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US Intention to Talk to Taliban Yet More Proof of ‘Double Standards’


US soldiers part of NATO patrol during the final day of a month long anti-Taliban operation by the Afghan National Army (ANA) in various parts of eastern Nangarhar province, at an Afghan National Army base in Khogyani district on August 30, 2015

© AFP 2017/ Noorullah Shirzada

The United States wants the Taliban to be part of the peaceful process in Afghanistan. According to expert Faruq Farda, the US is playing a double game and is not interested in settling the crisis.

“I think one of the things that the [State] Secretary feels very strongly about is trying to develop – get to a place where we can have some sort of a peace process,” State Secretary spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a press briefing in late July, commenting on State Secretary Rex Tillerson’s views on how to resolve the conflict in Afghanistan.

“And that means actually sitting down and talking with members of the Taliban and starting to facilitate that kind of dialogue,” Nauert added.

According to Kabul-based expert Faruq Farda, the possible talks between the US and the terrorist group are unlikely to be productive.”After the US invaded Afghanistan, it faced a number of problems and has finally decided to start negotiating with the Taliban. Washington sees such talks as the only way to resolve the crisis. The US was one of the originators of the Taliban. Now the organization is divided into smaller groups, which makes it difficult to control,” Farda told Sputnik Afghanistan.

According to the expert, what the US is doing in Afghanistan is a “policy of double standards.” While reiterating its commitment to peace, Washington, at the same time, wants to achieve geopolitical ambitions in the region.

“The US wants to turn the Taliban against Russia’s peaceful efforts. Moreover, the US involvement has not resolved a single problem in Afghanistan,” Farda said.

Commenting on the current situation in the country, the expert warned there is a risk of a large-scale conflict in the region.”The reason for the crisis is not the Afghan people. We want peace, but a war is being imposed on us. And this war risks expanding beyond Afghanistan and reaching Russia,” Farda said.

He further suggested that Russia could play the leading role in stabilizing the situation and bringing peace to Afghanistan.

“Russia is a global power that has been very influential in the global arena in recent years. Russia is one of the guarantors that maintain the global balance of powers. Russia should play a role in the settlement because the crisis in Afghanistan creates risks for Russia’s security,” Farda concluded.

US officials recently accused Russia of supporting the Taliban. Moreover, CNN claimed in July that it had exclusive videos purporting to show that the Taliban had allegedly received weaponry in Afghanistan, which appeared to have been supplied by Russia, however, presented no proof. Earlier, the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency, Lt. Gen. Vincent Stewart, said that there was no evidence that Russia had transferred weapons or money to the Taliban in Afghanistan.The Russian Foreign Ministry denied the claims that Russia is allegedly supplying weapons to the Taliban as groundless.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow is only working with the Taliban in order to assist the implementation of a UN Security Council decision requested by the Afghan government that would allow the group to take a role in the political process. Lavrov also called accusations from the US that it is supplying the Taliban with weapons baseless and unprofessional.


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Posted in USA, Afghanistan0 Comments

Trump’s Possible China Trade Crackdown: ‘This is Not Time to Sour Relations’


President Donald Trump gestures as he and Chinese President Xi Jinping walk together after their meetings at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla

© AP Photo/ Alex Brandon

The US president is considering an investigation into China’s alleged intellectual property theft. Radio Sputnik discussed the issue with Hong Kong-based investment and banking specialist Andrew Leung.

According to Leung, the main reason behind the US-Chinese dispute is the fact that China wants access to technologies, made by the companies Beijing has invested into.

“The accusation is that the Chinese state makes it a mandatory requirement to share technology with the invested technology firms from foreign countries. Of course if we share them, that means that intellectual property rights are transferred to Chinese competitors. And indeed that can be held to be a violation of WTO [World Trade Organization] rules,” Leung said.

US President Donald Trump may announce a probe into China’s alleged intellectual property theft on Monday after repeatedly accusing Beijing of “unfair” trade practices, Politico reported.

A government official confirmed to Politico that Trump was going to instruct US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open the investigation under Section 301 of the 1974 US Trade Act.

“I guess there was a time when the relations [between China and the US] were good in the beginning. But then Washington was perceiving that China was not doing their part in pressurizing North Korea,” the expert noted.Recently, US President Donald Trump stepped up criticism of China amid Pyongyang’s numerous ballistic missile launches. Trump said last month that he was “very disappointed in China” over its failure to put pressure on North Korea to halt its nuclear and missile tests.

