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Vladimir Putin: US ultimately to blame for North Korea’s nuclear weapons

In comments in Beijing Russian President Putin blames US regime change policies for provoking North Korea into acquiring nuclear weapons. Says that dialogue between the US and North Korea not threats is the way to defuse the crisis.

Alexander Mercouris

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Russian President Putin in answer to journalists’ questions in Beijing has squarely laid the blame on US foreign policy for causing North Korea to launch a programme to acquire nuclear weapons.

This is how President Putin spoke about North Korea’s programme during a press conference he gave in Beijing today

Question: News came in during the forum that North Korea has carried out another missile launch. What is your view on such reports and how do you assess the threats these launches pose?

VladimirPutin: Firstly, I would like to reiterate that we categorically oppose any expansion to the club of nuclear powers, including by means of including North Korea. We have made our position clear to our partners, including the North Koreans. We consider this counterproductive, harmful and dangerous.

On the other hand, we understand that the recent global developments, in particular blatant violations of international law, invasion of foreign states, regime change and the like, are spurring this arms race. In this context, we should act comprehensively to strengthen the system of international guarantees with reliance on international law and the UN Charter.

In any case, we believe that nuclear and missile tests are unacceptable. Dialogue with North Korea must be resumed, attempts to intimidate the country must stop and a way to settle these matters peacefully must be found.

Is this possible? I believe so, especially considering the positive experience of such dialogue with North Korea. As you may remember, there was a period when North Korea announced the termination of its nuclear programme. Regrettably, the negotiating parties failed to muster the patience to translate this intention into reality. I believe we should resume these discussions.

As for the latest missile launch, the Russian Defence Minister reported to me about it immediately, and the issue was later covered in the media. I have nothing more to say on this. This launch did not present a direct threat to Russia. However, such launches can provoke a conflict, which is not good at all.

(bold italics added)

Putin whilst in Beijing has had detailed discussions with the Chinese leadership including President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.  It is a certainty that the subject of North Korea featured highly in these discussions.  What Putin said about North Korea therefore almost certainly reflects China’s view of the crisis on the Korean Peninsula as well.

The key point Putin is making is that North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme – though illegal and illegitimate – is the inevitable consequence of the US’s foreign policy of “blatant violations of international law, invasion of foreign states, regime change and the like”.

Compare that with what I said recently said about the reasons behind the North Korean nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme

North Korea decided to acquire nuclear weapons not out of some fanatical desire to attack the US, or because it wants to use its nuclear weapons to conquer South Korea or to hold the entire world hostage – all of them suicidal acts of no conceivable benefit to itself – but because it feels threatened by the US…..

…….in the 1990s – at a time when North Korea was struggling with an existential economic crisis caused by the cut-off of Soviet aid – the US openly gloated that the North Korean regime was about to collapse, and in the late 1990s it also embraced a policy of regime change around the world, which was first and foremost targeted at a group of countries lumped together by the George W. Bush administration as the so-called “Axis of Evil” which included North Korea.

It is completely understandable therefore that the North Korean government felt threatened by the US, and that in the absence of a reliable superpower protector like the USSR it should have sought to protect itself from the US and South Korea by developing ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons…..

……it is the US, not North Korea, whose actions are propelling the crisis in the Korean Peninsula.

In other words North Korea’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme is purely defensive and has been provoked by US actions.  The North Koreans say as much, as I have pointed out what they say makes complete sense, and Putin – almost certainly reflecting Chinese thinking – is now saying the same thing.

Moreover Putin’s comment that the way forward with North Korea is not to seek to intimidate it but to pursue dialogue reflects China’s view as well.

The Chinese have rejected the Trump’s administration’s call for all embracing sanctions against North Korea such as might put in jeopardy the survival of the North Korean government.  I have previously explained why the Chinese will never agree to such sanctions

The Chinese have never made any secret of their strong disapproval of the North Korean nuclear programme, which they recognise – even if the West does not – as partly intended to reduce North Korea’s strategic dependence on them.  They have also never hidden their contempt for the dynastic nature of North Korea’s political system, and for their strong preference for the establishment in North Korea of a system of government more like their own.

