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Emmanuel Macron wants to lead an EU rapprochement with Iran

France has taken the first step in respect of showing good faith towards Iran, in the context of a possible post-US JCPOA. However, much more is still required if Europe is serious about preserving its agreement with Iran.

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Facing unpopularity at home over callous remarks associated with his controversial labour reforms, French President Emmanuel Macron is looking east in order to establish himself as Europe’s leading figure in the diplomatic rush to ‘save’ the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) from Donald Trump’s threats to fully withdraw from the agreement, after the US domestically de-certified the JCPOA, thus sending it to Congress for extended debates.

Whether Macron cares about the Iran deal as a matter of principle, seeks to enhance his personal prestige or is feeling the pressure from French companies who are successfully conducting business with Iran, is ultimately, a moot point. In reality, Europe does need to take a lead in representing the western half of the east-west agreement that is the JCPOA. Thus far, the most robust statements clarifying the EU’s continued support of the deal have come from the European Union’s High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, who spoke minutes after Trump’s speech confirming US de-certification of the JCPOA.

Everything you need to know about Trump’s de-certification of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)

Mogherini’s words have now been echoed by the French President who recently stated,

“I hope that we will stay within the framework of this agreement, and President Rouhani has also pledged to stay. Europe and the other negotiators will stay because we have better control over the situation and my goal is the security of the French people. At the necessary time, I’ll be there to have exigent dialogue with Iran. We might have differences but they should not be unresolvable”.

The key to this statement is Macron’s acknowledgement of the EU’s “differences” with Iran. These differences include an EU policy of hostility towards Iran’s Syrian ally, an EU policy which is seen as unbalanced in respect of Palestine and an EU policy which has since 1979, carried anti-Iranian prejudices that are similar, albeit less extreme, than that which comes out of the US.

If, as many indicate, the US will eventually withdraw from the deal or make it so that Iran believes (justifiably) that the US is failing to hold-up its end of the JCPOA, it will fall to the other parties to the agreement to either salvage the agreement without Washington or to otherwise replace it with a similar agreement that does not involve the US.

Because Russia and China have been totally consistent in their support of the deal, support of expanding commercial ventures with Iran and also supportive of Iran’s allies, the onus for meaningful change in order to make up for US opposition to the JCPOA, will naturally fall on Europe. If Emmanuel Macron wants to be the leading voice of the European side in future negotiations with Iran, he will have to make the necessary concessions to win Iran’s respect after the US struck a big blow for wider western credibility. Furthermore, for Macron personally, since he has rapidly lot credibility among a generally unforgiving French electorate, foreign policy may be his only option if he wants to regain personal prestige that he apparently covets more than even most political leaders.

The fact that after Donald Trump’s anti-Iranian remarks, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani expressed his willingness to work with Europe to preserve the letter and spirit of the JCPOA, is proof positive that Iran is entering into the next phase of discussions with the EU in good faith. To his credit, Emmanuel Macron’s willingness to visit Tehran, making him the first French leader to do so since prior to 1979, is also a sign of good faith from the EU.

Beyond this though, as a foreign policy novice, Macron, like even many of his more experienced EU partners, will have to understand something crucial about Iran in 2017. Iran today is approaching  possible JCPOA re-negotiations in a post-US environment, not with a spirit of desperation but of confidence tinged with righteous anger at US hypocrisy. Unless European leaders can show a genuine pivot away from the American attitude problem about Iran, Tehran’s anger could easily shift towards Europe.

For France in particular, there are important steps Paris must take in order to win Iran’s medium and possibly even long-term respect. Because European air power in Syria has always been something of a fig leaf to cover America’s aggressive and illegal campaign in Syria, something Vladimir Putin alluded to during his press conference with a newly elected Macron, there is no point in any European nation or body continuing to associate itself with the so-called Syrian opposition. Even forgetting the Iranian component, the EU would be best to walk away from Syria altogether. This would send a message to the US, that the EU is capable of an independent foreign policy (whether it is or not, would be tested in just such a move) and it would also save a great deal of money among EU powers.

In the longer term, France also ought to de-list Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The EU, while proscribing Hezbollah’s military wing as such, does not target the party as a whole. The same is true for Germany and the UK, the two other EU states represented individually as part of the JCPOA. If France toned down its rhetoric and official position on both Syria and Hezbollah, it would show Iran that while France will never be as friendly towards Tehran as are Russia and China are, nor would  France pretend to be in a position of being an adversary to Iran, something it would be incapable of, even if it tried. Furthermore, if France made steps to show that it would at least be more even handed in respect of Palestine, this too would account for a great deal of good will.

