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Fri, 31 Mar 2023
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Certainty Trap: L'Entente is a bitter pill for the West

Xi-Putin L'Entente

The West is stuck between the public sentiment which it contrived and the reality on the ground, Alastair Crooke writes.

Consequential Strategic Change - Upon leaving his meeting with Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping said to Putin, "Change is coming that hasn't happened in 100 years - and we are driving this change together".

The 'Entente' was sealed during hours of talks over two days, and amidst a plethora of signed documents. Two powerful states have formed a duality that, in marrying a gigantic manufacturing base to the pre-eminent raw materials supplier and the advanced weaponry and diplomatic nous of Russia, leaves the U.S. in the shade. A seat in the shadows (assumed through volitation, or inability to contemplate such radical transition) reflects the U.S. with its back turned towards participation in the unfolding multipolar world.

Comment: See also:


Russia has right to fight security threats, 'it's creating a more equitable world order' - Nicaragua Foreign Minister FM

Moncada Lavrov Nicaragua Russia

Nicaraguan Foreign Minister Denis Moncada (L) and Foreign Minister Serguei Lavrov (R) in Moscow, Russia, March 30, 2023. The Nicaraguan chancellor ratified his country's willingness to promote world peace and stability in a meeting with Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Lavrov in Moscow.
In a meeting with Russian chancellor Sergei Lavrov on Thursday, Nicaraguan Foreign Affairs Minister Denis Moncada ratified that his country recognizes the security threats that forced Russia to start the special military operation in Ukraine.

"Russia is a sovereign and independent country. As such, it has the right to live with dignity and fight any threats posed against its integrity," Moncada stated in Moscow.

The Nicaraguan chancellor stressed that he will continue to support the Russian government's fight for world peace and stability. "The active and dynamic contribution of Russia, China, and Iran to international relations is creating a more equitable world order," he praised.


Arrow Up

World Court rules US illegally froze some Iran assets, must pay compensation

International Court of Justice
© Reuters
The case before the International Court of Justice was initially brought by Tehran against Washington for allegedly breaching a 1955 friendship treaty.
In a partial victory for Iran, judges at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday ruled Washington had illegally allowed courts to freeze assets of some Iranian companies and ordered the United States to pay compensation, the amount of which will be determined later.

However, in a blow for Tehran, the World Court said it did not have jurisdiction over US$1.75 billion in frozen assets from Iran's central bank.

Acting Legal Adviser Rich Vise of the US State Department said in a written statement that the ruling rejected the "vast majority of Iran's case", notably where it concerned the assets of the central bank. "This is a major victory for the United States and victims of Iran's state-sponsored terrorism," Vise added.

Comment: Exemplary US denial right there.

Comment: Regardless of the fact that the US won't be paying the fine, overall, geopolitical events signal a positive shift for Iran, meanwhile the outlook for the US seems to only be getting worse:


WSJ reporter Evan Gershkovich arrested in Russia over spying claims

Evan Gershkovich
© AFP/Getty
Evan Gershkovich was detained in Russia on suspicion of spying for the US
Moscow's Lefortovo district court on Thursday ordered US journalist Evan Gershkovich to be arrested on spying charges and held in pre-trial detention until May 29.

Gershkovich, 31, was detained in Yekaterinburg in the Urals where he was on an assignment for The Wall Street Journal. Gershkovich told the court on Thursday that he was not guilty of espionage, something he has been accused of by the FSB security service, the state TASS news agency reported.

The reporter - an accredited foreign correspondent in Moscow - was held over alleged 'illegal activities' and was 'suspected of espionage for the US government', the FSB said. Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman said Gershkovich had been 'caught red-handed'. He could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted of espionage.

The Journal said in a statement: 'The Wall Street Journal vehemently denies the allegations from the FSB and seeks the immediate release of our trusted and dedicated reporter, Evan Gershkovich. We stand in solidarity with Evan and his family.'

Comment: The CIA has a long history of recruiting media figures to use in propaganda campaigns and to spy while on foreign assignments. Russia has ample reason for its suspicions.

Light Saber

Rep. Jim Jordan: IRS has 'hard deadline' to hand over documents on Matt Taibbi house raid

Jim jordan daniel werfel IRS raid matt Taibbi
© Kevin Dietsch; Alex Wong/Getty Images
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan on Monday requested IRS documents related to the search of journalist and weaponization committee witness Matt Taibbi's home. In inset, IRS Commissioner Daniel Werfel.
House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan has demanded that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) turn over copies of documents related to its search of journalist Matt Taibbi's home on the day he testified before the weaponization subcommittee.

Jordan, a Republican from Ohio, has been leading the investigation into the alleged "weaponization" of the federal government, based on concerns from conservatives that some agencies have had a bias against them under the Biden administration.

Despite GOP insistence, Democrats in Congress have frequently questioned the validity of the investigation and the quality of some witnesses that have been called to testify.

Taibbi is an independent journalist who collaborated with Twitter owner Elon Musk on the "Twitter Files," a project that claimed to reveal new information about prior Twitter leadership's attempt to suppress a story relating to Joe Biden's son, Hunter, in the lead-up to the 2020 election. Conservatives widely hailed the project as evidence of "Big Tech" bias against them.

Comment: Congressman demands IRS explain Matt Taibbi home visit


Western Europe once ruled the world, now its former powers are just vassals of the US

© Alexey Maishev/Sputnik
Chinese President Xi Jinping • Russian President Vladimir Putin meet for talks
Kremlin • Moscow, Russia
Russia and China are shaping global politics while the US dominates its dependents across the Atlantic, leaving them as mere passengers...

The meeting of Russian president Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping in Moscow last week was met with predictable accusations in Western circles that Moscow was becoming "subservient" or even a "vassal" of Beijing.

