North Korea

Frontrunning: January 3

  • Stocks Gain With Commodities Amid China Optimism (BBG); Dollar, global stocks firm as 2017 trading starts in earnest (Reuters)
  • Oil hits 18-month highs as markets eye output cuts (Reuters)
  • Earnings Recovery Set to Propel Stocks Higher in 2017 (WSJ)
  • Republican-led Congress lays groundwork for Trump (Reuters)
  • Battles Await Ambitious GOP Agenda, Including Repeal of ACA (WSJ)
  • 2017 Will Be the Riskiest Year for Geopolitics Since WWII, Eurasia Group Says (BBG)

Trump Picks China Critic Robert Lighthizer As US Trade Representative

The Trump transition team announced that President-elect Donald Trump has named Robert Lighthizer as his U.S. Trade Representative. Lighthizer served as the deputy USTR under former President Ronald Reagan. His appointment is a further sign the incoming administration will take a tougher line on China.

Eric Zuesse: America’s Secret Planned Conquest Of Russia

The U.S. government’s plan to conquer Russia is based upon a belief in, and the fundamental plan to establish, “Nuclear Primacy” against Russia — an American ability to win a nuclear war against, and so conquer, Russia.

Oliver Stone Slams The Establishment's "The Russians Are Coming" Narrative

"My God, the ghost of Izzy Stone is back from the 1950s! For that matter, so is Tom Clancy from the ’80s. False thrillers will now be written about the Russians hacking the American elections. Money and TV serials will be made. I’ve never read such hysterical junk (call it what it is -- “fake news”) in the New York Times, in which the editorials have become outrageous diatribes..."

While Blaming Trump For "Arms Race", Obama Signs Momentous "Star Wars II" Defense Bill

As politicians and mainstream media blast Trump's apparently incendiary tweet regarding nuclear arms, none other than President Obama just signed legislation that, by striking a single word from longstanding US nuclear defence policy, could heighten tensions with Russia and China and launch the country on an expensive effort to build space-based defense systems.

Leaked Memo Reveals List Of Trump's Top Defense Priorities

Among the top four items listed in the memo from are: 1) developing a strategy to defeat/destroy ISIS; 2) build a strong defense by eliminating budget caps/the sequester, 3) develop a comprehensive cyber strategy, and 4) eliminate wasteful spending by finding greater efficiencies.

Head For The Bunkers?

"...unpredictability is the order of the day, and a collective “me first” outlook has taken hold, we should prepare for the possibility that turmoil could go global. In other words, while it is not time to head for the bunkers, it certainly wouldn’t hurt to have one nearby."

NATO-Russia War Seen As Top "Conflict" Risk For 2017 By CFR

A NATO-Russia confrontation has been classified as a top "conflict"risk for the US in 2017 by the annual CFR survey, conducted by foreign policy experts. This placed it alongside the risk of a nuclear crisis with North Korea, a "highly disruptive cyberattack", and a severe terrorist attack on the US among the biggest geopolitical risks for the US.

China Hits Back: Warns Trump "Nothing To Discuss" If "One China" Policy Ends

Overnight China responded and expressed "serious concern" after Donald Trump said the United States did not necessarily have to stick to its long-held stance that Taiwan is part of "one China", calling it the basis for relations. Beijing warned Trump that the two countries will have “nothing to discuss” if the incoming administration decides to discard the four-decade old “One China” policy.

Trump Reignites China Diplomatic Spat, Says Not Bound By "One China" Policy

"I fully understand the 'one China' policy, but I don't know why we have to be bound by a 'one China' policy unless we make a deal with China having to do with other things, including trade. We're being hurt very badly by China with devaluation, with taxing us heavy at the borders when we don't tax them, with building a massive fortress in the middle of the South China Sea."