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On North Korea, Trump says ‘Libya model would take place if we don’t make a deal’

Will Trump’s hard ball style of deal-making win the day?

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First, John Bolton again opened his big mouth referring to ‘the Libya model’, where a nation that denuclearized experienced a US backed regime change that has left the nation a failed state ever since, right when Washington is supposedly attempting to broker a denuclearization deal with a country that Trump has been threatening to bomb, as well as get a peace settlement established.

Obviously, Bolton’s statements were, by some parties, construed as referring to the regime change program that has made Libya such a successful, modern, slave-trading, violence ridden failed state, rather than the denuclearization process that was accomplished there in 2003-2004.

This week, North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has declared that he isn’t continuing with peace talks as long as that means taking a unilateral ‘proposal’ from the US, or, in Trump’s terms, where America gets ‘the better end of the deal’.

In short, as long as the peace talks translate into ‘America First’, Kim isn’t negotiating. Kim is telling Trump that this is about ‘making Korea whole again’, and has a ‘Korea first’ motto, putting the two parties on opposite sides of the arena.

After all, the means cited to spur the denuclearization talks are essentially the same as those that were used with Gadhafi’s nuclear disarmament, and that is the threat of delivering US-made bombs and boots on the ground, whether American or more ‘moderate’ ones.

Following Bush’s invasion of Iraq, Bush made clear that “we have clarified the choices left to potential adversaries”, meaning, get rid of your WMDs or we’re coming after you.

Trump is likewise taking credit for the process that has transpired in the direction of DPRK’s nuclear disarmament by indicating that it was his threats of unleashing nuclear war on North Korea that lit the fire under them to get moving on a program to end their nuclear development and establish peace with the South.

However, it may very well be that it is that very ‘Libya model’ that has led to a stall in progress towards peace and nuclear disarmament on the Korean peninsula, as Libya disarmed, but still got the ‘America first’ treatment, or rather, ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’ exported to their country.

However, Trump seems to be well prepared to reimpose it in Korea, definitely referring to Gadhafi’s overthrow and murder, if he doesn’t get what he wants. Once again, more of Trump’s ‘art of deal making’, the ‘take it or leave it’ approach; or, this time, ‘take it or die’. The AFP reports:

US President Donald Trump tried to put his summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un back on track Thursday, offering the North Korean leader guarantees of staying in power if he abandons nuclear weapons.

As prospects for a historic summit next month between the two leaders dimmed, Trump told reporters that if the meeting were to go ahead successfully, Kim “will get protections that will be very strong.”

“He’d be in his country and running his country. His country would be very rich.”

But the pledge came barbed with a warning that if talks fail, Kim could suffer the same fate as Libya’s Moamer Kadhafi, who was overthrown by rebels and murdered.

Trump’s comments came as Pyongyang appeared to cool to the idea of the sit-down in Singapore on June 12, blaming US demands for “unilateral nuclear abandonment.”

Trump suggested Kim’s about-face may have been at the behest of Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

“It could very well be that he’s influencing Kim Jong Un,” Trump said, citing a recent meeting between the pair, their second in a month’s time. “We’ll see what happens.”

After months of photo-ops and diplomatic backslapping, a North Korean official was quoted as saying the summit may not go ahead.

The official also groused about Trump’s National Security Advisor John Bolton, who referred to Libya as a model for denuclearization.

In 2003, Kadhafi agreed to the elimination of his country’s nuclear program and chemical weapons arsenal to gain sanctions relief.

But Trump, and Pyongyang, appeared to zero in on what happened a decade later following the Libyan revolution, when NATO-backed rebels ousted the government and killed Kadhafi.

“The Libyan model isn’t a model that we have (in mind) at all when we’re thinking of North Korea,” Trump said while sitting at arm’s length from Bolton in the Oval Office.

“If you look at that model with Kadhafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him,” Trump said.

“Now, that model would take place if we don’t make a deal, most likely,” he warned Pyongyang.

“But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong Un is going to be very, very happy.”

Trump has already said that he would ‘walk away’ if he doesn’t think that the talks will go his way, and now he’s adding to that the threat of overthrowing Kim in the manner that the US overthrew Libya’s Gadhafi.

Will Kim use his threat of walking away from this process to force Trump to move in his direction, or will Trump’s threats of not only backing away, but launching hostile initiatives in Kim’s direction, win the day on this process moving forward (if moving can be a description of the present situation, and as if there even will be a forward)?

Of interest here isn’t purely the North Korea angle on this story, but also the casual manner in which the wholesale destruction of a nation and countless crimes against humanity were, and continue to be, committed are being mentioned, and how America is owning its participation in it, while assuming no responsibility for cleaning up its mess, or for the horrors that America has unleashed in North Africa.

Also of interest, note that many of Europe’s migrants are fleeing the failed state that Libya has become, a situation that the White House admits that it created, a problem for Europe that their strategic and defensive ally has handed to them complete with gift wrapping and a bow.

Trump isn’t the start of problems that Europe is faring, they find their origin in American foreign policy, as the Libya situation went down under his predecessor, he’s just putting ‘America first’ in big bold letters for them, and maybe also for the Koreans, too.

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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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European Council crushes Theresa May’s soft Brexit dream (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May hoped that the European Council was ready to see things her way, in terms of proceeding with a soft Brexit, which was essentially no Brexit at all…at least not the hard Brexit that was voted on in a democratic referendum approximately two years ago.

