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Demonization of Putin

Reuters/David W Cerny

PseudoScience > Who Rules America > Pathological Russophobia of the US elite

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Europe has manufactured an artificial "Russian enemy"
 in order to create an artificial "European identity"

Guy Mettan

Demonization of Putin is integral part of policy of the US and British elite toward Russia, designed to weaken, and, if possible, dismember the Russian state. It is also an instrument of increasing national unity by creating a demonized external enemy.

Russophobia of the US elite should be understood in the context of Neoliberalism as a New Form of Corporatism as Russia represent an obstacle for complete domination of the globe by the US neoliberal empire. Nothing personal here, just business. Recent statements by Putin made at Valday club in Sochi (October 24, 2014) also do not produce any love to Putin from the global and first of all the USA neoliberal elite as well as London-based financial oligarchy. Not accidentally for both the US and GB elite Putin is a "Great Satan".

Like anti-Semitism, Russophobia is based on standard mechanism of Demonization (Wikipedia):

In colloquial usage, the term demonization is used metaphorically to refer to propaganda directed on delitimization of particular individual or group.

Delegitimization is the psychological process which undermines or marginalizes an individual or entity by presenting value judgments as facts which are construed to devalue legitimacy. The ultimate goal of justifying harm or war.

The concept applies to a wide spectrum of social contexts but generally means categorization of individual or groups into extreme social categories which are ultimately excluded from society. Delegitimization provides the moral and the discursive basis to harm the delegitimized group, even in the most inhumane ways.

It is related to stereotyping in a sense that it leads to prejudice when people emotionally react to the name of the person, ascribe evil intention and characteristic to the person or group without evaluating objective evidence.

As always in such cases three-letter agencies are in the vanguard of such complains (Is the CIA Running a Defamation Campaign Against Putin - Russia Insider)

A major topic in the Russian media is mystification with how Putin is portrayed in the Western media. Wildly popular at home, and seen as a decent, modest, an admirable person, and Russians don't understand how there can be such a disconnect with Western impressions.

Recently, leading Russian commentators and politicians have been suggesting that this can only be explained by a deliberate campaign to defame Putin, by governments or other groups.

Yesterday, at a briefing to foreign journalists, Sergey Ivanov, Putin's chief of staff, arguably the 2nd most powerful man in Russia, spoke of an "information war" consisting of "personal attacks" on Putin.

The western media hit a new low...
>The day before another member of Putin's inner circle, Vyasheslav Volodin, made similar remarks, telling foreign journalists "an attack on Putin is an attack on Russia."

The logic, they argue, is that by defaming the leader of a country, you weaken his power domestically by undermining popular support for him, and internationally, by rallying popular opinion to support policies against that country. The ultimate goal, they argue, is to weaken the country itself. They also talk about regime change.

They argue that if one looks at the facts, that there is evidence of ongoing character assassination which cannot be explained by a vague popular zeitgeist in the West, but is more likely the result of a dedicated effort to introduce this defamation into the news flow.

Newsweek has been one of the most virulent Putin-bashers for years

The issue of manipulation of news by intelligence services has been in the news recently with revelations that the CIA and German Secret Service (GSS) have long-running programs to influence how media executives and top journalists convey and interpret the news, including direct cash payments.

Here are some examples they point to:

RI sat down with The Saker, a leading analyst of Russia in international affairs, and asked him what he thinks:

So, is there any credence to this line of thinking, or is this conspiracy theorists running wild?

There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the US is waging a major psyop war against Russia, although not a shooting war, for now, and that what we are seeing is a targeted campaign to discredit Putin and achieve "regime change" in Russia or, should that fail, at the very least "regime weakening" and "Russia weakening".

And the Economist has been the very worst of them all...

So this is a US government program?

Yes, Putin is absolutely hated by certain factions in the US government two main reasons:

1. He partially, but not fully, restored Russia's sovereignty which under Gorbachev and Yeltsin had been totally lost … Russia then was a US colony like Ukraine is today … and,

2. He dared to openly defy the USA and its civilizational model.

… a free and sovereign Russia is perceived by the US "deep state" as an existential threat which has to be crushed. … this is a full-scale political assault on Russia and Putin personally.

So what the Russians are saying, that the constant personal attacks against Putin in the global media are partly the result of deliberate efforts by US intelligence services, … basically, planted stories…

Yes, absolutely

It seems like “Operation Mockingbird” all over again… Are you aware of other instances aimed at Putin?

(Editors Note: Operation Mockingbird was a CIA program started in the 1950s to influence the US media, which was gradually exposed by investigative journalists starting in the late 60s, culminating in sensational televised congressional hearings in 1975 which shocked the nation, forcing the program’s termination. Critics maintain that the same tactics have continued since, under different programs. Wikipedia)

Yes, of course. Since this defamation has very little traction with the Russian public … Putin's popularity is higher than ever before .., there is an organized campaign to convince them that Putin is "selling out" Novorussia, that he is a puppet of oligarchs who are making deals with Ukrainian oligarchs to back-stab the Novorussian resistance…

… So far, Putin's policies in the Ukraine have enjoyed very strong support from the Russian people who still oppose an overt military intervention…

… but if Kiev attacks Novorussia again - which appears very likely - and if such an attack is successful - which is less likely but always possible - then Putin will be blamed for having given the Ukrainians the time to regroup and reorganize.

Warm and fuzzy...

So you are saying that if the Ukrainian military strengthens its position enough to deliver a serious blow to the East Ukrainians, the US can use this as a method to strike at Putin’s support base…

Yes, that’s right ... there are a lot of "fake patriots" in Russia and abroad who will reject any negotiated solution and who will present any compromise as a "betrayal". They are the "useful idiots" used by western special services to smear and undermine Putin.

Is it limited to government special ops, or are there other groups who might have an interest in doing this?

Yes, well here is something that most people in the west don’t appreciate… there is a major behind-the scenes struggle among Russian elites between what I call the "Eurasian Sovereignists" (basically, those who support Putin) and what I call the "Atlantic Integrationists" (those whom Putin refers to as the "5th column).

The western media talks about this as the struggle between Russian liberals and conservatives, reformers and reactionaries, right?

Well its sort of like that, but not exactly…

The former see Russia's future in the Russian North and East and want to turn Russia towards Asia, Latin America and the rest of the world, while the latter want Russia to become part of the "North Atlantic" power configuration.

The Atlantic Integrationists are now too weak to openly challenge Putin - whose real power base is his immense popular support - but they are quietly sabotaging his efforts to reform Russia while supporting anti-Putin campaigns.

Regarding the revelations of CIA activities in Germany, do you think this is going on in other countries, in the US?

I am sure that this is happening in most countries worldwide. The very nature of the modern corporate media is such that it makes journalists corrupt.

As the French philosopher Alain Soral says "nowadays a reporter is either unemployed or a prostitute". There are, of course, a few exceptions, but by and large this is true.

This is not to say that most journalists are on the take. In the West this is mostly done in a more subtle way - by making it clear which ideas do or do not pass the editorial control, by lavishly rewarding those journalists who 'get it' and by quietly turning away those who don't.

If a journalist or reporter commits the crime of "crimethink" he or she will be sidelined and soon out of work.

There is no real pluralism in the West where the boundaries of what can be said or not are very strictly fixed.

Ok, but is it like what has been revealed in Germany, …similar specific operational programs in France, the UK, Italy, Latin America, etc.

Yes, one has to assume so – it is in their interests to have them and there is no reason for them not to.

As for the CIA, it de-facto controls enough of the corporate media to "set the tone". As somebody who in the past used to read the Soviet press for a living, I can sincerely say that it was far more honest and more pluralistic than the press in the USA or EU today.

Joseph Goebbels or Edward Bernays could not have imagined the degree of sophistication of modern propaganda machines.

If the US is doing it, can't one assume other governments are too? Are the Russians doing it against western leaders?

I think that all governments try to do that kind of stuff. However, what makes the US so unique it a combination of truly phenomenal arrogance and multi-billion dollar budgets.

The US "deep state" owns the western corporate media which is by far the most powerful media on the planet. Most governments can only do that inside their own country ... to smear a political opponent or discredit a public figure, but they simply do not have the resources to mount an international strategic psyop campaign. This is something only the US can do.

So foreign governments are at a great disadvantage in this arena vis-a-vis the US?

Absolutely.

Quotes from Putin speech and answers to the questions at the meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club

 


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Old News ;-)

[Jul 21, 2017] Increasing desperation I would say reminiscent of Nazis increasing hopes for wunderweapons to stop the USSR. If only we could kill Putin all of our problems would be over

Notable quotes:
"... "I just find it interesting how the number of spy thrillers involving Putin's assassination has been growing since 2015 " ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , July 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

Yes, I meant to add in my earlier comment that there is no shortage of novels in English featuring the assassination of western leaders, either – so it's not all just Putin. But I stand by the remainder of my assessment.
et Al , July 21, 2017 at 3:19 am
They could make a film on the assassination of Nemtsov and call it " NIght of The Shagall ", though I doubt it would be patch on this:
J.T. , July 21, 2017 at 5:58 am
I just find it interesting how the number of spy thrillers involving Putin's assassination has been growing since 2015
Lyttenburgh , July 21, 2017 at 8:26 am
"I just find it interesting how the number of spy thrillers involving Putin's assassination has been growing since 2015 "

Which means – they began writing somewhere in 2013-14, to get published in 2015.

As to the question: " why are thriller writers obsessed with killing Putin (or his fictional stand-in) now?". Sublimation. Acto of magic(k) (see my original article). Plus pretty much everything that Mark said.

Patient Observer , July 21, 2017 at 4:15 pm
Increasing desperation I would say reminiscent of Nazi's increasing hopes for wunderweapons to stop the USSR. If only we could kill Putin all of our problems would be over .

Lets not forget that Putin did not gain his position by his force of personality and/or ruthlessness. He was picked by a group of Russian patriots, the military, and elements of the Orthodox church who nurtured and supported him. Putin made the personal sacrifices and performed his duty for his country.

He certainly will be a tough act to follow but I think it would be a mistake to try to find another Putin. Russia is no longer a ravaged country on the verge of figurative and actual disintegration. The next leader may be more of a visionary and a spiritual force to provide more direction and purpose to a population that survived hell and now looking for a greater good. I do hope so.

Cortes , July 21, 2017 at 1:15 pm
Agreed. Perhaps symptomatic of wishful thinking as the slide away from unipolarity gathers pace?

Hasn't there been a boom in "what if" speculated scenarios by academic historians also?

yalensis , July 21, 2017 at 2:41 pm
Yes, and also a boom in ALT-History fiction genre.
I personally disapprove of all this what-if-ism as I don't think it does the human race any good to speculate on what might have been.
Also, most of the ALT-History fiction is just revanchists living out their fantasies that, e.g., the South won the Civil War; or the Nazis won WWII; or the Japanese Empire still exists (a favorite of the anime crowd too).
Pavlo Svolochenko , July 21, 2017 at 4:23 pm
And more importantly, alt-history writers are the most dreadful hacks in the business. Turtledove, Stirling, Gingrich (to name but a few) – they make fantasy writers look inspired.
Cortes , July 21, 2017 at 4:24 pm
However, Philip K. Dick was supposedly a leftist and he produced the crock of shit "The High Tower"; mind you, other novels of his are creeptastic: the scenes of "Perky Pat" haunt me like Dumas.. "Twenty Years After " [shudder x 3].

[Jul 21, 2017] The fact that the USA has to make such overt and aggressive military threats is the clearest proof that its soft power has rapidly diminished.

Notable quotes:
"... It must be borne in mind that even as Russia is wrestling with the problem of the Putin succession, which will be like juggling an unexploded bomb even in the absence of distractions, the west will be pulling out all the stops to get a neoliberal into the power position. Its window is closing even now, and if it lets another Putinesque leader assume power without a fight, it will likely be too late by the time he or she has completed his/her first term. et Al , July 21, 2017 at 3:07 am I think that the other most important strand is to have a good and deep team well in place in all aspects of government and elsewhere that sing from the same song sheet, i.e. their end goals and principles are very similar, but is fully open to constructive criticism and dialogue . This exists already but how deep and wide it is the question. I also fully agree with likebez that the USA's death spasms do pose quite a risk to Russia but we have seen so far its results have been limited ..."
"... Some, unfortunately see this as a sign of weakness, but getting in to a fight with someone larger, uglier and follows no rules is certainly not a good thing to do. It is very much a Judo (and a bit of Kung Fu) strategy of using your opponents greater weight against itself. It works in all fields from economic & political to the media. Russia hasn't created western divisions and lunacy, but it does take advantage of it by feeding it back in to the western politico-economic & media loop much as guitarists do. ..."
"... Western targeted fury towards Sputnik & RT is little more than How dare you criticize us with our own news? . Those commentators that go on the media to rant and rail do little but discredit themselves. The good news is that every mention of RT & Sputnik is free PR! The only time I look at either is when someone in the west squeals about them because I want to see what the drama is all about. ..."
"... The fact that the USA has to make such overt and aggressive military threats is the clearest proof that its soft power has rapidly diminished. ..."
"... In the last few years that he was leader of the government, before the coup, Gorbachov started to behave unilaterally and erratically. He would negotiate and cut deals on the global scale, without any input, not just from the government, but even the Central Committee of the Party. In essence, he went rogue. He did whatever he pleased, and nobody was able to stop him or to belay his disastrous decisions. This sort of thing could happen again, if Russians are not careful. There must be checks and balances on any political leader, even the most trusted. ..."
"... As for China and Russia being dependent on Western technology, not so, as amply discussed in this blog. ..."
"... Much of the appearance of support for the Western empire in Russia's near-aboard will evaporate upon realization that the good ship Empire is taking on water and the rats are in the water looking for a new ship to scramble on board. ..."
Jul 21, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

marknesop , July 20, 2017 at 11:16 pm

Very well said. It must be borne in mind that even as Russia is wrestling with the problem of the Putin succession, which will be like juggling an unexploded bomb even in the absence of distractions, the west will be pulling out all the stops to get a neoliberal into the power position.

Its window is closing even now, and if it lets another Putinesque leader assume power without a fight, it will likely be too late by the time he or she has completed his/her first term.

et Al , July 21, 2017 at 3:07 am
I think that the other most important strand is to have a good and deep team well in place in all aspects of government and elsewhere that sing from the same song sheet, i.e. their end goals and principles are very similar, but is fully open to constructive criticism and dialogue . This exists already but how deep and wide it is the question.

I also fully agree with likebez that the USA's death spasms do pose quite a risk to Russia but we have seen so far its results have been limited, in part due to the cool hand of Putin and the government by ignoring most provocations and selectively responding where necessary.

Some, unfortunately see this as a sign of weakness, but getting in to a fight with someone larger, uglier and follows no rules is certainly not a good thing to do. It is very much a Judo (and a bit of Kung Fu) strategy of using your opponents greater weight against itself. It works in all fields from economic & political to the media. Russia hasn't created western divisions and lunacy, but it does take advantage of it by feeding it back in to the western politico-economic & media loop much as guitarists do.

Western targeted fury towards Sputnik & RT is little more than How dare you criticize us with our own news? . Those commentators that go on the media to rant and rail do little but discredit themselves. The good news is that every mention of RT & Sputnik is free PR! The only time I look at either is when someone in the west squeals about them because I want to see what the drama is all about.

The fact that the USA has to make such overt and aggressive military threats is the clearest proof that its soft power has rapidly diminished. The thing is, they cannot just make threats and not deliver (small countries don't count) without loosing credibility either, much like the boy who cried Wolf! There are plenty of US experts who have publicly had kittens on US news channels over Trump's threat's to North Korea, so we see already that there are clear and open divisions. And we've seen him row back many of his purported plans too. Sure, he's cast off some of O-Bombers caution, for example approving a large arms package to Taiwan, but that's a long way from his early goals. He goes for the low hanging fruit, speaking of which, is this a sign of more US protectionism?

Neuters: U.S. toughens stance on foreign deals in blow to China's buying spree
https://in.reuters.com/article/us-usa-china-companies-idINKBN1A532M?il=0

A secretive U.S. government panel has objected to at least nine acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign buyers so far this year, people familiar with the matter said, a historically high number that bodes poorly for China's overseas buying spree.

The objections indicate that the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which reviews acquisitions by foreign entities for potential national security risks, is becoming more risk-averse under U.S. President Donald Trump.

It's too early to tell, but if the US and others start using 'national security' reasons more widely and casually to block buys, then they'll be undermining the WTO, a system they themselves designed.

yalensis , July 21, 2017 at 2:37 pm
I agree with likbez that the Russian Presidency has too much power as an individual; and that this creates the danger of another Gorbachov.

In the last few years that he was leader of the government, before the coup, Gorbachov started to behave unilaterally and erratically. He would negotiate and cut deals on the global scale, without any input, not just from the government, but even the Central Committee of the Party. In essence, he went rogue. He did whatever he pleased, and nobody was able to stop him or to belay his disastrous decisions. This sort of thing could happen again, if Russians are not careful. There must be checks and balances on any political leader, even the most trusted.

Patient Observer , July 21, 2017 at 4:00 pm
In my opinion, no, the West will fall far sooner than suggested. Herein lies one factor to the decline and fall:

http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/20/us/florida-teens-drowning-man/index.html

Irreversible and accelerating growth in debt, an infrastructure approaching a tipping point and, as alluded above, a population increasingly unfit to live in a civilized world are sufficient to ensure a relatively near-term societal failure. As for China and Russia being dependent on Western technology, not so, as amply discussed in this blog.

Much of the appearance of support for the Western empire in Russia's near-aboard will evaporate upon realization that the good ship Empire is taking on water and the rats are in the water looking for a new ship to scramble on board. All the while, the semi-conscious passengers are assured by smooth talking cruise directors that all is well and there is a limbo contest on the Fiesta deck.

[Jul 20, 2017] Medvedev, by contrast, was a pushover.. Now US thriller authors want new pushover and dream about assassinating Putin

Notable quotes:
"... Kremlin's Candidate ..."
"... I suppose they forecast – and in many ways they reflect Washington's own malignant unintended-consequences thinking process – that if Putin were only removed, all the USA's troubles with Russia would be over. ..."
"... It would fall back into susceptibility to misdirection and manipulation, and the west would be able to maneuver it into self-destructive behaviors by working through its corrupt oligarchs and it would end up something like Ukraine, only bigger – nominally a state, but really a collection of fiefdoms more or less owned outright by wealthy citizens who follow their own interests and constantly inveigh against one another for influence and power. ..."
"... Putin is the only one who is predictable in that he is unpredictable, and he will reach a point nobody knows is there when he will decide to take action. Once the decision is made he seldom backs away from it, and his involvement with the business of the nation is total – there just seems to be no chink in the armor through which he can be subverted to self-interest. ..."
"... Medvedev, by contrast, was a pushover. The west simply had to flatter him on the surface that it considered him the most progressive leader of Russia ever, and loved his 'liberal reforms' which rewarded disobedience and self-interest. ..."
"... All he ever got was the occasional pat on the head, and encouragement to continue weakening political power in Russia. Of course if you completely let people have their own way without any articulate national vision, they will pursue self-interest. ..."
"... The problem of a Russian President "After Putin" is a real problem. This inevitable "change of the guard" threatens Russia's political and economic stability and the possibility of Medvedev II (a pushover), or some confrontational nationalist while both remote, can't be completely discarded. ..."
"... Another danger is too much adherence to neoliberalism. In this sense China is in a better position, They are just more flexible. They still have China Communist Party as a counterbalance to oligarchs. Which is also far from perfect and creates the constant stream of corruption. But due to this, they can be neoliberals today and not so much tomorrow. ..."
"... Absolute, unipolar hegemony of the USA, when it can essentially dictate any country its will, and unliterary declare sanctions, without much danger of blowback, is probably gradually coming to the end. Ideology in which the USA based in dominance - neoliberalism - is now discredited. That's alone dooms the empire. ..."
"... So the situation mirrors the USSR and crisis of Marxism. The signs of rot of neoliberal society inside the USA are visible. And the decimation of the "Rust Belt" and the election of Trump are two such signs. ..."
Jul 20, 2017 | russiareviewed.wordpress.com
J.T. , July 20, 2017 at 6:47 am

Um why are thriller writers obsessed with killing Putin (or his fictional stand-in) now?

https://read.amazon.com/kp/card?preview=inline&linkCode=xm2&ref_=k4w_oembed_py0SI7bB2QkFew&asin=B073RSS1MG&tag=pbs_00005-20

(In Jason Matthews's upcoming Kremlin's Candidate the characters are going to assassinate Putin, and there was a similar plotline in Ted Bell's Patriot though it was unsuccessful and I didn't mention it in the review)

marknesop , July 20, 2017 at 7:28 am
I suppose they forecast – and in many ways they reflect Washington's own malignant unintended-consequences thinking process – that if Putin were only removed, all the USA's troubles with Russia would be over.

