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China and Russia pose growing threats to Western power

Aggressive US-led military exercises continue to create an accidental risk of conflict.

Shane Quinn

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As we advance further into the 21st century, American hegemony is facing new and increasing threats to its global status. With China and Russia gaining in strength and audacity, US power is being challenged like never before.

Gideon Rachman, a chief columnist with the Financial Times asks, “How long can a country [US] that represents less than 5% of the world’s population and 22% of the global economy, remain the world’s dominant military and political power?”

America is by far the greatest military power on earth – and that is not going to end soon. However, military dominance, and the American willingness to venture down that road, can only take them so far.

Both China and Russia possess nuclear weapons, for example. The US will not willingly enter a war with either power in a bid to regain lost power. Largely because of US belligerence, there is always the chance of a planet-altering accident occurring.

Rachman outlines that, “Since the Cold War ended, the overwhelming power of the US military has been the central fact of global politics. Now… that power is being tested – as America’s rivals test its resolve and the US considers when and whether to push back”.

China are today asserting themselves in the seas that bear their name. Much to American irritation and dismay, one might add. How dare China ignore American warnings by conducting exercises thousands of kilometres from Washington?

It may be assumed the American reaction would be even more vociferous, were China performing military drills in the Caribbean. Fortunately, Chinese intentions are more realistic.

Two months ago, the USS John S McCain sailed perilously close to an artificial Chinese-built island in the South China Sea. Disturbed by the appearance of the 500-foot long US warship, a Chinese frigate sent at least 10 radio warnings to its uninvited guest.

Though seldom mentioned, such incidents carry an underlying threat of nuclear war. Lamenting the episode, a US official said, “We told them we are a US ship conducting routine operations in international waters”, further describing the interactions as “safe and professional”.

However, the Chinese foreign ministry said, “The US destroyer’s actions have violated Chinese and international laws, as well as severely harming China’s sovereignty and security”.

Disagreeing, Pentagon spokesman Chris Logan responded, “The United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law applies”. Translating into plain English here, “international law” means “American law”.

Less than two weeks after this very incident [on August 21], the USS McCain was involved in a serious collision with a Liberian oil tanker, off the coast of Singapore. Ten American sailors died, in what constitutes just one of various incidents involving US warships in Asia this year.

Nor are these episodes limited to US warships. American fighter bombers and jets can be seen at regular intervals flying over the South China Sea, as they conduct “freedom of navigation” exercises. In reality, these provocative and dangerous gestures are a reminder to China of American military capacity.

China appears immune to American warnings. Their influence is spreading with the BBC reporting in July that, “China claims sovereignty over almost all the South China Sea, which the US has challenged”. The South China Sea – part of the Pacific Ocean and flowing past Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Borneo and Singapore – signifies one of the world’s most important trade routes.

In July this year, two US B-1B Lancers staged joint flights with Japanese aircraft – first over the East China Sea, then flying on to the South China Sea. A US Pacific Air Forces statement said the operation was to, “demonstrate the solidarity between Japan and the US to defend against provocative and destabilising actions in the Pacific Theatre”.

The Pacific Theatre? One could be forgiven for assuming we are still in the year 1944. Few seem able to query why the Americans retain a presence on the far side of the world over 70 years later. Indeed, the US has treated the Pacific Ocean as “an American lake” in all the time since. Times are clearly changing.

In May, China detailed plans to construct a $900 billion modernised version of the old Silk Road – which was an ancient network of trade routes. For about 1,600 years, the old Silk Road connected China eastwards to the Korean peninsula and Japan, and as far as Europe and Africa westwards.

The old Silk Road collapsed in the mid-15th century, mainly due to the long-time spread of diseases along the route, such as anthrax and bubonic plague. China lost half its population to plague in the 14th century, with Europe losing a third of theirs.

The British Chancellor Philip Hammond said the new Silk Road would, “span 65 countries, across four continents, with the potential to raise the living standards of 70% of the global population”, calling the project “truly ground-breaking”.

Elsewhere, US influence is being challenged by a re-assertive Russia. In 2014, the idyllic region of Crimea was reintegrated into Russian territory. Crimea was part of Russian and Soviet land for more than two centuries (1783-1991) – something hardly ever mentioned.

Crimea’s reincorporation also signified another show of strength – that Russia is definitively unwillingly to put up with destructive Western influence any longer. This followed on from the South Ossetian war of 2008, which as Prof. Richard Sakwa of University of Kent wrote, “was in effect the first of the wars to stop NATO enlargement”.

Six years after that, Crimea’s return to Russia also stood as a response to the vicious Western-led coup in the Ukraine. In 2015, Barack Obama publicly admitted American involvement in an unguarded CNN interview. The Ukrainian putsch has plunged a country, with a long history of Western exploitation, into another abyss.

The Kiev regime is in reality a far-right government led by billionaire Petro Poroshenko. In June it was reported he had a 1% public approval rating according to the Kyiv (sic) Post.

Poroshenko’s  administration is the most corrupt in Europe, with direct links to neo-Nazi groups fighting in eastern Ukrainian regions like Donetsk and Donbass. Virtually none of these unwanted facts are reported to Western audiences.

Instead, it is Russia who continues to be shamelessly vilified for attempting to secure her borders against increased aggression. In response to Crimea’s reintegration, NATO manoeuvres up to Russia’s borders have grown in scale and menace. NATO receives a massive 75% of its funding from the US, and its policies have long been a global security threat.