At this juncture, it becomes necessary to state that my personal view is that Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine are on the morally correct side of the political divides which concern their existence. But just because myself, Iran and the general opinion of Russia and China feel this way, doesn’t change the fact that any true art of a deal, is the art of compromise. Hence, my aforementioned proposals are designed to preserve France’s inevitable geo-political trajectory, while making important rhetorical concessions that will go a long way during negotiations with Iran, but effectively change nothing in respect of the Middle East’s balance of power.

In return, Iran could build a genuine basis for good commercial relations, based on the previously agreed upon framework of the JCPOA, but one that could potentially open up even more east-west commercial highways, without the ‘ball and chain effect’ of having a reluctant United States as a party to the deal.

I for one, do not pretend that the EU is as independent of the United States as it sometimes pretends to be. However, with US geo-political influence clearly in decline, the EU ought to at least try and navigate the potential of a multi-polar world where new realities will confront everyone. Rather than wait for the US to give up on Europe, Europe should instead strike first by putting action behind its words in respect of Iran. In doing this, Europe has little to lose and potentially a great deal to gain.

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According to Ukraine, the Crimean Bridge doesn’t exist (VIDEO)

Ukraine tries to deny the reality of the completion and soundness of the Crimean Bridge, though Ukraine was unable to build it, itself.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Russia’s VESTI News is truly an entertaining channel at times. This news service is strongly supported by the Russian government, and one of the criticisms it receives from Russian people is that it is an “extreme” propaganda house, telling all manner of crazy stories to distract its watchers’ attention away from the real problems that Russian people face at home.

No doubt there is truth to this, as this is a technique certainly duplicated in the US, Great Britain and elsewhere. Every nation has the right to its own propaganda. However, Vesti also seems to have a lot of fun making fun of other nations’ propaganda, and here they found a great one. Apparently, Ukraine’s propaganda ministry is trying to make the assertion that the Crimean Bridge collapsed and its debris is floating around in the Kerch Strait, “with the tectonic plates.”

See for yourself.

According to Ukrainian scientists and even “psychics”, this bridge is doomed to fall into the Kerch Strait once a sufficient earthquake hits it. Some claims appear even to say that the bridge already is not there, or at least, is not there in the way the Russian news sources have described it.

Of course, the VESTI team erupts into its famous snark, talking about how the bridge is very much alive and well and that it is the new “pride of Russia,” and so on.

This bridge is indeed quite an engineering feat, being completed only about three years after the rejoining / annexation / invasion / hostile takeover / or was it a voluntary referendum? of Crimea to the Russian Federation. This is a rapid speed for such a major project, but it is not very unusual for such projects to progress rather quickly when they are done with a will.

Burj Khalifa (formerly Burj Dubai) is presently by far the tallest building in the world, reaching skyward 828 meters, over half a mile into the sky. It took a little over four years to construct this landmark building, and it was done steadily and with a will to completion. Its would-be successor is not having as smooth an experience, for the Jeddah Tower in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, has hit problems, and even though this tower is projected to go only about 130 meter higher (reaching a significant milestone of one kilometer tall), its construction started in 2013, and as of the latest update, only 63 floors are completed.

The Crimean Bridge was built with a will to make a point, presumably to Ukraine, the rest of Russia and the world:

This is the New Russia. Look what we can do!

And, they did a marvelous feat of engineering in a very short time.

VESTI indeed does try to make some people feel better by pointing out the problems of other countries. Sometimes that is a distraction. But sometimes it is worth a serious bit of consideration.

Ukraine has a leader most of its people apparently cannot stand, who is a warmonger and a crybaby at the same time, begging the West for help while breathing threats against Russia.

While there are no doubt many, many wonderful people there trying to do wonderful things, it does seem to be that the country is suffering because of its willingness to be a pawn of the West. Russia is feeling the Western squeeze and it is not pleasant, but the Russians also seem to know that they can get themselves through this, and so they have reason to be glad when the country makes a good accomplishment such as the Crimean Bridge. The political and geopolitical importance of this project is such that it is very likely that all sorts of great engineering went into the bridge. It is prudent, and Russians seem to understand prudence very, very well.

