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US Foreign Policy and The Tangled Matrix of Deceit

Will America do anything and think anything to preserve its hegemony?

Vladimir Golstein

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Goethe’s Faust, an ever energetic, never satisfied individual, is the traditional symbol of a Western man. He refuses to stay in the moment and vows never to declare: “Verweile doch, du bist so schön” – “Stay a while, you are so beautiful.” Judging by its elites and by the stories it tells about itself, Modern West has turned into the very opposite of this Faustian man. For the current western leaders, the beautiful moment had already occurred, as was officially pronounced by Francis Fukuyama in his notorious treatise of the1990s, The End of History and the Last Man. That was the moment when the Soviet Union collapsed, and the dreams of the Full Spectrum Dominance and the perennial Pax Americana were cooked up by various neoconservative thinkers and the authors of PNAC. At this “beautiful moment,” such concepts as Truth, West, or Order have finally found their eternal abode in Washington, DC.

Bizarre as Fukuyama’s rejection of change was, it took roots. Of course, Fukuyama dressed it in Hegelian terms, announcing the death of grand narratives and radical revolutions, but underneath these intellectual trappings laid a rather conservative message: “Read my lips: no new paradigms. The history has ended.”

From that moment on, the ever-dynamic USA has fully embraced stasis. Any objective observer is struck by the breakneck speed with which China has developed. Russia has undergone an equally drastic metamorphosis, transformed from socialist and threatening Soviet Union to relatively modern country with its pro-western orientation. Yet, “if it ain’t broken, don’t fix it” is no longer the motto of some prudent Yankee. It is the very basis of recent policies striving for the preservation of the status quo. The economic and political establishment is rather clear about it, as can be witnessed by the Democratic Party and its continuous failures caused by the refusal of its leadership to change.

The embrace of the status quo is especially visible in the realm of foreign policy. Think Tanks – what an appropriate name for these immobile shrines to bankrupt thoughts  –are doing job in protecting their thinking from outside influences. Most of their employers are former officials and bureaucrats who perfected the art of applying past solutions to current realities.

Various media talking heads, the intellectuals in Trump cabinet, such as NSA’s H.R. McMaster or Pentagon’s James Mattis, or the pundits from Council of Foreign Affairs or Atlantic Council, rarely venture beyond the parameters set by the needs to preserve the status quo. The clearest articulation of this conservative paradigm has been recently delivered at the 2017 Munich Security Conference promoted as The Best Think Tank Conference. This annual conference, which gathers all the key players of Western foreign policy, has crystallizes into a unified front all the forces of US and EU establishment. It is their push for the status quo, which has obviously overcome President Trump’s initial resistance.

Since it reveals what’s in store for Trump’s foreign policy, it is important to explore the Munich narrative and its main principles, which can be summarized as following: Western order is superior; it needs to be defended from both Russia and from those at home, who challenge its superiority. What’s indispensable for this defense is invigorated NATO and the counterpropaganda, which portrays criticism as “fake news.”

In light of these propositions, which Munich Conference univocally reconfirmed, neither recent Trump actions, nor the statements of the key members of Trump cabinet, appear as unique or strange. Thus, H.R. McMuster, the head of NSA, and one of the intellectuals in Trump’s cabinet declares:  “And this [Russian] effort, I believe, is aimed really not at defensive objectives, but at offensive objectives – to collapse the post-World War II, certainly the post-Cold War, security, economic, and political order in Europe, and replace that order with something that is more sympathetic to Russian interests.” Likewise, the CIA’s chief, Mike Pompeo observes: “It is time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is – a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Wolfgang Ischinger, the chairman of the Munich Security Conference, has entitled his annual report as “Post-Truth, Post-West, Post-Order?”, suggesting therefore, that any move beyond Western dominance inevitable entails the loss of truth and order. To fend off this terrible situation, one has to return to Western verities: “Despite its various flaws, the liberal international order has, in the bigger scheme of things, allowed for a remarkable era of peace and economic development.” (p. 10).  In other words, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

The polite, almost academic tone of the discussion–as it frequently happens in the west — hides a rather harsh reality. “Remarkable era of peace and development” is not going to give in easily. It is ready to resort to all sorts of machinations, including military aggression, to preserve itself. This is the blueprint, which has been dutifully echoed by the majority of the participants, that is, by the military, political, and intellectual leaders of the West. It is to this blueprint, that the US president, Donald Trump, has quickly returned, despite his initial challenge of the status quo.

