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Paving the Road to the End of NATO

Macron echoed Merkel’s statements that Europe can no longer rely on the United States for its security.

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Authored by Tom Luongo via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


It’s no secret that President Trump believes NATO is an anachronism. It’s also no secret that French President Emmanuel Macron wants a Grand Army of the EU and a single EU Finance Minister to further integration of the EU into the United States of Europe.

He and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have been championing these two things since the day after Macron took office. They are both pushing hard for the EU to conduct independent foreign policy, framing Trump’s belligerence as the catalyst for its need now.

So, I’m not surprised in the wake of Merkel’s garden summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin recently that both of these policy initiatives are being pushed now.

Both Merkel and Macron are in trouble politically. Their approval ratings are dropping. Both have seen cabinet defections. So, they need political wins and rapprochement with Russia is something very much desired by many European nations, like Italy, and necessary to gain some economic momentum after four years of ruinous sanctions.

Macron now openly engages the idea of a security framework with Russia. The same Russia that not three months ago Macron was pulling diplomats from over the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal.

This admission on his part is major bombshell. If sincere, it changes the entire narrative and accelerates the shift of Europe away from the U.S.’s abusive use of the dollar as a whip to command compliance.

It also cuts to the heart of Trump’s criticisms of NATO, that the threat of Russian invasion of Eastern Europe as promoted by Poland and the Baltics is laughable.

In his recent press conference in Helsinki (ironic that), Macron echoed Merkel’s statements from earlier this year that Europe can no longer rely on the United States for its security; France should build a strategic partnership with Russia and Turkey.

I’ve been arguing for weeks now that Trump’s hostile policies towards Iran as well as Europe had the ultimate goal of accelerating the end of NATO by putting direct pressure on Germany and France to end the policy of using the U.S. as their defense pack horse.

Trump was right to point out at July’s NATO Summit the fundamental hypocrisy of spending billions on NATO to defend Germany while Germany is building a gas pipeline with Russia, Nordstream 2, to run its economy and resell gas around Europe.

This statement by Macron is an admission that Trump has won the standoff between the EU and the U.S.

Previous to Trump the goal was to simultaneously bind down the U.S. via trade deals and transnational agreements like TTIP and the Paris Accord on Climate Control while elevating Europe’s interests abroad by letting Iran off the hook and back into the global economy and expanding trade with China.

The inversion of the relationship between the U.S. (master) and Europe (satrap) would have been completed under a Clinton Presidency.

The arrangement being that the U.S. would continue bankrupt itself maintaining a military empire around the world and pay the lion’s share of NATO’s costs while the EU set policy. Trump rightly called that out during the campaign and has been resolute on this as President.

And to him, the Iran Nuclear Deal represented the ultimate slap in the face to the U.S., allowing Europe access to cheap Iranian oil and gas, paid for with euros, in exchange for zero real guarantee of Iran not developing a nuclear missile, thereby destabilizing the entire Middle East.

And, while, I believe Iran was upholding its end of the bargain as written, the spirit of the agreement was the problem. Trump believes, and, here I agree with him, that North Korea and Iran were working together to develop a nuclear ballistic missile. North Korea built the warhead while Iran worked on the delivery system.

Trump confirmed this was his belief in a tweet last year. It signified that Trump understands this connection and was unhappy about it.

That tweet changed everything. It set us on the path we’re on today. Here’s what I wrote back in late September of 2017.

Trump has made a big show about how the JCPOA is a ‘bad deal.’ This tweet tells you why.

But, so what? Until we show some willingness to define American interests less broadly and honor our agreements, why should anyone negotiate? Why should Iran and North Korea not pursue their interests which is obtaining a nuclear arsenal to deter the U.S. from violent regime change?

And that’s the place we are in right now with Europe. Why should they negotiate with Trump unless he offers them something in return, something he wants to give them; their foreign policy independence.

Trump is defining American interests less broadly. He’s saying Europe’s defense isn’t our responsibility anymore. He’s saying you don’t get to have your Iranian oil and hollow out our economy at the same time.

Macron is actively taking him up on the offer because he knows, like Merkel, that the U.S. will not lift a finger under Trump to tamp down unrest in Europe due to political instability brought on by central bank financial repression and mass immigration.

