Russia shuts E. Mediterranean to air and sea traffic for “military exercise”

The Russian Defense Ministry suddenly announced Thursday morning, Sept. 20, the closure of the eastern Mediterranean to air traffic and shipping – from the Syrian and Lebanese coasts to Cyprus -due to a snap “military exercise.” Continue reading

Trump Leaning Against Extending Arms Treaty

President Trump And President Putin Hold A Joint Press Conference After Summit

Getty Images

 

Moscow’s new weapons violate New START, INF treaties, undermine arms control

Trump administration officials expressed doubts the 2010 New START arms treaty will be extended over concerns about Moscow’s failure to comply with that and several other arms treaties.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, is moving ahead with designing a new ground-based missile to counter Russia’s illegal cruise missiles built in violation of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Force (INF) Treaty. Continue reading

All Euros Gravitate To Germany

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The Euro has been around for almost 20 years. The Russian transfer ruble survived 25 years. As GEFIRA explains, the two currencies have something in common: they were and are not a success story…

The introduction of the transfer ruble was intended to enable free trade between the countries of the Eastern bloc. The creation of the common clearing system led to the exchange rates for the East German mark, zloty, forint, lev, and even the Mongolian tugrik being arbitrarily fixed by the Soviet Union, regardless of the purchasing power of the national currencies. In the 1960s, the Bulgarian lev was 20% undervalued and the Polish zloty about 45% overvalued. Since the transfer ruble was not yet convertible into Western currencies, it remained an illusion and a means by which the Soviet Union could enrich itself and save its budget at the expense of its satellite states: the Russians bought raw materials, goods, food for convertible currencies in the West and sold them to their “socialist friends” for transfer rubels. The international bank for economic cooperation, which sat in Moscow and handled all transactions in the transfer ruble, swept the real trade surpluses and deficits under the carpet. With the political change the common settlement currency came to to an end, and it turned out that the Soviet Union owed huge sums to its “brothers”. Continue reading

Iran Sanctions Are Damaging The Dollar

Iran

 

Painful sanctions on Iran have demonstrated the long reach of the U.S. Treasury, forcing much of the globe to fall in line and cut oil imports from Iran despite widespread disagreement over the policy. Yet, we are only in the first few chapters of what may ultimately be a long story that ends with the erosion of the power of the U.S. dollar.

The role of the greenback in the international financial system is the reason why the U.S. can prevent much of the world from buying oil from Iran. Oil is traded in dollars, and so much of international commerce is based in dollars. In fact, as much as 88 percent of all foreign exchange trades involve the greenback. Continue reading

Russia and the Solecism of Power

For it is the solecism of power, to think to command the end, and yet not to endure the mean.     
Francis Bacon, Of Empire (1625)

Introduction

Nearly every discussion about Russia raises three questions: Who is to blame?  What is to be done?  And where is Russia heading?  This paper focuses on the third question, though the other two cannot be ignored entirely.  Continue reading

A Russian spy plane with 14 aboard missing. Moscow cites Israeli fighters, French frigate in Latakia missile strikes

 

Hours after a missile attack on Syrian and Iranian military targets in Latakia Monday night, the Russian Defense Ministry said that a military Il-20 spy plane with 14 aboard went off the radars. It was 35km off the Syrian coast when its air base air traffic control “lost contact.”

No word has come from Israel on the incident. Some Syrian and Russian sources earlier reported that unidentified missiles had struck a military industry facility which develops missiles and chemical weapons, very close to Russian assets. Other sources reported that Iranian forces had set up a base close to the Russian assets for protection against Israeli attack. Continue reading

Report: Russia, Ukraine on Brink of War

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(Photo Credit: Ukrainian Defense Ministry)

 

Tensions are rapidly rising over the Azov Sea and the downing of MH17.

According to a new report, recent developments—none of them good—in the relationship between Ukraine and Russia are pointing toward the possibility of a new military confrontation that could inevitably drag NATO, and the U.S., into World War III. Continue reading

U.S. Air Force seeks sharp growth to stay ahead of China, Russia

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U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcons from the 20th Fighter Wing, Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., taxi upon landing at Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, U.S. seeking shelter from Hurricane Florence in this September 12, 2018 handout photo. Senior Airman Isaiah J. Soliz/U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Air Force is predicting it will need to grow sharply over the next decade or so, boosting the number of operational squadrons by nearly a quarter to stay ahead of increasingly muscular militaries in China and Russia, officials said.

Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson told reporters that the preliminary analysis drew partly from classified intelligence about possible threats in the 2025 to 2030 time frame, showing that the service, at its current size, would be unable to preserve America’s edge.”The Air Force is too small for what the nation is asking us to do,” Wilson told a small group of reporters ahead of a speech on Monday that will lay out her arguments. Continue reading

The Altay Pipeline: A Geopolitical Game Changer

Source: BP Statistical Review of World Energy 2018.

