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Is Donald Trump trying to drive the rest of the world away?

Analyst suggests Trump’s address represents an empire and leader that doesn’t understand that everybody else has already moved on.

Seraphim Hanisch

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An article in Sputnik News offered analysis on the way President Trump is dealing with the rest of the world. Here an analyst, Tom Luongo offers the opinion that the US president is trying to drive the rest of the world away from America:

Speaking at the United Nations General Assembly this week, US President Donald Trump urged the world to respect US sovereignty while seemingly threatening to violate the sovereignty of other countries. Speaking to Sputnik, US geopolitical analyst Tom Luongo outlined what he believes is the fundamental contradiction in Trump’s worldview.

Sputnik: What is your take on Foreign Minister Lavrov’s discontent with the West’s “unilateral approach” to world politics which he said hinders the creation of a multipolar world?

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Tom Luongo: I think we’ve taken a very dangerous turn here in the US, with Donald Trump and his neoconservative cabinet trying to dictate to the world exactly what we want at all stages. This just feels to me like this is the final lashings out of an empire that doesn’t understand that everybody else has already moved on, and are just trying to figure out how they can minimize the damage while they do so. 

Sputnik: Do you think that this Trumpian unilateralism and resistance to the multipolar nature of the modern world is actually backfiring in some ways and causing countries to move away from the US and forming new alliances?Tom Luongo: Yes, that’s absolutely what’s going on, and part of me almost feels like Trump is doing this on purpose. Donald Trump is a very interesting and mercurial figure, and I’m both happy and sad that he’s my president, because he’s like half good and half bad. I do believe that he feels that the current geopolitical world order that the US has been paying for since the end of World War 2, the post-WW2 institutional order, doesn’t work for the United States anymore.

But I also feel that at a certain level, he doesn’t quite understand that we also don’t have a manifest destiny to tell the world how it’s going to run, and how it’s going to operate, either. That’s a conflict between the practicalities of the real world, and I hate to use the term, but Donald Trump is the quintessential baby boomer in that respect. He really has that kind of messianic American exceptionalism burned into his psyche. And while it’s laudable at a certain level, it can also be really toxic if taken to an extreme.

So I really think that with his personality being the way it is, and his negotiating style, that some of what he’s being doing is real bluster, and some of it is real – his real honest anger.

Mr. Lavrov’s comments are just more of the same of Russian diplomacy, and I think Mr. Lavrov right now is not just the top Russian diplomat, but honestly the top diplomat in the world, and without him, the world would be a much more dangerous place. I have tremendous respect for his ability to bring people together and forge alliances that need to be made in response to aggression on a number of fronts, including not just by the United States, but the European Union as well.

It’s very interesting to see how this is all playing out, and you can see the backlash in the special purpose vehicle that’s being developed by the EU, China, Russia, etc. in order to get around Iran sanctions that are pending in November.

But it’s a bigger issue than that and is also to ensure that there are no sanctions put on the five oil majors and all the contractors helping to build the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. So if Trump does change his mind about putting sanctions on, there will be a vehicle for everybody to get paid.

These comments came after President Trump said some rather controversial sounding statements. However, the “controversy” lies in the nature of the US president’s view of the United Nations contrasted with the view of many member nations, who have become more and more subscribed to globalism.

In 2017, President Trump made a stunning address to the UN General Assembly, and noted very clearly that his belief was that the UN ought to be composed of strong nation-states, each looking out for the well-being of its own citizens, but working together with other member nation-states to help one another make this happen.

This vision is subtly, but powerfully different than the “globalist” view that has become increasingly popular among the political left, which had a great test in the European Economic Union and the subsequent European Union itself. However, the result of turning Europe into some sort of big single “nation” has run into problems socially and economically, with many countries overrun by Islamic immigrants who refuse to assimilate into European society, but who instead tend to hijack larger and larger regions to bring them into compliance with Shari’a Islam.

This year’s address featured some of the same thoughts:

The United States is stronger, safer and richer than when I assumed office two years ago. We are standing up for America and the American people and for the world.

