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President Putin and Xi’s meeting in Moscow is far more important than the G20

The bilateral relationship between China and Russia is the bulwark of the modern global East and beyond. The G20 is an expensive dinner party.

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For the majority of the second half of the 20th century, the three greatest powers of the world were at odds. The schism between neighbours that resulted in the so-called Sino-Soviet split allowed the United States to spend much of the ensuing decades, particularly beginning in the 1970s trying to exploit the split between the great powers of the wider global east.

This of course is somewhat recent history, but the overall history of Russo-Chinese relations has been one of neighbourly cooperation and good will. From the 17th century until 20th century, China and Russia had no serious disputes and many important trading links.

The troubles of the turbulent 20th century have not only been reversed, but the generally good relations between the two countries are now at an all time high.

President Xi Jinping has just landed in Moscow, his third visit this year.

After a day of informal meetings including a dinner with his friend President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders will sign a series of trade deals said to be worth $10 billion while also discussing the commitment of both Presidents to develop further bilateral measures of cooperation and a commitment by both parties to China’s One Belt–One Road global trade, commerce and infrastructure project.

The timing of the meeting also holds great symbolic importance. Later this week, the Presidents of China and Russia will meet with the leaders of other powers at the G20 summit in Germany.

However, prior to that China and Russia have shown that their bilateral relationship takes precedence over the talking-shop that is the G20. While Presidents Xi and Putin are able to get things done and at a cordial level at that, the G20 summit like many similar global summits, are generally expensive brew-ha-has, which ultimately signify nothing.

Furthermore, this comes less than 24 hours after a US ship strayed into Chinese territorial waters in the South China Sea, a clear provocation by the United States which continues to undermine Chinese claims to its regional waters and the islands of the South China Sea. Even America’s traditional post-colonial ally in the South China Sea, Philippines has now decided to adopt a cooperative and fraternal approach to diplomacy with China as President Rodrigo Duterte has rejected the anti-Chinese posture of his predecessors.

China and Russia have shown that their modern alliance which has been built on historic good-will and which has overcome the troubles of the often overly-ideologically driven 20th century, is a bulwark that the US will not be able to break-apart.

China’a admonition of America’s deployment of THAAD missile systems in South Korea is a further demonstration that it is China which has lost patience with American aggression in Asia which has been irritatingly combined with mixed messages over China’s sphere of influence in East Asia and South East Asia.

President Xi said of America’s incursion into Chinese territorial waters,

“Bilateral relations have been affected by some negative factors. China has expressed its position to the US”.

The relationship  between China and Russia reaffirms that both sides are more important to each other than the United States is to either.

American arrogance in trying to play China against Russia has once again backfired spectacularly. The foregone conclusion in respect of the success of the meeting between Presidents Putin and Xi is a reinforcement of the reality that two of the three super-powers are close allies and the other is increasingly a source of annoyance for both.

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Hamletquest
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Hamletquest

As I recall the US was able to exclude Putin from the G8 making it less relevant as G7, but were unable to exclude Russia from the G20. However Adam is correct the whole G-Fest is a distraction and expensive waste of time and money. Clearly China’s BRI is much more important to emerging markets as well as poor oppressed/depressed ones in Europe. Everyone outside of the US and EU sphere’s of influence are signing up for China being the economic driving force for the 21st Century. Russia has partnered up for this and will seriously benefit as the western… Read more »

Simon
Guest
Simon

The G in G7 stands for Groupthink. It is utterly worthless.
But though I agree the G20 is a waste of money it is precisely because nothing can be agreed between such disparate powers that it is interesting to watch the body language.
So many interesting combinations, who hangs out with whom etc.

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Headline:
“…President Putin and Xi’s meeting in Moscow is far more important than the G20…”

If that is so why should Putin bother going to the G20 or giving it any lip service.

Actually the G20 is important for China.

China is a manufacturing and export driven economy, so its important for it to keep in touch with its major customers. This will become evident at the G20 when Xi will be schmoozing with the G20 countries.

