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The Taiwan Strait Getting Hot, Hot, Hot…2.0

The Taiwan Strait Getting Hot, Hot, Hot…2.0

We originally posted the following in October 2018 after President Trump threw Montenegro, then the newest member of NATO under the bus a few months earlier.

We suspected POTUS’ loose lips would someday sink ships, at least metaphorically, if not literally.

The flapping of his jaws back in July 2018, we believe, triggered the geopolitical dynamics, sending a signal to Moscow and Beijing that the U.S. was not committed to its allies and we now find ourselves on the verge of a geopolitical hurricane.

As if the market didn’t have enough on its plate dealing with its extreme overvaluation and the current American political shit show.

The Taiwan Strait Getting Hot, Hot, Hot…

Posted on October 21, 2018 by macromon

We posted the following in July after President Trump threw Montenegro under the bus.

Taiwan may be about to get hot, hot, hot in the next year after last night’s Commander in Chief’s ambiguous message on defense treaties.  – GMM

One of GMM‘s most excellent followers, who we very much like and respect, responded with this:

This whole article is a science-fiction of oh, this could happen, and oh that could happen…. And we could be hit with an asteroid tomorrow. Just sit back and watch the hands that are dealt and how they are played. This article is either Sci-fi or false news. Your choice!

We still like and respect the reader, by the way.

Montenegro

By the way, in case your wondering about Montenegro?  It didn’t take a Ph.D. in international relations to figure out Trump’s interview with Fox would lather up Putin and wasn’t difficult to anticipate the outcome.

In an interview with Fox’s Tucker Carlson last night, President Trump seemed to question the raison d’être of NATO and foreign alliances in general.

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

Cheap Mediterranean Natural Gas Could Spell the End for the NATO Alliance

Turkey NATO Natural Gas Feature photo

Cheap Mediterranean Natural Gas Could Spell the End for the NATO Alliance

It’s a strange and unprecedented spectacle when countries like Israel, Greece, Egypt, Libya, Turkey, and others lay claims over the Mediterranean, while NATO scrambles to stave off an outright war, among its own members.

They Only Serve Themselves


Caspar David Friedrich The Monk by the Sea c1809
“The Kremlin” poisoned their “fierce rival” Navalny with the infamous deadly agent novichok. That is the headline. Only, the German accusation in that direction doesn’t say novichok, its says a “cholinesterase inhibitor”, of which novichok is just one example, was used. The news outlets must be thinking that at least after the Skripal case, enough people will recognize the term, and let’s not confuse them.The Germans claim they have “unequivocal proof” (eindeutiger Beweis) for this. While the Russian doctors who initially treated Navalny after he fell ill on a flight from Tomsk to Omsk (or was that the other way around?!) said he showed zero signs of poisoning. But yeah, they’re Russians, so they can’t be trusted, right? They all squander their Hippocratic oaths at the feet of the great malevolent dictator Trump Putin. You’re familiar with the parable about “all Cretans lie”?

“Merkel spokesman Seibert said the German government will inform its partners in the European Union and NATO about the test results..” NATO? What do they have to do with anything? How does the alleged poisoning of a two-bit (2% in the polls) Russian “politician” link to NATO? Is Navalny himself linked to NATO? Where does NATO come in to the conversation? How much does the CIA pay Navalny anyway?

The thing, the problem, is that it makes no difference anymore even if this particular instance has a kernel of truth in it. Because there have been so many of them, and they’re all “based” on non-evidence, circumstantial “evidence”, stuff that you wouldn’t get a conviction on in any western court. For good reason.

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

An appropriate European Union response to tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

An appropriate European Union response to tensions in the Eastern Mediterranean

If the European Union can mediate effectively to resolve current Greek-Turkish tensions over energy in the Eastern Mediterranean, it could also provide an opportunity to tackle more deep-rooted problems.

The European Union is seeking to mediate in a naval confrontation on its doorstep, in the Eastern Mediterranean, which involves NATO partners Greece and Turkey, as well as EU member Cyprus. EU foreign ministers are discussing the issue and, without de-escalation, sanctions against Turkey could be implemented. But so far, the two most powerful EU nations have adopted a ‘good cop, bad cop’ approach that conveys different and confusing messages – and has not prevented escalation. Chancellor Angela Merkel, with the added authority of holding the EU’s six-month revolving presidency, has launched a German initiative to prevent escalation, reduce tensions and overcome longstanding conflicts. But French President Emmanuel Macron, while not eschewing mediation, has opted for a show of force, sending French naval vessels into disputed waters to counter the presence of Turkish warships.

