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Evolution or revolution: what do the anti-Trump protesters really want?

Protest against Donald Trump is lawful and legitimate but it is only useful if is the start of a process that results in the rejection the US’s existing corrupted political system and offers a positive future for America.

Alexander Mercouris

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The protests against Donald Trump that happened directly after his election victory appear to be petering out.  They were never very large, and were always going to end given the indisputable fact – which the protests can’t change – that Donald Trump is going to be the next President of the United States.

The protests have, however, attracted a great deal of attention and in view of that, and because I know of some people who have taken part in them, I feel that I should offer my views of them.

Firstly, people have a right to protest provided they do so in a lawful and peaceful way.

Secondly, whilst they have a right to protest against Donald Trump, they need to be clear what they are protesting against.  If by protesting they are trying to stop Donald Trump from becoming President of the United States, then since Trump has been elected legally and constitutionally, they are taking a revolutionary position. 

That is true even if, as some of them have said, the purpose of the protests is to persuade some of the electors on the Electoral College to switch support to Hillary Clinton from Donald Trump, defying the voters of their states.

If the purpose of the protests is indeed revolutionary – intended to overthrow or set aside the result of an election carried out in accordance with the established legal and constitutional processes of the United States – then the protesters need to be honest with themselves about it, and cannot in that case avoid scrutiny of some of the organisations which appear to be involved in organising the protests, or to hearing questions about them.

Alternatively, if the protests are against Trump’s policies or what the protesters think Trump’s policies will be, then they are a legitimate form of political activity carried out within the established norms of US politics, provided they are carried out in a lawful and peaceful way. Though, since coming in the immediate aftermath of Trump’s election victory, they inevitably provoke comments about the protesters being sore losers.

I make these points because in the second case I would offer the view that, over time, protests may lead to be a positive development in US politics.

No one looking at the US political situation objectively before Trump’s election victory could be satisfied with the state of the US political system.  Virtually everyone agrees that it has become calcified, corrupt and increasingly detached from the people of America.

Hillary Clinton’s victory would simply have perpetuated for a further four years this failing and discredited system.  It is a system where democratic politics has ceased to function in any meaningful way, so that countries like Libya, Iraq and Syria can be destroyed, and democratically elected governments can be overthrown in Honduras and Ukraine, without anyone protesting or even properly knowing about it. 

As I have discussed previously, the situation has now become so bad that just a month ago the US found itself in a dangerous military stand-off with the Russians in Syria, and with the American people left in complete ignorance of it.

And this is not even touching on the way in which US domestic politics has been captured by powerful organised lobbies so that social inequalities have been allowed to grow with more and more people left behind. 

In 1936 Franklin Roosevelt spoke of how “government by organised money was as dangerous as government by organised mob”.  Who can deny that that is the situation the US has had up to now?  How else could someone like Hillary Clinton have been nominated as the Democratic Party’s candidate for President?

Donald Trump’s election offers an opportunity to break with this system.  If the protests that followed his election were the beginning of some sort of return to real politics – as opposed to the virtual reality post-modern politics we have had up to now – that could turn out over time to be a good thing.

However, the protesters must in that case ask themselves what it is exactly that they are protesting for, not just what they are protesting against. Are they protesting for Hillary Clinton and for a return to the unloved and unsatisfactory pre-Trump status quo? If so then the protests will be no more than a spasm of a discredited dying system, rather than the promise of something positive and new.

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U.S. May Impose Sanctions Against Turkey Over S-400 “Threat” To F-35

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform.

The Duran

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Authored by Al Masdar News:


Turkish officials have repeatedly insisted that Ankara’s purchase of the advanced Russian air defense system poses no threat whatsoever to the NATO alliance. Last month, the Turkish defense ministry announced that delivery of S-400s to Turkey would begin in October 2019.

The United States continues to consider the S-400 air defense system a threat to its F-35 fifth generation stealth fighter platform, and may impose sanctions against Ankara, Turkey’s Anadolu news agency has reported, citing a high-ranking source in Washington.

“I can’t say for certain whether sanctions will be imposed on Ankara over the S-400 contract, but the possibility is there. The US administration is not optimistic about this issue,” the source said.

While admitting that Turkey was a sovereign state and therefore had the right to make decisions on whom it buys its weapons from, the source stressed that from the perspective of these weapons’ integration with NATO systems, the S-400 was “problematic.”

The source also characterized the deployment of S-400s in areas where US F-35 fifth-generation stealth fighters are set to fly as “a threat,” without elaborating.

Emphasizing that negotiations between Washington and Ankara on the issue were “continuing,” the source said that there were also “positive tendencies” in negotiations between the two countries on the procurement of the Patriot system, Washington’s closest analogue to the S-400 in terms of capabilities.