Whilst Putin will be sidelined once again.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Putin sidelined? You haven’t got a clue. Look at the guest list.
Here’s who ‘might’ dare to avoid Putin – Tusk, Macron, Trudeau, May, Rutte, Turnbull.
Here’s who will seek him out, some already have scheduled meetings – Trump, Xi, Modi, Erdogan, Duterte, Widodo, Merkel (she has to as host), Abe (always does), Zuma, MbS, Juncker, Moon.
There are others going but they don’t matter either way.

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Simon
“…Putin sidelined?…”

Apart from the BRICS leaders who will pay homage to Putin, the rest are all B movie actors, “Conveyor Belt Politicians” owned by the Neoconservatives (includes Trump).

Trump will inform Putin about new Iran style US plus enforced 3rd country and 3rd company sanctions on Russia to prevent Nordstream 2.

Ivan Grozny
Guest
Ivan Grozny

“Trump will inform Putin …” You are way out of line here! Russia is no 3rd tier nation!

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Ivan Grozny
The situation is the Neoconservatives want Donbas, Crimea and Syria, so on reflection with Trump being a Psychopath it will be said nicely.

Hamletquest
Guest
Hamletquest

The question you pose is sidelined by who? I think the majority members will want to meet with him, that’s the reason the US could not exclude Putin/Russia from the G20. The Trump & Putin meeting will be the one to watch, for obvious reasons. But the Deep State are already leaking formats. Apparently Trump wants informal meeting. Deep State/ Group think wants formal so they can leak more misinformation… Meanwhile US continues to taunt China under the pretext of “Right of Navigation”. What the Pentagon seems to understand by this is: “What is your territory is ours (Syria &… Read more »

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Hamletquest
“….The question you pose is sidelined by who?…”

Polite way of writing, the G20 meetings for 2015 and 2016 have been quiet “affairs” for Putin.

G20 2014 was a raucous affair so Putin cut his trip short after reports of repeated criticism from “Western leaders”, the host, Australian Premier Tony Abbott threatened to “shirt front” Putin.

Putin reportedly had ‘tense’ meeting with British PM David Cameron after he compared Russia to Nazi Germany

Canadian PM reportedly told Putin to ‘get out of Ukraine’ as Russian leader was relegated to edge of ‘family photo’.

Etc.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Wasn’t the meeting that mattered , back in 2014, APEC?

Here is how President Putin was sidelined. Now who was the Guest of Honour and who was placed with the women?
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Simon
Guest
Simon

LOL Brilliant! And we see at Chinese events, Putin is always at Xi’s right hand. Vice versa if they are in Russia.
Whereas the Chinese famously made Obama descend from the arse of his plane at last year’s G20 Hangzhou summit ! 😉

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Thanks for reminding me of the time that Obama had to get off his plane, via the staff staircase. Oooooops, but, it was funny.

‘This is our country!’: Tempers flare as Obama arrives in China… http://nypost.com/2016/09/03/this-is-our-country-tempers-flare-as-obama-arrives-in-china/

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AMHants In the good old days, 2014 LoL:))) the Duran Mafia was not organised as it is today. In fact I started posting on Duran because you recommended its link on another media, RI. Also in 2014, I was one of the foremost supporters of Mr Putin on the Telegraph readers forum but gave up in April 2017 due to Putin – Russian lack of Air Defence for the Syrian Military. This is just a gist of what I used to post back then: APEC: 2014, At the APEC conference in China, Mr Putin was feted as a hero by… Read more »

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Back in 2014 I got banned from the Telegraph, owing to not siding with their version of events in Ukraine. Also the Guardian. If you want to go back to 2014, do you remember what was actually happening at the time. Wasn’t that the year that Cameron wanted Russia thrown out of the SWIFT system? Wasn’t that the year that the cookie monsters turned up in Kiev and the Soros funded regime change script went down, whilst Russia were enjoying their Winter Olympics? Wasn’t that the year that NATO were sending in a Fleet to kick Russia out of Sevestapol?… Read more »

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AMHants
LoL:))) Have to agree with you, back in the “Good Old Days” it was fun ! Let’s hope the Duran will be more forgiving.

