The media is foaming at the mouth at the prospect of a war between North Korea and the USA. Is a nuclear war likely between North Korea and the USA? Are Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un likely to go to war? We say no. It’s all theatre. Or at least, it’s all theatre now North […]
As the UK has chosen to exit the EU, we will be no longer bound by US-influenced, EU sanctions on Russia. We should lift sanctions on Russia as an independent country to regain the millions of pounds of trade we have lost with Russia. We don’t need to participate in EU/US sanctions against Russia.
The EU and the US introduced sanctions on Russia over the democratic decision of the people of Crimea to reunify with Russia and Russia’s alleged backing of separatists in Eastern Ukraine. The UK had to participate in this as an EU member. Now the UK is leaving the EU, we need not be dictated to by it. Lost trade with Russia costs the UK many millions of pounds. This is trade that we are now at liberty to get back. Russia is a market of 140m consumers British business needs.
I have just returned from my annual sojourn to America recently; Texas and California to be exact.
This might have been the first time I had ever been to Texas and not see someone wearing a cowboy hat. Amazing, since I spent 10 days there (14 days in Cali). Equally amazing was not seeing any police, or very, very few in both places.
Nobody shot at me either. Always welcomed.
Nothing really has changed much, but it being an election year, one could sense a palatable shift in the mood of the country; interesting to witness I must say. Living outside one’s country for years will change your perspective and give you a certain vantage point that is quite different obviously, than from someone who hasn’t experienced this. That is assuming that one can stay objective.
One major paradigm shift for me over the years living in Moscow has been to not look at things as good or bad but different.
People are people. Living in Moscow is not that different, all things considered, than living in LA. Cultural attitudes aside, I get up, go to work, meet with friends, enjoy life, deal with problems etc. much like I did in LA.
America is a great country, let’s not kid ourselves. I always have a good time there and the people are generally nice and polite. Stereotypes are blown way out of proportion, so it’s quite easy for non- Americans to take pot shots at the country and its people as if the same assholes don’t exist in their country in some form or another.
“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”.
The government takes a lot of heat, and rightfully so. Now it’s time for the American government to change its paradigm and start to work along side countries they have had dubious or mediocre relations in the past. Doesn’t mean putting up with another country’s crap, but not starting any crap of your own as well. Nevertheless, it’s time to stop the do as I say or else nonsense.
It will be interesting to see who is elected President in the U.S.. The U.S. military industrial complex needs to dial it back, that’s for sure.
One thing that was blatantly obvious while I was in America is how the cost of living has gone up in relation to Russia, and Moscow in particular. I didn’t buy half the stuff I normally do to bring back, because quite frankly it cost more in America than Russia taking the exchange rate into consideration. Yikes, what a surprise.
Moscow, normally a perennial among the top 10 most expensive cities in the world now sits at 192. New York City, San Fransisco and Washington D.C. have all cracked the top 10. I don’t think there has been a time in the last 20 years that 3 American cities have been in the top 10. Honolulu, San Jose, Boston, Oakland, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and Chicago all are in the top 30. This really has to be a first since I’ve been tracking this (since I moved to Moscow) that I have seen so many American cities rank that high.
I believe the worst is over here in Russia; I’m 99% sure of it. It’s also a good time for any Westerner to visit given the exchange rate. Oil is at least moving in a positive direction for the country and the country has improved other sectors.
I was pleasantly surprised to see Western businessmen, dignitaries, and diplomats attend this year’s annual ST. Petersburg International Economic Forum after a 2-year absence. It’s quite apparent EU businesses see the Russian economy coming out of a slump and are as Putin says “chomping at the bit” to do business in Russia again. Of course they are.
These sanctions are bullshit and everyone knows this. Sanctions rarely if ever achieve their desired goals and these sanctions have taken a toll on Europe as well. Part of what the sanctions accomplished was to push the Russian’s back against the wall and force them to finally do something productive within the country. Agriculture continues to produce positive results and I see and feel it at check out counter.
America again it seems, have underestimated things with short-sighted policies.
The demise of Russia economically has been greatly exaggerated by the West. There is still a long way to go to get to the boom years of 2000-2007 and recovery is slow to be sure. As with any recession, some people suffer more than others.
Concurrently, it’s good to see Russia reach out to the West as they have done recently. Russia understands its need for the West to ensure a better future for its people. But, it must be done cooperatively, not aggressively or underhanded. I think business between Europe and Russia will start to increase sanctions or not; it’s only a matter of time.
