BERLIN/BEIJING (Own report) – At this week’s Asia-Europe Meeting in Brussels, the EU will introduce a new “connectivity strategy” to counter China’s “New Silk Road.” As outlined by the EU’s head of foreign policy in September, the strategy is aimed at improving transportation infrastructure as well as digital and energy networks linking Asia and Europe. Beijing is also active in these domains in connection with its Silk Road initiative. Recently, Germany’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs launched an initial thrust in this project. At the time, Minister of State Niels Annen (SPD) declared in Uzbekistan that social standards and human rights are “priorities” for Brussels. “This is what makes our offer different from China’s Belt and Road initiative.” For years, Germany had supported – even with military assistance – the Uzbek regime that was applying torture. Washington has also launched a new infrastructure initiative in Asia, to which US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that the USA is committed to “honest accords” and would “never seek dominance over the Indo-Pacific.” Continue reading
The dollar has long been the world’s reserve currency. But some countries, angered by sanctions, are challenging that status, potentially undermining one of the US’s most influential tools for shaping global policy.
For average Russians, a small personal hoard of US dollars has always represented a place of safety amid the wild ups-and-downs that continue to beset the country’s national currency, the ruble.
So it triggered a touch of panic among them when the Russian government confirmed long-standing rumors that it is working on a plan to insulate the economy from escalating US sanctions through “de-dollarization.” Continue reading
If there were ever any doubts that the leaders of the Euroskeptic coalition that now runs Italy has a plan to defy the European Union its proposed budget should quell them. Both Deputy Prime Ministers, Luigi Di Maio of Five Star Movement and Matteo Salvini of The League, were adamant about locking horns with European Union leadership over all issues of sovereignty between now and May’s European Parliamentary elections.
Their budget proposal which included both tax cuts and universal income blew past the EU budget limit of 2.0% of GDP, coming in at 2.4%. It has put their Finance Minister, Giovanni Tria, in a difficult position because Tria doesn’t want to negotiate this budget with Brussels, preferring a less confrontational, read more pro-EU, approach. Continue reading
The European Central Bank (ECB) will aid Italy with an EU rescue program if the country or its banks are in financial turmoil because they are taking the view that Italy has become an “occupied” country and that Germany has conquered Europe imposing austerity and its view of inflation upon the whole of Europe without firing a shot. While the spin is that the ECB is making Italy a test case to demonstrate that Europe and its mechanisms work, in reality, it is a realization that the ECB cannot save Italy’s financial institutions because austerity has created the greatest economic depression perhaps in economic history. Continue reading
The macabre case of missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi raises the question: did Saudi rulers fear him revealing highly damaging information on their secret dealings? In particular, possible involvement in the 9/11 terror attacks on New York in 2001.
Even more intriguing are US media reports now emerging that American intelligence had snooped on and were aware of Saudi officials making plans to capture Khashoggi prior to his apparent disappearance at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last week. If the Americans knew the journalist’s life was in danger, why didn’t they tip him off to avoid his doom? Continue reading
Nearly a half-century ago, President Richard Nixon’s secretary of state, Henry Kissinger, established a successful U.S. strategy for dealing with America’s two most dangerous rivals. He sought closer ties to both the Soviet Union, with its more than 7,000 nuclear weapons, and Communist China, with the world’s largest population.
Kissinger’s approach was sometimes called “triangulation.” But distilled down to its essence, the phrase meant ensuring that China and Russia were not friendlier to each other than each was to the United States
Given that the Soviet Union was much stronger than China at the time, Kissinger especially courted Beijing. Continue reading
The deputy foreign minister says he sees no desire on the U.S. side to engage in discussions to renew or extend the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told Financial Times the “complete malfunction” of the U.S. system of government has meant that key treaties are likely to lapse and leave the world’s nuclear powers “without constraint in the event of a conflict.” Continue reading
With the Washington Post stepping up to put a floor under US stocks Thursday afternoon by reporting that President Trump would meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at next month’s G-20 summit (while the headline soothed the market, it doesn’t change the fact that, as with everything involving the Trump administration, this too remains subject to change), investors have apparently overlooked the latest ominous headlines out of Italy. To wit, Reuters reported that the ECB won’t come to Italy’s rescue if its government or banks run out of cash unless the Italian government first secures a bailout from the European Union. Of course, this would almost certainly require that the populist coalition end its ongoing game of fiscal chicken with Brussels and abandon its dreams of lowering the retirement age and extending a basic income to the Italian people – policies that would effectively secure a political future for M5S and the League.
