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Russia and Britain continue to mend economic ties

Here’s why the future of Britain’s economy rests in choosing the right “company”.

Haneul Na'avi

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Mock on; thou hast a place of refuge; I am alone, an exile soon to be.” —Euripides, “Medea”

The 29 November Russo-British Business Forum (RBBF), held at the Queen Elizabeth II Centre in London, hallmarked continued efforts to mend Anglo-Russian business ties.

Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (RBCC) Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent opened the event, followed by speeches from UK Trade Representative Boris Abramov, UK Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko, Tatarstan President Rustam Minnikhanov, delegates from the House of Lords and Commons, and many others.

Over 35 high-profile speakers in politics, business, AgriTech, FinTech, engineering and finance addressed pertinent topics. Bloomberg Radio’s Caroline Hepker moderated several open panel discussions and delegates signed numerous bilateral agreements.

Other notable projects were showcased, such as the Tatarstan Investment Development Agency (TIDA) and the Western Europe-Western China Transport Corridor (WE-WC), which aims to facilitate trade for the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) Initiative into the European Union.

In an interview, RBCC Board of Directors’ Chairman Roger Munnings expressed that “Brexit is going to require British companies to think adventurously and be faster on their feet — all of which is good,” drawing parallels to Russia’s economic rebound from international sanctions.

Many guests spoke on promising trends in increasing bilateral trade whilst underscoring the importance of closing trade deficits, to which Abramov noted, “Russia sells to Britain 1.7 times more goods and services than Britain sells to Russia”.

An RBBF press release extrapolates,

Over the first 9 months of 2017 Russian exports to the UK increased by 29.4% to US$ 6.5 billion compared to the 9 months of 2016 [whilst imports] from the UK, based on the results of the first 9 months of 2017, increased by 18.7% compared to the same period in 2016.

However, the event, full of optimism, laughter, and networking, was obscured by a dearth of attention to one of the most important obstacles sat in the way of progress: the British state.

In order to determine the future Russo-British ties, this issue must be addressed.

The “Special Relationship” and the State

Capitalism is an unabated sea of competition, alienation and monopolisation, which “always becomes the more destructive for bourgeois relations”, with the state determining such relations.

Vladimir Lenin defines it as,

[…] an organ for the oppression of one class by another [which] legalizes and perpetuates this oppression by moderating the conflict between classes.

Dialectically, Britain is undergoing a painful loss: its “special relationship” with the US empire, a product of the Cold War rising with former UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill and falling with current PM Theresa May.

Friedrich Engles saliently noted that,

The State was the official representative of society as a whole [only] in so far as it was the State of that class which itself represented […]

In this case, it operates solely for the dominant bourgeoisie to crush opposition at home with social-democracy and austerity, or abroad with NATO—the “strange fruits” of such a relationship.

Karl Marx highlights that,

The value of a thing consists solely in its relation to our wants [where] we wish to part with a useless thing, in order to get one that we need [and] exchange something superfluous for something necessary.”

A contradiction ensues: as the British state coalesces capital and power, sections of the bourgeoisie will revolt in order to circulate their commodities to accessible markets.

These two relationships find expression in diametrically opposed value-forms, with the former in the US petrodollar, a money-form used to suspend the production of commodities, and the latter commodities, which must circulate in return for money-forms; Solve et Coagula, in other words.

Marx also notes that hoarding becomes,

…a constantly extending market for gold and silver, unconnected with their functions as money [and] a latent source of supply [principally] in times of crisis and social disturbance.

One particular crisis—Brexit—has become so severe that the British state is compelled to hoard as it prepares for an uncertain future. The material evidence for this must be explored further.

Material Origins of Deteriorating UK-Russian Relations

Post 9/11, Russo-British relations began disintegrating with former UK PM David Cameron, whom reinvigorated the UK-US special relationship with former US president Barack Obama in 2010, cumulating with the 2014 fascist Ukrainian coup, in order to mitigate the EU-Russian trade deficit.

The Guardian quacked that,

[Cameron] said Russia cannot expect to continue enjoying access to European markets and pushed for stronger sanctions against the country, after both the UK and US said they strongly suspect the Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was struck down in Ukraine by separatists using Russian-made Buk missiles.

Pandering to Washington and Brussels, Cameron rallied against Russia by joining US-EU sanctions, military and media (propaganda) regimes, of course, for completely material reasons.

