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5 possible outcomes of the China-India border dispute

India withdrawing troops and coming back to the peace table, ideally at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, remains the best option for all parties. The US getting involved is an even more dangerous possibility than a short Sino-Indian war.

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The current border dispute between China and India centred around the tri-junction of the borders of India, Bhutan and China in an area India calls Doklam and China calls Donglang, is showing no signs of being resolved.

China has once again blasted India for literally refusing to budge on the issue.

Geng Shuang, a spokesman for China’s Foreign Ministry has most recently stated,

“Over one month has passed since the outbreak of the incident. The Indian border troops still illegally stay in the Chinese territory. Moreover, the Indian side is building roads, hoarding supplies and deploying a large number of armed forces on the Indian side of the boundary”.

China continues to accuse India of provocative measures that work against the interests of peace. China furthermore accuses India of using the excuse of supposedly aiding the small state of Bhutan when in reality, India simply seeks to encroach on what Beijing views as sovereign Chinese land. While in the 1950s, India and China settled disputes over the poorly written 1890 border agreement between China and British colonial India, Bhutan was not a party to the treaty and therefore the so-called ‘Bhutan excuse’ has become India’s justification for encroaching on what China claims as its territory, territory India prefers to consider part of the pro-India Bhutanese state.

India has thus far refused to engage in dialogue nor has India agreed to a withdrawal of troops from the disputed region, which is China’s major prerequisite for peace talks.

Due to the intransigence of the situation. Here are possible outcomes to consider.

1. India eventually withdraws and returns to dialogue

This is by far the best possible scenario for all sides involved and it is luckily a realistic one. India and China have mechanisms in place to settle such disputes without resorting to a standoff. As mutual members of both the BRICS economic cooperation union as well as the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), India and China could both rely on these bodies to provide a peaceful solution to the current tensions. In particular, the SCO is in many ways tailor made as the best possible organisation through which to resolve the crisis.

Such organisations did not exist during China and India’s short border war in 1962. Furthermore, in 1962, China and the Soviet Union were rivals where today Russia is an ally to both China and India. As a fellow member of both the BRICS and SCO, Russia could act as a third party mediator in the conflict as Moscow is respected by both sides and has in Syria, proved successful negotiation skills between generally adverse parties. Russia brought Turkey and Iran to the same peace table in Astana and also reached a situation where representatives of the secular Syrian government sat across the room from jihadist terrorists that the west calls ‘moderate’.

There is some hope that perhaps China and India could even solve the dispute bilaterally. In 2014, shortly after the current Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took office and shortly before a scheduled meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the two countries engaged in a protracted stand-off in the Ladakh region. India eventually stepped down while Modi claimed a kind of moral victory before his Hindutva base for “standing up” to China.

The current dispute could end in this way with India backing off of the dispute while Modi and his followers simultaneously play the role of victim and hero, an odd combination that is increasingly the narrative in Modi’s India. The only analogous political narrative in the world is the Israeli propaganda known in Tel Aviv as Hasbara.

In spite of such a politically awkward narrative, if this brings peace, it is still the best possible outcome.

2. War 

In 1962, China and India fought a short but fully fledged border war in which China won a resounding victory. In 1987, both countries engaged in what is generally called a ‘skirmish’ in which both sides claimed a kind of victory.

If the tensions do not die down quickly, there is a chance for war. Many Chinese commentators have soberly and regretfully remarked that such a thing is possible even though China has made it clear that it is not an option that China considers to be a pleasant one.

The following video from China, made for an international, but particularly an Indian audience, makes it clear that China sees the conflict as one where Indian chauvinism is something of a post-colonial holdover whereby Indian ultra-nationalists have adopted much of the language and legal positions of their former European colonial masters.

China seeks Asian unity and continues to seek India’s participation in the One Belt–One Road initiative that could not only turn China and India’s relationship into one based on mutual prosperity but could also help to ease long-term tensions between Pakistan and India as Islamabad is an eager participant in One Belt–One Road.

War remains on the Chinese table but only as a regrettable last resort.

3. Trade war 

India has already made it clear that they see their so-called North-South trade corridor as an alternative to One Belt–One Road where in reality it would function best as an integral tributary of the Chinese belt and road.

