Is Russia becoming the Free Trade forum for the Universe?

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Macron’s St. Petersburg mission: Keep Russia in the European family

…from Russia Today, Moscow

The IMF’s Christine Lagarde was there

[ Editor’s Note: Some high stakes geopolitical poker has been going on at the Saint Petersburg Forum, where once again Putin is holding the stage as ground zero for free trade and a multi-polar world.

France and Germany are on stage letting the US know they have political and economic options if the US puts the squeeze on via tariffs or backing out of international agreements, where the US seems to be after the gold medal for that category.

The forum moderator was not making a cheap joke with his comment that one of Trump’s unique gifts was “bringing people together”, a left-handed way of really saying that Trump is pushing former US allies into closer relations with others because they see themselves being targeted by Donald and the NeoCons. 

Putin came up with the elephant in the living room by asking how one deals with an international partner who assumes that all past international agreements are up for renegotiation after every US national election.

No one in the US political arena in an official government position has shown any concern about the long term consequences of fickleness. One can hardly call it leadership. It is the kind of thing you would expect from Deep State operatives. Rules are for the “other people” to follow, but not them, and of course not for Israelis. I fear this all will get worse before it gets betterJim W. Dean ]

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Nobody “does Putin” like Putin … never hyping, keeping people guessing, and hiding his objective

– First published … May 26, 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG – The top table at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) hosted leaders responsible for around 30 percent of global GDP. And quite a line-up it was: Macron and Vladimir Putin, alongside Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan and IMF supremo Christine Lagarde.


Indeed, there was so much collective power gathered at Friday event that Bloomberg’s John Micklethwait, who was serving as moderator, quipped how it was the result of Donald Trump’s unique ability to bring people together. However, while humorous, this was an America-centric take that missed the bigger picture.

What was really happening in St. Petersburg was a sort of tug of war, where Russians flirted with East and West as they continue to ponder on which side their bread will be buttered in the future. While Washington and its sidekicks in London don’t seem overly perturbed by Russia’s drift to Asia, France and Germany are alarmed, and representatives from both countries continuously referenced the issue at the SPIEF.

And then Macron made it clear where he stood. “Russia is an inalienable part of Europe… mistakes have been made in the past… we must work to remove our divisions on many issues,” he said.

Former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder had earlier warmed up to the same theme: highlighting how an energy partnership with Russia was in Europe’s vital interest. He also mocked US attempts to kibosh the proposed Nord Stream 2 pipeline, saying he wouldn’t currently look to Washington for “examples of high governance.”

Russian analysts present this week echoed Schroeder’s assertion that the Americans are wielding sanctions for business advantage. And Putin himself warned how protectionist measures could eventually lead to a devastating global crisis.

“The system of multilateral cooperation, which took years to build, is no longer allowed to evolve. It is being broken in a very crude way. Breaking the rules is becoming the new rule,” the Russian president remarked.

Also fascinating was how discourse at the SPIEF differed from the isolationist rhetoric prevalent in London and Washington these days. Putin expressed support for free trade and investment, as well as openness to Chinese companies operating in Russia and their people moving here in tandem.

Indeed, one Italian delegate remarked how the world had been turned on its head: “Thatcher and Reagan used to be the ones pushing these agendas, who would have imagined 30 years ago, Moscow and Beijing standing up for capitalist globalization?”

While Wang and Abe spoke of mutually respectful relations honed over many years, Macron was in a thoroughly different position. But the young French leader was keen to play the humble guest: beginning his speech with tributes to those in St. Petersburg who had died in the Second World War, before making a lengthy reference to Leo Tolstoy’s War & Peace.

Nevertheless, politics caught up to Macron when he praised French business for staying in Russia despite “tough times.” Because Russians present were quick to note how Paris was one of the primary drivers behind the Western sanctions that have hurt the Russian economy.

On the ground, the atmosphere was friendly. And the French descended in numbers, with leading companies from Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy to oil major Total investing in lavish stands.

“You look at Russian culture and it’s all European: from Pushkin to Tolstoy and Rachmaninoff to Tchaikovsky. Despite the geography, this is not an Asian country, in any way,” an exhibitor from Lyon noted.

Yet the Russians are keeping their options open. Putin pointed out that, beyond the bluster, French engagement in Russia isn’t as substantial as many might believe.

“Finland’s Fortum invested €6 billion in Russia, while the whole of France invested €15 billion,” he pointedly told Macron, who had earlier said that France desired to become the largest direct investor in Russia.

