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Like thousands of others, I discovered The Saker early on in the Ukraine disaster and quickly added his site to my list of essential reading. His writing is an example of the finest that can be found on the Internet and and an illustration of just how important that resource is. Formerly working for some Western security organisation, he was sickened by the parade of wars and regime changes unanimously promoted by the Main Stream Media as a response to some atrocity later revealed to have been exaggerated if not entirely faked. For a long time he felt alone – a "submarine in a desert" – and it has only been with the explosion of readership that he has realised that there are many other beached submarines. The Internet is very liberating this way – no matter how much the monovoice of the MSM shouts you down with Party Line infomercials – you are not alone. As a small illustration, I invite the reader to Google images of "democracy freedom": a lot of "submarines" know they are being lied to. The Saker is one of the forces leading dissident thinkers out of their isolation. And he understands what keeps us unpaid writers going: "So yes, knowing the truth does make one free, and the truth is the most powerful empire-buster ever invented. It brought down the USSR and it will bring down the AngloZionists too. It is just a matter of time now."
One of the things that jarred me when I first began reading The Saker was his use of the phrase "AngloZionist". Oh oh, I thought: what have we here? The Elders of Zion marry the Masons and bring forth lizardoids? Other people had a similar difficulty and, eventually, he wrote an essay explaining what he meant by the phrase. (Part IV) I think he means "exceptionalism"; the sort of belief that, on the one side there are ordinary, unexceptional states, and on the other, there are the pure, the exceptional. A perfect example of completely uncritical rah-rah exceptionalism may be found in this piece by the Cheneys: "Our children need to know that they are citizens of the most powerful, good and honorable nation in the history of mankind—the exceptional nation." That's the "Anglo" bit of The Saker's expression; the other "exceptional nation" is "the only democracy in the Middle East". Because of their exceptional virtue and excellence, the USA and Israel aren't bound by the rules that apply to other, ordinary, countries. When "exceptional nations" bomb a hospital for half an hour it's a "tragic mistake" to be swiftly forgiven because of the purity of the bomber's intention. Other, lesser, countries, bomb hospitals because that's what they do. So I would recommend, if the phrase offend you (and I don't much care for it myself), that you mentally replace it with "exceptionalists"; or you might even prefer "neocons" where the two exceptionalisms meet and merge into one exceptionalism.
Which leads us to this important theme; a theme that grounds most of the book: "For better or for worse, Russia is objectively the undisputed leader of the world resistance to the Anglo-Zionist Empire". How this situation came to be – and it's certainly not something anyone in Moscow wanted – and when Moscow decided that enough was enough and predictions of where it will go form a great part of the book.
Moscow's fightback began in 2008. I suggest you start your reading at his chapter on the Ossetia war (Part III). It's early Saker, he was not a great admirer of Putin, but the key points of his thinking are there – the USA/NATO/EU are trying to bring Russia down; Russia has had enough and began its fight back in Ossetia; Russia is in a much stronger position than they think.
He thinks – I agree – that the Ukrainian mess marks the beginning of the end of the empire of exceptionalists. He sums it up: "In conclusion and to put things simply: what the AngloZionists are openly and publicly defending in the Ukraine is the polar opposite of what they are supposed to stand for". Hypocrisy will do them in: "What really brought down the Soviet Union was something entirely different: an unbearable cognitive dissonance or, to put it more simply, an all-prevailing sense of total hypocrisy". He's right. Look at the Google search again. People see it.
Russia has confounded the exceptionalists: "Thus the USA is in a lose-lose situation: it cannot threaten Russia and seek world domination, but it cannot give up world domination and hope to be able to threaten Russia". Not many people could have written that in 2008. And, from the perspective of today, there are still remarkably few who understand its truth.
He doesn't always get it right (but who does? Washington? Brussels? Western intelligence agencies?) and here is an example: "One more thing: the notion that the Russians could somehow protect Syria or meaningfully oppose US/NATO plans is laughable". He, I, we, but especially Washington and Brussels, continually underestimate the cleverness and coolness of Putin and his team.
I am not going to attempt a summary of the book: it is almost 200,000 words long (that's two PhD theses); I haven't mentioned the essays on Russia and Islam with which he leads the pack. Nor have I mentioned his assessment of power struggles inside the Russian government or much of what he has to say about Ukraine.
Many collections of essays bore after a while because so many of them are the same thing over and over again. The Essential Saker is an exception – he has thought a great deal about a lot of subjects (mostly related to Russia, but that is a large subject) and they are all worth consideration. Not a book for one sitting then: read an essay or two and take time to reflect. There is much there.
Dr Johnson once said "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money"; today he would probably add page-views. Well, The Saker has the page-views, now it's time to give him some money. Buy his book; you won't be sorry: there's more about what's really going on in it than the last ten years of the NYT and The Economist rolled into one. And, of course, don't forget to bookmark and faithfully read his blog http://thesaker.is/.
And, a final zinger: "As for Obama, he will go down in history as the worst US president ever. Except the next one, of course".