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Poland bans Bandera – Ukrainian nationalists demand Poroshenko condemn their NATO ‘ally’

Ukraine’s president is stuck between his radical NATO-EU allies and rabid domestic Nazis

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Looks like there is trouble in Poroshenko paradise. The Ukrainian leader is being called upon by the real ultra-nationalists to criticize Poland’s condemnation of Stepan Bandera – the Ukrainian nationalist hero who pledged allegiance to Nazi Germany in World War II.

Now Poroshenko has to choose between his own domestic radicals or a member of the military alliance they seek entry into. No matter what he does, someone will be mad.

Truth be told, Poroshenko isn’t a true Neo-Nazi of the caliber of Pravi Sektor and their *slightly* more PR friendly friends in the Svoboda party. He is certainly a Nazi sympathizer who has said inexcusable things, such as when he gleefully declared East Ukrainian children will live in bomb shelters while his will go to school, but this is all a smoke screen to gain political support, and distract from his more likely real intentions: To rob Ukraine blind 1990’s style, and flee to a western mansion of his choice when/if the country burns.

If innocent Russian-Ukrainian citizens perish in the crossfire, he doesn’t care, but no one expects Poroshenko to take the fight to the streets draped in the flag, for the “glory of Ukraine”. If Poroshenko stepped outside during one of those eerily familiar rallies, he would not find himself welcome.

The real fighting is done by the radical Nazi elements, while the actual administration of the country is the work of greedy oligarchs, with hardly a shred of patriotism in their blood. No one is saying Poroshenko’s isn’t leading a pro-Nazi regime, but he’s more of the “Let the poor idiots die in wars. I want to see if I can stuff as much money in my pockets, as I can chocolate in my mouth” kind of tyrant, rather than the passionate “For the Glory of Ukraine!” type.

He doesn’t have a patriotic bone in his body, certainly not the noble type, but not even the fascist ultranationalism. Say what you will about those vile Nazi’s, despicable as they are, they love the fatherland and are happy to die for it. Poroshenko has no intention of dying for anyone, let alone Ukraine.

Image result for poroshenko meme

Poroshenko and his ilk would sell the bones of Stepan Bandera if it fetched a pretty hrivna – but the problem is, if the nationalists wake up from their drunken chest pounding, raping, and pillaging, long enough to catchon, Poroshenko and friends would not be happy campers.

And that’s what we’ve seen now, they’re calling him out to take a stand. On 26th of January, the Polish Sjem (Senate) passed a law banning propagowania banderyzmu (Banderist Propaganda) – original article in Polish. An English article can be found here.

The law imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for those who would deny, among other things, the Volyn Massecure, and the role of Ukrainian nationalist organizations like those lead by Bandera which collaborated with the Third Riche, Strana.ua reports [in russian].

Zdjęcie ilustracyjne

Polish activists protesting Bandera

So…Nazis are bad…big surprise? That seems to be something most of us agree one…we would hope. Who doesn’t hate Nazis? Hitler and those who admire him, and his beliefs, truly represent the scum of the human race. Unfortunately, in Ukraine, as readers of alternative media already know, Nazism is quite fashionable.

Ukrainian nationalist marching with a Bandera portrait, flanked by (non-Orthodox, possibly Greek Catholic) priests. In the back, Svoboda party banners can be seen, with Pravi Sektor flags. Because marching with lit torches and portraits of WW2 leaders is always a good sign of moderate, totally non-nazi individuals. *cough, cough*

Among these Banderists, include the Svoboda party are NOT very happy their favorite Nazi leader is not welcome in Warsaw.

In their post, they not only claim the ban on “Bandera ideology” is “cheap populism” on the part of the Polish, but they go as far as to claim it is “a denial of the right of Ukrainians to their own statehood and national dignity”.

—First of all, how does Stepan Bandera have anything to do with Ukrainian statehood? He was born in Austro-Hungarian occupied West Ukraine, briefly lead a fascist Ukrainian regime allied with Hitler, spent half the war in a concentration camp, and died in 1959 in Munich, Germany. Someone needs to educate these Ukrainian nationalists in Ukrainian history. Speaking of Ukrainian history, here is the declaration of Bandera’s open collaboration with Adolf Hitler

The Svoboda party goes on to demand that Petro Poroshenko and the Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubia:

  • Immediately convene a Rada session to assess Poland’s decision

  • Sack Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin for another failure of domestic diplomacy

Svoboda then calls upon “Poroshenko as the one responsible for foreign policy to immediately publicly condemn the decision of the Polish Sejm, and return the title of Hero of Ukraine to Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych”, which was removed under Yanukovych’s presidency.

