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PUTIN: Master statesman with Turkey and Japan – and now Trump

Vladimir Putin has developed close relations with the leaders of Turkey and Japan in spite of continued policy differences and historic difficulties. This is the key to understanding how Putin’s relationship with Donald Trump could develop.

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Over the years, Russia has fought more wars against Turkey than any other country, even more than Poland. Likewise, between 1904 and 1905 Russia fought a war with Japan whose devastating outcome for Russia lead to a destabilising revolution at home. Russia’s relations with Japan did not get much better as the century rolled on. The Soviet Union was on the opposite side of the Second World War vis-a-vis Japan and territorial disputes over the Kuril Islands remain unresolved into the 21st century.

Turkey and Japan’s policies have not suddenly become pro-Russian in recent years. In respect of Turkey, there is a strong case to be made that while Turkish political leadership has moved closer to Russia, Turkey’s policies have if anything become more contrary to Russian interests.

This is why the strong personal relationship between Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as well as that with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe are important case studies if one is to try and ascertain what might become of the relationship between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been the leading political figure in Turkey since 2003, first as Prime Minister and then after 2014 as a strong President. During this time he has developed a close relationship with Vladimir Putin, one based on personal respect, something Erdogan seems to have little of for many other leaders.

This did not stop Turkey from shooting down a Russia jet in 2015 when it allegedly strayed into Turkey airspace for seconds although many independent observers note that it was almost certainly in friendly Syria airspace the entire time.

This was a situation that could have realistically led to war, but because of Putin’s patience, it led to Erdogan personally apologising to Russia for the incident after which he called Russia a “friend and strategic partner”. This is even more astounding as it came from a man who remains among the most unapologetic world leaders in recent history.

In many ways, the personal relationship between Putin and Erdogan has grown stronger since then. Even as Turkey continues to back jihadist groups in Syria, the personal relationship between Putin and Erdogan has allowed Russo-Turkish relations to strengthen in many other areas. This close relationship has also helped to draw Turkey closer to Iran. The door which first opened this was Russia inviting both Iran and Turkey to form the Astana Group for peace in Syria.

Likewise, the Kuril Islands dispute between Russia and Japan has long been a barrier to good bilateral relations between Moscow and Tokyo.

However, under Prime Minister Abe who has been in power since 2012 (after a brief period in power from 2006 to 2007), Japan and Russia have agreed to work cooperatively and through dialogue over the dispute with both sides renouncing violence and unilateralism.

Japan still views many issues totally differently from Russia, including the situation on the Korean peninsula, but Abe and Putin’s close personal relationship has led to an unexpected turn for the better in Russo-Japanese relations. Indeed, Abe was among the first world leaders to visit with a newly elected President Trump and he told his American ally that having good relations with Russia and its President is both essential and a desirable thing.

Vladimir Putin is capable of fostering good personal relations with leaders whose official policies often remain at odds with Russian interests, something which is something of a masterful achievement in bilateral diplomacy.

Russia is unique in that it has close allies (China, Belarus), traditional allies and partners (India, Syria, Vietnam, Cuba, Serbia, Palestine, Greece, Cyprus, newly consecrated partners re-established partnerships (Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Egypt, Venezuela, Philippines) and nations that Russia speaks to with ease in spite of apparent ideological differences (Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, Germany).

In reality, Russia has only one declared enemy in the world and that happens to be the world’s most violent, unstable, illegitimate and at times comical regime, that in Kiev. This shouldn’t be a surprise as this regime was created for the purpose of being Russia’s enemy.

For all the troubles the EU and US have caused Russia, Russia still refers to them as ‘partners’ and this patience seems to be paying off. Germany and her allies have said no to sanctions from the US which would hurt Russo-German cooperation on the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and under Donald Trump, the US is no longer led by a leader with a pathological hatred of Russia as Obama appeared to have.

During the G20, Putin remarked that while US policy has not changed dramatically under the leadership of Donald Trump, that nevertheless, he is a person Putin can work with.

