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9 reasons Trump’s dream of Russian reconciliation is now impossible

What was once mission difficult is now mission impossible–at least for the foreseeable future.

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Donald Trump has yet again stated that he seeks to have good or even “great” relations with Russia. Speaking beside Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Trump stated,

“I hope that we do have good relations with Russia. I say it loud and clear, I’ve been saying it for years: I think it’s a good thing if we have great relationships, or at least good relationships with Russia.

It’s a big country, it’s a nuclear country, it’s a country that we should get along with, and I think we will eventually get along with Russia”.

In spite of Trump’s stated wishes, the policies of his administration, irrespective of who is actually authoring them, are in total opposition to Russia’s stated geo-political goals and Russia’s geo-strategic interests.

The Trump administration’s approach to Venezuela, Afghanistan (and South Asia as a whole) and North Korea (and East Asia as a whole) and beyond is totally antithetical to the interests and stated desires of Russia and Russia’s closest partners.

READ MORE: Venezuela, Afghanistan and North Korea: 3 conflicts which represent the US vs. China and Russia

Here are the key places where US policy under Trump and Russia’s geo-political positions are in total opposition

1. Venezuela 

In Venezuela Trump has threatened war and implemented sanctions against the government of Nicolas Maduro. Russia by contrast vehemently opposes sanctions and war.

2. Afghanistan 

Trump’s flagship policy of a troop surge in Afghanistan is opposed by Russia as is his policy to effectively bomb the Taliban to the peace table.

Russia favours a process which would see moderate rebel elements of the Taliban invited to a peace table in conjunction with a cease-fire in order to develop a lasting peace based on reconciliation between the Taliban and the government in Kabul, something which in reality means a reconciliation between Pashtun Afghans and the ethnic minorities who are in the current government.

Russia also takes exception to Trump’s threats and criticisms against Pakistan, a country which is rapidly becoming an important Russian partner in South Asia.

3. North Korea 

Just this morning, Donald Trump once again threatened war on North Korea. By contrast, Russia has said multiple times that war can never be considered an option on the Korean peninsula and has called for the US to cease its delivery of THADD missile systems to South Korea and has also called for a cessation of US-South Korea military drills. In each of these cases, the US has totally ignored Russia and China’s requests, in spite of the fact that both states border the Korean peninsula.

Russia like China also calls for direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang, something the Trump administration is apparently not considering seriously at this time.

4. South China Sea 

While Russia is not directly involved with the South China Sea dispute, America’s provocative stance on the region has infuriated Russia’s most important partner, China. America’s imperial actions in the region, confusingly called ‘freedom of navigation’ by Washington, do not bode well for Moscow which wants to see cooperation rather than confrontation in Asia.

5. Turkey

While Russia is fast becoming an important partner of Ankara, the US seems to be throwing out its nearly century long alliance with Turkey. 

The US has blatantly disregarded Turkish concerns about America’s arming and funding of Kurdish militants in Syria while Russia continues to show courtesy and countenance for Turkey’s position which is shared by Iran.

6. Europe 

Russia has constantly called for NATO to de-escalate its presence in Europe, but under the Trump administration, Obama’s own European ‘troop surge’ has continued with no signs of stopping. Donald Trump’s recent speech in Poland where he quoted deeply Russophobic propaganda does not bode well for reconciliation between America’s EU allies and Russia.

7. Palestine/Israel 

While the US approach to the conflict in the Levant is completely one-sided, Russia maintains uniquely good relations with both Palestinian leaders and Israeli leaders in Tel Aviv. While Russia’s approach is clearly a conflict aversion tactic, if the US supported Israel in any aggression against Syria, this would clearly end any attempts at fledgling cooperation between the US and Russia in a Syrian conflict which is in any case, drawing to a close. Russia is carefully balancing the interests of its Syrian partner with trying to contain the aggressive military posturing of the Israeli regime with which Russia continues to do business.

Any US support of an Israeli strike against any Middle Eastern country would throw theSyrian de-escalation zone which is jointly policed by America, Russia and Jordan, into disarray. To this end, the south western Syrian de-escalation zone is thus far the only area where the Trump administration has made any progress in respect of improving relations with Russia. Currently, it hangs by a thread for more reasons than one.

