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On Korea Trump is becoming trapped by his own rhetoric

Donald Trump’s rhetoric and actions have created a crisis in which his adversary Kim Jong-un holds the initiative on further escalation.

Alexander Mercouris

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President Trump’s recent tweet claiming that the US has “no choice” but to accelerate its military build-up, has an unusually defensive and self-justifying tone, suggesting a certain level of awareness of the extent to which the situation in Korea is starting to spin out of his control, and may be sign of the pressure he is coming under.

Rumours of a possible nuclear test by North Korea have shifted from the Easter weekend to 25th April 2017, which is the anniversary of the founding of North Korea’s army.  In truth it could happen at any time, with the North Koreans now in a position to play cat-and-mouse with the US for as long as they like, ratcheting up the tensions by threatening a nuclear test whenever they please.

The US has dampened speculation of a pre-emptive strike to prevent the test.  That speculation was triggered by a report by NBC which gives every impression of having been intentionally planted by the Trump administration in anticipation of precisely such a strike.  Talk of a pre-emptive strike however seems to have upset China and – even more importantly – the US’s own allies, Japan and South Korea, causing the US to backtrack so that the contents of the NBC report are now being denied.

The Trump administration is however still suggesting that it will launch a military strike on North Korea if it carries out another nuclear test.  Moreover with the UN navy now in the East China Sea and steaming towards North Korea, and with talk of US nuclear submarines equipped with cruise missiles also in the area, the world cannot do other than take these warnings seriously.

The result is that if North Korea now carries out a test – whether on 25th April 2017 or at some later date – and the US fails to react, Donald Trump risks being humiliated, whereas if the US does react by launching a military attack on North Korea for the first time since the Korean war, it risks becoming trapped in a cycle of military situation over which it has no control with a nuclear power over which it knows almost nothing about.

At this point I should say that I strongly doubt speculation that North Korea would not respond militarily to a US strike on itself.  North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un seems to be still in the process of consolidating his authority, and both he and the whole North Korean leadership have made a fetish of their tough military posture.  I cannot imagine that the loss of face involved in not responding to a US military strike is politically acceptable to them, and if the US attacked them it seems to me that they would be bound to respond militarily in some way.

It would be however be up to the North Koreans to decide how far that retaliation would go, and possibly they would initially try to keep their retaliation within certain limits if only to keep their own options for future escalation open.

However with Trump’s prestige now also increasingly bound up with his taking a tough line against North Korea, even if North Korea responded initially in only a limited way, the pressure would then be on him to respond forcefully, especially if South Korean civilians or US military personnel were killed.  Again Trump would risk humiliation if he did not.

It is very easy to see how this situation could spiral out of control, with the initiative at all times held by Kim Jong-un, who is in a position to initiate action as and when he pleases.

No leader should ever manoeuvre himself into a situation where the initiative is held by his adversary and where he is at risk either of being either humiliated or of having to escalate in a situation which is not fully under his control.   That however is precisely the situation this amateur and inexperienced US President has got himself into.

To compound the problem, in Kim Jong-un and the North Korean regime the President is dealing with an adversary about whom he and the US knows virtually nothing about, and whose moves and counter-moves cannot be predicted with any confidence.

Already criticism is appearing within the US of the President’s actions, including this article in The New York Times, which looks to have been inspired by concerns from some officials within the US government, and which makes these telling points

As a candidate, Donald Trump seemed to pay no more attention to North Korea’s accelerating nuclear weapons program, which his predecessor has warned is America’s most urgent threat, than he did to other complex foreign policy issues. Now he is paying attention, but not in a helpful way. His intemperate talk is adding to regional tensions, unnerving allies and likely reinforcing North Korea’s longstanding fear that it could one day be attacked by America — the very reason North Korea invested in a nuclear arsenal in the first place.

It would be risky for Mr. Trump to let overconfidence and bombast, expressed in tweets and public statements, box him into some kind of showdown with the North’s ruthless leader, Kim Jong-un, who has displayed similarly macho traits. South Korea, Japan and even Russia have urged both sides to avoid a devastating miscalculation…..

What’s missing in the White House is a coherent strategy, something beyond statements and asking China for help. Mr. Trump needs to be firm, not reckless in his talk, ratchet up sanctions and find a way to engage the North in negotiations.

Almost certainly Chinese diplomats are working over-time behind the scenes to get Trump to draw back and to persuade Kim Jong-un to postpone whatever nuclear test he may have planned in order to give Trump room to retreat.  Trump’s tweet about the US “having no choice” may be an indicator of the pressure he is now under from the Chinese and others.

Possibly if no North Korean nuclear test takes place on 25th April 2017 Trump will feel he can pull the Carl Vinson back without losing face.  However in that case the test will almost certainly only be postponed until some later date this year.

