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Seeds Sown for Major Transatlantic Trade War Starting in May

Seeds Sown for Major Transatlantic Trade War Starting in May 

Trump wants a trade treaty with the EU to include agriculture. France says no. It only takes one.

Trump has made a considerable number of trade threats only to eventually back down. Will it play out that way again?

For a number of reasons, I think Trump will act this time. First, let’s look at the threats.

Severe Pain

On February 25, Trump told the EU Play Ball or ‘We’re Going to Tariff the Hell Out of You’

“The European Union is very, very tough. Very, very tough. They don’t allow our products in. They don’t allow our farming goods in,” Trump said at a meeting with U.S. governors, according to a transcript from the White House. He added that “maybe, in certain ways,” the EU is “tougher than China.”

On March 14, Trump Warned EU of ‘Severe’ Economic Pain if No Progress On Trade Talks.

Partial Agreement Won’t Fly

On April 15, Reuters reported EU Ready to Launch U.S. Trade Talks, but Without Agriculture.

The EU approved two areas for negotiation, opposed by France with an abstention from Belgium. But agriculture was not included, leaving the 28-country bloc at odds with Washington, which has insisted on including farm products in the talks.

EU trade agreement are unanimous. Tiny countries can and have influenced outcomes. It took over a decade to get an agreement with Canada over concerns of tiny nations.

Even if US-EU trade talks take place, nothing will come of them and Trump will quickly get frustrated.

Climate Change Now in the Picture

On April 18, France has signaled it will not cooperate with Trump in any way.

Please consider the new French demand: No EU-US Trade Talks Unless Trump Supports Climate Deal.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Will Hasten Imperial Decline

The Trump Administration’s Iran Policy Will Hasten Imperial Decline

There was a postwar order, but was it liberal?  Like most political orders, it looked much better on paper than it did in practice and to the core members of the order than those on the margins…

Liberal values were only remotely attached to the postwar institutions.  Sovereign equality did not translate into a liberal world order.  The postwar institutions were run by the most powerful countries, with middle and lesser powers either shunted to the back of the room or locked out altogether…Third World now comprised most of the world’s states, but it was on the outside looking in.  Western states enjoyed democracy and the rule of law, but the U.S. and the former colonial masters undermined rather than supported democracy and human rights elsewhere. Some Western states and analysts presumed that the global order must have some legitimacy because there were no great (or at least successful) revolts by the Third World, but they mistook coercion and the lack of alternative for consent…

The suggestion, then, is that if the international order is having greater difficulty creating rule-based governance, it might have less to do with the weakening of liberalism and more to do with the fact that the rules that have been in place for decades were overdue for an overhaul, and especially given a shift in power from the West to the East.  

– From Michael N. Barnett’s piece: The End of a Liberal International Order That Never Existed

A primary focus of my writing of late centers around the idea that the policies of the Trump administration, and the neocons in control of it, will hasten the decline of U.S. imperial power and more rapidly usher in a multi-polar (and possibly bifurcated) world. Today’s news regarding the elimination of waivers on Iranian oil imports provides another perfect example.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Trump Kicks the Sanctions Can on Iran Oil

Trump Kicks the Sanctions Can on Iran Oil

Sanctions on Iran have failed. The weakness of the U.S. position in the oil markets is now complete. Donald Trump’s Energy Dominance strategy has failed.

The announcement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R – The Eschaton) that no more sanctions waivers will be granted to importers of Iranian oil. Those that do so will face sanctions.

But let’s look at what is actually on the table.  Waivers will be extended to a year from now during a ‘wind-down’ period. But, I thought these past six months were the ‘wind down’ period Don?

I told you these would get extended the minute they were granted. Because three of these countries — India, Turkey and China — are in open revolt over the policy. 

And they have built plenty of infrastructure to get around these sanctions when or if they are ever implemented.

Three of the eight countries granted waivers — Italy, Greece and Taiwan — do not need waiver extensions as they’ve already cut their imports to zero.

No Disruptions

But the main issue here is the extension. It’s clear that Trump and his merry band of neocon handlers are afraid of further disruption of the oil supply and demand, otherwise the extensions wouldn’t have been granted at all.

They talk tough about UAE and Saudi Arabia adding supply but the reality is it isn’t that easy to spin up new supply. And the year-long waiver extension is proof of this. They’ll certainly sell all they can but there are those pesky OPEC quotas to deal with.