It would fall back into susceptibility to misdirection and manipulation, and the west would be able to maneuver it into self-destructive behaviors by working through its corrupt oligarchs and it would end up something like Ukraine, only bigger – nominally a state, but really a collection of fiefdoms more or less owned outright by wealthy citizens who follow their own interests and constantly inveigh against one another for influence and power.

And I think there is a real fear this might happen; Putin cannot last forever, and the only ones I can think of who show anything like the necessary steel are Lavrov and Shoigu.

Of those, Shoigu is mostly loyal and we see little evidence of his own thinking process, merely his obedience. Lavrov is wedded to the diplomatic process, as one might expect from a lifetime diplomat.

Putin is the only one who is predictable in that he is unpredictable, and he will reach a point nobody knows is there when he will decide to take action. Once the decision is made he seldom backs away from it, and his involvement with the business of the nation is total – there just seems to be no chink in the armor through which he can be subverted to self-interest.

Medvedev, by contrast, was a pushover. The west simply had to flatter him on the surface that it considered him the most progressive leader of Russia ever, and loved his 'liberal reforms' which rewarded disobedience and self-interest.

Think tanks continued to write disparaging critiques of life in Russia, rampant corruption, loads of civic unrest, bla, bla, as if none of those reforms had ever been made.

All he ever got was the occasional pat on the head, and encouragement to continue weakening political power in Russia. Of course if you completely let people have their own way without any articulate national vision, they will pursue self-interest.

likbez, July 20, 2017 at 7:34 pm
Mark,

This is a very good, insightful comment. Medvedev was a real disaster and that can happen again.

The problem of a Russian President "After Putin" is a real problem. This inevitable "change of the guard" threatens Russia's political and economic stability and the possibility of Medvedev II (a pushover), or some confrontational nationalist while both remote, can't be completely discarded.

The President in Russia has way too much power and that while was necessary and helpful in order to rebuild Russia after Yeltsin rule eventually it might become dangerous for the society. Let's call it Gorbachov II type of danger.

Another danger is too much adherence to neoliberalism. In this sense China is in a better position, They are just more flexible. They still have China Communist Party as a counterbalance to oligarchs. Which is also far from perfect and creates the constant stream of corruption. But due to this, they can be neoliberals today and not so much tomorrow.

Russia elite needs to play its game of Putin succession very carefully, very skillfully in order not to provoke inflicting too much damage on itself, the damage Washington and it allies are still capable and willing to inflict.

The need to secure peaceful economic development for at least a couple of decades, if not more should be the cornerstone of Russian foreign policy.

The USA is way too strong now. and if you count transnational corporations (who are the real rulers in Washington, DC) it will probably remains in this position until the end of "oil age". China rise and the fact that China GDP now is exceeding the USA is a secondary factor, as China depends on the West in many key areas including technology and does not has allies like the USA, which BTW includes almost all former British empire. Plus EU with its 500 millions population.

Absolute, unipolar hegemony of the USA, when it can essentially dictate any country its will, and unliterary declare sanctions, without much danger of blowback, is probably gradually coming to the end. Ideology in which the USA based in dominance - neoliberalism - is now discredited. That's alone dooms the empire.

So the situation mirrors the USSR and crisis of Marxism. The signs of rot of neoliberal society inside the USA are visible. And the decimation of the "Rust Belt" and the election of Trump are two such signs.

But a high level of influence on the world stage (including in culture, science and technology) will continue for some time after absolute hegemony is lost.

See:

https://medium.com/insurge-intelligence/pentagon-study-declares-american-empire-is-collapsing-746754cdaebf"

[Jul 20, 2017] Fracking Around with the Russians - The Unz Review

Notable quotes:
"... Mr. Giraldi, you're missing the salient point. The rulers of the USA aren't delusional lunatics. Russia is the single largest threat to America's dream of Global Hegemony. It's refusal to kowtow to Washington, and more critically, its lending of its military power to underpin China's Silk Road Dreams guarantees their GH dream will die. ..."
"... For the rulers of the USA, that's anathema. As good as death itself. They bet Americans' well being, Brand America, its industrial and civilian infrastructure, and almost its farms, for Global Hegemony and came up craps. They'll lose the farms soon enough. ..."
"... That is why they're panicking, and why they're going to do everything they can to break their fall. Above all, they have to convince their allies to stay loyal, particularly Europe long enough to allow them to "think of something". ..."
Jul 20, 2017 | www.unz.com
Fracking Around with the Russians What will those rascals in Moscow do next? Philip Giraldi July 18, 2017 1,400 Words 112 Comments Reply 🔊 Listen RSS

It has been another week full of news about Russia. Americans might be surprised to learn that nearly every aspect of their lives has been somehow impacted by the insidious covert activity of a former global enemy that now has an economy the size of Spain or Italy. One of the latest claims is that Moscow has been covertly funding some environmental groups, most particularly those opposed to the use of fracking technologies. The allegations, which have recently surfaced in Congress , conceded that the Russians allegedly moved forward with their strategy to damage America's energy independence without leaving behind "a paper trail," thus there appears to actually be little or no supporting evidence for what is little more than a series of claims, which have been denied by the groups in question, including the highly respectable Sierra Club. Moscow has not commented.

To be sure, there is a certain logic inherent in assertions that Russia might be behind such a development as Moscow's economy runs on energy exports and high prices are good for it. Consequently, it ought not surprise anyone that Russia would seek to discredit competitive technologies that work to increase the supply of energy and thereby cause prices to fall. It's simple math, but is it true given the fact that environmental groups are widely popular due to the appeal of the product they are promoting and have their own reliable sources of income?

Now the irony in all this is that a major producer of relatively dirty oil is being accused of targeting an even dirtier and environmentally destructive energy resource, which is fracking, in collusion with organizations that are seeking to encourage the production of much cleaner power. And, of course, cleaner energy is a global interest whether one believes in climate change or not, which underlines the essential hypocrisy of the U.S. media in denouncing something that just might be good for the planet purely because Russia is allegedly involved.

And, of course, the congressmen involved in the revelation come from fracking states. If Moscow is for something then surely Washington must be against it, ignoring the fact that many genuinely patriotic Americans who care about such matters support more strict environmental regulations, no matter what the Wall Street Journal, the White House and the loony tunes in congress are saying.

There was a lot more anti-Russian agitprop in the U.S. media during the week, part of an endless stream of titillation provided free of charge to the American public in an effort to remind everyone that Russia is the enemy and will always be the enemy. Even Donald Trump's milquetoast initiative to mend fences with Vladimir Putin cobbled together during their meeting in Hamburg has been assailed from all sides, most particularly by the usual parties who seem to be locked into an anti-Trump non-détente mindset come what may.

I was particularly bemused by the comment by former CIA Chief John Brennan who denounced Trump's performance during the Group of 20 summit in Hamburg over the lack of a hard line against Putin and his failure to support the "word of the U.S. intelligence community" about Russian interference in the recent election. In an interview Brennan complained "He said it's an honor to meet President Putin. An honor to meet the individual who carried out the assault against our election? To me, it was a dishonorable thing to say."

Former weapons inspector Scott Ritter has demonstrated how the "word" of U.S. intel is not exactly what it might seem to be. And Brennan is not exactly a tabula rasa. As he observed in his comment, his ire derives from the claims over Russian alleged interference in the U.S. election, a narrative that Brennan himself has helped to create, to include his shady and possibly illegal contacting of foreign intelligence services to dig up dirt on the GOP presidential candidate and his associates. The dirt was dutifully provided by several European intelligence services which produced a report claiming, inter alia, that Donald Trump had urinated on a Russian prostitute in a bed previously slept in by Barack and Michelle Obama.

And along the way I have been assiduously trying to figure out the meaning of last week's reports regarding the contacts of Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with two alleged Russian agents while reportedly seeking the dirt on Hillary. As it turns out, there may not have been any discussion of Hillary, though possibly something having to do with irregularities in DNC fundraising surfaced, and there may have been a bit more about the Magnitsky Act and adopting Russian babies.

Barring any new revelations backed up by actual facts revealing that something substantive like a quid pro quo actually took place, the whole affair appears to be yet another example of a politically inspired fishing expedition. This observation is not necessarily naivete on my part nor a denial that it all might have been an intelligence operation, but it is an acceptance of the fact that probing and maneuvering is all part and parcel of what intelligence agencies do when they are dealing with adversaries and very often even with friends. It does not necessarily imply that Moscow was seeking to overthrow American democracy even if it was trying to advance its own interests.

Assuming even the worst case scenario that the media has been promoting, the Trump Tower meeting appears to have involved three political aspirants who were a bit on the novice side and a Russian lawyer and lobbyist who might have been intelligence cut-outs. What did happen anyway? Apart from not reporting the encounter by the three apparent victims of the planned corruption of America's democratic process, nothing apparently happened except that the event itself has now given the esteemed Senator Charles Schumer and the Honorable Adam Schiff something new to mouth off about. Oh, and it keeps Rachel Maddow and Stephen Colbert, who is celebrating Russia Week on his program, employed.

Politics is a dirty business, based on power and money in these United States. Presumably back in mid-June there was enough salacious information floating around emanating from both parties to provide employment for plenty of individuals who were prepared to do whatever it would take to dig up something damaging up from any source available, including foreigners. That game was played by both sides and anyone who does not think that is so is avoiding the hard edge of the pervasive political corruption that greases the wheels in the United States.

So maybe Russia is funding some environmental groups or maybe not. And if it is, so what? I would welcome anyone who challenges fracking. And so what if a cluster of political tyros met with a couple of Russians who may or may not have been sent by Putin. Clearly, nothing came of it and meeting with a Russian and talking is not yet ipso facto a crime in this country.

Sure, let's punish Russia if it has actually done something wrong, but first let's see the evidence. All of which leads one to question why the U.S. media insist on holding the Russian government and its intelligence services to a higher standard than they do other countries like Israel, which persistently spy on the U.S. and regularly interfere in our political process? And what about our own government and its multitude of spy agencies? Are we always the guys in the white hats? Let's look at the actual record. CIA has done far worse far more consistently in collecting information through misdirection, influencing overseas elections and even changing regimes than have the Russians. And let's not forget the U.S. military's record on Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and currently Syria. We are very good at that "regime change" sort of thing even though the results frequently turn out badly because no one in Washington seems to know what to do on day 2 after the invasion has ended with yet another "victory" and another foreign government has been consigned to the garbage heap. ← Who Is the Real Enemy? Category: Economics , Foreign Policy Tags: American Media , CIA , Environmentalism , Fracking , John Brennan , Russia , Scott Ritter

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Recently from Author Related Pieces by Author Of Related Interest What Did John Brennan and Anonymous Sources Really Say? Speaking to a Russian becomes treasonous Philip Giraldi May 30, 2017 1,300 Words 101 Comments Reply The Spooks and the Hacks: Why Do They Hate Russia? John Derbyshire February 18, 2017 1,100 Words 83 Comments Reply The Fraud of the White Helmets Hollywood buys into yet another lie Philip Giraldi July 4, 2017 1,100 Words 125 Comments Reply ← Who Is the Real Enemy? Hide 112 Comments Leave a Comment 112 Comments to "Fracking Around with the Russians" Commenters to Ignore Commenters to ignore (one per line)

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RobinG > , July 18, 2017 at 4:22 am GMT

Speaking of regime change, wasn't it Victoria Nuland and George Soros' enabling of Kiev coup that obliged the US installed puppet gov't. of Ukraine to interfere in the 2016 election at the behest to DNC to assist Hillary?

The MUST SEE guide to DNC/Ukraine Collusion and Election Interference

chris > , July 18, 2017 at 4:46 am GMT

Yeah, it might be illustrative to consider what the entire environmental movement would look like today if it was the Israelis and not the Arabs who owned the oil in the ME.

chris > , July 18, 2017 at 4:52 am GMT

Also in this whole Russia-fracking gate, will no one in the media mention the vanglorious and incompetent sleuth, John Podesta's Machiavellian (for dummies) support for groups putting pressure on the Catholic Church ?

LauraMR > , July 18, 2017 at 6:50 am GMT

"Sure, let's punish Russia if it has actually done something wrong, but first let's see the evidence."

The arrogance of it.

It is at times like this that I can only wonder what kind of death-rattling trauma we must endure as a nation to regain a measure of rationality.

Verymuchalive > , July 18, 2017 at 8:45 am GMT

" A former global enemy that now has an economy the size of Spain or Italy."
Recent studies indicate that the Russian Economy is now larger than that of Germany. Current Western sanctions, far from harming the Russian economy, have been beneficial in supporting import substitution and diversification.
It is clear Giraldi doesn't read the work of his fellow columnist, Anatoly Karlin. Giraldi is still stuck in 1995. Time you caught up on your homework, Philip.

Sergey Krieger > , July 18, 2017 at 8:54 am GMT

Mr. giraldi should ask can Italy or Spain afford or make what Russia can ,can France or Germany? Hence Mr. Giraldi views of what Russian economy is, are not correct.

The Alarmist > , July 18, 2017 at 9:16 am GMT

" talking is not yet ipso facto a crime in this country."

The Alarmist > , July 18, 2017 at 9:18 am GMT

" talking is not yet ipso facto a crime in this country."

There are secret laws, so one can no longer say even that with certainty. These are the same laws that make it illegal to know or merely meet a Russian.

Beckow > , July 18, 2017 at 10:04 am GMT

West needs evil white people. No civilization can function without some agreed on enemy. Russia has played this role on and off for centuries. Today there is simply no other viable candidate – with the multi-cultural and religous taboos, and the need for the enemy to be credible and a bit remote. So Russia it is and probably will be for a long time, any consequences be damned.

Russia dislike also feeds well into the surviving atavistic hatreds among key groups in the West: grandkids of pogroms, endless emigres with their bitter family memories and a need to fit in, the deep seated thirst for revenge among Germans now that they are again allowed to sit at the Western table, the French and Anglo-Saxon egomania and a need to distract from their own history. And of course the Poles, they would line up to attack Russia if Al Queda would lead it. One cannot fight emotions.

The question is whether it is wise. It is close to impossible to maintain permanent hostility with Russia, so something has to give. A climb-down is very unlikely – too many powerful people are freshly invested in the struggle against 'evil Russkies'. The two other alternatives are worse: if Russia gets destroyed, West won't last long – the Russia's hinterland will get overrun by southern and eastern masses and West will be basically done for. And destroying both Russia and West in a war needs no analysis.

Could we possibly perish because Western elites were emotionally invested in Clintons getting back in the White House and the jobs-perks that would come with it? Or because some nerd named Podesta messed up his email passwords? Well, why not, after all Franz Ferdinand's driver made a bad turn and

Philip Giraldi > , July 18, 2017 at 10:45 am GMT

@Verymuchalive This analysis comes from the World Economic Forum. Russia's economy is slightly bigger than Spain's and smaller than that of Italy. It is far smaller than that of Germany and is dwarfed by the US.

https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2017/03/worlds-biggest-economies-in-2017/

Erebus > , July 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Mr. Giraldi, that's nominal GDP. Meaningless. Might as well cite the number of bubble gum chewers as an indicator.
On a list of countries by projected 2017 GDP (PPP), Russia places 6th, in a virtual dead heat with Germany.

On that basis, China is ahead of even the EU, with the US 2nd on a national basis, and a distant 3rd on an economic "block" basis. It is some $4T behind China, which sounds about right.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_(PPP)

Beckow > , July 18, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi The best way to compare economies is by using PPP (Purchasing Power Parity). It is not perfect, but it adjusts for currency fluctuation. By that measure, using CIA Worldbook for 2016, Russia is #6 economy in the world, slightly smaller than Germany. Spain is #16 and about half the size of Russia's economy in real terms.

The reason it is absolutely essential to adjust for currecy conversion is that otherwise you get crazy variations when e.g. dollar goes up by 30% against the euro. Or in Russia's case ruble is down almost 50% against the dollar. Those are artificial numbers – showing size in 'dollars' that are nor used in those economies is like showing US economy's performance in pesos. PPP adjusts for purchasing power.

Russia's economy is about the size of Germany, with almost twice the population. It is also one of 4-5 economies that can manufacture everything from jet planes and space rockets, to nuclear power plants and weapons. It has about 1/5 of world's total physical resources and is self-sufficient in food. It is the largest lightly populated space in the world. There are different ways we can be wrong about the realities around us, trying to have it both ways and to stay within some allowed boundaries is one of them.

Z-man > , July 18, 2017 at 12:24 pm GMT

@The Alarmist As I've said many times before, one day it will be a crime, like it is in much of Europe already, to even question the numbers of the Holocaust, with SEVERE punishments maybe even death!

Z-man > , July 18, 2017 at 12:29 pm GMT

The Western Elites, you know who I mean, hate Putin for reestablishing and/or fostering the Christian Orthodox church in the country. 'They' just hate that!

Tom Welsh > , July 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm GMT

"Sure, let's punish Russia if it has actually done something wrong, but first let's see the evidence".

Well, there almost certainly isn't any evidence. But that doesn't really matter. Regardless, the USA DOES NOT GET to "punish" Russia. There is a little legal concept called "sovereignty" that seems to have slipped the mind of Americans. Nations do not – cannot "punish" one another these days. Until, perhaps, 1939, one nation could invade another and conquer it – but today that is illegal under international law, the Nuremberg Principles, and the UN Charter. Slighter acts of war, such as sanctions, are also strictly forbidden.

Now, as we all know, the US government – like its li'l bitty buddy the Israeli government – is in the habit of completely ignoring all laws, and doing whatever it likes. But trampling the law underfoot is not a wise thing to do – one day, you yourself might need it.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 1:04 pm GMT

Russia's economy is slightly bigger than Spain's and smaller than that of Italy

Phil, this is dubious at best. The same as 18 trillion dollars US economy, 70% of which is FIRE, that is involved mostly in financial transactions. Even CIA's World Fact Book gives it (for 2015) as 3.8 trillion. At 2017 it is stated at 3.9 trillion which is about the size of Germany's. Using data of some supposedly "independent" (and globalist in nature) Swiss outlet on Russia is a dubious task. Big Mac Dollar was introduced for a reason.

Here is dynamics of Russia's GDP from International Monetary Fund (also globalist, but at least consistent).

http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2017/01/weodata/weorept.aspx?sy=2015&ey=2022&scsm=1&ssd=1&sort=country&ds=.&br=1&pr1.x=94&pr1.y=12&c=922&s=NGDPD%2CNGDPDPC%2CPPPGDP&grp=0&a=

I omit here the usage of "absolute" dollars in measuring GDP–it really comes down to introducing not just Big Mac but F-35 dollars. When Spain will be able to produce what Russia produces, then maybe.

Rich > , July 18, 2017 at 1:14 pm GMT

I stubbed my toe the other night because Russia moved my kitchen table.

Gg Mo > , July 18, 2017 at 1:15 pm GMT

2+ million Bolsheviks have immigrated to Israel from Russia since the Gravy-train collapsed in 1991, absconding with not a few billion dollars and a deep resentment . Various careerist took their policies and plans with them as well.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 1:27 pm GMT

@Erebus Western economic views were "monetarised" to the point of a complete absurd at the expense of real, that is manufacturing (productive) economy. This is the view which "equates" manufacturing of jet aircraft or space station with the balance sheet of some insurance company or some bank, both of which produce only services, much of them of a virtual and dubious nature. Sadly, "making money" long ago substituted "making things" and then making money based on that. The United States in particular paid a gruesome price for this delusion by de-industrializing almost to the point of no return. In the end, nothing short of a miraculous victory of Donald Trump is a greatest testimony to a complete bankruptcy of dominant monetarist economic views. He emphasized high paying manufacturing jobs–he won.

for-the-record > , July 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm GMT

@Beckow As the ultimate arbiter, we can refer to the Economist's "Big Mac Index":

THE Big Mac index was invented by The Economist in 1986 as a lighthearted guide to whether currencies are at their "correct" level. It is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity (PPP), the notion that in the long run exchange rates should move towards the rate that would equalise the prices of an identical basket of goods and services (in this case, a burger) in any two countries. For example, the average price of a Big Mac in America in July 2017 was $5.30; in China it was only $2.92 at market exchange rates. So the "raw" Big Mac index says that the yuan was undervalued by 45% at that time.

For July 2017 the Big Mac index shows the Russian ruble to be undervalued by 57%:

Actual $ exchange rate ! 60.14

Implied $ exchange rate ! 25.85

http://www.economist.com/content/big-mac-index

Erebus > , July 18, 2017 at 1:44 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov For an in depth look at the Russian economy, have a look at: https://www.awaragroup.com/blog/russian-economy-2014-2016-the-years-of-sanctions-warfare/

Amongst the conclusions:
"In fact, (the Russian economy) is the most self-sufficient and diversified economy in the world." Thank God for sanctions. Before that it was just "a gas station with nukes".

