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U.S. drifting into military confrontation with China (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 165.

Alex Christoforou

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Chinese state media announced that President Xi Jinping has ordered the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to “enhance their combat readiness,” as an increased US military presence in Taiwan and the South China Sea is ratcheting up tensions between the two trade partners to dangerous levels.

Xi Jinping further stated that the China would not reject the use of force if necessary to invade and capture Taiwan, which it considers a breakaway province.

China’s rhetoric comes in response to remarks made by the U.S. Pentagon that its prime concern is China’s military activities, coupled with a warning from the U.S. State Department for American citizens, to avoid traveling to China if possible because police may arbitrarily detain them at any time.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss China’s economic slowdown and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s fiery speech, warning the United States and Taiwan that China’s PLA is ready for conflict.

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Via Breitbart

Xi reportedly addressed the nation’s Central Military Commission (CMC) on Friday, demanding troops be ready for imminent combat at all times. According to a press releasepublished by China’s Defense Ministry, Xi ordered “the entire armed forces” to “have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations.”

“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” Xi asserted. The president, who is also the nation’s commander-in-chief, “ordered all work, forces and resources to focus on military preparedness and ensure a marked progress in this regard.”

China’s People’s Daily, the official publication of the Communist Party, reported Thursday that the PLA has begun an extensive “realistic training exercise” with live fire in Shandong, eastern China. The publication did not specify what the objective of this live-fire exercise was, nor did Chinese agencies report whether Xi mentioned any particular acts to improve combat readiness that the PLA either has already begun to take or will do so in the future.

That same day, the Chinese state-run Global Times highlighted comments by acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan, who told reporters that his top priorities were “China, China, China.” The publication warned American officials against anti-Chinese “paranoia” while also threatening to make America “pay an unbearable price if the U.S. infringes on China.”

“When Shanahan shouts ‘China, China, China,’ Beijing must respond by accelerating construction of a deterrent against the U.S. China must make good use of deterrence, learning to make others feel fearful without being furious,” the column suggested.

Xi has issued public remarks on several occasions this week – first to herald in the new year, then to issue threats to Taiwan to surrender to Chinese rule or expect military action. In that speech, Xi stated, “we make no promise to abandon the use of force, and retain the option of taking all necessary measures,” he also said, according to the Times.

“Reunification is a historical trend and it is the right path. Taiwan independence is an adverse current of history and is a dead end,” Xi said, adding a subtle note to the United States that “foreign interference is intolerable.”

Xi may have also issued remarks to prepare for combat in response to the State Department warning on Thursday that Americans who travel to China are at risk of arbitrary and indefinite detention. The department urged Americans to avoid travel to China if at all possible because the Communist Party uses exit bans to keep U.S. citizens in their country. The risk is higher for dual American-Chinese citizens of Americans of Chinese (majority Han or otherwise) ethnic descent, as China often does not recognize their U.S. citizenship and will deny them the right to contact the U.S. embassy.

“U.S. citizens may be detained without access to U.S. consular services or information about their alleged crime. U.S. citizens may be subjected to prolonged interrogations and extended detention for reasons related to ‘state security,’” the travel warning read. “Security personnel may detain and/or deport U.S. citizens for sending private electronic messages critical of the Chinese government.”

The travel warning may have a significant impact on tourism to China, already hampered by the ongoing trade negotiations between Beijing and Washington. Conversely, however, Chinese tourism to the United States also fell last year, with a particularly steep decline in National Day vacations to the U.S. in September, partly due to tension between the two countries and partly due to the sluggish state of China’s financial sector. A survey published this week found that China’s manufacturing sector contracted in the December, a sign that trade negotiations have significantly damaged the state of the nation’s economy.

Chinese President Xi has ordered the PLA to step up war-preparation efforts, via The Global Times

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday demands the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to strengthen its crisis awareness and enhance battle-related activity as the country faces increasing challenges.

“The world is facing a period of major changes never seen in a century, and China is still in an important period of strategic opportunity for development,” Xi said at a meeting of Central Military Commission (CMC) on Friday, warning that various risks and challenges were on the rise.

