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4 reasons the Syrian conflict has grabbed world attention more than Afghanistan

Afghanistan has been at war for nearly 16 years, but the Syrian conflict which has raged since 2011 has captured global attention to a more substantiate degree.

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There is no such thing as a good war, but there are occasionally such things as just wars. The Syrian conflict is a variation on the second theme. Syria prior to 2011 was a country at peace, it was a country that was stable, it was a country that was placid. Of course, the Syria of 2011 was imperfect and one only needed to listen to the speeches within the People’s Council of Syria to realise that. One would also realise that if one listened to the authentic voices of patriotic Syrians, but sadly few people in the wider world cared to listen to Syrians while their country was at peace and free of terrorism.

Now though, the world is watching and listening to Syria and they are doing so far more intently than in respect of Afghanistan, in most cases.

Here is a qualitative list of why that is.

1. The Moral Clarity of the Syrian Conflict 

In order for people in the wider world to emotionally define a war as just, one needs to understand the conflict in terms of abstract morality in addition to having knowledge about the nature of the conflict.

In this respect, Syria was a watershed moment for much of the world. While much of the day to day fighting in Syria is complicated, the nature of the conflict itself is incredibly simple both politically and morally.

In Syria one witnesses a Ba’athist government representing a society where all religious confessions are treated equally, where men and women share the same rights, lifestyles and attitudes, where culture is allowed to flourish, where education is widespread and encouraged and where secularism combined with religious traditions exists harmoniously.

Standing in opposition to this Ba’athist government are the largely foreign forces of extremist Salafist/Wahhabist, Sunni supremacy, armed gangs whose use of barbaric violence is promulgated in the name of establishing a society in which Shi’a Muslims and Christians would suffer abuse, torture and death, one in which women would be treated as third class chattel and one in which modernity, secularism and worldly education would be eliminated.

By contrast, in Afghanistan there are no angels, insofar as viable political factions are concerned. The government in Kabul is fractured, ineffectual, corrupt and compromised. It’s primary opponents, various Taliban factions are at times only slightly more anti-modern than many government officials. Against these two main forces are those loyal to the so-called ISIS forces whose barbarity is well known.

Into this fray, many including China, Russia, Pakistan and increasingly Iran are advocating for dialogue between the more moderate elements of the Taliban and the more far-sighted supporters of the Kabul government. It is not a plan which assures a specific identity to the country after a would-be settlement, but it is the only reasonable hope for any lasting peace and stability.

This pragmatic solution to Afghanistan lacks the moral clarity of the solution in Syria which Russia, Iran and other allies of Damascus have implemented. In Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and other volunteers chose the side of Ba’athism over the side of extremist Sunni terrorism and bigotry.

For me personally, the conflict in Syria is the most clear cut battle between moral good and moral evil since the Great Patriotic War in which the Soviet Union crushed the fascist aggression of Hitler’s German Reich. By contrast, in Afghanistan there is no one occupying the moral high ground.

2. Different Histories 

Syria has always been a civilisation cradle of great cultures and empires. Mesopotamia and the Levant are along with ancient Indus Valley civilisations and ancient Chinese civilisations, the oldest civilised cultures the world has been able to document.

In the Hellenic period, during the Roman Empire and during the Muslim caliphates, Syria and Damascus in particular became a centre of both worldly and spiritual scholarship. From St. Paul’s conversion to Christianity on the road to Damascus to Syria’s vital role as part of Islam’s Golden Age, Syria holds a special history for the world’s major monotheistic religions.

Afghanistan’s history while rich, is often remembered as ‘The Graveyard of Empires’ a place of mighty warriors rather than one of scholarship and religious institutions. While such a paradox betrays the more complex history of Afghanistan, when it comes to historical memory, such paradoxes play a large part in shaping people’s perceptions of a country or culture.

Put another way, one is less horrified when war comes to a place famed for warriors than when it comes to a place famed for ancient monuments, holy sites and scholarship.

3. Different Topography 

The landlocked and mountainous Afghanistan is picturesque but hardly a place known as a tourist resort. By contrast, cities like Aleppo, Latakia and Tartus in Syria have long been places where people from around the world travel in order to admire the historic architecture and breathtaking natural beauty.

Syria’s coasts are among the most inviting on the Mediterranean. When war comes to such a place, it is clear that many people will instantly have a more immediate emotional connection and therefore be more interested in the outcome of a conflict.

This leads to the final reason why the Syrian conflict has attained more international attention vis-a-vis the war in Afghanistan.

4. America Exposed as the Emperor Without Clothes. 

While many anti-war advocates including myself opposed US involvement in Afghanistan from day one, this was certainly not out of any admiration for the Taliban which by almost any objective definition was an extreme and distasteful regime. The fact that the Taliban did in fact shelter and rely on Salafist terrorists as a source of funds and protection was also a further distasteful element of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.

Thus, while America’s involvement in Afghanistan was deeply misguided from both the perspective of military logistics and pragmatism, it was not all together the equivalent of taking a blowtorch to a work of fine art.

By contrast, America’s involvement in Syria was indeed taking a blowtorch to the fine art that was and is once again a country which has persevered through the millennia and whose enlightened government is able to combine the heritage of the past with the needs of modernity.

