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Europe is shaking off American attempts to isolate Russia

France and Germany both move to grow relations with Russia while American Deep State fetters President Trump’s efforts to do the same.

Seraphim Hanisch

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There are signs that the efforts to isolate and even destroy Russia are crumbling. While England and the main entrenched power structure in the United States won two significant “victories” in their efforts to waylay US President Trump’s efforts to improve Russian-American relations, two of Europe’s most important nations moved in the same period of time to cement and improve relations with Moscow.

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The first incident was reported here on The Duran as Germany’s deal with Russia to build the Nord Stream 2 Pipeline was cemented in reality:

Germany needs Russian gas. Russian gas is substantially more cost effective than US LNG hauled all the way from the States, and at the end of the day, Angela Merkel needs Nord Stream 2 to keep her in power. Putin knows this, and so during his meeting with Merkel in Berlin, a confident Russian President laid down the positive economic realities for Germany and the precarious position of Ukraine gas transit.

Putin and Merkel did discuss a variety of hot button issues other than Nord Stream 2 including the war in Syria, the situation in Ukraine and Iran. But the most pressing issue discussed was Nord Stream 2.

Investors needed a strong signal that the project is a go… despite POTUS Trump’s rhetoric regarding the pipeline at last month’s NATO summit in Brussels.

This is certainly a logical move, and the Russians are great at living and handling matters in a logical manner. So are the Germans. Perhaps President Trump knew this – it is almost impossible to imagine that he would really believe it is cheaper for Germany or any European country to buy LNG from the United States when Russia has a huge supply of it right next door, so to speak. But what is significant is Germany’s simple recognition of this fact, despite the pressure from the US to buy American. It is eminently logical to get supplies from a close source.

Advantage: Russia. Disadvantage: American Deep State.

The second action comes from the French. In a news piece released by TASS, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that the European Union cannot rely on the US for security, and called for greater cooperation with Russia:

French President Emmanuel Macron… called for involving Russia in the process of providing security in Europe, he stated on Monday during an annual meeting of ambassadors that focused on France’s foreign policy.

Europe can no longer rely on the US to provide its security. It is up to us today to take our responsibilities and guarantee our own security, and thus have European sovereignty. We have to draw all necessary conclusions from the end of the Cold War,” Macron added.

This amplified European sovereignty requires reviewing the architecture of European security and defense system, by starting a new dialogue on cybersecurity issues, chemical weapons, conventional weapons, territorial conflicts, space security, the protection of polar regions, and particularly doing it in cooperation with Russia,” the president said.

“I call for us to start considering these issues with our partners in the broadest sense of the word, that is, with Russia,” Macron stressed. He noted “a mandatory prerequisite for achieving real progress in relations with Moscow is significant progress in regulating the Ukrainian crisis. Also, adherence to the regulations introduced by the OSCE with regards to the observers’ status in Donbass.

“However, this should not hinder us doing work in European countries right now on all these issues, and I am counting on you in this,” the French president addressed the ambassadors. According to him, in the upcoming months, he will provide a project for strengthening European security.

This is potentially HUGE. And as such, it is more than likely that there will be some sort of American diplomatic or media response. The civil war in Ukraine is predicated on a large swathe of that country buying into the promise of “being with the West.”

That lure created a serious revolution, the breakaway of two Ukrainian provinces, urged by fear among the Russian-speaking people in these provinces of the new, pro-West and anti-Russian, Ukrainian government. It led to a peaceful, though controversial, referendum in Crimea to rejoin Russia. It is not often reported in the Western media that the reason for these actions was fear of the sentiments of the Poroshenko government, and reports abound that that fear is justified.

The fact that a US ally is even beginning to mention a different course of action in Ukraine is like watching the ice begin to crack on a lake in the spring. The weather may remain cold for a while, but usually once the cracking starts, it continues on its own until the ice breaks.

Again – advantage: Russia. Disadvantage: American Deep State.

The Deep State is certainly alive and kicking, with the latest round of US sanctions against Russia kicking in on 27 August, in response to the (totally unverified) claim that Russia was involved in the poisoning of Sergey and Yuliya Skripal on March 4 of this year. The Russian Ruble took a beating earlier in August when the new sanctions were announced, but the new level around 67 to 1 seems to be stable.

