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Russia will not sacrifice its alliance with China to please Donald Trump

Russia’s political and economic interests and the strength and depth of its alliance with China make it inconceivable that it would distance itself from China in order to please Donald Trump.

Alexander Mercouris

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As talk continues of a possible rapprochement between a Donald Trump led US and Russia, there has been some speculation of where that will leave Russian-Chinese relations.

The big geopolitical development of the years of Obama’s Presidency is that the already emerging Russia-China alliance has now fully taken shape.

What was in 2008 still essentially a diplomatic arrangement whereby the Russians and the Chinese informed each other about their foreign policy positions so as to coordinate them better with each other in places like the UN Security Council, has now evolved into a fully fledged full spectrum alliance extending to intensive military cooperation, intelligence sharing, foreign policy co-operation, and increasingly a fully fledged economic partnership.

The recent unveiling by the two countries of their joint project to develop a fleet of wide bodied aircraft to compete with those made by Airbus and Boeing is just one example of the current closeness of their relations.

Though the two countries still tend to avoid – to an ever decreasing degree – calling each other ‘allies’, that is essentially what they have become.

There is no doubt that the policies of the Obama administration have acted as a strong catalyst for this process. Though the bad relations between the US and Russia during the final years of Obama’s Presidency are a universally acknowledged fact, the fact that the US has been trying to position itself in opposition to China in East Asia by building up a network of anti-Chinese alliances as part of ‘pivot to Asia’ has been at least as important in shaping the current state of international relations.

The result is that while it is in the interest of the US to keep Russia and China apart from each other, US policies during Obama’s Presidency of confronting Russia in Europe and the Middle East, and of confronting China in the South China Sea and in East Asia, have instead achieved the opposite – pushing the two countries closer together.

Though the future foreign policy of the Trump administration is still unclear, it seems that Trump is committed to a serious improvement in relations with Russia, but wants to take an even stronger line with China than Obama has done, with the emphasis less on military confrontation in the South China Sea and more on placing restrictions on Chinese trade with the US.

Inevitably this has raised the question of whether as it mends its fences with Russia, the US will now start to distance itself from China as US-China relations start to deteriorate.

The short answer is almost certainly no. The alliance between Russia and China has now evolved to such a high level – far surpassing in all respects that of their previous alliance of the 1950s – that it is inconceivable that an improvement in relations on the part of either country with the US, would cause the alliance between them to become affected. If nothing else, both countries have planned their economic futures to a great extent in reliance upon the other in ways that the US cannot now realistically change.

In Russia’s case there is the further factor that the Russians cannot be sure how far any rapprochement with a Trump led US would go, and how long it would last.  Even if Trump is personally committed to a rapprochement with Russia, the Russians cannot be sure that Trump would be able to bring the whole US political establishment with him, or that such a rapprochement would survive his Presidency.

Recent history has provided the Russians with ample warnings of the dangers of counting too much on US moves towards a rapprochement.  Such moves have happened before – in the early 1970s during the period known as the détente, in the late 1980s, and in Obama’s first term. Invariably, all have ended in disappointment.

For the Russians and for President Putin in particular, the experience of Obama’s ‘Reset’ in the first years of his Presidency must offer a particularly vivid lesson. A process that was supposed to result in an improvement in relations between the US and Russia ended by making them much worse.

What this means is that if Trump does entertain some hopes of drawing Russia away from China – as does apparently Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe – these hopes are certain to be disappointed.

President Putin almost certainly has already made all this clear, and given private assurances to that effect to Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he has just met at the APEC summit in Peru. In addition, by accepting Xi Jinping’s invitation to visit China in May next year, Putin has acted to put Russia’s continued commitment to its alliance with China beyond doubt.

What this means in practice is that if Trump does indeed travel to Russia to meet with Putin shortly after his inauguration, Putin will be in a position to brief the Chinese about the details of whatever negotiations Russia has ongoing with the new US President when he visits Beijing shortly after.

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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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