Thursday, April 27, 2017

Shift in Trump Policy on North Korea

Shift in Trump Policy on North Korea

by Stephen Lendman

Following heavy-handed threats, saber-rattling, and Wednesday’s administration meeting with all Senate members, a joint statement by Defense Secretary Mattis, Director of National Intelligence Coates and Secretary of State Tillerson announced a shift in US policy toward North Korea.

On the one hand, it called Pyongyang’s “pursuit of nuclear weapons…an urgent national security and top foreign policy priority.”

On the other, it said Trump “aims to pressure North Korea into dismantling its nuclear, ballistic missile, and proliferation programs by tightening economic sanctions and pursuing diplomatic measures with our Allies and regional partners.”

Instead of a military option, the Trump administration now seeks dialogue and diplomacy to achieve “peaceful denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.”

At the same time, it may designate the DPRK as a state sponsor of terrorism, maintaining hostility towards its government over responsible outreach.

On Wednesday, Pyongyang’s Permanent Mission to the UN said “(t)he DPRK, as a peace-loving socialist state, highly values the sustaining of the peace most of all, but it neither fears a war nor wants to avoid it,” adding:

“The DPRK has access to a powerful nuclear deterrent to protect itself from the US nuclear threat…The DPRK will react to a total war with an all-out war, a nuclear war with nuclear strikes of its own style and surely win a victory in the death-defying struggle against the US imperialists.”

“It is an unshakable will of the DPRK to go to the end if the US wants to remain unchanged in its confrontational stance.”

Separately on Wednesday, US Pacific Command chief Admiral Harry Harris told House Armed Services Committee members that North Korea remains the most “immediate threat” to US regional security, adding it’s trying to develop a “preemptive nuclear strike capability” against US cities.

Fact: Throughout its history, the DPRK never attacked another nation. It threatens none now. If attacked, it’ll surely respond with all the military force it believes necessary.  

China, Russia and Pyongyang consider US deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missile systems in South Korea highly provocative.

In January, Moscow and Beijing announced unspecified measures to counter them, warning of escalating tensions and instigating an arms race.

Harris said the THAAD system will be operational “in the coming days.” China again expressed “grave concern,” saying THAAD breaks the region’s strategic balance, along with heightening tensions on the Korean peninsula.

Urging cancellation of the deployment, Beijing warned it’ll take all necessary measures “to safeguard its own interests.”

Despite the threat of imminent war abating, regional tensions remain. Trump’s rage for warmaking endangers all independent nations.

On Wednesday after midnight, the Pentagon launched an unarmed Minuteman 3 ICBM from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

Col. John Moss said “(t)onight’s launch was an important demonstration of our nation’s nuclear deterrent capability.”

America’s only enemies are ones it invents - no others. America’s homeland hasn’t been attacked by a foreign power since the War of 1812 with Britain.

Hawaii didn’t become a US state until March 1959. During WW II, Japan occupied the remote, sparsely inhabited islands of Attu and Kiska in the Aleutians off Alaska from June 1942 until summer 1943.

America’s homeland faces no threats except in response to US aggression on a nation able to retaliate in kind. Otherwise, none exist.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Much Rides on Outcome of French Election

Much Rides on Outcome of French Election

by Stephen Lendman

Establishment favorite Emmanuel Macron is heavily favored to win. He supports continuity, dirty business as usual. 

French aristocracy love him. Its power elites back him against Le Pen, wanting national sovereignty regained from Brussels control, including over its monetary and fiscal policies.

According to Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies director Timofey Bordachev, Macron, if elected, “will adhere to the Euro-Atlantic course…pursued by the current political mainstream.”

He’s close to Berlin, Brussels and Washington. Deplorable French policies will continue unchanged if he’s France’s next president - including its complicity with US aggression.

Overwhelmingly despised outgoing French President Francois Hollande urged his ministers to go all-out for Macron.

His spokesman Stephane Le Foll said he wants Le Pen assured of “the lowest possible result.” Ministers must be “totally mobilized” to defeat her.

EU elites oppose her. So do French banking, other corporate interests, and Western media scoundrels. 

