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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #150 on: January 31, 2015, 11:11:57 AM »

British Justice vs. Kremlin Impunity
The polonium-poisoning murder of a Russian exile and Putin critic in 2006 finally gets a public inquest.
By Sohrab Ahmari
Updated Jan. 30, 2015 6:34 p.m. ET
WSJ
London

“It has been described as one of the most dangerous post-mortem examinations ever undertaken in the Western world, and I think that’s probably right.”

So testified forensic pathologist Nathaniel Cary on Wednesday, the second day of the inquiry into the 2006 poisoning death of Russian defector Alexander Litvinenko. The proceeding, held at the Royal Courts of Justice, aims to examine the circumstances under which Litvinenko was murdered with radioactive polonium-210, a highly unusual poison and one of many Hollywood-ready elements of the case that has made it a tabloid fixture for nearly a decade.

Some aspects of the inquiry have a definite cloak-and-dagger feel. Also on Wednesday, journalists were barred from the room at one point so that “Scientist A1,” whose day job is to help maintain the U.K. nuclear deterrent, could testify about the deadly substance. The press was ushered into a separate annex, where Scientist A1 could be heard but not seen.

The details of the case largely are more prosaic, when they’re not confusing for a lay audience. The top-secret Scientist A1 was there to tell the inquiry that “one gram of polonium-210 emits one-six-six, zero-zero-zero, zero-zero-zero, zero-zero-zero, zero-zero-zero alpha particles per sec—”

“Pausing right there,” an exasperated barrister interrupted, inadvertently triggering laughter in the courtroom and the press annex. “I may be wrong, but 166 quadrillion per second?”

“Yes, that’s correct,” Scientist A1 replied.

Such arcane details are essential to understanding the case. These alpha particles ravaged Litvinenko’s body from the inside out after he drank tea laced with polonium-210 on Nov. 1, 2006.

He’d been meeting at a posh London hotel with a fellow alumnus of the Russian Federal Security Service, or FSB, and a Russian businessman. Later that day Litvinenko fell ill with nausea and diarrhoea. Soon his hair fell out, his lips thinned to nothing and his face shriveled.

After years of loyal service to the FSB and its predecessor, the KGB, Litvinenko and other FSB colleagues in 1998 held a news conference during which they charged that “the FSB is being used by certain officials solely for their private purposes. It’s being used for settling scores and carrying out private and criminal orders for payment.” Here was an insider laying bare the ugly workings of the new mafia state that had replaced Communism.

The FSB response was swift. Litvinenko was expelled from the service, and prosecutors charged him with “exceeding his official authority.” After being jailed for seven months, he was cleared of that charge, then briefly detained again. His phone was tapped. Prosecutors vowed to bring one fabricated charge after another, as his widow, Marina, told me last year.

The family escaped in 2000 to the U.K., where Litvinenko continued his activism and, his widow says, began cooperating with the British secret service, MI6. In 2002, he published a book alleging that Vladimir Putin had staged a series of Moscow bombings in 1999 and blamed Chechen rebels, all as part of a ploy to ascend the Kremlin throne. Four years later, Russian lawmakers enacted laws authorizing the targeting of state enemies abroad.

Just over three weeks after he drank that fateful tea, Litvinenko was dead. Yet as the testimony at the inquiry on Wednesday made clear, the cause eluded his physicians for almost the entire course of his illness, and would have remained a mystery but for toxicologist John Henry ’s hunch that radiation poisoning may have been to blame—a testament to the assassins’ sophistication and determination to hide their craft. (Henry died in 2007.)

Dr. Cary, the pathologist, described the horrors of polonium poisoning. “It gets into your body . . . ,” he said, “it’s distributed round your body; any cell next door to where it’s distributed is badly affected by the continuous bombardment of alpha rays.” Soon after Litvinenko drank the poisoned tea his body ceased producing the white blood cells responsible for fighting infections and tissue damage. Eventually he suffered complete organ failure.

It’s lucky that other visitors to the bar where Litvinenko took his deadly tea weren’t contaminated, since investigators subsequently picked up traces of polonium-210 all along the trail the suspected assassins took back to Russia. Those suspects, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitry Kovtun, didn’t attend Wednesday’s hearing and aren’t expected to participate in the nine-week inquiry.

After an investigation involving a hundred or so uniformed officers and another hundred detectives, U.K. prosecutors in 2007 charged Mr. Lugovoi with murder in absentia. Both have repeatedly denied the allegations, and Moscow has refused to extradite them. “I couldn’t care less about what’s happening there,” Mr. Lugovoi, now a member of the Duma, has told Russian media.

The independent inquiry is an effort to provide the comprehensive airing of facts that a criminal trial ordinarily would have done, had the defendants in this case been available to participate in one. Though intended to be painstakingly fair, it will be largely symbolic. And it will help bring closure to Marina, who has been relentless in seeking justice for her late husband.

Yet even this symbolic reckoning with the realities of Mr. Putin’s Russia was delayed at the behest of a British political class that had been eager not to ruffle his feathers. British Home Secretary Theresa May wrote in a 2013 letter to judiciary that “international relations”—a euphemism for relations with Moscow—“have been a factor in the government’s decision-making.”

Now, after the annexation of Crimea, the assault on eastern Ukraine and the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, things have changed. The result, if all goes according to plan, will be a complete public record of the Litvinenko case—at last.

Mr. Ahmari is a Journal editorial-page writer based in London.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #151 on: February 04, 2015, 04:30:53 PM »

Putin’s Shaky Hold on Power
Russia’s flagging economy and growing discord over the war in Ukraine are converging to destabilize the regime.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual year-end news conference in Moscow, Dec. 18, 2014. ENLARGE
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s annual year-end news conference in Moscow, Dec. 18, 2014. Photo: Reuters
By
David Satter
Feb. 3, 2015 7:20 p.m. ET
321 COMMENTS

The upsurge in fighting in Ukraine, with Russian troops and equipment pouring across the border, is a sign that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to engage the West in a dangerous game of “chicken,” the goal of which is to show that the only result of Western pressure on Russia will be renewed slaughter.

Given the objectives of the two sides, a renewal of the fighting was probably inevitable. Russia has fought from the beginning to remove the government in Kiev and prevent Ukraine from acceding to the European Union and NATO. For this purpose rebel control over one-third of the province of Donetsk, with millions of impoverished people and a dysfunctional economy, is clearly insufficient.

The timing of the surge in the fighting, however, in the middle of winter and after weeks of relative calm, is a reflection of a more general situation. The Putin regime needs an end to sanctions not because they are crippling in themselves but because in combination with the growing crisis of the economy and the unpredictable trajectory of the war, they could help lead to the destabilization of Russia.
Related Video
Hermitage Capital CEO Bill Browder on his new book, “Red Notice,” and getting on the wrong side of the Russian dictator. Photo credit: Getty Images.

The fear that pervades the Russian leadership is reflected in a series of recent statements by the country’s leaders. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said on Jan. 27 that if Russia is cut off from the Swift international payment system as punishment for its actions in Ukraine, its response “will know no limits.” Andrei Kostin, the head of VTB, Russia’s second-largest bank, said excluding Russia from Swift would mean “war.” Igor Ivanov, the former foreign minister, said that a confrontation could involve nuclear weapons.

In fact, the Russian leaders now face a crisis of their own making. The steady rise in living standards during the 2000s, stemming from high prices for oil and gas, led to euphoria and an implicit deal between the authorities and the population according to which the authorities would be free to steal as long as the income of the population continued to rise. Living standards did rise but corruption crippled normal development. Now that oil prices have collapsed, Russia has no other comparable source of revenue and Western sanctions are preventing badly needed investment.

Under these circumstances, there is a serious danger of social tension. In Russia today, 110 persons, including Mr. Putin’s cronies, control 35% of the country’s wealth while 50% of adults have total household wealth of $871 or lower. In 2014, food prices rose 15.4%. It is a measure of the government’s concern that it has cut the price of vodka, despite the need to fill the treasury. This is a transparent attempt to use vodka to tranquilize the population.

If the economic situation in Russia continues to worsen, many Russians may come to see that the Ukrainian model of a peaceful and spontaneous rebellion against a corrupt regime can have relevance for them. It was because of the potential power of the Ukrainian example for Russia that Mr. Putin began the war in Ukraine in the first place.

The cost of the fighting has been hidden from Russians but, as the death rate climbs, the war may soon become less popular. The Russian authorities state officially that there are no Russian troops fighting in Ukraine but the movement of thousands of troops is impossible to hide and it is similarly impossible to hide soldiers’ funerals.

In St. Petersburg, calls are coming in to the hot line of the Soldiers’ Mothers organization from parents of soldiers who report anonymously that their children are being commanded to sign contracts that enable them to be sent to Ukraine. Such reports are also coming from a number of other regions.

Lev Shlosberg, the chairman of the Pskov regional division of the Yabloko political party, told Radio Liberty that there has been a change in the mood of the army because of the scale of the losses in Ukraine. He said that there have been massive cases of the canceling of contracts by contract soldiers and the termination of their military service because of an unwillingness to fight in Ukraine.