This is great news for our citizens and for peace loving people everywhere. When nations respect each other, they can work together for prosperity and peace. Each of us here is an emissary of the own culture, history, values that make our homeland like nowhere else on earth.

America chooses independence and cooperation over global government; each must pursue its own customs. The U.S. won’t tell you how to live, work, or worship. We ask you to honor our sovereignty in return. My highest honor is to represent the U.S. abroad. I forged strong alliances with the leaders of many nations.

However, as Mr Luongo noted, much of the rest of the President’s address appeared to be a list of terms for the rest of the world to follow. In effect, Mr. Luongo’s criticism was that Mr. Trump was trying to have his cake and eat it to by proclaiming the universal and distinct sovereignty of all nations, while at the same time dictating terms that other nations must follow… just because the US says so.

Now, this admittedly is how many people viewed it. It may also be that President Trump’s message is simply surprisingly strong and easy to hear in the muted and muffled atmosphere of “globalist agreements.” The real acid test, of course, is whether or not globalism actually works. There are many voices on all sides of this debate, and no doubt some people were greatly cheered and inspired by the President’s address and others were not.

Whether the US wants to drive other nations away from itself or not is probably not the issue. But in today’s political climate, both domestically in the US and abroad, such statements as those made by President Trump are glaring. They stand out. They cannot be ignored. And this is a very good thing because it eventually leads the world’s states to consider afresh what the current directions are, and if they really are worth taking.

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“…with many countries overrun by Islamic immigrants who refuse to assimilate into European society, but who instead tend to hijack larger and larger regions to bring them into compliance with Shi’a Islam.”
I suspect you mean “Sharia Islam”?

Sean
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Sean

Stopped reading this muck after “hijack – – to bring them into compliance with Shia Islam”. Does Mr Hanisch have any idea of what he’s talking about? Does he know the difference between Shia and Sunni? Does he know where Shia come from? Does he know that the vast majority of Muslim immigrants to Europe are Sunni? Does he know the difference? Does he even care? Is he going to continue to post this ignorant rubbish?

Constantine
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Constantine

He has zero idea of what he’s talking about. Apart from that, he’s a pitiful lickspittle who’s unable to get his head out of Trump’s arse. He’s simply unable to offer an elementary critical view on his beloved POTUS. But since Hanisch a reliably biased author, Christoforou will keep him on board.

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

To wherever the world is being driven, Trump and the US will have no choice but to come along.

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Beijing Threatens “Severe” Retaliation Against Canada If Huawei CFO Is Not Released

China’s warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony.

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Via Zerohedge


Canada’s extraordinary arrest one week ago of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of Huawei founder and billionaire executive Ren Zhengfei, and its decision to charge her with “multiple” counts of fraud – a preamble to her likely extradition to the US to face charges of knowingly violating US and EU sanctions on Iran – has elicited widespread anger in Beijing, which declared Meng’s detention a “violation of human rights” during a bail hearing for the jailed executive on Friday.

That anger has apparently only intensified after the hearing adjourned without a decision (it will resume on Monday, allowing Meng’s defense team to argue for why she should be released on bail, contrary to the wishes of government attorneys who are prosecuting the case).

And with Canada insisting that it will prosecute Meng to the full extent of the law over allegations that she mislead banks about the true relationship of a Huawei subsidiary called Skycom, angry Chinese officials have decided to issue an ultimatum directly to the Canadian ambassador, who was summoned to a meeting in Beijing on Saturday and told in no uncertain terms that Canada will face “severe consequences” if Meng isn’t released, according to the Wall Street Journal.

China’s foreign ministry publicized the warning in a statement (though Canadian officials have yet to comment):

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng summoned Canada’s ambassador to Beijing, John McCallum, on Saturday to deliver the warning, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

The statement doesn’t mention the name of Huawei’s chief financial officer, Meng Wanzhou, though it refers to a Huawei “principal” taken into custody at U.S. request while changing planes in Vancouver, as was Ms. Meng. The statement accuses Canada of “severely violating the legal, legitimate rights of a Chinese citizen” and demands the person’s release.

