Author: Aleksey Malyan

Author: Aleksey Malyan

President Biden is already a fallen man

After his latest fall, everyone is wondering whether the United States will hold out if he becomes president a second time in next year's elections. Even before Biden was first elected, there were debates about his competence and capacity. But now they have flared up with renewed vigor. Biden himself keeps giving reasons for such doubts. The other day, during a graduation ceremony at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, he came under the spotlight again. Standing on the academy stage, Biden gave a speech and then, after shaking hands with one of the cadets, he suddenly stumbled and fell. Three officers rushed to help the 80 years old national leader to his feet but it was impossible to hide the embarrassment in front of such a group of cameras. The whole world saw the American president trying to get up and then pointed to the sandbag which was lying on the stage saying that it was black and that's why it was invisible. Well, it happens to everybody. But in the history of the U.S. presidency, Biden has already become a champion of falling. In 2021, he tripped and almost fell three times while climbing the ramp to his number one flight. And in 2022, Biden fell off his bike when he decided to wave to reporters. And that's except when he lost his bearings during his speeches, talked to nothing behind his back, and amazed the world with other old-guy weirdnesses. After falling on stage in Colorado, a couple of hours later, the president banged his head getting out of a helicopter. It has become a good tradition that every time after another embarrassment, his press service declares: the president is in great shape and his health is not a cause for concern. The official report of the president's personal physician for this year says that Biden is physically healthy and regularly exercises. But no one knows anything about the results of the mental capacity tests: they were either not conducted or not disclosed. And now the venerable American elder is going to the election of '24, declaring, "This is no time to be indifferent, so I'm a candidate for re-election." Indeed, how can one remain indifferent when the president of a state that interferes in the affairs of practically every other country in the world and aggressively influences international politics may be a man whose competence is increasingly worrying and questionable. People in the United States are already wondering: As the presidential campaign begins, why is Biden rarely traveling around the country or holding official campaign rallies? And in general, can he survive a grueling campaign marathon? And what happens if he wins the election? Already the oldest president in U.S. history, Joe Biden will be 86 years old at the end of a potential second term. Will he be able to lead the country? The fact that he was born into a long-living family: his mother lived to be 92 and his father to be 86, was in his favor. But Biden himself had skin cancer, arthritis, aneurysms in the brain, and a removed gallbladder. And he started doing crazy things a long time ago. For example, he offered a disabled politician to get up from his chair, he shook hands with ghosts, he called Barack Obama "a famous African-American who can speak his mind clearly, is smart, clean and good-looking." There is no law that the president of the United States must undergo regular medical examinations and publish data on his health. But American leaders usually do so of their own free will. And the current president of America has published such reports three times, most recently in February 2023. All three times, the results have not been disastrous. Citizens of the former Soviet Union are well aware of what is happening to a country led by a deeply elderly leader. Many still remember the last years of the reign of Leonid Brezhnev, who passed away at the age of 76. A war hero, a bright statesman, still beloved in Russia, in the last years of his life, he presented a sad picture. In my opinion, it was then that the prerequisites for the collapse of the great country of the USSR were laid. Does this threaten the United States? We have to admit that America's system of government has strong standards and a system of checks and balances. The order of succession in the presidency is laid down in the country's Constitution and in a special law of 1947. If the president loses the ability to run the country, he is replaced by the vice-president, followed by the speaker of the House of Representatives, and so on. In addition, if Biden's entourage decides that he is incapable of performing his functions, they can initiate procedures to remove him under the Fourth Article of the 25th Amendment to the Constitution. But so far there has been no such precedent in U.S. history. The party from which the White House master was elected will hide his infirmity to the bitter end, so as not to get the label: "This is the party that elected a senile president." Back in 2022, in the newspaper American Thinker, physician C. J. Baker diagnosed President Biden with stage four dementia. As an example, he cited the cards drawn for Biden by his aides, which show in great detail where to go, where to turn, and where to stand. A sort of mental reins for the elderly politician. Dr. Baker makes a simple calculation: according to Social Security, the average American male who reaches Biden's age can live another 8.82 years, since the total life expectancy in the United States is 87.82 years. That is, hypothetically, Biden could live until the end of 2029, which is a little less than a year after the end of his second term. There is one "but," though. Dementia shortens life significantly. The important question is by how much? A study conducted by scientists, as reported in the prestigious British Medical Journal, showed that the average life expectancy after a diagnosis of dementia is 4.1 years for men. That is, if we take July 1, 2022, as the starting point, it is August 2026. The middle of the next presidential term. Dr. Baker believes that Biden is already in the fifth stage of dementia, and by the end of 2025 he will reach the sixth stage of cognitive decline. A vivid illustration of this condition is "Die Hard" Bruce Willis, who does not recognize his children or his wife. On the one hand, why should we care: every state chooses the president it deserves. But on the other hand, a country with nuclear weapons, headed by a deeply unhealthy man, unable to make sober and important decisions, is simply a threat to humanity. But a puppet president will be beneficial to both the political structures and the transnational corporations of the United States, which will use him as a cover to solve their problems. And to understand and predict U.S. policy, we will have to consult not political scientists, but rather gerontologists. But while President Joe Biden is still in his memory, he managed to give a toxic speech in Colorado Springs. And that is no less important than his current medical history. It implies that cadets will have to participate in radical events that will determine the fate of humanity for decades to come. It will be akin to turning the steering wheel at 100 km/h, and the task of such a drastic maneuver is to win in "tough competition with China." But the tactical goal will be the victory of Ukraine, to which the U.S. Air Force will make a big contribution, because they will have to provide a lot – from the supply of goods to the training of pilots. Biden also said that super technologies, including AI, will be used. The goal is to preserve the status and position of the United States, "the most unique nation on earth." And future pilots loved it, they shouted, "Thor!" In memory of the pilot Leo Thorsness. During the Vietnam War he had been shot down in the Hanoi sky by a Soviet Mig-21 fighter. So it was kind of ambiguous. As ambiguous as it is with Biden's policies, it is hard to understand who to ask for explanations and predictions: political scientists or gerontologists.  