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White privilege shaming attempt goes hilariously wrong

A well-trained racist ran afoul of her own side when she accused a black man of white privilege – because he has a conservative worldview.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Racism is on the increase in America. In the liberal world, anti-white sentiment is reaching untold heights. It went so high for CNN reporter (and legal analyst!!) Areva Martin that she fearlessly called out radio host David Webb on his own program for executing his white privilege and not listening to her. At this moment, no doubt, many fellow black racists who were watching CNN (and many guilt-ridden white people too!) were cheering her on for “putting it to” this radio host for being so shamelessly white. But then, this happened:

Yep. This is David Webb. He broadcasts on Sirius XM’s Patriot network (Sirius is a satellite radio network broadcasting for US audiences). He is politically conservative, believes in the rule of law and personal responsibility, aaaannndddd… he’s black.

National Review’s Kevin Williamson dug in a bit more to give us some information about who Mr. Webb actually is (in other words, he did research before making allegations or accusations as did Ms. Martin):

And here I thought I was the only black man with white privilege.

Areva Martin, a CNN “analyst” — whatever in hell that means anno Domini 2019 — was in the middle of a spirited exchange with the conservative talk-radio host David Webb about racial preferences in hiring. Webb argued — as conservatives of many different races argue! — that race should not be a factor in such decisions, which should be based strictly on qualifications.

Martin, predictably, leaned on identity. “That’s a whole ’nother long conversation about white privilege,” she sniffed. “The things that you have the privilege of doing that people of color don’t have the privilege of.” Webb, sensing something amiss, asked: “How do I have white privilege?” Her answer: Because he is a “white male.”

Half right.

(Disclosure: I don’t think I’ve ever met Mr. Webb, but I did guest-host his radio show a few times a couple of years ago. They stopped asking me to do that after I made fun of his awful bumper music. People are touchy.)

Somehow, we as a culture have managed to forget that ad hominem is a rhetorical fallacy. Which is to say: Relying on the ad hominem mode of argument means that you are stupid, if not generally and categorically stupid then limited-purpose stupid in the context of the debate at hand.

It would seem that CNN has indeed forgotten this, or has assumed (with some success) that America has been successfully weaned of people able to quickly and easily discern such fallacies, and now ad hominem rhetoric is mainstream, and actually counts among the talking heads of the Left as “reasonable discourse.”

Just consider how effective this sort of bullying has been against many people, and how it is used over and over against Donald Trump, though it fails miserably with him (probably because he does not drink or smoke cannabis and has therefore kept his mind.)

Mr. Williamson went on to underscore his point:

Dennis Prager, relating the story above, mentions that he was denounced — as he must be denounced! — before a college campus speech as a racist, sexist, homophobe, and . . . anti-Semite. Prager is Jewish. He has made opposing anti-Semitism a fundamental part of his public career. The reaction to that news was predictable: “Oops. Well, he’s still a racist, sexist, homophobe . . .”

I’ve heard Charles C. W. Cooke dismissed as a fundamentalist Christian (he’s an atheist) and Guy Benson denounced as a homophobe (he’s gay). I have even heard myself denounced as a sellout self-hating black man (I’m white). We have been the beneficiaries of Voltaire’s prayer: “I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: ‘O Lord make my enemies ridiculous.’ And God granted it.”

But here’s a question: What if they were right? Cooke’s views on abortion or the First Amendment are what they are, and they either have merit or they do not, irrespective of his religious views. David Webb and I have the same views on many things, I imagine. He’s black. I’m white. Presumably, an erroneous opinion bouncing around in my head would be equally erroneous bouncing around in his head, just as a useful observation coming out of my mouth would be an equally useful observation coming out of his.

Not if you are a progressive, apparently. For the Left, public discourse is Lord of the Flies, and victimhood is the conch — that is how they believe we should decide who gets to speak. That’s what the nonsensical business about “intersectionality” is all about. It is at its heart very little more than a reconstitution of old, dumb, primitive, superstitious ideas in the same genus as racism and nationalism, i.e. the belief that certain demographic markers of questionable real-world relevance are supernaturally cementitious determinants of moral meaning.

Mr. Williamson was very polite in his last sentence, and probably not a little bit sarcastic.

What we see here with Areva Martin’s behavior is racism. Pure and simple.

She said, essentially, “I am a black woman, so that makes me better than you.”

So, let’s play with this a bit.

“I am white, so that makes me better than you.”

This would create a network meltdown if someone who was a public figure tried to say it and uphold this as a belief. Let’s make it even better. “I am a white, Christian, wealthy man who is married and has children and lots of success. But I have it because I am white. You are not white, so you cannot have it.”