Deep-rooted dispute

The dispute is ostensibly over ownership of offshore gas deposits and the delimitation of 200-mile exclusive economic zones (EEZs).

Turkey has sent exploration vessels and warships into waters claimed by Greece and Cyprus and begun drilling for gas. Despite its 1,600 kilometre Mediterranean coastline, Turkey is the only Eastern Mediterranean state without internationally recognised rights to offshore resources in the area because nearby Greek islands and Cyprus have secured the right to generate EEZs under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Turkey is one of fifteen UN members that is not a party to UNCLOS, and Ankara insists that Turkey’s continental shelf gives it ownership rights that take priority over the UNCLOS-backed claims of Cyprus and Greece.

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

Putin Sees US & Iran Headed Toward War – Proposes Urgent World Summit To Stop It

Russia thinks war between the US and Iran is on the horizon, and is proposing steps to stop it:

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday proposed a video summit with the United States, Britain, France, China, Germany and Iran in a bid to avoid “confrontation and escalation” at the United Nations, where Washington is trying to extend an arms embargo on Tehran, reports Reuters.

But it’s hard to know what could be done at this point. Not only did the Trump administration void the 2015 nuclear deal (JCPOA), but long-standing hawks like Pompeo have sought to ramp up sanctions at every turn.

AFP/Getty Imags

The situation has been stalemated, with Tehran demanding easing of sanctions or erasure altogether as a condition for fresh talks, but with the White House alternately saying Iran has to first abandon all development related to nuclear power (which the US says is actually for nuclear weapons) and its ballistic missile program.

But if Gaddafi’s fate is anything to go by (who abandoned his WMD program in the early 2000s and was “brought in from the cold” as they say – only to be overthrown by US-NATO military intervention and summarily executed in the street years later), the view from Tehran is that any ‘deal-making’ with the United States is impossible.

“The issue is urgent,” Putin said of his plan in Friday comments. He explained the alternative remains “only further escalation of tensions, increasing risk of conflict – such a scenario must be avoided.”

Iranian ballistic missiles, via Iran Focus

When asked about Putin’s proposal and a press briefing on Friday, President Trump responded: “I hear there’s something, but I haven’t been told of it yet.”

However, given Iran essentially sees the US as in a state of war with the Islamic Republic – especially given the January assassination of IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani, it will likely less than optimistic for any UN deconfliction meeting to succeed.

US Threatens European backers of Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, NATO in DC’s Crosshairs

US Threatens European backers of Nord Stream 2 Pipeline, NATO in DC’s Crosshairs

The Nord Stream 2 pipeline is nearing completion despite all the best efforts by the U.S. to stop its construction, causing a rift between Washington and its largest European ally and the potential end of NATO.

The U.S. is starting to fret about the imminent completion of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, the second of two underwater gas pipelines running from the Russian Baltic city of Ust-Luga to Greifswald, Germany, and has begun issuing informal threats of repercussions to companies who are backing the nearly-finished project. 

According to unnamed sources, at least a dozen American officials from three separate departments held video conference calls with European contractors working on the pipeline, while U.S. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo reportedly warned private European backers of “risk[ing] the consequences” of continuing their support for the key energy infrastructure project.

Several European energy concerns, such as France’s Engie, Germany’s Wintershall Dea and Uniper and Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell have indirect financial ties to the massive $11.7 billion-dollar underwater oil pipeline being constructed by Russia’s partially state-owned Gazprom, which will double Russia’s oil export capacity to Europe and seriously infringe on Atlanticist designs over the old continent.

Only six percent of the 1,200-mile pipeline remains to be laid in Danish waters, which is stalled due to U.S. sanctions against the European contractors working on that particular stretch. However, Denmark has recently circumvented the sanctions by licensing different vessels, and construction is set to resume by September.

Gazprom CEO, Alexei Miller disregarded claims that U.S. sanctions would stop the project from being completed, and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the pipeline would be commissioned before the end of this year. The completion of the Russian pipeline would mean a practical end to the viability of American LNG exports to Europe; a fate the U.S. has been trying to avoid since the project’s beginning in 2012.

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

21 Years Ago: The end of the Bombing of Serbia. And the Start of the Decline of the Western Empire

21 Years Ago: The end of the Bombing of Serbia. And the Start of the Decline of the Western Empire

Nato Bombing of the city of Novi Sad, Serbia, 1999 (image from Wikipedia)

21 years ago, on June 10, 1999, the NATO campaign against Serbia ended after 78 days of bombing. We still don’t know exactly the number of victims, civilian and military, nor the amount of damage and it would be difficult to say who actually “won” the bloody mess. But the bombing of Serbia was a turning point for many reasons.

