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Emmanuel Macron wants to lead an EU rapprochement with Iran

France has taken the first step in respect of showing good faith towards Iran, in the context of a possible post-US JCPOA. However, much more is still required if Europe is serious about preserving its agreement with Iran.




Facing unpopularity at home over callous remarks associated with his controversial labour reforms, French President Emmanuel Macron is looking east in order to establish himself as Europe’s leading figure in the diplomatic rush to ‘save’ the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal) from Donald Trump’s threats to fully withdraw from the agreement, after the US domestically de-certified the JCPOA, thus sending it to Congress for extended debates.

Whether Macron cares about the Iran deal as a matter of principle, seeks to enhance his personal prestige or is feeling the pressure from French companies who are successfully conducting business with Iran, is ultimately, a moot point. In reality, Europe does need to take a lead in representing the western half of the east-west agreement that is the JCPOA. Thus far, the most robust statements clarifying the EU’s continued support of the deal have come from the European Union’s High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, who spoke minutes after Trump’s speech confirming US de-certification of the JCPOA.

Everything you need to know about Trump’s de-certification of the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)

Mogherini’s words have now been echoed by the French President who recently stated,

“I hope that we will stay within the framework of this agreement, and President Rouhani has also pledged to stay. Europe and the other negotiators will stay because we have better control over the situation and my goal is the security of the French people. At the necessary time, I’ll be there to have exigent dialogue with Iran. We might have differences but they should not be unresolvable”.

The key to this statement is Macron’s acknowledgement of the EU’s “differences” with Iran. These differences include an EU policy of hostility towards Iran’s Syrian ally, an EU policy which is seen as unbalanced in respect of Palestine and an EU policy which has since 1979, carried anti-Iranian prejudices that are similar, albeit less extreme, than that which comes out of the US.

If, as many indicate, the US will eventually withdraw from the deal or make it so that Iran believes (justifiably) that the US is failing to hold-up its end of the JCPOA, it will fall to the other parties to the agreement to either salvage the agreement without Washington or to otherwise replace it with a similar agreement that does not involve the US.

Because Russia and China have been totally consistent in their support of the deal, support of expanding commercial ventures with Iran and also supportive of Iran’s allies, the onus for meaningful change in order to make up for US opposition to the JCPOA, will naturally fall on Europe. If Emmanuel Macron wants to be the leading voice of the European side in future negotiations with Iran, he will have to make the necessary concessions to win Iran’s respect after the US struck a big blow for wider western credibility. Furthermore, for Macron personally, since he has rapidly lot credibility among a generally unforgiving French electorate, foreign policy may be his only option if he wants to regain personal prestige that he apparently covets more than even most political leaders.

The fact that after Donald Trump’s anti-Iranian remarks, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani expressed his willingness to work with Europe to preserve the letter and spirit of the JCPOA, is proof positive that Iran is entering into the next phase of discussions with the EU in good faith. To his credit, Emmanuel Macron’s willingness to visit Tehran, making him the first French leader to do so since prior to 1979, is also a sign of good faith from the EU.

Beyond this though, as a foreign policy novice, Macron, like even many of his more experienced EU partners, will have to understand something crucial about Iran in 2017. Iran today is approaching  possible JCPOA re-negotiations in a post-US environment, not with a spirit of desperation but of confidence tinged with righteous anger at US hypocrisy. Unless European leaders can show a genuine pivot away from the American attitude problem about Iran, Tehran’s anger could easily shift towards Europe.

For France in particular, there are important steps Paris must take in order to win Iran’s medium and possibly even long-term respect. Because European air power in Syria has always been something of a fig leaf to cover America’s aggressive and illegal campaign in Syria, something Vladimir Putin alluded to during his press conference with a newly elected Macron, there is no point in any European nation or body continuing to associate itself with the so-called Syrian opposition. Even forgetting the Iranian component, the EU would be best to walk away from Syria altogether. This would send a message to the US, that the EU is capable of an independent foreign policy (whether it is or not, would be tested in just such a move) and it would also save a great deal of money among EU powers.

