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Towards a more realistic US strategic posture based on cooperation with the other Great Powers

These proposals are ambitious, but if even partly adhered to, the world could become a far safer place.

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Rather than speculate on what Trump’s next move with Russia will be, at this point it would be healthier to make some constructive suggestions for how the world might look when the military and geo-political super-powers cooperate with clearly defined spheres of influence.

The key elements of such a proposal rests on the fact that because of the diplomatic incompetence of the Obama administration and the steadfast, intelligent approach of Putin, Lavrov, Churkin and Zakharova; Russia is now the global leader when it comes to mediation in areas of conflict.

Russia’s lead in organising the Astana Conference for peace in Syria, Russia’s even handed approach to the Israel-Palestine conflict and Russia’s ability to remain on good terms with both India and Pakistan, as well as Russia’s pivotal role in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, makes this abundantly clear.

It is also increasingly clear that Russia’s air power is superior to that of the US. Russian planes are capable of more diverse missions and are more cost-effective and durable than the overly expensive fleet of US aircraft.

By contrast, the US navy is superior to any in the world. This is a reflection of the astronomical budget of the US navy, even though sometimes it seems that the US doesn’t know what to do with its huge fleet.

In terms of tanks, Russia’s new Armata  and related vehicles have turned heads throughout the world. Russia has not only caught up with NATO in this area, but it would not be an exaggeration to say that the Armata may well be the best tank in the world.

As The Saker recently wrote, Russia’s ability to build her armed forces around practical needs rather than abstract technological goals makes Russia’s armed forces both formidable and operationally effective.

It is clear however that both Russia and the US have important roles to play in the world.

Because of Russia’s increased involvement in the Eastern Mediterranean, I believe it is important for Russia to have more air and naval bases in the region.

In addition to Russia’s base in Tartus in Syria, the next logical place for Russia to construct a modern harbour and air field is Cyprus.

Cyprus and Russia have become increasingly more cooperative. Cyprus owes its liberation from Turkey to Russia (see the Russo-Turkish war of 1877-8), and as an Orthodox people who have been let down by the EU injections of Russian investment have helped keep Cyprus afloat in difficult times.

Building a large naval base in Cyprus would be good for the Cypriot economy and would be an assurance that Cypriots could rest easy when it comes to threats of future Turkish aggression. Indeed, it would send a clear message to Turkey, which still illegally occupies the north of the island, that Cyprus has chosen to be in Russia’s sphere of influence.

As for Russia, Russia has always needed a large permanent warm-water base, and Cyprus is the most suitable location.

By contrast the US does indeed have a role to play in Europe, but it is certainly not with the ground troops and heavy vehicles that Obama has sent to central and north-eastern Europe, where fantasists and fanatics imagine a war might occur.  In truth the US has no need for a single soldier to be in any European country, nor do its Cold War bases there have any role to play.

The US should withdraw its army from Europe and instead focus on naval power in the central Mediterranean. I would suggest that the US Navy strike an economically fair deal with Malta to use the deep water harbour in Valletta. As the US Navy has supplanted the Royal Navy in terms of size and prestige, it would be only logical for America to pick up where Britain left off. The Royal Navy of course withdrew from Malta in 1967.

Once Syria and Iraq are liberated from terrorist occupation, many if not most of the surviving terrorists will likely go to the failed state of Libya.

Where Gaddafi was once a bulwark keeping terrorists from North Africa out of Europe, now the floodgates are open.

As the Europeans seem not to have the will to do anything about this, the US could stay in the Mediterranean to clean up the mess that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama by their murderous intervention in Libya created.

Furthermore, with both Russia and the US having a presence in the Mediterranean, it would be easier to forge a constructive pact with Egypt to cooperate on the subject of Libya. Ultimately it will need Egyptian political leadership combined with Russian and American military help to turn Libya back into something that resembles a functional state.

Furthermore, if a land war ever takes place in Europe, it will be in the Balkans, not in the Baltics.

The US under Bill Clinton helped destroy this region, but if under Trump the US needs to work with the UN and of course Russia to calm any potential Balkan conflict, then southern Europe makes more sense for a US presence in Europe than do Germany or Poland.

In terms of East Asia, Obama’s incompetence in the region surrendered what was left of US influence. The South China Sea dispute will likely be solved without much if any American input. Trump might indeed say ‘you have the sea; I’ll have some tariffs’. Here, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is king. Just as Senator Robert Taft opposed the War in Korea shortly before his death, so Trump’s neo-Taft America first policy ought to begin by letting East Asia be.

Of course, many will say these proposals are idealistic. They are!

Re-tooling the cumbersome, entrenched NATO machine to do something practical will not be easy, especially with high levels of opposition from the Pentagon and Congress.

However, if Trump wants a realistic foreign policy that maintains American might whilst allowing for crucial cooperation with Russia who Trump rightly seems to view as an equal, this is the correct path. Will it be followed even in part? Time will tell.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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