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By 3-to-1, Americans Want Assange Prosecuted

By overwhelming margins, Americans thought that their Government should have an unqualified right to hide from the public, basically, anything it wants to hide.

Eric Zuesse

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Submitted by Eric Zuesse…

A YouGov poll of 2,455 Americans taken on April 11th found that by a margin of 53% to 17%, or by slightly over 3 to 1, Americans want Julian Assange to be prosecuted.

The question was: “Wikileaks founder Julian Assange was arrested in London. Do you think he should or should not be extradited to the US?”

This was a remarkably bipartisan hostility toward Assange. As the YouGov news-report on that finding indicated:

“That majority increases among both Republicans (59% supporting extradition) and Democrats (62% supporting extradition), but decreases to a plurality (46%) among Independents. Independents were more likely to respond with uncertainty (32% saying they don’t know) than Republicans and Democrats, and a little more than one in five Independents (22%) are opposed to extradition.”

During 18-20 November 2018, YouGov had polled Americans on “Do you have a favorable or an unfavorable opinion” on Assange, and separately the same on Wikileaks. On each, Americans were predominantly unfavorable toward Assange by 38% to 20%, and toward Wikileaks by 44% to 29%. Another question in that poll was “Do you support or oppose the prosecution of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks?” “Support” was 29%. “Oppose” was 19%.

In March 2011, Reuters’s Ipsos polling firm asked 18,829 people in 23 countries“As you may know, the mission of the Wikileaks internet site is to publish copies of confidential government or corporate files and information to the public. Do you support or oppose this type of site that would post such materials?” Globally, there was 74% “Support” and 26% “Oppose.” The lowest support was in U.S.: 29% support versus 61% opposition. (The second-lowest support of Wikileaks was in UK or “Great Britain,” where the opposition to Wikileaks was 38% instead of America’s 61%.) That poll also asked “Would you consider the publishers of the materials” from such a site to be “public service” or “mischief makers” or “criminals” or “heroes” or “other”; and the predominant one of those choices worldwide was “public service,” which was selected by the same percentage of people as the total percentage who had chosen either “mischief makers” or else “criminals” (the second and third preferred options) and it was eight times as many as those who had chosen “heroes.” (NOTE: These latter opinions pertained to the news-media that published information from Wikileaks — not to Wikileaks itself.) However, yet again, in this poll, Americans stood alone for the extremity of their hostility towards a national press that’s not being controlled by the Government (which is what Wikileaks is all about): only one third as large a percentage of Americans as the global percentage chose “public service,” whereas the percentage of Americans who chose “criminals” (42%) was more than three times the global percentage (13%) who chose that. The second-highest to that degree of extreme hostility against a press that’s authentically independent of the government was likewise “Great Britain”: 20%. Canada was the third-highest, at 19%. In other words: the #1 most-hostile nation against democracy was 42% in America, and the next-most-hostile to democracy was 20% in “Great Britain” — less than half as high a percentage of hostility against democracy, as compared to the U.S. percentage; and Canada was only slightly less hostile toward democracy than was the UK.

That same poll also asked: “Wikileaks recently posted thousands of confidential US government diplomatic notes. … Julian Assange, who is responsible for leaking the documents should be viewed as a” — and  49% of Americans said “criminal,” whereas only 17% globally did. (Great Britain was, yet again, on this, the second-highest hostility against democracy, at 26%.) Globally, 29% of all respondents said that Assange had provided a “public service,” but only 11% of Americans said that.

By overwhelming margins, Americans thought that their Government should have an unqualified right to hide from the public, basically, anything it wants to hide. The U.S. Government actually does possess unlimited authority to categorize whatever it wants, as being “Classified.” Overwhelming majorities of the U.S. public approve of this root-principle of dictatorship. Assange is being condemned, fundamentally, because he violates that intrinsic principle (government-secrecy, regardless of how arbitrarily it is imposed), of dictatorship, anywhere.

Clearly, then, the American people were far more favorable toward dictatorship than the public was, in any of the 22 other nations that were sampled.

(NOTE: For the purposes of this article, effective control by the government over the nation’s press is defined as dictatorship, and effective freedom of the press to report any truth — regardless of what the government wants — is defined as democracy. So: the U.S. belongs in the category of a 100% dictatorship, since the Government can classify anything it wishes to.)

