The Costs Of Ignoring Russia

Current mutual hostility threatens an explosive confrontation
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Improving the dangerously unstable U. S.-Russia relationship will be very difficult, but it is important for U. S. national security. Current mutual hostility threatens an explosive confrontation that could destroy American (and Russian) civilization as we know it. Short of that, Russia can do much more than it is today to damage U. S. interests and values without taking extreme risks. Accordingly, the United States should explore normalizing its interaction with Russia. Washington should do so without illusions, and from a position of strength.
Today, America and Russia are adversaries with different approaches to key international issues, different systems of government and, in many respects, different values. Each confronts domestic obstacles to efforts to establish better relations. These obstacles are particularly challenging in the United States, where Congress, the mainstream media and much of the American public view Vladimir Putin’s Russia as a vicious enemy akin to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, if not Hitler’s Germany. Unlike China, Russia has only limited economic interaction with America – and therefore few Americans see a practical positive side to contacts with Russia. President Putin has much greater latitude in shaping his country’s foreign policy, including exploring a new beginning with Washington. Yet in a period of economic difficulty before Russia’s 2018 presidential election, Putin is loath to appear weak under foreign pressure.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.

China-India Conflict Is Far More Dangerous Than US-North Korea One

While the international media remains concerned to the point of being fixated on the US-DPRK (North Korea) stand-off, in terms of sheer firepower, the much more pressing stand-off between China and India holds the potential to be far more destructive.
Indian Nuclear Weapons While the best intelligence about North Korea’s weapons delivery capabilities indicates that North Korea is in possession of intermediate range ballistic missile systems which are incapable of hitting the US mainland, India’s intermediate range systems are not only more advanced but due to India’s proximity with China, these missiles could easily strike targets within China.
Of course, China has a vastly more equipped army and nuclear capacity, but any war between China and India that would involve the use of intercontinental ballistic missiles would be a world-changing event.
While many have focused on the possibility of a short land-based border war, similar to that which the two countries fought in 1962, due to the rapid advance of both the Chinese and Indian militaries in the decades since 1962, there is every possibility that such a war could escalate quickly.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 17, 2017.

The World Is Changing And Nations Are Waking Up To What’s Really Going On – Episode 1357b

The following video was published by X22Report on Aug 16, 2017
The corporate media is pushing the agenda of pushing race wars in the US. They are pushing very hard just like they pushed the Russian collusion, which turned out to be fake. Lavrov states that US should back off with making threats to Venezuela. US and Japan hold drills near North Korea. Germany is now siding with China and Russia in regards to North Korea. Syrian forces pushing very hard in Syria and they are pushing through IS. As the terrorists are pushed out of Syria 600,000 refugees are returning home to Syria.

Indian, Chinese Soldiers Clash Following Alleged Chinese “Incursion”

In what may be the first documented clash between Chinese and Indian soldiers who have been piling up across the border between the two nations over the latest territorial dispute, Reuters reports that “Indian and Chinese soldiers were involved in an altercation” in the western Himalayas on Tuesday, “further raising tensions between the two countries which are already locked in a two-month standoff in another part of the disputed border.”
While there has been no official confirmation yet by either India or China, a Reuters source in New Delhi who was briefed on the military situation on the border, said Indian soldiers “foiled a bid by a group of Chinese troops to enter Indian territory in Ladakh, near the Pangong lake.” He added that some of the Chinese soldiers carried iron rods and stones, and in the melee there were minor injuries on both sides, the source said.
“There was an altercation near the Pangong lake,” said a police officer in Srinagar, the capital of India’s Jammu and Kashmir state, under which the area falls. An army source in Srinagar, quoted by Reuters, spoke of an altercation following what he called a Chinese army “incursion in Pangong lake area“. This fresh standoff at Pangong Tso lake in Ladakh comes in the backdrop of tensions between Indian and Chinese troops over Doklam plateau in Sikkim sector with the PLA skipping the ceremonial border meetings on Independence Day.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 16, 2017.

Todd Mariano: Turkey Greater Risk than North Korea

With geopolitical uncertainties injecting more volatility into the markets, Financial Sense Newshour sat down with Todd Mariano at Renaissance Macro to get his thoughts on North Korea and other hot spots around the globe, including Turkey, which, he said, is one of the greatest and overlooked concerns right now.
Here’s what he had to say in our recent podcast, which aired Saturday on our site and on iTunes (see Art Hill on Technicals; Todd Mariano on N. Korea, China, and Geopolitics for audio).
Is Nuclear War Imminent?
The short answer is that no, it isn’t, believes Mariano.
What we’re observing is that markets are reacting to uncertainty, specifically due to the shifting approach Washington is using to engage with North Korea, he noted. However, the situation really hasn’t changed all that much from a policy perspective, even under the new administration in Washington.
‘What markets are really reacting to amounts to headline risk because of the comments that the president made,’ he said. ‘The way I think this goes is certainly not a preemptive strike by North Korea. No one understands better than the North Korean military and Kim Jong Un that a preemptive strike coming from them would spell the end of the regime.’

