Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Diplomatic Arts

Forcing The Issue,

This is a direct threat, aimed at the integrity of the head of the Chinese State, and going behind his back, negating his domestic propaganda. It can only be meant to make him refuse to deal with the US. Trump is weird, but not stupid. This is intentional.
Trump whacks the Chinese stock markets when he says this stuff on Chinese time, then says nice things when New York is trading. 
The algos respond. Markets go up and down.
President Trump used a late-night infomercial trick on China, warning in a pair of Saturday tweets that it would be "wise for them to act now" on a trade deal, as it "will become far worse for them if it has to be negotiated in my second term."  

​ ​“If they weren’t being seriously provoked, the Chinese people would not favor any trade war. However, once the country is strategically ​​coerced, nothing is unbearable for China in order to safeguard its sovereignty and dignity,” the Global Times said in the editorial. ​"​If the U.S. is to play a roller-coaster-style thriller game, it will bear the consequences.”
​ ​In an earlier editorial, the Global Times said the U.S. has made a fundamental misjudgment, that is, believing China is unilaterally benefiting from China-U.S. economic and trade relations.”
 ​"The U.S. has misunderstood the interests of both sides, and seriously underestimated China’s endurance," the Global Times warned.

After vowing over the weekend to "never surrender to external pressure", Beijing has defied President Trump's demands that it not resort to retaliatory tariffs and announced plans to slap new levies on $60 billion in US goods.  (Might dump some T-bills, too.)

​More details from the Great-Negotiator​'s leaked "Deal of the Century": Thanks Eleni.
​ ​In addition to the Trump administration’s apparent game plan to force Palestinian compliance with the so-called “Deal of the Century,” the plan also calls for the creation of a demilitarized state of “New Palestine” that would be incredibly small, as the document calls for the Israeli annexation of the entirety of the Jordan Valley (around 30 percent of the West Bank) and the annexation of all illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which now cover well over half of what international law maintains is Palestinian territory.
​ ​This “new” state would be showered in aid from several countries, including the Gulf monarchies, European nations and the United States, allegedly amounting to $30 billion over the next five years. Most of the funding, according to the plan, will come from oil-producing Gulf states like Saudi Arabia. It is unclear whether “New Palestine” would be considered a sovereign state and whether it would be allowed to apply for full membership in the United Nations.
​ ​While the plan would allow “New Palestine” access to Jerusalem as a shared, undivided capital with Israel, Palestinians would be responsible for paying the state of Israel for their security because it would be forbidden from having its own army. In other words, Palestinians would be forced to pay the Israel Defense Force (IDF), the military force that has occupied the West Bank for over 50 years, to “protect” them despite the fact the Palestinians are regularly extrajudicially murdered by IDF soldiers. However, the apparent “concession” offered by the Trump administration in this regard would be allowing the “New Palestine” to maintain a police force with “light weaponry.”

​Turkey is in the crosshairs of Kushner Plan for Greater Israel: Thanks for this and the next one, Eleni.

Washington has recently vowed to cut off both Iranian exports and any and all Syrian imports of crude by force. "Analysts have widely predicted that Iran will step up efforts to smuggle oil into Syria and neighboring Iraq as the U.S. makes it more difficult for Tehran to ship oil to its few remaining customers, including China, India and Turkey," the CNBC report found.
It appears Iran's latest Syria crude delivery was accomplished by "ghosting" - which involves tankers switching off their transponders.

​ ​The U.S. military and their allies from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) opened fire on a Syrian government ferry that was attempting to transport oil in the Euphrates River Valley.
​ ​According to the pro-SDF Deir Ezzor Media Center page on Facebook, the U.S. Coalition forces fired shots at the Syrian government ferry as it was traveling down the Euphrates River.
​ ​The U.S. has been preventing Syria from transporting oil from neighboring countries like Iraq because of the Trump administration’s ongoing sanctions against the government in Damascus.
​ ​Syria is experiencing a nationwide fuel crisis as a result of these sanctions; it has forced the government to ration of fuel to civilians in order to maintain their current supply.
Who potentially benefits from secretive attacks on 2 Saudi oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz? 
Just askin'... Nobody I know.