Because of this NATO is worried. Selling the world on permanent conflict with the evil Russians and ‘terrorists’ is the main way to keep selling arms around the world. That’s what NATO is at this point; a vast graveyard for productive capital to be wasted on weapons we don’t need to fight enemies that don’t exist.

This is why it’s political mouthpiece, The Atlantic Council, is advising Facebook on what is and is not ‘fake news’ coming from Russia. This is why the media, bureaucracies and lobbyists in D.C. all hate Trump. He’s undercutting the reasons for all of these weapons by forcing the real narrative about Europe’s security into the open.

Which is that the biggest danger to Europe’s security is Europe’s own leadership.

As I said at the outset, these plans for a Grand Army of the EU have been in the works for years. The EU was supposed to have its cake – U.S. money and support – and eat it too – its own private military — with the ultimate goal of merging their command structures with the U.S. in the subservient role.

And that plays into the other possibility of what this offer by Macron signifies. I’ve given you the bull case, as it were. Now here’s the bear case.

This statement by Macron could also be meant as an enticement to Russia to abandon its partnership with Iran and China in exchange for a closer relationship with Europe. We all know that Henry Kissinger has been advising Trump on this front; to create conditions by which to break the Russia/China alliance.

Because, while the U.S. is ‘not agreement capable,’ France and Germany are the kindler, gentler face of Western expansionism. So, Macron offers up a security arrangement for Russia and Turkey that excludes the U.S., giving Trump what he wants, an end to the U.S. funding Europe’s defense, while keeping NATO alive to turn on Russia at a later date, say after Trump is impeached.

So which path does this offer by Macron represent? The one that leads to European independence on foreign and energy policy out from under the umbrella of NATO and the U.S. and into an agreement with Russia and Turkey, as Macron said.

Or is it simply a stalking horse for further EU integration after Trump is removed from office and the original path paved by Obama re-established but this time with Russia neutered having betrayed its allies, China and Iran?

I’m betting Putin isn’t that stupid.

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Seán Murphy
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Seán Murphy

More conspiracy addled claptrap from Tom Luongo. So Iran is the bogeyman after all and Trump was right go try to scuttle the JCPOA? Tell us why, Tom. Give us facts, not Bs.

JNDillard
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JNDillard

“It also cuts to the heart of Trump’s criticisms of NATO, that the threat of Russian invasion of Eastern Europe as promoted by Poland and the Baltics is laughable.” Which brings us to the schizophrenia of the US Deep State (AND Trump, AND the entire Executive Branch:) the just announced major increase in armament sales to Ukraine. So which is it? No threat to the East (calling the bluff of Poland and the Baltics,) or increased threat? Actions speak louder than words: NATO continues to take an aggressive stance against Russia unabated, which means that Macron and Merkel, who have… Read more »

Guy
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Guy

“in exchange for zero real guarantee of Iran not developing a nuclear missile, thereby destabilizing the entire Middle East.”
I take exception to this statement Tom.Iran is monitored by the IAEA and has yet to be found to be guilty of any wrongdoing pertaining to the P5+1 agreement. Time and time again ,Iran has been found in total compliance of the agreement by the agency .

Joe
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Joe

An EU force? Really, against whom?

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BREXIT chaos, as May’s cabinet crumbles (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 18.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at the various scenarios now facing a crumbling May government, as the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is forcing cabinet members to resign in rapid succession. The weekend ahead is fraught with uncertainty for the UK and its position within, or outside, the European Union.

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If Theresa May’s ill-fated Brexit Withdrawal Agreement is eventually rejected this could trigger a vote of no confidence, snap elections or even a new referendum…

Here are six possible scenarios facing Theresa May and the UK (via The Guardian)

1 Parliament blocks Theresa May’s draft withdrawal agreement and political declarations

May faces an enormous task to win parliamentary approval, given that Labour, the SNP, the DUP and 51 Tories have said they will not vote for it.

If the remaining 27 EU member states sign off the draft agreement on 25 November, the government will have to win over MPs at a crucial vote in early December.

If May loses the vote, she has 21 days to put forward a new plan. If she wins, she is safe for now.

2 May withdraws the current draft agreement

The prime minister could decide that she will not get the draft agreement through parliament and could seek to renegotiate with the EU.

This would anger Tory backbenchers and Brussels and would be seen as a humiliation for her government. It might spark a leadership contest too.

3 Extend article 50

May could ask the European council to extend article 50, giving her more time to come up with a deal that could be passed by parliament – at present, the UK will leave on 29 March 2019.