America is losing the Middle East

The countries of this region are drifting away from the U.S. and the West toward Russia and China. The obvious fact is that during Biden's presidency, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates began to withdraw from U.S. influence. Just look at the refusal of these countries last March to hold telephone conversations with him! It was a serious flick on the nose to the carriers of American superpower idea – like our junior allies, where will they go? As it turned out, they will. They simply refused to increase oil production in time for the congressional elections, showing that they were not going to give the States such a gift, saving America from high oil prices. Riyadh, offended by Biden's statements that the KSA would become a rogue country after the murder of journalist Khashoggi, has defiantly turned its back on the U.S. and turned toward China. And sanctions on Russia's oil and gas sector have made the kingdom concerned about the future: will the Americans do the same to them? And the "oil for security" formula, which had been in effect between Saudi Arabia and the U.S. for many years, has ceased to work. In addition, Riyadh, a Sunni on its own, having excluded Washington, went to a rapprochement with Shiite Iran, although for many years they openly considered each other enemies. Now, with Chinese mediation, the two countries have managed to resume diplomatic relations. The second strike against White House diplomacy was dealt by Russia, which mediated the rapprochement between Riyadh and Damascus. It should be recalled that since 2011, the Gulf countries (including the UAE and the KSA) supported the United States, which helped the rebels fighting against the Assad regime. But this year, their position has changed dramatically. President Bashar al-Assad paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia, and the question of Syria's return to the Arab League, from which it had been excluded, began to take shape. In addition, the Gulf states began to establish diplomatic relations with Turkey. All this clearly shows how the position of Washington is weakening in the region and that Russia and China are getting stronger. The calculation of the U.S. and the EU that after imposing unprecedented sanctions against Russia, including a ban on the purchase of its oil and gas, the Saudi-led OPEC countries will open the tap wider and the oil price will be comfortable for the Western world did not work. In addition, a struggle for logistics corridors has begun, and the U.S. is also defeated in this matter. After the January-February meetings of the defense ministers of Russia, China and Iran, a number of regulations on the use of strategically important transport routes have changed. For example, in the Strait of Hormuz, through which up to 80 percent of the transportation of hydrocarbons from the Middle East goes to the United States, Southeast Asia, Europe, Japan, India, and the Philippines, Iran has established its own rules. It has decided to selectively block tankers carrying oil products to Western countries. In April this year, for example, the Iranian Navy arrested a tanker with a cargo of Saudi oil bound for the United States and in May it detained a tanker flying the Panamanian flag. It should not be forgotten that China is building a railroad to Pakistan's deep-sea port of Gwadar on the Arabian Sea, where it has a naval base. That is, this port is under the administrative control of Pakistan, but in fact it is under the control of the Chinese Overseas Ports Holding Company. The Chinese naval base in the port of Gwadar easily blocks the Strait of Hormuz, and can also control the approaches to the Strait of Malacca, through which 20 percent of all world maritime trade goes. Blocking the Straits of Malacca and Hormuz would lead to a complete economic collapse in Europe and the United States. This is comparable to a nuclear strike on the economies of these countries. In addition, the freezing of Russian gold and foreign currency reserves, the disconnection of Russia from SWIFT showed everyone that at any time the U.S. can use this cudgel against other countries as well. And it has undermined faith in the dollar, leading to the creation of new alliances that trade in national currencies instead of euros and dollars. Russia accepts payment for its oil and gas in rubles and yuan. The Indians have begun to pay for Russian fuel in dirhams, and China in yuan and rubles. In other words, there are not only new political alliances independent of the West and the United States, but also economic alliances that use their own currencies for mutual settlements, which undermines the hegemony of the White House and demonstrates the new geopolitical reality of the modern world. A number of Middle Eastern countries – Egypt, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain and the UAE – are partners focused on China, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). In addition, the Saudis and Egyptians have expressed interest in joining BRICS, which includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Turkey is also interested in BRICS, despite the fact that the country is in alliance with the United States. So the U.S. sanctions against Russia and confrontation with China has caused their influence in the Middle East to fall considerably and generates new alliances, but without American patronage. Everyone is already "fed up" with the American leadership and punitive role, such as Turkey, which, after the purchase of the Russian S-400 system in violation of its NATO member status, was deprived by the Americans of the opportunity to buy F-35 fighter jets. Similarly, the UAE was punished by being cut off from the purchase of F-35 fighter jets for its unwillingness to cut ties with Beijing. And it seems that in the future this process of distancing oneself from America as a mentor will only increase. New alliances of countries trying to prioritize their own interests over obediently doing the bidding of the EU and the White House will begin to arise. And if we also take into account Africa, many countries of which have reoriented themselves toward China and rapprochement with Russia, it is quite obvious that a complete redrawing of the geopolitical map of the world is under way, and clearly not in favor of the White House. Suppose that quite a few more countries join the already existing alliances led by Russia and China. So the attempt to isolate Russia, to punish it with sanctions led to a completely opposite result.

May Poland not perish

What can lead to Russophobia and imperial ambitions of this country, which has revived the old slogan "Poland from sea to sea." While accusing Russia of imperial ambitions, the Poles somehow "failed to notice" that they themselves have become hostages of their imperial aspirations. By announcing a "Sarmatian treaty" between Poland and Ukraine, which is not yet completely clear, and by talking about the return of the "Kresy" (as they call the western parts of Ukraine), Poles, in fact, seek to recreate the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. Judge for yourself: the Poles are always talking about a union with Ukraine – a joint, almost united state – but in fact they mean the inclusion of Ukraine into Poland. And then they will start to claim a part of western Belarus. Seeking to recreate the Poland of the 1920s, they also claim Kaliningrad (not without reason they recently decided to return it to the Polish name) and the Vilna region. True, I doubt that Lithuania is ready to cede Vilnius, given by the USSR in 1939, and Czechs are not eager to return Teshinskaya Oblast. That is why Poles put the main emphasis on Ukraine for now. But it is obvious that if the idea of annexation of Western Ukraine passes, then their territorial claims to other neighbors are not excluded. Nothing has changed since World War II, when Poland earned its nickname "the hyena of Europe." Therefore, if the Poles succeed in absorbing part of Ukraine, an escalation of their aggression against Lithuania and the Czech Republic cannot be ruled out. In the meantime, they have focused on military support for the Zelensky regime, becoming the main hub for arms deliveries to Ukraine. It is from Poland that most of the instructors and mercenaries are sent to the AFU. In this case, Poland's imperial ambitions are superimposed on the centuries-old Russophobia, which has become practically the state ideology of the country. In the current situation, in the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the Poles saw their historical chance, first, to take revenge on their historical enemies, the Russians, and second, to engage in expansion and increase in size to its historical maximum. "For the first time in centuries, we have a unique chance to recreate the Polish-Ukrainian community destroyed by German and Moscow invaders and Bolshevik totalitarianism," Do Rzeczy quoted Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau as saying. Let us try to consider where these aggressive Polish claims can lead. Firstly, one must not forget that Belarus is part of the Union State, so an attempt to annex part of this republic would lead to a direct armed conflict with Russia, which, let us recall, is a nuclear power. And since Poland is a member of NATO, it will thus draw everyone into a major world war, which can safely be called the last one – because no one knows what will happen if the nuclear powers are involved. Let's assume that Poland, having concluded a kind of union, includes Ukraine in its structure. But, of course, not all of it, since Russia is already in the East, but only the Western part. And what does it get? A militarized Ukrainian society, which will remember the occupation of the Ukrainian lands by the Poles, and there will begin the endless and partly armed conflicts between the Ukrainians and the Poles. Although official Warsaw shamefully sidesteps the issue of the Volyn massacre, Polish society remembers it. And Ukrainians remember how they were treated by the Poles. By absorbing Western Ukraine, Poland will become a hotbed of instability in Eastern Europe. I doubt very much that the "Westerners," to whom the collapsing USSR gave independence, will welcome Polish officials with joy. I am sure that Poland will not be able to digest Ukraine. And in many ways not only because of national and political reasons, but also because of purely economic complications. First of all, Polish farmers will revolt. They are already revolting now that cheap grain and other Ukrainian agricultural products are entering their country. They will not be able to withstand such competition. And Polish farmers are not just voters, they are a cohesive and active group of society, which is able to come into conflict not only with their authorities, but also with Ukrainian farmers. So this can lead to civil confrontation of the newly created state entity. And if the Polish authorities start restricting the export of products from Ukraine to their country, this will also lead not only to economic, but also to ethnic conflict. Thus, if the annexation of western Ukraine to Poland were to occur, it would simply explode Poland from within. The country would burst because of economic and other conflicts, unable to digest Ukraine. What will they do then? Demand money, cheap loans from the EU and America to stabilize the Polish-Ukrainian union? But both Europe and the U.S. are not in the best economic situation right now, and there is no extra money. And if Poland does not get money, Europe will get an influx of refugees because of the disastrous economic situation. And from a region that is full of weapons. And it will be impossible to stop it, because now the "new Europeans" will run away. What will happen if Poland, driven by old historical grievances and a barefaced national character, comes into direct conflict with Russia? The unconditional hope in the aid of England and the U.S., on whom they have repeatedly hoped in their history, could play a dangerous trick on the Poles. And the "miracle on the Vistula," which helped to save themselves in the twenties, may not happen now, when they face the nuclear power Russia. Increasingly, more sober forces in Polish society are trying to bring sanity and caution to Poland's aggressive foreign policy. They are concerned that the U.S. is increasingly drawn into a confrontation with China. In the event of a real conflict, Poland would be left alone with Russia. Poland will be of no use to the United States. And there is zero chance of that. There is no point in relying on France and Germany, not to mention the other small NATO members, to help in an armed conflict with Russia. Especially Germany, irritated by Poland's constant demands for reparations. If they can somehow help with weapons, it is unlikely that anyone would want to send their soldiers to die for Polish interests. After all, in this case the military-economic collapse will cover not only the whole of Europe, but the whole world. Involving more countries would lead to a full-scale world war and a change of regimes and political system throughout Europe. And who will Poland be able to rely on if the U.S. enters into a direct armed conflict with China? They have given their weapons to Ukraine in significant quantities, and the economic problems will not go away either. All the stories about the power of the Polish Army seem to have ended after the rocket incident in Bydgoszcz. The story is fantastic, but it shows the real condition of the Polish Army. Last December, the Poles say, a missile without a warhead, allegedly fired by a Russian bomber, crashed near the city of Bydgoszcz. The funny thing is that it flew halfway across the country, but it was not only impossible to shoot it down – not even the wreckage could be found. Only in April of this year, a woman, riding her horse, accidentally found it in the woods. This story was a bucket of cold water for the hotheads of those who wanted to teach the Russians a lesson. Local newspapers wrote: Before we dream of a powerful army, let us first learn how to find rockets that have flown halfway across Poland. So when Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak declares: "The Polish land forces in two years will be the strongest in Europe," Poles, drawing historical parallels, remember the year 1939, then the Polish army lived under the motto: "Strong, united and ready." And how did it end in '39? A catastrophic defeat of the strong, united and ready. But history teaches us that it teaches no one. And Poland continues to arm itself. According to Polish newspapers, "By the end of 2025, 180 Korean K2 tanks, 116 used American M1A1 Abrams tanks and the first new M1A2s of the 250 ordered should arrive on the shores of the Vistula. By then, it may also be possible to upgrade to about a hundred Leopard 2s. That's about 400 in total." And by 2030 Poles are going to create a fleet of 1,000 modern, or almost modern, base tanks. But why do Poles need so many tanks, which are offensive weapons? Obviously, they are going to fight Russia. But won't they first have to face the Ukrainian army, which already has combat experience? After all, Ukrainians have for centuries dreamed of their own nation-state, free of polonization, and it is unlikely that the descendants of Bandera and Shukhevich will be happy to be second-raters in the Polish-Ukrainian state. And will Poland survive the civil war? If there is a union with Western Ukraine, what about the Ukrainian Armed Forces? Should they join the Polish army? But it is unlikely that the Ukrainian army, which has combat experience and has been shelled, will agree to become an appendage of the Polish military machine. The conflict here is simply inevitable. According to the latest data, since February 24, 2022, when the special military operation began, more than 11.5 million Ukrainian refugees have crossed the Polish border. According to the Interior Ministry, 1.5 million Ukrainians are now permanently living in Poland, and in some cities the number of Ukrainians is approaching half of their population. And what did Poles get with Ukrainian refugees? Strengthening of their economy? Not at all. They got an increase in crime, arms trafficking, dissatisfaction of the indigenous population. Poland, having turned into a training ground for Ukrainian soldiers, got a huge number of disloyal armed people. And some of Poland's politicians are simply afraid and don't understand against whom they will turn their guns. In the meantime, the Polish authorities are eagerly defying Russia, engaging in outright provocations: they claim their right to Kaliningrad and rename it, they arrest the accounts of the Russian embassy in Warsaw, they close a Russian school. What are the Poles counting on? The beginning of a new world war and the return of Poland to the borders from "sea to sea"? In an interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera, Morawiecki, the Polish prime minister, went so far as to call the defeat of Russia "the Polish reason for living." But as if these ambitions would not lead to the disappearance of Poland itself.