On France 2 television, Le Pen said “Macron goes into the second round on a carpet of rose petals with almost total support from the French mainstream media, elites, trade union organizations, entrepreneurs. But it’s OK. I prefer to be supported by the French people.”

On Wednesday in Amiens, his hometown, residents booed and jeered Macron. On an unexpected visit, Le Pen was welcomed with cheers and hugs - the campaign stop by both candidates covered on French television.

Le Pen’s anti-globalization message resonates with France’s working class, struggling with factory closures and job losses, along with punishing austerity - a scheme to enrich French business interests and wealthy households more than already.

In 2012, Hollande was elected on a promise of change, hope and renewal. Instead, he accelerated transformation of the French Socialist Party into a vehicle for banking and other corporate interests, enforced with police state harshness - why he’s so widely despised.

Macron supports the same agenda, including labor law reforms, assuring higher unemployment than currently.

Le Pen wants French jobs saved, not lost, or offshored to cheap labor countries. She’ll discourage it with a 35% import tax on products from plants displacing French workers, she said.

Amiens Whirlpool plant workers are striking against planned closure. Le Pen praised their resistance, adding:

“When I heard that Emmanuel Macron was coming here and that he didn’t plan to meet the workers, that he didn’t plan to come to the picket line, but that he was going to shelter in some room at the chamber of commerce to meet two or three handpicked people, I considered that it was such a sign of contempt for what the Whirlpool workers are going through that I decided to leave my strategic council and come see you.”

Macron said she’d fix “nothing,” claiming if elected she’ll destroy jobs, not create them, adding she’s “making a political use” of Whirlpool workers - then said he’d visit the plant.

He was greeted with protests, burning tires and chants of “Marine for president!” “Why didn’t you come before!” “You are in favor of (jobs-destroying) globalization!”

One protester called him a “copy-paste” of Hollande - new face, same deplorable agenda. Globalism doesn’t go down well with unemployed and underemployed workers.

On May 7, voters will choose France’s next president. Who could have imagined the Alfred Hitchcock ending to America’s 2016 election?

Does a night to remember await Le Pen, another surprise ending? Given polls showing Macron way ahead, it’s unlikely even the “master of suspense” could arrange a favorable Hitchcock ending for her.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Israeli Aggression on Syria

Israeli Aggression on Syria

by Stephen Lendman

Israel partners with US regime change plans - wanting Assad ousted, pro-Western puppet governance replacing Syrian sovereign independence.

A life-and-death struggle continues. Russia’s position remains firm. It’s committed to combat and defeat the scourge of terrorism.

On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Putin “believes that the future of Syria and the Syrian leader may be (not be) decided in Ankara…Washington, Paris, Berlin nor Moscow. Syria’s self-determination is a matter (for) the Syrian people” alone, free from foreign interference.

Last Sunday, an Israeli attack (either by air or artillery) on the Syrian al-Fawwar military camp near Quneitra killed three soldiers, wounding others. It followed last Friday’s attack in the same area.

Pre-dawn Thursday, Tass cited Al-Alam TV, saying “Israel’s Air Force struck a target near the Damascus international airport…(T)he air raid hit a military base.”

According to Haaretz, local reports said “the airport compound was hit with five strikes at around 3:25 AM…”

A regional “intelligence source” said “an arms supply hub” was targeted. Complicit with Washington, NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other regional rogue states, Israel wants Syria weakened - continuing intermittent aggression unaccountably.

Without confirming or denying its involvement, Israeli intelligence affairs minister Yisrael Katz said the overnight attack was “entirely consistent with our policy to prevent the transfer of weapons to Hezbollah” - Israel’s usual pretext for preemptive aggression against Syrian sovereign territory, war crimes each time launched.

Lebanon’s al-Manar television said likely Israeli airstrikes were responsible for the overnight incident, causing material damage, no known casualties.

So far, Syrian authorities haven’t commented on what happened on its English language Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) web site.

Sputnik News said its Arabic language site reported “missile fire from hostile Israel…fired from the occupied (Golan) territory, which led to explosions on the ground and property damage,” according to a Syrian military source.

Damascus refrains from retaliating against Israel in self-defense to prevent escalation of ongoing conflict.

