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RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTRY: North Korea wants dialogue with US – Washington is the obstacle

It is becoming increasingly clear that the US is the biggest stumbling block to peace on the Korean peninsula.

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A day after North Korea’s Ambassador to Russia expressed his country’s condemnation of the latest UN sanctions resolution whose unacceptable content he blamed squarely on the United States, Russia has confirmed that North Korea still seeks direct dialogue with the United States.

The double-freeze peace deal proposed jointly by Russia and China, incorporates an urgent request for the facilitation of dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington.

Today Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov stated,

“Pyongyang is extremely interested in direct dialogue with Washington. I do not have confidence that the US administration has the political will and the determination to enter into such dialogue”.

This lends credence to the idea that America’s goal for Korea isn’t to formally end the Korean War which has been paused since 1953. Rather, America seeks to keep the situation perpetually tense in order to maintain its programme to weaponise the Korean peninsula in the form of deliveries of highly destructive weapons to South Korean soil, primarily the THAAD missile systems whose deliveries continue in spite of mass protests from South Korean citizens and condemnation from Russia and China.

As I wrote in The Duran in August,

“It is becoming increasingly clear that the North Korea crisis has little to do with North Korea but that in reality it has everything to do with the United States testing South Korea in order to see how much power Washington can still manage to wield over Seoul, combined with the longer term goal of distracting China from its One Belt–One Road initiative through provocations on the Korean peninsula.

To understand the current political posturing, it is important to remember that in April, the month during which US-North Korean tensions were raised to feverish levels, the political situation in South Korea was somewhat uncertain.

This year, on the 10th of March, South Korean President Park Geun-hye was removed from office. She was later arrested and is currently still behind bars.

President Park was deeply pro-American and considered to be on the militant end of the spectrum of South Korean politics.

Although Park’s removal from office stemmed from wide ranging allegations of corruption, many South Koreans who favour a political and demilitarised approach to solving the Korean peninsula’s protected problems, breathed a collective sigh of relief.

There is a clear relationship between American rhetoric and military manoeuvrings becoming intensified and Park being removed from office and put under arrest. Even now, the situation in South Korea is a better barometer for American actions in the region than the rather stable situation in Pyongyang.

READ MORE: Could the US go to war with North Korea to stop democracy in SOUTH Korea?

In the end, centre-left (by South Korean standards) candidate Moon Jae-in won the election on a campaign which centred around peace and an opposition to further deliveries of THAAD missile systems to South Korea.

However, by late June of 2017, Moon had acquiesced to further THAAD deliveries, in spite of ongoing protests for peace that have gripped South Korea. These protests have been largely blacked-out by the western mainstream media.

While the THAAD missile launches continue to arrive in South Korea, China continues to voice its protest. China and Russia have spoken with a singular voice on the matter, insisting that the US stop its deliveries of further THAAD systems. This call from the only two states which border the Korean peninsula have been completely ignored by the US which continues to deliver THAAD to and test THAAD from South Korean soil.

In spite of the fact that Moon has seemingly caved to US pressure, the peace movement in South Korea continues to grow. When all is said and done, in spite of South Korea’s traditionally pro-US alignment, South Koreans are as reticent to see the peninsula militarised as are those in the North as well as the Russians and Chinese.

In this sense, the US is seeing how far South Korea under a reluctant peace minded President can be pushed before there is some sort of existential breaking point.

In respect of China, it is well documented that the US is engaging in proxy conflicts as well as overt regime change in hotspots along China’s One Belt–One Road.

READ MORE: US troops in Europe and the Middle East are there to provoke China more than Russia or Iran

However, on the south and east coasts of China, the US is taking a more direct approach to meddling, first of all with its provocative movements in the South China Sea and secondly, in respect of the Korean peninsula.

The idea that the US is sowing chaos in Korea in order to bamboozle China is not a new theory, but it was a theory that until very recently was often dismissed as a conspiracy theory. Now, China is openly stating that it believes the US is stirring up conflict in Korea in order to drag China into a conflict which Beijing is dead set against.