8. Iran and the Persian Gulf 

While Donald Trump’s Tweets indicate a policy that is fully pro-Saudi, even as his own state department emphases a US position of neutrality, as Qatar works to re-normalise relations with Iran, the US could find itself increasingly at odds with its technical ally in Doha.

In respect of Iran itself, Donald Trump continues to advocate hostile policies against Tehran which include threats to tear up the so-called Iran Nuclear Deal as well as false accusations of Iran sponsoring terrorism.

Russia by contrast is an economic partner of Iran and is working with Iran to combat Salafist terrorists in Syria. In the Persian Gulf, Russia has won respect from Qatar for adopting a genuine and unambiguous position of neutrality. This has also allowed Russia to maintain healthy relations with Saudi through out the conflict.

9. Libya 

The US and the west more broadly seems to have no coherent strategy to deal with the Libyan failed state, beyond propping up the fledgling Government of National Accord, which is competing with the National Salvation Government as well as assorted militant groups for control of Tripoli.

By contrast, Russia continues to engage with Khalifa Haftar, the leader of Libya’s only successful and well organised military, the Libyan National Army. The LNA is also the only force in Libya that has successfully liberated important cities from terrorist control, namely the eastern city of Benghazi.

Egypt continues to support Haftar and the Libyan House of Representatives from which he derives political legitimacy. As Russia becomes ever closer to the government in Cairo, it would appear that Russia’s plan to help reconcile Haftar’s forces with what’s left of the UN backed government in Tripoli, is the closest thing any non-Arab power has to a plan for Libya.

The US appears to have no plans at all, but one can count on the US opposing Russian involvement in Libya, even though there is now little the US could conceivably do to stop Moscow and Cairo from cooperating in a country the US first destroyed and later abandoned.

CONCLUSION:

As I warned prior to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin’s first meeting,

“With all the fuss over Presidents Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump meeting later this week at the G20 summit, many have conspicuously failed to grasp that the monumental task ahead of both leaders has little to do with their own period in government and even less to do with their personalities. These things of course do matter, but their importance is dwarfed by larger historical and present economic and geo-strategic concerns.

With that in mind, here are the giant obstacles that both Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will be faced with when they meet”.

READ MORE: 5 obstacles Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will have to address in their meeting

In the month and three quarters since the Trump-Putin meeting, this situation has merely intensified. Differences in American and Russian geo-political interests have become ever more pronounced and the Trump administration shows no signs of even attempting to meet Russia half way, let alone approach the situation in a pragmatic manner. The ideological dogmas of the US continue as if Donald Trump is the mere figurehead in foreign affairs that many believe him to literally be.

Donald Trump’s personal respect for Russia seems genuine beyond any lingering doubts. He has no reason to say he wants warm relations with Russia any longer but he still says he does.

The policies of his administration however, belie the supreme difficulty of implementing such policies or even attempting to do so.

Dr. Samuel Johnson said that “the road to hell is good intentions”. Donald Trump’s good intentions in respect of Russia have led not to a new kind of hell but to the status quo becoming more entrenched.

When Donald Trump took office, he bravely embarked on what could rightly be called ‘mission difficult’. Now, the American deep state/military industrial complex has revealed that in reality, it was always going to be mission impossible due to geo-strategic realities, uniquely American arrogance which is embedded into the thinking of even many Washington moderates and finally, because we have learnt beyond a reasonable doubt, that the President of the United States is only as powerful as those around him, allow him to be.

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tgmoney
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tgmoney

It always was impossible, The Rothschilds are not going to allow Trump to come in and show the world there could be complete peace through the world. That would be the end of their Industrial war complex. They will sooner put a bullet in Trumps brain than allow him to achieve world peace.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

lol what about his zionist son in law. and that bitchy blond……… his sugar daughter, that will make Hitler blush…….

tgmoney
Guest
tgmoney

Ok well you should calm down before you hurt yourself. I was going to have a discussion but I think its not what you want. You just want to rant.

Kaput
Member
Kaput

I dnt waste time with fools …………… get my drift……………… anyway civil war is always a possibility, that will keep you busy indeed…………..