Earlier it reported downing an Israeli warplane and drone in its airspace. The IDF usually launches attacks on Syrian targets from its own territory or Lebanese airspace.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

West Ignores Russia's Proposals to Combat Terrorism

West Ignores Russia’s Proposals to Combat Terrorism

by Stephen Lendman

Russia is committed to combat and defeat the scourge America, NATO, Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and their rogue allies support.

According to its General Staff chief Gen. Valery Gerasimov, US-led Western countries ignore “our proposals to pool efforts in the struggle against international terrorism.” 

“Since 2015, Russia has been fighting radical Islamic groups in Syria, containing terrorism away from its borders and preventing its penetration into Russia and Europe.” 

“The lack of tight cooperation and interaction between our countries in the struggle against terrorism creates favorable conditions for the Islamic State,” al-Qaeda, and likeminded groups.

No steps have been taken to improve Russian/Western relations, Gerasimov explained. US, EU and NATO leaders continue “conducting biased policies,” blaming Moscow “for all the world’s negative developments.”

Trump’s aggression against Syria’s Shayrat again airbase reveals America’s imperial intentions toward Syria - evident since Obama launched war in March 2011, escalated by Trump.

“Although there was no proof at all that the Syrian military used chemical weapons, the strike was supported by practically all European countries,” Gerasimov stressed.

US-led Western countries escalated hostility toward Russia, “tough(ening) (its) propaganda war.”

Examining “reports by European and US media outlets, one gets the impression that practically all negative events taking place in the world are the work of either Russia’s intelligences services or Russian hackers,” Gerasimov explained.

When nothing exists to blame Russia for, reasons are invented. Reckless bashing persists, heading inexorably toward military confrontation - a nightmarish scenario pitting the world’s dominant nuclear powers against each other.

Unthinkable nuclear war could erupt over Trump’s rage to act tough on Russia and other independent countries.

Tough talk is one thing. Rage to get his way threatens humanity’s survival.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Trump's Disturbing Toughness on Iran

Trump’s Disturbing Toughness on Iran

by Stephen Lendman

In his quarterly report to Congress on whether Iran is complying with the 2015 nuclear deal, Trump intervened to get Secretary of State Tillerson to toughen his comments.

Along with affirming Tehran’s compliance with JCPOA terms, he disgracefully accused its government of being “a state sponsor of terror through many platforms and methods.”

He cited no credible evidence because none exists. He said the administration will decide whether to impose additional sanctions.

The day after sending his letter to Congress, he sharply criticized the nuclear deal, outrageously calling it “another example of buying off a power who has nuclear ambitions.” 

“We buy them off for a short period of time and then someone has to deal with it later.” His comments reflected what Trump and National Security Advisor McMaster wanted said - no matter how hostile and untrue.

Trump earlier referred to the JCPOA as “the horrible Iran deal.” He lied claiming it’ll let Tehran develop nuclear weapons eventually.

He never read the agreement, knows nothing about it other than what he’s told. Saying Iran doesn’t “liv(e) up to the spirit of the agreement” is a bald-faced lie.

“(W)e’ll have something to say about it in the not-too-distant future,” he added.

Responding via Twitter, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said “(w)orn-out US accusations can’t mask its admission of Iran’s compliance.”

Tehran scrupulously observes JCPOA terms. It abhors nuclear weapons, wants the region free of them. It’s committed to combat the scourge of terrorism America, NATO, Israel and their rogue allies support.

On Wednesday, speaking at Moscow’s Conference for International Security, Russian and Iranian officials pledged united support against terrorism.

They blasted Trump’s April 7 naked aggression on Syria’s Shayrat airbase - based on the phony claim about Assad’s alleged responsibility for the April 4 Khan Sheikhoun CW attack he had nothing to do with.

Iranian Defense Minister General Hossein Dehqan accused Washington of furthering a new form of “international fascism,” by implementing a new “commercializing security” doctrine.

“Iran will continue to cooperate with powerful Russia against terrorist movements until the end. The Islamic Republic is of the belief that the front formed in Syria by Russia, Iran and the Arab country’s legitimate government and its resistant people will eventually conquer the terrorists,” he added.