This post was published at FinancialSense on 08/15/2017.

North Korea’s Rational Analysis

The United States has several thousand operational nuclear missiles. It has a large fleet of strategic bombers, an enormous navy, and hundreds of thousands of soldiers and marines. The US could bomb, blockade, and invade North Korea if it chose to incur the cost.
Yet North Korea is threatening to fire missiles at Guam, a US island territory in the Western Pacific where a substantial portion of the American strategic forces are now stationed. The North Koreans have been unyielding in insisting that they intend to complete a force of nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missiles that could strike the US.
This seems to be irrational behavior. But if these are the deeds of an irrational regime, how has this same regime, founded by the current leader’s grandfather, survived since 1948? It survived a devastating war, managed to stay nimble during the Sino-Soviet confrontation, and endured the fall of the Soviet Union and the transformation of China, starvation in the 1990s, and confrontation with the United States. The regime should have collapsed many times. It didn’t.
If survival is a measure of rationality, and it should be, then the leadership class (and it is of course more than just one person) could not have lasted for almost 70 years if it were irrational. North Korea may have bizarre values, but its leaders have not been stupid. So the question is, what are they seeing now?

This post was published at Mauldin Economics on AUGUST 14, 2017.

The Elite Move Ahead With Their Agenda, The Chaos Has Just Begun – Episode 1355

The following video was published by X22Report on Aug 14, 2017
YouTube is going after all those videos that expose the deep state. Trump warns Venezuela that the US has a military option. South Korea says unlikely NK will bomb Guam. China bans coal, oil and other imports from NK. US military is not on high alert and there are no actions being taken by the fleet or forces. Russia says the US should leave Afghanistan. The elite are pushing their agenda in Virginia.

China Indicates That it Will Defend North Korea in Event of ‘US Invasion’

As the war of words between the US and North Korea continues to mount, an increasingly angry and worried China has given Washington and Pyongyang a clear public hint of where its red lines are.
The hint came in an editorial in Global Times, a newspaper owned by the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily, which is often used by the Chinese government to express opinions it holds but which it feels it might be too provocative to air officially.
Editorials in Global Times do not therefore have quite the same weight as editorials in the People’s Daily or the official Xinhua news agency or of course public statements by the Chinese government. However they do reflect official Chinese thinking and should be read as such, especially since their wording is carefully chosen in advance.
The editorial in Global Times in which China has hinted at its red lines downplays the risk of war. It says the angry rhetoric Washington and Pyongyang are hurling at each other is foolish grandstanding. About that it is almost certainly. However it also says that this grandstanding risks war because both sides risk humiliation if they back down.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on AUGUST 14, 2017.

China Slams Trump’s “Trade War” Announcement, Says It Is A Distraction From “Domestic Turmoil” In The U.S.

Today at 3pm, President Trump will sign a memo addressing ‘China’s laws, policies, practices, and actions related to intellectual property, innovation, and technology’ effectively launching the first shot in what many predict will blossom into an all-out trade war with China. As discussed over the weekend, administration officials said Saturday that memo will direct U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to consider investigating China over its IP policies, especially the practice of forcing U. S. companies operating in China to transfer technological know-how.
Predictably, China is not happy. In an editorial published in the China Daily, the government lashed out at Trump, warning him that by ‘politicizing’ trade, he risks ‘exacerbating’ the US’s ‘economic woes,’ and ‘poisoning’ the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.

China Bans Coal, Lead, Iron Imports From North Korea

China’s Ministry of Commerce said that Beijing will halt imports of coal, iron, iron ore and seafood from North Korea starting on Tuesday, cutting an important economic lifeline for the Pyongyang regime, as it implemented a package of sanctions passed by the United Nations Security Council on August 6.
China accounts for roughly 90% of North Korean trade but moved earlier in February to suspend North Korea’s coal imports until the end of the year. Coal normally accounts for about half of North Korea’s exports, but despite the coal ban, overall trade between the two countries remained healthy according to WaPo.
Last month China announced that imports from North Korea fell to $880 million in the six months that ended in June, down 13% from a year earlier. Notably, China’s coal imports from North Korea dropped precipitously, with only 2.7 million tons being shipped in the first half of 2017, down 75 percent from 2016. But a 29 percent spike in Chinese exports to North Korea – North Korea bought $1.67 billion worth of Chinese products in the first six months of the year – helped push total trade between the two countries up 10 percent between January and June, compared with the same period last year.
While the latest move to halt imports of iron, iron ore, lead and lead ore, and seafood products will put significantly more pressure on Pyongyang, it is unlikely to be enough to convince Pyongyang to abandon its nuclear program, which it sees as essential to its own survival, experts say.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 14, 2017.

