Is Ukraine about to go nuclear again?

A new global nuclear arms race may soon begin, and the world will have Putin to thank.

In 1994, Ukraine, the Russian Federation, the United States and the United Kingdom entered into an agreement to remove former Soviet nuclear weapons from Ukraine, later known as the Budapest Memorandum. Ukraine agreed to sign the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

In the history of nuclear weapons, only four states have ever walked away from nuclear capabilities: three post-Soviet states (Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) and South Africa, which had covertly developed a nuclear weapons arsenal. Continue reading

Briton drafts ‘Brexit’ blueprint: UK can join EFTA

Britain’s economy could grow by 1.3 billion pounds if it left the European Union due to less regulation and more trade with emerging economies, acccording to a British diplomat who dreamt up a blueprint for the country’s EU exit.

Britain’s free market Institute of Economic Affairs on Tuesday awarded a 100,000-euro prize to Iain Mansfield, a British diplomat based in the Philippines, who it decided had come up with the best proposal for a ‘Brexit,’ a British departure from the EU. Continue reading

Israeli launches spy satellite after US refusal to push for Iran’s weapons program’s dismantlement

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu decided not to delay the launch of Israel’s improved Ofek 10 spy satellite Wednesday night April 9, hours after the six powers and Iran wound up another round of talks in Vienna on comprehensive accord on its nuclear program. Israel decided to show some muscle over the Obama administration’s consent to raise Iran’s weapons program at the next round of nuclear negotiations next month, debkafile‘s Washington and Jerusalem sources report. But this assurance, relayed also to the Saudi government, was not accompanied by information on the points to be raised, or the US response if Tehran continued to maintain that its weapons program is non-existent and therefore not up for negotiation with the world powers. Continue reading

Top economists warn Germany that EMU crisis as dangerous as ever

Council on Foreign Relations compares Germany’s hardline stance with US policy towards Britain at the end of the Second World War

The eurozone debt crisis is deepening and threatens to re-erupt on a larger scale when the liquidity cycle turns, a leading panel of economists warned in a clash of views with German officials in Berlin.

“Debts above 130pc of GDP for Italy and 170pc for Greece are a recipe for disaster once we go into the next downturn,” said Professor Charles Wyplosz, from Geneva University.

“Today’s politicians believe the crisis is over and don’t want to hear any more about it, but they have not tackled the core issues of fiscal union and public debt,” he said, speaking at Euromoney’s annual Germany conference.

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The Changing Face of European Politics?

Twenty-eight ‘member nations’ of the European Union will vote for European Parliament representatives that hold no real power. Essentially, as in Russia and today’s America, people go to the poll centers because they’re purposely mislead to believe into thinking that they are part of some sort of democratic process. If they’re physically there, it sinks into their minds as such, which fulfills the aim. As with America, it’s another story. It’s yet to fully evolve into what Russia has become, which is to say all candidates from all parties are in the same party, but it’s roughly 85% there.

You say to yourself: “What can I do?” Nothing, because you don’t live in a participatory Democracy. That’s the absolute truth. You’ve had your fun. You went to the polls in November — and that was your fun. That was what you’re allowed. Every two years you’re allowed to have your fun and think that you have some impact among politicians who will still never listen to you nor represent your interests, but you don’t. You change the window dressing.

Does it sound skeptical or cynical? Only for those who aren’t paying attention, just like we’re seeing in Europe now. They’re blind to see all roads leading to Berlin — the center of rising The Fourth Reich — attempting to ‘mix iron with clay’ as the United States of Europe is the end goal.

 

Imagine if you will, that the U.S., Canada and Mexico signed up to what citizens believed was simply a new trade deal.

A few decades later, you are shocked to discover that a vast amount of laws affecting your life aren’t made by your elected officials in Washington, but in a new multi-million dollar Parliament Building in Ottawa, Canada.

When you ask the officials there what precisely is going on, they answer that the plan all along was to merge the U.S., Canada and Mexico into a single nation, with a single flag, anthem and currency.

If this scenario sounds bizarre, in Europe that is precisely what has taken place. Continue reading

World Entering “Golden Age of Gas”

Bloomberg published a lengthy article on the proliferation of shale gas drilling around the world, with interviews from top oil and gas executives. Drillers are trying to replicate the U.S. shale gas revolution in places such as China, Russia, India, South Africa, Australia, Argentina, the U.K, and Poland, among other places, according to the report. For example, Shell is working with Sinopec to tap the world’s largest shale gas reserves in China; Chevron teamed up with YPF SA to drill the massive Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina; and oil and gas companies are lining up to move into Mexico to drill the Mexican side of the Eagle Ford shale. Continue reading

Global banks issue alerts on China carry trade as Fed tightens and yuan falls

Three of the world’s largest banks have warned that the flood of “hot money” into China is at risk of sudden reversal as the yuan weakens and the US Federal Reserve brings forward plans to raise interest rates, with major implications for global finance.

A new report by Citigroup told clients to brace for a second phase of the “taper tantrum” that rocked emerging markets last year, but this time with China at the eye of the storm.