Gerry Hiles
Guest
Gerry Hiles

I think that, really, Trump suits deep state purposes, as I have argued at some length in a post on this page. Btw MY post is for discussion and ain’t a rant.

Shahna
Guest

Oh yeah. He toes the Deep State line religiously these days.

Le Ruscino
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Le Ruscino

Trump is just an inconvenient puppet while the Clinton Clan is still running the show!

Daisy Adler
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Daisy Adler

“Trump’s dream of Russian reconciliation”

I am not convinced that he ever had such a dream.

Vtran
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Vtran

Agree

All we have to do is Look at Haily Statement in the UN …Haily Picked by Trmpz, so Haily Spoke Trmpz words !

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nikki-haley-russia-ukraine_us_5893a9cbe4b0c1284f250dbd

Christinamellis
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Christinamellis

Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family!!!
On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
>>>http://GoogleFinancialJobsCash320TopValue/GetPay$97/Hour……..

VeeNarian (Yerevan)
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VeeNarian (Yerevan)

Trump’s dreams no longer matters. What matter’s is the “wet-dreams” of the warmongers and that the free world makes sure they are made to poo in their pants!

christianblood
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christianblood

It is true that Trump wanted a detente between the US and Russia but his administration was intentionally cripled and then taken over by the Russophobic “Deep State” neocons. Trump’s presidency is now over!

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

He’s defying the neocons in Syria. He ended their policy of supporting jihadists and started putting a real effort into destroying ISIS. That has made a real difference on the ground.

Neocons in the deep state are committing felonies by leaking classified information and the Jeff Sessions is going after them. The battle could end up with them in prison and Russiagate exposed as a hoax. That is more likely than Trump being removed from office.

Hamletquest
Guest
Hamletquest

Trump’s rapprochement with Russia was always going to be mission improbable, and a number of observers who thought Trump would win the presidential election realised this. Why? Well because the whole idea that somehow democracy in the US was a model for others to follow has been the best known joke for decades. In fact it has been the most obvious of all shams in reality. With Trump the deep state has had to show itself, but as yet not the deep corporate hidden interests which the state serves, but this may soon happen as the errant Trump is of… Read more »

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“the military has had to move in and take over”
It is astounding how the MAJORITY of Trumps Cabinet are past military men! At least 8!
http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/47677.htm

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

The military seem more aligned with Trump than the neocons on the issue of going to war with Russia. They know what nuclear war would be like. The neocons infest the think tanks, state department and intelligence agencies rather than the pentagon.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“They know what nuclear war would be like.”

And yet they seem willing to go up against NK, also nuclear armed and with both China and Russia as allies against US war on the Korean peninsula which risks nuclear war! What the US regime is doing in NK is aimed mostly at China and Russia, in their continuing attempts to militarily surround both!

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

The lunatic running North Korea is like Caligula with nuclear weapons. Claims that he is a rational actor are not consistent with him feeding people to dogs, blowing them to bits with anti-aircraft guns or murdering them with VX. He is threatening to attack the US with nuclear weapons and is close to being able to carry out the threat. The US will not allow him to get that capability. The US can deal with North Korea without nuclear weapons. If China attacked US forces they would not be able to sell their products to anyone and they would not… Read more »

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“He is threatening to attack the US with nuclear weapons and is close to being able to carry out the threat.”

He is threatening to RETALIATE, NOT a first strike!

“The US can deal with North Korea without nuclear weapons.”

The US now HAS to deal with the FACT that NK HAS nuclear weapons!

Both China AND Russia has warned that if the US makes a first move to attack NK, they will BOTH step in to protect NK sovereignty.
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Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

Russia and China will act in their national interests. It is not in their interest to start WW III to avenge a madman who defied multiple UN Security Council resolutions, used a chemical weapon on the territory of one neighbor and threatened to use nuclear weapons against the US. The way the US dealt with the Soviet missiles in 1962 is probably the best guide for how they will deal with North Korean missiles now. They will try to address China’s concerns but they will make it clear to China that they will not allow China’s pet madman to threaten… Read more »

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

“One of the dangers with hereditary monarchies is that truly insane leaders can and have come to power. That may well be what has happened here. ”

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-07/why-war-party-loves-call-foreign-leaders-insane

“If Kim Jong Un was a rational actor he would be doing his best to prove it ”

Any TRUE leader of ANY country MUST protect its citizens and national borders. (BTW KIM Jong Un is the fully recognized leader of NK at the UN).

