Archives for: Politics Category

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of sponsoring terrorism in Russia and Central Asia,

Putin spoke October 24 at the annual meeting of the Valdai Club, where foreign policy experts from around the world gather to talk about Russia. Although its major themes were previewed by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov a few days before, the Russian website slon.rusaid that the speech “could confidently be placed in the same rank as the 2007 Munich speech” (his first substantial criticism of the U.S. and the unipolar world it led) and was “the most anti-American speech Putin has given since coming to office 14 years ago.”

The entire speech is fascinating, and certainly will be studied as much as the Munich speechor his post-Crimean annexation speech by those trying to figure out Russia’s foreign policy. But one section of this speech is of particular interest to Bug Pit readers:

They [the U.S.] once sponsored Islamic extremist movements to fight the Soviet Union. Those groups got their battle experience in Afghanistan and later gave birth to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. The West if not supported, at least closed its eyes, and, I would say, gave information, political and financial support to international terrorists’ invasion of Russia (we have not forgotten this) and the Central Asian region’s countries. Only after horrific terrorist attacks were committed on US soil itself did the United States wake up to the common threat of terrorism. Let me remind you that we were the first country to support the American people back then, the first to react as friends and partners to the terrible tragedy of September 11.

 

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The tug-of-war between Russia and Ukraine over the separatist stronghold city of Donetsk has created a European Kashmir and will lead to several years of conflict, an expert on Russia has said.

Militarization by both sides along the border has risen and public animosity between the two countries is growing, said Igor Sutyagin, senior research fellow at the Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies and a former political prisoner in Russia.

“We have another Kashmir in the middle of Europe … There will be clashes from time to time because neither side will be able to pull back,” he told delegates on Wednesday at a Global Security Seminar organized by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, referring to the disputed territory on the border between India and Pakistan.

According to the United Nations, more than 3,500 people have died in the conflict, which erupted after pro-Western leaders took power in Kiev following street protests that chased Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych from power. >> Read More

 

Vladimir Putin slams President Obama for adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in his recent UN speech. From an interview with Serbia’s Politika newspaper, Bloomberg reports, 

It’s futile for the U.S. and its allies to “blackmail” Russia over the Ukraine crisis, President Vladimir Putin said in a newspaper interview today.

 

Russia’s partners should remember the risks involved in disputes between nuclear powers, Putin said. He accused Barack Obama of adopting a “hostile” approach in naming Russia as a threat to the world in the U.S. president’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 24.

 

“We hope that our partners will realize the futility of attempts to blackmail Russia and remember what consequences discord between major nuclear powers could bring for strategic stability,” Putin told Serbia’s Politika newspaper on the eve of his visit to the Balkan nation today.

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For the first time in two years, Japan and China are working to resume discussions on setting up a hotline to avoid accidental collisions between their forces at sea and in the air.

     The countries first decided to set up the hotline in April 2007, when Shinzo Abe was serving his first stint as prime minister. In June 2012, an agreement was reached on three broad principles: the hotline would connect their defense chiefs, discussions would be held regularly, and a common language and radio bandwidth would be set up to enable aircraft and ships to contact each other on site.

     But discussions broke off when Japan nationalized the Senkaku Islands, which China claims as its own. Last month, the two finally agreed to reopen the talks, but left open the timing. Japanese officials say they have proposed talks at the end of this month and are waiting for a reply from China.        Japan aims to gauge China’s true attitude by asking for a resumption two weeks before November’s Asia-Pacific Economic Conference summit, which Beijing will host. As for China appearing to be more flexible on certain issues lately, some still fear that Beijing only wants to boost its appeal internationally by showing that it is working to reduce tensions before the summit.

     In fact, even if China assents to the talks, it could end up asking for a delay or drag its feet on a final agreement. “We want to see how China reacts to the proposal,” said a high-ranking Japanese defense official.

