Trump’s Expected Surprise with Jerusalem

If there’s a feature that distinguishes the administration of the North American president, Donald Trump is the lack of a foreign policy platform, augmented by some sort of fatal obsession to dismantle what could be called the legacy of his predecessor, Barack Hussein Obama.

Without risking exaggeration it can be said that in that line of thoughts falls the recently publicized decision of the United States of transferring from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem the embassy of their country in Israel.

The acknowledgement of Jerusalem as eternal and indivisible capital of Israel, according to a resolution of the Parliament of that country not recognized by the international community has been a red line that neither far-right U.S. presidents have dared to cross, Ronald Reagan and his Santa Fe platform included.

The implications of the measure is great and the repercussions that will soon take place, deep both for the U.S. political credibility and the razorblade equilibrium of that volatile area which is the Middle East where Washington has key interests since, in essence, condones geographical expansion through territories under military occupation.

For the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the moving of the North American embassy is some sort of manna falling into his lap in an adverse international political landscape to his plans of territorial expansion since such behavior leads to the perpetuation of a conflict of seven decades.

It must be remembered that, after the acceptance by the UN General Assembly of Palestine as an Observer non-member State, the same status that The Vatican, several European countries decided to recognize it and establish diplomatic relationships.

Without overlooking that it violates the IV Geneva Convention, of compulsory execution for all members of the international community, which outlaws the annexation of occupied territories by military forces, as it’s the case of Gaza, Cisjordania and East Jerusalem.

Although in days previous to the North American announcement were abundant the talks on the topic, there was a tiny expectation for common sense to prevail and President Trump backed down or, at least, looked for a way of commitment that allowed him that impossible exercise of serving two masers at the same time.

But pessimists were right all along and the North American leader chose to bang his fist on the table, but that on the long run, it can be harmful for the interests of his country in those Muslim States, among which Washington has allies whose first reaction has been quick to appear.

Turkey, a NATO member summoned an urgency meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference; the Arab League called a meeting of chancellors to approach the topic and it’s expected, mainly, the reaction of Egypt and Jordan, the two only Arab countries that have diplomatic relationships with Israel.

In a wide perspective the announcement has domestic repercussions in the United States, since it pleases a large sector on both chambers of the Congress favorable to Israel that have not accepted Trump just yet as one of their own, and abroad whose magnitude is yet to determine, given their implications in a matter of worldwide interest for being controversial and due to its political consequences.

In its Prophecies the French theurgist of Jewish origin Michel of Nostradamus whom prophesied four centuries in advance the birth of Adolf Hitler and the catastrophe he caused, he predicted that the Third World War would begin in Jerusalem. It’s very unlikely that, for lack of a new Hitler, and for the contention impose by atomic arsenals, Trump’s decision can cause another war.

But it’s also true that opens a period of risks from which it can emerge, as paradoxical as it seems, a clearer vision of the need to fix the Palestinian drama.

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Mercosur Hands Venezuela Ultimatum, Threatens Suspension

The rift between continental trading partners reflects the broader dissension pitting Leftist governments against a resurgent Right-Wing. 

In an rift between the continent's Left and Right governments, four of the five full member countries in the South American sub-regional trading bloc Mercosur,Tuesday issued an ultimatum to Venezuela saying it must fulfill “its obligations” by Dec. 1 or face suspension from the organization.

ANALYSIS: Mercosur: A Regional Bloc Fighting Off Imperialism

The conservative governments of Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay blocked Venezuela's socialist government from assuming Mercosur’s pro-tempore presidency on Aug. 1, after it was handed over by Uruguay, in a line of succession that has traditionally adhered to alphabetical order. But in assuming temporary control of Mercosur, the trio claimed that Venezuela’s move to assume the role was “self-proclaimed.”

Brazil’s Foreign Minister Jose Serra said in a statement late Tuesday that Venezuela has missed its four-year timeframe to satisfy all of Mercosur protocols since joining the bloc in 2012, including the integration of the trading bloc's and principles into sovereign law. rules into national . – installed along with unelected President Michel Temer following upon the removal from office of ousted President Dilma Rousseff Aug. 31, The four founding member states will temporarily take up the presidency until a long-term solution is set. Uruguay attempted to mediate the disagreement that has laid bare the clear political divides in the regional bloc that has recently shifted to be dominated by right-wing governments.