As I wrote only yesterday in The Duran, in respect of India’s attempt to build a rival to One Belt–One road,

“As with many of the self-styled ‘big ideas’ coming out of  Modi’s India, the problem is not so much that the ideas are bad but rather that the ‘big ideas’ are rather quite limited and limiting. While China’s One Belt–One Road is literally a global land and sea super-highway, India’s North-South corridor is by comparison a small, however important roundabout.

This is proof positive that India would only benefit by linking its own ambitious infrastructure and trade projects with the larger one being built by China and her partners. In a competition between a set of important regions and the wider world, the latter will always be more vital and more attractive to potential partners.

This is why if India cooperated with Russia, India could make the most of its own ambitions while reaping the benefits afforded to all nations, but particularly to large nations which are part of One Belt–One Road.

If India insists on sitting out of One Belt–One Road, the road will simply circumvent India via the China Pakistan Economic Corridor, thus affording increased benefits to India’s regional rival that could otherwise be distributed across South Asia.

India is only selling itself short by trying to sell the world an alternative to One Belt–One Road. In this sense, One Belt–One Road can function without India, but India cannot function at its optimum potential outside of One Belt–One Road”.

India, fearing she could lose another war to China might prefer to wage a kind of trade war which doubles as a cold war. While this might sound ridiculous as both states have mutual allies, mutual interests and are both members of the BRICS and SCO, if India continues its stance as a kind of unwilling outlier to One Belt–One Road, the reality is that the short term embarrassment of losing a hot war to China would merely be replaced by the more long term embarrassment of losing out in participating in the most ambitious Asia-centric trading initiative of the modern age.

The only silver lining to such a scenario is that so long as no blood is shed, there is at least some possibility for a future generation of Indian leaders to correct the short sighted attitude of the Modi government.

4. US proxy war leading to WWIII

Luckily, this is among the least likely scenario, but due to America’s erratic behaviour in areas close to China, including the South China Sea, Yellow Sea and Korean peninsula, it is not a scenario that can be entirely ruled out.

Under Modi, India has begun buying overpriced weapons from the United States. The US under Donald Trump is enjoying counting the money (he more or less said so at a press conference with Modi) while India has convinced itself that the US is now a fully fledged military ally, as though forgetting that throughout the Cold War, the opposite was the case in many respects and that the current US policy on South Asia remains confused as Washington has not fully adjusted to the post-Cold War realities of the region.

However, now that the US has shown its cards in respect of using the Korean crisis in order to distract China from One Belt-One Road and to provoke China on the Chinese doorstep to which the US has the greatest access due to its relationship with Seoul, the US could potentially make a decision laden with both hubris and foolishness and seek to send so-called ‘peace keeping troops’ to the foreboding Himalayas.

READ MORE: America uses North Korea as a transparent excuse for meddling in South Korea and provoking China

If America did this, it would be seen as the most provocative measure against China since the hot phase of the Korean War. If the hypothetical US troops strayed into Chinese territory, it could lead to a war between super-powers with the added element of India being a nuclear armed state.

This scenario would not only be dangerous but it is one that without resorting to the deployment of nuclear weapons, the US could not win. The US has little experience in fighting mountainous conflicts and judging by the difficulties the US had in securing the Tora Bora in Afghanistan, it would be very ugly indeed.

One ought to hope that the US is not as stupid as it looks, in this respect.

5. The United Nations Security Council 

In an ideal world, there would be no better place to peacefully thrash out a resolution to the conflict than the United Nations Security Council. However, given the UNSC’s composition, such an attempt would only unnecessarily magnify the current geo-political alignments which have contributed to the crisis in the first place.

As China is a permanent member of the UNSC, China would obviously vote in favour of the well known Chinese position. Russia would of course try to do from the UN what it would otherwise most likely do if invited as a third party mediator in a bilateral discussion between Beijing and New Delhi. However, forcing Russia to abstain on a vote in a dispute between two Russian allies is an awkward situation that Russia doesn’t need. In this sense Russia would prefer to act as a friend of both India and China in a situation where Russia wouldn’t be forced to publicly vote for one side versus the other.

The US and its UNSC allies Britain and France would almost certainly make matters worse due to a combination of former colonial arrogance and America’s capacity to work against China at any given opportunity.