Trump Isn’t Going to Invade Venezuela, But What US is Planning Could Be Much Worse

Andrew Korybko
The Duran
Trump was more aggressive than usual yesterday when he said that he’s not ruling out a ‘military option’ in Venezuela, and the international media went haywire speculating that the President was considering an invasion. Nothing justifies what Trump said, but taking aside all moral considerations, his statement shouldn’t have been surprising, and interestingly enough, it might even backfire on him.
All US Presidents routinely restate the rhetoric that ‘all options are on the table’ when dealing with the crises that their country provoked abroad, which in this case is the Hybrid War on Venezuela that seeks to attain proxy control over the world’s largest oil reserves in the Orinoco River Belt and smash the socialist-multipolar ALBA grouping.
Venezuela’s preexisting socio-political vulnerabilities and institutional weaknesses were exploited by the US’ economic machinations against the country in order to trigger a Color Revolution against the government. When that failed, the regime change movement transformed into an urban insurgency and recently expanded its operations by staging a terrorist attack against a military base in the central part of the country.

This post was published at 21st Century Wire on AUGUST 13, 2017.

Does Kim Jong-Un’s Strategy Make Sense?

Authored by Federico Pieraccini via The Strategic Culture Foundation,
“Looking at the recent North Korean testing of two intercontinental missiles, it may seem that Pyongyang wishes to increase tensions in the region. A more careful analysis, however, shows how the DPRK is implementing a strategy that will likely succeed in averting a disastrous war on the peninsula.”
In the last four weeks, North Korea seems to have implemented the second phase of its strategy against South Korea, China and the United States. The North Korean nuclear program seems to have reached an important juncture, with two tests carried out at the beginning and end of July. Both missiles seem capable of hitting the American mainland, although doubts still remain over Pyongyang’s ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead to mount it on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). However, the direction in which North Korea’s nuclear program is headed ensures an important regional deterrent against Japan and South Korea, and in some respects against the United States, which is the main reason for North Korea’s development of ICBMs. Recent history has repeatedly demonstrated the folly of trusting the West (the fate of Gaddafi remains fresh in our minds) and suggests instead the building up of an arsenal that poses a serious deterrence to US bellicosity.
It is not a mystery that from 2009 to date, North Korea’s nuclear capacity has increased in direct proportion to the level of distrust visited on Pyongyang by the West. Since 2009, the six-party talks concluded, Kim Jong-un has come to realize that the continuing threats, practices, and arms sales of the United States to Japan and South Korea needed to be thwarted in some way in the interests of defending the sovereignty of the DPRK. Faced with infinitely lower spending capacity than the three nations mentioned, Pyongyang chose a twofold strategy: to pursue nuclear weapons as an explicit deterrence measure; and to strengthen its conventional forces, keeping in mind that Seoul is only a stone’s throw away from North Korean artillery.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.

India Deploys More Troops Along China Border, Raises “Caution” Level

With the world obsessing over every increasingly childish outburst in the daily back and forth between Trump and Kim Jong-Un, another conflict which has so far gone largely unnoticed by the global media continues to grow on the border between India and China.
As reported yesterday, in the most recent escalation between the two nuclear powers, the Indian Army ordered the evacuation of a village close to the Doklam India-Bhutan-China tri-junction amid to a standoff between Indian and Chinese soldiers. This takes place just days after China turned the war threat amplifier up to ’11’ by threatening India (in an article published a Chinese state-controlled newspaper) that it could conduct a “small-scale military operation” to expel Indian troops from a contested region in the Himalayas.
For those who need a reminder, the latest geopolitical standoff between India and China started in June, after Chinese troops started building a road on a remote plateau which is disputed by China and Bhutan. Indian troops countered by moving to the flashpoint zone to halt the work, with China accusing them of violating its territorial sovereignty and calling for their immediate withdrawal.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.

Trump Warns Xi: Trade War With China Begins Monday

As if there weren’t enough geopolitical stress points in the world to fill a lifetime of “sleepy, vacationy” Augusts, late on Friday night President Trump spoke to Chinese President Xi Jinping and told him that he’s preparing to order an investigation into Chinese trade practices next week, according to NBC. Politico confirms that Trump is ready to launch a new trade crackdown on China next week, citing an administration official, a step that Trump delayed two weeks ago under the guidance of his new Chief of Staff Gen. Kelly, but now appears imminent. It is also an escalation which most analysts agree will launch a trade war between Washington and Beijing.
As Politico details, Trump on Monday will call for an investigation into China over allegations that the nation violated U. S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers, the official said. While it’s unclear how much detail Trump will get into in the announcement, administration officials expect U. S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. The ordering of the investigation will not immediately impose sanctions but could lead to steep tariffs on Chinese goods. Trump has expressed frustration in recent months over what he sees as China’s unfair trade policies.
As we discussed two weeks ago, Trump had planned to launch the trade investigation more than a week ago, but he delayed the move in favor of securing China’s support for expanded U. N. sanctions against North Korea, the senior administration official said.