     Abe told a Diet upper house committee that he wanted “to work this out quickly.” Tensions in the region continue. In May and June, Japanese and Chinese fighter jets came perilously close in the skies above the Senkakus in the East China Sea, for instance. >> Read More

 

“Two to three years is enough, not only to launch [settlements in rubles], but also to complete these mechanisms,” says Andrey Kostin, head of Russia’s second-biggest bank VTB, noting that the possibility of the US and EU widening sanctions to exclude Russia from the SWIFT global money transfer system would become “a point of no return” making any further dialog impossible. However, as Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin explains in this interview, how Russia’s military and industrial complex is responding to a growing threat from America. Russia is not responding with any talk about the nuclear button (at least not yet); but they are preparing for such an eventuality: “we are creating a nuclear submarine fleet… capable of reaching any country on any continent, if [USA] suddenly becomes the aggressor, and our top-most national interests come under threat,” adding that Obama’s coup has ushered in “the complete demise of the Ukrainian State.” 

As RT reports, ?two to three years would be enough time for Russia to switch to international settlements to the ruble, Andrey Kostin, head of Russia’s second-biggest bank VTB, said… 

The media has reported on the possibility of the US and EU widening sanctions to exclude Russia from the SWIFT global money transfer system.

 

Kostin said the move would become “a point of no return” and that any further dialogue would be impossible if SWIFT was cut off.

“If you look at Iran’s experience, shutting down SWIFT only happens when all relations; political, economic, cultural, even diplomatic, break down,” the VTB boss said.

“I don’t know how [Western] banks could block SWIFT and then expect cooperation in the fight against terrorism and nuclear disarmament.”

 

However, replacing SWIFT within Russia won’t be difficult, Kostin said.

 

“We have a [similar] system at the Central Bank of Russia and others. The Central Bank has tested this system, and we can switch to it at any moment.”

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President Barack Obama today hosted a private dinner for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the White House here, ahead of their summit level talks.

Modi was welcomed by Obama who greeted him in Gujarati, “Kem Chho?” (how are you?), the mother tongue of the Prime Minister.

Set in an informal ambiance, the dinner is the first opportunity for both the leaders to interact with each other.

First Lady Michelle Obama, however, gave the dinner a miss.

Both the leaders were joined by 20 attendees at the dinner. The President was joined by Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice among others.

Modi was accompanied by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval and Indian Ambassador to the US, S Jaishankar among others.

 

With the biggest Hong Kong protest in recent history taking place over the weekend, and continuing indefinitely because one thing is certain: the local student demands for more democracy and the ouster of HK chief executive CY Leung will not be met, what everyone has focused on is what China’s response, call it crackdown, to the breakout of violence will be. After all, while algos and the Fed’s liquidity tsunami have priced in pretty much everything short of (or including, according to some) World War III, a repeat of Tiananmen square could well be large enough to where it registers as a slight downtick in the Fed’s balance sheet, pardon the S&P 500.

Hong Kong Chief Executive CY Leung

So for all those eager to track the progression of China’s responses to the protests, here is the first official statement via CRIEnglish: >> Read More

 

The total wealth of the 35 Mumbai MLAs who are seeking re-election increased by 137 per cent since 2009, according to affidavits submitted by them along with their nomination papers. Their wealth grew from Rs 350 crore in 2009 to Rs 830 crore in 2014.

Over half-a-dozen MLAs registered an increase of more than 400 per cent in their wealth, with NCP’s MLA from Kurla Milind Kamble leading the list. Kamble’s wealth grew by 29,900 per cent — from Rs 25,000 in 2009 to Rs 75 lakh in 2014.

Mumbai has 36 constituencies. Of the total 36 MLAs, 35 are seeking re-election. Former BJP MLA Gopal Shetty is not contesting this time as he has been elected to the Lok Sabha.

The major gainer in wealth in terms of parties are the four Shiv Sena MLAs, whose cumulative wealth grew at 601 per cent, from Rs 4.68 crore to Rs 32.81 crore. They were followed by the Congress, whose 17 MLAs showed a cumulative growth of 238.40 per cent, from Rs 86.79 crore to Rs 293.7 crore. They are followed by the six MNS MLAs, whose cumulative wealth grew by 173.45 per cent, from Rs 27.09 crore to Rs 74.08 crore.

After NCP’s Kamble, the major individual gainer in wealth is Sena legislator Bala Sawant whose wealth increased by 1,945 per cent, from Rs 0.11 crore to Rs 2.25 crore. The third highest increase has been registered by Shiv Sena MLA Ravindra Waikar from Jogeshwari, who has shown an increase of 1,071 per cent, from Rs 1.75 crore in 2009 to 20.5 crore in 2014. >> Read More

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Team ASR,
Baroda, India.