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Survival of Trans-Atlantic Alliance sees no guarantees

It’s not really about whether NATO can survive, but whether it really should

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NATO head Jens Stoltenberg touted the unifying nature of the NATO Alliance in his call for a greater commitment to its mission. Stoltenberg got around to promoting this necessity because of the threats that are posed by Russia, cyber attacks, terrorism, and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. But he seems to ignore the fact that many of the threats to the security of the Western order are artificial or manufactured by NATO’s primary member and benefactor, the United States of America.

USA News reports:

LONDON (AP) — The bonds between Europe and North America are under strain and there’s no guarantee the trans-Atlantic partnership will survive, the head of NATO warned Thursday.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called for an effort to shore up the military alliance amid the divisions between Europe and the United States over trade, climate change and the Iran nuclear deal.

“It is not written in stone that the trans-Atlantic bond will survive forever,” Stoltenberg said during a speech in London. “But I believe we will preserve it.”

NATO has been shaken by U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America First” stance and mistrust of international institutions. Trump once called NATO obsolete and has repeatedly berated other members of the 29-nation alliance of failing to spend enough on defense.

Ahead of a NATO summit in July, Stoltenberg said “we may have seen the weakening” of some bonds between North America and Europe. But he insisted that “maintaining the trans-Atlantic partnership is in our strategic interests.”

Stoltenberg said the world faced “the most unpredictable security environment in a generation” due to terrorism, proliferating weapons of mass destruction, cyberattacks and an assertive Russia.

“We must continue to protect our multilateral institutions like NATO, and we must continue to stand up for the international rules-based order,” he said.

After meeting Prime Minister Theresa May in Downing St., Stoltenberg praised Britain, one of a minority of NATO countries to meet a target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defense.

He said that despite differences between the U.S. and Europe, NATO delivered “trans-Atlantic unity” every day.

“We have had differences before, and the lesson of history is that we overcome these differences every time,” Stoltenberg said.

Some European officials worry the Trump administration is cool on efforts to hold Russia to account for misdeeds including election meddling and the nerve-agent poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in England, which the U.K. blames on Moscow.

At a G-7 summit this month, Trump suggested that Russia should be readmitted to the group of industrial powers, from which it was expelled over its annexation of Crimea in 2014.

Some U.S. allies are concerned by reports that Trump plans to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin when the American leader travels to Europe for the NATO summit next month.

But Stoltenberg said meeting Putin does not contradict NATO policies.

“We are in favor of dialogue with Russia,” he said. “We don’t want a new cold war. We don’t want a new arms race. We don’t want to isolate Russia.

America’s mission to export democracy and ‘freedom’ and to reshape global politics through regime changes is what has led to many of the threats which Stoltenberg mentions. The reason why the situation with the Ukraine and Crimea even came about was due to the US’s meddling which led to a violent color revolution and which is still mired in violence to this day.

The migration issue facing Europe is largely the result of America’s wars in the Middle East, which had as their aim regime changes, but which have only resulted in radicalized Islamic terrorist groups springing up to destabilize and threaten destabilization not just in the Middle East but across the Eastern hemisphere.

Those migrants are fleeting the destabilization wrought by America’s meddling in the Middle East and Africa. And America is still arming and financing terrorist organizations and continuing to stoke conflict, whether it is Libya, Syria, or Yemen. These activities, by America not Russia, have led to the deaths of millions, war crimes, flagrant human rights violations, and political instability, both actual and threatened, from Europe to the Gulf of Aden.

And it was America which terminated its participation in a nuclear non proliferation agreement with Iran, the JCPOA, and is attempting to totally kill the agreement by trying to force its remaining signatories to ditch it as well, or to render it impossible to observe through the threat of secondary sanctions. America made these global security threats, and continues to do so unapologetically.

Therefore, it would appear that NATO’s mission, both its initial one and however it perceives its current one, cannot be realized in an honest fashion. Essentially, not only are the conditions surrounding a unified West becoming more uncertain by the day, but areas of common interest are becoming fewer also. It’s not entirely about whether NATO can survive, but whether it really should. Perhaps this is one multilateral agreement that Trump should exercise his withdrawal habit upon and walk away from it, perhaps under the pretext that its members just won’t carry their weight and pay up.

