– ANOTHER WAR?
MUST READ – Victory Day 2018 – Ours or Theirs? Kiev Gearing up For War on Eve of World Cup in Russia
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German Green Party member Rebecca Harms has initiated an open letter calling on EU governments to stay away from the FIFA World Cup taking place in Russia in June.
Sixty Members of the European Parliament from 16 member states and 5 different political groups are supporting the call.
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Assange Twitter Account Returns As #ReconnectJulian Campaign Takes Over. . . this article appears to clear up any question about Assange’s whereabouts
Julian Assange’s twitter account has started tweeting again, but not because Ecuadorian authorities have restored his access to the Internet. Instead, his Twitter account has been taken over by a group of supporters leading the campaign to #ReconnectJulian.
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US President Donald Trump is talking about bringing troops home from Syria. But the plan is not about dialing down American military interests in the region. It’s about subcontracting the dirty work of US imperialism.
Far from reducing American wars in the Middle East – the supposed withdrawal move spells more conflict, not less.
There seems to be a common misconception that Trump is somehow fulfilling his campaign pledge to close down overseas interventions and bring US troops home.
Ahead of his state visit Monday to the US, French President Emmanuel Macron told Fox News in an interview that he is urging Trump to maintain the American troop presence in Syria. Macron warned that any exit of US military forces would be taken advantage of by the Syrian and Iranian “regimes.” By implication, the French leader included Russia in his rogue’s gallery.
“We will have to build a new Syria after the war. And that’s why the US role is very important,” Macron said.
But Trump is not signaling the end of American involvement in Syria. What he is planning is a new division of labor and capital in the pursuit of strategic goals.
When the president fired up a rally of his supporters in Ohio at the end of March he said: “We’ll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let other people take care of it now.”
Then on April 13, when announcing the US-led air strikes on Syria over an alleged chemical-weapons attack, Trump again hinted at eventually taking American forces out. He said: “We have asked our partners to take greater responsibility for securing their home region, including contributing large amounts of money.”
The concern of some within the American political and military establishment, as well as foreign allies like France’s Macron, is misplaced. Trump is not scaling back Washington’s involvement. He is instead seeking to outsource the military dirty work.
That plays well for Trump from a political point of view. It looks as if he is delivering on his “America First” agenda to his voter base. It also gives the chance for the US to wash its hands of bloody conflict.
In reality, however, Washington is pursuing its same hegemonic and destabilizing ambitions in the oil-rich Middle East, such as regime change in Syria, confronting Iran, and containing Russia. . . .Click article title to continue reading.
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Syria, Iran and the ‘chaos in international relations’, by Pepe Escobar
[. . . ] So the key variable in the Astana process – which involves complex economic and military trade offs – remains Ankara, which has no intention of abandoning its sprawling Syrian ops before subduing the Kurdish YPG all around.
Incidentally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, unlike his partners, supported the strikes on Syria.At the same time, Erdogan is itching for the Russian S-400 missile system to be delivered to Turkey as soon as possible, much to the displeasure of NATO.
The real test for the Astana partners will be Idlib – which is already the subject of fierce negotiations. Iran’s special envoy for Syrian affairs, Ali Akbar Velayati, is on the record as saying the next war objective is in fact Idlib.
Moscow has prodded Erdogan to deliver the Kurdish canton of Afrin – now run by the Turkish military – to Damascus. There’s no evidence – yet – this will be accepted. Russian forces did leave Afrin before the Turkish offensive. So the Turks, in reciprocity, should abandon their bases across Idlib as well.
The key takeaway is that the US-UK-France troika – not to mention the House of Saud – has absolutely no means to influence these developing facts on the ground.
As part of its years-long effort to reduce reliance on US currency amid a deepening standoff with Washington, Tehran has announced it will start reporting foreign currency amounts in euros rather than dollars.
The governor of Iran’s central bank (CBI) Valiollah Seif said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had welcomed his suggestion of replacing the dollar with the euro in foreign trade, as the “dollar has no place in our transactions today.” The new policy could reportedly encourage government bodies and firms linked to the state to increase their use of the euro at the expense of the American currency.
Russia’s biggest aluminum producer and key global supplier RUSAL will be relieved from US sanctions if its owner Oleg Deripaska relinquishes control over the firm, according to the US Treasury.
“I can see a 30% drop…The market looks to me to be waiting for a triggerthat will cause it to tumble…”
The Fed is aggressively raising interest rates, although inflation is contained, private debt is already at 150% of GDP, and rising variable rates could push borrowers into insolvency. So what is driving the Fed’s push to “tighten”?
On March 31st the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate for the sixth time in 3 years and signaled its intention to raise rates twice more in 2018, aiming for a fed funds target of 3.5% by 2020. LIBOR (the London Interbank Offered Rate) has risen even faster than the fed funds rate, up to 2.3% from just 0.3% 2-1/2 years ago. LIBOR is set in London by private agreement of the biggest banks, and the interest on $3.5 trillion globally is linked to it, including $1.2 trillion in consumer mortgages.
Alarmed commentators warn that global debt levels have reached $233 trillion, more than three times global GDP; and that much of that debt is at variable rates pegged either to the Fed’s interbank lending rate or to LIBOR. Raising rates further could push governments, businesses and homeowners over the edge. In its Global Financial Stability report in April 2017, the International Monetary Fund warned that projected interest rises could throw 22% of US corporations into default.
Then there is the US federal debt, which has more than doubled since the 2008 financial crisis, shooting up from $9.4 trillion in mid-2008 to over $21 trillion in April 2018. Adding to that debt burden, the Fed has announced that it will be dumping its government bonds acquired through quantitative easing at the rate of $600 billion annually. It will sell $2.7 trillion in federal securities at the rate of $50 billion monthly beginning in October. Along with a government budget deficit of $1.2 trillion, that’s nearly $2 trillion in new government debt that will need financing annually.
If the Fed follows through with its plans, projections are that by 2027, US taxpayers will owe $1 trillion annually just in interest on the federal debt. That is enough to fund President Trump’s original trillion dollar infrastructure plan every year. And it is a direct transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy investors holding most of the bonds. Where will this money come from? Even crippling taxes, wholesale privatization of public assets, and elimination of social services will not cover the bill.
With so much at stake, why is the Fed increasing interest rates and adding to government debt levels? Its proffered justifications don’t pass the smell test. . . . Click article title to continue reading.