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How much does Trump love Putin?

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Does USA love Russia or Russia love USA? Can an American President love a Russian counterpart any time in future? USA and Russia are strongest foes with largest terror arsenals and their missiles target each other. The only plus point for them is that both are UN veto members, strategically controlling the world.

American media is filled with unbelievable stories about US presidential hopeful Donald Trump’s reverence for Russian president Vladimir Putin – former KGB intelligence officer who later in his career worked for KGB in Germany before he was handpicked by the new and first post-Soviet Russian president Boris Yelstsin to succeed him. Russia, Americans say, is frequently at odds with American interests on the world stage.

Is Trump all that committed on his pronouncements on Russian policy? Is there any creditable evidence that he has received Russian money? Are Trump’s business interests in Russia really all that significant?

Basically, Trump is an American hawk while Putin is a Russian variety of this character. Trump may have business interests in Russia that Puitn may back. Apart from that, Trump may have liked the boldness, stubbornness and thoroughness of Russian president.

Recently Republican Donald Trump said he is not sure what kind of relationship he would have with Russian President Putin if he is elected US president.

Democrats have consistently mocked Trump’s past remarks in praise of the Russian strongman, the latest instance coming from vice presidential nominee Sen. Tim Kaine.

Donald Trump pushed back on Hillary Clinton’s accusation that he’s cozying up to Putin after the charge put Trump’s running mate on the defensive during the vice presidential debate. The billionaire Trump sought to take away an argument that Clinton and her running mate, Tim Kaine, have ramped up in the final weeks of the campaign as they work to portray Trump as dangerous for American interests overseas. While US-Russia relations nosedive over failed diplomacy in Syria, Trump has complimented Putin, calling him a strong leader and even encouraging him to track down Clinton’s missing emails, though Trump later said he was being sarcastic.

The celebrity businessman said his relationship with Russia’s leader would be determined by how Moscow responds to strong US leadership under a Trump administration. “They say Donald Trump loves Putin. I don’t love, I don’t hate. We’ll see how it works,” Trump told a rally outside Las Vegas. Speaking before an estimated crowd of 7,000 in Henderson, Nev., a Las Vegas suburb, Trump said he could not predict the type of relationship he would have with Putin.

Trump was on the campaign trail, making several stops across Nevada. Taking the stage in Henderson, Nev., Trump took his own victory lap for Pence’s performance, which he called “phenomenal.”

Clinton shrugged that off, saying Trump has weird fascination with dictators. “My opponent seems not to know the difference between an ally and adversary,” Clinton said at an evening fundraiser in Washington. “You guys love Russia,” Democratic VP candidate Kaine said in Tuesday’s debate. In a forceful rebuke, Pence described Putin as a “small and bullying leader” but blamed Clinton and President Barack Obama for a “weak and feckless” foreign policy that had awakened Moscow’s aggression in Ukraine and meddling in the Middle East. Pence’s cool demeanor contrasted with Trump’s bluster during his own, top-of-the-ticket showdown against Clinton. However strong Pence’s performance, Trump made clear he considers it a reflection of himself.

During the debate, Trump’s running mate Gov. Mike Pence, who has defended Trump’s praise of Putin, backed away from Trump’s previous praise for Putin, calling the Russian president a “small and bullying” leader.

Trump and Russia

Russia, by whatever yardstick is in vogue, prefers Trump if for no other reason than it hates Hillary Clinton because of her alleged foreign policy interventionist views. But Russian officials are also worried by the disruptive potential of a Trump presidency, specifically about his fulfillment of even some of his chaotic promises.

Vladimir Putin clearly is pleased with Trump’s praise of him, such as saying that Putin has been a better leader than Barack Obama. And the Kremlin is thrilled by Trump’s statements deriding NATO, applauding the British decision to leave the European Union and suggesting that America might not defend allies threatened by Russia.

Stylistically Trump is Putin’s type. Trump seems to Moscow at this point unlikely to put politically correct talk of “Western values” ahead of “our mutual and shared interests.” That he may well harm the Western alliance in the process is a most welcome bonus. Trump will smash America as the Russians currently perceive it. There is little doubt (at least as expressed on Radio Moscow) that Trump’s use of advisers who are sympathetic to Moscow is welcome.

Trump’s views on America’s role in the world completely align with the very fervent hopes Russia has. If reports on Radio Moscow are any guide, there is some understanding of Trump’s unpredictability — that is, just about everything is unknown. While Hillary Clinton is viewed as fiercely anti-Russian, she is nonetheless a familiar figure, and there is some grudging respect. She if elected would just pursue the Bush-Obama imperialist policies abroad.

Donald Trump shows himself to inhabit a fantastical realm where Barack Obama’s birth certificate was faked, the president founded ISIS, the Clintons are killers and the father of a former rival was with Lee Harvey Oswald before he assassinated John F. Kennedy in Dallas.

