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Sanctions against Russia

News Demonization of Putin Recommended Links British roots of US Rusoophobia Cold War II Perfidious Albion
Peak Cheap Energy and Temporary Oil Price Slump USA-Russia Gas War North Stream South Stream Zugzwang for Ukraine Russian Diplomacy
Fake News scare and US NeoMcCartyism False flag poisonings Skripal poisoning Litvinenko poisoning History of American False Flag Operations DNC and Podesta emails leak: blaming Vladimir Putin
Neocon foreign policy is a disaster for the USA Nulandgate Anti-Russian hysteria in connection with DNC leak Putin-did-it fiasco Russian Ukrainian Gas Wars The Rape of Russia
British poisoning false flags MSM Sochi Bashing Rampage Great Plunder of Russia after the dissolution of the USSR Obama: a yet another Neocon Professor Steven Cohen Putin stands up to US and G8 warmongers on Syria
Hillary role in Syria bloodbath Fifth Column of Neoliberal Globalization  Comprador vs. national bourgeoisie Neocolonialism as Financial Imperialism Diplomacy by deception Net hamsters
Neoliberal Compradors Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism Khodorkovsky case Boris Berezovsky Magnitsky case Navalny's Saga
Neoliberal Brainwashing: Journalism In the Service of the Powerful Few The Guardian Slips Beyond the Reach of Embarrassment America and the Imperial Project Demonization of Putin Inside "democracy promotion" hypocrisy fair Nemtsov assassination
Color revolutions The Rape of Russia, Testimony of Anne Williamson Before the House Banking Committee Russian Color Revolution of 2012 From EuroMaidan to EuroAnschluss Who Shot down Malaysian flight MH17? Suppression of Russian language and culture in Ukraine
Miraculous metamorphosis of Russian crooks on crossing Western border Comprador vs. national bourgeoisie America and the Imperial Project Most important anti-Russian propaganda campaigns The Deep State Audacious Oligarchy and "Democracy for Winners"
Russian foreign policy Anatol Leiven on American Messianism Pussi Riot Provocation American Exceptionalism "Fight with Corruption" as a smoke screen for neoliberal penetration into host countries Brain Drain
Soft propaganda The Real War on Reality Economics of Peak Energy Russophobic quotes from famous Russian Liberasts Humor Etc

Sanctions on false premises are unacceptable and need to be fought. But the question is how?  The larger story is the world neoliberal system. The USA is imperial power of the global neoliberal empire, so to speak. So it can dictate other players what to do, and often does. As long as neoliberalism is the social system that dominant on the globe.

IMHO Russia needs to be extremely careful with designing the countermeasures for the recent round of sanctions. The key idea of the new round of sanctions is to limit export capacity of Russia to EU and to provoke internal discontent due to sliding standard of living and create preconditions for a color revolution. Preventing that is the key countermeasure. So for example launching some new chemical plants that consume a lot of gas (producing fertilizers, or plastics, for example) makes perfect sense. You can sell chemicals instead of gas and probably can get additional profit because you do not need to transport gas several thousand miles West.

The standard countermeasure is import substitution but it will not work in many areas. For example in chips Russia is almost totally dependent on the West and China. I think they have only one or two own CPUs (Elbrus  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elbrus_(computer)   ). All PCs and software are of Western origin (mainly China produced ). They also produce one mainframe-style open source CPUs (SPARC compatible), and several low end microprocessors.  That's almost it. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Russian_microprocessors

Similarly complex equipment with geo steering necessary to increase output from the old oil fields is not produced in Russia (BTW this equipment dooms Trump idea of Mexican wall ;-).

So the key here is not to overreact and preserve cool head. May be just taking the blow and keep standing is the best policy. Otherwise, if as the result of overreaction the standard of living drops, Russia can slide into Venezuela-style situation, or, even worse -- provoke Brazilian-style the revolt of oligarchs (which will be happily financed by the West), or Argentinean style transition of power based of fake promises of neoliberal candidate. Sanctions tend to aggravate internal problems in Russian society and that is the calculation of the US congress. Now some Russian oligarch now will lose money. Sometimes serious money. As in neoliberal society "appetite comes with the meal" and "greed is good" Sechin's, and others loyalty to the state is not absolute.

As Russia is still a neoliberal country resistance to the global neoliberal empire (even decaying and with discredited ideology) is a very tough option. Especially open revolt against the dollar hegemony. That's the key advantage of the USA in this game: fifth column that benefits from neoliberal globalization if a serious force in any neoliberal country.

In any case, I think Russia should take considerable time to create viable countermeasures, which need to be highly asymmetrical: beneficial for Russian producers and still nor too harmful for the USA. Because the risk is to provoke the USA for another round of sanctions. May be selling some part of reserves kept in dollars also make sense, as a symbolic gesture. I do not know.

I would think some aggressive "liberalization" of arm export is one possible reaction. Iran would buy a lot of air-defense equipment, I think. If the USA do not allow to earn money in energy, Russia needs to find a decent substitute. And in some categories of weapons Russia can give the USA run for the money. See http://www.businessinsider.com/arms-sales-by-the-us-and-russia-2014-8

Unfortunately currently there is no alternative to neoliberalism. But cheap oil (by which I means oil below $100 per barrel) might not last another decade, so it makes sense to wait for the end of "chap oil age". which will be a knockdown for the USA. Becoming the boy for beating for the USA is not very attractive prospect. They need to coordinate the response with China, because other then via China they have almost no access to many technologies that originated in the West. West still holds tremendous technological superiority in many key areas.

While equalizing staff of the US and Russian embassies is not a bad reaction on Obama provocation, it is important to understand that countermeasures is what the US policymakers expect to start the spiral of tightening economic screws on Russia.

But in no way it is easy or may be even prudent for Russia to try to quickly switch from Western financial system to something else. And Russia track record does not inspire too much confidence. They were first hit in 2014. They have several years to introduce the domestic credit card and it looks like they did almost nothing. https://www.rbth.com/business/2015/04/02/visa_and_mastercard_join_russias_national_card_payment_system_44955.html

So the Chinese card is the only viable replacement for Mastercard/Visa in Russia https://www.rt.com/business/180696-china-russia-union-pay/

Similarly it would be cost-efficient to show US auditors like Price-Waterhouse-Cooper, KPMG, Deloitte, and like the door, but then what?
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[Apr 18, 2019] The result of Yeltsin neoliberal mafia rule was the largest after 1941-1945 kill off of Russians in modern history: Yeltsin plus Harvard Business School being responsible for many more deaths than even the intoxicated propagandist Robert Conquest ever dreamed of.

Notable quotes:
"... Skripal was just one more effort to tighten sanctions against Putin's allies in the Russian oligarchy and isolate Trump from foreign policy initiatives not approved by the Deep State. ..."
"... The significance of the NY Times story, then, is that, inadvertently it reinforces the reality that in the matter of Russiagate and Trump all roads lead to London, the Tory Establishment, which has been living off US-Russian tensions for seventy years and security agencies doing what the CIA cannot do for itself. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

bevin , Apr 17, 2019 9:13:07 AM | link

Craig Murray has a piece on this today. There is nothing very new in what he writes but he sees the significance of this story, which is not about ducks or children or Donald Trump's personality but a concerted and thorough campaign, carried out largely by British state actors, to deepen the 'west's' isolation of Russia.

https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

The real story of both the Cold War and the continually recurring propaganda stories about the "millions" of "victims of communism" is that the Soviet Union was manipulated throughout its history by capitalist control over the international economy. Like a demonic organist capitalist governments pulled out all the stops to control the moods and the policies of a state that the Bolsheviks never did get to rule.

In the end the Politburo gave in and did what the 'west' had always been wanted which is to hand over the country, lock, stock and population to the cannibals of capital.

The result being what was probably, after the 1930-45 war, the largest kill off of Russians in modern history: Yeltsin plus Harvard Business School being responsible for many more deaths than even the intoxicated propagandist Robert Conquest ever dreamed of.

It is that total control over Russia, through the manipulation of its economy, and the direction of its capitalists, that is behind the long series of sanctions, which are being added to every day: their purpose is to re-invent Yeltsinism, re-empower the Fifth Column in the Kremlin, and, in a stroke, re-establish the inevitable and eternal hegemony of the Washington centered Empire.

In this work the assistance of the 'cousins'in MI6 and GCHQ, plus the entire British military establishment has been crucial in a period in which the subservience of POTUS to the Deep State was, thanks to the underestimation of his electoral chances, very much in question. During a period in which Trump had to be tamed and brought under control the UK Establishment's assistance in coming up with a series of highly publicised interventions was crucia l.

Lysias points out that Haspel had acted as the CIA's Head of Station in London in 2016. It was in London that the entire "Russiagate" nonsense was put together, with British based actors continually prodding Congress, the media and the Democrats to act on revelations regarding Papadopolous, Mifsud, Stefan Halper.

Skripal was just one more effort to tighten sanctions against Putin's allies in the Russian oligarchy and isolate Trump from foreign policy initiatives not approved by the Deep State. The significance of the NY Times story, then, is that, inadvertently it reinforces the reality that in the matter of Russiagate and Trump all roads lead to London, the Tory Establishment, which has been living off US-Russian tensions for seventy years and security agencies doing what the CIA cannot do for itself.

[Apr 16, 2019] CIA Director Used Fake Skripal Incident Photos To Manipulate Trump

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The U.S. alone expelled 60 Russian officials. Trump was furious when he learned that EU countries expelled less than 60 in total. A year ago the Washington Post described the scene: ..."
"... Today the New York Times portraits Gina Haspel's relation with Trump. The writers seem sympathetic to her and the CIA's position. They include an anecdote of the Skripal expulsion decision that is supposed to let her shine in a good light. But it only proves that the CIA manipulated the president for its own purpose: ..."
"... Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives. ..."
"... Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option. ..."
"... If the NYT piece is correct, the CIA director, in cooperation with the British government, lied to Trump about the incident. Their aim was to sabotage Trump's announced policy of better relations with Russia. The ruse worked. ..."
"... The NYT piece does not mention that the pictures Gina Haspel showed Trump were fake. It pretends that her lies were "new information" and that she was not out to manipulate him: ..."
"... The job of the CIA director is to serve the president, not to protect the agencies own policies. ..."
"... The 1970s movie 3 Days of The Condor is about the evils of the See Eye A. Also they create trial balloon in the movie about taking middle east oil. This later happens in real life with NeoCon See Eye A stooges - Poppy Bush then later GW Bush-Cheney, Clintons and Oboma all agency owned men. ..."
"... The head of the See Eye A is to serve the elites-Central banksters not the President. They did not serve JFK. Any President who crosses the central bankers aka roth-schilds ends up dead. ..."
"... It is interesting to see that nations that have traditionally been pro-American feel that the threat posed by American power is growing. ..."
"... Haspel was CIA station chief in London in 2016, when U.S. and Brit intel agencies conspired to stop Trump's candidacy. In her position, Haspel had to know about the plotting, more likely she participated in it. That Brennan supported her argues for the latter. ..."
"... Photos of fake dead ducks and fake sickened children confirm the Skripal story is, in turn, completely fake. It says a lot that the NY Times either does not know this or that its contempt for its readership matches the contempt by which the intelligence agencies hold for their putative boss. ..."
"... Thanks for bringing this Skripal segment to light, b, as most of us don't read the NY Times in any form. Haspel likely had a hand in the planning of the overall scheme of which the Skripal saga and Russiagate are interconnected episodes. Clearly, the Money Power sees the challenge raised by Russia/China/Eurasia as existential and is trying to counter hybridly as it knows its wealth won't save it from Nuclear War. ..."
"... after integrity initiative, we know the uk is full of shite on most everything... thus, the msm will not be talking about integrity initiative.. ..."
"... once Teresa May has spoken in Parliament, and Trump committed to expelling embassy staff, there is no way any alternative version of the truth is possible. ..."
"... Skripal of course was a colleague of Steele, and possibly the only person he asked to get info for the dossier beyond what Nellie Ohr had already given him. His evidence might have been crucial. The CIA and others have a strong motive to kill Skripal and a stronger one to blame the Russians. ..."
"... The fact that the 'Dirty Dossier' and the 'Skripal "story"' both originate in one and the same small town in the UK, tells you all you need to know about both. ..."
"... Haspel will not be fired. ..."
"... It is clear the USA, France, Israel and UK are fasting approaching ungovernable .. no one in government can keep the lies of the other hidden, and none of the governed believes anyone in government, the MSM, the MIC or the AIG (ATT, Intel and Google). .. ..."
"... The actors in government, their lawyers, playmates and corporations have become the laughing stock of the rest of the world. ..."
Apr 16, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

An ass kissing portrait of Gina Haspel, torture queen and director of the CIA, reveals that she lied to Trump to push for more aggression against Russia.

In March 2018 the British government asserted, without providing any evidence, that the alleged 'Novichok' poisoning of Sergej and Yulia Skripal was the fault of Russia. It urged its allies to expel Russian officials from their countries.

The U.S. alone expelled 60 Russian officials. Trump was furious when he learned that EU countries expelled less than 60 in total. A year ago the Washington Post described the scene:
President Trump seemed distracted in March as his aides briefed him at his Mar-a-Lago resort on the administration's plan to expel 60 Russian diplomats and suspected spies.

The United States, they explained, would be ousting roughly the same number of Russians as its European allies -- part of a coordinated move to punish Moscow for the poisoning of a former Russian spy and his daughter on British soil.

"We'll match their numbers," Trump instructed, according to a senior administration official. "We're not taking the lead. We're matching."

The next day, when the expulsions were announced publicly, Trump erupted, officials said. To his shock and dismay, France and Germany were each expelling only four Russian officials -- far fewer than the 60 his administration had decided on.

The president, who seemed to believe that other individual countries would largely equal the United States, was furious that his administration was being portrayed in the media as taking by far the toughest stance on Russia.

The expulsion marked a turn in the Trump administration's relation with Russia:

The incident reflects a tension at the core of the Trump administration's increasingly hard-nosed stance on Russia: The president instinctually opposes many of the punitive measures pushed by his Cabinet that have crippled his ability to forge a close relationship with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin.

The past month, in particular, has marked a major turning point in the administration's stance, according to senior administration officials. There have been mass expulsions of Russian diplomats, sanctions on oligarchs that have bled billions of dollars from Russia's already weak economy and, for the first time, a presidential tweet that criticized Putin by name for backing Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad.

Today the New York Times portraits Gina Haspel's relation with Trump. The writers seem sympathetic to her and the CIA's position. They include an anecdote of the Skripal expulsion decision that is supposed to let her shine in a good light. But it only proves that the CIA manipulated the president for its own purpose:

Last March, top national security officials gathered inside the White House to discuss with Mr. Trump how to respond to the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei V. Skripal, the former Russian intelligence agent.

London was pushing for the White House to expel dozens of suspected Russian operatives, but Mr. Trump was skeptical.
...
During the discussion, Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director, turned toward Mr. Trump. She outlined possible responses in a quiet but firm voice, then leaned forward and told the president that the "strong option" was to expel 60 diplomats.

To persuade Mr. Trump, according to people briefed on the conversation, officials including Ms. Haspel also tried to show him that Mr. Skripal and his daughter were not the only victims of Russia's attack.

Ms. Haspel showed pictures the British government had supplied her of young children hospitalized after being sickened by the Novichok nerve agent that poisoned the Skripals. She then showed a photograph of ducks that British officials said were inadvertently killed by the sloppy work of the Russian operatives.

Ms Haspel was not the first to use emotional images to appeal to the president, but pairing it with her hard-nosed realism proved effective: Mr. Trump fixated on the pictures of the sickened children and the dead ducks. At the end of the briefing, he embraced the strong option.

The Skripal case was widely covered and we followed it diligently (scroll down). There were no reports of any children affected by 'Novichok' nor were their any reports of dead ducks. In the official storyline the Skripals, before visiting a restaurant, fed bread to ducks at a pond in the Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury.

They also gave duck-bread to three children to do the same. The children were examined and their blood was tested. No poison was found and none of them fell ill . No duck died. (The duck feeding episode also disproves the claim that the Skripals were poisoned by touching a door handle.)

If the NYT piece is correct, the CIA director, in cooperation with the British government, lied to Trump about the incident. Their aim was to sabotage Trump's announced policy of better relations with Russia. The ruse worked.

The NYT piece does not mention that the pictures Gina Haspel showed Trump were fake. It pretends that her lies were "new information" and that she was not out to manipulate him:

The outcome was an example, officials said, of how Ms. Haspel is one of the few people who can get Mr. Trump to shift position based on new information.

Co-workers and friends of Ms. Haspel push back on any notion that she is manipulating the president. She is instead trying to get him to listen and to protect the agency, according to former intelligence officials who know her.

The job of the CIA director is to serve the president, not to protect the agencies own policies. Hopefully Trump will hear about the anecdote, recognize how he was had, and fire Haspel. He should not stop there but also get rid of her protector who likely had a role in the game:

Ms. Haspel won the trust of Mr. Pompeo, however, and has stayed loyal to him. As a result, Mr. Trump sees Ms. Haspel as an extension of Mr. Pompeo, a view that has helped protect her, current and former intelligence officials said.

Posted by b on April 16, 2019 at 08:37 AM | Permalink


Russ , Apr 16, 2019 9:02:41 AM | link

I don't see how it's possible to manipulate someone (and especially the US president) into doing something they don't want to do with lies like the ones described here. On the contrary presidents, CEOs etc. favor the staffers who tell them the kind of lies they want to hear in order to reinforce what they wanted to do in the first place.

I've never seen any reason to alter my first position on Trump, that like any other president he does what he wants to do.

Jerry , Apr 16, 2019 9:14:30 AM | link
The 1970s movie 3 Days of The Condor is about the evils of the See Eye A. Also they create trial balloon in the movie about taking middle east oil. This later happens in real life with NeoCon See Eye A stooges - Poppy Bush then later GW Bush-Cheney, Clintons and Oboma all agency owned men.

The joke 7in the final scene Robert Redford tells See Eye A man Cliff Robertson that he gave all the evidence to the NY Times. What a joke. The NY Times and the Wash Post are the mouthpieces for the SEE Eye A. The AP news sources most of their stories from those two papers and other lackey See Eye A newspapers.

One final criticism in moon's story. The head of the See Eye A is to serve the elites-Central banksters not the President. They did not serve JFK. Any President who crosses the central bankers aka roth-schilds ends up dead.

manny , Apr 16, 2019 9:15:16 AM | link
Ms. Haspel, then deputy C.I.A. director

After this, she got the top job, so what is the real lesson here? Sociopathic liars get promoted....or you can tell the truth, try to be honorable and fade into obscurity.. In a nest of psychos, you have to really be depraved to become the top psycho...

Nuke it for orbit, it's the only way to be sure...

Sally Snyder , Apr 16, 2019 9:35:40 AM | link
Here is an article that looks at whether nations around the world regard the United States or Russia as the greater threat to their nation:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2019/03/which-is-greater-threat-russia-or.html

It is interesting to see that nations that have traditionally been pro-American feel that the threat posed by American power is growing.

donkeytale , Apr 16, 2019 9:40:06 AM | link
b

Backing up Russ's point, when will you realise the "buck stops" on Trump's desk for any and all departments he oversees, which are run by his appointees? Trump is dedicated to creating a neoconservative foreign policy melded to a neoliberal economic policy favouring his corporate fascist sponsors. Recently, you've been all over the Assange indictment, Trump's relationship with Nuttyahoo and the related rollback of JCPOA. Is this what you want to see continued into a second term?

There is much evidence to show Trump and the GOP working steadily towards a "democracy" where Congress is castrated (one might say the system castrates Congress anyway), opposing candidates are jailed, opposition votes are suppressed and the media is weakened to the point where no one can tell the difference.

They haven't got there quite yet but once the judiciary is controlled by GOP ideologues it's game over. And McConnell is dedicating his life to make that the reality ASAP.

Meanwhile back at the ranch we are dedicated to knocking down any and all potential opposition to this GOP hostile takeover for some reason I've yet to fathom.

BM , Apr 16, 2019 9:42:46 AM | link
Hopefully Trump will hear about the anecdote, recognize how he was had, and fire Haspel. He should not stop there but also get rid of her protector who likely had a role in the game[Pompeo]

Hopefully yes to all four propositions. Why am I sceptical though (except conceivably the first)?

Mataman , Apr 16, 2019 9:45:30 AM | link
The story veers into complete fiction when it claims that pictures of dead ducks had any effect on Trump. He doesn't like, nor care about animals. He's the first POTUS in decades I believe to not even pretend to like dogs by having an official White House dog and every policy his Administration can take against animals, they have taken. I'm not even sure I buy the spin that he cared about dead kids either. And NYT readers know this about him, so I don't understand what the point of peddling this fiction is other than to paint Torture Queen in some kind of good light (and we KNOW that she certainly doesn't care about dead anything).
the pair , Apr 16, 2019 10:08:18 AM | link
another example of trump's stupidity and pathological inability to think for himself. he gets his views from fox and his policy from bolton. his equally vapid daughter and kushner whine to him about sooper sad syria pictures they saw in a sponsored link while googling for new tmz gossip.

even worse that this is the twat in charge of one of russiagate's main instigating "deep state" agencies. he spent the entirety of his presidency railing against their various lies then takes this wankery at face value. it's just like the "chinese soldiers in venezuela"; if those pictures were legit they'd have been splattered over every front page and permanently attached to screeching cnn and msnbc segments demanding trump "finally get tough" on "putin's russia".

my only surprise is that she didn't tell him about british babies ripped from incubators and dipped in anthrax powder.
the nyt shilling for a soCIopAth? not that surprising.

Twiki , Apr 16, 2019 10:43:11 AM | link

The consultant in emergency medicine at Salisbury hospital wrote to The Times, shortly after the Skripal incident. His choice of words was odd, and some have said they indicate no novichok poisoning occurred. Leaving that to one side, his letter certainly puts paid to the idea that more than three people (the Skripals and the policeman, DCI Bailey) were poisoned. https://www.onaquietday.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/DocSaysNoNerveAgentInSalisbury.jpg
bjd , Apr 16, 2019 10:43:51 AM | link
" the nerve agent attack in Britain on Sergei V. Skripal, "

There was no attack on the Skripals. or on anyone else. The Russophobia in whose context it falls, is of a higher order, in which a fabricated narrative of a Skripal-like attack had an important function. The Skripals were perfectly happy to lend their name to the fabrication, and are living happily, probably in New Zealand.

Jackrabbit , Apr 16, 2019 10:59:48 AM | link
The Daily Beast article that b linked to describes how many serious, well-informed people felt that Haspel was unsuitable to lead the CIA. Even more strange and troubling was that Haspel was supported by Trump's nemesis, John Brennan.

Despite all that, MAGA Trump still nominated her. Any notion that Trump is at odds with, or "manipulated" by, Haspel, Bolton, or Pompeo is just propaganda. We've seen such reporting before (esp. wrt Bolton) and Trump has taken no action.

Babyl-on , Apr 16, 2019 11:04:28 AM | link
I see that Trump derangement is alive and well here at MoA. Commenters talk as if Trump is the first president stupid enough to be manipulated by the security agencies and shadow government sometimes referred to as a "deep state". People don't have to be historians or look back to Rome, just read the books about how the great general who "won WWII" was used by the oligarchy which had full control of US foreign policy throughout Eisenhower's term in office.

Works produced after WWII, C. Wright Mills, The Power elite was written in 1956,The Brothers and The Divil's Chessboard each about the Dulles Brothers and how they operated US foreign policy for the interests of the oligarchy, and the work Peter Phillips, GIANTS: The Global Power Elite and the work of David Rothkopf which thoroughly describes the feudal system under which the Western cultures are ruled.
The US government is a pantomime it is a show it has no power.

How many here can honestly say they understand that the US dollar itself and the ENTIRE GLOBAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM is privately owned. Why do you think the "banks were bailed out"? because the banks were in power not the government. The US is 22 trillion in debt - the oligarchy is the creditor - take over the US gov. and you have a powerless pile of debt.

Around 6,000 people control 85% of global assets until that changes nothing will change. The oligarchy won virtually all the mines and control the price of all basic commodities necessary for modern life, the internet, oil of course and more.

What is failing and what has failed over and over for 500 years is Western Civilization and its three "great religions" which preach obedience, oppression, domination by a one god suffocating mythology.

But the oligarchy doesn't own just the basic commodities, it owns the religions and it owns the drugs and all illegal trade as well.

Western "civilization" is really nothing more than one vast feudal kingdom, with royal courts in DC, Tel Aviv and Ryiadh. Wheather there is a god or not, religion is made of flesh and blood not miracles. No Rabbi or Priest or Imam claims visitations by god to instruct them on doctrine - they are flesh and blood and they want power so they behave like sycophants to the money they need to expand their power...all for the good souls under their care.

Jackrabbit , Apr 16, 2019 11:16:08 AM | link
Correction @13 Trump's supposed nemesis. Trump has brought several friends and associates of his enemies into his Administration:
  • VP Pence: John McCain's buddy
  • Bolton: a neocon (neocons were "Never Trump", remember?)
  • Wm Barr: close with Mueller
  • Haspel: Brennan's gal at CIA
And Trump himself was close to the Clintons.
lysias , Apr 16, 2019 12:00:59 PM | link
Haspel was CIA station chief in London in 2016, when U.S. and Brit intel agencies conspired to stop Trump's candidacy. In her position, Haspel had to know about the plotting, more likely she participated in it. That Brennan supported her argues for the latter.
Jose Garcia , Apr 16, 2019 12:08:01 PM | link
What can we expect from a tv personality who became a US president? A man who ran with an advertisement worthy of a business man like him, "Make America Great Again." How does he go about doing it? Giving more money to the military industrial-Congressional complex, even though we are really flat broke. Using aggressive tactics used by Wall Street in hostile company takeovers to really intimidate other nations. And hire and place those he really agrees with in important positions who really reflect his true feelings. I'm sure when he spoke with Haspel before offering her the job, he brought up the topic of torture and agreed with her on its use on terrorists.
Jackrabbit , Apr 16, 2019 12:24:11 PM | link
lysias @18: conspired to stop Trump's candidacy

I think there's a reasonable case to be made that they conspired not to stop Trump but to further speculation of Trump's "collusion" with Russia (what would later be known as Russiagate). The "collusion" and "Russia meddled" accusations are what fueled the new McCarthyism.

juliania , Apr 16, 2019 12:28:54 PM | link
I'll just add to Jerry's comment at #3 that the final line in the movie "Day of the Condor" is something like "But will they print it?" which really spoke to the message of the film in its entirety. The condor being an endangered bird for whom the hero is named, and the beginning outrage being the brutal murder of book lovers researching useable plot details for the 'company'makes this message current and applicable to what we see in the Skripal case. And instead of librarians, we now have online commenters, a doughty breed, and we have Assange.

Instead of 'Will they print it?' I am wondering 'Will they make another movie about it?'

"Day of the Condor: Part Two." Some Day.

Ross , Apr 16, 2019 12:41:17 PM | link
Remind me, where is Yulia Skripal these days? Well and truly 'disappeared' it seems. The mask is off. the snarling face of the beast is there for all to see.
Kiza , Apr 16, 2019 12:49:37 PM | link
What a total waste of an article discussing a story published in NYT or WaPo.

b, the World has divided itself into those who consume alternative media such as this and stupidos who consume MSM. There is nothing in-between that you are attempting to discuss and dissect here. NYT = cognitive value zero.

Fake News not worth one millisecond of our time, not even to decode what the regime wants us to know, we know all that already. Personally, I am only interested in the new methods of domestic repression, what is next after the warning of Assange arrest, future rendition and torture. The Deep Stare appears to be coming out into open, will it soon get rid of the whole faux democracy construct and just use iron fist to rule? It already impose its will as the rule of law. All of the Western block is heading in this direction.

jayc , Apr 16, 2019 1:00:38 PM | link
Photos of fake dead ducks and fake sickened children confirm the Skripal story is, in turn, completely fake. It says a lot that the NY Times either does not know this or that its contempt for its readership matches the contempt by which the intelligence agencies hold for their putative boss.
Piotr Berman , Apr 16, 2019 1:11:24 PM | link
The story veers into complete fiction when it claims that pictures of dead ducks had any effect on Trump. He doesn't like, nor care about animals. Mataman | Apr 16, 2019 9:45:30 AM

This assumes that Trump would primarily care about the ducks (and children) when he approved a massive expulsion, rather that his image and "ah, in that case it would look bad if we do not do something really decisive".

In any case, I was thinking why NYT would disclose something like that. The point is that readers of Craig Murray (not so few, but mostly Scottish nationalists who are also leftist and have scant possibilities and/or inclination to vote in USA) and MoonOfAlabama would quickly catch a dead fish here, but 99.9% of the public is blissfully unaware of any incongruences in the "established" Skripal narrative.

Piotr Berman , Apr 16, 2019 1:22:03 PM | link
BTW, it is possible that the journalist who scribbled fresh yarn obtained from CIA did it earnestly. Journalists do not necessarily follow stories that they cover -- scribbling from given notes does not require overtaxing the precious attention span that can be devoted to more vital cognitive challenges. I am lazy to find the link, but while checking for news on Venezuela, I stumbled on a piece from Express, a British tabloid, where Guaido was named a "figurehead of the oposition" supported by "450 Western countries". My interpretation was that more literate journalists were moved for to more compelling stories as Venezuela went to the back burner.
JOHN CHUCKMAN , Apr 16, 2019 1:28:11 PM | link
Yes, indeed, the Skripal Affair is one of the obviously contrived stunts we've seen. Just outrageous in its execution. On a par with the US having a man who didn't even run for president of Venezuela swear himself in and then pressure everyone to accept him as president.

Interesting, I had no idea Gina Haspel - aka, The Queen of Blood - played a role. I thought it was all original dirty work by Britain's Theresa May. Boy, I hope people are through with the false notion that if women just get into leadership, the world will become a better gentler place.

Here's some interesting background:

Noirette , Apr 16, 2019 1:28:44 PM | link
Macron was (afaik?) the only EU 'leader' who was quoted in the MSM as bruiting re. the Skripal affair a message like:

.. no culpability in the part of Russia has been evidenced .. for now...

I suppose he was enjoined to shut his gob right quick (have been reading about brexit so brit eng) as nothing more in that line was heard.

Hooo, the EU expelled a lot of Russ. diplomats, obeying the USuk, which certainly created some major upsets on the ground.

Some were expelled, went into other jobs, other places, but then others arrived, etc. The MSM has not made any counts - lists - of names numbers - etc. of R diplos on the job - anywhere. As some left and then others arrived.

Once more, this was mostly a symbolic move, if extremely nasty, insulting, and disruptive.

Theresa May's speech re. Novichok, Independent 14 March 2018:

.. on Monday I set out that Mr Skripal and his daughter were poisoned with a Novichok: a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia. Based on this capability, combined with their record of conducting state sponsored assassinations – including against former intelligence officers whom they regard as legitimate targets – the UK Government concluded it was highly likely that Russia was responsible for this reckless and despicable act. ..

https://ind.pn/2XcAIk4

Cost her a consequent amount of political capital. - Everyone knows the Skripal story is BS.

semiconscious , Apr 16, 2019 1:31:34 PM | link
@25 & @26:

imo, the media has, once again, simply taken its lead from trump himself, & started making things up completely. & you're absolutely correct in pointing out that, much like trump's true believers, the msm's targeted audience never even notices...

karlof1 , Apr 16, 2019 1:53:44 PM | link
Thanks for bringing this Skripal segment to light, b, as most of us don't read the NY Times in any form. Haspel likely had a hand in the planning of the overall scheme of which the Skripal saga and Russiagate are interconnected episodes. Clearly, the Money Power sees the challenge raised by Russia/China/Eurasia as existential and is trying to counter hybridly as it knows its wealth won't save it from Nuclear War.
james , Apr 16, 2019 2:03:20 PM | link
after integrity initiative, we know the uk is full of shite on most everything... thus, the msm will not be talking about integrity initiative..

what i didn't know is what @18 lysias pointed out.."Haspel was CIA station chief in London in 2016, when U.S. and Brit intel agencies conspired to stop Trump's candidacy. In her position, Haspel had to know about the plotting, more likely she participated in it. That Brennan supported her argues for the latter." ditto jr's speculation @20 too...

so gaspel shows trump some cheap propaganda that she got from who??

my main problem with b's post - i tend to see it like kiza @23) is maintaining the idea trump isn't in on all of this.. the thought trump is being duped by his underlings.. if he was and it mattered, he would get rid of them.. the fact he doesn't says to me, he is in on it - get russia, being the 24/7 game plan of the west here still..

c1ue , Apr 16, 2019 2:03:56 PM | link
Please stop listening to idiot libertarians and their "US is flat broke" meme. The reality is that: so long as Americans transact in dollars, the United States government can tax anytime it feels like by issuing new dollars via the Fed.

Equally, so long as 60% of the world's trade is conducted in dollars, this is tens to hundreds of billions of dollars of additional taxation surface area. The MMT people - I don't agree 100% with everything they say, but they do understand the actual operation of fiat currency.

The people who want a hard currency are either wealthy (and understand that conversion to hard currency cements their wealth) or are useful idiots who don't understand that currency devaluation is the single easiest way to tax in a democracy.

Michael Droy , Apr 16, 2019 2:12:37 PM | link
Well this could be Syria, not Salisbury!

I doubt Haspel knew the ducks were fake - she was probably just given stuff to pass up the chain. It is a lot like John Kerry who was shown convincing satellite data of the BUK launch that hit MH17 - but no one could be bothered to pass on even the launch site coordinates to the JIT. I'm sure this stuff goes on all the time, and of course, once Teresa May has spoken in Parliament, and Trump committed to expelling embassy staff, there is no way any alternative version of the truth is possible.

Skripal of course was a colleague of Steele, and possibly the only person he asked to get info for the dossier beyond what Nellie Ohr had already given him. His evidence might have been crucial. The CIA and others have a strong motive to kill Skripal and a stronger one to blame the Russians.

bjd , Apr 16, 2019 2:25:23 PM | link
The fact that the 'Dirty Dossier' and the 'Skripal "story"' both originate in one and the same small town in the UK, tells you all you need to know about both.
fastfreddy , Apr 16, 2019 2:48:31 PM | link
Haspel will not be fired.
Russ , Apr 16, 2019 3:02:51 PM | link
@c1ue | Apr 16, 2019 2:03:56 PM | 32

"The people who want a hard currency are either wealthy (and understand that conversion to hard currency cements their wealth) or are useful idiots who don't understand that currency devaluation is the single easiest way to tax in a democracy."

The useful idiocy is most surprising among US farmers. In the 19th century they broadly understood that fiat money was good for chronic low-wealth debtors like themselves, while hard money was bad and a gold standard lethal. This was the basis of the Populist movement. Nothing has changed financially, but today's farmers, and the low-wealth debtor class in general, seem more likely to be goldbuggers than to have any knowledge of economics or of their own political history.

karlof1 36

Once a faction becomes submerged in the Mammon theocracy and becomes nothing but mercenary nihilists, thinking is no longer necessary or desirable, except to come up with attractive, pseudo-plausible lies.

This certainly characterizes "the right" (including liberals), but they have no monopoly on it. By now "the left" is nearly as thoughtless and instrumental on behalf of Mammon, except to the extent that a few people are starting to really grapple with what it means to have an intrinsically ecocidal and therefore suicidal civilization. That's really the only thought frontier left, all else has been engulfed in Mammon, productionism, scientism and technocracy.

snake , Apr 16, 2019 3:29:24 PM | link
@7 ..Trump and the GOP working steadily towards a "democracy" where Congress is castrated (one might say the system castrates Congress anyway), opposing candidates are jailed, opposition votes are suppressed and the media is weakened to the point where no one can tell the difference. https://www.presstv.com/Detail/2019/04/15/593529/Ecuadoran-president-sold-off-Assangeto-America-Ron-Paul

I remind that Mussolini wasted his legislature.. 1 balmy after noon @ a roadside spot. it made his government stronger.?

It is clear the USA, France, Israel and UK are fasting approaching ungovernable .. no one in government can keep the lies of the other hidden, and none of the governed believes anyone in government, the MSM, the MIC or the AIG (ATT, Intel and Google). ..

The actors in government, their lawyers, playmates and corporations have become the laughing stock of the rest of the world. Everyone in the government is covering for the behaviors of someone else in government, the MSM has raised the price of a pencil to just under a million, stock markets are bags of hot thin air, and everyone in side and outside of the centers of power at all levels of government have lied thru their teeth so much that their teeth are melting from the continuous flow of hot deceitful air.

Corrupt is now the only qualification for political office, trigger happy screwball the only qualification for the police and the military and . making progress is like trying to conduct a panty raid at a female nudist camp.

John Anthony La Pietra , Apr 16, 2019 3:47:03 PM | link
https://m.imdb.com/title/tt0073802/quotes?ref_=m_tt_trv_qu

Higgins: Hey, Turner! How do you know they'll print it? You can take a walk, but how far if they don't print it?

Joe Turner: They'll print it.

Higgins: How do you know?

[Apr 09, 2019] Russians halt search for intelligent life in Washington by Bryan Hemming

Apr 08, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Russian research team which claimed to have detected signs of intelligent life in Washington has now discovered the life there not to be quite so intelligent after all.

A Russian spokesman, who wishes to remain anonymous, told our Moscow science correspondent -- who also wishes to remain anonymous -- that the Washington atmosphere has been poisoned by huge clouds of putrid hot air belching from the corporate media. He explained that such a hostile environment makes it almost impossible for intelligent life to survive, let alone evolve a sustainable culture. The Russian team believes there may still be small pockets of intelligent life elsewhere on the North American continent but without the necessary conditions they need to thrive they are destined to disappear without trace.

Speaking off the record, the Russian spokesman, who asked us not to disclose his identity, added that hopes of finding intelligent life in London, Paris, Berlin and other Western European locations, where it might be expected to flourish, are fading fast. Though it is believed intelligent life once existed in Occiental Europe, an atmosphere suitable for the maintenance of such life has all but evaporated.

[Apr 08, 2019] New Russia Penalties Face `Sanctions Fatigue' in U.S. Congress - Bloomberg

Apr 08, 2019 | www.bloomberg.com

Tough talk about the need to punish Russia for meddling in the 2016 U.S. election is running into the reality that Congress's enthusiasm for additional sanctions is waning.

"We face a little bit of sanctions fatigue around here these days," said Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, the sponsor of one of the bills aimed at Russia. "Hopefully we'll get more people on board."

Two main proposals are circulating aimed at increasing pressure on Russian individuals and companies by restricting their access to U.S. markets and capital. Both Senate bills received significant attention in 2018 after President Donald Trump failed to condemn Russia for its election meddling, but they lost steam after November's midterm elections and aren't moving any faster in this year's Congress.

Many lawmakers still want Russia to face stronger consequences for its actions in the U.S. and elsewhere, but there's no clear consensus on how to send the right message to the Kremlin. Two other factors add to the hesitation: concern about unintended economic consequences, and the difficulty of passing legislation in a divided Congress when the measures don't have the president's support.

"Sanctions can often be a double-edged sword," said Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee. "So we really should take a little bit of a step back and assess where we are and what we can really do."

Sovereign Debt

Markets are closely watching the next U.S. moves on sanctions, since any action may affect Russia's sovereign debt. The ruble has depreciated against the dollar since 2014, when the U.S. imposed sanctions on during the Obama administration.

Read more: All About the U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Putin's Russia

Senators Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, Bob Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, in February reintroduced their DASKA Act , which would impose sanctions on Russian individuals, cyber operations and liquid natural gas export facilities. The legislation calls for the president to " prescribe regulations " for sanctions on sovereign debt issued 90 days after the law is enacted. The bill would also reinforce support for NATO, and would create a new office in the State Department to respond to cyber threats.

The other Senate bill, the DETER Act , was reintroduced last week by Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland. It would require the Director of National Intelligence to tell Congress on any foreign interference within 60 days of a federal election. If a Russian violation is found, sanctions would target that country's political figures and its energy and defense sectors. Sanctions could also extend to government and state-owned company bonds issued after the bill is signed into law.

Van Hollen said the current version of his bill includes an option for the president to waive sanctions in the interest of "national security." Senators considered adding this provision in 2018 as an escape valve that would improve its chances of getting a floor vote, after the Treasury Department warned of potential economic spillover.

Previous versions of both bills failed to advance at the end of 2018 as Congress turned its focus to government spending measures, judicial nominations and a farm bill.

Van Hollen said the new version would deter Russian misbehavior because it would punish future action.

"We're not talking about adding new sanctions now, we're sending a clear signal that if you screw around in our elections again, there's going to be swift and severe punishment," he said. "It makes much more sense to tie a sanction to future conduct to deter the conduct."

The U.S. has sanctioned roughly 700 Russian entities since 2014 when Russia annexed Crimea and fostered unrest in eastern Ukraine. Other sanctions were imposed following the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the poisoning of a former Russian agent and his daughter in the U.K. in March 2018.

Lawmakers last year stepped up the push for legislation compelling new sanctions after Trump sparked bipartisan outcry when he stood beside Russian President Vladimir Putin following a one-on-one summit in Helsinki and said he believed Putin's denial of Russia interference in U.S. elections.

Mueller Momentum

While senior lawmakers now express mixed feelings about what to do next, the upcoming release of portions of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of the 2016 election and the Trump campaign could bring renewed attention to the sanctions bills.

"You'll see more interest in this from other members who may not have been as involved when they can see the full Mueller report," said Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat from Virginia and vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee.

Some key lawmakers are taking their time, though, as they try to decide the best next steps. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Jim Risch, an Idaho Republican, said he isn't backing any particular proposal at this time.

'It's Getting Worse'

"The purpose is to persuade people to adjust their conduct, and it's not happening," Risch said. "In fact, if anything it's getting worse. That's what is causing the discussion."

Risch said he couldn't "really judge what the appetite is" in the Senate for more sanctions, but he'd like to see a strong stance from the U.S. "I'm interested in seeing Russia change their conduct," he said. "And the Russian administration, they're not nice people. They do bad things."

Jim Risch Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, a Democrat on Risch's committee, said Congress's willingness to further punish Russia will also hinge on that country's participation in other conflicts around the world.

"We're seeing their activities in Venezuela," Shaheen said of Russia's support for the faltering Nicolas Maduro regime that the U.S. has sought to transition out of power. "If we see those kinds of activities continue, that there will be a growing appetite for additional sanctions."

Senator Chris Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat also on the Foreign Relations Committee, said Congress should be thinking "a little more creatively about how to make Russia pay a price." Murphy said the focus should be on how to address underlying geopolitical problems, rather than focusing on isolated punitive measures.

"We could spend our time talking about actual long-term strategies to try to combat Russia's influence, or we could spend all our time slapping sanctions on Russian individuals and banks," Murphy said. "The former is probably more important than the latter."

[Apr 08, 2019] Opinion Russians Always Knew There Was No Collusion

Russiagate is about keeping Russian down via additional sections. As simple as that. Epidemics of Neo-McCarthyism also helps to cement cracks in the US neoliberal facade and, as such, is very helpful for the US elite.
It also absolves Neoliberal Democrats of the political fiasco of the century -- rejection of establishment candidate by the majoring of working Americans which happened when Hillary Clinton was defeated by a person with zero political experience and no political patty behind him.
Notable quotes:
"... "The results of Mueller's investigations are a disgrace to the U.S. and their political elite. It's now confirmed that all their allegations have been plucked out of thin air. The media have played a shameful role of lie-mongers in a campaign built on lies. The adherents of this conspiracy theory are discredited. Only an idiot can believe them now." ..."
"... We've seen anti-Russian xenophobia spread into the American mainstream. Etched in our minds are comments like the one James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, made in an interview when he said that Russians are "almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever." ..."
"... To those of us who paid attention to American media and politics over the past two years, it quickly became clear that too many in the United States know nothing about our country. ..."
Apr 08, 2019 | www.nytimes.com
... ... ...

Alexey Pushkov, a former diplomat and a political analyst, tweeted to his 360,000 followers on Tuesday , following the release of Attorney General William Barr's summary of the report:

"The results of Mueller's investigations are a disgrace to the U.S. and their political elite. It's now confirmed that all their allegations have been plucked out of thin air. The media have played a shameful role of lie-mongers in a campaign built on lies. The adherents of this conspiracy theory are discredited. Only an idiot can believe them now."

To the Kremlin and its supporters, Russia is the aggrieved party here, and the government's consistent denials of interfering in America's internal affairs have been fully vindicated. Appearing on the Russian talk show "60 Minutes," Maria Zakharova, a spokeswoman for the foreign ministry, said the ministry was preparing a report to name and shame the "brigade of propagandists" -- pointing at, among others, Fareed Zakaria -- who tried to tie Mr. Trump to Russia. She added that "apologies are expected."

... ... ...

...it becomes clear that whatever the outcome of the Mueller investigation, our relationship with America has changed.

We've seen anti-Russian xenophobia spread into the American mainstream. Etched in our minds are comments like the one James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, made in an interview when he said that Russians are "almost genetically driven to co-opt, penetrate, gain favor, whatever."

... ... ...

In the atmosphere where "contacts with Russians" has become cause for suspicion, every bank transaction and visa application faces extra scrutiny. I've heard from people I know about how exchange programs, conferences and businesses are suffering.

To those of us who paid attention to American media and politics over the past two years, it quickly became clear that too many in the United States know nothing about our country. Ominous images of onion-shaped domes taking over the White House baffled us; St. Basil's Cathedral is not part of the Kremlin complex and has no political connotation. The ubiquity of hammers and sickles in visuals accompanying Trump-Russia reports seemed likewise absurd. Our country hasn't been Communist for about 30 years.

[Mar 31, 2019] What is the purpose of Russiagate hysteria?

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years. ..."
"... It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land. ..."
"... Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans. ..."
"... The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other. ..."
"... The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system. ..."
Mar 31, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

S , Mar 30, 2019 8:51:37 PM | link

@b:
What is the purpose of making that claim?

The purpose is very simple: to create the perception that the government of Russia still somehow controls or manipulates the US government and thus gains some undeserved improvements in relations with the U.S. Once such perception is created, people will demand that relations with Russia are worsened to return them to a "fair" level. While in reality these relations have been systematically destroyed by the Western establishment (CFR) for many years.

It's a typical inversion to hide the hybrid war of the Western establishment against Russian people. Yes, Russian people. Not Putin, not Russian Army, not Russian intelligence services, but Russian people. Russians are not to be allowed to have any kind of industries, nor should they be allowed to know their true history, nor should they possess so much land.

Russians should work in coal mines for a dollar a day, while their wives work as prostitutes in Europe. That's the maximum level of development that the Western establishment would allow Russians to have (see Ukraine for a demo version). Why? Because Russians are subhumans.

Whatever they do, it's always wrong, bad, oppressive, etc. Russians are bad because they're bad. They must be "taught a lesson", "put into their place". It would, of course, be beneficial and highly profitable for Europeans to break with Anglo-Saxons and to live in peace and harmony with Russia, but Europeans simply can not overcome their racism towards Russians. The young Europeans are just as racist, with their incessant memes about "squatting Russians in tracksuits", "drunken Russians", etc., as if there's nothing else that is notable about a country of 147 million people.

The end goal of the Western establishment is a complete military, economic, psychological, and spiritual destruction of Russia, secession of national republics (even though in some of them up to 50% of population are Russians, but this will be ignored, as it has been in former Soviet republics), then, finally, dismemberment of what remains of Russia into separate states warring with each other.

The very concept of Russian nation should disappear. Siberians will call their language "Siberian", Muscovites will call their language "Moscovian", Pomorians will call their language "Pomorian", etc. The U.S. Department of State will, of course, endorse such terminology, just like they endorse the term "Montenegrian language", even though it's the same Serbo-Croatian language with the same Cyrillic writing system.

[Mar 15, 2019] Trump Administration, Canada And EU Hit Russia With Fresh Sanctions

Hate of Russia national runs deep with the infected bowels of the State Department. Sounds like Neo-cons saber rattling and wanting to start WWIII over a bunch of Ukrainian Neo-Nazis installed thanks to Victoria Nuland.
So much for detente with Russia. Trump proved to be just a marionette of MIC...
Sentiments about Trump at Zerohedge noticeably deteriorates since 2016
Mar 15, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com
The US State Department announced on Friday that it would be joining the European Union and Canada to impose new sanctions against Russia in response to the Kremlin's "continued aggression in Ukraine."

Sanctions will apply to six "individuals who orchestrated the unjustified November 25 attack on three Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait."

Also sanctioned by the United States are eight companies, including six Russian defense firms, "including shipbuilding companies; two individuals involved in the NOvember sham "elections" in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine; and two Russian energy and construction companies operating in Crimea."

Read the State Department announcement below:

Washington – Today, the U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated six Russian individuals and eight entities in response to Russia's continued and ongoing aggression in Ukraine. Today's action targets individuals and entities playing a role in Russia's unjustified attacks on Ukrainian naval vessels in the Kerch Strait, the purported annexation of Crimea, and backing of illegitimate separatist government elections in eastern Ukraine. These actions complement sanctions also taken today by the European Union and Canada, and underscore the strength and commitment of the transatlantic partnership to counter Russia's continued destabilizing behavior and malign activities.