This is a massive struggle of worldviews, and it is evident in many pieces of journalism these last few days. The passing of US Senator John McCain gave opportunity to examine some of this rather hidden policy viewpoint, and Trump’s unexpected rise to the presidency of the United States gave the anti-Russia plan a lot of publicity, though one has to know how to sift through the layers of propaganda it is buried under.

These two developments in Germany and France suggest a shift, however, and it may be one that Uncle Sam is unable to stop.

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VeeNarian (Yerevan)Radical PragmatistIgor Mini ChornyvolkJNDillardGio Con Recent comment authors
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

This is more whistling in the dark. France is a US slave which is still planning to attack Syria after more staged chemical attacks in Idlib.
The FUKUS disease is about to strike again!

Radical Pragmatist
Guest
Radical Pragmatist

Two comments: 1) The idea that German reliance on Nord 2 would put Germany at risk of calculated Russian service disruption is bogus. The Russians aren’t stupid. They know that the first interruption for political reasons would be the last. Because the Germans would then find alternate supplies of energy and shut out the Russians – FOREVER. There is no way the Russians with a market based economy would ever risk losing a huge customer like Germany. 2) The U.S. Deep State is ruthless. The U.S. War Machine is basically useless as a weapon against economic activity that the war-mongers… Read more »

Igor Mini Chornyvolk
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Igor Mini Chornyvolk

Putin has already said any war will be fought in the country that instigates it. It will not be fought on Russian territory.So I see Poland Romania and the US getting nailed if war breaks out.

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

This map is far out of date and misleading. Not only is Turkey no longer a candidate for membership, but the Ukraine is, as well as a candidate for NATO membership, both of which would be bottomless pit black holes into which EU money would be endlessly poured. Turkey is making an excellent move by separating from the EU politically, as it deconstructs itself, and the EU is being extremely stupid by considering absorbing the Ukraine.

JNDillard
Guest
JNDillard

Reading further, there is no mention of Macron’s statements of his intention to bomb Syria if there is another (false flag) chemical attack. So what Macron is doing is what Erdogan is doing – playing both sides. He is expressing independence from the US for public consumption, to claim France is not the US’s poodle, while following the US party line when it comes to killing and supporting sanctions against Russia and Iran. (Iran in the sense of major French businesses like Renault and Total leaving the Iranian marketplace).

Gio Con
Guest
Gio Con

France, it seems, is playing both ends — speaking of cooperation with Russia while it sides with the US on bombing Damascus, thereby risking an all-out war with Russia. Macron speaks with a forked-tongue.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

High time for all of Europe to realize that the US never was and never will be a ‘friend’.

Godblessourchildren
Guest
Godblessourchildren

Profit is not the important motive for stopping Nord 2, but blackmail is- control of their energy market and you control them, and America is notorious for this. Why don’t Europeans study and learn from their histories. They tend to repeat the same mistakes.

Guy
Guest
Guy

“Uncle Sam is unable to stop.”
I hope uncle scam is unable to stop the shift to reality and common sense .None of their business to begin with ,other than slipping away from their imperial stance with the rest of the world.
And that ,my friends is a very good thing.

Latest

The conclusion of Russiagate, Part II – news fatigue across America

The daily barrage of Russiagate news may have been a tool to wear down the American public as the Deep State plays the long game for control.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Presently there is a media blitz on across the American news media networks. As was the case with the Russiagate investigation while it was ongoing, the conclusions have merely given rise to a rather unpleasant afterbirth in some ways as all the parties involve pivot their narratives. The conclusion of Russiagate appears to be heavily covered, yet if statistics here at The Duran are any indication, there is a good possibility that the public is absolutely fatigued over this situation.

And, perhaps, folks, that is by design.