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm GMT

@for-the-record

As the ultimate arbiter, we can refer to the Economist's

Economist (the magazine) and real economy in the same sentence is a bad joke. Economist as "the ultimate arbiter" is altogether–beyond redemption.

For July 2017 the Big Mac index shows the Russian ruble to be undervalued by 57%:

Russian economy in general is undervalued several times–that is why for the last 20+ years virtually nobody in Western "analytical" organizations can explain what just hit them.

Pandos > , July 18, 2017 at 2:07 pm GMT

@Gg Mo OH thank you Jesus!

Greg Bacon > , Website July 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm GMT

@chris

Yeah, it might be illustrative to consider what the entire environmental movement would look like today if it was the Israelis and not the Arabs who owned the oil in the ME.

The USA gets most of its oil from Canada, Mexico, Nigeria and Venezuela, not the ME.

BTW, in a way, the Israelis do own most of the ME oil, thru their Wall Street confederates in control of the commodity market where the oil is sold. Sold back and forth around 15 times before it reaches the refinery, meaning the US customer is getting screwed BIG TIME by our Israeli ally.

for-the-record > , July 18, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov I think you failed to appreciate the "tongue in cheek" quality of my remark. In your rather blind haste to defend Russia, which I can well understand, you seem to miss the fact that I am essentially on your side.

As to being "several times" times undervalued, this is not at all inconsistent with the 57% undervaluation shown by the Big Mac index, which means that the ruble's "true" value is nearly 2.5 times its quoted value.

Wizard of Oz > , July 18, 2017 at 2:32 pm GMT

@The Alarmist Come again! Secret laws? You mean the ones Senator Caligula arranges to have carved in Esperanto on stone blocks exhibited once a week on the top of a 50 foot scaffold? You are talking about laws in the everyday dictionary or constitutionsl sense and not just some note from tbe White House?

Erebus > , July 18, 2017 at 2:34 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov

The United States in particular paid a gruesome price for this delusion by de-industrializing almost to the point of no return.

Well, it had to if it was going to go for Dollar-based Hegemony. It apparently felt that it had to, and so it did.

Triffin's Dilemma states that if a single nation is the issuer of the world's reserve currency, then that nation had to run increasingly massive trade deficits to fund the world's liquidity. What better way to do that than to encourage their industry (via tax incentives) to move their industry off-shore? The captains of American industry jumped at the gift and made a LOT of money feeding China's development.

What China got way back in 2001 was the equivalent of being lent the US' credit card. They promptly traded piles of plastic toys and toasters for a modern 21st century infrastructure, a massive industrial base, and a sizeable military, raising some 1 billion of their population out of abject poverty along the way. They promised to open up their financial sector to foreign players, but shucks, that somehow never happened. Instead, the top 4 largest banks in the world are now Chinese. All state owned.
When they hand that card back in, it'll be at, or just over its limit, and overseas USM personnel will be hitch-hiking rides back to the US.

Shouldn't be long now.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 2:35 pm GMT

@for-the-record My point was not in "defending Russia"–my reasons are much deeper than any mere "defense". I may have missed your sarcasm on Economist, but using Ruble (or any currency in general) as an economic indicator is a tricky business. Structure of GDP and a number of enclosed technological cycles are among most important, in fact–defining, factors.

Wizard of Oz > , July 18, 2017 at 2:38 pm GMT

It is quite certain that rich American environmentalists have funded speciously connected Aboriginal litigants to conduct lawfate against the potentially gigantic Galilee Basin ptoject in Queensland to export coal to India.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 2:55 pm GMT

@Erebus

What China got way back in 2001 was the equivalent of being lent the US' credit card. They promptly traded piles of plastic toys and toasters for a modern 21st century infrastructure, a massive industrial base, and a sizeable military, raising some 1 billion of their population out of abject poverty along the way. They promised to open up their financial sector to foreign players, but shucks, that somehow never happened. Instead, the top 4 largest banks in the world are now Chinese. All state owned.

Very true. But using term "massive industrial base" may give an aneurysm to some Wall Street economic "analysts" or create a cognitive dissonance of such a scale that will require psychiatric intervention.

for-the-record > , July 18, 2017 at 3:01 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov Using rubles at the "official" exchange rate is of course meaningless; however, using a purchasing-power-parity adjusted exchange rate (which is what the Big Mac index is, in a certain sense) provides a very useful means for comparing levels of outputs in different countries, do you not agree?

Sergey Krieger > , July 18, 2017 at 3:04 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov This is not the first time Phil compared Russia to Spain or Italy. It is widespread dillusion and meme I read often. I find it in line general American policy to repeat lies and insinuations non stop be it WW2 history, Ukraine, Russian GDP,elections and so forth until it is accepted as sort of truth. Even Phil being non mainstream still repeats this nonsense comparing Russia to Spain.

Flavius > , July 18, 2017 at 3:07 pm GMT

Both as a veteran and as a former cold warrior, I must say that I feel betrayed by the myopia, historical ignorance, incompetence, hubris, recklessness, sheer nuttiness of the Washington establishment's conduct towards Russia over the past 20 years – bipartisan insanity. When one thinks it can't get worse, it gets worse; or as the circa 70s Soviet saying went, things are worse today than yesterday, but better than tomorrow.
Economic numbers are relevant but ultimately beside the point when calculating one's national interest in the context of the world's major political and nuclear powers and history's most blood soaked century.
Kudos to people like Phil Giraldi, Ray McGovern, and Patrick Buchanan who demonstrate regularly that at least some who were there as witnesses of what was retain the good judgment to recognize the road the damn DC fools ever more insistently are taking us down; and I would add for no good reason at all, but purely out of habit and for having something to do.

Verymuchalive > , July 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov This was part of the argument I was trying to expose. The Russian economy is grossly undervalued and many people who should know better like Philip Giraldi tend to grossly underestimate its size, range and capabilities.
By contrast, the American economy is grossly overvalued and its capabilities grossly overestimated. You yourself gave the most absurd example: Facebook is now valued on a parity with Boeing. Purely as an advertising vehicle, which is all it is, Facebook might be worth a couple of hundred million dollars. But no more.
And the there's Twitter. Never made a profit in its 11 years. $2 billion accumulative deficits. Book worth $11 billion. You couldn't make it up.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 3:18 pm GMT

@for-the-record

do you not agree?

As one of the tools of economic analysis–agree.

Mr. Hack > , July 18, 2017 at 3:19 pm GMT

@RobinG For a guy that claims to 'only be interested in the facts' this 'great' investigative reporter sure likes to serve up a crock of BS for his main course. While trying to make a case that the DNC was solely responsible for installing Yanukovych's replacement, the video clip shows Nuland making a phone call to somebody (?) announcing that her choice was Vitali Klitschko oops, how did Victor Poroshenko end up running the show, and not Klitschko? Looks like this sinister Soros plot unraveled here a wee bit. Also, while trying to besmearch the good name of John McCain, he's shown on a stage with a supposed notorious 'anti-Semite'. But look, who's that third person on the stage with both McCain and Tyahnibok? Why it's Arseni Yatseniuk, a Ukrainian-Jew, of all people! What's this Ukrainian Jew doing on stage with this great anti-Semite? Maybe he's an anti-Semite too??

Erebus > , July 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov With any luck, it'll spoil their whole afternoon.

Philip Giraldi > , July 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov Andrei and others we are really on the same side on this – no matter how one values the Russian economy it is still tiny compared to the US and Western Europe. My point is that it is ludicrous to keep calling it a threat to everyone else – it doesn't have the economic mojo to take on the world. So let's stop picking on
Russia and calling it a threat. Likewise my comment about punishing Russia – if indeed Russia has deliberately gone out to wreck the US election then a response is in order. But we should be demanding evidence relating to all the allegations and even then when I am referring to punishment I am thinking in terms of sanctions and other actions, not any expansion of NATO or anything that actually threatens Russian security.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 3:30 pm GMT

@Sergey Krieger Those are mantras. In one sense I understand that, even among people who, otherwise, would be considered "realists". It is akin to John Mearsheimer repeating non-stop his favorite mantra of Russian Armed Forces being "a mediocre army". It will take some time for a reality to sink in.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi

if indeed Russia has deliberately gone out to wreck the US election then a response is in order.

Agree, as strange it may sound from the man of my background. The United Sates is a sovereign nation and has to guard her institutions with everything at her disposal. Having said all that–I doubt strongly that Russia interfered in US elections. I make this conclusion purely on assessing the overall (much improved since mid-2000s) intellectual level of people who run Russian institutions which potentially may have interfered. I don't think those people are that stupid as to endanger US-Russian relations which are crucial for global stability, or whatever is left of it anyway.

Michael Kenny > , July 18, 2017 at 3:42 pm GMT

Back to "no evidence" again! "Let's punish Russia if it has actually done something wrong". OK. How about punishing Russia for what it has done and is doing in Ukraine? Everything Putin has done there is totally illegal under international law and the "evidence" is already there. Putin doesn't deny it! By the way, from what I gather, talking with representatives of a foreign power with a view to obtaining an advantage is a federal crime and it matters not one whit whether any advantage was actually obtained or even that the "representatives" were faking. In the particular case, DNC "dirt" actually did pop up on the internet. Moreover, one of the lawyer's clients was being prosecuted for money laundering. Trump removed the federal prosecutor and the company was suddenly offered a sweet settlement deal without a guilty plea. That's a long way from "ipso facto"!

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 3:44 pm GMT

@Verymuchalive

You yourself gave the most absurd example: Facebook is now valued on a parity with Boeing.

Atrocious, isn't it? Boeing–a crown jewel of American (and global aerospace) industry and engineering genius and a FB. One produces technological marvels with global demand, another produces absolutely nothing, sadly, also with a global demand.

BTW, as I type this–Russia held today opening of 2017 MAKS aerospace exhibition–a real economy on display. There is only other nation in the world which can on her own produce anything comparable–and that is the US.

Longfisher > , July 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm GMT

Moral Equivalence? Heck no. America is the indispensable and exceptional nation.

We can commit the same sins in even greater number and magnitude than other nations yet no one can hold us accountable while we hold others accountable for identical actions.

I recently wrote a very intelligent and cogent comment on a right-wing website which suggested that viewing America as if we were indispensable and exceptional, despite the plain fact that Trump was elected precisely because we aren't either of those things and his job was to find flaws and fix them, would tend to placate Americans such that we don't get to work fixing those flaws.

Guess what, that post was deleted by moderators within seconds.

Swell-headedness and self importance seems very deeply ingrained in Americans.

Erebus > , July 18, 2017 at 4:15 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi

it is ludicrous to keep calling it a threat

Mr. Giraldi, you're missing the salient point. The rulers of the USA aren't delusional lunatics. Russia is the single largest threat to America's dream of Global Hegemony. It's refusal to kowtow to Washington, and more critically, its lending of its military power to underpin China's Silk Road Dreams guarantees their GH dream will die.

For the rulers of the USA, that's anathema. As good as death itself. They bet Americans' well being, Brand America, its industrial and civilian infrastructure, and almost its farms, for Global Hegemony and came up craps. They'll lose the farms soon enough.

That is why they're panicking, and why they're going to do everything they can to break their fall. Above all, they have to convince their allies to stay loyal, particularly Europe long enough to allow them to "think of something".

They have to stop the Silk Road from coming somehow, or American power will recede to the continent, leaving them to boss Canada and Mexico around. With Russia out of the way, China's a pushover. The two together can't be overcome. It really is as simple as that.

Erebus > , July 18, 2017 at 4:27 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny

Everything Putin has done there is totally illegal under international law and the "evidence" is already there.

Care to cite any of it? I have yet to see the Kremlin take a single step off the black letter law. I'd be interested if you did.

Rurik > , Website July 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm GMT

if indeed Russia has deliberately gone out to wreck the US election then a response is in order.

Agree

when you compare how the ZUSA has intervened in other nations sovereign affairs

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJVcdKxs3XA

and compare that to a Russian lawyer meeting with Trump surrogates with potential dirt on Clinton, the sheer hypocrisy is enough to benumb the mind and soul, it's so beyond egregious.

what's going on is the unipolar world of Zio-NATO demanding fealty from every last bastion of the dying multilateral international community, until it's zio-interests reign the entire length and breath of the planet, without a shred of resistance or dissent.

Sort of like the way they demanded that no one give Edward Snowden safe haven. And almost all nations kowtowed. They will not rest until their unipolar domination extends to every last bastion of human freedom from their $atanic power.

The United Sates is a sovereign nation and has to guard her institutions with everything at her disposal

that's laughable.

the institutions of the US were murdered on 9/11, along with all those people in the planes and towers. We are no longer a people or a nation with a legal constitution, but rather are an occupied people with a quisling government serving Israel's interests, day and night. We're about as sovereign as Palestine, but at least they have the dignity of seeing their occupation for what it is, whereas we play pretend, and act like we're still sovereign, even as our citizens are assassinated if they become inconvenient to the regime in Tel Aviv that runs things here.

http://www.unzcloud.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/netanyahu-congress-600×449.jpg

if we're going to be occupied by a hostile regime that hates us and wants to use us as cannon fodder to enslave Russia and everyone else, then we ought at least be allowed the dignity of knowing it and saying it.

Rurik > , Website July 18, 2017 at 4:45 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny

How about punishing Russia for what it has done and is doing in Ukraine? Everything Putin has done there is totally illegal under international law and the "evidence" is already there.

you must be from the Kagan family of war pigs

Victoria Nuland (Nudelman), and her corpulent husband Robert Kagan

the waddling blob of lard Frederick Kagan and his war sow wife Kimberly Kagan

which one are you?

http://il6.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/11730821/thumb/1.jpg

alternatereality > , July 18, 2017 at 4:51 pm GMT

@Pandos

OH thank you Jesus!

The lord gives and the lord takes !

Russian immigrants leaving Israel, discouraged by conversion woes

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish/features/.premium-1.623745

Apr 14, 2017 Putin's Aliyah: Russian Jews leave Israel – Middle East Monitor

https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20170414-russian-jews-leave-israel/

(This may be one of the primary reasons for the ongoing demonization of Russia: One of zionism's foremost goals was the in-gathering of the diaspora. In the past zionists have destabilised states where Jews dwelt ! peacefully and securely ! in order to frighten Jews into leaving. If the Jews who left Russia in the 1980s are now returning, or are not integrating successfully in Israel, then similar tactics will likely be deployed.)
Putin's Aliyah: Russian Jews leave Israel According to Rozovsky, the post- 2000 immigrants, especially those who arrived following the failed

May 10, 2017 Some 17 per cent of the Jewish immigrants who came to Israel from the former Soviet Union in the early 1990s have since left, official data by

25 years later, Russian speakers still the 'other' in Israel,
http://www.timesofisrael.com/25-years-later-russian-speakers-still- ;

Sep 1, 2016 "The majority of native-born Israelis think Russian Israelis are not Jews," said Svetlova. . were forced to give up their citizenship and pension upon leaving.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 4:58 pm GMT

@Rurik I may agree with you on some points but those agreements are not bases for denouncing national sovereignty as a crucial guiding principle of international relations. Yes, including USA.

chris > , July 18, 2017 at 5:16 pm GMT

@Greg Bacon Yeah, I know we don't get our oil in the ME, but we justify our meddling there and everywhere by trying to keep it out of the hands of our 'enemies' and flowing to our friends. even if we have to create those friends and enemies in order to create a role for ourselves.

Regarding the second point you made, I didn't know that, but somehow I'm not exactly surprised!

Beckow > , July 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi How do you "wreck an election"? I can imagine a number of ways from using violence, intimidation, media pressure, buying votes, blackmail of candidates, electoral fraud, and a few others. But none of those happened in a significant way in the 2016 elections – and the esteemed Mr. Obama went out of his way right before the elections to say that all was in order.

Now, one can argue that some of the above always happens, and that it also happened in 2016 in US (there was some violence and media manipulation, there is always some fraud ). But how can any sane person claim that it "wrecked the election"?

If one looks at any event long enough and is motivated to find 'irregularities', one can always find them. But how was 2016 different from 2012,or 2000, or 1968, or any other election year?

Rurik > , Website July 18, 2017 at 5:45 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov

national sovereignty as a crucial guiding principle of international relations. Yes, including USA.

OK, but in order to expect anyone else to respect international law and the sovereignty of nations, isn't it rather incumbent upon us that we (the ZUSA) do so as well?

IOW, wouldn't it be rather silly for Israel to punish a Palestinian for failing to recognize Israel's sovereignty, when Israel doesn't even respect his right to breath, let alone have a spot on the earth that he can call his own?

Isn't it sort of a folly for the ZUSA to demand that Russia respect our sovereignty, when we relentlessly subvert her election processes and the stability of the nations on her borders, in a direct and obvious attempt to destabilize their government and society? And try to do them all manor of harm to benefit some dark and devious scheme of the (by now notorious) villains that run our government and institutions?

It seems like Jerry Sandusky demanding that Mother Theresa be more considerate to children.

or at least, that's sort of how it seems to me.

But then I'll gladly pretend that Trump is going to return to us our sovereignty, and behave within the norms of International Law, (respecting all other nation's sovereignty) and then when that happens, then I'll agree with you vis-a-vis the importance of protecting the institutions of our national sovereignty. Something I hope Trump will be able to wrest back from Tel Aviv, and we can all live happily ever after.

Anonymous > , July 18, 2017 at 5:49 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov

The United Sates is a sovereign nation and has to guard her institutions with everything at her disposal. Having said all that–I doubt strongly that Russia interfered in US elections.

The American electorate has, for 50 years, consistently elected "representatives" who, without fail, proceeded to take actions to devastate the American economy while enriching themselves and their grotesquely-corrupt monetary "supporters". With that in mind, why on earth would Russia seek to interfere in a US election? America is rapidly destroying itself ! no interference is necessary.

Anonymous > , July 18, 2017 at 6:00 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny

How about punishing Russia for what it has done and is doing in Ukraine? Everything Putin has done there is totally illegal under international law and the "evidence" is already there.

I see you are a well-paid 2nd-tier hasbara. A slicker, smoother, more practiced line of patter. But, bullshit, per the usual.

Russia has long-standing agreements with Ukraine that establish rights-of-way to its bases in Crimea. Nothing illegal was done with respect to international law. It's very typical of Israelis to squawk nastily about "international law" that does not exist.

Good to have you aboard, Moshe! We need a good token around to shill for Israel. Keep that bullshit coming!!

lavoisier > , Website July 18, 2017 at 6:22 pm GMT

Nothing at all respectable about the modern day Sierra Club.

They sold out for a big donation from a Jewish donor committed to open borders.

The environment in the United States be dammed.

It is all about the money with the modern day Sierra Club.

Nothing more disrespectful, or predictable with liberals, than that.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 6:25 pm GMT

@Anonymous

The American electorate has, for 50 years, consistently elected "representatives" who, without fail, proceeded to take actions to devastate the American economy while enriching themselves and their grotesquely-corrupt monetary "supporters".

True to a large degree. Yet:

With that in mind, why on earth would Russia seek to interfere in a US election? America is rapidly destroying itself ! no interference is necessary.

You could be really stunned if you think that Russia seeks destruction of the US and once real Russia's intentions are understood. This is not to speak of consequences of the US imploding–they will be global and could be simply catastrophic for all. US is a nuclear superpower and is still a crucial player in global economy. Russia sure as hell is interested in saner and, in a good geopolitical sense, national interests' defending US–but those interests certainly can not be "global" in neocon "interpretation". In the end, during campaigning Trump was saying very many right words and those words have been prepared for him by very powerful people, which testifies to the fact of some powerful forces inside US who do understand the new game. We all are currently at the point of no return, we are still balancing on it, whether we will cross into the "pass the point of NR" is yet to be seen. But US power is declining both in relative and absolute terms and this process is objective.

lavoisier > , Website July 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm GMT

@Z-man Counterproductive for sure.

Criminalization of thought gives the thought more credibility.

chris > , July 18, 2017 at 6:37 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi Why am I beginning to get the feeling that Russia is now being catapulted by the most complex algorithms to the forefront of the world economic ranking in order to make them look like the ominous opponent we've already 'agreed' to make them into?

Isn't this a bit transparent ?

lavoisier > , Website July 18, 2017 at 6:44 pm GMT

@Erebus If your analysis is correct, and it may well be, then our decline as a superpower will be the result of Jewish hegemony and the traitorous behavior of the cuckservatives.