"The United States and our transatlantic partners will not allow Russia's continued aggression against Ukraine to go unchecked. This joint initiative with our partners in the European Union and Canada reinforces our shared commitment to impose targeted and meaningful sanctions in response to the Kremlin's attempts to disregard international norms and undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity," said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin. "The international community is strongly aligned against Russia's naval attacks in the Kerch Straight, purported annexation of Crimea, and support for the illegitimate separatist-conducted elections in eastern Ukraine."

OVERVIEW

Five years after its invasion of Ukraine and its attempted annexation of Crimea, Russia continues to undermine Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity while failing to implement its obligations under the Minsk agreements. On November 25, 2018, Russian authorities opened fire on and rammed three Ukrainian ships off the coast of Crimea, seizing the ships and capturing 24 Ukrainian crew members, who remain illegally detained in Russia. Russia also continues its occupation of Crimea, and the Kremlin has also backed illegitimate elections held by Ukrainian separatists in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic on November 11, 2018.

As a result of today's designations, all property and interests in property of the designated individuals and entities are blocked, and U.S. persons are generally prohibited from transacting with them. Moreover, any entities owned 50 percent or more by these designated persons are also blocked by operation of law.

Designations Related to Russia's Attack in the Kerch Strait

OFAC today sanctioned four Russian officials who were involved in the Kerch Strait attack. OFAC designated Gennadiy Medvedev, the Deputy Director of the Border Guard Service of Russia's Federal Security Service; Sergey Stankevich, the Head of the Border Directorate of Russia's Federal Security Service; and Andrey Shein, the Deputy Head of the Border Directorate and Head of the Coast Guard Unit of Russia's Federal Security Service. Medvedev and Stankevich directly controlled and organized the attack against the Ukrainian ships and their crew, while Shein participated in the operation against the seized Ukrainian ships and crew.

OFAC also designated Ruslan Romashkin, the Head of the Service Command Point of the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation for the Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol.

Medvedev, Stankevich, Shein, and Romashkin are being designated pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13661 for being officials of the Government of the Russian Federation.

DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO RUSSIA'S PURPORTED ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA

Today's action also targets six Russian defense firms with operations in Crimea, several of which misappropriated Ukrainian state assets to provide services to the Russian military. Four of these entities are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy, and two entities are being designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant is a Russian state-owned shipbuilding plant that has built vessels for Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) and the Russian Ministry of Defense. Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant is also the project developer for a naval vessel that was completed at the Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" in Crimea. Yaroslavsky Shipbuilding Plant is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense or related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant, named after A.M. Gorky, is one of the largest ship manufacturers in Russia and has produced missile frigates and corvettes for the Russian Navy. The Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant has collaborated with Crimea-based enterprise Skloplastic, which was unlawfully nationalized by the Russian government following its illegal invasion of Crimea in 2014. The Zelenodolsk Shipyard Plant is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

AO Kontsern Okeanpribor (Okeanpribor) is a producer of hydroacoustic equipment and has supplied components to the Russian Navy. Okeanpribor has also collaborated on a naval project at the Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" in Crimea. Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" was designated by OFAC on September 1, 2016. Okeanpribor is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

PAO Zvezda (Zvezda) is a supplier of diesel engines to the Russian Navy. Zvezda has also supplied components for Russian naval vessels that were being built at the Federal SUE Shipyard "Morye" in Crimea. Zvezda is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13662 for operating in the defense and related materiel sector of the Russian Federation economy.

AO Zavod Fiolent (Fiolent) is a Crimea-based electronics manufacturer that has supplied parts for use in Russian military equipment. Fiolent was unlawfully seized by the Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Fiolent is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

GUP RK KTB Sudokompozit (Sudokompozit) is a Crimea-based producer of defense components that are supplied for Russian military use. Sudokompozit was unlawfully seized by the Russian Federation following its annexation of Crimea in 2014. Sudokompozit is being designated pursuant to E.O. 13685 for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine.

OFAC also designated the following two entities pursuant to E.O. 13685, due to their activities in Crimea.

LLC SK Consol-Stroi LTD is being designated for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine. LLC SK Consol-Stroi LTD, a limited liability company registered in the city of Simferopol, Crimea, is one of Crimea's largest construction companies. LLC SK Consol-Stroi LTD is engaged in the construction of residential and commercial real estate in cities throughout the Crimea region including, among others, Feodosia, Kerch, Yalta, Simferopol, Sevastopol, and Yepatoria.

LLC Novye Proekty is being designated for operating in the Crimea region of Ukraine. In 2016, Russian authorities awarded the private company Novye Proekty an oil and gas exploration license for the Crimean Black Sea shelf. The Crimean shelf is believed to be rich in hydrocarbons and authorities in Ukraine have reported that Ukraine lost about 80 percent of its oil and gas deposits in the Black Sea due to Russia's purported annexation of Crimea. Novye Proekty's license permits geological studies, prospecting, and the extraction of raw hydrocarbon materials from the Black Sea's Glubokaya block. Prior to Russia's purported annexation of Crimea the Glubokaya block was estimated to hold reserves of 8.3 million tons of crude and 1.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas.

DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO ILLEGITIMATE SEPARATIST GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE

Today's action also targets two Ukrainian separatists who were involved in the organization of the November 2018 illegitimate elections in the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. These illegitimate elections clearly contradict Russia's commitments under the Minsk agreements, and were strongly opposed by the United States and EU.

Aleksey Alekseevich Naydenko is the Deputy Chair of the Central Election Commission of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. Naydenko is being designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.

Vladimir Yurievich Vysotsky is the Secretary of Central Election Commission of the so-called Donetsk People's Republic. Vysotsky is being designated for being responsible for or complicit in, or having engaged in, directly or indirectly, actions or policies that threaten the peace, security, stability, sovereignty, or territorial integrity of Ukraine.

View identifying information on the individuals designated today.


Insufferably Insouciant , 10 minutes ago link

Bizazze choice of wording in the official text:

" DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO RUSSIA'S PURPORTED ANNEXATION OF CRIMEA"

purported

/pərˈpôrdəd/

adjective

  1. appearing or stated to be true, though not necessarily so; alleged.

There is nothing "purported" about it, it was true and as legitimate as it could possibly be.

Then under "DESIGNATIONS RELATED TO ILLEGITIMATE SEPARATIST GOVERNMENT ELECTIONS IN UKRAINE" they claim that Russia violated its committments under Minsk 2, which the US never officially recognized. Minsk 2 intended increased sovereignty for the Oblasts under a new Ukraine Federal constitutional arrangement. That constitutional amendment has never been initiated by Kiev, with the blessing of Uncle Sam. It is the Ukraine puppet government who is in violation of Minsk 2.

If the US wrote this, assume the opposite to be true.

smacker , 47 minutes ago link

[Article]: " Sanctions will apply to six "individuals who orchestrated the unjustified November 25 attack on three Ukrainian naval vessels near the Kerch Strait." "

Translation: "The propaganda lunacy will continue". "We will keep telling the same old same old lies until people believe them".

My understanding of that incident is that the Ukrainian boats had some unexplained special forces people on board and they refused to pull over when ordered to. From Russia's view, there was a real risk of these people planning to plant explosives to blow up the Kerch bridge.

OpTwoMistic , 42 minutes ago link

Can you imagine Russia building missile batteries in Mexico or Cuba? That is what US has done in Ukraine.

nope-1004 , 33 minutes ago link

Now it appears that no matter which government is in power they go along with the aggressive agenda of the US.

Been like that since the '50's, just that you believed that the economy and world was good.

Voting matters ZERO. The lie you are made to believe is that there is a choice when voting, when in fact the ruling party is the financial engineers and bankers behind all governments.

Voting is a waste of time. The heart of the beast is the USD reserve and the Rothschild empire. Once we abolish that pig, all western governments implode under their own weight of cheap talk and empty "policy".

dirty dogs , 50 minutes ago link

Don't forget the paint company that Russia used on their assault boats to scratch those Ukie ships.

No Justice No Peace!

666D Chess , 1 hour ago link

The evidence that the orange swine is a Rothschild Trojan Horse is overwhelming at this point. Only a scumbag or an absolute imbecile would fail to see it. Fvck you orange roach.

2handband , 1 hour ago link

You might recall that I said as much right from the beginning of the campaign...

666D Chess , 1 hour ago link

I didn't read your comments at that time but I tip my hat to you. I realised that everything he said during the campaign was bullsh!t after he started appointing Goldman Sachs bankers to his cabinet...

marcel tjoeng , 1 hour ago link

The USA government is quite the set of loathsome filth,

[Mar 07, 2019] Wooing the Russians: how Spain and Italy are trying to lure back lost tourists by Stephen Burgen & Stephanie Kirchgaessner & Alec Luhn

This is from 2015. Not much changes since the introduction of sanctions.
Sep 04, 2015 | The Guardian

MaoChengJi -> andy4248 4 Sep 2015 22:10

"Russians are brainwashed daily that the West is an awful place and we are going to invade them at any moment. " Oh rather you're brainwashed daily that Russia is an awful place where Russians are brainwashed daily that the West is an awful place and we are going to invade them at any moment.

I'm pretty sure not a single Russian believes that the west is going to invade. For reasons that are obvious, or should be obvious.

runner911 -> notoriousANDinfamous 5 Sep 2015 04:23

You must be joking ! 70 per cent of Americans do not know what the Constitution is, and six per cent don't even know when Independence Day falls. In a recent survey just over a half of Americans didn't know what the Taliban are , despite the fact they led the charge in Afghanistan.

When looking at a map of the world, young Americans had a difficult time correctly identifying Iraq (1 in 7) and Afghanistan (17%). This isn't that surprising, but only a slim majority (51%) knew where New York was. According to Forbes and National Geographic, an alarming 29% couldn't point to the Pacific Ocean.

Many didn't know where Europe is let alone Spain.

Americans cultural ? What a hoot !

runner911 -> jezzam 5 Sep 2015 04:09

Be assured Russia is more than capable of defending itself against Western ( USA ) aggression, plus they hold the biggest nuclear arsenal on the planet , so lets be clear no-one is going to attack Russia and risk nuclear annihilation in return. As regards being surrounded by NATO, how do you think the yanks would react if the same were to apply to the USA and that sad corrupt country was surrounded by Russian Forces ? The last time it happened in 1962, as I recall the yanks were whining like whipped dogs, but eventually agreed to dismantle their missiles in Turkey provided the Russians did the same in Cuba.

Beckow -> notoriousANDinfamous 5 Sep 2015 11:59

You lost the argument, so you are trying to change the subject. Now we can see why Western media doesn't allow an open discussion - you don't have much to say.

East-central Europe was invaded by Germans, Russians, Ottomans, French, even the Swedes. Germans murdered about 15 million people here. Ottomans (Turks) about 10 million. Russians liberated us from a murderous German occupation after WWII and stayed way too long...

Russian victims are in tens of thousands. Given that Russians lost about 1.5 million soldiers liberating us from Germans and saved us from planned extermination by Nazis over time, we keep some perspective about it. But I am not sure your ideological and slogan-driven thinking would understand any of it...

EugeneGur -> zenithmaster 5 Sep 2015 11:43

This has zero to do with Russia's poor relations with the EU and everything to do the Russians' smaller spending power.

This is not quite true. You underestimate the power of the sentiment. One example: Russian tourism to Estonia dropped 60% after the scandal with the Bronze soldier in 2007, long before any decrease in the buying power, and it never recovered.

You are right, of course, that the decreased value of the ruble affected mass tourism, but the effect was multiplied by the anger towards Europe, believe me, it was. Going through the visa process was always annoying and humiliating but under the present circumstances it became unbearable. This one thing that affects all European countries whether its Bulgaria or Italy.

MaoChengJi -> jezzam 5 Sep 2015 09:56

Yeah, something like what thecorporateclass said above.

I'll add this: deep down even people like you don't believe in any Russian 'invasion' in Ukraine. They know: if Russia did invade, it would've been over long time ago. The question, rather, is about Kiev regime's control of the border, which would amount to a blockade of Donetsk-Lugansk republics; blocking all the supplies, attacking from all directions, and exterminating people who feel ethnically Russian.

This can not happen: it would've brought the Russian government down, and therefore no Russian government could participate in it; be it led by Putin, Dugin, or Navalny, or anyone at all. It's just a physical impossibility. IMO.

TheCorporateClass -> jezzam 5 Sep 2015 06:37

The West agrees to drop this missile shield, Putin agrees to stop his military interference in Ukraine.

This needs correcting IF it is to work as a solution.

The West agrees to drop this missile shield, agrees to stop it's interventions into Ukrainian government and it's politics, agrees to stop FUNDING and GUIDING far right neo-nazi militias and their political wings, agrees to stop making intentionally false/unproven/fictional accusations against Russia & Putin's Government, stops providing military intelligence to Ukraine (a non-Nato country), and admits to the direct connection between the externally caused "political and social" instability in Ukraine begun by EU/NATA and the externally caused "political and social" instability and then Civil War in Syria with oil/gas supplies from Russia and Qatar ... then that would be a great first step towards the truth of matters bullshit.

Then all of Russia and Putin at their ELECTED President would no doubt agree to stop his humane military interference in Ukraine on behalf of those people having their human rights and lives taken by ideologically driven psychopaths and their corrupt crazies from Washington, Berlin, Riyadh, Doha, and Tel Aiv.

Simple really.

HollyOldDog -> raffine 5 Sep 2015 04:59

Whereas there are convoys of Russian trucks that are stopping the East Ukrainians of starving to death. The only 'gifts' that West Ukraine gives to their East compatriates is constant shelling, grad missile fire, mine fields and snipers that shoot any East Ukrainians on sight whether they are men ,women or children.

MaoChengJi -> jezzam 4 Sep 2015 23:48

I believe the western anti-missile installations along the Russian borders give the impression that the US is trying to break the MAD balance and create, at some point in the future, a defense against retaliatory nuclear strike. That seems like the only rational explanation for those installations. For do you think they are for?

MaoChengJi -> andy4248 4 Sep 2015 22:10

"Russians are brainwashed daily that the West is an awful place and we are going to invade them at any moment. "

Oh rather you're brainwashed daily that Russia is an awful pleace where Russians are brainwashed daily that the West is an awful place and we are going to invade them at any moment.

I'm pretty sure not a signle Russian believes that the west is going to invade. For reasons that are obvious, or should be obvious.

crackling -> MaoChengJi 4 Sep 2015 22:03

fingerprints is copying GWBush's data collection on citizens and visitors to the US - last night I just had my photo and fingerprints taken on customs entry to Taiwan - I expect it's becoming the norm these days.

Beckow -> notoriousANDinfamous 4 Sep 2015 21:22

Address Obama's admission that "US assisted in the transition of power", why do you skip over it? $15 billion was a loan and it was used for the Ukrainian budget. If someone stole some of it, prove it and charge them.

I never said that Russians didn't try to influence Kiev, but so did US - listen to the recording, it assigns roles for different protest leaders. Ashton was an EU official and she was standing with the protestors - so were many others, incl. Nuland, ambassador, etc... - that goes way beyond "trade agreement".

I am a Slovak and I comment on anything I feel like. If you have a problem with that, maybe you don't understand democracy and freedom of speech. By the way, most people in my part of Europe (from Budapest to Vienna to Prague) roughly share my view of the situation. We know Russians, we know Ukrainians, and we can judge for ourselves.

Popeyes -> andy4248 4 Sep 2015 19:45

It's very sad but Russians are for more aware of what's going on politically than their Western counterparts. The fact that they have a low opinion of Westerners is hardly surprising and they certainly don't have to be " brainwashed ' by the Kremlin to know what's going on. They only have to look at Iraq, Libya, and Syria, Ukraine the list is endless to figure it out. You could blame GM food for the fact that Americans seem to be pretty dim and clueless on Europeans affairs, but as for the rest of Europeans I guess they are the ones that are really "brainwashed".

Beckow -> notoriousANDinfamous 4 Sep 2015 19:32

Thou protest too much.

The "baroness" was an EU foreign secretary, that's pretty high up. In addition: US ambassador, assistant sec for Europe (Nuland), and a number of other officials were at the Maidan protests - videos and all.

The recording was very specific about who (Yats) should be Prime Minister and how it should be done. If US also does that in Spain, that's even a bigger problem.

$5bn is a lot of "civil organizations" - most of it in the last 5-10 years. Russia gave a loan - that is very different.

Finally, Obama literally said "we assisted with the transition of power in Ukraine"
what other proof can one possible have than an admission by the chief?

By the way I used the term "assist in an overthrow". To "orchestrate" is more pro-active. Given what has been made public there definitely was "assistance" (see Obama's statement above), whether that amounts to "orchestrate" like in 1953 Iran, I would leave to the historians.

Beckow -> notoriousANDinfamous 4 Sep 2015 18:52

There are videos of dozens of Western leaders standing on the podium with the demonstrators on Maidan (just imagine Lavrov joinig an Occupy protest in New York or London).

There are recordings of Nuland deciding on who will run Ukraine ("f...k Europe").

US spent 5 billion in 20 years on "civil groups" in Ukraine.

If you prefer an infantile denial, I can't help you. Just don't be surprised if you become irrelevant.

Beckow -> dmitryfrommoscow 4 Sep 2015 18:34

Yes it was always mostly about the visa-free access to EU. Ukrainians want to move to Europe for jobs, benefits, school, etc... That was what drove Maidan energy (and US took advantage of it).

But your numbers are off. There are about 1 million Ukrainians now in EU, mostly in UK, Czech, Hungary and Poland. E.g. Poland has about 400,000 new Ukrainian migrants. The real large numbers are yet to come. I think they will - they are watching the Syrians and getting jealous, worried that all the empathy will be used up. Slovakia (my country) has camps ready on the border. We also suddenly have a lot of Ukrainians who have discovered the Slovak (or Czech) heritage. The same thing is going on in Poland, Romania and Hungary.

Millions are coming. And they won't be tourists or have money for Italian hotels. But I am sure the Western media will find a way to blame it on Russia. Such are the pleasures of dead-end ideologies, everything is very simple: "Putin did it!."

Beckow -> notoriousANDinfamous 4 Sep 2015 18:26

"US didn't orchestrate a coup in Ukraine and hasn't offered Kiev a military alliance"

I suppose that would depend on your definition of "orchestrate" and a "coup". Most rational observers would agree that US at a minimum assisted with the Maidan revolution (or a coup). There are videos, recordings, financial transfers. Until the whole Maidan thing went bad, the US State Department was very open about the assistance that they had provided on Maidan, Obama said "we assisted with the transition of power in Ukraine" (actual quote).

US has said since 2008 that Ukraine will join Nato. They reiterated it last year and Ukraine has an official policy of joining Nato. There are joint exercises and training with Nato. It is rather conclusive that US and Ukraine are having a "military alliance".

Given those two facts how can you deny it? Or do you also deny the nose between your eyes?

magicmirror1 4 Sep 2015 18:11

Fingerprints to get a visa.

Welcome to democratic EU. This is the future European leaders are building and I cannot understand why.

dmitryfrommoscow -> Ola Smith 4 Sep 2015 16:46

Ola, the problem is there are no 45 million people in Ukraine these days. As many as 2.8 million people with Ukrainian passports work and live in Russia alone. And I think twice as many live and work in the EU. And about five to seven million are in a crouch start position to rush elsewhere at the first opportunity that avails itself. After all the Maidan hullabaloo was about getting free access to European -- and probably North American -- job markets and disappearing there for good. Let's throw aside all that talk about 'democracy and values' and be honest about it.

[Feb 26, 2019] As for fake news, France, for example, adopted a law that filters the media space the way it wants. The Russian media Russia Today and Sputnik are political outcasts.

Notable quotes:
"... When we suggest turning to universally approved OSCE documents that reject as unacceptable any obstacles standing in the way of the public or journalists getting access to information, we are told that this was the case in 1990 and should remain there. ..."
"... It wasn't us that bombed Libya and turned it into a "black hole." It still remains such and through it bandits, terrorists and arms traffickers travel to the Sahara-Sahel zone whereas migrants are heading to the north. Therefore, we leave it up to them to deal with those who are responsible for this. ..."
"... Apparently, the international legal space is being fragmented – the US is doing this all along the way while the EU is isolating itself when it comes to a number of issues. The processes that are taking place in Eurasia may also be interpreted as isolation at some point but in reality we want to launch something that will become all-embracing. ..."
"... Maybe, there is a rational idea in everything that is taking place. As Vladimir Lenin used to say, "before uniting it is necessary resolutely to draw lines of demarcation." Maybe, we should be fragmented to understand who the main global players are. ..."
Feb 26, 2019 | www.mid.ru

Question:

We are now saying that the world is changing and the interdependence of states is growing. Do you think international regulation, for instance, in communications, can be radically improved in perspective? Because of fake news navigation in the sea of information leaves much to be desired. Is it possible to regulate a host of other things related to migration flows and capital management? Is it possible to raise international regulation to a new level or is this altogether impossible? Will countries continue to strike unstable alliances for shorter or longer periods of time or are there grounds to hope for an improvement of this situation?

Sergey Lavrov:

This question is fairly controversial. In brief, currently this regulation that should be ideally based on universal principles of international law is being replaced with narrowly interpreted rules elaborated in a narrow circle of states.

As for fake news, France, for example, adopted a law that filters the media space the way it wants. The Russian media Russia Today and Sputnik are political outcasts. They are not allowed to visit the Elysee Palace or attend any special events. When we address French officials in this context, they tell us that everything is correct because in their view these are propaganda instruments rather than news agencies. This is what regulation is all about.

When we suggest turning to universally approved OSCE documents that reject as unacceptable any obstacles standing in the way of the public or journalists getting access to information, we are told that this was the case in 1990 and should remain there.

There are other examples as well. When France failed to use the OPCW exclusively for passing remotely a verdict on who is guilty and who is not in violation of all conceivable norms of the Chemical Weapons Convention, it took the initiative to establish an International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons that was not linked with any international structures. A few months later the EU made a decision to the effect that if the new structure reveals violators, Brussels will impose sanctions on them. This is, of course, regulation but this regulation is based on the narrow interpretation of broad interests by an individual group of countries.

As for the internet, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) has been talking for years, if not decades, about the way the internet should function so as to not offend anyone. No results have been produced and there will not be any in the foreseeable future for obvious-to-all reasons. I have practically no doubts about this. Likewise, for the same reason virtually not a single Western country supported our proposals that were endorsed by the UN General Assembly at the onset of work on the rules of responsible conduct in cyberspace.

You mentioned migration. There is the Global Compact for Migration that was adopted last year. The West was fighting for it to include a provision on the equal and divided responsibility for the migration crisis. Russia and other countries objected. It wasn't us that bombed Libya and turned it into a "black hole." It still remains such and through it bandits, terrorists and arms traffickers travel to the Sahara-Sahel zone whereas migrants are heading to the north. Therefore, we leave it up to them to deal with those who are responsible for this.

We are now talking about the formation of the multipolar international order. Its development was preceded by a whole historical era.

Apparently, the international legal space is being fragmented – the US is doing this all along the way while the EU is isolating itself when it comes to a number of issues. The processes that are taking place in Eurasia may also be interpreted as isolation at some point but in reality we want to launch something that will become all-embracing.

Maybe, there is a rational idea in everything that is taking place. As Vladimir Lenin used to say, "before uniting it is necessary resolutely to draw lines of demarcation." Maybe, we should be fragmented to understand who the main global players are.

Not those that established the UN in 1945 but those that are playing today, in the middle of the 21 st century. Only after this we should think what to do next, for instance, with the UN. It is absolutely clear that the UN Security Council requires a reform because the world's developing regions of Asia, Africa and Latin America are not properly represented in it. Today, up to one third of the UN Security Council is represented by EU countries. I don't think that if more countries from the historical West are added to this structure, it will gain the diversity we want to see in it.

[Feb 17, 2019] Kremlin Spokesman Says U.S. Sanctions Bill Borders on Racketeering

Feb 17, 2019 | larouchepub.com

Feb. 14, 2019 (EIRNS) -- Responding to the U.S. Senators' efforts to impose new sanctions on Russia by proposing a bill on Feb. 13 called the "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKA)" of 2019, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said behind such proposals

"there is an absolutely concrete, pragmatic and aggressive trading approach, having nothing to do with international trade rules.... This policy sometimes borders on racketeering. I mean various provisions of the draft law aimed at disrupting various energy projects of Russian companies, undermining the activities of Russian banks with state participation,"

Peskov said, reported TASS.

The proposed legislation, an updated version of an earlier bill that did not muster enough support, seeks to increase economic, political, and diplomatic pressure on Russia "in response to Russia's interference in democratic processes abroad, malign influence in Syria, and aggression against Ukraine, including in the Kerch Strait," said Sen. Bob Menendez (D-NJ), who proposed the bill with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), among other members of the Foreign Relations Committee.

[Feb 04, 2019] Trump s Revised and Rereleased Foreign Policy: The World Policeman is Back

Highly recommended!
This article from 2017 looks like it was written yesterday. Trump betrayal of his elctorate on multiple levels, essentially on all key poin of his election program mkes him "Republican Obama".
What is interesting about Trump foreign policy is his version of neoliberal "gangster capitalism" on foreign arena: might is right principle applied like universal opener. Previous administrations tried to put a lipstick on the pig. Trump does not even bother.
In terms of foreign policy, and even during the transition before Trump's inauguration, there were other, more disturbing signs of where Trump would be heading soon. When Fidel Castro died on November 25, 2016, Trump seemed jubilant as if he had somehow been vindicated, and took the opportunity to slander Castro as a "brutal dictator" who "oppressed his own people" and turned Cuba into a "totalitarian island".
Notable quotes:
"... However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first". ..."
"... Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat. ..."
"... The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. ..."
"... Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding. ..."
"... AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States? ..."
"... AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing? ..."
"... AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange? ..."
"... While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them. ..."
"... Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture ..."
"... As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world . ..."
"... To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits. ..."
"... As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is ..."
"... On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. ..."
"... As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics. ..."
"... As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition. ..."
Aug 09, 2017 | zeroanthropology.net

Trump could have kept quiet, and lost nothing. Instead what he was attacking -- and the irony was missed on his fervently right wing supporters -- was someone who was a leader in the anti-globalist movement, from long before it was ever called that. Fidel Castro was a radical pioneer of independence, self-reliance, and self-determination.

Castro turned Cuba from an American-owned sugar plantation and brothel, a lurid backwater in the Caribbean, into a serious international actor opposed to globalizing capitalism. There was no sign of any acknowledgment of this by Trump, who instead chose to parrot the same people who would vilify him using similar terms (evil, authoritarian, etc.). Of course, Trump respects only corporate executives and billionaires, not what he would see as some rag-tag Third World revolutionary. Here Trump's supporters generally failed, using Castro's death as an opportunity for tribal partisanship, another opportunity to attack "weak liberals" like Obama who made minor overtures to Cuba (too little, too late).

Their distrust of "the establishment" was nowhere to be found this time: their ignorance of Cuba and their resort to stock clichιs and slogans had all been furnished to them by the same establishment they otherwise claimed to oppose.

Just to be clear, the above is not meant to indicate any reversal on Trump's part regarding Cuba. He has been consistently anti-communist, and fairly consistent in his denunciations of Fidel Castro. What is significant is that -- far from overcoming the left-right divide -- Trump shores up the barriers, even at the cost of denouncing others who have a proven track record of fighting against neoliberal globalization and US interventionism. In these regards, Trump has no track record. Even among his rivals in the Republican primaries, senators Ted Cruz and Rand Paul had more of an anti-interventionist track record.

However, when he delivered his inaugural address on January 20, 2017, Trump appeared to reaffirm his campaign themes of anti-interventionism. In particular he seemed to turn the government's back on a long-standing policy of cultural imperialism , stating: "We do not seek to impose our way of life on anyone". In addition he said his government would "seek friendship and goodwill with the nations of the world," and he understood the importance of national sovereignty when he added, "it is the right of all nations to put their own interests first".

Russia

Yet when it came to Russia, Trump could have instantly removed sanctions that were imposed by Obama in his last weeks in office -- an irresponsible and dangerous act by Obama, where foreign policy was used as a partisan tool in the service of shoring up a crummy conspiracy theory about "Russian hacking" in order to deny the Democrats any culpability in their much deserved defeat.

Instead, Trump continued the sanctions, as if out of meek deference to Obama's policy, one founded on lies and antagonism toward Trump himself. Rather than repair the foul attempt to sabotage the US-Russian relationship in preparation for his presidency, Trump simply abided and thus became an accomplice. To be clear, Trump has done precisely nothing to dampen the near mass hysteria that has been manufactured in the US about alleged -- indeed imaginary -- "Russian intervention".

His comments, both during the electoral campaign and even early into his presidency, about wanting good relations with Russia, have been replaced by Trump's admissions that US relations with Russia are at a low point (Putin agreed: "I would say the level of trust [between Russia and the US] is at a workable level, especially in the military dimension, but it hasn't improved. On the contrary, it has degraded " and his spokesman called the relations " deplorable ".)

Rather than use the power of his office to calm fears, to build better ties with Russia, and to make meeting with Vladimir Putin a top priority, Trump has again done nothing , except escalating tensions. The entire conflict with Russia that has developed in recent years, on the US side, was totally unnecessary, illogical, and quite preventable. Russia had actively facilitated the US' war in Afghanistan for over a decade, and was a consistent collaborator on numerous levels. It is up to thinking American officials to honestly explain what motivated them to tilt relations with Russia, because it is certainly not Russia's doing. The only explanation that makes any sense is that the US leadership grew concerned that Russia was no longer teetering on the edge of total socio-economic breakdown, as it was under the neoliberal Boris Yeltsin, but has instead resurfaced as a major actor in international affairs, and one that champions anti-neoliberal objectives of enhanced state sovereignty and self-determination.

WikiLeaks

Just two weeks after violating his promise to end the US role as the world's policeman and his vow to extricate the US from wars for regime change, Trump sold out again. "I love WikiLeaks -- " -- this is what Trump exclaimed in a speech on October 10, 2016. Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks is thus truly astounding.

After finding so much use for WikiLeaks' publication of the Podesta emails, which became incorporated into his campaign speeches, and which fuelled the writing and speaking of journalists and bloggers sympathetic to Trump -- he was now effectively declaring WikiLeaks to be both an enemy and a likely target of US government action, in even more blunt terms than we heard during the past eight years under Obama. This is not mere continuity with the past, but a dramatic escalation. Rather than praise Julian Assange for his work, call for an end to the illegal impediments to his seeking asylum, swear off any US calls for extraditing and prosecuting Assange, and perhaps meeting with him in person, Trump has done all of the opposite. Instead we learn that Trump's administration may file arrest charges against Assange . Mike Pompeo , chosen by Trump to head the CIA, who had himself cited WikiLeaks as a reliable source of proof about how the Democratic National Committee had rigged its campaign, now declared WikiLeaks to be a " non-state hostile intelligence service ," along with vicious personal slander against Assange.

Trump's about-face on WikiLeaks was one that he defended in terms that were not just a deceptive rewriting of history, but one that was also fearful -- "I don't support or unsupport" WikiLeaks, was what Trump was now saying in his dash for the nearest exit. The backtracking is so obvious in this interview Trump gave to the AP , that his shoes must have left skid marks on the floor:

AP: If I could fit a couple of more topics. Jeff Sessions, your attorney general, is taking a tougher line suddenly on Julian Assange, saying that arresting him is a priority. You were supportive of what WikiLeaks was doing during the campaign with the release of the Clinton emails. Do you think that arresting Assange is a priority for the United States?

TRUMP: When Wikileaks came out never heard of Wikileaks, never heard of it. When Wikileaks came out, all I was just saying is, "Well, look at all this information here, this is pretty good stuff." You know, they tried to hack the Republican, the RNC, but we had good defenses. They didn't have defenses, which is pretty bad management. But we had good defenses, they tried to hack both of them. They weren't able to get through to Republicans. No, I found it very interesting when I read this stuff and I said, "Wow." It was just a figure of speech. I said, "Well, look at this. It's good reading."

AP: But that didn't mean that you supported what Assange is doing?

TRUMP: No, I don't support or unsupport. It was just information .

AP: Can I just ask you, though -- do you believe it is a priority for the United States, or it should be a priority, to arrest Julian Assange?

TRUMP: I am not involved in that decision, but if Jeff Sessions wants to do it, it's OK with me. I didn't know about that decision, but if they want to do it, it's OK with me.

First, Trump invents the fictitious claim that WikiLeaks was responsible for hacking the DNC, and that WikiLeaks also tried to hack the Republicans. Second, he pretends to be an innocent bystander, a spectator, in his own administration -- whatever others decide, is "OK" with him, not that he knows about their decisions, but it's all up to others. He has no power, all of a sudden.

Again, what Trump is displaying in this episode is his ultimate attachment to his class, with all of its anxieties and its contempt for rebellious, marginal upstarts. Trump shuns any sort of "loyalty" to WikiLeaks (not that they ever had a working relationship) or any form of gratitude, because then that would imply a debt and therefore a transfer of value -- whereas Trump's core ethics are those of expedience and greed (he admits that much). This move has come with a cost , with members of Trump's support base openly denouncing the betrayal. 6

NAFTA

On NAFTA , Trump claims he has not changed his position -- yet, from openly denouncing the free trade agreement and promising to terminate it, he now vows only to seek modifications and amendments, which means supporting NAFTA. He appeared to be awfully quick to obey the diplomatic pressure of Canada's Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and Mexico's President, Enrique Peρa Nieto. Trump's entire position on NAFTA now comes into question.

While there is no denying the extensive data about the severe impacts of NAFTA on select states and industries in the US, witnessed by the closure of tens of thousands of factories and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs, there is little support for the claim that Canada and Mexico, as wholes, have instead fared well and that the US as a whole has been the loser thanks to them.

This really deserves to be treated at length, separately from this article. However, for now, let's keep in mind that when Trump complains about Canadian softwood lumber and dairy exports to the US, his argument about NAFTA is without merit. Neither commodity is part of the NAFTA agreement.

Moreover, where dairy is concerned, the problem is US overproduction. Wisconsin alone has more dairy cows than all of Canada . There is a net surplus , in the US' favour, with respect to US dairy exports to Canada. Overall, the US has a net surplus in the trade in goods and services with Canada. Regarding Mexico, the irony of Trump's denunciations of imaginary Mexican victories is that he weakens his own criticisms of immigration.

Since NAFTA was implemented, migration from Mexico to the US skyrocketed dramatically. US agricultural industries sent millions of Mexican farmers into food poverty, and ultimately drove them away from agriculture.

As for per capita GDP, so treasured by economists, NAFTA had no positive impact on Mexico -- in fact, per capita GDP is nearly a flat line for the entire period since 1994. Finally, Trump does not mention that in terms of the number of actual protectionist measures that have been implemented, the US leads the world .

To put Trump's position on NAFTA in bold relief, it is not that he is decidedly against free trade. In fact, he often claims he supports free trade, as long as it is "fair". However, his notion of fairness is very lopsided -- a trade agreement is fair only when the US reaps the greater share of benefits.

His arguments with respect to Canada are akin to those of a looter or raider. He wants to block lumber imports from Canada, at the same time as he wants to break the Canadian dairy market wide open to absorb US excess production. That approach is at the core of what defined the US as a "new empire" in the 1800s. In addition, while Trump was quick to tear up the TPP, he has said nothing about TISA and TTIP.

Mexico

Trump's argument with Mexico is also disturbing for what it implies. It would seem that any evidence of production in Mexico causes Trump concern. Mexico should not only keep its people -- however many are displaced by US imports -- but it should also be as dependent as possible on the US for everything except oil. Since Trump has consistently declared his antagonism to OPEC, ideally Mexico's oil would be sold for a few dollars per barrel.

China

Trump's turn on China almost provoked laughter from his many domestic critics. Absurdly, what figures prominently in most renditions of the story of Trump's change on China (including his own), is a big piece of chocolate cake. The missile strike on Syria was, according to Wilbur Ross, the " after-dinner entertainment ". Here, Trump's loud condemnations of China on trade issues were suddenly quelled -- and it is not because chocolate has magical properties. Instead it seems Trump has been willing to settle on selling out citizens' interests , and particularly those who voted for him, in return for China's assistance on North Korea. Let's be clear: countering and dominating North Korea is an established favourite among neoconservatives. Trump's priority here is fully "neocon," and the submergence of trade issues in favour of militaristic preferences is the one case where neoconservatives might be distinguished from the otherwise identical neoliberals.

North Korea

Where North Korea is concerned, Trump chose to manufacture a " crisis ". North Korea has actually done nothing to warrant a sudden outbreak of panic over it being supposedly aggressive and threatening. North Korea is no more aggressive than any person defending their survival can be called belligerent. The constant series of US military exercises in South Korea, or near North Korean waters, is instead a deliberate provocation to a state whose existence the US nearly extinguished. Even last year the US Air Force publicly boasted of having "nearly destroyed" North Korea -- language one would have expected from the Luftwaffe in WWII. The US continues to maintain roughly 60,000 troops on the border between North and South Korea, and continues to refuse to formally declare an end to the Korean War and sign a peace treaty . Trump then announced he was sending an "armada" to the Korean peninsula, and boasted of how "very powerful" it was. This was in addition to the US deploying the THAAD missile system in South Korea. Several of his messages in Twitter were written using highly provocative and threatening language. When asked if he would start a war, Trump glibly replied: " I don't know. I mean, we'll see ". On another occasion Trump stated, "There is a chance that we could end up having a major, major conflict with North Korea. Absolutely". When the world's leading military superpower declares its intention to destroy you, then there is nothing you can do in your defense which anyone could justly label as "over the top". Otherwise, once again Trump posed as a parental figure, the world's chief babysitter -- picture Trump, surrounded by children taking part in the "Easter egg roll" at the White House, being asked about North Korea and responding "they gotta behave". Trump would presume to teach manners to North Korea, using the only tools of instruction that seem to be the first and last resort of US foreign policy (and the "defense" industry): bombs.

Syria

Attacking Syria , on purportedly humanitarian grounds, is for many (including vocal supporters) one of the most glaring contradictions of Trump's campaign statements about not embroiling the US in failed wars of regime change and world policing. During the campaign, he was in favour of Russia's collaboration with Syria in the fight against ISIS. For years he had condemned Obama for involving the US in Syria, and consistently opposed military intervention there. All that was consigned to the archive of positions Trump declared to now be worthless. That there had been a change in Trump's position is not a matter of dispute -- Trump made the point himself :

"I like to think of myself as a very flexible person. I don't have to have one specific way, and if the world changes, I go the same way, I don't change. Well, I do change and I am flexible, and I'm proud of that flexibility. And I will tell you, that attack on children yesterday had a big impact on me -- big impact. That was a horrible, horrible thing. And I've been watching it and seeing it, and it doesn't get any worse than that. And I have that flexibility, and it's very, very possible -- and I will tell you, it's already happened that my attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much. And if you look back over the last few weeks, there were other attacks using gas. You're now talking about a whole different level".

Bending to the will of the prevailing Cold War and neo-McCarthyist atmosphere in the US, rife with anti-Russian conspiracy theories, Trump found an easy opportunity to score points with the hostile media, ever so mindful as he is about approval ratings, polls, and media coverage. Some explain Trump's reversals as arising from his pursuit of public adulation -- and while the media play the key role in purveying celebrity status, they are also a stiff bastion of imperialist culture. Given his many years as a the host of a popular TV show, and as the owner of the Miss Universe Pageant, there is some logical merit to the argument. But I think even more is at work, as explained in paragraphs above. According to Eric Trump it was at the urging of Ivanka that Donald Trump decided to strike a humanitarian-militarist pose. He would play the part of the Victorian parent, only he would use missiles to teach unruly children lessons about violence. Using language typically used against him by the mainstream media, Trump now felt entitled to pontificate that Assad is "evil," an " animal ," who would have to go . When did he supposedly come to this realization? Did Assad become evil at the same time Trump was inaugurated? Why would Trump have kept so silent about "evil" on the campaign trail? Trump of course is wrong: it's not that the world changed and he changed with it; rather, he invented a new fiction to suit his masked intentions. Trump's supposed opponents and critics, like the Soros-funded organizer of the women's march Linda Sarsour, showed her approval of even more drastic action by endorsing messages by what sounded like a stern school mistress who thought that 59 cruise missiles were just a mere "slap on the wrist". Virtually every neocon who is publicly active applauded Trump, as did most senior Democrats. The loudest opposition , however, came from Trump's own base , with a number of articles featuring criticism from Trump's supporters , and one conservative publication calling him outright a " weakling and a political ingrate ".

Members of the Trump administration have played various word games with the public on intervention in Syria. From unnamed officials saying the missile strike was a "one off," to named officials promising more if there were any other suspected chemical attacks (or use of barrel bombs -- and this while the US dropped the biggest non-nuclear bomb in existence on Afghanistan); some said that regime change was not the goal, and then others made it clear that was the ultimate goal ; and then Trump saying, "Our policy is the same, it hasn't changed. We're not going into Syria " -- even though Trump himself greatly increased the number of US troops he deployed to Syria , illegally, in an escalation of the least protested invasion in recent history. Now we should know enough not to count this as mere ambiguity, but as deliberate obfuscation that offers momentary (thinly veiled) cover for a renewal of neocon policy .

We can draw an outline of Trump's liberal imperialism when it comes to Syria, which is likely to be applied elsewhere. First, Trump's interventionist policy regarding Syria is one that continues to treat that country as if it were terra nullius , a mere playground for superpower politics. Second, Trump is clearly continuing with the neoconservative agenda and its hit list of states to be terminated by US military action, as famously confirmed by Gen. Wesley Clark. Even Trump's strategy for justifying the attack on Syria echoed the two prior Bush presidential administrations -- selling war with the infamous "incubator babies" myth and the myth of "weapons of mass destruction" (WMDs). In many ways, Trump's presidency is thus shaping up to be either the seventh term of the George H.W. Bush regime, or the fifth straight term of the George W. Bush regime. Third, Trump is taking ownership of an extremely dangerous conflict, with costs that could surpass anything witnessed by the war on Iraq (which also continues). Fourth, by highlighting the importance of photographs in allegedly changing his mind, Trump has placed a high market value on propaganda featuring dead babies. His actions in Syria will now create an effective demand for the pornographic trade in pictures of atrocities. These are matters of great importance to the transnational capitalist class, which demands full global penetrability, diminished state power (unless in the service of this class' goals), a uniformity of expectations and conformity in behaviour, and an emphasis on individual civil liberties which are the basis for defending private property and consumerism.

Venezuela

It is very disturbing to see how Venezuela is being framed as ripe for US intervention, in ways that distinctly echo the lead up to the US war on Libya. Just as disturbing is that Trump's Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, has a clear conflict of interest regarding Venezuela, from his recent role as CEO of Exxon and its conflict with the government of Venezuela over its nationalization of oil. Tillerson is, by any definition, a clear-cut member of the transnational capitalist class. The Twitter account of the State Department has a battery of messages sternly lecturing Venezuela about the treatment of protesters, while also pontificating on the Venezuelan Constitution as if the US State Department had become a global supreme court. What is impressive is the seamless continuity in the nature of the messages on Venezuela from that account, as if no change of government happened between Obama's time and Trump's. Nikki Haley, Trump's neocon ambassador to the UN, issued a statement that read like it had been written by her predecessors, Samantha Power and Susan Rice, a statement which in itself is an unacceptable intervention in Venezuelan internal affairs. For Trump's part, from just days before the election, to a couple of weeks after his inauguration, he has sent explicit messages of support for anti-government forces in Venezuela. In February, Trump imposed sanctions on Venezuela's Vice President. After Syria and North Korea, Venezuela is seeming the likely focus of US interventionism under Trump.

NATO

Rounding out the picture, at least for now (this was just the first hundred days of Trump's presidency), was Trump's outstanding reversal on NATO -- in fact, once again he stated the reversal himself, and without explanation either: " I said it was obsolete. It's no longer obsolete ". This came just days after the US missile strike against Syria, and just as Ivanka Trump was about to represent his government at a meeting of globalist women, the W20 . NATO has served as the transnational military alliance at the service of the transnational capitalist class, and particularly the military and political members of the TCC. 7

Saving Neoliberalism?

Has Trump saved neoliberal capitalism from its ongoing demise? Has he sustained popular faith in liberal political ideals? Are we still in the dying days of liberalism ? If there had been a centrally coordinated plan to plant an operative among the ranks of populist conservatives and independents, to channel their support for nationalism into support for the persona of the plant, and to then have that plant steer a course straight back to shoring up neoliberal globalism -- then we might have had a wonderful story of a masterful conspiracy, the biggest heist in the history of elections anywhere. A truly "rigged system" could be expected to behave that way. Was Trump designated to take the fall in a rigged game, only his huge ego got in the way when he realized he could realistically win the election and he decided to really tilt hard against his partner, Hillary Clinton? It could be the basis for a novel, or a Hollywood political comedy. I have no way of knowing if it could be true.

Framed within the terms of what we do know, there was relief by the ousted group of political elites and the liberal globalist media at the sight of Trump's reversals, and a sense that their vision had been vindicated. However, if they are hoping that the likes of Trump will serve as a reliable flag bearer, then theirs is a misguided wishful thinking. If someone so demonized and ridiculed, tarnished as an evil thug and racist fascist, the subject of mass demonstrations in the US and abroad, is the latest champion of (neo)liberalism, then we are certainly witnessing its dying days.

Is Trump Beneficial for Anti-Imperialism?

Once one is informed enough and thus prepared to understand that anti-imperialism is not the exclusive preserve of the left (a left which anyway has mostly shunned it over the last two decades), that it did not originate with the left , and that it has a long and distinguished history in the US itself , then we can move toward some interesting realizations. The facts, borne out by surveys and my own online immersion among pro-Trump social media users, is that one of the significant reasons why Trump won is due to the growth in popularity of basic anti-imperialist principles (even if not recognized under that name): for example, no more world policing, no transnational militarization, no more interventions abroad, no more regime change, no war, and no globalism. Nationalists in Europe, as in Russia, have also pushed forward a basic anti-imperialist vision. Whereas in Latin America anti-imperialism is largely still leftist, in Europe and North America the left-right divide has become blurred, but the crucial thing is that at least now we can speak of anti-imperialism gaining strength in these three major continents. Resistance against globalization has been the primary objective, along with strengthening national sovereignty, protecting local cultural identity, and opposing free trade and transnational capital. Unfortunately, some anti-imperialist writers (on the left in fact) have tended to restrict their field of vision to military matters primarily, while almost completely neglecting the economic and cultural, and especially domestic dimensions of imperialism. (I am grossly generalizing of course, but I think it is largely accurate.) Where structures such as NAFTA are concerned, many of these same leftist anti-imperialists, few as they are, have had virtually nothing to say. It could be that they have yet to fully recognize that the transnational capitalist class has, gradually over the last seven decades, essentially purchased the power of US imperialism. Therefore the TCC's imperialism includes NAFTA, just as it includes open borders, neoliberal identity politics, and drone strikes. They are all different parts of the same whole.

As argued in the previous section, if Trump is to be the newfound champion of this imperialism -- empire's prodigal son -- then what an abysmally poor choice he is. 8

On the one hand, he helped to unleash US anti-interventionism (usually called "isolationism" not to call it anti-imperialism, which would then admit to imperialism which is still denied by most of the dominant elites). On the other hand, in trying to now contain such popular sentiment, he loses credibility -- after having lost credibility with the groups his campaign displaced. In addition to that, given that his candidacy aggravated internal divisions in the US, which have not subsided with his assumption of office, these domestic social and cultural conflicts cause a serious deficit of legitimacy, a loss of political capital. A declining economy will also deprive him of capital in the strict sense. Moreover, given the kind of persona the media have crafted, the daily caricaturing of Trump will significantly spur anti-Americanism around the world. If suddenly even Canadian academics are talking about boycotting the US, then the worm has truly turned. Trump can only rely on "hard power" (military violence), because "soft power" is almost out of the question now that Trump has been constructed as a barbarian. Incompetent and/or undermined governance will also render Trump a deficient upholder of the status quo. The fact that nationalist movements around the world are not centrally coordinated, and their fortunes are not pinned to those of Trump, establishes a well-defined limit to his influence. Trump's antagonism toward various countries -- as wholes -- has already helped to stir up a deep sediment of anti-Americanism. If Americanism is at the heart of Trump's nationalist globalism, then it is doing all the things that are needed to induce a major heart attack.

As for Trump's domestic opposition, what should be most pertinent are issues of conflict of interest and nepotism . Here members of Trump's base are more on target yet again, when they reject the presence of Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner in the White House ("we didn't elect Ivanka or Jared"), than are those distracted by identity politics.

As Trump leverages the presidency to upgrade the Trump family to the transnational capitalist class, and reinforces the power of US imperialism which that class has purchased, conflict of interest and nepotism will be the main political signposts of the transformation of the Trump presidency, but they could also be the targets for a refined strategy of opposition.

[Jan 20, 2019] I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: You have failed to contain Russia," Putin said during a national address in March.