First, Ischinger articulates the threats to the Status Quo, depicting them as antithetical to western values:  “Western societies are troubled by the emergence of populist movements that oppose critical elements of the liberal-democratic status quo. From outside, Western societies are challenged by illiberal regimes trying to cast doubt on liberal democracy and weaken the international order. ..…   “The past twelve months have been a resounding rejection of the status quo. In several elections and referenda, political outsiders succeeded, while the establishment was dealt major blows.” (p. 6)

These dangers are repeated again and again, until they begin to sound like a mantra, an incantation, to be delivered to various governments and citizens: Barbarians are at the doors and the western order is in danger: “The rise of the populists has rapidly become a systemic challenge that threatens to undermine the liberal international order the world’s liberal democracies have built and upheld since the end of World War II … the populists at home and the illiberal regimes abroad form a formidable challenge to the main elements of the liberal international order.” (8)

And of course it is Russia, which is usually referred to as “illiberal regime”: “While Western officials have repeatedly argued that “there is no military solution” to the war in Syria, Russia and its allies pursued one – and seem to be successful … In Ukraine, Russia has violated several key principles governing European security. … Is this a post-order world in which the elements of the liberal international order are fading away because no one is there to protect them?“ (10).

The possibility of post-Western world, where Russia can preserve and assert its interests, is categorically denied and the call to arms is issued: “Despite its various flaws, the liberal international order has, in the bigger scheme of things, allowed for a remarkable era of peace and economic development… Since its creation, NATO has been a central pillar of the Western-led order – and the crucial security link connecting the US, Canada, and their European allies… The European Union is under pressure, too, as it has to deal with Brexit, a populist surge, the refugee crisis, a potential return of the euro crisis, jihadist attacks, and a revisionist Russia.” (8-10) The enemies’ list is remunerated and Russia’s role is defined: “revisionist Russia.” The liberal order and such institutions that support it, be it NATO or EU, are to be strengthen while those who challenge it, are to be pushed back.

This program, articulated by Ischinger, was echoed by numerous participants, including such US luminaries, as Vice President Pence, Defense Secretary, Mathis, and Senator John McCain. Thus, John McCain was quite eloquent about his willingness to fight to preserve western dominance: “We … cannot allow ourselves to question the rightness and goodness of the West… I refuse to accept the end of the West. I refuse to accept the demise of our world order. ….  I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries. I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West.”

One is tempted to ask: which West do you have in mind, Senator McCain? The one that unleashed Nazi Germany unto the world? The one that vaporized civilians in Dresden, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki? The one that, turned Cambodia into Zombistan, bombed and dismantled Yugoslavia, wreaked havoc in Iraq and Syria and condoned neo-Nazis in Ukraine and Al Qaeda in the Middle East?

Yet, this highly ambivalent western status quo has to be defended militarily: “From the ashes of the most awful calamity in human history was born what we call the West—a new, and different, and better kind of world order… The unprecedented period of security and prosperity that we have enjoyed for the past seven decades did not happen by accident. It happened not only because of the appeal of our values, but because we backed them with our power and persevered in their defense.”

And then comes the most relevant part. It falls on US to provide this military backbone to the west, and it will do so, some temporary difficulties emanating from the White House, non-withstanding:

I know there is profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership. I can only speak for myself, but I do not believe that is the message you will hear from all of the American leaders who cared enough to travel here to Munich this weekend. That is not the message you heard today from Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis. That is not the message you will hear from Vice President Mike Pence. That is not the message you will hear from Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly. And that is certainly not the message you will hear tomorrow from our bipartisan congressional delegation.