Sergey Lavrov called Trump’s April 7 attack “a flagrant violation of international law and an act of aggression against a sovereign state.”

He called for an unbiased, independent, transparent investigation into what happened.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s comments were similar to Lavrov’s, adding:

“Washington’s actions have created a threat to the lives of our soldiers, who are in Syria fighting terrorism” - ISIS and other elements America and its rogue allies support.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Israel Aids ISIS

Israel Aids ISIS

by Stephen Lendman

Washington created and supports ISIS, along with other anti-government terrorists in Syria and elsewhere.

NATO, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other regional rogue states supply them with weapons and other material support.

So does Israel. In June 2015, the Times of Israel quoted former Israeli defense minister Moshe Ya’alon, saying “(w)e’ve assisted (anti-government terrorist groups in Syria on) two conditions. That they don’t get too close to (Israel’s) border, and…don’t touch the Druze.”

Israel provides hospital treatment for hundreds, maybe thousands, of terrorist fighters, calling it “humanitarian assistance,” according to Ya’alon, adding it’s “not in their interest” to publicize Israeli aid - including weapons and munitions supplied, along with Israeli air strikes, he failed to explain.

On April 24, FARS News reported increased US/UK/Israeli aid to al-Nusra terrorists - aiming “to create an autonomous region in Southern Syria, but the plan is confronted by Iran and Russia’s intensified intelligence and military operations.”

At the same time, Washington supports Kurdish fighters and terrorist groups in northern Syria. “Israel is (providing) logistical, intelligence and medical support for terrorist groups, and the Israel-West-Jordan operations room is supervising (their) activities.”

Russia, Damascus and Tehran oppose the establishment of autonomous regions in southern and northern Syria, supporting the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

On April 24, the American Herald Tribune said “Ya’alon has admitted to a tacit (Israeli) alliance with ISIS.”

On Israeli television, he said “(w)ithin Syria there are many factions: the regime, Iran, the Russians, and even al-Qaeda and ISIS.”  

“In such circumstances, one must develop a responsible, carefully-balanced policy by which you protect your own interests on the one hand, and on the other hand you don’t intervene.”  

“Because if Israel does intervene on behalf of one side, it will serve the interests of the other; which is why we’ve established red lines.”  
“Anyone who violates our sovereignty will immediately feel the full weight of our power. On most occasions, firing comes from regions under the control of the regime.”  

“But once the firing came from ISIS positions, and it immediately apologized.”

Israel has a longstanding alliance of convenience with regional terrorist groups and rogue states - including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, other Gulf states, Jordan and Egypt.

In December 2014, The Jerusalem Post said a “UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) (report) reveals that Israel has been working closely with Syrian rebels in the Golan Heights and have kept close contact over the past 18 months. The report was submitted to the UN Security Council at the beginning of the month.”

Fact: All so-called anti-Assad rebel groups are terrorists. No moderates exist. All commit gruesome atrocities, including CW attacks - toxins supplied by Turkey and Saudi Arabia. 

Fact: Pentagon contractors train terrorists in use of CWs. They make some on their own.

Western media suppress what’s most important to know about ongoing war in Syria. The country was invaded. Conflict isn’t civil. All anti-government forces are terrorists. No moderate rebels exist. 

Washington, Israel and their rogue allies want regime change, Syrian sovereignty destroyed. Peace talks since 2012 accomplished nothing because Washington and Israel want another imperial trophy, Iran isolated ahead of plans to oust its government.

Russia is the only major power standing in the way of achieving these disturbing objectives. Putin is on the right side of history, resisting imperial lawlessness.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Fake News About Russian French Election Meddling

Fake News About Russian French Election Meddling

by Stephen Lendman

Claims about Russian US election hacking were fabricated. No evidence exists suggesting it. 

Accusations without it are groundless. Media scoundrels repeat them anyway, abandoning responsible journalism, serving as press agents for power.

Indisputable evidence proves America routinely interferes in elections worldwide. It ruthlessly wants independent governments toppled, pro-Western puppet regimes replacing them.

A longstanding joke asks why America never experienced a coup - because Washington has no US embassy.