An interesting sidelight to these findings, of an extremely pro-dictatorship U.S. public — and with Great Britain being right behind (though not nearly as pro-dictatorship as Americans are) — is that, in 2002 and 2003, the national press in each of those two countries was so strongly controlled by the government as to deceive (via their stenographic ‘news’-media) their respective public into invading Iraq, on the basis of that stenographic reporting by the nation’s press of the government’s lies against Iraq. This is the result of both countries being dictatorships. This is true irrespective of whether Iraq also was.

Further confirmations of the extreme degree of dictatorship in the United States are that it’s the nation which has the world’s highest percentage of its people in prison, and that in the periodic polling by the Gallup organization, the one “institution” that always scores at the very top as being the most highly respected of all institutions in America is “the military.” That is the finding which would reasonably be expected in a total dictatorship.

So: if Assange gets extradited by Great Britain to the United States for prosecution, he will face here not only the most hostile government but the most hostile public. Presumably, this would please the leaderships (even if not the publics) in all U.S.-allied nations, including especially NATO — America’s anti-Russia military alliance, which after 1991 absorbed the entirety of the no-longer-existing Soviet Union’s Warsaw Pact mirror organization which had countered America’s NATO alliance. NATO itself is strongly supported not only by the governments but by the people within the respective member-nations, and polling in June 2014 found that “A little more than half of EU respondents (56%) said it was desirable that the United States exert strong leadership in world affairs.” So, the publics in those nations (at least back in 2014) wanted their own government to continue to be led by the U.S. Government. That was more than a decade after the U.S. Government (and Great Britain) had invaded and destroyed Iraq, on the basis of lies. So: perhaps the public, not only in America but in other countries, learns nothing from experience, and they are perennially suckers of their respective national leaderships. But, in any case, the American public are international standouts for supporting dictatorship — not merely accepting it, but actually endorsing it. Obviously, if Assange is not freed from Great Britain and especially from the U.S., his prospects are exceptionally dismal. His only actual ‘crime’ is having stood up internationally for democracy. If that’s not a “hero,” who is? But perhaps, now, democracy has become a hopeless cause. Perhaps, in the final analysis, Assange’s fate will turn out to have been the fate of democracy, too — the canary in this coal mine.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

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You can call me AL
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You can call me AL

They are Americans thus stupid, ignorant and naive.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“Americans thus stupid, ignorant and naive.”

You can say that “Americans thus WILLFULLY stupid, ignorant and naive.”

Hip Hip Hoorah
Guest
Hip Hip Hoorah

You have to split America into two classes of the above to understand it fully. There’s the dimwitocrats that are still 100% convinced that Russia hacked Clinton’s e-mails and ordered Assange to release them and never shall it be forgotten (or negated). Then there are the fanaticaljihadirepubs with yarmulkes kept at the ready in their breast pockets for spontaneous prayer meetings that hate Assange for exposing war crimes, regime-change plans, spying and spoofing habits and other nefarious activities that they’d reserved strictly for use against foreign irritating entities in their crosshairs. So between these two distinct classes of Assange hate-mongers,… Read more »

You can call me AL
Guest
You can call me AL

Hahaha, nice response.

On a positive note – it can only get better !!.

Happy Easter.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Happy Easter!

Olivia Kroth
Guest

RUSSIA TODAY: Majority of Russians believe Assange wanted to expose corruption & crime – poll Published time: 18 Apr, 2019 11:09 Following the arrest in London of Julian Assange, a new poll shows that a large share of Russians support the WikiLeaks’ co-founder and view him as a champion of press freedom and a humanitarian. As many as 45 percent of Russians believe that by publishing secret US papers, Assange was guided by the principles of press freedom, according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM). Around 40 percent of the respondents think that Assange acted for the benefit… Read more »

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

2455 Americans as the representative sample!? Come on Eric. Stop being so vain as to endorse such a flimsy sample as representative. You are talking a negligible cover of America that doesn’t favour any side of the argument. I suspect the majority really don’t care and have yet to even think about the question. Those that have would be sorely under-represented by such a meagre sample. Add to that the fact a lot of polls and surveys in America have little difficulty clearing over a million I’d suspect you’ve wilfully jumped the gun or the poll was deliberately bias and… Read more »

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

It’s fairly simple psychology. The US government has become so brutally, oppressively, irresistibly omnipotent that most US citizens cannot imagine standing up to it or resisting it.