“I think that the biggest worry for President Trump is this North Korean thing,” Leung stated. The current situation shows that it is “not the time to sour relations” between the two countries, the expert added.

At the same time, Leung believes that a trade war between the two countries is unlikely, as it would negatively affect both economies.

According to Politico, trade sanctions on China were not expected immediately after the investigation announcement, but could lead to a hike in tariffs on Chinese goods, a move that is likely to breach the World Trade Organization’s rules.


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Posted in USA, China0 Comments

Vicious Circle: How to Prevent ‘Guam Missile Crisis’ Between US, N Korea


Navy vessels are moored in port at the U.S. Naval Base Guam at Apra Harbor, Guam March 5, 2016

© REUTERS/ Major Jeff Landis,USMC (Ret.)/Naval Base Guam/Handout/File Photo

It is time for Washington and Pyongyang to meet at the negotiating table, Russian academic Evgeny Kim told Radio Sputnik, adding that the US should lend an ear to Moscow and Beijing’s proposal to stop both North Korean missile tests and US-South Korean military drills in the region.

Washington’s unwillingness to hold a dialogue on the Korean crisis with Pyongyang is adding fuel to the fire in the region, Evgeny Kim, a senior fellow at the Center for Korean Studies of the Institute of Far Eastern Studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, toldRadio Sputnik.

“Americans are adding fuel to the fire. Why did they bring strategic bombers to the Guam [military] base and conduct training bombings? The North [North Korea] is ready for negotiations,” Kim emphasized.

Tensions continue to escalate on the Korean Peninsula with the US leadership signaling “military solutions are now fully in place.”

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.  Hopefully, Kim Jong Un will find another path!”  US President Donald Trump tweeted Friday.

Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

On August 8, a US Pacific Air Forces website reported that two US Air Force B-1B bombers joined their counterparts from the Republic of Korea and Japanese air forces in bilateral missions.”Two US Air Force B-1B Lancers assigned to the 37th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron, deployed from Ellsworth Air Force Base, South Dakota, flew from Andersen Air Force Base, Guam, for a 10-hour mission, flying in the vicinity of Kyushu, Japan, the East China Sea, and the Korean peninsula, August 7, 2017 (HST),” the report said.

Earlier this summer, Moscow and Beijing issued a joint statement offering ways to de-escalate the situation. Russia and China have repeatedly called upon Pyongyang to stop nuclear tests at the same time urging Washington and Seoul to refrain from conducting joint drills.

However, the vicious cycle of the US and North Korea’s mutual threats has yet to be broken.

People watch news report showing North Korea's Hwasong-14 missile launch on electronic screen at Pyongyang station, North Korea in this photo taken by Kyodo on July 29, 2017
People watch news report showing North Korea’s Hwasong-14 missile launch on electronic screen at Pyongyang station, North Korea in this photo taken by Kyodo on July 29, 2017

Earlier this week North Korea’s military announced that it was considering a missile attack near the US territory of Guam in response to Trump threatening Pyongyang with “fire and fury.”

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported Thursday that by mid-August Pyongyang will have a plan to launch four intermediate-range missiles at the US territory of Guam, where American military bases are located.

“The Hwasong-12 rockets to be launched by the KPA [Korean People’s Army] will cross the sky above Shimane, Hiroshima and Koichi Prefectures of Japan,” General Kim Rak-gyom, who commands the Korean People’s Army’s Strategic Force, stated as quoted by the media outlet.

Local news reported Friday that Japan is allegedly mulling over the deployment of Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) surface-to-air anti-missile systems in the four prefectures over which North Korea’s ballistic missiles could potentially fly in the event of an attack on Guam.The same day a lawmaker of Russia’s upper house of parliament, Viktor Ozerov, told Sputnik that Russia had put on high alert its air defense systems in the country’s Far East due to the escalation of the Korean crisis. The information was later denied by the Sputnik source in the Eastern Military District.

“The units of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the Far East, including air defense battalions, are serving in normal mode. There were no orders for increased combat readiness,” the source told Sputnik.

Commenting on the issue, Kim highlighted that the time has come for the US and North Korea to meet at the negotiating table.

“Americans should probably accept a joint proposal by Russia and China that both nuclear tests of the DPRK and military exercises involving the United States from the Korean Peninsula should be suspended simultaneously. Stop it and start negotiating,” Kim stressed.

“There is but one thing to do — to hold negotiations and one should exert pressure on the Americans. By the way, in this very case, I believe we can receive some support from South Korea: its leadership also says that it is necessary that the Americans begin talks with the northerners,” the academic told Radio Sputnik.