Joseph Goebbels had many insights about the use of the media to deliver and enforce propaganda. One of his quotes runs thus:

The best propaganda is that which, as it were, works invisibly, penetrates the whole of life without the public having any knowledge of the propagandistic initiative.

and another:

That is of course rather painful for those involved. One should not as a rule reveal one’s secrets, since one does not know if and when one may need them again. The essential English leadership secret does not depend on particular intelligence. Rather, it depends on a remarkably stupid thick-headedness. The English follow the principle that when one lies, it should be a big lie, and one should stick to it. They keep up their lies, even at the risk of looking ridiculous.

If there has ever been a narrative that employed these two principles, it is Russiagate.

A staggering amount of attention has been lavished on this nothing-burger issue. Axios reports that an analytics company named Newswhip tallied an astounding 533,074 web articles published about Russia and President Trump and the Mueller investigation (a number which is being driven higher even now, moment by moment, ad nauseam). Newsbusters presently reports that the networks gave 2,284 minutes to the coverage of this issue, a number which seems completely inaccurate because it is much too low (38 hours at present), and we are waiting for a correction on this estimate.

Put it another way: Are you sick of Russiagate? That is because it has dominated the news for over 675 days of nearly wall-to-wall news cycles. The political junkies on both sides are still pretty jazzed up about this story – the Pro-Trump folks rejoicing over the presently ‘cleared’ status, while of course preparing for the upcoming Democrat / Deep State pivot, and the Dems in various levels of stress as they try to figure out exactly how to pivot in such a manner that they do not lose face – or pace – in continuing their efforts to rid their lives of the “Irritant-in-Chief” who now looks like he is in the best position of his entire presidency.

But a lot of people do not care. They are tired.

I hate to say it (and yes, I am speaking personally and directly), but this may be a dangerous fatigue. Here is why:

The barrage of propaganda on this issue was never predicated on any facts. It still isn’t. However, as we noted a few days ago, courtesy of Fox News’ Tucker Carlson, at present, 53% of US registered voters believe that the Trump campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election.

That means 53% of the voting public now believes something that is totally false.

Many of these people are probably simply exhausted from the constant coverage of this allegation as well. So when the news came out Sunday night that there was no evidence of collusion and no conclusive evidence, hence, of obstruction of justice by the Trump Administration – in other words, this whole thing was a nothing burger – will this snap those 53% back into reality?

Probably not. Many of them may well be so worn down that they no longer care. Or worse, they are so worn out that they will continue to believe the things they are told that sustain the lie, despite its being called out as such.

C.S. Lewis wrote about this peculiarity of human nature, in particular in the seventh book of his Chronicles of Narnia. After a prolonged and fierce assault on the sensibilities of the Narnians with the story that Aslan, the Christ figure of this world, was in fact an angry overlord, selling the Narnians themselves into slavery, and selling the whole country out to its enemy, with the final touch being that Aslan and the devilish deity of the enemy nation were in fact one and the same, the Narnians were unable to snap back to reality when it was shown conclusively and clearly that this was in fact not the case.

The fear that was instilled from the use of false narratives persisted and blocked the animals from reality.

Lewis summarized it this way through the thoughts of Tirian, the lead character in this tale:

Tirian had never dreamed that one of the results of an Ape’s setting up as a false Aslan would be to stop people from believing in the real one. He had felt quite sure that the Dwarfs would rally to his side the moment he showed them how they had been deceived. And then next night he would have led them to Stable Hill and shown Puzzle to all the creatures and everyone would have turned against the Ape and, perhaps after a scuffle with the Calormenes, the whole thing would have been over. But now, it seemed, he could count on nothing. How many other Narnians might turn the same way as the Dwarfs?

This is part of the toll this very long propaganda campaign is very likely to take on many Americans. It takes being strongly informed and educated on facts to withstand the withering force of a narrative that never goes away. Indeed, if anything, it takes even more effort now, because the temptation of the pro-Trump side will be to retreat to a set of political talking points that, interestingly enough, validate Robert Mueller’s “integrity” when only a week ago they were attacking this as a false notion.

This is very dangerous, and even though Mr. Trump and his supporters won this battle, if they do not come at this matter in a way that shows education, and not merely the restating of platitudes and talking points that “should be more comfortable, now that we’ve won!”

