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How Russia is preparing for WWIII

What Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West.

The Saker

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Submitted by The Saker via http://thesaker.is.

I have recently posted a piece in which I tried to debunk a few popular myths about modern warfare. Judging by many comments which I received in response to this post, I have to say that the myths in question are still alive and well and that I clearly failed to convince many readers. What I propose to do today, is to look at what Russia is really doing in response to the growing threat from the West. But first, I have to set the context or, more accurately, re-set the context in which Russia is operating. Let’s begin by looking at the AngloZionist policies towards Russia.

The West’s actions:

First on this list is, obviously, the conquest by NATO of all of Eastern Europe. I speak of conquest because that is exactly what it is, but a conquest achieved according to the rules of 21st century warfare which I define as “80% informational, 15% economic and 5% military”. Yes, I know, the good folks of Eastern Europe were just dreaming of being subjugated by the US/NATO/EU/etc – but so what? Anyone who has read Sun Tzu will immediately recognize that this deep desire to be ‘incorporated’ into the AngloZionist “Borg” is nothing else but the result of a crushed self-identity, a deep-seated inferiority complex and, thus, a surrender which did not even have to be induced by military means. At the end of the day, it makes no difference what the locals thought they were achieving – they are now subjects of the Empire and their countries more or less irrelevant colonies in the fringe of the AngloZionist Empire. As always, the local comprador elite is now bubbling with pride at being, or so they think, accepted as equals by their new masters (think Poroshenko, Tusk or Grybauskaite) which gives them the courage to bark at Moscow from behind the NATO fence. Good for them.

Second is the now total colonization of Western Europe into the Empire. While NATO moved to the East, the US also took much deeper control of Western Europe which is now administered for the Empire by what the former Mayor of London once called the “great supine protoplasmic invertebrate jellies” – faceless bureaucrats à la François Hollande or Angela Merkel.

Third, the Empire has given its total support to semi-demonic creatures ranging from al-Khattab to Nadezhda Savchenko. The West’s policy is crystal clear and simple to the extreme: if it is anti-Russian we back it. This policy is best exemplified with a Putin and Russia demonization campaign which is, in my opinion, far worse and much more hysterical than anything during the Cold War.

Fourth, the West has made a number of highly disturbing military moves including the deployment of the first elements of an anti-missile system in Eastern Europe, the dispatching of various forms of rapid reaction forces, the deployment of a few armored units, etc. NATO now has forward deployed command posts which can be used to support the engagement of a rapid reaction force.

What does all this add up to?

Right now, nothing much, really. Yes, the NATO move right up to the Russian borders is highly provocative, but primarily in political terms. In purely military terms, not only is this a very bad idea (see cliché #6 here), but the size of the actual forces deployed is, in reality, tiny: the ABM system currently deployed can, at best, hope to intercept a few missiles (10-20 depending on your assumptions) as for the conventional forces they are of the battalion size (more or less 600 soldiers plus support). So right now there is categorically no real military threat to Russia.

So why are the Russians so clearly upset?

Because the current US/NATO moves might well be just the first steps of a much larger effort which, given enough time, might begin presenting a very real danger for Russia.

Furthermore, the kind of rhetoric coming out of the West now is not only militaristic and russophobic, it is often outright messianic. The last time around the West had a flare up of its 1000 year old chronic “messianic syndrome” condition Russia lost 20 (to 30) million people. So the Russians can be forgiven if they are paying a great deal of attention to what the AngloZionist propaganda actually says about them.

The Russians are most dismayed at the re-colonization of western Europe. Long gone are the days when people like Charles de Gaulle, Helmut Schmidt or François Mitterrand, were in charge of Europe’s future. For all their very real faults, these men were at least real patriots and not just US colonial administrators. The ‘loss’ of Western Europe is far more concerning for the Russians than the fact that ex-Soviet colonies in Eastern Europe are now under US colonial administration. Why?

Look at this from the Russian point of view.