Well, Senator McCain has clearly delivered on his promise. Since then, President Trump, has been pushed back into the matrix and fully embraced the status-quo narrative, including his renewed NATO commitment and his willingness to cast Russia as an enemy of the west and the supporter of bloodthirsty regimes. Trump’s surrender to this status quo discourse, has been completed and sealed by his order to bomb Syria and Afghanistan. Trump and his cohort appear to be reading from the script reinforced at this conference: a familiar narrative polished through the years of the Cold War.

So the idea of “Post-Western World Order,” which makes perfect sense in light of the BRIC ascendance, has been soundly dismissed by the majority of the Munich Conference participants. It is NATO and the West all the way.

It is also clear, that the bogeyman was designated or rather reconfirmed during these proceeding. This honorary role has fallen on Russia once again. Luckily for the ideologues that wrote the script, Russia’s role in Ukraine and Syria provided enough rhetorical tools to cast it as the threat to the sacred liberal western order. The matrix has been set, and any attempt to break out of it, will be dismissed as fake news, propaganda and so on.

All the brave Russian dissidents, Polish and Baltic politicians, or Syrian or Iranian refugees are utilized to promote one concept: Russia is the same, dangerous and corrupt; Iran is the same as at the time of Ayatollah, Syria is the same. And therefore these countries should be contained.

In light of this well-oiled narrative, it is hardly surprising that Lavrov speech with its call for Post-Western world order, and its reference to NATO as the relic of cold war,  fell on the dead ears. In the house of the Status-Quo you don’t argue for change. If a Cold War is needed to prop up Western World Order and NATO, the Cold War will be conjured up and ushered in.

The longevity of this model, suggests that it is rather functional. Designating Russia as a dangerous enemy rather than a potential ally enables the west to embark on the win-win situation. Either Russia will buckle up and surrender, or it will fight back, reveal its aggressive side, and thus underscore the need to preserve the military might of the Western Liberal Order.  It is quite telling that the British Foreign Minister, Boris Jonhson, has refused to go to Moscow after Trump’s decision to bomb Syria, accusing president Assad, along with his ally Putin, in orchestrating the chemical attack against its population. The script has already been written; the role of the villain assigned; why go to Moscow and learn of facts that can complicate the story? Playing the role of a good cop, Johnson counterpart, Rex Tillerson, did go to Russia, only to reiterate after his meeting that the story stands. In fact, Tillerson’s remarks at the conclusion of his Moscow visit are quite telling. On the one hand he asserts that Russia is an enemy and should follow the Western script or else; on the other, he suggests that nuclear powers have to talk to each other. “There is a low level of trust between our two countries. The world’s two foremost nuclear powers cannot have this kind of relationship.” In other words, lets go back to the Cold War status quo: Russia will be pounded as enemy, but without nuclear escalation.

The establishment’s conviction that Russia is too weak to offer military resistance to Western dominance, yet, not crazy enough to appeal to nukes, has been formulated by the original establishment candidate for the US presidency, Hillary Clinton. In her email of November 30, 2015 she claimed that Russia wouldn’t stay in the way of American assertion of dominance. Russia has done nothing in 1999 in Serbia, and it won’t do anything in the future. Pushing for the aggressive policy in Syria, Secretary Clinton maintained:

Unlike in Libya, a successful intervention in Syria would require substantial diplomatic and military leadership from the United States. Washington should start by expressing its willingness to work with regional allies like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar to organize, train and arm Syrian rebel forces… The second step is to develop international support for a coalition air operation.  Russia will never support such a mission, so there is no point operating through the UN Security Council. Some argue that U.S. involvement risks a wider war with Russia. But the Kosovo example shows otherwise. In that case, Russia had genuine ethnic and political ties to the Serbs, which don’t exist between Russia and Syria, and even then Russia did little more than complain.