The cost of Russiagate may be far higher than anyone wants it to be. And yes, speaking personally, I understand the fatigue. I am tired of this issue too. But the temptation to go silent may have already taken a lot of people so far that they will not accept the reality that has just been revealed.

Politics is a very fickle subject. Truth is extremely malleable for many politicians, and that is saying it very nicely. But this issue was not just politics. It was slander with a purpose, and that purpose is unchanged now. In fact things may even be more dangerous for the President – even risking his very life – because if the powers that are working behind the people trying to get rid of President Trump come to realize that they have no political support, they will move to more extreme measures. In fact this may have already been attempted.

We at The Duran reported a few months ago on a very strange but very compelling story that suggested that there was an attempted assassination and coup that was supposed to have taken place on January 17th of this year. It did not happen, but there was a parallel story that noted that the President may have been targeted for assassination already no fewer than twelve times.  Hopefully this is just tinfoil-hat stuff. But we have seen that this effort to be rid of President Trump is fierce and it is extremely well-supported within its group. There is no reason to think that the pressure will lighten now that this battle has been lost.

The stakes are much too high, and even this long investigation may well have been part of the weaponry of the group we sometimes refer to as the “Deep State” in their effort to reacquire power, and in their effort to continue to pursue both a domestic and geopolitical agenda that has so far shown itself to be destructive to both individuals and nations all over the world.

Speculation? Yes. Needless? We hope so. This is a terrible possibility that hopefully no reasonable person wants to consider.

Honestly, folks, we do not know. But we had to put this out there for your consideration.

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Parliament Seizes Control Of Brexit From Theresa May

Zerohedge

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Schaeuble, Greece and the lessons learned from a failed GREXIT (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 117.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine a recent interview with the Financial Times given by Wolfgang Schäuble, where the former German Finance Minister, who was charged with finding a workable and sustainable solution to the Greek debt crisis, reveals that his plan for Greece to take a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone (in order to devalue its currency and save its economy) was met with fierce resistance from Brussels hard liners, and Angela Merkel herself.

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Via FT

“Look where we’re sitting!” says Wolfgang Schäuble, gesturing at the Berlin panorama stretching out beneath us. It is his crisp retort to those who say that Europe is a failure, condemned to a slow demise by its own internal contradictions. “Walk through the Reichstag, the graffiti left by the Red Army soldiers, the images of a destroyed Berlin. Until 1990 the Berlin Wall ran just below where we are now!”

We are in Käfer, a restaurant on the rooftop of the Reichstag. The views are indeed stupendous: Berlin Cathedral and the TV Tower on Alexanderplatz loom through the mist. Both were once in communist East Berlin, cut off from where we are now by the wall. Now they’re landmarks of a single, undivided city. “Without European integration, without this incredible story, we wouldn’t have come close to this point,” he says. “That’s the crazy thing.”

As Angela Merkel’s finance minister from 2009 to 2017, Schäuble was at the heart of efforts to steer the eurozone through a period of unprecedented turbulence. But at home he is most associated with Germany’s postwar political journey, having not only negotiated the 1990 treaty unifying East and West Germany but also campaigned successfully for the capital to move from Bonn.

For a man who has done so much to put Berlin — and the Reichstag — back on the world-historical map, it is hard to imagine a more fitting lunch venue. With its open-plan kitchen and grey formica tables edged in chrome, Käfer has a cool, functional aesthetic that is typical of the city. On the wall hangs a sketch by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who famously wrapped the Reichstag in silver fabric in 1995.

The restaurant has one other big advantage: it is easy to reach from Schäuble’s office. Now 76, he has been confined to a wheelchair since he was shot in an assassination attempt in 1990, and mobility is an issue. Aides say he tends to avoid restaurants if he can, especially at lunchtime.

As we take our places, we talk about Schäuble’s old dream — that German reunification would be a harbinger of European unity, a step on the road to a United States of Europe. That seems hopelessly out of reach in these days of Brexit, the gilets jaunes in France, Lega and the Five Star Movement in Italy.