A nation hollowed out at its core will die.

yeah > , July 18, 2017 at 6:58 pm GMT

Philip Giraldi, pretending to be so fair and reasonable, writes, ""Sure, let's punish Russia if it has actually done something wrong, but first let's see the evidence."

Punish exactly how? By making the Russians wear dunce caps? By expelling even more Russian diplomats? Or perhaps by launching a few good ones?

The stupidity, hypocrisy, and hubris of Neocons and their bedmates, the progressives, makes me gasp. It doesn't seem to occur to anyone that the sanest and safest way in troubled times is for all parties to observe international law and not to renounce it.

Now what great human ideal, what dazzling symptom of moral and political greatness has been achieved by bombing silly but miserably weak countries? Is Iraq a better place for anyone now?Is Libya more democratic now? Should N. Korea be similarly treated? And of course the mother of all questions: how should Russia be punished? Will more Nato exercises in the Baltic teach the Russians better manners? What if they took it into their heads to conduct military exercises off the Gulf of Mexico? Of course, that will only prove how fiendish they are, how they "interfered" with US democracy. Interfered how? Perhaps they lifted American skirts a little too high. The US never, ever interferes with any country's political processes. The CIA exists to ensure that every US agency follows international law fully. But damn these Russians, they don't understand such noble things.

Dangerous times when hypocrisy and arrogance gets mixed up with tons of stupidity and ignorance.

Cortes > , July 18, 2017 at 7:25 pm GMT

An excellent article. Thank you.

One minor quibble. The "golden shower" allegation was designed to be more embarrassing than your version of it, since the story was that the prostitutes urinated on Trump and not the other way round.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 18, 2017 at 7:34 pm GMT

@Rurik

OK, but in order to expect anyone else to respect international law and the sovereignty of nations, isn't it rather incumbent upon us that we (the ZUSA) do so as well?

Yes, absolutely so.

It seems like Jerry Sandusky demanding that Mother Theresa be more considerate to children. or at least, that's sort of how it seems to me.

A good point you make but once you observe with the naked eye most of what is going on currently in terms of global power re-balancing–it is precisely about a bottom line of several guiding principles applied to everyone which should be followed–respect for sovereignty is the most important of them. It will require (and it is happening as I type is) a significant re-defining of US "exceptionalism" before new balance is achieved but it is this new balance into whose sails the winds of history are blowing. Having said all that, espionage and operations of influence will certainly not go anywhere, but the level of violence will be reduced greatly.

chris > , July 18, 2017 at 8:02 pm GMT

@Cortes I knew right away that that whole golden shower story was fake because on the margins this charge had been made about Hitler also over the years.

Seems to be the standard smear against nazis, #7 in the ol' lexicon.

Priss Factor > , Website July 18, 2017 at 8:08 pm GMT

former global enemy that now has an economy the size of Spain or Italy.

But keep in mind that it's wrong to assess Russian economy this way.

Much of Spanish or Italian economy is just tourism, wine, foods, and such stuff. Italy and Spain don't have Power Economies.

In contrast, Russia has tons of resources, big machinery, military ware, and energy.
So, it is a Power Economy. And if Russia were to enter into war-footing, these sectors could be expanded vastly, like during WWII.

anon > , July 18, 2017 at 8:42 pm GMT

Wow. Just wow.

In fact:

1. Russia has been involved in financing 'green' anti EU and Ukrainian fracking for years. This is, in fact, interesting. Liquid crude oil is fungible but natural gas is very expensive to move around except in direct, physically connected pipelines. Ukraine could develop an unconventional gas and oil industry ! in theory. It has resources but not the political or economic cohesion to do anything for its economy.

2. Same with Europe. except there isn't much to develop. Romania gave it a try and could have done something at $100 oil but its project has been abandon at current prices.

3. US sanctions on Russia resulted in 'import substitution' economic development. The Ruble haircut (roughly half) has turned Russia into an agriculture export powerhouse. It's now the largest exporter of grain in the world.

4. What did we do? We 'manipulated' Russia's currency downward and luck reduced (temporarily) the value of oil exports. We pushed other countries *not* to trade with Russia. This resulted in Russia boycotting food imports, among other things. Effectively a tariff. The only negative was a real, significant, but transitory cost to Russian standard of living. I suppose the rationale was to punish Putin and cause political unrest. That worked well, no?

5. Meanwhile ! Fracking. Lets call it unconventional US Oil and Gas. The US is effectively self sufficient regarding net total trade balance of oil and gas, including refined products and basic chemicals. Not quite as obvious as it would be if every component was in exact balance. US refineries can get more out of heavy crude and well continue to import it and refine it. The US produces multi millions of bbl per day of 'liquids' ! a large quantity of which are exported. Propane, among others. Look it up if you are curious. Meanwhile, the US is the world's largest producer of natural gas.

The entire unconventional oil industry is the only large area of expansion in the US economy since 2008. It's why the US has done better than the rest of the developed world's economies since 2008. What replaced the housing bubble? I suppose nothing, but unconventional oil has come close. A problem is that the benefits are more concentrated than single family housing ! which had the advantage of being spread around fairly uniformly, with a lot going to the deplorable engaged in a segment of the skilled labor needed to pull it off.

A policy of global hegemony focused on oil is more than backwards looking. I suppose it is impossible not to fight the last war. WW 2 wasn't primarily about oil, but the popular narrative tends to seriously underestimate the extent to which it was catastrophic for Germany. Russia had it and Germany didn't. And of course ! it was fought on the Eastern Front and paid for in Russian blood. But oil was so 20th century. Would the US design a foreign policy around the 'strategic' asset of coal?

The point is that a commodity based view of global hegemony is old and wrong. US has been an 'agricultural' superpower for a century. And now we have made Russia the grain basket of the world. And now oil is effectively just another commodity. Time to get with it.

Zenarchy > , July 18, 2017 at 8:51 pm GMT

@Mr. Hack Yats is not a Jew and even Ukraine's chief rabbi has said so.
Have you even looked at him? There may be blonde and blue-eyed Jews etc, but this guy has zero Jewish features.

Anonymous > , July 18, 2017 at 8:52 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov

You could be really stunned if you think that Russia seeks destruction of the US and once real Russia's intentions are understood. This is not to speak of consequences of the US imploding–they will be global and could be simply catastrophic for all.

In my opinion, it follows that both Russia and China need the USA for economic reasons ! markets, currency standard, stabilizing effect of military, etc. More correctly, they need something like the USA, so the USA serves the purpose for the meanwhile. The US is collapsing from decay, where China is on a growth spurt of yet undetermined duration, Russia on a rebirth cycle following collapse that did not destroy it.

All interesting factors. I will say I do not believe the US can engender rebirth, and its collapse will be properly calamitous. We shall see.

Patrick Armstrong > , Website July 18, 2017 at 8:58 pm GMT

RUSSIA INC. Summarising three recent authorities, Wikipedia says Canada's GDP is greater than Russia's and Germany's is about two and a half times greater. There's something deeply misleading and, in fact, quite worthless about these GDP comparisons. Russia has a full-service space industry including the only other operating global satellite navigation system.

Neither Canada nor Germany does. It has an across the board sophisticated military industry which may be the world leader in electronic warfare, air defence systems, silent submarines and armoured vehicles. Neither Canada nor Germany does. It has a developed nuclear power industry with a wide range of products. Ditto.

It builds and maintains a fleet of SSBNs – some of the most complicated machinery that exists. Ditto. Its aviation industry makes everything from competitive fighter planes through innovative helicopters to passenger aircraft. Ditto.

It has a full automotive industry ranging from some of the world's most powerful heavy trucks to ordinary passenger cars. It has all the engineering and technical capacity necessary to build complex bridges, dams, roads, railways, subway stations, power stations, hospitals and everything else.

It is a major and growing food producer and is probably self-sufficient in food today. Its food export capacity is growing and it has for several years been the leading wheat exporter. It has enormous energy reserves and is a leading exporter of oil and gas. Its pharmaceutical industry is growing rapidly. It is intellectually highly competitive in STEM disciplines – a world leader in some cases.

Its computer programmers are widely respected. (Yes, there is a Russian cell phone.) It's true that many projects involve Western partners – the Sukhoy Superjet for example – but it's nonetheless the case that the manufacturing and know-how is now in Russia. Germany or Canada has some of these capabilities but few – very few – countries have all of them. In fact, counting the EU as one, Russia is one of only four.

Therefore in Russia's case, GDP rankings are not only meaningless, but laughably so. While Russians individually are not as wealthy as Canadians or Germans, the foundations of wealth are being laid and deepened every day in Russia. What of the future? Well there's a simple answer to that question – compare Russia in 2000 with Russia in 2017: all curves are up. Of course Russians support their government – why wouldn't they? It's doing what they hired it to do; we others can only dream of such governments. For what it's worth, PwC predicts Russia will be first in Europe in 2050, but, even so, I think it misses the real point: Indonesia and Brazil ahead of Russia? No way: it's not GDP/PPP that matters, it's full service. Russia is a full-service power and it won't become any less so in the next 30 years. Autarky. Very few aren't there? And in that little group of four autarkies on the planet, who's going up and who's going down? A big – fatal even – mistake to count Russia out.

https://patrickarmstrong.ca/2017/02/09/russian-federation-sitrep-9-february-2017/

Astuteobservor II > , July 18, 2017 at 9:52 pm GMT

@Verymuchalive he is using gdp numbers.

anon > , July 18, 2017 at 10:10 pm GMT

@chris It would have few dollars more per gallon and would have been like that since 1950

geokat62 > , July 18, 2017 at 10:57 pm GMT

As it turns out, there may not have been any discussion of Hillary, though possibly something having to do with irregularities in DNC fundraising surfaced, and there may have been a bit more about the Magnitsky Act and adopting Russian babies.

Speaking of the Magnitsky Act, here is some late-breaking news that, if substantiated, will put a completely different spin on the bogus Russia-gate scandal:

Russian lawyer Veselnitskaya says Magnitsky act lobbyist Browder behind Trump Jr. scandal

The scandal concerning the meeting between US President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr, and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was orchestrated by Magnitsky act lobbyist William Browder, the lawyer told RT in an exclusive interview.

"I´m ready to clarify the situation behind this mass hysteria – but only through lawyers or testifying in the Senate," Veselnitskaya told RT.

"I can only assume that the current situation that has been heated up for ten days or so by now is a a very well-orchestrated story concocted by one particular manipulator – Mr. Browder. He is one of the greatest experts in the field of manipulating mass media,"Veselnitskaya said.

She went on to say that Browder, who is the founder and CEO of the Hermitage Capital investment company, orchestrated this whole disinformation campaign as revenge for the defeat he suffered in a US court in 2013 from a team of lawyers that included Veselnitskaya.

"I have absolutely no doubt that this whole information [campaign] is being spun, encouraged and organized by that very man as revenge for the defeat he suffered in court of the Southern State of New York in the 'Perezvon' company case," she said.

"He wasn't able to convince the court with his lousy human tragedy that actually never happened, about the fate of a dead man – who he only learnt about after his death."

In 2013, Veselnitskaya was one of the lawyers who represented a Cyprus-based holding company Prevezon, owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, in its defense against allegations of money laundering in a court of the Southern State of New York.

The case was settled with no admission of guilt by Prevezon.

Veselnitskaya also said she is now concerned for the safety of her family as it's been revealed that Browder's team spied on her family's activities even before her meeting with Trump Jr.

"It's been revealed that Mr. Browder and his team have been gathering information about my family," she told RT, adding, that Browder's team "found photos of my house and sent them to Kyle Parker a famous man in the House of Representatives, who worked for Mr Browder for many years – and not for any congressmen or congress as a whole."

People working for Browder also shared all her personal details with representatives of the State Department, Veselnitskaya said.

Browder has a long history of hostility against Russia. In 2013, he was sentenced in absentia to nine years in prison for tax evasion. He was also the boss of the late Russian auditor Sergey Magnitsky.

According to the 2013 court verdict, Browder together with Magnitsky failed to pay over 552 million rubles in taxes (about US$16 million). The businessman was also found guilty of illegally buying shares in the country's natural gas monopoly, Gazprom, costing Russia at least 3 billion rubles (US$100 million).

Magnitsky died in pre-trial custody in 2009. His death led to a strain in Russian-American relations. US authorities eventually imposed sanctions against Russian officials they deemed responsible for the auditor's death by issuing the so-called Magnitsky list in 2012. Browder also lobbied European states to follow Washington's lead.

The Magnitsky Act is a 2012 law that allows the United States to seize assets from a number of alleged Russian human rights abusers, as well as barring them from entering the country. Russia retaliated by prohibiting American families from adopting Russian children.

https://www.rt.com/news/396728-russian-lawyer-scandal-america/

For those who may not recall, Phil previously wrote an excellent article on the sordid Magnitsky Act affair here on Unz. IIRC, Browder managed to get Sen. McCain to stand on the floor of the senate and make a sales pitch (with fancy presentation materials) to convince the rest of the senate to vote in favour of passing the Magnitsky Act, which they did. Hopefully, this story will now begin to unravel like a ball of yarn.

Client 9 > , July 18, 2017 at 11:11 pm GMT

"Now the irony in all this is that a major producer of relatively dirty oil is being accused of targeting an even dirtier and environmentally destructive energy resource, which is fracking"

We've been Fracking since the early 20th century, there are always risks but overall it is a safe alternative. Time to stop getting our oil from countries who use their wealth to spread terror/sharia, whose only aim is to build a global calipahte.

Erebus > , July 19, 2017 at 12:27 am GMT

@lavoisier Well, it's not really an "analysis" as such. If one goes back to the literature of the time, one sees that Triffen's Dilemma was known to the policy makers, and was hovering overhead in the deliberations leading up to Nixon's "closing the gold window" in 1971.

Dollar Hegemony was very attractive because it offered the West the opportunity to do an end run around its military stalemate in its Great Game with the USSR. Though closing the gold window was a policy decision, the attraction was not lost on the captain's of American industry. They could count on a generation or so of extraordinary profit and scrambled on board.

It was Dollar Hegemony that underpinned the West's takedown of the USSR. By loaning the USSR "hard currency" (remember that term?), and then collapsing the prices of the stuff the USSR exported to pay back the loans, the USSR was forced into austerity, and ultimately default.
That plan is a matter of historical record, so didn't require any "analysis" on my part either. They tried the same thing again in 2014, but I suspect the Russians were ready for them this time.

As for the Jewish part, the elite in most countries are "international" in their lifestyle and outlook. Yes, Jews are over-represented there, and are possibly more "international" in outlook than goy elites, but real "Jewish hegemony" comes later with the rise of the Financial State. Having laid out the ground work in the '90s with the repeal of Glass-Steagal etc, it really takes off at the time of 9/11, which coincided with the 2nd shoe dropping on the American economy. Namely, China's ascendance to the WTO and gaining Most Favoured Nation status.

To make Dollar Hegemony work, you need a powerful, and effective military. They got the "powerful" part, in the sense that the USM is really good at blowing stuff up, but they muffed the "effective", and so here we are.

Cortes > , July 19, 2017 at 12:28 am GMT

@chris Chris, if memory serves, Norman Davies (in his selection of key moments and people "Europe" – a door stopper of a book) went much further in describing the sexual pathology of Hitler. I may be mistaken (won't be the first or only time) so don't sue me. Check out the relevant section of the book.
Here, dealing with President Trump, the effort appears to me to be defamatory and consistent with the seeming ongoing campaign to destabilise his presidency by actors known and unknown.

NoseytheDuke > , July 19, 2017 at 12:35 am GMT

@Flavius "DC fools ever more insistently are taking us down; and I would add for no good reason at all, but purely out of habit and for having something to do."

I can't agree with that. I would say that total global control is the ultimate motivation.

America's role is to be the persuader and enforcer until such time as relative parity is achieved and then America can be reduced to little more than a struggling entity that can be slotted in amongst the other competing economic zones (all controlled by the same interests) in a competitive race to the bottom scenario.

NoseytheDuke > , July 19, 2017 at 12:44 am GMT

@alternatereality I would think that most are emigrating to the US, no?

ChuckOrloski > , July 19, 2017 at 1:03 am GMT

Brilliant revelation, NoseyTheDuke!

Gg Mo > , July 19, 2017 at 1:05 am GMT

@alternatereality Alternative Reality Indeed.

yeah > , July 19, 2017 at 2:26 am GMT

@Patrick Armstrong A very potent and astute piece of analysis – kudos to you, sir.

Now why don't the great economists in their ivory towers get these common sense things right? An economy making everything from A to Z is way different from an economy based on wines, cheese, and chocolates. A wild thought: Perhaps common sense should be made a compulsory part of many curriculums. Yes, no?

RobinG > , July 19, 2017 at 3:05 am GMT

@geokat62 Thanks, Geo.

Here's the weekly update on #UNRIG which, due to being attacked last week by Zionist entities in US, has added a second demand – AMERICA FIRST, NOT ISRAEL.

Robert Steele Weekly Integrity Update on #UNRIG

MarkinPNW > , July 19, 2017 at 3:06 am GMT

@Rurik Rurik, shame on you for insulting pigs!

Mokiki > , July 19, 2017 at 3:09 am GMT

Why do you embrace the watermelon position that fracking is "dirty"??

RobinG > , July 19, 2017 at 4:22 am GMT

@Mr. Hack Where to begin? How about the notion that John McCain has a good name to besmirch. ("Besmearch" sounds a bit like something a James Bond villain would do, no?)

Next, why the pretense? Everyone knows that Fuktoria was speaking with U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Ross Pyatt. From Wikipedia,

"In their phone conversation, Nuland and Pyatt discussed who should be in the government after Viktor Yanukovych's ouster and in what ways they might achieve that transition, with the name of Arseniy Yatsenyuk (whom Nuland refers to as "Yats") coming up several times. Specifically, the two spoke about which opposition leaders they would like to see in government, what pitches they would give each opposition leader in subsequent calls to achieve this, and strategies on how they would try to manage the 'personality problems' and conflicts between the different opposition leaders with ambitions to become president.[15][16] Yatsenyuk became prime minister of Ukraine on February 27, 2014″

So, as you see, their man Yats did become prime minister. Porky, the chocolate king, subsequently became president. Maybe your hearing is bad: they ruled out Klitch from the top positions.

Ya, that's the irony, that the Nudelwoman took power by unleashing a bunch of Banderites and neo-nazis. Pretty funny, huh? BTW, are you sure Mr. Hack isn't really Mr. Hasbara?

Sergey Krieger > , July 19, 2017 at 8:50 am GMT

@Anonymous In case of USA collapse the most important question is what happens with nukes and everything related.

Mr. Hack > , July 19, 2017 at 10:40 am GMT

@RobinG

So, as you see, their man Yats did become prime minister.

Yes, and millions of US citizens who voted in the last elections had their choice for president validated too. Were they all involved in some nefarious, covert act too? I replayed the video clip, and while the 'great reporter' talks about Nuland's favorite for the top Ukrainian post, photos of Klitschko were being transferred over the viewing screen. Still, it was Poroshenko and not Yatseniuk that filled the top post. In fact, Poroshenko's name was never mentioned in the nefarious phone call?? BTW, Poroshenko was elected president by way of a monitored and free election several months after the events on the Maidan had settled down.

For the record then, since you so cavalierly throw around the terms 'Banderites' and 'neo-Nazis', just who exactly do both Yatseniuk and Porosheno represent in your sophisticated view of contemporary Ukrainian political persuasions? Or are both of them both 'Banderites' and 'neo-Nazis?

Avery > , July 19, 2017 at 12:51 pm GMT

@Mr. Hack {For the record then, since you so cavalierly throw around the terms 'Banderites' and 'neo-Nazis', just who exactly do both Yatseniuk and Porosheno represent in your sophisticated view of contemporary Ukrainian political persuasions? Or are both of them both 'Banderites' and 'neo-Nazis?}

Don't know about Porkyshenko, but The Yats is a neo-Nazi*: scroll down and take a gander of The Yats giving the traditional greeting to his Nazi Master, Adolf. (right after Oleh Tyahnybok).

Heil Hitler!
Sieg Heil!

______________
*

https://off-guardian.org/2016/11/05/ukraine-fascisms-toe-hold-in-europe/

Rurik > , Website July 19, 2017 at 1:26 pm GMT

@MarkinPNW mea culpa

those pigs are actually very beautiful, and they have my apology for comparing them to the Kagans

Sarah Toga > , July 19, 2017 at 1:31 pm GMT

Phil,
What's your beef with hydraulic fracturing?

Anonymous > , July 19, 2017 at 2:06 pm GMT

"One of the latest claims is that Moscow has been covertly funding some environmental groups, most particularly those opposed to the use of fracking technologies."