What a shame for Poroshenko, if his own radical factions keep expecting him to “defend” Ukraine, how will he be able to rob the country blind? This shows the volatility of Ukraine. An outsider may look at the country and assume its a single, united, homogenous nation all devoted to fighting Russia, whereas it is really a highly divided territory filled with different peoples. You will find in some places Russian nationalists stronger than some in Russia, and in others, Neo-Nazis, which fill the group currently in power.

Even amongst the Russophobic parties, there is no unity. Actually, hatred of Russia is one of the only things they CAN agree on. Beyond that, they each of their own dreams. The two most prominent anti-Russian factions are the Oligarchs who sing along to the Nazi tune, but are really more interested in embezzlement on a national scale, and have no intention of fighting and dying for Ukraine, and the hardcore nationalists eager to slaughter their own kinsmen.

Now Poroshenko is caught in an awkward position. He only has three main options:

  1. He can condemn Poland, please the Fascists, while angering a NATO and EU country, and perhaps one of the few with almost the same level of Russophobia as Ukraine. Many Ukrainians work and study in Poland, the two countries have ancient ties, almost as close as Russia and Belarus are to Ukraine. Angering the Poles can have long-term political consequences, especially for Ukraine’s relationship with the EU.
  2. Poroshenko could also condemn Svoboda, trying to paint himself as a moderate. This is highly unlikely, as he could be overthrown any moment.
  3. Most likely, he will do nothing. He will ignore both Poland’s ban of Bandera, as well as Svoboda’s call to criticize it. He will continue to try and play all sides for as long as it suits him. While the chances of this becoming a major spark of conflict are not high, and it will likely die quietly, in a country as unstable as Ukraine, anything can happen.

Hitler came to power with the help of many disenfranchised nationalist ex-soldiers with a lot of military experience in WW1 and little skill in other fields. He played on nationalist sentiment, implying the current government was too weak to defend Germany, and that Germans need to rise up, and take their own destiny in their hands.

Ukraine is also a destitute land, filled with heavily armed nationalists very experienced with violence and few marketable skills, and a leader more interested in his own pocketbooks than actually fighting for Ukraine. The stage remains set for conflict. Nobody in Kiev better light a match. And Poroshenko better pray his own supporters don’t notice he is corrupt, even in his Ukrainian nationalism.

The most honest prayer he ever said

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While US seeks to up the ante on pressure on the DPRK, Russia proposes easing sanctions

These proposals show the dichotomy between the philosophy of US and Russian foreign policy

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The United States last week accused the DPRK of violating refined petroleum caps imposed as a part of UN nuclear sanctions dating back to 2006, and is therefore submitting a proposal to cut all petroleum product sales to North Korea.

The Trump administration is keen on not only preserving pressure on North Korea over its nuclear arms development, but in increasing that pressure even as DPRK Chairman, Kim Jong-Un, is serially meeting with world leaders in a bid to secure North Korea’s security and potential nuclear disarmament, a major move that could deescalate tensions in the region, end the war with the South, and ease global apprehensions about the North’s nuclear arsenal.

Meanwhile, Russia is proposing to the UNSC sanctions relief in some form due to the North’s expressed commitment to nuclear disarmament in the light of recent developments.

Reuters reports:

MOSCOW/UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia’s envoy to North Korea said on Wednesday it would be logical to raise the question of easing sanctions on North Korea with the United Nations Security Council, as the United States pushes for a halt to refined petroleum exports to Pyongyang.

“The positive change on the Korean peninsula is now obvious,” said the ambassador, Alexander Matsegora, according to the RIA news agency, adding that Russia was ready to help modernize North Korea’s energy system if sanctions were lifted and if Pyongyang can find funding for the modernization.

The U.N. Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke off funding for Pyongyang’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

China tried late last month to get the Security Council to issue a statement praising the June 12 Singapore meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and expressing its “willingness to adjust the measures on the DPRK in light of the DPRK’s compliance with the resolutions.”

North Korea’s official name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

But the United States blocked the statement on June 28 given “ongoing and very sensitive talks between the United States and the DPRK at this time,” diplomats said. The same day, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo spoke to his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi about the importance of sanctions enforcement.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is due to informally brief U.N. Security Council envoys along with South Korea and Japan on Friday.