Putin outlined why this target was ambitious: “trade with Europe was worth $450 billion once, now it has fallen by half. With China, trade is going to reach $100 billion soon.” That said, despite these occasional reality checks, “Vladimir” and “Emmanuel” seemed to be hitting it off.

Russian business delegates wanted their officials to play all sides.

“Russia should be friends with everyone. Why should we choose?” Alina Ustinova from Rostov Oblast noted. “We are mostly European, but a bit Asian too and we must trade with all comers. Even the Americans are welcome, when they finally see sense.”

“I don’t see anything wrong with dancing with the French on Friday night and the Chinese on Saturday; perhaps we could even manage a Wednesday for Trump,” she teased.

Bryan MacDonald for RT


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9 COMMENTS

  1. Gerald Parker

    About Bilingualism …… an Average Canadian Anglophone would rather badmouth the French people and the French language than bother to learn French ,,,,,, since to Learn French One must use a Brain so typical Canadians declare everything French to be Pathetic …… I seen it ALL around and Yes Imports like Me are Bilingual but Never the Born Canadian Anglophones …..

    I don’t get You ….. Whether Your’e a Habitual Liar OR Maybe You don’t know the People that Surround You ……. & Yes I lived in Quebec too and Anglophones there too Never bother to Learn French ….. A typical Canadian Anglophone would rather Fight the French than use his little Brain to Learn French ……. do me a Favor and take a good HONEST look at the People that surround You maybe You don’t know them at ALL and Yes the approx 40% Bilinguals are Imports like Me and those from Algeria . Morocco , Tunisia , Haiti etc etc BUT NOT The Canadian Born Anglophones who stay Stubborn through out Their Lives …… either wake up OR Stop Lying to present a Utopia .

  2. It appears we are being left out in the cold, so to speak. But, we’re comfortable with that, as our button is the biggest button. The big button will keep us warm.

    • Yup USA is going to be Warm alright , Only that the Heating will come from Nuclear Explosions , You got that Right .

  3. We, Americans, collectively produced Trump and demanded the system we have. Examine our original sales pitch to the world. Land of Opportunity. Achieve your financial Independence. Not necessarily your freedom, or open to all people, but your financial dreams can come true, if you come to America. Think and Grow Rich.
    Even Lagarde herself has said, Capitalism in it’s current form is not sustainable. We have mastered the art of Oligarchy formation. So the machines that do the job of 200 people, are now owned by single people.
    The issue is, when abundance becomes easier, and everything is plentiful, the diversity of skills contained in a society should see a energetic flow towards the arts, health-mental and physical, and education. But due to our system, many avenues that should be flourishing are in fact blocked, and considered unnecessary. This is double trouble. We are not a land of free thinkers. Instead a land of trained domestic servants to the Oligarchy.

  4. The British, deservedly called Perfidious Albion, that who colonized the North America continent, why his descendants should be different after all?? The himself war criminal Winston Churchill in his speech at to Joint Session of US Congress in 1941 said…
    “By the way, I cannot help reflecting that if my father had been American and my mother British instead of the other way around, I might have got here on my own”
    And he was right… or you have any doubt ???

  5. In a nation like ours, the Dominion of Canada, we combine British and French legacies, languages, and mutual interests. I just hope that Ottawa will forego joining in the madness from Westminster and Washington, D.C., to make even stronger relations than we have already with France!

    • Wake Up , Canada is a Zionist Slave and Trudeau sucks NuttyYahoo off .

      Trudeau hasn’t the Balls to go Independent . Canada is a Thorough Slave with Bronfmans and others that own it lock stock & Barrel .

      IF it’s not Israel Commanding Canada what to do then it’s Washington DC telling Canada Where to deploy Canadian Forces and Who to Kill …… Canada is the Bigest sucker , Canada has never had Anything of it’s own , Even the Canadian Jet ” Arrow ” Project was scrapped Because Washington DC demanded that Canada must buy US Jets ……. Canada is A Slave . Period .

  6. Yes, Macron’s reference to Tolstoi novel was appropiated because Trump is like Mary Bolkonskaia who’s “out of this world”…. 🙂

  7. > “No one in the US political arena in an official government position has shown any concern about the long term consequences of fickleness.”

    As has been pointed out by descendants of the original inhabitants of the land, reneging on official agreements is how the USA has taken the shape it has. A habit of generations. Should anyone really be surprised by recent behavior?

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