Some blame Schäuble himself for that. He was, after all, the architect of austerity, a fiscal hawk whose policy prescriptions during the euro crisis caused untold hardship for millions of ordinary people, or so his critics say. He became a hate figure, especially in Greece. Posters in Athens in 2015 depicted him with a Hitler moustache below the words: “Wanted — for mass poverty and devastation”.

Schäuble rejects the criticism that austerity caused the rise of populism. “Higher spending doesn’t lead to greater contentment,” he says. The root cause lies in mass immigration, and the insecurities it has unleashed. “What European country doesn’t have this problem?” he asks. “Even Sweden. The poster child of openness and the willingness to help.”

But what of the accusation that he didn’t care enough about the suffering of the southern Europeans? Austerity divided the EU and spawned a real animus against Schäuble. I ask him how that makes him feel now. “Well I’m sad, because I played a part in all of that,” he says, wistfully. “And I think about how we could have done it differently.”

I glance at the menu — simple German classics with a contemporary twist. I’m drawn to the starters, such as Oldenburg duck pâté and the Müritz smoked trout. But true to his somewhat abstemious reputation, Schäuble has no interest in these and zeroes in on the entrées. He chooses Käfer’s signature veal meatballs, a Berlin classic. I go for the Arctic char and pumpkin.

Schäuble switches seamlessly back to the eurozone crisis. The original mistake was in trying to create a common currency without a “common economic, employment and social policy” for all eurozone member states. The fathers of the euro had decided that if they waited for political union to happen first they’d wait forever, he says.

Yet the prospects for greater political union are now worse than they have been in years. “The construction of the EU has proven to be questionable,” he says. “We should have taken the bigger steps towards integration earlier on, and now, because we can’t convince the member states to take them, they are unachievable.”

Greece was a particularly thorny problem. It should never have been admitted to the euro club in the first place, Schäuble says. But when its debt crisis first blew up, it should have taken a 10-year “timeout” from the eurozone — an idea he first floated with Giorgos Papakonstantinou, his Greek counterpart between 2009 and 2011. “I told him you need to be able to devalue your currency, you’re not competitive,” he says. The reforms required to repair the Greek economy were going to be “hard to achieve in a democracy”. “That’s why you need to leave the euro for a certain period. But everyone said there was no chance of that.”

The idea didn’t go away, though. Schäuble pushed for a temporary “Grexit” in 2015, during another round of the debt crisis. But Merkel and the other EU heads of government nixed the idea. He now reveals he thought about resigning over the issue. “On the morning the decision was made, [Merkel] said to me: ‘You’ll carry on?’ . . . But that was one of the instances where we were very close [to my stepping down].”

It is an extraordinary revelation, one that highlights just how rocky his relationship with Merkel has been over the years. Schäuble has been at her side from the start, an éminence grise who has helped to resolve many of the periodic crises of her 13 years as chancellor. But it was never plain sailing.

“There were a few really bad conflicts where she knew too that we were on the edge and I would have gone,” he says. “I always had to weigh up whether to go along with things, even though I knew it was the wrong thing to do, as was the case with Greece, or whether I should go.” But his sense of duty prevailed. “We didn’t always agree — but I was always loyal.”

That might have been the case when he was a serving minister, but since becoming speaker of parliament in late 2017 he has increasingly distanced himself from Merkel. Last year, when she announced she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union, the party that has governed Germany for 50 of the past 70 years, Schäuble openly backed a candidate described by the Berlin press as the “anti-Merkel”. Friedrich Merz, a millionaire corporate lawyer who is the chairman of BlackRock Germany, had once led the CDU’s parliamentary group but lost out to Merkel in a power struggle in 2002, quitting politics a few years later. He has long been seen as one of the chancellor’s fiercest conservative critics — and is a good friend of Schäuble’s.

Ultimately, in a nail-biting election last December, Merkel’s favoured candidate, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, narrowly beat Merz. The woman universally known as “AKK” is in pole position to succeed Merkel as chancellor when her fourth and final term ends in 2021.

I ask Schäuble if it’s true that he had once again waged a battle against Merkel and once again lost. “I never went to war against Ms Merkel,” he says. “Everybody says that if I’m for Merz then I’m against Merkel. Why is that so? That’s nonsense.”

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