Since the 19th century, the United States sought to impose its will on other countries, notably post-WW II, beginning with US aggression on North Korea.

It’s been worst of all post-9/11, America at war at home and worldwide, a reality check indictment of a rogue state, history’s worst by far - humanity threatened by possible nuclear annihilation.

On April 24, AP News headlined “Researchers: Russia-linked hackers targeted Macron campaign” - falsely accused by “the Japanese anti-virus firm Trend Micro…”

Its digital chief Mounir Mahjoubi cited no evidence proving his claim because none exists. The accusation is fake. No Russian meddling in France’s election occurred.

Moscow categorically denies fabricated claims about it interfering in any nation’s elections - not America’s, not France’s or any others.

Accusations are bogus, part of longstanding Russia bashing. Putin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed phony claims, saying “(i)t resembles the accusations made by Washington, which to this day remain hollow, doing no honor to the people making them.”

Trend Micro’s report is “fake news,” he stressed. Addressing the UN Committee on Information in New York, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakhavova urged the world body to establish “a strategy for battling fake news and disinformation.”

“Russia will be ready to fully support this initiative which is extremely important for developing a healthy environment for news reporting,” she stressed.

Western media fake news drowns out legitimate journalism. Disinformation substitutes for truth-telling, especially on key issues.

False accusations about Russian interference in France’s election creates the appearance of “Macron want(ing) to follow in the steps of Hillary Clinton, a very dubious path,” Zakharova said weeks earlier.

Russia bashing persists without letup, bilateral relations with Washington at a post-Cold War low.

Trump is as despicable as Obama, despite pledging better relations. They’re dismal with no signs of improvement.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Netanyahu Snubs German Foreign Minister

Netanyahu Snubs German Foreign Minister

by Stephen Lendman

On Tuesday, Netanyahu cancelled his scheduled meeting with German Foreign Minister/Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel because he intended to meet with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem - groups critical of Israeli ruthlessness.

Gabriel said “(i)t’s difficult for me to imagine that the meeting will be canceled, because this would be very regrettable.”

“I don’t want to make a drama about it,” adding it’s “exceptional” to be snubbed this way. 

According to Israel’s Channel 2, Netanyahu’s office gave Gabriel an ultimatum - cancel his meeting with both groups or the prime minister won’t see him, typical Netanyahu arrogance and petulance.

Gabriel explained that “(i)n no country in the world can you get a reasonable and comprehensive impression if you only meet with government representatives. You have to meet, as we did yesterday, with writers, with artists and students, and also with critical organizations.”

“I find it totally normal to talk to” groups like Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem. “I can’t imagine that we would stop doing this in the future only so we could meet with government officials.”

He learned of Netanyahu’s snub through Israeli media. The prime minister’s office issued a statement, saying his “policy is not to meet with diplomats who visit Israel and meet with organizations that slander IDF soldiers and seek to prosecute them as war criminals.”

On Tuesday, Gabriel also met with Palestinian officials and the left-wing Ir Amim Israeli group.

Issues it addresses include settlement construction, especially in East Jerusalem; home demolitions; ethnic cleansing of Palestinians; and Israel’s apartheid wall, among others.

Gabriel said Netanyahu’s snub “wouldn’t be a catastrophe for” him. Opposition Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog said his “ultimatum…seriously harms Israel’s tied to Europe’s largest economy and true friend of Israel.”

Later on Tuesday, Netanyahu’s office said he wanted to speak to Gabriel to explain his snub. The German foreign minister refused to take his call.

In February, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel met with Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem representatives in Israel. Netanyahu’s request not to see them was ignored.

At the time, an arrogant statement by Netanyahu’s office said “(t)he government of Belgium needs to decide if it wants to change direction or continue with its anti-Israel path.”

Accountability for its high crimes remains unattainable until the world community addresses them responsibly - by tough punitive measures, not meaningless rhetoric.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Trump Talks Tough on North Korea

Trump Talks Tough on North Korea

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, he called on Security Council members to impose “stronger sanctions” on North Korea, heightening tensions by claiming the DPRK “is a real threat to the world…and it’s a problem that we have to finally solve.”