Diplomats say they expect Pompeo to stress the need to maintain pressure on North Korea during his briefing on Friday.

In a tweet on Wednesday Trump said he elicited a promise from Russian President Vladimir Putin to help negotiate with North Korea but did not say how. He also said: “There is no rush, the sanctions remain!”

The United States accused North Korea last week of breaching a U.N. sanctions cap on refined petroleum by making illicit transfers between ships at sea and demanded an immediate end to all sales of the fuel.

The United States submitted the complaint to the U.N. Security Council North Korea sanctions committee, which is due to decide by Thursday whether it will tell all U.N. member states to halt all transfers of refined petroleum to Pyongyang.

Such decisions are made by consensus and some diplomats said they expected China or Russia to delay or block the move.

When asked on June 13 about whether sanctions should be loosened, Russian U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said: “We should be thinking about steps in that direction because inevitably there is progress on the track that should be reciprocal, that should be a two-way street. The other side should see encouragement to go forward.”

The proposals of both the United States and Russia are likely to be vetoed by each other, resulting no real changes, but what it displays is the foreign policy positions of both nuclear powers towards the relative position of the DPRK and its rhetorical move towards denuclearization. The US demonstrates that its campaign of increased pressure on the North is necessary to accomplishing the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, while Russia’s philosophy on the matter is to show a mutual willingness to follow through on verbal commitment with a real show of action towards an improved relationship, mirroring on the ground what is happening in politics.

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EU and Japan ink free trade deal representing over 30% of global GDP

The free trade agreement represents a victory for free trade in the face of growing protectionism

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In a bid to preserve free trade and strengthen their trade partnership, the European Union and Japan have finished a free trade zone agreement that has been sitting in the pipeline for years.

The present global economic outlook provided the needed spur to action to get the ball rolling again and now it has finally reached the end zone and scored another point for free and open trade against the growing influence of protectionism, which has been creeping up with alarming rapidity and far reaching consequences in recent months.

Under the deal, Japan will scrap tariffs on some 94% of goods imported from Europe and the EU in turn is canning 99% of tariffs on Japanese goods.

Between the European Union and Japan, the trade deal impacts about 37% of the world’s GDP, making it one of the largest and impactful of such agreements.

The Japan Times reports:

Top European Union leaders and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe signed an economic partnership agreement Tuesday in Tokyo, a pact that will create a massive free trade zone accounting for 37 percent of the world’s trade by value.

European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hastily arranged their visit to Tokyo after Abe was forced to abruptly cancel plans to attend a July 11 signing ceremony in Brussels in the aftermath of flooding and mudslides in western Japan.

Japanese officials said the signing is particularly important to counter intensifying protectionism worldwide triggered by U.S. President Donald Trump.

Negotiations on the pact between Japan and the EU, which started in 2013, had stagnated for a time but regained momentum after Trump took office in January 2017.

“We are sending a clear message that we stand together against protectionism,” Tusk said at a joint news conference with Abe after they signed the agreement.

“The relationship between the EU and Japan has never been stronger. Geographically we are far apart, but politically and economically we could be hardly any closer,” Tusk said. “I’m proud today we are taking our strategic partnership to a new level.”

Tusk stressed that the EU and Japan are partners sharing the same basic values, such as liberal democracy, human rights and rule-based order.

Abe also emphasized the importance of free and fair trade.

“Right now, concerns are rising over protectionism all around the world. We are sending out a message emphasizing the importance of a trade system based on free and fair rules,” he said.

The pact will create a free trade bloc accounting for roughly 30 percent of the world’s gross domestic product. Japan and the EU hope to have the agreement, which still needs to be ratified by both parties, come into force by March.

Under the EPA, tariffs on about 99 percent of Japan’s exported goods to the EU will eventually be eliminated, while duties on 94 percent of EU’s exported items to Japan will be abolished, according to the Foreign Ministry.

The EPA will eliminate duties of 10 percent on Japan’s auto exports to the EU seven years after the pact takes effect. The current 15 percent duties on wine imports from the EU will be eliminated immediately, while those on cheese, pork and beef will be sharply cut.

In total, the EPA will push up domestic GDP by 1 percent, or ¥5 trillion a year, and create 290,000 new jobs nationwide, according to the government.