A Russian embassy communique from Ambassador Yakovenko noted,

The [2013 EU-Ukraine Association] Agreement stipulates that 80% of export tariffs are to be cancelled or lowered right away and further 15% – within 5 years. As a result, we expect the Ukrainian market to be saturated with European goods and components quite quickly, which can lead to Russian goods being displaced from Ukraine and EU [and] that Ukraine will be used as a low-cost transit channel for European goods, […] bypassing the agreed tariff schedule.

This is where the destructive power of capitalist alienation began. Cameron, hoping to alienate British goods to Ukraine via the agreement, was instead alienated by his European counterparts.

The Normandy Four—France, Germany, and Ukraine, and Russia—negotiated the Minsk agreements without London’s participation, infuriating Cameron.

A Russian Embassy resumé discloses that,

Outside the ‘Normandy Four’ and with no stake in the political solution, Britain became the most vociferous critic of Russia and supporter of Kiev’s flawed strategy of military solution.

Thus, Cameron begot Brexit—the perfect alibi. Kowtowing Brussels, Washington and Kiev cost London billions due to collapsing exports to the EU and Russia, with nothing in return.

The OEC stresses that,

During the last five years the exports of the United Kingdom have decreased at an annualized rate of -11.966%, from $446B in 2011 to $404B in 2016.

RT elucidates the timing even further,

Russia-UK trade has almost halved in 2015 as a result of the tit-for-tat sanctions between Russia and the European Union [and that] the total trade between the two countries fell by nearly 50 percent compared with 2014, and the loss is estimated at about $10 billion.

In short, there was nothing special about the special relationship. Even worse, whilst the UK accuses Moscow of hostile “aggression”, it was Britain who severed diplomatic ties to Moscow.

The Russian Embassy highlights,

[At] the moment Russo-British political dialogue is non-existent. London unilaterally froze all the bilateral formats of Inter-Governmental cooperation which proved their worth […] Regular consultations between the foreign ministries have actually ceased.

It continues,

London is not ready either to drop its [visa] sanctions [against] Russian officials, introduced earlier [and still refuses] to fully restore the contacts between special services, [damaging] Russo-British counter-terrorism cooperation.

Not since the 1927 ARCOS incident has a Tory-led government become such a cacophony of Russophobia. Even today, UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson channels the humiliation of 1st Earl Stanley Baldwin of Bewdley. History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

To understand why, a UK Parliament paper explains,

EU statistics indicate that EU goods exports to the UK amounted to €314 billion in 2016; more than EU goods exports to Brazil, Russia, India and China combined.

So, betrayed by the EU and US, yet dependant on the American state and European economy. Alienated by Brussels, and, under US president Donald Trump, alienated “at the back of the queue”, Britain becomes a shameless Ouroboros of self-destruction. Potentially without markets to which it can alienate its commodities, Britain began doubling down on hoarding.

An Inc. article details why,

[Imagine] you’re in charge of a large public company [and every] three months, investors are picking apart your balance sheets. […] Companies look better on the balance sheet if they hoard their cash–or spend it on low-risk, short-term, in-the-box, incremental innovations.

The British superstructure is being devoured by its material reality, ab irato, whilst its capital and stability remain under constant scrutiny from investors, the European Commission, and the public.

Unfortunately, after PM Tony Blair’s transatlantic honeymoon in Iraq and Afghanistan, British gold reserves plummeted from 588.27 to roughly 310 tonnes (2000-2002) and never recovered, which threatens British quantitative easing plans post-Brexit.

The 2008 global financial crises also aggravated matters to the point where QE began failing for the Bank of England. So, instead of hoarding gold, Britain hordes money-forms via austerity and prints cash via the BoE, to the chagrin of its citizens.

Should Westminster not change course, one can expect several phenomena to come to pass:

  1. With EU productive forces merging with the OBOR, defeat in ALL Brexit negotiations.
  2. To avoid a monetary collapse, hoarding via social welfare cuts and military/ security spending
  3. Massive capital flights to other European finance centres and tax havens
  4. A rapid collapse in Conservative (Tory) leadership and violent in-fighting
  5. A rise in the UK Labour Party (social-democrats) to capitalise on and mitigate capitalist crises

To survive, Britain must choose the OBOR, where commodity and money-form exchanges (non-USD) can prosper via emerging markets and kickstart its sluggish growth. Many EU nations are already doing so, and as Europe’s third-largest Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank member since 2015, it makes perfect sense. However, if it chooses the opposite, then prepare for the worst.