In the meantime it is likely Kim Jong-un will have extracted concessions from Beijing in return for his agreement to postpone the test.  If so then instead of China increasing its pressure on North Korea – as President Trump says he wants it to – it may actually reduce it.

The alternative is however for an uncontrolled escalation between the US and a nuclear armed power the US knows almost nothing about.  The extent of US ignorance of North Korea is shown by US uncertainty even about the size of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, with some US reports guesstimating the number of nuclear bombs in North Korea’s possession at six, whilst others claiming it may already be as high as 30, and with no-one knowing for sure whether North Korea has managed to develop means to deliver these bombs or not.

That is a terrible situation for the US and for Donald Trump to be in, and it is to be earnestly hoped that they now find the wisdom and the courage to draw back before it is too late, and to learn something from this experience.

 

 

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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous.

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Authored by Finian Cunningham via Strategic Culture:


World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets. The French anthem – The Marseillaise – was played twice, once by an army brass band, the second time sung by an army choir. There was also a military plane flyover displaying the blue, red and white tricolor of the French national flag.

In his speech, Macron talked about soldiers coming from all over the world to “die for France” during the 1914-18 Great War. He even said at one point that the war was fought for “the vision of France” and its “universal values”.

This was fluent drivel, French-style. No wonder Russia’s Putin momentarily gave a look of boredom as Macron waxed lyrical.

The speechifying and commemoration was completely detached from current realities of conflict and international tensions.

Among the “brotherhood” whom Macron was appealing to were Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whose military forces continue to bomb and slaughter Palestinian civilians in illegally occupied territory. Also present was Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko whose armed militias continue to terrorize the people of eastern Ukraine with the blatant objective of instigating a war between the US-led NATO alliance and Russia.

Listening to Macron one would think that World War I erupted mysteriously from no specific cause and that an estimated 10 million soldiers were all killed in heroic battles for noble principles.

There was, of course, no mention by Macron of imperialist warmongering and the barbaric sacrifice of humans as slaves in the service of national capitalist power interests.

Grotesquely, as the world leaders donned solemn faces and mouthed pious platitudes for peace, the whole occasion was a triumph in burying reality and the ongoing causes of wars, as well as whitewashing the very culprits responsible for wars. Among the war criminals wearing a mournful black suit was former French President Nicolas Sarkozy who launched the NATO blitzkrieg on Libya in 2011.

While the empty, self-indulgent rhetoric was ringing out, one couldn’t help but recall some of the most glaring contemporary contradictions that were blocked out with awesome Orwellian efficiency.

Just this week, reports emerged of the horrific civilian death toll from the American air force bombing the Syrian city of Raqqa. The city was razed to the ground by US air strikes last year – supposedly to defeat the ISIS terror group. Some 8,000 bodies of civilians, mainly women and children, have now been recovered by Syrian government forces. And that’s only from clearing away a tiny area of rubble for the whole city.

What the Americans did in Raqqa was a monumental war crime, all the more criminal because US forces, along with their NATO partners Britain and France, are illegally present in and assaulting sovereign Syrian territory.

As Macron was telling world leaders about “the vision of France”, hundreds were being killed in Yemen in a battle to strangle the entire population by taking the port city of Hodeida. The genocidal war on that country – which is putting up to 16 million people at risk from starvation – has been fully backed by France, the US and Britain, from their supply of warplanes and bombs to the Saudi and Emirati aggressive forces.

We could mention other specific conflicts where the culprits are clearly identified. For example, the multi-million-dollar support from Washington for the Azov Battalion and other Neo-Nazi militias in Ukraine, which openly emulate the genocidal conduct of Hitler’s Third Reich to exterminate ethnic Russians.

We could mention how US-led NATO forces continue to expand towards Russian territory with outrageous provocation. The mounting earlier this month of the biggest-ever NATO war drills since the Cold War in the Arctic region adjacent to Russia’s northern border was a brazen threat of rehearsing invasion. The announced tearing up of yet another nuclear arms control treaty unilaterally by Washington is a reckless undermining of global security.

Washington threatens China with naval forces marauding near Beijing’s maritime territory in the South China Sea. Washington blockades Iran with illegal economic warfare and openly agitates for regime change. Washington declares Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba a “troika of tyranny” and reserves the right to threaten each of these countries with military invasion at any time.

Meanwhile, this weekend, Russia hosted peace talks in Moscow between the warring parties of Afghanistan. It was seen as a major breakthrough in trying to bring peace to the Central Asia country which has been wracked by 17 years of violence since US forces began their ongoing military occupation – allegedly to defeat terrorism.

Elsewhere, Russia has engaged with Turkey, Germany and France to convene a summit for peaceful reconstruction of Syria. The latest summit held in Ankara at the end of last month follows several other such meetings in Astana and Sochi, largely at the behest of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, to find a political settlement to the nearly eight-year war in Syria – a war that was fomented covertly by Washington and its allies for regime change.

