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A Trump – Putin Summit Meeting Coming?

Donald Trump should seize on his earlier idea to hold a summit with Russian President Putin before his inauguration. The dangerous state of international relations makes such a summit urgent and necessary.

Alexander Mercouris

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Adam Garrie and I have discussed how the way is now open for Donald Trump to move forward with Russia to settle the two big crises affecting US – Russian relations: Ukraine and Syria.

The initial words spoken by Trump and Putin in the aftermath of Trump’s victory do hold out a measure of promise.  In his public comments after his victory Trump was careful to say

“I want to tell the world community that while we will always put America’s interests first, we will deal fairly with everyone, with everyone. All people and all other nations.”

(bold italics added)

Whilst these words do not specifically refer to Russia, it is no secret to anyone at all familiar with international relations that the Russians – perhaps more than any other nation – strongly feel that the US has not been treating them fairly.  They are bound to see in these words a first clue that Trump is genuinely interested in patching up relations with them.

The Russians have responded in kind.  Taking the opportunity of a meeting with foreign ambassadors in the Kremlin, Putin had this to say about Trump’s election victory

“We heard the statements he made as candidate for president expressing a desire to restore relations between our countries. We realise and understand that this will not be an easy road given the level to which our relations have degraded today, regrettably. But, as I have said before, it is not Russia’s fault that our relations with the United States have reached this point.

Russia is ready to and seeks a return to full-format relations with the United States. Let me say again, we know that this will not be easy, but are ready to take this road, take steps on our side and do all we can to set Russian-US relations back on a stable development track.

This would benefit both the Russian and American peoples and would have a positive impact on the general climate in international affairs, given the particular responsibility that Russia and the US share for maintaining global stability and security.”

In other words the Russians are prepared to work with Trump to bring to an end the current period of heightened superpower tensions.  If Trump is genuinely interested in improving relations with Russia – and all the indications are that he is – then the willingness on the part of the Russians to make a deal is there.

Time however is of the essence.  Trump does not become President until January, the international situation remains tense, and the enemies of improved relations between the US and Russia are still there.

In Ukraine the Maidan government has dug in its heels on implementing the Minsk II agreement whilst blaming Russia for its own failure to do this.  In August it tried to infiltrate a sabotage mission into Crimea, causing fears of war between Ukraine and Russia.  In the Donbass, instead of disengaging its forces from the contact line as it has repeatedly promised, it continuously steps up attacks.  There is mounting evidence that it is directly implicated in the recent series of assassinations of Donbass leaders – including the recent one of Motorola – and there were sketchy reports yesterday that members of another Ukrainian sabotage mission have just been captured in the Donbass, though details for the moment are sparse.

If the Maidan leadership senses a coming end to the sort of unqualified support from the US it has been getting, then given the character of some of its members and its inability to compromise, it is not impossible that it might decide to go for broke, and resume full scale war in the Donbass as a means of embarrassing Trump and of shoring up Western support.

In the Middle East the situation is if possible even worse.  In October the US and Russian militaries in Syria faced off against each other, with public threats made of a sort that have not been heard since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis.  The US air attack in September on Syrian troops in Deir Ezzor shows how dangerous the situation has become, with parts of the US military apparently barely under Presidential control.  To cap everything, the US and Russia moreover now seem locked in a strange race to see who will be the first to win the battles in Mosul and eastern Aleppo, when the nature of the enemy in both places means that on the contrary they should be fighting alongside each other.

Beyond that there is the issue of the European sanctions, which are for renewal in January.  The US under Obama has been pressing the Europeans to extend the sanctions, and though this push is being resisted by southern Europe, the wide expectation until recently was that they would be renewed.

Though the actual effectiveness of the sanctions is fast diminishing, they continue to have symbolic importance, with their very existence acting as a symbol of the bad state of relations between Russia and the West.

Meantime NATO has been busy assembling troops in eastern Europe close to Russia’s borders – in breach of its earlier promises to Russia – with NATO officials talking endlessly – and groundlessly – of “Russian aggression”, and the British Defence Minister even talking absurdly and completely irresponsibly of the possibility of war with Russia in 2 years.

As President elect Donald Trump cannot enter into any formal agreements with Vladimir Putin or with Russia.  However an informal summit between the two men before Trump’s inauguration would be a powerful signal of their determination to work together with each other to solve the mountain of problems which have accumulated.  It would annoy Obama and the neocons, but it would enable Trump and Putin to get to know each other better (they have never actually met) and would at least enable them to start to lay the groundwork for a move towards improving relations once Trump is inaugurated.

Most important of all, it would be the strongest possible signal to anyone with any crazy ideas in Washington and Brussels – and indeed in Kiev, Riyadh and Ankara – that they can expect no support or sympathy when Trump finally moves into the White House.

Trump has previously floated the idea of such an informal summit meeting with Putin before Inauguration Day.   The international situation in fact makes such a meeting urgent.  Though Trump’s in-tray will be bursting as he struggles to put together his administration, Trump should make it a priority.

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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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