Tag Archives: Russia

Trump Thinks US Oil Is His Strength When It’s His Achilles’ Heel, by Tom Luongo

It’s hard to call shale oil a US strength when so much of it is produced at a loss and funded by borrowed money. From Tom Luongo at strategic-culture.org:

Headlines abound about the massive surge in US shale oil production. The energy independence-cheering punditocracy hail this as a great victory. This includes President Trump.

And it would be if this surge in production was built on financially stable ground. But it isn’t. The fracking industry continues to bleed massive amounts of cash. As I pointed out in an article earlier this week, when accounting for this inconvenient truth much of the U.S’s return to dominance in the energy space is a lot of hot air.

Nick Cunningham’s article at Oilprice.com tells the tale.

Heading into 2019, the industry promised to stake out a renewed focus on capital discipline and shareholder returns. But that vow is now in danger of becoming yet another in a long line of unmet goals.

“Another quarter, another gusher of red ink,” the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, along with the Sightline Institute, wrote in a joint report on the first quarter earnings of the shale industry.

The report studied 29 North American shale companies and found a combined $2.5 billion in negative free cash flow in the first quarter. That was a deterioration from the $2.1 billion in negative cash flow from the fourth quarter of 2018. “This dismal cash flow performance came despite a 16 percent quarter-over-quarter decline in capital expenditures,” the report’s authors concluded.

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The Russians Are Coming! by Christine Smith

There are many idiocies in the political arena far more concerning than possible Russian interference. From Christine Smith at fff.org:

The Russians are coming!

Sure they are, and the sky is falling too.

Based on rhetoric, you’d think the United States government was now stealthily undermined by Russians. With never-ending allegations of Russian interference/collusion and even the absurd implication that the duly elected president might be a Russian agent, along with all the other continual anti-Russia references these days, the Red Scare is again alive and well.

But unlike the comedic The Russians are coming! The Russians are coming! movie of 1966 in which a Russian submarine innocently gets caught on a sandbank off our coast, the threat is real – but it’s not the Russians who are the threat.

The irony of this latest fear tactic suggesting a Russian is hiding behind every tree is that the very people touting it with feigned outrage are the ones who are the actual threat. While pointing fingers at all but themselves, those of such ilk seek to increase the leftist/socialist/Marxist agenda in this country.

The time of a conservative alleging widespread subversion/infiltration, as U.S. Senator Joseph McCarthy did, is gone. These days, those with the loud voices screaming about Russians are the leftists themselves. No matter that the Mueller Report determined that no American committed any crime in collusion with Russia, they’re going to ride the same narrative for the next 16 months.

Of course, there shouldn’t be collusion between candidates/political parties and foreign powers, and based on Mueller’s report there wasn’t any. But why should I care about Russian meddling anyway?

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‘Make Russia Prostrate Again’ Is the Only Thing US Democrats and Republicans Can Agree on, by Robert Bridge

Does Trump see Russia as primarily a business rival? From Robert Bridge at strategic-culture.org:

Despite the deep schism that separates America’s deranged political duopoly, they do share a common foreign policy pet project, and that is to prevent Russia from ever shining again on the global stage in all fields of endeavor.

One of Donald Trump’s main pledges on the 2016 campaign trail was to rekindle the dying embers of US-Russia relations, which had been undergoing a mini Ice Age under Barack Obama, his ballyhooed ‘reset’ notwithstanding. But before Trump was ever put to the test of romancing Russia, he was sidelined by one of the most malicious political stunts of the modern age.

It is only necessary to recall the 2016 Winter of Our Discontent when the Democratic leader sent 35 Russian diplomats and their families packing just before New Year’s Eve in retaliation for Russia’s alleged involvement in hacking the Democratic National Committee’s computers. Before Trump ascended the throne, those unfounded claims lit the fuse on ‘Russiagate,’ the debacle which continues to undermine not just US-Russia relations, but the entire US political system.

Yet would things have turned out any differently between Washington and Moscow had the Democrats graciously accepted defeat in 2016 without feeling the need to blame remote Russia? I am not sure.

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This Outlaw Power, by Christopher Black

The US government has said quite clearly, and repeatedly, that it will do what it takes to maintain the US empire. From Christopher Black at journal-neo.org:

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On June 4th the Chinese government issued a travel alert for Chinese tourists thinking of visiting the United States, a day after it issued a similar advisory to Chinese students thinking of studying in the US over concerns for their safety and security. Chinese in the US are reporting harassment and interrogations by US immigration authorities and many now have the impression they are not welcome in the US.

The Global Times, speaking on behalf of the government stated,

The Chinese people find it difficult to accept the fact that they are being taken as thieves. The US boasts too much superiority and has been indulged by the world. Due to its short history, it lacks understanding of and respect for the rules of countries and laws of the market. The Americans of the early generations accumulated prosperity and prestige for the US, while the current US administration behaves like a wastrel generation by ruining the world’s respect for the US.”

