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America is trying to turn India against China….and Russia

Having given up on creating a new Sino-Russian split, the United States now seeks to use India’s historic geo-political position to exploit latent tensions between New Delhi and Beijing while also trying to sour India’s historically warm relationship with Moscow.

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As The Duran’s Alexander Mercouris explains, America’s vainglorious and ultimately foolhardy attempt to create a divide between China and Russia has failed spectacularly.

Any remaining hopes that the US could cause a rift between Moscow and Beijing ultimately failed to understand that whereas the Nixon administration exploited an existing, substantial split between the two communist super-powers, Russia and China are now allies and no amount of sweet-talking (however patronising) from Washington could create a new Sino-Russian split in 2017.

READ MORE: As China’s leader comes to Russia US acts to end Trump-Xi friendship 

The proximate timing of America’s sale of weapons to Chinese Taipei (aka Taiwan) and Chinese President Xi’s visit to Moscow is of course the final blow in any attempt by Washington to seriously ‘restart’ relations with China. Of course, America’s economic dependence on China will continue into the foreseeable future and Beijing is well aware of this.

Of equal importance to America’s distancing itself from China was India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United States. The visit was filled with positive platitudes about the healthy state of US-Indian relations. Trump and Modi of course have something in common as two major world leaders with an almost visceral dislike of Islam, an inconvenient truth that far too many in the press have ignored. However, a common hatred of a major world religion may not be enough to create a meaningful alliance, not least because ultimately the US and India have a very different idea of what a war on “radical Islamic terror” would look like. India and specially Modi’s war with Islam is an internal matter, NATO’s war with various Islamic powers is all about geo-politics and global economics–just ask the leaders in Doha and Riyadh.

Ever since India achieved independence from Britain in the 1947 (with full republican independence arriving in 1950), China and India’s relationship has been fraught to say the least.

After initially hopeful signs in the 1950s, things deteriorated so badly by the 1960s that in 1962, China and India countries fought a short but worrying war over a border dispute centred around Aksai Chin.

India’s support of Tibetan separatists throughout this period served to exacerbate these tensions.

As the Sino-Soviet split became ever more pronounced, the USSR became ever closer to India. As a result, China began cultivating a closer relationship with Pakistan. To this end, China actively backed Pakistan in the war against India in 1965 and was also generally supportive of Pakistan in the war between the two Asian powers in 1971.

Things began to slowly improve in the 1980s although China and India nearly went to war again over border disputes in 1987. Both sides eventually stood down before any fighting could commence.

Continued border disputes, particularly over Aksai Chin continued to create conflict as recently as 2013. However, in more recent years China and India have been drawn closer together through the joint membership of important international bodies.

Since 2009, both China and India have been a member of the BRICS, a group of nations committed to increased economic and commercial cooperation. Other founding members include Russia and Brazil, while South Africa added the ‘S’ to the original BRIC in 2010.

Even more importantly, in 2017 both Pakistan and India joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation(SCO), an international body which works towards enhanced security, economic and political cooperation across Asia and Eurasia. The fact that India and Pakistan are both now in the SCO is an achievement in itself, not least due to the fact that the British authored Partition of India continued to haunt relations between Islamabad, New Delhi and Dhaka for much of the 20th century.

In the wider sphere of geo-politics, the fact that India and China are now in the same international organisation is even more important.

Russia’s historically good relationship with India and its recent incredibly important alliance with China means that Russia can now act as a mediator in lingering ill-will between India and China.

Whereas during the 1960s, 70s and 80s India was a more important partner to the Soviet Union than almost any large Asian country, this role has largely been supplanted by China. Indeed, China which always exercised a fully-independent foreign policy is now a more important ally to Russia in a new multi-polar world than India which in spite of its good relationship with Russia, was always part of the non-aligned movement and continued to enjoy open relations and occasionally quite good relations with the US throughout the Cold War. This is even more true of non-aligned Pakistan which was generally a close US ally in spite of broadly good Sino-Pakistan relations.