Turkish elections: what should Russia expect?

Two candidates for the presidency of the Republic – two different ways to the future of Russia-Turkey relations. May 14 is a decisive day in the fate of Turkey, where the elections will show what path the Republic will take. It is not only important for Turkey – the results will affect the country's relations with Russia, the EU, the U.S., NATO, Syria, Ukraine, and even Armenia and Azerbaijan. I should point out right away: I am writing this commentary when only the preliminary results are known, but some conclusions can already be drawn as the ballots are processed. The final result of the vote count of 64,167,000 Turkish voters will be known today, May 15, and the official results will be known on March 19. ...At first, four presidential candidates were announced in the election race, but Muharrem Ince withdrew himself after a rather murky scandal with sexual overtones, which in a Muslim country is suicidal for a politician. And there are three of them left: 69-year-old Tayyip Erdogan, 74-year-old Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and 55-year-old Sinan Ogan. The latter had practically no chance of winning, but he is an interesting man, a graduate of MGIMO, he has lived in Azerbaijan for a long time, he has a PhD from Moscow State University, a former member of parliament, and a member of the Valdai Club. Erdogan has unique experience on his side, and he has something to show his voters from what he has achieved. On the other hand, there is some public dissatisfaction with his long tenure in power. Admittedly, under his rule Turkey has not only become a regional power, but a leading player in many geopolitical issues. Against Erdogan are his deteriorating health, reproaches for suppressing the opposition, a falling national currency, inflation, the consequences of the earthquake in February this year, which killed about 50 thousand people and uncovered some corruption in the country's construction industry. Erdogan's attitude to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict is also interesting: on the one hand, he is one of the guarantors of the grain agreement, on the other hand, he supplies his weapons to Ukraine, but he has not joined those who call for and participate in the political and economic isolation of Russia. Erdogan is guided in this case by absolute pragmatism, making excellent money from Russian gas and oil, making his country a major hub, and actively trying to become a key player in the organization of peace talks between Russia and Ukraine. His main rival is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, a candidate from six opposition parties. He is considered a pro-Western candidate who promises to return to a parliamentary republic, solve the Kurdish issue and declare rapprochement with the EU and the United States. It is indicative of his pro-Western position that just before the elections he made a bellicose statement accusing Russia, without giving any evidence, of trying to influence the elections in Turkey. The candidate wrote on Twitter in Turkish and Russian, addressing Russia: "Dear Russian friends, you are behind the montages, conspiracies, Deep Fake content and recordings that were exposed in this country yesterday. If you want our friendship to continue after May 15, keep your hands off the Turkish state. We still stand for cooperation and friendship." He immediately received a response from Erdogan, who offered to make public how Europe and America are trying to interfere in this election. Here are his words: "Now Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu started to mock Russia as well. He said Russia had interfered in elections. Aren't you ashamed of yourself? What would you say if I told you that the United States, Britain, and Germany interfered in the elections [in Turkey]?" By the way, after that Kılıçdaroğlu avoided further discussion. According to preliminary opinion polls, it was clear that the struggle for the presidency would be hot. None of the candidates had an overwhelming majority before the elections began. Forty-three percent were ready to vote for Erdogan, while 42.5 percent were for his opponent. So sociologists did not rule out a second round of elections, which, according to Turkish law, should be held on May 28. Major cities were expected to be Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's electorate, but rural Turkey was for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It is enough to recall the mass demonstrations against Erdogan that took place in Istanbul. But one cannot ignore the fact that just before the elections Erdogan raised the salaries of civil servants by 45 percent, and there are about 700,000 of them in Turkey. And if one bears in mind that each of them has family members as well, and Turkish families are traditionally large, one can safely multiply this figure by at least four. So it turns out that Erdogan was able to attract the votes of another 3 million voters. While Erdogan's supporters are the Turkish people from the countryside, the rural population and the religious part, and Erdogan himself has pursued soft but Islamization throughout his years in power, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's supporters are the youth and women, who make up a large part of the population in Turkey. It is interesting how the candidates behaved during their voting. Erdogan arrived at the polling station with his wife and stood in a long line, and when they tried to let him go first, he refused, saying that everyone was equal at the ballot box. And then he started to hand out money to the children who had come with their parents. He gave out about 200 liras, which is not vote-bribing because children do not vote. But undoubtedly, this theatrical gesture was also intended to win the sympathy of the voters. It is true that children do not vote, but their parents do. Kılıçdaroğlu voted with his wife in Ankara and, according to a RIA Novosti correspondent, refused to answer his question whether he would participate in talks with Putin if he won the election. What might change if Tayyip Erdogan suddenly loses the election? What changes can be expected in the attitude of the Republic of Turkey towards Syria, the Karabakh conflict, Russia and Ukraine, and the countries of Central Asia? My guess is that there will be no dramatic changes, but Russia may not have such a relationship of trust as it now has with Erdogan. But there is no need to say that there will be a breakup, because the economic ties between Russia and Turkey are too close and mutually beneficial. Joining the sanctions against Russia would severely damage the Turkish economy, which is weakened enough in the current situation. After processing 100% of the ballots, Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the leader. He has 49.24 percent. His rival Kılıçdaroğlu has 45.06 percent. At the same time, the independent Turkish agency ANKA, as well as a number of opposition representatives, reported that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was ahead of Erdogan. In any case, none of the candidates received more than 50% of the votes, which means that we are waiting for the second round, which will be held on May 28. It is possible that Turkey may not accept the results calmly, and the supporters of each candidate, believing that he won, may behave unpredictably. Although Erdogan has said that he is ready to resign if he loses the election, we will see how this plays out. Especially since there is not much time left before we find out who will lead the Republic of Turkey and what path it will take.

