Russia not out to improve relations

Takes combative stance against U.S. around globe

As “welcome” as a bone-chilling blast from a mid-March nor’easter, more bad news continues to blow our way out of Moscow, minimizing the possibility of a springtime thaw in U.S.-Russia relations.

And I’m not talking about any of the U.S. domestic issues that have been in the headlines lately, such as charges against Russian FSB intelligence operatives for hacking Yahoo email accounts. Continue reading

Is A Russian-Iranian Energy Pact In The Making?

Oil Rigs

 

In the lead-up to President Rouhani’s visit to Moscow, expected to take place in late March, a plethora of news regarding joint Russo-Iranian energy projects has been circulating on the Internet. A three-year long negotiation process regarding a 100,000 barrels-per-day swap contract is believed to be agreed upon, premised on Iran providing Russia (most likely, Rosneft) oil from Kharg Island or other hubs in the Persian Gulf in return for cash and Russian goods that Iran would “require”. Teheran also woos LUKOIL, currently Russia’s only major oil producer in the Caspian, to participate in swap deals bound for Iran’s Neka Port (in return for Iranian crude provided from Kharg Island or other Persian Gulf hubs), albeit on a much smaller scale at 4000 to 5000 barrels per day. To top it all up, numerous Russian oil companies have committed themselves to developing Iran’s hydrocarbon fields. Continue reading

Germany warns of dangers of new arms race with Russia as conflict in Ukraine intensifies

Sigmar Gabriel meeting Vladimir Putin

Sigmar Gabriel made his first visit to Moscow as Foreign Minister [Getty]

 

GERMANY’S foreign minister has warned of the dangers of engaging in a new arms race with Russia, calling on all sides to work together to end the violence in eastern Ukraine.

Sigmar Gabriel has used his first visit to Moscow as foreign minister to underscore his concerns about Russia’s military buildup in the Baltic region and its western borders.

He also expressed concerns about the conflict’s resulting “exorbitant military spending increases”. Continue reading

Russia wants to form new Collective Security Bloc that replaces NATO

President Trump appears to understand that NATO is not the best solution to the emerging challenges. Tom Sauer suggested that although Washington will remain committed to the bloc, the current US administration will pay less attention to it. If true, this will create a unique opportunity for Europe to invest into its own security.

 

United States President Donald Trump was correct in his assessment that the North Atlantic Alliance is outdated, Associate Professor in International Politics at the Universiteit Antwerpen Tom Sauer asserted, saying that the bloc should be replaced by a new security organization that will encompass countries in Europe and Asia.

“NATO should be transformed or even be replaced by a new Eurasian-Atlantic collective security organization that includes Russia. That will also be in the interest of Ukraine and the Baltic states,” the analyst wrote for the National Interest. Continue reading

Germany’s Identity Crisis Leading to the Rise of the Far Right

Caption: (iStock.com/franckreporter )

 

In a world of uncertainty and crisis, Germany needs a lot of things: A strong leader. A stronger military. Stronger borders. A stable eurozone economy. But there is something else German’s are crying out for: an identity.

In “Germany’s Taboos, Once a Bulwark Against the Far Right, May Now Be Enabling It,” the New York Times wrote:

Since World War II, trying to define the German national identity, much less celebrate it, has been taboo. Doing so was seen as a possible step toward the kind of nationalism that once enabled the Nazi regime. Flags were frowned upon, as was standing for the national anthem.

But spurred by a sense of lost control over the country’s borders, economy and politics, many Germans are reaching for a shared identity but finding only an empty space. Continue reading

Russia seeks ‘post-West’ order as US vows loyalty to allies

Russia Saturday called for an end to what it said was an outdated world order dominated by the West after US Vice President Mike Pence pledged Washington’s “unwavering” commitment to transatlantic allies in NATO.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov offered a diametrically opposed global vision, just hours after Pence vowed to stand with Europe to rein in a resurgent Moscow.

“I hope that (the world) will choose a democratic world order — a post-West one — in which each country is defined by its sovereignty,” said Lavrov. Continue reading

Trump will be extremely tough with Russia

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said in his news briefing Tuesday that President Donald Trump will be extremely tough with Russia. He repeated Trump’s past call for Russia to return Crimea to Ukraine and withdraw from eastern Ukraine, but did not rule out “getting along” with President Putin on other matters. DEBKAfile:  These comments indicate a cooling of Trump’s tone towards Moscow, which may have partly motivated him to ask for the resignation of national security adviser Mike Flynn, who was a senior architect of the strategy of close US-Russian cooperation. Continue reading