The economic future of China, India and Pakistan is now inexorably linked, whether the leaders of these countries like it or not. China is clearly the powerhouse although India’s economy continues to grow at a rate which is  alarming to the west which once dominated India. China by contrast is far less worried about India’s growth than many western analysts would imply.

While some worry that traditional border disputes between India and China could be re-made into disputes over industrial output, the sensible thing to do would be for India and China to combine their unique strengths as part of the One Belt–One Road trade initiative. India is after all a major stop on this new silk road which China is working to create. Russia realises that it is in Moscow’s interest to help bring India and China into a more respectful and cooperative relationship. Incidentally, China and India’s relationship would be good for over-all world peace and stability in Asia, Russian President Vladimir Putin is all too aware of this.

America will almost certainly try to exploit latent tensions between China and India, this is now overtly apparent based on America giving up on the hopeless desire to drive a wedge between China and Russia. Donald Trump and Narendra Modi’s generally warm visit is a further symptom of this not so secret ambition of the United States.

But other than an export market for Indian goods, what else can the US offer India? It cannot offer India anything that Russia and China cannot. This is true in respect of military technology, the IT sector and educational/cultural relations. The difference is that Russia and China can offer India all of it for less money. Trump even joked about trying to up the price on the sale of American goods to India during his recent press conference with the Indian Prime Minsiter. America however won’t be laughing when increased Asian and Eurasian cooperation means that India will be able to buy important items from both China and Russia for a fraction of the price of equivalent American goods.

There remains a possibility that the United States could develop a tariff war, pinning Chinese and Indian exports against each other. This too will ultimately backfire as in such trade wars, it behoves mutual producers to unite against an avaricious buyer. This could of course cause short term tension but in the long term it will not likely amount to very much.

In attempting to drive a wedge between China and Russia, the US has if anything, only pushed Moscow and Beijing closer to one another. India’s historically non-aligned position gives New Delhi more wiggle room than either China or Russia have in this respect, but ultimately, if America plays India and China against one another, the long term effect will be the same and both China and India will have the last laugh even as some disputes will of course continue to linger into the near future.

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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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European Council crushes Theresa May’s soft Brexit dream (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May hoped that the European Council was ready to see things her way, in terms of proceeding with a soft Brexit, which was essentially no Brexit at all…at least not the hard Brexit that was voted on in a democratic referendum approximately two years ago.

Much to May’s surprise, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a death blow verdict for May’s Brexit, noting that EU leaders are in full agreement that Chequers plan for Brexit “will not work” because “it risks undermining the single market.”

Without a miracle compromise springing up come during the October summit, the UK will drift into the March 29, 2019 deadline without a deal and out of the European Union…which was initially what was voted for way back in 2016, leaving everyone asking, what the hell was May doing wasting Britain’s time and resources for two years, so as to return back to the hard Brexit terms she was charged with carrying forward after the 2016 referendum?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss what was a disastrous EU summit in Salzburg for UK PM Theresa May, in what looks to be the final nail in May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister, as a hard Brexit now seems all but certain.

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Via Zerohedge

Tusk was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit. He said that while there were “positive elements” in May’s Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk cannot be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” Tusk said. He also said that he could not “exclude” the possibility that the UK could exit the EU in March with no deal.

May has been urging her European counterparts to accept her controversial Chequers plan which has split both the Conservative party and the broader UK population after it was thrashed out back in July. However, despite the painfully-slow negotiation process, which appears to have made little headway with just a few months left, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019 – with or without an exit deal.

The main sticking point that has emerged, and left May and the EU at loggerheads, has been how to avoid new checks on the Irish border. May has claimed that her proposals were the “only serious, credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. She said during a press conference after the Salzburg meeting that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a Northern Ireland hard border. She said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

May also said that there was “a lot of hard work to be done,” adding that the UK was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the EU without a deal. Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, and that “if the conditions are there” another summit would be held in November to “formalize” it.

