CRISIS RESEARCH INSTITUTE,

 

OXFORD 

 

Providing Analysis & Information on Crises Past, Present & Possible

 CRIOx 

      Current Crisis
The stabbing rampage by a Libyan asylum-seeker in Reading is just the latest example of "blowback" from inter-vention in Libya in 2011 argues Mark Almond in the Daily Mail (23rd June, 2020): 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8448699/MARK-ALMOND-left-Libya-ruins-crucible-terror-come-haunt-us.html
Einstein predicted that if World War III was fought with nuclear weapons, then World War IV would be fought with clubs and rocks. China and India have reversed that order of combat but not reduced the risk of nuclear war.
See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in The Daily Mail  (20th June, 2020):https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8433623/MARK-ALMOND-fist-fight-Himalayas-spark-nuclear-war-engulfs-world.html
China's new security law threatens not only a new crisis in Hong Kong but also to spark a new Cold War with the West. Will Hong Kong become to symbolise the clash between China and the West as West Berlin was a focal point of East-West rivalry down to 1989? See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in the Daily Mail (23rd May, 2020): 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8349209/MARK-ALMOND-Chinas-crackdown-Hong-Kong-start-new-cold-war.html
The Macron-Merkel double-act does a double-shuffle to circum-vent the German Constit-utional Court's threat to Eurobonds but are they lighting the fuse on a timebomb that could split the EU North v. South?
See Criox Director, Mark Almond's commentary in The Telegraph (19th May, 2020):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/05/19/brussels-has-lit-fuse-time-bomb-set-split-north-south/
As the European project proclaimed by Robert Schuman on 9th May, 1950, reaches the danger-age of seventy for Covid-19, CRIOx Direct-or, Mark Almond asks whether the Euro will survive the lockdowns and the German Constit-
utional Court's hint that a bailout of government- spending across the EU is not something German taxpayers can asked to pay for. See his article in
The Telegraph (7th May, 2020): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/05/07/coronavirus-may-cause-germany-trigger-next-eurocrisis/
With oil prices back to the 1986 level will the world witness similar geopolitical fallout? Then the Saudis boosted oil production hugely to undercut the Soviet economy. Now the combination of its price war with Russia and US shale producers and the recession produced by Covid-19 lockdowns is putting The Kingdom where the Kremlin was thirty years ago. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in The Telegraph (21st April, 2020):  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/21/2020-oil-price-crash-could-bring-saudi-arabia-just-1986-crash/
It looks like the global impact of the Covid-19 pandemic will change everything - except geo-politics. The blame-game between China and the USA is just one more symptom of the intensify-ing rivalry between Beijing and Washington. See the commentary, "We are heading for a game-changing confrontation between china and the West" in The Telegraph (2nd April, 2020) by CRIOx Director, Mark Almond:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/04/02/heading-game-changing-confrontation-china-west/
CRIOX Director, Mark Almond, looks back to the "Spanish Flu" of 1918-19 when consider-
ing why global pandem-ics flummox futurology:
quadrangleconsultancy.com/blog
Iraq increasingly resembles a failed state. The rise of Shiite militias and the growing violence against US-led forces in the country play into Iran's strategy to con-vert Iraq into a reliable strategic partner. With US forces leaving Afghanistan, Iraqis are psychologically prepar-ing for US withdrawal. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis in The Telegraph (12th March, 2020):
 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/03/12/irans-plot-force-trump-middle-east-proving-lethally-effective/
As Turkey openly attacks Syrian forces, President Erdogan's encourage-ment to refugees from the war in Turkey to storm the EU's outer borders (Greece and Bulgaria) is a form of blackmail not a human- itarian gesture. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's opinion piece in The Daily Mail (3rd March, 2020): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-8067139/MARK-ALMOND-Crowds-migrants-Greek-border-Turkish-despots-cynical-ploy-detonate-chaos.html
 
Has the handling of the Corona virus crisis ex-posed the myth that China could achieve the prosperity of free market
societies without political and media freedom? See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in The Telegraph (7th Feb., 2020):https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/07/chinas-struggle-contain-coronavirus-has-exploded-myth-prosperity/
"Asian Affairs" has published CRIOx Direct-or, Mark Almond's view of "Trump versus Iran" in its February issue:
https://www.asianaffairs.in/magazine/trump-versus-iran/#.XjlaYDL7TIU
President Trump's peace plan is bad news for Pal-estinians but the altern-ative could be worse. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's comment artice in the Telegraph (29th Jan., 2020):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/29/trumps-peace-plan-lesser-evils-facing-isolated-palestine/
 
Entrepreneurship and innovative thinking (plus access to startup capital)
has created a new echelon of global billion-aires, but the spat between the world's rich-est man, Jeff Bezos, and the world's richest despot reminds us that wealth is only secure if human rights and the rule of law for all are upheld. MbS could shakedown the Saudi mega-rich because he held power. Will his model be followed by others? Mark Almond considered the Achilles Heel of Western billion-aires in The Telegraph (23rd Jan., 2020): 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/01/23/bezos-saudi-scandal-exposes-tech-billionaires-have-upendedgeopolitics/
 
The revelation of the hack of Jeff Bezos's phone by the Saudi Crown Prince who taunted the victim with intimate details is more than a private scandal. It reveals the chaos of cyber warfare infecting relations between allies as well as foes. Western states need to think hard how to restrain wayward allies whom they need for reasons of Realpolitik but whose cynical ways are a threat to our states and citizens. CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, contributed an analysis to The Telegraph (22nd Jan., 2020):   
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/22/bezos-bots-cyber-espionage-fraying-world-order/
The shooting down of an airliner with the loss of 176 civilian lives raises the question whether the state in Iran is a well-organised regime or a chaotic one posing more problems in a time of crisis than a ruthless but well-coordinated one would. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in The Telegraph (12th Jan.):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/12/malfunctioning-iran-poses-ever-greater-threat-west/
 
President Trump seems to be offering Iran a version of the "tough love" approach which at least brought a pause  in North Korean nuclear testing but will it work with Iran? See CRIOx Director Mark Almond's commentary in The Telegraph (9th Jan., 2020):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/09/trumps-tough-love-approach-has-brought-phoney-calm-middle-east/
  
