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The Sun that Never Sets: Why was Mugabe forced to resign?

We take a closer look at the facts behind the Zimbabwe coup, and here’s what we found.

Haneul Na'avi

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Republished with permission from Regional Rapport

“We cling to our own point of view, as though everything depended on it. Yet our opinions have no permanence; like autumn and winter, they gradually pass away.” Chuang Tsu

93-year old former Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party leader and President Robert Mugabe finally met his maker, at least politically, after a nearly 40-year reign.

After foolishly sacking Vice President Emmanuel Mnangagwa to pass the Mugabe dynasty to his wife, “Gucci” Grace Mugabe, the Zimbabwe National National Army swiftly retaliated in what “seemed like a coup” at his posh Harare residence.

The military elite, many from the defunct Zimbabwe African National Liberation Army (ZANLA) that fought alongside both officials during the Rhodesian Bush War, seized control of the government.

Watching nervously from afar, African Union Commission Chair Moussa Faki Mahamat meeped that the shocking events should be “resolved in a manner that promotes democracy and human rights, as well as the socio-economic development of Zimbabwe.”

Surprisingly, the military did just that. Nobody was injured and Mugabe was forced to resign, and  Mnangagwa was reappointed to office shortly afterwards.

Zimbabwe now has the real possibility of a political restructuring, following imminent purges to remove political deadwood, to clear the way for a rapid industrialisation of the country.

The country can now assume a more moderate position seamless with its Asia-centric Look East” foreign policy, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Action Plan, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and African Union’s Agenda 2063 plan.

Theoretical Analyses of the Zimbabwean Coup

Mugabe actions violated his sacred contract with the nation’s military top brass—the backbone of Zimbabwean government—which has guaranteed his longevity until now.

Revisiting Niccolò Machiavelli’s “The Prince” he explains in Chapter XIV that,

[…] it is seen that when princes have thought more of ease than of arms they have lost their states. And the first cause of your losing it is to neglect this art; and what enables you to acquire a state is to be master of the art.

Going further, Machiavelli notes in Chapter XIX that rulers are,

[…] contemptible to be considered fickle, frivolous, effeminate, mean-spirited, irresolute […]

This is precisely what Mugabe’s leadership had become, as he depended too heavily on his military to retain power, whilst neglecting his ‘princely duties’. Conversely, Mnangagwa, known as “the Crocodile” for his formidable military expertise, fully kept the confidence of his armed forces.

In reality, Zimbabwe’s battle is not with ‘imperialists’, but with Mugabe’s own counterproductive policies, international sanctions regimes, massive hyperinflation, health crises, capital and power shortages, and its pariah reputation abroad.

On the surface, the country has longed to eradicate these problems, but has continuously vacillated between Chinese and Western financial support, and its pseudo-socialist foundations have now achieved the same results as the Former Yugoslavia, Brazil and Argentina.

Consequentially, Mugabe’s controversial 2000 ‘land reform’ policy (known as the ‘Third Chimurenga’) aggravated his relationship with Western benefactors.

A SAIIA report offers incredible insights,

[While] Mugabe wanted to ‘free’ Zimbabwe from its traditional Western partners, the country received substantial aid from them in the 1980s, including $417 million from the World Bank, $204 million from the US, and $156 million from the European Economic Community. In the early 2000s, most of Zimbabwe’s trade, investments and loans were with or came from its neighbours and the West.

It continues,

After the US’ promulgation of the Zimbabwe Democracy and Economic Recovery Act (ZDERA) in December 2001, Zimbabwe reeled under tightened targeted sanctions, [which] were exacerbated by the prohibition of budgetary assistance by the [IMF] and the World Bank.

Therefore, Mugabe’s post-millennium career of anti-Western twaddling wholly contradict the primary source of his capital wealth prior to 2000.

The ZANU-PF’s Look East policy and 2013-2018 Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (ZIM-ASSET) programme were merely reactions to this painful transition from West to East, as the country capitalised on the 2000 Forum on Chinese-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to help eliminate the country’s Western debt and restructure its impoverished economy.

Another reason for Mugabe’s economic dithering is that Zimbabwe is strategically positioned amongst two Chinese allies within the SADC portion of the New Silk Road, quite similarly to Turkey as the Eurasian doorway to Europe; both are guilty of using this to their advantage.

The London Telegraph explains,

In the last four years, [China] has provided more than half a billion dollars in direct aid for schools, clinics and transport infrastructure in a bid to stabilise a country that sits at a strategically vital point between [its] two largest investments in Africa – Angola and South Africa.

