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Post-Brexit EU: Between Regional Breakdown and Full-Blown Dictatorship

If the US cannot prevent EU disintegration it will aim to control Europe by dividing it into various micro blocs.

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The people of the UK took the world by surprise when the majority of them democratically voted to ask their government to leave the EU. In the aftermath, a plethora of forecasts have been thrown around about the future of the CIA’s continental integrative project, with most analysts agreeing with one of two polar opposite predictions, namely that the EU must either enact wide-scale “democratic” reform or fully collapse.  Interestingly, the same assessment can also be levelled against the UK itself, thereby suggesting that two dissolution processes might be simultaneously underway.

The future state of affairs gets even more suspenseful when the views of international conspirator George Soros are taken into account. According to the multibillion-dollar financier of worldwide Colour Revolutions and close public asset of the US’ “deep state” apparatus (the permanent military-diplomatic-intelligence bureaucracies), “the disintegration of the EU (is) practically irreversible” unless “all of us who believe in the values and principles that the EU was designed to uphold…band together to save it by thoroughly reconstructing it”, with Soros being “convinced” that “more and more people” will support the latter scenario.

Doubling Down On The Dictatorship

Taking into consideration his eponymous foundation’s history of financing and organising serious domestic disturbances in targeted states, it can’t be discounted that Soros and his “deep state” backers will try to repeat this blueprint in Germany, France, and perhaps even the UK as well in a last-ditch effort to salvage their decades-long investment. The Eurocratic elites have already announced a plan to create an “EU Army”, which would serve the effect of fully trampling on the remnants of “national sovereignty” still present in the continental bloc, and it can be expected that any resistance that this plan comes up against from the patriotic citizenry will be confronted by pro-Brussels Colour Revolutions in whatever the given state(s) may be.

The resultant outcome would be the immediate creation of low-intensity Hybrid War tension within the most important EU states, a goal that the US has been working towards ever since it manufactured the Immigrant Crisis as a means of indefinitely perpetuating the viability of this post-modern asymmetrical regime change model. The practical effect of American-directed disorder in key EU countries would be to pressure any recalcitrant governments and/or influential politicians that are still remotely accountable to their electorate into submitting to the US’ anti-democratic will in pushing through a full-blown dictatorship to safeguard Washington’s treasured geopolitical construction.

From Dictatorship To Breakdown

The only structure-saving “reform” that the EU could realistically undertake at the moment is the doubling down of its authoritarian model in order to stamp out any remaining internal dissent that could one day (soon) transform into a series of member-wide exit referenda that emulate the Brexit results. While this appears to be the US’ preferred plan, it can’t be discounted that it will fail and that the EU’s dissolution in one way or another is inevitable with time. Should that come to pass, it’s unlikely that the consequences will be as geopolitically dramatic as some are saying they could be, such as a return to 28 separate and equally sovereign states. Instead, it’s much more probable that the US will adapt its strategy to hijack the disintegrative processes within the EU after it’s convinced that they’re irreversible, thus repeating the characteristic and regularly evidenced pattern of the American intelligence community attempting to exploit creatively every setback that it comes across.

Regionally Regrouping The Broken Bloc

Proceeding along the scenario branch that the EU is irrevocably broken and in the process of internal collapse, it’s foreseeable that it could fracture along very geographically distinct lines that partially overlap with what the author has previously identified to be some of NATO’s regional groupings. To modify the previous research for the present circumstances and to link emerging military configurations with ‘natural’ economic spaces, the following post-decentralization/dissolution EU regions are proposed:

Screen Shot 2016-07-24 at 6.44.04 PM

* Blue – The Viking Bloc: Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Latvia

* Red – The Neo-Commonwealth: Poland, Lithuania, Ukraine

* Pink – The Central Core: Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia, Czech Republic

* Yellow – Western/Southern Europe; France, Spain, Portugal, Italy

* Brown – (Disorganized) Balkan Space: Croatia, Bosnia, Montenegro, Albania, Serbia, Republic of Macedonia, Romania, Bulgaria

Furthermore, the following countries have the potential to fall into one or another grouping:

* Hungary/Slovakia – It’s uncertain at this time whether these two states would be aligned with the Central Core or Neo-Commonwealth, though there’s also the chance that Budapest could become its own regional leadership pole in attempting to geostrategically reconfigure the Imperial Hungarian lands from the Dual Monarchy period.