 

 

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DenLilleAbewalterregolo gelliniJohn R Balch JrHappyCynic Recent comment authors
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DenLilleAbe
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DenLilleAbe

NATO has always been about furthering Americas interest and countering the Soviet union during the cold war. Which many people in Europe initially accepted and stood by. But with the advent of an increasing bellicose rhetoric from Washington, the glimmer faded, and with the Pershing debacle, America shot itself in the foot, unable to understand that : WE DO NOT WANT ANOTHER WAR IN EUROPE! And still don’t.
Most Europeans are fully aligned with Angela Merkel on this issue: We should see to our own security.
The running US’s errand is coming to an end.

walter
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walter

No one wants war except the American neocon cabal. They will not send their own kind into war, just others. Time to get rid of the neocons. T

regolo gellini
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regolo gellini

The hypocrisy of this man, Stoltemberg, is beyond belief . He says one thing (flase flags and fake news) in one go and the exact opposite in the next sentence . When will he understand that the organisation he presides is a rogue left over of the cold war period and serves nothing for our prosperity as a community ? He praises UK for spending 2% of GDP in weaponry while 7 million people in UK don’t have enough food for their children . The NHS has been reduced to its lowest standard and people have to wait months if… Read more »

John R Balch Jr
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John R Balch Jr

The only thing NATO and the United States is pushing for is these smaller countries that are members of NATO to do is do all the Fighting, Bleeding and Dying for the United States World Dominance. Let the other
countries do all the “Fighting, Bleeding and Dying.” That is why they are pushing the Syrian, Russian and Iran Agenda so hard. It has nothing to do with it’s people but control of the countries “Money, Resources and Land.” Money, Power, Land and Greed! The Jewish Creed.

HappyCynic
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HappyCynic

It seems that Trump has been laying the groundwork for withdrawing from NATO. He continually complains that the US pays 90% of NATO, and the EU pays little (and doesn’t even pretend to try to spend 2% of GDP on defense). He certainly realizes that NATO is simply a jobs program for the defense industry, and that the Skripal case is a transparent effort to keep Trump from withdrawing from NATO by pretending that Russia is threatening Europe. Obviously, NATO hasn’t been necessary for European defense for more than 30 (or 40) years. I would be happy (and not surprised)… Read more »

Raycomeau
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Raycomeau

NATO has outlived its shelf life and has turned into a flesh eating virus which carries infectious USA Regime Change viruses! NATO needs to be dismantled and put ( not out to pasture) but in a barn cellar with the manure which it is!

Wayne Blow
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Wayne Blow

Just shows how effing “DUMB” this egg-head Stolten-dunce is, NATO the ruination of Europe, for a f-cking pay check !!!!!!!!!

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European Council crushes Theresa May’s soft Brexit dream (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 116.

Alex Christoforou

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UK Prime Minister Theresa May hoped that the European Council was ready to see things her way, in terms of proceeding with a soft Brexit, which was essentially no Brexit at all…at least not the hard Brexit that was voted on in a democratic referendum approximately two years ago.

Much to May’s surprise, European Council President Donald Tusk delivered a death blow verdict for May’s Brexit, noting that EU leaders are in full agreement that Chequers plan for Brexit “will not work” because “it risks undermining the single market.”

Without a miracle compromise springing up come during the October summit, the UK will drift into the March 29, 2019 deadline without a deal and out of the European Union…which was initially what was voted for way back in 2016, leaving everyone asking, what the hell was May doing wasting Britain’s time and resources for two years, so as to return back to the hard Brexit terms she was charged with carrying forward after the 2016 referendum?

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss what was a disastrous EU summit in Salzburg for UK PM Theresa May, in what looks to be the final nail in May’s tenure as UK Prime Minister, as a hard Brexit now seems all but certain.

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Via Zerohedge

Tusk was speaking at the end of an EU summit in Salzburg, where the leaders of the 27 remaining states in the bloc were discussing Brexit. He said that while there were “positive elements” in May’s Chequers plan, a deal that puts the single market at risk cannot be accepted.

“Everybody shared the view that while there are positive elements in the Chequers proposal, the suggested framework for economic co-operation will not work, not least because it is undermining the single market,” Tusk said. He also said that he could not “exclude” the possibility that the UK could exit the EU in March with no deal.

May has been urging her European counterparts to accept her controversial Chequers plan which has split both the Conservative party and the broader UK population after it was thrashed out back in July. However, despite the painfully-slow negotiation process, which appears to have made little headway with just a few months left, the UK is set to leave the EU on March 29 2019 – with or without an exit deal.

The main sticking point that has emerged, and left May and the EU at loggerheads, has been how to avoid new checks on the Irish border. May has claimed that her proposals were the “only serious, credible” way to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. She said during a press conference after the Salzburg meeting that she would not accept the EU’s “backstop” plan to avoid a Northern Ireland hard border. She said the UK would shortly be bringing forward its own proposals.