Hence they adopt the opposite attitude: they identify with it. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.

Any attack on the glorious US government is felt as an attack on themselves.

therevolutionwas
Guest
therevolutionwas

Add to that the dumbing down of US citizens to the point that the majority are sheeple to be herded here and there.
But not all, and it does not take a majority to turn it around. So there is some hope for the future.

Norah Dean
Guest
Norah Dean

I would think it certainly would take a majority to turn it around. The US has undergone state capture and is now so locked down that even if every one of the 350 million yanks had a gun, the state would still have the upper hand. No, it has to be a kind of awakening, a eureka moment through-out the nation. Maybe the Internet has given us a glimmer of a hope.

Cloak And Dagger
Member
Cloak And Dagger

Yougov is not a scientific poll. Most people around me at work would challenge this result. Moreover, the sample size is statistically insignificant taken on an Internet poll. I call BS.

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

Agreed.

Hmph
Guest
Hmph

Over the years, I’ve come to the uncomfortable conclusion that, in bulk, my fellow Americans have discarded tampons, also in bulk, for brains. Far too prone to the media and politicians’ bunk and circumstance to be entrusted with managing anything more intricate than a manual toothbrush.

Ignore us as best you can. I’ll sleep better.

lizzie dw
Guest
lizzie dw

boy are we dumb.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

True, lizzie. US sheep are exceptionally stupid.

regolo gellini
Guest
regolo gellini

Totally brainwashed populations always support the big bully. History repeats itself again and again 🙁 Very sad !

euclides de oliveira pinto neto
Guest
euclides de oliveira pinto neto

Pesquisa fajuta, feita na sede da CIA…

Olivia Kroth
Guest

A sede da CIA é um buraco de rato.

dennis morrisseau
Guest

I doubt this very much…..but IF THIS IS TRUE, THEN I HAVE TO LEAVE THE U.S.
for some other place

Marc
Guest
Marc

No poll asked THIS American. This American thinks Assange should be released immediately and given the Nobel Peace prize. (If they’re short on cash, they can take it back from Obama.) All that said, Americans won’t wake up until Americans start dying in serious numbers. They are willfully ignorant and profoundly uncaring.

Stop Bush and HRC
Guest
Stop Bush and HRC

They should also take back the Nobel Peace Prize given to the EU and hand that one over to Snowden.

Stop Bush and HRC
Guest
Stop Bush and HRC

I can’t believe Americans at large are that stupid and/or evil. Either the polls are rigged beyond repair, or we’re seeing the effect of 24×7 propaganda.
Anyone who wants Assange prosecuted deserves to live in the totalitarian fascist dictatorship he is asking for — but not at the expense of the rest of us.

David Robertson
Guest
David Robertson

There is a rumour going around that Trump is bringing Assange to the US to help him prosecute the criminals in the Deep State. If true this may change some minds but we’ll have to wait and see.

When Pigs Fly
Guest
When Pigs Fly

Yeah, right. Dream on. The man’s been willingly and irretrievably hypnotized by the neocon’s sparkly ball trick.

jmg
Guest
jmg

“I can’t believe Americans at large are that stupid and/or evil. Either the polls are rigged beyond repair, or we’re seeing the effect of 24×7 propaganda.”

Maybe…

1984: Two minutes of hate

Tony Manolis
Guest
Tony Manolis

I am at a loss. Either Americans by a margin of 3:1 have bought the propaganda or the poll is wrong. I would add had a poll of Germans been carried out during the WWII, the majority would likely have supported Nazism – showing how effective Goebbels and the Nazis were with their propaganda. In the past there has been many mass hysterias and delusions, (which I might have read in a reprint of “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds” by Charles Mackay). This is nothing more than an extremely effective propaganda exercise. It also shows that critical… Read more »

Free Range American
Guest
Free Range American

America – an intellectual third world nation, fattened with corporate junk food and media. Among its masses, those with backbone have no brain and those with brain have no backbone. Worse still, amongst the elite who may by chance be endowed with both, there’s no moral compass of worth to be found. Only broken needles pointing on the owner’s demand.