No one was willing to go along with the Saudis OPEC+ plan where they and Russia would be pigs more equal than the others this winter, so it’s unlikely that will happen now that Trump has helped them push prices back towards $75 per barrel.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Orchestration of Russiaphobia Is The Prelude To War

The Orchestration of Russiaphobia Is The Prelude To War

The Russian Embassy in Washington has prepared an accurate 121-page report, THE RUSSIAGATE HYSTERIA: A CASE OF SEVERE RUSSOPHOBIA. https://washington.mid.ru/upload/iblock/3c3/3c3d1e3b69a4c228e99bfaeb5491ecd7.pdf 

Everyone should read this report. It documents the fake news, lies, violations of diplomatic standards and international law, and gratuitous aggressive actions taken against Russia during the period beginning May 18, 2016 and continuing through the issuance of the Mueller Report. 

Without explicitly saying so, the report shows that neither the US government nor the American media has a nanoparticle of integrity. Both are criminal organizations that are willing to risk war with Russia in their pursuit of narrow policitized agendas.

This is important information for Americans and the rest of the world to have. Every person, every government and every private organization that supports Washington’s Russiaphobic policies is contributing to the growing threat of nuclear war. 

One hopes also that the entirety of the Russian government, media, and population also read the report as it has equally powerful messages for Russia. The messages are no doubt unintended, but they nevertheless emerge from the embassy’s report.

The Russian government should marvel at its naivete in trusting Washington, US institutions such as Citibank, and US adherence to international law. For 121 pages the report lists transgression against Russia followed by transgression and lie followed by lie; yet the Russian government continued to send diplomatic notes that are never answered, requests for meetings that are never answered, requests for evidence that are never answered. One would think that month after month of abuse would have caused the Russian government to wonder where was the intelligence, “cooperative spirit,” reason, and “common interest in global security” that Russia’s responses to Washington assumed were present in Russia’s “partner.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Iran Threatens To Close Strait Of Hormuz If US Blocks Its Oil Exports

Iran Threatens To Close Strait Of Hormuz If US Blocks Its Oil Exports

With oil surging to a six month high after a now confirmed report that Trump will not reissue Iranian oil export waivers after they expire on May 2, removing up to 1 million barrels from the market…

… Tehran has gone on the offensive and on Monday a senior Iranian military official said the Islamic Republic will close the Strait of Hormuz if it’s prevented from using it, the state-run Fars news agency reported.

“The Strait of Hormuz based on international law is a waterway and if we are prevented from using it, we will close it,” Reuters reported, citing Alireza Tangsiri, head of the revolutionary guards navy force.

Separately, the semi-official Tasnim news agency on Monday quoted an unnamed Iranian oil ministry source as saying that “whether the waivers continue or not, Iran’s oil exports will not be zero under any circumstances unless Iranian authorities decide to stop oil exports … and this is not relevant now.” The source added that “we have been monitoring and analyzing all possible scenarios and conditions for the advance of our country’s oil exports, and necessary measures have been taken … Iran is not waiting for America’s decision or the lack of it to export its oil. We have years of experience in neutralizing efforts by enemies to strike blows against our country.”

* * *

To be sure, this is not the first time Iran has made such a threat: back in December Iran warned it would close the global oil chokepoint, when it said that “if someday, the United States decides to block Iran’s oil (exports), no oil will be exported from the Persian Gulf.” 

President Rouhani’s December threat had been welcomed by hardline clerics and military officials, including Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Triumph of Evil

The Triumph of Evil

Today (April 17) I heard a NPR “news” report that described the democratically elected president of Venezuela as “the Venezuelan dictator Maduro.” By repeating over and over that a democratically elected president is a dictator, the presstitutes create that image of Maduro in the minds of vast numbers of peoples who know nothing about Venezuela and had never heard of Maduro until he is dropped on them as “dictator.” 

Nicolas Maduro Moros was elected president of Venezuela in 2013 and again in 2018. Previously he served as vice president and foreign minister, and he was elected to the National Assembly in 2000. Despite Washington’s propaganda campaign against him and Washington’s attempt to instigate violent street protests and Maduro’s overthrow by the Venezuelan military, whose leaders have been offered large sums of money, Maduro has the overwhelming support of the people, and the military has not moved against him.

What is going on is that American oil companies want to recover their control over the revenue streams from Venezuela’s vast oil reserves. Under the Bolivarian Revolution of Chavez, continued by Maduro, the oil revenues instead of departing the country have been used to reduce poverty and raise literacy inside Venezuela.

The opposition to Maduro inside Venezuela comes from the elites who have been traditionally allied with Washington in the looting of the country. These corrupt elites, with the CIA’s help, temporarily overthrew Chavez, but the people and the Venezuelan military secured his release and return to the presidency.