Designed to stop enemy aircraft, cruise and ballistic missiles at ranges of up to 400 km and altitudes of up to 30 km, the S-400 is currently the most advanced mobile air defense system in Russia’s arsenal. Russia and India signed a ruble-denominated contract on the delivery of five regiments of S-400s worth $5 billion late last month.

Last week, the Saudi Ambassador to Russia said that talks on the sale of the system to his country were ongoing. In addition to Russia, S-400s are presently operated by Belarus and China, with Beijing expecting another delivery of S-400s by 2020.

Washington has already slapped China with sanctions over its purchase of S-400s and Su-35 combat aircraft in September. India, however, has voiced confidence that it would not be hit with similar restrictions, which the US Treasury has pursued under the 2017 Counter America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

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OPEC Plus: Putin’s move to control energy market with Saudi partnership (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 150.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss OPEC Plus and the growing partnership between Russia and Saudi Arabia, which aims to reshape the energy market, and cement Russia’s leadership role in global oil and gas supply.

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Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ WILL survive

The Express UK reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia’s ‘long-term relationship’ will not only survive, but grow, regardless of geopolitical turmoil and internal Saudi scandal…as the energy interests between both nations bind them together.

Ties between Saudi Arabia and Vladimir Putin’s Russia have a “long-term relationship” which is strategically beneficial to both of them, and which underlines their position as the world’s most influential oil producers, alongside the United States, an industry expert has said.

Following concerns about too much oil flooding the market, Saudi Arabia on Sunday performed an abrupt u-turn by deciding to reduce production by half a million barrels a day from December.

This put the Middle Eastern country at odds with Russia, which said it was no clear whether the market would be oversupplied next year, with market analysts predicting the country’s oil producing companies likely to BOOST proaction by 300,000 barrels per day.

But IHS Markit vice chairman Daniel Yergin said the decision was unlikely to jeopardise the relationship between the two allies.

The Saudis have faced significant international criticism in the wake of the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Turkey.

Speaking to CNBC, Mr Yergin made it clear that Moscow and Riyadh would continue to be closely aligned irrespective of external factors.

He explained: “I think it’s intended to be a long-term relationship and it started off about oil prices but you see it taking on other dimensions, for instance, Saudi investment in Russian LNG (liquefied natural gas) and Russian investment in Saudi Arabia.

“I think this is a strategic relationship because it’s useful to both countries.”

Saudi Arabia and Russia are close, especially as a result of their pact in late 2016, along with other OPEC and non-OPEC producers, to curb output by 1.8 million barrels per day in order to prevent prices dropping too far – but oil markets have changed since then, largely as a result.

The US criticised OPEC, which Saudi Arabia is the nominal leader of, after prices rose.

Markets have fluctuated in recent weeks as a result of fears over a possible drop in supply, as a result of US sanctions on Iran, and an oversupply, as a result of increased production by Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, which have seen prices fall by about 20 percent since early October.

Saudi Arabia has pumped 10.7 million barrels per day in October, while the figure for Russiaand the US was 11.4 million barrels in each case.

Mr Yergin said: “It’s the big three, it’s Saudi Arabia, Russia and the US, this is a different configuration in the oil market than the traditional OPEC-non-OPEC one and so the world is having to adjust.”

BP Group Chief Executive Bob Dudley told CNBC: “The OPEC-plus agreement between OPEC and non-OPEC producers including Russia and coalition is a lot stronger than people speculate.

“I think Russia doesn’t have the ability to turn on and off big fields which can happen in the Middle East.

“But I fully expect there to be coordination to try to keep the oil price within a certain fairway.”

Markets rallied by two percent on Monday off the back of the , which it justified by citing uncertain global oil growth and associated oil demand next year.

It also suggested  granted on US sanctions imposed on Iran which have been granted to several countries including China and Japan was a reason not to fear a decline in supply.

Also talking to CNBC, Russia’s Oil Minister Alexander Novak indicated a difference of opinion between Russia and the Saudis, saying it was too soon to cut production, highlighting a lot of volatility in the oil market.

He added: “If such a decision is necessary for the market and all the countries are in agreement, I think that Russia will undoubtedly play a part in this.

“But it’s early to talk about this now, we need to look at this question very carefully.”

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Nigel Farage lashes out at Angela Merkel, as Chancellor attends EU Parliament debate (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 17.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nigel Farage’s blistering speech, aimed squarely at Angela Merkel, calling out the German Chancellor’s disastrous migrant policy, wish to build an EU army, and Brussels’ Cold War rhetoric with Russia to the East and now the United States to the West.

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