And Russian environmental critics of Putin, such as Evgueniya Chirikova and Nadezdha Kutepova, are notoriously sponsored by organizations linked to the US government. The moral outrage of the American establishment is totally hypocritical. Anything is right or wrong just when it serves the interests of the American establishment.

In fact, much of the Russian opposition is financed by Washington, but this has never generated any tearing of the Yankee mainstream media.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/russian-opposition-caught-filing-into-us-embassy-in-moscow/30717

Anatoly Karlin > , Website July 19, 2017 at 2:47 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi

As a rule of thumb, nominal GDP is a superior proxy of financial strength, while PPP-adjusted GDP is better as a proxy of industrial, inc. military-industrial potential (and of real living standards in its per capita format).

In the former domain, Russia is indeed a minor; in the latter domain, it is indeed comparable to Germany.

Philip Giraldi > , July 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

@Sarah Toga http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/011915/what-are-effects-fracking-environment.asp?lgl=rira-baseline-vertical

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_hydraulic_fracturing_in_the_United_States

Mr. Hack > , July 19, 2017 at 3:15 pm GMT

@Avery

Arseniy Yatsenyuk [center], former PM of Ukraine, also NOT performing a Nazi slaute.

I take this quote directly from underneath the photo in the article that you cite. Not an expert on correct 'Nazi salutes' I'll defer to the author of this photo for his knowledge on this matter. Yatseniuk, may have showed some solidarity with rightists like Tyahnybok during the Maidan period, but he's never been known for any far right viewpoints or belonging to any far right political parties, and indeed has been referred to as a Jew on many occasions. I don't know for a fact whether or not he's Jewish, not having taken a part in either his Christian baptism, nor his Jewish Bar Mitzvah.

http://www.timesofisrael.com/fearful-of-anti-semitism-22-of-european-jews-hide-identity/

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 19, 2017 at 3:58 pm GMT

@Anatoly Karlin

As a rule of thumb, nominal GDP is a superior proxy of financial strength, while PPP-adjusted GDP is better as a proxy of industrial, inc. military-industrial potential (and of real living standards in its per capita format).

Somewhat true. But while PPP is, indeed, "better" it is still highly inaccurate, and I mean highly. Reason being the "adjustment" itself, which changes dramatically across the whole spectrum of real (that is productive) economy plus calculation of costs in general–e.g. US healthcare system. While highly developed and world-class (most of the time), its "cost calculations" (through "charge masters") is ridiculous but it is this number (horrendously inflated) which goes in as part of US GDP. But here is an example which anyone will understand, since unlike financial transactions, it is an essential and extremely important service, that is healthcare. My mother just recently, in Moscow nonetheless, literally built all her teeth anew–she has now literally a new mouth. She paid 130 000 Rubles. World class dentist, excellent equipment, great service, implants etc–whole 9 yards. Now, if converted directly to US Dollar it comes up to 2167 USD. What can I do for that here, in US? I know for sure, my good acquaintance dentist offered me a single implant (and I really need it badly) of an upper tooth for a good price of 2 500 USD. Should I do to my teeth (desirable for me) what my mother did–I would end up with 20 000 + bill in the best case scenario. How do we convert that? I looked once at the cost (covered by my insurance, thankfully) of one of my CT scans–2 000 + USD. This is without "reading" it. As you may have guessed it already, the same procedure in Russia will cost much-much less, this is without counting free ones, but you have to wait there for weeks or even months. Here are simple examples of those gigantic discrepancies. Once one gets into real hi-tech manufacturing field, most (not all) Western "economists" will have their brains exploding.

Philip Giraldi > , July 19, 2017 at 5:18 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov Andrei and Anatoly – Thanks for explaining this. I last studied economics in an introductory course taught by Milton Friedman. I came away with a "C" and forgot everything I had learned almost immediately.

Apolonius > , July 19, 2017 at 5:28 pm GMT

@Michael Kenny Lets punish Russia? Are you sure that you have big enough punisher?

How you people get to think and say such a things? Are you not aware that Russia can obliterate USA and western Europe in 30 mins? No anti-rocket system will help, russian missiles can change their trajectory in flight (american don´t ) ! Not adding that to defend against thousands of missiles is virtually impossible. You still writing like you have power over Russia,this is the most stupid thing you can do – but of course , you are an exceptional representative of the exceptional people You have a donkey for the president, and you blame it on Russia? Whole world is having fun watching this opera..

As to international law, USA and NATO countries are in the gravest breach of the international law, they have executed illegal war and occupation in Serbia, since 1999.(That is just first of many) Let us first punish that, together with reparations to the attacked nation, and then you can start speaking about "International law".

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 19, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi

I came away with a "C" and forgot everything I had learned almost immediately

Very similar, albeit I scored A ("5″) IIRC on my Political Economy Of Capitalism (did less well on the same but of Socialism) in naval academy. But life forced me, eventually, especially against the collapse of the USSR and our lives being thrown in complete disarray (politely speaking), to start review and, eventually, study the subject anew.

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 19, 2017 at 5:54 pm GMT

@Anonymous

In my opinion, it follows that both Russia and China need the USA for economic reasons ! markets, currency standard, stabilizing effect of military, etc.

Secret to China's economic miracle are precisely these very American markets, which were opened to Chinese-made goods. Russia is far-far less, on several orders of magnitude, less dependent on US markets than China, hence Russia has much bigger room for maneuver. But in the rest, you are correct–US is too important to global economic balance, even despite being so damaging to it, to think that possible collapse could be contained. It could not be contained completely. Some sort of accommodation has to be found. What sort? I am not competent enough to be very specific, plus we will have to go into military-political aspect of that issue.

Apolonius > , July 19, 2017 at 6:03 pm GMT

@Patrick Armstrong Just to add one personal observation. I know Russia very well, lived there for 12 years, last time in 1991. Then I visited Russia several times until 2006 – improvement was visible, but nothing prepared me to the Russsia 2017! Even people on the street changed – to the positive. As to buildings, stores, it is incredible, I couldn´t recognize old Russia, everything was new, shining, smart and much better than before.

Russians are optimistic , which was impossible in nineties! It was really a shock for me, very nice shock I don´t know how to express to you this enormous surprise I never thought such transformation possible .

So speaking about Russia like about some sick giant is a very stupid thing to do. Today, Russia from the point of view of her citizens is good, and working hard for excellence. I think Western leaders still think about Russia in categories of 90´s, and that is a big mistake. They should understand once for all, that Russia has to be treated as equal, and not messed with, like in Ukraine. If they will not, I think that the Russia will pass from partner, to the Master.

anon > , July 19, 2017 at 6:59 pm GMT

Here's material for Phil Giraldi's next week's piece:

http://www.timesofisrael.com/in-overheard-comments-netanyahu-lashes-eus-crazy-policy-on-israel/

Andrei Martyanov > , Website July 19, 2017 at 7:26 pm GMT

@Apolonius

Today, Russia from the point of view of her citizens is good, and working hard for excellence

Without any jokes, however lighthearted this my statement may appear to you, one of the fields in which Russia's greatness is unsurpassed by the US is the field of 100% cotton socks. No, I don't mean those white (and warm) cotton socks any COSTCO or department stores sell. No, I am talking about 100% cotton socks of thin and different colors (including of dressy kind) you can by in any Russian department store or Auchan. This is not the case with US anymore.

For years now I was either bringing back with me or whenever any of our friends flew to Russia and back–the request is always the same: bring 10-12 pairs of not-white thin 100% cotton socks. I gave up trying to find these socks in US long time ago now, probably circa 2008-09. Including by means of internet. This is really ridiculous in the nation which was known around the world for its superb cotton products from jeans to socks for decades. I am almost forced now to go back to Russia next year to buy socks–jokes aside, a very serious consideration among few others.

krollchem > , July 19, 2017 at 7:45 pm GMT

@Andrei Martyanov Coming from a natural resource science background I would argue that GDP is not relevant to a sustainable society. The concept of GDP is based on the mythology of ever increasing growth. This has been debunked by the late Dr. Bartlett many years ago:

What is relevant is a sustainable society that maintains soil quality/fertility, water quality, and does not exceed the human carrying capacity of the land. More recently, the concept of doughnut economics encapsulates this:

Doughnut Economics – Grab a pencil, draw a doughnut!

https://theminskys.org/doughnut-economics/

https://www.kateraworth.com/animations/

Perhaps Russia can delay civilizational collapse by not following the the Western economic growth trap with the fracking, GMOs, water pollution, etc that is destroying what was once the resource rich land of America.

ps. Another quibble with GDP or PPP measurements is that it does not adequately measure WEALTH generated from the internal economy. See the automatic earth website for a different economic model.

Anonymous > , July 19, 2017 at 7:57 pm GMT

@Apolonius

No anti-rocket system will help

Even a 100% accurate system can be made useless if someone sets the warhead to detonate upon hitting the ground. Hitting a rocket (which is the goal) would only result in a nearby mushroom cloud. That's quite a predicament for the operators and for the host country.

HallParvey > , July 19, 2017 at 8:45 pm GMT

@Verymuchalive "You couldn't make it up."

Actually, you could. In fact, somebody did.

Bonjour

annamaria > , July 19, 2017 at 8:46 pm GMT

@Mr. Hack Why are you going on a childish offensive by defending the US-installed junta in Kiev and demanding others to provide you with evidence that the neo-nazis and Banderites have nothing to do with Yatz and Poroshenko and Nuland-Kagan?

Google "neo-Nazi parades in Ukraine" and enjoy the show. If you still have doubts about the direct responsibility of Poroschenko for the neo-Nazi presence in the government of Ukraine, read about Pravyj sector and its role in the Maidan revolution. Also, Proschenko had been in contact with the State Dept for years before the Maidan revolution. Your take on this?

The main point is the US-orchestrated regime change in Kiev. Or you want to convince the UNZ reader that Nuland was a virtual reality and nothing has changed in Ukraine since Mrs. Nuland-Kagan' and Mr. Brennan's visit to Kiev? http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-14/white-house-admits-cia-director-brennan-was-secretly-kiev?page=7

Do you realize that the US has brought a range of US officials to Kiev – including the Director of the CIA – to "improve" a democratic process there by removing a lawfully elected and acting president?

Yes, the US intervention has brought neo-Nazis and Banderites to the positions of influence in Ukraine. What could be more natural than a combination of the name "Kagan" and the word "neo-Nazis?" https://consortiumnews.com/2015/03/20/a-family-business-of-perpetual-war/

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/15/the-kagans-are-back-wars-to-follow/

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/31887-the-ukraine-mess-that-nuland-made

Rurik > , Website July 19, 2017 at 10:47 pm GMT

some good news vis-à-vis Russia, Syria and the US

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-ends-covert-cia-program-to-arm-anti-assad-rebels-in-syria-a-move-sought-by-moscow/2017/07/19/b6821a62-6beb-11e7-96ab-5f38140b38cc_story.html?utm_term=.620196799e59

NoseytheDuke > , July 19, 2017 at 11:10 pm GMT

@Philip Giraldi I found this small article to be wonderfully instructive on economics.

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1993/12/how-the-world-works/305854/

I disagree with a lot of my American friends because they cannot conceive the notion that projects designed to benefit all of society are not necessarily evil socialism.

I believe in affordable healthcare for all and think Trump could achieve this by infusing the VA Hospital system with some extra funds and by using the Cuban healthcare methodology and then offering the service to those in need and charging according to what people can afford to pay. Medical students would be selected purely on merit and would work in the hospital as orderlies, cooks, cleaners whatever while undergoing studies. Post-graduation they would work within the system at a low income for about 10 years to repay their education. Medicines would be produced within the system and any profits from R & D would be ploughed back into the system. Preventative care would also be a feature.

Private healthcare would remain untouched for those who want it and can afford it. I have it myself.

It could be done, would cost far less than thought and ALL would benefit except perhaps the greedy and immoral. America would be a better nation for it.

Mr. Hack > , July 20, 2017 at 12:00 am GMT

@annamaria I'm curious why those of your persuasion aren't at all rattled by Russia's blatant attempts to unduly influence events in Ukraine during the Maidan period:

According to government documents released by former Deputy Interior Minister Hennadiy Moskal, Russian officials served as advisers to the operations against protesters. Codenamed "Wave" and "Boomerang", the operations involved the use of snipers to disperse crowds and capture the protesters' headquarters in the House of Trade Unions. Before some police officers defected, the plans included the deployment of 22,000 combined security troops in Kiev.[84] According to the documents, the former first deputy of the Russian GRU stayed at the Kiev Hotel, played a major role in the preparations, and was paid by the Security Services of Ukraine.. agents had been stationed in Kiev throughout the Euromaidan protests, had been provided with "state telecommunications" while residing at an SBU compound, and had kept in regular contact with Ukrainian security officials. "We have substantiated grounds to consider that these very groups which were located at an SBU training ground took part in the planning and execution of activities of this so-called antiterrorist operation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Ukrainian_revolution

annamaria > , July 20, 2017 at 12:59 am GMT

@Mr. Hack There is a wonderful episode from a famous novel by Ukrainian writer Nikolai Gogol, where an official tells a story of an officer's widow who allegedly whipped herself with a lash.
According to your fiction (since you have completely omitted the well-established facts of Nuland-Kagan' and Brennan' presence at the key moments of the regime change in Kiev), Russians have arranged the regime change in Kiev themselves – "cut off your nose to spite your face," in short. You have also modestly omitted the fact of the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine, courtesy the US State Dept and its ziocon handlers.
Here is a report from much more reliable source of information than the ziocon-controlled MSM: "Ukraine: Poland trained putchists two months in advance, " by Thierry Meyssan http://www.voltairenet.org/article183373.html
Repost: http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-04-14/white-house-admits-cia-director-brennan-was-secretly-kiev?page=7 https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/15/the-kagans-are-back-wars-to-follow/

Mr. Hack > , July 20, 2017 at 1:30 am GMT

since you have completely omitted the well-established facts of Nuland-Kagan' and Brennan' presence at the key moments of the regime change in Kiev

Just where have I ommitted reference to Nuland and Brennan. You must be mixing up my comments with somebody else? I've noted that both were in Kyiv, but question their ability to direct a movement that was homegrown from the very beginning and till the bitter end.

You have also modestly omitted the fact of the rise of neo-Nazism in Ukraine, courtesy the US State Dept and its ziocon handlers.

You're right, I have for the most part omitted reference to any far right parties. Svoboda, the largest of these, barely can muster 3% support in national elections. I'd rather concentrate my purview on the other 97% of the voter base, than on a 3% minority party.

But since you've brought up what I've conveniently omitted, HOW ABOUT YOU? No comment regarding the obtrusive and deadly amalgamation of FSB personnel in Ukraine during these events? From what I've read, they served up a lot more than just milk and cookies or courses in how to create a civil society?

annamaria > , July 20, 2017 at 2:46 am GMT

" they served up a lot more than just milk and cookies"

It was Nuland-Kagan who brought the treats to Kiev. It was the (former) Director of CIA Brennan who came to Kiev (supposedly in secret) on the eve of the Kiev' military actions against the civilian population of the pro-federalist east Ukraine. And you want to convince the UNZ readers that the Maidan was organized by Russians? What is the name of your new Prime Minister? – Mr. Groysman? "Groysman was born in Vinnytsia into a Jewish family " How come that the predominantly anti-semitic Ukraine has elected this nonety with the proper ethnic background? – Sure you know how to explain that this is also the Russians' fault. How about the US-enforced appointment of Misha Saakashvilli to the governorship of Ukraine's Odessa? – Kremlin's affair? Ukraine has lost its independence with the regime change in 2014.

"From what I've read " – You mean the presstituting MSM? None of the respectable sources, from consortium.com to Sic Semper Tyrannus ( http://turcopolier.typepad.com ) have ever suggested that the coup d'etat involved – in any capacity – Russian government. Keep in mind that the above-mentioned sources present the analyses of the principled and patriotic Americans who dedicated their lives to the US nationals security. For obvious reasons, they are hated by ziocons.

RobinG > , July 20, 2017 at 3:17 am GMT

@Rurik some good news vis-à-vis Russia, Syria and the US

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/trump-ends-covert-cia-program-to-arm-anti-assad-rebels-in-syria-a-move-sought-by-moscow/2017/07/19/b6821a62-6beb-11e7-96ab-5f38140b38cc_story.html?utm_term=.620196799e59 Yes, indeed. You beat me to it.

" President Trump has decided to end the CIA's covert program to arm and train moderate Syrian rebels battling the government of Bashar al-Assad, a move long sought by Russia, according to U.S. officials."

Now that they've "decided," let's hope they get on with it, (and don't compensate with some other lunacy).

[Jul 19, 2017] Regarding the newest row between Russia and US about US seizing Russian diplomatic compounds, why does Russia again only complain but doesn't really do anything?

Notable quotes:
"... "DAS WAR EN BEFEHL! DER ANGRIFF STEINER WAR EIN BEFEHL!" ..."
Jul 19, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

karl1haushofer , July 19, 2017 at 1:42 am

Regarding the newest row between Russia and US about US seizing Russian diplomatic compounds, why does Russia again only complain but doesn't really do anything?

If the US seizes Russian property on American soil the correct countermeasure would be to seize American property on Russian soil.

The same goes for those diplomats that the Obama administration deported. Russia has still not extradited any US diplomats in return.

Usually countries answer to provocations like these with similar actions, but Russia chooses not to.

Moscow Exile , July 19, 2017 at 2:30 am
I don't know.

Do you?

If you do know, please tell us all, because I'm sure I'm not the only person here who is losing a lot of sleep over this pressing question.

Lyttenburgh , July 19, 2017 at 3:33 am
Wow, karl! So much activity in just one day! One has to imagine you, sitting tight in the badly lit poorly airconditioned bunker beneath Helsinki, reading one newspice about Russia after another, then, with you shaly hand, taking off the glasses from your red with rage sweaty face and exploding in:

"DAS WAR EN BEFEHL! DER ANGRIFF STEINER WAR EIN BEFEHL!"

Jen , July 19, 2017 at 4:23 am
Well, Karl, it would be a dull world if everyone behaved like robots engaging in tit-4-tat behaviours that by their very nature increase the chances of all-out war and annihilation. If Russia has a choice between two actions or a choice of several actions against US provocation, why should Moscow behave the way you (and the Americans) expect?
Patient Observer , July 19, 2017 at 4:13 pm
With Matt's departure, there is apparently an opening for another resident troll.
Hoffnungstirbtzuletzt , July 19, 2017 at 11:46 am
Prof. Stephen Cohen discusses this in this week's interview on the John Batchelor show. However, he says Putin is under a great deal of pressure from the Russian public to get this sorted out. True or not, I don't know. Listen for yourself: https://audioboom.com/posts/6120078-tales-of-the-new-cold-war-will-moscow-retaliate-for-washington-property-confiscations-stephen-f-cohen-nyu-princeton-part-2-of-2
cartman , July 19, 2017 at 2:13 pm
As soon as Mike McFaul was appointed Spaso House was hosting one kreakl after another. Confiscating that property would make it a lot more difficult to do that. Taking the Anglo-American school might cause the United States to cut back the number of embassy employees. With relations as they are, I would say that it is bloated and unnecessary.
marknesop , July 19, 2017 at 5:42 pm
They could build the American Ambassador a new residence which reflected the current state of the countries' relations; perhaps something like this . It should be on the outskirts of the city, far away from everything to minimize his meddling, and be in the center of about an acre of asphalt so that he could not leave without being spotted. Better still, just break off diplomatic relations and send him off to be the Russian Ambassador in Prague, like RFE/RL is.

The Russian government actually owns Pullman House, which serves as the residence of the Russian Ambassador to the United States, having paid $350,000.00 for it in 1913 . Spaso House, though, does not belong to the USA – the first US Ambassador to the Soviet Union, William C Bullit, 'selected' it as his official residence , and leased it for three years. I suppose the US government still pays something for using it, but the USA doesn't own it.

[Jul 19, 2017] F. William Engdahl looks at the claims that the economy of the RF is foundering

Jul 19, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

Cortes , July 19, 2017 at 4:21 pm

F. William Engdahl looks at the claims that the economy of the RF is foundering:

https://journal-neo.org/2017/07/19/a-tale-of-two-nations-russia-vs-usa-economic-prospects/

His essay includes remarks about how US ratings agencies appear to be adjuvant parts of the Treasury economic warfare unit; the application of lessons learned in production of military assets to ensuring that civilian enterprises benefit from leading edge technologies to gain significant product improvement and cost reductions; and further detail on the high speed rail system being developed.