Now, even the mainstream media, with their biases still intact are admitting that the US cannot do anything to North Korea without either following Chinese proposals or getting into a hot conflict with at least one nuclear power and possibly three (China, Russia and the considerably less powerful nuclear state of North Korea).

While from the standpoint of morals, ethnics and pragmatism, any conflict on the Korean peninsula is a lose-lose situation for all parties involved as well as neutral parties in the wider region, from a geo-strategic perspective, by forcing China to assert its authority in respect of disagreements with Washington over North Korea, the US has all but revealed its cards to China.

If the US was intelligent, it would continue to play the long, dirty, and of course deeply unethical game of sowing proxy conflicts on the central and western ends of China’s One Belt–One Road, in places where America can more easily sow such conflicts. Such places include, The Middle East, Africa, The Balkans and the western frontiers of Eurasia.

With the Syrian conflict about to be won by the Syrian government which has always been supported by both Russia and China and with the Ukrainian post-coup regime representing little more for the US than a costly road to nowhere, the US decided to increase its hubris just when it should have reconsidered how much money and men it wanted to expend on destabilising China’s commercial ambitions.

The US took the conflict with China back to where it started in the 1940s, to the Korean peninsula. While America’s meddling in Eurasia, southern Europe and the Middle East was more subtle, meddling in North Korea is simply doing what the US disastrously did during the hot phase of the Korean War. It has all the element of surprise of taking Neil Armstrong’s dead body and bringing it to the moon in 2017.

By showing their cards so early on, the US has forced China to call a spade a spade. China says America is provoking and meddling and increasing tensions in the region. This is an objective truth. Furthermore, China is angry not because North Korea is somehow a protectorate of China as the US pretends it is, but because China does not want a foreign super-power causing war, chaos or instability in its neighbourhood.

The US has proved to be highly untactful from an objective point of view as well as deeply dishonest from an ethical point of view. Russia, China and the US could each destroy the world with the push of a bottom. By contrast, North Korea requires a month simply to prepare comparatively crude intermediate range missile launches, some of which work and some which fail. America knows full well that Russia is telling the truth when Moscow says that North Korea objectively cannot hit the United States with any of its current or likely its future weapons systems.

READ MORE: Russia’s grandfatherly truth telling attempts to prevent war in Korean peninsula

The truth is that the entire American song and dance over North Korea is simply a thinly and poorly veiled way of trying to goad China and test South Korea, even Donald Trump’s Twitter account subtly admits this.

I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet…

…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!

 Donald Trump in insulting China has inadvertently admitted who is the regional boss and therefore who is the regional prize in the eyes of the US military-industrial empire. It is not North Korea, it never has been and never will be.

There is now clarity in respect of the US moves against China. Any mystery or conspiracy over this reality  has now given way to near universally acknowledged fact. A covert game is now being played in the open and on old turf at that”.

America’s total lack of initiative in respect of even acknowledging the Sino-Russian double-freeze, Russia’s tripartite economic cooperation proposals and Pyongyang’s apparent willingness to engage in dialogue, all serves to validate the notion that the US would rather use North Korea as a convenient excuse to molest China, rather than actually work with North Korea’s neighbours to bring peace to the region.

READ MORE: The future of cooperation between North Korea, South Korea and Russia

These views were recently restated by Australian geo-political expert and peace activist John Pilger in an interview with RT.

During the interview, Pilger stated that it is the US, not North Korea which is in need of containment. Since 1953, the US has actively fought in scores of wars, many of which continue to rage. By contrast, the Korean peninsula has enjoyed a ceasefire which paused, but did not end the Korean War, which waged between 1950 and 1953. Even former Trump White House advisor Steve Bannon admitted that North Korea is a “sideshow”. He stated it is merely an element in a wider US “war” again China.

During that war, the US destroyed much of North Korea including virtually all of Pyongyang. The war killed 20% of the entire North Korea population and left hundreds of thousands without homes, food or medicine.

