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Designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guards As Terrorists Will Have Consequences For America

A former State Department counterterrorism official said of the designation, “The future ramifications of this decision will be profound.”

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Authored by James Durso, op-ed via The Hill:


America’s designation of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist group is an example of taking a good idea — sanctioning Iranian entities for malign behavior — one step too far.

A former State Department counterterrorism official said of the designation, “The future ramifications of this decision will be profound.” He’s right about that, but “profound” may cut both ways.

In 2007, the U.S. designated the Guard’s overseas operations arm, the Quds Force, for support of terrorist organizations, so the new sanctions will hit the parent organization which is already under sanctions for ballistic missile development and supporting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.

An Iranian lawmaker responded to the news by saying Iran would regard the U.S. military as no different than the Islamic State, echoing the 2017 statement by the commander of the Guards, Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, that the Guards would “consider the American army to be like Islamic State all around the world.”

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the CIA reportedly opposed the move, and no wonder: Officials at the National Security Council and the Treasury Department are safe in Washington, D.C., State Department officers in Baghdad labor under restrictive security rules which limit their movements, which leaves the U.S. military and CIA officers exposed.

DOD has opposed this idea for a long time. When it was considered in 2007, the representative of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told his civilian counterparts, “The United States has always carefully avoided declaring military officers engaged in activities sanctioned by their governments as terrorists to avoid the same being done to us.” It could be applied to American special forces officers, who frequently operate clandestinely and have provided military assistance and training to insurgents.

Encounters between the American and Iranian military and security services can go one of three ways:

  • Proxy war: Iraqi militias supported by Iran killed at least 608 American servicemen.
  • Let’s-get-this-over-with: Iran quickly released the U.S. Navy crews who were captured by the IRGC Navy when they wandered into Iranian waters in early 2016.
  • The Beirut option: In the 1980s, the CIA’s Beirut station chief William Buckley and U.S. Marine colonel William Higgins were kidnapped by Iran’s Lebanese Hezbollah allies and died under interrogation. Former FBI agent – and CIA contractor – Robert Levinson disappeared in Iran in 2007, and the FBI, then led by Robert Mueller, was reduced to asking Vladimir Putin’s most loyal oligarch, Oleg Deripaska, to fund his (unsuccessful) rescue.

And the designation won’t just discomfit Americans; Iraqi officials regularly encounter Guards officers whether they want to or not. Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani regularly visits Iraq, and the last three Iranian ambassadors to Baghdad have been Quds Force officers, so Iraqi officials can expect to be put on notice by the Americans to avoid “terrorists.” Iran is active economically in Iraq, so the designation may be bad for Iraq’s economy. One near-term effect may be to scuttle an effort to import electricity from Iran, badly needed as the country still suffers from power shortages.

America’s timing is bad, as Iran’s “resistance economy” is dragging, and the government has been criticized for its lackluster response to the recent widespread, deadly flooding. These sanctions will just give the mullahs an excuse for their economic mismanagement.

Given the Guard’s penetration of Iran’s economy, new sanctions might enrich it even more. If the economy becomes radioactive to outside investors because the due diligence is too hard, the IRGC could buy the remaining assets at cut-rate prices. If, in the future, the Guard is neutered and sanctions are relaxed, unwinding the sanctioned businesses will take years and will require the approval of the U.S., which will move at the speed of government. This will hobble the post-mullah regime which will be under pressure to improve the lives of newly-free Iranians.

The current U.S. practice of targeting specific people and economic entities for sanctions allows the U.S. to fine-tune its actions and tells the Iranians the U.S. knows who is doing what. Given the Guards economic ubiquity, the terrorist designation is a blanket sanction with unknown consequences, though one might be increased power for the Guards.

The last time a military formation of a sovereign state was declared a criminal organization was when Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS was condemned for its involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity. Designating the IRGC a terrorist entity may sound great after that third beer, but is IRGC commander Major General Jafari as bad as Himmler? No.

Terrorism sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards promise something for everyone, all of it bad: More American hostages, and more money for the Guards. The Americans should ignore the bright, shiny object of terrorism sanctions and remember firm, consistent pressure is the way to win the contest with Iran.


James Durso (@james_durso) is the Managing Director of Corsair LLC, a supply chain consultancy. He was a professional staff member at the 2005 Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission and the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Mr. Durso served as a U.S. Navy officer for 20 years and specialized in logistics and security assistance. His overseas military postings were in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and he served in Iraq as a civilian transport advisor with the Coalition Provisional Authority.  He served afloat as Supply Officer of the submarine USS SKATE (SSN 578).