Such a request would not necessarily be granted. Some EU governments are under pressure from populist parties to get the UK out of the EU as soon as possible.

4 Conservative MPs trigger a vote of no confidence in the prime minister

If Conservative MPs believe May is no longer fit for office, they could trigger a no-confidence vote.

Members of the European Research Group claim that Graham Brady, the chair of the powerful 1922 Committee, will receive the necessary 48 letters this week.

A vote could be held as soon as early next week. All Tory MPs would be asked to vote for or against their leader. If May wins, she cannot be challenged for at least 12 months. If she loses, there would be a leadership contest to decide who will become prime minister.

5 General election – three possible routes

If May fails to get support for the current deal, she could call a snap general election.

She would table a parliamentary vote for a general election that would have to be passed by two thirds of MPs. She would then set an election date, which could be by the end of January.

This is an unlikely option. May’s political credibility was severely damaged when she called a snap election in 2017, leading to the loss of the Conservative party’s majority.

Alternatively, a general election could be called if a simple majority of MPs vote that they have no confidence in the government. Seven Tory MPs, or all of the DUP MPs, would have to turn against the government for it to lose the vote, triggering a two-week cooling-off period. May would remain in office while MPs negotiate a new government.

Another route to a general election would be for the government to repeal or amend the Fixed-term Parliaments Act which creates a five-year period between general elections. A new act would have to be passed through both the Commons and the Lords – an unlikely scenario.

6 Second referendum

May could decide it is impossible to find a possible draft deal that will be approved by parliament and go for a people’s vote.

The meaningful vote could be amended to allow MPs to vote on whether the country holds a second referendum. It is unclear whether enough MPs would back a second referendum and May has ruled it out.

 

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Brexit Withdrawal Agreement may lead to Theresa May’s downfall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 151.

Alex Christoforou

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The Brexit Withdrawal Agreement has been published and as many predicted, including Nigel Farage, the document is leading to the collapse of Theresa May’s government.

During an interview with iTV’s Piers Morgan, remain’s Alistair Campell and leave’s Nigel Farage, were calling May’s Brexit deal a complete disaster.

Via iTV

Alastair Campbell: “This doesn’t do remotely what was offered…what is the point”

“Parliament is at an impasse”

“We have to go back to the people” …”remain has to be on the ballot paper”

Nigel Farage:

“This is the worst deal in history. We are giving away in excess of 40B pounds in return for precisely nothing. Trapped still inside the European Union’s rulebook.

“Nothing has been achieved.”

“In any negotiation in life…the other side need to know that you are serious about walking away.”

“What monsieur Barnier knew from day one, is that at no point did Theresa May intend to walk away.”

“Fundamental matter of trust to the electors of our country and those who govern us.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss Theresa May’s Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, and why the deal is a full on victory for the European Union and a document of subjugation for the United Kingdom.

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Coming in at 585 pages, the draft agreement will be closely scrutinized over the coming days but here are some of the highlights as outlined by Zerohedge

  • UK and EU to use the best endeavours to supersede Ireland protocol by 2020
  • UK can request extension of the transition period any time before July 1st, 2020
  • EU, UK See Level-Playing Field Measures in Future Relationship
  • Transition period may be extended once up to date yet to be specified in the text
  • EU and UK shall establish single customs territory and Northern Ireland is in same customs territory as Great Britain

The future relationship document is less than seven pages long. It says the U.K. and EU are seeking a free-trade area with cooperation on customs and rules: “Comprehensive arrangements creating a free trade area combining deep regulatory and customs cooperation, underpinned by provisions ensuring a level playing field for open and fair competition.”

The wording might raise concerns among Brexiters who don’t want regulatory cooperation and the measures on fair competition could amount to shackling the U.K. to EU rules.

As Bloomberg’s Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “There’s a clear sense in the documents that we’re heading for a customs union in all but name. Firstly via the Irish backstop, and then via the future relationship.”

Separately, a government summary of the draft agreement suggests role for parliament in deciding whether to extend the transition or to move in to the backstop.

But perhaps most importantly, regarding the controversial issue of the Irish border, the future relationship document says both sides aim to replace the so-called backstop – the thorniest issue in the negotiations – with a “subsequent agreement that establishes alternative arrangements for ensuring the absence of a hard border on the island of Ireland on a permanent footing.”

