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The Russian Bear Roaming Outside the White House

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[yt_dropcap type=”square” font=”” size=”14″ color=”#000″ background=”#fff” ] T [/yt_dropcap]here is a Russian bear roaming around the White House. It just will not go away. The alarm inside the house is palpable and growing. He keeps poking his nose at the windows, seems to know quite well some of the people inside, and wants to gain access at any cost and become part of the dream team.

After all, it has managed to put its paws on the scales of the US presidential election of last November, as per US intelligence community which is carrying on an investigation.

The bear was also previously connected with Paul Manafort, Trump’s former campaign manager, and, as it has just surfaced, it has also been in close contact with Trump’s top aide, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, even before Trump took office on Janurary 20; thus violating federal law.

Flynn too, like Manafort, may be headed for Siberia, so to speak, but that remains to be seen, given that the pathologically narcissistic ego of the Caligula-like President does not easily allow him to admit to any missteps. In fact, he usually doubles down on them.

Is this the first staff crisis of the new presidency in its making as we speak?

As is well known, despite denials by the Kremlin and some geo-political experts who have somehow minimized the whole incident, Russian intelligence agencies created havoc in the US presidential race by hacking into the email accounts of Democratic and former national security leaders and then releasing what they stole. The candidate Trump himself went around encouraging them to do so.

President Obama retaliated by expelling some Russian spies operating under diplomatic cover and imposing economic sanctions on Russia’s military intelligence agencies.

On Christmas day, when he was still a private citizen, and before Obama had announced his punitive measures, Flynn communicated with Russia’s ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak. Flynn said that he called to wish the ambassador Merry Christmas. How cute! More likely, it was a warning to the ambassador about the pending sanctions and a reassurance that Trump, once in office in a few weeks, would reverse them.

If that happens to be the case, despite the reassurances of vice-president Pence on CBS Face the Nation that Flynn did not talk about sanctions with Kislyak, it would be against the federal law provisions of the Logan Act. In any case, charges of secret collusion with the Kremlin are now in the air, while the bear is still anxiously hanging around. He seems to expect something that was promised him.

Let us remember that what brought about the menace of a Nixon’s impeachment in the mid-seventies (avoided when he decided to resign) was not so much the crime itself of a bungling burglary by inept party spies, but the attempted cover-up and denial by the Nixon administration.

Flynn is now back-pedaling. He is going around saying that he may, after all, have talked about sanctions, but he doesn’t remember. In other words, Flynn, the man with his finger on the nuclear button (you need two fingers to activate and launch nuclear weapons) has suddenly discovered that US intelligence agencies monitor conversations by private citizens with heads of foreign powers. Oh my, does it get complicated.

As with Nixon, the question now is: did Trump know, and if so when did he know it?

What remains bizarre is that Putin responded to Obama’s sanctions by doing nothing. He took the high road; he could afford to do so after Flynn’s warning. Immediately Trump resorted to his twitter and called Putin “very smart.”

As Caligula redivivus exclaims from time to time: “What’s going on”? Given what is regularly leaked from the White House on a daily basis, and the counter-leaks in the press and TV, what may be going on in Trump’s inner circle is a struggle for who gets access to the “brilliant” emperor strutting around with invisible clothes; who gets the authority to speak for him outside the White House. Bannon, as is well known, is a top contender for that coveted position, but there are others. In other words, it’s an intense internal Machiavellian struggle for power and influence.

You may now ask: what do we know for sure? This much: Flynn has in the past traveled to Russia after he left his DIA job. There he appeared on Russia’s state-rum propaganda arm, the RT. He was seen sitting at the same table with Putin.The new US secretary of state is the recipient of a Russian medal of honor from Putin.

We also know, as reported by Reuters that Trump did not have the foggiest about the 2010 new START treaty when he spoke to Putin on the phone recently. We know that the top US commander in Afghanistan has warned Congress of recent Russian meddling there, all intended to undermine NATO. We know that Russia has increased its military attacks in Eastern Ukraine.

Is Trump losing control of the story? It appears so. The Senate’s Intelligence committee is set to investigate the ties between Trump and Russia, so is the FBI. The best of the story may still be coming. Meanwhile fasten your seatbelts.

Professor Paparella has earned a Ph.D. in Italian Humanism, with a dissertation on the philosopher of history Giambattista Vico, from Yale University. He is a scholar interested in current relevant philosophical, political and cultural issues; the author of numerous essays and books on the EU cultural identity among which A New Europe in search of its Soul, and Europa: An Idea and a Journey. Presently he teaches philosophy and humanities at Barry University, Miami, Florida. He is a prolific writer and has written hundreds of essays for both traditional academic and on-line magazines among which Metanexus and Ovi. One of his current works in progress is a book dealing with the issue of cultural identity within the phenomenon of “the neo-immigrant” exhibited by an international global economy strong on positivism and utilitarianism and weak on humanism and ideals.

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The importance of Iran’s membership in the SCO

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The members of Majlis (the Parliament) have approved the emergency of the plan of Iran’s commitments to achieve the position of a member state in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), – informs IRNA from Tehran.

The  emergency plan was endorsed with 161 votes in favor, two against, and three abstentions.