That there are tensions and even a measure of mutual dislike between the North Korean leadership and China is shown by the fact that Kim Jong-un has not visited China or met publicly with any senior Chinese official since he became North Korea’s leader in December 2011.  Moreover since becoming leader Kim Jong-un seems to have acted to curtail Chinese influence in North Korea, firstly by executing in December 2013 his uncle Jang Song-thaek, who is believed to have been close to China, and who some think was China’s choice to succeed Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il, and secondly by possibly ordering the murder of his half-brother Kim Jong-nam, who appears to have enjoyed a measure of protection from China.

However these tensions and this dislike cannot change the fact that China’s prestige and the internal stability of China’s own government are bound up with the survival of the existing regime in Pyongyang.

Not only did China fight a war against the US in the 1950s to secure the survival of the North Korean regime, but China simply cannot afford the humiliation of having a regime with which it has such longstanding ties being overthrown and replaced by a US backed regime on its own border.  Such an event would undoubtedly provoke a massive political crisis within China, and any Chinese leaders who allowed it to happen would not survive it…..

The result is that though the Chinese regularly voice their disapproval of North Korea’s actions, and from time to time go through the motions of imposing sanctions on North Korea, in practise they always stop well short of doing anything that would seriously injure or undermine the North Korean regime…..

Rather than make demands on China to which China will never submit, or make threats against China which can only backfire, the US would be far better advised to do what it has consistently refused to do, which is talk to North Korea’s leadership about agreeing limits to that country’s nuclear weapons programme.

Putin is saying in the same thing, that threats against North Korea – whether via all embracing sanctions or military action – are misconceived and counter-productive.  Instead – since North Korea’s actions have been provoked by the US’s actions – the way forward is the one the Chinese have proposed: dialogue between the US and North Korea to allay North Korea’s concerns in return for a freeze of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programme.

Here is what I have said previously about this

…..since North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme is intended to be defensive and is not intended as a means of aggression, there is no cause or justification for the current hysteria and panic about it.  Provided North Korea is left alone there is no danger of an attack by North Korea on anyone.

Since North Korea’s ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme is defensive, a political settlement of the Korean crisis should in theory also be possible.  I have already discussed the outline of what such a settlement might be.

Given that it is fear of the US which is driving the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programme, it is also obvious what the first step to defuse the Korean crisis should be.

This should not be more threats against North Korea, which can only make the crisis worse.  It should be an immediate start of a dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang as proposed by China following upon a suspension of the joint military exercises the US conducts regularly with South Korea.

Since the US would not want to appear to accept the linkage between these exercises and the North Korean nuclear programme that the Chinese and the Russians – because of the US’s own ham-fisted actions – are now making, it should announce their suspension unilaterally, relying on the Chinese and the Russians to ensure that the North Koreans suspend their nuclear tests in response, which they would almost certainly do.

Direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang could then follow, in which case a way might finally be found out of a crisis, which because of thoughtlessness and bombast, first and foremost in Washington, has over many years been driven into a dangerous impasse.

Moreover as Putin points out when dialogue with North Korea was attempted before in the 1990s it bore fruit.  Here again is what I have previously said about this

When the US did briefly talk to North Korea in the 1990s the agreements it made then appeared for a time to work, until the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations foolishly went back on them.  That set the scene for the crisis we are in now.  It is time the US went back to that approach.

The Korean crisis is neither intractable nor unsolvable.  On the contrary the way forward is clear.  The Chinese, the Russians (as in Putin’s comments) and the North Koreans themselves have all pointed the way.

It is for the US to abandon its dream of overthrowing the North Korean government – whether through military action or through all-embracing sanctions imposed by China – and begin instead to talk directly to North Korea about achieving a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Korean Peninsula.

Though such a negotiation will be extremely difficult given the extreme level of mistrust, there is enough commonality of interest between the parties – first and foremost the US and North Korea, but also China and South Korea – to make a final agreement possible.

The alternative is the disastrous arms race Putin refers to in his comments in Beijing and which is what we have now.

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Obama and GOP had plan to block Trump if he refused to concede in 2016

An amazing exposure from a lefty magazine shows us how the roots of the present “Russiagate” fiction started with Obama and the Democrats.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Now we know why President Obama was so sure of himself when he said this:

The game was rigged, and not only with the Democrat Party apparatus, but with the Republicans as well.