The military is carefully hiding the dispatch of forces from their places of permanent dislocation. If military planes once flew from the Pskov Airport, they now leave from the airport of the neighboring smaller city of Ostrov. Mr. Shlosberg and members of the press became aware of Russian military deaths in Ukraine by attending and reading about the funerals of soldiers from the 76th Airborne Division, which is based in Pskov. Now, there is an attempt to transport the bodies of those killed to unpopulated areas for funerals. But they are nonetheless seen and news of the high cost of the war is spreading.

The war in eastern Ukraine has been turned into a war of attrition in which the Ukrainian military is mostly holding its positions. Such a war could go on indefinitely. The Russians, however, have not used their air force and they have an estimated 52,000 troops just over the border from Ukraine. They could decide to begin an all-out offensive and drop any pretense of nonintervention. Such a course of action, however, carries risks for the Russians.

The pyramid of power in Russia is very unstable. Capital flight is reaching epic proportions ($63.7 billion in the first quarter of 2014, according to the U.S. State Department) and thousands of Russian officials have made contingency plans to escape with their money to the West.

Mr. Putin and his cronies will not take aggressive action if they fear that they could as a result lose their hold on power. This is why the time for maximum deterrence on the part of the West is now.

Mr. Satter is affiliated with the Hudson Institute, Johns Hopkins University and the Henry Jackson Society in London. His books include “It Was a Long Time Ago, and It Never Happened Anyway: Russia and the Communist Past” (Yale, 2011).

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Crafty_Dog
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WSJ
« Reply #152 on: February 04, 2015, 04:35:00 PM »

Second post

American Arms for Ukraine
The arguments against aiding Kiev look increasingly naive.
Feb. 3, 2015 7:44 p.m. ET


The best that can be said about President Obama ’s foreign policy is that he sometimes gets to the right answer after exhausting the other alternatives. The latest example is news that the Administration may finally provide arms to Ukraine to defend itself against Russian aggression.

This is long overdue, and the need is more urgent than ever amid Russia’s mid-winter siege of Ukraine’s southeast. The Russians are supplying rebels who are bent on taking larger chunks of the country for their breakaway state that would link Crimea with Russia proper. This is a repudiation of the Minsk cease-fire accord that Russia signed in September, and it is part of Vladimir Putin ’s strategy of destabilizing the Kiev government so it will fall back into line as part of Greater Russia.

Most of Mr. Obama’s advisers have come around to arming Ukraine, as have pillars of the liberal foreign policy establishment. A new report from seven such eminences—including former Obama Administration defense official Michele Flournoy—recommends that the U.S. send $1 billion in “lethal defensive arms” to Ukraine in each of the next three years. They suggest in particular light anti-armor missiles to counter the Russian advantage in tanks and armored vehicles.
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region. ENLARGE
Members of the Ukrainian armed forces stand guard at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Kostyantynivka, Donetsk region. Photo: Reuters

The arguments against such aid look increasingly self-deluding. One odd fear is that lethal aid will mislead the Ukrainians into thinking the West will fight with them, but surely they know better after a year of begging for defensive arms that haven’t arrived.

“I am convinced that this conflict cannot be solved militarily,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, embracing another popular claim. But Mr. Putin is proving the opposite every day. The question is whether the West will let him get away with it.

Opponents also argue that arming Ukraine will encourage Russia to escalate, and thus Ukraine can never win. It’s true Russia could defeat Ukraine in any full-fledged war, but Mr. Putin has refrained from such a war so far because he knows the costs would be enormous. He prefers conquest on the cheap and dirty. Arming Ukraine will raise the cost for Mr. Putin and may make him more amenable to diplomacy.

All the more so given the likelihood that continued economic pressure will have political consequences for Mr. Putin at home, as David Satter describes nearby. Splendid little wars have a way of becoming long ordeals that even authoritarians can’t sustain.

Mr. Obama’s foreign policy has suffered, among other things, from a mismatch between grandiose ends and timid means. In Ukraine he claims Russia is threatening the entire post-Cold War security system, yet he’ll send Kiev little more than meals ready to eat. Mr. Putin has escalated his attacks this winter precisely because he sees the lack of will behind Mr. Obama’s words. Now is the time to change Mr. Putin’s calculus about the cost of conquest by arming Ukraine.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #153 on: February 07, 2015, 03:29:56 PM »

The View From NATO’s Russian Front
The Army commander in Europe on Putin’s new way of war, Russia’s growing arsenal, and coping with U.S. military budget cuts.
Frederick B. Hodges ENLARGE
Frederick B. Hodges Photo: Zina Saunders
By Sohrab Ahmari
Feb. 6, 2015 6:45 p.m. ET


Wiesbaden, Germany

‘I believe the Russians are mobilizing right now for a war that they think is going to happen in five or six years—not that they’re going to start a war in five or six years, but I think they are anticipating that things are going to happen, and that they will be in a war of some sort, of some scale, with somebody within the next five or six years.”

So says Lt. Gen. Frederick “Ben” Hodges, commander of U.S. Army Europe. It’s Monday evening at the Army’s Lucius D. Clay garrison near Wiesbaden, a small town in southwest Germany. The air outside is freezing, the ground coated by a thin layer of snow. Moscow lies 1,500 miles east, but Russia comes up almost immediately as I sit down to dinner with Gen. Hodges and one of his aides in a cozy dining room at the base.

“Strong Europe!” reads a sign on one of the walls. Next to it is the U.S. Army Europe insignia, a burning sword set against a blue shield. The two signs represent the strategic framework the three-star general has introduced—building on America’s decades-long role on the Continent—since taking command last year of the 30,000 or so U.S. soldiers stationed in Europe.

The U.S. military presence in Europe is more vital at this moment than it has been in many years. American engagement is essential if the West is to deter a revanchist Russia that has set out to “redraw the boundaries of Europe,” Gen. Hodges says with a native Floridian’s drawl.

He points to the recent increase in violence in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin forces in January assaulted the Black Sea port of Mariupol, killing 30 civilians, and are now consolidating their gains.

“What’s happening in eastern Ukraine is very serious,” the 56-year-old West Point alumnus says. “When they fired into Mariupol that got my attention. Mariupol is an important place, city of 500,000 on the Black Sea. Russia has to resupply Crimea by sea or air, and that is very expensive, so obviously they would like to do it overland. Mariupol sits right in the way. They would really like to drive right through there.”

What Russian President Vladimir Putin “has done in Ukraine,” he says, “is a manifestation of a strategic view of the world. So when you look at the amount of equipment that has been provided, and the quality and sophistication of the equipment that has been provided to what I would call his proxies . . . they clearly have no intention of leaving there.”

The new weapons Mr. Putin has supplied to these proxies include “some of the latest air-defense systems,” says Gen. Hodges. “They also have brought in some of the latest, most-effective jamming, what we would call electronic-warfare, systems.” This level of assistance suggests Ukraine “is not a foray, not a demonstration. They are deploying capabilities way above and beyond anything that any militia or rebel organization could ever come up with.”

The fact that the political class in the West is still splitting hairs about the nature of the insurgency in Ukraine is testament to the success of the Kremlin’s strategy of waging war without admitting it. “When you saw video of the Spetsnaz [Russian special forces], the so-called little green men” in eastern Ukraine, the general says, “unless you absolutely know nothing about military stuff, how they carry themselves, the fact that they were all perfectly in uniform, that’s hard to do. It’s hard to get soldiers to stay in uniform and everybody carrying their weapon the right way all the time. That’s how you tell the difference between a militia, or rebels who have a variety of uniforms, and this group who are all perfectly in uniform.”

Gen. Hodges then strips his own Ranger badge from a Velcro patch on his uniform sleeve, just as those well-organized soldiers aiding the Ukrainian insurgents are badgeless. “I can take my patch off my uniform and say I’m not in the Army anymore,” he chuckles. “So there’s a reluctance to acknowledge it. I can understand that. This has huge implications. But that’s what so-called hybrid warfare is all about. It’s about creating ambiguity, giving people who don’t want to believe it an excuse to not believe. Or to create enough uncertainty so that the responses are slow, delayed, hesitant.”

Such hesitation has already worked for Mr. Putin, and contrasting Russia’s military buildup with anemic military spending in the West gives the general further reason for concern.

The Russians have “got some forces in Transnistria,” he says of the state that broke away from Moldova in the 1990s. “They’ve got forces in Georgia. And I think they view China as their existential threat, so they’ve got a lot of capacity out there.” The Russian military is thus already somewhat stretched, and Moscow had to carve out from existing units the battalion task groups currently arrayed near eastern Ukraine. Yet “they are clearly on a path to develop, to increase, their capacity,” Gen. Hodges says. Add to this expansion that “they’ve got very good equipment, extremely good communications equipment, their [electronic-warfare] capability, T-80 tanks.” How long will it take for Russia to reach its desired military strength? “I think within another two or three years they will have that capacity,” he says.

Gen. Hodges notes that the Russians already have an advantage in the information battleground: “They’re not burdened with the responsibility to tell the truth. So they just hammer away, and whenever somebody in the West puts out a blog or a tweet, there’s an immediate counterattack by these trolls.”

Russia Today, the Kremlin’s foreign-language television service, is estimated to be within reach of 600 million viewers world-wide. Russia Today’s YouTube channel has received a billion views, making it one of the most-watched channels on the online-video platform.