In the longer term, France also ought to de-list Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. The EU, while proscribing Hezbollah’s military wing as such, does not target the party as a whole. The same is true for Germany and the UK, the two other EU states represented individually as part of the JCPOA. If France toned down its rhetoric and official position on both Syria and Hezbollah, it would show Iran that while France will never be as friendly towards Tehran as are Russia and China are, nor would  France pretend to be in a position of being an adversary to Iran, something it would be incapable of, even if it tried. Furthermore, if France made steps to show that it would at least be more even handed in respect of Palestine, this too would account for a great deal of good will.

At this juncture, it becomes necessary to state that my personal view is that Iran, Hezbollah and Palestine are on the morally correct side of the political divides which concern their existence. But just because myself, Iran and the general opinion of Russia and China feel this way, doesn’t change the fact that any true art of a deal, is the art of compromise. Hence, my aforementioned proposals are designed to preserve France’s inevitable geo-political trajectory, while making important rhetorical concessions that will go a long way during negotiations with Iran, but effectively change nothing in respect of the Middle East’s balance of power.

In return, Iran could build a genuine basis for good commercial relations, based on the previously agreed upon framework of the JCPOA, but one that could potentially open up even more east-west commercial highways, without the ‘ball and chain effect’ of having a reluctant United States as a party to the deal.

I for one, do not pretend that the EU is as independent of the United States as it sometimes pretends to be. However, with US geo-political influence clearly in decline, the EU ought to at least try and navigate the potential of a multi-polar world where new realities will confront everyone. Rather than wait for the US to give up on Europe, Europe should instead strike first by putting action behind its words in respect of Iran. In doing this, Europe has little to lose and potentially a great deal to gain.

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Surprise, Surprise! Another Brett Kavanaugh Sexual Assault Allegation! (Video)

Democrats will use this Social Justice tactic on every nomination and election.

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Via Stefan Molyneux

Surprise, Surprise! Fresh off the spineless Republicans delaying the confirmation vote for Supreme Court Nominee Brett Kavanaugh – the Judge has been accused of yet another sexual assault claim of questionable authenticity. Apparently during the 1983-84 academic school year, Kavanaugh ‘exposed himself’ to classmate Deborah Ramirez while she was heavily intoxicated – or so she thinks so, despite admitted gaps in her memory and no additional eyewitnesses.

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White House Releases Late Night Push Back to New Yorker Hit on Kavanaugh

Ramirez recalls “a penis being in front of my face,” and that despite being incredibly drunk, someone encouraging her to “kiss it.”

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Via The Gateway Pundit

The White House released a late night response to the New Yorker hit piece by Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in which a Yale classmate alleged, without eyewitness corroboration, that Kavanaugh exposed himself to her face at a drunken college dorm party decades ago. Kavanaugh issued a statement denying the accusation.

Latest Kavanaugh accuser, Yale classmate Deborah Ramirez.

The White House statement highlights multiple details from the article that undermine the accusation.

Reporters have posted a copy to Twitter, one of them CNN’s Kaitlan Collins.

Full image and text posted below.


“This alleged event from 35 years ago did not happen. The people who knew me then know that this did not happen, and have said so. This is a smear, plain and simple. I look forward to testifying on Thursday about the truth, and defending my good name—and the reputation for character and integrity I have spent a lifetime building—against these last-minute allegations.” – Judge Brett Kavanaugh

The accuser, Deborah Ramirez, admits in The New Yorker’s piece that there were “significant gaps” in her memories about the event. 

  • “She was at first hesitant to speak publicly, partly because her memories contained gaps because she had been drinking at the time of the alleged incident.”
  • “Ramirez acknowledged that there are significant gaps in her memories of the evening…”

By The New Yorker’s own admission, Ramirez was reluctant to speak with certainty on the allegation. 

  • “In her initial conversations with The New Yorker, she was reluctant to characterize Kavanaugh’s role in the alleged incident with certainty.”

It took six days of “assessing her memories” for Ramirez to say she recalled Kavanaugh committing the alleged incident, and that came only after consulting with an attorney provided by the Democrats. 