“Otherwise there will be severe consequences, and Canada must bear the full responsibility,” said the statement, which was posted online late Saturday.

Phone calls to the Canadian Embassy rang unanswered while the Canadian government’s global affairs media office didn’t immediately respond to an email request for comment.

The warning marks an escalation in Beijing’s rhetoric as investors worry that the arrest could cause the shaky trade detente between the US and China to devolve into acrimony. A federal judge issued a warrant for Meng’s arrest back in August. Though after she was made aware of the warrant, Meng avoided travel to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver last Saturday while traveling to Mexico.

Aside from breaking off trade talks, some are worried that Beijing could seek to retaliate in kind by arresting a notable US executive. While the threats of Chinese bureaucrats might not amount to much in the eyes of US prosecutors, threatening a US executive with long-term detention in a Chinese “reeducation camp” just might.

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The trials of Julian Assange

Eresh Omar Jamal interviews Italian journalist Stefania Maurizi in relation to the situation of Julian Assange.

The Duran

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Authored by Eresh Omar Jamal for The Daily Star (Bangladesh):


Stefania Maurizi is an investigative journalist working for the Italian daily La Repubblica. She has worked on all WikiLeaks releases of secret documents and partnered with Glenn Greenwald to reveal the Snowden Files about Italy. She has authored two books—Dossier WikiLeaks: Segreti Italiani and Una Bomba, Dieci Storie. In an exclusive interview with Eresh Omar Jamal of The Daily Star, Maurizi talks about the continued arbitrary detention of Julian Assange, why powerful governments see WikiLeaks as an existential threat, and the implications for global press freedom if Assange is prosecuted for publishing secret government documents.

You recently had the chance to visit Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. When was this and can you describe the state he is in?

I was able to visit him on November 19, after 8 months of failed attempts, because last March the Ecuadorian authorities cut off all his social and professional contacts, with the exception of his lawyers, and in the preceding 8 months, I had asked for permission to visit him nine times without success—the Ecuadorian authorities didn’t reply at all to my requests.

When I was finally granted permission to visit the WikiLeaks founder at the Ecuadorian embassy in London last November, I was literally shocked to see the huge impact his isolation has had on his health. Because I have worked as a media partner with him and his organisation, WikiLeaks, for the last nine years, I have met him many times and can tell when there are any changes in his body and mind. I wondered how his mind could keep working; but after talking to him in the embassy for two hours, I have no doubt that his mind is working fine. I still wonder how that’s possible after six and a half years of detention without even one hour of being outdoors. I would have had a physical and mental breakdown after just 6 months, not after 6 years.

Detention and isolation are killing him slowly, and no one is doing anything to stop it. The media reports, the commentators comment, but at the end of the day, he is still there; having spent the last six and a half years confined to a tiny building with no access to sunlight or to proper medical treatment. And this is happening in London, in the heart of Europe. He is not sitting in an embassy in Pyongyang. It is truly tragic and completely unacceptable. And I’m simply appalled at the way the UK authorities have contributed to his arbitrary detention, and have opposed any solution to this intractable legal and diplomatic quagmire.

Having bravely defended Assange for years, the Ecuadorian government in late March cut off almost all his communications with the outside world. What prompted this turnabout and what is its purpose?

Politics has completely changed in Ecuador, and more in general, in Latin America, since 2012, when Ecuador granted Julian Assange asylum. I have never had any interviews with the current Ecuadorian President, Mr Lenin Moreno, but based on his public declarations, it’s rather obvious to me that he does not approve of what Julian Assange and WikiLeaks do.

With all his problems, Rafael Correa (former president of Ecuador) protected Assange from the very beginning, whereas Lenin Moreno considers him a liability. Moreno is under pressure from the right-wing politicians in Ecuador, and also from very powerful governments, like the US and UK governments, who will leave no stones unturned to jail Assange and destroy WikiLeaks. I am not sure how long Lenin Moreno will hold out against this immense pressure, provided that he wants to hold out at all.