Much to May’s surprise, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a death blow verdict for May’s Brexit, noting that EU leaders are in full agreement that Chequers plan for Brexit “will not work” because “it risks undermining the single market.”

Without a miracle compromise springing up come during the October summit, the UK will drift into the March 29, 2019 deadline without a deal and out of the European Union…which was initially what was voted for way back in 2016, leaving everyone asking, what the hell was May doing wasting Britain’s time and resources for two years, so as to return back to the hard Brexit terms she was charged with carrying forward after the 2016 referendum?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss what was a disastrous EU summit in Salzburg for UK PM Theresa May, in what looks to be the final nail in May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister, as a hard Brexit now seems all but certain.

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Via Zerohedge

Tusk was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit. He said that while there were “positive elements” in May’s Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk cannot be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” Tusk said. He also said that he could not “exclude” the possibility that the UK could exit the EU in March with no deal.

May has been urging her European counterparts to accept her controversial Chequers plan which has split both the Conservative party and the broader UK population after it was thrashed out back in July. However, despite the painfully-slow negotiation process, which appears to have made little headway with just a few months left, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019 – with or without an exit deal.

The main sticking point that has emerged, and left May and the EU at loggerheads, has been how to avoid new checks on the Irish border. May has claimed that her proposals were the “only serious, credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. She said during a press conference after the Salzburg meeting that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a Northern Ireland hard border. She said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

May also said that there was “a lot of hard work to be done,” adding that the UK was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the EU without a deal. Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, and that “if the conditions are there” another summit would be held in November to “formalize” it.

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Russia makes HUGE strides in drone technology

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The US and Israel are universally recognized leaders in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Thousands of American and Israeli UAVs are operating across the world daily.

The US military has recently successfully tested an air-to-air missile to turn its MQ-9 Reaper drone into an effective long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance unmanned spy aircraft capable of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air missions. This is a major breakthrough. It’s not a secret that Russia has been lagging behind in UAV development. Now its seems to be going to change with tangible progress made to narrow the gap.

Very few nations boast drones capable of high-altitude long endurance (HALE) missions. Russia is to enter the club of the chosen. In late 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry awarded a HALE UAV contract to the Kazan-based Simonov design bureau.

This month, Russian Zvezda military news TV channel showed a video (below) of Altair (Altius) heavy drone prototype aircraft number “03”, going through its first flight test.

Propelled by two RED A03/V12 500hp high fuel efficiency diesel engines, each producing a capacity of 500 hp on takeoff, the 5-ton heavy vehicle with a wingspan of 28.5 meters boasts a maximum altitude of 12km and a range of 10,000km at a cruising speed of 150-250km/h.

Wingspan: about 30 meters. Maximum speed: up to 950 km/h. Flight endurance: 48 hours. Payload: two tons, which allows the creation of a strike version. The vehicle is able to autonomously take off and land or be guided by an operator from the ground.

The UAV can carry the usual range of optical and thermal sensors as well as synthetic-aperture ground-surveillance radar with the resolution of .1 meter at the range of 35km and 1 meter at the range of 125km. The communications equipment allows real-time data exchange.

Russia’s UAV program currently underway includes the development of a range of large, small, and mid-sized drones. The Orion-E medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV was unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show. Its developer, Kronstadt Technologies, claims it could be modified for strike missions. The one-ton drone is going through testing now. The Orion-E is capable of automatic takeoff and landing.

It can fly continuously for 24 hours, carrying a surveillance payload of up to 200 kg to include a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret, synthetic aperture radar and high resolution cameras. The drone can reach a maximum altitude of 7,500 m. Its range is 250 km.

The Sukhoi design bureau is currently developing the Okhotnik (Hunter) strike drone with a range of about 3,500km. The drone made its maiden flight this year. In its current capacity, it has an anti-radar coating, and will store missiles and precision-guided bombs internally to avoid radar detection.

The Kazan-based Eniks Design Bureau is working on the small T-16 weaponized aerial vehicle able to carry 6 kg of payload.

The new Russian Korsar (Corsair) tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be upgraded to receive an electronic warfare system. Its operational range will be increased from 150km to 250km. The drone was revealed at Victory Day military parade along with the Korsar unmanned combat helicopter version.

The rotary wing drone lacks the speed and altitude of the fixed wing variant, but has a great advantage of being able to operate without landing strips and can be sea-based. Both drones can carry guided and unguided munitions. The fixed-wing version can be armed with Ataka 9M120 missiles.

The first Russian helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells was presented at the Army-2018 international forum. With the horizontal cruising speed of the drone up to 60 kph, the unmanned chopper can stay in the air at least 2.5 hours to conduct reconnaissance operations. Its payload is up to 5 kg.

Last November, the Kalashnikov Concern reported that it would start production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying up to several tons of cargo and operating for several days at a time without needing to recharge.

All in all, the Russian military operate 1,900 drones on a daily basis. The multi-purpose Orlan-10 with a range of 600km has become a working horse that no military operation, including combat actions in Syria, can be conducted without. Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov,
the head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Russian drones performed over 23,000 flights, lasting 140,000 hours in total.

Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 puts the creation of armed UAVs at the top of priorities’ list. Looks like the effort begins to pay off. Russia is well on the way to become second to none in UAV capability.

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Via Strategic Culture

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