Jan 20, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

Friday, January 18, 2019 at 04:23 PM

Russia's PL-19 Nudol, a system U.S. military intelligence assesses will be focused primarily on anti-satellite missions, was successfully tested twice in 2018. The weapon, which was fired from a mobile launcher, was last tested on Dec. 23 and marked the seventh overall test of the system, according to one of the people who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The Russian anti-satellite weapon is expected to target communication and imagery satellites in low Earth orbit, according to the other person, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. For reference, the International Space Station and the Hubble Space Telescope travel in low Earth orbit.

While anti-satellite missiles are by no means new, the latest revelation comes less than a year after Putin touted his nation's growing military arsenal.

"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: You have failed to contain Russia," Putin said during a national address in March.

A recently unclassified report from the National Air and Space Intelligence Center, or NASIC, explained how the U.S. advantage above the Earth's atmosphere is eroding to "an emergent China and a resurgent Russia."

The NASIC report said there number of foreign intelligence and imaging satellites "has tripled" to 300 in orbit in the last two decades. The U.S. itself has 353 of its own space assets in orbit for those purposes. In response, military superpowers have poured funding into researching and developing anti-satellite weapons.

Missiles are the most high-profile, physical manifestation of anti-satellite weapons. Frank Slazer, the vice president of space systems at the Aerospace Industries Association, told CNBC about how those missiles may be physically effective, but are likely not the "first line of approach on this."

"You'd much rather jam the satellite, blind it [with a laser], or take over its control systems with a cyberattack," Slazer said. "Kinetic impacts could cause problems for other nations, besides the one you are attacking, and possibly for your own system's for many years afterwards."

Both Slazer and the NASIC report pointed to the example of China's anti-satellite test in 2007. China fired an anti-satellite missile at one of its own, discarded weather satellites. The test was successful, but the satellite shattered into thousands of pieces, which continue to zip around in an orbital cloud of deadly debris.

"A huge percentage of the debris in low earth orbit is still attributable to that one test," Slazer said.

As far as the U.S. military's ability to defend against anti-satellite weapons, the assets and capabilities in orbit "are the same as they have been for awhile," Tommy Sanford, director of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation, told CNBC.

Sanford contends that there has not been much in the way of progress when it comes to defending U.S. space-based assets. Sanford gave the example of using networks of smaller and cheaper satellites, like cubesats and nanosats, to offer "effective platforms to augment and support missions carried out by the DoD's larger exquisite satellites."

"The idea behind a distributed architecture for space support is – instead of having one exquisite target – you'd have a system which could presumably survive some loss of its elements and still be able to provide function," Slazer said.

[Jan 19, 2019] Russia has to thank the British for sending a great message to her traitors and gangsters

Jan 19, 2019 | www.unz.com

Vojkan , says: April 10, 2018 at 1:48 pm GMT

Actually, I think that in the end Russia has to thank the British for sending a great message to her traitors and gangsters. Apart from the Skripal case, the UK seems up to confiscate the wealth Russian expats in the UK looted back home. On the one hand, it's ~ $10bn worth that will be definitely lost for Russia, on the other if the UK's treatment of Skripal and runaway oligarchs won't heal Russian traitors and gangsters from their blissful enamourment with England's climate, I don't know what will.
anonymous [107] Disclaimer , says: April 10, 2018 at 1:50 pm GMT
@Mike P I can't find the comment because the comment archive is down -- I think it was annamaria who reported that the British were holding assets of Russian oligarchs and that Russia wanted the funds back. The speculation was that Teresa May would take possession of the assets.

As these two articles state, most of the Russian billionaire oligarchs are Jewish

So at least (conspiracy theory) part of the Skripal scheme is for Teresa May to be an angel and return their assets to the Jewish billionaires who stole Russian wealth fair and square.

[Jan 02, 2019] Viable Opposition How the U.S. Senate is Instigating a Hot War With Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Senate Resolution on December 19, 2019 which calls for "a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline ..."
"... Calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. ..."
Jan 02, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

Senator Ron Johnson (R- Wis) and Richard Durban (D-Ill) and 39 of their colleagues introduced a Senate Resolution on December 19, 2019 which calls for "a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline" as shown here :

Here is a list of co-sponsors of the resolution:

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Ok.), chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee; Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation; and Sens. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Cory Gardner (R-Colo.), Christopher Coons (D-Del.), James Risch (R-Idaho), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), John Boozman (R-Ark.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Doug Jones (D-Ala.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), Gary Peters (D-Mich.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), John Thune (R-S.D.), Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.).
Here is the resolution (currently unnumbered) in its entirety:

Calling for a prompt multinational freedom of navigation operation in the Black Sea and urging the cancellation of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.

... ... ...

... ... ...

(9) applauds and concurs with the European 2 Parliament's December 12, 2018, resolution condemning Russian aggression in the Kerch Strait and
the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, calling for the pipeline's cancellation due to its threat to European energy security, and calling on the Russian Federation to
7 guarantee freedom of navigation in the Kerch Strait;

and

(10) urges the President to continue working with Congress and our allies to ensure the appropriate policies to deter the Russian Federation from further aggression.

Anonymous December 26, 2018 at 4:47 PM

Fortunately, these two neocons can make all the proclamations they want but without President Trump's support it's all just words; neocon virtue signalling. And of course President Trump won't support what they're doing because he campaigned on and governs as an anti-war president.

Ron Johnson is a Bushie neocon who actively supported the neocon ‘Jebe! (Please Clap) Bush while Durbin is a Hillary Clinton neocon who actively supported that drunken, corrupt, warmongering shrew.

Thank all that's holy that we have a genuine anti-war POTUS in office and not either of those two neocons, both of whom were utterly in the pockets of defense contractors.

Unknown January 1, 2019 at 10:02 PM

Thanks for your research on relevant naval law. The Ukrainian vessel is reported to have violated the ongoing protocol by failing to take on a Russian pilot as it transited the strait and an important bridge could potentially have been attacked by those vessels. This was a provocation by Ukraine that seems to have its desired effect on the U.S. Senate. For essential background on the Ukrainian civil war, I recommend reading Stephen F. Cohen's article in the Nation in 2014, titled "Kiev's atrocities and the Silence of the Hawks." https://www.thenation.com/article/kievs-atrocities-and-silence-hawks/

[Dec 27, 2018] Could someone explain to me how exactly was the Soviet Union a serious threat to the US, particularly in 1947?

Dec 27, 2018 | www.unz.com

james charles , says: December 25, 2018 at 9:27 am GMT

"So we go to fallback argument B, which is "containing Iran." "Containment" was a U.S. policy devised by George Kennan in 1947 to inhibit the expansion of a powerful and sometimes aggressive soon-to-be nuclear armed Soviet Union, which was rightly seen as a serious threat."

Seen as a serious threat by some?

"Taken together, these four volumes constitute an extraordinary commentary on a basic weakness in the Soviet system. The Soviets are heavily dependent on Western technology and innovation not only in their civilian industries, but also in their military programs. An inevitable conclusion from the evidence in this book is that we have totally ignored a policy that would enable us to neutralize Soviet global ambitions while simultaneously reducing the defense budget and the tax load on American citizens."

http://www.crowhealingnetwork.net/pdf/Antony%20Sutton%20-%20The%20Best%20Enemy%20Money%20Can%20Buy.pdf

Tony H. , says: December 25, 2018 at 7:06 pm GMT
"Containment" was a U.S. policy devised by George Kennan in 1947 to inhibit the expansion of a powerful and sometimes aggressive soon-to-be nuclear armed Soviet Union, which was rightly seen as a serious threat.

"which was rightly seen as a serious threat." So it was, was it? That's really the beginning of the bullshit in American policy. There were a few naysayers back then, since largely vindicated by the opening of former Soviet archives, who claimed that Stalin's postwar moves were largely defensive in nature and intended to protect the USSR from the talked about US preemptive attack on the Soviet Union. Stalin was well aware of all the loose talk on the American side and his country had just endured the same attempt on the part of Nazi Germany.

EugeneGur , says: December 25, 2018 at 7:08 pm GMT

"Containment" was a U.S. policy devised by George Kennan in 1947 to inhibit the expansion of a powerful and sometimes aggressive soon-to-be nuclear armed Soviet Union, which was rightly seen as a serious threat.

Could someone explain to me how exactly was the Soviet Union a serious threat to the US, particularly in 1947? The country was devastated by the war; some regions suffered from hunger, for goodness' sake; tens of millions were dead or maimed; the worked force was depleted as million of young men were killed, so the economic burden fell on the shoulders of women and teenagers; the cost of housing of people left homeless by the war was staggering; the cost of caring for orphan children, wounded and invalids -- ditto. In contrast, the United States was getting fatter by the minutes having benefited enormously from the war in Europe.

The Soviet Union "sometimes aggressive"? I am not aware of any Soviet plans to attack the US but we all know about the American and British plant to attack the USSR formulated as early as in 1945. No doubts the Soviet leadership was aware of such plans. The Soviets, having witnessed a demonstration staged for their benefits in Japans of the power of nuclear weapons, did everything with one purpose in mind: to prevent an attack, which they were in no position to withstand. Needless to say, the USSR didn't have nuclear weapons at that time but even after it had acquired them, it didn't quite catch up with the US in terms on number until the very end.

It's fair to say that the Soviet Union was never ever a thereat to the US. On the contrary, the US was a threat to the Soviet Union from the fist till the last day of its existence, as it remains a treat to Russia today. The problems with the Americans, even the most reasonable of them (not at all difficult to appear on today's insane background), is that they don't question the entire narrative they are fed but only the bits of it.

annamaria , says: December 25, 2018 at 8:14 pm GMT
@Tony H. George Kennan's attitude towards Russia had evolved throughout the 70s-90s, but this evolution has been carefully obscured by the ziocon warriors and other war-profiteers using the ZUSA resources for their personal enrichment:

With the end of the Cold War, Kennan continued to emphasize the limits of American power and the need for restraint in the exercise of it.

He lived to see the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war and characteristically aimed to influence the role that the United States should play in the new world circumstances.

He objected to plans for North Atlantic Treaty Organization expansion and to what he saw as exploitation of Russian weakness.

https://www.encyclopedia.com/people/history/us-history-biographies/george-kennan

[Dec 24, 2018] How Russia Would Strike Back if America Launches "Dollar" Sanctions by Josh Cohen

The author is a typical rabid neocon, but some paragraphs deserver you attention. Hi accidentally predicted provocation at Kerch bridge...
Notable quotes:
"... Josh Cohen contributes to a number of media outlets including National Interest, Foreign Policy, Reuters, Washington Post and others. ..."
Sep 01, 2018 | nationalinterest.org

In response to proposed Senate legislation that would target Russia's state-controlled banks by freezing their access to dollars -- a step which could genuinely damage the Russian economy -- Moscow issued a new threat. "If we end up we end up with something like a ban on banking activities or the use of certain currencies, we can clearly call this a declaration of economic war," Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev stated , emphasizing that Moscow would "respond to this war. By economic means, by political means and if necessary by other means."

... ... ...

Putin doesn't even need to rely on his military to harm American interests either. He could choose to openly increase economic and political support for North Korea, thereby weakening Washington's ability to pressure North Korea to curtail its nuclear program. Given that North Korea remains on the cusp of being able to reach the continental United States with a ballistic missile this would constitute a significant setback for American interests.

... ... ...

To be clear, Medvedev's threats may be mere bluster, and Moscow could respond to dollar sanctions by hunkering down even further and try to ride out the economic and political storm. However, if harsh sanctions were on the verge of causing the Russian economy to collapse -- especially if this resulted in unrest which threatened the stability of the Putin regime -- Moscow might well end up lashing out in unpredictable ways. American policymakers should be forewarned and prepared.

Josh Cohen contributes to a number of media outlets including National Interest, Foreign Policy, Reuters, Washington Post and others.


Craig 3 months ago ,

There are so many painful places in the US foreign politics: North Korea, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Latin America, North Africa, Yemen. All this weaknesses could be used by the US foes and Russia knows it. I won't be surprised if Russia pushes this weakspots. Yes, the US politicians have to be ready to aggresive and success reaction of Russia. And they have to make an informed decisions. Very cautiously.

Strod 4 months ago ,

Have you seen this Josh? See how Russia retaliates

https://www.americanbanker....

Сергей Александров 4 months ago ,

Can someone cite just one instance of American government imposing "sanctions" on a foreign government where it actually worked to USA interests? Don't cite Iran, Trump scrapped that deal - so much for negotiation with USA - think Boeing happy about all those lost airplane orders?

Vladdy 4 months ago ,

"Russia provoking an armed confrontation in the Sea of Azov" - really? Why the author did not mention that Ukraine made 2(!) acts of piracy against Russian vessels before Russia answered? Vessels "Nord" and "Mehanik Pogodin" are still seized by Ukraine against of law, while Russia inspects vessels in INTERNAL waters of Azov according to law.

Zashel Vladdy 4 months ago ,

Because it is not popular opinion in US massmedia. Ukraine is always right, Russia is always evil. Nobody want to pay you if you defend Russians. But if you will blame them in all sins - you have a chance to recive few dollars from Dems or from military corporations.
If you have another opinion - you are russian troll.

Александр Субботин 4 months ago ,

Inspection of ships in the Azov Sea is carried out in accordance with the agreement on economic activities in the Sea of Azov, Russia and Ukraine signed in 2012, Russia did not inspect Ukrainian ships until 2018, but after threats to blow up the Crimean Bridge, Russia began using the right to inspect all vessels in the Azov Sea seas

Andrey Vladimirovich 4 months ago ,

silly nonsense. The author has a primitive view of Russia

Alex Kuznetsoff 4 months ago ,

In the Ukraine there is a civil war, Russia's involvement in the poisoning of the "former Russian spy" has not been proven by anyone, and the holy belief in "election meddling" looks like a sign of idiocy.

Vorpal Blade 4 months ago ,

Lying and primitive propaganda and not an article ..

Zashel Vorpal Blade 4 months ago ,

I agree with you, too much lie. These american authors live in their own cloud castle which has no relations with reality. Only money from military corporations who need enemy.

R. Arandas 4 months ago ,

You hit me, I hit you...when will this back-and-forth slapping game end? We are all supposed to be grown adults here.

Drinas 4 months ago ,

Many inconsistencies and blatant lies on this article, but I wish to focus on this particular one.
The author claims "Russia provoking an armed confrontation in the Sea of Azov that could serve as a pretext for a significant Russian military escalation in the region -- a step right out of Moscow's 2008 playbook for its war in Georgia."
The 2008 South Ossetia war has been internationally recognized to be instigated by Georgia itself (even the official EU report on the subject admitted this clearly). In what way did Russia provoke the Georgian attack according to the author?
What evidence can he present to support this thesis? Or is he merely lying out of his teeth?

covertbabo Drinas 4 months ago ,

Russia has attacked many countries, including Afghanistan in 1979 and Ukraine in 2014.
Luckily your terrorist colleague Zakharchenko has been dealt with.

Drinas covertbabo 4 months ago ,

Wut?

Vladdy covertbabo 4 months ago ,

Russia never attacked Ukraine. This propaganda bullshit lives only in someones damaged brains and on papers of some mass media.
Zakharcheko never made any terror act. He defended his people from Ukraine nazis, who shelled civil homes, kindergardens and schools from all possible guns. He never harmed any civil human being. Vice versa - Kiev's bandits shell civil citizens of Donbass every day. There is "Alley of angels" in Donetsk - the cemetry of kids killed by Kiev's terrorists.
In 1979 USSR entered Afghanistan by REQUEST OF LEGAL GOVERNEMENT of Afganistan. Because US sponsored and supplied with weapons antigovernment bandits in Afgahnistan. CIA never hided this. And waht do US do today in Syria? Who asked them to kill people and government forces in Syria? And why did US sponsored putch in Kiev in 2014?

Andrey Vladimirovich Drinas 4 months ago ,

The author is a fool by vocation or for money ))

[Nov 22, 2018] Bloomberg: Here's One Measure That Shows Sanctions on Russia are Working

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

et Al November 19, 2018 at 7:15 am

Bloomturd: Here's One Measure That Shows Sanctions on Russia are Working
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-11-16/here-s-one-measure-that-shows-sanctions-on-russia-are-working

Sanctions may have knocked as much as 6 percent off Russia's economy over the past four years and the drag isn't likely to go away anytime soon.

A new study by Bloomberg Economics has found that the economy of the world's biggest energy exporter is more than 10 percent smaller compared with what might have been expected at the end of 2013, before the Crimea crisis triggered wave after wave of restrictions by the U.S. and EU. While some of the blame falls on the slump in oil prices, sanctions are the bigger culprit .

"The underperformance has been much bigger than crude alone can explain," wrote Scott Johnson, an analyst at Bloomberg Economics in London. "Part of the gap is likely to reflect the enduring impact of sanctions both imposed and threatened over the last five years."..

They admit that part of the 6 percent gap could be attributed to other shocks, such as the introduction of inflation targeting and a sell-off in emerging markets
####

More anal-cysts at the link & my extra emphasis not to mention more qualifiers in the article too boot.

Timely 'proof' that USA still runs the world and can punish people? Hardly a surprise but they could have also pointed to not so great EU economic performance and its effect, but what would be the point in that? Is it a) keep the sanction up and Russia will collapse/change its foreign policy etc.? b) no need for more far reaching sanctions that could lead to Boeing/ULA being stranded etc.? c) filler and fluff? d) Bloomturd shilling for business after their Supermicro debacle?

Again, what's the point? What's it trying to prove?

If anything, de-dollarization and accelerating ties with the growing Asia-Pacific region is very good for Russia, even if there is some initial short term pain inflicted by others. If I do have a problem with Russia, it is that it seems to be cautious and then reactionary by nature – or is this more institutionally safe behavior?

kirill November 19, 2018 at 7:39 am
I smell GDP growth shenanigans at GKS. Hellevig had a piece earlier that debunked the claim of a 1.3% GDP growth in the first quarter of 2018 and estimated that it was closer to 6%. He was a bit too optimistic but the point is that 1.5% annual GDP growth (roughly 6%/4years) is falling through the cracks and likely deliberately.

I believe Putin introduced a misinformation campaign late in his first term in regards to GDP growth in Russia to keep NATzO confused about Russia's resurgence. The CIA was not doing a good job estimating the Russian GDP, so Putin could fake the numbers and NATzO triumphalists would lap them up with glee. I think this policy was smart and actually worked. That is why in 2014 Obama was certain the Russia's economy would collapse from the sanctions. Read the articles in the NATzO MSM from 2014 and even through 2017 which assumed that massive damage to Russia's economy was a given.

By keeping NATzO ignorant of Russia's actual potential, it could re-arm and regroup in peace. I think it would have been bad for Russia if the events of 2014 happened in 2004. In 2004, the Russian defense industry physical plant was still in sad shape and collapsing. This condition was basically rectified by 2014. And Russia was also able to deploy its new hypersonic wunderwaffen. Anyone who thinks such machinations are tin foil hat nonsense does not know the history leading up to WWII. The USSR managed to delay the attack of the Nazis by 2 years which allowed it to increase its military potential by 40% and to move defense factories to the Urals.

Today Putin is pretending that NATzO sanctions are actually working when it is patently obvious that they are not. This is ***physically*** apparent in Russia as import substitution occurs on a massive scale. Since every dollar imports saved amounts to two dollars of domestic production (one for local production and one for not exporting the dollar and incurring a negative GDP accounting penalty) Russia's GDP growth should be over 4%. But you would think that nothing was happening in terms of import substitution and that Russia's economy was running cool and near recession. The employment statistics show that this is not the reality. If the economy was near stagnation, the unemployment rate would go up. Low unemployment occurs when the economy runs hot.

The way that Russia's GDP statistics are skewed is through the official CPI and PPI. Nabiullina at the CBR claims that Russia is has serious inflationary instability. That is why the prime rate is over three times the actual CPI (7.5% vs 2.3%). I have posted before why there is no evidence of 1970s style South American inflation in Russia given the extremely short lived inflation spike after the late 2014 ruble forex devaluation; the spike was force-damped and did not have any recurring peaks after the initial one. Under real inflationary conditions a 7.5% prime rate would do didley squat and, in fact, there is no magic prime rate that controls the inflation. If it is set too high, the inflation actually increases. Also, if Russia's economy was running cool there would not be any need for a 7.5% rate since it would push the economy into a recession. So reality indicates that Russia's economy is actually running hot and this has some inflationary pressure but also means that 1.3% GDP growth numbers are BS.

et Al November 19, 2018 at 8:22 am
Today Putin is pretending that NATzO sanctions are actually working when it is patently obvious that they are not.

I suspect that he is not the only one. There's a whole host of other sanctions that the West has studiously avoided putting on Russia because of the damage that would be done to itself, not to mention that it would always like to have a few extra sanctions to dangle publicly/privately or both at will.

Vis the Bloomturd report, do they expect someone to pay for it? When you click on the link to the 'report' you get:

The article you requested is only available for Bloomberg Professional Service subscribers.

The article you requested is only available for Bloomberg Professional Service subscribers.
####

Uh-huh. Who exactly is their target audience again?

Eric November 20, 2018 at 5:02 pm
"I believe Putin introduced a misinformation campaign late in his first term in regards to GDP growth in Russia to keep NATzO confused about Russia's resurgence."

Well, you could be right with this , Kirill.

Belarus, Armenia ( near 10%) and Kyrgyzstan( countries with economies interlinked heavily with Russia's of course) all had very strong growth in their economies in the last year. Russia as the mother economy for those countries would be expected to have a lesser but still significant growth figures like 3-4%.
Other things like improved health and rapidly improving crime statistics in Russia, plus public spending could further support your theory ( nearly 60 trillion roubles for the next 3 years is allocated). On the other hand salaries going up is what is needed to substantiate your theory.

kirill November 20, 2018 at 5:28 pm
Salaries are determined by what the market perceives. If the Russian government and CBR are spreading a fake image of Russia's economic health, then that will have negative consequences. The choice is between those negative consequences and the neo-Reich lunatics who are openly baying for war on Russia.
davidt November 19, 2018 at 4:45 pm
GNP is undoubtedly a fairly crude indicator of the health of an economy- I am a little surprised that both GNP and the size of FIRE are not routinely published. Here is an interesting bar graph giving some detail as to how the Russian economy managed in 2015-2016

People like Andrei Martyanov (smoothieX12) argue that the (real) US economy is much smaller than customarily claimed, whilst the Russian economy is much larger. I have copied the above graph from a comment by smoothieX12 to his article
http://smoothiex12.blogspot.com/2018/11/it-begins-to-sink-finally-but-too-late.html
Mark Chapman November 19, 2018 at 6:04 pm
Interesting. I would have thought there was much more growth in Russian agriculture than that, but maybe some of the self-sufficiency efforts are still in their early stages, or perhaps domestic sales are harder to track for effect. Anyway, it puts paid to the nonsense that American sanctions are crushing the Russian economy.

[Nov 22, 2018] This calls to mind Russia's deal with Iran, in which Russia will trade food, medicines and what necessities Iran desires but which American-imposed sanctions make difficult to obtain, for Iranian oil and gas which Russia will use domestically.

Nov 22, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman November 18, 2018 at 5:59 pm

This calls to mind Russia's deal with Iran, in which Russia will trade food, medicines and what necessities Iran desires but which American-imposed sanctions make difficult to obtain, for Iranian oil and gas which Russia will use domestically. Countries are reverting to the barter system to nullify US sanctions in a way that does not use currency flow the USA might try to interdict or confiscate. No actual money changes hands, so America can snoop on SWIFT to its heart's content without seeing evidence of promising targets. Striking, too, is the prevalence of real sympathy for Iran and an evident desire to help it with its problems. The USA has apparently bitten off more than it can chew here, and several nations are openly flouting its rules. If America cannot think of a way to come down hard on them, their example may become contagious.

[Nov 02, 2018] The US is using every tool to destabilize russia and change the goverment into Yeltsin style comprador elite

Nov 02, 2018 | www.wsws.org

Kalen Blaine8 months ago

Hitler and Napoleon learned that it is impossible to conquer Russia size of continent of militarily impossible weather with now a network of underground fortifications, tunnels that cannot be nuked.

There is no conquering Russia with measly million soldiers west could at best deploy for their sure deaths. Hence no western strategist plan for that and so the idea of Russia responding to conventional attack with nuke was a propaganda aim to end the conversation about that absurd, no sides really considers, but is used to spread fear.

US may attack Russia with nukes but no strategic goal would be achieved by that while retaliation would have been devastating.

Even conventional attack on Russia is absurd. Poland 50k 5k offensive capability, All Baltic states 10k, Slovakia 5k, Hungary 9k facing what?

Russian allies: Donbas rebels 40k war hardened rebel soldiers would be hard to beat; Belarus 250k highly trained soldiers, fully integrated Air, Space, Ground and electronic warfare with all newest Russian toys, while entire army of 2 millions. Russia 3-5 million military can call at least 10 millions will maintain air and space superiority over their territory , digged in while invaders are exposed.

There is will be no invasion of Russia only intimidation of the elites to submit to US political and economic dictates. Also there is no conquering China as well. Not possible.

The only nuke war can occur when global elite will be losing grip on power and going down in flames in socialist revolution and only to take entire humanity with them to hell.

Blaine OL8 months ago
If faced with an existential conventional attack, Russian doctrine calls for nuclear response. It would be silly to think they'd limit it to low yield missiles in staging areas in E Europe. They WILL hit continental US and the Pentagon whizkids know this.

The US is using every tool to destabilize them for a change of government, and all the provocations to now are not on a scale of all out war. It does serve to build a compelling narrative that allows no discussion when laws are finally passed limiting freedom of information and association.

The US citizen is the real target here.

OL Blaine8 months ago
I see it as the real target being all the natural resources and cheap but skilled labor in the former USSR (on top of bringing down a competitor), and the US population just stading in the way because they're not brainwashed enough for the generals taste.
The capitalist economies can't work in autarchy, they need to get more markets, they need to bring down competitors. or they fall themselves, If you place the control of the population at the top of their priorities, how do you explain the invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq etc ? How do you explain the mamoth military budget ? is it just in case a whole US city turns communist and they need to reduce it to ashes ?
Blaine OL8 months ago
First they would have to make sure the rest of the country didn't learn about the one that went communist. Then instead of reducing it to ashes they would use the association trees they have built tracking internet and social media to identify and round up the ringleaders. Rest of the country might never even know what had happened between partial blackouts and misinformation.

Don't get me wrong, the US would love to replace partial state control of key Russian industries with Western banking interests and have a free hand with the natural resources. This is certainly the long term plan. But...in the near term they have to reestablish control of the narrative.

The military budget is wealth transfer to folks who enjoy and agitate for any war. Afghanistan was about military contracts, hydrocarbons and opium, the Taliban had to go. Iraq (and Syria) are a problem for Israel - problem solved. Libya was setting up an alternative banking system and possessed attractive gold reserves.

OL Blaine8 months ago
Afghanistan was a good occasion for military contracts, but hydrocarbons of the whole region, (especially the project for a pipeline through the caspian sea that Russia and Iran opposed), were a bigger reason.

Why israel so important to the US ? because the resources of the whole region, and because they could threaten the suez canal.

etc

[Oct 25, 2018] Putin jokes with Bolton: Did the eagle eaten all the olives

Highly recommended!
John Bolton suffers a crippling shortage of olives.
Notable quotes:
"... "As far as I remember, the US coat of arms features a bald eagle that holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in another, which is a symbol of a peace-loving policy," ..."
"... "I have a question," ..."
"... "Looks like your eagle has already eaten all the olives; are the arrows all that is left?" ..."
Oct 25, 2018 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Meeting with US national security adviser John Bolton in Moscow, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a comment about Washington's hostility that went right over the hawkish diplomat's head. "As far as I remember, the US coat of arms features a bald eagle that holds 13 arrows in one talon and an olive branch in another, which is a symbol of a peace-loving policy," Putin said in a meeting with Bolton in Moscow on Tuesday.

"I have a question," the Russian president added. "Looks like your eagle has already eaten all the olives; are the arrows all that is left?"

boz , October 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

The Saker has the transcript of Putin's comments at a recent plenary in Sochi, small snippets of which have already appeared in the media.

http://thesaker.is/president-putin-meeting-of-the-valdai-international-discussion-club-2/

About 15-20 minutes to get through (the facilitator seems like a bit of a wet blanket), but fascinating to read, if like me, most of what you hear about Putin has been filtered through the MSM.

A couple of reflections:

Putin does detail. He is courteous and patient. He is highly pragmatic and appears to be widely (and, for my money, effectively) briefed.

Olga , October 23, 2018 at 5:33 pm

For those of us lucky enough to follow VVP in his native language – it is indeed a delight. (And – mind you – it was only after I took the time to follow him in his native language that I was able to appreciate this person and his leadership abilities. If one follows him through NYT – no chance that would give one an accurate picture.)
He is erudite, informed, and has a wicked sense of humour, as shown in this clip:
https://www.rt.com/news/442068-putin-olives-eagle-bolton/

[Oct 21, 2018] Russian Deputy FM Ludicrous 'meddling' charges an excuse for more sanctions and to play 'Russia card' ahead of midterm elections

Oct 21, 2018 | www.sott.net

Washington is concocting ludicrous charges against a Russian national for alleged election meddling merely to find reasons for new sanctions and to play the 'Russia card' ahead of the midterms, a top Kremlin official has warned.

The US is bringing up "ludicrous accusations" with a "laughable 'body of proof'" simply to slap Moscow with a new round of sanctions, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in a statement on Saturday. He added that "certain" US politicians hope to use charges against Russia to gain the upper hand in "interparty brawls" ahead of the midterm elections, slated for November 6.

Ryabkov made his remarks after the US Department of Justice officially leveled charges against Russian national Elena Khusyaynova, who allegedly served as the chief accountant for 'Project Lakhta.' The officials suspect her of handling the funds used to pay online trolls for posting comments to "sow discord in the US political system," and to "undermine faith" in US democracy. These alleged activities were part of what Washington calls Russian strategic efforts to meddle in the 2016 US presidential race and as well as the upcoming midterms.

... ... ...

Russian official Ryabkov dismissed the charges as "flagrant lies" and yet another element of the "shameful slanderous campaign" unleashed by Washington against Moscow.

"The US clearly overestimates its capabilities," the deputy foreign minister said.

"While exhibiting hostility towards Russia and looking down on the whole world, they will only meet tougher pushback."

[Oct 09, 2018] US Russia Sanctions Are 'A Colossal Strategic Mistake', Putin Warns

Oct 09, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of making a "colossal" but "typical" mistake by exploiting the dominance of the dollar by levying economic sanctions against regimes that don't bow to its whims.

"It seems to me that our American partners make a colossal strategic mistake," Putin said.

"This is a typical mistake of any empire," Putin said, explaining that the US is ignoring the consequences of its actions because its economy is strong and the dollar's hegemonic grasp on global markets remains intact. However "the consequences come sooner or later."

These remarks echoed a sentiment expressed by Putin back in May, when he said that Russia can no longer trust the US dollar because of America's decisions to impose unilateral sanctions and violate WTO rules.

... ... ...

With the possibility of being cut off from the dollar system looming, a plan prepared by Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian bank VTB, is being embraced by much of the Russian establishment. Kostin's plan would facilitate the conversion of dollar settlements into other currencies which would help wean Russian industries off the dollar. And it already has the backing of Russia's finance ministry, central bank and Putin.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is also working on deals with major trading partners to accept the Russian ruble for imports and exports.

In a sign that a united front is forming to help undermine the dollar, Russia's efforts have been readily embraced by China and Turkey, which is unsurprising, given their increasingly fraught relationships with the US. During joint military exercises in Vladivostok last month, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that their countries would work together to counter US tariffs and sanctions.

"More and more countries, not only in the east but also in Europe, are beginning to think about how to minimise dependence on the US dollar," said Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's spokesperson. "And they suddenly realise that a) it is possible, b) it needs to be done and c) you can save yourself if you do it sooner."

[Oct 04, 2018] US Sanctions Against Russia Are A Colossal Strategic Mistake, Putin Warns

Oct 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

US Sanctions Against Russia Are "A Colossal Strategic Mistake", Putin Warns

by Tyler Durden Thu, 10/04/2018 - 07:20 3 SHARES

As Russia is preparing plans to wean its banking system off the dollar, advancing a trend of de-dollarization among the US's largest economic and geopolitical rivals, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Washington of making a "colossal" but "typical" mistake by exploiting the dominance of the dollar by levying economic sanctions against regimes that don't bow to its whims.

"It seems to me that our American partners make a colossal strategic mistake," Putin said.

"This is a typical mistake of any empire," Putin said, explaining that the US is ignoring the consequences of its actions because its economy is strong and the dollar's hegemonic grasp on global markets remains intact. However "the consequences come sooner or later."

These remarks echoed a sentiment expressed by Putin back in May, when he said that Russia can no longer trust the US dollar because of America's decisions to impose unilateral sanctions and violate WTO rules.

While Putin's criticisms are hardly new, these latest remarks happen to follow a report in the Financial Times, published Tuesday night, detailing Russia's efforts to wean its economy off of the dollar. The upshot is that while de-dollarization may be painful, it is, ultimately doable.

The US imposed another round of sanctions against Russia over the summer in response to the poisoning of former double-agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia, and the US Senate is considering measures that would effectively cut Russia's biggest banks off from the dollar and largely exclude Moscow from foreign debt markets.

With the possibility of being cut off from the dollar system looming, a plan prepared by Andrei Kostin, the head of Russian bank VTB, is being embraced by much of the Russian establishment. Kostin's plan would facilitate the conversion of dollar settlements into other currencies which would help wean Russian industries off the dollar. And it already has the backing of Russia's finance ministry, central bank and Putin.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin is also working on deals with major trading partners to accept the Russian ruble for imports and exports.

In a sign that a united front is forming to help undermine the dollar, Russia's efforts have been readily embraced by China and Turkey, which is unsurprising, given their increasingly fraught relationships with the US. During joint military exercises in Vladivostok last month, Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping declared that their countries would work together to counter US tariffs and sanctions.

"More and more countries, not only in the east but also in Europe, are beginning to think about how to minimise dependence on the US dollar," said Dmitry Peskov, Mr Putin's spokesperson. "And they suddenly realise that a) it is possible, b) it needs to be done and c) you can save yourself if you do it sooner."

Still, there's no question that US sanctions have damaged Russia's currency and contributed to a rise in borrowing costs. And whether Russia - which relies heavily on energy exports - can convince buyers of its oil and natural gas to accept payment in rubles remains an open question. Increased trade with China and other Asian countries has helped reduce Russia's dependence on the dollar. But the greenback still accounted for 68% of Russia's payment inflow.

But, as Putin has repeatedly warned, that won't stop them from trying. The fact is that Russia is a major exporter, with a trade surplus of $115 billion last year. As the FT pointed out, Russia's metals, grain, oil and gas are consumed around the world - even in the west, despite the tensions surrounding Russia's alleged involvement in the Skripal poisoning and its annexation of Crimea.

To be sure, abandoning the dollar as the currency of choice for oil-related payments would be no easy feat. But China has already taken the first step and show that it can be done by launching a yuan-denominated futures contract that trades in Shanghai - striking the most significant blow to date against the petrodollar's previously unchallenged dominance.

That should embolden Putin to continue with his experiment - not that the US is leaving him much choice.

[Oct 02, 2018] War time propaganda serves for the USA elite as a tool to contain/constrain discontent of allies and citizenry as they attempt to damage or destroy the Russian and Chinese economies.

Notable quotes:
"... Along these lines, the Trump Administration has informed Russia in April 2017 that the period of "strategic patience" is over (well, at least official 'cause being 'patient' didn't seem to deter regime change and covert ops) . They now employ a policy of "maximum pressure" instead. ..."
"... Also note: The Trump Administration has officially labeled Russia and China as enemies when they called them "recidivist" nations in the National Defense Authorization Act in late 2017. (Note: "recidivist" because Russia and China want to return to a world where there is not a hegemonic power, aka a "multi-polar" world). ..."
"... we're already within an ongoing Hybrid Third World War, which is more readily apparent with Trump's Trade War escalation. ..."
"... the "real" US economy is only 5 Trillion, only 25% of what's claimed as the total economy ..."
"... at's clearly happening--and it's been ongoing for quite awhile--for those with open eyes is the Class War between the 1% and 99%. The domestic battle within the Outlaw US Empire for Single Payer/Medicare For All healthcare is one theatre of the much larger ongoing war. ..."
"... Clearly, the upcoming financial crisis must spark a massive political upheaval larger than any ever seen before to prevent institution of the 2008 "solution." ..."
"... The primary dynamic of history is war. This has caused immense suffering. It is now becoming exponentially worse ..."
"... If we think of humankind as a large complex living entity, then like all such entities it will expire at some point. So in the larger picture, what we are moving towards is natural, and to be expected. ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Sally Snyder , Oct 2, 2018 12:26:42 PM | link

Here is a detailed look at what the United States is getting for its $700 billion defense budget:

https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/09/voting-for-war.html

It is rather surprising that the Democrats who have demonized Donald Trump at every turn have voted in favour of the this extremely bloated defense budget, putting even more military might into the hands of a President and Commander-in-Chief that they seem to despise and who they are demonizing because of his alleged collusion with Russia.

m , Oct 2, 2018 1:33:28 PM | link

Speaking of WWIII...
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/10/02/us-switching-ukraine-location-start-world-war-iii-against-russia.html
Mike Maloney , Oct 2, 2018 1:55:09 PM | link
We've been in WW3 for several years now. Bolton went "Full Monty" with his declaration that U.S. forces will stay in Syria until Iran vacates. The introduction of a Yemen War Powers Resolution in the House last week is a hopeful sign. A reason to root for a Blue Wave in November. Dem leadership, already on record backing the War Powers Resolution, would be obligated to block U.S. enabling genocide in Yemen.
Jackrabbit , Oct 2, 2018 2:25:59 PM | link
m @9

I disagree with Eric Zusse's belief that USA wants to start WWIII. I think they want to contain/constrain discontent of allies and citizenry as they attempt to destroy the Russian and Chinese economies. War is only a last resort. But heightened military tensions mean that the major protagonists have to divert resources to their military, causing a drag on the economies.

Along these lines, the Trump Administration has informed Russia in April 2017 that the period of "strategic patience" is over (well, at least official 'cause being 'patient' didn't seem to deter regime change and covert ops) . They now employ a policy of "maximum pressure" instead.

The big concern for me is that "maximum pressure" also means an elevated chance of mistakes and miscalculations that could inadvertently cause WWIII.

Also note: The Trump Administration has officially labeled Russia and China as enemies when they called them "recidivist" nations in the National Defense Authorization Act in late 2017. (Note: "recidivist" because Russia and China want to return to a world where there is not a hegemonic power, aka a "multi-polar" world).

PS IMO Trump election and the Kavanaugh and Gina Haspel nominations are key to the pursuit of global hegemony.

karlof1 , Oct 2, 2018 3:02:57 PM | link
Most warnings have centered on a financial meltdown, as this article reviews . As most know, IMO we're already within an ongoing Hybrid Third World War, which is more readily apparent with Trump's Trade War escalation.

As noted in my link to Escobar's latest, the EU has devised a retaliatory mechanism to shield itself and others from the next round of illegal sanctions Trump's promised to impose after Mid-term elections.

In an open thread post, I linked to Hudson's latest audio-cast; here's what he said on the 10th anniversary of the 2008 crash: "So this crash of 2008 was not a crash of the banks. The banks were bailed out. The economy was left with all the junk mortgages in place, all the fraudulent debts."

Another article I linked to in a comment to james averred the "real" US economy is only 5 Trillion, only 25% of what's claimed as the total economy . Hudson again: "Contrary to the idea that bailing out the banks helps the economy, the fact is that the economy today cannot recover without a bank failure ." [My emphasis]

Wh at's clearly happening--and it's been ongoing for quite awhile--for those with open eyes is the Class War between the 1% and 99%. The domestic battle within the Outlaw US Empire for Single Payer/Medicare For All healthcare is one theatre of the much larger ongoing war.

As Hudson's stated many times, the goal of the 1% is to reestablish Feudalism via debt-peonage. All the other happenings geopolitically serve to mask this Class War within the Outlaw US Empire. Clearly, the upcoming financial crisis must spark a massive political upheaval larger than any ever seen before to prevent institution of the 2008 "solution." Many predict that this crisis will be timed to occur in 2020 constituting the biggest election meddling of all time.

The crisis will likely be blamed on China without any evidence for hacking Wall Street and causing the subsequent crash -- a Financial False Flag to serve the same purpose as 911.

karlof1 , Oct 2, 2018 3:44:26 PM | link
james @16--

Much can occur and be obscured during wartime. The radical changes to USA from 1938-1948 is very instructive--the commonfolk were on the threshold of gaining control over the federal government for the first time in US history only to have it blocked then reversed (forever?) by FDR and the 1% who tried to overthrow him in 1933.

Same with the current War OF Terror's use to curtail longstanding civil liberties and constitutional rights and much more. To accomplish what's being called "Bail-In" within the USA, Martial Law would need to be emplaced since most of the public is to be robbed of whatever cash they have, and World War would probably be the only way to get Martial Law instituted--and accepted by the military which would be its enforcer.

A precedent exists for stealing money from the people--their gold--via Executive Order 6102 , which used a law instituted during WW1 and still on the books.

mike k , Oct 2, 2018 3:51:45 PM | link
The primary dynamic of history is war. This has caused immense suffering. It is now becoming exponentially worse . Critical graphs are going off their charts. The end is near.

If we think of humankind as a large complex living entity, then like all such entities it will expire at some point. So in the larger picture, what we are moving towards is natural, and to be expected.

Like individual humans, the human population as a whole can pursue activities that maintain it's health, or it can indulge in activities that create disease and hasten it's death. Humankind is deep in toxifying behaviors that signal it's demise in the near future.

[Sep 29, 2018] Washington's Sanctions Machine by Philip Giraldi

Notable quotes:
"... According to media reports, the Chinese Department purchased the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's principal arms exporter. This violated a 2017 law passed by Congress named, characteristically, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which sought to punish the Russian government and its various agencies for interfering in in the 2016 US election as well as its alleged involvement in Ukraine, Syria and its development of cyberwar capabilities. Iran and North Korea were also targeted in the legislation. ..."
"... Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation . ..."
Sep 27, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org
Perhaps it is Donald Trump's business background that leads him to believe that if you inflict enough economic pain on someone they will ultimately surrender and agree to do whatever you want. Though that approach might well work in New York real estate, it is not a certain path to success in international relations since countries are not as vulnerable to pressure as are individual investors or developers.

Washington's latest foray into the world of sanctions, directed against China, is astonishing even when considering the low bar that has been set by previous presidents going back to Bill Clinton. Beijing has already been pushing back over US sanctions imposed last week on its government-run Equipment Development Department of the Chinese Central Military Commission and its director Li Shangfu for "engaging in significant transactions" with a Russian weapons manufacturer that is on a list of US sanctioned companies. The transactions included purchases of Russian Su-35 combat aircraft as well as equipment related to the advanced S-400 surface-to-air missile system. The sanctions include a ban on the director entering the United States and blocks all of his property or bank accounts within the US as well as freezing all local assets of the Equipment Development Department.

More important, the sanctions also forbid conducting any transactions that go through the US financial system. It is the most powerful weapon Washington has at its disposal, but it is being challenged as numerous countries are working to find ways around it. Currently however, as most international transactions are conducted in dollars and pass through American banks that means that it will be impossible for the Chinese government to make weapons purchases from many foreign sources. If foreign banks attempt to collaborate with China to evade the restrictions, they too will be sanctioned.

So in summary, Beijing bought weapons from Moscow and is being sanctioned by the United States for doing so because Washington does not approve of the Russian government. The sanctions on China are referred to as secondary sanctions in that they are derivative from the primary sanction on the foreign company or individual that is actually being punished. Secondary sanctions can be extended ad infinitum as transgressors linked sequentially to the initial transaction multiply the number of potential targets.

Not surprisingly, the US Ambassador has been summoned and Beijing has canceled several bilateral meetings with American defense department officials. The Chinese government has expressed "outrage" and has demanded the US cancel the measure.

According to media reports, the Chinese Department purchased the weapons from Rosoboronexport, Russia's principal arms exporter. This violated a 2017 law passed by Congress named, characteristically, the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which sought to punish the Russian government and its various agencies for interfering in in the 2016 US election as well as its alleged involvement in Ukraine, Syria and its development of cyberwar capabilities. Iran and North Korea were also targeted in the legislation.

Explaining the new sanctions, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert issued a statement elaborating that the initial sanctions on Russia were enacted "to further impose costs on the Russian government in response to its malign activities." She added that the US will "urge all countries to curtail relationships with Russia's defense and intelligence sectors, both of which are linked to malign activities worldwide."

As engaging in "malign activities" is a charge that should quite plausibly be leveled against Washington and its allies in the Middle East, it is not clear if anyone but the French and British poodles actually believes the rationalizations coming out of Washington to defend the indefensible. An act to "Counter America's Adversaries Through Sanctions" is, even as the title implies, ridiculous. Washington is on a sanctions spree. Russia has been sanctioned repeatedly since the passage of the fraudulent Magnitsky Act, with no regard for Moscow's legitimate protests that interfering in other countries' internal politics is unacceptable. China is currently arguing reasonably enough that arms sales between countries is perfect legal and in line with international law.

Iran has been sanctioned even through it complied with an international agreement on its nuclear program and new sanctions were even piled on top of the old sanctions. And in about five weeks the US will be sanctioning ANYONE who buys oil from Iran, reportedly with no exceptions allowed. Venezuela is under US sanctions to punish its government, NATO member Turkey because it bought weapons from Russia and the Western Hemisphere perennial bad boy Cuba has had various embargoes in place since 1960.

It should be noted that sanctions earn a lot of ill-will and generally accomplish nothing. Cuba would likely be a fairly normal country but for the US restrictions and other pressure that gave its government the excuse to maintain a firm grip on power. The same might even apply to North Korea. And sanctions are even bad for the United States. Someday, when the US begins to lose its grip on the world economy all of those places being sanctioned will line up to get their revenge and it won't be pretty.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Sep 15, 2018] The cutting off of water supplies to the Crimea

Sep 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile September 13, 2018 at 11:54 pm

Further to the criminal act perpetrated by the Ukrainian government, namely the cutting off of water supplies to the Crimea, one has to admit that as regards this matter the foreign minister of the Ukraine, Pavel Klmkin, is one obnoxious little twat:

Це не Україна відрізала Крим від води, це зробила Росія, силою відрізавши Крим від України. Сама по собі окупація Криму є страхітливим порушенням міжнародного права і людських прав усіх кримчан.

It is not the Ukraine that has cut off the Crimea from water: Russia did it, by its cutting off of the Crimea from the Ukraine by force. In its own right, the occupation of the Crimea is a terrible violation of international law and the rights of all Crimeans.

James lake September 14, 2018 at 2:32 am
Do the Crimeans have water?

If they do – then it's not such a great victory for Ukraine

Moscow Exile September 14, 2018 at 4:08 am
Yes, and they have desalination plants. The water from the canal that runs from Kherson is chiefly for irrigation. When they first closed the sluice in the Ukraine, the Crimea harvest suffered. No doubt Crimea-Tatar farmers were very pleased about this.

Water Resources of the Crimea

Crimean water resources are limited, failing to fully meet the drinking and economic needs of the region. Over 50 years, the problems of water resources in Crimea were solved by using Dnieper water supplied through North-Crimean Canal; however, after the integration of Crimea into Russia, Ukraine suspended water supply. At the aggravation of political situation between Russia and Ukraine, the situation in the water-management sphere in the Republic of Crimea looks very complicated. The water-management problems of Crimea should be solved based on its own potential. Groundwater resources are the leading factor of sustainable development of Crimean Region at the present stage.

Jen September 14, 2018 at 4:36 am
My understanding is that in 2015, Russian geologists discovered three aquifers in Crimean territory so pipelines have been built to connect the aquifers to the North Crimean Canal and to supply water to people living in eastern Crimea near Kerch.
https://sputniknews.com/russia/201504041020474871/#ixzz3WNLsZ6sG
Mark Chapman September 14, 2018 at 8:57 am
Right. Indulging the will of the very great majority of Crimeans is a terrible violation of international law, and that same population consequently deserves to be without water even though the supply they depended upon comes from Ukraine. Pull the other one, Pavlo. Not even a day-one civil-rights lawyer would buy that argument. The west has never contested that the decision of Crimeans to sever their ties to Ukraine was that of the majority – not really, It has danced around with that voting-at-the-point-of-a-Kalashnikov bullshit, but the vote was not even close. If there were a do-over with the strictest supervision of western officials, and Kuh-yiv itself got to write the referendum question, Crimea would still vote to secede, and the west knows it. If it was such a loyal part of Ukraine before, why was it the autonomous republic of Crimea?

The Ukraine-Crimea affair should stand as a textbook example of how the country that lost territory did absolutely everything wrong in its attempts to get it back.