Life is good in Moscow. Certainly not any worse than in most cities/countries. Summertime is an awesome time to be here and things are looking up. You never know about the future, but it seems there are some rays of sunshine peeking through the clouds of 2014.
My prediction is to look for Russia to show true sighs of recovery into 2017 as oil hits $60-70 with relations and business ties improving between the West and Russia.
It starts out quite interesting, actually. It walks the reader through history as Cheney sees it first, starting off with the founding fathers and the usual stuff about freedom and liberty, and he dwells on the relationship between the US and Europe in the second world war somewhat.
Reading through the lines you start to see the changes in attitude from what started out as good sound principles of freedom and liberty to what we see today (not sure he intended that to show through as clearly as it does). From what I deduced, it was somewhere between the end of the Vietnam war and the arrival of Carter as president the US started to become noticeably aggressive and interventionist abroad.
The book implies that Reagan was single handedly responsible for bringing down the Berlin wall with his Brandenburg speech. Not true.
It is an interesting read initially for the non-American as it offers an insight into *why* Americans think as they do.
What is disappointing in a way is how he described the principles the US was founded on and its early development (I suppose we all knew them anyway but they are well presented therein). He describes a country that anyone would want to live in.
What I see as an outsider (and occasional visitor), is how far wide of that mark and those intended standards the US has become, both with actions abroad and the influence of big media and business on the masses and the political decision making. But that happens anywhere.
I had no opinion on Cheney one way or another, so I can read his opinions without any particular bias against the guy. He seems to have a dim view of Obama, but then again, so do most Americans.
I was finding untruths and flawed thinking early on. The bloke is the neocon of neocons.
He seems scornful of any president who didn’t want to bail into any country, all guns blazing, at the drop of a hat. He thinks the Iraq war was a terrific idea. Obama and Clinton have had scorn. He seems to like the Bushes.
It started out well but then goes downhill rapidly with his train of thought……
Then it gives a scary insight into the neocon mind. Example: Indignation that Assad didn’t step down as Obama “instructed” him to do. Really!
About a third of it is taken up with quotes from other neocons to support his worldview, with some commentary in-between.
Then follows page after page of quotes from Obama with him trying to rip it to bits. The thing was, after reading Obama’s stuff, I am actually starting to like the bloke. I didn’t before.
Then he launches into the real out there stuff: Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Guantanamo, etc. were all *super* ideas and they should have gone much, much further.
He thinks Russia is still the USSR, and must be hemmed in and castrated at any cost. He has similar views of China.
Then, there is page after page of what he thinks the next president should do, which basically is rule the world and start World War 3 to do it.
It rounds off with a General Cheeseburger rant about “exceptional”, greatest country in the world, apple pie on Sunday, blah blah.
I can only say its great that this old duffer was put out to grass. If one who thinks like him gets in the White House in 2016, there will be a world war for sure.
All in all it was a disturbing journey into a disturbing mindset. After reading it, I am surer than I ever was of the need to contain American aggression around the world and de-dollarise. I came out of it – unintentionally – with a new-found fondness for some of Obama’s ideas.
Exceptional: Why the World Needs a Powerful America
Dangerous: Why the World Doesn’t Need a Powerful America
This article first appeared at journal-neo.org The New York Times in its recent article, “Russians Strike Targets in Syria, but Not ISIS Areas,” attempts to frame Russia’s recent actions in Syria as dishonest and dangerous. It reports: Russian aircraft carried out a bombing attack against Syrian opposition fighters on Wednesday, including at least one group […]
The United States is delivering arms to Ukraine via Bulgaria, an article on RIA Novosti reads.
Bulgaria is also “producing ammunition for the Ukrainian army” with US money, and Poland, Hungary, and the Czech Republic are ready to take part in similar schemes, the text argues further.
Washington is doing so “despite official declarations” and has so far transferred about 200 sniper rifles and 400 assault rifles and 200 grenade launchers, the author, Aleksandr Hrolenko, notes [RU], arguing this “transit country” has been used for not less than 20 years “when necessary to hide traces”.
Reports about the latter role of Bulgaria emerged for the first time in December.
In his words, the aim might be to embroil Russia in a long-term military conflict.
While until recently Bulgaria and Ukraine were both partners and rivals on the international arms market, with Ukraine profiting more, this relationship changed with the developments in the Donbass region in the spring of 2014.
Reports by the press office of Ukraine’s Ukroboronprom concern are cited according to which a contract was signed last year between US arms manufacturer Barrett Firearms and a firm exporting equipment for Ukroboronprom.
Details about the arms, which were designated for the security services and the National Guard of Ukraine, have only recently emerged, RIA writes.