“The world is now facing raging waves of protectionism. So the signing ceremony at this time is particularly meaningful,” a senior Foreign Ministry official said earlier this month on condition of anonymity.

“The impact for Japan is big,” the official said.

Fukunari Kimura, an economics professor at Keio University, said the EU is now trying to accelerate the ratification process.

“This is a repercussion of President Trump’s policies. They will try to ratify it before Brexit in March of next year,” he said in an interview with The Japan Times last week.

But the deal has raised concerns among some domestic farmers, in particular those from Hokkaido, the country’s major dairy producer.

According to an estimate by the Hokkaido Prefectural Government, the EPA will cut national production in the agriculture, fishery and forestry industries by up to ¥114.3 billion a year, with Hokkaido accounting for 34 percent of the predicted losses.

“The sustainable development of the prefecture’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries industries is our top priority. We need to make efforts to raise our international competitiveness,” Hokkaido Gov. Harumi Takahashi said during a news conference July 10.

Japan and the EU had reached a basic agreement on the EPA in December.

Tokyo also led negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade pact after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal in January 2017.

In March, 11 countries including Japan signed the so-called TPP11, or a revised TPP pact that does not include the U.S.

“The Japan-EU EPA is another important step for Japan to strengthen its trade relationship with key trading partners, and demonstrate that trade liberalization is alive and well, even if the United States is taking a different stance,” wrote Wendy Cutler, a former acting deputy U.S. Trade Representative, in an email sent to The Japan Times last week.

“The EU deal also reduces Japanese dependence on the U.S. market and thus increases its leverage to resist unreasonable trade demands by the United States,” she wrote.

According to the Foreign Ministry, the EU, which accounts for 22 percent of the world’s GDP, was the destination for 11.4 percent of Japanese exports in 2016. In the same year, the figure for the U.S. was 20.2 percent and 17.7 percent for China.

In 2016, Japan’s exports to the EU totaled ¥8 trillion, while reciprocal trade was ¥8.2 trillion.

The deal provides tariff relief for both parties and can improve the quantity of trade between them, expand the economy and create many jobs. It also helps to further diversify their trade portfolios in order to mitigate the prospect of a single global trade partner wielding too much influence, which in turn provides a certain amount of cover from any adverse actions or demands from a single actor. In this way, current trade dependencies can be reduced and free and diversified trade is further bolstered.

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Russia just DUMPED $80 billion in US debt

The US Treasury published a report naming those countries that are the largest holders of US bonds. The list includes 33 countries, and for the first time Russia is no longer in it.

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Russia has stopped “inching towards de-dollarization” as I wrote about on July 3rd, and has now energetically walked out of the list of largest holders of US government bonds, hence this update. For the two months ending in May 2018, Moscow has offloaded more than $80 billion in US Government debt obligations.

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The $30 billion “minimum” listing Rubicon has been crossed by Russia.

As of the end of May, Russia had bonds worth only $ 14.9 billion. For comparison: in April, Russia was on the Treasury list with bonds totaling $48.7 billion. Even then it was offloading US$ debt securities as Russia owned in March over $96 billion. At the end of 2017, Russia had US treasury securities worth $102.2 billion. It is anyones guess what Russia will own when the June and July figures are released in August and September – probably less than today.

This simply serves as a confirmation that Russia is steadfastly following a conservative policy of risk diversification in several areas such as financial, economic, and geopolitical. The US public debt and spend is increasingly viewed as a heightened risk area, deserving sober assessment.

So where have all the dollars gone? The total reserves of the Russian Central Bank have not changed and remain at approximately the equivalent of $ 457 billion, so what we are seeing is a shift of assets to other central banks, other asset classes, just not US$ government bonds.

During the same time (April-May) as this US$ shift happened, the Russian Central Bank bought more than 1 million troy ounces of gold in 60 days, and continues.

For comparison sake, the maximum Russia investment in US public debt was in October 2010 totaling $176.3 billion. Today it is $14.9 billion.

The largest holders of US government bonds as of May are China ($ 1,183.1 billion), Japan ($ 1048.8 billion), Ireland ($ 301 billion), Brazil ($ 299.2 billion), Great Britain ($ 265 billion).

Using the similar conservative metrics that the Russian Central Bank has been rather successfully applying through this geopolitically and economically challenging period with the US and the US Dollar, it may not stretch the imagination too much that other countries such as China may eventually follow suit. Who will finance the debt/spend then?

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