Kim expressed his confidence that the North Koreans wouldn’t strike first.

“North Korea’s missiles won’t fly in the direction of Guam,” he said. “Most likely if something happens, US missiles will be fired. Of course, our [Russian] air defense systems could intercept them, but it is necessary to conduct a policy which would prevent such a course of events.”


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Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

War of Words: ‘There is Nothing Tangible’ Behind US-N Korean Exchange of Threats

A man watches a television news programme showing US President Donald Trump (C) and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un (L) at a railway station in Seoul on August 9, 2017
© AFP 2017/ JUNG Yeon-Je
The ongoing exchange of threats between the US and North Korea has nothing tangible behind it, US scholar and expert on Korean affairs Michael Madden told Radio Sputnik. At the same time, according to Madden there could be a serious “disconnect” between US influential foreign policy makers that prevents the Korean problem from being solved.

With a war of words between the United States and North Korea ramping up over recent weeks the question arises whether the two are really up to starting an all-out confrontation.

“Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded, should North Korea act unwisely.  Hopefully, Kim Jong Un will find another path!” US President Donald Trump tweeted Friday.

Military solutions are now fully in place,locked and loaded,should North Korea act unwisely. Hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

​The tweet came as an apparent response to a state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) report, which stated that Pyongyang has a plan to launch four intermediate-range missiles at the US territory of Guam, where American military bases are located.

However, according to Michael Madden, a Korea expert and visiting scholar at the US-Korea Institute at the School for Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University, there’s no indication from North Korea or the United States “that something tangible is going forward.”

Speaking to Radio Sputnik Madden drew attention to the fact that regardless of its warmongering rhetoric Pyongyang is very careful in its choice of words.

“North Korea is very careful in how it formulates its statements…. And if we go to the two statements that have come out from North Korea’s Strategic Forces, its missile forces, this is always couched in a very sort of hypothetical language…. The phrases keep coming up: ‘we are seriously considering.’ They have not done anything yet!” Madden underscored.

Navy vessels are moored in port at the U.S. Naval Base Guam at Apra Harbor, Guam March 5, 2016

According to the Korea expert, the West is seriously underestimating the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).”One thing we are underestimating is the North Korean policymakers’ understanding of American politics and of global politics. They are a lot more sophisticated than we think they are,” Madden remarked.

Commenting on Washington’s alarmist rhetoric in regard to Pyongyang, the American scholar suggested that the US leadership is trying to conceal some problems the United States is having in the National Security Council.

There could also be a “disconnect” between some of the key US foreign policy makers, he added.

Meanwhile, Russia and China continue to call upon Washington and Beijing to take steps to defuse tensions, citing security concerns.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told reporters Friday that the risk of a conflict between the US and North Korea turning into a full-fledged war is high.

“The risk is very high, especially regarding the rhetoric [between the two countries]. We hear direct threats to use force…. Of course, this concerns us very much,” Lavrov said Friday, adding, however, that he believes that common sense will prevail in the situation.

For his part, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the United States and North Korea to refrain from hostile actions and exchanges that could deteriorate the tensions between the two nations.Meanwhile, China’s influential online newspaper Global Times signaled that Beijing will stay neutral if North Korea attacks the United States, adding that “if the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.”

Commenting on the issue, Madden pointed out that Beijing is obviously not happy with Pyongyang conducting nuclear and missile tests.

The scholar pointed to what may seem an inconsistent policy on the part of Beijing: on the one hand China hesitates to isolate its troublesome neighbor, but on the other hand the Chinese leadership has recently adopted a package of UN sanctions against North Korea.

Madden explained that the destabilization of North Korea may result in serious security problems for China, including the influx of refugees from the DPRK.

One of the reasons why China is trying to join the sanctions “is that they hope that maybe this would create the conditions in which they could start to have dialogues or six-party talks, some other multilateral or even bilateral form,” the US scholar suggested.

“So they think that at some point maybe the North Koreans will engage in some sort of [dialogue],” Madden told Radio Sputnik.


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Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

What’s Behind Russia’s Warning of ‘Resorting to Military Force’ in Afghanistan?


Afghan security forces leave after gunfire at the site of an attack in Kabul, Afghanistan July 31, 2017

© REUTERS/ Omar Sobhani

Despite efforts by the Afghan government and the US, Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) and the Taliban continue to gain ground in the country, threatening to import terrorism to the Central Asian states. Speaking to Sputnik, Afghan military analyst Atiqullah Amarkhel shared his views on whether Russia will intervene to tackle the terror threat.

