Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Escalating Tensions Between US and Russia

In the above video we see a US guided missile destroyer steering a course dangerously close (reportedly just 55 feet) to a Russian ship in the eastern Mediterranean. You can go here and read about the incident. A lot of stuff like this seems to be going on in the world now–stuff that falls into the “wars and rumors of wars” category.
Erdogan’s apology to Russia, coming just four days after the Brexit vote in the UK, would suggest that even the Turkish president has come to the conclusion that the US empire is teetering. Add to that the sliding stock markets, rising price of gold, failed US policies in Syria and Ukraine, calls for “Brexit-type” referendums in other European countries by opposition politicians like France’s Marine Le Pen who are growing increasingly in popularity–all of this and more would suggest that larger and larger numbers around the world are looking toward Russia for global leadership.
Economic news coming out today is that the stock markets have rebounded to some degree, but a report at Zero Hedge attributes this to an expectation of “coordinated intervention by central banks.” Here is a bit from their article:
After a historic two-day selloff, which as shown yesterday slammed European banks by the most on record…the wildly oversold conditions, coupled with hopes for yet another global, coordinated central bank intervention, coupled with modest hope that David Cameron’s trip to Brussels today may resolve some of the Article 50 gridlock, have been sufficient to prompt a modest buying scramble among European stocks in early trading, with the pound and commodities all gaining for the first time since the shock Brexit vote.
“Stocks are rebounding on the expectation that there will be a coordinated intervention by central banks,” John Plassard, a senior equity-sales trader in Geneva at Mirabaud Securities told Bloomberg. “What central banks can do is put confidence back in the market by telling everyone that they are here and ready to act. If we don’t get that sort of support, we’ll see further declines.”
In other words, stocks are rebounding on the belief that bankers will be bailed out with taxpayer money again. The story is accompanied by the following graph:
As you can see, the financial losses triggered by the Brexit vote have outstripped the savings and loan crisis of the 1980s and ’90s; the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers investment bank which triggered the economic collapse of 2008; and even the EU debt crisis which began in 2009 and which in the years since has driven poorer EU states like Greece to the point of having to sell off national assets, including possibly global heritage sites like the ParthenonLosses from the Brexit have topped all of these.
A key question of course is how all of this is going to effect tensions between the West and Russia. Some might think it makes the prospects of war less likely. If the US empire is growing broke, why on earth would it want to ignite a war with a country like Russia? Usually when the US starts wars, it’s with countries that lack the power to fight back. Russia of course would be quite different. Surely US leaders wouldn’t be that crazy. That’s one way of looking at it.
Another way of course of looking at it is that as the mentally unstable people in Washington and on Wall Street become increasingly desperate, they will grow more dangerous. The following article would suggest that things might be heading in that direction. The article is five days old, and I’m not entirely sure how trustworthy the news source is, but it does give you an idea of how much tensions have escalated just over the past few weeks. When I shared this article with a friend of mine, she responded,
“I hope it’s true–I hope the Russians did hit our ‘good’ terrorists. In fact someone should put it squarely to the US that Russia has a right to hit ANYBODY that Syria, i.e.,  Assad, did not invite and has no business being there.”
Six days from today, Americans will be celebrating our annual “Independence Day” holiday. Let’s hope we will one day be able to celebrate TRUE independence–from the Federal Reserve, maniac neocons, and the pro-Israel lobby.
Russia’s Attack on U.S.-backed Rebels in Syria Puzzles, Frustrates the Pentagon
One week after Russian aircraft bombed American-backed rebels in Syria, U.S. officials say they are still waiting for Russia to explain the incident that has put the two militaries at risk of confrontation.
Russian aircraft on June 16 dropped cluster bombs on a New Syrian Army unit garrisoned at a base in al-Tanf, a remote desert outpost where the borders of Iraq, Syria and Jordan meet.
The New Syrian Army unit is a product of the American-backed train-and-equip program. Its mission is to fight Islamic State militants in Syria and to avoid confrontation with forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar Al Assad.
The Russians provided no explanation for the strike, which violated the “memorandum of understanding” between the U.S. and Russia that was put in place last year, and designed to maintain flight safety and avoid misunderstandings as the two major militaries share the same airspace and support different factions of the multi-sided civil war.
The New Syrian Army’s presence at al-Tanf was widely known.
“We were very surprised by the strike. … This was not an area where I’d say it’s complex or complicated,” British Army Maj. Gen. Doug Chalmers, a deputy commander with the international coalition battling ISIS, told Pentagon reporters Thursday.
Chalmers said the strike killed and wounded some of the New Syrian Army troops, but he declined to say how many. There were no U.S. combat advisers with the New Syrian Army unit.
Immediately after the Russian strike, the U.S. military scrambled two F/A-18 Super Hornets to the area to provide support for the New Syrian Army units. When those aircraft left the area to refuel, Russian aircraft returned and conducted additional strikes, a U.S. defense official said.
U.S. officials sought to contact the Russians through communications channels established under the memorandum of understanding, but the Russians did not immediately respond, a U.S. defense official said.
Two days after the strike, both sides convened a high-level video conference to discuss the matter, where the U.S. military “expressed strong concerns about the attack.”
American military officials “requested Russian responses to address those concerns,” according to a statement released by the Pentagon last weekend.
So far, however, the Russians have not provided any detailed response, a U.S. official said Thursday.
“We have been in touch with the Russians since Saturday, and we continue to have a dialogue with Russia regarding this issue, to include how to avoid such incidents in the future,” the Defense Department said in a statement issued Thursday. “We have been clear that they should not strike forces at the Al-Tanf area, and they have expressed their intention not to do so. Beyond that we will not get into the details of this ongoing dialogue.”
American military officials said the Russian strikes appeared to have no strategic value for the Russians, whose primary goal has been to support the regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad. New Syrian Army forces at al-Tanf are focused on fighting ISIS, not Assad’s forces.
In March, U.S. troops deployed to Jordan launched their first rocket artillery attack into Syria, hitting ISIS targets near al-Tanf in support of the rebels battling to seize the outpost there. The border town was held by ISIS since May 2015, and provided a key link between ISIS territories in Syria and Iraq. It’s located south of Palmyra and to the east of the Syrian capital, Damascus.

River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian   
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