The Russian President stated,

“As regards personal relations, I believe that they have been established. This is how I see it: Mr Trump’s television image is very different from the real person; he is a very down to earth and direct person, and he has an absolutely adequate attitude towards the person he is talking with; he analyses things pretty fast and answers the questions he is asked or new ones that arise in the course of the discussion. So I think that if we build our relations in the vein of our yesterday’s meeting, there are good reasons to believe that we will be able to revive, at least partially, the level of interaction that we need”.

This is official confirmation that because of Donald Trump, the US has been moved from Russia’s basket of disagreeables into something that could realistically approach Russia’s relationship with Erdogan’s Turkey and Abe’s Japan. This is a giant step in a positive direction. Donald Trump offers even more hope because unlike any Turkish or Japanese leader who would necessarily carry some historically anti-Russian baggage, Trump seems not only unmoved by the recent trend of Russophobia, but he seems to admire much about Russia’s conservative outlook, Christian heritage and strong leadership, three things Trump is keen to associate himself with in the US.

Putin once admitted that the “men in black suits” run America, a euphemism for the deep state, but it increasingly seems that Trump will at least sometimes put up a fight with them meaning that there is a small but crucial potential for the US under Trump to become slightly more elevated in terms of relations with Russia vis-a-vis that of Erodgan’s Turkey and Abe’s Japan.

The deep state sees controlling and meddling in Russia’s natural sphere of influence as a crucial American ‘red line’, but Donald Trump seems to see things differently.  Even if Trump remains compromised in this respect for the foreseeable future, the world is still in better shape than it was under Obama, let alone better than it would be under Hillary Clinton whose perverse combination of avarice and fanaticism could have easily covered the world in blood and perhaps also nuclear fallout.

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EU leaders dictate Brexit terms to Theresa May (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 115.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how EU leaders have agreed on a plan to delay the the Article 50 process which effectively postpones Brexit beyond the 29 March deadline.

The UK will now be offered a delay until the 22nd of May, only if MPs approve Theresa May’s withdrawal deal next week. If MPs do not approve May’s negotiated deal, then the EU will support a short delay until the 12th of April, allowing the UK extra time to get the deal passed or to “indicate a way forward”.

UK PM Theresa May said there was now a “clear choice” facing MPs, who could vote for a third time on her deal next week.

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Theresa May outlines four Brexit options, via Politico

In a letter to MPs, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May set out the four options she believes the country has in light of Thursday’s decision by EU leaders to extend the Brexit deadline beyond next Friday.

The U.K. is faced with a four-way choice, May wrote late Friday.

The government could revoke Article 50 — which May called a betrayal of the Brexit vote; leave without a deal on April 12; pass her deal in a vote next week; or, “if it appears that there is not sufficient support” for a vote on her deal in parliament next week or if it is rejected for a third time, she could ask for an extension beyond April 12.

But this would require for the U.K. taking part in European elections in May, which the prime minister said “would be wrong.”

May wrote that she’s hoping for the deal to pass, allowing the U.K. to leave the EU “in an orderly way,” adding “I still believe there is a majority in the House for that course of action.”

“I hope we can all agree that we are now at the moment of decision,” she wrote.

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US media suffers panic attack after Mueller fails to deliver on much-anticipated Trump indictment

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

RT

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Via RT


Important pundits and news networks have served up an impressive display of denials, evasions and on-air strokes after learning that Robert Mueller has ended his probe without issuing a single collusion-related indictment.

The Special Counsel delivered his final report to Attorney General William Barr for review on Friday, with the Justice Department confirming that there will be no further indictments related to the probe. The news dealt a devastating blow to the sensational prophesies of journalists, analysts and entire news networks, who for nearly two years reported ad nauseam that President Donald Trump and his inner circle were just days away from being carted off to prison for conspiring with the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Showing true integrity, journalists and television anchors took to Twitter and the airwaves on Friday night to acknowledge that the media severely misreported Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia, as well as what Mueller’s probe was likely to find. They are, after all, true professionals.

“How could they let Trump off the hook?” an inconsolable Chris Matthews asked NBC reporter Ken Dilanian during a segment on CNN’s ‘Hardball’.

Dilanian tried to comfort the CNN host with some of his signature NBC punditry.

“My only conclusion is that the president transmitted to Mueller that he would take the Fifth. He would never talk to him and therefore, Mueller decided it wasn’t worth the subpoena fight,” he expertly mused.