Assange was vindicated not so long ago as to why he cannot leave the embassy when the US Department of Justice “accidentally” revealed in November that the founder of WikiLeaks had been secretly charged in the US. What do you think those charges are for?

It’s hard to say unless the charges get declassified and I really appreciate how the US organisation, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, is fighting before the court in the Eastern District of Virginia, US, to have the charges declassified.

There is no doubt whatsoever that the US authorities have always wanted to charge him for WikiLeaks’ publications. They have wanted to do so from the very beginning, since 2010, when WikiLeaks released its bombshell publications like the US diplomatic cables.

But the US authorities have been unable to do so due to the fact that WikiLeaks’ publication activities enjoy constitutional protection thanks to the First Amendment. So it will be very interesting to see how they will get around this constitutional protection in order to be able to charge him and other WikiLeaks journalists and put them all in jail.

Why have some of the most powerful governments and intelligence agencies invested so much resources to attack Assange and WikiLeaks?

You have to realise what it meant for the US national security complex to witness the publication of 76,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan, and then another 390,000 secret reports about the war in Iraq; followed by 251,287 US diplomatic cables and 779 secret files on the Guantanamo detainees; and to watch WikiLeaks save Edward Snowden, while the US was trying everything it could do, to show the world that there is no way of exposing the NSA’s secrets and keep your head attached to your neck having done so.

You have to realise what this means in an environment like that of the US, where even the most brilliant national security reporters didn’t dare to publish the name of the head of the CIA Counterterrorism Center, Michael D’Andrea, even though his name and the abuses committed by his centre were open secrets within their inner circles. Although the New York Times finally did, later on. But this was and still is the reality in the US, and even though it may not be as bad in the UK, it’s still quite bad. Look at what happened with the arrest of Glenn Greenwald’s husband, David Miranda, at the Heathrow Airport during the publication of the Snowden Files. Look at what happened with The Guardian being forced to destroy its hard drives during the publication of those files.

There are different levels of power in our societies and generally in our western democracies, criticism against the low, medium and high levels of power via journalistic activities is tolerated. Journalists may get hit with libel cases, have troubles with their careers; however, exposing those levels is permitted. The problem is when journalists and media organisations touch the highest levels, the levels where states and intelligence agencies operate.

WikiLeaks is a media organisation that has published secret documents about these entities for years, and Julian Assange and his staff have done this consistently, not occasionally like all the other media organisations do. You can imagine the anger these powerful entities have towards WikiLeaks—they perceive WikiLeaks as an existential threat and they want to set an example that says, “Don’t you dare expose our secrets and crimes, because if you do, we will smash you.”

If Assange is prosecuted, what impact might it have on other publishers and journalists and on press freedom globally?

It will have a huge impact and that is why organisations like the American Civil Liberties Union are speaking out. Never before in the US has an editor and media organisation ended up in jail for publishing information in the public interest. If Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks’ staff end up in jail, it will be the first time in US history and will set a devastating precedent for attack on press freedom in the US, but actually, not only in the US. Because if a country like the US, in which the activities of the press enjoy constitutional protection, treats journalists this way, you can imagine how other countries where the press doesn’t enjoy such strong protection will react. It will send a clear message to them: “Your hands are free.”

At the end of the day, I think there are two sides to this Assange and WikiLeaks saga: the US-UK national security complex, but more in general, I would say, the people within the national security complex, who want to destroy Julian Assange and WikiLeaks to send a clear message to journalists: “Don’t mess with us if you don’t want your lives to be destroyed.” While on the other side, there are the freedom of the press guys, meaning journalists like me, who want to demonstrate the exact opposite: that we can expose power at the highest levels, we can expose the darkest corners of governments and come out alive and well. And actually, we must do this, because real power is invisible and hides in the darkest corners.