Then there is the Kremlin’s sheer aggressiveness, not least on the nuclear front. The Pentagon last year announced that it is removing missiles from 50 of America’s underground silos, converting B-52 long-range bombers to conventional use and disabling 56 submarine-based nuclear-launch tubes—all well ahead of the 2018 New Start treaty deadline. Moscow, by contrast, has been simulating nuclear strikes on Western capitals as part of annual exercises.

Gen. Hodges won’t comment on the U.S. strategic-force posture in Europe other than to say he is “confident in that process.” But he adds that the fact that the Russians rehearse nuclear-strike scenarios “shows that they’re not worried about conveying a stark message like that. You know, frankly, you hear this often from many people in the West, ‘Oh, we don’t want to provoke the Russians.’ I think concern about provoking the Russians is probably misplaced. You can’t provoke them. They’re already on a path to do what they want to do.”

Fear of provoking Russia has been part of the recent debate over providing lethal aid to Kiev. As a member of the military, Gen Hodges won’t weigh in directly in the Washington policy debate. “What’s more important is this,” he says. “We have to have a strategy. Just military aid is not a strategy.” Western leaders should first determine what outcome they’d like to see emerge in the region, he says, and then apply a “whole-of-government” approach, including a military dimension, to achieve it.

Before being posted here, and in between multiple post-9/11 deployments to the Middle East, Gen. Hodges served as an Army congressional liaison in Washington. What he learned was that lawmakers’ “interests will tend to be domestic,” he says.

“If you’re the delegation from North Carolina that cares about Fort Bragg, you’re going to want to see as much capability as possible and money spent in North Carolina. Same thing at Fort Hood, Texas; Fort Campbell, Kentucky; Fort Lewis, Washington,” he says. “But there is no congressman for Wiesbaden, no senator for Bavaria.”

Many Americans and their representatives are tempted to regard Crimea as a distant geographical abstraction—and to say that it’s about time Europeans met their own defense needs instead of financing bloated welfare states. “It’s a fair question,” Gen. Hodges says. “Why won’t the Germans do more? Why won’t the Brits do more? You’ll get that from people in the States. I’ve never been bashful about telling allies, ‘Hey, you have a responsibility here, too. You all agreed to spend 2% of your GDP on defense. Right now only four countries are doing it.’”

Yet the failure of many of European leaders to live up to their defense commitments “doesn’t change our interest,” Gen. Hodges says. “And the U.S. economic link to Europe, to the EU, dwarfs any other economic link in the world, anywhere in the Pacific, China, India, you name it. So if for no other reason it’s in our interest that Europe be stable, that people make money so they can buy U.S. products. . . . We provide capability assurance here by being present here.”

Gen. Hodges says there is also a huge payoff in U.S. security from U.S.-European cooperation. The main lesson of the post-9/11 wars is that “we are not going to do anything by ourselves militarily,” he notes. The U.S. “needs the capacity that other countries can bring.” These benefits come “from a relatively small investment—I mean, U.S. Army Europe is 2% of the Army’s budget and about 5% of the Army’s manpower. . . . You can’t sit back in Virginia, Texas or Oregon and build relationships with people here.” He quotes his predecessor, Lt. Gen. Donald Campbell: “You can’t surge trust.”

Nor can the U.S. project national power world-wide, as it has since the end of World War II, with an overstretched Army. “There are 10 division headquarters in the Army,” he says. “Nine of them are committed right now. I’ve never seen that. I don’t think at the height of Iraq and Afghanistan you had nine out of 10 division headquarters committed against some requirement.” That leaves little in reserve if another conflict breaks out.

To a commander like Gen. Hodges, the strain on the Army caused by budget sequestration is palpable. “With the possibility of sequestration hanging over our head, the Army will have to go to 420,000” personnel, he says. “That’s about another 80,000 below where we are now. . . . The strength of the Army at the height of the buildup was about 560,000.”

What Gen. Hodges fears is a “hollow” Army, in which commanders will have to forego a capable and sufficiently large personnel, readiness or modernization to meet budget requirements. To serve its purpose, however, an Army needs a depth of resources at its disposal.

“We’re not a business,” he says. “If you run a Napa [auto parts] franchise, the last thing you want is anything on the shelf. You basically want it coming out of the delivery truck to the customer, so you don’t have money tied up in inventory. In the military, that’s exactly what you want. You want stuff on the shelf, because you can’t possibly know how many customers you might have.”

In the Army, “customers” are global crises. “What are the three biggest things that have been on the news this past year?” Gen. Hodges asks. “Russia in Ukraine. Ebola. ISIL. A year ago, who had that on their list of things that are going to go wrong? Not all the geniuses in the think tanks and in all the agencies. I certainly didn’t.”

Even with supplies on the U.S. military’s shelves thinning, there is no bigger deterrent to Vladimir Putin and other bad actors than the knowledge that men like Gen. Hodges and the forces he commands are working in customer service.

Mr. Ahmari is a Journal editorial-page writer based in London.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #154 on: February 24, 2015, 09:13:39 PM »

http://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2015/02/russia-pushes-reset-button-parades-missile-marked-to-be-personally-delivered-to-obama
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #155 on: February 28, 2015, 11:59:56 PM »



http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2015/02/24/u-s-military-vehicles-paraded-300-yards-from-the-russian-border/
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« Reply #156 on: August 28, 2015, 07:56:34 AM »

National Review

What Six Years of ‘Reset’ with Russia Have Wrought
By Charles Krauthammer — August 27, 2015

On September 5, 2014, Russian agents crossed into Estonia and kidnapped an Estonian security official. Last week, after a closed trial, Russia sentenced him to 15 years.
The reaction? The State Department issued a statement. The NATO secretary-general issued a tweet. Neither did anything. The European Union (reports the Wall Street Journal) said it was too early to discuss any possible action.

The timing of this brazen violation of NATO territory — two days after President Obama visited Estonia to symbolize America’s commitment to its security — is testimony to Vladimir Putin’s contempt for the American president. He knows Obama will do nothing. Why should he think otherwise?

Putin breaks the arms embargo to Iran by lifting the hold on selling it S-300 missiles. Obama responds by excusing him, saying it wasn’t technically illegal and adding, with a tip of the hat to Putin’s patience: “I’m frankly surprised that it held this long.”

Russia mousetraps Obama at the eleventh hour of the Iran negotiations, joining Iran in demanding that the conventional-weapons and ballistic-missile embargos be dropped. Obama caves.

Putin invades Ukraine, annexes Crimea, breaks two Minsk cease-fire agreements, and erases the Russia–Ukraine border. Obama’s response? Pinprick sanctions, empty threats, and a continuing refusal to supply Ukraine with defensive weaponry, lest he provoke Putin.

The East Europeans have noticed. In February, Lithuania decided to reinstate conscription, a move strategically insignificant — the Lithuanians couldn’t hold off the Russian army for a day — but highly symbolic. Eastern Europe has been begging NATO to station permanent bases on its territory as a tripwire guaranteeing a powerful NATO/U.S. response to any Russian aggression.

NATO has refused. Instead, Obama offered more military exercises in the Baltic States and Poland. And threw in an additional 250 tanks and armored vehicles, spread among seven allies.

It is true that Putin’s resentment over Russia’s lost empire long predates Obama. But for resentment to turn into revanchism — an active policy of reconquest — requires opportunity. Which is exactly what Obama’s “reset” policy has offered over the past six and a half years.

Since the end of World War II, Russia has known that what stands in the way of westward expansion was not Europe, living happily in decadent repose, but the United States as guarantor of Western security. Obama’s naïveté and ambivalence have put those guarantees in question.

It began with the reset button, ostentatiously offered less than two months after Obama’s swearing-in. Followed six months later by the unilateral American cancellation of the missile shield the Poles and the Czechs had agreed to install on their territory. Again, lest Putin be upset.

By 2012, a still clueless Obama mocked Mitt Romney for saying that Russia is “without question our No. 1 geopolitical foe,” quipping oh so cleverly: “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” After all, he explained, “the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Turned out it was 2015 calling. Obama’s own top officials have been retroactively vindicating Romney. Last month, Obama’s choice for chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff declared that “Russia presents the greatest threat to our national security.” Two weeks ago, the retiring Army chief of staff, Raymond Odierno, called Russia our “most dangerous” military threat. Obama’s own secretary of defense has gone one better: “Russia poses an existential threat to the United States.”

Turns out the Cold War is not over either. Putin is intent on reviving it. Helped immensely by Obama’s epic misjudgment of Russian intentions, the balance of power has shifted — and America’s allies feel it.

And not just the East Europeans. The president of Egypt, a country estranged from Russia for 40 years and our mainstay Arab ally in the Middle East, has twice visited Moscow within the last four months.

The Saudis, congenitally wary of Russia but shell-shocked by Obama’s grand nuclear capitulation to Iran that will make it the regional hegemon, are searching for alternatives, too. At a recent economic conference in St. Petersburg, the Saudis invited Putin to Riyadh and the Russians reciprocated by inviting the new King Salman to visit Czar Vladimir in Moscow.