In 1991, the collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of the “cold war” and gave rise to expectations of a “peace dividend” once the old enemy of the West had folded out. Needless to say, that never happened. It appeared clear with the Serbian campaign that saw the whole Western world allied against a single state of less than 8 million inhabited.

There was nothing special in the Western Empire taking an aggressive posture after the fall of the rival Soviet Empire. It is the way empires work: they are military organizations dedicated to shifting economic resources from the periphery to the center. So, empires last as long as the cost of their huge military apparatus can be paid for by the resources they can control. Since resources are never infinite, they tend to be overexploited and empires suffer of a classic economic problem: diminishing returns. That’s the reason for the cycles of growth and collapse of empires in history.

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

A Machiavellian US in the Middle East

A Machiavellian US in the Middle East

The war in Syria has dropped out of the news, like almost everything else, in a time when the Coronavirus seems to dominate all discourse and reporting. But the regime of Bashar al-Assad continues to strangle its own country. The Russians continue to bomb on his behalf, terrifying civilians and hospitals. The Americans work semi-clandestinely to undermine both the regime and its Russian backers.

There is no sign in the US-Soviet relationship of what was called in the 1970s and 80s détente. The big powers, Russia, the US, the UK and France appear intent on maintaining their interests in the Middle East.

Russia has long been a friend of Syria and has had its single foreign base there since Soviet days. For even longer the US, France and the UK have been a friend of Saudi Arabia and today provide weapons for the Saudi air force so it can support Yemen’s government in its attack on the Houthi rebels, resulting in the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Finding a pathway to big power détente in the Middle East seems to be eternally difficult. For those who want to shed some light on how it all works, I refer them to an excellent analysis in the current issue of Harvard University’s International Security by Professor Galen Jackson of Williams College.

Reading this one understands how US Middle East policy in the era of presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford and their national security advisor Henry Kissinger became totally Machiavellian after Nixon’s resignation.

It raises the question about how Machiavellian it is today. Is the US engaged in undermining Russia so that it can ensure its dominance in the Middle East? Has it been about trying to give Russia a bloody nose in Syria via the firepower of its local allies, which it and some of its NATO allies have provided?

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

Russia Blames Turkey For Its 33 Troops Killed Embedded With “Terrorists”; Turkey Vows To Escalate

Russia Blames Turkey For Its 33 Troops Killed Embedded With “Terrorists”; Turkey Vows To Escalate

“We have fought Russia 16 times in the past, and we will fight it again,” Turkish adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mesut Hakki Casin, has warned after Thursday’s dramatic escalation involving the deaths of some 33 Turkish soldiers in Idlib via airstrike, in the single deadliest day for Turkey in Syria throughout the entirety of the war.

NATO held an emergency meeting at Turkey’s request, while the Trump administration has vaguely responded that the US “stands with Turkey”, but it increasingly looks like Ankara will go it alone in terms of its adventurism inside Idlib, after NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg merely offered “condolences” and expressed “solidarity” with Turkey. Regardless, Turkey has vowed escalation, reports The Washington Post:

Turkey vowed Friday to escalate military actions in Syria’s Idlib province after 33 of its soldiers were killed in an airstrike it blamed on Syria, as the risk of a major military confrontation between Russia and Turkey in the region increased sharply.

Widespread early reports said it was a Russian strike, but in a sign that Ankara doesn’t want to confront the more formidable Russian Air Force, it has blamed Syrian forces while restricting social media access to its own citizens, likely in an effort to allay domestic political pressure on Erdogon to “do something” to confront Russia.

Erdogan has even reportedly told President Trump that Syrian “regime forces” were behind that attack and that Turkey has responded. But Turkey’s defense minister did have this to say of Russia’s role: “This attack occurred even though the locations of our troops had been coordinated with Russian officials in the field,” yet stopping short of saying Russian jets were behind it.

Moscow for its part has remained unflinching after it appears to have set a clear ‘red line’ in Turkey: 

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

Never Trust a Failing Empire

Never Trust a Failing Empire 

The Washington Post, through documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, has published a long investigation into Afghanistan. Journalists have collected over 400 testimonies from American diplomats, NATO generals and other NATO personnel, that show that reports about Afghanistan were falsified to deceive the public about the real situation on the ground.