Washington has a long record of refusing to accept any reformist governments in Latin America. Reformers get in the way of North America’s exploitation of Latin American countries and are overthrown.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Fragility in the World 2019

Fragility in the World 2019

Yemen is labelled as the most fragile country by Fragile States Index in 2019. Finland is now the least fragile country.

Source: https://fragilestatesindex.org/

(Highlights from Fragile States Index)

“This year, Yemen claimed the top position for the first time as a result of its civil war and humanitarian catastrophe. Although Yemen’s top ranking may provide cause for idle chatter, really the most attention should be given to its rapid worsening over the past decade, and the regional instability and power plays for which its population are unspeakably suffering.

In 2019, an African nation has, for the first time, ranked in the “Very Stable” category, with Mauritius ascending to join the likes of the United Kingdom and United States. Just as Mauritius this year became the first African country to break through to the Very Stable category, it is also important to recognize that Singapore became the first Asian nation to move into the Sustainable category.” 

“There is still widespread fragility and vulnerability, plenty of poverty and inequality, and conflict and illiberalism. But broadly speaking, over the long-term, the world is becoming steadily less fragile. It often takes cold, hard data — like that produced by the FSI — to demonstrate that for all the negative press, there is significant progress occurring in the background.”

J.J. Messner, Executive Director

“Two countries tied for most-worsened over the past 12 months. Venezuela has been beset by enormous turmoil, and in the wake of a contested and deeply flawed election in 2018, now finds itself with two leaders. Brazil’s internal challenges remain significant, with tumultuous politics and a new president who came to power through a campaign fuelled by harsh right-wing rhetoric.”

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Strategy of Controlled Chaos

The Strategy of Controlled Chaos

Everyone against everyone else – this is the media image of chaos which is spreading across the Southern shores of the Mediterranean, from Libya to Syria. It is a situation before which even Washington seems powerless. But in reality, Washington is not the sorcerer’s apprentice unable to control the forces now in motion. It is the central motor of a strategy – the strategy of chaos – which, by demolishing entire States, is provoking a chain reaction of conflicts which can be used in the manner of the ancient method of “divide and rule”.

Emerging victorious from the Cold War in 1991, the USA self-appointed themselves as “the only State with power, reach, and influence in all dimensions – political, economic and military – which are truly global”, and proposed to “prevent any hostile power from dominating any region – Western Europe, Eastern Asia, the territories of the ex-Soviet Union, and South-Western Asia (the Middle East) – whose resources could be enough to generate a world power”.

Since then, the United States, with NATO under their command, have fragmented or destroyed by war, one by one, the states they considered to represent an obstacle to their plan for world domination – Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and others – while still others are in their sights (among which are Iran and Venezuela).

In the same strategy came the coup d’État in Ukraine under the direction of the USA and NATO, in order to provoke a new Cold War in Europe intended to isolate Russia and reinforce the influence of the United States in Europe.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

Rumors of War: Washington Is Looking for a Fight

It is depressing to observe how the United States of America has become the evil empire. Having served in the United States Army during the Vietnam War and in the Central Intelligence Agency for the second half of the Cold War, I had an insider’s viewpoint of how an essentially pragmatic national security policy was being transformed bit by bit into a bipartisan doctrine that featured as a sine qua non global dominance for Washington. Unfortunately, when the Soviet Union collapsed the opportunity to end once and for all the bipolar nuclear confrontation that threatened global annihilation was squandered as President Bill Clinton chose instead to humiliate and use NATO to contain an already demoralized and effectively leaderless Russia.

American Exceptionalism became the battle cry for an increasingly clueless federal government as well as for a media-deluded public. When 9/11 arrived, the country was ready to lash out at the rest of the world. President George W. Bush growled that “There’s a new sheriff in town and you are either with us or against us.” Afghanistan followed, then Iraq, and, in a spirit of bipartisanship, the Democrats came up with Libya and the first serious engagement in Syria. In its current manifestation, one finds a United States that threatens Iran on a nearly weekly basis and tears up arms control agreements with Russia while also maintaining deployments of US forces in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia and places like Mali. Scattered across the globe are 800 American military bases while Washington’s principal enemies du jour Russia and China have, respectively, only one and none.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

American Wars Are off the Charts Under Donald Trump

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel during a visit to the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

American Wars Are off the Charts Under Donald Trump

He’s failed to deliver his promised withdrawals from Afghanistan and Syria, vetoed an order to get out of Yemen, and expanded the U.S. bombing of Somalia, all while eyeing Iran.