North Korea has been constantly threatened by the US almost annually for over 50 years….It WOULD be IRRATIONAL if he didnt do what is needed to protect his country.

Gonzogal
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Gonzogal

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Franz Kafka
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Franz Kafka

Impossible for the ‘agreement-incapable’ Untied Snakes and no longer needed by Russia.
Quarantine for the Anglo-Zionist Empire by the well part of the planet is what is needed next.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal
Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

Adam, this is an excellent analysis and probably true, sadly…

But the response of people in Europe like us should be to double down on cooperation with Russia and China and other Eurasian countries to make the Eurasian dream come true…

The world would be a far better place if dominated by cooperative Eurasian powers…

Think of all the culture and civilisation that we have compared with the barbarian and toxic Americans…

We have no need at all of the Americas and, as we all know, the real threat to world peace is the USA…..

Franz Kafka
Guest
Franz Kafka

The ‘Deep State’ of Europe, the inherently corporate Nazi part which collaborated with and welcomed the German Fascist New World Order (there was almost no resistance to Nazism, except in France) now meet under the aegis of a palindrome – ‘NATOOTAN’ which, like the EU, is HQed in Brussels, but controlled from Washington/London and Tal Habib.

Voltaire
Guest
Voltaire

There are increasing signs even in Germany of refgusal to accept Washington’s dictat…like recent German FM attacking lastest US sanctions on Russia…

I agree that there are pockets of resistance to rational policy in Europe, but they are increasingly centred in UK (leaving “Europe”, thank God), and Poland and the Baltics which are being manipulated by the neocons…..

Even in Europe, recent polls show that the US is regarded as the greatest threat to world peace, which it is, of course…

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

“increasing signs even in Germany of refusal to accept Washington’s dictat”

To use Putin’s words “We judge on actions not words”

David Schultz
Guest
David Schultz

Russian politics is much more sophisticated than the squabbling of clueless Americans. A year from now anything is possible.

Gerry Hiles
Guest
Gerry Hiles

Given the truism that nobody could become (or remain) POTUS without the say so of the deep state – which must necessarily involve Rothschild & Co/BIS, etc. – I have to wonder about the erratic Trumpet. I have to wonder about the fact that, during the election campaigns, it came out that the mob figureheaded by Hitlery Clinton actually favoured Trumpet, it’s said because he was a poor candidate who’d enable her to win. But I wonder. . I watched a couple of his rallies and I thought, “Hindenburg.” About all that was lacking were uniforms and organisation. Nevertheless the… Read more »

Gerry Hiles
Guest
Gerry Hiles

I’ll add that another major false flag 911/Pearl Harbour/Reichstag fire could send the Trumpet’s popularity into a 70% range – it did for Dubya – and his Tweet-like empty, but inflammatory rhetoric could falsely unite the masses. Though previous anti-Russian propaganda failed, it could work another time around.

BobValdez
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BobValdez

“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel”. Samuel Johnson, 1775.

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

A good summary and points here Gerry. I had hopes – along with so many – of Trump, but recent events are causing a few re-thinks. It could be that, as you say, he was always the choice of the Deep State; it could be that the confidence that Hitlery would win was merely the misplaced view of the self selected East Coast Bostonian “elites” listening to themselves and forgetting that they aren’t the only people in America, or, finally, it could be that Trump is a bit smarter than anyone thought, and is acting on the principle that if… Read more »

Suzanne Giraud
Guest
Suzanne Giraud

Ditto, Isabella. I also sense he is seriously worrying his fleas whilst proceeding with internal investigations that are unravelling their tentacles, exposing them by their reactive unconstitutional Bills/Laws. I may be wrong, but I always felt that he who is cornered to react loses his position of control. Sure they block him from proceeding with righting so many tentacles of the ‘swamp’, but I foolishly (?) believe that he is readying and facilitating for their pending demise with the end of the Dollar (pain?). Remember even this recent article on Russia Insider? http://russia-insider.com/en/politics/washington-signs-its-own-death-warrant-new-russia-sanctions-will-ensure-end-us-dollar Just as you put it: “and in… Read more »

