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Author Topic: Russia/US-- Europe  (Read 44392 times)
Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #150 on: August 01, 2017, 03:44:16 PM »

Russia is planning several days of military maneuvers in Belarus, the Baltic Sea, western Russia and the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, The New York Times reported Aug. 1. Estimates of the numbers of troops likely to be involved in the September exercises range from 13,000 — according to Russia — to as many as 100,000. The drills have been planned for several months and are not a direct reaction to threats of new U.S. economic sanctions. The Kremlin is trying to reach an understanding with the West over Russia's sphere of influence in the former Soviet Union.

================================================

WSJ:


By Orde F. Kittrie
July 31, 2017 7:05 p.m. ET
126 COMMENTS

The U.S. spends heavily to defend Europe, yet most North Atlantic Treaty Organization members don’t spend 2% of their GDP on defense, as the alliance’s guidelines call for. Worse, many of these free riders also punish U.S. companies for manufacturing weapons used by the Pentagon to defend NATO allies and other countries. Specifically, several NATO member governments have divested from or even criminalized the purchase of stock in U.S. defense contractors.

Between 2005 and 2013 Norway’s government pension fund divested from U.S. defense contractors such as Boeing , Honeywell , Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman “because they are involved in production of nuclear weapons.” The fund, controlled by Norway’s Finance Ministry, is worth some $900 billion. At the end of 2015, approximately $180 billion was invested in 2,099 American companies.

Norway, a NATO member, divested even though these companies produce nuclear weapons only for the U.S. government, and NATO’s 2012 Deterrence and Defence Posture Review describes U.S. nuclear weapons as “the supreme guarantee” of members’ security. The hypocrisy goes further: In 2016 Norway authorized its pension fund to invest in Iranian government bonds—even though Iran has sponsored terrorism for decades and is a patron of Bashar Assad’s atrocities in Syria.

So far only Norway has divested from companies for producing nuclear weapons. But the government pension funds of Denmark, France and the Netherlands have joined Norway in divesting from American companies that produce other weapons stocked by the U.S. military. These countries have targeted General Dynamics , Raytheon and Textron for manufacturing cluster munitions and land mines, in some cases after production reportedly has stopped.

Six European countries—NATO members Belgium, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Spain, plus nonmember Liechtenstein—make it illegal for their nationals to invest in companies that produce cluster munitions or land mines. In Switzerland, citizens can be imprisoned for five years for direct and indirect financing, including stock purchases, of companies that manufacture nuclear weapons, cluster munitions or land mines.

While these weapons often pose a threat to civilians even after conflicts end, the U.S. government deems them necessary. The Obama administration acknowledged in 2014 that land mines are needed to protect South Korea. The State Department has long said the elimination of cluster munitions “from U.S. stockpiles would put the lives of its soldiers and those of its coalition partners at risk.”

Many NATO governments joined the 2008 international treaty to ban cluster munitions and the 1997 agreement to forbid land mines. Boycotts targeting companies producing these weapons derive from expansive interpretations of particular provisions in these accords. Both treaties say that “never under any circumstances” will a country “assist, encourage, or induce” anyone to engage in activities such as the development or production of the banned weapons.

The treaty banning nuclear weapons, which was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly on July 7, includes similar language. Many of the 122 governments that voted for the nuclear treaty will likely divest from and criminalize purchase of stock in nuclear-weapons manufacturers. No NATO government supported the nuclear ban treaty. Yet Norway’s divestment from stock in nuclear-weapons manufacturers shows the fervor generated by movements against disfavored weapons can spur such boycotts even if a country ultimately doesn’t support the treaty.

The danger of European economic warfare against Israel—including the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement—deservedly has received considerable attention. In contrast, European economic warfare against U.S. companies for implementing U.S. government policy has avoided the spotlight and elicited virtually no response from Washington. This must change. The targeted U.S. firms together employ hundreds of thousands of American workers. For allied governments to penalize such companies for filling U.S. government orders is unacceptable. It could even increase costs to the U.S. taxpayer, who ultimately would pay extra legal or financing costs associated with producing these weapons.

If left unchecked, this problem will grow. Norway’s pension fund has divested from Wal-Mart , America’s largest employer, for “serious violations of human rights,” according to the fund’s website. The fund has also divested from two U.K. companies for producing Britain’s nuclear arsenal and one Israeli company for involvement with Israel’s antiterrorism fence.

Congress and the executive branch should spotlight, and vigorously oppose, ally and partner government boycotts that target the defense industrial base of the U.S. and key allies such as Israel and the U.K. Governments must know that such boycotts, if continued, will subject them and their companies to commensurate penalties.

Mr. Kittrie, a law professor at Arizona State University and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, is author of “Lawfare: Law as a Weapon of War” (Oxford, 2016).
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ccp
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« Reply #151 on: August 02, 2017, 07:54:54 AM »

Can anyone think of ANYTHING that Trump could be thinking in "restoring relations with Russia".
since when has the US ever been close to Russia?
And how could we be?  What is god's name is Trump thinking?