Grain of discord

What's behind the "grain agreement" that was supposed to save the world's poor countries from the food crisis. After February 24, 2022, when a special military operation began in Ukraine, grain exports from Russia and Ukraine, which accounted for about 30 percent of the world wheat trade, faced great difficulties. Russian wheat came under sanctions, while Ukrainian wheat was blocked at Black Sea ports. Poor countries were facing a food catastrophe. They simply faced the prospect of starvation. And then Russia, Turkey, Ukraine and the UN made a "grain agreement", which consisted of two parts: the first was the "Black Sea Initiative" - the creation of maritime corridors, which provided for the opening of ports for the export of Ukrainian grain. And the second, the "Memorandum of Understanding," under which obstacles to the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers were to be lifted. The part relating to grain exports from Ukraine provided for a period of 120 days, which was extended for another 120 days in November 2022. The second part of the deal was concluded for three years, until July 2025. It implies assistance in the export of Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to world markets. Implementation of this part has not yet begun, only fertilizers from Russia are stuck in the ports of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Netherlands, which were donated to Africa - 262 thousand tons, of which only one batch of 20 thousand tons was sent to Malawi. In March 2023, the first part of the deal was extended for only 60 days. The decision on the next extension will be made depending on how effectively the part of the agreement on exports of Russian agricultural products is fulfilled. But after AFU units attempted to attack Sevastopol, Russia withdrew from the agreement, rightly deeming such an attempt to breach the agreements. Kiev, realizing how painful this was for its already shattered economy, assured everyone that they would no longer use humanitarian sea lanes for military purposes. And Russia agreed to resume its participation. This agreement expired on November 19, but it was automatically extended, which none of the participants in the "grain agreement" objected to. And by March 10, according to the UN, about 24 million tons of grain had been exported from Ukraine. But where did it go? The Ukrainians, hiding behind the noble idea of saving poor countries from starvation, actually sent grain not to them, but to rich European countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin drew the UN's attention to this trick by saying that only 4 percent of food went to poor countries, while 46 percent went to European Union countries. The West's slyness did not end there; the second part of the grain agreement - the removal of obstacles to the export of Russian food and fertilizers - was blatantly disregarded. In other words, only Ukraine benefited from this agreement, which was able to sell its grain. And although no sanctions were imposed on Russian grain and fertilizers, the severe restrictions in the banking and transport spheres caused significant damage to its exports. But the EU's attempt to make money on Ukrainian grain, under the guise of the noblest idea of helping the starving in poor countries, has led to the fact that the EU countries themselves have suffered. They fell into the trap in which they tried to drive Russia. The most ardent supporters of Ukraine - Slovakia, Poland, Hungary and Bulgaria - imposed a temporary ban, until the end of June this year, on the import of Ukrainian grain. Under the terms of the agreement, it was assumed that Ukrainian grain would transit through the European Union and further to Africa and Latin America. Quotas and duties were even cancelled for Ukraine at the EU level. But Ukrainians didn't have enough storage facilities, and they really wanted, even at a discount, to sell their grain quickly. At first Europeans rejoiced over cheap Ukrainian agricultural products, but then it hit agriculture in their own countries, and the governments of Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, and Bulgaria had to choose between helping their farmers and helping Ukraine. Their farmers began demonstrating and blocking the roads with tractors, and the governments immediately forgot about European aid to Ukraine and remembered their farmer electorate. After all, many of these countries have elections next year. They even had to allocate funds at the EU level to buy grain from domestic producers. It even got to the point that Turkey itself imposed a protective duty on Ukrainian grain, raising it to as much as 130 percent, in order to stop cheap exports of wheat, corn and barley to the Turkish market. And here is the news of recent days. Since the "grain agreement" ends on May 18, the UN has sent new roadmaps to Putin, Erdogan, and Zelensky for its extension. They envision Turkey becoming an intermediary in paying for Russian agricultural products, and Russian ammonia exports to be restored via the Tolyatti-Odessa ammonia pipeline. But Russia was justifiably skeptical about these proposals. Now Russia is demanding to resume supplies of agricultural machinery, to lift restrictions on insurance and lift bans on access to ports, and to reconnect Rosselkhozbank to SWIFT when paying for Russian grain. Because they suggest that this bank should conduct transactions not through SWIFT, but through faxes. They would also suggest to send documents with a messenger or carrier pigeons! So the West laid out its cards. Russia has covered them with its own. And it seems to me that the West will not be able to cheat in this game. Russia has too strong trump cards in its hands.

African Passion

War in Sudan as a continuation of Western and U.S. policy to oust Russia from the position of a leading geopolitical player on the world stage. While the attention of the world is riveted on the special military operation in Ukraine, reports have come in about the military conflict in Sudan, a country, until recently one of the largest in Africa with the richest gold and oil reserves. A real civil war has broken out there with the use of aircraft, artillery and tanks, with military and civilian casualties. And it seems far away from us, but in fact we propose to consider these events as one of the links in the chain of serious international events. To begin with, let us try to figure out the intricacies of politics in this African country. For 30 years Sudan was ruled by President Omar al-Bashir, under whom a civil war broke out in a part of the country populated predominantly by black people, while the majority of the population is Arab. This war resulted in the creation of a separate state, South Sudan, which broke away from the main Sudan. But political life in the country did not stabilize there. In 2018, protests began against the government of Omar al-Bashir, and the army overthrew him, declaring a state of emergency and promising that power would pass to elected representatives of the people after the armed forces had taken the country out of crisis. But history knows very few examples, especially in Africa, of the military voluntarily handing over power to civilians. As they say, we didn't shed blood for that... And in the end two generals seized power: Abdel-Fatah-al Burhan, who was said to have Sufi roots and to have led the regular army, and General Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo, a camel dealer before serving in the army and now leader of the Janjaweed militia (a name like in the 1001 Night tales, "Men on horseback"), also known as the Rapid Support Forces (RSF). Some analysts consider it a special forces unit, others are inclined to believe that it is a militia unit. Incidentally, Dagalo was a deputy of al-Burhan, the head of Sudan's Transitional Council. The emergence of the RSF itself is interesting. During the war in Darfur, a region of Sudan rich in minerals, the black tribes living there rebelled, believing that the Arabs were oppressing them by monopolizing resources. That's when the authorities formed units from the Arab population to fight the black inhabitants. Over time they strengthened, it is written that their numbers reached as many as 100,000. And in 2013, President Al-Bashir reorganized the Janjaweed into the RSF (Rapid Support Forces), something similar to Iran's IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps). In other words, two parallel armies appeared in the country, two forces that were to enter into an armed conflict sooner or later. They are led by two generals who were not at all eager to hand over power, but rather were looking for an excuse to become the sole ruler of the country. What triggered the armed clash between them? Al Burhan decided to subordinate the RSF to the army, and the RSF responded by redeploying to Khartoum and other cities. The army perceived this as an attempt to attack its positions. General Al Burhan demanded a dissolution of the RSF. And full-scale combat operations began, using sophisticated weapons. The army's attempt to "wrest" from the RSF the airfield, through which it was selling gold to supplement its budget, also played an important role. As a result, the army began to use artillery, tanks and aircraft against the RSF, which the latter did not have. So the first thing they did was to seize the largest airfield in Khartoum and burn all the planes standing there, regardless of whether they were military or civilian. The situation is aggravated by the fact that behind each of the generals there are foreign political forces. The Emirates and Saudi Arabia support General Dagalo, while Egypt sides with Al Burhan, who sees Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi as a role model and has even concluded a treaty with Cairo to establish an air force base on Sudanese territory. In addition, China has tightly entered Sudan, attracted by its oil and gold, and is actively building its infrastructure on its territory. And what is Russia's position in this country, which is called the "Gateway to Africa"? Admittedly, in recent years Russia has developed a very successful and thoughtful policy towards Africa, which clearly strains the U.S. and the European Union. France is especially enraged, which is being driven out of the places of its traditional influence in Africa by the local governments, giving more and more preference to Russia. And the fact that Russia has no colonial history in the Black Continent is important. We must admit that Russia is successfully beginning to integrate with Africa. Russia has normal political relations with both generals. One of them was on a visit to Moscow, the other - Dagalo - made a statement in support of Russia and its participation in the special military operation. Having no colonial past that Africans cannot forget, Russia is successfully establishing trade and economic relations with Sudan. Russia is actively involved in gold mining in this country; gold mining companies Siberian for Mining and Rosgeologiya are actively developing deposits. Russia is also ready to help in the development of oil fields; major projects in aviation, telecommunications, agriculture and other sectors are planned. One of the most important issues of Russian-Sudanese relations is the construction of a Russian base - a logistics point on the Red Sea. Back in 2020, an agreement was signed, which should have been ratified after the transfer of power to the civilian government. But it seems that, in line with recent events, this will not happen soon. According to the agreement, the sea base will be valid for 25 years, then an extension for another 10 years is possible, if neither party is opposed. Up to 4 ships and 300 servicemen may be deployed at a time. In exchange, Russia pledged to supply arms and military equipment. On February 8, 2023, during the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Khartoum, negotiations were held again, and Sudan reaffirmed its interest in establishing a base in the Port of Sudan, which caused fierce displeasure of the United States and the European Union. Is this not the reason for the conflict that has erupted in Sudan? How might the confrontation between the two generals end, and how might this affect the continuation of negotiations about the Russian base and its investments? I am sure that neither of the generals will be able to win a convincing victory, and after a while they will be forced to sit down at the negotiating table. With each other. It is possible that for each of Sudan's military leaders the issue of the Russian sea base is just a bargaining chip in the game with the West and the United States. African politics is a complex and peculiar thing.