[Sep 14, 2018] British Are In Flight Forward, Frantic to Save the Empire

Sep 06, 2018 | larouchepac.com
Prime Minister Teresa May took to the floor of the Parliament today to report that the Crown Prosecution Service and Police had issued warrants for two Russian GRU officials who, they claim, had carried out the Skripal attacks last March. "We were right," she said with a stiff upper lip, "to say in March that the Russian State was responsible." Mugshots were released of two people whose names, she declared, were aliases (how they know they are GRU officials if they don't know their names was not explained). "This chemical weapon attack on our soil was part of a wider pattern of Russian behavior that persistently seeks to undermine our security and that of our allies around the world," she intoned.

At the same time, dire warnings have been issued to Syria and Russia that there will be a major military response if Syria uses chemical weapons in Idlib. This is despite the fact that Russia has presented the proof to the OPCW and to the UN that the British intelligence-linked Olive security outfit and the British-sponsored White Helmet terrorists have prepared a false flag chlorine attack in Idlib, to be blamed on the Syrian government, to trigger such a military atrocity by the US and the UK.

Also at the same time, in the US, Washington Post fraudster Bob Woodward released a book claiming that numerous Trump cabinet officials made wildly slanderous statements about Trump -- all third hand from anonymous sources, of course. Chief of Staff John Kelly called the claims "total BS," while Secretary of State Jim Mattis called it typical Washington DC fiction, adding that "the idea that I would show contempt for the elected Commander-in-Chief, President Trump, or tolerate disrespect to the office of the President from within our Department of Defense, is a product of someone's rich imagination."

Worse, the New York Times, apparently for the first time, printed an "anonymous" op-ed by someone claiming to be a "senior official in the Trump administration whose identity is known to us," under the title: "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration -- I work for the president but like-minded colleagues and I have vowed to thwart parts of his agenda and his worst inclinations." Whether this person is or is not who they claim to be, it is clearly part of the British coup attempt, as proven in the op-ed itself. After calling Trump amoral, unhinged, and more, and claiming there is discussion within the Administration of using the 25th Amendment to remove him for mental incompetence, it then states: "Take foreign policy: In public and in private, President Trump shows a preference for autocrats and dictators, such as President Vladimir Putin of Russia and North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, and displays little genuine appreciation for the ties that bind us to allied, like-minded nations [read: the United Kingdom - ed.]. Astute observers have noted, though, that the rest of the administration is operating on another track, one where countries like Russia are called out for meddling and punished accordingly, and where allies around the world are engaged as peers rather than ridiculed as rivals. On Russia, for instance, the president was reluctant to expel so many of Mr. Putin's spies as punishment for the poisoning of a former Russian spy in Britain. He complained for weeks about senior staff members letting him get boxed into further confrontation with Russia, and he expressed frustration that the United States continued to impose sanctions on the country for its malign behavior. But his national security team knew better such actions had to be taken, to hold Moscow accountable."

And, while news about the British drive for war with Russia and their attempted coup against the government of the United States fills the airwaves and the press, not a single word -- repeat, not a single word -- has been reported in the US or British media about the truly historic conference which took place on Monday and Tuesday in Beijing, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAP). Helga Zepp-LaRouche declared this week that this event will be recognized in history as the end of the era of colonialism and neo-colonialism. Every African nation except one was represented at the conference in Beijing (the "one" was Swaziland, the last holdout on the African continent which still maintains diplomatic relations with Taiwan rather than Beijing).

All but six were represented their head of state. They reviewed the transformation taking place across Africa due to the Belt and Road Initiative since the last FOCAP meeting in 2015, and laid out plans for the even more rapid development over the next three years, and on to 2063 -- the target year for full modernization over 50 years, adopted by the African Union in 2013. One after another the leaders of the African nations described the actual liberation taking place, finally seeing in China the example that real development and the escape from poverty is possible. The program launched at the 1955 Asian-African Conference in Bandung, Indonesia, where the formerly colonized nations met for the first time without their colonial masters, has finally been realized.

But no one reading the western press would even know that this transformative event had taken place.

Rather, there is only the new McCarthyism, trying to demonize Russia and China, to revive the "enemy image" which should have been eliminated with the fall of the Soviet Union and the recognition of the People's Republic of China.

Trump threatens this new McCarthyism, insisting that America should be friends with Russia and China. No longer will the U.S. accept Lord Palmerston's imperial dictate for the Empire, that "nations have no permanent friends or allies, only permanent interests." The "special relationship" is to be no more.

This is the cause of Theresa May's hysterical rant today in the Parliament. Better war, led by the "dumb giant" America, than to see the Empire destroyed in a world united through a shared vision of universal development.

Britain's drive for war must be exposed and stopped, along with their Russiagate coup attempt in the US. A victory for the common aims of mankind is within our grasp, but the danger is great, and the time is short.

[Sep 02, 2018] Is a 'Suez' Event Being Prepared for Syria by ALASTAIR CROOKE

Sep 01, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

So, the metamorphosis is done. President Trump has finally, fully, shed his 2016 Campaign 'skin' of loosely imagining a grand foreign policy bargain that could be the foundation for "WORLD PEACE, nothing less!" as Trump tweeted when imposing sanctions on Iran. We wrote, on 3 August, quoting Prof Russell-Mead, that Trump's '8 May metamorphosis' (the US exit from JCPOA), constituted a step-change of direction: one that reflected "[Trump's] instincts, telling him that most Americans are anything but eager, for a "post-American" world. Trump's supporters don't want long wars, "but neither are they amenable to a stoic acceptance of national decline".

It all began, very precisely, with Trump's '8 May metamorphosis' - which is to say, to the moment when the US president definitively took the Israeli 'line': exiting from the Iranian nuclear accord, deciding to sanction and to lay siege to Iran's economy, and when he endorsed the (old, never materialized) idea of a Sunni 'Arab NATO', led by Riyadh, that would confront Shi'a Iran.

In practical terms, Trump's Art of the Deal geo-strategy, as we now see, became thus transformed into the search for radical US leverage (through weaponising a strong dollar and tariffs) -- looking always to the means to force the capitulation of the counter-party. This cannot be rightly termed negotiation: It is rather, more as if the script has been lifted from The Godfather.

But, when Trump unreservedly took the Israeli (or, more properly the Netanyahu) 'line', he assumed to himself all 'the baggage' that comes with it, too. The 1996 Clean Break document, prepared by a study group led by Richard Perle for Binjamin Netanyahu, meshed the Israeli and US neocon camps into one. And they are still umbilically linked. 'Team Trump' now is filled with neocons who are unreserved Iran-haters. And Sheldon Adelson (a major Trump donor, a patron of Netanyahu, and the instigator for the US embassy move to Jerusalem), consequently has been able to implant his ally, John Bolton (a neocon), as Trump's chief foreign policy advisor.

The Art of the Deal has effectively been neocon-ised into a tool for enlarging American power – and there is nothing of earlier 'mutual advantage' to be heard of, or to be seen, these days.

And now, this week, the metamorphosis has been cemented. After the Helsinki summit between Trump and President Putin, there seemed to have opened a small window of opportunity – for co-operation between the two states - to return stability to Syria. Many hoped that from this small terrain of tentative Syria co-ordination, some lessening of tensions between the US and Russia, might have found fertile soil.

Trump said some positive things; the area around Dera'a, in south Syria, was smoothly cleared of insurgents, and was retaken by the Syrian army. Israel did not demur in having the Syrian army as their near neighbours. But then co-operation rather obviously stalled. It is not clear why, but perhaps this was the first sign of power fracturing apart in Washington. The Helsinki 'understandings' somehow were melting away (though military-to-military co-ordination continued).

Putin dispatched the head of the Russian Security Council to a meeting with Bolton in Geneva on 23 August, to explore whether there was still any possibility for joint co-operation; and, if so, was such activity politically 'viable'. But before even that bilateral meeting with a Russian envoy could be held, Bolton - speaking from Jerusalem (from what was billed as a 'roll-back Iran' brainstorming with PM Netanyahu) - warned that the United States would respond "very strongly" if forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad were to use chemical weapons in the offensive to retake Idlib province (expected to commence early September), claiming that the US had intelligence of the intent to use such weapons in Idlib.

The Russian Defense Ministry spokesman, however, said on August 25 "Militants of Hay'at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS), [trained by a named British company], are preparing to stage a chemical attack in northern Syria that will be used as a pretext for a new missile strike by the U.S., the UK and France - on facilities of the Damascus government". Russian officials said they had full intelligence on this false flag operation.

What is clear is that since early August the US has been moving a task force (including the USS The Sullivans and USS Ross) into position that would be able to strike Syria, as well as positioning air assets into the US airbase in Qatar. French President Emmanuel Macron too has declared that France was also ready to launch new strikes against Syria, in case of a chemical weapons attack there.

The Turkish newspaper Hurriyet says that the US military is laying the groundwork to close the airspace over northern Syria. US military freighters are reported to have transported radar systems to the city of Kobanî, controlled by the Kurdish militia, and to the US military base in Al-Shaddadah in southern al-Hasakah. Hurriyet claims that the US plans to use these complexes to establish a no-fly zone over the territory between Manbij in Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor. (This claim however, is unconfirmed)

Evidently, Russia takes this US threat seriously (it has deployed 20 naval vessels into the E. Mediterranean, off Syria). And Iran evidently takes the threat seriously, too. The Iranian Defence Minister on Sunday made a rapid unscheduled visit to Damascus in order to agree a tri-partite (Russia, Syria Iran) response to any US attack on Syria.

Then, in the wake of Bolton's chemical weapons claims, and the pre-positioning of US guided-missile vessels close to Syria, Petrushev and Bolton met. The meeting was a disaster. Bolton insisted that Petrushev admit to Russian interference in the US elections. Petrushev refused. Trump said we have 'secret' evidence. Petrushev retorted if that were so, what was the purpose of demanding admission. Bolton said effectively: We sanction you anyway.

Well not surprisingly, the two were unable to agree on Iranian withdrawal from Syria (which Petrushev put on the table). Bolton not only said flatly 'no', but afterwards went public with the Russian initiative to talk possible Iran withdrawal – thus killing it, and killing the initiative as a gambit to leverage further diplomacy. Even the customary, bland, uninformative, final communiqué that is usual in such circumstances, could not be agreed.

The message seems clear: any Helsinki understandings on Syria are dead. And the US is prepared it seems (they have actually moved assets into position) to strike Syria. Why? What is going on?

One obvious element is, that until now, Trump's hand in all this is not visible. Now, power appears to have fractured in Washington with regard to Middle East policy. The neocons are in the lead. This is very significant, since the slender pillar on which Trump's rapport with President Putin had been built, was the prospect of US-Russian co-operation over Syria. And that hat seems, now, to be a dead letter.

Lawrence Wilkerson, now a professor, but formerly the Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell during the infamous Saddam Hussein's 'weapons of mass destruction' episode says it 'cold' :

"It has to do with the return of the Neoconservatives (Neocons) what is happening today, as Trump is preoccupied increasingly with the considerable, ever-growing challenges to him personally and to his presidency institutionally, is the re-entry into critical positions in the government of these people, the people who gave America the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Even those many of them who declared "Never Trump" -- as arch-Neocon Eliot Cohen summed it up -- are salivating at the prospect of carrying out their foreign and security policy - while Trump essentially boils in his own corrupt juices.

"A vanguard, of course, is already in our government to beckon, comfort, and re-establish others of their type. John Bolton as national security advisor to the president leads this pack though he's not, strictly speaking, a card-carrying Neocon

"Presently, their first and most identifiable target is the unfinished business -- which they largely commenced -- with Syria and Iran, Israel's two most serious potential threats. If the Neocons got their way -- and they are remarkably astute at getting their way -- it would mean a reignited war in Syria and a new war with Iran, as well as increased support for the greatest state sponsor of terrorism on earth, Saudi Arabia".

Bolton, Pompeo and the neocons have made it abundantly clear that they – at least – have not abandoned 'regime change' in Syria, as their objective - and they remain set on delivering somehow a strategic setback to Iran (Bolton has said that sanctions alone, on their own, and without Iran suffering some extra strategic blow, would be insufficient to alter Iranian 'malign behaviour').

Whether or not Mattis and Votel are fully on board with Bolton's "very strong" military reprisal on Syria threat (for alleged chemical weapons use) is not clear. (Mattis succeeded in mitigating the last missile strike by Trump on Syria, and to co-ordinating with Moscow a 'nil response' to Trump's Tomahawk salvo). Will it be the same this time if the US again makes an unsubstantiated (and later unproven) claim of chemical weapons use by the Syrian government?

Will Israel join in any attack – using the pre-text of its self-awarded 'right' to attack Iranian forces anywhere in Syria? Given the new strategic 'fact' of the Iranian Defence minister's 'surprise' Sunday visit to Damascus to sign a common resolve on countering any such attack on Syria. Will Netayahu 'bet' on the Russians not responding to hostile Israeli aircraft entering Syrian airspace?

Who will blink first? Netanyahu? Or will Trump surface from his domestic tribulations sufficiently, to take notice and to say 'no' ?

Whatever happens, Presidents Putin and Xi can 'read the runes' of this affair – which is to say that President Trump's highest officials remain committed, openly, or through 'false flags', to defend the American 'global order'. These officials share a disdain for the Obama administration's retrenchment and retreat. They want to arrest, and even truncate the rise of America's rivals, whilst restoring to their former position, those former pillars to U.S. world power: i.e. America's military, financial, technological and energy, dominance.

Russia is trying to defuse the critical situation by sharing their intelligence with Washington that Tahrir al-Sham (formerly known as al-Nusra), was plotting a chemical attack that would then be misrepresented as another 'atrocity' committed by the 'Syrian regime'. Eight canisters of chlorine have been delivered to a village near Jisr al-Shughur city, and a specially trained group of militants, prepped by a British security company, have also arrived in the area, to imitate a rescue operation to save the civilian 'victims'. Militants plan to use child hostages in the staged incident, Russian officials say .

But will Washington listen? From the moment that the Syrian or the Iranian 'regime' is subjected to a judgement of moral delinquency (irrespective of evidence) – in the context of America's claim to its own Manifest (moral) Destiny – these 'regimes' become transformed from being a temporary, relative adversaries, into an absolute enemy. For, when one is upholding humanity's 'destiny' and seeking "WORLD PEACE, nothing less!", how can one wage war - unless it is in the name of a self-evident good. What is afoot is not attacking an adversary, but punishing and killing the guilty.

Faced with the radical moral devaluation of the 'Other' across western media; and - on the other hand - with the virtue signaling of western good consciousness, can Russia's rational presentations hope to carry weight? The only fact that might just weigh in the balance is the threat that Russia will use its missile arsenal assembling in the East Mediterranean. But what then?

[Sep 01, 2018] THE PECULIAR CASE OF SENATOR LINDSAY GRAHAM by John Chuckman

Notable quotes:
"... "The 'Magnitsky Trio' (John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Ben Cardin) Pushes for War With Russia With New Sanctions ..."
"... "The proposed sanctions by the Graham bill are so insane that even the Treasury department thinks they are a bad idea.' ..."
"... Israel, assisted by its very powerful lobby in America, was the driving force in the set of Neocon Wars that have burned through the Middle East. ..."
"... And I strongly suspect, given the intensity of his all efforts for Israel, that he was caught once in a Mossad "honey trap" and given to understand that very compromising photos of him existed. ..."
"... His constituents back home – conservative Southern Baptists and the like – of course, are not aware of his sexual proclivities, so pictures would make a serious threat. ..."
"... This kind of thing would not at all new to Washington. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, also a closet gay and indeed a cross-dresser according to one reliable biographer, is said to have been compromised the same way by the American Mafia, something which explains his long reluctance to act against Mafia interests, allowing them to flourish while he chased after largely non-existent communists across America. ..."
Sep 01, 2018 | chuckmanwordsincomments.wordpress.com

COMMENT POSTED TO AN ARTICLE TO RUSSIA INSIDER

"The 'Magnitsky Trio' (John McCain, Lindsay Graham and Ben Cardin) Pushes for War With Russia With New Sanctions

"The proposed sanctions by the Graham bill are so insane that even the Treasury department thinks they are a bad idea.'

I think in many such analyses about American-Russian strained relations an important actor is left out, and that actor is America's strange Middle East quasi-colony, Israel.

Israel, assisted by its very powerful lobby in America, was the driving force in the set of Neocon Wars that have burned through the Middle East.

In order to have the kind of highly aggressive America represented by those wars, much in Israel's favor, effort has to be made to keep antagonisms high. And Russia is inevitably viewed as a barrier to an aggressive America, no matter how friendly Russian-Israeli relations are, and Putin does a very good job of trying to keep good relations.

But, still, while Netanyahu and his gang smile for the cameras after meetings, their deep-down drives are in conflict with Russia in some fundamental ways that cannot be made to disappear with handshakes or smiles. A highly aggressive America serves Israel in its own aggressive regional ambitions as well as in vague matters as "security," the term likely used by its lobby in America.

Russia has her own experience with these drives in the unhappy induced-coup in Ukraine, something in which that charming Neocon from the State Department, Barbara Nuland, famous for bragging that America spent $5 billion on its Ukraine operation and also for once shouting within earshot of others, "Fuck Europe!" played an important role.

The anti-Russian crowd in Washington – very much including the Neocons, who are part and parcel of the total multi-fronted Israel Lobby in Washington, many of the Neocons holding (or having held, as Nuland did) influential government posts – won something for their cause whichever way events in Ukraine went.

They gained either a large country, hostile to Russia right on its border, one with good American connections, to harass and worry Russia, or with the outcome we see, Ukraine having made a fool of itself in falling apart through incompetence and pig-headedness, they have gained the theme of Russian aggression. While Putin's moves were masterful and required, making the very best of a very bad situation, what has emerged still serves these nasty folks in stoking hatred of Russia, now accused of aggression, a charge strongly embraced in Washington and in American-influenced parts of Western Europe.

Lindsay Graham is about the most vocal and reactionary defender of Israel in the Congress. He might be matched by John McCain, but I'm not sure he doesn't in fact earn top honors in his service to another country. He quite literally leaps to his feet at any mention of Israel. So, when a guy like that strongly advocates greatly increased hostility towards Russia, it should tell us something.

And I strongly suspect, given the intensity of his all efforts for Israel, that he was caught once in a Mossad "honey trap" and given to understand that very compromising photos of him existed.

You see, Graham is known as a fairly flagrant gay in Washington.

His constituents back home – conservative Southern Baptists and the like – of course, are not aware of his sexual proclivities, so pictures would make a serious threat.

This kind of thing would not at all new to Washington. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, also a closet gay and indeed a cross-dresser according to one reliable biographer, is said to have been compromised the same way by the American Mafia, something which explains his long reluctance to act against Mafia interests, allowing them to flourish while he chased after largely non-existent communists across America.

[Aug 31, 2018] It is reported that the German company and partner in Nord Stream II, Uniper, may pull out of the project due to the risk of US sanctions

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

ET AL August 30, 2018 at 9:29 am

It is reported that the German company and partner in Nord Stream II, Uniper, may pull out of the project due to the risk of US sanctions (previously it said Uniper will pull out sic see link.).* In related news, construction has been started in German waters. Still silence from Denmark as to whether they will block it or not.

If I were Moscow, I would announce that the pipeline's route will avoid Danish waters and sit back to see the reaction. Why? Coz you can bet that some will claim it is punishment/bribe/threat/anti-competitive to Denmark, to whit, Russia can simply reply that Denmark has XXX days to provide the permits before it is no longer economically feasible for the route to go through its waters.

* https://www.euractiv.com/section/energy/news/german-company-fully-committed-to-nord-stream-2-despite-fear-of-us-sanctions/

Euractiv: With attacks on Nord Stream 2, Washington ignores collateral damage
https://www.euractiv.com/section/global-europe/opinion/with-attacks-on-nord-stream-2-washington-ignores-collateral-damage/

####

What p* me off about the reported 'threat from NSII' and even in articles like the one above that point out it is in Europe's interest, none of them mention the preceding sabotage of South Stream II under the mighty Obama and the impact from that led directly to Nord Stream II.

A blast from the past:
Bulgaria halts Russia's South Stream gas pipeline project after visit by US senators
https://www.rt.com/business/164588-brussels-bulgaria-halts-south-stream/

At this time there is a request from the European Commission, after which we've suspended the current works, I ordered it," Oresharski told journalists after meeting with John McCain, Chris Murphy and Ron Johnson during their visit to Bulgaria on Sunday. "Further proceedings will be decided after additional consultations with Brussels."

McCain, commenting on the situation, said that "Bulgaria should solve the South Stream problems in collaboration with European colleagues," adding that in the current situation they would want "less Russian involvement" in the project.

"America has decided that it wants to put itself in a position where it excludes anybody it doesn't like from countries where it thinks it might have an interest, and there is no economic rationality in this at all. Europeans are very pragmatic, they are looking for cheap energy resources – clean energy resources, and Russia can supply that. But the thing with the South Stream is that it doesn't fit with the politics of the situation," Ben Aris, editor of Business New Europe told RT .
####

Yes kids. Warmonger McCain was at the forefront of getting it killed after interference from Brussels failed to shift the asshole Borissov's government. So when a European asks "What has John McCain done for us? , he's already f*ed you over for the benefit of the US and U-ropean poodle Krazy K**t Klan.

[Aug 31, 2018] It occurs to me that if Russia were really as malignant and evil as Washington pretends it is, Russia would be first to take that step, booting American companies out of Russia, perhaps giving them 72 hours to clear out their desks and get out.

Aug 31, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MARK CHAPMAN August 30, 2018 at 8:49 am

See, this is why I enjoy Leonid Bershidsky's writing . Despite his idealistic prattling that Russia is actually guilty of all the things America says it is – his ultimate loyalty is still to his adopted homeland, the land of milk and honey – he remains essentially a realist. And his take on the economic dynamics is brutally realistic; the United States cannot 'bring the Russian economy to its knees'. Once again, America's ridiculously-high opinion of itself and its power fail to take account of consequences.

Oh, it could, I suppose, in a way. A way that would see the world's largest economy – arguably, and certainly in its last days if it is actually still the world's largest economy – wreck the global economy and its own trade relationship with the world in order to damage Russia. Is it willing to go that far? You just never know, as decades of feeding itself exceptionalism have addled its thinking.

Bershidsky points out – correctly, I think – that Russia has held off on punishing American companies in Russia just as the USA has not dared to sanction the energy industry in Russia. Neither wants to take that step, although one will certainly provoke the other.

In fact, it occurs to me that if Russia were really as malignant and evil as Washington pretends it is, Russia would be first to take that step, booting American companies out of Russia, perhaps giving them 72 hours to clear out their desks and get out. What would happen then? America would be bound to drop the sanctions hammer on oil and gas. And what would happen then? Europe would say, it's been a lovely party, but I must be going. I give that an 8 of 10 chance of happening, and solely because of the stupid actions heretofore by the Trump government. Had America been reasonable, it would have stood a chance of carrying Europe with it to a war against Russia. But Trump and his blowhard bullying have hardened European resolve against the USA.

[Aug 25, 2018] Trump is deliberately pushing Germany and Russia to make deals in order to shuffle the deck by Gilbert Docotrow

Notable quotes:
"... Meanwhile, what is surely the single most urgent issue for both sides was not mentioned at all in their opening statements: namely how to respond to US President Donald Trump's new sanctions on Russia and on participants in the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project that both countries support. ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... The New York Times ..."
"... The Washington Post ..."
"... New York Times' ..."
"... I close out this little survey of English-speaking media by pointing to an article in The Guardian ..."
"... Both Merkel and Putin are now facing the same challenge: US foreign policy has become unpredictable, both for its allies and for rivals like Moscow. Notwithstanding the warm discussions Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the American administration has just announced a new wave of sanctions on Russia relating to the Skripal affair. ..."
"... La Libre Belgique ..."
"... "Germany is not the only 'Western' nation to return to the Kremlin. Putin is taking full advantage of the boomerang effect caused by the policies of Donald Trump, who, by hammering away at his customary allies is pushing them to other interlocutors. By looking for confrontations, imposing taxes and sanctions while thinking that this rampant isolationism will make the United States 'great again,' Trump is helping to build a wall that he no doubt did not imagine, that of the anti-Trump people." ..."
"... Frankfurter Allgemeine ..."
"... Putin is under economic pressure to find closer ties with Europe. In Austria, which now chairs the European Council, he has allies in the government, namely the extreme right populists of the Freedom Party which installed Kneissl. But the way to Europe passes by way of Merkel and Putin knows that. ..."
"... Vremya Pokazhet ..."
"... Frankfurter Allgemeine ..."
"... In my view, Trump's use of sanctions and tariffs here, there, everywhere has a totally different logic from what is adduced in the writings of my peers in the analyst community. He invokes them because 1. they are within his sole power as Chief Executive and 2. they are in principle as American as apple pie and do not require grand explanations in Congress or before the public. As to why he invokes them, there you have to look at Trump's foreign policy from a 360 degree perspective and not merely as it relates to Putin or to Erdogan or to any of the small slices we see discussed in the news. ..."
"... When viewed in the round, it is obvious that Trump is reshuffling the deck. He is doing what he can to break up NATO and the other military alliances around the world which are consuming more than half of the U.S. defense budget and do not arguably provide greater security to the American homeland than the country can do for itself without fixed alliances and overseas bases. ..."
"... By contrast, what Trump is now doing is not a blunder or a bit of bluster. Even if he is not conversant with the whole of the Realist School of international relations, as surely he is not, he does grasp the fundamentals, namely the centrality of the sovereign nation-state and of the balance of power mechanism by which these states are constantly changing alignments of these nation-states to ensure no one enjoys hegemony . ..."
"... Accordingly, I insist that the possible rapprochement of Russia and Germany will be in line with Trump's reshuffling of the deck not in spite of it. ..."
Aug 23, 2018 | russia-insider.com

Reading the tea leaves of the Putin-Merkel meeting

During this past Saturday, 18 August, Russian President Vladimir Putin made a brief visit to Austria to attend the wedding of the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs Karin Kneissl. Per the Kremlin, this stop of several hours in the Styrian wine country not far from the border with Slovenia was a "purely private" side excursion "on the road to Germany" for the state visit with Chancellor Angela Merkel starting later in the day at the Meseberg Palace, the federal guest house 60 km north of Berlin.

Journalists were admitted to film the wedding party, including Putin's dance with the 53 year old bride. No questions were taken and no statements were issued by the President's Press Secretary, who also was present. We know only that on the return journey to Graz airport, Putin was accompanied by Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. Presumably they had some issues to discuss that may be characterized as official talks.

Prior to their meeting both Putin and Angela Merkel made statements to the press listing the topics they intended to discuss. We may assume that these lists were not exhaustive. Comparing their lists, we find that the respective priorities of the parties were in inverted order, with economic cooperation at the head of Putin's list while regulating the Donbass crisis in Ukraine was the top concern of Merkel. Moreover, the content of issues bearing the same heading was very different. Both sides spoke of Syria, but whereas for Putin the issue for discussion is the humanitarian crisis of refugees, ensuring their return to their homes from camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey by raising funds to repair and replace fundamental infrastructure destroyed in the war. For Merkel, the number one issue in Syria is to prevent the Russian-backed Syrian armed forces from creating a new humanitarian disaster by their ongoing campaign to retake Idlib province from the militants opposed to Bashar Assad.

Meanwhile, what is surely the single most urgent issue for both sides was not mentioned at all in their opening statements: namely how to respond to US President Donald Trump's new sanctions on Russia and on participants in the Nord Stream II gas pipeline project that both countries support.

As was explained at the outset, there was to be no press conference or joint statement issued at the conclusion of the talks. The only information we have is that Merkel and Putin conferred for more than three hours, which is in itself quite extraordinary and suggests that some understandings may have been achieved.

In a word, the potentially very important diplomatic developments of Saturday remain, for once, a state secret of the parties, with no leaks for the press to parse. And yet there is material here worthy of our consideration. I have in mind the interpretations of what might transpire before, during and after the events of Saturday in the news and commentary reportage of various countries having greater or lesser interest in Russian affairs. Indeed, my perusal of French, Belgian, German, British, American and Russian news media shows great diversity of opinion and some penetrating and highly pertinent remarks based on different information bases. This material is all essential if we are to make sense of the behavior of the parties on the international stage in the coming weeks.

In this essay, I will set out what I have found per country, starting with the least attentive to detail - the United States - and ending with those who offered the best informed and most interested reportage, Germany and Russia. I will conclude with my own reading of the tea leaves.

* * * *

Let us take The Washington Post and The New York Times as our markers for how US mainstream media reported on Putin's meetings this past Saturday.

On the 18th, The Washington Post carried in its online edition two articles dealing with the Putin diplomatic doings. "At Austrian foreign minister's wedding, Putin brings the music, the flowers and the controversy" was written by the newspaper's bureau chief in Berlin, Griff Witte. It is accompanied by video clips of Vladimir Putin dancing with the bride and speaking, in German, to the wedding party seated at their banquet table. The journalist touches very briefly on the main political dimensions of Putin's visit to Austria, including the party relations between United Russia and the far right Freedom Party in Austria's ruling coalition which nominated Kneissl for her post, the criticism of Putin's participation in the wedding coming from the Opposition parties in Austria who see it as a violation of the government's own ambition to be a neutral bridge between East and West, and the issue of Putin's sowing division on the continent. The only criticism one might offer is that the article is superficial, that each of the issues raised deserves in-depth analysis separately.

The newspaper's second article online, which spread its net more broadly and covered the meeting with Merkel in Germany as well as the visit in Austria, came from an Associated Press reporter, not its own staff. Here again, the problem is that issues surrounding the meetings are not more than bullet points, and the reader is given no basis for reaching an independent finding on what has happened..

The New York Times' feature article "Merkel and Putin Sound Pragmatic Notes After Years of Tension," also published on the 18th and datelined Berlin was cited by Russian television news for a seemingly positive valuation of the talks in Meseberg Palace. However, the content of the article by reporter Melissa Eddy is more cautious, highlighting the pattern of "conflicts and reconciliations" that have marked German-Russian relations over the centuries and seeing the present stage not as a warming of relations but instead as reaching for compromises "on Syria, energy and other key issues while maintaining their differences over Russia's role in the conflict in Ukraine." She sees the Syrian issue as one where German and Russian interests may be closest given that refugees from the Middle East are now a German preoccupation with political weight. The reporter cites several experts attached to well-known institutes in Germany that are generally skeptical about Russia's intentions. But the end result is better informed than most NYT reporting on Russia even if it leaves us wondering what will result from the Saturday diplomacy.

In both mainstream papers there is no attempt to find a link between Putin's two visits on Saturday.

I close out this little survey of English-speaking media by pointing to an article in The Guardian from the 18th entitled "Putin urges Europe to help rebuild Syria so refugees can return." This piece comes from the Agence France-Presse in Berlin. It is not much more than a recitation of the lists of topics for discussion that Putin and Merkel issued before their talks. But the reporter has made his choice for the most important of them, Syria and refugees.

The French-language press does not seem to have been very interested in Putin's "private" trip to the wedding of the Austrian foreign minister, but was definitely keen to discuss Putin's trip to Berlin. On the day preceding the Putin-Merkel meeting, the French press offered a clear concept of where things were headed. We read in Figaro , "Merkel receives Putin Saturday to renew a difficult dialogue." A caption in bold just below is more eye-catching: "While the German Chancellor has become the main opponent to the Russian President within the EU, the policy of sanctions conducted by Washington has led to a rapprochement between Berlin and Moscow with regard to numerous issues."

The reporter notes that following the Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014, relations between the two heads of state had become quite bad and in four years they met only when obliged to do so during international summits.

"But starting three months ago, their diplomatic exchanges have intensified: in May Angela Merkel met the chief of the Kremlin in Sochi, Russia. In July, she met the head of the Russian diplomatic corps, Sergei Lavrov, in Berlin. By inviting Vladimir Putin this time, the German Chancellor has promised 'in-depth discussions.' "She is pursuing a pragmatic attempt at normalization of German-Russian relations, because the international realities have changed,' explains Stefan Meister, director of the Robert Bosch Center for Russia."

And how has the calculus of international relations changed? Both Merkel and Putin are now facing the same challenge: US foreign policy has become unpredictable, both for its allies and for rivals like Moscow. Notwithstanding the warm discussions Donald Trump had with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, the American administration has just announced a new wave of sanctions on Russia relating to the Skripal affair.

"The American policy represents a danger for the Russian economy and a threat to German interests."

A spokesperson from Merkel's CDU party responsible for foreign policy is quoted on the possible dangers of secondary sanctions being directed at Germany through the application of US extraterritoriality against those failing to respect the new sanctions on Russia.

The article explains the issues surrounding the Nord Steam 2 pipeline, and in particular Trump's hostility to the project for its locking in German dependence on Russian hydrocarbons.

And the author points to the common interests of Germany and Russia over maintenance of the Iranian nuclear deal as a factor powering the rapprochement of the two countries. Here again the common threat is Donald Trump and American sanctions against those companies which continue to trade with Iran.

The article concludes that divergent views of Russia and Germany over Ukraine and Syria exclude any breakthrough at the meeting on Saturday. But nonetheless the dialogue that was lacking these several past years is being recreated.

In its weekend edition issued on 18 August, the Belgian mainstream daily La Libre Belgique was even more insistent on interpreting the Merkel-Putin meeting as a consequence of the policies of Donald Trump. Their editorial captures the sense very nicely in its tongue-in-cheek headline: "Trump is the best 'ally' of Putin."

La Libre sees Vladimir Putin's latest diplomatic initiatives as directly resulting from the way his host at the White House has annoyed everyone. Moreover, his outreach is welcomed:

"Germany is not the only 'Western' nation to return to the Kremlin. Putin is taking full advantage of the boomerang effect caused by the policies of Donald Trump, who, by hammering away at his customary allies is pushing them to other interlocutors. By looking for confrontations, imposing taxes and sanctions while thinking that this rampant isolationism will make the United States 'great again,' Trump is helping to build a wall that he no doubt did not imagine, that of the anti-Trump people."
The editors point to Turkish President Erdogan's clear signal that he is now looking for other allies. He has done his calculations and has said he has more to gain with Moscow than with Washington.'

The editorial concludes that a summit on reconstruction of Syria might even take place at the start of September between Moscow, Ankara, Paris and Berlin. The conclusion? "Putin has taken center stage on the chessboard. Thank you, Mr. Trump."

The article filed by La Libre 's correspondent in Berlin, Sebastien Millard, bears a heading that matches the editorial view of the newspaper: "Merkel and Putin - allies of convenience facing Trump." The author credits Donald Trump with being the catalyst for the resumption of dialogue between Germany and Russia; they are telling Washington that they do not accept its blackmail. He notes that we should not expect any reversal of alliances. There are too many differences of view between Berlin and Moscow on a variety of issues.

* * * *

The German press paid a good deal of attention to Vladimir Putin's visit to Austria for the wedding of Foreign Minister Karin Kreissl.

In an article posted on the 16th entitled "Suspicion that Austria is a Trojan horse," Die Welt highlighted the negatives of Putin's presence. Quoting an "expert from the University of Innsbruck" this does not cast a good light on the country. They anticipate political fall-out. This will impair Austria's ability as chair of the European Council to play a role of intermediary in the Ukraine conflict. The only beneficiary of the visit will be the the Russia-friendly be the Russia-friendly Freedom Party. For Putin, being a guest provides him with the opportunity to demonstrate that he is not isolated but is instead highly welcome in society of an EU country.

As for the coming meeting with Merkel on Saturday evening, Die Welt in a related article of the same day lists the issues for discussion. Without taking a position, it cites experts for and against the Nord Stream II pipeline and other issues on the list.

Welt's report from the wedding party on the 18th was gossipy and unfriendly, comparing it to a wedding of some European royal family because of the extraordinary guest list that included the country's chancellor, vice chancellor, and defense minister as well as the head of OPEC and...Vladimir Putin. With typical German petty financial accounting, they reckon that the 500 police and other security measures needed for the safety of the highly placed guests cost the Austrian tax payers 250,000 euros.

A separate article in Die Welt deals with Putin's meeting with Merkel at the Meseberg Palace. The emphasis here is on Merkel's remarks during the Statement prior to the talks that cooperation with Russia is "vital" to deal with many conflicts globally and that both sides bear responsibility to find solutions.

The article quotes from the opening statements of the leaders on all the issues in their list for discussion - Syria, Ukraine, Nord Stream II. We are given bare facts without any analysis to speak of.

The other major mainstream daily Frankfurter Allgemeine in its Saturday, 18 August edition offered separate articles on Putin's visits to Austria and Germany.

The article on Karin Kneissl's wedding heads off in a very different direction from the reporting in other media that I have summarized above. FAZ notes that Kneissl is rarely in the headlines and it asks: who is she? They answer the question with some curious details. We learn that Kneissl was once active in competitive sports and even now swims a kilometer every day. For many years she has lived on a small farmstead with a couple of boxers, two ponies, hens and cats. Each morning her chauffeur takes her and the dogs to her office in Vienna, to return in the evening. Regrettably, FAZ does not take this curious biographical sketch further. No connection is drawn between her personality and the Russian President's acceptance of her invitation to her wedding.

FAZ similarly has chosen to amuse rather than inform in its coverage of the meeting in Berlin entitled "Sparkling wine in Austria, sparkling water in Meseberg." They comment on how Putin arrived half an hour late, on how it is hard to see how the meeting could be characterized as a success. They stress that we know nothing about the content of the consultations. Then they tick off the opening positions of the sides as set out in their statements before the talks.

Spiegel online risks more by giving more interpretation and less bare facts. Its article entitled "Something of a new start" suggests that a rapprochement is underway and that both Merkel and Putin have a lot in play. Unlike the other German press we have mentioned, Spiegel sees a direct link between Putin's attending the wedding in Styria and his visit to Merkel.

Putin is under economic pressure to find closer ties with Europe. In Austria, which now chairs the European Council, he has allies in the government, namely the extreme right populists of the Freedom Party which installed Kneissl. But the way to Europe passes by way of Merkel and Putin knows that.

Meanwhile, says Spiegel , Germany also is interested in improving relations with Russia despite all the controversy, namely due to the growing conflicts with US President Donald Trump. We don't know the exact content of the talks which were confidential, but there is some movement now between Germany and Russia.

Spiegel remains cautious. Cordiality does not enter into the relationship. The parties keep their distance. There is no laughter to lighten the atmosphere. Yet, it concludes: "The talks have prospects and we can see the wish to make progress through common positions, and without being silent about contradictions. Diplomatic normality, as it were. A step forward."

* * * *

If the great bulk of commentary in the West about Putin's diplomatic weekend was reserved and stayed by the bare facts without speculation, Russian television more than made up for dryness. I point in particular to two political talk shows which invited a mixture of experts from different backgrounds.

Let us begin with the show Vremya Pokazhet (Time will tell) on state television's Pervy Kanal . Their Friday, 17 August program focused on Putin's forthcoming visit to the wedding 'on the road to Berlin,' which several panelists saw as a strong signal to Germany that Russ1+
ia had other channels to the EU if Germany refuses to be its intercessor.

The visit was said to be breaking new ground in diplomatic practice. According to panelist Andrei Baklanov, deputy chair of the association of Russian diplomats, this kind of positive, human diplomacy is Russia's answer to the negative behavior in international affairs that has occupied center stage in the recent past - sanctions, fake news, etc. As another panelist interjected, this is the first time that a Russian head of state attended a wedding abroad since Tsar Nicholas did so in Germany in 1913.

Baklanov proceeded to provide details about the bride, however, bringing out aspects of her career that are far more relevant to her attracting the attention of Putin than the Frankfurter Allgemeine produced. We learn that she grew up in Amman, Jordan, that she speaks 8 languages: Arabic, Hebrew, Magyar, French, Spanish, Italian, English as well as her native German. She studied Near Eastern languages in Vienna University, in the Jewish University of Jerusalem, in the University of Jordan and also graduated from the National School of Administration in France. She holds a doctorate in law. She is a non-party minister, which also attests to her generally recognized professionalism. For all of these reasons, she is a good fit with Putin's determination to find supporters in Europe for investments to restore Syrian infrastructure and enable the return of refugees.

The country's most prestigious talk show, "Sunday Evening with Vladimir Solovyov," had a couple of Duma members and a well-known politician from Liberal circles comment on the diplomacy of the day before.

Sergey Mironov, leader of the socialist party Fair Russia said that despite Merkel's warning in advance not to expect breakthroughs it is likely progress was made in agreeing how to deal with US sanctions. This would be tested in the coming days.

As for the link between the visits to Austria and Germany, the representative of a pro-business party Sergey Stankevich reminded viewers that Germany and Austria are the market makers in Europe for Russian gas. Nord Stream II gas may land in Germany but a large part of it will be pumped further to Austria's hub for distribution elsewhere in Europe. Whatever may have been said publicly, Stankevich believes that Merkel and Putin did agree on many if not all the subjects named before the start: Iran, Syria, Ukraine, Nord Stream.

Russian media coverage of the Saturday travels of their President continued on Russian news programs into Monday, with video clips of Putin dancing at the wedding and speaking alongside Merkel before entering into their talks at Meseberg Palace.

* * * *

Looking back at the media coverage of Putin's visits to Austria and Germany on 18 August, and with all due respect to those who opinions are different from mine, I find that the most helpful for our understanding of the present day international situation were the report and editorial in Belgium's Libre Belgique and the unruly, risky but at times brilliant insights on Russian television.

What comes out of this is the understanding that the visits to a wedding in Austria and to the federal Chancellor outside Berlin were directly linked in Russian diplomatic strategy, that Russia is playing the Austrian card during the country's six months at the helm of the European Council in Brussels, that Russia is pushing for a multi-party relief effort for Syria to facilitate the return of refugees to their home and pacification of the war-torn country. The web of common interests that Russia is pursuing has at its core the fragility of the current world order and generalized anxiety of leading countries due to America's aggressive pursuit of narrow national interest under Donald Trump as seen in his tariff wars and sanctions directed at friends and foes alike.

Where I differ from the interpretations set out in the foregoing press reports is in my understanding of what Trump is doing and why.

The nearly universal assumption of commentators is that Trump's policies known as "Make America Great" are ignorant and doomed to fail. They are assumed to be isolationist, withdrawing America from the world community.

However, Trump did not invent bullying of US allies. That was going strong under George W. Bush, with his challenge "you are either with us or against us" when he sought to align the West behind his invasion of Iraq in 2003 without authorization of the UN Security Council. His more urbane successor Barack Obama was no kinder to U.S. allies, who were slapped with crushing fines for violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran, just to mention one way in which they were kept in line. And the U.S. Congress today is no more reasonable and diplomatic than the President in the brutal unilateral sanctions it has on its own initiative advocated against not just Russia but also against Turkey and other states which are not snapping to attention with respect to purchases of military materiel from Russia.

What made U.S. bullying tolerable before Trump was the ideological smokescreen of "shared values," namely democracy promotion, human rights and rule of law, that all members of the alliances could swear to and which set them apart from the still unenlightened parts of the globe where autocrats hold sway.

In my view, Trump's use of sanctions and tariffs here, there, everywhere has a totally different logic from what is adduced in the writings of my peers in the analyst community. He invokes them because 1. they are within his sole power as Chief Executive and 2. they are in principle as American as apple pie and do not require grand explanations in Congress or before the public. As to why he invokes them, there you have to look at Trump's foreign policy from a 360 degree perspective and not merely as it relates to Putin or to Erdogan or to any of the small slices we see discussed in the news.

When viewed in the round, it is obvious that Trump is reshuffling the deck. He is doing what he can to break up NATO and the other military alliances around the world which are consuming more than half of the U.S. defense budget and do not arguably provide greater security to the American homeland than the country can do for itself without fixed alliances and overseas bases.

The first two presidencies of this millennium undid the country's greatest geopolitical achievement of the second half of the 20th century: the informal alliance with China against Russia that put Washington at the center of all global politics. Bush and Obama did that by inattention and incomprehension of what was at stake. That inattention was an expression of American hubris in the unipolar world which, it was assumed, was the new normal, not a blip.

By contrast, what Trump is now doing is not a blunder or a bit of bluster. Even if he is not conversant with the whole of the Realist School of international relations, as surely he is not, he does grasp the fundamentals, namely the centrality of the sovereign nation-state and of the balance of power mechanism by which these states are constantly changing alignments of these nation-states to ensure no one enjoys hegemony . We see this understanding when he speaks about looking out for American interests while the heads of state whom he meets are looking out for the interests of theirs.

In his tweets we find that our allies are ripping us off, that they are unfair competitors. His most admiring remark about Russia is that it is a strong competitor. The consistent element in Trump's thinking is ignored or willfully misunderstood in the press.

Accordingly, I insist that the possible rapprochement of Russia and Germany will be in line with Trump's reshuffling of the deck not in spite of it.

Good Optics · about 3 hours ago

This nuanced analysis rings true and speaks to the fact that - though Trump may not exactly be playing 47D chess - he certainly does have some good intentions that, left to follow their course, would have a chance of making the world a better place. But that will not be allowed to happen by those in the US with firm commitments to pursue the world's subjugation through any means possible.

The Cs did tell us that Trump's heart is in the right place, unlikely though that does appear a lot of the time . . .

[Aug 25, 2018] Ron Paul interviews Rep. Thomas Massie on Russia, Sanctions, and Tariffs

Aug 25, 2018 | www.antiwar.com

Why is Congress so obsessed with starting a new Cold War with Russia? Are they all gripped by group-think? Who do sanctions hurt most? And how can people visit with Rep. Thomas Massie and Ron Paul later this month? Tune in to today's Ron Paul Liberty Report with a very special guest!

https://youtu.be/ZLzNqwuPVE4

[Aug 25, 2018] As Washington's Neocons "Crush" Russia, Ron Paul Warns Sanctions Lead To War

Aug 25, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

by Tyler Durden Mon, 08/06/2018 - 16:47 206 SHARES Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

Authored by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

You can always count on the neocons in Congress to ignore reality, ignore evidence, and ignore common sense in their endless drive to get us involved in another war.

Last week, for example, Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-NC), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), and others joined up to introduce what Senator Graham called "the sanctions bill from hell," aimed at applying "crushing" sanctions on Russia.

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Senator Graham bragged that the bill would include "everything but the kitchen sink" in its attempt to ratchet up tensions with Russia.

Sen Cory Gardner (R-CO) bragged that the new sanctions bill "includes my language requiring the State Department to determine whether Russia merits the designation of a State Sponsor of Terror."

Does he even know what the word "terrorism" means?

Sen Ben Cardin (D-MD) warns that the bill must be passed to strengthen our resolve against "Vladimir Putin's pattern of corroding democratic institutions and values around the world, a direct and growing threat to US national security."

What has Russia done that warrants "kitchen sink" sanctions that will "crush" the country and possibly designate it as a sponsor of terrorism? Sen. Menendez tells us:

"The Kremlin continues to attack our democracy, support a war criminal in Syria, and violate Ukraine's sovereignty."

There is a big problem with these accusations on Russia : they're based on outright lies and unproven accusations that continue to get more bizarre with each re-telling .

How strange that when US Senators like Menendez demand that we stand by our NATO allies even if it means war, they attack Russia for doing the same in Syria. Is the Syrian president a "war criminal," as he claims? We do know that his army is finally, with Russian and Iranian help, about to defeat ISIS and al-Qaeda, which with US backing for seven years have turned Syria into a smoking ruin. Does Menendez and his allies prefer ISIS in charge of Syria?

And how hypocritical for Menendez to talk about Russia violating Ukraine's sovereignty. The unrest in Ukraine was started by the 2014 US-backed coup against an elected leader. We have that all on tape!

How is Russia "attacking our democracy"? We're still waiting for any real evidence that Russia was involved in our 2016 elections and intends to become involved in our 2018 elections. But that doesn't stop the propagandists, who claim with no proof that Russia was behind the election of Donald Trump.

These Senators claim that sanctions will bring the Russians to heel, but they are wrong. Sanctions are good at two things only: destroying the lives of innocent civilians and leading to war.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/BLiDwzJ2EJs

As I mentioned in an episode of my Liberty Report last week, even our own history shows that sanctions do lead to war and should not be taken lightly. In the run-up to US involvement in the War of 1812, the US was doing business with both France and the UK, which were at war with each other. When the UK decided that the US was favoring France in its commerce, it imposed sanctions on the US. What did Washington do in response? Declared war. Hence the War of 1812, which most Americans remember as that time when the British burned down the White House.

Recent polls show that the majority of Americans approve of President Trump's recent meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among Republicans, a vast majority support the meeting. Perhaps a good defeat in November will wake these neocon warmongers up. Let's hope so!