Does the "moderate" retaliation of Iran mean peace is at hand, or only that US-Iranian relations have returned to the their normal state of high tension? CRIOx Director, Mark Almond contributed his analysis to the Telegraph (8th January, 2020):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/01/08/threat-all-out-war-has-receded-now-still-long-way-peace/
Will Iran now go for an atomic bomb and where will it find the compon- 
ents? CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, assesses the risks and what Iran might do with a Bomb. See The Daily Mail (8th January, 2020):
 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7862821/MARK-ALMOND-offers-chilling-prediction-Donald-Trumps-strike-backfire-us.html
With all eyes on a war between the USA and Iran, are we losing sight of the risk of a Third Iraq War in thirty years?
CRIOx Director, Mark 
Almond, assesses the crisis with Iraq in The Telegraph (6th Jan., 2020):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/01/06/third-war-west-iraq-real-looming-disaster/
Fear of a new war in the Middle East following the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani raises the question how should America's allies react if they want to stop war. CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's argument in the Telegraph (3rd Jan., 2020): 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2020/01/03/americas-allies-want-stop-war-iran-best-way-side-us/ 
In his profile of Qasem Soleimani for the Daily Mail (4th Jan., 2020) CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, brings out how the USA's arch-enemy had also been its ally on the ground in Iraq  against ISIS: 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7850119/Qassem-Soleimanis-Donald-Trump-taunt-signed-death-warrant.html
CRIOx Director, Mark Almond  contributed a Comment to the  Daily Express (4th Jan., 2020) on the implications of the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani for Iran's nuclear programme. Will Tehran go for the Bomb?   https://www.pressreader.com/uk/daily-express/20200104/281633897163368
Is NATO suffering a 70-
Year Itch? French Pres-ident Macron said that the Western Alliance is "brain dead". CRIOx's Director Mark Almond suggests how NATO can escape a "permanent vegetative state" in The Telegraph (4th Dec., 2019):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/12/04/summit-proved-macron-right-nato-brain-dead/
Bolivia's President, Evo Morales, brought down catastrophe on himself by defying the will of the voters in the 2016 refer-
endum, but Western leftists have inflicted a body blow on themselves  by refusing to recognise  Morales' own goal. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in The Telegraph (11th Nov., 2019):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/11/11/fall-morales-body-blow-corbynista-lefts-utopian-delusions/
 
In NATO's 70th year, the French President says the Alliance is nearing "brain death." Macron is right about NATO's problems but his cure could kill the trans-Atlantic defence system argues CRIOx Director Mark Almond in The Telegraph (7th Nov., 2019): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/11/07/macrons-nato-diagnosis-right-cure-dangerous-illusion/
The grisly discovery of 39 dead bodies in a container truck in Essex raises the question whether border security and humanity can go hand in hand. CRIOx Director Mark Almond's argument is in The Daily Mail (24th Oct., 2019):
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7606755/Strong-borders-save-lives-argues-MARK-ALMOND.html
 
Has the time come for NATO to expel Turkey in view of its invasion of Syria and President Erdogan's charges of collusion with terrorism against his allies? See the argument by CRIOx Director, Mark Almond in The Daily Telegraph (17th Oct., 2019):
https://www.pressreader.com/uk/the-daily-telegraph/20191017/281990379291477
Has Donald Trump's go-ahead to Turkey to invade northern Syria set light to the fuse of wider conf even beyond the Middle East. See the analysis by CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, in The Daily Mail (10th Oct., 2019): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7556195/MARK-ALMOND-Donald-Trumps-retreat-Syria-spark-global-conflict.html 
Donald Trump has broken so many taboos of US foreign policy that observers seem genuinely
shocked that the U.S. president has respected the tradition since 1919 of betraying the Kurds. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis in The Telegraph (7th Oct., 2019):  
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/10/07/betrayal-kurds-immoral-sadly-predictable/
With all eyes on the risk of war between the USA and Iran, the growing tension between America and China in the Gulf is being overlooked. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis in The Telegraph (23rd Sept., 2019):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/23/americas-cold-war-china-could-spark-archduke-franz-ferdinand/
Is Iran emboldened by Donald Trump's reluct-ance to use force in the Gulf? See the analysis by CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, in the Telegraph (19th Sept.): 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/09/19/war-gulf-may-soon-forced-upon-us/
John Bolton's rivals for Donald Trump's ear may be smiling at his fall, but it is Iran which feels it is on a roll. See CRIOx 
Director, Mark Almond's article in The Telegraph
(12th Sept., 2019): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/12/irans-hardliners-will-delighted-trumps-move-sack-john-bolton/
 