In effect, the ECB’s latest trial balloon is tantamount to blackmail: Either the Italians agree to fall back in line and obey European budgetary guidelines, or the central bank will sit back and watch as bond yields surge, providing the ratings agencies even more ammunition to cut Italian debt to junk – effectively guaranteeing a Greece-style banking crisis as the liquidity taps are turned off. Continue reading
Talk radio star and New York Times bestselling author Michael Savage has a prescient warning for America: Mass hysteria has overtaken rational political discourse and escalated to a crescendo following the election of Donald Trump.
If we don’t learn from past mistakes, Savage argues, the current “collective derangement” which, he says, is being used by power-hungry actors and channeled into “orchestrated mass hysteria,” will lead the country to a very dark future.
Savage sounds the alarm bells in his latest tome, Stop Mass Hysteria: America’s Insanity from the Salem Witch Trials to the Trump Witch Hunt, which will be released on Tuesday on Amazon and in bookstores nationwide. Continue reading
But Moscow faces many challenges of an immediate nature.
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev defiantly warned the West in a magazine article published on Tuesday, and said other countries will not be able to contain Russia on the world stage as he vowed “Russia will fight.” Continue reading
WASHINGTON—FBI director Christopher Wray told a U.S. Senate panel on Wednesday that the threat from drones “is steadily escalating” even as Congress gives agencies new tools to address threats.
Wray told the Senate Homeland Security committee that the FBI assesses that “given their retail availability, lack of verified identification requirement to procure, general ease of use, and prior use overseas, (drones) will be used to facilitate an attack in the United States against a vulnerable target, such as a mass gathering.” Continue reading
Investigators ‘routinely found mission-critical cyber vulnerabilities’
Major U.S. weapons systems are increasingly vulnerable to hacking attacks, according to federal investigators who “routinely found mission-critical cyber vulnerabilities” in multiple critical systems operated by the Department of Defense.
The Defense Department has been caught flatfooted when it comes to protecting critical systems that oversee and run an increasing number of U.S. defense systems, according to a new Government Oversight Report that warns defense officials have little understanding of how to protect these systems from hacking attacks by foreign governments and other rogue actors. Continue reading
Yanjun Xu, a senior officer with China’s Ministry of State Security, is accused of seeking to steal trade secrets from leading defence aviation firms, top Justice Department officials said
US agents have arrested a top Beijing intelligence official for allegedly attempting to steal trade secrets from GE Aviation and other US aerospace companies after luring the suspect to Belgium in what the US Justice Department called “an unprecedented extradition”.
Xu Yanjun, who also uses the names Qu Hui and Zhang Hui, was extradited to the US on Tuesday with assistance from Belgian authorities for seeking “to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from an American company that leads the way in aerospace”, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers said in a Justice Department announcement on Wednesday. Continue reading
We are experiencing an ever-increasing level of surveillance over the citizenry, government censorship and closed-door policies, control and manipulation of the media, and a “hardline” shift of all institutions to the left. The institutions I’m referring to specifically are the educational system (better termed a system of indoctrination), the courts, the religious institutions…every one of them are all “leaning” toward (if not striving toward) full blown socialism. Let us recall a key quote:
“The goal of Socialism is Communism.” – Lenin Continue reading
The Trident Juncture 2018 exercises will begin next week in Iceland, and get underway fully in Norway on Oct. 25.
Beginning later this month, NATO will be testing both its ability to respond to an Article V invasion on a member country—in this case Norway—as well as its new rapid deployment policy called the Four Thirties. Continue reading