Even Pakistan, a traditional Chinese ally and Russian adversary, is buying Mi-35 helicopters from Russia, which is building a natural-gas pipeline between Karachi and Lahore.
As John Kerry awaits his upcoming Nobel and Obama plans his presidential library (my suggestion: Havana), Putin is deciding how to best exploit the final 17 months of his Obama bonanza.

The world sees it. Obama doesn’t.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist. © 2015 The Washington Post Writers Group
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« Reply #157 on: August 28, 2015, 08:26:20 AM »

It's not rape if it is consensual.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #158 on: August 28, 2015, 08:31:12 AM »

Fair point.
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« Reply #159 on: September 29, 2015, 07:56:55 PM »

For the record he leaves out quite a few inconvenient truths, but a fascinating discourse nonetheless

https://www.facebook.com/ronaldhintonoside/videos/433698610152038/
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« Reply #160 on: October 05, 2015, 05:56:59 AM »

http://www.militarytimes.com/story/military/2015/10/04/us-russia-vladimir-putin-syria-ukraine-american-military-plans/73147344/
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« Reply #161 on: October 25, 2015, 08:23:46 PM »

http://www.allenbwest.com/2015/10/what-russia-is-doing-right-now-could-potentially-cut-all-communications-to-the-us/ 
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« Reply #162 on: March 16, 2016, 01:30:02 PM »

http://observer.com/2016/03/another-defector-dead-in-washington/


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« Reply #163 on: March 16, 2016, 03:57:58 PM »

unbelievable.

Putin is assassinating people in our country right under our noses and no repercussions.  huh
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« Reply #164 on: March 16, 2016, 04:28:07 PM »

unbelievable.

Putin is assassinating people in our country right under our noses and no repercussions.  huh


Wouldn't it be great if they could find evidence to link Putin to this murder on US soil. 

There still would be no consequence.
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« Reply #165 on: March 16, 2016, 09:29:56 PM »

unbelievable.

Putin is assassinating people in our country right under our noses and no repercussions.  huh


Wouldn't it be great if they could find evidence to link Putin to this murder on US soil. 

There still would be no consequence.

That's why they did it.
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« Reply #166 on: March 16, 2016, 09:36:09 PM »

unbelievable.

Putin is assassinating people in our country right under our noses and no repercussions.  huh


Wouldn't it be great if they could find evidence to link Putin to this murder on US soil. 

There still would be no consequence.

That's why they did it.

A good question would be;

I wonder if the receiving country of anyone that falls in this category, actually considers this happening BEFORE they accept them?

Or..... you could wonder if the US would kill Snowden in Russia if they could get away with it.... or if they've ever had anyone disposed of outside of a declared war..... Castro for example....if not for a lack of trying.

 afro
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« Reply #167 on: April 17, 2016, 09:25:46 PM »

 
Russian Enclave Seen as a Fault Line of East-West Tensions

By NEIL MacFARQUHARAPRIL 16, 2016


KALININGRAD, Russia — The maritime museum in this Russian exclave on the Baltic Sea caps each summer with its international Water Assembly, an antic parade of small historical vessels from around the Baltics, their crews wearing period costumes as they sail the Pregolya River.

But this year, said Svetlana G. Sivkova, the founding director of Kaliningrad’s Museum of the World Ocean, regular participants from neighboring Lithuania and Poland threatened to stay home.

“They said they could not come to us because Poles and Lithuanians are being beaten on the streets of Kaliningrad,” said Ms. Sivkova, appalled at what she called an abrupt and unwarranted change in mood.

“These are intelligent, educated people,” she added. “It’s horrible propaganda. We had to explain that it’s not true, that we are an open people.”

Kaliningrad — the city and surrounding province share the name — was once the heart of East Prussia and a German redoubt for 500 years before the Red Army captured it from the Third Reich in 1945. In the first 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moscow worked hard to bury Kaliningrad’s reputation as an armed garrison closed to foreigners.

These days, the Kremlin seems determined to do the opposite, and senior Western military officials and other experts now regard the Baltic region as a main fault line in revived East-West tensions.

One of the most confrontational incidents in years occurred on Tuesday about 70 nautical miles off Kaliningrad, where two Russian Su-24 planes buzzed the American guided missile destroyer Donald Cook, simulating an attack. One plane roared within 30 feet of the ship, Pentagon officials said, and prompted protests from Washington.

In another episode on Thursday, a Russian warplane intercepted an American reconnaissance plane at an unsafe distance over the Baltic Sea, CNN reported, citing Capt. Danny Hernandez, a spokesman for the United States European Command.

In the immediate post-Soviet era, Moscow tried to reinvent Kaliningrad, which is more than 200 miles from mainland Russia, as its own duty-free Hong Kong. Factories producing cars, electronics and furniture blossomed. After the provincial government negotiated visa-less travel to Polish border areas, the Ikea outlet in nearby Gdansk became a Russian colony.

“More people visited Europe than big Russia,” said Ilya Shumanov, the local representative of Transparency International, an anti-corruption organization based in Berlin.

In recent years, however, Moscow has heavily armed Kaliningrad, analysts say, equipping secretive bases with the advanced, long-range S-400 antiaircraft missile system and mobile, medium-range Bastion anti-ship missiles. Russia has also held maneuvers here deploying Iskanders, a short-range ballistic missile capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

During congressional testimony in February, Gen. Philip M. Breedlove, the NATO commander, described Kaliningrad as a “very militarized piece of property” and a “complete bubble” capable of repelling attacks by air, land or sea.

With recent Russian military adventures in Crimea, eastern Ukraine and Syria, President Vladimir V. Putin has left the world guessing — as he so relishes — when or where he might intervene next.

Given his stated policy of safeguarding ethnic Russians who were severed from the motherland after the Soviet Union disintegrated, some fear the next target might be the Baltic States: Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. All three former Soviet republics are now members of the European Union and NATO.

An attack on them would trigger NATO’s mutual defense treaty. Any attempt to defend them would have to get past Kaliningrad, wedged between Poland and Lithuania.

In the few conflicts where NATO has intervened, it has always displayed overwhelming force, experts said, but Kaliningrad would be different.

“The overall balance is very hostile to NATO,” said David A. Shlapak, the lead author of a new RAND Corporation study on the Baltics.
Photo
Technicians working at the new water treatment plant for the city of Kaliningrad, which has been using a decrepit system. Economic sanctions, imposed on Russia because of the Ukraine conflict, are expected to stall plans for further development. Credit James Hill for The New York Times

Russians here tend to agree, although they mainly scoff at the idea of such a war. At Baltiysk, home to the Baltic Fleet and Russia’s most western outpost, grizzled fishermen lined the sea wall, barely glancing up at the modern corvettes steaming out to sea.


Any NATO forces attacking Kaliningrad “will get their teeth broken,” one gruff angler said. A navy veteran, he stood beneath a symbol of Russia’s might and glory: a hulking equestrian statue of the Empress Elizabeth Petrovna facing the West.

Kaliningrad residents, watching NATO forces edge ever closer to Russia in recent years, generally seem to support buttressing the military.

“If you are my neighbor and you sit there with an ax, I will get an ax, too,” said Ms. Sivkova, the museum director. “It is foolish, but people say that weapons have been moved to Russia’s borders, so there has to be some parity.”

Yet people here find being cast as a Russian fortress disorienting. In downtown Kaliningrad, the Vorota Cafe and gallery fills the neo-Gothic Sackheim Gate, a leftover from the 17th-century city walls. Parts of the city still resemble Germany, including some suburbs of red-tiled, Gründerzeit villas.

The cafe’s young founders wanted an art space like those in Amsterdam or Berlin, and they were surprised by a question about life on the new East-West fault line.

“It is a strange question, because we look at ourselves as being a bridge, not a fault line,” said Eugene Makarkhin, 26, a computer engineer.

Yet fallout from the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West rains down on Kaliningrad.

BMW, one of the province’s largest employers, recently shelved expansion plans in the face of a 40 percent decline in Russian car sales. Decades of Swedish development aid are coming to a close. Cultural exchanges have been sharply curtailed.

Until the Ukraine crisis, the most dangerous flotilla dispatched from Kaliningrad toward Sweden was raw sewage dumped into the Baltic.

Get news and analysis from Europe and around the world delivered to your inbox every day in the European morning.

“Kaliningrad is really one of the last big hot spots,” said Anna Tufvesson, the regional environmental project coordinator for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency.

Kaliningrad, home to almost half the province’s one million people, was the last major Baltic city without a modern water treatment plant. Sweden has helped build about 30 in the southern Baltic region since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kaliningrad’s German system, built around 1928 and still in use, basically filtered out old bicycles, dead dogs and not much else, Ms. Tufvesson said.

The modern Kaliningrad sewage plant, delayed for years, should be operating by the end of this year. Ms. Tufvesson expects all Swedish aid to be terminated by 2018.

The aid is another victim of the economic penalties imposed because of the Ukraine conflict. Sanctions cut off European bank loans for development here.

“Cooperation with European countries was a good source of cheap loans, and now we don’t have that possibility,” said Alexander N. Ivaschenko, who runs the Kaliningrad city waterworks. “Due to the sanctions, future projects are frozen.”