The U.S. can go bankrupt

While Republicans and Democrats are fighting over the passage of the budget, the United States may default. It is obvious that the United States is living on debt, by printing dollars. And they are doing just fine. If they run out of money, they'll print new ones. They will borrow again. But since the end of last year this system began to fail. You can't keep printing dollars forever. And so the United States recently reached the ceiling on its national debt. The domestic debt alone (these are domestic loans in the form of bonds) was $6.87 trillion, and the foreign debt - in bonds, $24.5 trillion. And then a real war broke out between the Republican and Democrat parties over it. What are the differences between the Republican and Democrat positions? The Republicans want to put limits on welfare payments by taking away social security and health insurance from the middle and lower classes. And the latter want to raise the national debt. Let's take a closer look at Biden's budget, and then it will be clear what the battle between the rival parties is about. This budget can safely be called social, it is "made up" in support of the poorest segments of society and the middle class. So the Democrats want to restore the tax benefit for children, give increased subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, universal free pre-school education, a paid family and medical leave program, strengthen the free medical assistance program for the elderly, set a price ceiling on insulin. What a wonderful program! Real communism! However, as they say, there is a little "but": where can we get the money for social welfare? The Democrats are going to do it at the expense of the rich: introduce a minimum tax for billionaires, 25 percent on all their incomes, and raise the maximum tax rate to 39.6 percent from the previous 27 percent. Besides these and other social bonuses, the budget also provides for an increase in military spending: a 3.2% increase in funding for the Defense Department and $6 billion for the allies in the war against Russia. That is, the Democrats are offering to find money at the expense of the rich, which the Republicans, who represent the interests of big business, do not want to do. And then there is the ever-growing national debt, which has reached $31.4 trillion. What is to be done in such a situation? After all, as long as the two parties, Republicans and Democrats, argue, the more the national debt grows. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen called for an increase in the national debt limit back in October 2022 so that the government could pay the bills. According to Democrats, the debt ceiling of 31.4 trillion, the United States has set itself and has the right to raise it. By the way, this has happened more than once. They did it 90 times last century! Under Barack Obama, the bar was raised five times, and the last increase by 2.5 trillion was approved by Joe Biden not so long ago - in December 2021. So the way out is "simple and elegant," to give an example at the household level. Suppose you know that you can't borrow more than 100 rubles, but you need 200. And then what do you do? Right, with a flick of the hand you raise your debt limit. That is, you can now lend not 100, but 200 rubles. The Republicans are resisting this in every way possible. But without new dollars, the U.S. economy might just grind to a halt, so new loans are needed. This is where the controversy begins. The Republicans, represented by Kevin McCarthy, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, are ready to increase the national debt limit, but only on condition of reducing funding for Ukraine, defense and social health insurance. President Biden, a Democrat, is vehemently opposed to any cuts. Meanwhile, the country itself is showing more and more signs of a recession that is hard to stop. Some analysts draw simply apocalyptic pictures of the future. Knowing how the U.S. usually solves its problems at the expense of the whole world, they do not rule out that America will create a new currency, tied to the dollar, and will pay its debts in it, to some in equal proportions, to some - in less. That is, to close allies - in full, to strangers - in a reduced form. There is also the idea of issuing perpetual bonds, which are never redeemed and on which interest is only paid. There are also proposals which used to seem completely unrealistic, but after the freezing of Russia's foreign currency assets in the West and the funds of private individuals, this idea no longer seems fantastic. Namely: to declare some countries, such as China, totalitarian, and under this pretext not to pay them at all. True, apart from China, there is another major holder of U.S. government debt - Japan, which has $1.08 trillion in U.S. bonds, while China has $870 billion worth of it. By the way, Russia got out of this lottery on time, leaving U.S. debt securities only for $2 billion. And what can the United States do if their income is less than their expenditures? And at the same time Americans understand how important it is not to lose the reputation of a reliable borrower who pays his debts on time. Otherwise, to take an example from everyday life, if you borrow money from your friends and don't pay it back in time, it's obvious that no one will lend you more. But it is too early to assume that America will go bankrupt and default anytime soon. Neither Republicans nor Democrats need that. And most likely, after fierce political battles, they will come to an agreement, but on what terms? For example, the Republicans suggest an unconventional move - to count the national debt not in dollars, but as a percentage of GDP. And it is clear why. The GDP of the Americans is high, and the higher it is, the more probable it is to get new loans under it. Although the U.S. debt-to-GDP ratio has gone over 130 percent, when the safe level is 77 percent, but a number of countries, Japan, for example, is living at multiple times over that figure. "Time X" is due in June of this year, and if the Democrats do not agree with the Republicans to raise the debt ceiling, then America will face a real default. And then nobody will want to buy American debt securities or use the dollar at all. Although all of this is a political game, each party is bargaining for the best deal, especially with the prospect of an upcoming 2024 U.S. election. And while part of the establishment is confident that there is nowhere to go and both parties will agree, Elon Musk believes that even if they manage to get out of it now, it is just a matter of time before the U.S. defaults