In recent months, Paraguay’s President Horacio Cartes has ratcheted up his opposition to Venezuela and called on the continental bloc to invoke the Democratic Charter against the country, which could lead to its suspension.  Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri vowed to seek Venezuela’s suspension from Mercosur immediately after he was elected late last year, but later backtracked amid a lack of regional support from Uruguay and Brazil's President Dilma Rousseff, who was removed from office last month in whathaswidely been condemned as a coup.

ANALYSIS: From Hugo Chavez to Mauricio Macri, Mercosur Shifts Right

Her unelected successor, President Michel Temer, and his administration has been one of the driving forces behind blocking Venezuela’s participation in Mercosur. Uruguayan Foreign Minister Rodolfo Novoa even accused his Brazilian counterparts of attempting to sway Uruguay’s position on Venezuela with a bribe.

In his statement, Brazil’s Jose Serra justified the ultimatum against Venezuela claiming it aimed to “preserve and strengthen Mercosur.”

Venezuela has had icy relations with Brazil since the removal of Rousseff from office, which the socialist nation and its allies in the region have condemned as a parliamentary coup. President Nicolas Maduro recalled Venezuela’s ambassador in Brasilia upon Rousseff’s impeachment, freezing bilateral ties with its neighbor.

Rising political tensions in Venezuela in recent months centered around opposition demands for a recall referendum against Maduro have sparked condemnation among the country’s critics in the region.

Mercosur is made up of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela as full members as well as five associate members, which are Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and Suriname.

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Evo Morales Denounces Acts of Violence by Striking Miners

Bolivian President Evo Morales denounced the recent acts of violence carried out by a group of striking miners. 

Bolivian President Evo Morales denounced the kidnapping and assassination of the country’s Vice Minister of the Interior Rodolfo Illanes, calling it an act of “conspiracy” against his administration during a press conference on Friday.

His comments take place after government officials confirmed Thursday evening that striking miners from the Federation of Mining Cooperative in Bolivia, known as Fencomin, were responsible for the kidnapping and murder of Llanes.

RELATED: Bolivian Government Confirms Minister Beaten to Death by Miners

The striking miners in Bolivia seized Illanes Thursday morning in a move authorities slammed as a “kidnapping” amid an escalating conflict between mine workers and President Evo Morales’ administration.

More than 100 arrests had been made in relation to the murder. Bolivian authorites early Friday morning said that they had recovered Illanes' body which reports say has sign of torture. 

In his remarks on Friday morning, Morales said the recent actions carried out by the Bolivian miners were rooted in self-serving political interests rather than genuine social change.  

"This mobilization of the Fencomin was a political conspiracy and there was no genuine social demands for the sector," President Morales told the media on Friday.

RELATED: Evo Morales' Rise to Power

The Fencomin miners, formerly allied with Morales, launched the indefinite strike after a series of deadlocked negotiations. They demand better working conditions and pay and reform of the country’s mining act, including elimination of certain environmental obligations, among other points. 

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Beijing announces S. China Sea drills, warns foreign navy patrols could end in ‘disaster’

Beijing has announced that it is closing off part of the South China Sea for military exercises this week, warning that freedom of navigation patrols by foreign navies could end “in disaster.”

Hainan’s maritime administration said an area southeast of the island province would be closed from Monday to Thursday, but failed to give any details about the nature of the exercises, AP reported. The navy and Defense Ministry gave no immediate comment.

The announcement came during a three-day visit to China by US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson to discuss the South China Sea dispute and ways to increase interaction between the two militaries, which continue to have a tense relationship.

Beijing also stated on Monday that it would not halt the construction on islands and reefs in the South China Sea, state news agency Xinhua reported the head of the country’s navy as saying, adding that China will not leave the outcropping that is under construction half finished.

However, despite the meeting between the US and Chinese militaries, Sun Jianguo, an admiral and deputy chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission, said behind closed doors on Saturday that freedom of navigation patrols by foreign navies in the South China Sea could end “in disaster,” according to comments seen by Reuters on Monday.