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Olivia KrothTravelAboutCudwieserHmmmThe Eternal MSM Skeptic Recent comment authors
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klcTan
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klcTan

The US military is a terrorist organisation in fact if not in name with all the bombings and destruction of civilian infrastructure around the world, supporting terrorists in Libya, etc. without declaring war.

Smoking Eagle
Guest
Smoking Eagle

The odd thing is that while U$terrorist.org spends trillions on smashing up other countries’ infrastructure, its own is falling apart and needs three trillion dollars to repair it where possible and replace it where it has crumbled beyond repair. Just four years of its military budget would cover the cost.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

The US regime is despicable, an international pariah.

klcTan
Guest
klcTan

Sorry, supporting terrorists in Syria.

John Kerry
Guest
John Kerry

But, but….they can be so useful.

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

Ramifications have begun. Iran have already returned fire by declaring the US military as Terrorists. The technicality of terrorism is that any agent that commits to acts of terror is a terrorist. This includes all armies, militia or free agent who utilises acts of fear, threat and terror as a tactical measure to conduct their agenda. Every government, and supportive can be classed as a terrorist one way or another. America and UK have used terrorism countless times, both in war and in peace times (shock and awe anyone) Perhaps it was about time to draw the line and for… Read more »

Slippery Slope
Guest
Slippery Slope

I must say, your logic seems infallible.

Trend_Setters_R_US
Guest
Trend_Setters_R_US

I’m beginning to get a distinct feeling that the world’s nations…one by one, are starting to get fed up with America.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

“Starting”? The world’s nations have been fed up with the US terror regime for a long time already.

Cudwieser
Guest
Cudwieser

America. The worlds loan shark. We’ll lend you man and machine, but what will you owe us. Vietnam gave the US a good answer.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

You mean, the US terror regime is a loan shark, and maybe Canada as well, which is part of North America. Mexico, all of Central America and most of South America do not participate in loan sharking.

Hestroy
Guest
Hestroy

an example of taking a good idea — sanctioning Iranian entities for malign behavior — one step too far

WTF is this? What “malign behavior”? This article is pretty stupid, written by someone who is either totally brainwashed or a professional propagandist.

Serg
Guest
Serg

Not to mention citing fake US numbers about Iran being responsible for over 600 deaths of US soldiers in Iraq, complete fabrication yet cited here as objective fact.

I have to say The Duran main site has been going down the drain ever since Adam Garrie left, or was forced out, no idea what actually happened. But this Seraphim Hanish guy is another no-good writer here, pushing one ridiculous article after another, starting with his debut piece on this site about Hezbollah funnelling drugs into the US, a 100% fabricated Israeli propaganda lie. He did 3 articles on this IIRC.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Agree with 100 % about Adam Garrie. The Duran has gone down hill very badly since he left.

Smoking Eagle
Guest
Smoking Eagle

Who cares about 608 US soldiers, even if it were remotely true? What about the 500,000 Iraqi children the US killed because of its sanctions, the 1.5 million people it killed in Iraq, the nine times as many it wounded, the five million people it has killed in the Middle East since it attacked Iraq, the 25-30 million people it has killed worldwide since the 1950s?

The Eternal MSM Skeptic
Guest
The Eternal MSM Skeptic

I’d say the story about the 600 US soldiers in Iraq is about as reliable as the one about the 200 RF soldiers in Syria.

TravelAbout
Guest
TravelAbout

Or the WMDs in Iraq, or Russia planning to invade Poland 🙂

Olivia Kroth
Guest

I have been wondering for a while, whether “Seraphim Hanish” is the fig leaf for DURAN, so the publication will not be put down and closed by the “powers that be”. Seen in this light, we must endure (or ignore) those silly articles by “Seraphim Hanish” in order to keep “the DURAN” from drowning.

Tom
Guest
Tom

He’s a propagandist: “Freeing the Iranian people”, indeed! Iran has a parliamentary democracy – – more democratic than the USA, but, hey! it’s a dictatorship run by “mullahs”, according to US propaganda – – like Venezuela is a dictatorship run by Maduro and Russia by Putin!

Don’t let the facts get in the way of good propaganda!

Why is the Duran posting this blatent US propaganda and lies?
Has the Duran gone over to the evil side, like some other alternative media sites?

MIke
Guest
MIke

You mean Iranian propaganda! Its totally anti-US all the way.