Furthermore, it is senseless why the British bureaucracy refuses to exploit all possibilities with organisations like the RBCC, even from a realpolitik perspective, or a Machiavellian one. It must integrate, not alienate itself from emerging economies like Russia, China, and countless others, particularly in the absence of the European market, and increase production of commodities of use-value, not exchange value. Cameron understood this when he joined the AIIB, and subconsciously, Theresa May also understands this and is reshuffling her cabinet in response.

As a final anecdote, one should recall the prophetic “wisdom” of Karl Kautsky,

There is no economic necessity for continuing the arms race [as] the capitalist economy is seriously threatened precisely by the contradictions between its States.

Every far-sighted capitalist today must call on his fellows: capitalists of all countries, unite!

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Trump Orders Immediate Release Of All Text Messages, Carter Page FISA Application From Russia Investigation

Trump has ordered the DOJ to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions.

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Via Zerohedge

President Trump has ordered the Department of Justice to release all text messages related to the Russia investigation with no redactions, of former FBI Director James Comey, his deputy Andrew McCabe, now-fired special agent Peter Strzok, former FBI attorney Lisa Page and twice-demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr.

Also released will be specific pages from the FBI’s FISA surveillance warrant application on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page, as well as interviews with Ohr.

The statement reads in full:

“At the request of a number of committees of Congress, and for reasons of transparency, the President has directed the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to provide for the immediate declassification of the following materials: (1) pages 10-12 and 17-34 of the June 2017 application to the FISA court in the matter of Carter W. Page; (2) all FBI reports of interviews with Bruce G. Ohr prepared in connection with the Russia investigation; and (3) all FBI reports of interviews prepared in connection with all Carter Page FISA applications.

In addition, President Donald J. Trump has directed the Department of Justice (including the FBI) to publicly release all text messages relating to the Russia investigation, without redaction, of James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, and Bruce Ohr

***

As we reported last Monday, Trump had been expected to release the documents any time – with specific attention to the Page documents and the “investigative activities of Justice Department lawyer Bruce Ohr” – who was demoted twice for lying about his extensive relationship  with Christopher Steele – the former MI6 spy who assembled the sham “Steele Dossier” used by the FBI in a FISA surveillance application to spy on Page.

Republicans on the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees believe the declassification will permanently taint the Trump-Russia investigation by showing the investigation was illegitimate to begin with. Trump has been hammering the same theme for months.

  • They allege that Bruce Ohr played an improper intermediary role between the Justice Department, British spy Christopher Steele and Fusion GPS — the opposition research firm that produced the Trump-Russia dossier, funded by Democrats. (Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS on Russia-related matters during the presidential election — a fact that Ohr did not disclose on federal forms.)
  • And they further allege that the Obama administration improperly spied on Carter Page — all to take down Trump. –Axios

Ohr, meanwhile, met with Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska in 2015 to discuss helping the FBI with organized crime investigations, according to The Hill‘s John Solomon. The meeting with the Putin ally was facilitated by Steele.

Last month Trump called Ohr a disgrace, while also tweeting: “Will Bruce Ohr, whose family received big money for helping to create the phony, dirty and discredited Dossier, ever be fired from the Jeff Sessions  “Justice” Department? A total joke!”

Trump’s threat came one day after two tweets about Ohr, noting a connection to former FBI agent Peter Strzok, as well as a text sent by Ohr after former FBI Director James Comey was fired in which Ohr says “afraid they will be exposed.”

According to emails turned over to Congressional investigators in August, Christopher Steele was much closer to Bruce Ohr and his wife Nellie than previously disclosed.

Steele and the Ohrs would have breakfast together on July 30, 2016 at the Mayflower Hotel in downtown Washington D.C., days after Steele turned in installments of his infamous “dossier” on July 19 and 26. The breakfast also occurred one day before the FBI formally launched operation “Crossfire Hurricane,” the agency’s counterintelligence operation into the Trump campaign.

“Great to see you and Nellie this morning Bruce,” Steele wrote shortly following their breakfast meeting. “Let’s keep in touch on the substantive issues/s (sic). Glenn is happy to speak to you on this if it would help.”

“After two years of investigations and accusations from both sides of the aisle about what documents indicate, it is past time for documents to be declassified and let the American people decide for themselves if DoJ and FBI acted properly,” Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows told Axios earlier Sunday.