A President’s Policy

BERLIN (Own report) – Frank-Walter Steinmeier, President-elect of the Federal Republic of Germany is the epitome of the past two decades of Berlin’s expansionist policy – from the war over Kosovo to intervention in the Syrian war. As State Secretary in the Federal Chancellery, Steinmeier was implicated in the aggression against Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999, with which Germany, in violation of international law, entered its first war of aggression since 1945. As head of the Federal Chancellery, he had participated in the struggle to obtain access to Russia’s vast natural gas reserves. As Foreign Minister, he was massively striving to roll back Russia’s political influence by associating Ukraine with the EU, even condoning a coup – with fascist participation – in Kiev. Steinmeier’s activities had also been influenced by the so-called war on terror. In the Chancellery, he played a leading role in cooperation with the CIA’s torture program. In the fall of 2002, he helped to prevent an innocent native of Bremen from being released to Germany from the US Guantanamo torture camp. He was complicit in the interrogation of German suspects in Syrian and Lebanese torture chambers. Just recently, Steinmeier provided political support to a jihadist militia, classified a terror organization by the German judiciary. Continue reading

Eastern Europe & World War III

Romania-Protest Feb 2017

 

Europe could become the site of a new global war in the East as tensions build there against refugees and the economic decline fosters old wounds. The EU is deeply divided over the refugee issue and thus it is fueling its own demise and has failed to be a stabilizing force. After five days of demonstrations, Romania’s month-old government backed down and withdrew a decree that had decriminalized some corruption offenses. They were still acting like typical politicians and looking to line their pockets. After one month, the people have rising up saying “We can’t trust this new government.”

On the eastern border of the EU, only a few hundred kilometers from Berlin as well as Vienna, there is a growing danger that the world will stumble into a global war primarily from through the incompetence of the politicians in the EU as well as in the East. The EU is more concerned about punishing Britain and trying to hold on to overpaid political jobs that to address the real issues facing Europe. Continue reading

SWEDEN PREPARED FOR WAR: Police ordered ‘to be ready’ for battle amid Russian threat

SWEDISH police have been ordered to prepare for a call to arms if war or a crisis situation erupts, commissioner Dan Eliasson has confirmed.

More than 25,000 officers have been “war placed” as the Scandinavian nation bolsters its national defences against potential threats.

The order was given by the police chief at the end of January as every police officer is expected to know their role if a war or crisis should erupt.  Continue reading

Beijing’s second aircraft carrier ‘takes shape’ after two years, nine months of construction: media

Mainland China’s first domestically made aircraft carrier, the Shandong, pictured during construction in Dalian in December 2016. Photo: Kyodo

 

Building of the Shandong by mainland China likely to further unnerve Taiwan and other neighbours about its growing military assertiveness

Beijing’s second aircraft carrier was “taking shape” after two years and nine months of construction, mainland Chinese media reported – a move likely to further unnerve Taiwan and other neighbours about its growing military assertiveness.

Construction of the Shandong, named after a province in China’s east coast, began in 2014, the mobile app of Shandong television and radio said in a report seen on Tuesday. Continue reading

Putin’s Russia in biggest Arctic military push since Soviet fall

Atomic icebreakers Russia and Yamal are seen moored at Atomflot (Rosatomflot), the operator of Russia’s nuclear icebreaker fleet, base in the Arctic port of Murmansk, Russia December 22, 2011. Picture taken December 22, 2011. REUTERS/Andrei Pronin

 

MURMANSK, Russia (Reuters) – The nuclear icebreaker Lenin, the pride and joy of the Soviet Union’s Arctic great game, lies at perpetual anchor in the frigid water here. A relic of the Cold War, it is now a museum.

But nearly three decades after the Lenin was taken out of service to be turned into a visitor attraction, Russia is again on the march in the Arctic and building new nuclear icebreakers.

It is part of a push to firm Moscow’s hand in the High North as it vies for dominance with traditional rivals Canada, the United States, and Norway as well as newcomer China. Continue reading

Russia in 2030

It has become increasingly clear that Russia is on the inexorable path toward restoring its territory on the old map of the USSR. Whether Moscow will be able to achieve such a grandiose scheme to recreate another Soviet Union-size Rodina has been traditionally believed to depend on the strength and willingness of NATO and Europe to counter such Russian ambition. The assumption is that if the counterthrusts from the West are robust enough, Moscow will fail in its attempt, otherwise Russia’s territorial map will look like the Soviet Union in 2030.

This dichotomy of thrust and counterthrust by Russia on the one side and the West on the other is for the most part inadequate largely because there is also another crucial factor in deciding the outcome of Russia’s territorial expansion, namely, China and its own territorial ambition that goes against Russia’s objectives in much of Central and East Asia. Continue reading

Iran Caught Importing Missile Technology

Iran-President-Hassan-Rouhani.jpg (485×340)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani / AP

 

The State Border Guard Service of Ukraine, or DPSU, announced late last week that it had seized at least 17 boxes filled with missile components bound for Iran, according to IHS Jane’s.

“The DPSU said that, during an inspection of the aircraft on 19 January, its personnel had found 17 boxes with no accompanying documents, which the aircraft’s crew said contained an aircraft repair kit,” according to the report. “Three boxes contained components that were believed to be for a Fagot anti-tank guided missile system, the rest contained aircraft parts.” Continue reading