Friday, October 25, 2019

Week in Review Discussion on The Critical Hour (10/11/2019)

Trump Claims Victory Trade Deal, Did Xi Give Sleeves From His Vest?

US President Donald Trump said Friday that the US and China have reached what he called a substantial “phase one“ trade deal in which Beijing agreed to limited measures to improve trade ties between the countries. In exchange, Trump will not move forward with another round of tariff increases against roughly $250 billion in Chinese goods that had been set to take effect on Tuesday. Who really won in this deal?

The May dismissal of Marie Yovanovitch, the former US ambassador to Ukraine, is now a subject of interest to House of Representatives impeachment investigators. In prepared remarks to Congress Friday, Yovanovitch said Trump pressured the State Department to oust her. "She told lawmakers that she was forced to leave Kiev on “the next plane” this spring and subsequently removed from her post, with the State Department’s No. 2 official telling her that, although she had done nothing wrong, the president had lost confidence in her and the agency had been under significant pressure to remove her since the summer of 2018," the Washington Post reported Friday. What are we to make of her testimony?
[Related article: Dead Man’s Hand: The Impeachment Gambit]

Igor Fruman and Lev Parnas, two associates of Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, were arrested Wednesday at Virginia's Dulles International Airport while trying to leave the country. They were charged Thursday with "conspiring to make contributions in connection with federal elections in the names of others, and with making false statements to and falsifying records to obstruct the administration of a matter within the jurisdiction of the Federal Election Commission," according to the Department of Justice. How bad is this, not just for Igor and Lev but for Rudy?

Turkey is now in its third day of ground and air strikes against Syrian Kurdish groups who were key allies in the US fight against Daesh. How big of a mistake is this? What about the mixed messages? "Mr. Trump acquiesced to the Turkish operation in a call with Turkey’s president on Sunday, agreeing to move American troops out of Turkey’s way despite opposition from his own State Department and military. On Wednesday, hours after the operation began, he condemned it, calling it 'a bad idea,'" the New York Times reported.
[Related article: The Empire Steps Back: Trump Withdraws From Syria – Impeachment Now Possible, Turkey Invades Syria. America Spins The Bottle]

Two missiles reportedly struck a National Iranian Oil Company tanker in the Red Sea off of Saudi Arabia's coast Friday, causing an explosion and an oil spill. Saheb Sadeghi, head of public relations for the National Iranian Tanker Company, told Iranian state-run outlet Press TV that the projectiles were "possibly" launched from Saudi soil, but Tehran has not yet provided any public evidence regarding the incident. According to global ship tracking service Marine Traffic, the tanker in question is traveling south, and the Iranian government has yet to blame the strike on anyone.
[Related article: Eve of Destruction: Iran Strikes Back]


Jim Kavanagh — Political analyst and commentator and editor of The Polemicist.

Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.

Dr. Jack Rasmus — Professor of economics at Saint Mary's College of California.

The Critical Hour is a daily 60-minute news analysis and talk radio program on Radio Sputnik hosted by Dr. Wilmer Leon. Introduction above is theirs, with related articles of mine referenced in brackets.

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