Robert Mugabe has been written off too soon by complacent Western obit-uarists argues CRIOx Director Mark Almond in The Telegraph (6th Sept., 2019): https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/09/06/western-obituaries-have-whitewashed-mugabes-curiously-celebrated/
"Are we on the brink of a new Tiananmen Square horror?" CRIOx Director Mark Almond asks the dread question in the Daily Mail (14th Aug., 2019):
 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-7357783/Are-brink-new-Tiananmen-Square-horror.html
Will Beijing use force to crush the protests in Hong Kong? Or are state media sabre-rattling to intimidate the protesters into backing down? See the analysis of CRIOx's Director Mark Almond:  
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/08/14/chinese-regime-may-brutal-cannot-simply-crush-hong-kong-protests/
Britain's decision to join the US in providing naval vessels to convoy tankers in the Persian Gulf sees it split from other EU states but raises the stakes in any new confrontation with Iran. See CRIOx Direc-
tor, Mark Almond's commentary in the Daily Mail:
 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7324361/One-rash-act-Iranians-set-hell-loose-writes-Mark-Almond.html
When South Korean air- craft intercepted Russian spy-planes off its eastern coast, Japan protested. It is not only the North Korean nuclear issue that threatens peace in East Asia. CRIOx's Mark Almond put Sino-Russian strategy in this complex context in The Telegraph (24th July, 2019):https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/24/south-korea-fires-russian-jets-vladimir-putin-xi-jinping-teaming/
Is the worsening crisis in the Persian Gulf partly the result of a prestige- obsessed Royal Navy which prioritised aircraft carriers over frigates?Now the Royal Navy has not got enough escort vessels to protect UK trade. See CRIOx Direc-
tor Mark Almond's com-mentary in the Telegraph (20th July, 2019):  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/07/20/brexit-myopia-fatal-lack-foresighthas-enabled-iran-put-britain/
Is Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps trying to provoke a clash with the UK and USA? See the  analysis of CRIOx Direc- tor, Mark Almond, in the Daily Mail (20th July):
 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7266841/Blinkered-Iranian-bullies-close-igniting-suicidal-conflict-seizing-British-tanker.html
Are Angela Merkel's shaking fits - Merkels-zittern as Germans call them - a psychsomatic symptom of her sense of Germany's paralysis as her long-drawn out twi-light drags on to 2021? See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's comment in The Daily Express  (13th July, 2019): https://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/1152913/angela-merkel-resignation-health-german-chancellor
The standoff between HMS Montrose and a swarm of IRG motor-boats harassing a BP tanker has brought the  tensions between Iran  and the Anglo-US forces in the Gulf to a new pitch. CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, offers his analysis in the Telegraph (11th July):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/11/irans-game-dare-high-seas-risks-full-blown-war-west/
Sir Kim Darroch's resig-
nation as Britain's ambassador to Washing-ton isn't the end of the matter. The leaker has revealed a trans-Atlantic chasm and injected poison into Ango-US relations at a critical time. CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, argues that only discovering who was behind the leak can lance the boil in The  Telegraph (10th July):
 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/10/whitehall-must-find-sneak-betrayed-sir-kim-darroch/
It was not necessary to  agree with Sir Kim Darroch's interpretation of the Trump Presidency in the leaked emails from the UK's ambassador to the USA to feel that the President's reaction was demeaning and that the leaker was intending to damage both Britain and America. See CRIOx's Mark Almond in debate with Patrick Flynn in the Telegraph (9th July):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/07/09/debate-should-kim-darroch-dismissed-post-us-ambassador/
The growing tension between demonstrators in Hong Kong and Beijing as well as the dilemmas posed for Britain was the subject of CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary in the Daily Express (6th July, 2019): 
https://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/1149913/china-britain-hong-kong-economy-resident-protests
Donald Trump's brief step into North Korea marks the latest stage in the US President's up- ending of received wisdom about how to conduct international relations. CRIOx Director, Mark Almond contributed his analysis to The Telegraph (30th June, 2019):https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2019/06/30/donald-trumps-unsettling-fire-fury-should-not-blind-us-successes/
Political earthquake in Istanbul as Ekrem Imamoglu trounces AKP candidate. Is it too soon to write off President Erdogan? Yes says CRIOx's Mark Almond contributed his analysis to the Telegraph (24th June, 2019):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/06/24/turkeys-strongman-president-still-capable-causing-plenty-problems/
Julia Hartley-Brewer in-
terviewed  CRIOx Director Mark Almond  on the US-Iran on Talk Radio (7.21am, 18th June, 2019):https://talkradio.co.uk/radio/listen-again/1560835800#
"The West will struggle to contain the escalating crisis in the Gulf" was CRIOx  Director, Mark Almond's view in the Daily Telegraph (15th June, 2019):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2019/06/14/west-will-struggle-contain-escalating-crisis-gulf/
In the Daily Mail (15th  June, 2019), Mark Almond argued "The stakes could not be higher"following the attacks  on 2 tankers in the Gulf of Oman:
 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7143771/MARK-ALMOND-says-weeks-oil-tanker-attacks-brought-Iran-tensions-new-level.html
Turkey's President has amazed world opinion with his harsh rhetoric towards New Zealand after the Christchurch 
massacre. CRIOX's Mark Almond suggests that though their modern nationhood was born out of the same Gallipoli bloodletting, now Mr Erdogan is abandoning Ataturk's legacy of reconciliation with the ANZAC enemy of 1915. See "What's driving 
President Erdogan's shameful exploitation of the New Zealand massacre?" in The Tele-
graph (20th March, 2019):  
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/03/20/driving-president-erdogans-shameful-exploitation-new-zealand/
India-Pakistan:
The clash between two nuclear-armed states is unprecedented. CRIOx Director Mark Almond argues that the history of antagonism between India and Pakistan makes the current crisis more dangerous even than the Cuban missile crisis. See "Nuclear Powers locked in a terrifying game of chicken" The Daily Mail (28th Feb., 2019): https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6753481/MARK-ALMOND-crisis-facing-world-Pakistan-downs-pair-Indian-jets.html
Is it a myth that two  democracies have never gone to war? India and Pakistan are testing that hypothesis to destruction.
See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis in The Telegraph (28 Feb., 2019):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/27/hurtling-towards-war-india-pakistan-discovering-trouble-democracy/
Will the loss of its last territorial control in east Syria mean that ISIS will lose its appeal to radical Muslims disaffected with the West? CRIOx director, Mark Almond, argues that analogies with the failure of Nazi werewolves to terrify post 1945 Europe should not make us complacent. See "We may eradicate Isil's
territory but its ideology will live on" in The Telegraph (15th Feb., 2019):
 https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/02/15/may-eradicate-isils-territory-ideology-will-live/
With both the USA and Russia withdrawing from the 1987 INF treaty, Mark Almond looks at the even more complex nuclear rivalries that face the world today compared with the bi-polar Cold War era. See his article in Daily Mail  (2nd Feb., 2019): 
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-6659627/A-new-cold-war-No-far-scarier-writes-MARK-ALMOND.html
 
The consensus that a military coup would be a quick and neat solution to Venezuela's current crisis is simplistic and overlooks recent cases of military intervention in Egypt (2011 & 2013) and Zimbabwe (2017) which were widely celebrated but have since gone sour. CRIOx Director, Mark
Almond, argues that Venezuela needs a civilian solution in The Telegraph (30th Jan., 
2018):  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/01/30/coup-will-not-fix-venezuelas-problems/
Emmanuel Macron was elected President of France in 2017 as an anti-politician. Like the equally 39 year old Louis-Napoleon Bona-
 parte in France's first presidential election in 1848, Macron ran as a centrist populist decrying the established parties of Left and Right, but ruled as the CEO of the banks and property spec-
ulators. Bonapartism then, La France en Marche today.  See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's  article in The Telegraph: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/12/04/macron-faces-waterloo-vapid-dream-centrist-populism-withers/
On 23rd November, 2018, the Daily Mail published a commentary on the UAE-Matthew Hedges Case by CRIOx 
Director, Mark Almond:
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6419901/UAE-buy-world-buy-silence-injustice-British-academic-spying.html
Is the UAE's Crown Prince competing with Saudi Arabia's MbS to see which Gulf reformer can antagonise its Western allies by flouting human rights? CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, analyses the power plays around the life sentence on Britain's Matthew Hedges for spying for the the Emirati's ally Britain in The Telegraph: 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/11/22/uae-using-matthew-hedges-bargaining-chip-get-london-back-yemen/
After 13 years in power is Angela Merkel's polit-
ical journey turning into a road to nowhere as her legacy is a splintered party landscape leaving Germany ungovernable as her own Christian Democrats and their Social Democrat allies haemorrhage voters but no coherent alternative coalition is emerging. See Mark Almond's 
commentary in The Tele-graph:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/29/angela-merkels-legacy-polarised-germany-now-verging-ungovernable/
 