Exceptions there be but ever harder to find, by you or me.

Dwaine
Guest
Dwaine

This does not ring true to me. Most Americans distrust all polling organizations because they have been exposed a corrupt. A number like this suggests corruption.
I think that there is much more support for Julian Assange than there is opposition. And, I live is a very red part of the USA.

Vince Dhimos
Guest
Vince Dhimos

I used to defend the US public by saying that the Deep State, or Establishment, controls the media and the direction the government takes is not their fault. However, further investigation changed my mind. This poll shows that I was right to change my mind. The public is as much the culprit as any swamp creature. 80% of Evangelicals worship Israel as much as they do Jesus. It is they who guide the warlike foreign policy and the blind support for a country that shoots unarmed protesters, starts illegal settlements in Palestinian, murders Syrian and Iranian fighters engaged in defeating… Read more »

David Robertson
Guest
David Robertson

That is truly astonishing. This poll is like a litmus test of attitudes towards freedom of thought and speech. It seems that the citizens of the Anglo-American empire, the putative purveyor of “democracy” to the world, are the least democratic or understand the principles of democracy the least. It confirms everything we have believed about the Empire.

Daniel C
Guest
Daniel C

Americans are distracted and don’t have a clue what’s going on. Most also think this government is out there battling evil to spread freedom and democracy for all. That alone should tell you what you’re dealing with

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

This is the answer to those many Americans who say “don’t blame us, we’ve been taken over by Jews; we’ve been infiltrated and a coup d’etat has occurred;.it’s all because of the traitors who have taken over our Government”. I keep repeating – a few thousand people in a nation of over 300 million can’t do it all. They aren’t the ones there in the police force, shooting people in the back; in the schools teaching sexual perversions are normal; in the media, entertainment, news sites and so on. All over the country, it’s there in the majority of the… Read more »

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I like your last line: “It is not enough people to save a nation from collapse”. The USA deserves collapse, I hope they will collapse soon.

invain
Guest
invain

Most Americans are still mesmerized by the MSM, and DC doesn’t care what they think anyway.
If you want to have secret government forever, and journalists afraid to challenge the establishment narrative, then prosecute Assange.
In a democracy, truth is more important than the attempts of officials to cover their corruption and blundering. Secret government types will always cry, “national security”, to frighten the populace. Since 9/11, there really hasn’t been any rational government, only pigs lined up at the MIC trough.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Most “Americans” live in Central and South America. They are not mesmerized by anything at all, except by their own thoughts how to get around invasions and sanctions imposed by the godless, fascist US regime.

MHC
Guest
MHC

This is eye-opening. They’re even dumber than I thought.

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Peace on Korean Peninsula within reach, if only Trump can remove Pompeo & Bolton (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 152.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the results of the Putin-Kim summit in Vladivostok, Russia, aimed at boosting bilateral ties between the two neighboring countries, as well as working to contribute to a final peace settlement on the Korean peninsula.

Putin’s meeting with Kim may prove to be a pivotal diplomatic moment, as North Korea continues to work towards normalizing ties with the U.S. amidst ongoing denuclearization talks with the Trump White House.

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Via the BBC…

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un needs international security guarantees if he is to end his nuclear programme.

Such guarantees would need to be offered within a multinational framework, he added, following talks near Vladivostok in Russia’s far east.

Mr Kim praised the summit as a “very meaningful one-on-one exchange”.

Mr Putin said North Korea’s leader was “fairly open” and had “talked freely on all issues that were on the agenda”.

The meeting followed the breakdown of talks between the US and North Korea in February, when Mr Kim met US President Donald Trump in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi.

Those talks reportedly stalled over North Korea’s demand for full economic sanctions relief in return for some denuclearisation commitments – a deal the US was not willing to make.

Speaking after the talks on Thursday, Mr Putin said he wanted to see full denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula.

But he said this could only be achieved through respect for international law.

“We need to restore the power of international law, to return to a state where international law, not the law of the strongest, determines the situation in the world,” he said.