Xi, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and chairman of the CMC, said the entire armed forces should have a correct understanding of China’s security and development trends, enhance their awareness of danger, crisis and war, and make solid efforts on combat preparations in order to accomplish the tasks assigned by the Party and the people, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Xi also signed a mobilization order for the training of the armed forces, the CMC’s first order in 2019.

The order demands all PLA units to welcome the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China with “excellent performance.”

The military parade to be held in the Tiananmen Square to honor the 70th anniversary will be the most important event in 2019, said Song Zhongping, a Beijing-based military expert and TV commentator.

The parade will be a demonstration of PLA’s real combat capability and its training results since 2018, added Song.

A military that can fight and win a war will be presented then, he said.

“Excellent performance means the capability to always effectively safeguard national security when the military is summoned at any time,” Song noted.

A mobilization meeting was also held on Friday by the CMC.

This is the second time the CMC is holding a public activity among all PLA units.

The first such activity was held on January 3, 2018.

The practice of issuing a mobilizing order from chairman of the CMC will be routine, said Song.

According to a report by the China Central Television on Friday, the 2019 order demanding hard work and scientific training of PLA soldiers is aimed at enhancing the capability of killing enemies and accomplishing a new mission in a new era.

In the new era, the training of PLA will focus on capabilities to fight and win a war, said Song.

The PLA adopted new military training guidelines on January 1, 2018, which asked all units to strengthen real combat training and improve war-winning capability.

The military training in 2018 emphasized live-fire exercises, training in real combat environment, improving joint combat capability and adjusting to complicated electromagnetic environment, said Song.

The PLA received enhanced military training and a boost in troop’s capability to successfully carry out missions, Ren Guoqiang, spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense, said at a monthly news briefing in November 2018.

“All those changes show that the PLA is positioning itself to be a military that can fight and win wars. This is the most crucial change and has achieved significant results,” said Song.

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“… a warning from the U.S. State Department for American citizens, to avoid traveling to China if possible because police may arbitrarily detain them at any time.”
Why not detain US citizens in China ( or Russia )? In the USA so many foreign citizens have been detained that China and Russia can do the same with US citizens on their own territories.

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Payback for the chocolate cake rocket attack incident.
Revenge must be sweet for Xi and China.

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Macron cuts ski holiday short, vowing crack down on Yellow Vests (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 109.

Alex Christoforou

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The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the 18th consecutive week of Yellow Vests protests in Paris. Following last weeks lower participation, Saturday’s Yellow Vests in Paris gathered larger crowds, with various outbreaks of violence and rioting that has been blamed on extreme elements, who French authorities claim have infiltrated the movement.

“Act XVIII” of the protests has shown that the Yellow Vests have not given up. France’s Champs-Élysées boulevard was where most of the violence occurred, with the street being left in a pile of broken glass and flames.

One day after Paris was set ablaze, French President Emmanuel Macron cut his ski holiday short, returning to Paris and vowing to take “strong decisions” to prevent more violence.

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Via Zerohedge


Paris awoke on Sunday to smouldering fires, broken windows and looted stores following the 18th consecutive Saturday of Yellow Vest protests.

Around 200 people were arrested according to BFM TV, while about 80 shops near the iconic Champs Elysees had been damaged and/or looted according to AFP, citing Champs Elysees committee president Jean-Noel Reinhardt.

The 373-year-old Saint Sulpice Roman Catholic church was set on fire while people were inside, however nobody was injured. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

The riots were so severe that French President Emmanuel Macron cut short a vacation at the La Mongie ski resort in the Hautes-Pyrénées following a three-day tour of East Africa which took him to Djibouti, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Macron skied on Friday, telling La Depeche du Midi “I’m going to spend two-three days here to relax, to find landscapes and friendly faces,” adding “I’m happy to see the Pyrenees like that, radiant, although I know it was more difficult at Christmas” referring to the lack of snow in December.

In response to Saturday’s violence, Macron said over Twitter that “strong decisions” were coming to prevent more violence.