[Aug 25, 2018] Defections from Pax Americana Coming Louder and Faster

Notable quotes:
"... What started as small moments of defiance a few years ago are turning into full-throated shouts of opposition as the US pushes its leverage in financial markets to step on the necks of anyone who doesn't toe the line. ..."
"... What we are seeing is the culmination of a long-term plan by global elites to tighten the financial noose around the world through overlapping trade and tariff structures and weaponizing the dollar's position at the center of global financial interdependence. ..."
"... So, everyday another round of sanctions makes the case against continuing to do business with the US stronger. Everyday another global player speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and makes contingency plans for a world without the dollar at the center of it all. ..."
"... Maas openly accused the US of weaponizing the dollar and disrupting the very foundations of global trade, which is correct, to achieve its goals of regime change in Turkey and Iran. Maas mainly tied this to Trump's pulling out of the JCPOA but the reality is far bigger than this. ..."
"... The Magnitsky Act and its progenitors around the world are a major evolution in the US's ability to bring financial pain to anyone who it disapproves of. Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws also into this framework. ..."
Aug 25, 2018 | www.strategic-culture.org

What started as small moments of defiance a few years ago are turning into full-throated shouts of opposition as the US pushes its leverage in financial markets to step on the necks of anyone who doesn't toe the line.

And Trump feeds off this by casting everyone as a leach who has been sucking off the US's breast for decades. It doesn't matter the issue, to Trump US economic fragility is a hammer and every trade and military partner a nail to be bashed over the head to pay their way.

What we are seeing is the culmination of a long-term plan by global elites to tighten the financial noose around the world through overlapping trade and tariff structures and weaponizing the dollar's position at the center of global financial interdependence.

Trump is against that in principle, but not against the US maintaining as much of the empire as possible.

So, everyday another round of sanctions makes the case against continuing to do business with the US stronger. Everyday another global player speaks with Russian President Vladimir Putin and makes contingency plans for a world without the dollar at the center of it all.

The latest major one was with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. This meeting wasn't expected to provide anything concrete, only vague assurances that projects like the Nordstream 2 pipeline goes through.

But, no breakthroughs on Crimea or Ukraine were expected nor delivered. It was, however, an opportunity for both Putin and Merkel to be humanized in the European media. Between Putin's attending Austrian Foreign Minister Karin Kneissl's wedding as well as the garden party photo op background for their talk, this meeting between them was a bit of a 'charm tour' to assist Merkel in the polls while expanding on Putin's humanity post World Cup and Helsinki.

That said, however, the statement by Merkel's Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas, about the need for a new financial payment system which bypasses the US-dominated SWIFT system was the big bombshell.

Maas openly accused the US of weaponizing the dollar and disrupting the very foundations of global trade, which is correct, to achieve its goals of regime change in Turkey and Iran. Maas mainly tied this to Trump's pulling out of the JCPOA but the reality is far bigger than this.

The Magnitsky Act and its progenitors around the world are a major evolution in the US's ability to bring financial pain to anyone who it disapproves of. Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) laws also into this framework.

While KYC and AML laws can at least have the appearance of validity in attempting to stop illegal activity, targeted sanctioning is simply Orwellian.

It politicizes any and all economic activity the world over. Just look at the recent reasons for these sanctions – unproven allegations of chemical weapons usage and electioneering. Recent actions by the US have driven this point home to its 'allies' with stunning clarity.

Why do you think Putin brought up Bill Browder's name at the Helsinki press conference? He knows that Browder's story is a lie and it's a lie that has been used as the foundation for the type of political repression we're seeing today.

The US is blocking the simplest of transactions in the dollar now, claiming that any use of the dollar is a global privilege which it can revoke at a whim. Aside from the immorality of this, that somehow dollars you traded goods or services for on the open market are still somehow the property of the U.S to claw back whenever it is politically convenient, this undermines the validity of the dollar as a rational medium of exchange for trade.

This is why after the first round of sanctions over the reunification with Crimea Putin ordered the development of a national electronic payment system. He rightly understood that Russia needed a means by which to conduct business that was independent of US political meddling.

So, to me, if Heiko Maas is serious about the threat posed by continued use of the dollar in EU trade, he should look to Putin for guidance on building a system separate from SWIFT.

Moreover, Maas' statement didn't go out to the world without Merkel's approval. This tells me that this was likely the major topic of conversation between her and Putin over the weekend. Because a payment system that skirts the dollar is one the US can't control.

It took the Russians longer than they should have to develop MIR. Putin complained about how slow things went because too many within the Bank of Russia and the financial community could be thought of as fifth columnists for the West.

It's also why development of the crypto-ruble and Russia's policy on cryptocurrencies has been so slow. It took Putin publicly ordering the work done by a certain time to get these tasks completed. In the end, it shouldn't take the EU long to spin up a SWIFT-compliant internal alternative. It is, after all, just code.

And that's why so many of the US's former satraps are now flexing their geopolitical muscle. The incentives aren't there anymore to keep quiet and go along. Alternatives exist and will be utilized.

I don't expect the EU brass to do much about this issue, the threat may be all that is needed to call Trump's bluff. But, if in the near future you see an announcement of MIR being accepted somewhere in the EU don't be surprised.

Because what used to be a node of political stability and investor comfort is now a tool of chaos and abuse. And abusing your customers is never a winning business model in the long run. Customers of the dollar will remind the US of that before this is over.

[Aug 24, 2018] Credit Suisse freezes $5 billion of Russian money due to U.S. sanctions

Notable quotes:
"... Sounds like the rich Russians who refused to believe their wealth wouldn't be confiscated in the West just learned a hard lesson. The "rule of law" is for suckers. ..."
"... The west wants Putin gone so badly that there is no law they will not break, no amount of hard-earned soft power they will not throw away, no western business they will not throw under the bus if they think they will realize that goal. ..."
Aug 24, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

MOSCOW EXILE August 22, 2018 at 11:47 am

Credit Suisse freezes $5 billion of Russian money due to U.S. sanctions
AUGUST 22, 2018 / 5:53 PM / UPDATED 5 HOURS AGO

ZURICH (Reuters) – One of Switzerland's largest banks, Credit Suisse, has frozen roughly 5 billion Swiss francs ($5 billion) of money linked to Russia to avoid falling foul of U.S. sanctions, according to its accounts, further increasing pressure on Moscow .

Credit Suisse is being cautious in part because of earlier bad experiences. In 2009, it reached a $500 million settlement with U.S. authorities over dealings with sanctions-hit Iran.

There have been other instances where European banks have been punished. In 2014, France's BNP Paribas ( BNPP.PA ) agreed to pay a record $8.9 billion for violating U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Cuba and Iran.

Switzerland's banking watchdog FINMA does not require Swiss banks to enforce foreign sanctions, but has said they have a responsibility to minimize legal and reputational risks.

I hope the present Russian administration and those yet to come remember this.

CARTMAN August 22, 2018 at 3:42 pm
Sounds like the rich Russians who refused to believe their wealth wouldn't be confiscated in the West just learned a hard lesson. The "rule of law" is for suckers.
MARK CHAPMAN August 22, 2018 at 5:39 pm
I doubt very many ordinary Russians lost anything, but they got a pretty useful lesson for free. The west wants Putin gone so badly that there is no law they will not break, no amount of hard-earned soft power they will not throw away, no western business they will not throw under the bus if they think they will realize that goal.
MARK CHAPMAN August 22, 2018 at 4:21 pm
Surely there is something Russia can seize to pay them back, or a bank they can close down and kick out in reprisal.

Like

KIRILL August 22, 2018 at 5:01 pm
I wonder whose money this was. Russian offshoring is rather sneaky and uses all sorts of places like Cyprus and the Cayman Islands through various instruments. As of 2014, simply keeping money in a western bank was no longer an option.

So this is either illegal money or Credit Suisse is simply lying.

MARK CHAPMAN August 22, 2018 at 5:51 pm
That's a good point; some time ago (you're probably correct that it was 2014, or around there) the Russian government did somewhat formalize its advice to not keep money in western banks. As I best remember, it was only mandatory for members of government. But it seems unlikely the government would order all its ministers and senators to move all monies held in western banks out of those banks, and then leave government funds there itself. So perhaps some oligarch/s got burned.
JEN August 23, 2018 at 3:08 am
Could some of this money that Credit Suisse has frozen be Mikhail Khodorkovsky's?

Like

MARK CHAPMAN August 23, 2018 at 1:45 pm
Possibly, but I doubt it. Saint Mikhail's money, what there is left of it, is transparent to western investigations, and if they could think of a good reason they would give him a lot more, especially if he were even remotely popular in Russia and they thought he might be a candidate for insertion into Putin's role.

Like

MOSCOW EXILE August 23, 2018 at 4:02 am
Now Credite Suisse says that Russian accounts have not been frozen, that the Bank had reclassified certain assets placed under sanctions. By these actions no Russian customers have been affected, reports TASS .

Meanwhile, in the world's greatest dirty money laundry, it has been revealed that the London branch of Deutsche Bank has issued threats to the Russian government.

Deutsche Bank London Threatens to End Business With Russia
Bloomberg, 3 hours ago

Deutsche Bank AG threatened to end business with Russia's government earlier this year in a letter sent to the state demanding that it provide more information related to know-your-customer records.

The lender's London branch sent the correspondence in June saying the business relationship could be terminated if Russia failed to submit the documents within 30 days. While that deadline has long since elapsed, Russia never answered the letter and the German bank hasn't followed up on the initial request, according to two people with knowledge of the matter.

Arschlöcher!

I was working only yesterday and last week as well in the main office of Deutsche Bank here in Moscow.

Never saw no Fritzes there, only Ivans. Seemed to be business as usual to me..

Like

[Aug 24, 2018] US sanctions on Russia tied to UK attack to take effect Monday

Skripal (most probably false flag) poisoning now has distinct Washington connections. Cue Bono?
Nobody can still explain why Skripals lost conscience simultaneously. That kills UK version of door knob. Another strange issue is why all but one victims survived. That can be explained only if this was a false flag and novichok was injected in bio samples.
Aug 24, 2018 | uk.reuters.com

Plans to impose the latest sanctions were announced by the Trump administration on Aug. 8, a response to what the State Department said was Moscow's use of a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain in March.

RELATED COVERAGE

Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia's GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury after a liquid form of the Novichok type of nerve agent was applied to the front door of his home. Both survived the attack.

Moscow has denied involvement in the attack. It has also denied meddling in the 2016 U.S. elections.

'CHANGE IN BEHAVIOUR'

Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, said on Friday Moscow must change its ways before the United States will lift its already long list of sanctions.

"The sanctions remain in force and will remain in force until the required change in Russian behaviour," he told a news conference in the Ukrainian capital, Kiev.

The new measures will be published and come into effect on Aug. 27 and remain in place for at least one year, according to the notice in the Federal Register, a daily catalogue of government agency actions. They are authorized by the 1991 Chemical and Biological Weapons and Warfare Elimination Act.

Space flight activities, government space cooperation, areas concerning commercial aviation safety and urgent humanitarian assistance will be exempt.

A second batch of penalties will be imposed after 90 days unless Russia gives "reliable assurance" that it would no longer use chemical weapons and allow on-site inspections by the United Nations or another international observer group.

Soon after the attack on the Skripals, Washington also showed solidarity with Britain and announced it would expel 60 Russian diplomats, joining governments across Europe in punishing the Kremlin.

[Aug 22, 2018] Our Sanctions Addiction by DANIEL LARISON •

Notable quotes:
"... Our government is quick to apply sanctions and extremely reluctant to lift them. Once a government is targeted with sanctions on one issue, it becomes even easier to apply additional sanctions for other reasons. Multiple overlapping sets of sanctions give the targeted government little reason to cooperate. ..."
"... Now Trump has not only gone back on the promise of sanctions relief, but he is going out of his way to use U.S. sanctions to force other governments to wage economic war on Iran as well. ..."
"... Other governments understandably consider U.S. secondary sanctions on foreign firms to be illegal and unacceptable, and it is only a matter of time before many more states look for ways to get around them. ..."
"... Sanctions addicts are under the mistaken impression that they can force the targeted state to change its behavior, but in practice this just causes them to do more of what the U.S. doesn't want to give them additional leverage ..."
"... If the Trump administration succeeds in completely blowing up the deal, Iran won't have to abide by its restrictions any longer. In the worst-case scenario, the U.S. pressure campaign could convince Iran's government to leave the NPT. In its vain and destructive attempt to force Iran to make deeper concessions, the Trump administration could very easily repeat the Bush administration's North Korea blunder ..."
"... In fact, my guess would be that Iran could get a lot more "bang for the buck" by investing the significant efforts and budgets of pursuing a nuclear deterrent – with the resulting "window of vulnerability" – into those conventional and irregular deterrents: A2/AD and IRGC, Hezbollah, proxies in Iraq. ..."
"... Trump and Obama might be dumb enough to waste trillions on mutually assured nuclear suicide, Iran appears to have a more frugal approach to deterrence ..."
"... I find another aspect of sanctions illuminating. Sanctions have significant cost – opportunity cost, loss of investment, penalties on breach of contract – for large segments of US and EU industry – as our "allies" are now learning ..."
"... Is sanction enforcement by itself more profitable than the trade it suppresses? Or are sanctions without profitable "regime change" and the follow-thru looting – Russia 1991 or Iraq 2003 – a net loss? ..."
"... the interests of various factions of the presidential-congressional-military-industrial complex are not in perfect alignment ..."
"... "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." ..."
"... U.S. foreign policy has been completely militarized. "Our way or the highway" diplomacy is defined by the ham-fisted war-mongers Pompeo and Bolton. With Nutjob Nikki Haley cheering them on with Dragon Lady Gina Haspel and her arrogant minions hatching regime change plots at CIA with anticipatory delight. ..."
"... The U.S./Russia relationship has been fatally wrecked by the one-way ratchet sanctions ginned up by a nitwit Congress oblivious to unintended consequences. China and the rest of Asia are formulating an economic model decoupled from the Global Cop Gorilla. They will capture Iran's business and are peeling off Turkey. Europe is realizing the lunatic incoherence of U.S. foreign policy. ..."
"... BTW, Trump is so clueless he thinks that Putin will pow-wow with him under the current circumstances. ..."
Aug 21, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Iran's Foreign Minister recently criticized the U.S. for its "addiction" to sanctions:

"I believe there is a disease in the United States and that is the addiction to sanctions," he told CNN, adding that, "Even during the Obama administration the United States put more emphasis on keeping the sanctions it had not lifted rather than implementing its obligation on the sanctions it lifted."

Zarif has his own reasons for saying this, but the addiction he describes is all too real. Our government is quick to apply sanctions and extremely reluctant to lift them. Once a government is targeted with sanctions on one issue, it becomes even easier to apply additional sanctions for other reasons. Multiple overlapping sets of sanctions give the targeted government little reason to cooperate. In Iran's case, they made significant concessions on the nuclear issue in the expectation of receiving sanctions relief. Contrary to the lies of nuclear deal opponents, Iran made the bulk of its concessions up front in exchange for the promise of relief later. That relief was very slow in coming to the extent that it came at all. Now Trump has not only gone back on the promise of sanctions relief, but he is going out of his way to use U.S. sanctions to force other governments to wage economic war on Iran as well.

Iran is still in compliance with the deal even after the U.S. broke its promises, and now the U.S. is piling on sanctions simply for the sake of inflicting economic harm. Other governments understandably consider U.S. secondary sanctions on foreign firms to be illegal and unacceptable, and it is only a matter of time before many more states look for ways to get around them. The more that our government abuses sanctions , the more likely it is that other states will create mechanisms to shield themselves and their companies from them.

U.S. abuse of sanctions reminds me of another part of Bloomberg's recent editorial on the nuclear deal. The editors write:

But a deepening economic crisis could yet force a change of heart in Tehran. A second round of U.S. sanctions, targeting oil exports and due in November, could also concentrate minds. For his part, Trump has said he's open to meeting with Iran's leaders "whenever they want to." He might welcome a second act to his summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. The Iranians might reflect on the fact that Kim lost nothing from that encounter.

All this is, admittedly, slim hope on which to base a long, tortured process of negotiation. But it's better than the false hope that Europe's leaders are currently clinging to.

If additional sanctions "concentrate minds" in Tehran, what is likely to happen? Prior to the nuclear deal, increasing sanctions spurred Iran to build tens of thousands of centrifuges and advance their nuclear program significantly. Sanctions addicts are under the mistaken impression that they can force the targeted state to change its behavior, but in practice this just causes them to do more of what the U.S. doesn't want to give them additional leverage . In order for sanctions to have any chance of being effective, the other government has to believe that there is way to get the sanctions lifted permanently. Iran's leaders no longer believe that because Trump shredded our government's credibility by reneging on the deal. Now that the U.S. has shown that its promises of sanctions relief are meaningless, it can impose any number of sanctions for as long as it wants and all it will do is provoke Iran into doing exactly what our government opposes.

If the Trump administration succeeds in completely blowing up the deal, Iran won't have to abide by its restrictions any longer. In the worst-case scenario, the U.S. pressure campaign could convince Iran's government to leave the NPT. In its vain and destructive attempt to force Iran to make deeper concessions, the Trump administration could very easily repeat the Bush administration's North Korea blunder . Sanctions addicts don't think that abusing sanctions can have adverse and undesirable consequences, but in this case they could end up producing a much worse outcome to the detriment of all concerned. Posted in foreign policy , politics . Tagged Iran , North Korea , Bloomberg , NPT , Mohammad Javad Zarif , Donald Trump , JCPOA .


b. August 21, 2018 at 1:09 pm

"In the worst-case scenario, the U.S. pressure campaign could convince Iran's government to leave the NPT."

For the Bolt-On et.al. this would be a best case outcome. There are good arguments that Iran will refrain from anything that would deliver a pretext for "non-proliferation at gunpoint" until at least 2020 – US election – and 2021 – Iranian elections.

In fact, my guess would be that Iran could get a lot more "bang for the buck" by investing the significant efforts and budgets of pursuing a nuclear deterrent – with the resulting "window of vulnerability" – into those conventional and irregular deterrents: A2/AD and IRGC, Hezbollah, proxies in Iraq.

When the Trump administration and Congress defined that "malignancy", which so mirrors our own, they signaled clearly that Iran's actions were exposing weaknesses and serve as constraints on US impunitive action. Trump and Obama might be dumb enough to waste trillions on mutually assured nuclear suicide, Iran appears to have a more frugal approach to deterrence .

I find another aspect of sanctions illuminating. Sanctions have significant cost – opportunity cost, loss of investment, penalties on breach of contract – for large segments of US and EU industry – as our "allies" are now learning . For administrations such as Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump, that all hail from different toxic brews of corporate and oligarch interests, there has to be a reason to force these costs on one segment of their true "constituencies". On first glance, it would imply that the interests of the presidential-congressional-military-industrial complex – that is, the profit and business interests of the industrial segment, or the ancillary benefits for the other war profiteers – trump (for lack of a more appropriate word) the concerns and interests of the non-defense and non-electioneering business.

Bloomberg, of all publications, should be sensitive to this, unless they, too, place a premium on "national securities".

b. , says: August 21, 2018 at 1:25 pm

Is sanction enforcement by itself more profitable than the trade it suppresses? Or are sanctions without profitable "regime change" and the follow-thru looting – Russia 1991 or Iraq 2003 – a net loss?

Our foreign policy might be decided and defined by this trade-off. Do our war profiteering business elites consider regime change a requirement for deferred return on investment, or would they prefer sanctions in perpetuity?

Certainly, the interests of various factions of the presidential-congressional-military-industrial complex are not in perfect alignment . For example, a trillion dollar budget for mutually assured nuclear suicide might offer significant short term profits to a narrow "market segment" while increasing the "business risks" to all beneficiaries of inbred wealth across the world, for generations.

But it would appear that these trade-offs are not well understood. I guess I cannot complain about that, given my choice of "inbred wealth" as a description for the multi-generational estrangement of the rich, connected and powerful from existential realities.

SteveM , says: August 21, 2018 at 3:23 pm

Given the Neocon constitution of Trump's inner circle, it is not surprising that the Karl Rove delusion is again in play:

"We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do."

How did that work out last time?

U.S. foreign policy has been completely militarized. "Our way or the highway" diplomacy is defined by the ham-fisted war-mongers Pompeo and Bolton. With Nutjob Nikki Haley cheering them on with Dragon Lady Gina Haspel and her arrogant minions hatching regime change plots at CIA with anticipatory delight.

How did that work out in Libya, Ukraine and Syria? And Mattis successfully fear-mongers out the wazoo for even more hyper-expensive "lethality".

The U.S./Russia relationship has been fatally wrecked by the one-way ratchet sanctions ginned up by a nitwit Congress oblivious to unintended consequences. China and the rest of Asia are formulating an economic model decoupled from the Global Cop Gorilla. They will capture Iran's business and are peeling off Turkey. Europe is realizing the lunatic incoherence of U.S. foreign policy.

And incredulously, Trump merely stands back and watches as his minions run his albeit mal-formed foreign policy vision into the ground. BTW, Trump is so clueless he thinks that Putin will pow-wow with him under the current circumstances.

Stick a fork in this harebrained administration – because it's cooked

[Aug 18, 2018] America the Punitive by Philip Girald

Notable quotes:
"... Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation . ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | ronpaulinstitute.org

There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict. The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama's relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically, with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along. It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative assumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes. There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America's wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country's debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015. One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules.

Given Washington's diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation. As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

Reprinted with permission from Strategic Culture Foundation .

[Aug 18, 2018] The USA with a single strike killed all efforts of Puting to establ;ish better relations with the USA

Google translation
Aug 18, 2018 | newzfeed.ru

According to leading analysts, America decided to take such a tough step because of Washington's desire to restrain the development of our state as much as possible. However, it is already clear that such actions on the part of American colleagues will only worsen relations between the two superpowers. The new sanctions package altogether nullifies all previous agreements.

"All the positive aspects that have emerged after the meeting of the two presidents in Helsinki, of course, will be almost completely leveled," the media quoted the statement of the head of the center for military and political studies Vladimir Batyuk.

According to him, the actions of the us administration threaten with negative consequences, extremely complicating the further dialogue between Washington and Moscow.

First Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on international Affairs Vladimir dzhabarov, commenting on the situation, said - the United States is trying to "trim the wings" of Russia.

"The reason is banal – they are trying to restrain the development of Russia. The Americans themselves understand that our country is now deploying its wings, Russia is on the rise, it can become a powerful competitor both economically and militarily. Therefore at any cost try to constrain us", – the member of the Federation Council spoke.

According to dzhabarov, our country has long understood that Russia has no partners in America. The US is engaged in dirty methods of competition, using a variety of levers to squeeze Moscow from the EU energy markets.

"But it's useless. The history they, probably, not teaching. Let them read what the sanctions against Russia led to, " the Senator added.

We will remind, on August 8, the U.S. state Department announced the introduction of new restrictive measures against Russia. This package of anti-Russian sanctions includes a ban on the supply of dual-use products to Russia, a decrease in the level of diplomatic relations, an almost complete cessation of us exports, as well as a ban on flights to the States of the Russian company Aeroflot.

[Aug 18, 2018] All Sanctions Against Russia Are Based on Lies by Eric Zuesse

Notable quotes:
"... (labs in several countries including the UK have also manufactured it) ..."
"... still refuses to say any such thing ..."
"... Look at this paragraph: ..."
"... "Russia is the official successor state to the USSR. As such, Russia legally took responsibility for ensuring the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] applies to all former Soviet Chemical Weapons stocks and facilities." ..."
"... It does not need me to point out, that if Porton Down had identified the nerve agent as made in Russia, the FCO ..."
"... would not have added that paragraph. Plainly they cannot say it was made in Russia. ..."
"... In short, the ruling cited above, even if read in the most improbably forgiving way possible, shows the UK government does not have the information to warrant any of the claims it has so far made about Russian state involvement in the alleged poisoning of the Skripals. It shows the UK government is currently guilty of lying to Parliament, to the British people, and to the world. ..."
"... Imposition of Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act Sanctions on Russia ..."
"... Press Statement ..."
"... Department Spokesperson ..."
"... Following the use of a "Novichok" nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, the United States, on August 6, 2018, determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals. ..."
"... Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018. ..."
"... no path to peace, ..."
Aug 18, 2018 | theduran.com

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org:


All of the sanctions (economic, diplomatic, and otherwise) against Russia are based on clearly demonstrable intentional falsehoods; and the sanctions which were announced on August 8th are just the latest example of this consistent tragic fact -- a fact which will be proven here, with links to the evidence, so that anyone who reads here can easily see that all of these sanctions are founded on lies against Russia.

The latest of these sanctions were announced on Wednesday August 8 th . Reuters headlined "US imposes sanctions on Russia for nerve agent attack in UK" and reported that, "Washington said on Wednesday it would impose fresh sanctions on Russia by the end of August after it determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent against a former Russian agent and his daughter in Britain." This was supposedly because "Sergei Skripal, a former colonel in Russia's GRU military intelligence service, and his 33-year-old daughter, Yulia, were found slumped unconscious on a bench in the southern English city of Salisbury in March after a liquid form of the Novichok type of nerve agent was applied to his home's front door. European countries and the United States expelled 100 Russian diplomats after the attack, in the strongest action by President Donald Trump against Russia since he came to office."

However, despite intense political pressure that the UK Government and 'news'media had placed upon the UK's Porton Down intelligence laboratory to assert that the poison had been made in Russia (labs in several countries including the UK have also manufactured it) , the Porton Down lab refused to say this. Though the US Government is acting as ifPorton Down's statement "determined that Moscow had used a nerve agent," the actual fact is that Porton Down still refuses to say any such thing , at all -- this allegation is merely a fabrication by the US Government, including its allies, UK's Government and other Governments and their respective propaganda-media. It's a bald lie.

On March 18th, the great British investigative journalist and former British diplomat Craig Murray had headlined about UK's Foreign Secretary, "Boris Johnson Issues Completely New Story on Russian Novichoks" and he pointed to the key paragraph in the Porton Down lab's statement on this matter -- a brief one-sentence paragraph:

Look at this paragraph:

"Russia is the official successor state to the USSR. As such, Russia legally took responsibility for ensuring the CWC [Chemical Weapons Convention] applies to all former Soviet Chemical Weapons stocks and facilities."

It does not need me to point out, that if Porton Down had identified the nerve agent as made in Russia, the FCO [Foreign and Commonwealth Office -- UK's foreign ministry] would not have added that paragraph. Plainly they cannot say it was made in Russia.

Murray's elliptical report, which unfortunately was unclearly written -- it was rushed, in order to be able to published on the same day, March 18 th , when the UK's official response to the Porton Down lab's analysis was published -- was subsequently fully explained on March 23 rd at the excellent news-site Off-Guardian, which specializes in investigating and interpreting the news-media (in this case, Craig Murray's article, and the evidence regarding it); they headlined "Skripal case: 'closely related agent" claim closely examined'," and concluded their lengthy and detailed analysis:

In short, the ruling cited above, even if read in the most improbably forgiving way possible, shows the UK government does not have the information to warrant any of the claims it has so far made about Russian state involvement in the alleged poisoning of the Skripals. It shows the UK government is currently guilty of lying to Parliament, to the British people, and to the world.

Nothing has been published further about the Skripal/Novichoks matter since then, except speculation that's based on the evidence which was discussed in detail in that March 23 rd article at Off-Guardian.

On the basis of this -- merely an open case which has never been examined in more detail than that March 23rd analysis did -- the Skripal/Novichok case has been treated by the UK Government, and by the US Government, and by governments which are allied with them, and by their news-media, as if it were instead a closed case, in which what was made public constitutes proof that the Skripals had been poisoned by the Russian Government. On that blatantly fraudulent basis, over a hundred diplomats ended up being expelled.

The Porton Down lab still refuses to say anything that the UK Government can quote as an authority confirming that the Skripals had been poisoned by the Russian Government.

All that's left of the matter, then, is a cold case of official lies asserting that proof has been presented, when in fact only official lies have been presented to the public.

The UK Government prohibits the Skripals from speaking to the press, and refuses to allow them to communicate even with their family-members . It seems that they're effectively prisoners of the UK Government -- the same Government that claims to be protecting them against Russia.

This is the basis upon which the US State Department, on August 8th, issued the following statement to 'justify' its new sanctions:

Imposition of Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act Sanctions on Russia

Press Statement

Heather Nauert

Department Spokesperson

Washington, DC

August 8, 2018

Following the use of a "Novichok" nerve agent in an attempt to assassinate UK citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia Skripal, the United States, on August 6, 2018, determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals.

Following a 15-day Congressional notification period, these sanctions will take effect upon publication of a notice in the Federal Register, expected on or around August 22, 2018.

US law is supposed to be "innocent until proven guilty" -- the opposite of legal systems in which the contrary assumption applies: "guilty until proven innocent." However, regarding such matters as invading and destroying Iraq in 2003 upon the basis of no authentic evidence; and invading and destroying Libya in 2011 on the basis of no authentic proof of anyone's guilt; and on the basis of invading and for years trying to destroy Syria on the basis of America's supporting Al Qaeda in Syria against Syria's secular government; and on the basis of lying repeatedly against Russia in order to load sanction after sanction upon Russia and to 'justify' pouring its missiles and thousands of troops onto and near Russia's border as if preparing to invade 'the world's most aggressive country' -- the US federal Government routinely violates that fundamental supposition of its own legal system ("innocent until proven guilty"), whenever its rulers wish. And yet, it calls itself a 'democracy'.

Donald Trump constantly says that he seeks improved relations with Russia, but when his own State Department lies like that in order to add yet further to the severe penalties that it had previously placed against Russia for its presumed guilt in the Skripal/Novichok matter, then Trump himself is publicly exposing himself as being a liar about his actual intentions regarding Russia. He, via his Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's State Department, not only is punishing Russia severely for this unproven allegation, but now adds yet further penalties against Russia for it. Trump is being demanded by the US Congress to do this, but it is his choice whether to go along with that demand or else expose that it's based on lies. He likes to accuse his opponents of lying, but, quite obviously, the members of Congress who are demanding these hiked rounds of sanctions against Russia are demanding him to do what he actually wants to do -- which is now clearly demonstrated to be the exact opposite of exposing those lies. If Trump is moving toward World War III on the basis of lies, then the only way he can stop doing it is by exposing those lies. He's not even trying to do that.

Nothing is being said in the State Department's cryptic announcement on August 8th that sets forth any reasonable demand which the US Government is making to the Russian Government, such that, if the reasonable demand becomes fulfilled by Russia's Government, then the United States Government and its allies will cease and desist their successive, and successively escalating, rounds of punishment against Russia.

Russia is being offered no path to peace, but only the reasonable expectation of escalating lie-based American 'justifications' to perpetrate yet more American-and-allied aggressions against Russia.

There have been three prior US excuses for applying prior rounds of sanctions against Russia, and all of them have likewise been based upon lies, and varnished with many layers of overstatements.

First, in 2012, there was the Magnitsky Act, which was based upon frauds (subsequently exposed here and here and here ) which assert that Sergei Magnitsky was murdered by the Russian Government. The evidence (as linked-to there) is conclusive that he was not; but the US Government and its allies refuse even to consider it.

Then, in 2014, Crimea broke away from Ukraine and joined the Russian Federation, and the US and its allies allege that this was because Russia under Putin 'seized' Crimea from Ukraine, when in fact America under Obama had, just weeks prior to that Crimean breakaway, seized Ukraine and turned it against Russia and against Crimea and the other parts of Ukraine which had voted overwhelmingly for the democratically elected Ukrainian President whom the Obama regime had just overthrown in a bloody coup that had been in the planning ever since at least 2011 inside the Obama Administration . Several rounds of US-and-allied economic sanctions were imposed against Russia for that -- for the constant string of lies against Russia, and of constant cover-ups of "the most blatant coup in history," which had preceded and caused the breakaway.

These lies originated with Obama; and Trump accuses Obama of lying, but not on this, where Obama really did lie, psychopathically . Instead, Trump makes those lies bipartisan. On what counts the most against Obama, Trump seconds the Obama-lies, instead of exposing them. And yet Trump routinely has accused Obama as having lied, even on matters where it's actually Trump who has been lying about Obama.

Then, there have been the anti-Russia sanctions that are based upon Russiagate and 'Trump is Putin's stooge and stole the election.' That case against Russia has not been proven, and Wikileaks' founder Julian Assange says that what he had published were leaks from the DNC and Podesta's computer, not hacks at all; and yet the sanctions were imposed almost as soon as the Democratic Party's accusations started. Those sanctions, too, are utterly baseless except as being alleged responses to unproven (and likely false) allegations . Furthermore, even in the worst-case scenario: the US Government itself routinely overthrows foreign governments, and continues tapping the phones and electronic communications of foreign governments, and manipulating elections abroad. Even in the worst-case scenario, Russia hasn't done anything that historians haven't already proven that the US Government itself routinely does. That's the case even if Russia is guilty as charged, on all of the U.S-and-allied accusations.

So: Who wants World War III? Apparently, both the Democratic and the Republican Parties do . Obama called Russia the world's most aggressive nation . Trump joins with him in that bipartisan lie. Outside of America itself, most of the world consider the United States to be actually the " greatest threat to peace in the world today." Therefore, why isn't the NATO alliance against America? The NATO alliance is America and most of its vassal-nations: they're all allied against Russia. Their war against Russia never stopped. That 'Cold War' continued, even after the USSR and its communism and its Warsaw Pact mirror-image to NATO, all ended in 1991 ; and now the intensifying 'cold war' threatens to become very hot. All based on lies. But that seems to be the only type of 'justifications' the US-and-allied tyrants have got.

Either the lies will stop, or else we all will. Trump, as usual, is on the wrong side of the lies . And he seems to be too much of a coward to oppose them, in these cases, which are the most dangerous lies of all. This is how we could all end. Doing something heroic that would stop it, seems to be way beyond him -- he doesn't even try. That's the type of cowardice which should be feared, and despised, the most of all. Trump has taken up Obama's worst, and he runs with it. Trump had promised the opposite, during his Presidential campaign. But this is the reality of Trump -- a profoundly filthy liar -- at least insofar as he has, thus far, shown himself to be. What he will be in the future is all that remains in question. But this is what he has been, up till now.

[Aug 17, 2018] Stephen F. Cohen Sanction mania versus Russia -- Puppet Masters -- Sott.net

Notable quotes:
"... For nearly 100 years, Russia has been under US sanctions, often to the detriment of American national security. ..."
"... Historically, such sanctions were not problem-solving measures advancing American national security but more akin to temper tantrums or road rage, making things even worse, than to real policymaking. ..."
"... US "core" interests "need" Russia's cooperation in many vital ways. ..."
"... Moscow could sell off its billions of dollars of US Treasury securities ..."
"... It could end titanium exports to the United States ..."
"... Nor have four other circumstances. ..."
"... turning away even more from the West and toward China and other non-Western partners, and by developing its own capacity to produce sanctioned imports. ..."
"... in an era when there is no "globalization," or international security, without Russia. ..."
"... with the apparently solitary exception of Rand Paul of Kentucky, ..."
"... is in response to Russia's alleged "attack on American democracy" during the 2016 presidential election . ..."
"... only the kind of "meddling" and "interference" in the other's domestic politics that both countries have practiced, almost ritualistically, for nearly a hundred years. ..."
"... to thwart and even punish President Donald Trump for his policy of "cooperation with Russia." And Putin too for having met and cooperated with Trump at their Helsinki summit in July. ..."
Aug 17, 2018 | www.sott.net

For nearly 100 years, Russia has been under US sanctions, often to the detriment of American national security.

Cohen begins by putting the current bipartisan Senate campaign to impose new, "crushing" sanctions on Russia in historical context. Broadly understood, sanctions have been part of US policy toward Russia for much of the past 100 years. During the Russian civil war of 1918-20, President Woodrow Wilson sent American troops to fight against the emerging Soviet government. Though the "Reds" were clearly the established government of Soviet Russia by 1921, Washington continued to deny the USSR diplomatic recognition until President Franklin D. Roosevelt established formal relations in 1933. During much of the 40-year Cold War, the United States imposed various sanctions on its superpower rival, mainly related to technological and military exports, along with periodic expulsions of diplomats and "spies" on both sides.

Congress' major political contribution was the 1975 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, which denied Moscow privileged trading status with the United States, primarily because of Kremlin restrictions on Jewish emigration from the Soviet Union. Indicative of how mindlessly habitual US sanctions had become, Jackson-Vanik was nullified only in late 2012, long after the end of the Soviet Union and after any restrictions on Jews leaving (or returning to) Russia. Even more indicative, it was immediately replaced, in December 2012, by the Magnitsky Act, which purported to sanction individual Russian officials and "oligarchs" for "human-rights abuses." The Magnitsky Act remains law, supplemented by additional sanctions leveled against Russia as a result of the 2014 Ukrainian crisis and particularly Moscow's annexation of Crimea.

Looking back over this long history, there is no evidence that any US sanctions ever significantly altered Moscow's "behavior" in ways that were intended. Or that they adversely affected Russia's ruling political or financial elites. Any pain inflicted fell on ordinary citizens, who nonetheless rallied "patriotically" around the Kremlin leadership, most recently around Russian President Vladimir Putin. Historically, such sanctions were not problem-solving measures advancing American national security but more akin to temper tantrums or road rage, making things even worse, than to real policymaking.

Why, then, Washington's new bout of sanction mania against Moscow, especially considering the harsh official Russian reaction expressed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who called the Senate's proposed measures "a declaration of economic war" and promised that the Kremlin would retaliate?

One explanation is an underlying, astonishing assumption recently stated by Michael McFaul , the media-ubiquitous former US ambassador to Moscow and a longtime Russia scholar: "To advance almost all of our core national security and economic interests, the US does not need Russia." Such a statement by a former or current policymaker and intellectual is perhaps unprecedented in modern times - and manifestly wrong. US "core" interests "need" Russia's cooperation in many vital ways. They include avoiding nuclear war; preventing a new and more dangerous arms race; guarding against the proliferation of weapons and materials of mass destruction; coping with international terrorists (who are in pursuit of such materials); achieving lasting peace in Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East; fostering prosperity and stability in Europe, of which Russia is a part; promoting better relations with the Islamic world, of which Russia is also a part; and avoiding a generation-long confrontation with a formidable new alliance that already includes Russia, China, Iran, and other non-NATO countries. If McFaul's assumption is widespread in Washington, as it seems to be, we are living in truly unwise and perilous times.

A second assumption is no less myopic and dangerous: that the Kremlin is weak and lacks countermeasures to adopt against the new sanctions being advocated in Washington. Consider, however, the following real possibilities. Moscow could sell off its billions of dollars of US Treasury securities and begin trading with friendly nations in non-dollar currencies, both of which it has already begun to do. It could restrict, otherwise undermine, or even shut down many large US corporations long doing profitable business in Russia, among them Citibank, Cisco Systems, Apple, Microsoft, PepsiCo, McDonald's, Johnson & Johnson, Procter & Gamble, Ford Motor Co., and even Boeing. It could end titanium exports to the United States , which are vital to American civilian and military aircraft manufacturers, including Boeing. And terminate the sale of rocket engines essential for NASA and US satellite operations. The world's largest territorial country, Russia could charge US airlines higher tariffs for their regular use of its air space or ban them altogether, making them uncompetitive against other national carriers. Politically, the Kremlin could end its own sanctions on Iran and North Korea, alleviating Washington's pressure on those governments. And it could end the Russian supply transit to US troops fighting in Afghanistan used since the early 1990s.

None of this seems to have been considered by Washington's sanction zealots. Nor have four other circumstances. Sanctions against Russia's "oligarchs" actually help Putin, whom the US political-media establishment so despises and constantly indicts. For years, he has been trying to persuade many of the richest oligarchs to repatriate their offshore wealth to Russia. Few did so. Now, fearful of having their assets abroad frozen or seized by US measures, more and more are complying. Second, new sanctions limiting Moscow's ability to borrow and finance investment at home will retard the country's still meager growth rate . But the Kremlin coped after the 2014 sanctions and will do so again by turning away even more from the West and toward China and other non-Western partners, and by developing its own capacity to produce sanctioned imports. (Russian agricultural production, for example, has surged in recent years, now becoming a major export industry.) Third, already unhappy with existing economic sanctions against Russia, European multinational corporations - and thus Europe itself - may tilt even farther away from their capricious "transatlantic partner" in Washington, who is diminishing their vast market in the East. And fourth, waging "economic war" is one impulsive step from breaking off all diplomatic relations with Russia, this too actually being discussed by Washington zealots. Such a rupture would turn the clock back many decades, but in an era when there is no "globalization," or international security, without Russia.

Finally, what reason do Washington extreme Cold Warriors themselves give for imposing new sanctions on Russia? Most of them are in the US Senate, historically a body with at least several independent-minded distinguished statesmen, but no longer, with the apparently solitary exception of Rand Paul of Kentucky, who has demonstrated considerable wisdom in regard to US-Russian relations. Their professed reasons are various and nonsensical. Some say Russia must be sanctioned for Ukraine, but those events happened four years ago and have already been "punished." Others say for "Russia's aggression in Syria," but it was Putin's military intervention that destroyed the Islamic State's terrorist occupation of much of the country and ended its threat to take Damascus, to the benefit of America and its allies, including Europe and Israel. Still others insist the Kremlin must be sanctioned for its "nerve agent" attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the UK several months ago. But the British government's case against the Kremlin has virtually fallen apart, as any attentive reader of articles in David Johnson's Russia List will understand.

Ultimately, though, the new bout of sanction mania is in response to Russia's alleged "attack on American democracy" during the 2016 presidential election . In reality, there was no "attack" - no Pearl Harbor, no 9/11, no Russian parachuters descending on Washington - only the kind of "meddling" and "interference" in the other's domestic politics that both countries have practiced, almost ritualistically, for nearly a hundred years. Indeed, whatever "meddling" Russian actors did in 2016 may well have been jaywalking compared to the Clinton administration's massive, highly intrusive political and financial intervention on behalf of the failing Russian President Boris Yeltsin's reelection campaign in 1996.

We are left, then, with the real reason behind the new anti-Russian sanctions effort: to thwart and even punish President Donald Trump for his policy of "cooperation with Russia." And Putin too for having met and cooperated with Trump at their Helsinki summit in July. This bizarre, also unprecedented, reality is more than a whisper. According to a New York Times "news analysis," as well as other published reports,

a "bipartisan group of senators, dismayed that Mr. Trump had not publicly confronted Mr. Putin over Russia's election meddling, released draft legislation" of new sanctions against Moscow. "Passage of such a bill would impose some of the most damaging sanctions yet."
Leave aside for now that it is not Russian "meddling" that is delegitimizing our elections but instead these fact-free allegations themselves that are doing so. (How many losing candidates in 2018 will claim their victory was snatched away by Putin?) Consider instead that for doing what every American president since Eisenhower has done - meet with the sitting Kremlin leader in order to avoid stumbling into a war between the nuclear superpowers - in effect both Trump and Putin are being condemned by the Washington establishment, including by members of Trump's own intelligence agencies.

If so, who will avert the prospect of war with Russia, a new Cuban missile-like crisis, conceivably in the Baltic region, Ukraine, or Syria? Certainly not any leading representative of the Democratic Party. Certainly not the current Russophobic "bipartisan" Senate. Certainly not the most influential media outlets, which amplify the warmongering folly almost daily. In this most existential regard, there is for now only, like it or not, President Donald Trump.

Stephen F. Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies and politics at NYU and Princeton, and John Batchelor continue their (usually) weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. Previous installments, now in their fifth year, are at TheNation.com .
Comment: As Cohen brilliantly points out - sanctions, for the US, are a dead end.

[Aug 15, 2018] Mastercard and Visa can be hit by Russian sanctions; the US financial sector can be eliminated in Russia

Notable quotes:
"... Regarding the Russian characterization of America as their "friend", I believe that Russia is simply playing with us. The US wants Russia to come across as an angry, belligerent and shoe-waving peasant. The intent is to keep alive the Cold War image of Russia as uncivilized and crass. The best response is to do exactly what they are doing. It makes the US look like the petulant bully that it is. Call it judo-politics . ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 10, 2018 at 7:58 am

It's time for everyone to come off Twitter – it is like writing your message on your buttocks with a black sharpie and dropping your trousers. Tweets are the kind of stupid thing you send out at the end of work after you've had a bastard of a day, and something you read or hear pushes you over the edge. People in diplomatic posts should not be allowed to use Twitter at all, and should be punished for doing so – reporters now avidly follow the Twitter feed of anyone who is anyone, and pounce on anything that has not been thought through before it can be deleted: an attempt to delete it is just the icing on the cake, an admission that you shouldn't have said it.

Time was, diplomats ran everything they said in writing in an official capacity through a review before it was released, it was parsed six ways from Sunday to see how it might be spun, twisted or misinterpreted. Diplomats speaking in a live interview were careful to remain vague and say nothing which might not have meant several different things. You did not get countries straining to get at one another because of something the minister of agriculture said. But now everybody feels they can speak for the government on Twitter. It's hard to imagine how the various countries of the world could come to be represented by their stupidest citizens.

I hope America does formally sanction the Russian finance and banking sector. They're already doing it under the radar, and going formal would give Russia an excuse to dump SWIFT and stop using it, as well as the US dollar. Mastercard and Visa would be gonzo, taillights, possibly in China as well. America sanctioning the Russian financial sector would remove its last ability to keep an eye on it easily.

Patient Observer August 10, 2018 at 3:29 am
Regarding the Russian characterization of America as their "friend", I believe that Russia is simply playing with us. The US wants Russia to come across as an angry, belligerent and shoe-waving peasant. The intent is to keep alive the Cold War image of Russia as uncivilized and crass. The best response is to do exactly what they are doing. It makes the US look like the petulant bully that it is. Call it judo-politics .
Mark Chapman August 10, 2018 at 7:42 am
It's just diplo-speak, to mark the speaker as a civilized man and not a thug. That is beginning to become a bit of a sore point – is there anyone left who actually believes that because Russian diplomats say "our American friends" or "our American colleagues", that they labour under a delusion that this is just a temporary spat and under it all they still have brotherly connections? If so, let me disabuse all those people of that notion; the Russian government and all its operatives are well aware that America is a self-declared and thus committed enemy. But saying, "the Americans, our enemies" would make for tiresome commentary in the western papers, in which ideologues would assess that this practice proved the Russians are the aggressors while westerners are just trying to work it out. Alternatively, they could lower themselves to the vernacular and instruct, "Listen up, motherfuckers".

Russia understands that America is an enemy and not a friend of any description, just as it understands the United Nations is an American-dominated body and that it is next to useless to expect the UN to back any Russian initiative. It continues to go through the motions in both cases, merely to underline who is following the rules and protocols set up by a better and more aware global civilization than currently prevails, and who is just kicking sand in the other's face and trying to get him to swing for the chin.

Moscow Exile August 13, 2018 at 12:41 am
I feel that I should add that by saying that Americans are not Russia's friends, I mean "deep-state" Americans and others of like mind.

I am sure that most American citizens just want to live their lives in peace and do not feel threatened by "Vlad" and his Evil Empire.

Not long back from the country and head off there again this afternoon for the rest of the week.

And no, I am not building my nuclear fall-out bunker there!

Patient Observer August 13, 2018 at 1:16 pm
Very true. Poll after poll fails to show any concern by American citizens over Russian "meddling" or Russian "assertiveness". Sure, questions can be posed such as "Should the US resist the Russian invasion of xxxxx?". Naturally, the answer would likely be yes. But when asked, without prompting, what concerns them, Russia does not register as a concern at any level. I find this remarkable as anti-Russian news is often the lead on every network evening news show. I can not recall a news broadcast for many months that did not include a Russian-bashing story. The tipping point on media credibility may have been reached

[Aug 15, 2018] Sanctions that Russia can implement

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Patient Observer says: August 12, 2018 at 6:23 pm

https://www.rt.com/business/435760-russia-response-us-sanctions/

In short:

  1. Cut off titanium metals and fabrications to the West – Boeing shutdowns as well as many other US aerospace operations;
  2. Close off air space or charge much higher tariffs to US carriers using Russian airspace. US airlines become non-competitive in many Asian and European markets;
  3. Stop exporting LNG and other energy products to the US;
  4. Raise taxes or shutdown US companies in Russia;
  5. Stop exports of the RD-180 and 181 rocket engines.

Action 1 would have a devastating impact on US aerospace manufacturing. The US has little ability to replace with domestic or foreign supplies. This action should be reserved in the event of extremely aggressive US actions such as a direct military attack on Syria;

Perhaps the sequence should be 2, 3, 5, 4, 1.

Cortes says: August 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm I propose a 6.

Call a presser at the UN and have the Ambassador confirm that Obama and HRC are wholly paid-up RF assets and watch Civil War II unfold.

[Aug 15, 2018] Countermove in Caspian see: no NATO allowed

Notable quotes:
"... It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.' ..."
"... Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox. ..."
"... Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:06 am

Apologies if somebody already posted, the legal partitioning of the Caspian Sea is finally complete and constitutes good news for Russia:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russia-says-deal-to-settle-status-of-caspian-sea-reached-a8486311.html

yalensis August 13, 2018 at 2:10 am
The other backstory being that NATO wanted to stick its nose in the Caspian Sea, but has been pushed out. Not sure exactly what the pretext was. I have a piece in VZGLIAD that explains the whole thing, but I haven't worked through it yet, will probably do a piece on my own blog in the near future. But I have a couple of other projects in the queue first.
Mark Chapman August 13, 2018 at 8:39 am
Dick Cheney, among others, was convinced that the Caspian Basin holds massive deposits of oil and gas and is strategically significant for that reason.

http://coat.ncf.ca/our_magazine/links/issue46/articles/real_reasons_quotes.htm

"Central Asian resources may revert back to the control of Russia or to a Russian led alliance. This would be a nightmare situation. We had better wake up to the dangers or one day the certainties on which we base our prosperity will be certainties no more. The potential prize in oil and gas riches in the Caspian sea, valued up to $4 trillion, would give Russia both wealth and strategic dominance. The potential economic rewards of Caspian energy will draw in their train Western military forces to protect our investment if necessary."