 

It is a matter of common knowledge that energy relations between Russia and China have boomed in the past decade, with all sorts of new infrastructure being built to facilitate the ever-further expansion of bilateral energy trade. Yet it has seemed for some time now that new gas projects are very unlikely to happen – the 38 BCm per year Power of Siberia pipeline will go onstream December 20, 2019 and seemed to satiate China‘s needs for Russian gas – but that has now changed. A second project, generally denoted as the Altay pipeline (sometimes also mentioned as Power of Siberia-2), which had been stalled for four years due to limited demand and Gazprom’s sanctions-induced constraints, is set to be the next big Russo-Chinese gas project. Continue reading

Putin forced by US, Turkey to shelve Idlib offensive

Russian President Vladimir Putin will receive Turkey’s Tayyip Erdogan at Sochi on Monday for a final bid to get the joint Russian-Iranian-Syrian assault on Idlib, the last Syrian rebel holdout, underway. DEBKAfile’s military sources report that Putin was forced to back away from the operation last week when Turkey began delivering large quantities of heavy weapons to its proxy rebel groups in Idlib province. Continue reading

US Destroyer Enters Mediterranean As Syria Tensions Build; Carrier On Standby

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The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Essex (LHD 2) on Sept. 4, 2018, via US Navy

 

An American battleship, the USS Bulkeley destroyer, has reportedly entered the Mediterranean and is headed for Syria, equipped with over 50 Tomahawk missiles. This deployment comes after previous reports of the attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN-750) arriving in the Mediterranean, and after the arrival Tuesday of A U.S. Marine Corps small attack carrier full of F-35B stealth jets, the USS Essex, in the Middle East region as detailed by the military website, Task and Purpose.

The Russian news agency Interfax now reports that American forces in the region possess up to 200 Tomahawk cruise missiles available to strike targets in Syria if ordered to do so. Continue reading

Understanding The Tactics Of Subversive Globalism

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When the ideology of globalism is discussed in liberty movement circles there are often misunderstandings as to the source of the threat and what it truly represents. This may in some cases be by design. In the latest era of supposed “populism” led by figures like Donald Trump, an entirely new and very green generation of liberty activists find themselves hyper focused on the political left in general, but they seem to be obsessed with attacking the symptoms of globalism rather than the source. I attribute this to a clever propaganda campaign by globalist institutions.

For example, when globalism is brought up in terms of its conspiratorial influences, the name of George Soros is usually mentioned. Soros is an obvious bogeyman for liberty activists because his money can be found flowing to numerous Cultural Marxist (social justice) organizations and his influence is easily grasped and digested in that way. Conservatives like placing emphasis on Soros because he appears decidedly leftist and thus globalism becomes synonymous with leftist movements. But what about all the globalists within the political right? Continue reading

US sees Russian weapon behind US diplomats’ mystery ailments, say officials

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In early September, Douglas H. Smith, who heads the team of scientists tasked by the US government to examine the matter, said that microwave radiation was almost certainly responsible for the diplomats’ ailments. He added that microwaves were considered “a main suspect” and that his team of scientists was now “increasingly sure” that the diplomats had suffered brain injuries caused by microwave radiation. Now the US news network NBC reports that Russia is viewed as the primary culprit behind the mystery ailments that plagued US diplomats. Reporting on Tuesday the news network cited three unnamed officials in the administration of US President Donald Trump, as well as “congressional aides and others briefed on the investigation”. Specifically, NBC reported that the Russian connection was supported by “evidence from communications intercepts” (signals intelligence or SIGINT), though it did not elaborate on their precise nature. It also said that the ongoing investigation into the purported weapon involves the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency among other US intelligence and security agencies. Another leading actor in the investigation is the US Air Force, said NBC, stating that experts in its directed energy research program at the Kirtland Air Force Base near Albuquerque, New Mexico, are trying to reverse-engineer the alleged weapons based on the symptoms that they cause. Continue reading

GREAT AGAIN: USA Is Now The Largest Global Crude Oil Producer – Surpasses Russia and Saudi Arabia

In February, U.S. crude oil production exceeded that of Saudi Arabia for the first time in more than two decades. In June and August, the United States surpassed Russia in crude oil production for the first time since February 1999. Continue reading

Russia launches biggest ever war games

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Russia launched Tuesday what it called its largest ever military drills, with hundreds of thousands of troops taking part along with Chinese soldiers in a show of force NATO condemned as a rehearsal for “large-scale conflict.”

President Vladimir Putin is expected to attend the games after hosting an economic forum in Russia’s far eastern city Vladivostok where his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping is one of the prominent guests.

The week-long war games dubbed “Vostok-2018″(East-2018) “have kicked off” in far eastern Russia, the defence ministry said. Continue reading