Pyongyang called the USS Carl Vinson carrier strike group deployed off the Korean peninsula “an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade.”

China’s President Xi Jinping called for all sides to show “restraint, and avoid doing anything to worsen the tense situation on the peninsula.”

On Wednesday afternoon, Trump will hold a briefing for all 100 senators on North Korea. Reportedly a similar session is planned for House members - both meetings to be held in a “sensitive compartmented information facility” in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Secretary of Defense Mattis, Joint Chiefs Chairman Dunford, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coates, and Secretary of State Tillerson will conduct the briefing.

On April 25, marking the anniversary of the founding of its army, North Korea held live-fire drills, involving hundreds of artillery pieces - instead of a sixth nuclear test some observers expected.

According to China Foundation for International and Strategic Studies Foreign Policy director Zhang Tuosheng, pressure from China, Washington, South Korea and Japan got Pyongyang to show restraint - whether short or longer-term remains to be seen.

“Beijing sent a clear message to Kim Jong-un that a nuclear test would lead to an impasse,” Tuosheng explained.

Its Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said “(w)e hope that all parties, including Japan, can work with China to promote an early peaceful resolution of the issue…”

Knowfar Institute for Strategic and Defense Studies Zhou Chenming believes Pyongyang will delay another nuclear test at least until after South Korea’s May 9 presidential election, hoping to discourage voters from choosing a hardline leader.

In a US show of force, the guided-missile nuclear submarine USS Michigan arrived in Busan, South Korea - the same day Pyongyang’s People’s Army celebrated its 85th anniversary.

On Tuesday, China’s Global Times, representing Beijing’s position, stressed “(s)ticks alone are not enough to prompt North Korea to stop its nuclear and missile activities. The international community should acknowledge the importance of the carrot.”

Pyongyang understands “the consequences if it continues to act recklessly. What it is uncertain about, though, is what benefit it will get if it stops nuclear and missile activities.”

Washington broke earlier promises to its government, undermining trust, making resolution of the current crisis much harder.

Pyongyang justifiably believes America wants its government toppled, knowing it’s vulnerable if it abandons its nuclear and ballistic missile deterrents.

Trump’s rage for war heightens concerns. Waging it on the Korean peninsula risks possible nuclear confrontation - what all regional nations want avoided above all else.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html


Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Brussels, Washington and French Aristocracy for Macron

Brussels, Washington and French Aristocracy for Macron

by Stephen Lendman

European and US elites consider Le Pen forbidden fruit - for wanting French sovereignty restored through Frexit, the country out of NATO, and improved relations with Russia - anathema notions for globalists and warmakers.

Macron as president assures continuity, favoring imperial and monied interests, harming humanity. Washington calls the shots. France, other EU/NATO countries, and most others salute and obey.

Outgoing French President Francois Hollande called on voters to support Macron in runoff voting. So did French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Losing conservative candidate Francois Fillon jumped on the Macron bandwagon before official results were announced, urging his supporters to renounce Le Pen.

So did (right-wing) Socialist party’s Benoit Hamon. Leftist Jean-Luc Melenchon isn’t endorsing either runoff candidate. Republican People’s Union candidate Francois Asselineau  blasted Macron, calling him “a puppet of the financial oligarchy.”

They and Christian Democratic Party’s Jean-Federic Poisson are exceptions. France’s aristocracy strongly supports Macron. 

Le Pen as president is their worst nightmare - even though she’d likely renege on anti-establishment positions if elected president, the way things virtually always work. Rare exceptions prove the rule.

On Sunday evening, Macron was way over-the-top bellowing “(i)n one year, we have changed the face of French politics. I want to be the president of patriots against the threat of nationalists.”

He represents continuity and privilege. Expect nothing benefitting ordinary French people if he’s elected on May 7, as expected.

Through her spokesman, Germany’s Angela Merkel wished him “all the best.” Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel congratulated him, expressing support for his European project.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker wished him the best. EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini hailed him as “the hope and future of our generation.”

EU chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier called him a “patriot and European…France must stay European.”

EU finance commissioner Pierre Moscovici said Macron “carries the flag for all democrats and pro-Europeans. No vote should fail him. He will have mine.”

