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INF treaty ends, as Europe becomes number one target for nuclear first strike (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 76.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the US suspension of its participation in the INF Treaty with Russia, and the announcement made that Russia is beginning the process of fully withdrawing from the treaty in response to the US pullout, which will be completed in six months.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Moscow would give a “mirror response” to all US moves related to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty.

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Authored by Robert Bridge, via RT:


In a flash, the US has scrapped the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, which safeguarded Europe and the world from a deadly US-Russia arms race. This is particularly bad news for Europeans.

Russia must be feeling a lot like the Native Indians these days with regards to treaties signed with the duplicitous Americans. For the second time in as many decades, the US has gone back on its word, removing another pillar from the global arms reduction architecture.

The Trump administration, in its infinite wisdom, announced on the weekend it would freeze US participation in the INF “for 180 days,” which, from a military perspective, must be interpreted to mean forever. In the spirit of reciprocity, Vladimir Putin, expressing regret that Russia “could not save” the Cold War treaty, said he would be forced to follow suit.

The Russian leader emphasized, however, that Moscow would not deploy intermediate or smaller range weapons “until the same type of American weapons” were placed in Europe or elsewhere in the world.

This latest ratcheting up of tensions between Moscow and Washington was wholly avoidable – that is, if avoiding confrontation is a goal of the US. Clearly, it is not. The unpredictable hotheads now dictating foreign policy in the Trump administration, particularly National Security Advisor John Bolton, a veteran hawk who the Washington Post recently called a “serial arms control killer,” have somehow concluded that playing a game of nuclear chicken on the European continent with Russia is the best way to resolve bilateral issues.

The White House appears to be incensed over Russia’s upgrade of a cruise missile, the ‘9M729’, which it claims exceeds the 500-km flight threshold set down by the treaty. The INF treaty specifically banned the development, deployment, and testing of ground-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km (310-3,400 miles).

In fact, the development of this weapon has so irked the Trump administration that last year the US Ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, warned Russia that if it did not halt its development NATO would be forced to “take out” the missile. Although Hutchison later backtracked on the hyperbole, saying she did not mean to suggest a preemptive strike on Russia, the remark nevertheless underscored the gravity of the situation.

The obvious question is: does the US have legitimate grounds to be concerned over this cruise missile, one of the latest in a series of new weapon systems to be rolled out by the Russian military? Well, if they did have real cause for concern, they deliberately missed several opportunities to examine the weapon firsthand. In fact, Moscow invited US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to attend a public presentation where Russian military brass were on hand to field queries about the missile. Yet the Americans snubbed the event, which could have persuaded them to think twice before dumping a landmark arms control treaty.

On this point, it would have been refreshing to hear some impartial European voices weighing in on the matter. After all, in the event of another arms race between the US and Russia, the European continent will once again be forced to wear a large crosshairs on its back. Instead, EU leaders predictably approached the issue from the American stance, parroting the narrative that Russia, the perennial bogeyman, is in violation of the INF.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, for example, without providing a shred of evidence, said,

“It is clear to us that Russia has violated this treaty… the important thing is to keep the window for dialogue open.”

Immediately assuming Russia’s guilt seems to be a non-starter for any sort of productive negotiations.

What’s behind America’s madness?

In order to get a clearer picture of what exactly is motivating Washington’s reckless behavior, it is essential to remember that the Trump administration’s withdrawal from the INF is just the latest in a long string of aggressive moves against Russia. Indeed, this is not the first time Washington has torn up an arms agreement with Moscow.

In 2002, the Bush administration terminated the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty (ABM Treaty), which maintained something of a suicide pact between the Cold War nuclear rivals known as ‘mutually assured destruction’. From there it has been all downhill for bilateral relations.

With the ABM Treaty swept away, the Bush and subsequent Obama administration proceeded to unilaterally build – despite repeated offers from Moscow to cooperate on the system – a US missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, just a stone’s throw from the Russian border. In May 2016, NATO announced its missile defense base in Romania was fully operational. Following the announcement, Mikhail Ulyanov, head of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s department for arms control issues, warned that not only did the US missile defense system threaten the strategic balance between nuclear powers, the launchers in Romania could easily be re-fitted with offensive cruise missiles, thereby turning a shield into a sword at a moment’s notice.