It is this legacy which continues to haunt many on both sides of the 38th parallel. Russia and China have more or less been begging of peace, to paraphrase Nikki Haley’s remark about North Korea allegedly “begging for war”.

There can no longer be any rational doubts that it is the US which remains the biggest stumbling block to a peaceful settlement of lingering wounds on the Korean peninsula.

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mikhas
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mikhas

N.K has reached the sophisticated level required to deter the US from ever attacking it again. That alone should have kept anyone from harboring fantasies to the contrary, or idiotic beliefs that N.K would drop their gun should UN (US) try to starve them to death Even the Yanks have more or less recognized that.

Apparently not Russia & China.

stevek9
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stevek9

That the US could reach a settlement, I believe is true. That this is ALL about China, I don’t believe.

permopin
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permopin

If Pentagon had believed Pyongyang to be a real threat to America, they would have sent in ISIS and Al-Qaeda in to provide them an excuse to invade and destroy North Korea. China, on the other hand, is far too big and populated for the Yankee jihadist.

plebeian_secession
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plebeian_secession

it would be good if South Korea could assert it’s independence.

KateAJones
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KateAJones

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The Ukrainian President Signs a Pact With Constantinople – Against the Ukrainian Church

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring.

Dmitry Babich

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Authored by Dmitry Babich via Strategic Culture:


Increasingly tragic and violent events are taking their toll on the plight of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Ukraine . After several fights over control of the church’s property, prohibitions and blacklists are starting to spread, affecting respected church figures coming from Russia to Ukraine. The latest news is that the head of the Moscow Theological Academy, Archbishop Amvrosyi Yermakov, was deported from Ukraine back to Russia. Amvrosyi’s name popped up on the black list of Russian citizens who are not deemed “eligible to visit” Ukraine. Obviously, this happened right before his plane landed in Zhulyany, Kiev’s international airport. After a brief arrest, Amvrosyi was put on a plane and sent back to Moscow. This is not the first such humiliation of the Orthodox Church and its priests that has taken place since the new pro-Western regime came to power in Kiev in 2014. Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church has been declared persona non grata throughout Ukraine since 2014. That decision was made by humiliatingly low-level officials. A department within the Ukrainian ministry of culture published a ruling stating that Kirill’s visit to Ukraine’s capital of Kiev “would not be desirable.”

Since the ancestors of modern Russians, Belarusians, and Ukrainians were first baptized in 988 in Kiev, the Patriarchs of the Russian Church have never had problems visiting Kiev, the birthplace of their church. Not even under the Bolsheviks did such prohibitions exist. So, for Patriarch Kirill of the Russian Orthodox Church to be denied permission to visit Kiev can only be compared to a possible prohibition against the pope visiting Rome. Since 2014, there have also been several criminal cases filed against the priests of the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC MP) because they have called the hostilities in eastern Ukraine a “civil war” and have discouraged the faithful from supporting that war. This has been interpreted by the Ukrainian state authorities as a call for soldiers to desert the army.

Why Poroshenko’s meeting with Bartholomew is ominous

Despite the fact that the UOC MP has become used to all sorts of trouble since 2014, things have been looking even worse for the canonical church lately, as 2018 draws to a close. In early November 2018, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko broke the wall of separation between church and state in the most overt manner possible — he signed “an agreement on cooperation and joint action” between Ukraine and the so called Constantinople Patriarchate, the oldest institution of Orthodox Christianity, which is now based in Turkish Istanbul.

Rostislav Pavlenko, an aide to Poroshenko, wrote on his Facebook page that the agreement (not yet published) is premised on the creation of a new “autocephalous” Orthodox Church of Ukraine — a development that the official, existing Orthodox Churches in Russia and Ukraine view with foreboding as a “schism” that they have done all they can to prevent. Why? Because Poroshenko’s regime, which came to power via a violent coup in Kiev in 2014 on a wave of public anti-Russian sentiment, may try to force the canonical Orthodox Church of Ukraine to merge with other, non-canonical institutions and to surrender to them church buildings, including the famous monasteries in Kiev and Pochai, as well as other property.