May also said that there was “a lot of hard work to be done,” adding that the UK was also preparing for the eventuality of having to leave the EU without a deal. Tusk, meanwhile, said that the upcoming October summit would be the “moment of truth” for reaching a deal, and that “if the conditions are there” another summit would be held in November to “formalize” it.

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Russia makes HUGE strides in drone technology

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The US and Israel are universally recognized leaders in the development and use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones. Thousands of American and Israeli UAVs are operating across the world daily.

The US military has recently successfully tested an air-to-air missile to turn its MQ-9 Reaper drone into an effective long-endurance, high-altitude surveillance unmanned spy aircraft capable of air-to-surface as well as air-to-air missions. This is a major breakthrough. It’s not a secret that Russia has been lagging behind in UAV development. Now its seems to be going to change with tangible progress made to narrow the gap.

Very few nations boast drones capable of high-altitude long endurance (HALE) missions. Russia is to enter the club of the chosen. In late 2017, the Russian Defense Ministry awarded a HALE UAV contract to the Kazan-based Simonov design bureau.

This month, Russian Zvezda military news TV channel showed a video (below) of Altair (Altius) heavy drone prototype aircraft number “03”, going through its first flight test.

Propelled by two RED A03/V12 500hp high fuel efficiency diesel engines, each producing a capacity of 500 hp on takeoff, the 5-ton heavy vehicle with a wingspan of 28.5 meters boasts a maximum altitude of 12km and a range of 10,000km at a cruising speed of 150-250km/h.

Wingspan: about 30 meters. Maximum speed: up to 950 km/h. Flight endurance: 48 hours. Payload: two tons, which allows the creation of a strike version. The vehicle is able to autonomously take off and land or be guided by an operator from the ground.

The UAV can carry the usual range of optical and thermal sensors as well as synthetic-aperture ground-surveillance radar with the resolution of .1 meter at the range of 35km and 1 meter at the range of 125km. The communications equipment allows real-time data exchange.

Russia’s UAV program currently underway includes the development of a range of large, small, and mid-sized drones. The Orion-E medium altitude long endurance (MALE) UAV was unveiled at the MAKS 2017 air show. Its developer, Kronstadt Technologies, claims it could be modified for strike missions. The one-ton drone is going through testing now. The Orion-E is capable of automatic takeoff and landing.

It can fly continuously for 24 hours, carrying a surveillance payload of up to 200 kg to include a forward looking infra-red (FLIR) turret, synthetic aperture radar and high resolution cameras. The drone can reach a maximum altitude of 7,500 m. Its range is 250 km.

The Sukhoi design bureau is currently developing the Okhotnik (Hunter) strike drone with a range of about 3,500km. The drone made its maiden flight this year. In its current capacity, it has an anti-radar coating, and will store missiles and precision-guided bombs internally to avoid radar detection.

The Kazan-based Eniks Design Bureau is working on the small T-16 weaponized aerial vehicle able to carry 6 kg of payload.

The new Russian Korsar (Corsair) tactical surveillance unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) will be upgraded to receive an electronic warfare system. Its operational range will be increased from 150km to 250km. The drone was revealed at Victory Day military parade along with the Korsar unmanned combat helicopter version.

The rotary wing drone lacks the speed and altitude of the fixed wing variant, but has a great advantage of being able to operate without landing strips and can be sea-based. Both drones can carry guided and unguided munitions. The fixed-wing version can be armed with Ataka 9M120 missiles.

The first Russian helicopter-type unmanned aerial vehicle powered by hydrogen fuel cells was presented at the Army-2018 international forum. With the horizontal cruising speed of the drone up to 60 kph, the unmanned chopper can stay in the air at least 2.5 hours to conduct reconnaissance operations. Its payload is up to 5 kg.

Last November, the Kalashnikov Concern reported that it would start production of heavy unmanned aerial vehicles capable of carrying up to several tons of cargo and operating for several days at a time without needing to recharge.

All in all, the Russian military operate 1,900 drones on a daily basis. The multi-purpose Orlan-10 with a range of 600km has become a working horse that no military operation, including combat actions in Syria, can be conducted without. Maj. Gen. Alexander Novikov,
the head of the Russian General Staff’s Office for UAV Development, Russian drones performed over 23,000 flights, lasting 140,000 hours in total.

Russia’s State Armament Program for 2018-2027 puts the creation of armed UAVs at the top of priorities’ list. Looks like the effort begins to pay off. Russia is well on the way to become second to none in UAV capability.