Isabella Jones
Guest
Isabella Jones

Must admit, I got a sad shock on realising Trump has pretty much handed over all military control to his current war mad generals.
It’s a case of which gets the post first I think. The collapse of America from inside, along with the dollar and it’s international status, or the NeoCon war hungry generals with their overwhelming desire to fight with Russia.
Every day, we never know.

samo war
Guest
samo war

Brittain in 2030 year ?

stevek9
Guest
stevek9

You forgot Congress / Democratic Party / Media / MIC / IC —-> new sanctions, wars, etc.

christianblood
Guest
christianblood

The U$-backed Saudi massacres in Yemen should be the tenth reason why Trump’s dream of Russian reconciliation is now impossible

Shahna
Guest

I don’t think Trump (or the Americans) actually live in a fact-based world.
They’re off …. on their own little pipedream somewhere. They just – follow the smoke or something.

Larchmonter445
Guest
Larchmonter445

The author left out Ukraine/Crimea.
This is a major flashpoint with US trainers and new heavy and very “deadly” weapons right up to the contact zone. And a naval base is being built at the Azov-Black Sea area by US Navy for Ukraine’s “mighty naval fleet”.

All the sanctions pivot on these two issues of Donbass and Crimea. Should be on the list.

seby
Guest
seby

The only dreams bush the III has is that of more money, TV ratings and a bigger penis. Everything else heard out of him, are basically farts through his mouth.

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

The US and the “West” have a LONG history of being against Russia, so it is hard to imagine one man could make a big difference despite the hopes of many around the world that he could!
https://sputniknews.com/politics/201508141025755003-russophobia-roots-cold-war/

Gonzogal
Guest
Gonzogal

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James Johnson
Guest
James Johnson

If you are disappointed in Trump so are many of us who supported him. He has quickly surrounded himself with war lords. Many things he could control. He could have drained the swamp but the swamp drained him .. Our congress is totally gone war lord. A little collusion would help here.

Andrew Orr
Guest
Andrew Orr

Trump will certainly have to pay lip service to the neocons. If he is wise, he will act in the US national interest and cooperate with Russia when it coincides with Russian national interests. The neocons wanted him to pick a fight with Russia in Syria but all he gave them was a fireworks display with with cruise missiles aimed to do minimum damage. He then went ahead and ended the CIA’s support for jihadists and focused on destroying ISIS. The US and Russia are cooperating and ISIS being defeated. Trump will have to fight and win a political fight… Read more »

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US-China trade war heats up as surplus hits record $34 Billion (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 136.

Alex Christoforou

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According to a report by the AFP, China’s trade surplus with the United States ballooned to a record $34.1 billion in September, despite a raft of US tariffs, official data showed Friday, adding fuel to the fire of a worsening trade war.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies have soured sharply this year, with US President Donald Trump vowing on Thursday to inflict economic pain on China if it does not blink.
The two countries imposed new tariffs on a massive amount of each other’s goods mid-September, with the US targeting $200 billion in Chinese imports and Beijing firing back at $60 billion worth of US goods.

“China-US trade friction has caused trouble and pounded our foreign trade development,” customs spokesman Li Kuiwen told reporters Friday.

But China’s trade surplus with the US grew 10 percent in September from a record $31 billion in August, according to China’s customs administration. It was a 22 percent jump from the same month last year.

China’s exports to the US rose to $46.7 billion while imports slumped to $12.6 billion.

China’s overall trade — what it buys and sells with all countries including the US — logged a $31.7 billion surplus, as exports rose faster than imports.

Exports jumped 14.5 percent for September on-year, beating forecasts from analysts polled by Bloomberg News, while imports rose 14.3 percent on-year.

While the data showed China’s trade remained strong for the month, analysts forecast the trade war will start to hurt in coming months.

China’s export jump for the month suggests exporters were shipping goods early to beat the latest tariffs, said ANZ’s China economist Betty Wang, citing the bounce in electrical machinery exports, much of which faced the looming duties.