The Russians all see that the US power is on the decline and that the dollar will, sooner or later, gradually or suddenly, lose its role as the main reserve and exchange currency on the planet (this process has already begun). Simply put – unless the US finds a way to dramatically change the current international dynamic the AngloZionist Empire will collapse. The Russians believe that what the Americans are doing is, at best, to use tensions with Russia to revive a dormant Cold War v2 and, at worst, to actually start a real shooting war in Europe.

So a declining Empire with a vital need for a major crisis, a spineless Western Europe unable to stand up for its own interest, a subservient Eastern Europe just begging to turn into a massive battlefield between East and West, and a messianic, rabidly russophobic rhetoric as the background for an increase in military deployments on the Russian border. Is anybody really surprised that the Russians are taking all this very, very serious even if right now the military threat is basically non-existent?

The Russian reaction

So let us now examine the Russian reaction to Empire’s stance.

First, the Russians want to make darn sure that the Americans do not give in into the illusion that a full-scale war in Europe would be like WWII which saw the US homeland only suffer a few, tiny, almost symbolic, attacks by the enemy. Since a full scale war in Europe would threaten the very existence of the Russian state and nation, the Russians are now taking measures to make darn sure that, should that happen, the US would pay an immense price for such an attack.

Second, the Russians are now evidently assuming that a conventional threat from the West might materialize in the foreseeable future. They are therefore taking the measures needed to counter that conventional threat.

Third, since the USA appears to be dead set into deploying an anti-ballistic missile system not only in Europe, but also in the Far East, the Russians are taking the measures to both defeat and bypass this system.

The Russian effort is a vast and a complex one, and it covers almost every aspect of Russian force planing, but there are four examples which, I think, best illustrate the Russian determination not to allow a 22 June 1941 to happen again:

  • The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army (in progress)
  • The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system (done)
  • The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM (in progress)
  • The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo (in progress)

The re-creation of the First Guards Tank Army

It is hard to believe, but the fact is that between 1991 and 2016 Russia did not have a single large formation (division size and bigger) in its Western Military District. A few brigades, regiments and battalions which nominally were called an “Army”. To put it simply – Russia clearly did not believe that there was a conventional military threat from the West and therefore she did not even bother deploying any kind of meaningful military force to defend from such a non-existing threat. By the way, that fact should also tell you everything you need to know about Russian plans to invade the Ukraine, Poland or the Baltics: this is utter nonsense. This has now dramatically changed.

Russia has officially announced that the First Guards Tank Army (a formation with a prestigious and very symbolic history). This Guards Tank Army will now include the 4th “Kantemirov” Guards Tank Division, the 2nd “Taman” Guards Motorized Rifle Division, the 6th Tank Brigade, the 27th Guards Motor Rifle Brigade Sevastopol and many support units. This Army’s HQ will be located in the Odinstovo suburb of Moscow. Currently the Army is equipped with T-72B3 and T-80 main battle tanks, but they will be replaced by the brand new and revolutionary T-14 Armata tank while the current infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers will be replaced by the new APC and IFV. In the air, these armored units will be protected and supported by Mi-28 and Ka-52 attack helicopters. Make no mistake, this will be a very large force, exactly the kind of force needed so smash through an attacking enemy forces (by the way, the 1TGA was present at the Kursk battle). I am pretty sure that by the time the 1TGA is fully organized it will become the most powerful armored formation anywhere between the Atlantic and the Urals (especially in qualitative terms). If the current tensions continue or even worsen, the Russians could even augment the 1TGA to a type of 21st century “Shock Army” with increased mobility and specializing in breaking deep into the enemy’s defenses.

The deployment of the Iskander-M operational-tactical missile system

The new Iskander-M operational tactical missile system is a formidable weapon by any standard. While technically it is a short-range tactical missile (under 1000km range, the Iskander-M has an official range of 500km), it can also fire the R-500 missile has the capability of striking at an intermediate/operational range (over 1000km, the R-500 has a range of 2000km). It is extremely accurate, it has advanced anti-ABM capabilities, it flies at hypersonic speeds and is practically undetectable on the ground (see here for more details). This will be the missile tasked with destroying all the units and equipment the US and NATO have forward-deployed in Eastern Europe and, if needed, clear the way for the 1TGA.