“There’s a dangerous scenario in which the combination of rising US short-term rates and a more volatile RMB (yuan) could lead to a rather large capital outflow from China,” said the report, by Guillermo Mondino and David Lubin. Continue reading

Why America’s poisonous politics makes ‘Market Leninism’ an attractive alternative

“Market Leninism” has become the biggest challenge to our society, writes John Avlon. And the problem with this alternative to Western governance is that it promises prosperity at the expense of individual freedom – while dismissing democracy as ineffective

The ideology of communism may have ended up on the ash heap of history like Nazism before it, but now “Market Leninism” is taking its place as a challenge to liberty in the 21st Century.

The fault lines reflect Cold War regions.

Russia and China and some of their old satellite states have traded Marx and Lenin for Market Leninism. Continue reading

Russia Raises Gold Holdings By 7.247 Tonnes To Over 1,040 Tonnes In February

Yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama warned Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia would face more sanctions if it moved further into eastern Ukraine after its annexation of Crimea. Worryingly for residents of New York and for financial markets, Obama also warned that he was more worried about the risk of a nuclear bomb going off in Manhattan then he was about Russia.

Geopolitical risk in the form of terrorism, financial and economic war and actual war remains high and should support gold.

Russia has increased its gold holdings by 7.247 tonnes to 1,042 tonnes in February. Turkey and Kazakhstan also raised their bullion reserves, data from the International Monetary Fund showed today. Turkey’s gold holdings rose 9.292 tonnes to 497.869 tonnes, the data showed.

Many analysts are ignoring the important context of today’s new geopolitical backdrop. Russia alone has some $400 billion in foreign exchange reserves – mostly in U.S. dollars. If they were to diversify just 5%, worth some $20 billion, of those reserves into gold – it would be equal to nearly 500 tonnes of gold or nearly 25% of global annual production.

Russia bought another 7.247 tonnes of gold in February. It will be interesting to see what Russian demand is in March and indeed in the coming months. Sanctions could lead to materially higher demand from the Russian central bank, Bank Rossii.

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‘Russia is enemy of the Western global financial system’

RT: The US President said that we’re not facing a new Cold War yet. He has also called on Russia to be deeply isolated – how do these points come together, how do they even work side by side?

Lawrence Freeman: First of all you should not believe what President Obama says. We are in a very dangerous situation that could escalate to a world war. The decisions that President Obama’s made are not his own. He is a effectively a tool of Wall Street and the British financial system, and they have declared war on Russia and President Putin because of the leadership role that Russia plays in the whole Eurasian continent, which is moving in a different direction.

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Merkel miffed at Barack Obama and David Cameron ‘nuclear war game’

Hopefully this is not a hint of what’s to come in the future, but the threat is real. Many people don’t know that even JFK warned about the Soviets and their nuclear bomb in Washington D.C..

Consider the following, which was told by JFK to Time Magazine:

In late July 1961, President Kennedy, just back from the grim Vienna summit with Khrushchev, asked me to dinner in Palm Beach. After daiquiris and Frank Sinatra records on the patio, his three guests and I gathered around the table for fish-in-a-bag, a White House recipe. Between lusty bites, Kennedy told the story of Khrushchev’s anger over West Berlin, the island of freedom in the Soviet empire’s East Germany. “We have a bustling communist enclave just four blocks from the White House,” I noted, meaning the Soviet embassy. Kennedy paused, fork between plate and mouth, and said, “You know, they have an atom bomb on the third floor of the embassy.” Aware of JFK’s love of spy stories, I said something like, “Sure, why not?”

No, Kennedy continued, it was his understanding that the Soviets had brought the components of an atomic device into the building in inspection-free diplomatic pouches and assembled it in the upstairs attic. “If things get too bad and war is inevitable,” he said, “they will set it off and that’s the end of the White House and the rest of the city.” I laughed. Still suspending his bite of fish, Kennedy said, “That’s what I’m told. Do you know something that I don’t?” No sign of mirth. The conversation moved on.

Five years ago I was lecturing in Staunton, Va., and retold the story. In the question session, a man in the audience rose and said, “You may not believe that story about the bomb in the attic, but I do. I worked for 25 years at the Defense Intelligence Agency, and that was our understanding.” And now I can hear Kennedy asking again, “Do you know something I don’t?”

Source: Were the Russians Hiding a Nuke in D.C.? (Time)

 

World leaders played an interactive nuclear war game designed to test their responses to a terrorist atomic “dirty bomb” attack that threatened the lives of hundreds of thousands of people

David Cameron joined Barack Obama, Angela Merkel and Xi Jinping and other world leaders to play a “nukes on the loose” war game to see how they would cope with a terrorist nuclear attack.

The German chancellor grumbled at being asked to play games and take tests with the Prime Minister, US and Chinese presidents around a table with dozens of heads of state at a nuclear summit in The Hague.

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NATO’s Military Decline

Vladimir Putin and his American apologists like to blame NATO’s post-Cold War expansion for his territorial conquests, which ignores that the alliance refused in 2008 to let Georgia and Ukraine even begin the process of joining. Those are the two countries the Russian has since carved up, and the question now is whether Russia’s expansionism will slap Western leaders out of their self-defense slumbers.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sounded the alarm last week in a visit to Washington. “I see Crimea as an element in a greater pattern” of Russian strategy, he told an audience at the Brookings Institution. Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, he said, is “a wake-up call” that “must be followed by increased European investment in defense.” He might have included the U.S.

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