A new report from Fox News on October 11th revealed some of the plan:

Former President Obama had a plan to validate the 2016 election in the event that then-candidate Donald Trump lost and challenged the results.

Obama administration officials told New York magazine that a bipartisan plan was in place just in time for the election to certify the results and reveal the intelligence community’s claims that Russian interference supported Trump’s candidacy.

“I will totally accept the result of this great and historic presidential election,” he said. “If I win.”

The plan to validate the election involved former secretaries of state Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice. Former presidents and congressional Republicans also participated in the plan, the outlet reported.

Ben Rhodes, a former top aide of Obama, told the magazine that the administration feared Trump wouldn’t accept the election result had Hillary Clinton won.

“It wasn’t a hypothetical,” he said. “Trump was already saying it on the campaign trail.”

Jen Psaki, communications director for Obama, minimized the plan’s significance, saying it just one of a number of “red-teaming” discussions about the potential fallout following the 2016 election, including pro-Trump protests and political division.

She said that Obama’s unpopularity among “a portion of the population” meant there was a need for a plan to validate the election.

“For them, just having him say the election was legitimate was not going to be enough,” she said.

“I don’t think there is any indication to suggest that if that’s where things headed, [Trump] would accept it,” Psaki added. “He’s laying the groundwork for delegitimizing the process now — questioning our institutions, attacking their leadership. This is all fodder for his supporters to work with in the event that things go down a dark path for him.”

This is nothing less than a bombshell. Of course, the claims the Russian interference helped Mr. Trump actually win the presidency was the logical next step, perhaps bolstered by the Electoral College victory’s “conflict” with the popular vote numbers. This is the tool that has been employed with some success to hamstring the President, especially in regards to fixing the American policy towards Russia, which the Left and Globalist communities are desperate to keep in place.

The original piece in New York Magazine goes even farther, which is surprising.

In October 2016, senior staff in the Obama White House discussed what they should do if Hillary Clinton won the November election and Donald Trump refused to accept the result as legitimate. They had cause to be worried. At that time, Trump had openly speculated that the election might be “rigged.” During his final debate with Clinton on October 19, he said that his opponent “should never have been allowed to run” and declined to answer the question of whether he would concede. “I’ll keep you in suspense,” the Republican nominee said.

“It wasn’t a hypothetical,” Ben Rhodes, Obama’s senior aide and speechwriter, told Intelligencer. “Trump was already saying it on the campaign trail.”

The Obama White House plan, according to interviews with Rhodes and Jen Psaki, Obama’s communications director, called for congressional Republicans, former presidents, and former Cabinet-level officials including Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice, to try and forestall a political crisis by validating the election result. In the event that Trump tried to dispute a Clinton victory, they would affirm the result as well as the conclusions reached by the U.S. intelligence community that Russian interference in the election sought to favor Trump, and not Clinton. Some Republicans were already aware of Russian interference from intelligence briefings given to leaders from both parties during the chaotic months before the election. “We wanted to handle the Russia information in a way that was as bipartisan as possible,” Rhodes said.

The existence of the postelection plan has not been previously reported. A July 2017 op-ed by Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, refers to Obama directing his staff to “prepare possible responses” to claims of Russian interference in the election.

Trump’s blurring of the lines between the illegal, the unfair, and the merely unfavorable has continued with his rhetoric around the ongoing probe into his campaign, which he has called a “hoax,” “one of the great scandals in the history of our country,” and “truly a cancer in our country.” He has described Robert Mueller’s investigation as “illegal” and a “Witch Hunt … in search of a crime … not allowed under the LAW!

The plan appears to still have legs even though President Trump won a clear electoral victory (if not a mandate), as the Democrats are largely believed to be planning to bring impeachment proceedings against the President should they win the House in the upcoming November 6 midterm elections. Now the same plan, or elements of it appear to be reference points at least in this plan, and former Obama Administration Communications Director Jen Psaki reflects on this with a sense of conviction that this point of view is actually correct:

Not that the question is entirely a retrospective one. Psaki also said she had doubts that Trump would go quietly if he were to be impeached. “I don’t think there is any indication to suggest that if that’s where things headed, he would accept it,” she said. “He’s laying the groundwork for delegitimizing the process now — questioning our institutions, attacking their leadership. This is all fodder for his supporters to work with in the event that things go down a dark path for him.”