Americans feel depressed that their president Obama does not enjoy the benefits of hard power like Turkish or Russian presidents do. The deeper worry, therefore, is for Russia and Turkey, where “autocrats” use the techniques of post-truth to silence opposing opinions deemed unacceptable by some. In USA, the Congress itself is a hoax, behaves like a collective autocrat.

The USA and Russia back opposing sides in Syria’s civil war but both are fighting the Islamic State group there. The USA cut off talks with Russia about Syria this week after the latest cease-fire collapsed, blaming Russia for failing to fulfill its commitments under the deal. “I can say this: If we get along and Russia went out with us and knocked the hell out of ISIS, that’s OK with me folks,” Trump said, using an acronym for the extremist group.

Democrat Kaine acknowledged that even his wife gave him a hard time for his constant interruptions during the debate. But Kaine said he was effectively able to block Republican VP candidate Pence from attacking Clinton. “I’ve never played hockey but I think I’d be a good goalie, based on last night,” he said.

Vice-presidential debates don’t typically change the course of an election, but this one could be different if Trump heeds its lessons in his next debate. The Republican has slid in the polls since the first debate by getting lost in dead-end issues and self-indulgent Twitter bursts. Pence are a former radio talk show host, and it showed with his cool, articulate delivery. His earnest, low-key demeanor was a notable contrast to Tim Kaine, whose strategy seemed to be to interrupt Pence at every opportunity.

Foreign policy

Foreign policy remains the key area of US interests but it is strange foreign policy maters have not yet entered the debates of the presidential hopefuls. Only Trumps love for Russia has been debated in a vague manner without any perspectives.

Hillary and Trump have not discussed the rationale for the permanent war agenda of USA and NATO. Nor do they say anything in detail about the US aid to third world underdeveloped nations. Disarmament or denuclearization issues have not come up in debates and speeches even by mistake.

The most notable substantive exchanges occurred on foreign policy, with Republican VP candidate Pence offering a ¬detailed critique of Barack Obama’s record and growing global disorder. Democrat VP mate Kaine kept saying Clinton was part of the team that killed Osama bin Laden, but that is old anti-terror news. Pence replied that the main terror threat now was Islamic State, which he said grew out of “the vacuum” left when Obama withdrew all US troops from Iraq.

Notable was the debate on Russia, with Kaine claiming that Trump has business ties with “oligarchs” that cause him to apologize for Vladimir Putin. Trump’s admiration for Putin is mysterious and worrisome. But Pence pointed out Clinton’s hawkishness-come-lately on Russia follows years of weak ¬policy that invited Putin’s aggression. Pence reminded the audience what a classic Republican security policy sounds like — if only Trump would adopt it.

For the most part Pence dodged this trap, going back on offence against the Clinton-Obama record rather than ¬defend every Trump statement, many of which are indefensible. This is a useful lesson for Trump to take into the next debate, a town hall in which audience members will ask the questions. People want to like their presidents.

At least henceforth the presidential candidates must discuss the future war plans of USA and when they should end terror wars for fun and resources, declare a credible plan to withdraw all its terror troops from foreign soils.

Observation

The big moment for their running mates behind them, both Democratic Hillary and Republican Trump are shifting focus back to each other — and to Sunday’s debate, the second of three showdowns between the nominees. The debate is very critical for Trump. Since last week’s debate, Trump has faced a barrage of questions over a leaked tax return showing he lost more than $900 million in 1995. In turn, he’s sought to reframe his life story as a comeback tale he hopes to recreate on behalf of a faltering nation. “America needs a turnaround. American needs a comeback. America needs a change. And that’s why I’m running,” Trump said.

If Republican Trump could make the case for Donald Trump half as well as his ally Mike Pence makes the case for Donald Trump, the New Yorker would be well on his way to the White House.

Also, a latest opinion poll suggests that Republican Trump is ahead of Hillary by 2. 5 points and this trend is likely to go up as poll date approaches. These days, possibly in order to help shoot up the rating of Obama and Clinton Hillary, many TV channels relays Hollywood movies where Black Americans play lead hero role or positive rules to help the White American heroes, among others and naturally the rating of Obama is sound.

Russia gives every appearance of hoping that the presidential run by Republican Donald Trump will prove successful and there is every indication that the Kremlin wants to give him a boost. Russia has made a lukewarm confession of hacking the emails from the Democratic National Committee that appeared on WikiLeaks. Surely this must be a covert Russian operation designed specifically to sow distrust in our elections. Put another way, Trump may well have become an agent of the Russian Federation.