Zamir Kabulov, a high rank career diplomat and Russian presidential envoy to Afghanistan, has recently remarked that if the Afghan government and Washington are unable to counter the threat posed by Daesh’s (ISIS/ISL) spread, Russia will resort to military force, Sputnik Afghanistan reported.

The Russian diplomat cited the fact that Daesh continues to strengthen its positions in Afghanistan, which triggers serious concerns in Moscow about the possibility of the spread of instability to the countries of Central Asia near Russia’s borders.

Kabulov also referred to recent reports regarding the alleged delivery of weapons to Daesh extremists by unidentified helicopters.

According to the Russian Foreign Ministry, in at least three provinces in the north of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan an unidentified aircraft was spotted dropping boxes for Daesh militants. Kabulov noted that the issue was raised by Russian diplomats at a UN Security Council meeting.

The parliament of Afghanistan echoed the envoy’s concerns. Some deputies even went so far as to suggest that the unidentified aircraft may be connected to the United States.What then did Kabulov mean by referring to Russia’s deployment of military force? Does it mean that Moscow is ready to bring in the military to Afghanistan in order to defeat Daesh?

According to an Afghan military analyst, retired Air Force General Atiqullah Amarkhel, the Russian official’s statement is more of a “warning” over the potential escalation of the situation in Afghanistan, than a promise to use military force.

“It is a political issue and [Kabulov’s] words are a diplomatic warning,” Amarkhel explained, stressing that it is highly unlikely that Russia will intervene to fight Daesh in Afghanistan.

“The Russian Federation will not take military measures until Daesh attacks the borders of six Central Asian states and Russia,” the general pointed out. “The reason for Russia’s concern over the growing influence of Daesh in Afghanistan, especially in the country’s north, is the threat of the deterioration of the situation in Central Asia.””Will Russia tolerate the presence of the Taliban and Daesh in Central Asia, which Russia considers to be in its sphere of interest? Unlikely. Moscow views the presence of any terrorist groups in Central Asia as a threat to its security,” Amarkhel remarked.

Thus, to tackle the problem the Russian Defense Ministry announced in June that it was going to reinforce its military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan with modern weapons in order to prevent the import of terrorism from Afghanistan into Central Asia.

“We are alarmed by the growing presence in Afghanistan of Daesh militants whose number now exceeds 3,500. The terrorist group’s ongoing effort to establish an Islamic caliphate poses a serious threat to the security of Afghanistan and its neighbors,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said at a June meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the Kazakh capital Astana.

The Russian defense minister emphasized that the Russian military bases in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan are “guarantors of regional stability.””Together with our allies we are boosting their combat capability which, in turn, ensures the security of [their capitals] Dushanbe and Bishkek,” Shoigu stressed.

Citing political analysts, Amarkhel noted that Russia’s military involvement in Afghanistan would created new challenges for Moscow. He referred to the fact that Russia is currently engaged in an aerial operation in Syria aimed at protecting the legitimate government of Bashar al-Assad.

Moscow has repeatedly voiced its willingness to provide political and technical-military assistance to Kabul, at the same time denying the possibility of the involvement of the Russian Armed Forces in any military actions on the ground in Afghanistan.

Speaking to Sputnik, General Amarkhel called attention to the fact that although the government of Afghanistan and its allies are trying to defeat Daesh, the organization is only getting stronger.

With the Taliban controlling most of Afghanistan’s rural areas and Daesh consolidating its positions in the war-torn country the situation is steadily deteriorating.

“The war in Afghanistan is being expanded, in addition to the Taliban and Daesh, new terrorist groups have emerged [in the country]. Let’s see how the situation will unfold,” the general said.

“The relationship between Russia and the US is deteriorating day by day, so the US can use various groups of Islamists to increase pressure on the Russian Federation in order to worsen the situation in the Central Asian states, therefore, Russia is closely monitoring the situation,” Amarkhel assumed.


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Posted in Afghanistan, Russia0 Comments

‘A Massacre’: 35 Indian Children Killed Due to Hospital Negligence


At least 30 children died on Thursday and Friday in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh, India, after the facility’s supply of liquid oxygen was cut off due to an unpaid electricity bill.

Between 11am and 2am, medical practitioners and family members frantically passed out manual resuscitator bags to parents as families desperately scrambled to save their children’s lives. According to police reports, 21 of the deaths were caused by oxygen shortage, cited by Chicago Tribune.