President Trump's decision to scrap the 1987 INF treaty raises the spectre of an uncon- trolled arms race with Russia of a kind not seen since the early Cold War decades leading to the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis in The Daily Mail (22nd Oct., 2018): 
 https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6301483/Russias-new-missiles-Donald-Trumps-chest-beating-make-fraught-situation-worse.html 
As the Saudis sweat, Turkey is using Jamal Khashoggi's grisly fate to gain diplomatic advant-age vis-a-vis the USA as well as its Gulf rival, argues CRIOx Director, Mark Almond in The Telegraph (18th Oct., 2018):
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/18/saudis-sweat-turkey-using-khashoggi-disappearance-play-power/ 
 
CRIOx Director Mark  Almond argues that the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi is bringing the tensions within Sunni Islam into focus as Erdogan's Turkey is the standard-bearer of Islamic republicanism  of the Muslim Brother-hood type while the Saudi monarchy champions the MB's enemies like Sisi's Egypt. See The Telegraph (10th Oct., 2018):  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/10/10/spiralling-rivalry-turkey-saudi-arabia-could-set-alight-middle/
On 27th Sept. 2018, The Telegraph published CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary on the CDU rebellion against Angela Merkel's choice for chairman of their Bundestag group:https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/09/27/demise-angela-merkel-signals-end-consensus-politics/
Following the RT interview with the two suspects in the Skripal Novichok poisoning case on 13th Sept., 2018, BBC Radio 5 Live's "Up  All Night" interviewed CRIOx's Mark Almond about his interpretation of Boshirov & Petkov's 
denial of involvement: 
1.37am, 14th Sept., 2018
https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio/play/b0bhg5ry
(37 minutes from start)
The Sweden Democrats were left holding the balance of power after the country's general election on 9th September. CRIOx's Director, Mark Almond,
contributed his analysis of the latest increase  in the populist right's influence in an EU member to the The Daily Mail (10th Sept., 2018):
  https://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-6149199/How-immigration-killed-Swedens-liberal-dream-violence-uncertainty-replaces-tolerance.html
"One trade war at a time, Mr President." Is Donald Trump ignoring the wise advice of Abraham Lincoln? For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary "Trump risks creating an unholy 'axis of the sanctioned'" in the Daily Telegraph (13th August, 2018), see 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/08/13/trump-risks-creating-unholy-axis-sanctioned-turkey-iran-china/
Following the dismissal of Romania's anti-corruption prosecutor, Laura Kovesi, CRIOx Director, Mark Almond,
analysed why EU membership across East Europe had embedded corruption rather than combating it. See "The EU's richer members are paying the price for its Eastern states' endemic corruption" inThe Daily
Telegraph (26th July, 2018):  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/07/26/eu-has-utterly-failed-deal-corruption-eastern-europe-no-wonder/ 
The furore after the US President Donald Trump's dissent from the consensus among the US political and intelligence establishment about the alleged interference by Russia in the 2016 elections in the USA is analysed by CRIOx Director Mark Almond in the Daily Mail (17th July, 2018) "Another Day, Another Hand-Grenade":
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5960845/Another-day-Trump-hand-grenade-says-MARK-ALMOND.html
Will Britain be more likely to crash out of the EU without a deal after Monday's dramatic events in Westminster?
CRIOX Director, Mark Almond suggested in the Daily Telegraph (9th July, 2018) that the EU's own divisions and divisive decision-making
process may make it more likely: 
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/07/09/eu-bitter-cacophony-conflicting-voices-may-cannot-rely-support/
Angela Merkel's woes recall Theresa May's - both premiers are at risk of losing office over how to deal with the EU and its challenge to national sovereignty over borders and the economy. See CRIOx Director Mark Almond's commentary 
in The Daily Telegraph:
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2018/06/28/struggling-strike-eu-deals-sinking-home-angela-merkel-new-theresa/
The Daily Telegraph (24th June, 2018) published an analysis  of the likely impact of early results in the Turkish el-
ections suggesting Pre-
ident Erdogan had won a disputed re-election. For CRIOx Director Mark  Almond's commentary:    https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/06/24/erdogan-may-chastened-wafer-thin-majority-wont-change-rules/
CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary on the Trump-Kim summit in Singapore "Peacemaker confounds his critics again" was published in The Sun (13
June, 2018): 
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/6514536/peacemaker-donald-trump-confounds-his-critics-again-after-historic-kim-jong-un-summit/
Syria's President Assad's combative interview in the Mail on Sunday (10th June, 2018) is the subject of analysis by CRIOx Director,  Mark 
Almond, who asks if the Syrian regime can be as successful at rebuilding the country as it has been at demolishing rebel strongholds:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5825199/Assad-shows-no-flicker-remorse-says-foreign-affairs-analyst-MARK-ALMOND.html
Mark Almond explored the politics behind Roman  Abramovich's decision to halt funding for a new stadium for Chelsea after the delay in renewing the Russian oligarch's visa for the UK: "This isn't a hissy-fit - it's far more menacing" (Daily Mail, 1st June, 2018): www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5793017/MARK-ALMOND-Abramovichs-decision-drop-1bn-Chelsea-stadium-isnt-just-hissy-fit.html
CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary on the shooting dead by the Israeli Army of more than  50 Palestinians, "Yet Another Shattering Body Blow for Peace"
appeared in the Daily Mail (15th May, 2018)
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5729123/MARK-ALMOND-shattering-body-blow-peace-Israel-marks-70th-anniversary.html
CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary on the Israeli bombing of Iranian targets inside Syria, "We could be on the brink of a cataclys-mic Middle East war"  was published in the Daily Mail (11th May, 2018): 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5715819/MARK-ALMOND-brink-cataclysmic-Middle-East-war-drag-Britain.html
Skripal Poisoning:
 
BBC World's "Impact" inter-viewed CRIOx Director, Mark 
Almond, about the growing crisis with Russia following the 
poisonings in Salisbury (14.20pm, 15th March, 2018):
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/n3ct3n02
 
Skripal Poisoning: BBC Radio 4 "Today" interviewed Mark Almond, CRIOx's Director, on Britain's spy expulsions and sanctioons against Russia and the possible fraying of solidarity among its allies and the need for conclusive proof of the origin of the nerve agent used to poison 3 people in Salisbury. (Interview  8.56am (15th March, 2018):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09tyzvx
 
Germany's new grand coalition does not mark the triumph of 
consensus politics, but rather it
is the twilight of the German 
Establishment's increasingly 
unpopular vision for Europe as 
well as German society. It also exposes how hollow Angela Merkel's reputation for popul-
arity and statesmanship really is. Germany's long-serving Chancellor has sacrificed principle and fiscal stability to 
hold on to power - but that hold is less secure by the day. See CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's commentary, "Merkel's consesnsus politics fuels populism" in The Daily Telegraph (13th Feb., 2018):http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/02/13/angela-merkels-new-coalition-poisoned-chalice-could-destroy/
 
12th Feb., 2018: BBC Radio Wales "Good Morning Wales" interviewed CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, about the secur-
ity situation in Tunisia as tour-operator Thomas Cook restarts package holidays there for the first time since 38 tourists were masacred on the beach in Sousse in June, 2015. See: 
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09r3xn0#play
 
As part of its coverage of the
crisis in UK defence spending highlighted by the chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Nick Carter, the BBC News Channel inter-
vied CRIOx Director, Mark Almond at 12.30pm on 22nd January, 2018, for his views on
underinvestment in the British Army, overexpenditure on naval prestige projects like the two new aircraft carriers and the "worst case" scenario of con-flict  with Russia either on the ground or in cyberspace. 
 