In early August, journalist Paul Sperry tweeted that Trump may use his presidential authority to declassify “20 redacted pages of a June, 2017 FISA renewal, “and possibly” 63 pages of emails and notes between “Ohr & Steele,” and FD-302 summaries of 12 interviews.”

President Trump threatened to declassify documents two weeks ago – one day after the New York Times allegedly published an anonymous Op-Ed claiming to be from a White House official claiming to be part of an unelected “resistance” cabal within the Trump administration.

“The Deep State and the Left, and their vehicle, the Fake News Media, are going Crazy – & they don’t know what to do,” Trump tweeted earlier this month, adding: “The Economy is booming like never before, Jobs are at Historic Highs, soon TWO Supreme Court Justices & maybe Declassification to find Additional Corruption. Wow!”

Trump’s threat comes as calls by frustrated GOP legislators to release the documents have hit a fevered pitch. Spearheading the effort are Republican Reps. Meadows, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Lee Zeldin – who have repeatedly asked Trump to declassify more of the heavily redacted FISA surveillance warrant on former Trump campaign aide Carter Page in late 2016.

In June, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee asked President Trump to declassify key sections of Carter Page’s FISA warrant application, according to a letter obtained by Fox News.

Carter Page, the DOJ/FBI’s person of interest, weighed in on the matter in late August, tweeting: “The Corrupt DOJ, co-conspirators in the DNC and their high-priced consultants correctly believed they had American democracy and the FISA Court over a barrel in 2016.”

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De-Dollarization Tops Agenda at Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum

The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) was held in Vladivostok on Sept.11-13. Founded in 2015, the event has become a platform for planning and launching projects to strengthen business ties in the Asia-Pacific region.

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Via Strategic Culture

This year, the EEF brought together delegations from over 60 countries to discuss the topic “The Far East: Expanding the Range of Possibilities”. A total of 100 business events involving over 6,000 participants were held during the three days.

1,357 media personnel worked to cover the forum. Last year, the number of participants was 5,000 with 1,000 media persons involved in reporting and broadcasting. The EEF-18 gathered 340 foreign and 383 Russian CEOs. Nearly 80 start-ups from across South-East Asia joined the meeting.

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This year, a total of 175 agreements worth of 2.9 trillion rubles (some $4.3 billion) were signed. For comparison, the sum was 2.5 trillion rubles (roughly $3.7 billion) in 2017.

They included the development of the Baimsky ore deposits in Chukotka, the construction of a terminal for Novatek LNG at Bechevinskaya Bay in Kamchatka and the investment of Asian countries in Russia’s agricultural projects in the Far East.

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Mail.Ru Group, Megafon and Chinese Alibaba inked an agreement on establishing AliExpress trade joint venture. Rosneft and Chinese CNPC signed an oil exploration agreement.

The Chinese delegation was the largest (1,096 people), followed by the Japanese (570 members). The list of guests included the president of Mongolia and prime ministers of Japan and South Korea.

It was also the first time Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the event to meet his Russian counterpart. The issue of de-dollarization topped the agenda. Russia and China reaffirmed their interest in expanding the use of national currencies in bilateral deals.

During the forum, Kirill Dmitriev, the head of RDIF, said the fund intends to use only national currencies in its transactions with China starting from 2019. It will cooperate with the China Development Bank.

This “yuanification” is making visible progress with Shanghai crude futures increasing their share of oil markets up to 14 percent or even more. China has signed agreements with Canada and Qatar on national currencies exchange.

READ MORE: Eastern Economic Forum opens new chapter in US-Russia dialogue

De-dollarization is a trend that is picking up momentum across the world. A growing number of countries are interested in replacing the dollar. Russia is leading the race to protect itself from fluctuations, storms and US-waged trade wars and sanctions.

Moscow backs non-dollar trade with Ankara amid the ongoing lira crisis. Turkey is switching from the dollar to settlements in national currencies, including its trade with China and other countries. Ditching the US dollar is the issue topping the BRICS agenda. In April, Iran transferred all international payments to the euro.

The voices calling for de-dollarization are getting louder among America’s closest European allies. In August, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas called for the creation of a new payments system independent of the US.

According to him, Europe should not allow the United States to act “over our heads and at our expense.” The official wants to strengthen European autonomy by establishing independent payment channels, creating a European Monetary Fund and building up an independent SWIFT system.

Presenting his annual program, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called on Sept. 12 for the European Union to promote the euro as a global currency to challenge the dollar.