“We saw children dying around us,” a victim’s father said.

“Obviously, it’s the hospital’s fault,” he added. “So many children have died because of them. My son was fine until nighttime, then something wrong happened.”

Indian Nobel Peace Prize winner and child advocate Kailash Satyarthi tweeted, “30 kids died in a hospital without oxygen. This is not a tragedy. It’s a massacre.”

Referencing India’s 70th anniversary of its independence from England, Satyarthi castigated the government: “Is this what 70 years of freedom means for our children?”

30 kids died in hospital without oxygen. This is not a tragedy. It’s a massacre. Is this what 70 years of freedom means for our children?


The state’s health minister and hospital officials claimed that the deaths were not caused by the unpaid bill. The state’s chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, however, has established a committee to investigate the electricity bill.

“The guilty will not be spared,” Adityanath asserted.

According to documents revealed by The Washington Post, the hospital owed a whopping $89,750 to Pushpa Sales Private Limited, a medical supply company based in Lucknow.

The company had sent multiple letters to the hospital and district magistrate over a period of six months requesting payment. After the contract between the supply company and the hospital ended on July 31, Pushpa waited four more days before cutting off the oxygen supply on August 4.

Extreme negligence on the part of the hospital’s chief medical officer is alleged, after he apparently ignored warnings from employees monitoring oxygen storage levels that the supply would only last until Thursday.

Intense anger flooded social media outlets following the aftermath of what is now seen to be a completely avoidable tragedy.

A political cartoon depicting babies as angels in the sky and an Indian government official trying to reach them quickly surfaced on the internet.


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Posted in India0 Comments

Here Are the Real Reasons Behind Trump’s Brinksmanship Toward N. Korea


People walk by a TV screen showing a local news program reporting with an image of U.S. President Donald Trump at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, Aug. 9, 2017

© AP Photo/ Lee Jin-man
Andrew Korybko

Trump is pursuing several ulterior motives in sparking a new crisis with North Korea.

There are many explanations floating around which seek to answer the question of why Trump has all of the sudden decided to prioritize North Korea.

The conventional view has to do with a combination of Pyongyang’s repeated missile tests in violation of United Nations Security Council (UNSC) sanctions and the related need to “justify” the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) deployment right on Russia and China’s doorstep.

These points are certainly valid and serve as the most obvious reasons behind Trump’s actions, but there’s more to it than people might initially think.

Trump doesn’t just need to “justify” THAAD’s Northeast Asian deployment in the eyes of Russia, China and the international community at large, but most importantly he needs to convince his new South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In that this move is in his country’s best interests.

The new leader was initially skeptical about this, and part of the reason why he was elected is because he campaigned on a mildly pro-sovereign platform, which made him stand out against the more traditional pro-American candidates.Furthermore, his administration has been hitherto hampering THAAD’s deployment through the plausibly deniable means of conducting environmental assessments rabbit its impact, but now that Trump has provoked a new crisis with North Korea, President Moon has considerably less flexibility to stand in his way. This also implies that he will walk back from his plans for a new Sunshine Policy towards North Korea.

Bearing these two interconnected factors in mind, it’s likely that one of the ulterior reasons behind the US’ sparking of the Korean Crisis was to sabotage President Moon’s campaign promise to seek rapprochement with North Korea and force his hand in getting him to begrudgingly accept THAAD.

Not only that, but with North Korea in the news once again for issuing hyperbolic threats to bomb Guam and the US mainland, Trump now has the perfect cover that he needs to push through billions of dollars in spending for his country’s missile defense systems. This works out perfectly to the benefit of the military-industrial complex and all of those individuals, including in Congress and his administration, who have invested in the pertinent companies.

Trump is masterfully playing Kim Jong Un in getting him to say the most outlandish things in response to the president’s deliberately provocative tweets and comments, and this is precisely what the US needs to happen in order to accomplish the abovementioned goals. Granted, North Korea’s security issues vis-à-vis the US are legitimate and it has every right to express itself as it pleases, but it’s just that its characteristic over-the-top style is counterproductive both for its own interests and those of its multipolar partners.

Lastly, being the consummate deal maker that he envisions himself as, Trump doesn’t want to let a “good crisis go to waste” and would like to achieve some tangible diplomatic dividends from it when all is said and done. To this end, it’s very possible that the timing of the latest upswing in peninsular tensions was intentionally coordinated with its military-strategic ally India’s new incursion into China’s Donglang tri-border region with Bhutan.