This post was published at Zero Hedge by Tyler Durden /Aug 12, 2017.

Handicapping The Norks

How about a bit of analysis, eh?
First, Russia’s Lavrov has apparently said that a nuclear armed North Korea is unacceptable. Well, fancy that. It would have been nice if you gave a **** ten years ago, or five, eh?
Then there’s China. Let us not forget that in order to execute any foreign transaction someone has to intermediate the money coming back into the country. That someone has been one of a handful of Chinese banks, and may I remind you that all banks are licensed by the nation in which they operate. Therefore China has been able to enforce all previous sanctions against North Korea and has willfully refused to.
Now China says that it “will not” interfere if North Korea attacks US interests first. But China made no such promise if we attack to “change the regime.” In fact it claims it will “prevent” us from doing so (sure it will….. how?)
What’s the significance of this bluster from China? It reinforces China’s refusal to adhere to the previous and present UN resolutions and punish those organizations that intentionally violate same, including those very same banks.
This belies the ultimate problem on the Korean peninsula: China most-definitely does not want a unified Korea under a representative republican form of government. In fact it actively fears that happening since said nation would not be able to be controlled and could become hostile on a trade basis to China. In fact, it probably would become hostile to same at least in some degree and worse, if it demonstrated success it would add to the risk of political instability in China itself.
So here we are. China and Russia have sat on their hands or worse, actively aided and funded North Korea for 20+ years while it (1) built a reactor, (2) produced bomb material from said reactor, (3) assembled said bomb and (4) tested said bombs. They also sat back while the nation developed missiles of increasing ranges, up to and now including, it appears, ICBMs.

This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-08-11.

Lavrov: “There Is A Russian-Chinese Plan To Defuse Korea Crisis”

In a glimmer of hope that a military conclusion to the North Korean crisis may yet be averted, Russia’s foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said that “Russia does not accept a North Korea that possesses nuclear weapons”, cautioned that there is an “overwhelming amount of over-the-top belligerent rhetoric on North Korea’s nuclear and rocket programs from Washington and Pyongyang”, but most importantly said that there is a joint Russian-Chinese plan to defuse the North Korean crisis, according to which North Korea would freeze its missile tests, while the US and South Korea would stop large scale exercises.
“Russia together with China developed a plan which proposes ‘double freezing’: Kim Jong-un should freeze nuclear tests and stop launching any types of ballistic missiles, while US and South Korea should freeze large-scale drills which are used as a pretext for the North’s tests.”
It was not clear if Russia or China, had floated this plan with the US or S. Korea prior; the most likely answer is no.
Hoping that “common sense will ultimately prevail“, Lavrov said that North Korea had once signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) but then withdrew from it. The result is a nuclear-armed N. Korea which Russia refuses to accept: “Now North Korea claims that it has legal rights to make nuclear weapons and has already done so,’ he said. ‘But you know our position: we don’t accept the fact that North Korea could possess nuclear weapons.”
He added that both Russia and China have a ‘range of proposals’ aimed at preventing what could become ‘one of the deepest conflicts’ and a ‘crisis with a big number of casualties.’
Still, Lavrov said that Moscow is worried about Washington’s remarks on a preemptive strike on North Korea, and said that Russia is doing its best to prevent this from happening.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 11, 2017.

Chinese State Media Asks “Can Trump Win The Game Of Chicken With North Korea?”

While President Trump is more than willing to tweet or comment ad hoc his feelings about any of several crucial geopolitical hotspots, the Chinese prefer the more subtle approach. With their India border tensions, officials pen ‘threatening’ articles; but with North Korea, it appears the government prefers a well known mouthpiece – The China Global Times – to send a message to America – simply put, back off the rhetoric before this goes pear-shaped because North Korea has nothing to lose…
US President Donald Trump on Tuesday gave a harsh warning to North Korea that if it makes more threats to the US, “they will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen.” A few hours later, Pyongyang responded by saying that it is examining its operational plans for attacking Guam. US B-1B bombers flew over the Korean Peninsula from Anderson Air Force Base on Guam. This is the latest escalation of the war of words between Washington and Pyongyang. The US can’t usually gain the upper hand in this war of words, as Pyongyang chooses whatever wording it likes, and what Washington says may not be heard by North Korean society. But US opinion has paid great attention to everything North Korea says.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Aug 10, 2017.