International Press Review, by The French Saker

Source: The French Saker

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  1. Asia

China is still working hard this week to weave its new international network. Most of its investments are in infrastructure, which means China is seeking long term economic profitability within a long term diplomatic policy. This in sharp contrast with the way western countries are managing their economy and diplomacy in a search of short term profits, by the way letting its own basement crumbling

China pledges $11.5 billion to Mekong region countries: Xinhua (AFP, English, 21/12/2014)

China will provide more than $11.5 billion in loans and aid to neighboring Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, mostly for infrastructure and industrial capacity building, state media said Saturday.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang pledged $1 billion in funding for infrastructure, $490 million aid for poverty reduction, and $10 billion in “special loans”, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Xi satisfied with breakthrough of China-Thailand railway cooperation (Xinhua, English, 23/12/2014

China and Thailand signed two MoUs on railway cooperation and agricultural trade in Bangkok last Friday during Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang’s visit.

The MoU on railway cooperation allows China to invest in two dual-track rail lines in Thailand that will span 734 km and 133 km, connecting northeast Thailand’s Nong Khai province, Bangkok and eastern Rayong province.

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A Different Reunification, by Dagmar Henn

 

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The continuous propaganda for Greater Germany proved it´s efficiency by the fact that developments in south-eastern Ukraine haven’t been seen as what they might well be — the reunification of an artificially divided nation.

At least that is what the events of October 3, 1989 in Germany were called.

And so we must ask ourselves : how can it be, that we Germans are supposed to have felt an indomitable will for reunification, even if the statehood that was to be reunited had existed for just 74 years (until 1871 there were many German statelets but not the German State) and had disappeared 40 years ago, with gigantic colateral effects upon the rest of the planet — and yet, nobody expresses the thought that citizens of the former Soviet Union, which existed for more or less the same time as the German Reich up to 1945, might harbour the same wish for reunification,  23 years after a split that took place against the will of the people?

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Conversation: The State of Affairs in Libya, a summary

Tariq Ali talks to Mabruk Derbèsh, Professor at University of Tripoli (now in exile) about the failure of international policy on Libya including NATO’s 2011 intervention. Also discussed are the rise of ISIS/Deash and the desire of Libyans to determine their democratic future without international intervention.

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The Empire is Crumbling, That is Why it Needs War, by André Vltchek

who said it is over_

Last night, in Beijing, I sat in a historic Szechuan restaurant with a friend who happens to be a Chinese diplomat. We exchanged some stories, ordered food, and then, suddenly, my throat felt dry and my eyes got misty.

I bowed and thanked her for the heartfelt offer China made to rescue Russia.

Just before leaving my hotel, I read the news on the RT:

“China’s foreign minister has pledged support to Russia as it faces an economic downturn due to sanctions and a drop in oil prices. Boosting trade in Yuan is a solution proposed by Beijing’s commerce minister.

‘Russia has the capability and the wisdom to overcome the existing hardship in the economic situation,’ Foreign Minister Wang Yi told journalists. China Daily reported Monday: ‘If the Russian side needs it, we will provide necessary assistance within our capacity.’”

By no means was I representing the Russian Federation here, in Beijing, nor was my friend representing China that night, at the dining table. It was an informal meeting attended by just a few friends, nothing more.

Not to mention that I am not really, ‘technically’ a Russian. Yes, I was born in Leningrad but almost my entire life I spent elsewhere… all over the world, to be precise. And in my veins, not that it really matters; it is also all confused… there circulates an explosive mixture of Russian, Chinese and European blood.

But lately, to be Russian, to me and to many others, is much more than just about blood. ‘I am a rebel; therefore I am Russian’, to paraphrase Albert Camus. Or: ‘I am Russian because I refuse to abandon the struggle.’

‘Ya Russkii!’ or ‘Cubano soy!’ It simply feels good, and makes one proud, and stronger.

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Russia, China mock divide and rule, by Pepe Escobar

ROME and BEIJING – The Roman Empire did it. The British Empire copied it in style. The Empire of Chaos has always done it. They all do it. Divide et impera. Divide and rule – or divide and conquer. It’s nasty, brutish and effective. Not forever though, like diamonds, because empires do crumble.

A room with a view to the Pantheon may be a celebration of Venus – but also a glimpse on the works of Mars. I had been in Rome essentially for a symposium – Global WARning – organized by a very committed, talented group led by a former member of European Parliament, Giulietto Chiesa. Three days later, as the run on the rouble was unleashed, Chiesa was arrested and expelled from Estonia as persona non grata, yet another graphic illustration of the anti-Russia hysteria gripping the Baltic nations and the Orwellian grip NATO has on Europe’s weak links. [1] Dissent is simply not allowed.

At the symposium, held in a divinely frescoed former 15th century Dominican refectory now part of the Italian parliament’s library, Sergey Glazyev, on the phone from Moscow, gave a stark reading of Cold War 2.0. There’s no real “government” in Kiev; the US ambassador is in charge. An anti-Russia doctrine has been hatched in Washington to foment war in Europe – and European politicians are its collaborators. Washington wants a war in Europe because it is losing the competition with China.