Patient Observer , July 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm
Yes well worth reading.
kirill , July 19, 2017 at 8:19 pm
Debt is not the main parameter of Uncle Scumbag's decline. It is the de-diversification and offshoring of most manufacturing. Aside from the military sector, the US civilian economy has transformed into a mercantile trickle down of cheap imports sold at high prices. Nobody has demonstrated how the downsized, right-sized, and offshored economy is supposed to be sustainable. All I see is a catabolic process where enough money keeps circulating in the system as the middle class disappears. The trickle down injection of money creates retail low wage jobs and props up consumer demand. But ultimately the consumers in the USA will become a minority. There is a clear shift of the job spectrum from well paying ones (related to manufacturing) to low wage ones (retail sector and "services"). Consumption is lubricated by debt increases both private and public (the local and federal governments in the USA are propping up consumption).

US multinationals do not care since they gain consumers abroad faster than they lose consumers at home. A globalist mega-corporation wins from the expansion of the middle class in China, India and elsewhere. These corporations are literally walking over the dead body of the USA to reach their goals.

By contrast, Russia is diversifying and de-offshoring and import substituting. As the cherry on top of this GDP growth cake, Russia has a very low debt (both public and private). Russia's growth and development is basically natural and not artificial stimulus through debt generation.

The trash talk about "Russia does not make anything" (Obama) and "Russia is a gas station posing as an economy" (McShitStain) reflects deep insecurity by US leaders.

They know that post-globalism America will be a 3rd world husk. Trump is going to have to really act like a dictator to unseat the globalist corporate interests that steer the US. I don't see this happening.

[Jul 19, 2017] Never in the field of American conflict with Russia has so much wool pulled over the eyes been owed to so few sheep. That was during the losing presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Now, in the investigations of President Donald Trump and his family, it's a case of so many sheep producing so little wool.

Jul 19, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , July 19, 2017 at 12:54 pm

JohnHelmer.net: THE IMPROPER ASSOCIATION (MAYBE CRIME) OF VICTOR PINCHUK WITH HILLARY, BILL AND CHELSEA CLINTON, COVERED UP BY THE US MEDIA, US DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE, AND THE INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND

http://johnhelmer.net/the-improper-association-maybe-crime-of-victor-pinchuk-with-hillary-bill-and-chelsea-clinton-covered-up-by-the-us-media-us-department-of-justice-and-the-international-monetary-fund/

Never in the field of American conflict with Russia has so much wool pulled over the eyes been owed to so few sheep. That was during the losing presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton. Now, in the investigations of President Donald Trump and his family, it's a case of so many sheep producing so little wool.

The case of the $13 million paid to the Clinton family by the Ukrainian oligarch Victor Pinchuk, in exchange for personal favours and escalation of the war against Russia, was reported in detail throughout 2014. Click to read the opener, and more.

Early this month there has been fresh investigation of Pinchuk's money links with the Clintons, owing to the start of Ukrainian government inquiries into the theft of billions of dollars of International Monetary Fund (IMF) loans to Ukraine – money then transferred to Ukrainian commercial banks including Pinchuk's Credit Dnepr bank, and then loaned to offshore entities controlled by Pinchuk but apparently not repaid. Theft of the IMF money was first reported here in connection with Igor Kolomoisky's operation of Privat Bank

####

More at the link. Goose & gander anyone?

[Jul 18, 2017] Robbery in broad daylight

Notable quotes:
"... But with nothing to show for the delay so far, Russian officials have been issuing repeated statements that their patience is wearing thin. ..."
"... On Tuesday, frustrated by the failure of a meeting the day before in Washington to make any headway on the matter, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a blunt statement . In it, the ministry warned that "if Washington does not address this and other concerns, including persistent efforts to hinder the operation of Russia's diplomatic missions, Russia has the right to take retaliatory measures in accordance with the principle of reciprocity." ..."
"... Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister, said any American preconditions for the return of the diplomatic property were unacceptable. Mr. Lavrov was asked at a news conference on Monday in Minsk, Belarus, about statements emanating from Washington that the compounds should not be handed back without getting something in return. Mr. Lavrov called the seizure "robbery in broad daylight" and said Russian control over the property was enshrined in a bilateral treaty. He blamed the continuing standoff, as Russian officials often do, on "Russophobia" in Washington that he hoped would eventually wane. ..."
"... Mr. Lavrov said he was sure there must be "sensible people" in the Trump administration who would realize that the seizure of the compounds and the expulsion of the diplomats were a last-ditch attempt by the Obama administration to destroy relations in a manner that the Trump administration would find difficult to fix. ..."
Jul 18, 2017 | www.msn.com

Orginally from NYT: Russia Issues New Threats in Dispute Over Diplomatic Compounds by ANDREW E. KRAMER

A 45-acre Russian diplomatic compound near Centreville, Md., that was seized in December 2016.

After President Trump's victory in November, Michael T. Flynn, who went on to become the national security adviser for 24 days , prevailed upon President Vladimir V. Putin to refrain from retaliating , with the promise that United States policy toward Russia would be far more accommodating under a Trump administration.

Mr. Trump, at the time president-elect, praised Mr. Putin's restraint, posting on Twitter , "Great move on delay" and "I always knew he was very smart!"

But with nothing to show for the delay so far, Russian officials have been issuing repeated statements that their patience is wearing thin.

Russia began focusing attention on the two seized compounds in the lead up to the first meeting between Mr. Putin and Mr. Trump at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, Germany, on July 7.

Both the Kremlin and the Foreign Ministry mentioned them frequently, hinting that the diplomatic retreats were perhaps something Mr. Trump could easily deliver as a friendly gesture for the first meeting. Mr. Putin did raise the issue with the American president, according to Dmitri S. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman.

But with Trump associates under investigation for ties with the Russians, the president is hesitant to send any signals of weakness. So it did not happen then, either. Since that meeting, the official tone has turned more belligerent, with Russia threatening to expel American diplomats to match the 35 Russian diplomatic staff members kicked out of the United States at the same time that the two compounds were seized.

On Tuesday, frustrated by the failure of a meeting the day before in Washington to make any headway on the matter, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a blunt statement . In it, the ministry warned that "if Washington does not address this and other concerns, including persistent efforts to hinder the operation of Russia's diplomatic missions, Russia has the right to take retaliatory measures in accordance with the principle of reciprocity."

The deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, told the news agency Interfax on Tuesday, "The fact that this issue hasn't been settled actually poisons the atmosphere and makes a lot of things extremely complicated."

Mr. Ryabkov and the United States under secretary of state, Thomas A. Shannon, discussed the property in talks in Washington on Monday.

Sergey V. Lavrov, the foreign minister, said any American preconditions for the return of the diplomatic property were unacceptable. Mr. Lavrov was asked at a news conference on Monday in Minsk, Belarus, about statements emanating from Washington that the compounds should not be handed back without getting something in return. Mr. Lavrov called the seizure "robbery in broad daylight" and said Russian control over the property was enshrined in a bilateral treaty. He blamed the continuing standoff, as Russian officials often do, on "Russophobia" in Washington that he hoped would eventually wane.

Mr. Lavrov said he was sure there must be "sensible people" in the Trump administration who would realize that the seizure of the compounds and the expulsion of the diplomats were a last-ditch attempt by the Obama administration to destroy relations in a manner that the Trump administration would find difficult to fix.

And on Tuesday, Mr. Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said in a conference call with journalists that "our patience is still running out."

[Jul 17, 2017] If Loving Putin Is 'Right,' I Want to Be Wrong The American Conservative

Notable quotes:
"... Putin's "aggressive behavior" in Syria was to support a secular Arab government against a bunch of Islamic thugs that included Al-Qaeda and ISIS. This may not be clear to people in the US since the US is a client state of Saudi Arabia and Israel, who want Syria to disintegrate, but it is perfectly obvious to the rest of the world. ..."
"... Ukraine is payback for what the Western powers did in Kosovo. To spite Russia, the Western powers supported Kosovo when it broke off from Serbia, claiming they were doing it to support the right of self-determination. At that time, Putin asked whether this right would be granted to the ethnic Russian minorities all over Eastern Europe in countries like Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Needless to say, the Western powers insisted that their actions in Kosovo did not set a precedent on any kind – in other words, supporting secessionists is OK if the West does it but no one else should try that stunt! Putin decided to draw the line in Ukraine, and I for one don't blame him. ..."
"... The US and Russia have no reason to fight, and Russia can be a valuable ally against growing threats like China and Islam. But generals always fight the last war, and apparently college professors do as well. ..."
"... He has managed to outwit us on several fronts and on occasion he has even bailed us out of some tight spots. Someone will have to explain to me why in the world we were telling the Ukrainians to engage in a violent revolution over some EU Russian oil deal. If the EU wanted to wooo the Ukrainians that should have offered a better price, not one higher than their competitor. ..."
"... Pres. Putin is a shrewd political competitor.. Reason enough to admire him. That however, has nothing to do with whether or not I am a conservative. ..."
"... Everything associated with Soros or preferred by Soros is omnicidally lethal. ..."
"... Any leader who effectively rejects and repels Soros and Sorosian organizations is on the good side. Putin and Erdogan are on the good side. Recently and surprisingly, Netanyahu has joined the good side, which should create problems for neocons. ..."
"... In the grand scheme, Russia is viewed by its major detractors as an impediment to Davos uber alles globalism. Whether Putin views himself in these grand ideological terms or if he is just a Russian looking out for the best interests of Russia, I do not know. But this is the way Russia is perceived by its vocal critics nonetheless. ..."
"... Besides the fact that genuine American conservatives should also oppose Davosian hegemony, it is not in the best interests of authentic conservatives to keep up the narrative that Russia is an inherent enemy. It is one of the main justifications for continuing the Warfare/Security State. This is evident by the fact that it seems to be Trump's suggestion of better relations with Russia more than anything else that sent the Deep State over the edge into now essentially attempting to bring about a coup. It is also not a coincidence that the ruse they are utilizing for their coup attempt furthers the narrative of Russia as the implacable bad guy. ..."
"... Speaking of murder and mayhem, before we criticize others, we should look first at our own sad recent history. We too have plenty of blood on our hands; the list is well known no need to repeat it hear. As a matter of fact the targeted countries have been penciled by neo-cons like this author who knowingly turns a blind eye on our very own problems. ..."
"... However, the facts about Putin are not agreed upon, and the author does not adumbrate any actual evidence for castigating Putin. Ukraine can be credibly read as a case for Victoria Nuland's overreach, and Putin's restraint. Likewise, a treaty between Syria and Russia make the military assistance there wholly legitimate. Putin's reputed intolerance for homosexuality withers when the record is actually examined. Finally, the benefits of rapprochement, something which would improve the lives of the peoples of both America and Russia, irrespective of minor vicissitudes of leadership, is nowhere discussed. ..."
"... There's nothing new in Gottfried's screed, which is all warmed-over Clintonian hysteria and neocon warmongering. What is new is an attempt to split what he considers to be the alt-right into two camps, and in so doing deny any place for Putin and Russia solidarity amongst Americans. Gottfried may have cast his lot with the rump of Mrs. Clinton's coterie, which makes one wonder if his posturing before the election was anything but insincere. ..."
"... Sigh .I stopped reading when I got to ."his aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria." What a total farce. But I'm sure Paul that somehow you're totally fine with aggressive behavior on the part of the US. Hypocrite much? So let's see. The CIA leads the coup in Kiev to overthrow the democratically elected Yanukovych, the newly installed US puppet ..errrr ..new President of Ukraine is hostile towards ethnic Russians in Crimea and Donestsk, those folks appeal to Putin for help and he obliges. ..."
"... Yet, of course "Russian aggression." The US sends troops in Eastern Europe on the Russian border and sends the Navy to patrol the Baltic Sea, and yet, you know, "Russian aggression." ..."
"... Russia's behavior under Putin has been restrained. There's nothing immoral about Russia's assistance to Syria especially given the fact that the Russian military is there legally with the invitation of the legitimate government of Syria in it's battle against ISIS and Al Nusra. ..."
"... As for Ukraine I had expected the Western backed coup to provoke a full on Russian invasion taking not only Crimea and Donbass but Kiev and Odessa leaving a rump Nationalist Ukrainian State in the West. ..."
"... And after how we treated Russia after the cold war, some of the actions and anger of the Russians can be understood. ..."
Jul 17, 2017 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Vladimir Putin will seem like a great guy to masses of non-establishment Right-wingers. The American Right is split between an official opposition to the Left, and a much more boisterous and genuine Right that the establishment keeps out of public view. As George Hawley points out in his study of Rightist critics of the conservative movement, these two Rights have been mortal enemies for decades; and it wouldn't surprise me if Tucker Carlson, who dwells largely in the bubble of Washington's elite, blue-blood Republican conservatism, knew nothing about the attitudes of a Right that he doesn't hang with. The only pro-Putin voices whom he's had on his program are those of two dissenting Leftists, Stephen Cohen and Oliver Stone.

It would be unfair for me to close without noting a sensible comment about Putin that I discovered where I least expected to find it, from a senior editor of Weekly Standard . Christopher Caldwell expresses eloquently in a speech at Hillsdale College why non-respectable conservatives admire Putin, warts and all. What Caldwell observes about Putin as a symbol of resistance to globalism and the cultural Left seems entirely credible; and Caldwell's remarks conclude with this noteworthy statement:

Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism. That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that's true even here.

Paul Gottfried is Raffensperger Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Elizabethtown College, where he taught for twenty-five years. He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale PhD. He writes for many websites and scholarly journals and is the author of thirteen books, most recently Fascism: Career of a Concept and Revisions and Dissents . His books have been translated into multiple languages and seem to enjoy special success in Eastern Europe.

Howard , says: July 16, 2017 at 8:31 pm

Obviously you think you are a shining example that everyone aspires to emulate, but I've got news for you: Not all conservatives are enamored with Paul Gottfried, either.
Samson Corwell , says: July 16, 2017 at 8:34 pm
How can Putin be described as right-wing? While his administration had been repressive of the LGBT community and has reached out to the Easter Orthodox Church, but that's like Saudi Arabia, which while conservative is not the same kind of conservative as American conservatives.

The guest explained this was natural, since "President Vladimir Putin does not subscribe to their progressive worldview as Soviet leaders did."

Tucker Carlson's guest was less than intelligent.

tz , says: July 16, 2017 at 8:35 pm
If loving Netanyahu is right? Oh, lets not go there

I know the current c***servatives praise sodomy and abortion, but I don't and for that reason, have rejected Conservatism, Inc. which apparently has infected TAC, so TAC is NR-lite.

Also one can praise a specific policy and action without praising someone in general.

Janwaar Bibi , says: July 16, 2017 at 8:43 pm
His aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria suggests the need for us in the West to be wary of his expansionist ambitions.

This is nonsense on stilts.

Putin's "aggressive behavior" in Syria was to support a secular Arab government against a bunch of Islamic thugs that included Al-Qaeda and ISIS. This may not be clear to people in the US since the US is a client state of Saudi Arabia and Israel, who want Syria to disintegrate, but it is perfectly obvious to the rest of the world.

Ukraine is payback for what the Western powers did in Kosovo. To spite Russia, the Western powers supported Kosovo when it broke off from Serbia, claiming they were doing it to support the right of self-determination. At that time, Putin asked whether this right would be granted to the ethnic Russian minorities all over Eastern Europe in countries like Latvia, Estonia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Needless to say, the Western powers insisted that their actions in Kosovo did not set a precedent on any kind – in other words, supporting secessionists is OK if the West does it but no one else should try that stunt! Putin decided to draw the line in Ukraine, and I for one don't blame him.

The US and Russia have no reason to fight, and Russia can be a valuable ally against growing threats like China and Islam. But generals always fight the last war, and apparently college professors do as well.

Rob , says: July 16, 2017 at 8:54 pm
First, James Kirchik is a joke of a commentator etc, and his writing and punditry only works if you treat it as satire. This is the guy who advocated that the US military overthrow a Trump presidency, remember.

Second, Putin is impressive in that he reliably acts in the Russian national interest (as he and Russians see it, not as told to him by Obama). And he skillfully advances that interest. He is quite obviously a very capable statesman and administrator. Russians' quality of life has improved greatly under his tenure, and Russia's global 'importance' is greater than since the fall of the Soviet Union. I don't think I'd want to live under his rule, but I'm not Russian.

Rancor , says: July 16, 2017 at 10:20 pm
The West sort of proves what Russians suspect it of – hypocrisy. The West has limited its vocabulary to strong and vague words like democracy, freedom (of speech, religion etc.), equality, antidiscrimination. But the real logic behind those words goes against them

In western "democracy", one judge can block a president backed by 60 million people, a court that consists of 9 people can impose same sex marriage on 300 million people

According to the western "freedom" of speech, websites that discourage abortions are illegal (in France), the questioning of multiculturalism can be increasingly interpreted as unacceptable hate speech, even though it's a completely legitimate view to hold

According to western "antidiscrimination" and "equality", when a christian baker or somebody, refuses to provide service for homosexual wedding, he/she breaks the law and is being opressed through bureaucratic means

So Russians have increasingly good reasons to conclude that the West is full of hubris, but in the end will not deliver on what it claims to preach. So this sense of cultural superiority in the West over Russia, in russian eyes, is more and more hypocritical, which makes Russia with all its vices, in the end, very similar to the West, which means that Russia doesn't have to change at all, or at least that there's no country that one should look up to. Russians at least can openly discourage abortions, unlike the French

Lee , says: July 16, 2017 at 11:50 pm
His aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria suggests the need for us in the West to be wary of his expansionist ambitions?

Anyone, who knows anything beyond what the Fake News reports about Ukraine and Syria is perfectly aware of highly pertinent facts, historical context as to Russia acting in it's National Interest. Something the US Foreign Policy apparatus fails to do on behalf of the alleged domestic population it PRETENDS to represent.

The population within US territories are strapped with the MOST AGGRESSIVE GOVERNMENT ON THE PLANET!

I mean seriously, "oops, no WMD, over there!" The hyjackers are from Saudi? Well, let's invade all those other places on flimsy to nil National Security interest.

Perhaps, the author of this "piece" should stick to Humanities.

William Dalton , says: July 17, 2017 at 12:29 am
I am not particularly invested in being an "admirer" of Vladimir Putin as a political leader, given his autocratic machinations as ruler of Russia and the likelihood that he has engaged in political assassination to solidify his hold on power, albeit more circumspectly than Barack Obama, who spoke openly about his Sunday evenings composing his "kill list".

What I am insistent upon is that Republicans recognize the value Putin has for the United States as the vehicle by which we can comfortably, perhaps even profitably, give up our role as the rulers of a global empire. We can cede to Russia our wars in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere in the Arab East, we can withdraw from being co-belligerent in the military tensions between Russia and Ukraine, Russia and Georgia, Russia and any country outside our actual commitments to NATO. Putin allows us the opportunity to do this because he is willing to step in as the champion of Christians and Christian civilization in these regions, and all we have been willing to champion is our parochial self-interests – and we haven't done a very good job of that. Putin, precisely because he is seeking to advance Russia's own interests, not forfeit them again in a vainglorious attempt to resurrect the Soviet Union, is the man we want in charge in Russia. It has nothing to do with Putin modelling our preferences for a President of the United States (we can certainly still find better than Donald Trump). But he does model a sound foreign policy, even when confronted with the threat of terrorism far greater than we face.

EliteCommInc. , says: July 17, 2017 at 12:32 am
"With notable exceptions, the further one moves to the Right, the less anti-Putin people sound."

I have no small admiration for Pres Putin, reasons stated on TAC several times. None of those reasons have any impact on my conservative orthodoxy, none.
In fact, I have no idea why there would be any measure of impact on my conservatism, because I think we need to foster as healthy a relationship as possible with as many nations as possible.

If there comes a time when we have to go to war with Russia, so be it. But I don't see any evidence that such is the case. It has been utterly foolish to engage in destabilizing Syria. Our hands are full wit the mistakes in Iraq and I include Afghanistan.

I think anyone who is making contentions that Saudi Arabia is fostering terrorist against US interests needs to put up so there can be a full and fair gearing on the issue. Not the I don't Saudi Arabia Royal Family because twenty years ago, the 9/11 hijackers were mostly Muslim. Where's the case that the Saudi family knew and endorsed the matter – which would be cause for war. Not terrorist complaints because they have issues with other Middle East country someone favors. And for the record, I have yet to receive a dime from the Saudis ! so skip the mouth piece mantra.

You don't like ISIS/ISIL fine who does I am unclear. But at least have some idea from when they sprang and why. Being Sunni is hardly a rationale to advocate some pitch and post war on them.

But supporting the current exec. does not mean dancing a jig with Pres Putin. And it has little or nothing to do with being a conservative in my view. I have a healthy respect for who he and the transformative place he is taking his country.

He has managed to outwit us on several fronts and on occasion he has even bailed us out of some tight spots. Someone will have to explain to me why in the world we were telling the Ukrainians to engage in a violent revolution over some EU Russian oil deal. If the EU wanted to wooo the Ukrainians that should have offered a better price, not one higher than their competitor.