In other words, Washington is now accusing Moscow of violating an arms control treaty that it itself had most likely violated almost three years ago.

Pierre-Emmanuel Thomann, a geopolitics analyst from Paris 8 University, told RT this is the desired outcome Washington was looking for, which already decided “beforehand to get out of the treaty” irrespective of possible concessions from Moscow.

The US already destabilized the nuclear balance when they decided to get out of the ABM treaty in 2002, and when you look at a map the United States [is] putting missile defense bases all around Eurasia, creating a feeling of encirclement in Russia and China,” Thomann said.

This leads us to another possible reason why the Trump administration made the rash decision to kill the INF treaty, and that is due to the huge strides made by the Chinese military of late. Last year, as just one example, a Chinese firm reportedly completed the successful launch of a supersonic missile, which the Chinese government said could compete on international markets.

China, which is not bound by the conditions set down by the INF, has undergone breakneck militarization ever since. Yes, the United States became an existential threat to Beijing when the Obama administration announced the so-called ‘pivot to Asia’. This disastrous doctrine saw a large chunk of US naval forces enter the Pacific theater. Thus, Washington may be trying to bring the Chinese and Russians into some sort of new three-way arms control treaty, but if that were true, it seems to be going about it in the worst possible way.

Whatever the ultimate cause may be, the United States and its quest for global supremacy, in cooperation with the European Union, which behaves like a powerless vassal state inside of the ‘American empire’, must assume a heavy part of the blame for the increasingly perilous state of global relations today.

Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, adequately summed up the fate of the world following the latest US withdrawal from yet another arms reduction pact.

I ‘congratulate’ the whole world,” Kosachev told the Russian Senate.

The United States has taken another step toward its destruction today.

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Vera GottliebPhoriOlivia KrothShaun RamewePrter Recent comment authors
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Platon
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Platon

The West is run by psychopaths.

Elson
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Elson

Greetings The Duran and Mr. Mercouris, I listened to first part of your anylisis of short range intermediary range missiles and how Europe reacted with mass protests, Im not so sure that same fervor would be realized today. They in limitation say now that youve got the picture what you going to do? Thou has better then a picture, Haroeris Falcon Netter has shown with Europe with recent vote on Mr. Maduro to be sadly pathectic, But this as so that things can be better considered in short order. Greece and Italy way to go! Mr. Mercouris Ive been reviewing… Read more »

Prter
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Prter

The U.S thinks itself as the Lord of the world, where anything it does has no consequences. It may just be mad enough to stage a preemptive strike on Russia, this can’t be ruled out.

Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

Time for duped flunky Europe to wake up and wise up – get with pro-peace fair-trading sovereignty-respecting multi-polar democracy-defending anti-terrorist Russia.

Olivia Kroth
Guest

Shaun, the European countries are too small and too weak to stand up to the US bully. Furthermore, the EU is a bureaucratic moloch strangling Europe. We here, who are living in Europe, are probably condemned to remain US overseas slaves forever. Sad but true!

Phori
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Phori

Watching “Neoliberal Shock Therapy” now and glad you are discussing the mistaken impression of the “West” about the flaccidity of the Russians. Of course, the Russians began their rejuvenation after the Yugoslavian crusades. We saw it at Pristina. It might be suggested that those who are marginalising the Russians are the ones who have best enabled them to become more self-sufficient and a power unto themselves. We don’t need Mueller to expose who the suspects are: they’re all over the news, spending capital – moral and monetary – like gold miners just come down out of them thar hills. And,… Read more »

Phori
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Phori

{delete “do is”}

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

Enough!!! already with this constant fear mongering. Why on Earth would Russia want to attack Europe with a first nuclear strike? Western Russia is also Europe…so why would Russia want to shoot itself in the foot? Who are the “experts” making up these fairy tales?

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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