  • “After six days of carefully assessing her memories and consulting with her attorney, Ramirez said that she felt confident enough of her recollections…”
  • “Senate aides from Ramirez’s home state of Colorado alerted a lawyer, Stanley Garnett, a former Democratic district attorney in Boulder, who currently represents her.”

The New Yorker admits it has not confirmed through eyewitnesses Kavanaugh was even present at the party and other students who knew Kavanaugh said they never heard of the incident. 

  • The New Yorker has not confirmed with other eyewitnesses that Kavanaugh was present at the party.”
  • “In a statement, two of those male classmates who Ramirez alleged were involved in the incident, the wife of a third male student she said was involved, and three other classmates, Dino Ewing, Louisa Garry, and Dan Murphy, disputed Ramirez’s account of events…”
  • “We were the people closest to Brett Kavanaugh during his first year at Yale. He was a roommate to some of us, and we spent a great deal of time with him, including in the dorm where this incident allegedly took place.”
  • “Some of us were also friends with Debbie Ramirez during and after her time at Yale. We can say with confidence that if the incident Debbie alleges ever occurred, we would have seen or heard about it—and we did not.”

Further, those classmates said that the allegations in the story would be completely out of character for Kavanaugh.  

  • “The behavior she describes would be completely out of character for Brett.”

A former student who was best friends with Ramirez said she never told her about the incident despite how close they were. 

  • “The former friend who was married to the male classmate alleged to be involved, and who signed the statement, said of Ramirez, ‘This is a woman I was best friends with. We shared intimate details of our lives. And I was never told this story by her, or by anyone else. It never came up. I didn’t see it; I never heard of it happening.’”

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US Will Be “Defenseless” Against New Russian Nuclear Sub Equipped With Hypersonic Missiles

The hypersonic nuclear submarine is not the only super-weapon that Russia is preparing to add to its arsenal.



Via Zerohedge

The Soviet-era arms race between the US and Russia is officially back on.

To wit, Moscow is reportedly building a fleet of nuclear submarines armed with hypersonic ICBMs capable of delivering a nuclear payload ten times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, according to CNBC, which cited a US intelligence report on the new weapons. Russian President Vladimir Putin hinted at six new super weapons during a speech back in March where he also revealed that Russia is working on a nuclear missile capable of evading NATO’s ring of ABM defenses.

The new Borei II submarine, also known as the Borei-A, is a fourth-generation nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine that will reportedly join the Russian Navy’s Northern and Pacific Fleets once it’s completed in 2024, according to the report. Each sub can carry up to 20 Bulava intercontinental ballistic missiles, which can deliver a nuclear payload of 100 to 150 kilotons. The sub will be the first new Russian sub developed in the post-Soviet era.

What’s worse is that, as of now, the US doesn’t possess adequate defenses to protect against Bulava missiles.

What’s more, unlike a traditional missile, which carries one warhead, the Bulava missile is capable of carrying up to 10 nuclear and hypersonic weapons on its tip. That means one Borei II submarine could potentially launch 200 hypersonic weapons, a threat the U.S. is currently unable to defend against.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at Mach 5 or higher, which is at least five times faster than the speed of sound. This means that a hypersonic threat can travel about one mile per second.

Back in March, Putin showed a digital representation of how one of Russia’s new weapons could evade ABM defenses by traveling high into the stratosphere. The Russian president also criticized the US and NATO for forcing Russia to resort to these weapons. He also dared any of Russia’s geopolitical rivals to call the country weak.

“I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful sanctions aimed to contain our country’s development: You have failed to contain Russia,” Putin said during his March national address.

A hypersonic weapon can travel at Mach five or faster, which means it is five times faster than the speed of sound, traveling at about one mile per second.

And the new sub isn’t the only super-weapon that Russia is preparing to add to its arsenal. Of the six weapons Putin unveiled at his speech earlier this year, CNBC reported that two of them will be ready for war by 2020.

“We don’t have any defense that could deny the employment of such a weapon against us,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in March, following Putin’s comments.

With this in mind, perhaps Democrats in Congress can stop complaining about the ostensibly friendly relationship between President Trump and Putin and also stop agitating against Trump’s plans to allocate more money to the military.

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