Pres. Putin is a shrewd political competitor.. Reason enough to admire him. That however, has nothing to do with whether or not I am a conservative.

Tiktaalik , says: July 17, 2017 at 12:52 am
>>His aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria suggests the need for us in the West to be wary of his expansionist ambitions.

Whether the West behaviour in the Ukraine and Syria means something? Like Kiev is many thousand km from Washington, but of course it's not expansionist, sure.

polistra , says: July 17, 2017 at 6:08 am
It's not "love", it's just a simple understanding of a simple fact. Soros is the problem. Everything associated with Soros or preferred by Soros is omnicidally lethal.

Any leader who effectively rejects and repels Soros and Sorosian organizations is on the good side. Putin and Erdogan are on the good side. Recently and surprisingly, Netanyahu has joined the good side, which should create problems for neocons.

Mark Thomason , says: July 17, 2017 at 7:25 am
Conservatives don't "like Putin."

They just don't like Hillary or Team Hillary or the current Outrage that passes for politics of those sore losers.

There is no American interest in liking Putin or any other foreign leader. We have interests, not likes. And there are interests we can advance with Putin, as well as those that oppose him.

spite , says: July 17, 2017 at 8:32 am
I am not going to ask conservatives here what they think of Kirchik, I want to ask the many liberals that comment here if they consider Kirchik a conservative. And please, I am fully aware of how a lot of liberals have this need to lecture on what a conservative should be (basically a liberal), what I want to know is if you SINCERELY believe that Kirchik is conservative.
Dan Phillips , says: July 17, 2017 at 9:34 am
As much as I hate to disagree with Prof. Gottfried, I must. Putin and Russia have to be looked at in the context of the grand scheme of things. In the grand scheme, Russia is viewed by its major detractors as an impediment to Davos uber alles globalism. Whether Putin views himself in these grand ideological terms or if he is just a Russian looking out for the best interests of Russia, I do not know. But this is the way Russia is perceived by its vocal critics nonetheless.

Besides the fact that genuine American conservatives should also oppose Davosian hegemony, it is not in the best interests of authentic conservatives to keep up the narrative that Russia is an inherent enemy. It is one of the main justifications for continuing the Warfare/Security State. This is evident by the fact that it seems to be Trump's suggestion of better relations with Russia more than anything else that sent the Deep State over the edge into now essentially attempting to bring about a coup. It is also not a coincidence that the ruse they are utilizing for their coup attempt furthers the narrative of Russia as the implacable bad guy.

Kurt Gayle , says: July 17, 2017 at 9:36 am
Mr. Gottfried takes out of context remarks made on the May 17th Tucker Carlson Tonight show. This is what was said immediately before Carlson's guest, Eric Prince, said, "It's amazing. When I grew up in the Cold War, the left loved the U.S.S.R."

Tucker Carlson (at 0:50): "How should we see the Russians?"

Eric Prince (founder of Blackwater, a private military contracter): "The Russians suffer from Islamic terrorism as well. Whether it's attacks on their subways, their schools ! the Beslan massacre killed over 300 kids ! they suffer from it as badly as we do. So, that is actually one area of common interest that the United States, western civilization, and Russia [sic] should have with the Russians."

Carlson: "That seems an obvious point. Trump ran on that point. A lot of people thought it was common sense. Why the resistance to that among foreign policy professionals in D.C.?"

Prince: "It's amazing. When I grew up in the Cold War, the left loved the U.S.S.R."

Carlson: "Yes."

http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/05/17/blackwater-erik-prince-democrats-loved-russia-during-cold-war

Radu Borcau , says: July 17, 2017 at 10:43 am
Indeed there is a lot East European of blood in Russia's dark past but that was mostly Stalin's blood. This author is placing an insincere equal sign between Putin and Stalin:

"I am unsettled by my fellow-Rightists who seem to have forgotten the murder and mayhem unleashed by past Russian governments against Ukrainians, Balts, Hungarians, Poles and other Central and Eastern Europeans."

Speaking of murder and mayhem, before we criticize others, we should look first at our own sad recent history. We too have plenty of blood on our hands; the list is well known no need to repeat it hear. As a matter of fact the targeted countries have been penciled by neo-cons like this author who knowingly turns a blind eye on our very own problems.

I would suggest two things:

-to the author: to read more history and write less, ideally throw away the pen.
-to TAC: do not pollute this place with such "authors".

Sophistry , says: July 17, 2017 at 10:57 am
Is it really so much Putin is loved by the right because of his social values? The Right in America likely has very little contact with Russia. Airfare is quite expensive, and there aren't really strong family ties to the region.

In contrast, the Left it appears has extensive contact with Russia. They are reporting on persecution of gays and whatnot from there.

The Right I think is more anti-Left than pro-Russia.

Dan A. Davis , says: July 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm
This last year has been most revealing. People whom I once thought were principled Conservatives have turned out, under pressure, to be bully-worshiping snobs.

It is quite devastating to see how many have fallen into the moral black hole that is Trumpism, and consequently how many are embracing America's historic opponent.

That so many "conservatives" are willing to burn down the United States of America in pursuit of their stated goal of destroying "libtards" and their leader, Hillary Satan, is sufficient evidence their "conservatism" has as its sole principle, resentment of those they think are laughing/sneering at them.

Rhetoric , says: July 17, 2017 at 12:32 pm
Gottfried assumes that all readers share the same view of Putin, that he is unabashed authoritarian and that his action in the Ukraine were an invasion, a grab for territory; and that in Syria, Putin's placement of Russian military force was a violation of Syria's sovereignty and an attempt to grab power. He then reasons that their support for these actions and Putin's other assumed comportment (racist, homophobic, etc.) is a misreading of true conservative principles.

It makes for a nice argument, as there appear to be two ways of viewing Putin's behavior, the correct one being a conservative rejection of racism, totalitarianism, xenophobia, etc.

However, the facts about Putin are not agreed upon, and the author does not adumbrate any actual evidence for castigating Putin. Ukraine can be credibly read as a case for Victoria Nuland's overreach, and Putin's restraint. Likewise, a treaty between Syria and Russia make the military assistance there wholly legitimate. Putin's reputed intolerance for homosexuality withers when the record is actually examined. Finally, the benefits of rapprochement, something which would improve the lives of the peoples of both America and Russia, irrespective of minor vicissitudes of leadership, is nowhere discussed.

There's nothing new in Gottfried's screed, which is all warmed-over Clintonian hysteria and neocon warmongering. What is new is an attempt to split what he considers to be the alt-right into two camps, and in so doing deny any place for Putin and Russia solidarity amongst Americans. Gottfried may have cast his lot with the rump of Mrs. Clinton's coterie, which makes one wonder if his posturing before the election was anything but insincere.

https://consortiumnews.com/ /13/the-mess-that-nuland-made/

Kurt Gayle , says: July 17, 2017 at 1:09 pm
To Paul Gottfried's credit, he ends with the excellent quote from Christopher ("The French, Coming Apart" ! great, great analysis) Caldwell:

"Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism. That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that's true even here."

In that same vein, commenter Dan Philips is 100% right: "In the grand scheme, Russia is viewed by its major detractors as an impediment to Davos über alles globalism."

Keep on impeding Davos, Mr. Putin. Don't stop! Keep impeding!

Mary Myers , says: July 17, 2017 at 1:14 pm
Apparently Prof. Gottfried is unaware of the tapped conversation between Victoria Nuland and Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt where they are plotting who they will put in power after the U.S. sponsored coup in the Ukraine. Nuland has admitted that the U.S. spent $5 billion to destabilize Ukraine. U.S. meddling in on there countries' elections is more the norm for the U.S. than it is for current day Russia.

For another viewpoint on Putin I suggest that TAC publish Dr. Boyd Cathey's article, "Examining the Hatred of Putin.

Alan F , says: July 17, 2017 at 2:17 pm
Sigh .I stopped reading when I got to ."his aggressive behavior in Ukraine and Syria." What a total farce. But I'm sure Paul that somehow you're totally fine with aggressive behavior on the part of the US. Hypocrite much? So let's see. The CIA leads the coup in Kiev to overthrow the democratically elected Yanukovych, the newly installed US puppet ..errrr ..new President of Ukraine is hostile towards ethnic Russians in Crimea and Donestsk, those folks appeal to Putin for help and he obliges.

Yet, of course "Russian aggression." The US sends troops in Eastern Europe on the Russian border and sends the Navy to patrol the Baltic Sea, and yet, you know, "Russian aggression."

Quick question, how would Americans feel if the Russian navy was on patrol in the Gulf of Mexico? We'd be livid as heck and rightly so. But it's fine for us to that to them. And, last time I checked, Russia is any ally of Syria and was invited to be there by the Syrian govt. The US is there against the wishes of the Syrian govt. But, you know, "Russian aggression." The fact that the American left / GOP neocons have far more hatred for Putin than they ever did for the communist Soviet Union speaks volumes. The fact that folks like the author of this article hate Putin, while having absolutely zero problem with our number one ally, Saudi Arabia also speaks volumes. This would be the same SA that is the world's number one exporter of terrorism, that kills homosexuals for simply being homosexual and where women aren't allowed to drive cars. This is the very definition of hypocrisy.

Alan F , says: July 17, 2017 at 2:23 pm
@ Sophistry,

First off, I don't believe there is "persecution of gays" in Russia. What is there is the not allowing of kids (kids for goodness sake!) to be taught the LGBT agenda. Those are two totally different things. But for the sake of argument, let's say that there is some level of "persecution of gays." Whatever that amounts to, unquestionably it doesn't include being executed by the govt for being found to be gay. To find where that happens, one need look no further than the country that all of the Russia haters seem to have no problems with: Saudi Arabia. I'd love for you to explain to my why the same folks who hate Russia for "persecuting gays" seem to have no problem with SA. Actually, don't bother. I know full well why this is the case.

fabian , says: July 17, 2017 at 2:52 pm
Listen man, don't start with a collection of bad deeds committed by the UDSSR or Putin in the past because we can easily counter argue with a collection of bad deeds committed by the US in the present. I don't care what Putin does, he's not my government. But currently he is the only counter weight to the decay of the Western society. That's unless you turn to the radical muslims. Hopefully, not our sole alternative in the future.

On a larger scale, keep pushing Russia away and China will welcome them. Then you'll have the biggest country in the world allied with the most populous and hungry country in the world; unlimited resources, natural and human. The gravitational force they will produce will be difficult to resist unless they mess things up like we do in the US. But never bet on your adversary to be stupider than you are.

JEinCA , says: July 17, 2017 at 3:00 pm
Russia's behavior under Putin has been restrained. There's nothing immoral about Russia's assistance to Syria especially given the fact that the Russian military is there legally with the invitation of the legitimate government of Syria in it's battle against ISIS and Al Nusra.

As for Ukraine I had expected the Western backed coup to provoke a full on Russian invasion taking not only Crimea and Donbass but Kiev and Odessa leaving a rump Nationalist Ukrainian State in the West.

The Russians would have been well within their right to do as such given the existential threat that a hostile regime in Kiev poses to Russia itself. Instead Russia only took the mostly ethnic Russian Crimean peninsula and supported pro Russian rebels in Donbass. Last but not least lets recall another US backed incursion on Russia's borders when Georgia decided in 2008 to launch an offensive against its breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia killing Russian peacekeepers in the process. Had Russia been expansionist the Russians would've taken Tblisi overthrown Sakashvilli and placed a pro-Russian government there. They did not. They repelled Georgian forces from South Ossetia and Abkhazia and went home.

Think about had we been talking about dead American peacekeepers instead of Russian ones and what Washington's response would be? Or Washington's response to a theoretical Russian backed coup in Mexico? Russia has shown the utmost caution and restraint.

Jared Myers , says: July 17, 2017 at 3:16 pm
I can see how it might look like certain folks on the Right are politically "in love" with Putin, but that's not really the case. In the current polarized socio-political framework, where Russia has magically become "the enemy" (with no logic or reason behind that assumption), anyone who does not want to force a showdown with Moscow is somehow "enamored" with Putin. I consider myself more paleo-libertarian than paleo-conservative, but I will freely admit that I don't want to live in Russia or have Putin anywhere near the reigns of American power. But I also don't want nor see the need for any kind of conflict with the Russians either.
Fred Bilak , says: July 17, 2017 at 4:41 pm
Putin's Russia is a threat not because Putin is smart, clever, a former KGB agent that learned to be a master chess player of world politics, from that job or because he does loves his country and is trying to make his country a super power again to aid his people. He us all of those things for sure.

And after how we treated Russia after the cold war, some of the actions and anger of the Russians can be understood.

... ... ...

Grumpy Old Man , says: July 17, 2017 at 5:16 pm
Russia has interests, most of them in her near abroad. Putin has defended them, not always nicely. Powers aren't always nice. See: US policy in Central America. Russia's regional concerns aren't very important to the U.S.

Putin doesn't channel John Stuart Mill. Pity, that. But that's no reason to anathematize him. He does have lots of nukes, and if either side errs, which is unlikely but not impossible, catastrophe looms.

We have every reason to deal with the man soberly and without alarm or frissons of "bromance."

[Jul 17, 2017] Tucker Carlson Goes to War Against the Neocons by Curt Mills

max Book is just anothe "Yascha about Russia" type, that Masha Gessen represents so vividly. The problem with him is that time of neocon prominance is solidly in the past and now unpleasant question about the cost from the US people of their reckless foreign policies get into some newspapers and managines. They cost the USA tremedous anount of money (as in trillions) and those money consititute a large portion of the national debt. Critiques so far were very weak and partially suppressed voices, but defeat of neocon warmonger Hillary signify some break with the past.
Notable quotes:
"... Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies." ..."
"... But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject. ..."
"... New York Observer ..."
"... Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, " ..."
"... : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0. ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | nationalinterest.org

This week's primetime knife fights with Max Boot and Ralph Peters are emblematic of the battle for the soul of the American Right.

To be sure, Carlson rejects the term "neoconservatism," and implicitly, its corollary on the Democratic side, liberal internationalism. In 2016, "the reigning Republican foreign-policy view, you can call it neoconservatism, or interventionism, or whatever you want to call it" was rejected, he explained in a wide-ranging interview with the National Interest Friday.

"But I don't like the term 'neoconservatism,'" he says, "because I don't even know what it means. I think it describes the people rather than their ideas, which is what I'm interested in. And to be perfectly honest . . . I have a lot of friends who have been described as neocons, people I really love, sincerely. And they are offended by it. So I don't use it," Carlson said.

But Carlson's recent segments on foreign policy conducted with Lt. Col. Ralph Peters and the prominent neoconservative journalist and author Max Boot were acrimonious even by Carlsonian standards. In a discussion on Syria, Russia and Iran, a visibly upset Boot accused Carlson of being "immoral" and taking foreign-policy positions to curry favor with the White House, keep up his ratings , and by proxy, benefit financially. Boot says that Carlson "basically parrots whatever the pro-Trump line is that Fox viewers want to see. If Trump came out strongly against Putin tomorrow, I imagine Tucker would echo this as faithfully as the pro-Russia arguments he echoes today." But is this assessment fair?

Carlson's record suggests that he has been in the camp skeptical of U.S. foreign-policy intervention for some time now and, indeed, that it predates Donald Trump's rise to power. (Carlson has commented publicly that he was humiliated by his own public support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq.) According to Carlson, "This is not about Trump. This is not about Trump. It's the one thing in American life that has nothing to do with Trump. My views on this are totally unrelated to my views on Donald Trump. This has been going since September 11, 2001. And it's a debate that we've never really had. And we need to have it." He adds, "I don't think the public has ever been for the ideas that undergird our policies."

Even if Carlson doesn't want to use the label neocon to describe some of those ideas, Boot is not so bashful. In 2005, Boot wrote an essay called "Neocons May Get the Last Laugh." Carlson "has become a Trump acolyte in pursuit of ratings," says Boot, also interviewed by the National Interest . "I bet if it were President Clinton accused of colluding with the Russians, Tucker would be outraged and calling for impeachment if not execution. But since it's Trump, then it's all a big joke to him," Boot says. Carlson vociferously dissents from such assessments: "This is what dumb people do. They can't assess the merits of an argument. . . . I'm not talking about Syria, and Russia, and Iran because of ratings. That's absurd. I can't imagine those were anywhere near the most highly-rated segments that night. That's not why I wanted to do it."

But Carlson insists, "I have been saying the same thing for fifteen years. Now I have a T.V. show that people watch, so my views are better known. But it shouldn't be a surprise. I supported Trump to the extent he articulated beliefs that I agree with. . . . And I don't support Trump to the extent that his actions deviate from those beliefs," Carlson said. Boot on Fox said that Carlson is "too smart" for this kind of argument. But Carlson has bucked the Trump line, notably on Trump's April 7 strikes in Syria. "When the Trump administration threw a bunch of cruise missiles into Syria for no obvious reason, on the basis of a pretext that I question . . . I questioned [the decision] immediately. On T.V. I was on the air when that happened. I think, maybe seven minutes into my show. . . . I thought this was reckless."

But the fight also seems to have a personal edge. Carlson says, "Max Boot is not impressive. . . . Max is a totally mediocre person." Carlson added that he felt guilty about not having, in his assessment, a superior guest to Boot on the show to defend hawkishness. "I wish I had had someone clear-thinking and smart on to represent their views. And there are a lot of them. I would love to have that debate," Carlson told me, periodically emphasizing that he is raring to go on this subject.

Boot objects to what he sees as a cavalier attitude on the part of Carlson and others toward allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election, and also toward the deaths of citizens of other countries. "You are laughing about the fact that Russia is interfering in our election process. That to me is immoral," Boot told Carlson on his show. "This is the level of dumbness and McCarthyism in Washington right now," says Carlson. "I think it has the virtue of making Max Boot feel like a good person. Like he's on God's team, or something like that. But how does that serve the interest of the country? It doesn't." Carlson says that Donald Trump, Jr.'s emails aren't nearly as important as who is going to lead Syria, which he says Boot and others have no plan for successfully occupying. Boot, by contrast, sees the U.S. administration as dangerously flirting with working with Russia, Iran and Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. "For whatever reason, Trump is pro-Putin, no one knows why, and he's taken a good chunk of the GOP along with him," Boot says.

On Fox last Wednesday, Boot reminded Carlson that he originally supported the 2003 Iraq decision. "You supported the invasion of Iraq," Boot said, before repeating, "You supported the invasion of Iraq." Carlson conceded that, but it seems the invasion was a bona fide turning point. It's most important to parse whether Carlson has a long record of anti-interventionism, or if he's merely sniffing the throne of the president (who, dubiously, may have opposed the 2003 invasion). "I think it's a total nightmare and disaster, and I'm ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it," Carlson told the New York Observer in early 2004. "It's something I'll never do again. Never. I got convinced by a friend of mine who's smarter than I am, and I shouldn't have done that. . . . I'm enraged by it, actually." Carlson told the National Interest that he's felt this way since seeing Iraq for himself in December 2003.

The evidence points heavily toward a sincere conversion on Carlson's part, or preexisting conviction that was briefly overcome by the beat of the war drums. Carlson did work for the Weekly Standard , perhaps the most prominent neoconservative magazine, in the 1990s and early 2000s. Carlson today speaks respectfully of William Kristol, its founding editor, but has concluded that he is all wet. On foreign policy, the people Carlson speaks most warmly about are genuine hard left-wingers: Glenn Greenwald, a vociferous critic of both economic neoliberalism and neoconservatism; the anti-establishment journalist Michael Tracey; Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor of the Nation ; and her husband, Stephen Cohen, the Russia expert and critic of U.S. foreign policy.

"The only people in American public life who are raising these questions are on the traditional left: not lifestyle liberals, not the Williamsburg (Brooklyn) group, not liberals in D.C., not Nancy Pelosi." He calls the expertise of establishment sources on matters like Syria "more shallow than I even imagined." On his MSNBC show, which was canceled for poor ratings, he cavorted with noninterventionist stalwarts such as Ron Paul , the 2008 and 2012 antiwar GOP candidate, and Patrick J. Buchanan. "No one is smarter than Pat Buchanan," he said last year of the man whose ideas many say laid the groundwork for Trump's political success.

Carlson has risen to the pinnacle of cable news, succeeding Bill O'Reilly. It wasn't always clear an antiwar take would vault someone to such prominence. Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Mitt Romney could be president (Boot has advised the latter two). But here he is, and it's likely no coincidence that Carlson got a show after Trump's election, starting at the 7 p.m. slot, before swiftly moving to the 9 p.m. slot to replace Trump antagonist Megyn Kelly, and just as quickly replacing O'Reilly at the top slot, 8 p.m. Boot, on the other hand, declared in 2016 that the Republican Party was dead , before it went on to hold Congress and most state houses, and of course take the presidency. He's still at the Council on Foreign Relations and writes for the New York Times (this seems to clearly annoy Carlson: "It tells you everything about the low standards of the American foreign-policy establishment").