MEP Guy Verhofstadt, a Euro-fantasist and former prime minister of Belgium, jeered on Twitter, "Putin's appalling legacy now includes turning Russia more and more into a Chinese vassal state," oblivious to the irony of his own words. As the United States took the lead in denouncing China's peace plan for the Ukraine conflict, publicly setting out the conditions on which it should end, the European Union was nowhere to be seen, or at least had nothing original to say.

This makes Verhofstadt's comments a damning display of lacking self-awareness. Russia and China are setting out their vision for a new multipolar world, while the US struggles against them in seeking to maintain its hegemonic position. Meanwhile, the European Union has been reduced to the status of a mere bench player in it all, and has become effectively irrelevant. The failure of EU countries to stake out their own will and position amidst the larger powers, as well as their total subservience to the US, has made a mockery of the "strategic autonomy" concept once championed by Emmanuel Macron.

Comment: Is the EU ready to exit the hologram, face reality and change course? Or, is 'US programming' complete.


Report: House Republicans to subpoena Antony Blinken for Afghanistan withdrawal dissent cable

© Drew Angerer/Getty Images
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken
House Republicans will deliver a subpoena to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday to turn over classified cables related to the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal, according to a report.

House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Mike McCaul (R-TX) told the Associated Press on Monday the State Department notified him that it would not turn over a dissent cable written by diplomats at the Kabul Embassy shortly before the August 2021 withdrawal.
"We have made multiple good faith attempts to find common ground so we could see this critical piece of information. Unfortunately, Secretary Blinken has refused to provide the Dissent Cable and his response to the cable, forcing me to issue my first subpoena as chairman of this committee."
According to the Wall Street Journal, the cable sent July 2021 warned Blinken about the potential fall of Kabul through a special dissent channel, which officials can use to express contrarian views to senior State Department officials. The State Department had previously offered to share the "substance" of the cable via a briefing, according to the AP.

McCaul first requested the cable back in January, after he became chairman of the committee.

Arrow Up

Trump's lead over DeSantis doubles in latest GOP primary race poll

© AP/Evan Vucci/Miami Herald/Matias J. Ocner/Barry Reeger/PennLive
Former US President Donald Trump • Florida Governor Ron DeSantis
Support for former President Donald Trump is continuing to increase within the GOP primary for the 2024 election, gaining the majority of support from Republicans, while many Democrats hope President Joe Biden is in his last term.

A recent Fox News survey found that Trump received 54% of the vote when respondents were read a list of 15 declared and likely Republican candidates, doubling his lead over Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). In March, Trump held a 30-point lead over DeSantis (54%-24%) compared to a 15-point lead in February (43%-28%).

Of those who supported Trump in 2020, 60% will support him in the 2024 primary, while 25% pick DeSantis and 5% pick former Vice President Mike Pence. When asked who their second choice would be, Trump primary voters said they would back the Florida governor over the former vice president, and DeSantis supporters said they would vote for Trump.


Ukraine can't defend itself against Russia's newest jets

R jets
© RIA Novosti/Getty Images
Russian SU-35 fighter jets
The Su-35 has given Moscow's forces "increasing dominance" of the skies, a Kiev government source has told the network...

Russia's latest generation of Su-35 fighter jets has capabilities that Kiev's forces can't neutralize, a senior Ukrainian government official has told ABC News.

The newest Su-35s are equipped with "very effective radar and long-distance rockets," enabling them to attack Ukrainian jets and provide air support for Russian ground troops, the unidentified source said in an article posted on Monday. Ukraine "does not have capabilities" to counter this threat, he added.

Kiev sees Russian air superiority as a "real risk," the official admitted, making its push for more air defense systems from the US "priority No. 1" for Ukraine. "This is a problem," another unidentified official said. "What we keep telling the Americans is that in the end, there is no other solution than to give us fighter jets." He claimed that Russia has 12 times more military aircraft than Ukraine.

Comment: A couple of outdated fighter jets Ukraine can't fly will not change the future.

Arrow Up

'Russia alone can already confront the entire West...'

Xi & Putin
© Indian Punchline
President Vladimir Putin (R) and Chinese President Xi Jinping ahead of talks in restricted format, Kremlin, Moscow, March 21, 2023.
The Russian media reported that President Vladimir Putin made an extraordinary gesture as President Xi Jinping left the Kremlin following the state dinner last week on Tuesday evening by escorting him to the limousine and seeing him off.

And Xi during the goodbye handshake reportedly responded, "Together, we should push forward these changes that have not happened for 100 years. Take care."

Xi was alluding to the past 100 years of modern history that witnessed the United States transforming from a country to the north of Mexico in the Western Hemisphere to a superpower and global hegemon.

With his profound sense of history and dialectical mind, Xi was recalling the intense talks with Putin that dwelt on the contemporary realities burying the US' unipolar moment in the dustbin and on the imperatives of China and Russia joining hands to consolidate the transition of the world order toward democratisation and multipolarity.

It was an appropriate finale to a state visit that began the previous evening with Xi expressing confidence that Russians will support Putin at the presidential elections next year. At one stroke, Xi "cancelled" the West's demonising of Putin, mindful of the absurdity of even arranging an arrest warrant against the Kremlin leader to detract from his talks in Moscow.

China has a scrupulous policy of refraining from commenting on the internal politics of other countries. However, in the case of the situation surrounding Russia, Xi has made a notable exception by signalling his keenness for Putin's proactive leadership in such tumultuous times. The majority of world opinion, especially in the Global South, will agree.

Won't the erudite Russian public opinion take cognisance too — with a roar of approval? Yes, Putin's consistent 80 percent rating is a signpost. Xi may have poured cold water on the last desperate western ploys of instigating a bunch of Russian oligarchs to spearhead a regime change in the Kremlin.