President Poroshenko was visibly happy to sign the document — the contents of which have not yet been made public — on cooperation between the Ukrainian state and the Constantinople Patriarchate, in the office of Bartholomew, the head of the Constantinople Patriarchate. Poroshenko smiled and laughed, obviously rejoicing over the fact that the Constantinople Patriarchate is already embroiled in a scandalous rift with the Russian Orthodox Church and its Ukrainian sister church over several of Bartholomew’s recent moves. Bartholomew’s decision to “lift” the excommunication from two of Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic “priests,” in addition to Bartholomew’s declaration that the new church of Ukraine will be under Constantinople’s direct command — these moves were just not acceptable for the canonical Orthodox believers in Russia and Ukraine. Kirill, the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church (ROC), as well as Onufriy, the Metropolitan of Kiev and all Ukraine, are protesting loudly, viewing this situation as a breach of two basic principles. First of all, the Ukrainian state has interfered in the church’s affairs, asking Constantinople to give the Ukrainian church “autocephaly,” which that church never requested. Second, Constantinople itself has interfered in the affairs of two autonomous national churches, the Russian and the Ukrainian. In the eyes of Ukrainian and Russian clergy, Bartholomew is behaving like the Roman pope and not as a true Orthodox leader who respects the autonomy and self-rule of the separate, national Orthodox Churches.

The Russian President sympathizes with the believers’ pain

Two days before Poroshenko made his trip to Istanbul, Russian president Vladimir Putin broke with his usual reserve when commenting on faith issues to bitterly complain about the pain which believers in Russia and Ukraine have experienced from the recent divisions within the triangle of Orthodoxy’s three historic capitals — Constantinople, Kiev, and Moscow.

“Politicking in such a sensitive area as religion has always had grave consequences, first and foremost for the people who engaged in this politicking,” Putin said, addressing the World Congress of Russian Compatriots, an international organization that unites millions of ethnic and cultural Russians from various countries, including Ukraine. Himself a practicing Orthodox believer, Putin lauded Islam and Judaism, while at the same time complaining about the plight of Orthodox believers in Ukraine, where people of Orthodox heritage make up more than 80% of the population and where the church has traditionally acted as a powerful “spiritual link” with Russia.

Despite his complaints about “politicking,” Putin was careful not to go into the details of why exactly the state of affairs in Ukraine is so painful for Orthodox believers. That situation was explained by Patriarch Kirill. After many months of tense silence and an unsuccessful visit to Barthlomew’s office in Istanbul on August 31, Kirill has been literally crying for help in the last few weeks, saying he was “ready to go anywhere and talk to anyone” in order to prevent the destruction of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine.

Politics with a “mystical dimension”

Kirill said the attack against the Orthodox Church in Ukraine “had not only a political, but also a mystical dimension.” Speaking in more earthly terms, there is a danger that the 1,000-year-old historical Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate (UOC-MP) — which now owns 11,392 church buildings, 12,328 parishes, and two world-famous monasteries in Ukraine — will be dissolved. The roots of the UOC MP go back to the pre-Soviet Russian Empire and even further back to the era of Kievan Rus, the proto-state of the Eastern Slavs in the tenth-twelfth centuries AD, when the people who would later become Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians were adopting Orthodox Christianity from the Byzantine Empire. It is by far the biggest church in Ukraine, as Mikhail Denisenko’s non-canonical “alternative” church has only 3,700 parishes that include church buildings (fewer than a third of what is owned by the UOC-MP, despite the fact that Denisenko enjoys official support from the Ukrainian state).

What many Russian and Ukrainian believers fear is that the Istanbul-based Patriarch Bartholomew will eventually grant Kiev what is being called autocephaly. In that event, the UOC-MP may be forced to merge with two other, non-canonical churches in Ukraine that have no apostolic liaison. The apostolic succession of the UOC-MP consists in the historical fact that its first bishops were ordained by medieval bishops from Constantinople, who had in turn been ordained by Christ’s disciples from ancient Israel. Apostolic succession is crucial for the Orthodox Church, where only bishops can ordain new priests and where the church’s connection to the first Christians is reflected in many ways, including in the clergy’s attire.