In this sense, while the UN might seem like an ideal place to settle the dispute, in reality, it would only magnify tensions.

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Nearly assassinated by his own fighters, al-Baghdadi and his caliphate on its last legs (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 178.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how the Islamic State has been rapidly losing territory over the last two years in Syria and Iraq, due to efforts by Russian and Syrian forces, as well as the US and their Kurdish allies.

The jihadist caliphate has lost most of its forces and resources, leading it to go into hiding.

Al-Masdar News is reporting that Daesh* leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was reportedly attacked in a village near Hajin by some of the terrorist organisation’s foreign fighters in an apparent coup attempt, The Guardian reported, citing anonymous intelligence sources. Baghdadi reportedly survived the alleged coup attempt, with his bodyguards taking him into hiding in the nearby desert.

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Meanwhile European leaders are shocked at US President Trump’s ISIS ultimatum. Via Zerohedge

After President Trump’s provocative tweets on Sunday wherein he urged European countries to “take back” and prosecute some 800 ISIS foreign fighters as US forces withdraw from Syria, or else “we will be forced to release them,” the message has been met with shock, confusion and indifference in Europe. Trump had warned the terrorists could subsequently “permeate Europe”.

Possibly the most pathetic and somewhat ironic response came from Denmark, where a spokesperson for Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said Copenhagen won’t take back Danish Islamic State foreign fighters to stand trial in the country, according to the German Press Agency DPA“We are talking about the most dangerous people in the world. We should not take them back,” the spokesperson stressed, and added that the war in Syria is ongoing, making the US president’s statement premature.

Germany’s response was also interesting, given a government official framed ISIS fighters’ ability to return as a “right”.  A spokeswoman for Germany’s interior ministry said, “In principle, all German citizens and those suspected of having fought for so-called Islamic State have the right to return.” She even added that German ISIS fighters have “consular access” — as if the terrorists would walk right up to some embassy window in Turkey or Beirut!

Noting that the Iraqi government has also of late contacted Germany to transport foreign fighters to their home country for trial, she added, “But in Syria, the German government cannot guarantee legal and consular duties for jailed German citizens due to the armed conflict there.”

France, for its part, has already agreed to repatriate over 130 French Islamic State members as part of a deal reached in January with US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who are holding them, after which they will go through the French legal system. However, French Secretary of State Laurent Nuñez still insisted that the west’s Kurdish allies would never merely let ISIS terrorists walk out their battlefield prisons free.

“It’s the Kurds who hold them and we have every confidence in their ability to keep them,” Nuñez told French broadcaster BFMTV on Sunday. “Anyway, if these individuals return to the national territory, they all have ongoing judicial proceedings, they will all be put on trial, and incarcerated,” he said, in comments which appeared to leave it up to others to make happen.

And representing the Belgian government, Justice Minister Koen Geens charged Trump with blindsiding his European allies with the demand, which included Trump underscoring that it is “time for others to step up and do the job” before it’s too late. “It would have been nice for friendly nations to have these kinds of questions raised through the usual diplomatic channels rather than a tweet in the middle of the night,” Geens said during a broadcast interview on Sunday, according to the AFP.

Meanwhile in the UK the issue has recently become politically explosive as debate over so-called British jihadist bride Shamima Begum continues. The now 19-year old joined Islamic State in 2015 after fleeing the UK when she was just 15. She’s now given birth in a Syrian refugee camp and is demanding safe return to Britain for fear that she and her child could die in the camp, so near the war zone.

Conservatives in Britain, such as Interior Minister Sajid Javid have argued that “dangerous individuals” coming back to the UK from battlefields in the Middle East should be stripped of their British citizenship. He said this option has already been “so far exercises more than 100 times,” otherwise he also advocates prosecution of apprehended returning suspects “regardless of their age and gender.”

Identified as French nationals fighting within ISIS’ ranks, via Khaama press news agency

The UN has estimated that in total up to 42,000 foreign fighters traveled to Iraq and Syria to join IS — which appears a very conservative estimate — and which includes about 900 from Germany and 850 from Britain.