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Conversation: The Benevolence of Western leaders

DemocracyTimes

This Christmas the western leaders at the G20 gave us something special, its called:

Adequacy of Loss-Absorbing Capacity of Global Systemically Important Banks in resolution

Translation:

When the multi-trillion dollar derivatives markets collapse at the next economic crisis, the bank will use your money and assets to help cover the losses.

AE

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Foreign Bankers Rape Ukraine, by F. William Engdahl

After gifting the French an early Christmas this year, to sweeten the deal from total prostitution of the state apparatus, the German and American generosity has extended to Ukraine in more ways than one.

This is worse than deconstructing a country. They are being enlisted in the 4th reich at the same time. These “parliamentarians” are among the ones who will make laws for the state.

This can be considered America’s Christmas gift to the Russian people really.

AE
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If it were not for the fact that the lives of some 45 million people are at stake, Ukrainian national politics could be laughed off as a very sick joke. Any pretenses that the October national elections would bring a semblance of genuine democracy of the sort thousands of ordinary Ukrainians demonstrated for on Maidan Square just one year ago vanished with the announcement by Victoria Nuland’s darling Prime Minister, “Yat” Yatsenyuk, of his new cabinet.

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3ministers
The new ukrainian ministers : Aivaras Abromavicius (Lithuania), Natalia A. Jaresko (USA), and Alexander Kvitashvili (Georgia)

The US-picked Ukraine President, billionaire oligarch Petro Poroshenko called “snap” elections at the end of August for October 26. He did so to make sure genuine opposition to his regime of murderers, gangsters and in some cases outright Nazis would be able to push an unprepared genuine opposition out of the Verkhovna Rada or Parliament. Because the parliament had significant opposition parties to the US-engineered February 22 coup d’Etat, they had blocked many key pieces of legislation that the Western vultures were demanding, from changing key land ownership laws to privatization of precious state assets. By law, the old parliament would have sat until its five year term ended in October, 2017. That was clearly too long for State Department neo-con Ukraine puppet-mistress Victoria Nuland and her backers in Washington.

Now, with a new parliament that is controlled by the Petro Poroshenko bloc as largest party and the boyish-looking former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who is also new Prime Minister as head of the second largest party, the way was clear to get on with the rape of Ukraine. What shocked some is the blatant foreign takeover that followed, like a Wall Street vulture fund raid on a distressed debtor country of the Third World.

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U.S Ramps Up Economic Warfare with heavy penalties for Russian steel industry

Source: Reuters

Dec 22 (Reuters) – Russia has complained that a U.S. move to scrap a 15-year-old deal sheltering Russian flat-rolled steel producers from high import duties is inconsistent with World Trade Organization rules.

The move comes as Western sanctions over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, together with a plunge in world oil prices, have pushed the Russian economy to the brink of recession.

The so-called U.S. suspension agreement has sheltered Russian steelmakers from steep anti-dumping duties on hot-rolled, flat-rolled, carbon quality steel, instead setting a cap on imports and a minimum price.

It was scrapped on Dec. 19. As a result, Russian steelmaker Severstal now faces anti-dumping duties of 73.59 percent, while other producers like Novolipetsk Steel and Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works face duties of 184.56 percent.

In a letter to the U.S. Department of Commerce this month, Russia’s trade representative to the United States, Alexander Stadnik, said the rates calculated were originally based on methodologies used for countries with non-market economies.

Commerce ruled in 2002 that Russia was no longer a non-market economy, and the country joined the WTO in 2012.

“Since the original investigation Russia has joined the WTO, and has implemented further market reforms that have increased the transparency and predictability of its marketplace, and thus made it easier for foreign firms to compete in Russia and have therefore expanded competition within that market,” said Stadnik in the letter, dated Dec. 12. “In this case, imposing a non-market economy rate is inconsistent with the WTO rules.”

U.S. steel prices ST-CRUNAM-IDX are at their lowest since October last year, according to data compiler CRU, and industry representatives hope protective measures against imports of Russian steel could support them.

In their submission to Commerce, Severstal, Novolipetsk and Magnitogorsk said the duties were punitive because they were calculated 15 years ago under a different economic situation and dumping methodology and based on outdated prices.

But U.S. producer Nucor Corp said it was normal procedure to apply the duty rates calculated in the original investigation.

The U.S. Commerce Department was not immediately available for comment. (Additional reporting by Krista Hughes in Washington, editing by David Evans)

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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US Embassy in Havana – The Cuba Caper, by Peter Koenig

The lame duck, Obama, extending a conciliatory hand to Cuba by opening an embassy in Havana, by reopening, after 54 years of a criminal and crippling embargo, diplomatic relations? – At the same time Obama is making not a single concession in terms of lifting the blockade. This smells like a trap. Cuba beware!