A spy in red shorts

The story of leaked secret documents of the American intelligence network reflects all the realities of the modern world. The conflict in Ukraine, the actions of the U.S. intelligence services, modern technology, and the childish vanity of the scandal's protagonist were all woven into one tangle. But let's take it in order. On April 13, American soldier Jack Teixeira was detained by FBI agents at his mother's house. The arrest was made in the best traditions of a Hollywood spy movie: a helicopter in the sky above the place of detention, FBI agents in full gear. Unfortunately, the protagonist, Teixeira, blurred the drama of his arrest: he turned out to be a skinny guy in bright red shorts. And the detention itself was a bit farcical. The secret service, which had been following Jack for several days, decided to arrest him when they saw journalists from The New York Times drive up to his house. It turned out that the ubiquitous journalists were conducting their own investigation and were also on the trail of "spy number one." And on April 14, Teixeira, who was charged with two counts of the Espionage Act, appeared in court. The sentence he faces is a serious one. If all of the leaked documents are treated as one, then ten years. And if each document is considered separately, it would be a sentence equal to life imprisonment. It is also interesting how the U.S. intelligence agencies tracked Jack down. The FBI requested from the Discord platform, where the secret files were published, the payment details of the users of the closed chat room Thug Shaker Central. The New York Times journalists, on the other hand, went the more complicated route: having found chat room users, they figured out under what nickname the man was posting secret documents, and then it was a matter of technology: going into his accounts, they began to study the photos of his relatives and acquaintances in detail. And in one of the pictures, posted by his sister from his mother's apartment, they saw a granite table in the kitchen. Further, comparing this table with the one on which the photos of secret documents were posted, they came to the conclusion that it was the same table. As we have written before, this whole story is phantasmagorical in its essence, with all the madness of the present time mixed in. Think about it. A man takes out secret materials and puts them out to be photographed on the kitchen table at home. And it is quite obvious that a completely unprofessional person, far from the security services, could have acted in this way. So who is he - a 21-year-old guy, an American serviceman, not at all like ideological fighter Snowden, who exposed U.S. intelligence agencies that were spying on the whole world, nor an embedded mole agent - who has created an international scandal, perhaps the loudest in recent years? In my opinion, he is a product of the modern world, where people at 21 act like 11-year-olds, perfectly aware of IT technology, but not much aware of the consequences of their actions. His biography is typical of a small-town American boy. Jack Douglas Teixeira was born in North Dighton, Massachusetts. His parents divorced when he was young. A devout Catholic. Enjoyed riding his SUV and loved his two dogs. Supported the Boston Celtics basketball team. Since childhood, he was interested in all military related things, wore camouflage, and had a fondness for guns. It is written that he made racist and anti-Semitic remarks. A typical biography of a backwoods American boy. No wonder he decided to follow his father's footsteps and become a military man. How could it be, The Washington Post wondered? It even expressed that amazement in its headline: "He’s from a military family — and allegedly leaked U.S. secrets." His whole family was connected to the military, his stepfather retired as a master sergeant, and his mother worked for non-profit organizations that helped veterans. In 2020, he joined the U.S. Air National Guard as an IT specialist. The young man passed all background checks without any problems. After additional military and technical training, he enlisted in the 102nd Air National Guard Reconnaissance Wing in the "Cyber Transportation Systems Unit" in 2021, gaining security clearance. The unit's primary mission is to ensure the wing's information and communications systems run smoothly. But the question remains: How did he gain access to classified documents given his own low level of security clearance? It is not yet clear what his security clearance level was, according to The Washington Post. But according to it, he may have had access to the internal network of the U.S. Department of Defense, which is used to exchange classified data. So this story showed that an IT guy with a low security clearance can get into the holy of holies of the most sensitive areas. So why did Teixeira, in a closed chat room of computer game lovers, where everyone was younger than him, and some were just schoolchildren, post photos of secret documents? What was his motive? In my opinion, there are several reasons for this. The first is youthful vanity. Jack wanted to raise his own importance in their eyes, saying that he had something to do with the great mysteries, sought to enlighten them, telling them how things really are in the world. And he backed it up with secret documents for authenticity. Second, as a man of deep faith, he sincerely felt that there was an armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine, countries which, in his opinion, "could be good neighbors." And in general he found this conflict "depressing." And when chat participants expressed doubts about the authenticity of the documents, he posted more and more to confirm them. Eventually their number reached 350. And all this was "brewing" inside their little chat room, until one of the members of this tiny online group posted a photo of the documents to another group with more subscribers. And then the information was shared, and a huge international scandal began. And when Teixeira saw that the documents he had leaked were in the public domain, he got very scared and, as one of the members of their gamer group says, started praying that everything would be all right. The situation is like a young boy, the son of a military officer, quietly taking his father's gun to impress his peers and earn prestige. And when this is discovered, he hides in the attic and begs to be spared. Just in case they don't punish him. And now the whole world wonders, how reliable are the documents posted by Teixeira? Did the Egyptians really intend to supply shells to Russia or Serbia supplied them to Ukraine?  Naturally, both countries deny it. How reliable is the information about the state of the Ukrainian armed forces, are they really going to attack in the directions indicated? Is it true that the Americans orchestrated protests against Netanyahu in order to force Israel to supply arms to Ukraine? Since there are hundreds of documents posted, there are even more questions. But, by the way, the U.S. itself has not yet claimed that all of this is pure fabrication. More and more experts are inclined to the conclusion that, along with real documents, there are also purely fake ones. There is also a version that the U.S. intelligence services, having seen some of the real documents posted and taking advantage of the situation, started their own game, diluting them with fakes in order to confuse everyone. But conspiracy theorists of all stripes think that Teixeira's arrest was just a cunning move of the American secret services, because it was very picturesque. And in fact it was just an attempt to cover up the leak of documents, which they themselves arranged to make the disinformation look plausible.

Pentagon papers leak or fakes of Intelligence Services?

The whole world is trying to understand what is behind the publication of classified materials of the U.S. military department and the American intelligence community. Are these documents real, or is this just another western operation to throw in disinformation? It all started in February and March when photos of classified material appeared on Discord, a chat program popular among video gamers. After that, the documents migrated to other social networks, such as 4chan, an anonymous message board, but the whole story gained notoriety when the documents appeared on Twitter and Telegram in April. So, the very appearance of these documents in the public domain was similar to a special operation: first they are uploaded to gamer sites, and then they are made available to a wider audience, which can assess the explosive power of this throw-in. This is usually how propaganda actions are carried out: first the necessary information is published in some out-of-the-way publication, then the big agencies reprint the information with a link to it, everyone posts it, and the job is done, the information is exposed to a wider audience. Of course, at the stage of first publication the reports are tracked by the enemy's intelligence services, their analysts grasp this information, write notes, draw conclusions - and all this is sent upstairs, already for a narrow circle of officials. Whether these documents are real or just a throw-in is difficult to determine, their authenticity has not been officially confirmed, but if confirmed, it would be the second biggest failure of American intelligence since 2013, when CIA and NSA agent Edward Snowden disclosed how the US spies on the whole world and published thousands of classified materials. So, first, 50 classified documents appeared online, containing data on the Ukrainian conflict. This was followed by another 100 classified files revealing how the U.S. was spying on its allies: Israel, Canada, and South Korea. The scandal, of course, was enormous. The U.S. Justice Department and the FBI immediately launched an investigation, and the American media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Reuters, Time, and CNN, also conducted their own investigation, but claimed they could not verify the authenticity. Which was to be expected. What secrets were reported in these materials of the security agencies? For example, there is information in them that during preparations for the appearance of new Western tanks in Ukraine, Russian officials set cash bonuses for each tank that is shot down or captured. That's a real open secret! First, if there were any Russian experts left in the U.S., they would tell everyone that back in World War II, Soviet soldiers were paid a bonus for every tank they shot down. And during the special military operation, newspapers widely reported that patriotic organizations and even some governors were willing to pay for every destroyed tank. What was the secret here? Then the story goes on about how South Korea feared that its shells, which it transferred to the U.S., would fall to the AFU. I don't see any special secret here either, it's more likely that the South Koreans themselves are shocked: we are a satellite country of the United States, why do they spy on us, we are their own, bourgeois. An interesting disclosure on Israel reveals that the Mossad leadership encouraged its employees to protest against the judicial reforms being implemented by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu. A statement from the Israeli Prime Minister's Office on behalf of the Mossad described the allegation as "false and baseless." But in general, it's really strange. The Mossad is an external intelligence agency and does not engage in internal affairs, there are other Israeli special services for that purpose. Much more interesting is the declassified intelligence on the question - will Israel be able to provide its lethal weapons to Ukraine? But it is obvious that Israel has no intention at all to spoil relations with Russia, which has strong positions in Syria and Iran. So we can assume that under U.S. pressure the Mossad has joined the war for judicial reform against Netanyahu in order to oust him and put in office a more conciliatory prime minister who would agree to supply both lethal weapons and the Iron Dome anti-missile system to Ukraine. It is evident from the released documents that the U.S. is actively spying on the leadership of Ukraine as well. This country's military plans, both future and past, have been uncovered, such as Zelinsky's requests for powerful UAVs for strikes against Russian forces in the Rostov region. Maps of Ukrainian air defense systems, data on ammunition shortages, a real "shell famine," and the sites and timing of the Ukrainian counteroffensive near Zaporozhye are now in the public domain. And here the main questions arise: Are these documents authentic or fake, and if they are authentic, who needs them? Of course, we do not pretend to determine the truth, but let's try to reason logically. Is this all fiction? But then why did the Pentagon impose unprecedented strictures on the exchange of intelligence after it? We can assume that this is all part of a campaign to disorient the Russians, since we are talking about the state of the Ukrainian army and its losses. And all the documents posted are actually a smokescreen to conceal the impending offensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in a completely different direction. Another version is quite viable: some Republican supporters, who believe that Ukraine is costing the U.S. too much and distracting from more important issues for the country, leaked it all to the Internet. And in general this is a powerful blow to the Biden administration. But the publications that were so zealous in publishing the Top Secret documents are not pro-Republican, they actively support the Democratic Party of the United States. Or maybe there was a second Snowden, and he put it all out in the open? Maybe, like Snowden, shocked by the cynicism of his country's spy agencies, he decided to make it all public? There is another version: Russian intelligence obtained these documents and published them. But then the question arises: if the Russians obtained real documents about the condition of the Ukrainian Armed Forces and their plans of attack, why do they need to publish them? It is illogical. It seems to me that the usual formula is used, where truth and lies are mixed into a hellish cocktail, and it is almost unrealistic to determine what is what. But let's go in order. So far, there has been no official and clear statement from U.S. officials that everything published is a fake. On the contrary, it has been acknowledged that these are the intelligence and operational reports of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Further, all the U.S. allies they spied on had to make official statements, that is, no one brushed it off - they said there was no point in even commenting on it. Of course, in today's world, everything is bugged and watched. And I suppose that it really didn't surprise the U.S. allies that they were being spied on. The surprise, I think, was that it turns out that Americans can't track their classified materials and keep them secret. And who knows what other documents might end up in the public domain? According to the published documents it is possible to determine who leaked information from the establishment of Ukraine, Israel and South Korea, to reveal who is an agent of the US secret services and what means are used by the Americans for their spying activities.