Being cast adrift in ever expanding ocean of American lies spread and “democratize” in order to invade Muslim nations, the American people may well end up with nothing to cling to. This in itself may well end up in old-fashioned oppression in USA. Ukraine’s ex-president Vicktor Yanukovych, a Kremlin ally, recently made a speech in which he denounced America’s hypocritical focus on democratization in all its forms.

The point Democrats are busy driving to the public is to remind Americans that Trump can be crude, nasty and untutored. This fits the Clinton strategy to delegitimize Trump personally as a ¬potential president. His affirmative case for Clinton and her agenda were ¬almost afterthoughts.

Regardless of who takes the White House come November, Russia’s very presence at the center of American electoral politics is celebrated in Moscow. here is wholesale denying of meddling in Moscow; the accusations nonetheless reinforce the sense of Putin’s power. The focus in Russia on the presidential campaign in America is construed to be a true and lasting acknowledgement that Russia has returned to the international arena. That surely must be what Putin really craves.

All said and done, if Trump is elected US president the limping US-Russian relations would develop smoothly. Putin and Trump could find a common language.

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Americas

Macron, Trump and Iran’s future

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The incident of the city of Strasbourg in France was a very primitive scenario for facing the deep social and political crisis that the Macron government is facing.

As predicted, French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner announced that the “terrorist”, who “apparently” was responsible for the shooting in Strasbourg, at 9 p.m. on Thursday, December 13th was killed in a street clash with three policemen. Shortly thereafter, ISIS released a statement, claiming responsibility for the shooting and killing of Strasbourg.

The extent and depth of the crisis in France is such that it does not allow the creation of a tense security and repression under the pretext of “terrorism”. Contrary, the scenario of Macron and Castaner, which, regardless of its tragic human dimensions, resembles Louis de Funès comedies, adds to the severity of the crisis.

On the other hand, on Thursday, the United States Senate unanimously condemned Mohamed bin Salman for the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and called on Trump to end support for the Saudi war in Yemen.

This is a major change in the US policy that occurred in the final days of the 115th Congress, a congress that is run by both the Senate and the House of Representatives under the control of the Republican Party. The incident shows that Trump will be greatly affected by the start of the 116th Congressional Congress on January 3, 2019, where the House of Representatives will be controlled by the Democratic Party.

Robert Muller’s investigation on Russia’s role in the 2016 US presidential election is also underway.

In addition, there is concern over the US stock market. The current Inverted Yield Curve shows that the number of short-term bank deposits is more than long-term deposits. Financial analysts consider the Inverted Yield Curve a serious indication of the probability of a recession and a financial crisis because it reflects lack of confidence of Americans in the future of their bank savings.

Accordingly, some conservative analysts, such as Michael Wilson, senior strategist at Morgan Stanley Bank, predicted a 50 percent market downturn in 2019. If so, the “golden age”, which began in the second semester of 2009, with the first year of the Obama Administration, ended in the first two years of the Trump Administration. Such conditions will have serious implications for US foreign policy.

In the turn of events, this incident will once again provide Iran with a historic opportunity to work alongside its dynamic and tactful foreign policy, with the advent of fundamental domestic reforms, to modernize the economic system that was launched forty years ago.

First published in our partner MNA

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Americas

American (And Global) Oligarchy Rapidly Moving Towards Monarchy

Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.

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Many people do not realize that the proverbial “noose” of civil rights, civil liberties and property rights are rapidly coming to an end, in large part because of the unholy alliance by and between government and the global oligarchs (international banks and major corporations).

For example, people don’t realize that current U.S. federal law permits all banks and credit unions (such as Chase Bank owned by CEO Jamie Dimon) to close any account, at any time, and for any reason, even when their own employees commit fraud, make mistakes, commit unethical acts or otherwise screw the banking customer over for personal or political reasons, and that customer then files a legitimate complaint.

The financial institution is not required to divulge the reason(s) for account closure to the customer.

Now, when a business account is closed by a bank, the bank can (and will) retain the funds in the account for 90 to 180 days in order for checks, debits, chargebacks, etc. to post to the business account before the bank will mail the business customer the remaining proceeds from the account.

However the account holder is of course not allowed access to their own hard-earned funds at all.

What this means is that these banks and credit unions have been given a universal right to steal any and all monies placed within their coffers by anyone at all, which can then be “confiscated” for any reason.

It is even so absurd that these banks and credit unions, even after they have seized or stolen your money/property, do not even have to give you a reason, and can then ban you for life from ever getting your money/property back.

This same reasoning applies to nearly all of the major businesses and corporations, wherein due process has gone the way of the extinct “dodo bird.”

This is what it means, when an administration (in this case Republican) talks about “bank deregulation.”

In many ways, Democrats had the right idea over Republicans when they created and enacted such banking regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), recently gutted and decapitated by the Trump Administration and his coterie of bought and paid for Republican conservatives.