Mortimer Zuckerman
Editor, U.S. News and World Report

"This is about America's energy security. Its also about preventing strategic inroads by those who don't share our values. We are trying to move these newly independent countries toward the West. We would like to see them reliant on Western commercial and political interests. We've made a substantial political investment in the Caspian and it's important that both the pipeline map and the politics come out right."

Bill Richardson
Then-U.S. Secretary Energy (1998-2000)

It looks as if Zuckerman's 'nightmare situation' has come about. I don't know that these were ever proven reserves, and in fact I have the impression that the supposed energy bounty of the Caspian did not turn out quite as imagined, but Washington once thought – not long ago, either – that it was imperative America controlled the Caspian region because it was about 'America's energy security'. Which is another way of saying 'America must have control over and access to every oil-producing region on the planet.'

Richardson was correct, though, that Russia 'does not share America's values'. In fact, Americans do not share America's values, in the sense that most Americans by far would not support the actions of the Saudi military in Yemen, the clever false-flag operations of the White Helmets in Syria, the deliberate destabilization of Venezuela, regime-change operations to the right and left in order to obtain governments who will facilitate American commercial and political control, and many other things that official America considers just important tools in the American Global Dominance Toolbox.

Washington has long nurtured the dream of being Europe's primary, if not only, energy supplier, and owning the Caspian (had the reserves expectations played out) would have brought them closer to their dream. A pipeline network would have carried Caspian oil and gas to Europe. Agreement among the Caspian nations was most definitely not in American interests, and if you dig you will probably find American interventions to prevent that from coming about.

[Aug 15, 2018] Russia need to preserve normalcy for its own population despite US sanctions, so overreacting might be counterproductive as some goods produced by West can't be easily replaced

Notable quotes:
"... Russia is simply trying to preserve an impression of normalcy for its own population, and trade is normal – Russia replaces those goods it cannot buy from the west with those from other markets, but completely shutting off the purchase of all western goods would subject Russians to unnecessary privations for the sake of pride. ..."
"... Russia has many arrows in its quiver. Best not to use them until needed. Big ones like turning off the gas to the EU would only makes sense if there is imminent war which is clearly not the case. In fact, it would be in Russia's best strategic interest to continue to the the main supplier of energy to the EU as it inhibits them from doing things that are potentially stupid dangerous. ..."
"... I would like to see Russian stop supply of the RD-180 and 181 as it is ultra-high tech which would be a nice reminder to the West regarding Russia's science and technology edge as well as delivering a serious blow to the US presence in space – military and civilian. Trump's "Space Force" would be DOA. ..."
"... Western sanctions have done Russia enormous good. It provided an escape from WTO restrictions and unfair trade practices. Good that they are taking full advantage of this opportunity. I suppose that Paul Craig Roberts means well but he needs to take a step back and see the bigger picture ..."
"... I agree that Russia should start cutting the United States off from things it needs from Russia – like the RD-180 and titanium – which would be expensive for the USA to get elsewhere. ..."
"... The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people. ..."
"... It's economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 12, 2018 at 10:43 am

Russia is simply trying to preserve an impression of normalcy for its own population, and trade is normal – Russia replaces those goods it cannot buy from the west with those from other markets, but completely shutting off the purchase of all western goods would subject Russians to unnecessary privations for the sake of pride.

Mr. Putin's popularity with the Russian people rests largely on their confidence that he is looking out for them, and always carefully balancing risk with reward. If Russia were run by somebody like Erdogan, the west would have succeeded in overthrowing him ages ago.

Russia is in a good position to resist sanctions, because Washington dares not impose restrictions on its trade in oil and gas. While it would be wrong to assume Russia has nothing else, these are core industries and in the other sectors where Russia is strong, the west does not buy much from it anyway except for steel and raw materials. Russia can easily replace those markets. But western brands who spent decades building up their market in Russia slowly and carefully have lost it almost overnight. And they will be a long, long time getting it back.

Jen August 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm
PCR's sources of information probably focus too much on the doings of the Central Bank of Russia and not enough on other sources of advice that the Russian government might rely on. You wonder whether PCR or his researchers are aware that the Russians and the Chinese might be mocking the US in the statements and policies they choose to make public.
Patient Observer August 12, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Russia has many arrows in its quiver. Best not to use them until needed. Big ones like turning off the gas to the EU would only makes sense if there is imminent war which is clearly not the case. In fact, it would be in Russia's best strategic interest to continue to the the main supplier of energy to the EU as it inhibits them from doing things that are potentially stupid dangerous.

I would like to see Russian stop supply of the RD-180 and 181 as it is ultra-high tech which would be a nice reminder to the West regarding Russia's science and technology edge as well as delivering a serious blow to the US presence in space – military and civilian. Trump's "Space Force" would be DOA.

Western sanctions have done Russia enormous good. It provided an escape from WTO restrictions and unfair trade practices. Good that they are taking full advantage of this opportunity. I suppose that Paul Craig Roberts means well but he needs to take a step back and see the bigger picture.

Mark Chapman August 12, 2018 at 10:23 pm
I agree that Russia should start cutting the United States off from things it needs from Russia – like the RD-180 and titanium – which would be expensive for the USA to get elsewhere.

I also agree Russia should keep on supplying the EU with energy, for a couple of reasons. One, any interruption in the supply is just what Washington and its Atlanticist Eurobuddies are looking for so they can label Russia an unreliable partner, and start that whole alternative-sources conversation again: it's why they want to keep Ukraine in the loop – to initiate disruptions and promote uncertainty about the reliability of Russian gas.

Two, Russia has a good chance of splitting factions in Europe off from the USA, as the latter is more and more perceived to be trying to boss the European energy market so as to secure a captive customer for its own exports. The last thing Russia needs is to create the impression that Washington is saving Europe instead of dicking it around.

James lake August 12, 2018 at 7:16 am
https://www.strategic-culture.org/authors/finian-cunningham.html

US Sanctions Are Pushing Russia to War

"The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia's economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.

The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.

It's economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate."

kirill August 12, 2018 at 10:14 am
All these articles are hysterical pap. The events after 2014 have demonstrated that Russia is immune to western sanctions and actually massively benefits from them. It has also shown that it can rapidly react to changing financial conditions as seen in the offloading of $230 billion in foreign debt in 2015. The current round of "the mother of all sanctions" trash talk from Washington is desperate and pathetic failure.

Russia has no reason or incentive for war. It is NATzO that wants to take Russia out. Russia will adjust to the new sanctions by become fully independent of any western financial or economic links. Russia has the critical economic mass to by an autarchy. But it does not need to be since it will keep on trading with most of the planet. NATzO accounts for 11% of the global population (but thinks it is 100%). The congenital retards who run NATzO are helping China to become the next premier financial power. The Yuan will replace the dollar by necessity if not by choice.

I want to see the writers of this scaremongering garbage list the actual economic impacts on Russia. Starting with the financial ones. Russia does not depend on foreign currencies. It also does not depend on foreign loans like some banana republic. The current claims by the chimps in Congress that they will bring Russia's economy to its knees are the same BS as during the post Banderite Kiev coup sanctions which Obama was sure were going to cut Russia down.

Enough already!

davidt August 12, 2018 at 3:49 pm
There is some truth in what you say but nevertheless I think you quite underestimate the threat of US sanctions. One doesn't have to be an unabashed fan of Ben Aris to accept some of the points that he makes in the following article.
http://www.intellinews.com/moscow-blog-us-declares-economic-war-on-russia-146707/?source=blogs
In any case, I am a fan of Eric Kraus and he has serious concerns- check out some of his comments here, say, for example, 7 minutes in.
kirill August 12, 2018 at 4:29 pm
Eric Kraus apparently thinks that Russian enterprises need to borrow dollars or euro from the west. He is dead wrong. Russia can get all the dollars and euro it needs via the exports of oil and gas, minerals, military equipment, nuclear power plants and assorted other exports over $400 billion US per year. That was the point of my post: Uncle Scumbag's sanctions on financial transactions do not cut Russia off, they cut the US and the EU off from the Russian market. We are back to 2014 and these new "mother of all sanctions" will be as useless as the previous round.

As for Japan, it is a useless comparison. Pearl Harbour was triggered by the US trying to cut Japan off from vital resources. Non financial ones. Nobody can cut Russia either from natural resources or the financing it needs. But Russia can f*ck the EU over big time by cutting off natural gas exports. As the rabid mutt in Washington tries to go for broke, Russia should keep diverting natural gas eastward. Let Uncle Scumbag save the EU with the spare LNG he doesn't have.

Patient Observer August 12, 2018 at 5:20 pm
Yes, the analogy between prewar Japan and Russia is false. It can be argued that it is exactly the opposite. Russia has the resources that the West needs and if Russia were to cut those off, the West could be induced to launch a war of desperation as Japan did. If Russia is "walking on eggs" that is why.
Mark Chapman August 12, 2018 at 10:15 pm
Russia also can borrow whatever money it needs to from China. China probably has more than enough to lend of its own, but if it does not, it is under no restrictions against borrowing from western banks, and those banks have no control over how that money is reallocated.
davidt August 13, 2018 at 2:19 pm
I commented on the Pearl Harbour episode simply to make the point that the proposed sanctions are a very aggressive move- this is clearly how the Russian government sees them, and rightly so. If these sanctions clip a percent or so of Russian GDP growth for the foreseeable future then they are very damaging for the country. Frankly, I would not be very sanguine about Russia's long term future if it were not for China, and I continue to back Kraus's opinion over Kirill's This earlier article by Aris sets the stage reasonably well- it's obvious weakness is that the role of China is not taken into account
. http://www.intellinews.com/moscow-blog-russio-delenda-est-140787/?source=blogs
A further point. No matter how creative Russia's scientists and engineers might be, it beggars belief to imagine that any country can compete technologically long term if largely isolated by the rest of the World. Again, this further emphasizes how critical China is likely to be for Russia's well being.
Patient Observer August 13, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Russia needs China and China needs Russia if it wants to remain a sovereign nation.

I would add that the US is in a very fragile state burdened by a stagnate economy despite massive deficit spending in addition to a crumbling global empire. Russia may simply need to ride out the storm and let nature takes it course relative to the US.

kirill August 13, 2018 at 6:24 pm
The chimps in Congress can't see past their own noses and think that borrowing and debt is what sustains the Russian economy. Their bubble of delusion has no bearing on Russian reality. They are currently engaged in "the definition of insanity is to repeat the same failed approach over and over and expect a different result". You can't cut Russia off from western banks more than once and there is obviously no cumulative impact from such sanctions.
kirill August 13, 2018 at 6:20 pm
On what basis do you estimate 1% GDP growth reduction (or contraction?) for the foreseeable future? Kraus needs to make a case and not just engage in proof by assertion. How can we have the same restrictions to banking access that were imposed in 2014 all of the sudden starting to matter now? That is just ludicrous. Cutting off access to NATzO banks in 2014 was the limit of what NATzO could do. It can't go into Russia and shut down Russian banks to prevent Russian companies from financing themselves there or from the Russian government.

Anyway, too much obscure mush and utter lack of details. These "mother of all sanctions" are a joke because the 2014 sanctions did most of the "damage".

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/russia-sanctions-us-eu-banks-sberbank-oil-gazprom

LOL.

Mark Chapman August 13, 2018 at 11:18 pm
But for how long can the rest of the world (meaning, I suppose, the United States and western Europe, which seem together to think they are The World) keep it up? Long enough to bring Russia down? I frankly doubt it. America needs trade for its corporations to flourish and expand market share, and it is not achieving that through sanctions and tariffs. The USA is not just taking on Russia; it is making enemies everywhere. The global economy is so interwoven now that it is very difficult to sanction a country to death unless you can block all its major moneymakers. And Washington can't do that (to Russia) without hurting Europe.

The present sanctions are lame and do not really do anything but get journalists excited and use up paper. The sting is in the ones set to automatically go into effect in three months, because to avoid them Russia must admit that it has a secret chemical-weapons program, agree to shut it down and allow UN inspectors into the country to verify it has been done. Perhaps Trump and his cabal gamble that Russia will cop to something it actually doesn't have, just to avoid sanctions, as Gadaffi did. But Russia will not, while the American attempt to bring more inconvenience and problems to the Russian people in an effort to use them to bludgeon the government into doing Washington's bidding is about as shitty a thing as America has ever done without involving weapons, since it offers no proof at all of its conclusions. It is simply imposing collective punishment in order to get ts own way, and would be the first to squeal if Russia did it.

Northern Star August 14, 2018 at 3:06 pm
"The global economy is so interwoven now that it is very difficult to sanction a country to death unless you can block all its major moneymakers. And Washington can't do that (to Russia) without hurting Europe."

The entire sanctions discussion in a nutshell.

Northern Star August 14, 2018 at 3:48 pm
From the Ben Aris link:

"Like the Romans, the US has built a military-industrial economy that can massively out-resource all its opponents' and so is impossible to defeat – a legacy of the rapid militarisation during WWII when it simply out produced first the Nazis and then the Soviet Union, the only other country on the planet at the time with any chance of matching the US's industrial might"

Unlike the Reich the USA industrial base wasn't hampered by round the clock bombing from the Eighth AirForce and the RAF , which also involved the diversion on billions of Reichsmarks for thousands of planes and the Luftwaffe manpower in an attempt to stop or at least mitigate the air attacks.

Likewise the USA industrial base was not hampered by having to -in a massive undertaking-uproot its core manufacturing facilities and move them thousands of kilometers to where they could be reassembled and resume production of machinery , armor and weaponry in general.

Furthermore:

These are just a couple reasons for the fall of Rome, but what is perhaps most terrifying about the fall are the corollaries to today. The Unites States of America has a Gini coefficient of .45, and 40% of the wealth is controlled by the top 1% of the population.[5] By every metric, the United States is even more divided and unfair than Rome before its fall. The effects are perfectly evident as well as there is increasing inclination from the rich to build fallout bunkers and withdraw from civilization and politics just as the roman elites did centuries before. Worsening matters is the evidence of extreme racism towards migrant workers who like slaves in Rome "take the labor from the hardworking middle class". Increasingly the middle class shrinks as social unrest and bigotry grows. It is a scary combination that, if we aren't careful, could spell the end of civilization as we know it, just like it did for the Romans centuries before.

https://pages.vassar.edu/realarchaeology/2017/11/05/how-socialincome-inequality-and-the-fall-of-rome-is-relevant-today/
AND the five links therein.

Therefore the Aris notion that USA can simply bide its time and wait for Russia to collapse is suspect. If anything there may well be be a collapse but not Russia.

Patient Observer August 14, 2018 at 4:58 pm
Agree with the sentiment but the Soviet Union outproduced the US in every industrial category that mattered. Its military was much stronger than the US on land and in the air. On the sea, the US probably had the edge.

The Soviet Union fell because its ideology provided no means to deal with psychos and sociopaths. Religion, with all of its shortcomings, at least tried to address sociopathic behaviors with such terms as sin, evil, etc. When religion left the building, there was nothing left to stop the psychos and its kissing cousins, the Randites.

The West is immune from such dangers as it embraces sociopathyy. Russia, I believe, is seeking a society that can withstand such assaults without heavy handed purges which only provide temporary relief. The Orthodox Church ascendancy in modern Russia is helping to provide that moral anchor to keep socciopathy from becoming the dominant world view. I think even atheists can agree on the importance of its role in providing a stable and humane society.

[Aug 15, 2018] Russia is one of only 7 nation states to have verifiably dismantled and destroyed their chemical weapon stockpiles as ratified by the OPCW and in compliance to the CWC. After Skripal false flag they probably have a second thought.

Notable quotes:
"... What can I say – perhaps now Russia will batten down the hatches and stop all this pandering to western partners. ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

James lake August 8, 2018 at 12:21 pm

Breaking news here in the UK.

USA say that Russia did poison the Skripals in Salisbury.

"The US blamed the attack on Vladimir Putin and said they would be issuing fresh sanctions in response to the deadly attack.

The state department says Wednesday the sanctions will be imposed on Russia because it used a chemical weapon in violation of international law.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: "The United States determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the government of the Russian Federation has used chemical or biological weapons in violation of international law, or has used lethal chemical or biological weapons against its own nationals."

Former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by Novichok, a military-grade nerve agent, in the British town of Salisbury in March."

What can I say – perhaps now Russia will batten down the hatches and stop all this pandering to western partners.

kirill August 8, 2018 at 3:28 pm
No need to batten down the hatches. Just ignore the yapping NATzO chihuahuas. We have not even had a proper trial to determine guilt. The US leadership is not some ultimate judicial body. They can make as many political judgements as they want, but that will do Jack to Russia.

At this point all the hysterical US-driven sanctions against Russia are totally self defeating. The monkeys in Washington clearly think that Russia is a banana republic and that it needs to have access to foreign money and technology to function. They are cleared fucked in the head.

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 3:56 pm
More on the above per RT:

It would reportedly include more drastic measures, such as downgrading diplomatic relations, banning the Russian airline Aeroflot from flying to the US and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.

So, are we talking about RD-180 rocket engines and Americans traveling to the ISS on Russian rockets? Are we talking about titanium fabrications that Boeing needs for its aircraft manufacturing?

This Russian hysteria is masking something, something big. My one-track mind suggests fixated on the idea of an approaching economic collapse and subsequent imposition of martial law and/or massive levels of censorship; all to be blamed on Russia. The increasingly frenetic pace of Russian hysteria suggests a near-term sh!t-storm is on the way.

James lake August 8, 2018 at 4:18 pm
The Russian hysteria is scary as so many citizens over there believe in the Russiagate nonsense and have been manipulated to feel they have been attacked.

It means therefore that conditions have been created whereby the USA has the support to attack back.

Putin should never have gone to Helsinki as that escalated the madness.

Trump is emasculated just as obama was and has no power to do anything to block this pathway to outright confrontation

The Europeans will sit by and watch – Russia has no allies there.,

Patient Observer August 8, 2018 at 5:27 pm
Europe will stay on the porch and let the big boys duke it out. In the red corner, we have Vlad – the Terminator. In the other corner, we have Donald – the Orange Haystack. In another corner we have Bruce – the Red Dragon.

Haystack lumbers out of his corner before the bell rings, makes some nasty gestures and starts his victory dance. The Terminator stands in his corner, muscular arms folded across his chest with a wry smile across his face. The Red Dragon is closely studying Haystack with an inscrutable stare. Haystack exhausts himself and collapses mid-ring. The Terminator and Red Dragon leave the arena as the Haystack fans seek their autographs. Something like that.

Mark Chapman August 8, 2018 at 4:41 pm
Perhaps a boxed piano will fall from a ninth-floor balcony and crush Nauert to a rectangular pizza. I'd pay to see that.

Define 'pandering'. Can you name some concessions the United States has wrung from Russia in the last two years? I seem to recall the British investigators said there was no proof that anyone in the Russian government was involved – they simply speculated that because Novichok could only be made in a state facility, there must be state involvement. Does the USA have some evidence that the British have not seen yet? Perhaps they found it in the same place they filed their satellite photography of the Buk missile taking out MH17.

Murdock August 9, 2018 at 1:05 pm
You mean the same Russia that is one of only 7 nation states to have verifiably dismantled and destroyed their chemical weapon stockpiles as ratified by the OPCW and in compliance to the CWC? That Russia?

I can't wait for this determination to be made public along with the coinciding evidence as released by an official judiciary body wielding the requisite jurisdiction and authority under official auspices of the UN. That's what is meant by determined right? Pretty unambiguous terminology there.

This entire charade has gone so far beyond farce it's not even comical anymore, just depressing.

Mark Chapman August 9, 2018 at 3:51 pm
That's an interesting point, because a likely consequence of the continued hysterical hostility from the west will be opacity where there once was transparency; ie: if the United States wants to know something about Russian unconventional weapons programs, it will have to go to extensive and complicated labour to insert a deep-cover spy or persuade an asset that it can trust to find out the information, never knowing if it is being fed disinformation deliberately by a double agent, where once it could simply have asked and been invited to verify the truth itself. International organizations controlled by Washington will be less and less likely to have a free pass to come in and poke about as they see fit.

[Aug 15, 2018] Medvedev: if they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we'll have to respond to it accordingly economically, politically, or in any other way, if required

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Moscow Exile August 10, 2018 at 12:38 am

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned the US that any sanctions targeting Russian banking operations and currency trade will be treated as a declaration of economic war and retaliated against by any means necessary.
" If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we'll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required ," Medvedev said during a trip to the Kamchatka region.

" Our American friends should make no mistake about it ," he emphasized.

Source RT: Russia to treat further US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war – PM
Published time: 10 Aug, 2018 04:42
Edited time: 10 Aug, 2018 08:25

Why does that prick of a Russian PM speak about "our American friends"?

I wish Medvedev would just fuck off out of it.

FFS! They are not your friends, idiot!!!!!

James lake August 10, 2018 at 2:39 am
Why is Medvedev even discussing the areas that would cause Russia harm in public?

It is like pointing a big arrow at the banking and finance sector with "Sanction this"" written on it in big red letters

There is a time for silence. And he needs to come off twitter as well.

[Aug 15, 2018] Trump policies are all over the place first the hard-ass who will never back off, then conciliatory and talking international unity

Notable quotes:
"... Interestingly, the USA is increasingly going it alone in such actions, and the EU – remarkably, for such a spineless outfit – has actually imposed a 'blocking statute' which allegedly will protect European companies from being sanctioned by the USA, while Brussels has taken the unprecedented step of instructing European firms not to comply with demands by the White House that they cease doing business with Iran. Even more astonishing, if that were possible, EU companies who opt to pull out of business with Iranian contacts must first obtain authorization from the European Commission to do so. Without such authorization, they may be sued by EU member states, while a mechanism has been created to allow EU businesses impacted by the sanctions to sue the US administration in the national courts of member states. Who could have forecast that would happen, as recently as a year ago? ..."
Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Mark Chapman August 6, 2018 at 5:21 pm

I suppose few were under any apprehension that Trump would not sign the sanctions bill reimposing American sanctions on Iran. Consequently, most will be unsurprised that he did so.

http://www.intellinews.com/trump-triggers-iran-sanctions-eu-unveils-updated-blocking-statute-146376/?source=iran

Interestingly, the USA is increasingly going it alone in such actions, and the EU – remarkably, for such a spineless outfit – has actually imposed a 'blocking statute' which allegedly will protect European companies from being sanctioned by the USA, while Brussels has taken the unprecedented step of instructing European firms not to comply with demands by the White House that they cease doing business with Iran. Even more astonishing, if that were possible, EU companies who opt to pull out of business with Iranian contacts must first obtain authorization from the European Commission to do so. Without such authorization, they may be sued by EU member states, while a mechanism has been created to allow EU businesses impacted by the sanctions to sue the US administration in the national courts of member states. Who could have forecast that would happen, as recently as a year ago?

I need hardly draw attention to the unmitigated and brazen arrogance of the stated US aim: to "force the Iranians to the table for a renegotiation of their role in the Middle East". They fucking live there, for God's sake, but the intent of the sanctions is to force them to bow to American will, and accept the plans for them of a state which is more than 6,000 miles away – yet insists on its right to direct and order regional affairs to its own strategic and economic benefit.

Once upon a time, America's meddling in the Middle East could count on the support of all the major western powers. For the time being, that practice is in abeyance, as the major western allies try to bring about American failure. Goodwill toward the United States has more or less evaporated completely, and America is increasingly regarded as an enemy by former allies. I can't see any possibility of it prevailing, unless it starts a major war and drags everyone into it. I can, however, see irreparable economic damage being inflicted on the American economy.

Patient Observer August 6, 2018 at 5:56 pm
If the EU will actually protect European companies from US enforcement/retaliation and compel European companies to honor contracts with Iranian companies or government, that is big. But why would they do such?

I speculate the US plan is to take Iranian oil off the market thereby driving up crude prices. The downside is that it helps Russia (perhaps not a major concern for Trump) and hurts China but it will be a boon for US oil frackers to the point of avoiding mass default of loans and collapse of major US operations. If Nord Stream II can be stopped, US LNG may surge as well assuming gas frackers can ramp up. And when Iran capitulates (in US dreams) US companies will be granted special concessions to soak up Iranian oil revenues and the EU left of the sidelines.

So the above could be some of the reasons for the EU's stiffening. Putin is probably breaking out the popcorn.

Mark Chapman August 6, 2018 at 7:06 pm
The US has suddenly recollected that if it wants to take on China, it will actually need the support of its traditional allies, and is supposedly launching a make-up effort, especially where Europe is concerned.

https://www.cnbc.com/amp/2018/08/02/the-associated-press-us-mends-ties-with-allies-prepares-for-trade-war-with-china.html

Trump is such a boob; his policies are all over the place – first the hard-ass who will never back off, then conciliatory and talking international unity. Anyone who would willingly help that country achieve its goals needs their head examined, as it clearly will turn on its traditional friends the instant it is unhappy with the relationship. Trump brags that trade hardball is 'his thing', but that's just more of his stupid ego, and he appears to not grasp many of its implications.

American farmers understand, though, all too well. It does not take a genius to figure that a $12 Billion bailout fund suggests an assessment of a potential $12 Billion in damage to the sector, which seems like a lot of money. But as agricultural economists correctly deduce, the real damage is to long-term trade relationships, as customers repelled by America's thug tactics turn to other suppliers. I already mentioned the new prominence in Canadian supermarkets of identifying symbols to highlight Canadian products, and Canada is the biggest export market by a considerable margin for American agricultural products. Canada could not win in a trade war against the USA, but it could inflict serious damage on the agricultural sector. Much of Canada is farm country just like south of the border, and all the USA really has going for it in the way of growing-season advantage is California and Florida. Products from there which are out of season in Canada can be purchased from Mexico. Otherwise, pretty much anything you can grow in the USA, you can grow in Canada.

https://theconversation.com/american-farmers-want-trade-partners-not-handouts-an-agricultural-economist-explains-100795

[Aug 15, 2018] Some suggestions about contra sanctions that Russia can implement

Aug 15, 2018 | thenewkremlinstooge.wordpress.com

Cortes says: August 12, 2018 at 10:44 pm

...Call a presser at the UN and have the Ambassador confirm that Obama and HRC are wholly paid-up RF assets and watch Civil War II unfold.

[Aug 14, 2018] A blockade is an act of war. A much more lively August than any of us expected. The devil is never idle.

Aug 14, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Uncoy , Aug 12, 2018 5:33:18 PM | 21

A very busy week indeed. It looks like the world is dividing into two alliances: those who will follow the dictates on Iran and Russian sanctions and those who won't. We're in the prelude to a long winter of a cold war or a very hot one, depending on how the USA chooses to enforce those sanctions. Effectively at this point the upcoming sanctions would serve as the equivalent of a blockade. A blockade is an act of war. A much more lively August than any of us expected. The devil is never idle.

Miserable fat scheming twats like Karl Rove have nothing to look forward to on vacation and so delight in poisoning everyone else's. There's a whole warren of similar rats in the Trump administration and over at Langley which is why I mention Rove. While he's not in the current administration, he's a very visceral representation of what the world is up against until we put the neocons and PNACers out of business for good.

PS. I see nhs continues to post tracking links instead of direct links @7. b, I'd really appreciate it (and the rest of the tech savvy audience here would too) if you'd ban tracking links or more positively insist on direct links. Technically speaking all of nhs's posts should be held as he's a serial offender. You can either clean his links for him (sounds like as much fun as fixing his toilet for free) or just delete the comments which contain URL shorteners (tracking links). The latter would make encourage him to clean up his act fast. You'd be surprised how quickly inconsiderate, spying, spamming types like nhs would learn how to post direct links.

[Aug 14, 2018] Russia of today is in a comparatively much weaker position overall than the USSR due to powerful fifth column

Aug 14, 2018 | www.unz.com

Parbes , August 14, 2018 at 1:45 am GMT

@reiner Tor

" I don't quite get what their endgame is here .Why are they pushing a propaganda war which awfully looks like psychological preparation for a real hot war, when they must know that there cannot ever be a real hot war?"

Most probably, because they are calculating that under various forms of psychological and economic pressure Russia will crumble from within and surrender, just like in the times of Gorbachev-Yeltsin, without having to fight a real, risk-filled war. Surrender and subjugation without firing a shot – THAT'S their imagined endgame. "Why wouldn't what worked within living memory, a mere 30 years ago, work again now in updated form?", they think – especially since the Russia of today is in a comparatively much weaker position overall than the USSR of back then and the Russian rulers and society are not really too much different psychologically from what they were back then, and are even mostly COMPOSED OF THE SAME INDIVIDUALS? Is it really surprising that they think that way, given the continued existence and thriving inside Russia of a powerful, openly seditious Fifth Column which is not seriously combatted by either the Putin government or the stupid mass of the Russian populace (who stand to lose the most, suffer terribly, and be reduced to colonized virtual serfs or exterminated if the Fifth Columnists and their foreign masters succeed in crashing Russia)?

Of course, IF this is a miscalculation (and I'm not sure that it is, given the current weak, appeasing mentality of the Russian government and population), and the psychopathic Western ruling elites don't manage to get a hold of their oversized lunatic egos and rein in their arrogant hubristic belligerence – well, then the whole situation could devolve pretty quick into a massive, WW I/WW II/Iraq/Serbia combination-type hot war scenario. Except, this time, with the real probability of stepwise escalation from conventional hostilities to Thermonuclear Holocaust.

Vidi , August 14, 2018 at 1:14 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

Realistically, what action Russia could take that would potentially match the disruptive power of American sanctions on Russia?

Russia may have struck a heavy blow already, when she dumped her holdings of U.S. treasuries. The relatively small amount ($100 to $200 billion) may not have been significant, but as a signal to the rest of the world it may have been loud. The new sanctions may be an attempt to punish Russia for that. They won't work, of course, but the noise they generate may help to obscure the import of Russia's recent action.

Si1ver1ock , August 14, 2018 at 12:57 am GMT
What I don't understand is why the US thinks Russia and China will continue to sanction North Korea. It seems like the US is handing out straight razors to everybody and asking them to slit each others throats. Except for Erdogan, they all seem to be saying, "Sure why not?"

Maybe they are simply accustomed to taking orders.

[Aug 14, 2018] Paradoxically it is not in best inteersts of Russia to rock the boat of international economy despite sanctions

Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com

All attempt to limit their effectiveness are OK. Attempts to undermine the USA economy or dollar status as the reserve currency are not.

[Aug 14, 2018] New US Sanctions. Bring Them on and Let's See Whose Side God Is On!

Russia pays the [huge] cost of remaining a nation, a civilization and a state ~Vladimir Putin.
Putin Slams US: "The Biggest Mistake Russia Ever Made Was To Trust You"
This is a clear attempt top abuse the dominant position of the USA in the world. For Russian this is powerful blow in the torso, Will it be knockdown remains to be seen. Also as a weaker party Russia can's afford a powerful counterstrike.
Notable quotes:
"... "Skulduggery instead of diplomacy, lies instead of truth, hairdresser-saloon hearsay against facts and truth, anything goes in the attempt to derail the one nation with the guts, gumption, grit and wherewithal to counter the evil hegemonistic plans of Washington and its chihuahuas" ..."
Aug 14, 2018 | russia-insider.com
"Skulduggery instead of diplomacy, lies instead of truth, hairdresser-saloon hearsay against facts and truth, anything goes in the attempt to derail the one nation with the guts, gumption, grit and wherewithal to counter the evil hegemonistic plans of Washington and its chihuahuas" Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey 14 hours ago | 2,909 85 More sanctions from the USA using the Skripal affair as an excuse without a shred of evidence, based on hype, hysteria and hearsay. Back-door economic warfare.

Surprise, surprise. The USA invokes a law from the 1990s claiming that it has to impose sanctions when a country crosses a chemical or biological line, in this case an invisible one with no proof, no law case, no due legal process, just an allegation from wonderful British intelligence that the Kremlin was involved in the Skripal case. Proof? None actually...none at all. Just a vague blanket statement along the lines of "They have done it before and they have said they will take out traitors and in the absence of any plausible alternative, they must be guilty". For Washington, after months of vacillating, stating the obvious that it is very complicated to apportion the blame when nobody knows which novichok was used, where it was produced and in the total absence of any trail linking it to the Kremlin, we get the idea that we are looking yet again at the wonderful British intelligence of the type that Colin Powell used to justify the USA's illegal and murderous act of butchery against Iraq. The type of intelligence which resembles a decade-old doctoral thesis copied and pasted from the net and sexed up by Downing Street.

And here they are again, the dynamic duo. Skulduggery instead of diplomacy, lies instead of truth, hairdresser-saloon hearsay against facts and truth, anything goes in the attempt to derail the one nation with the guts, gumption, grit and wherewithal to counter the evil hegemonistic plans of Washington and its chihuahuas.

Drawing the time line at the beginning, let us analyze what is happening and let us see the movie developing from a distance. The political system in vogue at present is the corporatist model controlled by the $inister $ix $isters which control the policies of Washington and its chihuahuas, namely the BARFFS (Banking, Arms, eneRgy, Finance, Food, Pharma/DrugS Lobbies). The BARFFS live off resources and as history has shown us when they have none themselves, they invade countries and steal them. Ask Africa, the victim of a silent Holocaust which claimed seventy million lives.

Russia for them is kosher when it is ruled by something that bends over when told to and allows foreigners to steal the country's resources. Russia for them is not kosher when someone like Putin comes along, slams his fist on the table and says loud and clear that Russian resources are for Russians, managed by Russians. What the BARFFS want is to see Russia divided up into, say, one hundred micro-states each one with a BARFFS-friendly government allowing foreigners to syphon off the vast resources of this country.

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The game starts with promises made to the then-USSR about friendly relations, about NATO not encroaching eastwards, about a new world order based on partnership. It then quickly morphs out of control with the help of the media, using buzz-words and expressions such as "collapse of the Soviet Union" (absolute nonsense, it did not collapse, it transformed from the Union to the Commonwealth as per the terms of the Third Soviet Constitution, without consulting the people, or has everyone forgotten that?). There then ensued acts of provocation in the Balkans, and then in Russia itself (Chechnya), then on Russia's frontiers.

Before Georgia in 2008 we had a spectacular example of war crimes and an illegal invasion of Iraq to test the waters, where military hardware was deployed against civilian structures, where fields of cereals were strafed by NATO aircraft to starve families, where Depleted Uranium was deployed leaving swathes of territory poisonous; beforte this we had the illegal interference in the Republic of Serbia, backing terrorists (Ushtria Çlirimtare ë Kosovës, UÇK or KLA) and the illegal act of kidnapping and subsequent manslaughter/murder of Slobodan Milosevich, who died in custody while being held illegally and without being found guilty of any of the crimes leveled against him.

With Georgia we had another act of provocation in which Georgian forces attacked Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia and were building up to do the same in Abkhazia, territories which under the Soviet Constitution had necessarily to have status referendums on which way the people wanted to go and into which Republic they should integrate. Georgia refused to hold these referendums.

And since Georgia we had Libya, a shocking act of barbarity in which NATO interfered in the internal affairs of a sovereign state, sending the country with the highest Human Development Index back into the dark ages, fragmented and crawling with terrorists. Not to mention Afghanistan, started in 2001 and ongoing, where "allied" troops are photographed guarding opium fields, where opium production has risen and where Talebaan fighters are seen escorting NATO convoys, paid, like WTF?... and not to mention Syria, in which the same side once again allied itself with terrorists as it did in Libya, terrorists which raped little girls before and after they were beheaded, which raped nuns savagely in every orifice of their bodies, which impaled little boys on stakes and which ripped the hearts out of Syrian soldiers and bit into them.

So we see what we are up against. And if all that were not enough today we have the idiotic acts of provocation in the Baltic where a handful of NATO soldiers are cavorting around like toy soldiers claiming to keep their countries safe. From what? Jupiter? Ah and yes, we have Ukraine as the latest act of provocation.

It started off well before the so-called protests in Independence Square, Kiev with subversion and organization of protesters who took to the streets in November 2013 and in late February 2014, shots were fired from the sixth floor of Hotel Ukraine on the protesters in the square below to create a "cause", the democratically elected President was ousted in an illegal coup, massacres were perpetrated against Russian-speaking Ukrainians (this story seems to have disappeared from the Western media) and Fascists shouted slogans such as "Death to Russians and Jews". As a reaction, Russian-speaking Ukrainians defended themselves in South-East Ukraine and in the absence of the due legal force in the Republic of Crimea, the Legislative Assembly, now the organism with due legal force, organized a referendum on status and over ninety per cent of the population (Russians) voted to reintegrate Russia. It's called Democracy. Maybe Washington and its chihuahuas should try it some time.

What the BARFFS wanted Russia to do was to roll over, drop its pants and say "sock it to me, babe". With another leader, that might have happened. Not with Putin. So now we have instead, economic warfare with sanctions, more sanctions and increased sanctions, trying to tie a knot around Russia's throat and tightening it, now linking Crimea to Abkhazia to South Ossetia, to state-sponsored terrorism without a shred of respect for the law and the facts. It is by now crystal clear what the West wants.

It wants to strangle the Russian economy to create unrest in Russia and create political movements against Putin. It then wants to instal a west-friendly government which will see Russia fragmented, sooner or later, into a myriad of republics, each one with their resources controlled by foreigners.

That is what the sanctions are about. Let us see whose side God is on.


Source: Pravda.ru

[Aug 14, 2018] US Intelligence Community is Tearing the Country Apart from the Inside by Dmitry Orlov

Highly recommended!
This is an interesting analysis shedding some light on how the US intelligence services have gone rogue...
Notable quotes:
"... Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence. ..."
"... the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough. ..."
"... That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment. ..."
"... He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail? ..."
"... The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up." ..."
"... The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on. ..."
"... "What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task." ..."
"... "The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact." ..."
"... But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts. ..."
"... Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria. ..."
"... Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars. ..."
Jul 28, 2018 | russia-insider.com
In today's United States, the term "espionage" doesn't get too much use outside of some specific contexts. There is still sporadic talk of industrial espionage, but with regard to Americans' own efforts to understand the world beyond their borders, they prefer the term "intelligence." This may be an intelligent choice, or not, depending on how you look at things.

First of all, US "intelligence" is only vaguely related to the game of espionage as it has been traditionally played, and as it is still being played by countries such as Russia and China. Espionage involves collecting and validating strategically vital information and conveying it to just the pertinent decision-makers on your side while keeping the fact that you are collecting and validating it hidden from everyone else.

In eras past, a spy, if discovered, would try to bite down on a cyanide capsule; these days torture is considered ungentlemanly, and spies that get caught patiently wait to be exchanged in a spy swap. An unwritten, commonsense rule about spy swaps is that they are done quietly and that those released are never interfered with again because doing so would complicate negotiating future spy swaps.

In recent years, the US intelligence agencies have decided that torturing prisoners is a good idea, but they have mostly been torturing innocent bystanders, not professional spies, sometimes forcing them to invent things, such as "Al Qaeda." There was no such thing before US intelligence popularized it as a brand among Islamic terrorists.

Most recently, British "special services," which are a sort of Mini-Me to the to the Dr. Evil that is the US intelligence apparatus, saw it fit to interfere with one of their own spies, Sergei Skripal, a double agent whom they sprung from a Russian jail in a spy swap. They poisoned him using an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia based on no evidence.

There are unlikely to be any more British spy swaps with Russia, and British spies working in Russia should probably be issued good old-fashioned cyanide capsules (since that supposedly super-powerful Novichok stuff the British keep at their "secret" lab in Porton Down doesn't work right and is only fatal 20% of the time).

There is another unwritten, commonsense rule about spying in general: whatever happens, it needs to be kept out of the courts, because the discovery process of any trial would force the prosecution to divulge sources and methods, making them part of the public record. An alternative is to hold secret tribunals, but since these cannot be independently verified to be following due process and rules of evidence, they don't add much value.

A different standard applies to traitors; here, sending them through the courts is acceptable and serves a high moral purpose, since here the source is the person on trial and the method -- treason -- can be divulged without harm. But this logic does not apply to proper, professional spies who are simply doing their jobs, even if they turn out to be double agents. In fact, when counterintelligence discovers a spy, the professional thing to do is to try to recruit him as a double agent or, failing that, to try to use the spy as a channel for injecting disinformation.

Americans have been doing their best to break this rule. Recently, special counsel Robert Mueller indicted a dozen Russian operatives working in Russia for hacking into the DNC mail server and sending the emails to Wikileaks. Meanwhile, said server is nowhere to be found (it's been misplaced) while the time stamps on the files that were published on Wikileaks show that they were obtained by copying to a thumb drive rather than sending them over the internet. Thus, this was a leak, not a hack, and couldn't have been done by anyone working remotely from Russia.

Furthermore, it is an exercise in futility for a US official to indict Russian citizens in Russia. They will never stand trial in a US court because of the following clause in the Russian Constitution: "61.1 A citizen of the Russian Federation may not be deported out of Russia or extradited to another state."

Mueller may summon a panel of constitutional scholars to interpret this sentence, or he can just read it and weep. Yes, the Americans are doing their best to break the unwritten rule against dragging spies through the courts, but their best is nowhere near good enough.

That said, there is no reason to believe that the Russian spies couldn't have hacked into the DNC mail server. It was probably running Microsoft Windows, and that operating system has more holes in it than a building in downtown Raqqa, Syria after the Americans got done bombing that city to rubble, lots of civilians included. When questioned about this alleged hacking by Fox News, Putin (who had worked as a spy in his previous career) had trouble keeping a straight face and clearly enjoyed the moment.

He pointed out that the hacked/leaked emails showed a clear pattern of wrongdoing: DNC officials conspired to steal the electoral victory in the Democratic Primary from Bernie Sanders, and after this information had been leaked they were forced to resign. If the Russian hack did happen, then it was the Russians working to save American democracy from itself. So, where's the gratitude? Where's the love? Oh, and why are the DNC perps not in jail?

Since there exists an agreement between the US and Russia to cooperate on criminal investigations, Putin offered to question the spies indicted by Mueller. He even offered to have Mueller sit in on the proceedings. But in return he wanted to question US officials who may have aided and abetted a convicted felon by the name of William Browder, who is due to begin serving a nine-year sentence in Russia any time now and who, by the way, donated copious amounts of his ill-gotten money to the Hillary Clinton election campaign.

In response, the US Senate passed a resolution to forbid Russians from questioning US officials. And instead of issuing a valid request to have the twelve Russian spies interviewed, at least one US official made the startlingly inane request to have them come to the US instead. Again, which part of 61.1 don't they understand?

The logic of US officials may be hard to follow, but only if we adhere to the traditional definitions of espionage and counterespionage -- "intelligence" in US parlance -- which is to provide validated information for the purpose of making informed decisions on best ways of defending the country. But it all makes perfect sense if we disabuse ourselves of such quaint notions and accept the reality of what we can actually observe: the purpose of US "intelligence" is not to come up with or to work with facts but to simply "make shit up."

The "intelligence" the US intelligence agencies provide can be anything but; in fact, the stupider it is the better, because its purpose is allow unintelligent people to make unintelligent decisions. In fact, they consider facts harmful -- be they about Syrian chemical weapons, or conspiring to steal the primary from Bernie Sanders, or Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or the whereabouts of Osama Bin Laden -- because facts require accuracy and rigor while they prefer to dwell in the realm of pure fantasy and whimsy. In this, their actual objective is easily discernible.

The objective of US intelligence is to suck all remaining wealth out of the US and its allies and pocket as much of it as possible while pretending to defend it from phantom aggressors by squandering nonexistent (borrowed) financial resources on ineffective and overpriced military operations and weapons systems. Where the aggressors are not phantom, they are specially organized for the purpose of having someone to fight: "moderate" terrorists and so on.

One major advancement in their state of the art has been in moving from real false flag operations, à la 9/11, to fake false flag operations, à la fake East Gouta chemical attack in Syria (since fully discredited). The Russian election meddling story is perhaps the final step in this evolution: no New York skyscrapers or Syrian children were harmed in the process of concocting this fake narrative, and it can be kept alive seemingly forever purely through the furious effort of numerous flapping lips. It is now a pure confidence scam. If you are less then impressed with their invented narratives, then you are a conspiracy theorist or, in the latest revision, a traitor.

Trump was recently questioned as to whether he trusted US intelligence. He waffled. A light-hearted answer would have been:

"What sort of idiot are you to ask me such a stupid question? Of course they are lying! They were caught lying more than once, and therefore they can never be trusted again. In order to claim that they are not currently lying, you have to determine when it was that they stopped lying, and that they haven't lied since. And that, based on the information that is available, is an impossible task."

A more serious, matter-of-fact answer would have been:

"The US intelligence agencies made an outrageous claim: that I colluded with Russia to rig the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The burden of proof is on them. They are yet to prove their case in a court of law, which is the only place where the matter can legitimately be settled, if it can be settled at all. Until that happens, we must treat their claim as conspiracy theory, not as fact."

And a hardcore, deadpan answer would have been:

"The US intelligence services swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution, according to which I am their Commander in Chief. They report to me, not I to them. They must be loyal to me, not I to them. If they are disloyal to me, then that is sufficient reason for their dismissal."

But no such reality-based, down-to-earth dialogue seems possible. All that we hear are fake answers to fake questions, and the outcome is a series of faulty decisions. Based on fake intelligence, the US has spent almost all of this century embroiled in very expensive and ultimately futile conflicts.

Thanks to their efforts, Iran, Iraq and Syria have now formed a continuous crescent of religiously and geopolitically aligned states friendly toward Russia while in Afghanistan the Taliban is resurgent and battling ISIS -- an organization that came together thanks to American efforts in Iraq and Syria.

The total cost of wars so far this century for the US is reported to be $4,575,610,429,593. Divided by the 138,313,155 Americans who file tax returns (whether they actually pay any tax is too subtle a question), it works out to just over $33,000 per taxpayer. If you pay taxes in the US, that's your bill so far for the various US intelligence "oopsies."

The 16 US intelligence agencies have a combined budget of $66.8 billion, and that seems like a lot until you realize how supremely efficient they are: their "mistakes" have cost the country close to 70 times their budget. At a staffing level of over 200,000 employees, each of them has cost the US taxpayer close to $23 million, on average. That number is totally out of the ballpark! The energy sector has the highest earnings per employee, at around $1.8 million per. Valero Energy stands out at $7.6 million per. At $23 million per, the US intelligence community has been doing three times better than Valero. Hats off! This makes the US intelligence community by far the best, most efficient collapse driver imaginable.

There are two possible hypotheses for why this is so.

First, we might venture to guess that these 200,000 people are grossly incompetent and that the fiascos they precipitate are accidental. But it is hard to imagine a situation where grossly incompetent people nevertheless manage to funnel $23 million apiece, on average, toward an assortment of futile undertakings of their choosing. It is even harder to imagine that such incompetents would be allowed to blunder along decade after decade without being called out for their mistakes.

Another hypothesis, and a far more plausible one, is that the US intelligence community has been doing a wonderful job of bankrupting the country and driving it toward financial, economic and political collapse by forcing it to engage in an endless series of expensive and futile conflicts -- the largest single continuous act of grand larceny the world has ever known. How that can possibly be an intelligent thing to do to your own country, for any conceivable definition of "intelligence," I will leave for you to work out for yourself. While you are at it, you might also want to come up with an improved definition of "treason": something better than "a skeptical attitude toward preposterous, unproven claims made by those known to be perpetual liars."