A US company called AMI Global Security, registered in Portland, Oregon, exported equipment at a total price of USD 7.5 M.
The name of a Bulgarian company, Bulcomers KS Ltd (previously referred to as Bulkomers in the December reports about weapons deliveries via Bulgaria) is pointed to as the “official broker” in the deal.
The arms sold to Ukraine were designed for fighting against lightly armored equipment, damaging radars and defusing ammunition and mines from a safe distance.
Part of the equipment might also be transported from Bulgaria to Ukraine in the form of “auto parts”, which the Balkan nation has traditionally been exporting.
An announcement by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov in February 2015, containing a list of items Kiev received as lethal assistance, is cited to confirm the weapons were supplied.
Reference is made to an incident this summer when a US citizen and two Bulgarians died at the Anevo military ground. Reports emerged subsequently the development had occurred during a test of arms manufactured for Syrian opposition forces fighting Islamic State.
(Back then Economy Minister Bozhidar Lukarski said Bulgaria was not exporting arms to Syria.)
The text also reads that Ukraine turned to the US and other states “more than once” to buy weapons.
This also is interesting if true:
As US President Barack Obama welcomed Chinese President Xi Jinping to the White House on Friday, Sept. 25, and spoke of the friendship between the two countries, the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning-CV-16 docked at the Syrian port of Tartus, accompanied by a guided missile cruiser. This is revealed exclusively by DEBKAfile.
Beijing is not finding it hard to dance at two weddings, wooing the US for better relations, while at the same time backing Russia in its military intervention in Syria. Coupled with the warm smiles and handshakes exchanged at the lavish reception on the White House lawn, Beijing was clearly bent on showing muscle – not just in the South China Sea, but by allying itself with the Russian-Iranian political and military buildup in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad and his regime.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Chinese aircraft carrier passed through the Suez Canal on Sept. 22, one day after the summit in Moscow between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
When they talked, Putin made no mention of the Chinese warship entering the eastern Mediterranean or its destination. Its arrival has upended the entire strategic situation surrounding the Syrian conflict, adding a new global dimension to Moscow and Tehran’s military support for Assad.
Many sources have noted the passage of Chinese warships up the Suez to the Mediterranean. These things can be tracked in just the same way as we can for aircraft.
There’s no reason at all to not believe that the story is true. The only point in question is the identity of the ships, but again, from tracking data there’s no reason to disbelieve.
I have seen reports suggesting that the new alliance in place will commenced actions against ISIS and cohorts from October 15th giving just shy of 3 weeks for materiel to reach Syria. Apparently that gives time for other Chinese ships already in transit to reach Syria and deploy.
RT is reporting now on live news Russia, Iraq, Syria and Iran coalition in place and America on the fence “thinking” about it. No mention of China yet.
Today, France has just started bombing Isil (ISIS) too.
However this is going to pan out, America will be pushed out of the solution. A necessary step as we slowly lead America to the back seat in the world order. The world needs to see that problems can be solved without American aggression and regime changes.
If the current price regime continues for years into the future than the value of the big agreements made last year might be impacted but the thing is that China and Russia are dealing in yuan and roubles, not in dollars. This means that the dollar’s fluctuations are not relevant and the price of the rouble and yuan as a pair will be much more stable than rouble – dollar -yuan will be.
China has devalued slightly, but the currency, due to its link to the dollar, is still very over valued. They could move another 20% to get to the ‘correct’ value. Of course by doing so they’d kick the US in the nuts such that they’d not be getting off the floor for a while.
For them cheaper energy is worthwhile but is not essential. It was the decline in China’s energy consumption early last year that told us what was happening globally – that consumption of Chinese goods was falling. The Chinese knew this too, before the energy figures gave he game away. That led them to move ahead with moving toward the internal market which has a huge amount of room to grow – just as the US market did from early in the last century when they were already the world’s largest economy (since about 1870).
It is obvious that the Chinese devaluation was a signal to the IMF and US. As many do not understand, a currency pegged to another, as the yuan and dollar are, are not freely traded. For inclusion in the IMF basket the yuan needs to be unpegged, either fully or almost so.
This is a signal to the IMF that China is willing to do what is needed.
The US is being told that China will no longer support the dollar as it has been doing.
Whilst events may seem to be coincidental they are probably less coincidental than we might imagine. China is making foreign policy moves, in concert with Russia. Saudi Arabia is making its own moves. The target, on the whole, is the US.
The goal is to force the dollar into appreciation against as many significant currency pairs as possible thus weakening the US freedom of action across the globe and in the internal market.