Despite various triumphant assertions, the Western dominance is on the decline, and its reign hardly brought peace or economic development to large segments of the world population, including the western countries themselves. Yet, the struggling order is willing to do anything to prop itself up. From the engine of development it has turned into its break.

Consequently, we can conclude that most if not all recent foreign policies decisions are not driven by, say, Russophobia, or desire to create chaos or redraw the borders in Middle East. It is naïve to blame Zionists or Islamophobes for recent political decisions. There is simply this neurotic need to preserve the Status Quo, while designating certain populations as its threat. It is not the NWO anymore, it is OWO: Old World Order. Neocons and their think tanks are not dangerous revolutionaries bend on transforming the world. They are old fogies who want things to remain the same. Washington consensus, Washington playbook and other well-established paradigms, promote nothing but violent resistance to change.

This pro-western triumphalism clearly brings to mind a myopic estimation of Russia, expressed by one of the tsar Nicholas I’s officials: ““Russia’s past is glorious, beautiful and heroic, its present is magnificent, grand, and beautiful, and its future is so remarkable that can’t be described.” We know from serious academic studies, such as Jared Diamond’s Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed  (2005), that such societies are doomed. Sooner or later paradigm shifts, and those who vested in the old paradigm, come crushing down, does not matter whether they the proponents of Ptolemaic astronomy, Newtonian physics, Marxist economics, or neocon philosophy.

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Russia makes MASSIVE progress on its ‘super-weapons’

Avangard hypersonic glide vehicle moves into serial production, nuclear-engine powered cruise missile tests continue, and more as Russia continues to outdo all Western military tech

Seraphim Hanisch

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On July 19th and 20th, The Russian Defense Ministry announced several milestones of progress in its advanced weapons systems programs. These programs were revealed to the world in March of this year, when Russian President Vladimir Putin gave the State of the Russian Federation speech.

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While at first the Western onlookers did not believe the amazing announcements of hypersonic weapons and nuclear-powered cruise missiles with unlimited range, subsequent releases and concurrent observation by the American military experts has shown these developments to be as real as Mr. Putin claimed they are.

TASS, the Russian News Agency, released information on these weapons systems in separate reports:

Kinzhal

The Kinzhal hypersonic missile:

Squadrons of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles should enter combat duty in the Black Sea region and at other Russian fleets and flotillas, said Russian military expert Viktor Murakhovsky, the editor-in-chief of the Arsenal Otechestva magazine.

Besides, a squadron (between 12 and 16 aircraft) of MiG-31 fighter jets armed with Kinzhal hypersonic missiles entered combat duty in the Caspian Sea region in April.

“I think at least one squadron of those complexes should be deployed at any fleet, in other words – at all regions where we have fleets and flotillas. We need to deploy them in the regions of the Black Sea, the Baltic Sea, the Northern Fleet. The Pacific region also should not be forgotten,” Murakhovsky said.

He said that such systems can become a “good instrument” against not only vessels equipped with high-precision weapons, but also for countering carrier attack groups.

“We know how expensive a carrier attack group can be. By employing this asymmetric method, which is unbelievably cheap in comparison with building a carrier attack group, we can neutralize this threat almost completely,” the expert said.

Burevestnik nuclear-powered cruise missile trials:

The Burevestnik is an entirely new cruise missile, powered by a nuclear engine. This gives the missile unlimited range. In theory, such a missile could be launched at a target and spend days or weeks in hidden flight using advanced guidance systems, and then close on its target at the optimal time to assure destruction of that target with maximum surprise. The TASS piece goes on to say:

The Russian Defense Ministry announced that Russia was preparing to test upgraded test prototypes of the nuclear-powered Burevestnik cruise missile with an unlimited range.

According to the expert, it is highly likely that the prototype of the missile “has already made a flight.”

“Clearly, it was something like the pop-up trials of Sarmat – a launch without the nuclear-powered engine, in other words, with an ordinary missile booster, conducted in order to assess the possibility of a launch, aerodynamics and the operability of the entire system in general,” [Murakhovsky] said.