Metropolitan Hilarion (his secular name is Grigory Alfeyev), the Russian church’s chief spokesman on questions of schism and unity, accused the patriarch of contributing to the schism by officially “lifting” the excommunication from Ukraine’s most prominent schismatic church leader — the defrocked former bishop Mikhail Denisenko. That clergyman stands to gain most from the “autocephaly” promised to Poroshenko by Patriarch Bartholomew. A hierarchical Orthodox Church is considered to have autocephalous status, as its highest bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has stated that for Ukraine to be granted autocephaly from Istanbul, this would mean a complete “reformatting” of the country’s religious status quo and the severing of all links to Orthodox Russia and its “demons.”. Most likely, the new “united” church won’t be headed by the UOC MP’s Metropolitan, but by Mikhail Denisenko, who was excommunicated by both the UOC MP and the Russian church back in 1997 and with whom real Orthodox priests can only serve against their will and against the church’s internal rules.

Constantinople’s first dangerous moves

On October 11, 2018, the Constantinople Patriarchate made its first step towards granting autocephaly by repealing its own decision of 1686 that gave the Moscow Patriarch primacy over the Kiev-based Metropolitan. This 17th-century decision reflected the political reality of the merger between the states of Russia and Ukraine and established some order in the matters of church administration. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Moscow gave the Ukrainian church complete independence in financial and administrative matters, but the two churches retained their cherished “spiritual unity.” “Constantinople’s decision is aimed at destroying that unity,” the ROC’s Patriarch Kirill explained. “We can’t accept it. That is why our Holy Synod made the decision to end eucharistic communication with the Constantinople Patriarchate.”

How Moscow “excommunicated” Bartholomew

The end of eucharistic communication means that the priests of the two patriarchates (based in Moscow and Istanbul) won’t be able to hold church services together. It will be maintained as long as the threat of autocephaly continues. The Western mainstream media, however, interpreted this decision by the Russian church as a unilateral aggressive act. The NYT and the British tabloid press wrote that it simply reveals Putin’s “desperation” at not being able to keep Ukraine’s religious life under control.

However, Patriarch Bartholomew seems undeterred by the protests from the Russian faithful and the majority of Ukraine’s believers. Bartholomew said in a recent statement that Russia should just follow the example of Constantinople, which once granted autocephaly to the churches of the Balkan nations. Bartholomew’s ambassadors in Kiev do not shy away from communicating with the self-declared “Patriarch” Filaret (Mikhail Denisenko’s adopted religious name from back when he was the UOC MP’s Metropolitan prior to his excommunication in 1997). For true Orthodox believers, any communication with Denisenko has been forbidden since 1992, the year when he founded his own so-called Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Kiev Patriarchate (UOC-KP). Unfortunately, Denisenko enjoys the full support of Ukrainian President Poroshenko, and recently the US State Department began encouraging Denisenko, by giving its full support to Ukraine’s autocephaly.

The lifting of Denisenko’s excommunication by Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul both upset and embittered the Orthodox believers in both Ukraine and Moscow, since Denisenko was excommunicated by a joint decision of the Russian church and the UOC MP in 1997, after a five-year wait for his return to the fold of the mother church. So, by undoing that decision, Constantinople has interfered in the canonical territory of both the Ukrainian and the Russian churches.

The UOC-MP protested, accusing not only Patriarch Bartholomew, but also the Ukrainian state of interfering in the church’s affairs. “We are being forced to get involved in politics. The politicians do not want Christ to run our church; they want to do it themselves,” said Metropolitan Onufriy (Onuphrius), the head of the UOC-MP, in an interview with PravMir, an Orthodox website. “Since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate has been independent. Our church did not ask for autocephaly, because we already have independence. We have our own Synod (church council) and our own church court. Decisions are made by a congress of bishops and priests from all over Ukraine. We have financial and administrative independence, so autocephaly for us will be a limitation, not an expansion of our rights.”