“We will watch for downside risks to China’s exports” in the fourth quarter, Wang said.

Analysts say a sharp depreciation of the yuan has also helped China weather the tariffs by making its exports cheaper.

“The big picture is the Chinese exports have so far held up well in the face of escalating trade tensions and cooling global growth, most likely thanks to the competitiveness boost provided by a weaker renminbi (yuan),” said Julian Evans-Pritchard, China economist at Capital Economics.

“With global growth likely to cool further in the coming quarters and US tariffs set to become more punishing, the recent resilience of exports is unlikely to be sustained,” he said.

According to Bloomberg US President Donald Trump’s new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement isn’t that different from the North American Free Trade Agreement that it replaced. But hidden in the bowels of the new trade deal is a clause, Article 32.10, that could have a far-reaching impact. The new agreement requires member states to get approval from the other members if they initiate trade negotiations with a so-called non-market economy. In practice, “non-market” almost certainly means China. If, for example, Canada begins trade talks with China, it has to show the full text of the proposed agreement to the U.S. and Mexico — and if either the U.S. or Mexico doesn’t like what it sees, it can unilaterally kick Canada out of the USMCA.

Although it seems unlikely that the clause would be invoked, it will almost certainly exert a chilling effect on Canada and Mexico’s trade relations with China. Forced to choose between a gargantuan economy across the Pacific and another one next door, both of the U.S.’s neighbors are almost certain to pick the latter.

This is just another part of Trump’s general trade waragainst China. It’s a good sign that Trump realizes that unilateral U.S. efforts alone won’t be enough to force China to make concessions on issues like currency valuation, intellectual-property protection and industrial subsidies. China’s export markets are much too diverse:

If Trump cuts the U.S. off from trade with China, the likeliest outcome is that China simply steps up its exports to other markets. That would bind the rest of the world more closely to China and weaken the global influence of the U.S. China’s economy would take a small but temporary hit, while the U.S. would see its position as the economic center of the world slip into memory.

Instead, to take on China, Trump needs a gang. And that gang has to be much bigger than just North America. But most countries in Europe and East Asia probably can’t be bullied into choosing between the U.S. and China. — their ties to the U.S. are not as strong as those of Mexico and Canada. Countries such as South Korea, Germany, India and Japan will need carrots as well as sticks if they’re going to join a U.S.-led united trade front against China.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the escalating trade war between the United States and China, and the record trade surplus that positions China with a bit more leverage than Trump anticipated.

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Via Zerohedge Trump Threatens China With More Tariffs, Does Not Seek Economic “Depression”

US equity futures dipped in the red after President Trump threatened to impose a third round of tariffs on China and warned that Chinese meddling in U.S. politics was a “bigger problem” than Russian involvement in the 2016 election.

During the same interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in which Trump threatened to impose sanctions against Saudi Arabia if the Saudis are found to have killed WaPo reported Khashoggi, and which sent Saudi stock plunging, Trump said he “might,” impose a new round of tariffs on China, adding that while he has “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping, and noting that Xi “wants to negotiate”, he doesn’t “know that that’s necessarily going to continue.” Asked if American products have become more expensive due to tariffs on China, Trump said that “so far, that hasn’t turned out to be the case.”

“They can retaliate, but they can’t, they don’t have enough ammunition to retaliate,” Trump says, “We do $100 billion with them. They do $531 billion with us.”

Trump was also asked if he wants to push China’s economy into a depression to which the US president said “no” before comparing the country’s stock-market losses since the tariffs first launched to those in 1929, the start of the Great Depression in the U.S.

“I want them to negotiate a fair deal with us. I want them to open their markets like our markets are open,” Trump said in the interview that aired Sunday. So far, the U.S. has imposed three rounds of tariffs on Chinese imports totaling $250 billion, prompting China to retaliate against U.S. products. The president previously has threatened to hit virtually all Chinese imports with duties.

Asked about his relationship with Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin’s alleged efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election, Trump quickly turned back to China. “They meddled,” he said of Russia, “but I think China meddled too.”