SDF leaders have previously complained about the “lack the capacity” for mass incarceration of ISIS terrorists and the inability to have proper battlefield trials for them. Recent estimates have put the number of ISIS militants in US-SDF battlefield jails at over 1000, though Trump put the number at 800 in his tweet.

However, even once they do return to Europe it’s unclear the extent to which they’ll be properly prosecuted and locked in prison by European authorities.

For example, another fresh controversy that lately erupted in Britain involved a 29-year old UK woman who traveled to join ISIS, and was convicted for membership in a terrorist group upon her return to Britain. She was jailed on a six year sentence in 2016, but is now already walking free a mere less than three years after her conviction.

 

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‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

RT

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Via RT…


Facebook blocking several pages operated by Maffick Media is nothing short of outright censorship, the company’s CEO Anissa Naouai said, after a US-funded think tank pointed them out to CNN for a ‘hit-piece’.

The actions of the social media giant, which suspended the accounts of In the Now, Soapbox, Back Then and Waste-Ed last Friday without providing any explanation or even contacting the company that ran the pages, is nothing but a simple attempt to get rid of dissenting voices critical of Washington’s policies, Naouai told RT.

It is blatant censorship. What else can you call it?

Unexplained ban

The ban came literally out of the blue even though Maffick did not violate any existing Facebook regulations. “There is no rule that you have to post anything about your funding or personal funding. No one does it, not any of the US-sponsored outlets,” Naouai said. However, that was apparently the stated reason for the blocking as a Facebook spokesperson said the social media giant wanted the pages to become more transparent by disclosing their funding and “Russian affiliations.”

Facebook never contacted Maffick Media directly, though. In fact, it did not even answer the company’s emails and stayed conspicuously silent about the ways that would allow the accounts to be reinstated. “We have not heard a word from Facebook and it has been over three days now,” Naouai said.

The whole situation makes one think that the suspension is in fact connected to the pages’ popularity as well as their critical stance towards US policies, the Maffick CEO said. “We have hosts that talk about things that are not allowed to talk about on other networks like CNN,” she explained.

“If a video that says that gets hundreds of thousands of views on a page that has millions of views, people [in Washington] start to notice that and they get upset. I believe that is why we were targeted: because of our success and because of, as CNN said, high quality of our videos,” Naouai added.

The Maffick CEO also assumed that a recent piece on the US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela might have become a trigger for this drastic measure taken by Facebook. “There is a very … divisive and obnoxious policy taking place right now against Venezuela,” she said, “we do not know if this was the segment that triggered [the suspension] but the timing is convenient.”

“When someone calls out what is happening in Venezuela as a blatant coup it ruffles the feathers of think tanks that spent millions if not billions of dollars to persuade [the audience otherwise] and lobby their interests.”

‘Interrogation’ by CNN

Some details of this whole case may indeed seem odd. Just about an hour after the pages were blocked, CNN published a report on the issue as if they broke the news. “CNN knew that we were going to be blocked before we did,” Naouai said, explaining that, when she found out her company’s pages were suspended, CNN had already published its piece.

Weeks before the blocking, CNN sought to interview some freelancers working with Maffick in an apparent attempt to “dig up some dirt,” Rania Khalek, the American host of Soapbox – one of the video shows Maffick ran on Facebook – recalled.

When the company’s leadership “got wind of it” and offered CNN an interview, it all ended up with a 45-minute “interrogation” loaded with “unethical” questions that “almost any other media organization would even think to answer.”

It felt like a police interrogation: very invasive questions about Maffick and our editorial policies. It was clear that they were doing a hit-piece.

“A CNN journalist repeatedly asked me about my political viewpoints. He was in complete disbelief that I have editorial control over my scripts. He could not understand how it was possible,” Khalek, who was one of those, who gave the interview to CNN, said.

Maffick Media assumed that CNN might in fact pressure Facebook into blocking the accounts. “It is a very competitive market existing in a very political atmosphere that is toxic right now in the US,” Naouai said.

Loophole for state censorship?

CNN itself admits in its piece that it did not just stumble upon the Facebook pages in question independently. Instead, this issue was brought to its attention by the Alliance for Securing Democracy – a part of the German Marshall Fund. This fund is a think tank, which is financed by the US and German governments and has such people as Michael Morell, the former CIA deputy head, and Jacob Sullivan, former Vice President Joe Biden’s top security aide, on its advisory board.