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of the implic-
ations of the failure of the so-called JAMAIKA coalition talks in Germany for Angela Merkel, her country and BREXIT, see his commentary in the Daily Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-5102319/Why-Angela-Merkel-s-humiliation-Brexit-boost-need.html
 
Angela Merkel's Pyrrhic Victory
in the German general election
and the destabilising impact of the breakthrough of the 
nationalist Alternative for Germany party are the subject of an analysis by CRIOx Director, Mark Almond in the 
Daily Mail:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4915796/German-election-earthquake-echoes-1930s-Mark-Almond.html
 
Following North Korea's missile
across Japan, CRIOx Director,
Mark Almond, wrote these anal-
yses for the Daily Mail:
 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4834716/Is-Kim-plotting-revenge-Japan-s-war-crimes.html and 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4834706/How-does-West-neutralise-Kim-without-risking-world-war.html
 
What are the military options as
well as diplomatic possibilities as President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong un ramp up their mutual threats? CRIOx Director Mark Almond lays out some of the choices in the Daily Mail (10th August, 2017):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4776812/A-limited-strike-scale-invasion-pressure-China.html
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's argument that whatever the result of the con- stitutionl referendum inTurkey more crises will beset the country, see "Even if President Erdogan loses his referendum it won't stop Turkey's chaos" in The Telegraph (15th April, 2017):    
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/15/even-president-erdogan-loses-referendum-wont-stop-turkeys-slide/
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of the rapidly rising tensions between North Korea and the USA as well as China's delicate position and the possibility that Kim Jong-un is prepared for what Israel nuclear planners call 'The Samson Option', see his commentary "In a deadly game of dare Kim Jong-un will take the suicide option"  in The Daily Mail (15th April, 2017):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-4413342/In-deadly-game-dare-Kim-Jong-suicide.html
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of the wider implications of Donald Trump's "Warning to the World" after his decision to launch a cruise missile attack on Syria on 7th April, 2017, see 
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/3285701/professor-mark-almond-us-missile-strikes-against-syria-were-donald-trumps-warning-to-the-world/
 
For Mark Almond's comments on Slovak "Russophilia" and the country's media on "The Daily" Monocle Radio (10.10pm, 30th March, 2017) go to the second item c.22.10pm :  
https://monocle.com/radio/shows/the-monocle-daily/1404/play/
 
For Mark Almond's interview with BBC Radio Scotland's Gary Robertson on the terrorist crisis in Turkey go to 8.09" on his "Good Morning Scotland"
programme (3rd Jan. 2017):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0854q5f
 
After another terrorist massacre
on New Year's Eve in Istanbul,
CRIOx Director, Mark Almond,
analysed for the Telegraph (1st January, 2017) why a control-freak like President Erdogan cannot get a grip on Turkey's terrorism crisis even as he tightens his hold on power:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/01/stream-violence-turkey-shows-president-erdogan-control-freak/
 
With President Obama responding to Russia's alleged hacking of the emails of Hillary Clinton's closest associates by 
expelling 35 Russian diplomats, Mark Almond scrutinised Theresa May's crackdown on links between her ministers and Russian oligarchs in the Mail on Sunday (1st January, 2017):
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4079140/PM-s-war-oligarchs-cosied-Cameron-Theresa-vows-ban-links-Vladimir-Putin-Tory-fundraising-events.html
 
Following the assassination of the Russian ambassador to Turkey by an off-duty policeman,the Daily Telegraph published CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of its possible impact on Turkish-Russian relations but also on the strains between President Erdogan and his NATO allies:
 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/12/20/ankara-assassination-could-shake-west-does-turkey-russia/
 
On 29th October, 2016, The Sun published CRIOx Director Mark Almond's warning not to exaggerate the Russian threat to Nato even if Putin's armed forces and equipment outclasses Britain's shrinking army and badly spent procurement budget. See the article @ https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2073711/vladimir-putin-sends-330000-troops-eu-border-experts-reveal-threat/
 
For CRIOx Director Mark Almond's interview with Monocle 24 Radio about the longevity of Alexander Lukashenko as President of Belarus on 20th Oct. 2016 go to https://monocle.com/radio
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's discussion of US-Russian tensions with Michael 
O'Hanlon of Brookings and Larry Johnson (ex-CIA) on RT's "Cross Talk" 14th Oct., 2016 (moderated by Peter Lavelle), go to
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rsGg8e4vD6Q
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's warning "Turkey eyes a permanent break with the West"  in The Daily Telegraph (18th July, 2016), see 
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/17/turkeys-response-to-the-coup-could-herald-a-permanent-break-with/
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of the role of President Erdogan's personality traits in the Turkish coup crisis, see "Narcissist Who Threatens Us All"   in the Mail on Sunday (17th July, 2016): 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3693976/Narcissist-threatens-MARK-ALMOND-tells-Erdogan-seen-president-abuses-office-benefit-family-cronies.html
 
To listen to CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's interview on BBC Radio 5 Live about the
coup in progress in Turkey at 1am on 16th July, 2016, go to  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07krwg8
 