Mr Putin, President is still in place and will get re elected in 2018 whilst all the B movie actors you listed got trashed.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Who knows how it will all pan out, but, I hope we are in for a pleasant surprise.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

You take care.

Tudor Miron
Guest
Tudor Miron

Wives club! lol

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

The Chinese have got a sense of humour haha.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

The way things are in reality….it is more likely that it will be TRUMP who is “sidelined”

Simon
Guest
Simon

Well, maybe the beta-males and women that make up the ‘West’ might try, but he won’t even notice, no one sidelines The Donald.
It is Erdogan who will be sidelined by Western leaders – so he will just hang out with the East.
But the most sidelined leader will be May – no one wants to be associated with a walking corpse.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

Meeting between Presidents of Russia and China is indeed the most important affair of our time, for it is the KEY to multipolarity and resistance to Hegemon’s senseless propensity for chaos & destruction.

Simon
Guest
Simon

Yep, and we know what’s on the menu tonight too – not chocolate cake ! It will be Russian ice cream (a Xi favourite) served with NO surprises and NO fireworks. Calm responsible adults at dinner.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

What, you mean there will be no tomahawk display, to close the evening?

What is interesting, is the fact that the pair of them, meet up regularly, and without the formality of a state visit, overshadowing the bigger picture.

The G7 mob, when they threw Russia out of the club, did not realise they would strengthen the Russia/China bond and make themselves look stupid, in the process.

Simon
Guest
Simon

You are right. Do you remember all the talk a few years ago about a G2?
It was meant to be US and China…..
Funny thing is – there is now a real G2. And I hope they enjoy their ice cream tonight. 😉

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

I came late to the party, so missed out on the US wanting a G2 with China. Careful what you wish for, so comes to mind.

What does interest me, is what happens when President Putin and President Xi Jinping retire from politics. Will they have a strong enough team, following their footsteps? There again, will their foes be long gone or in a position that they cannot get back on their feet?

J Y
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J Y

I do not think you need to worry about China, but I am not sure about Russia.

AMHants
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AMHants

It would be nice if we are just heading for something that is beneficial for us all. With a major cleanout of toxic, easily coerced and easy to blackmail politicians.

J Y
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J Y

Nothing for sure of cause, but Chinese system and history says China will likely do fine for a while.

John Mason
Guest
John Mason

I think that Putin will pick his replacement, same way that he was put into power.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

I hope he is worthy of him, there again, he is surrounded by a good team.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Well said; but my thought is that if you or I had the despicable criminal acts committed by those politicians video-taped and sequestered somewhere…. we might be “easy to blackmail” too…

We remaining healthy human beings in the western nations are beset by evil… and evil doers.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

AMHants,

Your query “what happens when President Putin and President Xi Jinping retire from politics” is the most important question being asked by people interested in geopolitics and geoeconomics…
I would rather pose it like – will the policies and objectives of Putin-Xi era be followed in future when they will retire by say 2024-25. All of us who express their dislike and loathing of Hegemonic chaos-destruction, wish that in both countries, the same policies and objectives will CONTINUE.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Well said and yes.

I wonder if that is being addressed with the agreements they are signing at the moment, that are due to cover at least 4 years?

Personally, I cannot see them letting all their hard work be at the mercy of Soros and friends. Without signing, sealing and delivering some long term guarantees, that cannot be ignored.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

We are not/ won’t be privy to any document so as to ascertain that there is/will be written agreement on the bilateral policies (so that policies perpetuate beyond Putin-Xi era) …

But I agree with you that, there exist high possibility of such document which will remain ‘confidential’ for decades to come.

AMHants
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AMHants

Fingers crossed.

englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

Soros is one of the leading edge Hybrid-Reptiles.
Don’t think so?.. Look long and hard at his quasi-human facial features and then tell me that ‘phisog’ is not reptilian?

