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After a hard BREXIT the EU, not the UK, may be suffering from the break up (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 45.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s last stand on Brexit, which appears more and more like a hard Brexit is on the way and once the dust settles the UK will be better off for it.

The real loser in all of this Brexit fiasco may be the European Union.

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Via Zerohedge


Three weeks have passed, and we’re back at ‘Plan B’.

After months of pushing an EU-backed deal that has almost no chance of passing Parliament (at least, as of now), Theresa May’s strategizing as she seeks to run out the clock until Brexit day has come to resemble a nightmarish loop: May tries to whip up votes for her deal, MPs either resign, or threaten to resign, reports are floating saying May and her cabinet are considering a second referendum/Plan B/calling off Brexit, those reports are promptly denied, May begs the EU for more concessions, the EU tells her to drop dead, and then we’re back to whipping up votes for the draft plan.

Theresa May has been stuck in neutral for weeks now, having survived a no confidence vote, and Labour having backed down on a formal challenge to her government, May has called for a vote on her deal on Jan. 14 – a vote that, though the margin has reportedly been whittled to just 20 MPs, is still widely expected to fail.

And as May’s minority government struggles to win the support of the 10 DUP MPs who have helped prop up her minority government (and who have exercised an outsize influence on the process since May’s general election gambit last summer resulted in disaster for the conservatives), reports are again circulating that May & Co. are considering a variety of “dramatic” alternatives should her deal be defeated – including a possible Plan B Brexit deal that would lay the foundation for a ‘Super Norway’ trade arrangement, delaying ‘Brexit Day’ or calling for a second referendum.

Theresa May’s senior team are wrestling with the same question: What should she do if her deal is thrown out? In private, the options on the table are dramatic and include postponing the divorce from the European Union, calling another referendum or even announcing fresh national elections.

In under 100 days, the U.K. is due to leave the EU, fulfilling the mandate of the 2016 referendum and marking the culmination of two years of negotiations between London and Brussels. There is one massive obstacle standing in the prime minister’s path: Parliament won’t go along with the terms she’s agreed.

May is trying everything she can to win support among increasingly suspicious lawmakers for the unpopular divorce settlement she’s negotiated. She was forced to pull out of a vote on it on Dec. 11 and has now rescheduled the ballot for the week of Jan. 14.

In public, May and all her ministers are adamant that her exit deal is the only one available to avoid potential economic and social chaos. They are putting all their efforts into winning the vote in Parliament.

Behind closed doors, her inner circle is discussing the options if she fails.

Indeed, reading between the lines of the anonymously sourced trial balloons and May’s public remarks has become a skill in and of itself.

Reading between the lines of what May says is key to trying to understand the latest thinking of a prime minister who’s U-turned in the past to get out of a political bind.May’s most recent comment doesn’t rule out a change of heart.

First, there is the idea that while now might not be the time to seek an extension, it could be necessary later. Secondly, she implies that if Parliament fails to deliver Brexit by backing the deal, someone else — perhaps the British electorate — could be asked to decide.

May’s officials have sought to play down reports in recent days that there could be another referendum. Her office has made public that she will not countenance a rerun of the 2016 vote for as long as she’s in power. But people familiar with the matter are clear that May herself might not be in a position to decide.

One cudgel that May is trying to wield is the notion that, if her deal is voted down, it could give Labour an opening to force through another general election by calling, and winning, a no confidence vote in the government. The fear of Corbyn winning power could be enough to win support for May’s deal from some Brexiteers.

They know that if her deal is ultimately voted down, the campaign for a second referendum will gain momentum. One way of stopping that would be to trigger an election. That’s a threat some in May’s government are using to try to persuade the small party propping up her minority administration to come back on board.

May’s team believes this argument could be particularly effective in winning over the DUP, which opposes the current Brexit deal over the backstop, which it fears could lead to the UK becoming a ‘vassal’ state of the EU by leaving it permanently bound to the EU customs union.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party won’t want an election, in part because it brings closer the threat of a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn.

But the DUP is at the moment vowing to oppose the deal May has secured with the EU. Without the party’s support, May has no majority in the House of Commons. The DUP says it is ready to vote against May and bring down her government unless major changes can be made to the Brexit deal.

The premier and her ministers are mounting a charm offensive to woo the DUP, while May is engaged in a desperate attempt to persuade the EU to shift position on the most contentious part of the divorce package.

If the DUP come back on side, May’s team believes it’s possible that enough of her own Tories – who have also pledged to vote against the deal – will also sign up to give the accord a slim chance of surviving.

If all else fails, there’s always “Project Fear”, the latest iteration of which appeared in the Times of London Friday in a report that warned Britons to prepare to ‘change their diets’ to cope with possible food shortages following a ‘no deal’ Brexit (while the government doesn’t expect wholesale food shortages, certain perishable goods like fruits and vegetables might be harder to come by).

Officials are planning to tell Britons to change what they eat in the event of a chaotic Brexit because Whitehall predicts that some sources of fresh food from European Union countries would be cut off. The government has begun detailed planning on food supplies if Britain leaves without a deal and has identified a number of sites for massive hangars to stockpile food, including one near Carlisle and others in Scotland and on the south coast.

According to plans revealed to The Times, officials do not believe there will be a shortage of food in general. However, there is an issue with some perishable goods that come from the EU. Fruit from Spain or vegetables from the Netherlands could be held up by delays at the border if the EU limits trade or there need to be stringent checks.

With the path forward so muddled, there’s still plenty of room for unexpected twists and turns (like May resigning or being pushed out, despite surviving her Tory leadership contest). Though one thing is looking increasingly clear: Whatever happens, it likely won’t happen until the very last minute.

In fact, one ministers’ invocation of a classic Winston Churchill quote offers a dishearteningly apt evaluation of May’s negotiating strategy (which her European peers recently criticized as “chaotic” and “disorganized”:

“The Conservative Party on Brexit puts me in mind of what what Winston Churchill said about the Americans,” the minister said. “You can always count on them to do the right thing – after they have tried everything else.”

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am hantsOlivia KrothPaddy Jameson Powerascot7 Recent comment authors
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ascot7
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ascot7

God will decide on a fractured Britain. He knows who controls the strings. A religious power.

Paddy Jameson Power
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Paddy Jameson Power

And it’s not Christian…

Olivia Kroth
Guest

“After a hard BREXIT the EU … may be suffering from the break up”?
Let’s hope so. Many Europeans are sick and tired of the EU dictatorial beaurocracy. Not only the British people but other nations as well will be greatly relieved if they can live in peace, without being exploited by the Brussels dictators.

AM Hants
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AM Hants

The EU, US and Japan own 80% world debt, but, only make up 20% of the planet. Why is May so frightened of a hard BREXIT and working with 80% of the world, which only owns 20% world debt? WTO tariffs, do not seem too bad. Will seriously laugh if the EU falls, before May has tried to emotionally blackmail Parliament. Problem sorted.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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