Indeed NATO, formed in 1949, should have been dismantled decades ago. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first supreme commander of NATO, wrote in 1950 that, “If in 10 years, all American troops stationed in Europe for national defence purposes have not been returned to the United States, then this whole project [NATO] will have failed”.

Furthermore, Russia’s intervention in Syria by defeating Western-backed opposition terrorists, also underlines the loss of US control in the Middle East. An outcome like this would have been unthinkable a decade ago. Disastrous American interventions in the Middle East have resulted in a significant decline of influence there too.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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New Satellite Images Reveal Aftermath Of Israeli Strikes On Syria; Putin Accepts Offer to Probe Downed Jet

The images reveal the extent of destruction in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport.

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Via Zerohedge


An Israeli satellite imaging company has released satellite photographs that reveal the extent of Monday night’s attack on multiple locations inside Syria.

ImageSat International released them as part of an intelligence report on a series of Israeli air strikes which lasted for over an hour and resulted in Syrian missile defense accidentally downing a Russian surveillance plane that had 15 personnel on board.

The images reveal the extent of destruction on one location struck early in attack in the port city of Latakia, as well as the aftermath of a prior strike on Damascus International Airport. On Tuesday Israel owned up to carrying out the attack in a rare admission.

Syrian official SANA news agency reported ten people injured in the attacks carried out of military targets near three major cities in Syria’s north.

The Times of Israel, which first reported the release of the new satellite images, underscores the rarity of Israeli strikes happening that far north and along the coast, dangerously near Russian positions:

The attack near Latakia was especially unusual because the port city is located near a Russian military base, the Khmeimim Air Force base. The base is home to Russian jet planes and an S-400 aerial defense system. According to Arab media reports, Israel has rarely struck that area since the Russians arrived there.

The Russian S-400 system was reportedly active during the attack, but it’s difficult to confirm or assess the extent to which Russian missiles responded during the strikes.

Three of the released satellite images show what’s described as an “ammunition warehouse” that appears to have been completely destroyed.

The IDF has stated their airstrikes targeted a Syrian army facility “from which weapons-manufacturing systems were supposed to be transferred to Iran and Hezbollah.” This statement came after the IDF expressed “sorrow” for the deaths of Russian airmen, but also said responsibility lies with the “Assad regime.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also phoned Russian President Vladimir Putin to express regret over the incident while offering to send his air force chief to Russia with a detailed report — something which Putin agreed to.

According to Russia’s RT News, “Major-General Amikam Norkin will arrive in Moscow on Thursday, and will present the situation report on the incident, including the findings of the IDF inquiry regarding the event and the pre-mission information the Israeli military was so reluctant to share in advance.”

Russia’s Defense Ministry condemned the “provocative actions by Israel as hostile” and said Russia reserves “the right to an adequate response” while Putin has described the downing of the Il-20 recon plane as likely the result of a “chain of tragic accidental circumstances” and downplayed the idea of a deliberate provocation, in contradiction of the initial statement issued by his own defense ministry.

Pro-government Syrians have reportedly expressed frustration this week that Russia hasn’t done more to respond militarily to Israeli aggression; however, it appears Putin may be sidestepping yet another trap as it’s looking increasingly likely that Israel’s aims are precisely geared toward provoking a response in order to allow its western allies to join a broader attack on Damascus that could result in regime change.

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“Transphobic” Swedish Professor May Lose Job After Noting Biological Differences Between Sexes

A university professor in Sweden is under investigation after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded”

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Via Zerohedge


A university professor in Sweden is under investigation for “anti-feminism” and “transphobia” after he said that there are fundamental differences between men and women which are “biologically founded” and that genders cannot be regarded as “social constructs alone,” reports Academic Rights Watch.

For his transgression, Germund Hesslow – a professor of neuroscience at Lund University – who holds dual PhDs in philosophy and neurophysiology, may lose his job – telling RT that a “full investigation” has been ordered, and that there “have been discussions about trying to stop the lecture or get rid of me, or have someone else give the lecture or not give the lecture at all.”

“If you answer such a question you are under severe time pressure, you have to be extremely brief — and I used wording which I think was completely innocuous, and that apparently the student didn’t,” Hesslow said.

Hesslow was ordered to attend a meeting by Christer Larsson, chairman of the program board for medical education, after a female student complained that Hesslow had a “personal anti-feminist agenda.” He was asked to distance himself from two specific comments; that gay women have a “male sexual orientation” and that the sexual orientation of transsexuals is “a matter of definition.”

The student’s complaint reads in part (translated):

I have also heard from senior lecturers that Germund Hesslow at the last lecture expressed himself transfobically. In response to a question of transexuallism, he said something like “sex change is a fly”. Secondly, it is outrageous because there may be students during the lecture who are themselves exposed to transfobin, but also because it may affect how later students in their professional lives meet transgender people. Transpersonals already have a high level of overrepresentation in suicide statistics and there are already major shortcomings in the treatment of transgender in care, should not it be countered? How does this kind of statement coincide with the university’s equal treatment plan? What has this statement given for consequences? What has been done for this to not be repeated? –Academic Rights Watch

After being admonished, Hesslow refused to distance himself from his comments, saying that he had “done enough” already and didn’t have to explain and defend his choice of words.

At some point, one must ask for a sense of proportion among those involved. If it were to become acceptable for students to record lectures in order to find compromising formulations and then involve faculty staff with meetings and long letters, we should let go of the medical education altogether,” Hesslow said in a written reply to Larsson.

He also rejected the accusation that he had a political agenda – stating that his only agenda was to let scientific factnot new social conventions, dictate how he teaches his courses.

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