After the tampering with and falsification of the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), we are witnessing another event that will certainly discomfit those who have hitherto relied on the official reports of the Pentagon, the US State Department and international organizations like the OPCW for the last word.

There are very deliberate reasons for such disinformation campaigns. In the case of the OPCW, as I wrote some time back, the aim was to paint the Syrian government as the fiend and the al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked “moderate rebels” as the innocent souls, thereby likely justifying a responsibility-to-protect armed intervention by the likes of the US, the UK and France. In such circumstances, the standing and status of the reporting organization (like the OPCW) is commandeered to validate Western propaganda that is duly disseminated through the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

In this particular case, various Western capitals colluded with the OPCW to lay the groundwork for the removal of Assad and his replacement with the al-Nusra Front as well as the very same al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked armed opposition officially responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

As if the massaging of the OPCW reports were not enough in themselves to provoke international outrage, this dossier serves to give aid and comfort to jihadi groups supported by the Pentagon who are known to be responsible for the worst human-rights abuses, as seen in Syria and Iraq in the last 6 years.

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

FREXIT – Is France Hurling toward Exiting the EU?

FREXIT – Is France Hurling toward Exiting the EU? 

France is by no means calming down. There is a major underlying problem in France which is rising to the surface in direct confrontation with the government and Macron’s ambition to lead Europe. Macron’s confrontation with Trump over NATO is a reflection of a historical posture of the French government that has resented both Germany and the United States. Macron had said, “The Atlantic alliance can only be restored in one way, through restoring the unity of Europe.” The twelve founding members set up a headquarters together for the first time in London in 1950.

NATO Headquarters was located at 13, Belgrave Square. The last meeting to be held in London before the move to Paris was on April 1, 1952, which coincided with NATO’s third anniversary.  NATO was forced to move its headquarters from Paris, France (the A building for Alliance) following the French withdrawal from NATO, which then moved to Brussels 1967.

Macron did not advocate that France should pull out of NATO as was the case under  President de Gaulle. Indeed, de Gaulle did withdraw France from NATO’s military structure in 1966, yet it remained an Ally. Macron has been also pushing for a European Army. Clearly, Macron’s agenda has been to federalize Europe and that is clashing with the people. He is NOT a proponent in having the USA a major part of NATO according to reliable sources.

Macron has been pushing economic reforms to curtail the social benefits in France in his effort to federalize Europe. In protest of his planned reforms in the pension system, the unions have organized several general strikes, which are now being joined by the yellow vests. This has resulted in bringing in hundreds of thousands of protesters to the streets. The problem which Macron faces is that France’s economic performance can no longer finance the generous welfare state which is far beyond international standards.

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

Rabobank: “The Global Institutional Architecture Is Collapsing”

Rabobank: “The Global Institutional Architecture Is Collapsing”

It’s December, and the start of the season of good will to all and peace on earth. Not much of that about, of course.

In the UK, the election has been interrupted by the terrorist attack at London Bridge, which both sides are naturally playing politics with in different ways (The Left is soft on terrorists vs. police underfunding and foreign policy, etc.); the latest opinion polls suggest Labour continues to make up some ground but remains well behind, but London Bridge may perhaps see that impetus stalled. Let’s see if the imminent arrival of US President Trump tips the scales, as President Obama did on Brexit, or if he can hold off on commenting as protocol dictates.

In Germany, Angela Merkel’s coalition partners the SPD have just elected new leadership, and they have veered to the left, hardly a surprise against this global backdrop, but likely accelerating the eventual collapse of the current government and opening up questions about what any new one could look like. Instability, or at least uncertainty, at the heart of the Eurozone is certainly not going to be welcome to investors – yet could it herald an imminent fiscal shift?  

Tomorrow and Wednesday will also see the 2019 NATO summit, again in London, where the world’s largest military alliance will get together and try to decide what it is for and if it still has a purpose. Trump continues to put pressure on all members to spend the pledged 2% of GDP to keep it a fighting force vs. Russia, and perhaps China(?): relatively few do or show they even want to (e.g., Germany). He’s is also going to bring up Huawei and 5G to discuss. President Macron of France has called NATO “Brain dead” due to the absence of US leadership–I thought it was leading?

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

Eastern Europe Is Turning Into An Energy Battleground

Eastern Europe Is Turning Into An Energy Battleground

Gas Flame

Bulgaria has agreed to allow NATO to use its Black Sea port for naval coordination efforts as tensions rise between the Western military alliance and Russia.

The agreement was reached following a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov at the White House on November 25.