German Foreign Minister/Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said “I am certain that Emmanuel Macron will be the next president of France - great for Europe.”

Western media scoundrels overwhelmingly support him. They’re fiercely anti-Le Pen.

Supportive messages from other EU establishment figures poured in for him - the best reason for voters to support Le Pen.

In post-round one election comments, she said “survival of France” as a sovereign state is at stake in May 7 runoff voting. She called on “sincere patriots” for support.

“(S)how unity, unity with our project to get France on its feet again…Charles De Gaulle (earlier) said the grandeur of the people only comes from the people themselves.”

“The principle I will implement, uniting the French people, can only be done on the basis of love for France.”

“I accept the responsibility of taking part in the second round of voting with humility and gratitude.”

Polls show Macron heavily favored to be France’s next president. The country’s future of remains grim for its ordinary people with establishment figures in charge.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

Will War Follow Another North Korean Nuclear Test?

Will War Follow Another North Korea Nuclear Test?

by Stephen Lendman

On Monday, Xi Jinping and Trump spoke for the second time by phone on North Korea since the Chinese president’s visit to Mar-a-Lago earlier this month.

Instead of stressing peaceful resolution of the issue alone, Xi said all parties must “shoulder their due responsibilities and meet each other halfway.”

Yet he called for “restraint,” avoiding “provocative actions,” and strictly observing Security Council resolutions to resolve things.

Both leaders want the Korean peninsula denuclearized, Beijing justifiably concerned if conflict erupts, its national security will be threatened.

Preventing it by pressuring Pyongyang to halt further nuclear and ICBM tests appears to be China’s red line. It’s the only country able to get concessions from the DPRK - whether on its nuclear and missile programs remains a test for its leadership.

Separately, China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his country will not be swayed by the various statements (made by parties involved), and will not renounce its due responsibility.”

“China will continue maintaining dialogue and consultation with all sides and continue playing a constructive role in solving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.”

Last week, Beijing endorsed a US-proposed Security Council statement, condemning Pyongyang’s failed April 16 ballistic missile test.

It demanded halting all activities in violation of SC resolutions. The DPRK responded by threatening “catastrophic consequence” if Beijing sides with Washington on these issues.

Last Friday, the Beijing-linked Global Times (GT) called for a “realistic solution (to) the NK nuke issue” - expecting another nuclear and ICBM test, warning of an “emergency situation” if they’re conducted.

China’s situation is delicate. So far, it’s unsuccessfully tried getting Pyongyang to halt its tests in return for Washington and South Korea calling off or suspending their joint large-scale military exercises - ones the DPRK believes is preparation for war.

According to GT, “the only remaining option for Beijing is to take only one step first, and then look around before taking another. Beijing will do what it should do, instead of doing something it does not want to do, or is unable to do.”

Above all, China wants war prevented, potentially catastrophic if erupts, especially pitting two nuclear powers against each other on Beijing’s border.

China opposes Pyongyang’s nuclear and ICBM programs - short of resolving the situation militarily.

On Tuesday, GT asked if Pyongyang will wisely step back from the brink. If not, a “point of no return may be crossed,” it said, risking another Korean peninsula war, the North suffering most of all.

A best case scenario under dire conditions is stiffer sanctions, including by China, short of crippling ones. If Washington launches attacks, Pyongyang “will be forced to make a life-or-death decision,” said GT.

Failure to retaliate will let America take whatever steps it wishes, knowing the DPRK alone will pay the price. If it launches its own attacks, possible nuclear war could follow.

The stakes are huge. Once the die is cast, there may be no turning back, the entire region paying a price.

Washington wants Beijing to constrain Pyongyang. China can do only so much. It can’t satisfy everyone. It’s going all-out to avoid potentially catastrophic war.

North Korea has every right to protect its national security short of conflict risking the lives of millions of its people.

Diplomatic solutions to tough issues aren’t easy, the payoff huge if accomplished.

Are Pyongyang and Washington wise enough to see war isn’t the answer?

Things could come to a head quickly in the coming days. Will madness of war no one can win get both sides to step back from the brink?

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 


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