With China now facing two simmering situations on completely opposite fronts, to say nothing of the ever-tense state of affairs in the South China Sea between them, it’s possible that Trump calculated that this would divide Beijing’s strategic attention to the point where it will be forced to prioritize one over the other.It appears as of now that China has chosen to pay more attention to the Indian one because of the far-reaching and long-term implications that a clash between the two Great Powers would have for shattering BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) unity and consequently disrupting the emerging multipolar world order.

If this reflection of reality is accurate, then it would explain why China has been relatively nonchalant towards the entire Korean crisis and even went along with the latest US-led UNSC sanctions against Pyongyang.In addition, it would also show that the US’ plan in squeezing diplomatic “concessions” from China on North Korea by distracting it with India has been a relative success so far, yielding the tangible dividends that Trump and his team expected all along.


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Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

Is North Korea Showing the Emperor is Naked?

South Korean men pass by a TV news program showing images published in North Korea's Rodong Sinmun newspaper of North Korea's ballistic missile believed to have been launched from underwater and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, at Seoul Railway station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, May 9, 2015
© AP Photo/ Ahn Young-oon


Pepe Escobar

Amid the thick fog of (rhetorical) war between Washington and Pyongyang, it’s still possible to detect some fascinating writing on the (unbuilt) wall.

A case can be made that President Trump is using North Korea to kick the 24/7 Russia-gate narrative out of the US news cycle. It’s certainly working. After all, in Exceptionalistan weltanschauung, the prospect of war and its possible rewards certainly trumps hazy accusations of Russian hacking and election interference.

Capitol Hill would never even consider an attempt to impeach a president — on top if it surrounded by generals — while American geopolitical primacy is in danger. Besides, Congress has already made it explicit Trump does not even need permission to bomb North Korea.

So, according to this working hypothesis, if Robert Mueller finds anything seriously damaging to the Trump brand, the president might actually consider a bomb North Korea/wag the dog operation.

Meanwhile, anybody paying attention to what Edward Snowden has disclosed in detail knows hackers of all persuasions are fine tuned to all Mueller-related IT systems and cell phone communications. They will know what Team Mueller has managed to find on Trump in real time — and plan their contingencies accordingly.

As for the rhetorical war itself, a US intel source used to thinking outside the Beltway box points to the crucial variable, South Korea; “South Korea will not maintain its alliance with the US the day they believe that the US will attack North Korea to protect itself at the expense of the death of thirty million people in South Korea. South Korea is in secret talks with China for a major security treaty because of the US position that they will bomb North Korea in their own defense irrespective of the destruction of South Korea which the US would regard as most unfortunate.”Don’t expect to read about these secret Beijing-Seoul talks on Western corporate media. And that’s only part of the equation. The source adds, “there are secret talks between Germany and Russia over the US joint sanctions against those two nations and a realignment of the German position back to the Bismarckian Ostpolitik of a new Reinsurance Treaty with Russia.”

Assuming these secret negotiations bear fruit, the consequences will be nothing short of cataclysmic; “The European and Asian security systems of the United States may be about to collapse due to the turmoil in Washington which is unhinging all of the United States alliances. As Congress undermines Donald Trump, the United States is presently jeopardizing all its major strategic relationships.”

Seoul Framed as “Collateral Damage”

Navy vessels are moored in port at the U.S. Naval Base Guam at Apra Harbor, Guam March 5, 2016

Meanwhile, serious questions remain over North Korea’s true military capabilities. As an independent Asia intel source familiar with the Korean peninsula observes, “submarine launched ballistic missiles (SLBMs) as well as land-based nuclear missiles are available on the black market, so North Korea would have no trouble acquiring them. North Korea knows that if they do not have a nuclear deterrent capacity they could be subject to a similar destruction that occurred with Iraq and Libya. In addition, the irresponsible threats against North Korea by [US Secretary of State] Tillerson, who should retire to his fishing haunts, could do grave damage to the US, for if North Korea believes the US will strike they will not wait as Saddam Hussein, having learned their lesson from that, but they will strike first.”So the real issue, once again, is whether Pyongyang already is in possession of SLBMs as well as land-based nuclear capacity, acquired through the black market. The Asia intel source adds, “North Korea presently has twenty Romeo class submarines which, according to Heritage expert Bruce Klingner, have the capacity to carry nuclear SLBMs. These Romeo class submarines have a range of 9,000 miles and the distance from Pyongyang to New York City is 6,783 miles. These submarines could be refueled, for instance, in Cuba, Therefore, it is not inconceivable to find a North Korean submarine offshore New York City equipped with a ballistic nuclear missile in a showdown at the O.K. Corral with Washington D.C.”