Confrontation is eclipsing cooperation. Mr. Putin has fed Western concerns about a possible Baltic conflict by ordering snap military exercises in northwestern Russia and deliberate violations of NATO airspace. While military officials and other experts on both sides say war is unlikely, contingency planning proceeds. Sweden and Finland, Russian neighbors that once professed neutrality, are considering the once unthinkable prospect of joining NATO.

Russia, too weak to confront NATO directly, relies on two methods to punch above its weight, military analysts say. In Crimea and eastern Ukraine, the Kremlin conducted “hybrid warfare,” deploying anonymous Special Forces soldiers nicknamed “little green men,” nationalistic local militias and a news media blitz to seize territory without provoking a large, conventional military response.

Kaliningrad embodies the other method, a concentration of highly effective conventional weapons lethal enough to thwart any invader.

“Hybrid warfare represents one pillar of Russian defense policy,” said a new report on Kaliningrad from the International Institute of Strategic Studies, a research organization in London. “Air defense and guided missile strength represents another.”

There is also the Baltic Fleet. In the post-Soviet years, it shrank to 190 ships from 450 and to two submarines from 42, before the decline was reversed and some new corvettes were delivered in recent years, according to the London institute. The fleet remains strong enough, analysts say, to turn the Baltic into a deadly caldron.

For Americans, the Baltic trip wire revives an old Cold War conundrum, said Dmitri Trenin, the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center. The question used to be whether Americans would sacrifice Chicago to save West Berlin, he said. The assumption was that if the United States intervened to rescue the German city from a Soviet incursion, nuclear missiles would have annihilated Chicago.

“This is the same question posed about the Baltic States,” Mr. Trenin said. “Whether the United States would risk a military conflict with Russia for the sake of the Baltic States, knowing full well that Russia is still a nuclear power and when push comes to shove, nuclear will be on the table.”

Kaliningrad residents worry far less about war than about an economy battered by low oil prices, sanctions and a weak ruble. “A passing Mercedes has always proved stronger than the birch trees,” said Solomon I. Ginzburg, an opposition deputy in the local Parliament, meaning that economic aspirations trump nationalism here.

The fact that the “free economic zone” expired on April 1 causes far more consternation than a renewed Cold War. “Nobody knows what will happen,” said Ivan A. Vlasov, the publisher of the Kaliningrad edition of the national RBC website.

The collapsed ruble means Russians have scaled way back on shopping in Poland or attending concerts in Lithuania. They also feel less welcome.

“If you listen to the news from Latvia and Lithuania, it is laughable,” said Albert Prokhorchuk, the general director of Baltma Tours, which last year lost about a quarter of its 4,500 annual visitors from Germany. “The president of Lithuania has basically been saying that people should head for their basements because the Russians are coming.”

Poles still cross the border for cheap gasoline, cigarettes and vodka, but a certain unease prevails on both sides.

“I don’t think it is a place for development anymore,” said Mr. Shumanov, the anticorruption activist. “I think that it is a place for militarization. There is no investment, no money, no real federal interest in the region itself and bad relations with the neighbors.”
« Last Edit: April 17, 2016, 09:34:46 PM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #168 on: June 05, 2016, 08:12:48 PM »

Russia to Build Leader-Class Destroyer That Will Outgun Largest US Warships

http://sputniknews.com/military/20160605/1040814482/russia-leader-class-destroyer.html#ixzz4Al1MxSUf


At this point, WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE.
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« Reply #169 on: July 31, 2016, 04:11:43 PM »

I actually was shocked earlier when a Jewish Princeton Professor was a guest on Smerconish on CNN actually came out and agreed with Trump and disagreed with Clinton on the Russia strategy pointing out that our world is much more dangerous now after 8 yrs of Brockster.   I thought ok, he is Jewish , he is from Princeton, he is a university professor and the odds are high he will bash Trump and pronounce Hillary Queen but Smerconish seemed just a surprised as me.   Like I posted on another thread , why shouldn't we take another look at Nato?  At our relationship with Russia? 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2016/07/30/russia_expert_stephen_cohen_trump_wants_to_stop_the_new_cold_war_but_the_america_media_just_doesnt_understand.html
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« Reply #170 on: July 31, 2016, 08:50:19 PM »

Interesting.
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« Reply #171 on: August 01, 2016, 04:35:14 PM »

From Conservative Review about professor who is central to my previous post on this thread:

https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/08/trumps-putin-bromance-gets-a-progressive-defender

I don't know what to say if "our side" keeps bashing Trump just as much as as the LEFT.

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« Reply #172 on: August 01, 2016, 08:23:30 PM »

http://www.breitbart.com/2016-presidential-race/2016/08/01/report-hillary-clintons-campaign-mgr-john-podesta-sat-board-company-bagged-35-million-putin-connected-russian-govt-fund-2/
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« Reply #173 on: September 09, 2016, 05:41:31 PM »

Please post that URL in the Electoral/SEIU thread as well.
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« Reply #174 on: September 09, 2016, 06:46:53 PM »

And Trump is correct on detente approach so says Dr Stephen Cohen:

 "In effect, Trump has become the pro-détente candidate in the 2016 presidential election, a position once taken by presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Nixon, and Reagan. The pro–Cold War party’s refusal to engage Trump on these vital issues, instead of Kremlin-baiting him, Cohen concludes, is detrimental to US national security and to American democracy.   "


https://www.thenation.com/article/more-lost-opportunities-to-diminish-the-new-cold-war/
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« Reply #175 on: September 09, 2016, 08:52:33 PM »

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/09/08/russia-weighs-south-china-sea-belongs-china/
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« Reply #176 on: October 04, 2016, 06:12:24 PM »

Nice work Obama tongue tongue tongue

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2016/oct/3/us-russia-tension-escalates-as-vladimir-putin-ends/?mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTnpWbVpURm1ObU5oT0RjeSIsInQiOiJkbDQ0d1VRTTBlaVZ1WmFiN2YrbGkzN2dkNjFWbjJJUG5CMHlSTWN2a2Fvdk5icVpnd09hcFFSMnZSbmVTbzY0SjBlY0FpTzFGQm1qTkdMV1pWSUpvZUY3blVKOVFQeTJwTVI1XC9vTFBPK2c9In0%3D
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« Reply #177 on: October 10, 2016, 09:20:30 PM »

Russia in Syria:

http://dailycaller.com/2016/10/05/putin-thinks-obama-is-powerless-to-stop-him-heres-why/

Russia moved missiles to northern border of Poland:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-missiles-confirm-idUSKCN1280IV

And of course along the Ukraine border:

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-usa-missiles-confirm-idUSKCN1280IV
« Last Edit: October 10, 2016, 09:22:11 PM by ccp » Logged
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« Reply #178 on: October 10, 2016, 09:29:01 PM »

And one  can see what Putin is doing.  He is moving the front against Nato westward:

http://www.worldatlas.com/webimage/countrys/asia/ru.htm

While Obama golfs and campaigns for Hillary.

Trump may be right in getting NATO countries to pay up more.  But now is no time to weaken it.   
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« Reply #179 on: October 11, 2016, 01:04:47 PM »

https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-10-11/i-m-an-anti-putin-russian-and-clinton-makes-me-nervous
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« Reply #180 on: October 12, 2016, 07:27:37 PM »

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3833941/Russia-orders-officials-fly-home-relatives-living-abroad-tensions-mount-prospect-global-war.html

 shocked shocked shocked
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« Reply #181 on: October 16, 2016, 06:49:17 AM »

Another propaganda piece that suggests we should vote for Hill because Putin "fears" her:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/15/opinions/putin-clinton-hate-affair-ghitis/index.html

I got it -> wink
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« Reply #182 on: October 16, 2016, 01:21:11 PM »

Another propaganda piece that suggests we should vote for Hill because Putin "fears" her:

http://edition.cnn.com/2016/10/15/opinions/putin-clinton-hate-affair-ghitis/index.html

I got it -> wink

Yes, her fears that all the emails he has of her's will take all the fun out of blackmailing her.
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« Reply #183 on: October 21, 2016, 05:46:23 PM »

http://www.shtfplan.com/headline-news/most-important-russian-battleships-headed-to-syria-for-showdown-this-will-be-it_10202016

 shocked shocked shocked
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« Reply #184 on: November 23, 2016, 11:15:49 PM »

Many layers to this!!!


Donald Trump Jr. Held Talks on Syria With Russia Supporters
Disclosure of the Paris meetings in October could heighten focus on the president-elect’s desire to cooperate with the Kremlin
By Jay Solomon
Nov. 23, 2016 12:05 p.m. ET
253 COMMENTS

WASHINGTON—Donald Trump’s eldest son, emerging as a potential envoy for the president-elect, held private discussions with diplomats, businessmen and politicians in Paris last month that focused in part on finding a way to cooperate with Russia to end the war in Syria, according to people who took part in the meetings.

Thirty people, including Donald Trump Jr., attended the Oct. 11 event at the Ritz Paris, which was hosted by a French think tank. The founder of the think tank, Fabien Baussart, and his wife, Randa Kassis, have worked closely with Russia to try to end the conflict.