According to him, “We must do more to allow our single currency to play its full role on the international scene.” Mr. Juncker believes “it is absurd that Europe pays for 80 percent of its energy import bill – worth 300 billion euros a year – in US dollars when only roughly 2 percent of our energy imports come from the United States.” He wants the raft of proposals made in his state of the union address to start being implemented before the European Parliament elections in May.

70% of all world trade transactions account for the dollar, while 20% are  settled in the euro, and the rest falls on the yuan and other Asian currencies. The dollar value is high to make the prices of consumer goods in the US artificially low. The demand for dollars allows refinancing the huge debt at low interest rates. The US policy of trade wars and sanctions has triggered the global process of de-dollarization.

Using punitive measures as a foreign policy tool is like shooting oneself in the foot. It prompts a backlash to undermine the dollar’s status as the world reserve currency – the basis of the US economic might. The aggressive policy undermines the US world standing to make it weaker, not stronger.

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Democrat dirty ‘MeToo’ flavored trick could succeed

Fear of the Left’s “virtue signaling” trick is a real test for the American people, and they are likely to fail without honest critical thought.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The developments of the last-minute sexual allegation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh that was brought up, ostensibly as a last-minute tactic, a dirty trick, to delay or block his confirmation vote to the US Supreme Court.

The issue here is not at all about the doings of a young high-school age man to a girl when she was seventeen, it is a test to see how well the “sexual harassment” card actually works against one of the top players hand-picked by President Trump.

There is absolutely no call to “virtue” at all. All a critical thinker has to do is to consider these points:

  • Consider what side of the aisle this came from: The Democrats. The champions of every perverse sexual desire one can imagine, but dead-set against men being men and women being women.
  • The timing of the release of the allegation: The Democrats deliberately used this as ammo against Kavanaugh. If there was such a concern about the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford (a feminist, as most of these feminists like to go by three names) and her suffering, this would have been broached years ago – after all, she was 17 when it allegedly happened and she is now 36 years older. If #MeToo was really about finding a way to live virtuously, this would have been addressed day zero of Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.
  • Consider the alignment of the people on the Democrat side AND the Republicans who are now beginning to voice the “need to wait”: Again this is not about any wrong doing being fixed. It is obvious sheer dirty trickery, and in classical liberal style, the “call to virtue” is only that which is politically expedient for the Democrats, the party of gay marriage, child pornography (check WikiLeaks email dump of Hillary Clinton’s advisor John Podesta for that one), spirit dinners (a nice name for what is ostensibly a satanic Black Mass – style ritual, also from Podesta’s group of friends)
  • Last and most important – how does this situation benefit Christine Blasey Ford? – If this is truly an issue that happened (which is apparently showing holes already), then how does taking the Judge down benefit her?
  • Further still, why has this woman allowed herself to be, frankly, used again, but this time by opportunistic politicians?

These points are just a suggested beginning. There are probably hundreds of other things to consider, such as why is this even an issue. A lot of boys made advances on girls in their teenage years, and a lot girls summarily fight them off and win. The snowflakes of the world are loath to admit this, but this is quite frankly a large part of growing up. Granted sometimes it goes too far and someone rapes someone else. That is a terrible thing. But it is also statistically extremely rare, and a randy teenager is hardly a rapist.

This type of “virtue signaling” as it has come to be known is the ultimate in hypocrisy, and it is completely devoid of contact with reality, yet the Congress is wavering on what to do. And why? Because the American male has been successfully cowed by feminist women. He has allowed this from trying to appease and honor such women, but for these women, who consider pregnancy a disease for which abortion is the cure, and who have been brainwashed to consider men the enemy, they greedily took all the power they could.

There is a lot to be said about this on many levels, but the point here is that this sort of manipulation is presently deployed for political reasons and no more. We saw this happen with Judge Roy Moore in January and it worked. And as soon as the Judge was out of the running, the charges magically vanished into the mist. It is being tried again now, and it may work.

This is beyond disgusting – it is actually frightening to consider that such a transparently political allegation may actually defeat a terrific candidate who has categorically and fully denied the allegation.

One one hand, if the nomination falls through, it’s no big deal. President Trump will likely pick Amy Barrett and that will shut down the feminists for a while and probably the whole #MeToo machine.

Unless they determine magically that Mrs. Barrett is a sexual predator. However her seven children are unlikely to support such a crazy idea.

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