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China gets its way on North Korea despite resistance in Washington

The latest UN Security Council resolution on the North Korea crisis shows that it is China’s approach which is prevailing.

Alexander Mercouris

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On 30th July 2017, in the immediate aftermath of North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the United Nations, published a portentous statement saying that the US would not seek an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the North Korean test or additional sanctions against North Korea.

Nikki Haley’s words in her statement bear some repeating

There is no point in having an emergency session if it produces nothing of consequence.  North Korea is already subject to numerous Security Council resolutions that they violate with impunity and that are not complied with by all UN Member States.  An additional Security Council resolution that does not significantly increase the international pressure on North Korea is of no value.

A few weeks later and the UN Security Council has met and has voted unanimously for further sanctions on North Korea.

What happened to cause the US to change its mind?

Firstly, the wording of Nikki Haley’s statement shows quite clearly that the US – or at least Nikki Haley – believed that no further UN Security Council resolution was necessary because the existing UN Security Council resolutions were more than sufficient to force North Korea into line but were not being complied with by various “UN Member States” – a transparent reference to China.

The fact that the UN Security Council – including Nikki Haley – have just voted for a further resolution that purports to tighten sanctions on North Korea shows that either this was wrong or that the US has changed its mind.

I say this because it is difficult to read in the latest sanctions package the “significant increase in international pressure on North Korea” that Nikki Haley was talking about.

The latest sanctions are supposed to reduce North Korea’s annual export earnings by a third, from $3 billion to $2 billion.

This figure however looks historic and wrong.

The major export targeted by the latest sanctions is North Korea’s coal exports to China.  China is however supposed to have suspended its imports of North Korean coal at the start of the year.  Whilst I have some doubts about the extent to which that actually happened, Western commentators insist that was the case.

If so the latest sanctions banning North Korean coal exports to China merely codify a situation which is already existing, and cannot reduce North Korean export earnings by a third from their current level,

Since China is supposed to have stopped importing North Korean coal at the start of this year North Korea has carried out two tests of what are supposed to be an intercontinental ballistic missile.

Clearly the ban on North Korean coal exports to China which has just been codified has not affected North Korean behaviour by dissuading North Korea from carrying out ballistic missile tests.  There is no reason to suppose it will do so.

This is not to say that the latest sanctions are completely toothless.  On the contrary the ban on joint ventures with North Korean companies is a heavy blow, which will restrict foreign investment in the future.   However that investment is not happening anyway, so whilst this ban may one day become a serious problem for North Korea, it does not change anything now.

If the new sanctions do not therefore represent a “significant increase in international pressure on North Korea” why did the US reverse its position by agreeing to them?

Needless to say there has been no explanation about this from the US, and no discussion of it by anyone else.  However the best guess is that the Chinese and the Russians insisted on the UN Security Council having its say, and the US was in no position to say no because the US’s only two other options – a military strike on North Korea, or a trade war with China to force China to ramp up pressure on North Korea – come at an unacceptable cost.

If this analysis is correct – and I can see no other explanation for the recent actions – then it means that the US has lost the diplomatic initiative to China in handling the North Korean question.

The Chinese wanted the UN Security Council involved in deciding the North Korean question because like the Russians the Chinese insist on the UN Security Council’s primacy in deciding international questions.

The Chinese have made no secret of their strong disapproval of the North Korean ballistic missile and nuclear weapons tests and of the fact that they want them stopped, so far from resisting the UN Security Council sending a strong signal about the tests to North Korea the Chinese will have insisted on it.

The Chinese do not however want the sanctions to be so severe that they will put North Korea’s political stability or very existence in jeopardy, and they have have made sure that the latest sanctions are pitched at exactly the level where neither of these things will happen.

The US – increasingly short of options in dealing with North Korea – has been forced to go along.

The Chinese in the meantime have made clear what route they want the contending parties in this crisis – North Korea and the US – to follow.  They have again used the latest UN Security Council meeting to make clear that the option of regime change in North Korea is ruled out, and that they want direct negotiations between North Korea and the US.  They also want  North Korea to suspend its ballistic missile and nuclear tests and the US to end what China sees as its provocative military exercises in South Korea.

In the longer term the Chinese want North Korea and the US to agree a formal peace treaty with each other, with North Korea and the US normalising relations by opening embassies in each others’ capitals. and the US withdrawing all its forces including its THAAD anti ballistic missile interceptors from South Korea.