“When has freedom of navigation in the South China Sea ever been affected? It has not, whether in the past or now, and in the future there won’t be a problem as long as nobody plays tricks,” Sun said.

“But China consistently opposes so-called military freedom of navigation which brings with it a military threat, and which challenges and disrespects the international law of the sea,” Sun added.

“This kind of military freedom of navigation is damaging to freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and it could even play out in a disastrous way,” he said, without elaborating.

The comments are seen as a warning to the US, which has conducted such patrols close to Chinese-held islands over the past year. Those patrols prompted Beijing to send fighter jets and ships to track and warn off the American ships, while accusing the US of threatening its national security.

 
Victor Gao, director of the China National Association of International Studies, told RT that he believes the US was “very much involved in this arbitration case brought by the Philippines...trying to put pressure on China.”

“China will stand firm on the matter of principle and China will also use all military resources to make sure that the US will not win this battle against China,” he said.

China’s Monday statements come after a ruling by an arbitration court in The Hague found last week that China’s claims to almost all of the South China Sea are invalid. The court also ruled that Beijing has breached Philippine sovereignty by endangering its ships, fishing, and oil projects in the disputed sea.

Beijing responded by reiterating that the islands in the South China Sea are “China’s inherent territory,” adding that it could declare an air defense identification zone over the waters if it felt threatened.

In an apparent act of defiance to the verdict, China landed two civilian aircraft on new airstrips on the disputed Mischief and Subi reefs and dispatched its coast guard to block a Philippine fishing boat from reaching a contested shoal.

Beijing lays claim to almost all of the South China Sea, despite conflicting partial claims of Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan, and the Philippines. China has reportedly built military installations on reclaimed islands, including runways and missile launchers.

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NATO ‘speaks of defense, prepares offensive’, says Gorbachev

Despite NATO assurances that it seeks deterrence and dialogue with Russia, the alliance seems to be preparing to escalate conflict, says Mikhail Gorbachev, the man praised for ending the Cold War after the alliance convened at a summit in Warsaw.

“The rhetoric in Warsaw screams of an intention to practically declare war on Russia. They only talk about defense, but in fact they are preparing an offensive,” the former Soviet leader told Interfax.

Gorbachev, who played a key part in deescalating tensions between the Soviet Union and the West in the 1980s and eventually withdrew soviet troops from eastern Europe, was commenting on the two-day NATO summit in the Polish capital. Ironically, the city once lent its name to NATO’s communist counterpart, the Warsaw Pact, but has now seen leaders of the US-led alliance negotiating increased pressure on Russia.

 
In its final communique NATO accused Russia of “provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory” and “willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force”. The alliance said Moscow’s actions “are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten our long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.”

The key result of the Warsaw summit was the long-promised deployment of additional NATO troops at Russia’s border, namely in host nation Poland and the Baltic States. NATO claims that the deployment is necessary to prevent a possible attack from Russia and reassure the eastern European nations that other members are committed to defend them.

The anticipated decision and the entire event is perceived by many people as anti-Russian, Brian Becker from the anti-war 'Answer Coalition' told RT.

“It is a big show: you have 2,500 officials; you have 2,000 media, and you have the 28 members of NATO plus 26 partnering countries […] almost a quarter of the countries in the world under a US-led military alliance threatening Russia,” he said. “It is perceived as such in Russia, and it should be perceived as such.”

Russia believes that NATO’s new troop deployments as well as an increased number of military trainings near Russia’s territory, the creation of anti-ballistic missile sites in Europe and other moves are a threat to Russia’s national security. Its response was to increase its own troops in the west, saying it’s necessary to counter NATO’s new capabilities.

The alliance, Moscow says, plays the card of perceived Russian aggression to justify its overdue existence and push European nations into increasing defense spending. Improving budget discipline was praised by the alliance at the summit, even though the majority of members are still below NATO’s 2 percent GDP benchmark for military spending.

Critics of NATO like Gorbachev say it is taking risks by alienating Russia to secure its own goals.

“The world should realize that it can’t pretend that nothing concerning is happening. Russia cannot but keep its defense line, and this horrifying process must be stopped,” he said. “World peoples should stop this slide towards war so that nobody dared gamble with escalating the global tension and push the world to a new shooting war.”

