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Rex Tillerson injects SANITY into US foreign policy on North Korea, Russia and beyond

Rex Tillerson’s calm, logical and pragmatic approach begs the question: is he really in charge of US foreign policy and if not, why not?

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Rex Tillerson has emerged from his time off, defying rumours of an early retirement. His recent statements made on the biggest issues of the day, mark a sharp contrast from the statements of the majority of American’s Congressmen and women as well as many voices from inside the Trump administration.

While Nikki Haley, the US Ambassador to the UN has disparaged the institution she is an ambassador to, saying that discussions on North Korea are ‘pointless’, Rex Tillerson offered a totally different perspective, one that is more rational and safer given that Haley’s remarks suggest military action is on the table. Tillerson’s remarks by contrast, unambiguously rule out military action.

Tillerson said the following in respect of North Korea,

“We do not seek regime change, we do not seek a collapse of the regime, we do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula, we do not seek an excuse to send our military north of the 38th Parallel.

We are not your enemy….but you are presenting an unacceptable threat to us … we hope that at some point (North Korea) will begin to understand that and we would like to sit and have a dialogue with them”.

Tillerson’s remarks would appear to bring US policy (as articulated exclusively by him) closer to the joint position of North Korea’s neighbours, China and Russia.

Both China and Russia have set out their terms for solving the issues in North Korea clearly. The points Russia and China have made at the United Nations among other places include

–a request that the US, Japan and South Korea cease military exercises in and around the Korean peninsula 

–a request that the US cease future deliveries of the THAAD missile systems to South Korea 

–a request that North Korea cease its missile tests 

–a call for dialogue between all parties, including Pyongyang to reach a deal on de-escalation on the Korean peninsula 

–a rejection of crippling sanctions on North Korea which would cause deprivation among civilians 

Tillerson’s remarks are the first statements from any major US official which give any hope that the United States might seek to at least meet Russia and China halfway in requests which are not only reasonable but objectively good for the cause of peace.

Tillerson’s statement marks a departure not only from Nikki Haley’s arrogant and bellicose rhetoric but it also marks a departure from Donald Trump’s multiple Tweets which seek to paint North Korea as a Chinese issue, as though Pyongyang functions as a protectorate of China which it never has and most certainly does not do now.

China has repeatedly emphasised its discontent with Trump for seeking to ‘outsource’ the North Korea issue to China while somehow implicating China as responsible for the decisions taken by the sovereign state of North Korea, a state which due to its particular style of government is among the most sovereign minded countries in modern history.

READ MORE: China REFUSES to be drawn on Trump’s North Korea threats

Today, an editorial appeared in the China Daily which reaffirmed these sentiments. It stated,

“Pyongyang’s right to develop nuclear capabilities aside, its constant saber-rattling cannot but be taken as a dangerous threat to all, including China, which feels threatened by the damage Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons ambitions may inflict on its immediate neighbourhood.

For that reason, although US President Donald Trump has expressed frustration at what he considers Beijing’s failure to dissuade Pyongyang from its nuclear adventure, Beijing has every reason to feel unfairly burdened with a task that is obviously beyond it, especially as it has been working diligently to broker a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Trump is wrong in his assumption that Beijing can single-handedly handle the matter. As Beijing has said, repeatedly, it does not have the kind of “control” over Pyongyang that the US president believes it does.

Nor will Beijing accept Trump’s allegation that it has done nothing. From Beijing’s perspective, it has significantly increased the pressure on Pyongyang by doing everything the strengthened UN sanctions regime requires of it.

The only thing that has proven to be true so far is no country can solve the DPRK problem by itself. The logical conclusion, therefore, is the stakeholders need to work more closely together in order to find a way to guarantee peace on the peninsula.

Unfortunately, Trump’s threat to link the issue to trade and mount pressure on China show these two stakeholders are moving further apart rather than coming together.

This lack of unity is a formula for failure and may, instead of a peaceful resolution, lead to a worst-case scenario”.

Tillerson’s words give hope that the United States may at long last respect China’s position which is one based on a realistic assessment of the situation and furthermore, one based on the realities of North Korea being a sovereign state.

Tillerson also talked a great deal of common sense on Russia, affirming for the first time that both he and Donald Trump are deeply unhappy with the sanctions against Russia that passed both Houses of the US Congress with super-majorities. Tillerson stated that the President will attempt to continue improving relations with Moscow in spite of the sanctions, even though it is difficult to see how this could be achieved in the near future.