The deployment of the Sarmat ICBM

Neither the 1TGA nor the Iskander-M missile will threaten the US homeland in any way. Russia thus needed some kind of weapon which would truly strike fear into the Pentagon and White House in the way the famous RS-36 Voevoda (aka SS-18 “Satan” in US classification) did during the Cold War. The SS-18, the most powerful ICBM ever developed, was scary enough. The RS-28 “Sarmat” (SS-X-30 by NATO classification) brings the terror to a totally new level.

The Sarmat is nothing short of amazing. It will be capable of carrying 10-15 MIRVed warheads which will be delivered in a so-called “depressed” (suborbital) trajectory and which will remain maneuverable at hypersonic speeds. The missile will not have to use the typical trajectory over the North Pole but will be capable of reaching any target anywhere on the planet from any trajectory. All these elements combined will make the Sarmat itself and its warheads completely impossible to intercept.

The Sarmat will also be capable of delivering conventional Iu-71 hypersonic warheads capable of a “kinetic strike” which could be used to strike a fortified enemy target in a non-nuclear conflict. This will be made possible by the amazing accuracy of the Sarmat’s warheads which, courtesy of a recent Russian leak, we now know have a CEP of 10 meters (see screen capture)

Sarmat-MIRV-CEP-300x99The Sarmat’s silos will be protected by a unique “active protection measures” which will include 100 guns capable of firing a “metallic cloud” of forty thousand 30mm “bullets” to an altitude of up to 6km. The Russians are also planning to protect the Sarmat with their new S-500 air defense systems. Finally, the Sarmat’s preparation to start time will be under 60 seconds thanks a a highly automated launch system. What this all means is that the Sarmat missile will be invulnerable in its silo, during it’s flight and on re-entry in the lower parts of the atmosphere.

It is interesting to note that while the USA has made a great deal of noise around its planned Prompt Global Strike system, the Russians have already begun deploying their own version of this concept.

The deployment of the Status-6 strategic torpedo

Do you remember the carefully staged “leak” in November of last year when the Russians ‘inadvertently’ showed a super dooper secret strategic torpedo on prime time news? Here is this (in)famous slide:

Status6-2015

What is shown here is an “autonomous underwater vehicle” which has advanced navigational capabilities but which can also be remote controlled and steered from a specialized command module. This vehicle can dive as deep as 1000m, at a speed up to 185km/h and it has a range of up to 10’000km. It is delivered by specially configured submarines.

The Status-6 system can be used to target aircraft carrier battle groups, US navy bases (especially SSBN bases) and, in its most frighting configuration, it can be used to deliver high-radioactivity cobalt bombscapable of laying waste to huge expanses of land. The Status-6 delivery system would be a new version of the T-15 torpedo which would be 24m long, 1,5m wide weigh 40 tons and capable of delivering a 100 megaton warhead which would make it twice as powerful as the most powerful nuclear device ever detonated, the Soviet Czar-bomb (57 megatons). Hiroshima was only 15 kilotons.

Keep in mind that most of the USA’s cities and industrial centers are all along the coastline which makes them extremely vulnerable to torpedo based attacks (be it Sakharov’s proposed “Tsunami bomb” or the Status-6 system). And, just as in the case of the Iskander-M or the Sarmat ICBM, the depth and speed of the Status-6 torpedo would make it basically invulnerable to incerception.

Evaluation:

There is really nothing new in all of the above, and US military commanders have always known that. All the US anti-ballistic missile systems have always been primarily a financial scam, from Reagan’s “Star Wars” to Obama’s “anti-Iranian ABM”. For one thing, any ABM system is susceptible to ‘local saturation’: if you have X number ABM missile protecting a Y long space against an X number of missiles, all that you need to do is to saturate only one sector of the Y space with *a lot* of real and fake missiles by firing them all together through one small sector of the Y space the ABM missile system is protecting. And there are plenty of other measures the Russians could take. They could put just one single SLBM capable submarine in Lake Baikal making it basically invulnerable. There is already some discussion of that idea in Russia. Another very good option would be to re-activate the Soviet BzhRK rail-mobile ICBM. Good luck finding them in the immense Russian train network. In fact, the Russians have plenty of cheap and effective measure. Want me to list one more?

