Autor: João

Skripal

The Skripal Affair   Richard Sakwa Mar. 23, 2018 It’s hard to believe that relations between the UK and Russia could get any worse, but they have – and we are probably still a long way from the nadir. The nerve agent attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury on 4 March 2018 not only threatened their lives, but also the health of bystanders and first responders. The murder attempt had devastating consequences on Russo-British relations. The British have been keen to internationalise the incident and have demanded expressions of solidarity from allies, and thus relations not only with the UK but also with most of the Atlantic community have deteriorated further. The British government points the finger of blame not only at the Moscow authorities, but at President Vladimir Putin personally. On 14 March a range of sanctions were imposed, including the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats from the London embassy. These are the circumstances and the consequences, but the whole affair raises many troubling questions. Is the case so clear-cut that the authorities in Moscow, and possibly Putin personally, ordered the assassination? After all, Skripal, a former GRU (Russian military intelligence) officer who had been recruited by the British intelligence agency, MI6, and had then worked as a double agent, had been part of a prisoner swap in 2010, and had lived openly in...

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Germany

Nord Stream 2 Gas Pipeline: Good for Germany, Good for Europe, Bad for Globalists   . . . for Germany as an influential citizen of Europe, Nord Stream 2 may chart the country’s first step towards regaining its position as a sovereign nation and deepening its ties with Russia—for all the right reasons.   Valeria Z. Nollan Mar. 21, 2018   A recent article by Alan Riley titled “Nordstream 2: How Germany Lets Down Europe” appeared in the online news magazine The Globalist on 28 February 2018. The article claims that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project is not in Germany’s best interest as a sovereign country, a member of the EU, and an influential citizen of Europe as a whole. Some further reflection is warranted on these matters, in directions other than those offered by the article’s author. Riley is a Senior Fellow of the Institute for Statecraft (London) and a Senior Non-Resident of the Global Energy Center of the Atlantic Council (Washington, D.C.). At the end of the article he is listed as an adviser to Naftogaz of Ukraine and PGNIG (Polish Oil Mining and Gas Industry). Germany’s geopolitical position in Europe is a complex one. It shares borders with many countries, including Poland, with which it has had serious political disagreements in recent years. It has twenty-one U.S. military bases on its territory and its...

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Nukes

Why Putin’s Latest Weapons Claims Should Scare Us   Americans should be very concerned about Russia’s breakthroughs in weapons technology – not necessarily because they pose a threat, but because it will mean vast fortunes spent in the U.S. on an arms race   Jonathan Marshall Mar. 3, 2018   Be afraid. Be very afraid of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s latest boast to his Federal Assembly that Russian scientists have come up with “a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons” aimed at the United States. Don’t be afraid that he has any intention of using them. Don’t even be afraid that most of the weapons he demonstrated through animated simulations are operational. Be afraid, rather, that armchair Cold Warriors in the United States will shamelessly exploit Putin’s speech to justify billions—no, trillions—of dollars in needless spending on a pointless nuclear arms race. Achieving their agenda was made easier by media coverage of the speech, which reported that Putin “threatened the West” (New York Times) and “represented an escalated level of martial rhetoric even by his pugnacious standards” (Washington Post). Putin in fact explicitly and repeatedly emphasized that his claimed new weapons are not offensive, but rather designed to maintain Russia’s nuclear deterrent in the face of growing U.S. anti-missile systems. Responding to the United States “Back in 2000, the US announced its withdrawal from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty,” he explained. “We saw the Soviet-US ABM...

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Nukes

Will Russia’s Stunning Response to US Aggression Have Any Effect on the DC Madhouse?   Rob Slane Mar. 3, 2018   Back in 2007, Vladimir Putin made what was probably the most important international speech of the 21st Century so far at the 43rd Munich Security Conference. His main theme was that attempts to create a unipolar world with one country dominating and policing the globe were not only morally wrong, but also doomed to failure: “However, what is a unipolar world? However one might embellish this term, at the end of the day it refers to one type of situation, namely one centre of authority, one centre of force, one centre of decision-making. It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign. And at the end of the day this is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within.” In the Q&A session after the speech, he warned that the decision of the United States to pull out of the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2002, which had been the fundamental basis for international security for 30 years, and their subsequent attempts to create a global missile defence shield, was not only a threat to Russia, which would inevitably have to respond, but by implication to the whole world: “Plans to expand...

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Trade

Trump trade policy will turn the US into Brazil   Shielding raw materials exporters while ignoring the decline of America’s high-tech capacity, defensive trade action stands no chance of rejuvenating the US industrial base   David P. Goldman Mar. 2, 2018 Aerial view of steel mills in Indiana Harbor on Michigan lake near Gary, USA. Photo via AFP/Ricciarini   The broad US stock market gave up an early rally and fell over 5% after President Trump’s announcement of punitive tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum, the highest in US history. US Steel, the country’s largest producer of the metal, rose 6.4% on the news and aluminum producer Nucor gained 2.4%, while the S&P 500 average lost 1%. General Motors fell almost 4%, Ford fell 3%, United Technologies fell 2.8% and Boeing fell 3.4%. Raw materials prices have little to do with the erosion of America’s industrial base. Chronic underinvestment in capital-intensive manufacturing is the underlying problem, and American manufacturers avoid big capital commitments because they can’t compete with Asian subsidies for industrial plant and equipment. Asian economies view a $10 billion semiconductor fabrication plant the way Americans view a bridge, stadium or airport, as a public good that merits taxpayer support. China’s economy is so big that its subsidies distort capital investment around the world. By protecting raw materials exporters while ignoring the decline of American...

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