Rhodes said he didn’t know how Trump would respond to impeachment. “It’s a really interesting question,” he said. “At a minimum, he could choose to implore his supporters not to accept the result. Given that 30 to 35 percent of the country believes whatever he says, and his enormous public megaphone, you could foresee a scenario where that would lead to a fairly worrisome political situation.”

This situation is not even subject to opinion reporting. It is madness, clear and simple, and it is madness spurred by the Left’s ardent desire to keep power, and to steer the United States and the world towards the Sorosian dream of a “one world” state, bereft of Christian or traditional family values. This was spoken strongly against by President Vladimir Putin in 2013 and since, which is why this group of people has fought so hard to keep Russia isolated and weakened (not that this is working), and it is also why this group of people is seeking the removal of Trump by any and all means necessary, by foul means now, since fair means could never possibly work.

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Rod Rosenstein hangs on to post, but not without pain

Media outlets worldwide jump on story of Rosenstein resignation, which although untrue, still points at his recent wiretap controversy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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When news broke that Rod Rosenstein had given his verbal resignation to the White House Chief of Staff, news outlets all over the world jumped on this story, including us here at The Duran. The initial breaking story turned out not to be so – and Mr. Rosenstein is still holding the post of Deputy Attorney General. But the day was no less chaotic for him, and although the initial story may be premature, it is still clear that an upheaval is definitely in progress.

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To go over the events since the initial story, this is what we know so far:

  • From CNBC:Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will remain in his job at least until Thursday, when he is scheduled to sit down with President Donald Trump to discuss his future at the Justice Department, the White House says.Yet the fact that Rosenstein went to work at the Justice Department at all on Tuesday morning was noteworthy, coming on the heels of a whirlwind 24 hours marked by competing reports that Rosenstein’s firing was imminent, that he had already resigned, and that he planned to resign after being summoned to the White House on Monday.”
  • From Wired: “What was already set up to be one of the biggest, most consequential weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency—as the Commander-in-Chief chaired a UN meeting in New York, the Capitol in Washington braced for a showdown over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh—saw the intensity rise to seemingly historic levels by noon Monday, as news outlets raced to report the long anticipated denouement of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.Nevertheless, the momentary firing-that-wasn’t likely marks the postponement of an impending crisis, rather than a permanent escape.

    The fall of Rod Rosenstein—the man who in his first weeks in office helped justify the firing of FBI Director James Comey and then appointed Comey’s predecessor, Robert Mueller, to be the special counsel leading the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 presidential election—appeared to happen as Ernest Hemingway once said about going bankrupt: gradually, then suddenly.

    Gradually, because ultimately it has never seemed a question of if Rosenstein would be fired, but when—and how far along Mueller would be by the time Rosenstein got canned. Reporters across Washington had prewritten “Rosenstein is fired” stories numerous times, as the tensions between the White House and the Justice Department ebbed and flowed over the last two years. (Most recently, The Wall Street Journal had actually sung the praises of the Trump-Rosenstein dynamic: “It’s fantastic,” President Trump said of their relationship in August.)

  • Fox News’ Howard Kurtz made his comments in this video piece, which also, incidentally, included further reports on the disintegration of the Kavanaugh lynching attempt by Democrats, also covered here on The Duran:

Interestingly enough, Mr. Kurtz notes the Rosenstein media scrabble as “a day of sloppy, and sometimes overreaching, journalism.” This of course is true, as so many outlets jumped on this story. However, unlike the Kavanaugh sexual-abuse fabrication job being orchestrated by Alinsky-acolyte Democrats, the Rosenstein affair at least has some direct connections to reality.

Mr. Rosenstein no doubt raised some eyebrows and hackles at the White House on Friday, when a report from The New York Times claimed that he had once mused over the thought of becoming a human wiretap, meeting with – and recording – President Trump, to give evidence of how unhinged Mr. Trump allegedly was. Further the report claimed that Mr. Rosenstein questioned Donald Trump’s “fitness for office,” a popular soundbite line among Democrats and globalists who seek to unseat the President by the invocation of the 25th Amendment (or any other possible means). CNBC continues:

The report sent shockwaves through the Justice Department and the White House, further straining what was already a messy relationship between the president and his DOJ. Trump has made no attempt to hide his disdain for Sessions, whom the president holds personally responsible for the escalation of the Russia probe. Moreover, it was Rosenstein himself who appointed Robert Mueller to lead the inquiry after Trump fired then-FBI Director James Comey in May 2017.