Sure!

Take the Kalibr cruise-missile recently seen in the war in Syria. Did you know that it can be shot from a typical commerical container, like the ones you will find on trucks, trains or ships? Check out this excellent video which explains this:

Just remember that the Kalibr has a range of anywhere between 50km to 4000km and that it can carry a nuclear warhead. How hard would it be for Russia to deploy these cruise missiles right off the US coast in regular container ships? Or just keep a few containers in Cuba or Venezuela? This is a system which is so undetectable that the Russians could deploy it off the coast of Australia to hit the NSA station in Alice Springs if they wanted, an nobody would even see it coming.

The reality is that the notion that the US could trigger a war against Russia (or China for that matter) and not suffer the consequences on the US mainland is absolutely ridiculous. And yet, when I hear all the crazy talk by western politicians and generals I get the impression that they are forgetting about this undeniable fact. Frankly, even the current threats against Russia have a ‘half-backed’ feel to them: a battalion here, another one there, a few missiles here, a few more there. It is like the rulers of the Empire don’t realize that it is a very, very bad idea to constantly poke a bear when all you are carrying with you is a pocket-knife. Sometimes the reaction of western politicians remind me of the thugs who try to rob a gas station with a plastic or empty gun and who are absolutely stunned with they get gunned down by the owner or the cops. This kind of thuggery is nothing more than a form of “suicide by cop” which never ends well for the one trying to get away with it.

So sometimes things have to be said directly and unambiguously: western politicians better not believe in their own imperial hubris. So far, all their threats have achieved is that the Russians have responded with a many but futile verbal protests and a full-scale program to prepare Russia for WWIII.

As I have written many times, Russians are very afraid of war and they will go out of their way to avoid it. But they are also ready for war. This is a uniquely Russian cultural feature which the West has misread an innumerable number of time over the past 1000 years or so. Over and over again have the Europeans attacked Russia only to find themselves into a fight they would never have imagined, even in their worst nightmares. This is why the Russians like to say that “Russia never starts wars, she only ends them”.

There is a profound cultural chasm between how the West views warfare and how the Russians do. In the West, warfare is, really, “the continuation of politics by other means”. For Russians, it is a ruthless struggle for survival. Just look at generals in the West: they are polished and well mannered managers much more similar to corporate executives than with, say, Mafia bosses. Take a look at Russian generals (for example, watch the Victory Day parade in Moscow). In comparison to their western colleagues they look almost brutish, because first and foremost they are ruthless and calculating killers. I don’t mean that in a negative way – they often are individually very honorable and even kind men, and like every good commander, they care for their men and love their country. But the business they are in in not the continuation of politics by other means, the business they are in is survival. At all cost.

You cannot judge a military or, for that matter, a nation, by how it behaves when it triumphs, when it is on the offensive pursing a defeated enemy. All armies look good when they are winning. You can really judge of the nature of a military, or a nation, at its darkest hour, when things are horrible and the situation worse than catastrophic. That was the case in 1995 when the Eltsin regime ordered a totally unprepared, demoralized, poorly trained, poorly fed, poorly equipped and completely disorganized Russian military (well, a few hastily assembled units) to take Grozny from the Chechens. It was hell on earth. Here is some footage of General Lev Rokhlin in a hastily organized command post in a basement inside Grozy. He is as exhausted, dirty and exposed as any of his soldiers. Just look at his face and look at the faces of the men around him. This is what the Russian army looks like when it is in the depth of hell, betrayed by the traitors sitting in the Kremlin and abandoned by most if the Russian people (who, I am sorry to remind here, mostly were only were dreaming of McDonalds and Michael Jackson in 1995).

Can you imagine, say, General Wesley Clark or David Petraeus fighting like these men did?

Check out this video of General Shamanov reading the riot act to a local Chechen politician (no translation need):

Vladimir_Shamanov._Cabinet_photo-200x300Shamanov nowadays is the Commander in Chief of the Airborne Forces (see photo) whose size Putin quietly doubled to 72’000, something I mentioned in the past as highly relevant, especially in comparison with the rather tepid force level increases announced by NATO (see “EU suidice by reality denial”). To get a feel for what modern Russian airborne forces are like, check out this article.