US Think Tankland is developing a creepy consensus when it comes to North Korea. Every analyst worth his paycheck knows that North Korea’s nuclear program sites are widely dispersed and ultra-reinforced; everyone also knows that devastating North Korea artillery is concentrated near the demilitarized zone (DMZ) within striking distance of Seoul. Still, this is all being spun as part of an aseptic narrative where the US is “extremely reluctant” to bomb.

It’s obviously hard for CIA types to publicly acknowledge that Pyongyang is — successfully — creating the framework for a new brand of negotiation with the US as well as with South Korea, China and Russia. Any rational, non-Dr. Strangelove intellect knows there is no military solution to this drama. North Korea is already a de facto nuclear power — and diplomacy will have to take it into account.

Neocon/neoliberalcon War Party/CIA types though bet on — what else — war. And fast — before the much-hyped point of no return when Pyongyang acquires a deliverable nuclear weapon. That’s where, predictably, most factions of the deep state converge with Trump. And that’s the stuff of all sorts of chilling scenarios, pointing once again to Washington having no qualms sacrificing its South Korean “ally”.

What the Deep State Really Wants

For all the intractable problems affecting the Korean peninsula, independent analysts have also been considering how the Washington-Pyongyang drama is only a small part of a much larger Big Picture; the American subjugation of international relations based on their dependence of what is extracted from the rest of the world in the form of dollar debt.Washington uses the usual tools — sanctions and bombs — to enforce dollar-denominated global trade and energy trade. China has counter-attacked with everything from the biggest “win-win” trade/ infrastructure project of the 21st century — the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — to buying energy in yuan; call it a mighty counterpunch against the infernal US debt machine. Russia for its part has fully re-emerged as a prime geopolitical/military power.

The Brzezinski doctrine — to prevent the emergence of any peer competitor, not to mention an alliance of peer competitors such as the Russia-China strategic partnership — is collapsing all over. Nuclear North Korea is just the latest visible sign of the collapse. It’s as if with voting in favor of the latest sanctions package at the UNSC, Russia-China have allowed a double dare (and they sure knew in advance the rhetorical war would escalate).

The cumulative effect, for all the world to see, is Washington regime change obsession (Iran, Venezuela, etc.) and illegal trade sanctions (Russia, Iran, North Korea, etc.) run amok, while Russia-China subtly keep undermining both Washington’s supply chain — as in dollar debt — and military enforcement (bomb North Korea if you dare). So it’s no wonder Russia-China, as far as the North Korea drama is concerned, are all for diplomacy, while the exceptionalist US deep state craves war.

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China’s Economy Shows Strong Resilience


China’s better-than-expected economic performance in the first half of this year was applauded by overseas organizations who believe that China will continue to be a stabilizer of the global economy. Analysts pointed out that China’s satisfactory answer sheet on the economy is closely related to its strong resilience.

In the first half of the year, China posted a forecast-beating GDP increase of 6.9 percent, higher than the global average.

Global expectations on China’s economic performance are high. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) raised China’s 2017 growth forecast to 6.7 percent, its third increase this year. Bloomberg projected China’s GDP in the third and fourth quarters at 6.6 and 6.7 percent respectively, both projections 0.1 percent higher than its previous forecasts.

The Standard Chartered Bank revised China’s growth this year from 6.6 percent up to 6.8 percent, saying China will achieve an accelerated annual growth for the first time since 2010.

The more resilient economy results from an optimized structure bolstered by further expansion of the consumer market and the services sector. According to a report by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), China’s consumer market is growing by 10 percent a year on average, faster than in any other country.

In the first half year, final consumption expenditures contributed 63.4 percent and the services industry contributed 59.1 percent to economic growth. The continuation of consumption’s fundamental role and the service industry’s role as a main engine of growth is vital to China’s economic resilience.

Bob Carr, director of the Australia-China Relations Institute, thinks consumption is relatively sticky and stable. Final consumption, as the largest contributor to GDP growth, has further stabilized China’s economic growth, he said.

China has a burgeoning middle class and it is estimated an additional 850 million people will join in the middle class by 2030, Carr said. By then, China’s spending will reach $14.3 trillion, accounting for 22 percent of the global total, higher than that of the US at 7 percent, he continued.