Here’s a statement it might be hard to disagree with: American war is off the charts. Still, I’d like to explain — but I’m nervous about doing so. I know perfectly well that the next word I plan to write will send most of you tumbling elsewhere in a universe in which “news” is the latest grotesque mass shooting; the craziest tweet from you-know-who; celebrities marching into court over college-admissions scandals; or even a boy, missing for years, who suddenly turns up only to morph into a 23-year-old impostor with a criminal record.

How can America’s wars in distant lands compete with that? Which is why I just can’t bring myself to write the next word. So promise me that, after you read it, you’ll hang in there for just a minute and give me a chance to explain.

Okay, here goes: Somalia.

A country in the horn of Africa, it once glued American eyeballs, but that was so last century, right? I mean, there was that bestselling book and that hit Hollywood movie directed by Ridley Scott (Blade RunnerAlien!) about the disaster early in Bill Clinton’s presidency that came to be known as Black Hawk Down (aka the battle of Mogadishu).

In the age of Donald Trump, wasn’t that a million presidencies ago? Honestly, can you even tell me anymore what in the world it was all about? I couldn’t have, not without looking it up again. A warlord, starvation, U.S. intervention, 18 dead American soldiers (and hundreds of dead Somalis, but that hardly mattered) in a country that was shattering.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The U.S. Is Losing Influence In The World’s Biggest Oil Region

The U.S. Is Losing Influence In The World’s Biggest Oil Region

Egypt Saudi

Egyptian President Abdul Fatah al-Sisi’s visit to the White House on April 9, 2019, resulted in one of the worst setbacks for U.S. Middle Eastern policy under the Donald Trump Administration.

What was supposed to be a fence-mending exercise between the two countries essentially ended many of the meaningful strategic aspects of the U.S.-Egyptian relationship, despite the fact that the public appearances between the two presidents appeared to be cordial. There have been significant areas of difference and frustration between Egypt and the US, even since the Trump Administration came to office, but there was at least a concerted effort on both sides to work harmoniously.

There has also been good personal chemistry between the two presidents since Trump ended what the Egyptians had regarded as a disastrous period under Barack Obama. President Sisi had essentially broken off strategic relations with the U.S. during the Obama Administration tenure in order to resist Obama’s insistence that the Muslim Brotherhood play a larger role in Egyptian politics.

The question now is who in the Washington bureaucracy will take the blame for pushing Trump to insist on actions by al-Sisi which any fundamental analysis of the situation points to being infeasible and against Egypt’s view of its own strategic interests.

That is not to say that Egypt wishes to end cordiality and cooperation between Washington and Cairo; it does not. But certain battle lines have been drawn in the greater Middle East, and Cairo and the U.S. are not altogether on the same side. Both sides will need to undertake significant, careful action to put relations back on a positive path before the break becomes calcified.

The failure on this occasion lay at the door of the U.S. for failing to realize that Washington now needs Egypt more than Egypt needs the U.S.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Respecting the Other

Respecting the Other

One of my old friends’ father was at one time something of a Cold Warrior: he did something or other for the US defense establishment—nuclear submarine-related, if I recall correctly. This work activity apparently led him to develop a particularly virulent form of Russophobia; not so much a phobia as a pronounced loathing of all things Russian. According to my friend, her father would compulsively talk about Russia in overly negative terms. He would also sneeze a lot (allergies, perhaps), and she said that it was often difficult for her to distinguish his sneezes from his use of the word “Russia” as an expletive. But perhaps she was trying to draw a distinction without a difference: her father was allergic to Russia, his allergy caused him to sneeze a lot and also to develop a touch of Tourette’s, thus his sneezes came out sounding like “Russia!”

What had caused him to develop such a jaundiced view of Russia? The reason is easy to guess: his work activity on behalf of the government forced him to focus closely on what his superiors labeled as “the Russian threat.” Unfolded a bit, it would no doubt turn out that what Russia threatened was Americans’ self-generated fiction of overwhelming military superiority. Unlike the United States, which had developed any number of plans to destroy the Soviet Union (of which nothing ever came due to said lack of overwhelming military superiority) the Soviet Union had never developed any such plans. And this was utterly infuriating to certain people in the US. Was this truly necessary, or was this an accident?

We could take into account geopolitical, military or economic considerations, consider the (no longer relevant) clash of socialist vs. capitalist ideologies or any number of other irrelevancies.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Canada to Russia: Interference Is Okay If It Destabilizes You but Not the Other Way Around

Canada to Russia: Interference Is Okay If It Destabilizes You but Not the Other Way Around

Canada to Russia: Interference Is Okay If It Destabilizes You but Not the Other Way Around

In the midst of one of the most de-stabilizing scandals to rock Canada in years, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced on April 5 that the threat of “Foreign interference” going into the October 2019 elections was at an all-time high.