"Imagine a UK-sized meteorite crashing into the North Atlantic and you get a good idea of the impact of our ‘Out’ vote on the rest of the EU..." CRIOx's Director, Mark Almond, writes in the Mail on Sunday (26th June, 2016):  
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3660341/MARK-ALMOND-writes-control-borders-EU-won-t-jihadis-know-it.html#ixzz4Cg0iC4JF 
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's discussion of Paris as the home of tourism and terrorism over the last two centuries in The Mail on Sunday (15th Nov. 2015), see http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3319006/Twenty-years-bombs-guns-slaughter-MARK-ALMOND-asks-Paris-crucible-ISIS-terror.html
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of how destabilising Turkey's newly-elected "stable" parliamentary majority could prove for its region, see his article "Erdogan victory threatens stability" in The Daily Telegraph (3rd Nov. 2015):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11970963/Erdogans-victory-is-a-threat-to-Turkish-stability.html
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's article on Tony Blair's admission that the invasion of Iraq in 2003 helped spawn the ISIS threat today, see the Mail on Sunday (25th Oct. 2015): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3288189/Damn-Tony-Blair-Iraq-ISIS-Fear-abroad-home-sins-hugely-respected-writer-issues-simple-devastating-verdict-former-PM.html 
 
For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analysis of Turkey after the Ankara bombings, "Is Erdogan Turning Turkey into the New Pakistan?" see The Daily Telegraph (12th Oct. 2015): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/turkey/11926989/Is-Erdogan-turning-Turkey-into-the-new-Pakistan.html
 
"This is No Time for Schadenfreude" - for CRIOx Director Mark Almond's warning of the dangers posed by Germany's simultaneous mass migration crisis and the meltdown of its leading exporter, Volkswagen, see his article in The Mail on Sunday (27th Sept. 2015): 
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-3250535/This-no-time-schadenfreude.html
 
Greece: The Frontline of Putin's New Cold War
 
On 21st June, 2015, the Mail on Sunday published CRIOx Director, Mark's Almond's analysis of the relations between Vladimir Putin's vision of Orthodox Russia and the geopolitics of a possible Greek "Grexit" from the Euro. See  
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3133035/Greece-line-Putin-s-new-cold-war-Grexit-looms-leading-historian-argues-imperialist-Russian-leader-sees-chance-swoop.html OR for a fuller version, see http://markalmondoxford.blogspot.co.uk/
 
Tunisia: Bardo Massacre

 

For CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's comments on the roots of Tunisian jihadi radicalism, see

"Terrorism and Tourism: the two faces of Tunisia" in The Daily Telegraph (19th  March, 2015):

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/tunisia/11481150/Terrorism-and-tourism-the-two-faces-of-Tunisia.html

 

Fawning on the House of Saud

 

On 25th January, 2015, The Mail on Sunday published CRIOx Director, Mark Almond, critique of the British Establishment's fawning relationship with a Saudi regime increasingly in crisis. See

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2925100/As-Prince-Charles-David-Cameron-lead-tributes-Oxford-historian-MARK-ALMOND-says-UK-establishment-blinded-Saudi-Arabia-s-vast-oil-wealth.html

 

Turkey & ISIL

 

On 9th October, 2014, The Daily Telegraph published CRIOx  Director, Mark Almond's article about Turkey's role in the ISIL crisis "The Turks won't do the West's dirty work":

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/11148908/The-Turks-wont-do-the-Wests-dirty-work.htmltp://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnewFor CRIOx Director, Mark Almond's analyses the problems posed by the West's dubious allies in the campaign against IS in Iraq & Syria in the Mail on Sunday (27th Sept. 2014):

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2772291/How-win-war-allies-despise-stand-recent-experience-building-democracies-Afghanistan-Iraq-not-encouraging-rights-MARK-ALMOND.html

 

Ukraine

 

CRIOx's Director Mark Almond discussed the ceasefire in Ukraine and the outlook for peace there against the backdrop of NATO-Russia tension with BBC Radio 4's Eddie Mair (5th Sept. 2014):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04g1drk

 

 CRIOx's Director, Mark Almond, has been interviewed by the BBC Radio 4's "World at One" (29th Aug. 2014) on NATO and Ukraine - podcast wato_20140829-1453a - and BBC R4's "World Tonight" (12th Aug. 2014)  on conflict in South-East Ukraine -  http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04d4n8s

 

 

For the Director of CRIOx's contributions to the media debate  US-EU sanctions on Russia over the Ukrainian crisis and the downing of MH17, see Mark Almond's articles in

 

The Mail on Sunday  (21st July, 2014): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2698574/Shame-Putin-push-wall-peril.html

 

&

 

The Daily Telegraph (31st July, 2014): 

 http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/11000642/Not-talking-to-Vladimir-Putin-signals-impotence-not-strength.html

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Limits of Missile Defence - North Korea's

Shot across Japan was a

Serious Warning 

 

Kim Jong un's latest flouting of the UN

Security Council's ban on missile tests by

North Korea revealed the gaps in the US-

promoted missile defence systems used by

allies like Japan as well as the USA itself.

For months as  tensions with Pyongyang

have mounted, Western media have em-

phasised that America and her allies have

the ability to shoot down North Korean 

missiles using Patriot and related-systems.

But on 29th August, 2017, North Korea

sent a missile across northern Japan and

into the Pacific Ocean. Japan's air raid

warnings went off but no anti-missile 

defence system went into action.

By using a mobile launcher and an unex-

pected trajectory from a new launch site

near Pyongyang, North Korea blindsided

both Japanese and US systems.

Missile defence has worked in tests, but

then the defence team had coordinates of

a launch to help them. It is true that the 

Iron Dome system used by Israel has

been effective against Hamas and Hez-

bollah rockets. But the Israelis only have

to defend against a constricted launch 

area and they are only defending space

the size of Wales. 

One reason why Iran's links with 

Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon haunt 

the Israeli planners is that mobile Iranian

launchers would give Hezbollah much 

more flexibility in choosing launch sites 

and trajectories for attacking Israel.

Japan's anti-missile defences are placed 

to protect Tokyo and few strategic sites in

the southern half of the country. It is not

easy to redeploy them or to increase their

number quickly to counter a mobile North

Korean threat. 

The disabling of the USS John McCain

put a second US Aegis class anti-missile

platform out of service and led to a ban

on others moving for the moment. This

leaves Japan and the US without mobile

counter-measures. Kim has shown the 

gaps in Western missile defence.

 

Mark Almond (29th August, 2017)

 

Kim the Party-Pooper:

North Korea celebrates

4th July with an ICBM

 

 

Mark Almond (Oxford, 4th July, 2017)

 

It was predictable. The North Koreans always mark 

an anniversary with fireworks. They're quite liberal

about it - happy to let one off for other states' big 

days as much as their own. Before even the most 

patriotic Americans had raised the Stars and Stripes 

on Independence Day, let alone lit the fuse on any 

fireworks of their own, Kim Jong-un had pressed

ignition sending a potentially nuclear armed whizz-

bang soaring into the sky.

Launching an ICBM to mark the USA's two hundred

and forty-first birthday was a typical Kim Jong-un

snub to the UN, China, Russia, Japan, and South

Korea as well as to Washington. Forbidden to engage

in missile tests by the UN Security Council, Kim has

shown that sanctions and threats don't impress him.