Ali Adyani, the deputy vice president for parliamentary affairs, said that the plan was proposed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was endorsed by the cabinet members, and sent to parliament to become law.

According to the official, Iran’s membership in the SCO is of great importance in terms of economic, social, and international affairs particularly because the opportunity would help the Islamic Republic get rid of illegal sanctions and enhance economic diplomacy.

Iran has been an observer of the SCO since 2005. Then, President Ebrahim Raisi called for full membership of the Islamic country in the organization in its last summer summit in Tajikistan.

The legislators have accepted to speed up scrutinizing the plan. Earlier, the Iranian parliament had endorsed the plan of accession of the Islamic Republic to the SCO.

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Sabah: ‘The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine’

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The US is repeating the same mistakes as in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria. Now – in Ukraine. So it seems inevitable that Washington will face another setback as a result of its ideological obsession, – writes prominent Turkish observer Bercan Tutar at “Sabah” newspaper.

Having suffered a complete failure in the Middle East wars, the Americans sent to Ukraine not only their ineffective weapons, but also their inadequate thoughts and strategies. But no matter what they do, their chances of defeating Russia are very slim.

The 330th day of the war, which began on February 24, 2022, has already been completed. After a short retreat, Russia began redeployment. However, the fact that Russia abandoned the siege of Kyiv and focused on control over Russian-speaking regions led Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky and the United States to false conclusions.

Encouraged by Russia’s cautious military actions, the United States applied its strategy in the war on terrorism in Ukraine and. According to American experts, the current US administration is following the deadly tracks of previous military propaganda in Ukraine, which proved unsuccessful in Afghanistan and Iraq.

While Russia is pursuing a military strategy that prioritizes its political goals, we see that the US is lacking in both military and political leadership. As soon as the war in Ukraine began, the first goal of the US was to rally its NATO allies against the Russian invasion. It was a smart strategy and it worked.

However, when the US reached the first target, a further one only increased its expectations. Russia was asked to leave not only Donetsk and Lugansk (Donbass), but also Crimea. Even further, the United States began to voice maximalist demands, such as regime change in Moscow. But it is absolutely clear that these demands can arise only in conditions of a total world war.

As a result, American fantasies lead Washington to attempt strategic suicide. The Americans have deceived themselves, the Europeans and Ukraine.

Russian leader Putin said on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the breaking of the blockade of Leningrad: “We tolerated it for a long time and tried to come to an agreement. As it has recently turned out, they were messing around with us; they were lying to us. This was not the first time this has happened to us. Yet we did everything in our power to settle the problem peacefully. It has become obvious now that it was an inherently impossible mission; the enemy was only preparing to bring this conflict to the hot phase. As I have said, there was no other way than to do what we are doing now.”

In short, some geopolitical officials in the US have dragged Zelensky into a ‘no-win war’ against a nuclear-armed Russia.

Now the world is focused on two options:

– either the US and its allies will perform a ‘miracle’ in Ukraine;

– or the Russians will crush Ukraine and then break the back of the NATO alliance.

Thus, the US strategic position in Europe will come to an end and a new world order will be born, perhaps with several centers of power outside of America.

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War games will take place off Durban between South Africa, China and Russia

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South Africa’s government has finally shown its colours by inviting Russia and China for war games next month, London’s ‘Daily Mail’ writes with indignation and indignation.

SA President Cyril Ramaphosa has ditched his supposed ‘neutrality’ to the war by hosting the naval drills off the country’s east coast near Durban and Richards Bay from February 17 to 27. The move is the strongest indication yet of the strengthening relationship between South Africa, and the anti-West authoritarian regimes of China and Russia.

The drills will take place around the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and bring more focus on the refusal of South Africa – a leading voice on its continent – to side with the West and condemn Russia’s actions. The South African government said last year it had adopted a neutral stance over Ukraine and called for dialogue and diplomacy.

But the upcoming naval drills have led the country’s main opposition party to accuse the government of effectively siding with Russia.

But the South African National Defence Force (SANDF), which incorporates all of its armed forces, said next month’s naval exercise would ‘strengthen the already flourishing relations between South Africa, Russia and China’. The aim of the drills was ‘sharing operational skills and knowledge’, the SANDF said.

The three countries also conducted a similar naval exercise in 2019 in Cape Town, while Russia and China held joint naval drills in the East China Sea last month.

The United States and European Union had hoped South Africa would support the international condemnation of Russia and act as a leader for other nations in Africa. But, South Africa appealed to be one of several African countries to ‘abstain’ in a United Nations vote last year condemning Russia’s special military operation.

South Africa and Russia share a long history, after the Soviet Union gave support to the ANC in its fight to bring down apartheid, the regime of repression against the country’s black majority, writes London newspaper. (And we should remember, how the British destroyed the Boers’ Transvaal and the Orange Republic of the at the beginning of the 20th century, and planted the apartheid regime here).

Apartheid ended in 1994 when the ANC won the first democratic elections in South Africa and Nelson Mandela became president.

South Africa is also a member of BRICS, a bloc of emerging economies, alongside Brazil, Russia, India and China.

South Africa’s obligations with respect to sanctions relate only to those that are specifically adopted by the United Nations. Currently, there are no UN-imposed sanctions on the particular individual, they say in Pretoria.

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