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Look at the similarities in this lot (apologies as I use the images often)…

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englishvinal
Guest
englishvinal

I personally believe that “The Shift” is in progress. The follow up for the Russian and Chinese people will be very much the same ideology as Presidents Putin and Xi Jinping. The reptilian ruled era is fading fast.
Everything under the sun “cycles” and we happen to be at the apex of the movement taking humanity from the symbol of the snake eating its own tail to a different time.

AMHants
Guest
AMHants

Hopefully, but, it does appear something mega is on the move. With other nations coming on board.

Bodhisattva
Guest
Bodhisattva

Very true. Incidentally Putin-Xi combination is the most MATURED adult pair in the geopolitical arena of current world.

pogohere
Guest

brouhaha Germany at the G20 will be particularly concerned re US sanctions proposed against its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline with Russia and with the possibility of US sanctions against steel. Washington and Berlin on a Collision Course Pepe Escobar 6-30-17 The Russia sanctions bill that passed the US Senate by 98:2 on June 15 is a bombshell; it directly demonizes the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, which is bound to double Gazprom’s energy capacity to supply gas to Europe. Trump and Chancellor Angela Merkel will definitely be on a collision course at the G-20, with Merkel… Read more »

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pogohere
At the end of the day, the US Senate / House of Representatives will force the sanctions through unilaterally, which will be new Iran style US plus US enforced 3rd country and 3rd company sanctions on Russia to prevent Nordstream 2.

The EU and or Germany can ignore the sanctions but the companies involved in the NS2 Project will be sanctioned with a prospect of US$100’s of Millions or the odd Billion in fines for breaking the sanctions.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
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Gonzogal
Thanks, interesting article.

At this G20 summit,Trump is under orders from his Neoconservative overlords to arrange the return of Donbas, Crimea and Syria.

EU sanctions on the US will be difficult as its economy is heavily dependent on export to the US market like a Siamese Twin, the EU dies without the US (economically).

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

It certainly would be great to see the US get a taste of its own medicine!

The EU could diversify its exports to the East where the real economic powerhouse is and thus save itself from sinking along with the US.

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Gonzogal
The Neoconservatives control the UK, France most of East European EU countries, the others “PIGS” Portugal, Italy, Greece, Spain, etc move like “Jelly on Demand”.

The EU has done and is still doing the MaxX to export to South America, ME, Africa, Asia Pacific region or wherever there is a customer.

However the sheer size and import demand of the US along with the Neoconservative control of “Money” overwhelms the other countries.

pogohere
Guest

It’s all more grist for the mill: Germany and the EU can’t ignore sanctions on their major energy companies. The plot thickens. The wedge between the Germans and the Russians will be increasingly difficult to maintain. It’s the Mackinder nightmare de jour.

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pogohere
Using the Mackinder Theorem, the Neoconservatives have taken control of Eastern Europe from the Baltics, Poland down through Ukraine to the Black Sea, the “Wall”.

In the past I have been heavily criticized for writing Putin is too slow or has a wait and see what happens approach.

Putin plays his moves too slowly, Ukraine was already a well known troublesome Transit country so Nordstream 2 and Turkstream should have been built when oil was bouncing at US$100 in order to bypass any future “Wall”.

pogohere
Guest

The neoconservatives are playing with fuses on bombs they don’t understand, but which they must use because they have no other options. The Russians have made it clear the next assault planned on Russia will take place in the territory of the aggressor.

The US has not faced such an agile, able, major military opponent since World War II.

Hegemonic desperation functions with a one gear transmission.

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pogohere
Facts:
Putin is a well known do nothing wait and see operator.

Russia was making big money when the Oil Price was hitting highs due to Neoconservative wars, Afghanistan, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya, Sanctions on Iran, etc.

Questions:
What is Russia exactly going to do against sanctions that prevent the building of either Nordstream 2 or Turkstream?