Further reporting from TASS had this to add about the Burevestnik program:

Russia is getting ready for flight tests of the Burevestnik nuclear powered cruise missile, an official at the Defense Ministry told reporters on Thursday.

“The missile’s component makeup is being improved based on clarified requirements, while ground tests continue and preparations are being made for experimental flight tests of the improved missile,” the official said.

According to the Defense Ministry, “work on an unlimited-range missile is going according to plan.”

“In the meantime, launching systems are also being designed, while technological processes to manufacture, assemble and test the missile are being improved. This range of work will make it possible to start designing a totally new sort of weapon – a strategic nuclear complex armed with a nuclear powered missile,” the ministry official noted.

[The head] of the 12th Central Research Institute at Russia’s Defense Ministry Sergey Pertsev, in turn, said that the tests of the new cruise missile equipped with a small nuclear power unit had confirmed the accuracy of the technical decisions that Russian researchers, engineers and designers had made. In addition, the tests enabled the researchers “to receive valuable experimental data necessary for specifying a number of requirements.”

“A low-flying and low-observable cruise missile carrying a nuclear warhead, with an almost unlimited range, an unpredictable trajectory and capability to bypass interception lines is invincible to all the existing and advanced air and missile defense systems,” the Russian Defense Ministry stressed.

A further use of the nuclear engine technology is also expected in the Poseidon underwater drone, Mr. Murakhovsky stated that separate systems for the craft have been successfully tested. He further noted that the next task is to design the entire layout, build a test model and begin testing the whole platform.

The Avangard Hypersonic Missile

While the Kinzhal is a Mach-10 capable hypersonic system that can be launched from a fighter, the Avangard is a Mach-20 capable system that has intercontinental reach. There is almost no footage of this system released to the public, but the concept videos show how the system works. TASS reports this status:

Russia’s Strategic Missile Force is preparing a position area for accepting the Avangard hypersonic missile system for service as part of the efforts to strengthen the country’s military security, the Defense Ministry announced on Thursday.

“The Russian defense industry has completed developing the Avangard missile system with the principally new armament – the gliding cruise warhead. Industrial enterprises have switched to its serial production,” the Defense Ministry said.

“A set of organizational and technical measures is underway in the position area of the Dombarovsky large unit of the Strategic Missile Force to accept the Avangard missile system for operation,” it added.

The development of new strategic weapon systems “is aimed at increasing Russia’s defense capability and preventing any aggression against our country and its allies,” the Defense Ministry stressed.

The infrastructural facilities of the large unit’s position area have already been prepared for the missile system’s operation, the ministry said.

“The position area has been prepared in geodesic and engineering terms to accommodate the missile system. Work is underway to build new and reconstruct old facilities to provide for the operation and the combat use of the system. Technical and utility supply lines are being modernized and electric power, communications and command and control cables are being laid. Work has been arranged to train personnel and prepare armament, military and special hardware,” Russia’s Defense Ministry said.

Deputy Commander of Russia’s Strategic Missile Force for Armament Sergei Poroskun has said that the Avangard hypersonic missile system features combat capabilities that “make it possible to reliably breach any anti-missile defenses.”

The Okhotnik attack drone

The Okhotnik (“Hunter”) attack drone is now being viewed as a prototype for Russia’s “sixth-generation” fighter plane. TASS describes this in more detail:

According to [a defense industry] official, although the sixth generation fighter jet project “has not yet taken full shape, its main features are already known.”

“First of all, it should be unmanned and capable of performing any combat task in an autonomous regime. In this sense, Okhotnik will become the prototype of the sixth generation fighter jet,’ the source said, adding that the drone will be able to “take off, fulfill its objectives and return to the airfield.”

“However, it will not receive the function of decision-making regarding the use of weapons – this will be decided by a human,” he said.

TASS was unable to officially confirm the information at the time of the publication.

Another defense industry source earlier told TASS that the prototype of Okhotnik (Hunter) was ready and would start test flights this year.