It is not my intention here to glorify nuclear war or the Russian Armed Forces. The reason for this, and many other, articles is to try to raise the alarm about what I see is happening nowadays. Western leaders are drunk on their own imperial hubris, nations which in the past were considered as minor stains on a map now feel emboldened to constantly provoke a nuclear superpower, Americans are being lied to and promised that some magical high tech will protect them from war while the Russians are seriously gearing up for WWIII because they have come to the conclusion that the only way to prevent that war is to make absolutely and unequivocally clear to the AngloZionists that they will never survive a war with Russia, even if every single Russian is killed.

I remember the Cold War well. I was part of it. And I remember that the vast majority of us, on both sides, realized that a war between Russia and the West must be avoided at all costs. Now I am horrified when I read articles by senior officials seriously discussing such a possibility.

Just read this article, please: What would a war between the EU and Russia look like? Here is what this guy writes:

To the poetically inclined, the Russian military looks more like a gigantic pirate crew, than a regular army. The ones who rule are the ones with the sharpest cutlass and biggest mouth, typically some scurvy infested mateis who rely on the support of their mates to make any unpopular “officer” walk the plank… Or, more apt, they resemble the members of the cossack horde, run by the brashier warriors… While these troops can be very brave, at times, they are not effective in the field against a well regulated and trained modern military machine. Given this, it is improbably, ney, impossible for ordinary Russian troops to conduct operations of major consequence at more than platoon level against any disciplined armies, especially the US, British, German, or French.

The-dream-of-the-West

“For our zoo” (old Western dream)

This kind of writing really scares me. Not because of the imbecilic and racist stupidity of it, but because it largely goes unchallenged in the mainstream media. Not only that, there are plenty such articles written elsewhere (see here, here or here). Of course, the authors of that kind of “analyses” make their money precisely the kind of manic cheer-leading for the western forces, but that is exactly the mindset which got Napoleon and Hitler in trouble and which ended with Russian forces stationed in Paris and Berlin. Compare that kind of jingoistic and, frankly, irresponsible nonsense with what a real military commander, Montgomery, had to say on this topic:

The next war on land will be very different from the last one, in that we shall have to fight it in a different way. In reaching a decision on that matter, we must first be clear about certain rules of war. Rule 1, on page I of the book of war, is: “Do not march on Moscow”. Various people have tried it, Napoleon and Hitler, and it is no good. That is the first rule.

So who do you trust? Professional cheerleaders or professional soldiers? Do you really believe that Obama (or Hillary), Merkel and Hollande will do better than Napoleon or Hitler?

If the AngloZionist ‘deep state’ is really delusional enough to trigger a war with Russia, in Europe or elsewhere, the narcissistic and hedonistic West, drunk on its own propaganda and hubris, will discover a level of violence and warfare it cannot even imagine and if that only affected those responsible for these reckless and suicidal policies it would be great. But the problem is, of course, that many millions of us, simple, regular people, will suffer and die as a consequence of our collective failure to prevent that outcome. I hope and pray that my repeated warnings will at least contribute to what I hope is a growing realization that this folly has to be immediately stopped and that sanity must return to politics.

Purchase: The Essential Saker: from the trenches of the emerging multipolar world

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FBI recommended Michael Flynn not have lawyer present during interview, did not warn of false statement consequences

Flynn is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 18.

Washington Examiner

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Via The Washington Examiner…


Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who arranged the bureau’s interview with then-national security adviser Michael Flynn at the White House on Jan. 24, 2017 — the interview that ultimately led to Flynn’s guilty plea on one count of making false statements — suggested Flynn not have a lawyer present at the session, according to newly-filed court documents. In addition, FBI officials, along with the two agents who interviewed Flynn, decided specifically not to warn him that there would be penalties for making false statements because the agents wanted to ensure that Flynn was “relaxed” during the session.