[Aug 14, 2018] Latest Sanctions Against Russia Show Trump Not in Control of His Administration by F. Michael Maloof

It could be the Trump was already deposed as a President by Pompeo.
I never understood appointment of Haley and appointment of Bolton if we assume that Trump is not a neocon and does not want to continue previous administration policies. Haley is kind of Sikh variant of Samantha Power. Bolton is probably as bad as Wolfowitz. Pompeo also can be viewed as Hillary 2.0.
Notable quotes:
"... In addition, the US has delivered an ultimatum, saying that if Russia does not give assurances within 90 days that it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow international inspectors to inspect its production facilities, further sanctions will be implemented. But Russia denies it used chemical weapons. Unlike the US, it destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with international treaties. ..."
"... The legislation gave a 60-day window to begin implementation of sanctions after the Trump administration determined that the now-British citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a strain of the Novichok nerve-agent. The US came to that conclusion following an initial determination by the British government. ..."
"... However, the US administration missed the deadline by more than a month. That prompted Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to write a letter to Trump some two weeks ago slamming the president for ignoring the deadline. ..."
"... Strangely, a government research facility at Porton Down in Amesbury, not far from Salisbury where the alleged March poisoning took place, examined the strain of Novichok. Porton Down lab does work for British Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, run by the Ministry of Defense, and the Public Health England. ..."
"... All of this makes makes the issue as to why Britain, and even the US, never wanted to share samples taken from the poisoning of the Skripals with Moscow more concerning. Yet, they all went ahead in lock-step to condemn Moscow for the poisoning, without any evidence, suggesting a more sinister reason for lobbying increased sanctions against Russia with the goal of further isolating the country. ..."
"... It reflects the need especially by the US to have a demon in an effort to justify its defense spending to bolster NATO up to the border of the Russian Federation in the form of a new containment policy that launched the Cold War in the first place. ..."
"... With even further sanctions against Russia in the recently passed Defense Department Authorization Bill about to go into effect, it is becoming apparent that the allegations against Russia are politically-motivated, false flag allegations to be used as an excuse for a greater geostrategic reason -- to contain Russia just as the Trump administration is increasingly finding its US-led unilateral world order being challenged more than ever. ..."
"... Trump talks about better relations with Russia, but the actions of his own administration in demonizing Moscow dictate otherwise. ..."
Aug 10, 2018 | russia-insider.com
Forget about running the Empire or the American state. Trump isn't even in control of his team US President Donald Trump is not in control of his own administration, as evidenced by the latest round of sanctions imposed against Russia for the alleged involvement in the poisoning of the Skripals in the UK in March.

The sanctions came the same day that US Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced on a trip to Moscow that he had handed over a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin from Trump calling for better relations between the two countries. For that reason, the timing appears to be suspect, suggesting strongly that Trump has his own foreign policy while the Trump administration, comprised mainly of bureaucrats referred to as the Deep State, have their own. Right now, they appear to be in control, not President Trump, over his own administration, and it is having the adverse effect of further alienating Washington and Moscow.

The neocons, led by National Security Advisor John Bolton, along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley, comprise the Trump " war cabinet " ostensibly aimed at directing a harder line toward Syria, North Korea, Iran but also Russia. Bolton, in particular, has been outspoken in calling for regime change in some of these countries. Trump not so much so. In fact, he has said just the opposite. Nevertheless, their anti-Russian flair in Washington has breathed new life into the neocons who, along with the Democrats, Deep State and much of the mainstream media, have pushed the false narrative of collusion between Russia and Trump.

This persistent anti-Russian rant and repeated sanctions which have been imposed have had the effect of leading to further threats of sanctions for questionable reasons, raising the potential prospect of suspension of diplomatic ties.

Even at the height of the Cold War, relations between the US and Russia never reached such low depths as they have now. The latest sanctions affect primarily dual-use technologies which are civilian products with potential military applications. They include gas turbine engines, electronics and integrated circuits which will now be denied. Previous sanctions going back to the Obama administration, however, already imposed bans on many of these dual-use technologies.

In addition, the US has delivered an ultimatum, saying that if Russia does not give assurances within 90 days that it will no longer use chemical weapons and allow international inspectors to inspect its production facilities, further sanctions will be implemented. But Russia denies it used chemical weapons. Unlike the US, it destroyed its chemical weapons stockpile in accordance with international treaties.

Implementation of the sanctions stem from provisions of the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991.

The legislation gave a 60-day window to begin implementation of sanctions after the Trump administration determined that the now-British citizen Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned by a strain of the Novichok nerve-agent. The US came to that conclusion following an initial determination by the British government.

However, the US administration missed the deadline by more than a month. That prompted Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee, to write a letter to Trump some two weeks ago slamming the president for ignoring the deadline.

Curiously, the British government hasn't implemented similar sanctions, although the US has. It may reflect the continued uncertainty among some British politicians and experts over the origin of the Novichok and concern with Britain's trade dependency on Russia. But since the Americans opted to implement sanctions due to existing legislation, there was apparently no objection from London even though it initially implemented sanctions by kicking out Russian diplomats from the country.

Moscow, however, vehemently denied that it was involved in the poisoning of Skripal and his daughter. Novichok was created by Russian scientists during the Cold War but never used on the battlefield. Russian officials asked Britain for evidence of Russian involvement and called for a joint investigation to be conducted by the Kremlin and British governments.

The British government repeatedly turned down the offer, as did other Western members of the United Nations Security Council, the US and France, when Moscow sought such a joint investigation.

The US claimed that the information linking the poison to Russia was " classified ."

Strangely, a government research facility at Porton Down in Amesbury, not far from Salisbury where the alleged March poisoning took place, examined the strain of Novichok. Porton Down lab does work for British Defense Science and Technology Laboratory, run by the Ministry of Defense, and the Public Health England.

Results from the examination confirmed the poison was a form of Novichok but – importantly – could not determine where the poison had been created or who had used it. This development created further confusion and prompted disputes among politicians.

It is known that samples of Novichok have been in the hands of many NATO countries for years after the German foreign intelligence service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst, or BND, had reportedly obtained a sample from a Russian defector in the 1990s.

The formula was later shared with Britain, the US, France, Canada and the Netherlands, where small quantities of Novichok reportedly were produced in an effort to develop countermeasures. Porton Down labs similarly had received samples to study. Czech President Milos Zeman recently admitted that his country synthesized and tested a form of Novichok. Sweden and Slovakia also have the technical capability to produce the nerve agent, according to Russian officials.

All of this makes makes the issue as to why Britain, and even the US, never wanted to share samples taken from the poisoning of the Skripals with Moscow more concerning. Yet, they all went ahead in lock-step to condemn Moscow for the poisoning, without any evidence, suggesting a more sinister reason for lobbying increased sanctions against Russia with the goal of further isolating the country.

It reflects the need especially by the US to have a demon in an effort to justify its defense spending to bolster NATO up to the border of the Russian Federation in the form of a new containment policy that launched the Cold War in the first place.

With even further sanctions against Russia in the recently passed Defense Department Authorization Bill about to go into effect, it is becoming apparent that the allegations against Russia are politically-motivated, false flag allegations to be used as an excuse for a greater geostrategic reason -- to contain Russia just as the Trump administration is increasingly finding its US-led unilateral world order being challenged more than ever.

The reason, however, isn't due to anything that Moscow initiated but by Trump himself who isn't in control of his own administration, and maybe never has been. Many of his campaign promises such as dropping out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iranian nuclear agreement, the threat of sanctions against any company that trades with Iran, his tariff war with US allies are in conflict with each other, leading to increased world instability. At the same time, Trump talks about better relations with Russia, but the actions of his own administration in demonizing Moscow dictate otherwise.

F. Michael Maloof is a former Pentagon security analyst.

[Aug 13, 2018] Sergey Lavrov SLAMS new US sanctions over Skripal case

Aug 13, 2018 | theduran.com

Sergey Lavrov SLAMS new US sanctions over Skripal case

Ruble continues to tank under the spectre of looming American sanctions imposed on the basis of circumstantial evidence and insinuation.

Published

9 hours ago

on

August 13, 2018 By

Seraphim Hanisch 1,639 Views ,

[Aug 13, 2018] Like Iran, the Russians know the USA. Is about as reliable as a third hand condom and just as classy.

Aug 13, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Beibdnn. , Aug 13, 2018 4:33:04 PM | 59

@spudski.

I believe Russia sees the sanctions for what they are. A crude attempt to provoke them into a hasty reaction. It is virtually certain they won't react in a childish or inconsidered way.

Paul Craig Roberts is well behind the curve when it comes to what is believed about the west in Russia politics.

A clue might be in the fact they have just reduced their $ reserves to 14 billion, down from nearly 200 4 or so years ago.

Like Iran, the Russians know the U.S.A. Is about as reliable as a third hand condom and just as classy.

[Aug 13, 2018] New US Sanctions vs. Russia by Anatoly Karlin

Notable quotes:
"... Proposed new "sanctions" on Russia essentially amount to a declaration of war. ..."
"... The US is spelling out the conditions that have no chance of being met. Let's hope that the result will be further Russian alignment with China, rather than nuclear war. I'd hate to be killed by Russian missiles hitting the US just because bought by MIC and paid for American "leadership" has gone completely insane. Hope springs eternal. ..."
"... They are constantly talking about the "hybrid warfare" and the Russian "attack" on America, but it means that the US (both its politicians and its population) get psychologically prepared for an actual war, and it is precisely their actions which keep drifting towards actual war. ..."
"... I don't think the Israel lobby alone should be blamed for these "sanctions". Insanity is more widespread in the US "leadership" than Jewish shekels. This looks like the death throes of the Empire. Let's hope it does not take the humanity with it to its grave. ..."
"... Interesting looks like the inevitable Turkish financial crisis has begun, Europe has reasonable exposure there, further disruption to economic ties to Russia would be seen as a hostile act by Europe. ..."
"... Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions. Who could be partners in such a system? Aside from the obvious candidate, China, perhaps even India. Modi has in recent months distanced himself from the US and warmed up to China again. ..."
"... Unless the EU finally shows some spine – which is very unlikely – then the Western system will be exposed to be at the mercy of whoever controls the US. Such a system is hegemonic and it will be in the best interest of not just the non-Western world but even for those of us in Europe to see a breakdown in that world order. ..."
"... Turkey's implicit bet was that it could continue to rely on Western money flows while pursuing an agenda contrary to Western interests has been conclusively shattered. When I say Western interests, I do not mean the propaganda about human rights, which the West manifestly doesn't give two hoots about. ..."
Aug 13, 2018 | www.unz.com

* NBC: Trump administration to hit Russia with new sanctions for Skripal poisoning

The Trump administration is hitting Russia with new sanctions punishing President Vladimir Putin's government for using a chemical weapon against an ex-spy in Britain, U.S. officials told NBC News Wednesday.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo signed off on a determination that Russia violated international law by poisoning the former spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter in March, officials said, a decision that was announced Wednesday afternoon by State Department.

The biggest impact from the initial sanctions is expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, which in the past have included items like electronic devices and components, along with test and calibration equipment for avionics. Prior to the sanctions, such exports were allowed on a case-by-case basis.

A second, more painful round kicks in three months later unless Russia provides "reliable assurances" that it won't use chemical weapons in the future and agrees to "on-site inspections" by the U.N. -- conditions unlikely to be met. The second round of sanctions could include downgrading diplomatic relations, suspending state airline Aeroflot's ability to fly to the U.S, and cutting off nearly all exports and imports.

The sanctions are directly based on H.R.3409 – Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 .

Section 7 covers the sanctions that are to be imposed, which consist of initial sanctions, and further sanctions to be imposed after 90 days if there is no compliance on the country's part.

Initial sanctions : Ban on foreign assistance, arms sales, denial of US credit, and exporting national security sensitive goods. (Most of this is already functionally in place with respect to Russia).

Further sanctions : Ban on multilateral bank assistance [e.g. IMF, World Bank, the EBRD, etc], ban on US bank loans, a near total export ban (except food and agricultural commodities) and import ban, downgrade or suspension of US diplomatic relations, revocation of landing rights to air carriers controlled by the government of the sanctioned country.

Reuters has a US State Department official saying that the sanctions would not apply to Aeroflot, which some commenters have qualified as backtracking. But I think that the official was merely talking of the initial sanctions.

How does Russia go about removing the sanctions? The President will need to "certify" to Congress that the country in question: (1) Has made "reliable assurances", and is not making preparations, to use chemical/biological weapons in violation of international law, or against its own citizens; (2) is willing to allow on-site inspections by UN observers to confirm the above; (3) is making restitutions to the victims of its chemical/biological weapons usage.

This would basically require Russia to admit guilt for the Skripal poisoning and subject itself to the inspections regimes that the US typically tries to force on "rogue states." In other words, it is out of the question.

Moreover, even in the theoretical possibility that this goes through, it's not like President Trump's "certification" will be worth anything amidst the Russiagate hysteria.

Another possibility to avoid the near cessation of trade between the US and Russia is to have the President "waiver" the application of individual sanctions, if he can determine and certify to Congress that doing so is necessary for the national security interests of the US; or that there has been "a fundamental change in the leadership and policies" of the sanctioned country. In either case, the President needs to provide a report to Congress explaining his detailed rationale for the waiver, and listing steps the sanctioned country is taking to satisfy the "removal of sanctions" clause.

This isn't near the end of it, though.

***

* Meduza: Russian newspaper leaks draft text of U.S. Senate's Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act

The newspaper Kommersant has published a full draft of the proposed "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act," which demands a U.S. investigation into Vladimir Putin's personal wealth and whether Russia sponsors terrorism, and would impose a ban on U.S. citizens buying Russian sovereign debt, though the U.S. Treasury publicly opposed this idea in February, warning that it would disrupt the market broadly. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, one of the initiative's sponsors, says one of the draft legislation's goals is to impose "crushing sanctions."

[Sanctions to include:]

* Banning the banks . The draft bill proposes banning Russia's biggest state banks -- Sberbank, VTB Bank, Gazprombank, Rosselkhozbank, Promsvyazbank, or Vnesheconombank -- from operating inside the United States, which would effectively prevent these institutions from conducting dollar settlements.

* Oil and gas . In the energy sector, the legislation would impose sanctions on investment in any projects by the Russian government or government-affiliated companies outside Russia worth more than $250 million. Businesses would also incur penalties for any participation (funding or supplying equipment or technology) in new oil projects inside Russia valued above $1 million.

* Lists and research . If the bill is submitted in its current form and adopted, the U.S. president would have 180 days to begin implementing its provisions; within 60 days of adoption, the White House would need to provide a new list of Russian individuals suspected of cyber-attacks against the United States; the Treasury Department would have 180 days to update its "Kremlin list" of Russian state officials and oligarchs; the director of national intelligence would be tasked with completing a "detailed report on the personal net worth and assets" of Vladimir Putin and his family; and the State Department would have 90 days to determine whether Russia should be designated as a state sponsor of terrorism.

* A new Sanctions Office . In order to shore up the 2017 Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, the draft legislation would also create an "Office of Sanctions Coordination" within the State Department to coordinate work with the Treasury.

Here is the original Kommersant article: Комплекс мер по сдерживанию Дональда Трампа

Here is the text of the draft bill: https://www.kommersant.ru/docs/2018/_2018d140-Menendez-Russia-Sanctions-Bill.pdf

It contains many more interesting details.

(1) The bill's sponsors, which include Lindsey Graham, Robert Menendez, and Ben Cardin, preface their text with a call for President Trump to demand Russia stop interference in US "democratic processes", return Crimea to the Ukraine, stop supporting the separatists in East Ukraine, as well the "occupation and support of separatists" in the territories of Georgia and Moldova, and support for Bashar Assad, who continues to commit "war crimes."

(2) They note that the general drift of the document is towards a consolidation of separate anti-Russian sanctions, from the "Ukrainian" to the "cyber" ones, into a "single mechanism."

(3) Subject to a 2/3 vote in the Senate, the bill also includes a ban on financing "direct or indirect" steps, that have as their goal to support the attempts of "any US government official" to take the country out of NATO. Every 90 days, the US Secretary of State, in coordination with the Defense Minister, would be required to present a report to the relevant committees in Congress about "threats to NATO", which would include attempts to weaken US commitments to the alliance. Considering Trump's ambiguous feelings on NATO, this part is primarily aimed at Trump himself.

(4) There are calls to "pressure" Russia from interfering with UN and the OPCW attempts to investigate chemical weapons usage, as well as to "punish" Russia for producing and using chemical weapons. This directly syncs this sanctions bill to the previous one.

The report concludes that it's not yet clear how to interpret this. In the worse case, it could be a "preliminary application" for a UN campaign to exclude Russia from the Security Council; alternatively, it could just be a "pragmatic" run-up to merely invoking great sanctions, as with Iran in 1983.

***

I suppose we now also know why Russia has been selling Treasuries for the past three months, which plummeted from their typical level of $100 billion in March to just $15 billion from June (i.e. just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade).

For comparison, the last time such a drawback happened (but which only lasted three weeks) was in the immediate aftermath of Crimea.

The last time Russia pulled such a large sum out of the U.S. was just after the annexation of Crimea in 2014, when the central bank withdrew about $115 billion from the New York Fed, Reuters reported last year, citing two former Fed officials. Most of that money was returned a few weeks later, after it became clear that the scope of initial U.S. sanctions would be narrower than the Kremlin expected, according to the news service.

But I suppose this drawdown would now be permanent, since it is increasingly evident that Iran-tier sanctions on Russia are now on the horizon.

These sanctions are either going to steadily creep in – or rush in like a tsunami if there is a Blue Wave in 90 days, or if Trump was to be removed.

However, as I have pointed out, the ultimate ability of the US to directly punish Russia is limited; it has twice as many people as Iran, after all, and many times the economic output. Trade between Russia and the US is very limited.

Moreover, as I have pointed out , Russia has plenty of surprising ways to hurt the US as well. For instance, banning Aeroflot from flying to the US has a simple response – banning US air carriers from overflying North Eurasia, period. It can resurrect a bill – first raised this May, since sunken in the legislature – to impose fines and prison time on individuals and entities who support Western sanctions by refusing to do business with Russian citizens or entities on America's SDN list. It can throw out the American-dominated copyrights regimen out of the window.

Some questions we should now be asking include:

1. Precisely how far is the US prepared to go? Cutting off its own trade with Russia is one thing – penalizing foreign companies that do business with Russia is something else. As Ben Aris notes , the US Treasury Department has been ratcheting back on its sanctions against Oleg Deripaska and Rusal, after the chaos it has caused in the international metals market. The ideological Russiagaters need to balance their PDS/TDS against the pecuniary practicalities of catering to finance and oil & gas interests and their lobbies.

2. To what extent will the EU join in, passively acquiesce to, or resist the US sanctions against Russia? The answer to this question will to a large extent determine precisely how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades.


reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:38 pm GMT

Putin and his regime are weak on the USA, but Uncle Sam seems intent on making even Medvedev-style weak comprador liberals enemies.

I think unrequited love often turns to hate, and so there's some chance that these weaklings become anti-American nationalists.

The Scalpel , Website August 10, 2018 at 3:40 pm GMT
This sounds very close to a declaration of war. USA is beginning to throw everything it has behind economic warfare and go "all in" forcing even its closest allies to either suffer serious sanctions for not joining the economic attacks or to inflict self-harm by limiting trade with Russia, Iran, and anyone else the US chooses to declare economic warfare upon.

I don't believe that this set of circumstances can continue indefinitely without a serious realignment or a degeneration into "kinetic" warfare.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 3:47 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Putin and his regime are weak on the USA, but Uncle Sam seems intent on making even Medvedev-style weak comprador liberals enemies.

Twit:

Maxim A. Suchkov @MSuchkov_ALM

Russia's PM @MedvedevRussiaE now: #Moscow to treat
:urther #US sanctions as an open declaration of economic war.
1:54 AM-Aug 10, 2018

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 3:48 pm GMT
Proposed new "sanctions" on Russia essentially amount to a declaration of war. Lunatic asylum is the most appropriate place for the whole American "leadership", down to the last man/woman/tranny. The only thing that stands between us and WWIII, which would be a suicide of humanity, is unbelievably cool and reasonable position of Putin and the rest of Russian leadership.

It is clear to anyone with a brain that the US "sanctions" on Russia have zero chance of changing Russia's stance on any international issues of consequence. Crimea is a good example: it will return to Ukraine the day after the Hell freezes over. On the same date Georgia gets South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and US-sponsored Islamic bandits win over Assad in Syria. Thus, The US is spelling out the conditions that have no chance of being met. Let's hope that the result will be further Russian alignment with China, rather than nuclear war. I'd hate to be killed by Russian missiles hitting the US just because bought by MIC and paid for American "leadership" has gone completely insane. Hope springs eternal.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

I agree. They are constantly talking about the "hybrid warfare" and the Russian "attack" on America, but it means that the US (both its politicians and its population) get psychologically prepared for an actual war, and it is precisely their actions which keep drifting towards actual war.

There is also a lot of projection going on here: the Americans obviously perceive their own election meddling as war by other means, and so they accuse their enemies with the very same thing.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 3:56 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Maybe we'll see unrequited love turning into hatred.

LondonBob , August 10, 2018 at 3:59 pm GMT
Russia is far too integrated in to the wider European economy, and Russia is too stronk for sanctions to do anything. See Nord Stream II. Ignore the Israel lobby sanctions, not even the corrupt congress critters could vote for those.

I have no idea why these new meaningless sanctions have been conjured up, maybe the Rand Paul letter has the answer, maybe not. I think we may have some answers after the midterms.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
@LondonBob

I don't think the Israel lobby alone should be blamed for these "sanctions". Insanity is more widespread in the US "leadership" than Jewish shekels. This looks like the death throes of the Empire. Let's hope it does not take the humanity with it to its grave.

neutral , August 10, 2018 at 4:13 pm GMT
Now that it is within the realms of reasonable debate, if there were a nuclear war between the USA and Russia what targets would be hit? Would Russia hit puppet regimes such the UK, France or Poland? Would the USA hit Iran (because if they are going to hit Russia they might as well get Iran in there as well).

If say only Russian and USA were hit, how much of the nuclear fallout would affect Europe?

LondonBob , August 10, 2018 at 4:14 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Why, if Putin threatened Netanyahu to call off his dogs, he would have to? Actions of AIPAC should be accountable.

Interesting looks like the inevitable Turkish financial crisis has begun, Europe has reasonable exposure there, further disruption to economic ties to Russia would be seen as a hostile act by Europe.

Polish Perspective , August 10, 2018 at 4:18 pm GMT
Russia today is in a much better position to withstand sanctions. Global oil investments have been lagging for half a decade due to low prices, and this will inevitably show up in the coming years. Russia in 2014 was battered by a twin storm, of which the oil price collapse was in fact far worse. That factor is now gone.

Furthermore, a planned VAT rise next year will mean that the break-even oil price for the Russian budget will fall to $50 after $60 this year and $67 last year, according to Alfa Bank's analysis . Steady, impressive improvement. So even in an event of an unexpected oil price decline, Russia is far more prepared this time around.

Additionally, over the last 4 years, Russia's economy has indigenised to a much greater extent than before. This is especially the case in the financial markets. Russia is simply a lot less reliant on foreign funding. Bershidsky wrote about how more and more Russian companies are leaving UK capital markets and returning to Russia. This process will continue but it has already yielded results. As a country with a large current account surplus, tamed inflation, an incredibly strong fiscal state, there is indeed very little that the US can do, which is probably why they are reaching with ever-greater desperation.

I think the ultimate endgame can only be to completely run a parallel system. Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions. Who could be partners in such a system? Aside from the obvious candidate, China, perhaps even India. Modi has in recent months distanced himself from the US and warmed up to China again.

India has always bristled at being treated as a close ally rather as a 'partner'. It has cherished it's non-aligned movement legacy and its historically close relations to Russia. It is unlikely to want to give up on that in order to become a subservient lapdog to US interests in the manner that the EU has degraded itself.

China's AIIB is a good start, but the full range of new institutions must bear fruit. Some of the BRICS ideas are good but ultimately both Brazil and South Africa are too unimportant. It should be borne by the big powers (Russia, India and China) together with an Asian coalition like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others who are not in the US orbit yet have a bright future ahead of them.

Turning to Europe. Unless the EU finally shows some spine – which is very unlikely – then the Western system will be exposed to be at the mercy of whoever controls the US. Such a system is hegemonic and it will be in the best interest of not just the non-Western world but even for those of us in Europe to see a breakdown in that world order.

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 4:37 pm GMT
America now has a "good cop, bad cop" with Trump and Congress. Congress puts in more sanctions, but there is constraint responding too much because Trump seems friendly, and you don't want to alienate him. Trump himself doesn't care about the sanctions, because he thinks it is leverage that he can lift them later.

There was an article a few months ago that Trump is actually worse than Obama – even in Obama did not supply direct weapons to Ukraine.

I think Trump plans to remove the sanctions in the next year and improve the relations – but without any kind of timetable (his meeting with Putin is delayed already to next year).

Polish Perspective , August 10, 2018 at 4:43 pm GMT
OT: The Turkish lira is now the worst-performing currency this year, bar none.

Turkey's implicit bet was that it could continue to rely on Western money flows while pursuing an agenda contrary to Western interests has been conclusively shattered. When I say Western interests, I do not mean the propaganda about human rights, which the West manifestly doesn't give two hoots about.

Turkey was not entirely foolish to believe this strategy could work. Pakistan during the reign of Islamist military dictator Zia ul-Haq, used a similar strategy during the 1980s. He empowered the mullahs and moved Pakistan decidedly to the hard-right in religious/cultural terms while massively opening up the economy to speculative finance, thereby pleasing Washington. Saudi Arabia has used this policy for a long time. For those who knew this, the revelation that the US funded some of the most extremist "moderate" rebels in Syria came as no shock.

So perhaps it isn't the Islamism in of itself which is the problem in Erdogan's case. What could it be? Well, one clue is the case of Pastor Brunson. The good pastor, who under house arrest in Turkey, is accused to be close to the Gülen cult. The official line in the Western MSM is that Trump is trying to appease evangelicals before the midterms. I don't buy that. He has them in the bag regardless. Gülen himself, some of you might recall, still lives in the US despite repeated pleas from Turkey to give him back. Which is the unreliable ally here? Curiously, Gülen's religious bent is even more Islamist than Erdogan's. He's also even more of a neoliberal. Notice a pattern?

At any rate, the demand from the US has been for Turkey to release Brunson unconditionally. Erdogan's media has speculated that Brunson was slated to become CIA chief in Turkey had the 2016 coup come to pass. Obviously, Turkey does not want to release him unconditionally: it makes them look extremely weak. Well, they now got hit where it hurts. Indeed, Trump even tweeted out new sanctions news today even as Erdogan was delivering a speech. I don't happen to believe in coincidences. The result is that the lira lost close to a quarter of its value in a single day. I haven't even mentioned Turkey's apparent interest in the S-400 missile system among other matters. This, I think, is what truly irked D.C. rather than Erdogan's human rights record or "authoritarianism", which is just the pretext.

Make no mistake: the decline of the lira was structural from the beginning. Turkey's large CAD made it extremely vulnerable to financial speculation from the getgo. It has now paid that price. But this does not preclude the fact that countries which are overtly reliant on Western financial flows to fund large current account deficits should forgo the lesson that there is no free lunch. Erdogan made this cardinal error. Poland is not nearly as vulnerable, but we're also in the same orbit. This is why I always laugh at the Poland Stronk memes. It's also why I dismiss the criticism against Orban that he plays all sides, including taking money from the EU, as politically naïve. Very few countries in this world can reliably be called truly independent. Russia is in the process of becoming one. So is China. India is not quite there, but it has the potential. The rest of us will simply have to balance hegemons, while reminding ourselves of our inherent vulnerability. If we forget that, then we just had a textbook example of what happens when we overestimate our hand, playing out in front of our very eyes today.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 4:46 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Good to hear something sensible from Polish Perspective (in every sense of this expression). I know some Poles, who tend to be reasonable people, so the policies of Polish government always amazed me. Then again, if Polish democracy is similar to the US, the opinions of the people don't matter at all.

There is still a long way to go before Russia, China, or any other country frees itself from the clutches of dollar-based financial system. However, an alternative might look parallel at the beginning, but it won't be parallel for long. Thing is, the US dollar and the US sovereign debt have become essentially Ponzi schemes. If Russia, China, and a few others create a "parallel" system, dollar-based Ponzi scheme folds, as the US does not have sufficient assets to support the dollar or pay off its debt. The fall of the Empire will likely be violent. The only thing we can hope for is that the humanity survives it.

As to EU, it missed every chance of becoming something with a spine. Too late now. In fact, what French president once said about Arafat (he never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity) applies to the EU with a vengeance.

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 4:47 pm GMT

I suppose we now also now why Russia has been selling Treasuries for the past three months, which plummeted from their typical level of $100 billion in March to just $15 billion from June (i.e. just enough to guarantee USD-denominated trade).

You're making the Kremlins look smarter than they actually are. They should have done this 4 years ago. What I want to know is what happened to the proceeds from the sale? CBR data shows that value of "foreign exchange" held by the CBR hasn't declined:

https://www.cbr.ru/eng/hd_base/mrrf/mrrf_m/

Did they convert the dollars into other currencies, or are they keeping it in cash on a bank account somewhere, where it could be easily "frozen"?

notanon , August 10, 2018 at 4:49 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Why, if Putin threatened Netanyahu to call off his dogs, he would have to? Actions of AIPAC should be accountable.

i don't this is just AIPAC driven – partly yes but the banking mafia have their own reasons for trying to bring Russia to heel.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 4:54 pm GMT
Great.

Now I can't use the Export-Import Bank insure the export of American-made products from a swing state to Russia. Really Making America Great Again! Can we please replace Pompeo with Rohrabacher already?

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 5:04 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

Regarding India, they are asking America for a permission to keep buying Russian weapons. Asking for a sanctions "waiver" – this is just sad. India also agreed to reduce imports of Iranian oil. So, perhaps, not so independent anymore.

There is no way to sugarcoat it: in the short to medium term sanctions will suppress Russian economic growth. But unless they find a way to somehow stop Russia's exports of oil, our economy will shrug off whatever sanction packages US can throw at it.

Cagey Beast , August 10, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Can we please replace Pompeo with Rohrabacher already?

Rohrabacher is a flake and blowhard as well. If he were in the running for Secretary of State, he could just as easily flip and become militantly anti-Russian in order to impress people in Washington. Appearing tough on foreigners in front of one's peers in Washington is their prime motive. They've been like this since before the Vietnam War era.

Kimppis , August 10, 2018 at 5:09 pm GMT
Anatoly, I read your Russian "Whitepill" article through Google Translate recently:

http://akarlin.ru/2018/08/whitepill/

Obviously a good read overall, but there was this one part that I found particularly well, interesting, and actually quite surprising:

"Moreover, the mid-2020s will also see a massive influx of electric vehicles into the global car fleet, which could lead to a final collapse in oil prices. There was practically no real diversification: the number of industrial robots per worker in Russia is at the level of Iran and India. Meanwhile, "effective managers" like Sechin turned out to be so effective that Rosneft's debts exceed the value of the company itself from this year. An acute economic crisis in a few years is almost inevitable. "

So I'm clearly not even entirely sure whether that translation is accurate, but it really seems like you're kind of suddenly much more pessimistic on the Russian economy. Or is that just the "best-case" scenario for Russian nationalists?

Didn't you rate Putin's "economic management" reasonably highly not a long time ago, just before the Presidential elections? Of course compared to the situation in 2000, but still.

You've also pointed out several times that Russia's oil dependency has been considerably exaggerated. Also, Russia's federal budget is already based on low oil prices. Then there's Jon Hellevig's research and numbers as well (GDP share of oil & gas, the consolidated budget, etc). And Polish Perspective's comment above.

So shouldn't the repeat of 2014 be kind of unlikely, if not impossible? At this rate, Russia's remaining oil dependency should already be considerably lower by the mid-20s, despite all those technological limitations.

You don't believe in an annual growth of 3% anymore? You seriously think there will be an "acute crisis" in a few years?

I actually just read that even the always (or atleast recently) conservative/pessimistic Russian authorities (in this case, the Economic Development Ministry) forecast a growth rate of atleast around 3% beginning from 2021, after the VAT hike, some other "reforms" and increasing spending.

Cagey Beast , August 10, 2018 at 5:23 pm GMT
At the same time, Trump his helping to push the Turkish economy off a cliff with his Twitter account. Russia and Turkey find themselves in the same boat. So?
Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
@LondonBob

Israel and Netanyahu responsible for American sanctions on Russia, conspiracy makes less sense to me than the others I read here (Israel responsible for killing Kennedy, etc). Why do Israel want to impose American sanctions on Russia?

This week's sanctions mainly targeting Russian airlines. Aeroflot is about to buy 30 Boeing 737s from America – and now this is in danger.

In Israel, Aeroflot is the third airline, and Israeli government pays it direct subsidies to reduce the ticket prices for places like Eilat. They allow Aeroflot to put giant Aeroflot commercial posters along the roads and skyscrapers.

According to the news earlier in the year, Israel is negotiating to join a customs union with the Eurasian Economic Union. How will they reconcile their own actions, with being the one responsible for America to sanction Russia? It would be very competent 4 dimensional chess, from people who cannot even count their illegal immigrants or deport a single illegal immigrant, or coordinate their nationality policy with a few thousand druze. While making America sanction Russia has no benefit for them, deporting illegal immigrants, or coordinating with Druze has important benefits for them (yet supposedly they can do the former, but not the latter).

At the same time, they do the opposite of sanctioning themselves.

Also if this is the case, how in Russia, nobody in the expert community is aware Israel is responsible for the sanctions. Instead the media celebrate when it still wants to export carrots. And if any of the Kremlin top think relations with Israel are bad, then why is Israel allowed to operate freely in Russia.

If explanation is to do with Syria – it also does not fit. Intervention in Syria was presented as something which would encourage West to remove its sanctions.

For Israel, Russian-American alliance would improve the situation in the region. And also probably for Turkey and the Arabs.

Israel is terrified with an increase of Iran in Syria. The reality is that is that both Russia and America is going to reduce presence in Syria, and Iran is going to increase it. The problem of Russia in Syria for Israel, is that Russia's presence is only minimal, and will allow Iran on the ground to take over the same territories that Russia helps secure for Assad. In the current equation and stage of the war, they will be hoping Russia increases its presence and reduces the need for Iranian forces. Problem of Assad for them is his only to the extent of his relation with Iran, not with Russia.

Mikhail , Website August 10, 2018 at 5:43 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Before the Trump-Putin summit, the Mueller involved FBI indicted 12 Russians, knowing full well that they'd not be turned over to the US. This latest round of sanctions comes right after Rand Paul's trip to Moscow, for the purpose of seeking closer US-Russian relations.

As noted in this below piece, these sanctions are crock based: https://www.rt.com/news/435576-russia-us-sanctions-reactions/

On CNN, the establishment alternative academic Robert English hypothesized that elements in the Russian government might've poisoned the Skripals without Putin's prior knowledge. He leaves out another possibility, in line with US mass media restrictions. In the UK, there're Russian ex pats, who quarrel among themselves, in addition to not liking the Russian government. The poisoning of the Skripals could very well be a matter of trying to kill two birds (so to speak) in one shot.

Of course we don't know for sure. Likewise, with the bogus suggestion as fact that the Russian government poisoned the Skripals. Given the ongoing lack of UK government disclosure on this incident, there's very good reason to doubt the claim against the Russian government.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Polish Perspective

I think the ultimate endgame can only be to completely run a parallel system. Any compromise with the US is unlikely to give anything than shattered delusions.

Seconded. Washington is too much in love with their sanctions.

It should be borne by the big powers (Russia, India and China) together with an Asian coalition like the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and others who are not in the US orbit yet have a bright future ahead of them.

What about Turkey?

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 5:58 pm GMT
@Kimppis

Also, Russia's federal budget is already based on low oil prices. Then there's

It's up to 50% of the federal budget in recent years, is funded by oil and gas revenue, although in low oil price years the proportion can fall (to lower 40s%).

When the proportion falls, then you are by definition financing a federal budget in other ways, which are usually less politically popular.

You can see unpopularity of announcements to raise VAT or pension age.

Raising pension age (as needs to often be repeated to people) is necessary and reasonable, but raising VAT is a bad thing as in most countries.

Karlin is probably too pessimistic about oil price demand peaking in 2020s (demand for oil probably peaking in the 2030s).

Either way, it's known there need to be economic reforms, reduction of size of government sector, increase in proportion of private sector in many areas, investment in education for future industries.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 6:05 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Aeroflot is about to buy 30 Boeing 737s from America – and now this is in danger.

Aeroflot should cancel the orders and buy the Airbus 320s Iran was supposed to get.

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 6:07 pm GMT
@Cagey Beast

But they fail to produce the next generation of consumer-citizens. Or is the Western elite so shortsighted? To the level of "après moi le déluge"?

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 6:09 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Agree. Aeroflot should not buy anything American. Neither should Iran or Syria. The most sensitive part of the US anatomy is the wallet.

Lars Porsena , August 10, 2018 at 6:48 pm GMT
Having Russia go pirate on US copy-rite laws could be interesting. Do you think the US would build a giant firewall and ban it's citizens from viewing Russian content, and could they actually enforce it, or would the internet be just like back in the good old 90′s days with Napsternik?

Russia might even make some headway with Pirate Party types. Information belongs to the people, comrades! Also Russia switching to Linux would probably lead to an increased development of Linux.

g2k , August 10, 2018 at 7:00 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

Looks like these sanctions will force their hand: their new narrowbody airliner was going to have pratt and witney engines with the aviadvigatel ones only for government planes. Not sure what the exact reasons for this were: p&w ones have a slightly higher bypass ratio, it allows international buyers to utilise existing service infrastructure or aviadvigatel's ability to mass produce might be crap. If the us imposes a complete export ban they'll all have to have them.

Russia's current widebody airliner is pretty much obsolete though.

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
Aeroflot had benefited from collapse of Transaero. They're getting 35 planes (all Airbus and Boeing models) from the Transaero fleet and are putting them into Aeroflot fleet this year.

With Boeing, they also had an order of Dreamliners, which they cancelled a few years ago. Although that was just because there was a downturn in long-haul flights. New Boeing 737 orders are for building up their lowcoster "Pobeda".

AnonFromTN , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

For that, Russia needs to produce all types of civilian aircraft, like the USSR did. That's hard after the 1990s, when the traitors destroyed Russian aircraft industry. There are moves in the direction of restoring it, in cooperation with China. However, they both need to be able to build aircraft w/o any parts from the US and its vassals. That would take 5-10 years. In fact, US sanctions pushed Russia and China in the direction of self-sufficiency very hard. In Russian it is called "sawing off the bough you sit on". The West is really good at that lately.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:03 pm GMT
@g2k

These sanctions might be a net positive for Russia in the long term, forcing them to develop indigenous industries instead of just importing everything from the oil revenue.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:17 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Probably working together with China is the easier way, and more feasible economically.

Daniel Chieh , August 10, 2018 at 7:23 pm GMT
@Lars Porsena

Do you think the US would build a giant firewall and ban it's citizens from viewing Russian content, and could they actually enforce it, or would the internet be just like back in the good old 90′s days with Napsternik?

The "free market" of Facebook, Apple, Google and Spotify will protect good Americans from fake news.

El Dato , August 10, 2018 at 7:24 pm GMT
@Lars Porsena

Also Russia switching to Linux would probably lead to an increased development of Linux.

I would finally have a good reason to learn me some Russian.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 7:31 pm GMT
@g2k

Presumably they can still source from Rolls Royce. The UK is a smaller economic power than America and presumably less interested in sabotaging one of its crown jewels (never rule it out with the UK ofc).

Russia's aerospace technology is inferior to the West, but that's irrelevant since Russia can simply force Russian carriers to purchase Russian aircraft. Higher operating costs relative to foreign carriers can be addressed with subsidies (or tariffs).

Prioritizing your own technology also creates the option of charting an independent technological course. For instance, instead of building swept-wing jets with low bypass turbofan engines optimized for transonic cruise, you could build straight-wing aircraft with propfans optimized for low fuel consumption. You can also build supersonic aircraft and experiment with different planforms than the boring one established by the Boeing 707.

Thorfinnsson , August 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

This is already in the works with the CRAIC CR929. Engineering in Moscow, assembly in Shanghai. Will be in service around a decade from now.

German_reader , August 10, 2018 at 7:38 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

It's kind of funny how many Americans feel threatened by Iran. Regarding Russia as a threat at least makes a certain sense given Russia's nuclear arsenal and ability to destroy the US.

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 7:45 pm GMT
@Mitleser

Every time Medvedev opens his mouth, he makes me cringe. Seriously, if you're going to proclaim an "economic war", against USA no less, then you better explain how Russia is going to fight back and win. Smart Russians will be heading to currency exchange ( обменный пункт ) after hearing this statement.

reiner Tor , August 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

More fuel consumption than is usual with modern aircraft, noisier passenger cabin, more external noise (also important for some airports with regulations restricting noisy aircraft), less safety, etc.

It's just not competitive to operate them. Airlines have very low margins anyway, you cannot make a profit with obsolete aircrafts.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 8:50 pm GMT
@German_reader

On the other hand, the Islamic Republic of Iran is ideologically far more committed to anti-Americanism than the RF.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 8:53 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

if you're going to proclaim an "economic war", against USA no less, then you better explain how Russia is going to fight back and win.

Sun Tzu would disagree. Why let the enemy know what you are planning to do?

Dmitry , August 10, 2018 at 9:50 pm GMT
@The Scalpel

There are a couple of new planes which Aeroflot is going to buy/buying for shorthaul – Superjet 100 and MC-21. Karlin was blogging about these planes a few weeks ago.

Airtickets are a freemarket, and most passengers don't want to fly in unsafe old planes like Tu-154

A single crash can be even fatal for an airline – crash of an An-148 has earlier this year, destroyed Saratov Airlines

As a customer, I don't think there is any disgrace in buying Boeing and Airbus. All major airlines now, and around the world, are using mainly Airbus and Boeing, and have now retired the Tu-154.

Gerard2 , August 10, 2018 at 9:52 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

There is no way to sugarcoat it: in the short to medium term sanctions will suppress Russian economic growth

AND also Ukraine's, Moldova's, Georgia's, the Baltics and the friendly countries like Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan etcetera. If anything the US's moron, scumbag policy towards Russia ends up doing the exact opposite of what it intends to do Ukraine, Moldova, Gerogia and Baltics then become more financially interlinked and even dependent on Russia than they were before.

But in the circumstances ..is guaranteed 1% or 1.5% GDP growth per year for the next decade even that bad considering the circumstances? Every social/infrastructure element is improving in Russia

Felix Keverich , August 10, 2018 at 10:08 pm GMT
@Mitleser

The enemy is probably laughing his ass off at Medvedev. One simply should NOT be making such statements as a prime-minister of Russia. Here is another fool, who doesn't understand currency markets:

Gerard2 , August 10, 2018 at 10:13 pm GMT
@Dmitry

You can see unpopularity of announcements to raise VAT or pension age.

It's fake outrage and fake unpopularity on these two issues. 18% increased to 20% is a non-issue ( the budget is being spent significantly better than ever to offset this increase in VAT)

A lot of nonsense about "long overdue" get's said about pension reform but this is total BS. Yes Russia has 48 million out of 146 million as pensioners, but the most important thing is the unexpected , way above average increase in life expectancy . that has actually instigated this move by the authorities.

Those approaching retirement won't suddenly have to work 1-5 years longer they can still opt-in to the current arrangements in the overlapping period.. and with guarantees pension increased much further to corresponding inflation levels than now.

Either way, it's known there need to be economic reforms

Disagree with this .the same patterns that have been shown in the last 4 years need to continue, no radical "reform" is necessary. Small and medium sized business have gone from 10 million to 20 million people and should easily reach the target in afew years time that the President wished for in May,credit behavior and availability is becoming more and more western,

Instead of saying "reduction in size of government sector" you must specify exactly which areas of state control should be privatised .too often from liberasts their focus is solely on getting state control off critically important energy resources and distribution .nothing else.

Cyrano , August 10, 2018 at 10:45 pm GMT
Americans see the Russians as greatness deniers. Their European lackeys are their greatness-acknowledgers – even when it's detrimental to their own survival.

If the world was a theater, Americans see themselves as the only performers – the role of the rest of the world is to applaud their performance.

Russia is not a part of the audience, it's not even a heckler. It's a performer, it has always been, and a very talented one too. To try to demote them to the role of spectators, or to try to usher them out of the concert hall can be suicidal, they have enough musical instruments to put on a remarkable concert – even if afterwards no one is left to applaud.

Mitleser , August 10, 2018 at 10:58 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

One simply should NOT be making such statements as a prime-minister of Russia.

What statements should the PM make?

Anonymous [899] Disclaimer , August 10, 2018 at 11:12 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Yes we can.

https://www.businessinsider.com/mouse-grown-from-its-mothers-skin-cells-2016-10

https://www.newscientist.com/article/2109305-eggs-made-from-skin-cells-in-lab-could-herald-end-of-infertility/

Daniel Chieh , August 10, 2018 at 11:31 pm GMT
@Anonymous

Mice and humans are quite different, results applying to mice apply to humans less than 50% of the time. The loss rates on this, at any rate, are insane:

Of the 1348 embryos they made, eight pups were born.

Anonymous [931] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 12:16 am GMT
@Daniel Chieh

Every beginning is hard. Considering that all the cutting edge research in fertility/cloning/artificial wombs is done on shoestring budgets, the progress is amazing. Imagine what could be done with sufficient funding.

Our esteemed host have the right idea – the only chance for Russia to achieve its rightful number one place in the world is through new Manhattan project to develop better Russians.
The West is stymied by the "pro-lifers" of the right and "bioethicists" of the left, and this is Russia's chance. Unlike the origial M project, Russians can keep things secret, and even if the West will suspect something, what can they do? Impose sanctions?

In the thirties, ignorant Caucasian moustacheoid gangster picked the Lysenkoists over the scientifically correct Darwinist transhumanist eugenicists. Time to undo this mistake.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 12:37 am GMT
@Anonymous

Our esteemed host have the right idea – the only chance for Russia to achieve its rightful number one place in the world is through new Manhattan project to develop better Russians.

And it will have as much impact on the outcome of the looming confrontation as the Mengele's research had on the outcome of the WWII.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 2:01 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

He's also even more of a neoliberal. Notice a pattern?

The west has no qualms about using Islamist. Radical Islam has been used in 1950s against Nasser's regime in Egypt. Islamist were used against secular pro Soviet regime of Afghanistan and then against Assad's Syria, Hussain's Iraq and Gaddafi's Libya. The equation is complicate: on one side you have Israel's Yinon Plan and global neoliberal and Islamists and on the other side you have secular national countries that try to build greater sovereignty and stronger state.

Majority of Islamist are just useful idiots while some among the leadership are operatives of western security services. Sometimes they break off the leash like Hamas which it does not seem to be controlled by Mossad anymore but it still does everything from the wish list of Israel's hard-liners.

My pet theory is that Islamist of Iran who destroyed the fast growing and developing Iran of Shah were also used by some foreign interests in the west and/or Israel. Shah himself believed it was the British.

You should look at history of your own country in 19 and 20 century. To what extent all those patriots responsible for numerous and hopeless uprisings were useful idiots, dupes or operatives of foreign interests?

Mr. XYZ , August 11, 2018 at 2:09 am GMT
Question about the Skripal poisoning–if it wasn't the Russians, then who did it?

Also, it's interesting that Sergei Skripal's poisoning has resulted in much more Western action than Alexander Litvinenko's poisoning back in 2006 did.

Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
' The biggest impact from the initial sanctions is expected to come from a ban on granting licenses to export sensitive national security goods to Russia, which in the past have included items like electronic devices and components, along with test and calibration equipment for avionics. Prior to the sanctions, such exports were allowed on a case-by-case basis. '

Now they'll have to pay the Israelis to get it for them. Does this count as aid to Israel?

Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:04 am GMT
If, without admitting guilt, Russia expressed her regret for the fact that Donald Trump won the election, would that open the door to a settlement?
Colin Wright , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:07 am GMT
@Felix Keverich

' Americans view Russia as a greater threat than Iran '

I can go along with that. Russia's a greater threat than Togo as well.

Anon [813] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 3:39 am GMT
@German_reader

I am always puzzled to hear that lesbians require artificial insemination. I had a couple of friends who were a bit behind schedule, and were trying hard to conceive just before the last eggs would wither. Whatever they were doing, taking days off from work when the thermometer said so, shoving it at any price, and so on – it could not be described as pleasurable. So why would the lesbians not bear it if they so much need children?

On a more general note, I am puzzled as to how USSR survived between 1945 and 1989 without fainting at the thought that Americans would not recognize annexation of the Baltic jokes, that Russians would not be allowed to use dollars, or that Pokemon Go could be blocked in the Russian app store. Surely, if you have a population of idiots, like USSR circa 1989, who would think that it's their ow government blocking the dollar and Pikachu, it may gnaw at the roots of the state. But today's Russians can guess that with Putin or without him, with Crimea or without it, they are still seen as enemies of America, and will be treated accordingly.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 4:08 am GMT
@Anon

New state provision would cover fertility services for lower income women

https://nypost.com/2017/04/16/new-state-provision-would-cover-fertility-services-for-lower-income-women/

Conservatives pilloried the program, which sources said is a gift to an Orthodox Jewish community that has pressed for government-paid fertility services for 15 years.

Orthodox leaders called the budget measure a "significant victory" for women struggling to have kids in a community that traditionally values large families.

"This amendment will make it easier for women who would like to have children to do so," said Jeff Leb, a top lobbyist for Jewish nonprofits.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 7:25 am GMT
@Anonymous

scientifically correct Darwinist

Darwinism violates basic laws of probability theory and the observed fossil record.

It's a nice just-so story for the innumerate (most biologists are innumerate), but not in any way, shape or form science.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 7:28 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

if it wasn't the Russians, then who did it?

Guilty until proven innocent? Don't open that Pandora's box. You're gleefully piling on the Russians now, but give a few years and the same gang might apply that principle to you in turn. Just because they hate Russians at this moment doesn't mean they hold any love for the rest of humanity.

