USA/RUSSIA – The U.S. Navy is re-establishing its 2nd Fleet, responsible for the North Atlantic, to counter an increasingly assertive Russian navy.  It will be based in Norfolk, Virginia, where it was disbanded in 2011 for cost-saving reasons.

RUSSIA/PROTESTS – Over the weekend Russian police arrested opposition leader Alexei Navalny in Moscow along with more than 1,000 protesters nationwide as they demonstrated against the upcoming inauguration of Vladimir Putin to his latest term as president. (See diary)

IRAN/TELEGRAM – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticized a ban imposed on the Telegram messaging app. He said this was the “opposite of democracy” in a post on Instagram. Telegram has about 40 million users in Iran and some hardliners fear it could be used to organize anti-establishment rallies.


The biggest set piece event is Putin’s inauguration ceremony for his 4th term as President, but possibly the biggest story will be President Trump’s decision on the Iran nuclear deal – the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. If he, in essence, tears it up, ramifications, both economic and military will flow from the decision.

Also worth watching is the Japan/China/S Korea meeting in which North Korea will feature ahead of the probable Trump/Kim meeting. Iraq’s parliamentary elections are always worth a look to see the balance of power in the fragile state, and it will be interesting to see now much of a red carpet the British roll out for President Erdogan and his increasingly authoritarian government.


Mon –  Russian President Vladimir Putin inaugurated for a 4th term as president.

Mon –  Serbia’s President Vucic in Russia for 2 days of talks with Putin.

Tues – Chinese PM Li Keqiang in Japan until Fri.

Tues – Armenia’s parliament holds 2nd vote to appoint a new prime minister.

Weds – Japan hosts a summit with China and South Korea.

Weds –   Victory Day celebrated in Russia and the former Soviet Union.

Weds – Malaysia – national elections.

Thurs – Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko meet in Germany.

Fri –  Greece and Macedonia hold another round of talks to resolve a dispute about Macedonia’s name.

Sat –  Deadline for President Trump to extend sanctions waivers on the Iran nuclear deal. Or not to.

Sat –  Iraqi parliamentary elections.

Sun –  Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrives in London for a 2-day visit.


1 Comment on "Things We Lost In The Mire – 19"

  1. A fourth term as president? Well, who’s counting? I am sure there is plenty of life in him yet.

    Talking of Pressies – Trump went in early, by your diary, and did the deed on Tuesday. Happiness in some quarters. Not in others. I am more than a little confused what real difference this is actually going to make. Unemployment and other problems are growing in Iran, and they need their trade. So, I imagine they will want to patch something together. The real issue is who takes the European side and who takes Trumps.

    Northeast Asian summit looks promising. I know it is important that the US gets talking to DPRK, but I wonder if it would be better, or more interesting, for those of the region to get things sorted first. Or am I being a spoil-sport?

    Victory Day parade in Russia looked expensive. Lots of smiles and handshakes from Putin the IV (term, that is). I think I preferred the old ones with the leaders looking down from their concrete balcony. Of course, anything colourful was banned under the Soviets, so everything had to be painted black and white. Oh, and red occasionally, I suppose. Anyway, Putin IV really needs to look scarier if he is going to create USSR 2.0.

    Prime Minister Najib Razak is currently getting a kicking in Malaysia. Hey, I got that from the Daily Express!! I didn’t know they knew where Malaysia is.

    The rest of the week would require time travel to comment on.

    Anything else we missed?

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being given a hard time on social media, basically being told by the Turkish people that they have had “enough.”

    And Gina Haspel, nominee for CIA director, is trying to explain her rather complicated relationship with torture.

    A fun week with plenty to chew over, me thinks!

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