Sitting beside her UK counterpart at a G7 meeting in France, Freeland stated: “Interference is very likely and we think there have already been efforts by malign foreign actors to disrupt our democracy”. Her warning was echoed by an embattled puppet Prime Minister in Ottawa who stated it is “very clearly that countries like Russia are behind a lot of the divisive campaigns … that have turned our politics even more divisive and more anger-filled than they have been in the past.

The Measures to Defend the British Deep State

In order to counteract this “foreign threat”, several Canadian mechanisms have been announced to “keep democracy safe” in alignment with the G7, Five Eyes and NATO. These mechanisms are:

The creation of an “Incident Public Protection Panel” run by five Privy Council bureaucrats under the Clerk of the Privy Council which will exist outside of the authority of the Chief Electoral Officer of Canada, whose job is to maintain the integrity of elections. In defense of this mysterious group, Canada’s Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould stated that “it won’t be one person who will decide what Canadians will be allowed to know” (apparently having five people decide is more democratic). The new Clerk of the Privy Council is Ian Stugart, who served as former deputy minister to Chrystia Freeland until just a few weeks ago.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The US’ War Against Iran & Venezuela’s “Deep States” Is Going Public

The US’ War Against Iran & Venezuela’s “Deep States” Is Going Public

The US’ desire to dismantle the network of Iranian influence in Latin America and specifically in Venezuela speaks to its commitment to counter the regional sway of its rivals’ “deep states”, though it’s hitherto unprecedented for any country to make such a crusade public since the end of the Old Cold War, let alone clothe it in “anti-terrorist” and “anti-criminal” rhetoric. 

US Secretary of State Pompeo recently reiterated his rhetoric that Iran is a “global threat”, this time basing it on his claims that the country’s network of influence in Latin America is supporting “transnational crime” and “terrorism”. This comes shortly after Washington designated the IRGC as a “terrorist” organization and approximately half a year since the Justice Department began investigating Iranian ally Hezbollah’s alleged links to drug cartels as a follow-up to the scandalous Obama-era “Operation Cassandra“. Taken together, it’s clear that the US desires to dismantle Iran and Venezuela’s supposedly interconnected influence networks in Latin America as the next step in fortifying “Fortress America“, and while “deep state” wars such as this one have been going on for decades, it’s hitherto unprecedented for any country to make such a crusade public since the end of the Old Cold War when the US used to make similar claims about the USSR and its communist proxies.

Evidently, the US isn’t shy about ushering in a new era of “deep state” wars whereby Great Powers such as itself (which is presently the leading one in the world) openly work to thwart the networks of influence established by its regional rivals’ on the grounds that the military-intelligence wings of their “deep states” are engaged in “criminal” and “terrorist” activities that threaten the world at large.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Martyrdom of Julian Assange

The Martyrdom of Julian Assange

Matt Dunham / AP

The arrest Thursday of Julian Assange eviscerates all pretense of the rule of law and the rights of a free press. The illegalities, embraced by the Ecuadorian, British and U.S. governments, in the seizure of Assange are ominous. They presage a world where the internal workings, abuses, corruption, lies and crimes, especially war crimes, carried out by corporate states and the global ruling elite will be masked from the public. They presage a world where those with the courage and integrity to expose the misuse of power will be hunted down, tortured, subjected to sham trials and given lifetime prison terms in solitary confinement. They presage an Orwellian dystopia where news is replaced with propaganda, trivia and entertainment. The arrest of Assange, I fear, marks the official beginning of the corporate totalitarianism that will define our lives.

Under what law did Ecuadorian President Lenin Moreno capriciously terminate Julian Assange’s rights of asylum as a political refugee? Under what law did Moreno authorize British police to enter the Ecuadorian Embassy—diplomatically sanctioned sovereign territory—to arrest a naturalized citizen of Ecuador? Under what law did Prime Minister Theresa May order the British police to grab Assange, who has never committed a crime? Under what law did President Donald Trump demand the extradition of Assange, who is not a U.S. citizen and whose news organization is not based in the United States?

I am sure government attorneys are skillfully doing what has become de rigueur for the corporate state, using specious legal arguments to eviscerate enshrined rights by judicial fiat. This is how we have the right to privacy with no privacy. This is how we have “free” elections funded by corporate money, covered by a compliant corporate media and under iron corporate control.

 …click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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Olduvai III: Cataclysm
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