but on occasions with serious results.  The only explanation for the motives of western governments in doing this sort of thing is that they are poorly informed by their vastly expensive intelligence agencies.

The Americans destroyed Iraq with their ally Tony Blair, Sarkozy made the same thing in Libya with David Cameron, how do you explain that these personalities are not judged, in particular via ICC, authority which judges only African despots?

The International Criminal Court (ICC) “investigates and, where warranted, tries individuals charged with the gravest crimes of concern to the international community: genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.”   But the United States “is not at present a party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court” and although Britain and France are in theory supportive of the ICC, there will never — ever — be a political leader of these countries arraigned before the Court for war crimes or anything else.  The African despots it judges are no doubt guilty of heinous crimes, but they are also easy to arraign.

How do you explain that Hillary Clinton’s candidacy was maintained while she does not stop making headlines with multiple scandals?

Because the Democrat Party desperately wanted a Democrat president. Members of the Party was prepared to hold their noses with one hand to keep out the stink of Hillary’s scandals while with the other hand pressing the button to Vote Hillary.

In your opinion, why do Western Governments continue to support old leaders and despotic regimes and to destabilize others according to their interests under the pretext of « human rights », « democracy », etc.? Who gave them this right?

Nobody gave them the right to support or destroy any government, anywhere, but Western politicians and generals continues to believe that, as in the old colonial days, they have a mission to alter the lives of those they consider inferior.  There is flexibility in this policy, however, because if dictators are important for the economies of the West, they are permitted to torture detainees, treat women as chattels, forbid freedom of religion and imprison critics.

Some of our European intelligence sources tell us that there was a mass movement of Daesh towards some countries of Northern Europe, result of the offensive on Daesh in Syria and Iraq. How do you explain that such redeployment towards Europe is possible with all the risks of attack that entails? Don’t you think that the coordination between European intelligence fails?

I do not believe that there has been mass movement of Daesh/IS adherents to northern Europe.

Libya is a terrorist sanctuary a few kilometers away from Europe. You have an experience in both military and diplomatic, how do you see the resolution of the Libyan equation, is a crisis that can only be resolved militarily or is the policy which should prevail?

Unlike in Saudi Arabia, for example, in Gaddafi’s prosperous Libya there was freedom of religion and women were regarded as human beings. The entire population received free education and medical care. Then the country was reduced to anarchy by the US-NATO aerial blitz of March-October 2011 (Germany refused to join in), during which, among other devastation, water and oil pipelines and pumping stations were deliberately destroyed. Militia bands took over various parts of the country and continue to fight against each other, while extremist Islamic groups have grown in size and influence and the “Government of National Accord” is powerless.

Many of those who energetically supported the war, such as the former secretary general of NATO, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, continue to claim that it was a success — “a model intervention” — and that it is the fault of “the international community” that the country is a shambles.  But even US President Obama admitted that the war on Libya “didn’t work” and that failure to have a plan for the future of the country after the murder of President Gaddafi was “the worst mistake” of his presidency.

Given that the Obama presidency is in its last months, it is unlikely he will order an invasion of Libya to try to eradicate the Islamic terrorists and rebuild the country he and his allies destroyed.  He and his supporters in Europe, notably France and Britain, will continue clandestine ground operations, drone attacks and conventional airstrikes to try to assassinate extremist leaders and destroy their gangs, but these will fail. It is difficult to predict the future in Libya, other than to say that it is most likely that its people will continue suffering the appalling effects of the US-NATO war, and that there will be no peaceful resolution of its problems.

Is the era of the American domination a fatality? Doesnt humanity may find it beneficial to see the emergence of a multipolar world?

It should be remembered that in an August 2014 interview with the New York Times President Obama said “Our participation in the coalition that overthrew Qaddafi [emphasis added] in Libya. I absolutely believed that it was the right thing to do.”  The name of the game is regime change, but America, the “indispensable nation” has failed in its military adventures all over the world and has created widening instability which in turn has led to growth in extremism and terrorism.  Unipolarity, with the US possessing and exercising most military power, has not worked.

It appears that multipolarity might be a better alternative, with other nations restraining Washington from unilateral intervention aimed at overthrowing governments, but it is apparent that the US is determined to do all it can to prevent interference in its world domination strategies. In consequence it has engaged in a deliberate policy of confrontation with China and Russia that is entirely counter-productive and could well lead to war.  Multipolarity would probably benefit humanity, but that is irrelevant to the indispensable nation.

What do you think of the defeat of Hillary Clinton and the victory of Donald Trump?

Mr. Trump has not elucidated a foreign policy as such, and we can only hope that he will build on the positive indications he has given about America ceasing to meddle militarily all round the world.  His greatest achievement would be engage in positive discussions with Russia and China, which would result in vastly diminished tension in east and west.  The defeat of Clinton has meant that the threat of US international confrontation has at least diminished, because the world would have been a very dangerous place if she had got in to the White House.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen


Who is Brian Cloughley?

Brian Cloughley is a British and Australian armies’ veteran, former deputy head of the UN military mission in Kashmir and Australian defense attaché in Pakistan.

He studied South Asian affairs for forty years and is South Asia defense analyst for IHS/Jane’s Sentinel, covering Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, updating material regularly. Other evaluations include updating of nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological developments in the region for IHS Global. He has a weekly column in Strategic Culture Foundation and contribute pieces elsewhere, including Counterpunch, Pakistan’s Army Journal Hilal and the business magazine Blue Chip.

Brian Cloughley wrote books including A History of The Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections; War, Coups & Terror: Pakistan’s Army in Years of Turmoil; Trumpeters: The Story of the Royal Artillery’s Boy Trumpeters; From Fabric Wings to Supersonic Fighters and Drones: A History of Military Aviation on both sides of the Northwest Frontier.

His website:

Published in American Herald Tribune, November 12, 2016:

In Oximity:

In French in Palestine Solidarité: