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Finian Cunningham

Washington Sailing on Collision Course With China

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As of this month, the United States is deploying three of its aircraft carriers simultaneously to patrol the Pacific in what is designed to be a clear threat to China. Each carrier strike group comprises destroyers, aircraft and submarines. The US has 11 aircraft carriers in total.
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Macron’s ‘Brain-Dead’ NATO?.. Thou Protest Too Much

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French President Emmanuel Macron certainly ruffled a lot of feathers this week when he lamented the US-led NATO military alliance as being “brain dead”. But his comments were less about a principled or objective assessment of NATO, and more about self-aggrandizement by the French leader.

Macron, whose political ambition is suffused with reviving France as a global power, appears to be exploiting tensions in the transatlantic alliance in order to push his pet plan for creating a European Army.

With Britain leaving the European Union, the French president sees an opportunity for France becoming the lead power in Europe. His call for Europe to regain “military sovereignty” is aimed at enhancing French power as the top European military force.

In an interview with the London-based Economist, Macron said: “What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO.” He went on to claim that the United States is relinquishing commitment to the alliance; that the US is “turning its back on us”; and that European states must therefore “wake up” to “be in control of our destiny”.
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UK’s Johnson Plays Court Jester for Trump to Wreck Iran Deal

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Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson showed his true colors this week when he led the collapse of European support for the nuclear deal with Iran. What’s more, it was pathetically evident that Johnson was pandering to US President Donald Trump.

Since the clownish figure of “Boris” took over Downing Street in July, it was predictable that the hapless Johnson and his wobbly Brexit ambitions would make him ever-more reliant on the American president in order to negotiate a post-Brexit trade deal with the US. That, in turn, would mean Johnson being more sycophantic than British leaders usually are in indulging the White House and its foreign policy goals.

This week, predictions of Johnson’s kowtowing to Trump were fully delivered on, when he stabbed the nuclear accord with Iran in the back. On the way to the UN general assembly in New York, he declared it a “bad deal”.

It was an extraordinary U-turn by Britain which up to now had endorsed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the formal name for the nuclear deal, along with Germany, France and the European Union, as well as Russia and China. The accord was signed in 2015 by all of the above plus the US with the aim of lifting economic sanctions off Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
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Why There’ll Be No US-Russia Reset Post-Mueller

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President Donald Trump and his White House team may have been cleared of collusion with the Kremlin in the 2016 presidential election. That startling conclusion by Special Counsel Robert Mueller after nearly two years of investigation, might be viewed by some as giving Trump freedom to now get on with normalizing relations with Moscow. Don’t bet on it.

Mueller’s report, and US attorney general William Barr’s appraisal of it, only partially vindicate Trump’s long-held claims that the whole so-called “Russiagate" story is a “hoax”.

Yes, Mueller and Barr conclude that neither Trump nor his campaign team “conspired” with Russia to win the presidential race. But Democrat opponents are now dredging up the possibility that Trump “unwittingly” facilitated Kremlin cyber operations to damage his 2016 rival for the White House, Hillary Clinton.

In his summary of Mueller’s report, Barr unquestioningly accepts as fact the otherwise contentious claim that Russia interfered in the US election. Democrats and the anti-Trump US news media have not been deterred from pursuing their fantasy that the Kremlin allegedly meddled in US democracy. Trump has been cleared, but Russia has certainly not. It very much continues to have the smear of interference slapped all over its image.
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Russia Gives US Red Line on Venezuela

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At a high-level meeting in Rome this week, it seems that Russia reiterated a grave warning to the US – Moscow will not tolerate American military intervention to topple the Venezuelan government with whom it is allied.
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Rubio’s Gloating Betrays US Sabotage in Venezuela Power Blitz

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US imperialists are so desperate in their regime-change predations over Venezuela, they seem to have a problem controlling their drooling mouths.

The latest orgy of American gloating was triggered by the massive power outages to have hit Venezuela. No sooner had the South American country been blacked out from its power grid collapsing, senior US officials were crowing with perverse relish.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio – who has become a point man for the Trump administration in its regime-change campaign in Venezuela – was a little too celebratory. Within minutes of the nationwide power outage last Thursday, Rubio was having verbal orgasms about the “long-term economic damage”… “in the blink of an eye”. But it was his disclosure concerning the precise damage in the power grid that has led the Venezuelan government to accuse the US of carrying out a sabotage.

Information Minister Jorge Rodriguez noted how Rubio, in his tweeted comments “three minutes” after the power outage, mentioned failure of “back-up generators” in Venezuela’s main hydroelectric plant, known as the Guri Dam, located in Bolivar State. The dam supplies some 80 per cent of the Venezuelan population of 31 million with its electricity consumption.
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Trump’s Syria ‘Pullout’ Aimed at Aggressing Iran

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US President Donald Trump again this week portrayed his plan to pull troops out of Syria as a “victory homecoming” and “an end to endless wars”. Then, in stepped Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to clarify what’s really going on: it’s a “tactical change” to put Iran in the crosshairs.

The purported pullout is not a return of US military from the Middle East, as Trump has been trumpeting with self-congratulations. It’s more a reconfiguration of American military power in the strategically vital region, and in particular for greater aggressive leverage on Iran.

In his State of the Union speech to Congress this week, Trump talked about giving a “warm welcome home to our brave warriors” from Syria. Supposedly it was “mission accomplished” for the US in defeating the ISIS terror group in that country.

It should be pointed out that ISIS would not have been in Syria or Iraq if it were not for criminal American military interventions, covert and overt, in those countries.

In any case, Trump was proclaiming America “victorious”, and so it was time, he said, to follow up on his order given in December for the 2,000 or so troops (illegally present) in Syria to withdraw.
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US Midterms Expose Russia Hacker Myth

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Don’t hold your breath for it, but there should be an abject apology coming from US politicians, pundits, media and intelligence agencies.

For months leading up to the midterm elections held last week, we were told that the Kremlin was deviously targeting the ballot, in a replay of the way Russian hackers allegedly interfered in the 2016 presidential race to get Donald Trump into the White House.

Supposedly reliable news media outlets like the New York Times and heavyweight Senate panels were quoting intelligence sources warning that the “Russians are coming – again”.

So what just happened? Nothing. Where were the social media campaigns of malicious Russian-inspired misinformation “sowing division”? Whatever happened to the supposed army of internet bots and trolls that the Kremlin command? Where are the electoral machines tampered with to give false vote counts?

Facebook said it had deleted around 100 social media accounts that it claimed “were linked” to pro-Russian entities intent on meddling in the midterms. How did Facebook determined that “linkage”? It was based on a “tip-off” by US intelligence agencies. Hardly convincing proof of a Kremlin plot to destabilize American democracy.
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World War I Homage – A Triumph of Lies and Platitudes

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World leaders gathered in Paris on Sunday under the Arc de Triomphe to mark the centennial anniversary ending World War I. In an absurd way, the Napoleon-era arc was a fitting venue – because the ceremony and the rhetoric from President Emmanuel Macron was a “triumph” of lies and platitudes.

Among the estimated 70 international leaders were US President Trump and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, each sitting on either side of Macron and his wife. German Chancellor Angela Merkel was also given pride of place beside the French president.

Macron’s address to the dignitaries was supposed to be a call for international multilateralism. He urged a “brotherhood” for the cause of world peace. He also made a pointed rebuke of “nationalism” as posing a danger to peace – a remark which seemed aimed at Donald Trump who recently boasted of his politics with that very word.

But, ironically, everything about the ceremony and Macron’s speech resonated with jingoistic French nationalism, not his avowed multinationalism. As the politicians sat under the Arc de Triomphe, Macron walked around its circular esplanade in a salute to assembled French military forces bearing assault rifles and bayonets.
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Gaza Massacre Exposes Western Hypocrisy on Russia’s ‘Annexation’ of Crimea

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This week, Russian President Vladimir Putin unveiled a new 19-kilometer bridge linking the Crimean Peninsula with mainland southern Russia. Thousands of kilometers away, in occupied Palestine, a massacre was being carried out by Israeli soldiers with full support of the United States as it opened a new embassy.

The two events are not as disparate as one might think at first glance. They both involve “annexation” – one fictitious, the other very real. But Western hypocrisy inverts the reality.

While US dignitaries were opening the new American embassy in Jerusalem amid pomp and ceremony, some 60 unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot dead in cold blood by Israeli snipers. Among the dead were eight children. Thousands of others were maimed by live fire. The bloodshed could increase in coming days.

The relocation of the American embassy from Tel Aviv to the Israeli-occupied city of Jerusalem, ordered by President Trump, has been rebuked by the majority of nations. The American move pre-empts any negotiated peace settlement which was supposed to bequeath East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.
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