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China furious with Trump over threat to end trade over North Korea dispute

Into the fray, Switzerland has offered to be a neutral mediator in talks between North Korea and the United States.

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The Chinese Foreign Ministry has reacted with anger to a threat made by Donald Trump on Twitter that he is considering cutting off trade with all nations which do any level of business with North Korea.

This confirms what I wrote yesterday, criticising Trump’s ill-conceived threat:

“Apart from the par for the course insults to China and threats of military action, the most strange Tweet was the one in which the US President threatened to cease trading with any country doing business with North Korea.

While North Korea conducts little business with the outside world by contemporary standards, a great number of nations do in fact conduct legal business with the DPRK on a frequent basis. This includes many US allies.

North Korea’s most prominent import partners include:

1. China

2. India

3. Russia

4. Thailand

5. Philippines

North Korea’s most sizeable export partners include:

1. China

2. India

3. Pakistan

4. Burkina Faso

Other countries with business relations with North Korea include but are not limited to: Egypt, Sweden, France, Peru, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Ukraine, Syria, South Africa, Ecuador, Germany, Malaysia, Singapore, Poland, the EU as a whole (including Britain) and many others.

As things stand, were the United States to stop trading with the aforementioned countries, the US would be ceasing trade with some of the most prominent economies in the world.

Clearly, the idea is for America to effectively bully other nations into ceasing their business dealings with North Korea in order to preserve their import and export relations with the US government and US business.

Such a tactic is not only unwise but it is patently aggressive and largely unrealistic. While the UN Security Council has spoken in a unified voice on sanctions, Russia and China have both come out in opposition to further unilateral sanctions passed by the United States.

Russia has likewise repeatedly stated that attempting to starve North Korea into submission is an American plan that Russia would never endorse. The same applies to China.

If Trump were however to instruct the US Treasury Department to try and implement such a threat, America would effectively be using sovereign economic blackmail to ideally (from Trump’s perspective) starve North Korea or otherwise to punish countries which do  business North Korea, something which depending on which countries wouldn’t respond to the blackmail, could possibly destroy the US economy in respect of both imports and exports. This is especially true when one considers that countries with powerful economies like China do not respond well to blackmail and are economically diverse enough not to require total reliance on any one country, no matter how large.

Furthermore, in ‘starving’ North Korea, it would be less of a starvation into submission than a starvation into a desperate state where using nuclear weapons would ultimately be more likely in respect of Pyongyang.

While Trump’s statement is technically unofficial, it does speak to the important differences between geo-politics and domestic business ventures. The great economies of the world aren’t a cement company from New York…some of them even have nuclear weapons, including the countries that do the highest levels of business with North Korea”.

Today, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Geng Shuang stated,

“What is definitely unacceptable to us is that on the one hand we work so hard to peacefully resolve this issue and on the other hand our interests are subject to sanctions and jeopardised. This is unfair”.

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange further stated that Trump’s threat is not only untenable but one which the US so-called ‘deep state’ would never allow as it would be incredibly damaging to the US economy. He also, shared an article detailing China’s plans to allow countries to trade oil in Yuan which would be convertible to gold on the Shanghai and Hong Kong gold exchanges, thus allowing nations under US sanctions to side-step the US Dollar.

Assange further highlighted the fact that North Korea’s nuclear programme is not one designed for aggressive conflict but one which serves as a deterrent. He cited figures relating to the US destruction of North Korea during the 1950s as well as the examples of America targeting and destroying countries which do not possess such a deterrent.

 

Donald Trump has exhausted China’s good will over the issue, so much so that a third party has now offered to intervene over the Korean issue.

The Swiss President has offered to act as a mediator in the dispute between the United States and North Korea. Hours after the United States threatened military action, including the use of nuclear weapons against North Korea, President Doris Leuthard of Switzerland stated,

“We are ready to offer our role …as a mediator. It is really time now to sit down at a table. Big powers have a responsibility”.

She called on the US, North Korea and China to help Switzerland to promote peace talks which might settle the situation for the foreseeable future.

Switzerland’s history of declared neutrality on all geo-political affairs places the country in a unique position to calm tensions between rival powers. There is possibly even a further connection Switzerland has to the situation as it has been rumoured that Kim Jong-Un once attended an international school in Switzerland during his youth.

With Washington alienating Beijing, it is becoming increasingly clear that a party far removed from the Korean issue may have to help initiate the process of dialogue between Kim Jong-Un’s government and Donald Trump’s government, one that Russia and China have both called for in their ‘double-freeze’ peace plan which both Moscow and Beijing continue to push for.

