Just in time to potentially land a summer smash, Ariana Grande has returned with her latest cut.
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Highly ranked lightweight contenders Edson Barboza and Kevin Lee face off in the main event of UFC Fight Night 128 from Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. Catch the weigh-ins for the event right here.
Bank of England warns that reversing monetary policy will have consequences
Monacoin, Japan’s homegrown cryptocurrency, represented by a cat emoji, currently has a market cap of roughly $219 million (1 Monacoin=$3.68) but last December it reached a market cap of over a billion dollars, trading at almost $20 per Monacoin.
Part 1 of this series focused on how the U.S. empire no longer provides any real benefit to the average American citizen. Rather, the spoils of overseas wars, the domestic surveillance state and an overall corrupt economy are being systematically funneled to a smaller and smaller group of generally unsavory characters. The public’s starting to recognize this reality, which is why we saw major populist movements emerge on both the traditional right and left of the political spectrum in 2016.
As millions of Americans emerge from their long slumber, much of the world’s been aware of this reality for a long time. They don’t see the U.S. as a magnanimous humanitarian empire, that’s a fairytale more suited for children’s books and the mass media. In fact, it seems clear that the billions of humans who live in various sovereign nations around the world would certainly prefer to be in control of their own destinies as opposed to mere vassal states of the U.S., they simply haven’t possessed the military or economic power to stand up and chart their own course. But things are changing.
The most significant geopolitical change of the 21st century is the emergence of China, and the reemergence of Russia, as globally significant military powers. This is the core driver behind the establishment’s panic about Russia. It has nothing to do with Putin’s authoritarianism or human rights abuses, that’s just marketing directed at a heretofore extremely gullible public.
In reality, those determined to perpetuate a unipolar world run by the U.S. are appalled and concerned about the fact Russia was able to become involved in Syria and prevent another regime change operation. Russia very publicly, and very successfully, stood up and said “no” to U.S. imperial ambitions in Syria. This isn’t just historically significant, it’s seen as blasphemous and recalcitrant by the U.S. status quo.
With that out of the way, let’s revisit a few things I wrote over the weekend in my first thoughts on the latest Syria strike:
Russian leadership are not a bunch of fools, nor will they back down. After last night, they know for certain the U.S. empire is determined to castrate them globally at all costs in order to impede an inevitable emergence of a multi-polar world.
I don’t think Russia or Iran will respond with a shock and awe attack any time soon, nor will this likely spiral out of control in the near-term. It’s more likely we’ll see this all play out over the course of the next 5 years or so.
I also don’t expect this to go nuclear, but I think the chances the U.S. experiences an imperial collapse similar to that of the USSR (or like any historically unmanageable and corrupt empire) has become increasingly likely. My view at this point is the U.S. and its global power position will be so dramatically altered in the years ahead, it’ll be almost unrecognizable by 2025, as a result of both economic decline and major geopolitical mistakes. This will cause the public to justifiably lose faith in all leadership and institutions.
The more I reflect on what’s going on, the more I’m convinced the U.S. is trying to goad Russia into a response with these provocations. I think the Russians know this, which is precisely why they’re responding with cool heads to a blatantly illegal and unconstitutional strike likely based on a fake narrative. In fact, we still don’t have any reliable or rock solid evidence of what happened. Naturally, this didn’t stop Donald Trump from bombing without consulting Congress, nor did it stop Theresa May from doing the same without consulting Parliament. Please tell me again about our illustrious Western democracies. I suppose that’s just another fairytale for public consumption.
Moreover, Russia’s lack of a military response shouldn’t be seen as a sign of weakness, but as an intentional and well thought out strategy. The Russians seem to think the U.S. (and UK) are acting like desperate feral lunatics and the best thing they can do is sit back, play defense, and let the short-sighted fools running the American empire ruin themselves. The erratic and demonstrably thuggish and shady manner in which the U.S., UK and France behaved in this latest criminal act has not been lost upon the populations of the world, including considerable portions of the American and British populace who are disgusted at what these governments are doing in our names. Russia’s strategy is to look reasonable on the global stage compared to a U.S. which seems increasingly crazy and unhinged. It seems to be working.
That being said, Russia by itself isn’t capable of successfully standing up to the U.S. empire in the long-run. This is where China comes into play. Chinese leadership have also had enough but are, like the Russians, holding back and acting like the reasonable adults in the room. We saw this most recently with the Chinese cooling down the trade wars. U.S. pundits cheered this as a sign of weakness, but I think the opposite. China’s playing the same game as Russia. Allow U.S. leadership to continue to look like insufferable bullies on the world stage until everyone gets completely sick of U.S. dominance.