* Estonia/Latvia – While predicted to be part of the Viking Bloc (“Greater Scandinavia”), they might eventually come under Polish-led influence if the Neo-Commonwealth is ambitious enough and succeeds in besting the Swedes.

* Czech Republic – A similar situation also holds true for Prague, which while more structurally integrated with Germany (aside from the Visegrad Group), could also possibly come under Warsaw’s sway if Poland plays its cards right.

* Moldova/Romania – There’s no telling whether Chisinau will end up with the Neo-Commonwealth or if Romania (which could also join the grouping, but at the expense of Warsaw weakening its centralized grip on it) integrates with or outright annexes its culturally affiliated neighbor, thereby placing it under the (disorganized) Balkan Space or an expanded Polish-led zone.

* Greece – The final relevant state that has yet to be categorised is Greece, which is pretty much a wild card between Western/Southern Europe and the (disorganised) Balkan Space.

Lead From Behind

Each of the geographically distinct European groupings can operate with relative strategic autonomy in their political, economic, and military affairs, all of which are expected to be influenced to a large extent by a Brexit-adapted US intelligence community. The age-old maxim of “divide and rule” is veritably appropriate in this prospective construction, where each of the regional blocs still retains a loosely decentralised link with one another, though their members primarily gravitate around the indisputable core states that glue their neighbours together (with the exception being a massively expanded Neo-Commonwealth that sub-divides leadership between Poland-Romania-Hungary).

To put it in more actionable terms, the five post-Brexit regional blocs that could develop in a non-reformed, decentralized EU would likely remain connected by economic and political links (whether their members formally remain part of the EU or not), but their military relations will be more attuned to their local situations and less focused on the continent as a whole. American-controlled NATO would manage each of these relatively disconnected military formations and serve as the coordinating mechanism between them.

The US can then offset whatever grand strategic losses it theoretically stands to incur from an EU “collapse” by reformatting its continental control scheme from managing the super-regional EU to multitasking between a handful of sub-regional successors. As per the US’ recent reliance on regional leaders to “outsource” its unipolar ‘responsibilities’, the post-Brexit “Lead From Behind” stratagem in these examined circumstances will utilise Washington’s close relations with each of the following states:

* Sweden (Viking Bloc)

* Poland (Neo-Commonwealth)

* Germany (Central Core)

* France (Western-Southern Europe)

The Balkan Black Hole

The only discussed region without any clear leader, let alone one capable of exercising hegemony over the entire given space on behalf of the US’ Lead From Behind interests, is the Balkans. There’s a chance that Romania might exclude itself from this broad regional construction through a disinterested policy of “self-isolation” in favour of focusing more strongly on looking eastward by integrating with or outright annexing Moldova and/or being the US’ chief naval proxy in the Western Black Sea region. Greece, for its part, has never been too involved in Balkan affairs, and aside from its shared Orthodox heritage with most of the region, stands out as somewhat of a cultural-historical anomaly that’s linked to its northern neighbours mostly through its shared peninsular geography.

Having addressed these two Balkan “outliers”, it’s now time to critically turn the research’s attention to the remaining regional states. Serbia is the only one with the most recent history of leadership, but for a variety of reasons that include its American-pressured ‘voluntary’ de-militarisation after the Bulldozer Revolution to the sub-optimal relations that it has with most of its neighbours, Belgrade is no longer capable of exercising its historical role. In a sense, without a regional leader such as the US’ other proxy counterparts elsewhere throughout Europe, one could say that the Balkans would remain a “disorganised space” in the event of a continental-wide decentralisation along the lines of the prospective one that’s being presently discussed, though that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any other countries that aspire for regional leadership, however partial it may be.

Three of the US’ closest European allies salivate at the chance of restoring their fascist-era fiefdoms, and it’s forecast that they’ll use one means or another (whether military tactics, strategic subversion, and/or economic enticement) to recreate the zones of control that they had last occupied under the Nazis’ blessing. These disruptor states and their targets of focus are:

* Croatia in the Muslim-Croat portion of Bosnia and perhaps even one day in Vojvodina;

* Bulgaria in the eastern half of the Republic of Macedonia;

* and Albania in a sliver of Montenegro, the Serbian civilisational cradle of Kosovo, and the western half of the Republic of Macedonia.

The specific scenarios that could be advanced in any of these cases are thoroughly explored in the Balkan series of the author’s “Law Of Hybrid War” research at Oriental Review, and the reader is warmly welcomed to familiarise themselves with this work if they’re interested in the means by which the US could disrupt this region. At this time, however, it’s more topical to move on to the final part of the present analysis in examining the interests that the unipolar and multipolar worlds have in the EU’s internal reorganisation or collapse.