When it became clear that only Syria and her Russian partners had the will and ability to held preserve the ancient Hellenic old city of Palmyra while Barack Obama’s United States waxed lyrical about extremist Salafist terrorists whose ideology was the same as that of ISIS which brutalised Palmyra, it became clear that any claim America had to fighting for morality, civilisation or collective international values was more mythical than the deities the ancient statues were built to worship.

CONCLUSION: 

When people look at Syria, they often think ‘that could be my country, those people living in fear could be my family, those streets being rebuild could be those I once walked on as a visitor and would want to walk upon again’.

Syria as a Mediterranean culture will be deeply familiar to almost anyone who grew up in the northern hemisphere throughout which Mediterranean culture has always held a special place both for its impressive history and its inviting landscapes and cultures which are famous for being hospitable to foreigners.

Afghanistan by contrast remains a mysterious and foreboding place to many, including many of its immediate neighbours who view the peace process more as a burden to do with security than an opportunity to do with future cultural and commercial partnerships.

This is not to say that a Syrian life is more valuable than an Afghan life. All lives are equally valuable and the horrors of any war of aggression is a blemish not only on the place where such a war is fought and among those fighting it but to the entire world.

The contrasts between the two countries and cultures does however help explain why the world remains more solidly fixated on Syria.

However, the conflicts do share something else in common: the sooner the US and her allies quietly exit both places, the sooner some semblance of peace will return in each case, but particularly in Syria which unlike Afghanistan in 2001, was at peace with itself prior to 2011.

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Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Flashback 2016 – Praying for Palmyra: Valery Gergiev, the renowned Russian maestro, leads an orchestra in the ruins of ancient city, after its liberation from ISIS terrorists:
https://youtu.be/9b0hFIf4Zaw

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

Something I had not known about this concert also, until President Putin told us, was that the heat was so great that their instruments were affected and the players had great difficulty tuning them and getting them to play well. It’s an additional tribute to their dedicated playing.

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Because of civilised factions working hard to save a great civilisation, from the destructive capitalist forces of the Western so-called civilisations!!!!

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

What can any person who even pretends to hold principles and values of high moral standing do but agree with all their heart with this article and it’s expressed desire that America pick up it’s bat and ball and go home. I would like to add though to please remember that, unless you define “civilised” as “pertaining to modern Western” the writer is wrong to say these cultures are the oldest known. The Aboriginal people of Australia are the oldest living culture, although the invading British have left them little of what they had. But these people have a documented… Read more »

John R. Nolan
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John R. Nolan

Beautifully put comment on the Aboriginal people of Australia, who, even to this day, are third class citizens, being killed with booze, the tinkling trinkets of the white fellas toys, as we now strive to breed them into a forgotten history. Yes, we could have learnt much from them, their relationship with the land, which none can own, their ability to harmonize with the land, to respect all nature, but, as with every other place the white fella has gone, all we have done is destroy, slaughter, and, as karma goes, soon we will pay for our greed, our ugliness,… Read more »

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

Thank you John – and for your own lovely way of expressing what has been done. It’s such a mark of a barbaric savage mind I always think, that it is unable to recognise anything outside it’s own knowledge and culture as having value. It’s the same as the invading Spanish Catholics, destroying all the writings going back thousands of years of the native peoples of the Incas and Andean countries. Now we have so little left of all the knowledge contained in them.. The fascinating rongorongo script of the Easter Island people, only now being recognised as depicting what… Read more »

John R. Nolan
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John R. Nolan

The English invaders of Australia, beside introducing incomprehensible levels barbarity, roman catholic destruction of the local culture, their spiritual history, reached a tragic triumph, when, in Tasmania, we actually wiped out an entire race of Australian aboriginals. The white fella, wherever we have gone, introduced war, perversity, drugs, social destruction, slavery, environmental chaos. We, the white fellas, are the curse of this planet, and will shortly pay the price of our arrogance, our greed, our lack of respect for our environment. Historically, whilst introducing invading each nation, we also introduced animals, cats, dogs, rabbits, plants, etc., which have all but… Read more »

Isabella Jones
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Isabella Jones

There was something bitterly ironic in your last line John . 🙂 But yes – you are right. Agree with you completely. Not a lot to be proud of. As John Anthony West, the independent, non-Academic Egyptologist says, “we think we’re so smart, with our stripped toothpaste and atom bombs”. The AngloFrancoGermanic derived White Man -he who compromises the so called “West” to day – has in truth never really risen above the level of barbaric savages, because those are the ones the system put in place as rulers, deciders and leaders. There are good ones, decent ones – but… Read more »

John R. Nolan
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John R. Nolan

Is it an intrinsic characteristic of the human race, especially the white fellas, that most of our recorded history is of wars, religious, economic and race, where as the Aboriginal people here do not keep too much record of the past, but live for the moment, intent on preserving the land they were given, by God, to protect? What is it, what genetic imbalance filters through our blood, our mental functioning, which cause us to worship violence, suffering? Is this the mark of the beast? Cain was of his father, the devil; is this where we get our beastly characteristics,… Read more »

rouillardjos
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rouillardjos

Since the US drop its support for its terrorist army and they are losing interest, we rarely ear anything anymore in the news about Syria (Canada). Nothing is mention about the progress of the Syrian army and his helpers. If it is not about an US campaign like Mosul, nothing is said in the news.

Guillermo Calvo Mahe
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Excellent and important article, I’ve shared it with students of political science, government and international relations.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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