Eresh Omar Jamal is a journalist for The Daily Star (Bangladesh). You can find him on Twitter: @EreshOmarJamal and Stefania Maurizi: @SMaurizi

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Diplomacy a Waste of Time with Washington

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

The Duran

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Authored by Stephen Lendman:


The US is a serial lawbreaker, operating by its own rules, no others.

Time and again, it flagrantly breaches international treaties, Security Council resolutions, and other rule of law principles, including its own Constitution.

Diplomacy with Republicans and undemocratic Dems is an exercise in futility.

Trump’s JCPOA pullout and threatened INF Treaty withdrawal show Washington can never be trusted.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova’s proposed US outreach to discuss INF Treaty bilateral differences is well intended – despite knowing nothing is accomplished when talks with Washington are held, so why bother.

It’s just a matter of time before the US breaches another promise. They’re hollow when made. Kremlin good intentions aren’t enough to overcome US duplicity and implacable hostility toward Russia.

“We are ready to continue the dialogue in appropriate formats on the entire range of problems related to this document on the basis of professionalism and mutual respect, without putting forward unsubstantiated accusations and ultimatums. Our proposals are well known and remain on the negotiating table,” said Zakharova, adding:

“We have admitted (US) documents for further consideration. This text again includes accusations in the form of unfounded and unsubstantiated information about Russia’s alleged violations of this deal.

Comments to Washington like the above and similar remarks are like talking to a wall. The US demands all countries bend to its will, offering nothing in return but betrayal – especially in dealings with Russia, China, Iran, and other sovereign independent governments it seeks to replace with pro-Western puppet ones.

Not a shred of evidence suggests Russia violated its INF Treaty obligations. The accusation is baseless like all others against the Kremlin.

“No one has officially or by any other means handed over to Russia any files or facts, confirming that Russia breaches or does not comply with this deal,” Zakharova stressed, adding:

“We again confirm our consistent position that the INF Treaty is one of the key pillars of strategic stability and international security.”

It’s why the Trump regime intends abolishing it by pulling out. Strategic stability and international security defeat its agenda. Endless wars and chaos serve it.

The US, UK, France, Israel, and their imperial partners get away with repeated international law breaches because the EU, UN, and rest of the world community lack backbone enough to challenge them.

It’s how it is no matter how egregious their actions, notably their endless wars of aggression, supporting the world’s worst tinpot pot despots, and failing to back the rights of persecuted Palestinians and other long-suffering people.

The only language Republicans and Dems understand is toughness. Putin pretends a Russian/US partnership exists to his discredit – a show of weakness, not strength and responsible leadership.

In response to the Trump regime’s intention to withdraw from the INF Treaty, he said Russia will “react accordingly” – precisely what, he didn’t say.

A few suggestions, Mr. President.

  • Recall your ambassador to Washington. Expel the Trump regime’s envoy from Moscow and other key embassy personnel.
  • Arrest US spies in Russia you long ago identified. Imprison them until the US releases all Russian political prisoners. Agree to swap US detainees for all of them, no exceptions.
  • Install enough S-400 air defense systems to cover all Syrian airspace. Warn Washington, Britain, France and Israel that their aircraft, missiles and other aerial activities in its airspace will be destroyed in flight unless permission from Damascus is gotten – clearly not forthcoming.
  • Publicly and repeatedly accuse the above countries of supporting the scourge of ISIS and likeminded terrorists they pretend to oppose.
  • Warn them in no uncertain terms that their aggression against the Syrian Arab Republic no longer will be tolerated. Tell them the same goes if they dare attack Iran.
  • Stop pretending Mohammad bin Salman didn’t order Jamal Khashoggi’s murder, along with ignoring the kingdom’s horrendous human rights abuses domestically and abroad – including support for ISIS and other terrorists.
  • Put observance of rule of law principles and honor above dirty business as usual with the kingdom and other despotic regimes for profits.
  • Do the right things at all times and damn the short-term consequences – including toughness on Washington, the UK, Israel, and their imperial partners in high crimes of war and against humanity.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at [email protected].

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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