Mr Kim greeted Russian officials warmly when he arrived in Russia on Wednesday.

The North Korean leader was entertained by a brass band in Vladivostok before he got inside a car flanked by bodyguards, who – in now familiar scenes – jogged alongside the vehicle as it departed.

What do we know about the summit?

According to the Russian presidential spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin believes the six-party talks on North Korea, which are currently stalled, are the only efficient way of addressing the issue of nuclear weapons on the peninsula.

Those talks, which began in 2003, involve the two Koreas as well as China, Japan, Russia and the US.

“There are no other efficient international mechanisms at the moment,” Mr Peskov told reporters on Wednesday.

“But, on the other hand, efforts are being made by other countries. Here all efforts merit support as long as they really aim at de-nuclearisation and resolving the problem of the two Koreas.”

What do both sides want?

This visit is being widely viewed as an opportunity for North Korea to show it has powerful allies following the breakdown of the talks with the US in February.

The country has blamed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for the collapse of the Hanoi summit. Earlier this month North Korea demanded that Mr Pompeo be removed from nuclear talks, accusing him of “talking nonsense” and asking for someone “more careful” to replace him.

The summit is also an opportunity for Pyongyang to show that its economic future does not depend solely on the US. Mr Kim may try to put pressure on Moscow to ease sanctions.

Analysts say the summit is an opportunity for Russia to show that it is an important player on the Korean peninsula.

President Putin has been eager to meet the North Korean leader for quite some time. Yet amid the two Trump-Kim summits, the Kremlin has been somewhat sidelined.

Russia, like the US and China, is uncomfortable with North Korea being a nuclear state.

How close are Russia and North Korea?

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union (of which Russia is the main successor state) maintained close military and trade links with its communist ally, North Korea, for ideological and strategic reasons.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade links with post-communist Russia shrank and North Korea leaned towards China as its main ally.

Under President Putin, Russia recovered economically and in 2014 he wrote off most of North Korea’s Soviet-era debt in a major goodwill gesture.

While it is arguable how much leverage Russia has with the North today, the communist state still regards it as one of the least hostile foreign powers.

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Putin meets Kim for the first time (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a look at the historic meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in the city of Vladivostok in the Russian Far East.

The meeting marks the first ever summit between the two leaders.

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Via RT…

Leaders of Russia and North Korea sat down for a historic summit in Vladivostok, expressing hope it will revive the peace process in the Korean Peninsula and talks on normalizing relations with the US.

The summit on Russky Island, just off Vladivostok, started a little late because President Vladimir Putin’s flight was delayed. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had made the trip by train, arriving on Wednesday.

In brief public remarks before the talks, the two leaders expressed hope the summit will help move forward the reconciliation process in the Korean Peninsula. Putin welcomed Kim’s contributions to “normalizing relations” with the US and opening a dialogue with South Korea.

Kim said he hoped the Vladivostok summit would be a “milestone” in the talks about denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, but also build upon “traditionally friendly ties” between Russia and North Korea.

The North Korean leader also made a point of thanking Putin for flying all the way to Vladivostok for the meeting. The Far East Russian city is only 129 kilometers from the border with North Korea.

The historic summit takes place less than two months after Kim’s second summit with US President Donald Trump in Hanoi fell apart without a breakthrough on denuclearization. The US rejected North Korea’s request for partial sanctions relief in return for moves to dismantle nuclear and missile programs; Washington insists on full disarmament before any sanctions are removed.

Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the main subject of the Kim-Putin summit, but there will also be talks about bilateral relations, trade, and humanitarian aid. The first one-on-one meeting is scheduled to last about an hour, followed by further consultations involving other government officials.

Following the summit, Putin is scheduled to visit China.

 

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Kim And Putin: Changing The State Of The Board In Korea

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

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Authored by Tom Luongo:


Today is a big day for Korea. The first face-to-face summit of Russian President Vladimir Putin and North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un takes place.

At the same time the 2nd annual Belt and Road Forum kicks off in Beijing.

This meeting between Putin and Kim has been in the works for a while but rumors of it only surfaced last week. But don’t let the idea that this was put together at the last minute fool you.

It wasn’t.

The future of Korea could be decided by these two men today.