Now we probably have riots in the streets and death threats to the hapless soul who ventured to say this. But then, flip it:

“I am a black man. Whitey owes me.”

How is this not racism?

Liberals interpret this as being “true” because “black people were oppressed by white people.” And, so? They are not now, and few indeed are the numbers of white men or women in America that would even dare to think of themselves as superior because of the color of their skin.

Racists don’t know that, and they will not accept it.

To be racist and / or feminist (which behaves the same way but with regard to the “man” part) is to claim the title of victim. Racists are victims. Feminists are victims. They are wedded to a victimhood viewpoint from the moment that they take on these roles. Frederica Matthewes-Green, a former feminist and now the wife of an Antiochian Orthodox Christian priest (she got better!) commented once about feminism, saying approximately this:

Feminism is a very difficult trap. Once a woman engages the idea that she is a victim because she is female, she sees everywhere how this is actually true by the way people treat her. She sees it because she is emotionally attached to the idea of being superior to men, but for the fact that men are just jealous of her.

The same thing happens for racists. Let’s be honest here: this is not “inverse racism” – for that would appear to make it somehow relevant because “whitey deserves it.” Racism is racism. It is the idea as stated above that one’s appearance or place of origin makes one superior to others. Whites are better than blacks. Why? because they are white. Blacks are better than whites. Why. Because they are black.

Essentially the conversation is, “Why?” and, “Because!” is the one word answer, or more accurately, “because I said so.” There is no truth to this. As David Webb himself said, “our skin is an organ. It doesn’t think. It doesn’t formulate ideas.”

So what does this mean? By standards of racism and culture, it appears to mean the following:

  • White men talk about following the law because they are white and they can do this.
  • They therefore do not understand black men and women, because black men and women are special cases (for Areva)
  • Their special nature means that the arguments of following the law do not – and must not – apply to them
  • Apparently this means that black people are incapable of following laws
  • It means that they are incapable of taking personal responsibility for themselves
  • If this is so, then it also follows that someone must run their lives, which leads us to upholding…

Slavery! Hell, seen in this light, slavery is the only humane, reasonable and kind way to treat such people!

CNN has stocked its newsroom top anchor positions, therefore, with victims. Anderson Cooper (gay), Don Lemon (gay and black), Jim Acosta (his last name is Hispanic, so he is a victim too). The list probably can be easily extended. And in fact, Areva Martin (black and a woman) holding the post of legal analyst in this news organization displayed the victim card prominently. CNN spends a lot of time and money defending the idea that white privilege exists, even though it doesn’t. Just ask any white person.

Pride of identity is always false. There is nothing anyone did to earn their race, their sex, their skin color, their ancestry, and so on. So being proud of such attributes is utter foolishness. At most, these are interesting conversation topics, but they all accomplish precisely nothing in any field of life.

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Second group of Su-57 stealth fighters to be requested in 2020

The second Su-57 contract will feature fighters with the advanced engine design that was under development while the prototypes were made.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The contract for a second order of Russian Su-57 stealth fighters is expected to be signed in 2020, according to an unnamed source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry. TASS, the Russian News Agency, reported on this on Wednesday, 16 January:

The second contract to manufacture 13 Su-57 fighter jets for the Russian Aerospace Forces is to be signed next year, a source in Russia’s aircraft-making industry told TASS on Wednesday.

“In 2020, we plan to sign the second contract to manufacture and deliver 13 Su-57 fighter jets, some of them equipped with the second-stage engines,” he said. “The preliminary timeframe for the new contract is five years.”

The first contract envisages the delivery of two fifth-generation aircraft in 2019-2020.

“In line with the contract signed in 2018, one serial Su-57 jet with first-stage engines will be delivered to the Aerospace Forces this year, the other aircraft featuring the same type of engine – in 2020.”

The aircraft’s manufacturer, the United Aircraft Corporation, refrained from commenting on the report.

The Su-57 is a fifth-generation multirole fighter designed to destroy all types of air targets at long and short ranges and hit enemy ground and naval targets, overcoming its air defense capabilities.

The Su-57 took to the skies for the first time on January 29, 2010. Compared to its predecessors, the Su-57 combines the functions of an attack plane and a fighter jet while the use of composite materials and innovation technologies and the fighter’s aerodynamic configuration ensure the low level of radar and infrared signature.

The aircraft has been successfully tested in Syria.

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