The Russian Defense Ministry and the Sukhoi Company signed a contract for developing the 20-ton Okhotnik (Hunter) heavy unmanned strike aircraft in 2011. The drone’s mock-up model was made in 2014. According to unconfirmed reports, composite materials and anti-radar coating were used to create the Okhotnik. The drone is equipped with a reaction-jet propulsion and is supposed to develop a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour.

Peresvet laser weapons systems

TASS reported that the Russian military forces are now training for the use of the Peresvet combat laser system:

Russian Aerospace Force has accepted for service the laser complexes Peresvet and the military are now taking drills that involve the novel combat technologies, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Thursday.

“The Peresvet laser complexes have been placed at sites of permanent deployment,” the report said. “Active efforts to make them fully operational are underway.”

“To ensure their proper functioning, the necessary infrastructures and specialized facilities for housing the complexes and duty crews have been built,” the ministry said.

The crews assigned to the Peresvets have taken upgrader courses at the Alexander Mozhaisky Military-Space Academy in St Petersburg.

The Russian military strategy of “asymmetric response.”

The overall defense strategy is termed an “asymmetric response”, and Mr. Murakhovsky explained the principle in this way:

“This is an asymmetric response, in which new classes of weapons are created, instead of new types within the framework of the existing systems. Other states are not expected to have anything of this kind [in the near future],” he said.

The expert described this response as “quite an efficient one, all the more so because it requires no additional investment – all the works are being carried out within the framework of the state procurement program.”

He added that unlike the Soviet Union, Russia avoids being dragged into a direct arms race and searches for cutting-edge solutions instead of simply increasing the number of weapons.

“The development of counter-weapons to those arms [may be possible] in distant future, but it does not mean that they can be created at all,” Murakhovsky added.

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From McCain to Brennan, Deep State soft coup against Trump picks up steam (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 59.

Alex Christoforou

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After Trump’s meeting with Putin in Helsinki, the Deep State smells blood, and is moving quickly to depose of US President Donald Trump.

Government officials and mainstream media puppets from left and right are condemning the US President over his press conference with Vladimir Putin.

Leading the charge are the usual Deep State, suspects, starting with John McCain and ending with the man many believe is behind the entire Trump-Russia collusion hoax, former Obama CIA boss John Brennan.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou examine the soft coup aimed at removing US President Trump by the November 2018 midterms. Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via The Independent

Conservative John McCain, who is facing a rare and terminal brain cancer, unleashed a damning statement against Mr Trump’s conference with Mr Putin, describing it as “one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory”.

“President Trump proved not only unable, but unwilling to stand up to Putin,” he said.

“It is tempting to describe the press conference as a pathetic rout — as an illustration of the perils of under-preparation and inexperience. But these were not the errant tweets of a novice politician. These were the deliberate choices of a president who seems determined to realise his delusions of a warm relationship with Putin’s regime without any regard for the true nature of his rule, his violent disregard for the sovereignty of his neighbours, his complicity in the slaughter of the Syrian people, his violation of international treaties, and his assault on democratic institutions throughout the world.”

The conservative senator’s comments arrived after the US president declined to name Russia as the adversary behind coordinated attacks on the 2016 presidential election.

While discussing whether he thought Russia was behind hacks against the 2016 election — as the US intelligence community has determined —the president said: “I don’t see any reason why it would be.”

“Dan Coats [the US Director of National Intelligence] said its Russia. President Putin says its not Russia,” said Mr Trump. “I don’t know why it would be…..I have confidence in both parties. President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

That set off a wave of condemnations from Democrats and Republicans alike.

“President Trump’s press conference with Putin was an embarrassing spectacle,” Bernie Sanders wrote in a tweet. “Rather than make clear that interference in our elections is unacceptable, Trump instead accepted Putin’s denials and cast doubt on the conclusions of our intelligence community. This is not normal.”

Jeff Flake, one of the only frequent Republican critics of Mr Trump in Congress, said the conference was “shameful” in a statement he posted across social media.

“I never thought I would see the day when our American President would stand on the stage with the Russian President and place blame on the United States for Russian aggression,” he said. “This is shameful.”