NBC News reported that Rosenstein and White House Counsel Don McGahn discussed the possibility of his resigning over the Times story, but that Rosenstein made it clear to McGahn that if Trump wanted to fire him, the president would need to speak to him directly about it, face to face.

NBC also reported that sometime over the weekend, Trump decided not to fire Rosenstein after all, in part because of the political firestorm it would ignite, just weeks from the November elections.

On Monday morning, however, the news site Axios incorrectly reported that Rosenstein had “verbally resigned” over the weekend, giving the strong impression that Rosenstein was quitting of his own accord, and that his departure was already a done deal. (Axios, for its part, said Tuesday that its initial report Monday “conveyed too much certainty to a fluid situation by presenting Rosenstein’s resignation as a done deal.”)

Axios and other outlets are now all in sync once again, with the present status being that Mr. Rosenstein is planning to meet with the President on Thursday after his return from New York, where he is attending the United Nations General Assembly. There does appear to be a lot to talk about. However, at this point, all that really remains is to wait.

The MSM is wild with speculation, of course, but at this point the better course is probably just to wait and see what happens.

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Rod Rosenstein resigns from his post before President Trump can fire him

Rosenstein’s comments about secretly recording the President backfire, and resignation may throw the Mueller Russiagate probe into question.

Seraphim Hanisch

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The Washington Times broke the story that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein resigned from his post. He submitted his resignation to Chief of Staff John Kelly.  At present the breaking story says the following:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is out at the Department of Justice.

Axios reported that Mr. Rosenstein verbally resigned to White House Chief Of Staff John Kelly, but CNN said that he is expecting to be fired.

Sarah Isgur Flores, a Department of Justice spokeswoman, declined to comment on the reports.

Mr. Rosenstein’s departure immediately throws Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe into chaos.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the investigation, leaving Mr. Rosenstein in charge.

President Trump mulled firing the No. 2 at the Department of Justice over the weekend.

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This report came after Fox News reported that the Deputy AG was summoned to the White House. Fox reported a little more detail:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is heading to the White House expecting to be fired, sources tell Fox News, in the wake of a report that he suggested wearing a wire against President Trump and invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office last year.

This is a developing story, however one major factor that comes under consideration is the fate of Robert Mueller and his Russiagate investigation, which was authorized by Rosenstein. CNBC had this to say in their piece:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is resigning Monday, according to Axios, which cited a source familiar with the matter.

NBC News’ Pete Williams, however, reported that Rosenstein would not resign of his own accord, and that he will only depart if the White House fired him. He will refuse to resign if asked to do so, Williams added.

Rosenstein was at the White House when Williams reported this on the air. However, President Donald Trump is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

Bloomberg later reported that the White House accepted Rosenstein’s resignation, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Rosenstein’s expected resignation will immediately raise questions about the fate of the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller, who is probing Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump.

Rosenstein’s job security was called into question after The New York Times reported last week that the No. 2 DOJ official had discussed invoking the 25th amendment to remove Trump, and had also talked about surreptitiously recording the president.

Rosenstein oversees the special counsel investigation, and has appointed Mueller to run the Russia probe last year, after Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself from the case.

The special counsel’s office declined to comment on the report.

The White House did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment on Axios’ report. The Justice Department did not immediately respond to CNBC’s inquiry.

Trump has repeatedly blasted Mueller’s inquiry, which also is focused on possible collusion with Russia by members of the Trump campaign.

He has called the investigation a “witch hunt,” and has repeatedly vented frustration about Sessions’ recusal, which directly led to Mueller’s appointment by Rosenstein.

Rosenstein’s expected departure comes on the heels of a guilty plea by Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort to conspiracy charges related to his consulting work in Ukraine, which predates his role on the campaign.

As part of the investigation, Mueller’s team has been locked in an ongoing back-and-forth with Trump’s legal team over an in-person interview with the president.

Trump’s lawyers, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, have signaled that Trump is unwilling to sit for an interview, calling it a “perjury trap” and setting up a potential challenge for Mueller to subpoena the president.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

 

 

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