Blockade ring and microchips are looking in the face

In the confrontation with China over Taiwan, the U.S. is opening new bases in the Philippines. And why, in fact, the U.S. attaches such importance to Taiwan that they are ready to come into conflict with China and declare their readiness to fight over this island? It is interesting to note that no such bellicose statements are heard even about Ukraine. As always, it's all about the economic component. In today's world, whoever owns Taiwan owns the world. Let us explain why. Both China and Taiwan are world leaders in semiconductor and chip production. Taiwan accounts for 40 percent of global semiconductor production. Fifty percent comes from Beijing. And by the simplest combination we get the answer to why China has such a strong claim to Taiwan, and the U.S. is ready to defend it almost by force. If Beijing and Taipei unite, they will have 90 percent of semiconductor output, and then they will be able to dictate their terms to everyone. Control over the products of the largest chip manufacturer Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing (TSMC) will allow Beijing to put its conditions on the United States, which produces only 0.3 percent of chips in the global microelectronics market. And they consume 12 percent of all chips produced in the world. At the same time, Taiwan produces 92% of the chips with a leading logic hub, without which quantum computing, wireless networks, artificial intelligence (AI) and other high technology are impossible. The remaining 8% of such chips are produced by South Korea, which uses them for its own needs. The United States does not produce chips with leading logic hubs at all. It is now clear why Taiwan is so important to both China and the United States, and why the latter, according to The Wall Street Journal, are going to increase the number of their troops on the island. Although the American contingent now is only 30 servicemen, the Americans are going to deploy another 100-200 people in the near future, who, according to the WSJ publication, will train local forces not only in the use of American weapons, but also in military maneuvers. That is, America is obviously preparing for further confrontation with China not only by increasing its contingent. The Americans are dragging their allies, Japan and the Philippines, into the problem. But we should not forget about the strengthening of the alliance AUKUS, which includes the United States, Australia and Britain, and which sharply changes the geopolitical equation in the Indo-Pacific region, since the members of this triple alliance gave the green light to the production of a new fleet of nuclear-powered submarines. At the same time, another no less powerful alliance, Japan-Philippines-U.S. (JAPHUS), is growing stronger. And both of these military-political alliances are aimed at deterring Beijing against Taipei. And after the departure of Philippine President Duterte, who had normal relations with Beijing, the new head of that country, Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is ready to make his country the key in the JAPHUS bloc. His administration has agreed to open the northernmost military bases in the Philippines to U.S. troops under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). Meanwhile, the Philippine island of Mavulis, where the naval detachment is deployed, is almost 100 nautical miles from the coast of Taiwan. And in early February, Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, visiting the Philippines, agreed that Marcos Jr. would give the U.S. military access to four more bases in his country. "There's in the north (of Luzon Island, which is south of Taiwan), there's in the Palawan area (on the South China Sea coast), there's further south. It's really necessary to protect our east coast, but there are also considerations related to our continental shelf on the east side of Luzon. That's a point to be taken into account," Marcos was quoted by The Manila Times of the Philippines as saying. The U.S. military will now have access to these four facilities in addition to the five already being used by the U.S. in the Philippines under the 2014 Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement. "We will continue defense cooperation with our wonderful partners (the Philippines) to build and modernize your capabilities and increase our interoperability," Pentagon chief Austin said at the end of the visit. Apparently, the U.S. is thus expanding its military presence in the Philippines as part of a strategy to contain the PRC in the Asia-Pacific region. In doing so, the Philippines, under the new president, is abandoning neutrality. What neutrality can we talk about when the Philippines and the U.S. conduct more than 500 joint security activities every year? "We face a real geopolitical situation here. Our alliance with the United States is obviously very important because of where we are today, and whatever we do now - a lot of it is really about containment," said Romualdez, the Philippine ambassador to Washington and, by the way, a cousin of the current president. Why does the U.S. attach such importance to the Philippines? Because more than 30 percent of the world's maritime trade passes through it, and it is also a kind of aircraft carrier island. And since 1951, when the Philippines and the U.S. signed the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT), their military cooperation has been increasing. In 1988 they signed the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA), and in 2014 the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA). However, under President Rodrigo Duterte, who opposed the presence of foreign troops, military cooperation was suspended, but was not revised. And it became even more active under the new President Marcos, Jr. It is clear that the U.S., preparing for a future conflict with China over Taiwan, is surrounding it with a necklace of its military bases, creating a kind of NATO in the Indo-Pacific region with its allies