The new information, drawn from McCabe’s account of events plus the FBI agents’ writeup of the interview — the so-called 302 report — is contained in a sentencing memo filed Tuesday by Flynn’s defense team.

Citing McCabe’s account, the sentencing memo says that shortly after noon on Jan. 24 — the fourth day of the new Trump administration — McCabe called Flynn on a secure phone in Flynn’s West Wing office. The two men discussed business briefly and then McCabe said that he “felt that we needed to have two of our agents sit down” with Flynn to discuss Flynn’s talks with Russian officials during the presidential transition.

McCabe, by his own account, urged Flynn to talk to the agents alone, without a lawyer present. “I explained that I thought the quickest way to get this done was to have a conversation between [Flynn] and the agents only,” McCabe wrote. “I further stated that if LTG Flynn wished to include anyone else in the meeting, like the White House counsel for instance, that I would need to involve the Department of Justice. [Flynn] stated that this would not be necessary and agreed to meet with the agents without any additional participants.”

Within two hours, the agents were in Flynn’s office. According to the 302 report quoted in the Flynn sentencing document, the agents said Flynn was “relaxed and jocular” and offered the agents “a little tour” of his part of the White House.

“The agents did not provide Gen. Flynn with a warning of the penalties for making a false statement under 18 U.S.C. 1001 before, during, or after the interview,” the Flynn memo says. According to the 302, before the interview, McCabe and other FBI officials “decided the agents would not warn Flynn that it was a crime to lie during an FBI interview because they wanted Flynn to be relaxed, and they were concerned that giving the warnings might adversely affect the rapport.”

The agents had, of course, seen transcripts of Flynn’s wiretapped conversations with Russian then-ambassador Sergey Kislyak. “Before the interview, FBI officials had also decided that if ‘Flynn said he did not remember something they knew he said, they would use the exact words Flynn used … to try to refresh his recollection. If Flynn still would not confirm what he said … they would not confront him or talk him through it,'” the Flynn memo says, citing the FBI 302.

“One of the agents reported that Gen. Flynn was ‘unguarded’ during the interview and ‘clearly saw the FBI agents as allies,'” the Flynn memo says, again citing the 302.

Later in the memo, Flynn’s lawyers argue that the FBI treated Flynn differently from two other Trump-Russia figures who have pleaded guilty to and been sentenced for making false statements. One of them, Alexander Van der Zwaan, “was represented by counsel during the interview; he was interviewed at a time when there was a publicly disclosed, full-bore investigation regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election; and he was given a warning that it is a federal crime to lie during the interview,” according to the memo. The other, George Papadopoulos, “was specifically notified of the seriousness of the investigation…was warned that lying to investigators was a ‘federal offense’…had time to reflect on his answers…and met with the FBI the following month for a further set of interviews, accompanied by his counsel, and did not correct his false statements.”

The message of the sentencing memo is clear: Flynn, his lawyers suggest, was surprised, rushed, not warned of the context or seriousness of the questioning, and discouraged from having a lawyer present.

That is all the sentencing document contains about the interview itself. In a footnote, Flynn’s lawyers noted that the government did not object to the quotations from the FBI 302 report.

In one striking detail, footnotes in the Flynn memo say the 302 report cited was dated Aug. 22, 2017 — nearly seven months after the Flynn interview. It is not clear why the report would be written so long after the interview itself.

The brief excerpts from the 302 used in the Flynn defense memo will likely spur more requests from Congress to see the original FBI documents. Both House and Senate investigating committees have demanded that the Justice Department allow them to see the Flynn 302, but have so far been refused.

In the memo, Flynn’s lawyers say that he made a “serious error in judgment” in the interview. Citing Flynn’s distinguished 30-plus year record of service in the U.S. Army, they ask the judge to go along with special counsel Robert Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn be spared any time in prison.

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Macron offers crumbs to protestors in bid to save his globalist agenda (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 36.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at French President Macron’s pathetic display of leadership as he offers protestors little in the way of concessions while at the same time promising to crack down hard on any and all citizens who resort to violence.

Meanwhile France’s economy is set for a deep recession as French output and production grinds to a halt.