Poroshenko’s premature jubilation

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Poroshenko did not conceal his jubilation about Constantinople’s moves. “This is a victory of good over evil, light over darkness,” Poroshenko said when the news about the lifting of Denisenko’s excomnmunication came from Istanbul in early October.

Poroshenko said he wanted a “united Orthodox Church” for his country, and he openly pressured Patriarch Bartholomew to provide autocephaly to Kiev during his visits to Istanbul in the spring of 2018 and in November of the same year. Meanwhile, Denisenko said that the provision of autocephaly would mean the immediate dispossession of the UOC MP. “This Russian church (UOC MP) will have to cede control of its church buildings and famous monasteries to the new Ukrainian church, which will be ours,” Denisenko was quoted by Ukrainian media as saying. “These monasteries have been owned by the state since Soviet times, and the state gave them to the Russian church for temporary use. Now the state will appoint our communities of believers as the new guardians of this heritage.” Denisenko also made a visit to the US, where he met Undersecretary of State Wess Mitchell, obtaining from him America’s active support for the creation of a “unified” Ukrainian church.

There is still a chance to prevent the schism from occurring. Poroshenko’s presidential aide, Rostislav Pavlenko, made it clear on Tuesday that the actual “tomos” (a letter from the Constantinople Patriarchate allowing the creation of an autocephalous church) will be delivered only IN RESPONSE to a request from a “unifying convention” that represents all of Ukraine’s Orthodox believers in at least some sort of formal manner. This new convention will have to declare the creation of a new church and elect this church’s official head. Only then will Constantinople be able to give that person the cherished “tomos.”

Since the UOC-MP has made it very clear that it won’t participate in any such convention, the chances of the smooth transition and easy victory over the “Muscovite believers” that Poroshenko wants so badly are quite slim. There are big scandals, big fights, and big disappointments ahead.

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Trump DEMOLISHES Macron; Tweets ‘Make France Great Again’ (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 16.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at US President Trump’s tweetstorm aimed at French President Macron, who just days ago used the WW1 ceremony in Paris to ridicule and talk down to the US President in front of world leaders.

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Via Zerohedge

Macron’s office has refused to comment on Trump’s claims.

OFFICE OF FRENCH PRESIDENT MACRON SAYS IT REFUSES TO MAKE ANY COMMENT REGARDING TRUMP’S TWEETS CRITICISING FRANCE AND MACRON

* * *

Without directly referencing the rumors, Trump has branded reports that he refused to appear at a cemetery for American soldiers because he didn’t want to get his hair wet as “fake news.” In the tweet, Trump insisted that he wanted the Secret Service to drive him to the speech instead of taking a helicopter, but they refused because of security concerns. He added that he gave a speech at the cemetery the next day in the pouring rain – something that was “little reported”.

Trump’s rampage against Macron continues. The president slammed his French counterpart for his low approval rating, as well as France’s high unemployment. Furthermore, in response to Macron’s “nationalist” snub, Trump pointed out that “there is no more nationalist country” than France..

…before adding a spin on his classic slogan.

Trump’s rage against Macron continues, but this time, the topic is slightly more serious. What could be more serious than questioning the foundation of Post-WWII military alliances, you might ask? The answer is simple – trade!

Trump conceded that while France makes “very good wine” (an interesting claim from Trump, who doesn’t drink), the country “makes it hard for the US to sell its wine into France, and charges very big tariffs”. Meanwhile “The US makes it easy for French wines and charges small tariffs.”

“Not Fair, must change!”

We now await Trump’s order of an investigation into the national security implications of imported French wine.

* * *

President Trump isn’t ready to forgive the “French diss” served up over the weekend by President Emmanuel Macron.

During a ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary of World War I at the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron insulted Trump to his face by launching into a screed about the dangers of toxic “nationalism” and subtly accusing the US of abandoning its “moral values”.