Macron said some individuals — dubbed “black blocs” by French police forces — were taking advantage of the protests by the Yellow Vest grassroots movement to “damage the Republic, to break, to destroy.” Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said on Twitter that those who excused or encouraged such violence were complicit in it. –Bloomberg

The French President has family ties in the Hautes-Pyrénées, including Bagnères de Bigorre where his grandmother lived. He is a regular visitor to the region.

Emmanuel Macron (2ndL), head of the political movement In Marche! (Onwards!) And candidate for the 2017 presidential election, and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (L) have lunch April 12, 2017 (Reuters)

 

 

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Vesti calls out Pompeo on lying about Russia invading Ukraine [Video]

Secretary Pompeo displayed either stunning ignorance or a mass-attack of propaganda about what must be the most invisible war in history.

Seraphim Hanisch

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After the 2014 Maidan revolution and the subsequent secessions of Lugansk and Donetsk in Ukraine, and after the rejoining of Crimea with its original nation of Russia, the Western media went on a campaign to prove the Russia is (/ was / was about to / had already / might / was thinking about / was planning to … etc.) invade Ukraine. For the next year or so, about every two weeks, internet news sources like Yahoo! News showed viewers pictures of tanks, box trucks and convoys to “prove” that the invasion was underway (or any of the other statuses confirming the possibilities above stated.) This information was doubtless provided to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo.

Apparently, Secretary Pompeo believed this ruse, or is being paid to believe this ruse because in a speech recently, he talked about it as fact:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Russia’s annexation of Crimea and aggression in eastern Ukraine an attempt to gain access to Ukraine’s oil and gas reserves.

He stated this at IHS Markit’s CERAWeek conference in Houston, the USA, Reuters reports.

Pompeo urged the oil industry to work with the Trump administration to promote U.S. foreign policy interests, especially in Asia and in Europe, and to punish what he called “bad actors” on the world stage.

The United States has imposed harsh sanctions in the past several months on two major world oil producers, Venezuela and Iran.

Pompeo said the U.S. oil-and-gas export boom had given the United States the ability to meet energy demand once satisfied by its geopolitical rivals.

“We don’t want our European allies hooked on Russian gas through the Nord Stream 2 project, any more than we ourselves want to be dependent on Venezuelan oil supplies,” Pompeo said, referring to a natural gas pipeline expansion from Russia to Central Europe.

Pompeo called Russia’s invasion of Ukraine an attempt to gain access to the country’s oil and gas reserves.

Although the state-run news agency Vesti News often comes under criticism for rather reckless, or at least, extremely sarcastic propaganda at times, here they rightly nailed Mr. Pompeo’s lies to the wall and billboarded it on their program:

The news anchors even made a wisecrack about one of the political figures, Konstantin Zatulin saying as a joke that Russia plans to invade the United States to get its oil. They further noted that Secretary Pompeo is uneducated about the region and situation, but they offered him the chance to come to Russia and learn the correct information about what is going on.

To wit, Russia has not invaded Ukraine at all. There is no evidence to support such a claim, while there IS evidence to show that the West is actively interfering with Russia through the use of Ukraine as a proxyWhile this runs counter to the American narrative, it is simply the truth. Ukraine appears to be the victim of its own ambitions at this point, for while the US tantalizes the leadership of the country and even interferes with the Orthodox Church in the region, the country lurches towards a presidential election with three very poor candidates, most notably the one who is president there now, Petro Poroshenko.

However, the oil and gas side of the anti-Russian propaganda operation by the US is significant. The US wishes for Europe to buy gas from American suppliers, even though this is woefully inconvenient and expensive when Russia is literally at Europe’s doorstep with easy supplies. However, the Cold War Party in the United States, which still has a significant hold on US policy making categorizes the sale of Russia gas to powers like NATO ally Germany as a “threat” to European security.

It is interesting that Angela Merkel herself does not hold this line of thinking. It is also interesting and worthy of note, that this is not the only NATO member that is dealing more and more with Russia in terms of business. It underscores the loss of purpose that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization suffers now since there is no Soviet Union to fight.

However, the US remains undaunted. If there is no enemy to fight, the Americans feel that they must create one, and Russia has been the main scapegoat for American power ambitions. More than ever now, this tactic appears to be the one in use for determining the US stance towards other powers in the world.