What is Russia exactly going to do when Poland and Ukraine increase Oil and Gas Transit Fees making it uncompetitive against US – Arab LNG and Oil?

pogohere
Guest

Putin? The leader of the most agile, resurgent, nearly self-sufficient 1st world military and industrial power? Russian Federation: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2017 Article IV Mission May 19, 2017 http://www.imf.org/en/News/Articles/2017/05/19/Russian-Federation-Staff-Concluding-Statement-of-the-2017-Article-IV-Mission What does Russia produce? Fire in the hole!!!!!!!!!!!!! http://thesaker.is/what-does-russia-produce-1/ http://thesaker.is/what-does-russia-produce-2/ http://thesaker.is/what-does-russia-produce-3/ “What is Russia exactly going to do against sanctions that prevent the building of either Nordstream 2 or Turkstream?: More of the same, naturellement. Nord Stream 2? EU backs down on Nord Stream 2 31/03/2017 http://www.eurasianbusinessbriefing.com/eu-backs-nord-stream-2/ NS2 just got kicked upstairs: EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline https://euobserver.com/foreign/138362 Stay tuned: Germany wants the gas and… Read more »

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pogohere “…Putin? The leader of the most agile, resurgent, nearly self-sufficient 1st world military and industrial power?…” You surely are preparing a script for a Comedy Show, LoL:))) Putin is shaped by events after it is too late and does not know how to handle anything because of his operating style which is: Do nothing Do it very slowly Wait and see what happens Russian Economy: Yes, Putin is doing a good job which is why he is popular and getting elected as President. New Pipelines – Nordstream 2 and Arab: Your link does not prove anything conclusive, its a… Read more »

pogohere
Guest

The tell: what do you emphasize in your “post”

Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin Putin

Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine Ukraine

No facts, no sources, no data

No More.

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pogohere / RW E There is no need to post links, you already know them or can google them. For Auld Lang Syne / Old Times Sake. Putin has allowed the Neoconservative to take over Eastern Europe from the Baltic Sea, Poland through Ukraine to the Black Sea. Russia is now locked out of its land route to Western Europe. There are US missile bases surrounding Russia and Putin is still waiting to see what happens next. “…Moscow is waiting to see the next moves of the Trump administration….” http://www.russia-direct.org/opinion/why-new-us-military-buildup-europe-doesnt-yet-worry-russia Neocons and the Ukraine Coup: https://consortiumnews.com/2014/02/23/neocons-and-the-ukraine-coup/ Ukraine will become the… Read more »

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“When the US senators voted for a new package of sanctions against Russia, they were solving domestic political issues, and also tried to limit the freedom of foreign policy maneuver for President Donald Trump. They couldn’t imagine that their actions would not only cause a sharp diplomatic reaction from the leading EU countries, but would also lead to the emergence of the issue of retaliatory sanctions against the United States of America in the European media,” Danilov wrote.
https://sputniknews.com/politics/201706241054938953-germany-russia-us-nordstream2/

dago dingo
Guest
dago dingo

America has become a pariah due to it’s pathetic’ hegemonic agendas worldwide. It feels it is above the law and has expressed exactly this view in all of its illegal incursions on sovereign soils. When are its people going to realise what their government has done to them? The sooner China and Russia relegate America to the scrap heap, the better.

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America’s wars are against American’s interests

War is a racket

Richard Galustian

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To advocate wars are good is insane!

For one, Afghanistan is about a ridiculously flawed US government foreign policy. it is not about ‘winning’ a war as Erik Prince describes in his video.

There is no reason for the US to be in Afghanistan.

Something Mr. Prince seems to fail to understand the reader can judge by watching Prince’s presentation promoting war.

That said, what Erik Prince explains about the military industrial complex is correct. Weapons purchases must be curtailed.

However more importantly, what he fails to say is America must stop its ‘’regime change policy’ and avoid future wars, is the real issue.

To provoke war for example with Russia or China is absolute insanity producing eventually only nuclear armageddon, the consequence is the destruction of the planet.