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Russia makes HUGE strides in drone technology

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The US and Israel are universally recognized leaders in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Thousands of American and Israeli UAVs are operating across the world daily.

The US military has recently successfully tested an air-to-air missile to turn its MQ-9 Reaper drone into an effective long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance unmanned spy aircraft capable of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air missions. This is a major breakthrough. It’s not a secret that Russia has been lagging behind in UAV development. Now its seems to be going to change with tangible progress made to narrow the gap.

Very few nations boast drones capable of high-altitude long endurance (HALE) missions. Russia is to enter the club of the chosen. In late 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry awarded a HALE UAV contract to the Kazan-based Simonov design bureau.

This month, Russian Zvezda military news TV channel showed a video (below) of Altair (Altius) heavy drone prototype aircraft number “03”, going through its first flight test.

Propelled by two RED A03/V12 500hp high fuel efficiency diesel engines, each producing a capacity of 500 hp on takeoff, the 5-ton heavy vehicle with a wingspan of 28.5 meters boasts a maximum altitude of 12km and a range of 10,000km at a cruising speed of 150-250km/h.

Wingspan: about 30 meters. Maximum speed: up to 950 km/h. Flight endurance: 48 hours. Payload: two tons, which allows the creation of a strike version. The vehicle is able to autonomously take off and land or be guided by an operator from the ground.

The UAV can carry the usual range of optical and thermal sensors as well as synthetic-aperture ground-surveillance radar with the resolution of .1 meter at the range of 35km and 1 meter at the range of 125km. The communications equipment allows real-time data exchange.

Russia’s UAV program currently underway includes the development of a range of large, small, and mid-sized drones. The Orion-E medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV was unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show. Its developer, Kronstadt Technologies, claims it could be modified for strike missions. The one-ton drone is going through testing now. The Orion-E is capable of automatic takeoff and landing.

It can fly continuously for 24 hours, carrying a surveillance payload of up to 200 kg to include a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret, synthetic aperture radar and high resolution cameras. The drone can reach a maximum altitude of 7,500 m. Its range is 250 km.

The Sukhoi design bureau is currently developing the Okhotnik (Hunter) strike drone with a range of about 3,500km. The drone made its maiden flight this year. In its current capacity, it has an anti-radar coating, and will store missiles and precision-guided bombs internally to avoid radar detection.

The Kazan-based Eniks Design Bureau is working on the small T-16 weaponized aerial vehicle able to carry 6 kg of payload.

The new Russian Korsar (Corsair) tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be upgraded to receive an electronic warfare system. Its operational range will be increased from 150km to 250km. The drone was revealed at Victory Day military parade along with the Korsar unmanned combat helicopter version.

The rotary wing drone lacks the speed and altitude of the fixed wing variant, but has a great advantage of being able to operate without landing strips and can be sea-based. Both drones can carry guided and unguided munitions. The fixed-wing version can be armed with Ataka 9M120 missiles.

The first Russian helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells was presented at the Army-2018 international forum. With the horizontal cruising speed of the drone up to 60 kph, the unmanned chopper can stay in the air at least 2.5 hours to conduct reconnaissance operations. Its payload is up to 5 kg.

Last November, the Kalashnikov Concern reported that it would start production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying up to several tons of cargo and operating for several days at a time without needing to recharge.

All in all, the Russian military operate 1,900 drones on a daily basis. The multi-purpose Orlan-10 with a range of 600km has become a working horse that no military operation, including combat actions in Syria, can be conducted without. Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov,
the head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Russian drones performed over 23,000 flights, lasting 140,000 hours in total.

Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 puts the creation of armed UAVs at the top of priorities’ list. Looks like the effort begins to pay off. Russia is well on the way to become second to none in UAV capability.

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Via Strategic Culture

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