Certainly, the ZANU-PF’s history of double-dealing is not an isolated case, as it has capitalised on China’s belief in the supremacy of the peasantry over that of the USSR working class (proletariat), especially after losing Soviet backing to the rival ZAPU.

This has always been Mugabe’s original support base—the peasantry and military—as the proletarian base was under Soviet control until being merged into the ZANU party in 1987.

SAIIA continues,

For ZANU, the China–USSR split presented an opportunity to maximise its gains in its struggle against ZAPU. The ZANU–ZAPU split coincided with the Sino–Soviet split, partially explaining why China and the Soviet Union were so invested in this proxy-like war in Zimbabwe.

The ZANU-PF party inherently rejects Marxist-Leninism and embraces Narodism, a movement based on the peasantry and their blind submission to heroic figures—precisely what Mugabe and Mnangagwa represent. The ZANU-PF use their legacy of ‘anti-colonialism’ and ‘heroic struggles’ as a superstructural mechanism to rule Zimbabwe, with very little material successes.

Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin explained in his essay “On Narodnism” that,

The revolution of 1905 finally revealed this social essence of Narodism, this class nature of it. The movement of the masses […] swept aside Narodnik, professedly socialist, phrase mongering like so much dust and revealed the core: a peasant (bourgeois) democratic movement with an immense, still unexhausted store of energy.

He continues,

[…] “popular” socialism is a meaningless phrase serving to evade the question of which class or social stratum is fighting for socialism throughout the world […] Class-conscious workers [must] ruthlessly ridicule would-be socialist phrases and not allow the only serious question, that of consistent democracy, to be hidden behind them.

Zimbabwe, through its land reform programme, focused its revolutionary struggle on race instead of class, developing the ZANU-PF party along ideological lines and not material; the fundamental difference between the ZANU and ZAPU.

Lenin clearly demonstrates the correct path to take in “From Narodism to Marxism”,

With the bourgeois peasantry against the survivals of serfdom, against the autocracy, the priests, and the landlords; with the urban proletariat against the bourgeoisie in general and against the bourgeois peasantry in particular—this is the only correct slogan for the rural proletarian […]

‘Anti-colonial’ parties such as the ZANU-PF (and to an extent, many African political parties) are fundamentally bourgeois at their cores because they have not addressed the question of consistent democracy, which is establishing a proletarian dictatorship to eliminate class strata, in addition to this financial dillydallying with Western and Eastern financial institutions.

The Rise of “The Crocodile”

In order to understand the nature of the November coup d’etat, one must look into the support China has poured into Zimbabwe, why this is significant, and why Mnangagwa was seen as the preferred successor to Mugabe.

Firstly, in 2008, political turmoil between the ruling ZANU-PF and Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) parties erupted after Mugabe won a ‘landslide’ victory that year.

Reuters stated,

The Movement for Democratic Change has refused to recognize Mugabe’s overwhelming victory in a June 27 vote held after MDC candidate Morgan Tsvangirai pulled out, citing violence by ruling party militia […]

Following the chaos, both parties signed the 2008 Inter-party Agreement, brokered by then-South African President Thabo Mbeki and the United Nations, in order to stabilise the country and continue negotiations with China on the SADC and FOCAC.

After doing so, the premise was simple. Either the ZANU-PF party can lead the country’s macroeconomic initiatives, or the MDC will, prompting the party to revive Sino-Zimbabwean relations in 2011, which were previously cooled after Mugabe’s brutal 2008 electoral crackdown.

The London Telegraph continues, citing MDC spokesperson Nelson Chamisa,

It’s not a government-to-government relationship, but a Zanu PF-China relationship […] These relations have consequences considering Zanu PF is a sunset party and the sun shall set on its allies.”

Dr. Martyn Davies, China-Africa relations expert and CEO of Frontier Advisory seconded this,

It’s not in [China’s] interests to do some transaction which in two years or maybe even sooner would have to be restructured if there’s a change in Zimbabwe’s political arrangement […]

To prevent this ‘change’, an important part of Sino-Zimbabwean relations included rebuilding ZANU-PF’s coercive apparatus—the national military. SAIIA reports that since 2003,

The major arms sales include 12 jet fighters and 100 military vehicles valued at $240 million in 2004; six trainer/combat aircraft in 2005; six additional trainer/combat aircraft in 2006; and 20 000 AK-47 rifles, 21 000 pairs of handcuffs and 12–15 military trucks in 2011.