It seems to me they are being generous to the US since the “early prosperity” of the US was built on the backs of slave labour, extermination of the indigenous peoples and theft of their lands, colonization and exploitation of other countries, including China, and two hundred years of continual warfare to secure the resources and markets of first the western hemisphere, then the world. Their “prestige” comes out of the barrel of a gun. The US economic and military aggression against those nations that refuse to obey American demands to serve their interests ever increases and never abates. A few days ago Mike Pompeo stated, with feigned innocence, that the US was willing to talk to Iran “without preconditions” when the real conditions Iran faces include an almost total embargo of its trade and threats of immediate attack by US forces, including nuclear attack. The Iranians quickly rejected this hypocrisy.

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The Unipolar Moment is Over, by Pepe Escobar

The US cannot match Russia and China’s power and influence in Eurasia, which means the US can no longer be the global hegemon. From Pepe Escobar at strategic-culture.org:

The Russia-China strategic partnership, consolidated last week in Russia, has thrown U.S. elites into Supreme Paranoia mode, which is holding the whole world hostage.

Something extraordinary began with a short walk in St. Petersburg last Friday.

After a stroll, they took a boat on the Neva River, visited the legendary Aurora cruiser, and dropped in to examine the Renaissance masterpieces at the Hermitage. Cool, calm, collected, all the while it felt like they were mapping the ins and outs of a new, emerging, multipolar world.

Chinese President Xi Jinping was the guest of honor of Russian President Vladimir Putin. It was Xi’s eighth trip to Russia since 2013, when he announced the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).

First they met in Moscow, signing multiple deals. The most important is a bombshell: a commitment to develop bilateral trade and cross-border payments using the ruble and the yuan, bypassing the U.S. dollar.

Then Xi visited the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), Russia’s premier business gathering, absolutely essential for anyone to understand the hyper-complex mechanisms inherent in the construction of Eurasian integration. I addressed some of SPIEF’s foremost discussions and round tables here.

In Moscow, Putin and Xi signed two joint statements – whose key concepts, crucially, are “comprehensive partnership”, “strategic interaction” and “global strategic stability.”

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Russia-China: a Strategic Alliance for the 21st Century, by the Strategic Culture Foundation

Russia and China are embracing a radical new idea: you go farther in today’s world giving other countries an incentive to deal with you than you do just ordering them around. We know which country is the prime proponent of that second approach. From the Strategic Culture Foundation at strategicculture.org:

Russian President Vladimir Putin welcomed China’s Xi Jinping to Moscow this week for a three-day state visit. It wasn’t just the personal warmth between the two leaders that was on display. They have met on nearly 30 occasions over the past six years. President Xi referred to Putin as his closest international ally and friend.

More importantly, the two nations are solidifying a strategic alliance that could define the shape of geopolitics for the 21st Century.

Putin and Xi, who also attended the annual St Petersburg International Economic Forum this week, signed a raft of bilateral commercial agreements which will propel Eurasian development and indeed global development.

Of particular significance is the continued drive by Moscow and Beijing to conduct international trade in national currencies, obviating the US dollar as a payment means. This is a crucial step in countering the desired “hegemonic control” of the global financial system by Washington. Time and again, Washington has abused its privileged position of printing or withholding dollars in order to further its own agenda of dominating other nations. That abuse has to stop, and it will stop as Russia and China pave the way to a new, fairer mechanism of international finance and trade.

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Russia’s Middle East Brinkmanship vs. Acquiescence to Trump’s Greater Israel Plan, by Alastair Crooke

Does Trump want Russia’s help to cement Israel’s dominance of the Middle East? From Alastair Crooke at strategic-culture.org:

Secretary of State Pompeo was in Sochi on 14 May for talks with his counterpart, Sergey Lavrov. And in his opening address, Lavrov observed: “I believe it’s time to start building a new, more responsible and constructive matrix of how we see each other. We are ready to do so, of course, if our US partners are interested in doing so as well … The fact that we are meeting for the second time in the past two weeks inspires certain optimism. Let’s give it a try and see what happens”.

President Putin subsequently hosted Pompeo for a short discussion, noting: “I got the impression that the President [Trump] is in favour of restoring Russia-US ties and contacts – and of resolving issues of mutual interest. For our part, we have said many times, that we would also like to restore relations on a full scale”.

It is clear that Mr Putin’s impression of a US possible apertura arose from Trump’s call to him on 3 May, in which co-operation on assuring ‘strategic stability’ was discussed. The remarks by both Lavrov and Putin indicate both a readiness and a generosity (i.e. calling the US Administration “our US partners”) that is a mite surprising, given the extent to which Washington has been inserting its spanners into all, and everything, Moscow recently has tried to do.

Why this Trump initiative – managed by two foremost US war hawks – precisely now? Ok, the Mueller investigation is closed, but Moscow will not be naïve enough to imagine that this draws a line under the Russian malign intervention narrative. Mueller has simply gifted the claim to Congress.

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