Thought for the day

"Truth above all, though the heavens may fall!" -- Michael Rivero
"The Chinese are universally conceded to be excellent people, honest, honorable, industrious, trustworthy, kind-hearted, and all that--leave them alone, they are plenty good enough just as they are; and besides, almost every convert runs a risk of catching our civilization. We ought to be careful. We ought to think twice before we encourage a risk like that; for, once civilized, China can never be uncivilized again. We have not been thinking of that." -- Mark Twain

The US is planning to establish a new command base in Germany that will focus entirely on supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Establishing the command would be part of the Western effort to support Ukraine in the long term, as there are no signs that the war will be ending anytime soon. The command would oversee the arming and training of Ukrainian forces.

Russia’s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Moscow was exploring the idea of holding in-person talks with the US on New START, the last remaining nuclear arms control treaty between the two powers.

“At the moment, we are exploring possibilities for holding a face-to-face session,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.

The United States has carried out multiple surveillance flights this week around Kaliningrad, a Russian exclave located on the Baltic Sea coast. The American spy planes are likely assessing Moscow’s nuclear weapons activity as the two sides step up threats and warnings over the ongoing war in Ukraine. 

Banks in Turkey will no longer accept the Russian Mir payment system, as reported by the Turkish NTV broadcaster on Wednesday, 28 September. 

According to a person speaking on behalf of the Russian Kremlin, this decision is due to weeks of “unprecedented pressure” exercised by the United States. 

Hungary cannot support the European Union's planned eighth round of sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine if those contain energy sanctions, Prime Minister Viktor Orban's chief of staff said on Thursday.

The EU executive proposed on Wednesday fresh sanctions against Russia, including tighter trade restrictions, more individual blacklistings and an oil price cap for third countries.

The proposed sanctions fall short of harder-hitting measures, including a ban on importing Russian diamonds, sought by Russia hawks Poland and the three Baltic countries.

That war, hidden behind the U.S. created Ukraine crisis, is designed to destroy Europe’s manufacturing advantage compared to the U.S. It is more likely though to strengthen the economic position of China and other Asian economies.

I have argued that Germany must open the Nord Stream II pipeline which can bring Russian natural gas to Germany without crossing other countries’ territory. It must also allow Siemens to repair the defect Nord Stream I compressors. It is in fact inevitable if German’s industry is to survive.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said the "unprecedented sabotage" against the Nord Stream gas pipelines was "an act of international terrorism," the Kremlin said in a statement.

Putin made the remarks in phone call with his Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan. He also said it was necessary to fulfil an internationally-brokered deal on Ukrainian grain exports, including the removal of barriers for Russian food and fertilizer supplies to the global markets, the Kremlin said.