Back-To-Back: Unipolar vs Multipolar Interests

Contrary to the prevailing assessment offered by many commentators, the US is not guaranteed to find itself in a strategically impossible situation if the EU regionally decentralizes or dissolves, nor are Russia and China automatically bound to reap a host of strategic dividends from this scenario, either. Let’s take a look at what each side stands to both gain and lose if this development transpires:

US:

Washington’s chief interest in Europe is to keep the continent under its control, with the US employing NATO as a military occupation force and the TTIP as its economic equivalent. The latter is particularly important nowadays since its successful conclusion would wed Washington and Brussels at the hip, making it impossible for one or the other to independently negotiate any future free trade agreements without its partner. This is strategically pertinent in preventing the EU from signing such a deal with Russia and/or China (perhaps as part of the Grand Eurasian Free Trade Area, GEFTA) and thereby one day replacing unipolar Atlanticist economic influence with its multipolar Continentalist counterpart.

It’s infinitely easier for the US to use a single piece of trade legislation to control its subservient bloc as opposed to reaching upwards of 28 separate agreements for the same purpose, and such an integrated multilateral entity as the EU is much easier to incorporate into NATO in constructing a full-spectrum military-political-economic Lead From Behind superstructure. On the other hand, if a unified Europe was successful in casting off its unipolar chains of hegemony (perhaps through the unprecedented historical opportunity that Russia and China’s Balkan Megaprojects could provide), then it would rapidly transform into one of the US’ chief economic competitors and present an unparalleled threat to the unipolar world order.

For reasons of “strategic insurance”, the US establishment might gradually become comfortable with accepting a decentralised or outright disbanded EU if it felt that this was either inevitable or preferable to a multipolar-leaning transatlantic “partner”. While the US would have difficulty retaining the continental-wide “unity” of its NATO pet project and integrating its military proxy into its economic-political one, it might find it circumstantially suitable to just abandon this ambitious project and focus instead on optimising the regional blocs that (it helps) sprout up in the EU’s wake instead. If managed properly, they could provide a much leaner, adaptable, and locally focused point of unipolar power projection for the US than the clumsily large and notoriously inefficient EU-NATO hybrid proxy.

Moreover, as was predicted by the author in the immediate aftermath of the Brexit vote, the UK has a chance to return to its historical divide-and-rule “balancing” role vis-à-vis Continental Europe, but this time on the US’ behalf. It could synergise its geostrategic and prospectively pro-EuroCautionary approaches with the US’ Fifth Generational Warfare weaponization of historical memory, the latter of which could be used to masterfully exploit the historical tensions/rivalries between some of the regional blocs and their respective cores in order to disrupt potential multipolar strategic advances in some of them and preempt the reconsolidation of a newly pro-Eurasian EU.

Russia and China:

Looking at everything from the other perspective, Russia and China’s interests in a unified Europe are similar to the US’, albeit for different reasons. While the US favours an integrated EU in order to facilitate reaching the restrictive TTIP “trade” agreement as a means of ‘locking out’ Russia and China, these two multipolar leaders similarly find it preferable to deal with one single negotiating partner instead of 28 separate ones but as a way of advancing GEFTA. The only circumstance in which either of them would strategically stand to gain from the EU’s regional decentralisation or outright dissolution in this regard would be if the entity was on the brink of clinching TTIP, and this was the only alternative to safeguarding their market access to the bloc and retaining hope of reaching GEFTA-like agreements with its quasi-independent regional remnants.

Likewise, a disunited EU is much more difficult to comprehensively integrate into NATO in forming the US’ envisioned Lead From Behind superstructure, but it also makes it more challenging for Russia to capitalise off of its diplomatic-economic advances with the Central Core and Western-Southern European states and leaders (Germany, France, Italy) in exercising an advantage over the rest of the bloc. The same obstacle can also be identified when it comes to China doing the same with the Neo-Commonwealth and Balkan Space states that it has recently upped its multilateral engagement with via the CEE framework. Without an integrated EU, it’s hard for the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership to apply its members’ advantages in the Western and Eastern reaches of the continent, respectively, in promoting a comprehensive multipolar policy towards Europe.