READ MORE: Tillerson says he and Trump ‘unhappy’ about new anti-Russia sanctions

It later was revealed that under Tillerson, the US State Department’s official mission statement has changed vis-a-vis the previous drafting of the statement during the Obama administration.

Previously the statement said that the US sought to promote,

“a peaceful, prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster[ing] conditions for stability and progress for the benefit of the American people and people everywhere”.

However, the current statement reads,

“We promote the security, prosperity, and interests of the American people globally…. (and will strive to)lead America’s foreign policy through global advocacy, action and assistance to shape a safer, more prosperous world”.

The shift away from promoting ‘democracy’ which is little more than a code-word for illegal regime change has caught the eye of regime-change fanatic and die-hard supporter of the fascist Kiev regime, notorious Russophobe Anne Applebaum

All of this has the aggregate effect of making Rex Tillerson one of the few voices of sanity, reason, logic and pragmatism in the US State Department. By American standards, which are admittedly extremely low, one might even venture to say that Tillerson’s is a voice for peace.

The question now is, who is really in charge of American foreign policy? That is a question that six months into a Trump Presidency, still cannot be acutely answered.

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New York Times hit piece on Trump and NATO exposes alliance as outdated and obsolete (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 61.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a quick look at the New York Times hit piece citing anonymous sources, with information that the U.S. President dared to question NATO’s viability.

Propaganda rag, the NYT, launched its latest presidential smear aimed at discrediting Trump and provoking the establishment, warmonger left into more impeachment – Twenty-fifth Amendment talking points.

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Via The American Conservative


The New York Times scored a serious scoop when it revealed on Monday that President Trump had questioned in governmental conversations—on more than one occasion, apparently—America’s membership in NATO. Unfortunately the paper then slipped into its typical mode of nostrum journalism. My Webster’s New World Dictionary defines “nostrum” as “quack medicine” entailing “exaggerated claims.” Here we had quack journalism executed in behalf of quack diplomacy.

The central exaggerated claim is contained in the first sentence, in which it is averred that NATO had “deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” This is wrong, as can be seen through just a spare amount of history.

True, NATO saved Europe from the menace of Russian Bolshevism. But it did so not over 70 years but over 40 years—from 1949 to 1989. That’s when the Soviet Union had 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops poised on Western Europe’s doorstep, positioned for an invasion of Europe through the lowlands of Germany’s Fulda Gap.

How was this possible? It was possible because Joseph Stalin had pushed his armies farther and farther into the West as the German Wehrmacht collapsed at the end of World War II. In doing so, and in the process capturing nearly all of Eastern Europe, he ensured that the Soviets had no Western enemies within a thousand miles of Leningrad or within 1,200 miles of Moscow. This vast territory represented not only security for the Russian motherland (which enjoys no natural geographical barriers to deter invasion from the West) but also a potent staging area for an invasion of Western Europe.

The first deterrent against such an invasion, which Stalin would have promulgated had he thought he could get away with it, was America’s nuclear monopoly. By the time that was lost, NATO had emerged as a powerful and very necessary deterrent. The Soviets, concluding that the cost of an invasion was too high, defaulted to a strategy of undermining Western interests anywhere around the world where that was possible. The result was global tensions stirred up at various global trouble spots, most notably Korea and Vietnam.

But Europe was saved, and NATO was the key. It deserves our respect and even reverence for its profound success as a military alliance during a time of serious threat to the West.

But then the threat went away. Gone were the 1.3 million Soviet and client-state troops. Gone was Soviet domination of Eastern Europe. Indeed, gone, by 1991, was the Soviet Union itself, an artificial regime of brutal ideology superimposed upon the cultural entity of Mother Russia. It was a time for celebration.

But it was also a time to contemplate the precise nature of the change that had washed over the world and to ponder what that might mean for old institutions—including NATO, a defensive military alliance created to deter aggression from a menacing enemy to the east. Here’s where Western thinking went awry. Rather than accepting as a great benefit the favorable developments enhancing Western security—the Soviet military retreat, the territorial reversal, the Soviet demise—the West turned NATO into a territorial aggressor of its own, absorbing nations that had been part of the Soviet sphere of control and pushing right up to the Russian border. Now Leningrad (renamed St. Petersburg after the obliteration of the menace of Soviet communism) resides within a hundred miles of NATO military forces, while Moscow is merely 200 miles from Western troops.

