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Trump and Putin meet anyway, but future meeting plans on hold

Ukraine largely seen at fault even by US media for provocation that was successful at preventing the planned meeting between the two leaders.

Seraphim Hanisch

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US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin did meet after all, speaking informally for a period of time during the G20 meeting held in Buenos Aires, Argentina over the weekend of Nov 30-Dec 1. However, at the present time, prospects for a more substantive policy meeting between the two leaders look dim, with the Kremlin’s Dmitry Peskov categorically saying that there is no possibility of President Putin going to Washington, D.C. for a meeting, at least not at this time.

In a report by Newsweek, it was learned that the two leaders actually did get a chance to talk:

President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held what the White House described as “informal” conversations at the G20 summit in Argentina.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed Saturday that the two spoke at a cultural dinner for leaders and their wives and husbands at the famed Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires Friday night. .

GettyImages-1066780454

US President Donald Trump (R), looks at Russia’s President Vladimir Putin as they take place for a family photo, during the G20 Leaders’ Summit in Buenos Aires, on November 30, 2018. Getty Images

“As is typical at multilateral events, President Trump and the first lady had a number of informal conversations with world leaders at the dinner last night, including President Putin,” Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Kremlin aide Yuri Ushakov said that Trump and Putin had a brief meeting on the sidelines of the summit Friday, reported Reuters.

Ushakov said he met with U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton. Russia and the United States were ready to continue contact, he said.

Huckabee Sanders did not disclose the content of their conversation, but in a press conference later Saturday Putin revealed that Trump had questioned him about Russia’s seizure of Ukrainian ships in the Black Sea.

“I answered his questions about the incident in the Black Sea. He has his position. I have my own. We stayed in our own positions,” Putin told reporters, according to the Associated Press.

Trump had canceled a formal one-on-one meeting with Putin ahead of the summit over the situation in Ukraine, citing Russian aggression as the reason. He had avoided greeting Putin when leaders posed for a picture ahead of the summit on Friday.

For his own part, President Putin was disappointed not to have held the formal meeting, as Newsweek continues:

“It is unfortunate that we can’t hold a full-format meeting,” Putin was quoted as saying. “I think it is very much needed, in connection with issues of strategic stability, especially after [Trump] announced that the United States plans to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. (The INF)”

For the Russians, the main topic of concern as reported by TASS is indeed the US withdrawal from the INF, because they see the Americans as already having broken the treaty over the years through deployments from various NATO countries. The American point of view, as expressed by John Bolton in an earlier meeting with the Russian leadership, takes what appears to be a longer view, noting that several other nations have intermediate range nuclear missiles but are not bound by any limitations treaty, making only the United States the party in need of compliance to an antiquated agreement. However, TASS said a lot more (slight editing and emphasis added):

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, in Buenos Aires that was called off by the US leader was geared to outline ways of dialogue on the United States’ possible withdrawal from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said on Monday.

“We expected this meeting between Putin and Trump, who could have discussed the process and outline ways to a potential dialogue on that topic. But, regrettably, as you know, the meeting never took place,” he said.

The Kremlin spokesman expressed concern over possible impacts of the United States’ withdrawal from that treaty. In his words, “consequences can be very bad” from the point of view of both European and global security. “If the Americans ultimately withdraw from that treaty, there is a high risk, although now they deny it, that they will deploy these missiles in Europe. It means NATO’s expansion towards our borders. If missiles are deployed in Europe, Russia will be forces to take steps to ensure parity,” Peskov said, adding that such “steps” would mean “targeting these missiles.”

“That is, European territories will be in cross-hairs of our missiles. So, here we are back in the glorious 1970s,” he said. “It is illogical. It is dangerous as instead of discussing development goals, we will find ourselves back in a situation of armed confrontation. It is very bad and that is why we are trying to initiate negotiations with the Americans, sending these or those signal to see no reciprocity, due to various reasons.”

It is impossible to create an alternative to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in the current political conditions, he said.

“There is room for improving the document. But is can be improved only on the basis of something concrete because in the current political situation it is next to impossible to produce such a complicated document if it is leveled to the ground,” he said. “It is possible to use it as a basis but it is absolutely impossible to start from scratch.”

“The best option is the US’ non-withdrawal from the treaty,” the Kremlin spokesman stressed. “We can agree, so to say, with certain criticism of the US side that Russia and the United States are not the only countries to have such missiles. Moreover, there is a range of countries where these missiles constitute the core of their arsenals. Naturally, it turns out in such conditions that Russia and the United States are bound by liabilities under this treaty while others continue to develop their arsenals.”

But Russia, in his words, categorically denies allegations that it violates the INF Treaty. More to it, the Kremlin insists that in is the United States “that directly or indirectly has not been restricted by this treaty for quite a time,” developing heavy unmanned aerial vehicles, systems for anti-missiles in regions that can be used to launch small-and intermediate-range missiles.

“It is a difficult problem and there is no alternative to dialogue between the two countries’ experts and political will from their leaders. You know about our leader’s political will. And the US leader is yet to announce his,” Peskov added.

The Kerch Strait Incident received more and more attention from the West as well as Russia, though in a different way than is usually the pattern. The West typically berates Russia for intimidating Ukraine. However this situation was tacitly acknowledged even by US news media as being a timed Ukrainian provocation, designed among other things to make the American president cancel his meeting with President Putin. Stephen F. Cohen acknowledged this in his interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News, broadcast on the evening of 3 December, here:

As we have covered here, the powers-that-be seem intent on preventing any progress at all between the two greatest world powers. One must question why this is so.

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Raymond ComeauShaun Ramewe Recent comment authors
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Shaun Ramewe
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Shaun Ramewe

So many lying media reports from all sides said they wouldn’t. Now who to believe??

Raymond Comeau
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Raymond Comeau

Trump is quick to march to the demands of Deep State and lie about doing so. If Trump is ever going to “drain the swamp”, he has to confront Deep State and then see where his true allies are in the system of unchained Oligarchies! Of course, Deep State could assassinate him first. The Clinton Organization seems well experienced in silencing people that they deem to be a threat!

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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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