Former CIA Director John Brennan released a statement calling for Mr Trump’s impeachment and describing his comments as “treasonous”.

“Donald Trump’s press conference performance in Helsinki rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes and misdemeanours,'” Mr Brennan wrote on Twitter. “It was nothing short of treasonous. Not only were Trump’s comments imbecilic, he is wholly in the pocket of Putin. Republican Patriots: Where are you???”

Elizabeth Warren also slammed the president for failing to hold Mr Putin accountable, writing on Twitter: “Russia interfered in our elections & attacked our democracy. Putin must be held accountable – not rewarded.”

“Disgraceful,” she concluded.

However, Mr Trump’s typical roster of critics weren’t the only legislators rebuking his bizarre denials of US intelligence. Lindsey Graham also criticised Mr Trump’s performance, adding that his denial of US intelligence will “be seen by Russia as a sign of weakness and create far more problems than it solves”.

“Missed opportunity by President Trump to firmly hold Russia accountable for 2016 meddling and deliver a strong warning regarding future elections,” he said.

The Republican senator added a suggestion to Mr Trump: review the soccer ball Mr Putin gave to him as a gift for “listening devices” and “never allow it in the White House.”

Thomas Pickering, a regarded statesman and the former US ambassador to Russia, told MSNBC that he was in utter disbelief after the press conference was held on Monday.

“It’s a breathtaking denial of something that clearly is so obviously true,” he said. ”it represents the epitome of President Trump’s effort at self-promotion over the notion of defending the national interest of the United States.”

Mark Warner, a Virginia senator, also suggested Mr Trump committed a clear violation of his responsibilities as president.

Mr Trump committed “a breach of his duty to defend our country against its adversaries,” Mr Warner said. ”If the President cannot defend the United States and its interests in public, how can we trust him to stand up for our country in private?”

Meanwhile the latest Deep State leak, via the NYT, claims that US President Trump was told by Obama holdovers that Putin was involved in cyberattacks during the 2016 election. US intelligence told Trump this information days before the inauguration.

Via The Gateway Pundit

The same liberal hacks who illegally leaked this information want Americans to trust them as they continue to destroy this duly elected president.

President Trump on Wednesday told CBS anchor Jeff Glor that he has no confidence in the tainted intelligence by far left hacks Clapper, Brennan and Comey.

And, once again, the timing of this leak is not an accident.

Liberals are outraged that President Trump refused to chest bump Putin in Helsinki.

The deep state leaked this information to pile on the Republican president.

The New York Times reported…

Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election.

The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation.

Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed.

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Russia ranks HIGHER than Switzerland in these areas of doing business

Some curious things happened with several businesspeople who attended World Cup events in Russia.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin

One of them was a distinctly renewed interest in doing business inside the country, and another was the realization to what extent perceptions have been tainted by media and political rhetoric directed against any real or imagined nastiness attributed to Russia these days.

These past few weeks have been invaluable, at the very least by affording a clear picture of Russia through which almost all anxiety-ridden preconceptions were illuminated and dispelled. More disturbing was the fact that the several businesspeople I was dealing with were furious. They were livid for being played for fools, and felt victimized by the dismally untrue picture painted about Russia and Russians in their home countries, both by their own politicians and the press.

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Most felt that they have been personally sanctioned by their own countries, betrayed through lack of clear unbiased information enabling them to participate and profit from Russia opportunities these past three growth years in spite of “sanctions”.

The door to doing good business in Russia has been and is open, and has been opening wider year after year. That is not just “highly likely”, but fact. Consistently improving structures, means and methods to conduct business in Russia sustainably, transparently and profitably are now part of the country’s DNA. It is a process, which has been worked on in the west for more than a century, and one, which Russia has only started these past 18 years.

True, there are sanctions, counter-sanctions, and regulations governing them that must be studied carefully. However if you are not a bank or doing business with those persons deemed worthy of being blacklisted by some countries “sanctions list”, in reality there are no obstacles that cannot be positively addressed and legally overcome despite the choir of political nay-sayers.