Bukephalos , August 11, 2018 at 8:28 am GMT
@Polish Perspective

Brunson's captivity had dragged for quite long already, and we heard negotiations for his release made some progress before. However, Trump ramped up the rhetoric at a precise moment: when Turkey announced they would not only shirk new Iran sanctions (like they did in the past) but also were being vocal about this.

Seeing what ensued, again yes the S-400 was an irritant for a while already and certainly cumulate with other factors but the timeline is interesting. God forbid we conclude those who should not be named are ultimately setting the agenda here, not really the pastor's plight under islamist thugs.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 8:45 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

You could do a better job at reading this thread. See:

http://www.unz.com/akarlin/russia-sanctions/#comment-2458139

Excerpt –

On CNN, the establishment alternative academic Robert English hypothesized that elements in the Russian government might've poisoned the Skripals without Putin's prior knowledge. He leaves out another possibility, in line with US mass media restrictions. In the UK, there're Russian ex pats, who quarrel among themselves, in addition to not liking the Russian government. The poisoning of the Skripals could very well be a matter of trying to kill two birds (so to speak) in one shot.

Of course we don't know for sure. Likewise, with the bogus suggestion as fact that the Russian government poisoned the Skripals. Given the ongoing lack of UK government disclosure on this incident, there's very good reason to doubt the claim against the Russian government.

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

reiner Tor , August 11, 2018 at 9:05 am GMT
@anonymous coward

That's wrong, except about the innumeracy of the majority of biologists. Evolutionary biologists are less innumerate than the rest, and in any event, enough of them are numerate (like Greg Cochran with a physics PhD).

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 9:29 am GMT
@reiner Tor

[MORE]

That's wrong

It isn't. I'm a professional, trust me.

Evolutionary biologists are less innumerate than the rest, and in any event, enough of them are numerate (like Greg Cochran with a physics PhD).

Physicists are trained in integrals and analysis, they know nothing about probability theory, statistics and theoretical computer science. These are the fields required to form a semblance of a mathematical theory of evolution.

(A theory that will never be formed, because Darwinism violates the very basic theorems of probability and computation.)

anon [170] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 9:40 am GMT
Sanctions are more or less equivalent to Neo Mercantilism. Currency devalued, imports surpassed, etc.

Last round led to Russian agriculture boom.

The US would not tolerate a sanctions equivalent industrial policy, Nr would the Russian people.

Just call it better than tariffs,

Never before have unintended consequences been so obvious.

utu , August 11, 2018 at 9:49 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

Could you give an example of some probabilities? How do you calculate them and with what assumptions?

At resent article by Fred Reed the commenter "j2″ produced some numbers but I was too lazy and not certain that his starting assumptions were correct to verify it.

The Scalpel , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:22 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

If it wasn't the British, or ISIS, or the Martians, who did it?

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 10:55 am GMT
@anonymous coward

Physicists are trained in integrals and analysis, they know nothing about probability theory, statistics and theoretical computer science. These are the fields required to form a semblance of a mathematical theory of evolution.

Such complete bullshit. Probability and statistics are absolutely key for modern physics and an education in theoretical physics is definitely the best route to train in the practical applications, better than going to the mathematics department where they mainly deal with abstract theory. You clearly know nothing beyond high school level physics (or anything else for that matter).

Some fields of modern physics like thermodynamics ARE basically just pure probability theory applied to physical phenomena. If you take a random sample of research physicists from your local university, they're much more likely to be doing statistical mechanics rather than trying to find analytical solutions for their n-body problem and some application of probability is usually the most important field of mathematics for working physicists.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:11 am GMT
@Mikhail

You're right again about the Litvinenko conspiracy, Mickey. The notion that the Russian government would want to eliminate somebody who had betrayed its secret service, written books denouncing Vladimir Putin for giving the order to murder the likes of Boris Bereszvsky, Anna Polikovskaya and others, accused the secret service of being behind the bombings of the Russian apartment buildings, just doesn't add up or make any sense. The fact that Litvinenko, while lying on his death bed directly accused Putin for being responsible for his death also didn't lend any value that it was indeed Putin behind his poisoning. It just goes to show you the lengths to which the enemies of Russia and Vladimir Putin will go to try and besmearch Putin's honorable name. But they'll never be able to fool somebody with your veracity and skillul analysis – keep up the great 'independent foreign analysis'!

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:20 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

anonymous coward makes it a point of pride to be as consistently wrong as possible.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:27 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

I wasn't aware of this and am glad that you pointed this out. Another incredibly strong reason not to believe that the Russian government was behind the Litvinenko poisoning. Isn't it time that you wrote a book, Mickey? I know that other book authors regularly rely on your input to write their own monographs, isn't it time that you put it all together and shared more of your thoughts with the world? Perhaps, Karlin might let you write a chapter in his forthcoming book 'The Dark Lord of the Kremlin'?

APilgrim , August 11, 2018 at 11:33 am GMT
'Russia-Sanctions' are pitiful ' Double-Standards ', written by ' Frustrated Globalists '.
Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 1:30 pm GMT
Anyone wants to comment on this bizarre diplomatic spat, that Greece and Russia are having?

The abrupt deterioration in relations between Greece and Russia has intensified after Athens publicly accused Moscow of attempting to bribe state officials and meddle in the country's internal affairs.

Athens also rejected requests for entry visas from Russian Orthodox clerics heading for northern Greece's all-male monastic republic of Mount Athos.

The community is alleged to be a "den of spies" , with reports that Moscow has turned the Holy Mount – widely seen as the spiritual centre of Orthodoxy – into an intelligence-gathering operation with extensive funding of monasteries across the peninsula.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/aug/11/greece-accuses-russia-bribery-meddling-macedonia-deal

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. Greece could be trying to secure some debt relief by manufacturing a pointless row with Russia. Their PM Tsipras did come to Russia in 2015, asking for money. Left with nothing.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 1:59 pm GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

Probability and statistics are absolutely key for modern physics and an education in theoretical physics is definitely the best route to train in the practical applications, better than going to the mathematics department where they mainly deal with abstract theory.

Untighten your panties. That was my point, which you managed to miss by blindly charging to M'Lady Science's defense.

Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding.

The practical stuff physicists are using for solving practical, well-defined problems is useless here.

anonymous coward , August 11, 2018 at 2:20 pm GMT
@utu

[MORE]

Some quick back-of-the-napkin calculations:

* Age of the universe is about 10^18 seconds.
* The "Planck time" gives us the smallest possible unit of time, about 10^-45 seconds.
* There are about 10^82 atoms in the Universe.

Now assume an ideal computer. Let each atom of the Universe be a CPU, operating as fast as physics allows.

That gives us an upper bound of 10^(18+45+82) = 10^145 CPU cycles for computation.

Now take Shakespeare's sonnet #27. It is 458 letters long. (Let's ignore punctuation.)

If we take 458 random letters of the English alphabet, there are 26^458 random combinations.

So if our ideal Universe-sized computer was randomly picking letters and hoping to compose a Shakespeare sonnet, it would need about 10^300 Universes to do so.

How much more complex is an E. Coli cell compared to a sonnet?

P.S. This is obvious, freshman-tier stuff unless you're blinded by ideology.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 2:34 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

What' s to make of it? The article that you cite clearly explains what the row is all about:

Moscow announced the move weeks after Athens banned four Russian diplomats after accusing them of fomenting opposition to a landmark deal between Greece and macedonia, opening up the possibility of eventual Nato membership for Skopje.

Your own bizarre explanation betrays your own Russian reasoning:

Personally, I'm not sure what to make of it. Greece could be trying to secure some debt relief by manufacturing a pointless row with Russia. Their PM Tsipras did come to Russia in 2015, asking for money. Left with nothing.

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 2:51 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

My guess is that the Greek government wants to gain a powerful backer against Brüssel.

In Greece, he very often appears in public alongside Kammenos and spreads his political views on what is going on in the country via his Twitter account.

The influence goes so far that Pyatt unchallengedly criticizes the Greek judiciary and demands measures against anti-American demonstrators. Tsipras administration, arguing anti-Americanly itself at opposition times, on the other hand, fulfils every wish of the USA. While on the other side of the Bosphorus NATO partner Turkey is pushing its dispute with the US to the top, Greece's government is the most US-friendly since the overthrow of military rule in July 1974: NATO interests, gas pipelines and the regional influence of the North Atlantic defence alliance.

The coalition government of SYRIZA and the Independent Greeks agreed to the expansion of American military bases in Greece, including the stationing of nuclear weapons. This was not initially communicated to the public by the government, but only became known when the Secretary General of the Communist Party, Dimitris Koutsoubas, criticized it during public performances.

Secret diplomacy, as in the case of NATO, is also a characteristic of the Tsipras government in resolving the name dispute with northern Macedonia and in ongoing negotiations on border corrections with Albania. All negotiations are held in secrecy, with reference to the protection of state interests. There is no detailed information and no transparency regarding the reasons for the decision.

Athens is now providing NATO with the infrastructure for military bases in the event that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan withdraws his country from the North Atlantic Defence Alliance.

https://www.heise.de/tp/features/Russland-weist-griechische-Diplomaten-aus-4130628.html

Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator

Yes, that's is the infamous Pyatt who was ambassador in Kiev during the Maidan Coup.
He has been in Athen since 2016.

The case brings to the forefront the tension that seems to have been brewing between Athens and Moscow over the last two years, for reasons that have to do with regional security.

http://www.ekathimerini.com/230551/article/ekathimerini/news/greece-decides-to-expel-russian-diplomats

reiner Tor , August 11, 2018 at 3:04 pm GMT
@Mitleser

As late as this April Tsipras was still skeptical of the Skripal case.

But yes, probably they want America's friendship.

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 3:12 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Yeltsin was president when the bombings happened. Putin was only prime minister for a couple of weeks before the tower block bombings happened. Boris Bereszvsky killed himself (exiles are often miserable, Skripal wanted to go back) after Litvinenko, they were a couple of losers. No, Putin is a proud man, he sent the anti terror police to arrest Gusinsky not because of investigation into the apartment massacres of hundreds, but because that puppet show Dolls of Gusinsky's NTV portrayed Putin in a way he hated.

Who wouldn't want to inflict a horrible death on someone who accused them of being a paedophile? Litvinenko accused Putin of being a child molester and so Putin immediately issued orders for him to be sadistically murdered and a month he was poisoned (like apartment bombings, these things take a while to set up).

Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 3:30 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

This brings me back to my point about Hitler & weak, foolish Eastern Europeans. Greek government is only behaving this way because it sees no risks in antagonising Russians whatsoever. Slapping sanctions on Greece (by banning tourism for example) might get them thinking.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 3:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

One thing I saw is that they dislike Russia's support for replacing Greeks with Palestinians in the Orthodox Church in Israel.

https://www.facebook.com/pakopov/posts/1975263482518921

Israel Shamir had an article on that, interestingly enough: http://www.unz.com/ishamir/the-greek-occupation/

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 3:44 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

No sanctions, just encourage the tourism branch to redirect Russian tourists to Turkey which can offer them more for less.

https://www.xe.com/de/currencycharts/?from=RUB&to=TRY&view=5Y

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 3:49 pm GMT
@Sean

Look, I'm not passing judgement on the veracity of these accusations, that Litvinenko made against Putler. I see that you've added another one to the list, that Litvinenko accused Putler of being a pedophile too. All I was pointing out was that there were many reasons why Litvinenko was a target for unfriendly Rusian actions, not like our resident 'Independent foreign Policy Analyst' Mike Averko who claims:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act.

Of course, he's a professional analytical type that always knows what he's talking about?

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 4:05 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

Greece was told it had to join NATO to be allowed into the EU.

German_reader , August 11, 2018 at 4:11 pm GMT
@Sean

Greece has been a member of NATO since 1952, it joined the European Community in 1981.
It's odd though that a Greek leftist like Tsipras is pro-American, given the strong anti-American traditions of Greek left-wingers. But Tsipras seems to be an all-around scumbag anyway.

JudyBlumeSussman , August 11, 2018 at 4:19 pm GMT

how deeply Russia falls into China's orbit in the next couple of decades

Russia can start taking China's side on an ad hoc basis, e.g. sending ships to the disputed sea and hassling US ships and planes. Russia could hassle them on the Northern half and China on the Southern half, a nice division of labor and multiplication of hassle for the US Navy.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 4:20 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

You can read statements of their foreign ministry.

His statements to do with paranoia about Russian-Turkey relations – statement from Greece was claiming Russia is a "comrade in arms with Turkey".

If Greece is angry about something, it is usually related to Turkey.

As Russia becomes friendly with Turkey – they will find an excuse to be angry, and vice-versa.

Think about Trump is this week criticizing Turkey – so he is probably now a hero in Greece this week.

Greeks are also angry because they think Imperial Orthodox Palestine Society is trying to de-Hellenize Middle Eastern patriarchates .

Philip Owen , August 11, 2018 at 4:22 pm GMT
Russia has enough chicken legs of its own now. They are not washed in chlorine.

Disengagement will simply remove what little influence the US has on Russia. Russia's exports are utterly dominated by primary production which is entirely fungible. The US exports little of high added to Russia and the EU and Switzerland, Korea and increasingly China can replace that. Japan probably won't. Russia has been trying to play a softer game with Japan but both sides true imperialist nature keeps on re-emerging. Like the US, Japan has remarkably low levels of trade with Russia given the size of its economy. Switzerland does a lot of high end complex electromechanical systems, like the Germans. The Germans are good; The Swiss are perfect.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 4:59 pm GMT
@Mitleser

I'm not really sure how low prices for Turkey can become lower. It's already very cheap.

Maybe further devaluation can contribute to the tourist market diverging more between Greece and Turkey. More and more poorer people will go on holiday to Turkey, as it becomes almost as cheap to go on holiday in Turkey, as it is to stay at home.

Maybe Greece can focus more on middle segment of the tourist market.

Sean , August 11, 2018 at 5:07 pm GMT
@German_reader

Greece had withdrawn from the NATO military structure after the invasion of Cyprus by fellow member Turkey. If I remember rightly it was their own PM who told Greeks they had to go back into NATO to be allowed to join the EC.

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 5:24 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding.

Bullshit. I have a pretty good education in probability theory both from the theoretical physics and mathematics departments so feel free to explain whatever point you think you have in as technical terms and with as much abstract math as you like.

I'm just going to claim that you're trying an "it doesn't work because of fancy words X, Y, Z" bluff without any actual technical argument behind the big fancy words. Prove me wrong.

anon [170] Disclaimer , August 11, 2018 at 5:41 pm GMT
@anon

It will have a negative impact on domestic Russian consumption short term. It's stupid, short sighted, and hard to reverse. Sanctions work best when used least.

German_reader , August 11, 2018 at 5:44 pm GMT
@Sean

I hadn't known about Greece's withdrawal from NATO in the 1970s, interesting, thanks.

Jaakko Raipala , August 11, 2018 at 5:48 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

* Age of the universe is about 10^18 seconds.

"Age of the universe" is a pop sci concept. In the standard model of cosmology it is estimated that the universe has developed from a massively dense state to the current state in roughly 13 billion years. We can backtrack the development over that time with current theories of physics and then we hit a wall as matter is so dense that we'd need a quantum theory of gravity to go further back in time but we don't have that. We don't know how long the universe existed before that, actually we don't even know if time existed in the same manner. The earliest known state of the universe was NOT informationless (there were variations in mass distribution etc) so your assumption that patterns would emerge only in the following 13 billion years is false.

[MORE]

If you watch some pop sci documentary, they will explain all sorts of stuff about how the universe was at first some tiny point and there was a big explosion that spread it all over. This is all nonsense that was made up so that pop sci documentaries could have CGI graphics.

* The "Planck time" gives us the smallest possible unit of time, about 10^-45 seconds.

There is no such thing as the "smallest possible unit of time". This is complete nonsense. You seem to get your knowledge of physics from science fiction movies.

There is an expectation that current theories of physics are not accurate at very small time scales (which have not been reached by experiment). This is not the same thing as postulating that there is some "smallest possible unit of time". Current theories of physics simply do not include such a thing.

* There are about 10^82 atoms in the Universe.

We don't even know if the universe is finite or infinite. This is just a claim that you pulled out of your ass. There may even be an infinite number of atoms.

AnonFromTN , August 11, 2018 at 5:51 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Turks are a lot more orderly and competent than Greeks. In fact, I was surprised how much more organized Turks are: we rented a car in Ankara near railway station and returned it in another city near airport, and they delivered the car where we wanted it and then took it off my hands, without car rental agency at either point.

For Russians, there are two additional advantages: no visa is required (you just pay $20 at the airport, and they stick what they call "visa" in your passport), and the same services are cheaper than in Greece.

ploni almoni , August 11, 2018 at 6:10 pm GMT
@anonymous coward

"Any scientific theory of evolution will have to be about information entropy, computational complexity and asymptotic properties of stochastic processes. That's exactly the "abstract theory" you're deriding."

Phony Baloney.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:18 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Empty calories sarcasm on your part.

The US went thru a period of noticeable politically motivated violence (in one form or another), that among other things included the murders of the Kennedy brothers, King, X, black children in a church, fatal Kent State shootings and the Manson involved murders.

There was absolutely no need for the Russian government to orchestrate the Moscow apartment bombings. The evidence is non-existent, with the so-called evidence being a put mildly creative stretch. On par with the idea that the US government sought and was involved in planning 9/11. Terrorism from Chechnya was a clear reality before the Moscow apartment bombings.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

A disingenuous cherry pick on your part, along with empty calories sarcasm. It wasn't only his (as has been said) sympathy for Chechen separatism, but a combination of factors, in conjunction with that aspect.

What I said in full on this matter:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 6:33 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise faulty impression.

In comparison, there's better reason to be critical of the Kiev regime's stunt with Babchenko.

Spisarevski , August 11, 2018 at 6:39 pm GMT
It's a pity that the good things Macedonia is doing (like fixing its relations with Bulgaria and Greece and starting to slowly accept the real history as opposed to the shit made up by the Serbs, the communists and Tito) are all done for such a shitty reason like entering the EU and NATO.
Simpleguest , August 11, 2018 at 6:42 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

"Turks are a lot more orderly and competent than Greeks."

Hear, hear.

Mitleser , August 11, 2018 at 6:46 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Greece has an inferior tourist industry and plenty of great European competition (Spain, Italy, Croatia etc.)
Thanks to Cyprus, you don't even to travel to Greece if you want to be on vacation in a Greek-speaking country.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 7:40 pm GMT
@Mikhail

'Svido cherry picking'?

Stick to the facts and do not reply back with your monotonous drum of often recited BS when you don't have a credible reply, Mickey!

I was specifically pointing out the paucity of information that you provided regarding your alternative suggestion that somebody other than Russian backed was responsible for Livinenko's demise. As I've already pointed out, I do not pass judgments on any of the aspersions that Litvinenko made against Putler, only that the smoking gun clearly points towards Moscow. If you've got something better, then present it I'd try something more clever than indicating that Litvinenko was in favor of Chechen separatists.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 7:52 pm GMT
@Mikhail

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise faulty impression.

Whoa, what do we have here? Another genuine ' Averkoism '??

You indicate that I ' include mis-informative cherry picks' to spin an otherwise faulty impression. Why yes, I guess that's what I can be contrued doing. Most impressions that you make are faulty' ' and deserve to be rebuked, don't you think? I think that what you meant to say was that:

Much unlike your svido trolling ways, which include mis-informative cherry picks, designed to spin an otherwise accurate impression.

Mickey, you don't really want to be remembered for making 'faulty impressions ' now do you?

Cyrano , August 11, 2018 at 8:37 pm GMT
@Mr. Hack

I have to agree with Mikhail here. I think that Litvinenko affair was like a dress-rehearsal for the most famous, daring and successful spy operation in history – the Babchenko affair.

You see, such a stunning operation like that takes years to perfect and for the Ukrainians Litvinenko was just a guinea pig on whom they tested their secret intelligence (OK, intelligence might be a stretch) operations skills.

And Litvinenko was an easy choice, the Ukrainians were sure that because of his background – it will be blamed on the Russians.

Nevertheless, this doesn't take anything away from the professionalism and mastery that Ukrainians displayed when they designed the Babchenko hoax. I wouldn't be surprised at all if Babchenko success story launches a new series of spy novels – maybe about agent 008 – where 008 is the IQ of the agent.

ThreeCranes , August 11, 2018 at 8:49 pm GMT
@reiner Tor

My take too rT. Economic warfare will not play out against Russia today as it did against Japan and Germany in the 1930′s; because while they were energy dependent, Russia has an abundance of oil and can and will–as you say–bootstrap its own industries inso far as they are able. They don't have to develop a surplus to trade since, like the USA 100 years ago, their population is sufficiently large to support a robust internal market.

Also, this entire analysis (and the Saker's discussions of weapons as well) ignores Russia's bigger concern, 1.2 billion Chinese wielding state of the art weaponry, who would love to bite off some big chunks of a weakened Russia for lebensraum.

Felix Keverich , August 11, 2018 at 9:59 pm GMT
@Dmitry

You can read statements of their foreign ministry.

His statements to do with paranoia about Russian-Turkey relations – statement from Greece was claiming Russia is a "comrade in arms with Turkey".

As Russia becomes friendly with Turkey – they will find an excuse to be angry, and vice-versa.

I feel that this is one of those situations, when you need to read between the lines. Turkey, religion and "meddling" ARE excuses for Greece. Trying to please Greece's creditors is the real issue here. It's a literal crackwhore of a nation, living from one tranche to another.

Hyperborean , August 11, 2018 at 10:02 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Also, this entire analysis (and the Saker's discussions of weapons as well) ignores Russia's bigger concern, 1.2 billion Chinese wielding state of the art weaponry, who would love to bite off some big chunks of a weakened Russia for lebensraum.

This is implausible, for reasons that have been discussed multiple times here, including recently.

Thorfinnsson , August 11, 2018 at 10:03 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

China isn't a threat to Russia at present for many reasons.

See my comment on this: http://www.unz.com/akarlin/kissinger-sees-sense-but-its-far-too-late/#comment-2456313

The idea that the Chinese will move to seize Siberia is a ridiculous fantasy.

China and Russia already in the 1990s peacefully resolved all of their outstanding border issues.

China suffers from below replacement fertility and solved its food security issues in the 1980s, so the era of "Yellow Peril" population pressure belongs to the distant past. And in any case the Russian Far East is useless for agricultural purposes.

There are indeed some minerals in Siberia, but let's review some economic facts about China:

#1 exporter
#1 forex reserve holder
#2 creditor nation
#6 gold reserve holder

China can buy all the resources it needs. The main threat to China's economic security are the naval and air forces of the United States and Japan, and to a lesser extent the US Treasury and Commerce Departments. Expanding into Siberia does exactly zero to counter any of these threats, unless you think the Port of Vladivostok somehow enables the PLA-N to break out into the open Pacific.

Instead it multiplies these threats by pointlessly adding Russia to its enemies and eliminating the possibility of overland trade substituting for seaborne trade.

China is a security threat to Siberia only once the following are true:

1 – USA abandons Western Pacific in favor of hemispheric security
2 – China secures dominance over Second Island Chain
3 – China replaces USA as lynch pin of global financial (as opposed to just economic) system

And given China's cautious attitude, that might not be enough. For instance, a USA focused on hemispheric security would still be viewed as potentially dangerous by China owing to its blue water navy and dominance of the "Third Island Chain".

If China displaces the USA as the world's preeminent power, then there might be some cause for concern. But even then I'm not so sure–Russia would be Canada to China's America. The USA and Canada have had very good relations since the 1930s.

Lebensraum with Chinese Characteristics is not going to happen.

That's not to say everything will be hunky dory in Russian-Chinese relations. There are areas of friction like:

• Influence in Central Asia
• Chinese IP theft
• North Korea
• Japan
• Near Abroad
• Competition for defense and nuclear exports

The CRAIC CR929 project looks great for now, but the gist of it is that while it's designed in Russia it will be made in China. Once China matches Russia in aerospace technology, what is Russia's role in this partnership? Seems like the most likely outcome is that Russian industry is reduced from producing aircraft to merely being a Tier One supplier and, perhaps, an engine supplier.

Will Russia be happy with that? I don't know. The UK decided to accept being reduced to this status after the commercial failure of its innovative but flawed postwar airliners cheerfully enough I suppose. Japan considered but decided against developing a complete aerospace-industrial base, though this may be changing (MHI Regional Jet, Kawasaki P1, MHI X-2 Shinden).

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:05 pm GMT
@Cyrano

He's a svido troll as evidenced by his ongoing distortions and omissions, which include not having a good comeback to the following:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 10:08 pm GMT
@Cyrano

So, do you have even one shred of any evidence linking the poisoning of Litvinenko with the Ukrainian secret service? If not, I wouldn't spend too much time writing your novel about 008 and Babchenko, unless you intend it for an audience of only one gullible reader, Michael Averko!

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 10:19 pm GMT
@Mikhail

His ' Italian friend '? Were they fishing buddies where somebody got jealous of their 'friendship' and decided to take the Italian out? Could've been another Russian job too?

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

Now, this is really stupid, I think that even you'll have to admit Mickey. Are we to believe that because Litvinenko was sympathetic to Chechen separatism, that this somehow made him impervious to any sort of Russian assault? Please explain this one to me!

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest? If Russia wasn't full of fools, why are they circumvented by the world community with unnecessary and embarrasing sanctions, anyway? Besides, as I've already pointed out, there were many reasons why the Kremlin wanted Litvinenko gone.

Mikhail , Website August 11, 2018 at 10:37 pm GMT

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest?

Why Litvinenko himself, albeit (if true) in a possible unintended way. No proof that the Rusisan government did him in. No need to reply anymore to your rehashed trolling tripe.

Still no good answer to:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 10:42 pm GMT
@Felix Keverich

Theory that it is to do with creditors, doesn't make much sense.

Creditors (troika) are European fund – mainly Germany, France and Italy, in order. Followed by IMF and ECB.

Criteria for release of funds is economic criteria, that imply they might one day get their money back.

Greece's foreign policy is not of interest to anyone much (Turkey care about them), especially not accountants.

-

Reason for tensions with Greece, are the new relations with Turkey.

An alternative world, with a solvent Greece, they would be more angry, than currently weak, insolvent one – considering sale of S-400 to Turkey, construction of Akkuyu for Turkey, and recent decision for Turkstream.

Turkstream was always supposed to go to Greece, but two months ago, finally announced it's going to Bulgaria (with no mention of Greece).

https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-gas-bulgaria/update-1-bulgaria-says-will-be-entry-point-for-russian-turkstream-gas-link-idUSL5N1T16DI

For Turkstream it's now option if it needs to go to Greece at all – it could also reach Italy, via the Balkans.

In a Northern option that gets to Hungary and Italy over Serbia. (With no need of Greece).

At the same time, Israel, Cyprus and Greece are probably building a rival pipeline (probably not very economically rational), after Cyprus has discovered a gas field.

https://business.financialpost.com/pmn/business-pmn/cyprus-israel-greece-push-east-med-gas-pipeline-to-europe

Dmitry , August 11, 2018 at 11:02 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

Well orderliness is not the only reason for holiday choice.

And Schengen visa is not a big deal for middle class tourists (35 euros).

Greece already has almost "too many" tourists (from around the world), for size of the country.

Greece receives 32 million tourists this year (while Turkey receives around 40 million a year tourism – and is six times larger than Greece in land area).

Perhaps Greece can even raise prices and market more for middle class tourists?

Mr. Hack , August 11, 2018 at 11:03 pm GMT
@Mikhail

You missed my reply in #143 with plenty of decent replies. I don't mind reprinting them for you, I know how prone you are to missing information that is contrary to your myopic belief system:

His 'Italian friend' ? Were they fishing buddies where somebody got jealous of their 'friendship' and decided to take the Italian out? Could've been another Russian job too?

Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism.

Now, this is really stupid, I think that even you'll have to admit Mickey. Are we to believe that because Litvinenko was sympathetic to Chechen separatism, that this somehow made him impervious to any sort of Russian assault? Please explain this one to me!

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

Well, somebody was responsible for this ill advised murder, and did so in this grotesque and over the top manner. Why not the Russians, are they somehow smarter than the rest? If Russia wasn't full of fools, why are they circumvented by the world community with unnecessary and embarrasing sanctions, anyway? Besides, as I've already pointed out, there were many reasons why the Kremlin wanted Litvinenko gone.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:18 pm GMT
@ThreeCranes

Has been discussed to death on this blog, both in general, and recently.

Anatoly Karlin , Website August 11, 2018 at 11:30 pm GMT
@Thorfinnsson

• Influence in Central Asia

I believe Russia's loss of influence there is inevitable. China has $$$; Turkey/Islamic world has ethno/religious draw; USA has its hegemonic culture.

Russia has some fading sovok relicts, such as old political ties and the Victory Day cult.

However, China is displacing it gently, as opposed to batting it away as the US and EU are wont to do. This naturally makes Russia much better disposed than it otherwise would be.

• Chinese IP theft

Will become less of an issue as China converges with and overtakes Russia in many technological areas. For instance, the realization that China's MIC is progressing far faster than expected – without significant Russian tech transfer – has contributed to Russia dropping its inhibitions on selling the S-400 and advanced fighters to China in recent years. (An HBD realist could have told them as much, earlier).

• North Korea
• Japan
• Near Abroad

The equitable arrangement would be for Russia to defer to China on North Korea and the Far East in general (though economic relations with Japan should be broadened), and to require that China do the same for Russia wrt to its Near Abroad.

But certainly a much more dominant China may no longer feel the need to honor such an arrangement.

• Competition for defense and nuclear exports

This will certainly be an issue.

Russia's nuclear technology is much further advanced than China's (the gap is much bigger than the rapidly dwindling one in the military sphere), and it doesn't appear to me that China is making a major R&D push in that area. I think Russia will continue to dominate global nuclear tech exports for at least 2-3 more decades.

AaronB , August 11, 2018 at 11:55 pm GMT
@Dmitry

Lol, NYC received 62.8 million visitors last year. One city.

Thorfinnsson , August 12, 2018 at 12:07 am GMT
@Anatoly Karlin

Russia's current dominance of global nuclear exports is something of a fluke.

The West crippled its nuclear industry owing to pathological atomophobia. Design expertise didn't atrophy, but construction experience did. Result was massive cost overruns and endless delays on the few Western Gen III reactor projects. Now effectively priced out of the world market.

Japan suffered from the double whammy of Fukushima and Toshiba getting dragged down by the collapse of Westinghouse. Even though it's somewhat unfair, no one will now order Japanese reactors in the near future. The Japanese elite, once truly impressive in its atomophilia and determination to resist popular atomophobia, is no longer united on the issue either. Former Prime Minister Junichiro Koisumi has for instance called for Japan to shut down all nuclear power plants.

Emerging competitor is South Korea. The Koreans successfully won the project in the United Arab Emirates, and within South Korea they have an excellent record of efficient construction. Fortunately for Russia, the very weak President Moon is a disgraceful atomophobe.

ThreeCranes , August 12, 2018 at 12:11 am GMT
@ThreeCranes

Thanks for your comments. I really wasn't referring to today, more to a tomorrow when China is the world's leading economy and the USA is struggling to enforce dollar supremacy.

Daniel Chieh , August 12, 2018 at 12:55 am GMT
@ThreeCranes

It's a big world to the south without powers with nuclear weapons.

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 12:59 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

You are looking at it from a wrong perspective, pal. I was simply expressing pride and admiration for the competence of the Ukrainian Secret Services. Why can't a fellow – even though admittedly phony – Slav like me feel proud of the accomplishments of a Slavic country that I look upon to for inspiration and guidance?

utu , August 12, 2018 at 1:10 am GMT
@anonymous coward

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Interesting argument but it hinges on something that is not a part of it, i.e, what is special about the 458 letter sonnet? Your argument only demonstrates that if another world began 10^18 seconds ago it most likely would not produce the same 458 letter sonnet but it would produce some other sonnet which could have a meaning in this different world.

You could create similarly fallacious argument 'proving' that you cannot possibly exist. Assign probabilities p<<1 of an event that two of your ancestors met and procreated. What was a chance that your parent met and then go back to grandparents and so on. And soon you will obtain cumulative probability close to zero stating exactly what? That your life could not have happened?

I think it is east to be confused and tricked by probabilities. And this happens when we are sloppy in defining the space of events on which the probability function must be defined. When you are heating up water at some point there will me one molecule of H2O that will break free and evaporate. If this molecule asked the Nancy Kerrigan's question "Why me?" and began calculating the probability of this event soon it would have to conclude the even was impossible. The problem is with the question "Why me?"

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 1:38 am GMT
@Cyrano

Sounds like you're making some real progress – keep it up!

Cyrano , August 12, 2018 at 2:26 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

Thanks man, I am really trying. If I may confide in you, you know what I find the most admiring about the Ukrainians? Your keen sense of democracy.

I mean, it took you what – barely 4 years to figure out that Yanukovych was not democratic enough – and then boom – revolution. I mean you guys are sharp. Look at the Russians, they have been electing Putin since 2000 and they still haven't figured out that he is not democratic enough. You are way ahead of the game.

You know what I think? I think that one good coup is worth at least 5-6 regular elections. So if you guys were to stage another coup within – let's say the next couple of years – it's like you've gone through 12 regular elections of 4 years each. You know what – if I was you I wouldn't even bother with elections, elections are for dummies, just stick with coups and soon you'll overtake even Western Europe – democracy and economic development wise, so you won't even need their stinking EU.

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:32 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

You're still shooting blanks to this:

As for the Litvinenko matter you bring up, there's good reason to believe that he somehow got poisoned by a source other than a Russian government act. His Italian friend got arrested for arms smuggling and was also infected with polonium. Litvinenko was said to be sympathetic to Chechen separatism. These factors and his links to the likes of Goldfarb and Berezovsky suggest a source other than the Russian government.

Never mind the impracticality of the Russian government using something like polonium to bump someone off, when there're effectively cheaper ways of doing such.

I can't help it if you don't know the specifics about Litrvinenko's aforementioned Italian friend. Stupid people have a way of babbling on because they don't realize just how stupid they are. Then again, part of you might recognize that, seeing your cowardly anonymous empty calories insults.

Opposite to your shooting blanks is this precision reply:

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/07/29/an-unhealthy-trump-putin-summit-fallout.html

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 2:35 am GMT
@Cyrano

In case you missed it:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/10/cold-war-in-the-sauna-notes-from-a-russian-american/

Thek ind of Russian-American views not getting propped in US mass media. Similar to the PC Ukrainian views getting the nod over Ukrainians thinking differently.

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 3:00 am GMT
@Cyrano

You're on the right track, buddy! I don't know why AP tries to continually put you in place by pointing out that you're not really a Slav, but some sort of Balkanized Turk. Who cares? Your last two comments indicate that you're capable of evolving your thinking patterns much higher that the typical 97 or 98. Heck, I'd guess that you're a solid 99! Keep it up!

Mr. Hack , August 12, 2018 at 3:08 am GMT
@Mikhail

[MORE]

Stupid people have a way of babbling on because they don't realize just how stupid they are.

I see that you're still babbling on Mickey. Isn't it time for you to do a few rounds of kumbaya in front of your icon of Herr Putler and go to sleep yet?

As La Russophobe imagines it, Averko then sits down in the lotus position, the room lit by a single candle beneath a large photo of Stalin, and intones his mantra several thousand times: "I am a journalist I am a journalist I am a journalist " until he falls asleep. When he wakes up, he heads out to his day job flipping hamburgers at Wendy's

Chainsaw1 , August 12, 2018 at 5:05 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

"Now take Shakespeare's sonnet #27. It is 458 letters long. (Let's ignore punctuation.) If we take 458 random letters of the English alphabet, there are 26^458 random combinations. So if our ideal Universe-sized computer was randomly picking letters and hoping to compose a Shakespeare sonnet, it would need about 10^300 Universes to do so."

The above just shows that the author is just completely ignorant of scientific, statistics and computing principles.

First in English the occurance of letters do not have random frequencies, the frequencies range from 0.074% for letter z to 12.702% for letter e. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Letter_frequency

Next the letters are not combined randomly, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alphabetic_principle Next there are pattern the letters are used to form phonetics. The English language only has 40 sounds (English orthography) the combination of which form the words. Then there is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phonemic_orthography

Incidentally sonnet 27 only has 80 unique words, many of which are not random but closely related, e.g. blind, old, sight, tired, sightless, see, ghastly, shadow, darkness, expired, eyelids, drooping, weary, bed, toil, view, night, etc. A task simple enough for markov text sonnet generators,

http://www.devjason.com/2010/12/28/shakespeare-sonnet-sourced-markov-text-generation/

https://www.prism.gatech.edu/~bnichols8/projects/markovchains/main.shtml "Shakespeare Sonnets Training Set"

and the more sophisticated that the word frequency will be generated from the 154 Shakespeare sonnets and will preserve the classic ABAB CDCD EFEF GG rhyme scheme of the sonnets, https://medium.com/@SherlockHumus/creating-markov-chain-based-sonnets-9609d77a2635

By trying to shuffle 26^458 random letters by brute force into sonnet showed that the author is only good at shuffling shits.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 5:19 am GMT
@Chainsaw1

[MORE]

After showing off that you know statistics of character string in English language try to explain what is your point.

RadicalCenter , August 12, 2018 at 5:41 am GMT
@Mr. XYZ

If it wasn't a setup by formerly-great formerly-Britain, who was it?

Mikhail , Website August 12, 2018 at 5:57 am GMT
@Mr. Hack

[MORE]

Your uncritically citing LR is indicative of one stupid anonymous coward referencing another.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:24 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

[MORE]

I'm just going to claim that you're trying an "it doesn't work because of fancy words X, Y, Z" bluff without any actual technical argument behind the big fancy words. Prove me wrong.

What's the "it" in your post, exactly? Darwinism? The problem with Darwinism is that it's not a scientific theory. It's not even formulated correctly. The problem itself is framed by biologists in handwavey terms on a "monkeys and typewriters" level.

When one tries putting some sort of numbers to the idea, the whole thing falls apart. See my post above, for example, where it turns out you need a Universe about 10^300 larger than ours to make random selection work.

And before you charge to M'Lady Science's defense: note this isn't a "disproof", it's just a demonstration that nobody bothered to frame the question properly yet. There's nothing there that can be proved or disproved.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:34 am GMT
@Jaakko Raipala

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Congratulations, you missed the point again.

The actual point is that biologists framed a problem in a way that doesn't match the scale of our Universe as we observe it.

Feel free to correct the numbers I made; maybe the correct factor is 10^100 instead of 10^300. So what? The processes biologists postulate are so asymptotic that they require an infinite Universe, which doesn't exist in real life.

There is an expectation that current theories of physics are not accurate at very small time scales (which have not been reached by experiment).

We don't even know if the universe is finite or infinite. This is just a claim that you pulled out of your ass. There may even be an infinite number of atoms.

Good point, but no. You missed the point again.

Any theory that requires time or space outside of a conventional Newtonian understanding of physics isn't Darwinism. It wouldn't even be biology, because biologists don't (and can't) deal with stuff like that.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:39 am GMT
@utu

[MORE]

I never assigned any special meaning to a sonnet. I merely demonstrated that the size of the probability spaces we're traversing are unimaginable orders of magnitude larger than the Universe we observe.

Formulating the probability spaces and functions should be step one of any biological theory of evolution. Only then we can start talking about meanings and other philosophy.

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 6:43 am GMT
@Chainsaw1

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Good point, but unfortunately Markov chains (and evolutionary algorithms) are intelligent design, not random evolution.

They are tools for getting an answer when you know the result you want, but don't know the steps to get it. The better you understand the result you want, the faster you arrive at a solution.

That's a framework postulated by 'intelligent design' proponents, and rejected by conventional Darwinist biologists.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 7:38 am GMT
@anonymous coward

[MORE]

I never assigned any special meaning to a sonnet.

OK, so what is the big deal about generating random string of 458 letters? Any such string can be easily generated with the same probability from a bag full of letters. Each string is equivalent.

utu , August 12, 2018 at 8:20 am GMT
Important speech of Victor Orban

Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's speech at the 29th Bálványos Summer Open University and Student Camp

http://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/the-prime-minister-s-speeches/prime-minister-viktor-orban-s-speech-at-the-29th-balvanyos-summer-open-university-and-student-camp

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 8:42 am GMT
Continuing on AKarlin's conclusion how Russia's future economic and foreign policy orientation lies on the EU's response to the US's inevitable Iran-style sanctions against Russia, I'll walk through some situations, and also state that once sanctions and adversaries with unfriendly relations escalate to embargo and enemies with no relations on the US side, the EU's decision at that point will be able to determine its fate for a long time to come.

1. EU caves in, and like a good vassal state with no independent policy of its own whatsoever, follows US policy. This is more likely to happen if the US threatens third party trade ties with Russia. This means that EU imposes Iran-style sanctions, and gradually turns to more expensive US LNG for energy. This would put the EU under incredible strain, and a large amount of state coffers would be shaved off due to these purchases; the citizens disposable income would plunge too. On the other hand, Europe won't really collapse if the US agrees to subsidize gas sales to the EU in exchange for joining the ideological crusade against Russia.

In the Kissinger thread where I mentioned how a blackpilled possibility of Russia's future lies as a vassal state, or junior partner, of China, while I may have exaggerated a little regarding permanent PLA bases on Russia soil, it still is a slight possibility if the oligarchs become more powerful again and also get a little desperate. However, PLA bases aside, if the EU joins in the US on an embargo against Russia, Russia would still be cut off from trade and other ties to its west, and inevitably having to completely rely on its east for trade and political ties. Since even Japan/Korea trade can be a little difficult due to their strong US ties and India doesn't really offer Russia much, except as a place to export some goods, this leaves us with China, rendering Russia's future as China's largest and most important vassal state.

This would also enable the EU branch of neoliberalism.txt to show their true colors as an American vassal. Outside of Poland and the Baltics, attitudes towards Russia vary directly on how neoliberal they feel, so in order to prevent the people from voting in non-neoliberal parties, some "checks and balances" aka non-democracy has to be implemented to make sure neoliberalism.txt stays via "voting". In this case, shave off a good at least 10% to EU's white percentage in the long run also; while its unlikely for Britain and France to ever dip below 60% white but stabilize around that point instead, a quasi-neoliberal dictatorship would mean Eastern and Southern Europe bearing a lot of this brunt, e.g. ghettos in Warsaw might go from a fear to actual reality. And expect the EU's economic growth to be highly stagnant, and China, with Russia as not just a friendly state but a vassal state, would take advantage of this to end up becoming the other pole in a bipolar world along with the US.

Unless China changes the way it conducts trade and foreign policy, this means that Russia will likely get taken advantage of and not get too much in return, especially with non-patriotic and greedy oligarchs still having significant power. In this case, Russia-China relations will resemble a more predatory version of UK/Canada-US relations and Russia will find itself to be a largely China-oriented, with Chinese tourism, businesses, language, and other ties etc. having a very broad, visible, and dominating presence.

Chance of this happening? 30% given Europe's rhetoric on Iran. China will gladly take advantage of the situation.

2. The EU doesn't cave in and continues to maintain trade and political ties with Russia. This is the better result for not just Russia, but also the entire world. A Europe that's able to stand up to American foreign policy, especially if its more ideological hysteria than based on realpolitik in the case with Russia, is one that would have taken its first step towards significantly reasserting their sovereignties. This would've also been a huge blow to the American establishment, if not THE nail in the coffin ending American unipolarity. And China also needs more competitors instead of a bipolar world with just China and America.

2a). Europe continues to be ruled by neoliberalism.txt as America enforces the embargo. Sanctions won't be lifted and the status quo remains. As China gets more powerful and European relations still cold, Russia and China will end up in a full-blown alliance, but its status quo trade and personal ties with Europe would ensure that Russia can continue to maintain a somewhat multi-vectored approach instead of complete subservience to Beijing. And Russia won't be as much of a "hot potato" if not embargoed by the EU, ties with countries like Japan and South Korea will continue unabated if not upgraded. In this case, the EU can still be a more sovereign entity, albeit just ruled by the neoliberalism.txt ideology; demographically, slightly better than, but no significant differences from the EU caving to US embargo case. In this case, Russia-China relations will resemble Japan-US relations, albeit without the military bases.

Chance of this happening? 40%.

2b). Europe undergoing a right-wing wave as America enforces the embargo. Europe in this case will lift sanctions against Russia and ties likely even upgrade to a strategic partnership. While Russia will not become enemies with China since it is in its best interest to not pick a fight with the world's #1 or #2 power, its relationship will stabilize as non-adversarial but non-aligned, a renewed strategic partnership with Europe can stimulate Russia's economy and will ensure a multipolar world emerges in the 21st century, with Russia as a powerful 3rd or 4th most powerful country on good terms with everybody (minus the US and parts of Eastern Europe). Such close ties to Russia will also be a boon for Europe's economy, and the possibility to regain their sovereignties after a century-long occupation post-WW2. America becomes more isolated and loses its unipolarity in this case.

An unrelated side effect of this tactic is that the nonwhite percentages of Europe will probably stabilize at or just above or below (in the case of southern Europe) current values.

In this case, Russia-China relations won't be any special, with close trade relations, some military cooperation, and neutral détente but inevitable minor beefs that spring up every once in a while, like a closer and better version US-China relations pre-Trump. Russia in this case will truly be one of the smaller poles in a multipolar world.

Chance of this happening? 30%, but this is by far the best outcome for the entire world.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 9:24 am GMT
@Dmitry

Perhaps Greece can even raise prices and market more for middle class tourists?

And encourage tourists to travel to other countries?

anonymous coward , August 12, 2018 at 9:36 am GMT
@utu

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Good point. If 1/2 of all random strings of letters are sonnets, then the probability of generating one is 50%. Let's test that hypothesis.

Take a dictionary of English words: https://github.com/dwyl/english-words

* There are 27 words of one letter and 26 letters.
* There are 635 words of two letters and 676 two-letter combinations.
* There are 4710 words of three letters and 17576 three-letter combinations.
* There are 11169 four-letter words and 456976 four-letter combinations.
* There are 22950 words of five letters and 11 million five-letter combinations. (Oops.)

* There are 61018 words of 8 letters, but 208 billion 8-letter combinations.

Now, these are words, not texts, but you get the idea. Letter combinations grow as c^n, while the number of English texts clearly doesn't.

Mitleser , August 12, 2018 at 9:41 am GMT
@AquariusAnon

1. EU caves in, and like a good vassal state with no independent policy of its own whatsoever, follows US policy.

Chance of this happening? 30% given Europe's rhetoric on Iran.

Eh, what? It is not EUropean rhetoric that suggests that, but the gap between their rhetoric and reality.
Europeans talk about defending JCPOA yet European big business ditches Iran and European banks stab Iran in the back.

In recent weeks, U.S. and European intelligence agencies flagged a European-Iranian Trade Bank request to withdraw 300 million euros from the Deutsche Bundesbank. Iran claimed the cash is necessary so that Iranian citizens can use foreign currency when they travel, but Western governments warned that the cash would be used to fund Iran's terrorist proxies.

Fearing repercussions from the U.S. Treasury, the German bank decided last week to introduce the new rules to prevent the withdrawal. This move was likely coordinated with the German government.

In recent months, the E.U. has said that it will try to salvage the Iranian nuclear deal, despite the U.S. withdrawal and renewed sanctions.

Initially, the E.U. explored the possibility of compensating European firms that would be affected by the new sanctions, using the European Investment Bank.

This effort was torpedoed by the EIB, which said it might be blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury of it was part of a scheme to offset the sanctions. EIB President Werner Hoyer said two weeks ago that "doing business in Iran is something that we cannot be actively engaged in."

https://www.jns.org/wary-of-repercussions-eu-unlikely-to-defy-us-sanctions-on-iran/

AquariusAnon , August 12, 2018 at 9:47 am GMT
@Mitleser

Didn't know that. I'll keep that as a note.

So my 3 predictions are essentially, Iran-style western embargo, status quo with embargo only on US side, and normalization of relations with Europe. How would you recalibrate the likelihoods?

Felix Keverich , August 12, 2018 at 10:21 am GMT
@Dmitry

Theory that it is to do with creditors, doesn't make much sense.

Creditors (troika) are European fund – mainly Germany, France and Italy, in order. Followed by IMF and ECB.

Criteria for release of funds is economic criteria, that imply they might one day get their money back.

Greece's foreign policy is not of interest to anyone much (Turkey care about them), especially not accountants.

You assume that Greece is the rational actor in this situation. It's a stupid crackwhore, desperate for a bit of debt relief.

It is also fair to say that Western decisions on financial aid are not made by accountants, ultimately they are made by politicians, who do consider geopolitics.

Surely Greece can see that IMF is dumping billions of dollars into the Ukraine for no other reason than geopolitics. Ukrainian regime also got a nice debt relief a couple of years back – to better resist "Russian aggression".

utu , August 12, 2018 at 10:25 am GMT
@anonymous coward

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So it comes down to the meaning after all. You look for words that have meaning. But why? Every word out of 208 billions may have a mining in some other language that you do not know of. Why you insist that the disproof of evolution or the random Universe mu