Since the end of the Cold War, NATO has absorbed 13 nations, some on the Russian border, others bordering lands that had been part of Russia’s sphere of interest for centuries. This constitutes a policy of encirclement, which no nation can accept without protest or pushback. And if NATO were to absorb those lands of traditional Russian influence—particularly Ukraine and Georgia—that would constitute a major threat to Russian security, as Russian President Vladimir Putin has sought to emphasize to Western leaders for years.

So, no, NATO has not deterred Russian aggression for 70 years. It did so for 40 and has maintained a destabilizing posture toward Russia ever since. The problem here is the West’s inability to perceive how changed geopolitical circumstances might require a changed geopolitical strategy. The encirclement strategy has had plenty of critics—George Kennan before he died; academics John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Robert David English; former diplomat Jack Matlock; the editors of The Nation. But their voices have tended to get drowned out by the nostrum diplomacy and the nostrum journalism that supports it at every turn.

You can’t drown out Donald Trump because he’s president of the United States. And so he has to be traduced, ridiculed, dismissed, and marginalized. That’s what the Times story, by Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper, sought to do. Consider the lead, designed to emphasize just how outlandish Trump’s musings are before the reader even has a chance to absorb what he may have been thinking: “There are few things that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia desires more than the weakening of NATO, the military alliance among the United States, Europe and Canada that has deterred Soviet and Russian aggression for 70 years.” Translation: “Take that, Mr. President! You’re an idiot.”

Henry Kissinger had something interesting to say about Trump in a recent interview with the Financial Times. “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history,” said the former secretary of state, “who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretenses.” One Western pretense about Russia, so ardently enforced by the likes of Julian Barnes and Helene Cooper (who, it may be safe to say, know less about world affairs and their history than Henry Kissinger), is that nothing really changed with the Soviet collapse and NATO had to turn aggressive in order to keep that menacing nation in its place.

Trump clearly doesn’t buy that pretense. He said during the campaign that NATO was obsolete. Then he backtracked, saying he only wanted other NATO members to pay their fair share of the cost of deterrence. He even confessed, after Hillary Clinton identified NATO as “the strongest military alliance in the history of the world,” that he only said NATO was obsolete because he didn’t know much about it. But he was learning—enough, it appears, to support as president Montenegro’s entry into NATO in 2017. Is Montenegro, with 5,332 square miles and some 620,000 citizens, really a crucial element in Europe’s desperate project to protect itself against Putin’s Russia?

We all know that Trump is a crude figure—not just in his disgusting discourse but in his fumbling efforts to execute political decisions. As a politician, he often seems like a doctor attempting to perform open-heart surgery while wearing mittens. His idle musings about leaving NATO are a case in point—an example of a politician who lacks the skill and finesse to nudge the country in necessary new directions.

But Kissinger has a point about the man. America and the world have changed, while the old ways of thinking have not kept pace. The pretenses of the old have blinded the status quo defenders into thinking nothing has changed. Trump, almost alone among contemporary American politicians, is asking questions to which the world needs new answers. NATO, in its current configuration and outlook, is a danger to peace, not a guarantor of it.


Robert W. Merry, longtime Washington journalist and publishing executive, is the author most recently of President McKinley: Architect of the American Century

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Nigel Farage To Back Another “Vote Leave” Campaign If UK Holds Second Brexit Referendum

Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition.

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Via Zerohedge


Pro-European MPs from various political parties are pushing back against claims made by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government that a second Brexit referendum – which supporters have branded as a “People’s Vote” on May’s deal – would take roughly 14 months to organize, according to RT.

But while support for a second vote grows, one of the most notorious proponents of the original “Vote Leave” campaign is hinting at a possible return to politics to try and fight the effort.

After abandoning UKIP, the party he helped create, late last year, Nigel Farage said Friday that he would be willing to wage another “Vote Leave” campaign, even if he needed to use another party as the “vehicle” for his opposition. Farage also pointed out that a delay of Brexit Day would likely put it after the European Parliament elections in May.

“I think, I fear that the House of Commons is going to effectively overturn that Brexit. To me, the most likely outcome of all of this is an extension of Article 50. There could be another referendum,” he told Sky News.

According to official government guidance shown to lawmakers on Wednesday, which was subsequently leaked to the Telegraph, as May tries to head off a push by ministers who see a second referendum as the best viable alternative to May’s deal – a position that’s becoming increasingly popular with Labour Party MPs.