NATO has bolstered its defenses in Eastern Europe, including the Black Sea region, which is becoming a new frontier for energy geopolitics, after Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and seized Ukrainian Navy vessels last year.

NATO earlier this year carried out military exercises in the Black Sea that involved more than 20 ships and crews from Romania, Bulgaria, Canada, Greece, the Netherlands, and Turkey to the consternation of Moscow. Russia’s Black Sea fleet is based in Crimea.

“Viewing with concern the security situation in the Black Sea, the United States welcomes Bulgaria’s offer to provide a maritime coordination function at Varna in support of NATO’s Tailored Forward Presence initiative,” the United States and Bulgaria said in a joint statement.

U.S. and Bulgarian officials will hold high-level meetings to discuss further maritime military cooperation, the statement said.

NATO members Bulgaria, Romania, and Turkey border the Black Sea along with Ukraine, Georgia, and Russia. Both Ukraine and Georgia have expressed a desire to join NATO.

Trump hosted Romanian President Klaus Iohannis last month as part of a series of engagements with leaders from Central and Eastern Europe, including Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Austria.

Prior to his arrival in Washington, Borisov told journalists that he would not allow a permanent NATO military base on the Black Sea, a move that would anger Russia.

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

Europe: The cracks are beginning to showIs the EU experiment coming to an end? Europe considers its options

Europe: The cracks are beginning to showIs the EU experiment coming to an end? Europe considers its options

THE NATO BUILD-UP

2014: The expansion of NATO in the late 20th and early 21st centuries had posed a serious strategic threat to Russia’s security. In 1999 the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland joined NATO. In 2004 they were followed by the Baltics, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Slovenia; Albania and Croatia joined in 2009.

This influx was in addition to most of the western European states which had been members of NATO since the ‘Iron Curtain’ came down soon after hostilities had ceased in Europe in 1945. In all, 28 countries are now members of the alliance. Non-NATO members including, Sweden, Finland, were brought into line with EU/NATO policy after their accession to the Lisbon Treaty. Thus economically, politically and militarily the West had arrived at Russia’s western borders.

Viewed retrospectively, however, this was the high point of NATO hegemony. The juggernaut seemed to be at the height of its power, but the turning points had already come with the brief Russo-Georgia war in 2008 and then Ukraine 2014/15 when Russia said nyet.

COLOUR REVOLUTIONS

Colour revolutions financed by US Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in the shape of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), US-AID, and Human Rights Watch (HRW) were complementary to the EU/NATO expansion eastwards and had targeted both Georgia and Ukraine. Additionally, Soros’s Open Society and its many tentacles also took part in these operations.

The NED could not be called an NGO since it was funded directly by the US government which made it a “GO”. This was openly admitted later by Victoria Nuland – Under Secretary of State for Eurasian and East European Affairs, and Wife of leading neo-con warmonger Robert Kagan – during a talk which she gave at the Washington press club. (See the you tube). Ms Nuland also took the opportunity to inform the audience that the going rate for colour revolutions was US$5 billion.

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

Suddenly, Western “Regime” Changes Keep Failing

Suddenly, Western “Regime” Changes Keep Failing

It used to be done regularly and it worked: The West identified a country as its enemy, unleashed its professional propaganda against it, then administered a series of sanctions, starving and murdering children, the elderly and other vulnerable groups. If the country did not collapse within months or just couple of years, the bombing would begin.

And the nation, totally shaken, in pain, and in disarray, would collapse like a house of cards, once the first NATO boots hit its ground.

Such scenarios were re-enacted, again and again, from Yugoslavia to Iraq.

But suddenly, something significant has happened. This horrific lawlessness, this chaos stopped; was deterred.

The West keeps using the same tactics, it tries to terrorize independent-minded countries, to frighten people into submission, to overthrow what it defines as ‘regimes’, but its power, its monstrously destructive power has all of a sudden become ineffective.

It hits, and the attacked nation shakes, screams, sheds blood, but keeps standing, keeps proudly erect.

What we are experiencing is a great moment in human history. Imperialism has not yet been defeated, but it is losing its global grip on power.

Now we have to clearly understand ‘Why?’, so we can continue our struggle, with even greater determination, with even greater effectiveness.

First of all, by now we know that the West cannot fight. It can spend trillions on ‘defense’, it can build nuclear bombs, ‘smart missiles’ and strategic warplanes. But it is too cowardly, too spoiled to risk the lives of its soldiers. 

It either kills remotely, or by using regional mercenaries. Whenever it becomes clear that the presence of its troops would be required, it backs up.

 …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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