The PRC Embassy to Zimbabwe noted that, shortly after adopting the Look East policy, Sino-Zimbabwean trade skyrocketed, with Harare incurring a massive trade surplus with China.

“The trade volume between the two countries in 2002 was 191 million U.S. dollars. The export of China to Zimbabwe [totalled] 32 million U.S. dollars and import 159 million U.S. dollars,” it stated.

Following the 2003-2006 hyperinflation crisis, China threw the Mugabe administration a lifeline by increasing development projects and investment throughout Zimbabwe to sustain its economy.

Additionally, from 2015-2017, Chinese President Xi Jinping cancelled debts for Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and partially Angola and following the write-offs, Zimbabwe adopted the Chinese Yuan to its basket of currencies.

Zimbabwean Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa expressed that,

They [China] said they are cancelling our debts that are maturing this year and we are in the process of finalizing the debt instruments and calculating the debts […]

Contrary to public opinion, this was not under Mugabe’s orders, but VP Mnangagwa.

An observant Bloomberg article revealed that,

Mnangagwa, who received military training in China during a war for independence decades ago, proposed in 2015 to have the Chinese yuan as legal tender in inflation-prone Zimbabwe.

It continues, citing Shen Xiaolei, Chinese Acadamy of Social Sciences research fellow,

Mnangagwa has a more open and moderate approach in economic policies and is also a friend of China […] Mugabe’s receding power is just a matter of time, and sooner is better than later because it can help stabilize the domestic situation.

Wang Hongyi, research fellow on Sino-Africa ties continues,

[Mugabe’s] policy was too radical and Chinese companies there stood to suffer […] Mnangagwa is seen as a steady hand, and he will limit or even revoke the indigenization law.

In conclusion, the military coup was an existential concern for the ruling ZANU-PF party, and the new Emmanuel Mnangagwa administration plans to correct the mistakes of Mugabe’s dynasty. This will satisfy everyone, from the Chinese, to the Zimbabweans, to the new ZANU-PF party, which will undergo a severe but necessary transformation via purges.

As this transition period comes to pass, one must not forget the ominous words of the Zimbabwean Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA),

[There] is an unwritten understanding that there are no permanent friends or enemies, but permanent interests. Zimbabwe’s Foreign Policy therefore, strives to foster long-standing relationships of mutual co-operation and trust.

Those permanent interests have just been safeguarded. In dialectics, there is no permanence, and prominence is given to that which is developing and rising, not decaying and passing away.

Haneul Na’avi is a regular contributor to The Duran, Global Village Space, and ALLRIOT. His work has been featured in RT News, PressTV, openDemocracy, the Centre for Research on Globalisation, and The Pravda Report. Kindly visit his blog Dialectic Productions for more information.

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Nigel Farage lashes out at Angela Merkel, as Chancellor attends EU Parliament debate (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 17.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Nigel Farage’s blistering speech, aimed squarely at Angela Merkel, calling out the German Chancellor’s disastrous migrant policy, wish to build an EU army, and Brussels’ Cold War rhetoric with Russia to the East and now the United States to the West.

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The Ukrainian President Signs a Pact With Constantinople – Against the Ukrainian Church

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via Strategic Culture:


Increasingly tragic and violent events are taking their toll on the plight of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine . After several fights over control of the church’s property, prohibitions and blacklists are starting to spread, affecting respected church figures coming from Russia to Ukraine. The latest news is that the head of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Amvrosyi Yermakov, was deported from Ukraine back to Russia. Amvrosyi’s name popped up on the black list of Russian citizens who are not deemed “eligible to visit” Ukraine. Obviously, this happened right before his plane landed in Zhulyany, Kiev’s international airport. After a brief arrest, Amvrosyi was put on a plane and sent back to Moscow. This is not the first such humiliation of the Orthodox Church and its priests that has taken place since the new pro-Western regime came to power in Kiev in 2014. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has been declared persona non grata throughout Ukraine since 2014. That decision was made by humiliatingly low-level officials. A department within the Ukrainian ministry of culture published a ruling stating that Kirill’s visit to Ukraine’s capital of Kiev “would not be desirable.”

Since the ancestors of modern Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians were first baptized in 988 in Kiev, the Patriarchs of the Russian Church have never had problems visiting Kiev, the birthplace of their church. Not even under the Bolsheviks did such prohibitions exist. So, for Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to be denied permission to visit Kiev can only be compared to a possible prohibition against the pope visiting Rome. Since 2014, there have also been several criminal cases filed against the priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC MP) because they have called the hostilities in eastern Ukraine a “civil war” and have discouraged the faithful from supporting that war. This has been interpreted by the Ukrainian state authorities as a call for soldiers to desert the army.