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Voltaire
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Voltaire

The Trump Junta

ghartwell
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Trump is over-the-top American to the point of being the clown capitalist. I guess between a militaristic psychopath and a bombastic clown capitalist we got the better deal. At least you have to smile at the antics. 🙂

cortisol
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cortisol

They now NEED to use bullying and threats to keep their precious reserve currency status, even on their supposed fully controlled vassal states. This tells the end time is near for it is one of the last stages.

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

It is enough to look at South Korea map , with the US military bases locations at a couple of miles from N.Korea border. The US military presence continues since 1945. Would the US not count it as threat if China or Russia had as many military bases at US border?
US Army Bases in South Korea:comment image

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

Since 1984, North Korea has conducted more than 100 missile tests. It was piled with sanctions over sanctions over sanctions. Now, the sanctions leverage is nil and one must recognize the evidence: NK is now member of the nuclearized countries’ club. Threatening it, is signing the death warrant not only of its people, but of South Korea as well.

Dorthyredison
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Dorthyredison

Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

Good for Switzerland! But as long as the US continues to ignore any international laws, any agreements it dislikes – not even god’s mediation can help.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

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Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

The great Donaldo Dumboni, what a whacko!!!!

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Understanding the Holodomor and why Russia says nothing

A descendant of Holodomor victims takes the rest of us to school as to whether or not Russia needs to shoulder the blame.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the charges that nationalist Ukrainians often lodge against their Russian neighbors is that the Russian government has never acknowledged or formally apologized to Ukraine for the “Holodomor” that took place in Ukraine in 1932-1933. This was a man-made famine that killed an estimated seven to 10 million Ukrainians , though higher estimates claim 12.5 million and lower ones now claim 3.3 million.

No matter what the total was, it amounts to a lot of people that starved to death. The charge that modern-day Russia ought to apologize for this event is usually met with silence, which further enrages those Ukrainians that believe that this issue must be resolved by the Russian acknowledgement of responsibility for it. Indeed, the prime charge of these Ukrainians is that the Russians committed a genocide against the Ukrainian people. This is a claim Russia denies.

To the outside observer who does not know this history of Russia and Ukraine’s relationship, and who does not know or understand the characteristics of the Soviet Union, this charge seems as simple and laid out as that of the Native Americans or the blacks demanding some sort of recompense or restitution for the damages inflicted on these societies through conquest and / or slavery. But we discovered someone who had family connections involved in the Holodomor, and who offers her own perspective, which is instructive in why perhaps the Russian Federation does not say anything about this situation.

Scene in Kharkiv with dead from the famine 1932-33 lying along the street.

The speaker is Anna Vinogradova, a Russian Israeli-American, who answered the question through Quora of “Why doesn’t Russia recognize the Holodomor as a genocide?” She openly admits that she speaks only for herself, but her answer is still instructive. We offer it here, with some corrections for the sake of smooth and understandable English:

I can’t speak for Russia and what it does and doesn’t recognize. I can speak for myself.

I am a great-granddaughter of a “Kulak” (кулак), or well-to-do peasant, who lived close to the Russia/Ukraine border.

The word “кулак” means “fist” in Russian, and it wasn’t a good thing for a person to be called by this label. A кулак was an exploiter of peasants and a class enemy of the new state of workers and poor peasants. In other words, while under Communism, to be called a кулак was to bring a death sentence upon yourself.

At some point, every rural class enemy, every peasant who wasn’t a member of a collective farm was eliminated one way or another.

Because Ukraine has very fertile land and the Ukrainian style of agriculture often favors individual farms as opposed to villages, there is no question that many, many Ukrainian peasants were considered class enemies like my great grandfather, and eliminated in class warfare.

I have no doubt that class warfare included starvation, among other things.

The catch? My great grandfather was an ethnic Russian living in Russia. What nationality were the communists who persecuted and eventually shot him? They were of every nationality there was (in the Soviet Union), and they were led by a Ukrainian, who was taking orders from a Georgian.

Now, tell me, why I, a descendant of an unjustly killed Russian peasant, need to apologize to the descendants of the Ukrainians who killed him on the orders of a Georgian?

What about the Russian, Kazakh golodomor (Russian rendering of the same famine)? What about the butchers, who came from all ethnicities? Can someone explain why it’s only okay to talk about Ukrainian victims and Russian persecutors? Why do we need to rewrite history decades later to convert that brutal class war into an ethnic war that it wasn’t?