Donald Trump is about to become a criminal

The whole world is wondering whether the former president will be handcuffed in court, and how this whole story will affect the 2024 elections in America. Of course, one cannot say that American political life has always been without scandals. How could we not recall the story of Bill Clinton and trainee Monica Lewinsky, which almost led to his impeachment? However, Clinton managed to hold on to his job at the time. Or "Watergate," which led to Richard Nixon's resignation when, in 1972, his supporters were caught installing listening devices at the Democratic Party headquarters during the 1972 election campaign. Incidentally, it was the only case in U.S. history in which a president had to terminate his term early. But what is happening now in the U.S. before the presidential election probably overrides all previous scandals in American political life. So, in order: former American president Donald Trump is facing criminal charges, which is the first time in U.S. history. He is accused of giving porn star Stormy Daniels, with whom he had a relationship, $130,000 - a bribe to keep quiet - during his first presidential campaign in 2016. And the lawyer's fee, who handed over the money, turned out to be paid from the budget, as legal fees. And that turned out to be the main crime. And if he fails to appear in court, he may be arrested at his Florida residence and brought in handcuffs to New York. It looks like this may come to pass as a grand jury (of 23 people) returned a guilty verdict for Trump, voting to indict after a 30-minute appearance by a witness whose identity is not disclosed. Details of the charges are not yet known - they will only be made public after he has appeared before the Manhattan prosecutor who is handling his case. Trump's appearance at the district attorney's office is due next Tuesday, where by law he will be fingerprinted and photographed in profile and full-face. Just imagine this fantastic picture - the former president of the country posing for a police photographer with a plate with his name and surname written on it! And if he doesn't come to court voluntarily, he will be arrested and brought in handcuffs. The judge will then have to decide whether Trump can post bail and leave him free. And that's not the end of the story. Then a grand jury will hear the witnesses, and the jury must decide whether the ex-president is guilty or not. Next comes the most interesting question: can Trump run for president of the United States even if a jury finds him guilty? Under U.S. law, yes, he can! There is nothing in the U.S. Constitution that says that a criminal conviction removes a presidential candidate from the race. However, Trump could also go to jail. After all, in addition to the porn star story, he faces 30 charges, including violation of his campaign financing and financial fraud. And the most interesting thing is that it is not clear whether the accusations made will play for or against the ex-president if he runs for a new term. On the one hand, it could cause voters to reject his candidacy, on the other hand, as they say, any publicity is good, except for the obituary. Obviously, the Republicans are rooting for their leader, which Trump undoubtedly is. His Republican running mate and governor of Florida, DeSantis, accused the district attorney, a Democrat by the way, of unleashing a totally political case. Young politician DeSantis has not officially declared his candidacy for the election but by all preliminary polls Trump is seriously ahead of him. On Twitter, Ron DeSantis called the indictment "inconsistent with the American spirit." "Turning the legal system into a weapon to advance a political agenda turns the rule of law upside down," he wrote, and added that Florida authorities do not intend to help extradite Trump to New York for indictment. A seasoned political fighter Trump immediately decided to use the allegations as political retaliation before the election, and announced that he would be arrested on Tuesday. Trump called on his supporters for street actions in defense of democracy and the country. But won't he be blamed if there are serious confrontations, as was the case with the Senate seizure? The situation began to heat up. House Republicans demanded an explanation from District Attorney Bragg, accusing him of abusing his power and attempting to remove a former U.S. president from the race. "By attempting to interfere in the 2024 presidential election, the New York district attorney has irreparably damaged the nation," said House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. "Criminal prosecution of anyone who commits a serious crime is key to keeping Americans safe, but politically motivated prosecutions threaten to turn the American legal system into a tool for abuse," said Mike Pompeo, who served as head of the State Department during the Trump administration. The prosecutor, on the other hand, struck back by blaming Trump. "Donald Trump has created a false expectation that he will be arrested the next day. None of the facts are legitimate grounds for a congressional investigation," Bragg responded in a letter to House representatives. Curiously, President Biden and the White House have avoided any assessment or commentary on all of these events. It is clear that they are in a strange situation: if they blame Trump, they will lose points in the eyes of voters by showing their involvement in the campaign against him. Meanwhile, the former president smashes his Democratic opponents without hesitation: "The American people are well aware of what the radical left-wing Democrats are doing here. Everyone sees it. And our movement, our united and strong party... will defeat Joe Biden, and we will kick every last corrupt Democrat out of power, and then we will restore America to its former glory!" So now everyone is getting ready for the show -- Tuesday's court appearance of Donald Trump, who is facing criminal charges. Trump's lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said he understood from prosecutors that the former American president would not be handcuffed when he surrendered to authorities. But knowing Americans' love of the show and the sophistication of political combat, anything is possible. For Americans, this will be a powerful blow to their worldview. And to the entire U.S. political system.

We'll decide who's a Democrat

The United States organized the second "Summit for Democracy," which takes place March 28-30 online and offline. Representatives from 120 countries have been invited to the summit. The first one was organized by them at the end of 2021. And it is obvious that the second one will be no less scandalous than the first one. Before we start talking about the summit, let us recall a historical anecdote. When Goering was told that his General Milch was a Jew, he replied, "In my own headquarters I decide who is Jewish and who is not." What is the connection between the story of the Nazi criminal Goering and the "Summit of Democracy"? A very simple one. The Americans tell other countries in the same way: we, in our "democracy headquarters", will decide who is a Democrat and who is not. So, the year 2021. The U.S. State Department releases a list of 110 countries whose leaders have been invited to the "Summit for Democracy," which was held online on December 9-10. Online, because there's a pandemic in the world. But a pandemic is a pandemic, and the fight for democracy did not stop even in such extreme conditions. All invitees were selected according to several categories: liberal democracies, weaker democracies, and several states with inherent authoritarian traits. Then everything was according to the US ranking, calculated by the American NGO Freedom House in 2021, when 77 countries were considered fully democratic, another 31 countries - not entirely free, and three of the invited participants headed the countries in the "not free" group. Russia and China, as well as EU member Hungary and NATO member Turkey were not invited. Of the post-Soviet countries, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine were invited. That is, a special military operation in Ukraine has not yet begun, and Russia, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has already been excluded from the number of democratic countries. And the list of invited former Soviet republics showed quite eloquently, which of them the State Department will focus on, allegedly promoting democracy. It is interesting that Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan were not invited. By the way, Azerbaijan, which has confrontational relations with Armenia, was mortally offended that it was invited and they were not. Of the Middle Eastern countries, the list predictably included Israel, as well as Iraq, "successfully democratized" by the Americans. However, other traditional U.S. allies in the region - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, and the UAE - were out the door. Thus, already at the first summit the countries were divided into "clean" and "unclean", and those who were not invited got an eloquent hint - you are not friends of American democracy. And this is indeed a cause for concern, because everyone knows how Americans promote democracy and what happens to those they recognize as enemies of American-style freedom. Naturally, Moscow and Beijing were angered by this selection. "Moscow has a negative attitude toward Washington's plans to hold a 'Summit for Democracy' and sees in it an attempt to draw new dividing lines," said spokesman for Russian President Dmitry Peskov. The Kremlin generally called the U.S. decision to hold a summit without Russia "privatization of democracy." Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the goal of the summit is to "divide people and countries into democratic and non-democratic ones." According to the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry, the U.S. is trying to demonstrate the massiveness of its movement. "In fact, the summit will be a step in the direction of splitting the world community into friends and strangers," Lavrov said from the UN rostrum last September. Lavrov added that "in essence, this initiative proclaims a new ideological "crusade" against all dissenters." Beijing, too, did not stand aside and opposed the invitation of Taiwan to the summit, which it considers Chinese territory. It is interesting that shortly before the summit, during talks with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his commitment to the principle of "one China", but immediately broke this principle by separately inviting Taiwan. Curiously, such ambiguous countries as Pakistan, Philippines and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which is struggling to remain a functioning state, were recognized and invited to the summit as democracies. Then all the speeches followed the same pattern: the president of Poland stigmatized the Belarusian authorities, Israel accused Iran, the Serbs talked about joining the EU. The year 2023 is upon us. And the Americans, having decided that it is a very fruitful idea to form a new political bloc on the principle of Democratic and non-Democratic countries, are holding a second summit. Events are scheduled in Washington, Costa Rica, South Korea, the Netherlands and Zambia. The US President Joe Biden will take part in the meetings. About 120 countries are invited. Incidentally, Turkey and Hungary were not invited. This, of course, will strain relations between these countries and the United States even more. Azerbaijan, which will not take part in this holiday of democracy, was also offended. Taiwan is on the list, but again there is no China. But Honduras, Cote d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Mauritania, Mozambique, Tanzania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Liechtenstein have been invited. Naturally, Ukraine is invited, a country where all opposition parties and media have been defeated, where people are being grabbed on the streets and sent to the front. And President Zelensky is expected to speak. Of course, he has a lot to say about "the establishment of a Ukrainian democratic society." Once again, there will be speeches about freedom of the media, equality, the fight against corruption, support for democratic reformers and human rights defenders, and protection of free and fair elections. But if earlier the hegemonic countries formed coalitions, at least not under the slogan of democracy and freedom, now the U.S. shows how cleverly using beautiful slogans, you can divide the world. Into friends and strangers.