Trump: Apparent backtracking and real-politik in trade.

So far Trump is playing it straight down the line. His much touted backtracking on Chinese currency manipulation is not quite as straight forward as the MSM makes it out to be. Big surprise.

 

Trump

On April 14, the U.S. Treasury Department released its semiannual report on the currency exchange policies of major U.S. trading partners. The report found that currently no country’s policies could be considered manipulative within the context of both current definitions and past practices. However the US kept China, Japan, Germany, Taiwan, South Korea and Switzerland on the list of countries to monitor. The current reported findings are in contrast to Trump’s campaign rhetoric on China, but they are in line with current economic thinking and legal definitions regarding currency manipulation.

Trump’s administration is being constrained by the current legal definitions, case law and by past practice criteria — bilateral trade balances, current account balances and currency intervention policies — used in previous reports to determine which countries should be monitored. Nothing has changed so it’s no wonder the US bureaucracy had the same opinions that they’ve held for the past 8 years.

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The ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ in the Syrian cruise missile strike

The current information war, that is raging globally, makes it difficult to assess which description of the Trump Tomahawk strike on the Syrian airfield at Shayrat is closest to the facts. Even the facts as to whether there was actually a chemical war-gas attack was being called into question. Emerging facts seems to reinforce that indeed there had been a release of war-gas in Khan Sheikhoun Syria and that people had died. Other than that probability we have to enter a ‘Wilderness of Mirrors’ where truth is a very slippery commodity. As Churchill was reported as to have said,” In war the first casualty is the truth”.

USN

At first blush three possible scenarios come to mind:-

#1 Assad launched an aircraft bombing raid carrying Sarin gas munitions and attacked civilians in Khan Sheikhoun killing many innocents.

#2 The Syrian air force bombed a rebel / islamist logistics installations in Khan Sheikhoun using conventional bombs. Secondary explosions suggested that a major rebel munitions and possibly a manufacturing facility had been hit, releasing stored Chlorine & Sarin war-gasses, killing many innocents.

#3 This was an inside job by rogue US security services to tear the initiative from Assad’s grasp and forestall his victory in the Syrian Civil War. Collateral damage saw the killing many innocents.

Occam’s Razor suggests that either scenario #1 or #2 as most probably likely scenarios, with #2 shading scenario #1 based on current information.

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LOCSTAT: Major US Naval deployments on 6 April 2017

Carrier Strike Groups
The USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is underway in the Atlantic Ocean for a sustainment exercise.
The USS Carl Vinson CSG is on a scheduled port visit to Singapore while underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR.
The USS George H.W. Bush CSG is underway in a deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.

Stratfor
Amphibious Ready Groups/Marine Expeditionary Units
The USS America is underway for sea trials in the Pacific Ocean.
The USS Bataan ARG is underway in a deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet AOR supporting maritime security operations and conducting theater security cooperation efforts.
The USS Bonhomme Richard is underway in the U.S. 7th Fleet AOR for a routine patrol.
The USS Iwo Jima is underway for routine training in the Atlantic Ocean.
The USS Makin Island ARG is underway in the Indo-Pacific region to enhance amphibious capability with regional partners.

Courtesy:  STRATFOR

Yemen : US Mission Creep

The chance of US military Mission Creep in Yemen as well as Iraq and Syria appears to be ratcheting up with the departure of the Obama Administration. The further deployment of US Forces in both Iraq and Syria, aiming to destroy ISIS in the Levant and support Syrian rebel forces, has seen a constant incrementalism over the past 2 years as numbers grow. Now the US forces  deployed in Yemen also appear to be ratcheting up, as the US is drawn deeper into the stalemated Yemeni civil war. Comparing Yemen’s belligerent forces over the past two years shows almost no movement in core territorial gains for any side.

Stratfor

YEMEN :March 30, 2017

Stratfor

The US Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between the US and Iran by the outgoing Obama administration, to reduce the chances of direct US-Iranian armed altercations in the Middle East, was part of the de-escalation process that also saw the roll back in US sanctions against Iran. The obverse of this policy was a rise in Saudi and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) concerns about US future commitment to their defence. Especially so after the recent meeting between the Iranian Quads Force Commander Qassem Soleimani with rebel Houthi forces in Yemen. The Yemen Civil War has reached stalemate with both the Yemeni  forces under President Hadi, the al-Houthi rebels in the NW and the al Qaeda/ AQAP / ISIS aligned bedouins holding almost the same regions today, as at the outbreak of the civil war. Meanwhile the ‘peace talks’ in Switzerland drag on with no side in any hurry to compromise.

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On the brink of Article 50’s implementation: BREXIT HAPPENED FOR A REASON: EU MEMBERS LIKE POLAND OUGHT TO REASSESS

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło wrote a curiously desperate letter of last resort to the European Union to prevent the re-election of her Eurocrat predecessor, Donald Tusk. She appealed to democracy and national sovereignty. This must have sounded like a joke to the Eurocratic team that decided whom to choose. But all was in vain. Poland alone cast the dissenting vote. Representatives of twenty-seven other EU countries voted for the reelection of Tusk.

Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło

 

Poland’s former liberal prime minister Donald Tusk of the Civic Platform (PO) party has just been reelected as the president of the European Council (EC). The election has occurred against the explicit wishes of Poland’s current populist government of the Law and Justice Party (PiS). On the one hand, Tusk’s victory has triggered much gloating in the Europhoric, globalist, and German circles. On the other hand, it has prompted confused fury and embarrassment in the Polish ruling circles.

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