Why Poroshenko’s meeting with Bartholomew is ominous

Despite the fact that the UOC MP has become used to all sorts of trouble since 2014, things have been looking even worse for the canonical church lately, as 2018 draws to a close. In early November 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko broke the wall of separation between church and state in the most overt manner possible — he signed “an agreement on cooperation and joint action” between Ukraine and the so called Constantinople Patriarchate, the oldest institution of Orthodox Christianity, which is now based in Turkish Istanbul.

Rostislav Pavlenko, an aide to Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook page that the agreement (not yet published) is premised on the creation of a new “autocephalous” Orthodox Church of Ukraine — a development that the official, existing Orthodox Churches in Russia and Ukraine view with foreboding as a “schism” that they have done all they can to prevent. Why? Because Poroshenko’s regime, which came to power via a violent coup in Kiev in 2014 on a wave of public anti-Russian sentiment, may try to force the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine to merge with other, non-canonical institutions and to surrender to them church buildings, including the famous monasteries in Kiev and Pochai, as well as other property.

President Poroshenko was visibly happy to sign the document — the contents of which have not yet been made public — on cooperation between the Ukrainian state and the Constantinople Patriarchate, in the office of Bartholomew, the head of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Poroshenko smiled and laughed, obviously rejoicing over the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchate is already embroiled in a scandalous rift with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian sister church over several of Bartholomew’s recent moves. Bartholomew’s decision to “lift” the excommunication from two of Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic “priests,” in addition to Bartholomew’s declaration that the new church of Ukraine will be under Constantinople’s direct command — these moves were just not acceptable for the canonical Orthodox believers in Russia and Ukraine. Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), as well as Onufriy, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, are protesting loudly, viewing this situation as a breach of two basic principles. First of all, the Ukrainian state has interfered in the church’s affairs, asking Constantinople to give the Ukrainian church “autocephaly,” which that church never requested. Second, Constantinople itself has interfered in the affairs of two autonomous national churches, the Russian and the Ukrainian. In the eyes of Ukrainian and Russian clergy, Bartholomew is behaving like the Roman pope and not as a true Orthodox leader who respects the autonomy and self-rule of the separate, national Orthodox Churches.

The Russian President sympathizes with the believers’ pain

Two days before Poroshenko made his trip to Istanbul, Russian president Vladimir Putin broke with his usual reserve when commenting on faith issues to bitterly complain about the pain which believers in Russia and Ukraine have experienced from the recent divisions within the triangle of Orthodoxy’s three historic capitals — Constantinople, Kiev, and Moscow.

“Politicking in such a sensitive area as religion has always had grave consequences, first and foremost for the people who engaged in this politicking,” Putin said, addressing the World Congress of Russian Compatriots, an international organization that unites millions of ethnic and cultural Russians from various countries, including Ukraine. Himself a practicing Orthodox believer, Putin lauded Islam and Judaism, while at the same time complaining about the plight of Orthodox believers in Ukraine, where people of Orthodox heritage make up more than 80% of the population and where the church has traditionally acted as a powerful “spiritual link” with Russia.

Despite his complaints about “politicking,” Putin was careful not to go into the details of why exactly the state of affairs in Ukraine is so painful for Orthodox believers. That situation was explained by Patriarch Kirill. After many months of tense silence and an unsuccessful visit to Barthlomew’s office in Istanbul on August 31, Kirill has been literally crying for help in the last few weeks, saying he was “ready to go anywhere and talk to anyone” in order to prevent the destruction of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Politics with a “mystical dimension”

Kirill said the attack against the Orthodox Church in Ukraine “had not only a political, but also a mystical dimension.” Speaking in more earthly terms, there is a danger that the 1,000-year-old historical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — which now owns 11,392 church buildings, 12,328 parishes, and two world-famous monasteries in Ukraine — will be dissolved. The roots of the UOC MP go back to the pre-Soviet Russian Empire and even further back to the era of Kievan Rus, the proto-state of the Eastern Slavs in the tenth-twelfth centuries AD, when the people who would later become Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians were adopting Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. It is by far the biggest church in Ukraine, as Mikhail Denisenko’s non-canonical “alternative” church has only 3,700 parishes that include church buildings (fewer than a third of what is owned by the UOC-MP, despite the fact that Denisenko enjoys official support from the Ukrainian state).