The emergence of new impetus produces economic resilience as well. The implementation of the strategy of innovation-driven development since the beginning of this year has fostered new technologies, new industries and new forms of business. The rise of new impetus represented by strategic new industries and sharing economy has become new growth drivers.

European think tank Bruegel holds that China is now speeding up to surpass many developed countries in terms of scientific innovation.

According to a recent study by Bruegel, China has already spent more on research and development, as a percentage of GDP, than the European Union, and it now produces as many scientific publications as the US and more PhDs in natural sciences and engineering.

Bruegel believes China is fully capable of becoming a leader in scientific innovation and pushing forward a multi-polarized global scientific research pattern by 2050.

China’s economic resilience cannot be achieved without sound fundamentals. As the largest developing country and the second-largest economy in the world, China is in the process of new-type industrialization, informatization, urbanization and agricultural modernization.

The country’s solid material foundation, abundant human resources and vast market potential will continue to provide a sound basis and condition for sustained economic growth.

Supply-side structural reform facilitates economic resilience as well. The reform has promoted economic transformation, stimulated vitality, defused risks and boosted confidence.

In the first half of 2017, about 16,000 new businesses were registered every day on average, more than two times before China’s business system reform, strongly driving innovation and entrepreneurship.

In the second quarter, the prosperity index among small and micro enterprises reached 96.5 percent, the highest in the past two years. A 6.9 percent increase in above-scale industrial added value was registered, the best performance since 2015, indicating that policies to support the development of the real economy have begun to yield results and the quality of development has been improved.

Deloitte said in a report that the Chinese government is proactively taking measures to meet the challenges brought by urbanization and aging of population, forging “one-hour economic circles” to strengthen transportation and trade links between rural and urban areas.

The country is also accelerating development of pension and medical services and exploring development opportunities as the population ages rapidly. In addition, it is also devoted to automation and artificial intelligence as a way to pursue the transformation from a labor-intensive goods exporter to a high value manufacturing country.

As the Forbes pointed out, “The China miracle isn’t over –It has entered its second phase.”

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Statement From Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter on Current U.S.-North Korea Relations


The harsh rhetoric from Washington and Pyongyang during recent months has exacerbated an already confrontational relationship between our countries, and has probably eliminated any chance of good faith peace talks between the United States and North Korea. In addition to restraining the warlike rhetoric, our leaders need to encourage talks between North Korea and other countries, especially China and Russia. The recent UN Security Council unanimous vote for new sanctions suggests that these countries could help. In all cases, a nuclear exchange must be avoided. All parties must assure North Koreans they we will forego any military action against them if North Korea remains peaceful.

I have visited North Korea three times, and have spent more than 20 hours in discussions with their political leaders regarding important issues that affect U.S.-DPRK relations.

In June 1994, I met with Kim Il Sung in a time of crisis, when he agreed to put all their nuclear programs under strict supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency and to seek mutual agreement with the United States on a permanent peace treaty, to have summit talks with the president of South Korea, to expedite the recovery of the remains of American service personnel buried in his country, and to take other steps to ease tension on the peninsula. Kim Il Sung died shortly after my visit, and his successor, Kim Jong Il, notified me and leaders in Washington that he would honor the promises made by his father. These obligations were later confirmed officially in negotiations in Geneva by Robert Gallucci and other representatives of the Clinton administration.

I returned to Pyongyang in August 2010, at the invitation of North Korean leaders, to bring home Aijalon Gomes, an American who had been detained there. My last visit to North Korea was in May 2011 when I led a delegation of Elders (former presidents of Ireland and Finland and former prime minister of Norway) to assure the delivery of donated food directly to needy people.

During all these visits, the North Koreans emphasized that they wanted peaceful relations with the United States and their neighbors, but were convinced that we planned a preemptive military strike against their country. They wanted a peace treaty (especially with America) to replace the ceasefire agreement that had existed since the end of the Korean War in 1953, and to end the economic sanctions that had been very damaging to them during that long interim period. They have made it clear to me and others that their first priority is to assure that their military capability is capable of destroying a large part of Seoul and of responding strongly in other ways to any American attack. The influence of China in Pyongyang seems to be greatly reduced since Kim Jong Un became the North Korean leader in December 2011.

A commitment to peace by the United States and North Korea is crucial. When this confrontational crisis is ended, the United States should be prepared to consummate a permanent treaty to replace the ceasefire of 1953. The United States should make this clear, to North Koreans and to our allies.

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