Imagine – a US Embassy in Havana – it would open the floodgates for US NED (National Endowment for Democracy) funded ‘NGOs’, for Washington’s spies and anti-Castro propaganda machine; it would have free hand to destabilize the country. And what would Cuba gain? – Zilch, zero, nothing. Not even a gradual lifting of the embargo had been announced. To the contrary, it would open Cuba’s borders to the vultures of Florida Cubans, eventually to theirs and other foreign investments, subjugating the country’s huge social gains over the last half a century – universal free education and health services, by far the best social system of the Americas – to the sledgehammer of neoliberal privatization.

Why would Cuba now need a US Embassy? After 54 years of struggling and surviving against Washington’s nod? – In fact, nobody needs the empire – the empire’s consent to financially and economically survive. Suffice it to look at the ‘engineered’ decay of the Russian ruble which eventually will leave Russia better off than before the downward slide of its currency and the likewise ‘engineered’ downward spin of the price of petrol. Everybody knows that the Middle Eastern oil producers, Obama’s stooges, will not forever shoot themselves in the foot by flooding the petrol market and foregoing their oil revenues.

What Cuba needs is free access to international markets – outside and independent of the United States. Cuba needs to integrate into an independent financial and monetary system, detached from the corrupt casino dollar. Solidarity by the rest of the world which has already helped Cuba survive the illegal, inhuman US embargo is now more than ever of the order. The support of a unity of nations must now help stem the temptation to bend to Washington’s offer of ‘diplomacy’.

With the establishment of diplomatic relations, Cuba would be condemned to adopt the dollar as trading currency – no escaping the dollar, if ever Cuba wanted to hope for the good deeds of the empire – the lifting of the blockade.

Look what happened in Bolivia, Venezuela and Ecuador – once a US Embassy is established, all the nefarious destabilizing elements could sneak in, willy-nilly. Plus, economic ‘sanctions’, would be nearer than ever, if Cuba doesn’t behave. Both Bolivia and Venezuela have learned their lessons the hard way. After they closed the US Embassy and sent US organizations and NGOs home, they could breathe again. Though Venezuela is still suffering from Washington’s diabolical arm of propaganda and direct interference in domestic affairs, she has no longer the burden of maintaining a ‘diplomatic’ tie with the northern aggressor.

Most importantly, however – the US is vying for Cuban hydrocarbons, estimated today at 20 billion barrels of offshore oil reserves. Cuba, like Venezuela, is close to US Mexican Gulf shores, where the major refineries are waiting for the crude. During his tour of South America in July 2014, President Putin in a meeting with Cuban President, Raul Castro, signed an agreement whereby the Russian oil company, Rosneft, will assist the Cuban oil producer, Cupet, exploring and exploiting the island’s offshore petrol.

Is it coincidence or sheer self-interest, that just now, when Russia is digging for oil in Obama’s backyard that he is offering diplomatic ties with the 54 years embargoed Caribbean island? – Your guess.

Venezuela has the world’s largest remaining hydrocarbon reserves, about 300 billion barrels. They are close to the US shores and would be the best bet for US mega-oil. But the White House’s destabilizing efforts in Venezuela seem to fail. These efforts and other State Department blunders have helped increase US isolation in Latin America.

Why not trying another approach? – A well disguised lie; insinuating with the opening of an embassy in Havana that the deadly embargo might ease in some undefined future between the brutal Goliath of the north and castigated, downtrodden David of the Caribbean. An embassy in Cuba may also earn some much needed kudos with other Latin American neighbors which have been upset for years about the criminal strangulation by the empire of one of their brothers.

In fact, first reactions from Latin America to Obama’s diplomatic initiative were positive. But more than caution is in order. – The establishment of a US embassy in Havana might be more than just a floodgate for US secret service agents and anti-Cuba propaganda. A US Embassy in Havana might begin breaking down US isolation in South America, especially in Brazil and Argentina. It might become a backdoor for Washington to gain access to these countries huge natural resources.

Knowing about Washington’s agenda of world dominance, it would be difficult to imagine that there is even a shred of goodwill behind Obama’s move to ‘normalize’ relations with Cuba. – Havana beware!

Source: Vineyard of The Saker

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a former World Bank staff and worked extensively around the world in the fields of environment and water resources. He writes regularly for Global Research, ICH, RT, the Voice of Russia, now Ria Novosti, The Vineyard of The Saker Blog, and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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The CIA engineered oil glut to bring down Putin and Maduro, by Wayne Madsen

John Brennan’s long familiarity with Saudi Arabia, owing to the time he spent there as the CIA station chief in Riyadh in the 1990s and his knowledge of Saudi oil operations, has paid off. WMR has learned that Brennan’s agents inside Saudi Aramco convinced the firm’s management and the Saudi Oil Ministry to begin fracking operations to stimulate production in Saudi Arabia’s oldest oil fields.

By pumping salt water into older wells, some at a depth of 3 to 6 thousand feet, an inordinate amount of pressure was built up. The CIA’s oil industry implants knew what would occur when the fracking operations began. Due to the dangerously high water pressure, the Saudis were forced continuously pump oil until the pressure became equalized. That process is continuing. If the Saudis ceased pumping oil, they would permanently lose the wells to salt water contamination. In the current “pump it or lose it” situation, the Saudis are forced to pump at a rate that may take up to 5 years before they can slow down production rates.

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