Now, CNN, which stepped on a slippery slope by scrutinizing other media outlets’ funding, had to go to some extraordinary lengths to persuade its audience that the Alliance for Securing Democracy “does not receive any funding” from the German Marshall Fund, while still being a part of it at the same time. However, all these facts just added a new layer to the story.

“You have this US-funded think tank prompting CNN to pressure Facebook to ban our pages. That is an act of censorship,”Khalek said. She thinks the whole scheme was used to circumvent the First Amendment banning the US authorities from directly censoring free speech. “So, they use a middleman to pressure private companies to censor us,” she added, calling it a “legal loophole.”

‘Beginning of an end’

Regardless of who is really behind the ploy, Facebook banning some media pages without any explanation sets a tremendously dangerous precedent, Maffick Media believes. “We had a verified page, which had billions of views, just disappear from online without any kind of comment, any kind of requirement, without breaking any rules. That is unprecedented,” Naouai said.

You have Facebook dictating what people can and cannot see and judging what is good content and bad content. And it is all based on the accusations and criticism coming from a government-funded outlet. If Facebook does it to us, it can do it to anyone,” Khalek warned.

This is because of the political content that challenges the US wars. It is absolutely an act of censorship.

The US establishment apparently seeks to suppress the outlets that “offer a platform to alternative voices that can speak out against US wars and the corporate control over our government in a way that you just do not hear in our corporate media,” the Soapbox host believes.

However, if the social media giant and the likes of it will just continue to randomly block media resources while having “no grounds” to do so, it could create very serious problems for society, Naouai believes.

That would be the beginning of an end of free speech.

 

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Warsaw And Munich: Whistling Past NATO’s Graveyard

Sanctions cut both ways.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


If the Anti-Iran conference in Warsaw was the opening act, the annual Munich Security Conference was the main event. Both produced a lot of speeches, grandstanding and virtue-signaling, as well as a lot of shuffling of feet and looking at the ground.

The message from the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia was clear, “We are still committed to the destruction of Syria as a functional state to end the growing influence of Iran.”

Europe, for the most part, doesn’t buy that argument anymore. Germany certainly doesn’t. France is only interested in how they can curry favor with the U.S. to wrest control of the EU from Germany. The U.K. is a hopeless has-been, living on Deep State inertia and money laundered through City of London.

The Poles just want to stick it to the Russians.

Everyone else has a bad case of, “been there, done that, ain’t doin’ it again.”

They know supporting the fiction that the War in Syria was a war against the evil President Bashar al-Assad is counter-productive.

The geopolitical landscape is changing quickly. And these countries, like Hungary, Italy, and the Czech Republic, know that the current policy trajectory of the Trump administration vis a vis Russia, Iran and China is a suicide pact for them.

So they show up when called, receive our ‘diplomats’ and then pretty much ignore everything they said. This is what happened, ultimately, in Munich.

Even the EU leadership has no illusions about the goals of the U.S./Israeli/Saudi policy on Syria. And that’s why they refused to shut Russia and Iran out of the Munich Security Conference despite the hyperventilating of Pompeo’s amateur-hour State Dept.

The Syria Hangover

These countries are struggling with the after-effects of eight years of war displacing millions who Angela Merkel invited into Europe for her own political purposes.

The resultant chaos now threatens every major political power center in Europe, which could culminate in a Euroskeptic win at the European Parliamentary elections in May.

Continuing on this road will only lead to Russia, Iran, Turkey and China forming a bloc with India to challenge the economic and political might of the West over the next two decades.

So it was no surprise to see Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu glad-handing looking for support to beam back home for his re-election campaign.

It was also no surprise to see NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg grovel at the feet of the U.S. over the shared mission because he knows that’s where the gravy flows from.

But there was no statement of purpose coming out of Munich after two days of talks. Warsaw already set the stage for that. Vice-President Mike Pence fell completely flat as the substitute Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looked sad and confused as to why no one applauded him for his cheap and empty rhetoric about how evil Iran is.

The Syria operation was put together by the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and Qatar with the expressed purpose of creating a failed state of ungoverned fiefdoms. Syria was to be carved up piecemeal with a great land grab for all major partners getting a piece.

