Mês: julho 2018

BRICS 2018

Turkey is Getting off the U.S. Reservation   Tom Luongo Jul. 30, 2018   This year’s BRICS Summit was a big show.  No question.  The main event was provided by Turkish President cum Dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Erdogan wants to a a “T” to the acronym, making them the BRICTS. Erdogan also made it very clear Turkey’s shift away from the West will proceed faster if the bullying and marginalization continue.  For months now, Turkey has struggled with a crashing Lira and sovereign bond market. The poster child for the unfolding sovereign debt crisis. The Trump Administration knows that Turkey is slipping from its grasp.  Do you ever wonder why certain countries’ currencies get trashed when others with worse balance sheets or balance of trade don’t? You should.  Because asking that simple question will lead you to asking “Why X?  Why Now?” And in Turkey’s case it is for many reasons: Turkey was key in assisting Iran resist pre-JCPOA sanctions by laundering Iranian oil sales in physical gold through Turkish banks. Turkey is highly dependent on foreign energy imports and is one of Iran’s largest customers. To alleviate this foreign-energy dependence Turkey, through Russia, are building nuclear power plants and the Turkish Stream pipeline. Turkish Stream will provide Russian Gas from Gazprom at an effective discount since most of its capacity is targeted for European destinations and Turkey will likely get...

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World Cup 2018

FIFA World Cup, Russia 2018: an appreciation   Gilbert Doctorow Jul. 30, 2018   When the month-long football World Cup tournament in Russia ended on Sunday, 15 July, it was entirely overshadowed in the news and global commentary by coverage of preparations for the summit meeting of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki the next day. In turn, the summit was immediately followed by a firestorm of criticism of Trump that precluded any further thoughts being given to the World Cup in US and Western media. However, in Russia the FIFA tournament most decidedly has not disappeared from ongoing news cycles in the two weeks that have passed since the closing ceremony.  On several occasions  Vladimir Putin has used public appearances to draw a line under the month of football matches, to congratulate all those who participated in making the World Cup what FIFA President Gianni Infantino declared to have been “the best World Cup ever.”   The culmination was a televised reception in the Kremlin a couple of days ago to which the national team players, their wives and trainers were invited.  The most valuable  defense players and strikers in the matches were especially honored, and the head trainer Stanislav Cherchesov was warmly praised by Putin for his leadership qualities as well as excellent tactical guidance in the matches. As many observers have noted, by its performance on the...

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NATO-OTAN

NATO Is a Goldmine for US Weapons’ Industries   Brian Cloughley Jul. 30, 2018   Countries of the NATO military alliance have been ordered by President Trump to increase their spending on weapons, and the reasons for his insistence they do so are becoming clearer. It’s got nothing to do with any defence rationale, because, after all, the Secretary General of the US-NATO military alliance, Jens Stoltenberg, has admitted that “we don’t see any imminent threat against any NATO ally” and the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute recorded in its 2018 World Report that “at $66.3 billion, Russia’s military spending in 2017 was 20 per cent lower than in 2016.” Even Radio Free Europe, the US government’s anti-Russia broadcaster, records that Russia has reduced its defence spending. There is demonstrably no threat whatever to any NATO country by Russia, but this is considered irrelevant in the context of US arms’ sales, which are flourishing and being encouraged to increase and multiply. On July 12, the second and final day of the recent US-NATO meeting, Reuters reported Trump as saying that “the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything.”  He went on “to list the top US arms makers, Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp by name.” On July 11 the Nasdaq Stock Exchange listed the stock price of Lockheed...

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Collapse

US Intelligence Community as a Collapse Driver   Dmitry Orlov Jul. 24, 2018   In today’s United States, the term “espionage” doesn’t get too much use outside of some specific contexts. There is still sporadic talk of industrial espionage, but with regard to Americans’ own efforts to understand the world beyond their borders, they prefer the term “intelligence.” This may be an intelligent choice, or not, depending on how you look at things. First of all, US “intelligence” is only vaguely related to the game of espionage as it has been traditionally played, and as it is still being played by countries such as Russia and China. Espionage involves collecting and validating strategically vital information and conveying it to just the pertinent decision-makers on your side while keeping the fact that you are collecting and validating it hidden from everyone else. In eras past, a spy, if discovered, would try to bite down on a cyanide capsule; these days torture is considered ungentlemanly, and spies that get caught patiently wait to be exchanged in a spy swap. An unwritten, commonsense rule about spy swaps is that they are done quietly and that those released are never interfered with again because doing so would complicate negotiating future spy swaps. In recent years, the US intelligence agencies have decided that torturing prisoners is a good idea, but they have mostly been...

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USA-Russia-China

US-Russia-China triangle in flux, again   M. K. Bhadrakumar Jul. 23, 2018   In a conversation with the Financial Times last week, Henry Kissinger made a highly significant remark about President Donald Trump’s attempt to improve the United States’ relations with Russia. The conversation took place in the backdrop of the Helsinki summit on July 16. Kissinger said: “I think Trump may be one of those figures in history who appears from time to time to mark the end of an era and to force it to give up its old pretences. It doesn’t necessarily mean that he knows this, or that he is considering any great alternative. It could just be an accident.” Kissinger did not elaborate, but the drift of his thought is consistent with opinions he has voiced in the past – the US’ steady loss of influence on global arena, rise of China and resurgence of Russia necessitating a new global balance. As far back as 1972 in a discussion with Richard Nixon on his upcoming trip to China, signifying the historic opening to Beijing, Kissinger could visualize such a rebalancing becoming necessary in future. He expressed the view that compared with the Soviets (Russians), the Chinese were “just as dangerous. In fact, they’re more dangerous over a historical period.” Kissinger added, “in 20 years your (Nixon’s) successor, if he’s as wise as you, will wind...

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