Having told Jimmy Kimmel that he "would love to" appoint Sarah Palin to his cabinet, The Washington Post asks (and answers), just what would a trump cabinet look like?
In a defiant speech delivered over the weekend, Syria's Bashar al-Assad insisted that "defeat ... does not exist in the dictionaries of the Syrian Arab army," even as the strongman admitted that his military faced a debilitating shortage of manpower. Meanwhile, WSJ says Russian officials are "showing more openness to discussing alternatives to Mr. Assad as his regime loses territory."
Earlier today, it was Putin's turn to troll not only the DOJ, but also Barack Obama who is currently in Ethiopia as part of his African tour when in an interview aired by Swiss broadcaster RTS on Monday Putin said that Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his stewardship of soccer’s governing body. “I think people like Mr Blatter or the heads of big international sporting federations, or the Olympic Games, deserve special recognition. If there is anyone who deserves the Nobel Prize, it’s those people.”
If the neoconservatives have their way again, US ground troops will reoccupy Iraq, the US military will take out Syria’s secular government (likely helping Al Qaeda and the Islamic State take over), and the US Congress will not only kill the Iran nuclear deal but follow that with a massive increase in military spending. In other words, more and more fires of Imperial “regime change” abroad even as the last embers of the American Republic die at home. Much of this “strategy” is personified by a single Washington power couple...
Tehran, Beijing, Moscow, Islamabad, and New Delhi have been actively establishing interlocking security guarantees. They have been simultaneously calling the Atlanticist bluff when it comes to the endless drumbeat of attention given to the flimsy meme of Iran’s "nuclear weapons program." And a few days before the Vienna nuclear negotiations finally culminated in an agreement, all of this came together at a twin BRICS/SCO summit in Ufa, Russia -- a place you’ve undoubtedly never heard of and a meeting that got next to no attention in the U.S. And yet sooner or later, these developments will ensure that the War Party in Washington and assorted neocons (as well as neoliberalcons) already breathing hard over the Iran deal will sweat bullets as their narratives about how the world works crumble.
In May, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Moscow, where Gazprom Chief Executive Alexei Miller and China National Petroleum Corp Vice President Wang Dongjin signed a gas export deal which paves the way for 30 bcm/y to China via a new "Western Route." Now, slumping Chinese demand (a pervasive problem at the heart of the global commodities downturn), threatens to undercut the agreement.
In what may be the biggest story of the year, if confirmed, Greek newspaper To Vima reports that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has asked Russian President Vladimir Putin for 10 billion dollars in order to print drachmas. But the real shocker: on the night of the referendum, word came from Russia that Putin did not want to support Greece’s return to the drachma. After that, Tsipras had no choice left but to “surrender” to German Chancellor.
Russian municipal bond risk is surging once again (at 6-week highs) heading towards crisis-levels as Bloomberg reports numerous regions (including Chukotka - across from Alaska, Belgorod -near Ukraine, and three North Caucus republics) are prompting concerns as debt-to-revenue levels top 100% (144% in the case of Chukotka). The clock is ticking for President Vladimir Putin to defuse a situation he set off in 2012 with decrees to raise social spending. That contributed to a doubling in the debt load of Russia’s more than 80 regions to 2.4 trillion rubles ($42 billion) in the past five years and it all rolls within the next two to three years.
This is it. It is indeed historic. And diplomacy eventually wins. In terms of the New Great Game in Eurasia, and the ongoing tectonic shifts reorganizing Eurasia, this is huge: Iran — supported by Russia and China — has finally, successfully, called the long, winding 12-year-long Atlanticist bluff on its “nuclear weapons.” And this only happened because the Obama administration needed 1) a lone foreign policy success, and 2) a go at trying to influence at least laterally the onset of the new Eurasia-centered geopolitical order.
Fifteen years after Vladimir Putin first walked into the Kremlin, Russia’s army is bigger, stronger, and better equipped than at any time since the end of the Cold War. Able to call on three quarters of a million frontline troops, The Telegraph reports, with more tanks than any other country on the planet, and the world’s third largest air force, Russia retains much of the brute force associated with a former superpower. But it has also rapidly modernised, spending millions on rearmament and retraining programmes aimed at professionalising the lumbering, conscript-reliant force it inherited from the Soviet Union. The latest effort, as Reuters reports, Putin has ordered the creation of a new reserve armed force as part of steps to improve training and military readiness at a time of international tensions with the West over Ukraine.
"Russia intends to support the revival of Greece's economy by broadening cooperation in the energy sector. Accordingly we are studying the possibility of organising direct deliveries of energy resources to Greece, starting shortly."
Earlier today we showed one, less than official, interpretation of what may be going on in the Kremlin at this moment. And since a Grexit, despite Friday's relief rally, suddenly seems all too real, the topic of just what Putin thinks about Greece in European limbo (or rather its naval bases) becomes pertinent all over again. Luckily, we know precisely how Putin feels about Greece and a potential Grexit
Greece's outspoken Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis laid out the details for the country's pipeline project with Russia on Thursday and went out of his way to let PM Alexis Tsipras know that the referendum "no" vote is "not going to become a humiliating 'yes'".
In an odd escalation over the Grexit fiasco, where Greece is now expected to provide yet another detailed reform proposal today by midnight at the very latest, it was the one man whose decision will make or break the Eurozone when (if) he decides to impose even more ELA collateral haircuts (or yank ELA entirely) forcing Greece to Grexit by imposing its own currency (since there is no legal mechanism to kick a nation out of the new Berlin Wall) that made some surprisingly candid comments on the fate of the Greek negotiations. According to Reuters, ECB president Mario Draghi voiced "unprecedented doubts about the chances of rescuing Greece from bankruptcy as Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras was due to put forward last-ditch reform proposals on Thursday."
With Greece’s debt situation spiraling downwards, the European project is showing some cracks. The July 5 referendum could end up amounting to a mandate on whether or not Greece stays in the euro. In the meantime, the turmoil offers an opportunity for Russia to advance its interests... and with The Krlemlin reporting that Putin held discussions with Hollande today, it appears something is going on behind the scenes.