That’s not to say that there aren’t any benefits in seeing the EU fall apart, however, since to return to what was mentioned at the beginning of the preceding paragraph, there’s a lot that can be gained in delinking NATO from any economic-political (governance) organisations, though only so long as the two (NATO and the regional leadership blocs) can be kept apart as long as possible. It might be impossible in the near-term to completely delink the two, but the best that can happen is that their relations do not intensify so as to reproduce several “mini-superstructures” (as in integrated Lead From Behind military-economic-political units) that optimise the US’ hostile unipolar agenda against Russia and China’s peaceful multipolar interests.

If NATO and the regional blocs don’t succeed in fully consolidating into a patchwork of highly efficient pro-American proxies, then it’ll be comparatively easier for these multipolar anchors to use their own “Lead From Behind” partners for streamlining constructive multilateral cooperation between themselves and the regional blocs, with Russia and China covering one another’s situational disadvantages (Russia in the Eastern Europe, China with Western Europe) with their respective strengths (the inverse of the aforementioned). This optimistic vision isn’t entirely certain, though, since it’s wholly contingent on whether or not the US instigates a significantly destabilising conflict in the Balkans, which in that case would totally offset the two multipolar mega-projects in the region and severely inhibit Russia and China’s engagement with the continent.

Concluding Thoughts

The Brexit sent shockwaves throughout the world and will likely go down in history as one of the most globally influential democratic votes ever held in modern times. In a single stroke, and proving that the pen is more powerful than the pencil, patriotic and pragmatic-minded citizens changed the course of European history by catalysing the long-overdue fundamental revision of the EU. With its first-ever ‘defection’, and having occurred amidst what persuasively looks to be a series of existential crises, the EU is venturing into uncharted territory and is bound to undergo massive changes in the near future.

As of now, and most clearly signalled by George Soros’ intimations about a “thorough reconstructing” of the EU that the Colour Revolution puppeteer is “convinced” that “more and more people” will support, it looks like the Eurocratic elite and their American “deep state” backers’ “Plan A” is to press for a full-blown dictatorship that permanently eliminates the possibility of any forthcoming exit referenda. Failing that, and faced with the otherwise imminent decentralisation or dissolution of the EU, it’s expected that the US will find a way to adapt to these processes by taking partial or full control of them for its own benefit, realistically leading to the formation of a network of regional Lead From Behind blocs that could function as the US’ “Plan B” in a post-Brexit European strategic environment.

It’s far too early to say which of these two scenarios will eventually transpire, or whether whatever happens will end up being to the ultimate benefit of the unipolar or multipolar worlds, but it can be confidently analysed that the EU is undergoing a series of major changes that will redefine its essence for the coming decades. Amidst each of these developments, and no matter which way they proceed, it can also be just as confidently stated that the US will feverishly try to find a way to maximise its own self-interests. This in turn means that while the decentralisation and/or collapse of the EU might be popularly applauded by all of those who genuinely favour democracy and the multipolar world, one mustn’t let their strategic guard down in believing this.

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Skripal and Khashoggi: A Tale of Two Disappearances

Two disappearances, and two different responses.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Two disappearances, and two very different responses from Western governments, which illustrates their rank hypocrisy.

When former Russian spy Sergei Skripal went missing in England earlier this year, there was almost immediate punitive action by the British government and its NATO allies against Moscow. By contrast, Western governments are straining with restraint towards Saudi Arabia over the more shocking and provable case of murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

The outcry by Western governments and media over the Skripal affair was deafening and resulted in Britain, the US and some 28 other countries expelling dozens of Russian diplomats on the back of unsubstantiated British allegations that the Kremlin tried to assassinate an exiled spy with a deadly nerve agent. The Trump administration has further tightened sanctions citing the Skripal incident.

London’s case against Moscow has been marked by wild speculation and ropey innuendo. No verifiable evidence of what actually happened to Sergei Skripal (67) and his daughter Yulia has been presented by the British authorities. Their claim that President Vladimir Putin sanctioned a hit squad armed with nerve poison relies on sheer conjecture.

All we know for sure is that the Skripals have been disappeared from public contact by the British authorities for more than seven months, since the mysterious incident of alleged poisoning in Salisbury on March 4.

Russian authorities and family relatives have been steadfastly refused any contact by London with the Skripal pair, despite more than 60 official requests from Moscow in accordance with international law and in spite of the fact that Yulia is a citizen of the Russian Federation with consular rights.

It is an outrage that based on such thin ice of “evidence”, the British have built an edifice of censure against Moscow, rallying an international campaign of further sanctions and diplomatic expulsions.