What kind of missile exactly was tested on 4th July is

still in dispute. Maybe the North Koreans are just

making empty boasts about its range.

It fell into the sea after flying around 600 miles. Did

it crash or was the flight aborted by Pyongyang once

it had tested what the Great Leader needed to know?

Whatever was the case the test firing made a big

splash but before openly flouting Japanese airspace?

The North Koreans like to be provocative but so far 

they have kept their actions just short of acts of war.

Blood-curdling rhetoric spews out of Pyongyang but

its missiles have yet to violate another country's 

territory if only by flying over it.

But by choosing America's birthday to test its most

advanced weapons-system by its own account, North

Korea has thrown down a gauntlet to Donald Trump.

The US President has repeatedly promised that he 

would "not allow" Pyongyang to develop a workable

nuclear weapons system.

So far North Korea has tested nuclear weapons in 

underground detonations. But it has not yet found a

way to weaponise whatever Bomb it has made. With-

out a missile capable of delivering Kim's Bomb it is

little more than a Samson Bomb - i.e. it can be used 

to deter invasion of North Korea by threatening to

detonate static nuclear landmines in the path of any

US-South Korean army advancing north.

Suicide by nuclear self-immolation can hardlybe  Kim

Jong-un's favoured strategy. He needs to develop a

warhead and a missile capable of deterring potential

invaders by threatening to strike their homelands, 

especially their capital cities.

Seoul, Tokyo as well as Beijing are within range of

North Korea's conventional missiles, but until now

North Korea has had no plausible clim to be able to

strike at the US mainland even with a conventional

warhead.

If Kim Jong-un is approaching that stage now, then

Trump faces a dilemma. If his Administration lets

Pyongyang weaponise a missile with a nuclear war-

head, it will be humiliating for President Trump. It

will also embolden Washington's adversaries. But any

direct intervention to halt the North Korean nuclear

programme would almost certainly entail huge losses

on the Korean peninsula. It is likely that not only 

South Korea and Japan would be - briefly - blitzed by 

North Korea's conventional missiles, but even China

could face dangers.

President Trump has repeatedly looked to Beijing to

rein in Pyongyang, but Kim has defied the Chinese

as well as the Americans.

Since China and Russia sit astride North Korea's 

economic lifeline, in theory they could strangle the 

regime there with sanctions. But what incentive do

they have to risk becoming targets of an unpredict-

able regime at America's behest?

Some US strategists talk of offering China a deal: if

Beijing will throttle Pyongyang economically then 

Washington should promise to withdraw its forces

from the united Korea which would follow the fall of

Kim Jong-un.

The problem is that the Chinese remember how in

1989 then President Bush promised the Soviet leader,

Mikhail Gorbachev, that NATO would not expand to

the east if the Kremlin permitted German unification.

NATO forces now sit five minutes flying time from 

Putin's birthplace, St. Petersburg, and around 500

miles from Moscow itself. 

Kim Jong-un is a disrespectful and dangerous next-

door neighbour for China, but he is not America. To

topple the North Korean regime and then be double-

crossed by Washington as so many Russians feel they

were after 1989 is hardly an attractive outcome for 

the Chinese regime.

At the G-20 Summit, Donald Trump will try to

persuade Xi Xinping and Vladimr Putin to help him 

find an effective way to curb North Korea short of 

war. But the mood music in Washington is not help-

ful. Although Trump personally has signalled a will-

ingness to deal with the Chinese and Russian leaders,

in fact he even suggested talking directly to Kim, the

foreign policy establishment in Washington and its

Amen-corner in the mainstream media screeches

relentlessly about the Chinese and Russian threats as

well as delegitimising their governments, even if the 

same Beltway insiders demand Chinese and Russian

cooperation against North Korea in almost the same

breath. The South China Sea and Crimea issues are

debatable and both Beijing and Moacow have cases 

to answer but official Washington manages to con-

fuse these localised territorial disputes with what it

claims to be an existential threat from North Korea's

nuclear weapons programme.

Since US public opinion is conditioned to believe 

that agreements with Beijing and Moscow can never

be legitimate because of the bad odour of the govern-

ments there, China and Russia can hardly rely on an

agreement with Trump to guarantee long-term US 

adherence to a deal.

This 4th July, the record of how Washington reneged

on countless deals with Native Americans in the

country's first century, still haunt the birthday party,

for Americans with a memory at least. More recently,

the younger President Bush's withdrawal from the 

Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty was a lesson in how far

US commitments can change if Washington thinks it

can gain an advantage by abandoning an agreement.

Kim Jong-un's gate-crashing of the Fourth of July is

a lesson in how the bad boy can cock a snook at a 

superpower unless it is willing to initiate Armageddon

to smack him down because the only potential allies

in achieving a peaceful outcome regard the USA as 

a rogue state in its own right even if they could do

without North Korea's potentially disastrous nuclear

antics.

 

     

           -----------------------------------------------  

 

 Donald Trump on the High-

Wire: The US President's 

Sudden Military & Diplomatic Summersaults explain what 'America First' means  

 

President Trump's domestic base has been

unsettled by the last ten days' sudden about-

turns in foreign and military policy. The

outside world, too, has been left ueasy by the President's reversal of course from his

campaign rhetoric suggesting detente with

Russia's Vladimir Putin and even talks with

North Korea's Kim Jong-un.

Instead of bringing either of them to Mar-a-

Lago, it was the "rapist" of the U.S. economy

, the currency-manipulator-in-chief, Xi Jing-

ping of China, who was the first non-US ally

to get an invitation to the President's weekend retreat.  

The Chinese President complacently accepted

his host's information over "the most delicious chocolate cake" that the US Navy had launch-

ed 59 cruise missiles at the Syrian airbase

from which Trump claimed President Assad

had authorised a chemical weapons attack.

But President Xi got an important concession

in return for China not joining Russia in

vetoing a UN Security Council resolution

demanding Syria comply with an investigation

which would open its military bases to foreign scrutiny. Trump dropped his threats of a trade

war.

That was the real meaning of 'America First':

 if China prioritised dealing with the USA

over its partnership with Russia, for instance,

then Trump would tone down, even forget, his

barbs about unfair trade and currency manip-

ulation.

So far so good for China as well as Trump.

But the North Korean issue also haunted the

talks between Xi and Trump.    