Remember, having a ‘strong’ currency is often not the best option, especially when the holders of that currency have been spending the past 6 years trying to devalue it, without success.
The big issue facing all of us is this: it is quite possible that the global economy can no longer afford to pay as much as it is for oil. If we can not afford to pay then we will not and the price will fall further. This WILL result in a fall in oil output from all but the cheapest sources – this means the US will cease to produce almost any oil. Only the cheapest producers will be viable and only the cheapest producers with manufacturing infrastructure will be able to maintain anything like current standards of living.
Ukraine is a disaster, a bankrupt nation run by crooks and hoodlums, in hock to another set of villains in the EU. It’s little reported in the West, but now there are major ructions in the West of the country. The problem is Right Sector, which is basically a private army of Nazis who wield crippling power, attended by gangsterism, racketeering and violence. It was they who were in the vanguard of ousting Yanukovich in 2014 (a legally elected president), and now Right Sector is pushing to eject the current band of knaves and cutthroats holding court in Kiev. It’s a real comedy of errors, except there is nothing much to laugh about. Any country that has a private army rampaging about is in for big trouble. If you lie down with dogs, you wake up with fleas, as the saying goes. Poroshenko and his ilk could well find themselves dragged out into the streets and shot without so much as a by your leave. Mr Poroshenko, an oligarch with a somewhat dubious and shady past, had better have his private jet standing by for a quick getaway.
However, it might then be shot down and doubtless the blame would be laid on another ‘Putin’s missile’ (headline courtesy of that bastion of balanced journalism – the Sun). In case you were unaware, according to the Sun it was ‘Putin’s missile’ that shot down flight MH17 last July over Ukraine!
The West has encouraged and in fact orchestrated the mayhem and madness in Ukraine. Millions of dollars were pumped in to fund NGOs, whose ulterior motive was to bring about regime change and create chaos on Russia’s borders. And for their henchman they selected or at least condoned Nazi thugs such as Right Sector to do the dirty work. I find it ironic and sad in the extreme that our fathers and grandfathers fought a long and bitter WWII to rid the world of Nazism (helped out a great deal by Russia who lost something like 25 million souls in the effort), while today the West is turning a blind eye to its menace in Ukraine. And all in a sick and twisted geopolitical game.
The good news is that NATO has blown Mission Ukraine. Despite all the sanctions and hoo-ha, it’s hard to lend credence to the assertion that Russia is a threat and has designs on sweeping west to cut a red swathe through the heartlands of Europe. Nobody is really buying that particular brand of baloney. ‘The Russians are coming’ was always a rather empty and silly jest, anyway. On the other hand, NATO has swept east, despite the promise of Bush Sr to the Russians in the early 90s that they wouldn’t. For heaven’s sake, Russia is the biggest country in the world; it doesn’t need to go rampaging about like a bear in a glass factory.
The Baltic States and their pathetic whining about the ‘Russian threat’ are frankly a laughing stock. NATO generals and Western politicians maunder on about this ad nauseam too, but anyone with half a brain should be able to shred this tissue of lies into fragments and see it for what it is: a desperate and ill-judged move to demonize and ultimately unseat Putin in the old game of let’s change the regime. Judging by opinion polls in Russia, the plan has backfired spectacularly. An overwhelming majority of the population approves of Vladimir Putin, and the chances of ousting him appear about as likely as installing a Communist Commander-in-Chief in the White House. Incidentally, China’s leader, Xi Jinping, enjoys similar popularity at home.
Kiev’s dreams of retaking Crimea and the independent regions of Donbass have finally been recognised in Washington and Brussels as the pipe dream they always were .
Russia has made it very clear that it wont accept continued American hegemony, indeed, Russia is a party to the very necessary managed decline of America as a world superpower.
America has now opened up what it calls a ‘direct channel of communication with Russia’ on the Ukraine crisis. One reason Kerry was recently in Sochi and Nuland in Moscow.
Meanwhile, Poroshenko has fired the head of the Security Service, a chap called Nalivaichenko who was rumoured to be an American operative.
The US has realised it needs to get out of Ukraine while saving face. Responsibility will be quietly passed to Russia to help bring the Ukraine crisis to an end (better late than never I suppose).
This means it is time for Poroshenko to go. But where? Putin wont rescue him as he did with his predecessor. Or if he does, it will have more strings attached than he will like.
Poroshenko is pulling up the drawbridges and trying to surround himself with his own men.
A futile attempt in my opinion. The writing is on the wall.