“In order to inform the discussions, a very short paper set out in factual detail the number of months that would be required, this was illustrative only and our position of course is that there will be no second referendum,,” May said. The statement comes as May has been meeting with ministers and leaders from all parties to try to find a consensus deal that could potentially pass in the House of Commons.

The 14 month estimate is how long May and her government expect it would take to pass the primary legislation calling for the referendum (seven months), conduct the question testing with the election committee (12 weeks), pass secondary legislation (six weeks) and conduct the campaigns (16 weeks).

May has repeatedly insisted that a second referendum wouldn’t be feasible because it would require a lengthy delay of Brexit Day, and because it would set a dangerous precedent that wouldn’t offer any more clarity (if some MPs are unhappy with the outcome, couldn’t they just push for a third referendum?). A spokesperson for No. 10 Downing Street said the guidance was produced purely for the purpose of “illustrative discussion” and that the government continued to oppose another vote.

Meanwhile, a vote on May’s “Plan B”, expected to include a few minor alterations from the deal’s previous iteration, has been called for Jan. 29, prompting some MPs to accuse May of trying to run out the clock. May is expected to present the new deal on Monday.

Former Tory Attorney General and pro-remainer MP Dominic Grieve blasted May’s timetable as wrong and said that the government “must be aware of it themselves,” while former Justice Minister Dr Phillip Lee, who resigned his cabinet seat in June over May’s Brexit policy, denounced her warning as “nonsense.”

As May pieces together her revised deal, more MPs are urging her to drop her infamous “red lines” (Labour in particular would like to see the UK remain part of the Customs Union), but with no clear alternative to May’s plan emerging, a delay of Brexit Day is looking like a virtual certainty.

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The National Security Agency Is A Criminal Organization

The National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Paul Craig Roberts

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Via Paul Craig Roberts…


Years before Edward Snowden provided documented proof that the National Security Agency was really a national insecurity agency as it was violating law and the US Constitution and spying indiscriminately on American citizens, William Binney, who designed and developed the NSA spy program revealed the illegal and unconstitutional spying. Binney turned whistleblower, because NSA was using the program to spy on Americans. As Binney was well known to the US Congress, he did not think he needed any NSA document to make his case. But what he found out was “Congress would never hear me because then they’d lose plausible deniability. That was really their key. They needed to have plausible deniability so they can continue this massive spying program because it gave them power over everybody in the world. Even the members of Congress had power against others [in Congress]; they had power on judges on the Supreme Court, the federal judges, all of them. That’s why they’re so afraid. Everybody’s afraid because all this data that’s about them, the central agencies — the intelligence agencies — they have it. And that’s why Senator Schumer warned President Trump earlier, a few months ago, that he shouldn’t attack the intelligence community because they’ve got six ways to Sunday to come at you. That’s because it’s like J. Edgar Hoover on super steroids. . . . it’s leverage against every member of parliament and every government in the world.”

To prevent whistle-blowing, NSA has “a program now called ‘see something, say something’ about your fellow workers. That’s what the Stasi did. That’s why I call [NSA] the new New Stasi Agency. They’re picking up all the techniques from the Stasi and the KGB and the Gestapo and the SS. They just aren’t getting violent yet that we know of — internally in the US, outside is another story.”

As Binney had no documents to give to the media, blowing the whistle had no consequence for NSA. This is the reason that Snowden released the documents that proved NSA to be violating both law and the Constitution, but the corrupt US media focused blame on Snowden as a “traitor” and not on NSA for its violations.

Whistleblowers are protected by federal law. Regardless, the corrupt US government tried to prosecute Binney for speaking out, but as he had taken no classified document, a case could not be fabricated against him.

Binney blames the NSA’s law-breaking on Dick “Darth” Cheney. He says NSA’s violations of law and Constitution are so extreme that they would have to have been cleared at the top of the government.

Binney describes the spy network, explains that it was supposed to operate only against foreign enemies, and that using it for universal spying so overloads the system with data that the system fails to discover many terrorist activities. http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/50932.htm

Apparently, the National Security Agency values being able to blackmail citizens and members of government at home and abroad more than preventing terrorist attacks.

Unfortunately for Americans, there are many Americans who blindly trust the government and provide the means, the misuse of which is used to enslave us. A large percentage of the work in science and technology serves not to free people but to enslave them. By now there is no excuse for scientists and engineers not to know this. Yet they persist in their construction of the means to destroy liberty.

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