Now contrast that strenuous reaction, indeed hyper over-reaction, with how Britain, the US, France, Canada and other Western governments are ever-so slowly responding to Saudi Arabia over the Khashoggi case.

After nearly two weeks since Jamal Khashoggi entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, the Saudi regime is this week finally admitting he was killed on their premises – albeit, they claim, in a “botched interrogation”.

Turkish and American intelligence had earlier claimed that Khashoggi was tortured and murdered on the Saudi premises by a 15-member hit squad sent from Riyadh.

Even more grisly, it is claimed that Khashoggi’s body was hacked up with a bone saw by the killers, his remains secreted out of the consulate building in boxes, and flown back to Saudi Arabia on board two private jets connected to the Saudi royal family.

What’s more, the Turks and Americans claim that the whole barbaric plot to murder Khashoggi was on the orders of senior Saudi rulers, implicating Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The latest twist out of Riyadh, is an attempt to scapegoat “rogue killers” and whitewash the House of Saudi from culpability.

The fact that 59-year-old Khashoggi was a legal US resident and a columnist for the Washington Post has no doubt given his case such prominent coverage in Western news media. Thousands of other victims of Saudi vengeance are routinely ignored in the West.

Nevertheless, despite the horrific and damning case against the Saudi monarchy, the response from the Trump administration, Britain and others has been abject.

President Trump has blustered that there “will be severe consequences” for the Saudi regime if it is proven culpable in the murder of Khashoggi. Trump quickly qualified, however, saying that billion-dollar arms deals with the oil-rich kingdom will not be cancelled. Now Trump appears to be joining in a cover-up by spinning the story that the Khashoggi killing was done by “rogue killers”.

Britain, France and Germany this week issued a joint statement calling for “a credible investigation” into the disappearance. But other than “tough-sounding” rhetoric, none of the European states have indicated any specific sanctions, such as weapons contracts being revoked or diplomatic expulsions.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he was “concerned” by the gruesome claims about Khashoggi’s killing, but he reiterated that Ottawa would not be scrapping a $15 billion sale of combat vehicles to Riyadh.

The Saudi rulers have even threatened retaliatory measures if sanctions are imposed by Western governments.

Saudi denials of official culpability seem to be a brazen flouting of all reason and circumstantial evidence that Khashoggi was indeed murdered in the consulate building on senior Saudi orders.

This week a glitzy international investor conference in Saudi Arabia is being boycotted by top business figures, including the World Bank chief, Jim Yong Kim, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Britain’s venture capitalist Richard Branson. Global firms like Ford and Uber have pulled out, as have various media sponsors, such as CNN, the New York Times and Financial Times. Withdrawal from the event was in response to the Khashoggi affair.

A growing bipartisan chorus of US Senators, including Bob Corker, Marco Rubio, Lindsey Graham and Chris Murphy, have called for the cancellation of American arms sales to Saudi Arabia, as well as for an overhaul of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

Still, Trump has rebuffed calls for punitive response. He has said that American jobs and profits depend on the Saudi weapons market. Some 20 per cent of all US arms sales are estimated to go to the House of Saud.

The New York Times this week headlined: “In Trump’s Saudi Bargain, the Bottom Line Proudly Stands Out”.

The Trump White House will be represented at the investment conference in Saudi Arabia this week – dubbed “Davos in the Desert” by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. He said he was attending in spite of the grave allegations against the Saudi rulers.

Surely the point here is the unseemly indulgence by Western governments of Saudi Arabia and its so-called “reforming” Crown Prince. It is remarkable how much credulity Washington, London, Paris, Ottawa and others are affording the Saudi despots who, most likely, have been caught redhanded in a barbarous murder.

Yet, when it comes to Russia and outlandish, unproven claims that the Kremlin carried out a bizarre poison-assassination plot, all these same Western governments abandon all reason and decorum to pile sanctions on Russia based on lurid, hollow speculation. The blatant hypocrisy demolishes any pretense of integrity or principle.

Here is another connection between the Skripal and Khashoggi affairs. The Saudis no doubt took note of the way Britain’s rulers have shown absolute disregard and contempt for international law in their de facto abduction of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. If the British can get away with that gross violation, then the Saudis probably thought that nobody would care too much if they disappeared Jamal Khashoggi.

Grotesquely, the way things are shaping up in terms of hypocritical lack of action by the Americans, British and others towards the Saudi despots, the latter might just get away with murder. Not so Russia. The Russians are not allowed to get away with even an absurd fantasy.

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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Massacre in Crimea kills dozens, many in critical condition

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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