An American military team assessing blasts that damaged four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sunday has blamed Iran or Iranian-backed proxies using explosive charges, a source told Fox News on Monday evening.
Each ship had a 5-to-10-foot hole in it, near or just below the water line, a U.S. official told The Associated Press. A Norwegian-flagged vessel, two Saudi oil tankers and a bunkering tanker flagged in Sharjah, one of the UAE's seven emirates, all suffered similar damage Sunday.

I wonder if any of these are in the Persian Gulf.
​ ​The Dolphin 2-class are the largest submarines to have been built in Germany since World War II.[3] The Dolphin class boats are the most expensive single vehicles in the Israel Defense Forces.[5] The Dolphin-class replaced the aging Gal-class submarine, which had served in the Israeli navy since the late 1970s. Each Dolphin-class submarine is capable of carrying a combined total of up to 16 torpedoes and submarine-launched cruise missiles (SLCMs).[6] The cruise missiles have a range of at least 1,500 km (930 mi)[7] and are widely believed[8][9] to be equipped with a 200 kiloton nuclear warhead containing up to 6 kilograms (13 lb) of plutonium.[10][11] The latter, if true, would provide Israel with an offshore nuclear second strike capability  

​Behold the beauty of complete un-self-consciousness:
​ The United States would “of course” welcome the opportunity to negotiate with Tehran, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Saturday. However, a build-up of “deterrent forces” around Iran is necessary so that the US could respond if Iran “decided to come after an American interest – whether that be in Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Yemen, or any place in the Middle East.”
 He insisted that Washington has no interest in inflaming a new conflict in the region, but would still be prepared to act “in the event that the Iranians make a bad decision.”
 “We’re not going to miscalculate: Our aim is not war, our aim is a change in the behavior of the Iranian leadership,” Pompeo said.
​Dead Horse continues to request further beating...
​ ​Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido confirmed this weekend that his diplomats are seeking to open a direct line of communication with the US military, and would use them for “coordination” of possible military action to impose regime change.
​ ​Guaido said having direct lines of communication between him and the Pentagon would put more pressure on President Maduro to resign. Admiral Craif Faller, the head of South Command, says he “looks forward” to supporting the members of Venezuela’s military “who make the right decision,” which is to say backing the US-supported takeover by Guaido.  
What we are seeing is a full-spectrum collapse of the unipolar world and its gradual, but also inexorable, replacement with a multi-polar world in which things like “speaking with your adversaries or even enemies” becomes the norm rather than the exception. Even more importantly, this is a world in which US threats always fall on deaf ears simply because nobody takes the US seriously anymore. While the US military probably has the capability to re-invade Grenada or “bring democracy” to the inhabitants of the North Sentinel Island – no adults in the room will be impressed (least of all the Iranians!).
It is this quiet indifference which enrages the likes of Pompeo, Bolton or Trump – for all their narcissistic chest-thumping – they are, and will forever remain, the ultimate losers – folks who simply couldn’t get *anything* done. Even more terrifying is their sense of total impunity. If Obama was “democracy with a human face” then Trump is “democracy with a simian face” – not much better.

Steve Keen and some highly qualified friends got a grant to remodel neoclassical economic theory, which implies that the masters served by that theory are in decline, and/or see collapse of the current Ponzi scheme. They'll need for a better model for reconstruction after that.
​ ​Economic models today are generally divorced from the ecological impact of production and consumption. We will produce models in which the economy and the ecology are necessarily integrated via the dependence of the former on energy consumption, and the impact of that consumption on the latter.
Farage on Brexit. "The Only Way is Brexit", 
Brexit Party already leads Tories and Labor added together in EU Parliament election polls.

​Slipping Away​

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