In seeking these objectives the Chinese have the support of the Russians and of some other east Asian states and quite possibly of the new South Korean President as well.

Some officials in the US – notably US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson – have hinted that they too would like to follow this route.  Tillerson has even publicly spoken of the US not seeking regime change in North Korea.

However on past experience opposition in the US is likely to be intense.  With the Trump administration paralysed, no one can be optimistic that the US is in any position to move forward in this way.

If the US however fails to do so then at some point the Chinese – and not just the Chinese, but quite possibly other east Asian states as well – may decide that the obstacles standing in the way to a peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Korean Peninsula are to be found in Washington rather than Pyongyang.

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Russia’s economy continues to outperform as gold takes center stage (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 118.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris examine how US and EU sanctions have continued to provide a huge boost to Russia’s economy. Russia’s food sovereignty has practically been achieved, as the Russian central bank continues to buy gold and lower its exposure to western financial markets.

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Via TASS…

Outside pressure in the form of sanctions has become an incentive to resolve various issues of Russia’s economy, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in an interview with the Izvestiya daily.

He noted that through introducing sanctions against Russia, “the West aims to destabilize Russia’s economy and to create social and political tensions in society.”

“But during the difficult times, Russians have always stuck together and mobilized their resources in order to ensure the country’s sovereignty. This is what is happening now – the outside pressure has become an incentive to resolve many problems in Russia’s economy,” he said.

“Before the sanctions, it seemed that we would never be able to feed ourselves and that we are doomed to be dependent on Western import. However, right now, Russia’s food sovereignty in crucial sectors has practically been achieved, and in some areas, Russia has become the leading exporter,” Patrushev noted.

Those who apply the sanctions “can see that they (the sanctions – TASS) are ineffective and often achieve the opposite goal,” the Russian security chief concluded.

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US Neocon Foreign Policy and the War Waged Against Serbia

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign.

Richard Galustian

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The ‘witch-hunt’ against President Trump over Russian collusion has officially ended, following the submission of the Mueller Report, enabling us to now focus on the real problems of America that effects the whole world.

In the hope of a waining of the Russophobia in America, let’s look at the US’s recent war history by starting with the 20th anniversary this month of the NATO war on Serbia in 1999 which amounted to almost 100 days of bombing of historic cities and infrastructure.

Firstly, these problems are, in the main caused by the Neocons, or Deep State, whatever you wish to call them, and the continuing promotion, by the US Military-Security Industrial Complex, of wars and regime change and secondly, Trump’s unreserved support for Israel, regardless of war crimes they may continue to commit against the Palestinians.

Incredibly after that one sided unjust and illegal war that NATO executed, NATO has the audacity to invite Serbia to join it! Something that will never happen. What do they smoke in DC, in the Pentagon and Brussels based NATO?

To compound these overall problems, the US Military and Israeli Defence Forces collaborate on these US regime change policies on all continents evidenced most recently by the arrival of crack Israeli troops last month in Brazil, prepared to support an attack potentially by Brazil and Columbia on Venezuela.

As, has now come to be expected, America pursues its Venezuelan regime change with full main stream media (MSM) cooperation, using well proven sophisticated propaganda techniques along with a variety of pretexts.

From Serbia to Iraq to Libya, where does it end? Observe that Trump is now seeking a ‘NATO alliance’ offering NATO status, to President Bolsonaro of Brazil to back the invasion of Venezuela.

So it is important to remember, as an example, that after a long war of economic and financial destabilization ended with the bombing of Serbia.

Serbia was previously a part of Yugoslavia, a country which had successfully evolved after 1945 to solve the old rivalries of the 19th and early 20th Century Balkan ethnic animosities which was, prior to the advent of power of President Tito, its past history.

The United Nations, instead of supporting, in effect, so called ‘humanitarian wars’ and ‘regime change wars’ by the US, using NATO, helped and relentlessly driven home by MSM outlets like CNN and FOX NEWS into people’s heads, must finally take a stand.

So too, Yugoslavia, once the envy of many in the world, given its then ‘non-aligned’ status under President Tito, was destroyed and broken up; ‘Balkanized’ in the early 1990s.