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/president-trump-not-very-happy-russia-sanctions-bill-052305558--abc-news-topstories.html
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ccp
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« Reply #152 on: August 02, 2017, 10:23:30 AM »

 grin

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/08/02/donald-trump-signs-russia-sanctions/

not that this would SHUT CNN up for even two seconds
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #153 on: October 16, 2017, 10:43:46 AM »



Oct. 16, 2017 Either through alliance or conquest, Russia is an alternative to the U.S. and EU.

By George Friedman

Last week, a delegation of executives from major German corporations met with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Such delegations are unremarkable. Sometimes they travel together to meet with foreign leaders. It is sometimes routine, sometimes a courtesy. But occasionally, it has significance. In the case of Russia-Germany relations, such meetings are always potentially significant.

Unsteady Relations

There are two relationships that are central to Germany. One is with the European Union, the other is with the United States. Neither relationship is stable right now. Brexit, the Spanish crisis, German feuding with Poland and the unsolved economic problems of southern Europe are tearing at the fabric of the European Union. The Germans and the EU apparatus claim that none of these threaten the fundamental health of the bloc, and point to the fact that, almost a decade after 2008, Europe appears to be achieving very modest economic growth.

The Germans, of course, know the dangers that lie ahead, even if Brussels does not. Many of the EU’s problems are political, not economic. Poland and Germany have butted heads over the tension between the right to national self-determination and EU rules. This is also what Brexit was about. Spain is locked in a dispute over the nature of a nation and the right of a region to secede, while the EU considers what role it should play in the domestic matters of a member state. And although southern Europe’s problems are economic, the fact that Europe has eked out minimal growth means neither that such growth is sustainable nor that the growth rate comes close to solving the Continent’s deep structural problems. As the de facto leader of the EU, Germany has to appear confident while considering the implications of failure.

The German relationship with the United States is at least as unsettled – and not just because of President Donald Trump’s personality. The strategic and economic situation in Europe has changed dramatically since the early 1990s – when the Soviet Union fell, Germany reunified and the all-important Maastricht treaty was signed – but Germany’s structural relationship with the U.S. has not. Both are members of NATO, but they have radically different views of its mission and its economics. Germany has the world’s fourth-largest economy, but its financial contribution to NATO doesn’t reflect that.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (L) attends a meeting in Sochi on Oct. 12, 2017, with heads of German companies. Chairman of the Management Board of METRO AG Olaf Koch is seen in the background. MAXIM SHEMETOV/AFP/Getty Images

Then there is Russia. The American policy toward Russia has hardened since the Democratic Party adopted an intense anti-Russia stance following the presidential election – more intense even than that of the Republican Party, which has always been uneasy with Russia. The Ukraine crisis continues to fester while U.S. troops are deployed in the Baltics, Poland and Romania. This has widened rifts within the EU. Germany isn’t interested in a second Cold War; Eastern Europe believes it’s already in one. The Eastern Europeans are increasingly alienated from the Germans on the issue and more closely aligned with the Americans. At a time when German relations with key Eastern European countries are being tested, the added strain of U.S. policy in the region is a threat to German interests. Germany wants the Russia problem to subside. The U.S. and its Eastern European allies think the way to accomplish that is through confrontation.

A Most Dangerous Option

Germany’s foreign policy has remained roughly the same since 1991, even as the international reality has changed dramatically. This is forcing Germany toward a decision it doesn’t want to make. But it must consider what happens if the EU continues to disintegrate and if European foreign policy and politics continue to diverge from its own. It must consider what happens if the U.S. continues to shape the dynamics of Europe in such a way that Germany will have to confront American enemies with it, or refuse to do so. This isn’t just about Russia – we can see the same issue over Iran.

Germany can’t exist without stable economic partners. Never has it been self-sufficient since it reunified. It must explore alternatives. The most obvious alternative for Germany has always been Russia, either through alliance or conquest. Germany needs Russian raw materials. It also needs the Russian market to be far more robust than it is so that it can buy more German goods. But Russia is incapable of rapid economic development without outside help, and with the collapse of oil prices, it needs rapid development to stabilize its economy. Germany needs Russia’s economy to succeed, and what it has to offer Russia is capital, technology and management. In exchange, Russia can offer raw materials and a workforce. An alignment with Russia could settle Eastern Europe in Germany’s orbit. With the way things are going, and given Germany’s alternatives, the Russian option is expensive but potentially very profitable.

But Germany has a problem with Russia. Every previous attempt at alignment or conquest has failed. Building up the Russian economy to create a robust market for German goods would certainly benefit both countries, but it would also shift the balance of power in Europe. Right now, Germany is militarily weak and economically strong. Russia is moderately powerful militarily and economically weak. An alignment with Germany could dramatically strengthen Russia’s economy, and with it, its military power. Having moved away from the United States and de-emphasized military power in the rest of the European peninsula, Germany could find itself in its old position: vulnerable to Russian power, but without allies against Russia.

The corporate chiefs’ trip to Russia is not a groundbreaking event, nor does it mark a serious shift in German policy. But it is part of an ongoing process. As the international reality shifts from what Germany needs, Germany must find another path. In the short term, the United States is vulnerable to a cyclical recession, and hostility toward Germany is increasing in Europe, particularly in Eastern Europe. China is facing internal challenges of its own. There are few other options than Russia, and Russia is historically a most dangerous option for Germany.
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