Ms. Kassis, who was born in Syria, is a leader of a Syrian group endorsed by the Kremlin. The group wants a political transition in Syria—but in cooperation with President Bashar al-Assad, Moscow’s close ally.
Related Video
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President-elect Donald Trump's children won't have formal roles in his White House, but they'll continue to run his business empire. That has ethics watchdogs worried about many potential conflicts of interest. Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

The disclosure of a meeting between the younger Mr. Trump and pro-Russia figures—even if not Russian government officials—poses new questions about contacts between the president-elect, his family and foreign powers. It is also likely to heighten focus on the elder Mr. Trump’s stated desire to cooperate with the Kremlin once in office.

In an interview, Ms. Kassis said she pressed the younger Mr. Trump during the meeting on the importance of cooperating with the Russians in the Middle East.

“We have to be realistic. Who’s on the ground in Syria? Not the U.S., not France,” Ms. Kassis said from Moscow. “Without Russia, we can’t have any solution in Syria.”

Of the president-elect’s son, she said: “I think he’s very pragmatic and is flexible.”

Ms. Kassis later posted comments on her Facebook page about the meeting:

“[Syria’s] opposition got hope that [the] political process will move forward and Russia and the United States will reach accord on the issue of the Syrian crisis, because of Trump’s victory,” she wrote. “Such hope and belief is the result of my personal meeting with Donald Trump junior in Paris in October.”

She added on Facebook that, through the talks with Donald Trump Jr., she believed she succeeded in conveying to the elder Mr. Trump “the idea of how we can cooperate together.”

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to the president-elect, confirmed the younger Mr. Trump’s attendance at the event in Paris. But she played down his direct contact with Ms. Kassis.

“Don was addressing a roundtable in Paris, and she was present for that talk and at a group dinner for 30 people,” she said in an email. “This event featured a number of opinion leaders from all over the world who were interested in the U.S. elections.”

Mr. Baussart’s think tank, the Center of Political and Foreign Affairs, has hosted a number of current and former government officials and leaders of multilateral organizations, according to its website.

Those meetings have included Turkey’s former president, Abdullah Gul; former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan; and James Rubin, a one-time State Department spokesman who advised Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The elder Mr. Trump repeatedly has stressed his desire to work closely with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Syria and to coordinate in fighting the Islamic State terrorist group. His position on Russia emerged as a campaign issue, and Mrs. Clinton called the Republican a “puppet” of Mr. Putin. The elder Mr. Trump denied that accusation.

The Obama administration said it believed the Russian government hacked the emails of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee in a bid to aid the elder Mr. Trump, a charge Moscow denied. Despite a formal U.S. intelligence assessment accusing the Russians, Mr. Trump maintained that the U.S. didn’t know who the hackers were.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Trump, Hope Hicks, has denied a Russian official’s claim that there had been contact between the campaign and the Russian government.

The Obama administration terminated talks with Russia over Syria last month due to a Russian-backed bombing campaign in Aleppo, the country’s largest city.


The younger Mr. Trump, the executive vice president of The Trump Organization, was a top official in his father’s campaign. Transition officials say none of the Trump children will have formal positions in the new administration, but haven’t ruled out informal roles for them.

Ivanka Trump has sat in on her father’s meetings and phone calls with several world leaders since his election, including one with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

The elder Mr. Trump has criticized the Obama administration for seeking to topple Mr. Assad, arguing that doing so could further strengthen Islamic State and other terrorist groups. The president-elect has argued that allying with Russia, which has deployed its air force to bolster Mr. Assad, was the best option for reducing the terrorist threat emanating from the Middle East country.

Mikhail Bogdanov, deputy head of Russia’s foreign ministry, said last week that Moscow had been reaching out to the elder Mr. Trump’s team to discuss Syria, according to Russian news agency Interfax.

Ms. Kassis, in the interview, said at the October meeting she discussed with the younger Mr. Trump the importance of promoting a secular government in Damascus. She echoed an argument made both by the Assad regime and the Russian government, saying Syria’s armed opposition—even those backed by U.S. forces—are radical Islamists.

Ms. Kassis said she has discussed her meeting with Donald Trump Jr. with senior Russian officials, including Mr. Bogdanov. Russia’s foreign ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Interfax reported that a meeting between Ms. Kassis and Mr. Bogdanov took place on Nov. 8, but the report didn’t mention the younger Mr. Trump.

“Randa Kassis has played a key role in Russian efforts to bring together Assad regime elements and opposition members acceptable to Moscow,” said Andrew Tabler of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, which has been critical of Mr. Obama’s Syria policy. Mr. Tabler has regularly talked to Russian officials about the conflict. “Such efforts have been key to Moscow’s approach to making Assad the basis for a transition in Syria.”

President Assad, in an interview last week with Portuguese television, said the elder Mr. Trump was potentially a “natural ally” in the Damascus regime’s fight against the rebel armies.

—Michael C. Bender contributed to this article
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« Reply #185 on: December 10, 2016, 08:31:46 PM »

From July of this year

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/29/us/politics/russia-putin-clinton-emails-hacking.html

Teddy and the Russkis:
http://thefederalist.com/2015/03/10/ted-kennedy-secretly-asked-the-soviets-to-intervene-in-the-1984-elections/
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« Reply #186 on: December 10, 2016, 09:28:44 PM »

I notice the first piece is in the NYT the second of course is not.

I don't recall LEFTist outrage at Brock's interfering in Israel's election a few years ago.

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« Reply #187 on: December 22, 2016, 03:46:47 PM »

Long, worthwhile read from Trump thread, linked below.  I posted text in its entirety there because of registration issues at the site.  American interest, home of Walter Russell Mead, is a good site for foreign policy analysis, IMO.

"The rest of that post deserves notice in US-Russia thread.  What a human tragedy it was the way post-communist Russians sold out their country and the way that the world including our Clinton administration enabled it."  Disgraceful.  They were basking in Reagan's peace dividend while the old Soviet machine was gearing back to totalitarianism and to AGAIN become our largest geo-political threat.

http://dogbrothers.com/phpBB2/index.php?topic=2551.msg100622#msg100622
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« Reply #188 on: December 22, 2016, 08:40:03 PM »

Thank you Doug.
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« Reply #189 on: December 25, 2016, 09:51:50 AM »

http://amgreatness.com/2016/12/24/russia-what-is-it-to-us/
 
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« Reply #190 on: December 25, 2016, 03:49:47 PM »

second post


From Red to Silver: The 25th Anniversary of the Fall of the Soviet Union
Analysis
December 25, 2016 | 14:01 GMT Print
Text Size
A crowd watches as a statue of KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky is lowered in Moscow's Lubyanka Square on Aug. 22, 1991. (ANATOLY SAPRONENKOV/AFP/Getty Images)
Analysis

Russian President Vladimir Putin once remarked that anyone who "does not miss the Soviet Union has no heart," while anyone who "wants it back has no brain." For nearly 70 years, the Soviet Union's founding communist ideology held the disparate peoples of its constituent socialist republics together. This ideology, antithetical as it was to the tenets of U.S. capitalism, also set the stage for the decadeslong war of worldviews that the United States and Soviet Union waged against each other through the latter half of the 20th century. The Cold War was a conflict unlike any other in history, an indirect battle between two superpowers in which the rest of the world was caught and maneuvered in for nearly half a century. On Dec. 26, 1991, the United States claimed its victory at last when the Kremlin lowered the iconic red flag that had flown over the Soviet Union. Twenty-five years later, the anniversary of the Soviet Union's collapse invites a reflection on the Cold War, its history and its legacy.

Laying the Foundation

No sooner had World War II ended than the preparations for the Cold War began. Before the ink had even dried on the various peace treaties that concluded the Second World War, the Soviet Union and the United States were already shoring up their positions, and their opposition, in Europe. As the Soviets, battered and nearly broken by the war, consolidated control over the so-called Eastern Bloc states, U.S. President Harry Truman said the United States and its allies needed to "show [them] how to behave." Just 25 years into its existence at the time, the Soviet Union was, after all, a young country. What Truman failed to understand, however, was that Moscow was following a strategy that had served it well for centuries under the Russian Empire, seeking security through expansionism. The United States and Western European nations quickly caught on to the Soviet agenda and formed their containment strategy, which evolved in time from the 1947 Truman Doctrine into the NATO military alliance. Even before the United States and Soviet Union formally drew their line between East and West in Europe, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill pronounced that an "iron curtain ha[d] descended across the Continent."

The two nations spent the ensuing decades embroiled in war. But they managed it without ever fighting each other directly. Instead, the conflict played out in proxy battles across nearly every continent; through trade wars; in the perpetual worries of leaders and citizens in each country over the looming threat of nuclear war; and, of course, in an ideological war.