Ethnic warfare did not start in Russia until after WWII, when some ethnicities were accused of collaboration with the Nazis and brutal group punishments were implemented. It was all based on class up to that time.

The communists of those years were fanatically internationalist. “Working people of all countries, unite!” was their slogan and they were fanatical about it.

As for the crimes of Communism, Russia has been healing this wound for decades, and Russia’s government has made its anticommunist position very clear.

This testimony is most instructive. First, it points out information that the charge of the Holodomor as “genocide!” neatly leaves out. In identifying the internationalist aspects of the Soviet Union, Ukraine further was not a country identified as somehow worthy of genocidal actions. Such a thought makes no sense, especially given the great importance of Ukraine as the “breadbasket” of the Soviet Union, which it was.

Secondly, it shows a very western-style of “divide to conquer” with a conveniently incendiary single-word propaganda tool that is no doubt able to excite any Ukrainian who may be neutral to slightly disaffected about Russia, and then after that, all Ukrainians are now victims of the mighty evil overlords in Moscow.

How convenient is this when the evil overlords in Kyiv don’t want their citizens to know what they are doing?

We saw this on Saturday – taken to a very high peak when President Petro Poroshenko announced the new leading “Hierarch” of the “Ukrainian National Church” and said not one single word about Christ, but only:

“This day will go down in history as the day of the creation of an autocephalous Orthodox church in Ukraine… This is the day of the creation of the church as an independent structure… What is this church? It is a church without Putin. It is a church without Kirill, without prayer for the Russian authorities and the Russian army.”

But as long as Russia is made the “problem”, millions of scandalized Ukrainians will not care what this new Church actually does or teaches, which means it is likely to teach just about anything.

Russia had its own Holodomor. The history of the event shows that this was a result of several factors – imposed socialist economics on a deeply individualized form of agrarian capitalism (bad for morale and worse for food production), really inane centralized planning of cropland use, and a governmental structure that really did not exist to serve the governed, but to impose an ideology on people who really were not all that interested in it.

Personal blame might well lay with Stalin, a Georgian, but the biggest source of the famine lay in the structures imposed under communism as a way of economic strategy. This is not Russia’s fault. It is the economic model that failed.

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Mueller Finally Releases Heavily Redacted Key Flynn Memo On Eve Of Sentencing

Alex Christoforou

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Via Zerohedge


Having initially snubbed Judge Emmet Sullivan’s order to release the original 302 report from the Michael Flynn interrogation in January 2017, Special Counsel Robert Mueller has finally produced the heavily redacted document, just hours before sentencing is due to be handed down.

The memo  – in full below – details then-national security adviser Michael Flynn’s interview with FBI agents Peter Strzok and Joe Pientka, and shows Flynn was repeatedly asked about his contacts with former Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and in each instance, Flynn denied (or did not recall) any such conversations.

The agents had transcripts of Flynn’s phone calls to Russian Ambassador Kislyak, thus showing Flynn to be lying.

Flynn pleaded guilty guilty last December to lying to the FBI agents about those conversations with Kislyak.

The redactions in the document seem oddly placed but otherwise, there is nothing remarkable about the content…

Aside from perhaps Flynn’s incredulity at the media attention…

Flynn is set to be sentenced in that federal court on Tuesday.

Of course, as Christina Laila notes, the real crime is that Flynn was unmasked during his phone calls to Kislyak and his calls were illegally leaked by a senior Obama official to the Washington Post.

*  *  *

Full document below…

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Don’t Laugh : It’s Giving Putin What He Wants

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself.

Caitlin Johnstone

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Authored by Caitlin Johnstone:


The BBC has published an article titled “How Putin’s Russia turned humour into a weapon” about the Kremlin’s latest addition to its horrifying deadly hybrid warfare arsenal: comedy.

The article is authored by Olga Robinson, whom the BBC, unhindered by any trace of self-awareness, has titled “Senior Journalist (Disinformation)”. Robinson demonstrates the qualifications and acumen which earned her that title by warning the BBC’s audience that the Kremlin has been using humor to dismiss and ridicule accusations that have been leveled against it by western governments, a “form of trolling” that she reports is designed to “deliberately lower the level of discussion”.

“Russia’s move towards using humour to influence its campaigns is a relatively recent phenomenon,” Robinson explains, without speculating as to why Russians might have suddenly begun laughing at their western accusers. She gives no consideration to the possibility that the tightly knit alliance of western nations who suddenly began hysterically shrieking about Russia two years ago have simply gotten much more ridiculous and easier to make fun of during that time.