“I think China meddled also. And I think, frankly, China … is a bigger problem,” Trump said, as interviewer Lesley Stahl interrupted him for “diverting” from a discussion of Russia.

Shortly before an audacious speech by Mike Pence last weekend, in which the US vice president effectively declared a new cold war on Beijing (see “Russell Napier: Mike Pence Announces Cold War II”), Trump made similar accusations during a speech at the United Nations last month, which his aides substantiated by pointing to long-term Chinese influence campaigns and an advertising section in the Des Moines Register warning farmers about the potential effects of Trump’s tariffs.

Meanwhile, in a rare U.S. television appearance, China’s ambassador to the U.S. said Beijing has no choice but to respond to what he described as a trade war started by the U.S.

“We never wanted a trade war, but if somebody started a trade war against us, we have to respond and defend our own interests,” said China’s Ambassador Cui Tiankai.

Cui also dismissed as “groundless” the abovementioned suggestion by Vice President Mike Pence that China has orchestrated an effort to meddle in U.S. domestic affairs. Pence escalated the rhetoric in a speech Oct. 4, saying Beijing has created a “a whole-of-government approach” to sway American public opinion, including spies, tariffs, coercive measures and a propaganda campaign.

Pence’s comments were some of the most critical about China by a high-ranking U.S. official in recent memory. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo got a lecture when he visited Beijing days later, about U.S. actions that were termed “completely out of line.” The tough words followed months of increases tit-for-tat tariffs imposed by Washington and Beijing that have ballooned to cover hundreds of billions of dollars in bilateral trade.

During a recent interview with National Public Radio, Cui said the U.S. has “not sufficiently” dealt in good faith with the Chinese on trade matters, saying “the U.S. position keeps changing all the time so we don’t know exactly what the U.S. would want as priorities.”

Meanwhile, White House economic director Larry Kudlow said on “Fox News Sunday” that President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will “probably meet” at the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires in late November. “There’s plans and discussions and agendas” being discussed, he said. So far, talks with China on trade have been “unsatisfactory,” Kudlow said. “We’ve made our asks” on allegations of intellectual property theft and forced technology transfers, he added. “We have to have reciprocity.”

Addressing the upcoming meeting, Cui said he was present at two previous meetings of Xi and Trump, and that top-level communication “played a key role, an irreplaceable role, in guiding the relationship forward.” Despite current tensions the two have a “good working relationship,” he said.

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BREAKING: Explosion in Crimea, Russia kills many, injuring dozens, terrorism suspected

According to preliminary information, the incident was caused by a gas explosion at a college facility in Kerch, Crimea.

The Duran

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“We are clarifying the information at the moment. Preliminary figures are 50 injured and 10 dead. Eight ambulance crews are working at the site and air medical services are involved,” the press-service for the Crimean Ministry of Health stated.

Medics announced that at least 50 people were injured in the explosion in Kerch and 25 have already been taken to local hospital with moderate wounds, according to Sputnik.

Local news outlets reported that earlier in the day, students at the college heard a blast and windows of the building were shattered.

Putin Orders that Assistance Be Provided to Victims of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The president has instructed the Ministry of Health and the rescue services to take emergency measures to assist victims of this explosion, if necessary, to ensure the urgent transportation of seriously wounded patients to leading medical institutions of Russia, whether in Moscow or other cities,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitriy Peskov said.

The president also expressed his condolences to all those affected by the tragic incident.

Manhunt Underway in Kerch as FSB Specialists Investigate Site of Explosion – National Anti-Terrorist Committee

The site of the blast that rocked a city college in Kerch is being examined by FSB bomb disposal experts and law enforcement agencies are searching for clues that might lead to the arrest of the perpetrators, the National Anti Terrorism Committee said in a statement.

“Acting on orders from the head of the NAC’s local headquarters, FSB, Interior Ministry, Russian Guards and Emergency Ministry units have arrived at the site. The territory around the college has been cordoned off and the people inside the building evacuated… Mine-disposal experts are working at the site and law enforcement specialists are investigating,” the statement said.

Terrorist Act Considered as Possible Cause of Blast in Kerch – Kremlin Spokesman

“The tragic news that comes from Kerch. Explosion. The president was informed … The data on those killed and the number of injured is constantly updated,” Peskov told reporters.