What many Russian and Ukrainian believers fear is that the Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew will eventually grant Kiev what is being called autocephaly. In that event, the UOC-MP may be forced to merge with two other, non-canonical churches in Ukraine that have no apostolic liaison. The apostolic succession of the UOC-MP consists in the historical fact that its first bishops were ordained by medieval bishops from Constantinople, who had in turn been ordained by Christ’s disciples from ancient Israel. Apostolic succession is crucial for the Orthodox Church, where only bishops can ordain new priests and where the church’s connection to the first Christians is reflected in many ways, including in the clergy’s attire.

Metropolitan Hilarion (his secular name is Grigory Alfeyev), the Russian church’s chief spokesman on questions of schism and unity, accused the patriarch of contributing to the schism by officially “lifting” the excommunication from Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic church leader — the defrocked former bishop Mikhail Denisenko. That clergyman stands to gain most from the “autocephaly” promised to Poroshenko by Patriarch Bartholomew. A hierarchical Orthodox Church is considered to have autocephalous status, as its highest bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated that for Ukraine to be granted autocephaly from Istanbul, this would mean a complete “reformatting” of the country’s religious status quo and the severing of all links to Orthodox Russia and its “demons.”. Most likely, the new “united” church won’t be headed by the UOC MP’s Metropolitan, but by Mikhail Denisenko, who was excommunicated by both the UOC MP and the Russian church back in 1997 and with whom real Orthodox priests can only serve against their will and against the church’s internal rules.

Constantinople’s first dangerous moves

On October 11, 2018, the Constantinople Patriarchate made its first step towards granting autocephaly by repealing its own decision of 1686 that gave the Moscow Patriarch primacy over the Kiev-based Metropolitan. This 17th-century decision reflected the political reality of the merger between the states of Russia and Ukraine and established some order in the matters of church administration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow gave the Ukrainian church complete independence in financial and administrative matters, but the two churches retained their cherished “spiritual unity.” “Constantinople’s decision is aimed at destroying that unity,” the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill explained. “We can’t accept it. That is why our Holy Synod made the decision to end eucharistic communication with the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

How Moscow “excommunicated” Bartholomew

The end of eucharistic communication means that the priests of the two patriarchates (based in Moscow and Istanbul) won’t be able to hold church services together. It will be maintained as long as the threat of autocephaly continues. The Western mainstream media, however, interpreted this decision by the Russian church as a unilateral aggressive act. The NYT and the British tabloid press wrote that it simply reveals Putin’s “desperation” at not being able to keep Ukraine’s religious life under control.

However, Patriarch Bartholomew seems undeterred by the protests from the Russian faithful and the majority of Ukraine’s believers. Bartholomew said in a recent statement that Russia should just follow the example of Constantinople, which once granted autocephaly to the churches of the Balkan nations. Bartholomew’s ambassadors in Kiev do not shy away from communicating with the self-declared “Patriarch” Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko’s adopted religious name from back when he was the UOC MP’s Metropolitan prior to his excommunication in 1997). For true Orthodox believers, any communication with Denisenko has been forbidden since 1992, the year when he founded his own so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Unfortunately, Denisenko enjoys the full support of Ukrainian President Poroshenko, and recently the US State Department began encouraging Denisenko, by giving its full support to Ukraine’s autocephaly.

The lifting of Denisenko’s excommunication by Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul both upset and embittered the Orthodox believers in both Ukraine and Moscow, since Denisenko was excommunicated by a joint decision of the Russian church and the UOC MP in 1997, after a five-year wait for his return to the fold of the mother church. So, by undoing that decision, Constantinople has interfered in the canonical territory of both the Ukrainian and the Russian churches.

The UOC-MP protested, accusing not only Patriarch Bartholomew, but also the Ukrainian state of interfering in the church’s affairs. “We are being forced to get involved in politics. The politicians do not want Christ to run our church; they want to do it themselves,” said Metropolitan Onufriy (Onuphrius), the head of the UOC-MP, in an interview with PravMir, an Orthodox website. “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been independent. Our church did not ask for autocephaly, because we already have independence. We have our own Synod (church council) and our own church court. Decisions are made by a congress of bishops and priests from all over Ukraine. We have financial and administrative independence, so autocephaly for us will be a limitation, not an expansion of our rights.”

Poroshenko’s premature jubilation

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko did not conceal his jubilation about Constantinople’s moves. “This is a victory of good over evil, light over darkness,” Poroshenko said when the news about the lifting of Denisenko’s excomnmunication came from Istanbul in early October.