The Soviet Union's Collapse, 25 Years Later


The Soviet system was built on the socialist concept of equality — legal, social and economic — for all people (beginning with workers), a strategic move by the Union's founders more than a reflection of their convictions. The Communist Party presided over this system, directly overseeing the Soviet Union's political apparatuses, economies, industries, press and societies. In its principles and functions, the Soviet model stood in direct opposition to that of the United States, which espoused self-determination, democracy and capitalism. Neither belief system was as ironclad as its champions in Washington and Moscow perhaps imagined, and some ideals inevitably fell by the wayside, unrealized. War, moreover, makes for strange bedfellows; in the course of their conflict, the United States and Russia each supported states that held diverging — if not contradictory — views. Still, the United States saw the Soviets as godless oppressors of freedom and hope, depriving their citizenry of the right to pursue a better life. The Soviet Union, in turn, considered the United States an imperialist superpower trying to become a global hegemon. The Cold War struggle became a moral contest to determine which worldview was correct.
The Beginning of the End

Toward the end of the 1970s, after proxy conflicts and threats of nuclear war by the dozen, it seemed to Washington that Moscow would prevail. In its estimation of the apparently unstoppable Soviet Union, though, the United States failed to appreciate just how unwieldy an entity it was. Whether governing the Russian Empire or today's Russian Federation, Moscow has faced the same geographic constraints and vulnerabilities throughout its long history. With an economy dependent on oil (and, at times, grain), a highly diverse population and competitors beyond its indefensible borders, each variation of Russia behaves at its strongest and weakest much as its predecessor did. The question, then, was never whether the Soviet Union would fall to the West but rather when it would inevitably collapse under its own weight.

The Soviet Union had already shown signs of faltering. When Nikita Khrushchev assumed the Soviet premiership a few years after longtime leader Josef Stalin's death, he proclaimed a "thaw" throughout the Soviet Union. Khrushchev proceeded to relax censorship somewhat, liberalize political and economic policies, and release political prisoners, all the while decrying Stalin's often brutal tactics. (Even the nearly ubiquitous likenesses of the late leader were destroyed or cached away during Khrushchev's de-Stalinization campaign.) He and the rest of the Party elite knew the Soviet Union would fall apart if it did not evolve. In the decades that followed Khrushchev's shake-up, the country moldered in a cycle of alternating consolidation and liberalization schemes under a string of leaders.

Not With a Bang, but a Whimper

By the 1980s, a perfect storm of political pressures had converged on the Soviet Union. The Soviet political system was atrophying. Three elderly leaders — Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov and Konstantin Chernenko — died in office in a span of three years as the country fought a bloody and expensive war in Afghanistan. Independent labor unions were sprouting up and gaining political traction across the Eastern Bloc. Meanwhile, oil prices — which made up more than half the country's revenues — plummeted, plunging the mostly hollow Soviet economy into ruin. The Soviet Union was starting to give under the weight of its own problems, a process the United States helped speed along. Washington set off an arms race in the early 1980s with its decision to take an active military position against the Soviets. Between 1980 and 1989, the United States nearly doubled its defense spending, armed mujahideen forces against the Soviets in Afghanistan and flaunted its advanced military capabilities by launching the Strategic Defense Initiative, or "Star Wars." The Soviets' efforts to keep up only exacerbated the pressures on their country.

Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, commemorating the 750th anniversary of Berlin, addresses on June 12, 1987 the people of West Berlin at the base of the Brandenburg Gate, near the Berlin wall. (MIKE SARGENT/AFP/Getty Images)

Mikhail Gorbachev tried to stave off the Soviet Union's demise when he came to power in 1985 by bringing a younger generation of leaders to the Kremlin and introducing a series of liberal political and economic reforms. Gorbachev permitted the countries of the Eastern Bloc to establish independent political systems and struck an arms control agreement with the United States. But the measures were not enough to save the Soviet Union; the seeds of dissolution had already been sown. Just a few days shy of its 69th anniversary, the Soviet Union dissolved, ending the Cold War without so much as a bang. Instead, the Kremlin quietly lowered the Soviet flag — the symbol of one of history's most formidable forces. 

In the Wake of the Soviet Union

The Soviet Union's collapse was hailed in the West as a victory for the United States and its allies, proof that the American system and its governing ideology were morally, ethically and technically superior. Perhaps the clearest illustration of Western views toward the end of the Cold War was the Berlin Freedom Concert, which commemorated the opening of the border between East and West Germany in 1989. Televised in more than 20 countries around the world, the concert brought orchestral musicians from both sides of the Berlin Wall together to play Beethoven's 9th Symphony. But instead of "ode to joy," the choir sang "ode to freedom." As the West saw it, the end of the German Democratic Republic represented a triumph for freedom, and the demise of the Soviet Union liberated the world from the so-called Evil Empire.

Without an equal adversary, the United States became a global hegemon, just as the Soviets had feared, and the Western institutional, economic and democratic models spread across many parts of the world. But the fall of the Soviet Union yielded some more unexpected outcomes as well. Despite the proxy wars that had raged throughout the Cold War, the U.S.-Soviet dichotomy kept other conflicts in check. In the waning years of the Soviet Union and for decades after its collapse, wars broke out across the Balkans, Africa, the Middle East, South Asia and the former Soviet states. Many of these conflicts tested the United States' hegemony. Furthermore, the end of the Cold War facilitated the rise of regional powers such as China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Germany and France — some of which diverge from the United States' worldview. Alternative regional coalitions formed or expanded in the wake of the binary alliance system that the Cold War had built, creating competition for the United States.

Though the Soviet Union's dissolution seemed to suggest that Moscow could never again challenge Washington, Russia eventually regained its footing. Now, the Russian Federation is following the same strategy, however flawed, that its Soviet and imperial forerunners pursued. Much as it did in previous eras, Moscow is once again resorting to authoritarian and expansionist tactics to overcome its inherent fragility — this time under the guise of a democratic system and a market-driven (albeit state-influenced) economy. This resurgence has in some ways echoed the rise of the Soviet Union, but having learned from its mistakes, Moscow will not attempt to match the Soviets' global reach. Nonetheless, Russia's comeback has proved that 25 years after the Cold War's end, a stable world order is as elusive as ever.
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« Reply #191 on: December 30, 2016, 10:29:19 PM »

Time to begin moving from the Transition thread into the relevant particular threads

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2016/12/30/the-trump-camps-spin-on-russian-interference-is-falling-apart/?tid=sm_fb&utm_term=.c2a46e201f6d
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« Reply #192 on: December 31, 2016, 01:07:26 PM »

Has it ever occurred to the LEFT that Trump saying Putin is smart not to retaliate by sending our people home may be a veiled kind of saying he is smart *not to mess* with us.
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« Reply #193 on: December 31, 2016, 01:12:13 PM »

 grin
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« Reply #194 on: January 01, 2017, 07:55:57 AM »

MOSCOW — The diatribe against the Obama administration on prime-time television by a Russian Foreign Ministry official was hardly unusual in the long history of rocky relations between the United States and Russia.

The administration “demonstrated the belief that the strongest has the right to create evil,” Maria Zakharova, the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, said on the Christmas Day broadcast.

From Washington’s perspective, it is the Kremlin that generally personifies evil, a point President Obama made on Thursday in punishing Russia for cyberattacks by directing new sanctions against Moscow and expelling 35 Russian diplomats. “The United States and friends and allies around the world must work together to oppose Russia’s efforts to undermine established international norms of behavior,” Mr. Obama said in a statement.

The two statements appeared to be business as usual — each side representing enemy No. 1 for the other. By Friday that mood had been abruptly cast aside, however. President Vladimir V. Putin announced that Russia would do nothing in response to the new American measures, awaiting the next administration, prompting President-elect Donald J. Trump to call him “very smart” in a Twitter post

With the sitting president calling Russia a national security threat and the incoming one praising Mr. Putin, many American voters, long accustomed to being suspicious about Russia, are understandably confused and uneasy. Russia was an enemy on Friday morning, and a friend by the afternoon.

“We are in a whiplash moment right now, and I think it is unprecedented in several respects,” said Cliff Kupchan, the chairman of the Eurasia Group, a political risk assessment firm in Washington, and a former State Department official from the Clinton administration. “The most important one is that the baton is about to be passed from an administration with a very hard line on Russia to one that is very much more sympathetic.”

No clear agreements or even offers are on the table yet, however, bringing uncertainty. “Russia’s relations with the U.S. are currently up in the air — both sides have no clear strategy about how to move them forward,” said Aleksandr Morozov, an independent Russian political analyst.

Until the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and even for years afterward, matters were more black and white. A young American diplomat stationed in Moscow named George F. Kennan established the parameters of the relationship for decades with a famous 1947 policy paper. The Soviet Union was bent on expansion, he wrote, so the main element of any United States policy had to be containment.

Thus began a long roller coaster ride for the two countries, full of periodic upswings as friends when détente was in vogue, inevitably followed by precipitous plummets as foes that left the world shuddering about the prospects of a nuclear Armageddon.

Tensions eased periodically, but it never seemed to last.

President Ronald Reagan, an implacable anti-Communist, surprised the world by reaching out to the man who turned out to be the last leader of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, to begin negotiations for far-reaching arms control agreements between the two sides.

After the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Russian Federation that emerged entered into an extended period of decline and, inevitably, friendship with the United States as a kind of junior partner.

That “junior” aspect rankled, however, particular after Mr. Obama went from seeking to reset relations to dismissing Russia as a “regional power.”

The latest crisis began in 2014, with a revolution in Ukraine that Mr. Putin labeled an American plot — he, as many Soviet leaders have, sees the hidden hand of Washington everywhere. Mr. Putin annexed Crimea and armed rebels in eastern Ukraine, prompting Western economic sanctions, which Mr. Trump has disparaged.