The concern seems to be shared by some NATO members, which amid the summit reiterated on numerous occasions that the alliance is not seeking confrontation with Russia.

“We must ask if the world would be a better place when both sides conduct military exercises on the borders and arm themselves,” German Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Passauer Neue Presse on Thursday.

 
French President Francois Hollande said that the defensive block “has no role at all to be saying what Europe's relations with Russia should be,” adding that France doesn’t see Russia as a threat.

NATO’s official stance on Russia is that it wants to deter it while keeping channels open “when Russia’s actions make that possible”. But it also condemned Russia’s military presence in Syria and its support of the Syrian government, even though in Syria, Russia and NATO members have a rare moment of limited cooperation in fighting against terrorist groups.

Practically all ties with Russia were suspended by NATO after the Ukrainian political crisis escalated tension between the two. The NATO-Russia Council, a body that is supposed to tackle the differences, was reconvened after a two-year break and is to hold a meeting next week in Brussels.

Other decisions taken by NATO members at the Warsaw summit included the continued training of Iraqi troops, which will be moved from Jordan to Iraq proper, closer cooperation with the European Union on issues like opposing Russia and tackling the refugee crisis and deploying AWACS aircraft to monitor airspace over Syria and Iraq, “raising situational awareness” for the anti-IS operation led by the US.

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Putin: Russia will respond to 'aggressive NATO rhetoric'

Russia will take adequate measures to counter NATO's increasingly “aggressive rhetoric," President Vladimir Putin told MPs at the closing session of the State Duma. He called to create an international security system open to all countries.

It’s necessary to create a collective security system void of "bloc-like thinking" and open to all countries, Putin said on Wednesday in Russia's parliament.

"Russia is ready to discuss this extremely important issue," he said, adding that such proposals have been so far left unanswered by Western countries.

"But again, as it was at the beginning of WWII, we don't see any positive response," he continued. "On the contrary, NATO ups its aggressive rhetoric and aggressive actions near our borders."

"In this environment, we must pay special attention to strengthening our country's defense capabilities," he concluded.

Terrorism has become the major threat to international security, Putin said, comparing it to the rise of Nazism before WWII. Facing this challenge, the international community should work together rather than remain separated and divided, he said.

"What kind of lessons are needed to get rid of old-fashioned ideological discord and geopolitical games and unite in the fight against international terrorism? This common threat is rising right in front of us," Putin said.

Security issues should not prevail over economic growth and well being, the president warned: “Security and international affairs are equally important, but there is nothing more important than economy and welfare.

“These are indeed very complicated and tough issues, but our country’s future depends on how we will tackle them.”

NATO aims to feed fears by painting Russia as ‘treacherous enemy’ – Russian Defense Ministry

Putin’s keynote address comes amid NATO’s build-up in Eastern Europe. After Crimea’s re-unification with Russia in 2014, the bloc started deployment of troops, equipment and infrastructure to Poland and Baltic countries, arguing that it would protect the region from alleged “Russian aggression.”

At the upcoming Warsaw summit in July, NATO leaders are expected to green-light deployment of four battalions of up to 800 troops in each unit to the Baltic States and Poland, along with intensifying the scale and pace of multinational military exercises. Recent live-fire drills, Anakonda 2016, Saber Strike and BALTOPS, involved thousands of troops and hundreds of combat vehicles to simulate large-scale operations in Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Moscow says NATO’s build-up and its hostile rhetoric towards Russia aren’t helping to improve security and stability in Europe, and have triggered reciprocal measures.

The State Duma, the parliament’s lower house, is expected to go into summer recess before the general election starts this autumn. MPs will spend two months in the summer visiting their constituencies to meet voters, gearing up for the Duma elections scheduled for September.

Addressing the lawmakers, President Putin said the race has to be fair and transparent, and free of foul play. “I would like to thank all of you for everything that has been done over the past years … and, of course, look forward to seeing what we will be doing together with the parliament in the future,” he told MPs.

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Moscow warns of response after US sends destroyer to Black Sea

American warships entering the Black Sea will prompt “response measures” from Moscow, a top Russian diplomat has warned, adding that another US aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean is clearly an attempt to show force ahead of an upcoming NATO summit.
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