The Serbian assault began first by a ‘financial war’; by sanctions and finished off by an aggressive unprovoked incessant NATO bombing campaign. That’s what we can expect in Venezuela next.

This ‘Balkanization’ strategy similarly applies to Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria et al. It serves US Neocon interests to dismember States in the world and create smaller more ‘manageable’ countries.

‘Regime change’ runs against the intent, the very words contained in the US Constitution. No one in MSM ever reminds us of that fact. Nevertheless America’s ambition to overthrow other States continues, which they arrogantly now make no secret of. The next States will probably be Nicaragua then Iran to name but two.

A very noteworthy most recent outrageous unilateral declaration was made by President Trump, not yet formally agreed by US institutions, ‘giving’ something he has no authority to give; Syrian territory, the Golan Heights to be precise, to Israel. Something that one day could trigger a full scale Arab-Israeli War.

This is of extreme importance yet no real outcry comes from world leaders; well not so far.

The main reason for that decision given by senior US Administration figures is that “God anointed Trump to save the Jews”.

Not forgetting Trump’s need (which we the people don’t understand exactly why) to support Prime Minister Netanyahu in his difficult upcoming elections in Israel – in part because both countries failed to ‘regime change’ Syria – but more importantly to help the ‘financial terrorists’ who formed a company jointly that has already started drilling for oil in the Golan Heights. You might like to know who owns such oil drilling company which should answer a plethora of questions in one go that you must be asking yourselves.

The shareholder’s names tells us everything; Dick Cheney; Baron Rothschild and Rupert Murdoch. The titular heads of neocons, bankers and media on the planet.

In ending there is no more evidence required for us, the people of the world, to rise up against the globalist dark forces wherever they exist, be it in Brussels, London, France or Washington. We must demand democratic elections or start revolutions, the latter has already begun in France in the form of ‘the yellow vests’. And Brexit, by definition, is a rejection by the British people of globalism and American Hegemony.

The pattern of US destabilization and destruction of States to loot them of their sovereign resources is the unseen history of the last 100 years, not taught in any university, anywhere in the West.

As far as Ukraine is concerned, its government was taken down by the CIA and replaced by an ultra fascist regime that has full backing from America. This is no secret. But the MSM simple don’t report it.

US led NATO is ‘the transnational war machine’ of the world, devouring almost all free countries wealth. It can extort to terrorize all into conformity to the global ‘carcinogenic’ US Neocon imperialistic strategy.

A total estimated 20m people around the world have died since the end of WW11 at the hands of US Forces. Think about that for a moment.

One of the most famous sayings attributed to America’s great President Abraham Lincoln is about deception: “You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

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‘Dark day for internet freedom’: EU approves controversial copyright reform

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

RT

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Via RT


The European Parliament has voted to adopt the highly controversial Article 13 provision which would govern the production and distribution of content online under the auspices of increasing copyright protections.

Tuesday’s move will update the EU’s 20-year-old copyright rules and will govern everything from audiovisual content to memes, much to the dismay of many social media users who have already begun outpouring their grief online.

MEPs passed the legislation by 348 votes to 274 Tuesday. Opponents had hoped for last-minute amendments to be made but their efforts were in vain.

Julia Reda, a German MEP with the Pirate Party, described it as a “dark day for internet freedom.”

Article 13 or ‘The Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market’ makes all platforms legally responsible for the content hosted and shared on their platforms.

The process of updating the bloc’s copyright laws began in the European Commission two years ago, ostensibly to protect Europe’s publishers, broadcasters and artists and guarantee fair compensation from big tech companies.

By essentially forcing companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter to pay artists and publishers for the reproduction of their work online, include in meme format, the EU is effectively clamping down on online memery.

The onus will now be on tech companies to clamp down on content-sharing on their platforms, which will likely ensure yet more draconian policing of speech and content.

EU member states now have two years to pass their own laws putting Article 13 into effect.

Tens of thousands marched in protest across Germany ahead of the vote, decrying what they viewed as severe online censorship.

Tech giant Google said that while the directive is “improved” it will still lead to legal uncertainty and will damage Europe’s creative and digital economies.

Critics have argued that the only way for Article 13 to be effectively enforced would be through the use of upload filters which automatically check content to see if it’s copyrighted or not, at least in theory. However, the exact mechanics of such a system have yet to be fully debated and the potential for abuse is immediately clear.

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