This did not sit well with the US president, who was already facing criticism over his decision to show up late to a ceremony honoring the war dead (the administration blamed it on security concerns though it’s widely suspected that Trump didn’t want to get his hair wet), and Trump has let his displeasure be known in a series of tweets ridiculing Macron’s suggestion that Europe build its own army, saying that France and other European members of NATO would be better served by paying their fair share for NATO while daring them to leave and pay for their own protection.

And in his most abrasive tweet yet mocking the increasingly unpopular Macron’s imperial ambitions (no, really), Trump pointed out that, historically speaking, Europe has been its own worst enemy, and that while Macron wants to defend the Continent from the US, China and Russia, “it was Germany in WWI & WWII,” adding that “they were starting to learn German in Paris before the US came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Of course, Macron isn’t the only French official calling for the creation of a “European army”. The country’s finance minister advocated for the creation of a Continental army during an interview with Germany’s Handelsblatt – a comment that was derided by the paper’s editors, who pointed out that Germans “weren’t very supportive” of the idea. One wonders why…

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BREXIT deal reached? May prepares to turn UK into EU vassal state

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 15.

Alex Christoforou

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Theresa May will convene her cabinet “a historic meeting” on Brexit after the UK and EU reportedly agreed on the text of a withdrawal treaty according to the Financial Times.

The Brexit text has been agreed upon in Brussels, and now Theresa May has to sell it to her cabinet.

The FT reports that ministers have been summoned to May’s residence at Number 10 on Tuesday night for individual briefings on the text, including controversial plans for to avoid a hard border in Northern Ireland. Two ministerial sources said there would be a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, with one pro-European official saying: “We are optimistic.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris take a quick look at Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the European Union, that now goes to her cabinet for approval and thereafter to the UK parliament and Brussels for what will eventually become the UK’s Withdrawal Agreement.

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Via Zerohedge

The breakthrough is a significant moment in negotiations that potentially paves the way for a November summit of EU leaders to endorse and finalize a deal, assuming of course there is no mutiny in May’s cabinet. Which is why even though the text of the agreement is settled, negotiations will likely continue over the coming days as political objections are raised by London or EU member states, potentially sending the agreement back to the drafting table.

Bloomberg also reported that May’s cabinet was told to expect to be asked to sign off on the Irish backstop clause this week, potentially Wednesday or Thursday. The prime minister is unlikely to press ahead with the meeting unless she believes she can win cabinet support.

* * *

Update: shortly after Theresa May said talks are in the “endgame”, the Prime Minister will hold a one-off Cabinet meeting to discuss Brexit on Wednesday, according to a U.K. official who declined to be named. Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that top ministers are being called in for a briefing at her Downing 10 office on Tuesday night.

As Irish RTE reported earlier, negotiators have reportedly agreed a text on the backstop.

According to reports, the cabinet was told on Tuesday to expect to be asked to sign off on the Irish backstop clause this week, potentially Wednesday or Thursday. Whether that happens remains to be seen.

Another day, another Brexit negotiation story.

According to RTE reporter Tony Connelly, “EU and UK negotiators have agreed a text on how to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland, which will form part of the Withdrawal Agreement.”

RTE reports:

“While two well-placed sources have confirmed that the text was “as stable as it can be”, they say it would not be correct to say that the negotiations have “concluded”. According to both sources, there will be one backstop to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland.”

It also outlines the backstop:

“The backstop will come in the form of a temporary UK-wide customs arrangement, with specific provisions for Northern Ireland, which go deeper on the issue of customs and alignment on the rules of the single market than for the rest of the UK.”

And of course, the algos read the headline and bid cable back above 1.30…

The bottom line – as with so many stories surrounding this negotiation, don’t hold your breath for this headline to be confirmed.

Bloomberg reports that a senior official said it would be wrong to say negotiations were “concluded”, and that there was still some “shuttling” between London and Brussels.

However, if this report turns out to be true then it is a win for May in managing to garner some concession from the EU which was a key sticking point for hardline Brexiteers.

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