Mainstream American commentators like

Gordon S. Chang talk as though Beijing has

the whip hand over Pyongyang. Of course, the

Hermit Kingdom can only really trade through

China. Its sea-routes are vulnerable to the US

Navy. But even if it is true - and it probably is -

that much of the sophisticated guidance tech-

nology for North Korea's missiles as well some nuclear equipment have come via China, this smuggling may not now be approved by

President Xi's government. Corruption in

China is a limit on the power of the Politburo

as it was on that of the Emperors before them.

But the Chinese government is well-aware of

how suspicious the young Kim is towards them.

Both his uncle and his half-brother paid with

their lives for being seen as Beijing's men.

If the Chinese had hoped either to control the

youngKim through his uncle or replace him

with a more pliable brother those options are

now dead.

Recognising how ruthless Kim Jong-un is makes

the Chinese nervous. He has nowhere to run to

if his regime falls, so he has no incentive to

back down.

But if Trump is serious about ending the nuclear threat from North Korea, then China faces a

war on its doorstep. Pyongyang's missiles

can't reach the USA but the Forbidden City is

within range as, of course, are both Seoul and

Tokyo.

Kim has got his neighbours in the same bind

facing Just William's gang when Violet

Elizabeth Bott threatened "To scream and

scream until I am sick!" No-one wants to be

in the way of Kim's nuclear vomit however

much they want to be rid of him.

Only Trump is at a safe distance. Will he put

America first or listen to his allies and

biggest trading partner?

It is not only North Korea's fate that hangs in

the balance. Much of the world's productive

capacity and trade in white goods is at risk

from a conflict in north-east Asia.

A horrendous humn toll would follow the out-

break of hostilities on the Korean peninsula

but even Americans and Europeans would

not be immune to its economic consequences.

Once Donald Trump talked boldly about

talking to rivals even if nothing might come

of it. Maybe soon enough his deal-making

skills will be put on the line. Let's hope so for

 all of our sakes.

 

Mark Almond  15th April, 2017

   

 

 

 

 

         Trump & the CIA:

 

     Who's Spooked by Whom?

 

Was the DNC hacked by Russian agents on behalf of

Donald Trump or was Donald Trump bugged by US

agents looking for evidence that his team were cats'

paws of the Kremlin?

The mainstream outlets of the US media - and the

bulk of left-leaning blogosphere - constantly repeat

that "all seventeen US intelligence agencies agree"

that Russia interfered in the US Presidential election.

No-one on CNN or Fox, let alone in the print media

seems to ask what role should "all seventeen US

intelligence agencies" have in investigating how

emails from John Podesta or the DNC came into the

public domain? When the ex-acting director of the 

CIA, Mike Morrell, blandly admitted that both the 

President of the United States and the President-elect 

fell into the category of US citizens any intelligence

agency could "accidentally" collect and more import-

antly deliberately keep any covert surveillance about, 

Charlie Rose was obviously awkward. This admission

did not fit the script that Trump could not possibly 

have been wire-tapped/surveilled without a ruling by

the Fizer court.

So if POTUS and POTUS-elect are fair game when 

their emails and phone calls are scoopped up the

NSA or GCHQ dragnets - as inevitably theirs like 

everyone else's in the digidomain are - what about

the rest of the US citizenry? 

More pertinently when it comes to the mantra about 

"all seventeen intelligece agencies" agreeing on an

essentially domestic legal matter when it comes to 

possible election fraud inside the USA, what reason

does US Naval intelligence, for instance, have to

engage in the kind of surveillance which would

enable it to come to an independent verdict on who

hacked the Democrats and why?

Of course, several of these agencies had no reason to

do so  - or at least not in US law. So allowing that

"all seventeen US intelligence agencies" don't en-

gage in un-authorised and un-constitutional spying

what the drum-beat about their unanimity in the US

media means is simply saying to anyone with doubts

or queries: "You're outnumbered."

Maybe what they are saying is the case, but their way

of proving their case is logically weak. Believe us,

because of who we are is not a strong argument in a

democracy though the priesthod of a theocracy might 

think it cuts the mustard. 

Truth is determined by the consensus of the "deep

state". Any doubts about the existence of a US "deep

state" were out to rest when John Brennan, the head

of the CIA, made aun unprecedented appearance on

the BBC's flagship "Newsnight" to assure its Blairite

shill, Kirstie Wark, that there was no such thing as a

"deep state" in the USA.

"Never believe anything, until it has been officially

denied," Claud Cockburn suggested when asked to

comment on alleged  official skullduggery.

Trump's counter-charges against Obama's appointees 

in the intelligence agencies - expressed in typically 

florid language about Nazi-style tactics - brought 

deep tensions between the new president and the 

deeply-embedded intelligence aparatus in Washington

D.C. BBC journalists like Katty Kay - who also can

be seen on Bloomberg and MSNBC polit-shows - saw

nothing constitutionally-odd about warning the new

President off tackling his nominal subordinates in 

the intelligence community. Apparently, reporters

like these take for granted the authority and reach of

the US "deep state" so much that they warn anyone

off referring to it.

Trump broke that tabu. Whether it will break him 

remains to be seen. 

   

       

Post-Communist
                 
          States:
 
   Short Histories
 
 
To help journalists and policy-makers understand the background to recurrent crises in the ex-Soviet Bloc and the Balkans, CRIOx is publishing a series of "Short Histories". 
 
(Available in hard-copy and Kindle editions from Amazon.com.) 
 
Out Now:
 
"The Post-Communist Baltic States:
A Short History"
by Mark Almond & Christine Stone
 
(Also from Lulu.com)
 
Already available:
 
"Post-Communist Georgia:
A Short History"
 
by Mark Almond & Christine Stone
 
Coming soon:
 
"Post-Communist Ukraine: A Short History"
 
by Mark Almond
 
and
 
"Post-Communist Moldova & Transnistria:
A Short History" 
by Mark Almond & Christine Stone
 
and 
 
"Post-Conflict Yugoslavia" 
 
For more information,
contact criox.editor@aol.com
 
 
 
Research Themes
 
Post-Communist Conflicts: Ukraine
 
Frozen Conflicts: the Caucasus region
 
Crisis of Secularism: Turkey, Tunisia, Israel
 
To be informed when CRIOx's "Secular Turkey - A Short History" is published register your interest at criox.editor@aol.com
Regional Crises
 
Coming soon:
 
Ukraine: Bridge or Battleground between Russia and the West?
 
Xinjiang: Uighurs - Nationalism or Trans-National Terrorism?
 
 
 
 

           "HIRAK" 

     Algeria in Crisis:

  

   

 

      From Regime Without a Face

        to Regime Without a Head  

                  Mark Almond  

         To register your interest:

            contact@criox.editor

                        or 

            criox.editor@aol.com

                  

  

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