Tom
Guest
Tom

I wonder why?

Dead Rabbits
Guest
Dead Rabbits

Dear Mike; Even we natives are pretty much getting fed up with the congenital crapfest coming out of Warshington, POTUS after POTUS.

Smoking Eagle
Guest
Smoking Eagle
Smoking Eagle
Guest
Smoking Eagle

Just google how the U$ coup d’état ruined Iran’s democracy in 1953 and you might learn something. Iran is understandably anti-U$, as are billions of individuals in “the rest of the world”.

Hmmm
Guest
Hmmm

But Savak was such a benevolent organization. I believe it even got an honorable mention in Congress for its human rights initiatives, not to mention all that democracy-building the Shah was into.

Doctor Zeus
Guest
Doctor Zeus

The article was cited for its general theme. I suppose it could have been prefaced with a disclaimer, that the reader is left to his own devices to filter the wheat from the chaff. Personally, I assume that any article from Western sources in any way critical of US policy always has these little gems of unproven allegations thrown in, as a bone to their western bona fides. I think they sort of do it to prove to their detractors (and maybe to themselves) that they’re not on the Kremlin payroll. Ha Ha.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Yes, exactly, doctor. Your diagnosis is right, as always. Those articles from US sources are bones for the CIA, thrown to to that rabid dog by the DURAN editors, so their precious publication won’t be closed down.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

No, I do not think that the DURAN has gone over to the evil side but I believe that the DURAN is under strong pressure, although located in Cyprus. Even Cyprus is not safe from CIA machinations. If the DURAN brings a certain percentage of “propaganda” articles, this might be the price to pay for continuing to exist. Just do not read any articles from US sources here on the DURAN, skip over them and do not comment them, so their readers’ number will be ZERO. Read the articles coming from TASS and RUSSIA TODAY, they are often reprinted here.… Read more »

Definitions_R_US
Guest
Definitions_R_US

Encyclopedia Americana, ‘malign behavior’ definition:

Any one or thing that conflicts with whatever current agenda’s being cooked up in Warshington is guilty of ‘malign behavior’

Olivia Kroth
Guest

The CIA shows a lot of “malign behaviour”, like cancer cells, spreading worldwide.

Cap960
Guest
Cap960

The terrorist State of America….Terror is its trade mark. As American as acts of terror.

Tom Welsh
Guest
Tom Welsh

“Iraqi militias supported by Iran killed at least 608 American servicemen”. And what were those American servicemen doing in someone else’s country? In case anyone has forgotten or did not know, the American attacks on Iraq, the sanctions, and the invasions were utterly illegal and directly contrary to the UN Charter. Any Americans who formed part of the occupying forces were fair game for Iraqi patriots fighting against hostile, murderous invaders. Americans are very proud of their fighters (mostly irregular) who fought the British in the Revolutionary War – even though they rarely came out and fought pitched battles, preferring… Read more »

MIke
Guest
MIke

The US should have left all these dictators in place and let their population suffer as a result. Its clear that no-one in the middle-east is happy to be in a democratic country. They seem to like when a dictator makes them suffer and use chemical weapons on his population. The US should have let Saddam kill all the Kurd and torture the Shiite majority because they love it. That’s my guess from seeing all your comments here. Let the middle-east dictator and their population suffer should be the new US motto!

Tom
Guest
Tom

Idiot! You have swallowed the Kool Aid whole heartedly. Do you US idiots know, or care, what crimes you have committed against humanity?

Sponge BoB
Guest
Sponge BoB

Wow…your amazing sponge-like brain really soaked up the pickle juice these past few years.

Hmph
Guest
Hmph

Quote: “The last time a military formation of a sovereign state was declared a criminal organization was when Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS was condemned for its involvement in war crimes and crimes against humanity.”

Super…that means that in a few decades, Iran’s Guards will be declared America’s critical allies, just like today’s Baltic and Ukrainian Waffen-SS progeny.

So, just hold in there, Guards…..and may I suggest renaming yourselves the old tried and true Savak to get a head start.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

The Iranian Leader of the Islamic Revolution says that the US regime’s move is “rooted in rancor”. Tue Apr 9, 2019 09:28AM [Updated: Tue Apr 9, 2019 10:39PM ] Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei addresses a group of Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) personnel and their families, in Tehran, on April 9, 2019. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the recent decision by the United States regime to designate Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) a “foreign terrorist organization” is rooted in America’s “rancor” against the force, which has been in the… Read more »

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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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