Actually, there were several Serious Journalists who used their unsurpassed analytical abilities to conjure up a reason why Mueller didn’t throw the book at Trump, even though the president is clearly a Putin puppet.

“It’s certainly possible that Trump may emerge from this better than many anticipated. However! Consensus has been that Mueller would follow DOJ rules and not indict a sitting president. I.e. it’s also possible his report could be very bad for Trump, despite ‘no more indictments,'” concluded Mark Follman, national affairs editor at Mother Jones, who presumably, and very sadly, was not being facetious.

Revered news organs were quick to artfully modify their expectations regarding Mueller’s findings.

“What is collusion and why is Robert Mueller unlikely to mention it in his report on Trump and Russia?” a Newsweek headline asked following Friday’s tragic announcement.

Three months earlier, Newsweek had meticulously documented all the terrible “collusion” committed by Donald Trump and his inner circle.

But perhaps the most sobering reactions to the no-indictment news came from those who seemed completely unfazed by the fact that Mueller’s investigation, aimed at uncovering a criminal conspiracy between Trump and the Kremlin, ended without digging up a single case of “collusion.”

The denials, evasions and bizarre hot takes are made even more poignant by the fact that just days ago, there was still serious talk about Trump’s entire family being hauled off to prison.

“You can’t blame MSNBC viewers for being confused. They largely kept dissenters from their Trump/Russia spy tale off the air for 2 years. As recently as 2 weeks ago, they had @JohnBrennan strongly suggesting Mueller would indict Trump family members on collusion as his last act,” journalist Glenn Greenwald tweeted.

While the Mueller report has yet to be released to the public, the lack of indictments makes it clear that whatever was found, nothing came close to the vast criminal conspiracy alleged by virtually the entire American media establishment.

“You have been lied to for 2 years by the MSM. No Russian collusion by Trump or anyone else. Who lied? Head of the CIA, NSA,FBI,DOJ, every pundit every anchor. All lies,” wrote conservative activist Chuck Woolery.

Internet mogul Kim Dotcom was more blunt, but said it all: “Mueller – The name that ended all mainstream media credibility.”

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Canadian Lawmaker Accuses Trudeau Of Being A “Fake Feminist” (Video)

Rempel segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career

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Via Zerohedge

Canada’s feminist-in-chief Justin Trudeau wants to support and empower women…but his support stops at the point where said women start creating problems for his political agenda.

That was the criticism levied against the prime minister on Friday by a conservative lawmaker, who took the PM to task for “muzzling strong, principled women” during a debate in the House of Commons.

“He asked for strong women, and this is what they look like!” said conservative MP Michelle Rempel, referring to the former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould, who has accused Trudeau and his cronies of pushing her out of the cabinet after she refused to grant a deferred prosecution agreement to a Quebec-based engineering firm.

She then accused Trudeau of being a “fake feminist”.

“That’s not what a feminist looks like…Every day that he refuses to allow the attorney general to testify and tell her story is another day he’s a fake feminist!”

Trudeau was so taken aback by Rempel’s tirade, that he apparently forgot which language he should respond in.

But Rempel wasn’t finished. She then segued to Trudeau’s push to quash an investigation into allegations that he once groped a young journalist early in his political career. This from a man who once objected to the continued use of the word “mankind” (suggesting we use “peoplekind” instead).

The conservative opposition then tried to summon Wilson-Raybould to appear before the Commons for another hearing (during her last appearance, she shared her account of how the PM and employees in the PM’s office and privy council barraged her with demands that she quash the government’s pursuit of SNC-Lavalin over charges that the firm bribed Libyan government officials). Wilson-Raybould left the Trudeau cabinet after she was abruptly moved to a different ministerial post – a move that was widely seen as a demotion.

Trudeau has acknowledged that he put in a good word on the firm’s behalf with Wilson-Raybould, but insists that he always maintained the final decision on the case was hers and hers alone.

Fortunately for Canadians who agree with Rempel, it’s very possible that Trudeau – who has so far resisted calls to resign – won’t be in power much longer, as the scandal has cost Trudeau’s liberals the lead in the polls for the October election.

 

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