READ MORE: Russia just dumped $80 BILLION in US debt

The days of quickly turning over Russia opportunities into short-term cash are rapidly fading, they are a throwback to the 1990’s. Today the major and open opportunities are in the areas for Foreign Direct Investments. The nature of FDI is long term to make regularly recurring sustainable returns on investment.

Long term, Russia always was and increasingly confirms that it is a vibrant and attractive market. There is a significant consumer market with spending power, a well-educated workforce, a wealth of resources and the list goes on. The economic obstacles encountered have largely been imposed from without, and not from the dynamics and energies of the Russian economy itself.

Eventually sanctions will end, although the timeline is anyone’s guess. Meanwhile business continues, and any long-term engagement within Russia by establishing a working presence will yield both short and long-term investment rewards. These will only be amplified when the sanctions regimes are removed. In any event, these aspects are long-term investment decisions and one of the criteria in any risk assessment.

For some added perspective, Russia is ranked by the Financial Times as the No.2 country in Europe in terms of capital investments into Europe. It has a 2017 market share of 9% (US$ 15.9 billion) and includes 203 business projects. This is 2% higher than 2016 and better that 2014/2015 when sanctions were imposed.

Another item of perspective is the Country Risk Premium. All investors consider this when calculating the scope for long-term return on investments. What may surprise some is that Russia is no longer ranked as a very high-risk country. For comparisons sake: The risk premium for Germany is zero (no extra risk), the risk premium for Italy is 2.19%, and for Russia, it is 2.54%. When compared to politically popular investment destinations like Ukraine the risk premium is 10.4%  – food for thought. Bottom line is that the risks of investing in Russia are a smidge higher than investing in Italy.

Russia is ranked 35 among 190 economies in the ease of doing business, according to the latest World Bank annual ratings. The ranking of Russia improved to 35 in 2017 from 40 in 2016 and from 124 in 2010. It may also surprise some to learn that as concerns protecting the rights of minority investors, paying taxes, registering property and some other aspects of the World Bank comparisons, Russia comes out better than Switzerland (See: Rankings).

From operational standpoints, establishing an invested presence in Russia does not mean one must adopt Russian managerial methods or practices. The advantages for established foreign companies is that their management culture is readily applied and absorbed by a smart and willing workforce, enabling a seamless integration given the right training and tools.

The trend towards the ultimate globalization of business despite trade wars, tariffs, sanctions and counter-sanctions is clear. The internet of the planet, the blockchain and speed of information exchange makes it so whether we wish it or not. Personally, I hope that political globalization remains stillborn as geopolitics has a historical mandate to tinker with and play havoc with international trade.

Russia occupies a key strategic position between Europe and Asia. The “west” (US/Europe) have long had at times rather turbulent relationships with China. At the same time the Chinese are quite active investors in both the US and Europe, and western companies are often struggling to understand how to deal with China.

The answer to this conundrum is Russia: this is where East and West will ultimately come together with Russia playing a pivotal role in the relations between the west and China. At the end of the day, and taking the strategic long-term economic view, is what both Chinese and Western companies are investing in when they open their activities in Russia.

If long-term commitment and investment in Russia were simply a matter of transferring funds then I would not be bothering with this opinion article. Without a doubt, there are structural issues with investing in Russia. A still evolving and sometimes unclear rule of law, difficulties obtaining finance for investments directed towards Russia, the unique language and culture of business in the country. Nevertheless, companies that have an understanding and vision of global strategy will manage with these issues and have the means to mitigate them.

Money and other invested resources do not and should not play politics; any investment case when evaluated on objective financial criteria will reveal its fit, or lack of, within a company’s global strategic business objectives. The objective criteria for Russia over any long term horizon is both convincing and strong. This has been repeated by all of the businesspeople I have met with these past few weeks. Without doubt we shall see some new companies coming into the Russian market and objectively exploring the gains their playing fair business football here will yield.

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