Trillions of dollars should not be spent (and wasted) by the Pentagon but that money should be used to build America’s roads; expand railways; build hospitals and schools, etc.

Especially also to pay much needed disability benefits to disabled vets who wasted their lives in past pointless wars from Korea to Vietnam to Iraq et al. Americans soldiers need to ‘go home’.

Withdrawing its unnecessary US bases worldwide; a left over outdated idea from the end of WW11, such as America’s military presence in Korea, Japan, Germany; the Persian Gulf, even in the UK.

Foreign military interventions are adventures pursued by ‘elites’ interests, ‘using’ NATO in most cases, as its tool, only for their (the elites) profit at the expense of ordinary people.

“War is a Racket” to quote the much decorated hero and patriot, US Marine, Major General Smedley Butler.

We can learn from history to understand America’s current predicament.

Brown Brothers Harriman in New York in the 1930s financed Hitler and Mussolini right up to the day war was declared by Roosevelt following the attack on Pearl Harbour.

A little taught fact in America’s colleges and ivy league universities is that Wall Street bankers (with a degree of assistance from the Bush family by the way) at the time had decided that a fascist dictatorship in the United States would be far better for their business interests than Roosevelt’s “new deal” which threatened massive wealth re-distribution to recapitalize the working and middle class of America and build America’s infrastructure.

So the Wall Street bankers recruited the much respected General Smedley Butler to lead an overthrow of the us government and install a “Secretary of General Affairs” who would be answerable to Wall Street, not the people; who would crush social unrest and shut down all labour unions. however General Smedley Butler only pretended to go along with the scheme, then exposed the plot. The General played the traitors along to gather evidence for congress and the president. When Roosevelt learned of the planned coup, he initially demanded the arrest of the plotters but this never happened because Roosevelt was in effect blackmailed by those same US bankers; another story!

Read the words of Major General Smedley Butler who explains what exactly happened.

“I spent 33 years and four months in active military service as a member of our country’s most agile military force — the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from second lieutenant to major general. and during that period I spent more of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for wall street and for the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. “I suspected I was just a part of a racket at the time. now I am sure of it. Like all members of the military profession, I never had an original thought until I left the service. my mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of the higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service. Thus I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the national city bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of wall street. the record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-12. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that the standard oil went its way unmolested. During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. I was rewarded with honors, medals and promotion. Looking back on it, I feel I might have given Al Capone a few hints. the best he could do was to operate his racket in three city districts. I operated on three continents.” —

General Smedley Butler, former US Marine Corps Commandant, 1935.

We need peace not wars.

We need infrastructure building in America and Europe……not wars.

Somebody should explain this to Mr. Prince, and perhaps to his sister too…..who happens to be part of President Trump’s administration!

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Theresa May goes to Brussels and comes back with a big fat donut (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 39.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s trip to Brussels to try and win some concessions from EU oligarchs, only to get completely rebuked and ridiculed, leaving EU headquarters with nothing but a four page document essentially telling the UK to get its act together or face a hard Brexit.

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Via Zerohedge


Any confidence boost that might have followed Theresa May’s triumph this week over her party’s implacable Brexiteers has probably already faded. Because if there was anything to be learned from the stunning rebuke delivered to the prime minister by EU leaders on Thursday, it’s that the prime minister is looking more stuck than ever.

This was evidenced by the frosty confrontation between the imperturbable May and her chief Continental antagonist, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker, which was caught on film on Friday shortly before the close of a two-day European Council summit that descended into bitter recriminations. After offering token praise of May’s leadership, Brussels’ supreme bureaucrat criticized her negotiating strategy as “disorganized”, provoking a heated response from May.

Earlier, May desperately pleaded with her European colleagues – who had adamantly insisted that the text of the withdrawal agreement would not be altered – to grant her “legally binding assurances” May believes would make the Brexit plan palatable enough to win a slim victory in the Commons.