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Via Zerohedge


As if Brussels didn’t have its hands full already with Italy and the UK, the European Union will soon be forced to rationalize why one of its favorite core members is allowed to pursue populist measures to blow out its budget deficit to ease domestic unrest while another is threatened with fines potentially amounting to billions of euros.

When blaming Russia failed to quell the widespread anger elicited by his policies, French President Emmanuel Macron tried to appease the increasingly violent “yellow vests” protesters who have sacked his capital city by offering massive tax cuts that could blow the French budget out beyond the 3% budget threshold outlined in the bloc’s fiscal rules.

Given the concessions recently offered by Italy’s populists, Macron’s couldn’t have picked a worse time to challenge the bloc’s fiscal conventions. As Bloomberg pointed out, these rules will almost certainly set the Continent’s second largest economy on a collision course with Brussels. To be clear, Macron’s offered cuts come with a price tag of about €11 billion according to Les Echos, and will leave the country with a budget gap of 3.5% of GDP in 2019, with one government official said the deficit may be higher than 3.6%.

By comparison, Italy’s initial projections put its deficit target at 2.4%, a number which Europe has repeatedly refused to consider.

Macron’s promises of fiscal stimulus – which come on top of his government’s decision to delay the planned gas-tax hikes that helped inspire the protests – were part of a broader ‘mea culpa’ offered by Macron in a speech Monday night, where he also planned to hike France’s minimum wage.

Of course, when Brussels inevitably objects, perhaps Macron could just show them this video of French police tossing a wheelchair-bound protester to the ground.

Already, the Italians are complaining.  Speaking on Tuesday, Italian cabinet undersecretary Giancarlo Giorgetti said Italy hasn’t breached the EU deficit limit. “I repeat that from the Italian government there is a reasonable approach, if there is one also from the EU a solution will be found.”

“France has several times breached the 3% deficit. Italy hasn’t done it. They are different situations. There are many indicators to assess.”

Still, as one Guardian columnist pointed out in an op-ed published Tuesday morning, the fact that the gilets jaunes (yellow vest) organizers managed to pressure Macron to cave and grant concessions after just 4 weeks of protests will only embolden them to push for even more radical demands: The collapse of the government of the supremely unpopular Macron.

Then again, with Brussels now facing certain accusations of hypocrisy, the fact that Macron was pressured into the exact same populist measures for which Italy has been slammed, the French fiasco raises the odds that Rome can pass any deficit measure it wants with the EU now forced to quietly look away even as it jawbones all the way from the bank (i.e., the German taxpayers).

“Macron’s spending will encourage Salvini and Di Maio,” said Giovanni Orsina, head of the School of Government at Rome’s Luiss-Guido Carli University. “Macron was supposed to be the spearhead of pro-European forces, if he himself is forced to challenge EU rules, Salvini and Di Maio will jump on that to push their contention that those rules are wrong.”

While we look forward to how Brussels will square this circle, markets are less excited.

Exhausted from lurching from one extreme to another following conflicting headlines, traders are already asking if “France is the new Italy.” The reason: the French OAT curve has bear steepened this morning with 10Y yields rising as much as ~6bp, with the Bund/OAT spread reaching the widest since May 2017 and the French presidential election. Though well below the peaks of last year, further widening would push the gap into levels reserved for heightened political risk.

As Bloomberg macro analyst Michael Read notes this morning, it’s hard to see a specific near-term trigger blowing out the Bund/OAT spread but the trend looks likely to slowly drift higher.

While Macron has to fight on both domestic and European fronts, he’ll need to keep peace at home to stay on top. Remember that we saw the 10Y spread widen to ~80bps around the May ’17 elections as concerns of a move toward the political fringe played out in the markets, and the French President’s popularity ratings already look far from rosy.

And just like that France may have solved the Italian crisis.

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Watch: Democrat Chuck Schumer shows his East Coast elitism on live TV

Amazing moment in which the President exhibits “transparency in government” and shows the world who the Democrat leaders really are.

Seraphim Hanisch

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One of the reasons Donald Trump was elected to the Presidency was because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – against Democrat policy decisions and “stupid government” in general.

