Americans today are blissfully distracted by their iGadgets, plotting out their holiday shopping strategies, leasing new cars, eating out, and buying advance tickets to the new Star Wars movie. They don’t see the wicked winter squalls ahead which will try their souls. We are experiencing the lull before the storms, but the storms are surely coming. The potential for catastrophe is high and burying our heads in the sand is not a strategy.
It's no secret that the US has played an outsized role in facilitating Syria's five-year civil war by funneling money and guns to a hodgepodge of opposition groups. It's also no secret that The Pentagon's latest "train and equip" program was a disaster of epic proportions. But rest assured, if Washington can make it worse, Washington will make it worse, which is why we weren't surprised that the 2016 NDAA authorizes more taxpayer money for the funding of "moderate" Syrian rebels.
With geologists having confirmed the link between fracking and earthquakes in Oklahoma (and energy executives trying to get those geologists fired), the news this week that The Sooner State leads the world in seismic activity will likely see more uproar from residents.. and more lobbying dollars spent to 'calm' the politicians. As KFOR reports, this year, more than 5,000 earthquakes have been recorded and experts say earthquakes in Oklahoma will likely increase in magnitude over time warning that it's only a matter of time before the state gets a big one that will change life for those of living there.
The Western media will tell you that Gazprom cannot afford to cut Turkey off in retailiation for Ankara's attack on a Russian warplane. While that may be true, it's important to remember that Turkey's fallback option when it comes to replacing lost supply is Iran and under the circumstances, it seems exceptionally unlikely that Tehran would be willing to make things easier on Erdogan.
- European stocks up, oil slides as concerns ease over Russia-Turkey tension (Reuters)
- ECB discusses two-tiered bank charges, broader bond buys (Reuters)
- New agonies, alliances as Fed debates post-liftoff plan (Reuters)
- A New Military Power Rises in the Mideast, Courtesy of One Man (BBG)
- Russia's Gazprom says halts gas supplies to Ukraine over payment (Reuters)
- Other central banks set to act, but Swiss policy cupboard bare (Reuters)
Despite demands from France's Hollande, America's Obama, and NATO's Stoltenberg that this situation not esclate, it appears Putin is not taking the shooting down of a fighter jet lying down. The seemingly cagey confirmation by NATO and Obama of Turkey's claims that Russia invaded its airspace has been rebuked by Russia which claims the Hmeimim airbase radar shows the attacking Turkish plane violating Syrian airspace. In response, Russia is moving a Cruiser 'Moskva' off the coast to strengthen air-defenses - just as French and US carriers are on their way.
Some have suggested Vladmir Putin's first retaliation for the Turkish shooting down of a Russian fighter jet would be to cut off gas supplies (which represent 57% of Turkey's supply). With Russia Defense Minister stating that the "downing of the Russian warplane is a 'hostile act'," adding that the defense ministry is "devising a set of measures to respond to the incident," it seems taking the 'nuclear option' of cutting off 20% of Erdogan's entire energy supply would be a strong first non-lethal non-World-War-3-starting step.
- Brussels on Edge as Lockdown Continues (WSJ)
- Stocks Pare Decline as Crude Oil Erases Drop on Saudi Comments (BBG)
- Italy’s Eni Plans to Pump Arctic Oil, After Others Abandon the Field (WSJ)
- Treasuries Decline as Economists Say GDP to Be Revised Higher (BBG)
- Why the Housing Rebound Hasn’t Lifted the U.S. Economy Much (WSJ)
- Argentina Fever Is Back for Investors as Kirchner Rival Triumphs (BBG)
The U.S. is, in fact, Europe’s enemy - not merely Russia’s enemy. Not merely the truth’s enemy. Not merely democracy’s enemy.
There are so many strands of lies and distortions that it is now almost impossible for Official Washington to disentangle itself from all the false narratives that the neocons and the liberal hawks have spun in support of their various “regime change” strategies. So, the American people are left with the mainstream U.S. news media endlessly repeating storylines that are either completely false or highly exaggerated. Official Washington’s many false narratives about Russia and Syria have gotten so tangled that they have become a danger to the struggle against jihadist terrorism and conceivably a threat to the future of the planet.
At the core of global power stands the conflict between the Sauds (and their Sunni clergy) and the Iranians (and their Shiite clergy). One can’t understand U.S.-Russian relations, nor much else of what is happening in the world, without knowing the relevant historical background; and the origins and nature of the Sunni war against Shiia are arguably the most essential part of that to comprehend just how the United States came to back the Sunnis, and how Russia came to back the Shiites, in this war.
As a result of the latest announcement by ISIS, namely that it had just executed its first Chinese hostage, China's isolationist position has now changed and as Bloomberg reports "Xi Vows Terror Fight After IS Kills Chinese Captive". As it further adds, China's President Xi Jinping condemned the Islamic State’s execution of a Chinese national, "an act that raises pressure on China to take a greater role in resolving Syria’s civil war."
"The Chinese government has the right and the ability to recover the islands and reefs illegally occupied by neighboring countries"...
- France, Russia strike Islamic State in Syria, EU aid invoked (Reuters)
- Pressure Grows for Global Response Against Islamic State After Paris Attacks (WSJ)
- Weakened Hollande Faces Election Backlash in Wake of Attacks (BBG)
- French Official Calls for Metal Detectors at Train Stations (NYT)
- Belgium Raises Terror Threat Level, Cancels Soccer Game vs Spain (BBG)
- Foreign Companies Scrap Paris Events After Terror Attacks (BBG)