“[The version of a terrorist attack] is being considered,” he said.

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10 percent of American F-22 fighter jets damaged by Hurricane Michael

Part of the reason the F-22’s were left in the path of the storm is that they were broken and too expensive to fix or fly.

Seraphim Hanisch

Published

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Note to the wise: When a hurricane comes, move your planes out of the way. Especially your really expensive F-22 fighter planes. After all, those babies are $339 mil apiece. Got the message?

Apparently the US Air Force didn’t get this message. Or, did they find themselves unable to follow the message?

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The Washington Times reported Tuesday that between 17 and 20 of these top-of-the-line fighter jets were damaged, some beyond the point of repair, when Hurricane Michael slammed ashore on Mexico Beach, Florida, not far from the Tyndall Air Force Base in the same state. The Times reports that more than a dozen of the F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the extremely fierce storm:

President Trump’s tour Monday of devastation wrought by Hurricane Michael took him close to Florida’s Tyndall Air Force Base, where more than a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighter jets were damaged after being left in the path of the powerful storm.

The pricey fighter jets — some possibly damaged beyond repair — were caught in the widespread destruction that took at least 18 lives, flattened homes, downed trees and buckled roads from Florida to Virginia.

The decision to leave roughly $7.5 billion in aircraft in the path of a hurricane raised eyebrows, including among defense analysts who say the Pentagon’s entire high-tech strategy continues to make its fighter jets vulnerable to weather and other mishaps when they are grounded for repairs.

“This becomes sort of a self-defeating cycle where we have $400 million aircraft that can’t fly precisely because they are $400 million aircraft,” said Dan Grazier, a defense fellow at Project on Government Oversight. “If we were buying simpler aircraft then it would be a whole lot easier for the base commander to get these aircraft up and in working order, at least more of them.”

This is quite a statement. The F-22 is held to be the tip of the American air defense sword. A superb airplane (when it works), it can do things no other plane in the world can do. It boasts a radar profile the size of a marble, making it virtually undetectable by enemy radars. It is highly maneuverable with thrust-vectoring built into its engines.

However, to see a report like this is simply stunning. After all, one would expect that the best military equipment ought to be the most reliable as well. 

It appears that Hurricane Michael figuratively and physically blew the lid off any efforts to conceal a problem with these planes, and indeed with the hyper-technological basis for the US air fighting forcesThe Times continues:

Reports on the number of aircraft damaged ranged from 17 to 22 or about 10 percent of the Air Force’s F-22 fleet of 187.

The Air Force stopped buying F-22s, considered the world’s most advanced fighter jets, in 2012. The aircraft is being replaced by the F-35, another high-tech but slightly less-expensive aircraft.

Later in the tour, at an emergency command center in Georgia, Mr. Trump said the damage to the F-22s couldn’t be avoided because the aircraft were grounded and the storm moved quickly.

“We’re going to have a full report. There was some damage, not nearly as bad as we first heard,” he said when asked about the F-22s, which cost about $339 million each.

“I’m always concerned about cost. I don’t like it,” Mr. Trump said.

Still, the president remains a fan of the high-tech fighter jet.

“The F-22 is one of my all-time favorites. It is the most beautiful fighter jet in the world. One of the best,” he said.

The Air Force managed to fly 33 of the F-22s to safety, but maintenance and repair issues kept 22 of the notoriously finicky aircraft on the ground when the powerful storm hit the base.

About 49 percent of the F-22s are out of action at any given time, according to an Air Force report this year.

This is a stunning statistic. This means that of the 187 planes in existence, 90 of them are not working. At their cost, that means that over thirty billion dollars worth of military equipment is sitting around, broken, just in airplanes alone.

As a point of comparison, the entire Russian military budget for 2017 was $61 billion, with that budget producing hypersonic missiles, superb fighter aircraft and tanks. Russian fighter planes are known for being able to take harsh landing and take-off conditions that would cripple the most modern American flying machines.

It would seem that Hurricane Michael exposed a serious problem with the state of readiness of American armed forces. Thankfully that problem did not arise in combat, but it is no less serious.

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