A reader who lives in Europe wrote the following comment on my last post, which seems like a fair representation of global public opinion at this point:
The Soviet empire fell because the cost of the arms race depleted the rest of the society to such a degree that a collapse was inevitable. I believe the US are in a similar state now. The current wars are carried out by technology at distance, or by proxy warriors, and not by actual americans on ground. How long can the citizens carry that burden? At the same time the US is losing the moral support within the public among their allies, as I know first hand, by being from a european allied country. Although our domestic politic leadership and mainstream press are supporting the US, especially when they launch some rockets, opposition and disbelief is large and growing among normal people. The US has lost its posiotion as our leading star, not just among the leftist, but all over the spectrum. The insanity and lies are becoming so evident that it is impossible to deny it.
The U.S. is rapidly losing support and confidence at the grassroots level, both at home and abroad. We see the lies and we see the disregard for the Constitution. The U.S. and its pet allies like the UK and France will all be increasingly seen as rogue states by much of the world if they keep this up.
Finally, for those of you who doubt which side China is on in this global drama, let me point out the following excerpts from a recent editorial published in the state-sponsored Global Times earlier this week:
The facts cannot be distorted. This military strike was not authorized by the UN, and the strikes targeted a legal government of a UN member state. The US and its European allies launched strikes to punish President Bashar al-Assad for a suspected chemical attack in Duma last weekend. However, it has not been confirmed if the chemical weapons attack happened or if it did, whether government forces or opposition forces launched it. International organizations have not carried out any authoritative investigation.
The Syrian government has repeatedly stressed that there is no need for it to use chemical weapons to capture the opposition-controlled Duma city and the use of chemical weapons has provided an excuse for Western intervention. The Syrian government’s argument or Trump’s accusations against the “evil” Assad regime, which one is in line with basic logic? The answer is quite obvious.
The US has a record of launching wars on deceptive grounds. The Bush government asserted the Saddam regime held chemical weapons before the US-British coalition troops invaded Iraq in 2003. However, the coalition forces didn’t find what they called weapons of mass destruction after overthrowing the Saddam regime. Both Washington and London admitted later that their intelligence was false.
Washington’s attack on Syria where Russian troops are stationed constitute serious contempt for Russia’s military capabilities and political dignity. Trump, like scolding a pupil, called on Moscow, one of the world’s leading nuclear powers, to abandon its “dark path.” Disturbingly, Washington seems to have become addicted to mocking Russia in this way. Russia is capable of launching a destructive retaliatory attack on the West. Russia’s weak economy is plagued by Western sanctions and squeezing of its strategic space. That the West provokes Russia in such a manner is irresponsible for world peace.
The situation is still fomenting. The Trump administration said it will sustain the strikes. But how long will the military action continue and whether Russia will fight back as it claimed previously remain uncertain. Western countries continue bullying Russia but are seemingly not afraid of its possible counterattack. Their arrogance breeds risk and danger.
China and Russia will work together, often behind the scenes, to convince the rest of the world that the U.S. has become a rogue state, and will use this argument to build international support for a multi-polar world. The only thing that could slow this process down is if the U.S. stops acting like a rogue state, something that appears increasingly unlikely with Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State and John Bolton as National Security Advisor.
Part 3 will focus on the weak link in U.S. imperial dominance, the USD.
WW3 will be more about currency and the financial system than missiles.
— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) April 18, 2018
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Trump administration eyes special powers to escalate trade pressure on Beijing
Nearly four years after Iran and Russia first agreed to an oil-for-goods swap agreement worth billions of dollars, RT is reporting that the first delivery of Iranian crude oil to Russia under the program has been completed, and the two sides are angling to extend the deal, possible for another five years.
“The agreement is effective; it has been extended for the year, but in general, we think it should be extended for five years,” said Russian Energy Ministry Aleksandr Novak.
As we reported more than three years ago, the $20 billion agreement was initially signed in April 2014 when Iran was facing Western sanctions over its nuclear program (they have since been lifted thanks to the Iran deal, but will likely soon be reimposed).
When the sanctions against Tehran were lifted in 2016, Novak said the deal was no longer necessary. However, Novak said in March 2017 that the plan was back on the table with Russia buying 100,000 barrels per day from Iran and selling the country $45 billion worth of goods. Another agreement was later signed in late May.
Current Iranian oil supplies under the program amount to five million tons per year. The first delivery was made in November 2017 and totaled one million tons.
Russia and Iran have also discussed cooperation in energy, electricity, nuclear energy, gas and oil, as well as cooperation in the field of railways, industry, and agriculture. Novak said in February that Russia’s state trading enterprise Promsirieimport has been authorized by the government to carry out the purchase of Iran’s oil through the oil-for-goods program under study by both countries
The oil-for-goods swaps are expected to boost trade between the two countries (while conveniently circumventing the petrodollar system). The nations have also signed six provisional agreements to collaborate on “strategic” energy deals worth up to $30 billion.
Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov said earlier this month that Russian investment in Iranian oil and gas fields could total more than $50 billion.
And in a sign of closer cooperation to come, Ushakov said Iran is weighing whether to enter the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union – a move that could come within months. A free-trade zone deal would be expected to “trigger further development of our bilateral trade and expansion of investment cooperation.”