The U.S. Dollar: A Victim of Its Own Success

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America’s most powerful weapon of war does not shoot, fly or explode. It’s not a submarine, plane, tank or laser. America’s most powerful strategic weapon today is the dollar.

The U.S. uses the dollar strategically to reward friends and punish enemies. The use of the dollar as a weapon is not limited to trade wars and currency wars, although the dollar is used tactically in those disputes. The dollar is much more powerful than that.

The dollar can be used for regime change by creating hyperinflation, bank runs and domestic dissent in countries targeted by the U.S. The U.S. can depose the governments of its adversaries, or at least blunt their policies without firing a shot. Continue reading

Trump: ‘Germany Is Totally Controlled by Russia’

 

President Donald Trump shared on Twitter Wednesday a video of sharp words he directed toward NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg about Germany being “totally controlled by Russia” regarding their energy relationship.

“Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump told Stoltenberg at a bilateral breakfast ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. Continue reading

More Dots

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Interesting Twitter thread from “Lycaon” today. It lays out a series of dots (no better use of Twitter than laying out dots) that connects Clintons, various Trump-Russia actors, and money-laundering. I think Lycaon would do well to re-examine Bill Browder’s  hole-pocked alibi as “anti-Putin avenger” but his inclusion of HSBC, presented by a US Senate committee on July 17, 2012 as a money-laundering entity, and James Comey’s arrival at HSBC as director on March 4, 2013, and then, seven months later, Comey’s appointment as FBI director by President Obama is sequencing worth recalling.

In between, of course, HSBC paid a giant fine in exchange for a clean bill of health. Continue reading

Russia Gaining Influence in Mediterranean

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Russians have a history of cooperation with many African countries, however, since the fall of the Soviet Union involvement in Africa has effectively ended. Recent years have seen the Russians engaging more with Africa, especially in northern countries around the Mediterranean Sea, where the Russians are using military operations against various rebel or terror groups as leverage against the United States. Continue reading

Struggle for Influence in the Western Pacific (I)

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The US-led RIMPAC 2018, the world’s largest naval maneuver, began yesterday with German soldiers participating. According to the US Navy, the naval exercise will also include operations in the Western Pacific. The region of the Southwest Pacific islands will thus come into focus, which – even though largely ignored by the European public – has been gaining significant global influence. On the one hand, the influence of Western countries has shrunk recently, while that of their strategic rivals, such as Russia and China, has significantly grown. Some Pacific island nations have since then been seeking to pursue a foreign policy independent from the West. On the other hand, the Southwest Pacific has become even more important also for Australia and the Unites States: as the political economic backyard for Australia and “gateway to the Indo-Pacific” for the U.S.A. Germany is also attempting to increase its activities in the region.

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More Countries Start Exploring Alternatives to the US World Order

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There are two countries that more than others show how the Western world order is undergoing a profound change. Japan and Turkey occupy two distinct and diverse geographical areas, yet they share many of the same strategic choices about their future. Their geopolitical trajectory is increasingly drifting away from Washington and moving closer to China, Russia, India and Iran.

Both Japan and Turkey are two important states in the US’s strategy for controlling the Middle East and Asia-Pacific. Both countries have economies that are competitive in comparison to their neighbors, and both often conveniently find themselves allied to countries within Washington’s orbit. Japan has a good relationship with South Korea, and Turkey (until a few years ago) had a privileged relationship with Saudi Arabia and Israel. Keeping in mind that the US aims to prolong and consolidate its regional dominance, Washington has always tried to have excellent relations with these two countries as a way of ensuring its constant presence in regional affairs. Continue reading

US struggles to counter Chinese maritime hegemony

US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has spoken out against China’s strategy of “intimidation and coercion” in the South China Sea, including the deployment of anti-ship missiles, surface-to-air missiles and electronic jammers, and, more recently, the landing of nuclear-capable bomber aircraft at Woody Island. There are, Mattis warned, “consequences to China ignoring the international community.”

But what consequences? Two successive US administrations – Barack Obama’s and now Donald Trump’s – have failed to push back credibly against China’s expansionism in the South China Sea, which has accelerated despite a 2016 international arbitral tribunal ruling invalidating its territorial claims there. Instead, the US has relied on rhetoric or symbolic actions. Continue reading

Sweden distributes ‘be prepared for war’ leaflet to all 4.8m homes

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The new pamphlet prepares the population for cyber and terror attacks and climate change, and includes a page on identifying fake news. Photograph: DinSäkerhet.se

 

Defence pamphlet shows how population can prepare in event of attack and contribute to country’s ‘total defence’

The Swedish government has begun sending all 4.8m of the country’s households a public information leaflet telling the population, for the first time in more than half a century, what to do in the event of a war.