Couldn’t possibly have anything to do with the emergence of a demented media environment wherein everything around the world from French protests to American culture wars to British discontent with the European Union gets blamed on Russia without any facts or evidence. Wherein BBC reporters now correct guests and caution them against voicing skepticism of anti-Russia narratives because the UK is in “an information war” with that nation. Wherein the same cable news Russiagate pundit can claim that both Rex Tillerson’s hiring and his later firing were the result of a Russian conspiracy to benefit the Kremlin. Wherein mainstream outlets can circulate blatantly false information about Julian Assange and unnamed “Russians” and then blame the falseness of that reporting on Russian disinformation. Wherein Pokemon Go, cutesy Facebook memes and $4,700 in Google ads are sincerely cited as methods by which Hillary Clinton’s $1.2 billion presidential campaign was outdone. Wherein conspiracy theories that Putin has infiltrated the highest levels of the US government have been blaring on mainstream headline news for two years with absolutely nothing to show for it to this day.

Nope, the only possibility is that the Kremlin suddenly figured out that humor is a thing.

The fact of the matter is that humorous lampooning of western establishment Russia narratives writes itself. The hypocrisy is so cartoonish, the emotions are so breathlessly over-the-top, the stories so riddled with plot holes and the agendas underlying them so glaringly obvious that they translate very easily into laughs. I myself recently authored a satire piece that a lot of people loved and which got picked up by numerous alternative media outlets, and all I did was write down all the various escalations this administration has made against Russia as though they were commands being given to Trump by Putin. It was extremely easy to write, and it was pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. And it didn’t take any Kremlin rubles or dezinformatsiya from St Petersburg to figure out how to write it.

“Ben Nimmo, an Atlantic Council researcher on Russian disinformation, told the BBC that attempts to create funny memes were part of the strategy as ‘disinformation for the information age’,” the article warns. Nimmo, ironically, is himself intimately involved with the British domestic disinformation firm Integrity Initiative, whose shady government-sponsored psyops against the Labour Party have sparked a national scandal that is likely far from reaching peak intensity.

“Most comedy programmes on Russian state television these days are anodyne affairs which either do not touch on political topics, or direct humour at the Kremlin’s perceived enemies abroad,” Robinson writes, which I found funny since I’d just recently read an excellent essay by Michael Tracey titled “Why has late night swapped laughs for lusting after Mueller?”

“If the late night ‘comedy’ of the Trump era has something resembling a ‘message,’ it’s that large segments of the nation’s liberal TV viewership are nervously tracking every Russia development with a passion that cannot be conducive to mental health – or for that matter, political efficacy,” Tracey writes, documenting numerous examples of the ways late night comedy now has audiences cheering for a US intelligence insider and Bush appointee instead of challenging power-serving media orthodoxies as programs like The Daily Show once did.

If you wanted the opposite of “anodyne affairs”, it would be comedians ridiculing the way all the establishment talking heads are manipulating their audiences into supporting the US intelligence community and FBI insiders. It would be excoriating the media environment in which unfathomably powerful world-dominating government agencies are subject to less scrutiny and criticism than a man trapped in an embassy who published inconvenient facts about those agencies. It certainly wouldn’t be the cast of Saturday Night Live singing “All I Want for Christmas Is You” to a framed portrait if Robert Mueller wearing a Santa hat. It doesn’t get much more anodyne than that.

Russia makes fun of western establishment narratives about it because those narratives are so incredibly easy to make fun of that they are essentially asking for it, and the nerdy way empire loyalists are suddenly crying victim about it is itself more comedy. When Guardian writer Carole Cadwalladr began insinuating that RT covering standard newsworthy people like Julian Assange and Nigel Farage was a conspiracy to “boost” those people for the advancement of Russian agendas instead of a news outlet doing the thing that news reporting is, RT rightly made fun of her for it. Cadwalladr reacted to RT’s mockery with a claim that she was a victim of “attacks”, instead of the recipient of perfectly justified ridicule for circulating an intensely moronic conspiracy theory.

Ah well. People are nuts and we’re hurtling toward a direct confrontation with a nuclear superpower. Sometimes there’s nothing else to do but laugh. As Wavy Gravy said, “Keep your sense of humor, my friend; if you don’t have a sense of humor it just isn’t funny anymore.”

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