If there were any lingering doubts about the EU’s position, they were swiftly dispelled by a striking gesture of contempt for May: Demonstrating the Continent’s indifference to her plight, the final text of the summit’s conclusions was altered to remove a suggestion that the EU consider what further assurances can be offered to May, while leaving in a resolution to continue contingency planning for a no-deal Brexit.

Even the Irish, who in the recent past have been sympathetic to their neighbors’ plight (in part due to fears about a resurgence of insurrectionary violence should a hard border re-emerge between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland), implied that there patience had reached its breaking point.

Here’s the FT:

But Leo Varadkar, the Irish premier, warned that the EU could not tolerate a treaty approval process where a country “comes back every couple of weeks following discussions with their parliament looking for something extra…you can’t operate international relations on this basis.”

Senior EU officials are resisting further negotiations — and suggestions of a special Brexit summit next month — because they see Britain’s requests as in effect a bid to rewrite the exit treaty.

Mr Varadkar noted that many prime ministers had been called to Brussels “at short notice” for a special Brexit summit “on a Sunday in November,” adding: “I don’t think they would be willing to come to Brussels again unless we really have to.”

In response, May threatened to hold a vote on the Brexit plan before Christmas, which would almost certainly result in its defeat, scrapping the fruits of more than a year of contentious negotiations.

Given that Mrs May aborted a Commons vote on her deal this week because she feared defeat by a “significant margin,” her comments amounted to a threat that she would let MPs kill the withdrawal agreement before Christmas.

Mrs May made the threat to German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron and EU presidents Jean-Claude Juncker and Donald Tusk as the two day Brussels summit descended into acrimony, according to diplomats.

“At the point where there is no prospect of getting anything more from the EU, that’s when you would have to put the vote,” said one close aide to Mrs May.

If this week has taught May anything, it’s that her plan to pressure the EU into more concessions (her preferred option to help her pass the Brexit plan) was an unmitigated failure. And given that running out the clock and hoping that MPs come around at the last minute (when the options truly have been reduced to ‘deal’ or ‘no deal’) leaves too much room for market-rattling uncertainty, May is left with a few options, two of which were previously ‘off the table’ (though she has distanced herself from those positions in recent weeks).

They are: Calling a second referendum, delaying a Brexit vote, pivoting to a softer ‘Plan B’ Brexit, or accepting a ‘no deal’ Brexit. As the BBC reminds us, May is obliged by law to put her deal to a vote by Jan. 21, or go to Parliament with a Plan B.

If May does decide to run down the clock, she will have two last-minute options:

On the one hand she could somehow cancel, delay, soften or hold another referendum on Brexit and risk alienating the 17.4 million people who voted Leave.

But on the other hand, she could go for a so-called Hard Brexit (where few of the existing ties between the UK and the EU are retained) and risk causing untold damage to the UK’s economy and standing in the world for years to come.

Alternatively, May could accept the fact that convincing the Brexiteers is a lost cause, and try to rally support among Labour MPs for a ‘softer’ Brexit plan, one that would more countenance closer ties with the EU during the transition, and ultimately set the stage for a closer relationship that could see the UK remain part of the customs union and single market. Conservatives are also increasingly pushing for a ‘Plan B’ deal that would effectively set the terms for a Norway- or Canada-style trade deal (and this strategy isn’t without risk, as any deal accepted by Parliament would still require approval from the EU).

But as JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank anticipated last week, a second referendum (which supporters have nicknamed a “People’s Vote”) is becoming increasingly popular, even among MPs who supported the ‘Leave’ campaign, according to Bloomberg.

It’s not the only previously unthinkable idea that May has talked about this week. Fighting off a challenge to her leadership from pro-Brexit Conservative members of Parliament, the premier warned that deposing her would mean delaying Britain’s departure from the European Union. That’s not something she admitted was possible last month.

The argument for a second referendum advanced by one minister was simple: If nothing can get through Parliament — and it looks like nothing can — the question needs to go back to voters.

While campaigners for a second vote have mostly been those who want to reverse the result of the last one and keep Britain inside the EU, that’s not the reason a lot of new supporters are coming round to the idea.