On this topic, recall that the U.K.’s fear was of being locked into the backstop arrangement indefinitely in the absence of a broader trade deal. The draft agreement includes a review process to try to give reassurance that the backstop would never be needed. Basically, the U.K. could choose to seek an extension to the transition period – where rules stay the same as they are currently – or opt to trigger the backstop conditions. In fact, as Bloomberg notes, the word “backstop,” which has been a sticking point over the Irish border for weeks, is mentioned only once in the text.

As Bloomberg further adds, the withdrawal agreement makes clear that the U.K. will remain in a single customs area with the EU until there’s a solution reached on the Irish border. It’s what Brexiteers hate, because it makes it more difficult for the U.K. to sign its own free-trade deals, which they regard as a key prize of Brexit.

Predictably, EU Commission President Juncker said decisive progress has been made in negotiations.

Meanwhile, as analysts comb over the documents, Jacob Rees-Mogg, chairman of the European Research Group, has already written to Conservative lawmakers urging them to vote against the deal. He says:

  • May is handing over money for “little or nothing in return”
  • The agreement treats Northern Ireland differently from the rest of the U.K.
  • It will “lock” the U.K. into a customs union with the EU
  • It breaks the Tory election manifesto of 2017

The full document…

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4 resignations and counting: May’s government ‘falling apart before our eyes’ over Brexit deal

The beginning of the end for Theresa May’s government.

The Duran

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Via RT


Four high profile resignations have followed on the heels of Theresa May’s announcement that her cabinet has settled on a Brexit deal, with Labour claiming that the Conservative government is at risk of completely dissolving.

Shailesh Vara, the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office was the first top official to resign after the prime minister announced that her cabinet had reached a draft EU withdrawal agreement.

An hour after his announcement, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab – the man charged with negotiating and finalizing the deal – said he was stepping down, stating that the Brexit deal in its current form suffers from deep flaws. Esther McVey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, submitted her letter of resignation shortly afterwards. More resignations have followed.

Labour’s shadow Cabinet Office minister, Jon Trickett, predicted that this is the beginning of the end for May’s government.

The government is falling apart before our eyes as for a second time the Brexit secretary has refused to back the prime minister’s Brexit plan. This so-called deal has unraveled before our eyes

Shailesh Vara: UK to be stuck in ‘a half-way house with no time limit’

Kicking off Thursday’s string of resignations, Vara didn’t mince words when describing his reservations about the cabinet-stamped Brexit deal.

Theresa May’s EU withdrawal agreement leaves the UK in a “halfway house with no time limit on when we will finally become a sovereign nation,” his letter of resignation states. Vara went on to warn that the draft agreement leaves a number of critical issues undecided, predicting that it “will take years to conclude” a trade deal with the bloc.

“We will be locked in a customs arrangement indefinitely, bound by rules determined by the EU over which we have no say,” he added.

Dominic Raab: Deal can’t be ‘reconciled’ with promises made to public

Announcing his resignation on Thursday morning, Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab tweeted: “I cannot in good conscience support the terms proposed for our deal with the EU.”

Raab claimed that the deal in its current form gives the EU veto power over the UK’s ability to annul the deal.

No democratic nation has ever signed up to be bound by such an extensive regime.

Former Conservative Party leader Iain Duncan Smith said that Raab’s resignation as Brexit secretary is “devastating” for May.

“It sounds like he has been ignored,” he told the BBC.

Raab’s departure will undoubtedly encourage other Brexit supporters to question the deal, political commentators have observed.

Esther McVey: Deal ‘does not honor’ Brexit referendum

Work and Pensions Secretary Esther McVey didn’t hold back when issuing her own letter of resignation. According to McVey, the deal “does not honour” the result of the Brexit referendum, in which a majority of Brits voted to leave the European Union.

Suella Braverman: ‘Unable to sincerely support’ deal

Suella Braverman, a junior minister in Britain’s Brexit ministry, issued her resignation on Thursday, saying that she couldn’t stomach the deal.

“I now find myself unable to sincerely support the deal agreed yesterday by cabinet,” she said in a letter posted on Twitter.

Suella Braverman, MP Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Exiting the EU © Global Look Press / Joel Goodman
Braverman said that the deal is not what the British people voted for, and threatened to tear the country apart.

“It prevents an unequivocal exit from a customs union with the EU,” she said.

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