Om krisen eller kriget kommer (If crisis or war comes) explains how people can secure basic needs such as food, water and heat, what warning signals mean, where to find bomb shelters and how to contribute to Sweden’s “total defence”. Continue reading

Trump: A New Vision of the Middle East

Trump and Macron at the White House. Emulating his French counterpart, the US president kept repeating: “I do what I say.” Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

 

  • The US president, branded as “unpredictable,” has received the fiercest criticism; but a foreign policy is measured by its results.

The last Trump-Macron Summit was a masterpiece of communication. The two men multiplied their signs of complicity and intimacy in front of the cameras. To indicate the strength of their relationship, The French president even declared, “We are two Mavericks.” In addition, both criticized the difficulties imposed by the political system, while emphasizing that they have never been politicians to be used, nor were they part of a partisan machine. Continue reading

The Deep State Closes In On The Donald: Mueller’s War, Part 2

Part 1 can be found here:

The Deep State Closes In On The Donald, Part 1

 

 

What is going on in the eastern Mediterranean and over the skies and on the ground in Syria is absolutely nuts; it’s also scary dangerous and utterly unnecessary, too.

After all, the imminent Russian/American military clash is over the skeleton of an artificial backwater nation confected in 1916 by two swells in the British and French foreign offices. At length, what was never a nation anyway has finally been reduced to rubble, misery and sectarian fragments.

So there is nothing to contest now, and, in fact, there never was. The sovereign government of Syria long ago invited the Russians in and Washington out. Period. Continue reading

The U.S. Should Be Reaching out to Russia — Not Risking War

 

There’s no greater villain in the world today than Vladimir Putin. He stands accused in the media and global public opinion of rigging his recent reelection, imprisoning his political enemies, murdering Russian spies turned double-agent, meddling in Western elections, seizing Crimea, destabilizing Ukraine, supporting a murderous dictator in Syria and exporting arms to terrorist nations like Iran.

The list of bad acts laid at Putin’s feet is much longer than the one just recited, but you get the idea. He’s no Mr. Nice Guy. Continue reading

Escalation Dominance

 

On March 1, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin delivered a speech that effectively declared Russia has overwhelming nuclear superiority and war-winning capability against the United States, NATO, and the entire world.

While President Obama neglected modernizing the U.S. nuclear deterrent, questing for a “world without nuclear weapons” – Russia achieved what the USSR never could against any U.S. president during the Cold War, the holy grail of nuclear superiority, what strategists call “escalation dominance.” Continue reading

Putin’s Russia: From basket case to resurgent superpower

In this photo taken on Friday, March 2, 2018 and released Saturday, March 10, 2018, Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an interview with NBC News’ Megyn Kelly in Kaliningrad, Russia. In the some times combative interview Putin denied the charge by U.S. intelligence services that he ordered meddling in the November 2016 vote, claiming any interference was not connected to the Kremlin. (Alexei Druzhinin, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

 

MOSCOW (AP) — Vladimir Putin and his Russia look more invincible today than at any other time in his 18 years in power.

Since Putin last faced an election in 2012, Russians have invaded Ukraine, annexed Crimea, blanket-bombed Syria, been accused of meddling in the U.S. presidential election and claimed to have a scary new nuclear arsenal.

“No one listened to us. You listen to us now,” he said earlier this month, boasting about those weapons. Continue reading

Navy sends destroyers to Black Sea to ‘desensitize’ Russia

A sailor fires a .50-caliber machine gun aboard the destroyer Carney during a live-fire exercise in the Black Sea. Carney has been deployed to the Black Sea to join the destroyer Ross for the Navy’s first multi-destroyer patrol of the region since 2014. (MC2 James R. Turner/Navy)

 

The Navy has deployed the guided-missile destroyer Carney to join the destroyer Ross in the Black Sea in a move that U.S. military officials told CNN is intended to “desensitize” Russia to the presence of American military assets in the strategically important region.

The deployment of the Carney marks the first time in four years that two American destroyers have operated in the Black Sea outside of scheduled exercises. The move comes as Russia continues to militarize Crimea, the peninsula it seized from Ukraine in 2014.

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Europe at the Crossroads

MUNICH/BERLIN(Own report) – The organizers of the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world’s most important military policy conferences, are urging that the EU’s transformation into a war alliance be accelerated. The European Union of states should be able to take on “missions,” similar to the 2011 military operation against Libya, at any time, according to a recent report by the Munich Security Conference, the McKinsey management consulting firm and the elite Hertie School of Governance. Not only drastic increases in the military budgets are being demanded of the EU members, but, above all, investments in modern military equipment. The authors of the report not only emphasize the harmonization of European weapon system standards but are also demanding that EU-states invest more in research, and to a growing extent, involve universities, branches of civilian industries and so-called start-up enterprises. According to the MSC Chairman, the German diplomat Wolfgang Ischinger, these are “essential” decisions, because it is “unsustainable” for the EU to continue to rely on US “protection.”

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