The last confrontation under the Obama administration between Moscow and Washington came to a head this fall after American intelligence agencies concluded that hacking by their Russian counterparts had breached national security, cracking open the computers of the Democratic National Committee to reveal emails that embarrassed Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Mr. Trump initially encouraged the Kremlin to hack even more, breaking with all precedents, not least the Republican tradition of painting Russia as the evil empire, as Mr. Reagan called it.

Mr. Obama waited to react until last week, and it looked as if he might leave his successor a diplomatic tempest, until Mr. Putin, long the master of the unexpected stroke, defused it.

Mr. Trump suddenly gained room to maneuver.

“Trump’s spirit is already here, and already changing Russia’s policies,” said Igor M. Bunin, the director of the Center for Political Technologies, a Moscow research institute. “This will be a great plus for future relations.”

There are still potential pitfalls, however, not least that Congress does not share an affectionate view of Mr. Putin.

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, plans to open hearings on Thursday on Russia’s efforts to manipulate the presidential election. Much of the Republican establishment in Congress endorsed the new sanctions imposed against Russia, putting them at odds with Mr. Trump.

Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota, was with Mr. McCain and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, last week to tour the Baltic States, which fear being the next target of the Russian military.

“The Russian cyberattack, and the misinformation and propaganda — they have been living with this for decades,” Ms. Klobuchar said in an interview.

American voters have heard Mr. Trump praise Russia, and some in the far right have hailed Mr. Putin as a hero for espousing conservative values. Yet old instincts die hard.

“I worry about what our relationship with other countries is going to be with a Trump presidency, if we buddy-buddy up to Russia and a leader who is not so democratic in nature,” said Alexis Matter, 35, walking through a Denver shopping mall.

In Sandy Springs, Ga., Chase Williams, 26, the manager of a pet supply store, said that Russia had fallen off the radar in recent years. His fears now were less of the old Cold War over a nuclear weapons attack than a sense that Mr. Putin could outfox the American administration.

“When I say Russia scares me, it’s not because I’m scared of them coming over here and doing something,” Mr. Williams said. “I’m scared when I see a chess player playing checkers — and we are checkers.”

Mr. Putin has made no secret of the fact that he would like to re-establish the consensus reached with the United States at the 1945 Yalta conference that carved the globe into spheres of influence.

Russia no longer has the might needed to assert its right to be a superpower, analysts say, but if nothing else, cyberattacks have underscored that you do not need nuclear weapons or a strong economy to assert global influence.

Some Russian analysts wonder what Mr. Putin can offer Mr. Trump. A former K.G.B. agent, he tends to view the world order as a series of special operations, coming from a different arena than Mr. Trump’s world of business deals. “I don’t think that Putin has a plan,” said Gleb Pavlovsky, a political analyst and former media adviser to Mr. Putin. “I think that he is stunned by the number of bonus points that he has gotten.”

In Syria, President Bashar al-Assad is on the verge of reasserting control over much of the country, thanks largely to Mr. Putin’s intervention. Ukraine presents some problems, but has essentially boiled down into the kind of frozen conflict that Russia uses to destabilize independent-minded neighbors. And all of the attention on the cyberattacks made Mr. Putin look strong.

In those successes, analysts see fodder for Mr. Putin to offer Mr. Trump a manner of foreign policy victory that would give the American leader something tangible to crow about at home in an arena where he lacks experience.

Russia, Iran and Turkey cut Washington out of the Syria negotiations, so Mr. Putin could bring the United States back in and forge a deal on fighting the Islamic State. Mr. Trump has stated that he wants to join forces with Russia in crushing the jihadists. Or the Kremlin could offer some sort of cyberspace deal.

“I think that Putin is in a strong position,” said Nicolai Petrov, a Russian political scientist. “He looks strong in relation to the United States and he has freedom to maneuver, and he can do what he wants to demonstrate that the United States should recognize that Russia is not a regional power but a great power that should be taken into account.”

So, for the moment, Mr. Putin appears a potential friend to Mr. Trump.

Few expect it to last, however. First of all, Mr. Trump is unpredictable. And fundamentally, the two countries are destined to be at odds, because they view the world through different lenses.

Russian policy in recent years has been trying to sow doubt and undermine public faith in Western governments. The Kremlin has relied on a variety of levers — disinformation campaigns, buying influence, cyberattacks — which many analysts expect to show up in crucial elections in the coming year in France and Germany.

“They are trying to create more of a level playing field not by raising Russia up, but through a declining West,” Mr. Kupchan said. “I don’t think Putin is out to make America great again.”
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« Reply #195 on: January 09, 2017, 12:25:19 PM »

I note Gerald Seib is now using the Tri-Polar analysis I have been advocating around here for a while now.  Perhaps he is another lurker on the forum? grin

===============================

The intelligence community’s report on Russian meddling in the 2016 election didn’t merely describe nefarious Kremlin deeds. It also put a dent in the strategic worldview that Donald Trump hoped to carry into the White House.

It’s increasingly clear that we’re living in a kind of tripolar world, populated by an America that remains the most important superpower; a rising China; and a newly re-assertive Russia trying to reclaim its seat at the big table.

And while it’s hard to read the enigmatic Mr. Trump, it also appears his vision of how to prosper in that world is to develop friendly ties with Russia on the one hand, thereby improving the American strategic position to challenge China on the other.

In that case, the strategic equation has been seriously undermined by the intelligence community report, which represents a consensus view of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National Security Agency. It not only described a concerted effort to interfere with the election, but a much broader effort to undermine the very idea of American democracy.

In a little-noticed closing statement, the report also offered this warning to the incoming Trump administration about the intentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin: “We assess Russian intelligence services will continue to develop capabilities to provide Putin with options to use against the United States, judging from past practice and current efforts. Immediately after Election Day, we assess Russian intelligence began a spearphishing campaign targeting U.S. Government employees” and others, referring to a type of cyberattack. “This campaign could provide material for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans.”

In other words, the intelligence community has just warned the incoming president that his team is the next target.

In response, two influential members of Mr. Trump’s own Republican Party, Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, served notice over the weekend that they are going to push legislation to impose new sanctions on Russia.

All this makes it very tough politically to pursue the Trump vision of a world order in which the U.S. makes common cause with the Kremlin, while simultaneously challenging the Chinese on trade and security matters.

Playing the Russians off against the Chinese was long a standard move in the American strategic handbook. The two Communist giants despised each other and worried about the balance of power tilting the wrong way if the other moved too close to the U.S. In that environment, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger once said that the American goal was to maintain closer ties with both Moscow and Beijing than the two did with each other.

Even before last week’s bombshell intelligence report, it wasn’t clear that leveraging Moscow against Beijing is a workable strategy now. “In the old days, there was a lot of juice in triangular diplomacy, because the Soviets and the Chinese were each other’s worst enemies,” says Stephen Sestanovich, once the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for the former Soviet Union. “There’s nothing like that today.…Today you don’t make the Russians and Chinese enemies of each other by being nice to Putin.”

Indeed, Mr. Putin made what appeared to be a friendly and successful visit to Beijing just last June, during which he and Chinese leader Xi Jinping signed a series of deals on bilateral cooperation, including on energy and trade. That reflects a different dynamic between the two than prevailed during the Cold War.


Now, Mr. Trump will enter office clearly intending to challenge China more directly on trade and military activity in the South China Sea, but with less freedom to pursue an offsetting warming of relations with the Russians than seemed likely just a few weeks ago. In short, there will be tensions on both fronts, whether Mr. Trump is happy about that or not.

The best way to deal with that strategic reality, Mr. Sestanovich argues, is to use strong ties with America’s networks of allies, in Europe and Asia, to temper any Russian or Chinese efforts to misbehave.

Moreover, the best leverage the U.S. has with China may lie not in Moscow, but in Beijing’s own self-interest. Outgoing Defense Secretary Ash Carter noted in an interview last week that there is a “strain in Chinese strategic thinking.”

The Chinese seek to challenge the U.S., on both economic and security fronts. At the same time, Mr. Carter noted, there is in Beijing “a recognition that, in order for them to have the prosperity that they need for their people and for political stability, they can’t be picking fights and they can’t be ruining the system that is working for them.”

There’s anxiety about China across Asia, and that anxiety is driving “everyone into our arms” in the region, Mr. Carter said. The best counter to Beijing may simply be to embrace those allies.

Write to Gerald F. Seib at jerry.seib@wsj.com
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« Reply #196 on: January 13, 2017, 07:22:08 AM »

Now he is doing it.  10 days before he is out.  Only because he is upset that Hillary didn't win. It is the Russians fault.   What else can it be.  The Russians have been making mores for a long time now.

https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2590015/us-army-moves-2500-tanks-trucks-and-military-vehicles-into-europe-in-the-biggest-troop-transfer-since-the-cold-war/
« Last Edit: January 16, 2017, 01:16:09 AM by Crafty_Dog » Logged
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« Reply #197 on: January 17, 2017, 08:14:04 AM »

Working with Russia is not the same as weakness with Russia  .
Obama was weak and we see the result.  Same as James Earl Carter when Russia invaded Afghanistan.

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443903/obama-misread-putin-trump-might-not-new-era-big-sticks-common-enemies-mutual-benefit
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« Reply #198 on: January 17, 2017, 02:02:50 PM »

I liked that article a lot.
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