Poroshenko said he wanted a “united Orthodox Church” for his country, and he openly pressured Patriarch Bartholomew to provide autocephaly to Kiev during his visits to Istanbul in the spring of 2018 and in November of the same year. Meanwhile, Denisenko said that the provision of autocephaly would mean the immediate dispossession of the UOC MP. “This Russian church (UOC MP) will have to cede control of its church buildings and famous monasteries to the new Ukrainian church, which will be ours,” Denisenko was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying. “These monasteries have been owned by the state since Soviet times, and the state gave them to the Russian church for temporary use. Now the state will appoint our communities of believers as the new guardians of this heritage.” Denisenko also made a visit to the US, where he met Undersecretary of State Wess Mitchell, obtaining from him America’s active support for the creation of a “unified” Ukrainian church.

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring. Poroshenko’s presidential aide, Rostislav Pavlenko, made it clear on Tuesday that the actual “tomos” (a letter from the Constantinople Patriarchate allowing the creation of an autocephalous church) will be delivered only IN RESPONSE to a request from a “unifying convention” that represents all of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers in at least some sort of formal manner. This new convention will have to declare the creation of a new church and elect this church’s official head. Only then will Constantinople be able to give that person the cherished “tomos.”

Since the UOC-MP has made it very clear that it won’t participate in any such convention, the chances of the smooth transition and easy victory over the “Muscovite believers” that Poroshenko wants so badly are quite slim. There are big scandals, big fights, and big disappointments ahead.

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Trump DEMOLISHES Macron; Tweets ‘Make France Great Again’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 16.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at US President Trump’s tweetstorm aimed at French President Macron, who just days ago used the WW1 ceremony in Paris to ridicule and talk down to the US President in front of world leaders.

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Via Zerohedge

Macron’s office has refused to comment on Trump’s claims.

OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SAYS IT REFUSES TO MAKE ANY COMMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S TWEETS CRITICISING FRANCE AND MACRON

* * *

Without directly referencing the rumors, Trump has branded reports that he refused to appear at a cemetery for American soldiers because he didn’t want to get his hair wet as “fake news.” In the tweet, Trump insisted that he wanted the Secret Service to drive him to the speech instead of taking a helicopter, but they refused because of security concerns. He added that he gave a speech at the cemetery the next day in the pouring rain – something that was “little reported”.

Trump’s rampage against Macron continues. The president slammed his French counterpart for his low approval rating, as well as France’s high unemployment. Furthermore, in response to Macron’s “nationalist” snub, Trump pointed out that “there is no more nationalist country” than France..

…before adding a spin on his classic slogan.

Trump’s rage against Macron continues, but this time, the topic is slightly more serious. What could be more serious than questioning the foundation of Post-WWII military alliances, you might ask? The answer is simple – trade!

Trump conceded that while France makes “very good wine” (an interesting claim from Trump, who doesn’t drink), the country “makes it hard for the US to sell its wine into France, and charges very big tariffs”. Meanwhile “The US makes it easy for French wines and charges small tariffs.”

“Not Fair, must change!”

We now await Trump’s order of an investigation into the national security implications of imported French wine.

* * *

President Trump isn’t ready to forgive the “French diss” served up over the weekend by President Emmanuel Macron.

During a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of World War I at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron insulted Trump to his face by launching into a screed about the dangers of toxic “nationalism” and subtly accusing the US of abandoning its “moral values”.

This did not sit well with the US president, who was already facing criticism over his decision to show up late to a ceremony honoring the war dead (the administration blamed it on security concerns though it’s widely suspected that Trump didn’t want to get his hair wet), and Trump has let his displeasure be known in a series of tweets ridiculing Macron’s suggestion that Europe build its own army, saying that France and other European members of NATO would be better served by paying their fair share for NATO while daring them to leave and pay for their own protection.

And in his most abrasive tweet yet mocking the increasingly unpopular Macron’s imperial ambitions (no, really), Trump pointed out that, historically speaking, Europe has been its own worst enemy, and that while Macron wants to defend the Continent from the US, China and Russia, “it was Germany in WWI & WWII,” adding that “they were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Of course, Macron isn’t the only French official calling for the creation of a “European army”. The country’s finance minister advocated for the creation of a Continental army during an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt – a comment that was derided by the paper’s editors, who pointed out that Germans “weren’t very supportive” of the idea. One wonders why…

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