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Via Strategic Culture

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Roman Catholic priest removed from parish for burning LGBT flag

Priest’s removal ordered by his bishop, alleging the priest was mentally ill.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Fox News reported that a Roman Catholic priest was removed from his post in a Chicago neighborhood by his cardinal (bishop) and sent away for “pastoral support” for burning an LGBT “rainbow flag”, after reciting a prayer of exorcism.

The original newspiece, by Mitchell Armentrout of The Chicago Sun-Timeshas this to say:

The priest who ignited controversy last week by burning an LGBTQ-friendly flag on church grounds against the orders of Cardinal Blase Cupich has been removed from his Avondale parish.

Cupich sent two of his top deputies to Resurrection Catholic Church on Friday to notify the Rev. Paul Kalchik that he was being removed as pastor, according to two sources close to the priest.

In a letter to parishioners and staff released Saturday evening by the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cupich wrote that he has “become increasingly concerned about a number of issues at Resurrection Parish.

“It has become clear to me that Fr. Kalchik must take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support so his needs can be assessed,” Cupich wrote.

Kalchik could not immediately be reached for comment.

According to the sources, Kalchik and his elderly parents have received death threats since he defied Cupich on Sept. 14 by burning the banner, which featured a cross superimposed over a rainbow. There also have been threats of vandalism to the church, the sources said.

Kalchik told the Sun-Times during an interview in his office on Tuesday that at least one person had forced their way into the church at 3043 N. Francisco Ave. last weekend, leaving a door open but not causing any damage.

The 56-year-old priest first announced in a Sept. 2 church bulletin that he planned to burn the flag, after he found it in storage where it apparently sat for more than a decade.

Cupich, who has shared Pope Francis’ more welcoming attitude toward gays in the church, told Kalchik not to burn the flag, but the priest said he did it anyway “in a quiet way” during a closed ceremony with seven parishioners, featuring a prayer of exorcism over the torched banner.

The flag-burning drew the ire of LGBTQ-equality activists, including Ald. Deb Mell (33rd), who led a small demonstration across the street from the church on Wednesday, calling on Pope Francis and Cupich “to send this hateful bigot packing.”

Kalchik — who has said he was sexually abused by a neighbor as a child, and again by a priest when he began working for the church at 19 — previously said the sex-abuse crisis plaguing the church is “definitely a gay thing.”

“What have we done wrong other than destroy a piece of propaganda that was used to put out a message other than what the church is about?” Kalchik said Tuesday.

Cupich wrote that he removed Kalchik “out of concern for Fr. Kalchik’s welfare and that of the people of Resurrection Parish.

“I have a responsibility to be supportive of our priests when they have difficulties, but I also have a duty to ensure that those who serve our faithful are fully able to minister to them in the way the Church expects,” Cupich wrote.

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This brings up some interesting questions:

  • While no one is supposed to hate sinners, Christianity strongly calls its supporters to hate sin. This priest’s flag-burning is very-clearly an example of taking this teaching to heart.
  • What kind of message is the Cardinal sending people about the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church?
  • Father Paul Kalchik was abused twice, and once by a priest, and his acknowledgment of the sex-abuse cases as a “gay thing” is well known in church circles. The Roman Catholic prohibition on married priests, which itself is not in line with Apostolic teachings, has contributed to the growing network of “gay” seminaries within that Church. Why does Rome go on hiding this?
  • All this comes down to the biggest question: Who is Rome serving? Homosexuality and its cousins are serious sins and they cause enormous and frightful trauma to those so impacted. If the Roman Church cannot call the truth out for what it is, then, what are they doing?

Further information about this situation, described on the Fox News website notes that Cardinal Blase Cupich had cautioned Kalchik not to burn the flag, but he reportedly went ahead with it and recited a prayer of exorcism before doing so.

The Archdiocese released a letter saying that “Father Kalchik needs to take time away from the parish to receive pastoral support,” amid a swirl of allegations that Cupich had threatened – through his vicars – for Kalchik to be forcibly committed to St. Luke’s Institute for further evaluation and treatment.

Kalchik had first announced that this flag, which was found in storage, would be burned in a church bulletin in early September. He was immediately warned by the Archdiocese of Chicago not to move forward with such an act. However, Kalchik did go ahead – later telling a local NBC reporter that the did so “in a quiet way” and that the flag, which also had a cross adorned over it, “was cut into seven pieces, so it was burned over stages in the same fire pit that we used for the Easter vigil Mass.”

The rainbow flag, set alight by parishioners earlier this month, once hung in the back of the sanctuary. Kalchik had reportedly spoken out in recent months, and even written to Pope Francis, about his own trauma as a victim of a predatory Roman Catholic priest.

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