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Ariel Cohen explains Washington’s latest foreign policy strategy [Video]

Excellent interview Ariel Cohen and Vladimir Solovyov reveals the forces at work in and behind American foreign policy.

Seraphim Hanisch

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While the American people and press are pretty much complicit in reassuring the masses that America is the only “right” superpower on earth, and that Russia and China represent “enemy threats” for doing nothing more than existing and being successfully competitive in world markets, Russia Channel One got a stunner of a video interview with Ariel Cohen.

Who is Ariel Cohen? Wikipedia offers this information about him:

Ariel Cohen (born April 3, 1959 in Crimea in YaltaUSSR) is a political scientist focusing on political risk, international security and energy policy, and the rule of law.[1] Cohen currently serves as the Director of The Center for Energy, Natural Resources and Geopolitics (CENRG) at the Institute for Analysis of Global Security (IAGS). CENRG focuses on the nexus between energy, geopolitics and security, and natural resources and growth. He is also a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, within the Global Energy Center and the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center.[2] Until July 2014, Dr. Cohen was a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. He specializes in Russia/Eurasia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

Cohen has testified before committees of the U.S. Congress, including the Senate and House Foreign Relations Committees, the House Armed Services Committee, the House Judiciary Committee and the Helsinki Commission.[4] He also served as a Policy Adviser with the National Institute for Public Policy’s Center for Deterrence Analysis.[5] In addition, Cohen has consulted for USAID, the World Bank and the Pentagon.[6][7]

Cohen is a frequent writer and commentator in the American and international media. He has appeared on CNN, NBC, CBS, FOX, C-SPAN, BBC-TV and Al Jazeera English, as well as Russian and Ukrainian national TV networks. He was a commentator on a Voice of America weekly radio and TV show for eight years. Currently, he is a Contributing Editor to the National Interest and a blogger for Voice of America. He has written guest columns for the New York TimesInternational Herald TribuneChristian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Times, EurasiaNet, Valdai Discussion Club,[8] and National Review Online. In Europe, Cohen’s analyses have appeared in Kommersant, Izvestiya, Hurriyet, the popular Russian website Ezhenedelny Zhurnal, and many others.[9][10]

Mr. Cohen came on Russian TV for a lengthy interview running about 17 minutes. This interview, shown in full below, is extremely instructive in illustrating the nature of the American foreign policy directives such as they are at this time.

We have seen evidence of this in recent statements by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo regarding Russia’s “invasion” of Ukraine, and an honestly unabashed bit of fear mongering about China’s company Huawei and its forthcoming 5G networks, which we will investigate in more detail in another piece. Both bits of rhetoric reflect a re-polished narrative that, paraphrased, says to the other world powers,

Either you do as we tell you, or you are our enemy. You are not even permitted to out-compete with us in business, let alone foreign relations. The world is ours and if you try to step out of place, you will be dealt with as an enemy power.

This is probably justified paranoia, because it is losing its place. Where the United Stated used to stand for opposition against tyranny in the world, it now acts as the tyrant, and even as a bully. Russia and China’s reaction might be seen as ignoring the bully and his bluster and just going about doing their own thing. It isn’t a fight, but it is treating the bully with contempt, as bullies indeed deserve.

Ariel Cohen rightly points out that there is a great deal of political inertia in the matter of allowing Russia and China to just do their own thing. The US appears to be acting paranoid about losing its place. His explanations appear very sound and very reasonable and factual. Far from some of the snark Vesti is often infamous for, this interview is so clear it is tragic that most Americans will never see it.

The tragedy for the US leadership that buys this strategy is that they appear to be blinded so much by their own passion that they cannot break free of it to save themselves.

This is not the first time that such events have happened to an empire. It happened in Rome; it happened for England; and it happened for the shorter-lived empires of Nazi Germany and ISIS. It happens every time that someone in power becomes afraid to lose it, and when the forces that propelled that rise to power no longer are present. The US is a superpower without a reason to be a superpower.

That can be very dangerous.

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