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Trump’s Twitter attack against Pakistan has escalated into severing $1.3 billion in aid — and it could backfire

The Americans did not take strong action against Pakistan when it mattered. Today, Islamabad has alternative allies to fall back on after Trump’s rant.

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US President Donald Trump’s lashing out at Pakistan on Twitter on January 1 and the consequent deterioration of relation between the two old allies has been the high point of international politics in the year which has just begun.

Trump’s accusing Pakistan of “lies” and “deceit” and the charges that it has given the US nothing in lieu of the massive help it has received is not something that contradicts the reality but the problem is that it is far too late for the American leadership to catch hold of Pakistan now.

The way Islamabad has hit back at the Americans, despite the fact that its own leadership is in a state of fragility, reveals how much hollow Trump’s roar has sounded. Trump can rip Pakistan another hundred times during his tenure but it won’t mark any difference in the latter’s stand for sure. Because not only times have changed, they have gone against the United States.

If the US indeed feels that Pakistan has only deceived it over the years, it should have taken action against Islamabad at least a decade and half ago, just in the wake of the 9/11. But its own policy failure in Afghanistan had kept it engaged with Pakistan despite the latter’s double games.

Just as Washington had taken Islamabad’s help to keep the erstwhile Soviets at bay in Afghanistan in the late 1970s and 1980s, it tried something similar to fight the extremist elements in Afghanistan post 9/11. But the US overlooked the fact that Pakistan had a far bigger stake in Afghanistan this time and it only grew more complex as India’s role in Afghanistan grew.

For the Pakistani state, backing the extremists’ agenda in Afghanistan has always been key to counter India’s influence there and ensure its own survival. This put it at odds with the US but the double-ploy scheme continued somehow over the last decade and half.

Trump’s outburst against Pakistan is the culmination of the frustration that was gathering in the US ranks over the past few presidencies over Islamabad’s dubious stance on Afghanistan and terror. But the reaction came far too late and would fetch the US little results because of two main reasons. Pakistan has powers to fall back on today.

First, international politics at the moment is not as unipolar as it was in the wake of
9/11. While the Americans have started to stagnate in foreign policy post the Iraq war of 2003 and under the current Trump presidency, other powers like China and Russia have come up fast to fill in the vacuum.

This has given countries like Pakistan a major opportunity to find alternative allies in case its old ally dumps it. In fact, Washington’s brazen foreign policy under Trump has made it easier for Pakistan to find solidarity from many other countries. The American president’s unconventional handling of diplomacy is not going to make his targets crawl. Pakistan also plays the victim card today with success.

The second reason why Pakistan is not going to take Trump seriously is its own vulnerability to terror. The country was once considered a major supporter of terror – something that made its neighbours like India, Afghanistan and Iran raise their voices against it. India particularly has always been expressing concern against Pakistan on international stages, accusing it of sponsoring terror in its territory.

However, Pakistan of late has found a new stance to defend itself against such accusations, thanks to some devastating terror attacks on soft targets like educational institutes and churches on its own soil.

These terror attacks have been results of nothing else but Islamabad’s own policy failure but Pakistan’s leaders have encashed these instances of violence to buy sympathy internationally. Now, whenever countries like the US and India try to accuse Pakistan of sponsoring terror elsewhere, Islamabad counters the viewpoint saying it itself has been the biggest victim of terror.

Its all-weather friend China also chips in, asking the world to take note of Pakistan’s “sacrifices”. This convenient change of stance by Pakistan is also another reason why Trump’s anger will succeed little in penetrating Islamabad’s defence. Nothing sells more than spilling of human
blood and the emotions attached to it and the wily leaders know how to make use of them as a national defence.

Trump’s outburst was more of a protest against past US leaderships and that weakens US’ stance
Trump’s outburst on Twitter also establishes another fact. His angry reaction was more of a protest against his own country’s policy vis-à-vis Pakistan over the years. The current American president has done all he can to show that he is not a continuity of the past and cares little for political correctness when it comes it his love for his motherland.

He thus rubbishes the US’s policies on Afghanistan and Pakistan within a span of five months (he had articulated his policy on Afghanistan on August 21 last year when also he had blasted Pakistan and sought more role for India in the war-ravaged nation) more as a denunciation of his predecessors’ stands but Trump doesn’t understand the fact that diplomacy is not something that
can be revolutionised overnight.

The Americans have pampered Pakistan for their own interests over the last seven decades and then one fine morning, their president realises that nothing has been done on the ground and declares a U-turn. It only weakens America in Afghanistan because it can’t really succeed there without a serious cooperation from Islamabad.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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