One Cabinet minister said this week he wanted a second referendum on the table to make clear to Brexit supporters in the Conservative Party that the alternative to May’s deal is no Brexit at all.

Even former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is urging his supporters to be ready for a second referendum:

Speaking at rally in London, Press Association quoted Farage as saying: “My message folks tonight is as much as I don’t want a second referendum it would be wrong of us on a Leave Means Leave platform not to get ready, not to be prepared for a worst-case scenario.”

Putting pressure on Brexiteers is also the reason there’s more talk of delaying the U.K.’s departure. At the moment, many Brexit-backers are talking openly about running down the clock to March so they can get the hard Brexit they want. Extending the process — which is easier than many appreciate — takes that strategy off the table.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has continued to call for May to put her deal to a vote principally because its defeat is a necessary precursor for another referendum (or a no-confidence vote pushed by an alliance between Labour, and some combination of rebel Tories, the SNP and the DUP).

“The last 24 hours have shown that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is dead in the water,” said Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. “She’s failed to deliver any meaningful changes. Rather than ploughing ahead and recklessly running down the clock, she needs to put her deal to a vote next week so Parliament can take back control.”

The upshot is that the Brexit trainwreck, which has been stuck at an impasse for months, could finally see some meaningful movement in the coming weeks. Which means its a good time to bring back this handy chart illustrating the many different outcomes that could arise:

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Ukraine’s President Says “High” Threat Of Russian Invasion, Urges NATO Entry In Next 5 Years

Poroshenko is trying desperately to hold on to power, even if it means provoking Russia.

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Via Zerohedge


Perhaps still seeking to justify imposing martial law over broad swathes of his country, and attempting to keep international pressure and media focus on a narrative of “Russian aggression,” Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko denounced what he called the high “threat of Russian invasion” during a press conference on Sunday, according to Bloomberg.

Though what some analysts expected would be a rapid flair up of tit-for-tat incidents following the late November Kerch Strait seizure of three Ukrainian vessels and their crew by the Russian Navy has gone somewhat quiet, with no further major incident to follow, Poroshenko has continued to signal to the West that Russia could invade at any moment.

“The lion’s share of Russian troops remain” along the Russian border with Ukraine, Poroshenko told journalists at a press conference in the capital, Kiev. “Unfortunately, less than 10 percent were withdrawn,” he said, and added: “As of now, the threat of Russian troops invading remains. We have to be ready for this, we won’t allow a repeat of 2014.”

Poroshenko, who declared martial law on Nov. 26, citing at the time possible imminent “full-scale war with Russia” and Russian tank and troop build-up, on Sunday noted that he will end martial law on Dec. 26 and the temporarily suspended presidential campaign will kick off should there be no Russian invasion. He also previously banned all Russian males ages 16-60 from entering Ukraine as part of implementation of 30 days of martial law over ten provinces, though it’s unclear if this policy will be rescinded.

During his remarks, the Ukrainian president said his country should push to join NATO and the EU within the next five years, per Bloomberg:

While declining to announce whether he will seek a second term in the office, Poroshenko said that Ukraine should achieve peace, overcome the consequences of its economic crisis and to meet criteria to join the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization during next five years.

But concerning both his retaining power and his ongoing “threat exaggeration” — there’s even widespread domestic acknowledgement that the two are clearly linked.

According to The Globe and Mail:

While Mr. Poroshenko’s domestic rivals accuse him of exaggerating the threat in order to boost his own flagging political fortunes — polls suggest Mr. Poroshenko is on track to lose his job in a March election — military experts say there are reasons to take the Ukrainian president’s warning seriously.

As we observed previously, while European officials have urged both sides to exercise restraint, the incident shows just how easily Russia and the West could be drawn into a military conflict over Ukraine.

Certainly Poroshenko’s words appear designed to telegraph just such an outcome, which would keep him in power as a war-time president, hasten more and massive western military support and aid, and quicken his country’s entry into NATO — the latter which is already treating Ukraine as a de facto strategic outpost.

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