One of the reasons President Donald Trump is reviled is because of his pugnacious, “in your face” character he presented – and promised TO present – in the American political scene.

In other words, there are two reactions to the same characteristic. On Tuesday, the President did something that probably cheered and delighted a great many Americans who witnessed this.

The Democrats have been unanimous in taking any chance to roast the President, or to call for his impeachment, or to incite violence against him. But Tuesday was President Trump’s turn. He invited the two Democrat leaders, presumptive incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and then, he turned the cameras on:

As Tucker Carlson notes, the body language from Schumer was fury. The old (something)-eating grin covered up humiliation, embarrassment and probably no small amount of fear, as this whole incident was filmed and broadcast openly and transparently to the American public. Nancy Pelosi was similarly agitated, and she expressed it later after this humiliation on camera, saying, “It’s like a manhood thing for him… As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

She didn’t stop there. According to a report from the New York Daily News, the Queen Bee took the rhetoric a step below even her sense of dignity:

Pelosi stressed she made clear to Trump there isn’t enough support in Congress for a wall and speculated the President is refusing to back down because he’s scared to run away with his tail between his legs.

“I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild,” Pelosi said of the Oval Office meet, which was also attended by Vice President Pence and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). “It goes to show you: you get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

This represented the first salvo in a major spin-job for the ultra-liberal San Francisco Democrat. The rhetoric spun by Mrs. Pelosi and Chuck Schumer was desperate as they tried to deflect their humiliation and place it back on the President:

With reporters still present, Trump boasted during the Oval meeting he would be “proud” to shutdown the government if Congress doesn’t earmark cash for his wall before a Dec. 21 spending deadline.

Pelosi told Democrats that Trump’s boisterousness will be beneficial for them.

“The fact is we did get him to say, to fully own that the shutdown was his,” Pelosi said. “That was an accomplishment.”

The press tried to characterize this as a “Trump Tantrum”, saying things like this lede:

While “discussing” a budgetary agreement for the government, President Donald Trump crossed his arms and declared: “we will shut down the government if there is no wall.”

While the Democrats and the mainstream media in the US are sure to largely buy these interpretations of the event, the fact that this matter was televised live shows that the matter was entirely different, and this will be discomfiting to all but those Democrats and Trump-dislikers that will not look at reality.

There appears to be a twofold accomplishment for the President in this confrontation:

  1. The President revealed to his support base the real nature of the conversation with the Democrat leadership, because anyone watching this broadcast (and later, video clip) saw it unedited with their own eyes. They witnessed the pettiness of both Democrats and they witnessed a President completely comfortable and confident about the situation.
  2. President Trump probably made many of his supporters cheer with the commitment to shut down the government if he doesn’t get his border wall funding. This cheering is for both the strength shown about getting the wall finished and the promise to shut the government down, and further, Mr. Trump’s assertion that he would be “proud” to shut the government down, taking complete ownership willingly, reflects a sentiment that many of his supporters share.

The usual pattern is for the media, Democrats and even some Republicans to create a “scare” narrative about government shutdowns, about how doing this is a sure-fire path to chaos and suffering for the United States.

But the educated understanding of how shutdowns work reveals something completely different. Vital services never close. However, National Parks can close partly or completely, and some non-essential government agencies are shuttered. While this is an inconvenience for the employees furloughed during the shutdown, they eventually are re-compensated for the time lost, and are likely to receive help during the shutdown period if they need it. The impact on the nation is minimal, aside from the fact that the government stops spending money at the same frenetic pace as usual.

President Trump’s expression of willingness to do this action and his singling out of the Dem leadership gives the Democrats a real problem. Now the entire country sees their nature. As President Trump is a populist, this visceral display of Democrat opposition and pettiness will make at least some impact on the population, even that group of people who are not Trump fans.

The media reaction and that of the Democrats here show, amazingly, that after three years-plus of Donald Trump being a thorn in their side, they still do not understand how he works, and they also cannot match it against their expected “norms” of establishment behavior.

This may be a brilliant masterstroke, and it also may be followed up by more. The President relishes head-to-head conflict. The reactions of these congress members showed who they really are.

Let the games begin.

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