I know that sounds bold. But hear me out.

And while no one seems to think this meeting is important or that anything of substance will come from it I do. It is exactly the kind of surprise that Putin loves to spring on the world without notice and by doing so change the board state of geopolitics.

  • Russia’s entrance into Syria in 2015, two days after Putin’s historic speech at the U.N. General Assembly
  • 2018’s State of the Union address where he announced hypersonic missiles, embarrassing the U.S. Militiary-Industrial Complex which accelerated the Bolton Doctrine of subjugating the world
  • Flying 2 TU-160 nuclear-armed bombers to Venezuela, creating panic in D.C. leading to the ham-fisted regime change operations there.
  • Nationalization of Yukos.
  • The operation to secure Crimea from U.S. invasion by marines aboard the U.S.S Donald Cook during the Ukrainian uprising against Viktor Yanukovich.

Both Putin and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping are angry at the breakdown of the talks in Hanoi back in February. It was clear that everyone expected that meeting to be a rubber stamp on a deal already agreed to by all parties involved.

In fact the two meetings between Kim and Trump were only possible because Trump convinced them of his sincerity to resolve the ‘denuclearization’ of North Korea which would clear a path to rapid reunification.

It’s why they went along with the U.S.’s increased sanctions on North Korea as administered through the U.N. in 2017.

That John Bolton and Mike Pompeo destroyed those talks and Trump was unwilling or unable (who cares at this point, frankly, useless piece of crap that he is) to stop them embarrassed and betrayed them.

They are now done with Trump.

He’ll get nothing from either of them or Kim until Trump can prove he’s in charge of his administration, which he, clearly, is not.

And they will be moving forward with their own agenda for security and Asian economic integration. So I don’t think the timing of this meeting with that of the Belt and Road Forum is an accident.

And that means moving forward on solving the Korea problem without Trump.

It is clear from the rhetoric of Putin’s top diplomat, the irreplaceable Sergei Lavrov, that Russia’s patience is over. They are no longer interested in what Trump wants and they will now treat the U.S. as a threat, having upped their military stance towards the U.S. to that of “Threat.”

If Bolton wants anything from Russia at this point he best be prepared to start a war or piss off.

This is also why Russia took the gloves off with Ukraine in the run up to the Presidential elections, cutting off energy and machinery exports with Ukraine.

To put paid Putin’s growing impatience with U.S. policies, he just issued the order to allow residents of Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics to apply for Russian passports.

This will send Bolton into apoplexy. Angela Merkel of Germany will be none too pleased either. Putin is now playing hardball after years of unfailing politeness.

It’s also why Lavrov finalized arms and port deals all over the Middle East in recent weeks, including those with Lebanon, Egypt, Turkey and India.

Bolton, Pompeo and Pence are ideologues. Trump is a typical Baby Boomer, who lives in a bubble of his own design and believes in an America that never existed.

None of them truly understand the fires they are stoking and simply believe in the Manifest Destiny of the U.S. to rule the world over a dim and barbaric world.

Putin, Xi, Rouhani in Iran and Kim in North Korea are pragmatic men. They understand the realities they live in. This is why I see Putin willing tomorrow to sit down with Kim and flaunt the U.N. sanctions and begin the investment process into North Korea that should have begun last year.

Putin would not be making these moves if he didn’t feel that Bolton was all bark and no bite when it came to actual war with Russia. He also knows that Germany needs him more than he needs Germany so despite the feet-dragging and rhetoric Nordstream 2 will go forward.

Trade is expanding between them despite the continued sanctions.

Putin may be willing to cut a deal with President-elect Zelensky on gas transit later in the year but only if the shelling of the LPR and DPR stops and he guarantees no more incidents in the Sea of Azov. This would also mollify Merkel a bit and make it easier for her politically to get Nordstream 2 over the finish line.

There are moments in history when people go too far. Bolton and Pompeo went too far in Hanoi. He will pay the price now. Putin and Kim will likely agree to something in Vladivostok that no one is expecting and won’t look like much at first.

But the reality is this summit itself marks a turning point in this story that will end with the U.S. being, in Trump’s transactional parlance, a “price taker” since it has so thoroughly failed at being a “price maker.”

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