Israel gets a buffer zone east of the Golan Heights, Turkey gets Idlib, Afrin and Aleppo. The Kurds get everything east of the Euphrates. And Europe gets pipelines from the Arabian peninsula.

Meanwhile Iran loses Syria and Lebanon, Russia gets pushed out of the European gas market (along with the putsch in Ukraine) and the center of the country is a hot mess of terrorism which can be exported all around the region and further directed against Russia and Iran.

It all looked so good on paper.

But, as I’ve described multiple times, it was an operation built on perception and the false premise that no one would stand up to it.

In came Russia in October 2015 and the rest, unfortunately for the neocons, is just a chase scene.

Sanctions Cut Both Ways

Because for Europe, once it became clear what the costs would be to continue this project, there was little to no incentive to do so. That’s why they sued for peace with Iran by negotiating the JCPOA.

For every MAGApede and Fox News neocon who excoriates Obama for giving Iran $150 billion dollars (of their own money back which we stole) I remind you that it was Obama in 2012 that signed the sanctions which froze that money in the first place.

The JCPOA was signed because in 2014 the Syria operation looked like it was on auto-pilot to success. Iran could have their money back because it wouldn’t matter. They would be vassals and the money wouldn’t buy them anything of substance.

It was Russia and China’s making the move into Syria that changed that calculus.

That’s why the only ones who keep pushing for this balkanization strategy are the ones who still stand to gain from it. The U.S., Saudi Arabia and Israel. It was clear in Munich that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov was the man everyone wanted to talk to.

Everyone has cut bait. Even the Saudis are hedging their best cozying up to Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. still needs to project power globally to support the dollar and its obscene fiscal debauchery. Israel is staring at a future in which its myriad enemies have won and the Saudis need to rule the Sunni Arab world by leading them in a war against Iran.

The Warsaw Summit was a triumph only insofar as the U.S. can still call its allies to attention and they’ll do so. But that’s about it. But it was clear at Munich that Europe isn’t buying what the U.S. is selling about its relationship anymore.

It’s an not only an abusive one with Trump applying maximal economic pressure but also a wholly unrealistic one. Foreign policy midgets like Pompeo and Pence were literally pleading with everyone to not undermine their latest plan to make the world safe for Israel and Trump’s moronic Energy Dominance plan.

Whistling in Munich

In the end, the whole Munich affair looked like a bunch of people gathering to whistle past the graveyard of the fraying post-WWII institutional order. Trump wants Europe to pay for NATO so we don’t but Europe doesn’t want NATO on Trump’s terms which put them in the cross-hairs of his power play with Russia and China over the INF treaty.

Putin has built a version of fortress Russia that is for all practical purposes impregnable, short-of an all-out nuclear conflict which no one except maybe the most ideologically possessed in D.C. and Tel Aviv wants.

The naysayers have had their day but the weapons unveiled by Putin at last March’s State of the Union address changed the board state in a way that requires different tactics. I said so last March and it identified a shift narrative for all of us as to what Putin’s long-game was.

These new weapons represent a state change in weapons technology but, at the same time, are cheap deterrents to further escalation.  They fit within Russia’s budget, again limited by demographic and, as I pointed out in a recent article, domestic realities

…[They highlight] we’re not winning in technology.  So, all we can do is employ meat-grinder policies and force Russia and her allies to spend money countering the money we spend.

It’s a game that hollows everyone out.  And it’s easier for Putin to sell the defensive nature of his position to Russians than it is to sell our backing Al-Qaeda and ISIS to defeat them.  Because that reality has broken through the barrier to it.

And that’s why Europe is so unwilling to go along with Trump on the INF Treaty, Iranian regime change and even his Arab NATO plan. They are the ones being asked to be on the front lines, pay for and fight a war against their best interests.

And that’s why no one was willing to join the latest ‘coalition of the willing’ in Munich to perpetuate the conflict in Asia. They’ll go along with Trump’s plans in Venezuela, it doesn’t cost them anything strategically.

But even Merkel knows that in light of the events of the past three and a half years, the right move for Europe is to cut a deal with Russia and Iran while keeping their head down as the U.S. loses its mind.


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