France’s Macron talks about “multilateralism” for world peace, yet the two countries which have arguably supported and implemented multilateralism in practice are Russia and China in their calls and policies for global partnership and economic development.

And yet it is Russia and China that are being harassed with American and European sanctions, and US military provocations.

The unilateral, lawless imperialism that engendered World War I and 20 years later World War II is still alive and dangerously vigorous. We only have to look around the present world to realize that. But when the culprits indulge in a triumph of bullshit then we also know that the world is once again in very grave danger.

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Creepy Porn Lawyers’ disgusting assault on Tucker Carlson and his 19 year old daughter (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 14.

Alex Christoforou

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Days after ANTIFA targeted Fox News’ Tucker Carlson’s home, trying to intimidate and scare the TV host into curbing his free speech against totalitarian mob rule propagated by ANTIFA and their paymasters, it appears that the SJW establishment swamp is going after Tucker with everything they got…sending in the expendable, and always eager to get publicity, Creepy Porn Lawyer, Michael Avenatti, to try and ensnare Carlson in some sort of racist assault scandal.

The entire event appears to be a staged, purposefully hitting upon all the right identity politics buttons…so as to maximize full SJW pressure on Tucker and Fox News.

The Gateway Pundit reports that Tucker Carlson has denied Michael Avenatti’s charges of assault, and explains that his actions were prompted by an unhinged gay man calling his daughter a wh*re and a c**t…

Creepy porn star Michael Avenatti made headlines again this weekend with trumped up charges of assault against FOX News host Tucker Carlson.

On Saturday Avenatti released video of Tucker Carlson in an argument with a crowd of people at a country club in Virginia.

Avenatti claims Tucker assaulted a gay Latino immigrant for no reason.

Avenatti posted this video made the allegations on Saturday.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the SJW swamps’ latest attempt to smear Tucker Carlson, by going after his 19-year old daughter, in a disgusting display of misogyny and hate towards the very women that establishment liberal claims to defend.

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Here’s Carlson’s full statement about the incident:

“On October 13, I had dinner with two of my children and some family friends at the Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Virginia. Toward the end of the meal, my 19-year-old daughter went to the bathroom with a friend. On their way back through the bar, a middle aged man stopped my daughter and asked if she was sitting with Tucker Carlson. My daughter had never seen the man before. She answered: ‘That’s my dad,’ and pointed to me. The man responded, ‘Are you Tucker’s whore?’ He then called her a ‘f—— c—.’

“My daughter returned to the table in tears. She soon left the table and the club. My son, who is also a student, went into the bar to confront the man. I followed. My son asked the man if he’d called his sister a ‘whore’ and a ‘cunt.’ The man admitted he had, and again become profane. My son threw a glass of red wine in the man’s face and told him to leave the bar, which he soon did.

“Immediately after the incident, I described these events to the management of the Farmington Country Club. The club spent more than three weeks investigating the incident. Last week, they revoked the man’s membership and threw him out of the club.

“I love my children. It took enormous self-control not to beat the man with a chair, which is what I wanted to do. I think any father can understand the overwhelming rage and shock that I felt seeing my teenage daughter attacked by a stranger. But I restrained myself. I did not assault this man, and neither did my son. That is a lie. Nor did I know the man was gay or Latino, not that it would have mattered. What happened on October 13 has nothing to do with identity politics. It was a grotesque violation of decency. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

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Former Hillary Clinton Advisor: She’s Running Again in 2020

Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

The Duran

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Via The Gateway Pundit…


Hillary Clinton’s former adviser Mark Penn is warning the public that we should brace ourselves for another run from the power hungry sore loser in 2020.

Penn co-wrote in a Sunday op-ed for the Wall Street Journal that she “won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

“True to her name, Mrs. Clinton will fight this out until the last dog dies,” the op-ed that Penn authored with Andrew Stein claims. “She won’t let a little thing like two stunning defeats stand in the way of her claim to the White House.”

Like a cockroach that just won’t die, or the final boss in a video game that keeps obnoxiously coming back after each defeat — Clinton just won’t go away.

Penn said that by “reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, Mrs. Clinton will easily capture the 2020 nomination.”

“You can expect her to run for president once again,” he said. “Maybe not at first, when the legions of Senate Democrats make their announcements, but definitely by the time the primaries are in full swing.”

Last month, Clinton admitted that while she doesn’t want to run again — she would “like to be president.”

Even some of her closest allies want her to give it a rest though.

“She’s more likely to win Powerball,” Philippe Reines, Clinton’s longtime adviser, told The Hill.

While nobody really wants to hear that woman’s voice ever again — at least the right can recycle all their best memes from 2016.

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