The problem is that the same global Oligarchs and International Banking Cartels that controlled the Democrats, and enacted even more stifling Communist type regulation to further control, cull, and choke off the American (and global) population (think Obama’s “Operation Chokepoint”), simply use Republican “deregulation” as another mechanism to screw over, steal from, and rob the working and middle class, by allowing these international banking cartels, credit unions, and corporations to completely do whatever they want, to anyone, for any reason, in the absence of any regulation.

Herein lies the rub, and there has to be a middle ground, but only if the American people (and their global population counterparts) push back and vociferously tell their elected leaders to take legal and equitable action against these global thieves and criminals.

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War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the Second World War.  A war of horrors, it normalized the intensive, barbaric bombing of civilian populations.  If the Spanish Civil War gave us Guernica and Picasso’s wrenching painting, WW2 offered up worse:  London, Berlin, Dresden to name a few, the latter eloquently described in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five.”  Against Japan, the firebombing of Tokyo, and above all the revulsion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiated a foretaste of ending life on the planet.

Reparations demanded from Germany had led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and a thirst for revenge.  Thus Hitler demanded France’s 1940 surrender in the same railway carriage where the humiliating armistice was signed in 1918.

If the war to end all wars — its centenary remembrance a month ago — killed 20 million plus, the successor tripled the score.  Disrupted agriculture, severed supply chains, fleeing civilians, starvation and misery; civilian deaths constituting  an inordinate majority in our supposedly civilized world.

One of the young men baling out of a burning bomber was George H. W. Bush.  He was rescued but his crew who also baled out were never found, a thought that is said to have haunted him for the rest of his life.  He went on to serve eight years as vice-president under Ronald Reagan and then four more as president.  Last week he passed away and was honored with a state funeral service in Washington National Cathedral.

His legacy includes the first Iraq war and the liberation of Kuwait.  While he avoided the hornet’s nest of ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq itself, the war’s repercussions led to the Clinton sanctions and the deaths of half a million children.  The UN representative overseeing the limited oil-for-food program, Irishman Denis Halliday, resigned in disgust.  Not to forget the infamous answer by Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  Asked by Leslie Stahl if it was worth the lives of 500,000 children … more than that died in Hiroshima, she answered:  “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”  (CBS 60 Minutes program, May 12, 1996).

Note the “we” in her answer.  Who else does that include but our “I-feel-your-pain” Bill Clinton.  Hypocrisy, arm-twisted donations to the Clinton Foundation while wife Hillary was Secretary of State in the Obama administration; her shunning of the official and secure State Department email server in favor of a personal server installed at her request and the subsequent selective release of emails.  Well who cares about verifiable history these days anyway as the following demonstrates.

Yes, there was another anniversary this week for a different kind of war.  This time in India.  After securing freedom from the British, a secular tradition was proudly espoused by the patrician Nehru and the epitome of nonviolence, Gandhi.  It is now in the process of being trampled in a war against minorities.  The communal war includes the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat for which Narendra Modi was barred from the U.S., a ban lifted only when he became prime minister.  He, his party and his allies have been also responsible for the destruction of the Babri Mosque.  An organized Hindu mob tore it down on December 6, 1992; hence the shameful anniversary.  Built on the orders of the first Mughal emperor Babur, its purpose was to cement relations with Hindu rajas by also sanctifying for Muslims a place holy to Hindus and held traditionally to be the birthplace of Rama — famous from Hindu epics for fighting evil with the assistance of a monkey god’s army … although one is advised to avoid close contact with temple monkeys when visiting.

As the first Mughal, Babur’s hold on India was tenuous and he actively sought alliances with Hindu rulers of small states against the pathans whose sultan he had just defeated.  That affinity continued during the entirety of Mughal rule and one manifestation was frequent intermarriage with Rajputs.  Several emperors had Hindu mothers including Shah Jahan the builder of the Taj Mahal.  In the end, Babur’s fears were warranted because Sher Shah Suri did marshal those pathan forces and throw out his son Humayun, the second Mughal ruler.  It was only Sher Shah’s untimely death during the capture of Kalinjar (a Hindu fort then held by Raja Kirat Singh) that made Humayun’s return possible.

The destruction of the mosque was a historical wrong if ever there was one, but then Mr. Modi has never been bothered by history.  He is also not bothered that his party’s fairy tale revision of school history books is a scandal.  For similar reasons, Indian history on Wikipedia is too frequently tarnished, requiring verification from other sources to be properly informed.

The wrongs of communities, just as the wrongs of war, can lead to repercussions unanticipated and cataclysmic.  Yugoslavia is an example in living memory.  Clearly, any ruler of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country contemplating a path of communal dominance must take note before he is hoisted with his own petard.

Author’s Note:  This article first appeared on Counterpunch.org  

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