Boot wrote in 2003 in the Weekly Standard that the fall of Saddam Hussein's government "may turn out to be one of those hinge moments in history" comparable to "events like the storming of the Bastille or the fall of the Berlin Wall, after which everything is different." He continued, "If the occupation goes well (admittedly a big if ), it may mark the moment when the powerful antibiotic known as democracy was introduced into the diseased environment of the Middle East, and began to transform the region for the better."

Though he eschews labels, Carlson sounds like a foreign-policy realist on steroids: "You can debate what's in [the United States'] interest. That's a subjective category. But what you can't debate is that ought to be the basic question, the first, second and third question. Does it represent our interest? . . . I don't think that enters into the calculations of a lot of the people who make these decisions." Carlson's interests extend beyond foreign policy, and he says "there's a massive realignment going on ideologically that everybody is missing. It's dramatic. And everyone is missing it. . . . Nobody is paying attention to it, "

Carlson seems intent on pressing the issue. The previous night, in his debate with Peters, the retired lieutenant colonel said that Carlson sounded like Charles Lindbergh, who opposed U.S. intervention against Nazi Germany before 1941. "This particular strain of Republican foreign policy has almost no constituency. Nobody agrees with it. I mean there's not actually a large group of people outside of New York, Washington or L.A. who think any of this is a good idea," Carlson says. "All I am is an asker of obvious questions. And that's enough to reveal these people have no idea what they're talking about. None."

Curt Mills is a foreign-affairs reporter at the National Interest . Follow him on Twitter: @CurtMills .

Image : Flickr/Gage Skidmore. CC BY-SA 2.0.

[Jul 16, 2017] Will the DNC lose in 2018, because theyre beholden to inner-party special interests? Stay tuned. Say what you will about Trump, but he certainly made politics a lot more entertaining to watch. Not sure if thats good or bad, but Im getting popcorn.

Notable quotes:
"... "We need to be talking about impeachment constantly. If you're an elected Dem & you're not talking impeachment or 25th amendment then find a new party," Scott Dworkin, senior adviser to Democratic Coalition Against Trump, on Twitter. ..."
"... "Voters are getting plenty about the Russia story, and they don't need candidates' help making that case. I think it's a fundamental mistake to make this election a referendum on impeachment. That means it's not an election on a health care bill that will raise premiums and take more than 22 million people off of their health care," Zac Petkanas, Democratic strategist, former aide to Hillary Clinton. ..."
"... "All of that (on Russia) is going to come out, and if a politician was lacking in courage and never did anything about it, I think they will pay dearly for it, and they should. But if you're a governor candidate next year, you're a lot smarter saying, 'Here's what I'm going to do about jobs and education and wages' than weighing in every day on issues outside your control." David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party chairman. ..."
"... The only two Democrats, out of that random sample, who are going "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" I mean "Russia, Russia, Russia," are Dworkin and Galland from MoveOn. I think this blog knows quite a bit about MoveOn, so I don't need to mention it, and the only other person talking about it, is someone who is trying to make his name by impeaching Trump. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | ucgsblog.wordpress.com
ucgsblog says: July 16, 2017 at 7:21 pm Sorry about being MIA, I'm probably going to be MIA until mid-August, but in the meantime, here's an interesting article:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/message-democrats-must-more-talk-russia-122203301.html

"We know that we can be an America that works for everyone, because we believe that our diversity is our greatest strength. And we believe that when we put hope on the ballot we do well, and when we allow others to put fear in the eyes of people we don't do so hot," Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

___

"We need to be talking about impeachment constantly. If you're an elected Dem & you're not talking impeachment or 25th amendment then find a new party," Scott Dworkin, senior adviser to Democratic Coalition Against Trump, on Twitter.

___

"We're advising groups to pay attention to Russia, but the bottom line is they're trying to take your health care away. That should be the focus. Eye on the prize," Ezra Levin, co-founder of Indivisible.

___

"I focus a lot on good-paying jobs, student loan issues, health care and the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those are the issues that are at the top of (voters') minds. I don't think (the Russia investigation) has to interfere with our conversation about every day matters in people's lives," Jason Crow, Democratic candidate in Colorado's 6th Congressional District.

___

"Voters are getting plenty about the Russia story, and they don't need candidates' help making that case. I think it's a fundamental mistake to make this election a referendum on impeachment. That means it's not an election on a health care bill that will raise premiums and take more than 22 million people off of their health care," Zac Petkanas, Democratic strategist, former aide to Hillary Clinton.

___

"We will both defend the integrity of our democracy (on the Russian investigation) and we will defend access to health care for tens of millions of people. The resistance is big enough and sophisticated enough to track both of those urgent and important issues," Anna Galland, executive director of Moveon.org Civic Action.

___

"All of that (on Russia) is going to come out, and if a politician was lacking in courage and never did anything about it, I think they will pay dearly for it, and they should. But if you're a governor candidate next year, you're a lot smarter saying, 'Here's what I'm going to do about jobs and education and wages' than weighing in every day on issues outside your control." David Pepper, Ohio Democratic Party chairman.

___

"We need to be able to explain what we're for just as emphatically as who we are against. Voters need to hear you talking about them more than they hear you talking about yourself, your opponent or the president." Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana.

!!!!!!-

The only two Democrats, out of that random sample, who are going "Marcia, Marcia, Marcia" I mean "Russia, Russia, Russia," are Dworkin and Galland from MoveOn. I think this blog knows quite a bit about MoveOn, so I don't need to mention it, and the only other person talking about it, is someone who is trying to make his name by impeaching Trump.

Looks like the DNC is slowly starting to realize what voters want, despite inner party special interest groups. Levin and Crow summarize mainstream Democrats, so I'll just requote them:

"We're advising groups to pay attention to Russia, but the bottom line is they're trying to take your health care away. That should be the focus. Eye on the prize I focus a lot on good-paying jobs, student loan issues, health care and the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act. Those are the issues that are at the top of (voters') minds. I don't think (the Russia investigation) has to interfere with our conversation about every day matters in people's lives"

Will the DNC lose in 2018, because they're beholden to inner-party special interests? Stay tuned. Say what you will about Trump, but he certainly made politics a lot more entertaining to watch. Not sure if that's good or bad, but I'm getting popcorn.

[Jul 16, 2017] As Anti-Trump - Anti-Russia Campaign Fails - Yascha Mounk Feeds New Lies

Yet another classic "Yascha about Russia... " propaganda theme variation (Gessen style Russophobia). This time he is from Germany, though. Some people would do everything to earn a living.
Notable quotes:
"... Judging by the comments in "Professor" Mounk's Twitter feed, the vast majority are pretty much wise to the deception. Whether this holds for the retweets I don't know. But I'm pretty sure we are witnessing the decay of the establishment. ..."
"... Lemoine ( http://www.twitter.com/phl43) destroys the liberal media bullshit narrative piece by piece. I haven't found a more thorough discussion anywhere else online. It's well worth reading just for its clarity and strength of argumentation. ..."
"... Illuminating how widely quoted and passed on is the rubbish of Yascha Mounk, and 'et al'. What does this say about the publications and outlets that give such dishonesty a megaphone? They must lose credibility. ..."
"... Paul Craig Roberts has written at various times words to the effect that just about all public and private institutions in the US are now corrupt. It's hard to find examples that refute that thesis. ..."
"... so this is what Harvard has to offer. and to think having a Harvard education used to mean something. ..."
"... Nice to see at least one US Journalist take on and destroy two prominent Neocons. Here Tucker Carlson takes on Lt Col Ralph Peters and Max Boot. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/07/13/tucker-carlson-neocon-slayer/ ..."
"... The Corporate Media is owned by 6 corporations as a result of (liberal?) Bill Clinton admin enacting Republican (with Democrat Complicity) "Media Consolidation" aka monopolies. ..."
"... One Media owner is GE which also manufactures aircraft engines and weaponry and seeks government contracts for same. ..."
"... Charles C. Johnson said he also suggested that Smith get in touch with Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker who goes by the alias 'Weev' and has collaborated with Johnson in the past. Auernheimer--who was released from federal prison in 2014 after having a conviction for fraud and hacking offenses vacated [on appeal - May 2014] and subsequently moved to Ukraine . ..."
"... American lies should be put in context. The USA is a dying country, that is all but unmanageable, in the midst of its second Civil War (fought mostly in the media now, but the erosion of country's national fabric is immense and keeps worsening). In such circumstances, finding external enemy in order to redirect the destructive energy outward is simply a matter of national survival. That's why we have the anti-Russia frenzy. ..."
"... That's how great countries fracture and disappear. It' ugly, and will only get uglier. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | www.moonofalabama.org

The U.S. borg is vehemently trying to set up Russia as an enemy of the "west". Their anti-Russian propaganda has become part of the campaign against U.S. President Trump who seeks détente with Russia. It requires intense efforts to denigrate the country, its citizens and its leaders. Here is an example of how such propaganda is fabricated.

Yascha Mounk is:

a Lecturer on Political Theory at Harvard University's Government Department, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Transatlantic Academy of the German Marshall Fund, and a Nonresident Fellow at New America's Political Reform Program.

He is a self declared liberal internationalist who has been published and quoted by lots of international media.

Yesterday Mounk tweeted this :


bigger

The Mounk tweet is a series of lies:

Need a reminder of the human cost of dictatorship? All these are journalists who criticized Putin--and died under mysterious circumstances

The President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin is dully elected and not a dictator. The Russian Federation may not be a "liberal democracy", but it is a democracy. The picture is old. It shows all Russian journalists who died during their work since 1991. Most of them died as war- or crime-correspondents and were not involved in politics at all. The death of most of those journalists is not mysterious. Getting blown up by artillery during the wars in Chechnya, Yugoslavia or Ukraine is no mystery at all. Most of these journalists never criticize Putin. They were already dead before Putin had any significant political role.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) lists 82 killed Russian journalists since 1992, most of them died due to war or related to civil crimes or corruption. There are about 80 portraits of journalists in the picture Mounk tweeted.

Two recognizable portraits and names therein are of Vlad Listyev, a TV entertainment producer killed in 1995 over some controversy about lucrative advertisement on public TV. Another portrait is of Dmitry Kholodov, killed in 1994 while investigating mafia connections within the Russian military. At the time of their death Putin was a minor bureaucrat in Saint Petersburg. He did not gain power until he became acting president at the end of 1999.

According to the CPJ numbers more Russian journalists were killed during the eight years of Yeltsin's presidency (1992-2000) than in the 17 years of Putin's presidencies since. Mounk claims "All these are journalists who criticized Putin ..." when more than half of them were already dead before Putin became known and to power. It was during the time of the " Harvard boys " who robbed Russia blind that most of these journalist were killed. The Russian system, thanks to the Harvard driven "reforms" and criminal privatization under Yeltsin, is a rough terrain for investigating oligarchs and mafia businesses. But there is no evidence , none at all, that Putin was ever involved in the decease of any journalist.

The first original publishing of the Mounk picture may have been as early as 2009 . A piece on journalists remembrance in Russia from 2014 already includes the pic. The reverse image search shows that the picture has been has been used by several news-outlets since.

Every aspect of the Mounk tweet is a lie.

But Mounk's lies have by now been re-tweeted over 22,000 times. Many of those who see it will believe the claims he makes. They will trust a widely publish Harvard academic. But the tweet, as well as nearly all other claims about Russia one sees in "western" media, is pure propaganda. It is like the editorial in today's New York Times that claims "Russia's oil-dependent economy [is] in trouble" while all Russian economic numbers turned positive and all indicators point to accelerating growth . It is fake news.

The anti-Russian propaganda campaign is now part of the "liberal" campaign against U.S. president Trump. It is failing . Trump's support is steady if not increasing despite daily new revelation about his (non existent) "collusion with Russia" and the (non existing) "Russian interference" in the U.S. election.

The purveyors of the propaganda stories are in despair. Each and every new fire they try to stoke dies off within a day or two. The temptation then is to invent and push ever bigger lies about Trump, Russia and their non-existing connections.

The fake news Mounk spits out, and which disqualify him as an academic, is a sign of their accelerating panic.

Posted by b on July 16, 2017 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

lysander | Jul 16, 2017 12:00:05 PM | 3
Judging by the comments in "Professor" Mounk's Twitter feed, the vast majority are pretty much wise to the deception. Whether this holds for the retweets I don't know. But I'm pretty sure we are witnessing the decay of the establishment.
Lemur | Jul 16, 2017 12:12:55 PM | 4
Reminder these journalists and academics are so evil they actually want to repeal and replace the historic American nation with a variety of mystery meat immigration (invasion).
Anon | Jul 16, 2017 12:13:05 PM | 5
Here is the best discussion of the Trump Jr. nonsense available: https://necpluribusimpar.net/trumps-collusion-russia-add-nothing-nothing-get-still-nothing/

Lemoine ( http://www.twitter.com/phl43) destroys the liberal media bullshit narrative piece by piece. I haven't found a more thorough discussion anywhere else online. It's well worth reading just for its clarity and strength of argumentation.

Anonymous | Jul 16, 2017 12:20:43 PM | 6
There are journalists killed during the 1980's in that room, too. Here is a higher resolution version:
http://newsprom.ru/i/n/845/205845/tn_205845_12517dfa330f.jpg

Apart from the two you mentioned, you can make out several other names right off the bat, like Soviet journalist Alexander Kaverznev who died in 1983 and Gennadiy Kurennoy who died together with colleague and fellow Gosteleradio SSSR journalist Viktor Nogin in an armed ambush in Yugoslavia, during the war in 1991. Also visible is Andrey Pralnikov, who died in 1997 after finally succumbing to radiation injuries he sustained in 1986 during his on-site coverage of the Chernobyl accident (he wrote a book about, too).

In short, the portraits in that room are just Soviet and Russian journalists that have died on the job, regardless of how these deaths occured, and it goes back to the 1980s at least. Quite obviously, of the actual violence-related deaths the vast majority are from the 1990's, since there's been a rather dramatic downwards trend since Putin assumed office.

On his blog (I don't know if it's still up) Fedia Kriukov did an in-depth assessment of the cases post-2000 (i.e. the ones actually "under Putin") and found that several had nothing to do with the journalists' professional activities, but were just the results of them dealing with the criminal underworld themselves, some were the results of violence not targeting them but targeting people they happened to be covering at the time (e.g. Scott in 2002 and Khasanov in 2004), some were just pure bad luck, and out of the very few that actually were clear targeted killings it always had to do with organized crime (Domnikov, Politovskaya, Klebnikov).

And this is where the aforementioned downwards trend comes in, because the only correlation between journalists being murdered and the Putin period is strongly negative, and the reason is that the chief cause of investigative journalists being murdered - rampant organized crime and corrupted local law enforcement and officials - has been tackled rather successfully since 2000.

Robert Snefjella | Jul 16, 2017 12:29:31 PM | 7
Illuminating how widely quoted and passed on is the rubbish of Yascha Mounk, and 'et al'. What does this say about the publications and outlets that give such dishonesty a megaphone? They must lose credibility.

Paul Craig Roberts has written at various times words to the effect that just about all public and private institutions in the US are now corrupt. It's hard to find examples that refute that thesis.

I interpret PCR's words to at core mean that dishonesty, including evil omission, is now in the United States pervasive, normalized, institutionalized, 'mandatory' for those who want to remain 'gainfully employed' or accepted by those institutions.

That famous quote often identified with Orwell "In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act" is the opposite side of that same coin.

This culture of bs is of course much broader than the US. We have the now famous confession by Udo Ulfkotte that much German media is corrupt, CIA controlled, bought and paid for. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1lWKyRI10w

Another obscure but telling example: we have in Canada a book by Dr. Chopra titled 'Corrupt to the Core', detailing the situation at Health Canada during Chopra's long employment there.

And the WHO has been a snake in the grass for example when it comes to radioactivity and human health, for two generations allowing the nuclear powers that in effect act as censoring and misleading gatekeepers for material on that subject emanating from the WHO.
http://mondediplo.com/2008/04/14who

Perhaps I am engaging in wishfukl thinking but it seems to me we are seeing more and more signs of the breakdown of that systematic and comprehensive dishonesty machine that has infiltrated so many institutions and required and rewarded dishonesty in so many people? And along with that breakdown, the declining power of even so-called 'distinguished' institutions to wield power on behalf of lies. The 'appeal to whatever authority' seems to be losing much of its previous punch.

The recent increase in disclosures and public awareness of institutionalized pedo-predation is an example. Trump's election in the face of an unprecedented media and elite hostility, and extreme by same support for Clinton, to me suggests there is more than just a leak in the disgusting dike sustaining dishonesty as default position.

And when it comes to Putin, his popularity not just in Russia has been sustained or even grown in the face of an extreme mass media demonization effort.

The process puts me in mind of that scene from the Wizard of Oz where the wicked Witch is melting away, truth/water as deadly nemesis.

dan of steele | Jul 16, 2017 12:40:25 PM | 8
so this is what Harvard has to offer. and to think having a Harvard education used to mean something.

two are the choices here, either malice or incompetence. I want to believe it is merely because he is incurious and is getting enough positive feedback from his echo chamber but fear he knows full well what he is doing.

What is the endgame? How will rotten relations with Russia improve the lives of US citizens? If not the general population, then who stands to gain?

Robert McMaster | Jul 16, 2017 12:53:28 PM | 9
Hit these academic thugs where it hurts. Cut off their funding. The main reason they do this lying is because it pays. If the only reward was doing the right thing or speaking truth, then this Harvard Hack wouldn't be bothered. So, no tenure for you buddy. No nothing. Now go write your head off.
somebody | Jul 16, 2017 12:58:15 PM | 10
List of assassinated American politicians

Nothing like good old cold war propaganda. Ah the memories ....

Has Putin stopped talking about "our American partners" yet?

Philippe Lemoine | Jul 16, 2017 1:07:26 PM | 11
Thanks to the commenter above for sharing my post and for the nice words he had about it. People here may also be interested in the 3-part series of posts I wrote about the attack in Khan Sheikhoun. The first part is here and there are links to the other parts at the bottom of the post. I think it's the most thorough discussion of this attack, but I also discuss other similar incidents. I carefully document a shocking amount of bias and incompetence on the part of journalists. I also wrote a 4-part series of posts on this whole Russia/Trump nonsense back in February, which I think is still very relevant today. The first part is here .
james | Jul 16, 2017 1:25:53 PM | 12
thanks b... fascinating how a guy from harvard is oblivious to harvards historical role here in the phase of ripping off russia during and after the transition in 1991... great quote from you here - "It was during the time of the "Harvard boys" who robbed Russia blind that most of these journalist were killed. The Russian system, thanks to the Harvard driven "reforms" and criminal privatization under Yeltsin, is a rough terrain for investigating oligarchs and mafia businesses." why would this dipshit Yascha Mounk say all this? who pays him to lie? he is completely discredited here.. someone ought to send him a link to your article so he can see what an ignoramus or con man (it is one of the other) he really is..
Hoarsewhisperer | Jul 16, 2017 1:29:51 PM | 13
The Mythbusters motto was:
"If a thing's worth doing, it's worth overdoing."

Considering that Mythbusters were in the business of exposing and/or confirming popular myths & memes, the "overdoing" aspect was typically confined to exploring the limits to which the counter argument might prove to be valid.
The derision which the program attracted from edu-phobic 'purists' was regularly discredited by fulsome praise from scientists who pointed out that Mythbusters' exploration of the counter-argument demonstrated text-book faithfulness to The Scientific Method.

I'd love to hear what Mounk tells himself in order to anesthetise his conscience when embracing The Un-scientific Method to spread infantile, un-researched crap in the name of Harvard, Science and Mounk?

Tim | Jul 16, 2017 1:30:22 PM | 14
Yascha Mounk's book is titled, Stranger in my own country - a Jewish family in modern Germany.
harrylaw | Jul 16, 2017 1:45:05 PM | 15
Nice to see at least one US Journalist take on and destroy two prominent Neocons. Here Tucker Carlson takes on Lt Col Ralph Peters and Max Boot. http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/07/13/tucker-carlson-neocon-slayer/
fast freddy | Jul 16, 2017 1:56:36 PM | 16
The Corporate Media is owned by 6 corporations as a result of (liberal?) Bill Clinton admin enacting Republican (with Democrat Complicity) "Media Consolidation" aka monopolies.

One Media owner is GE which also manufactures aircraft engines and weaponry and seeks government contracts for same.

Liberal? ideals regularly featured are "Austerity For the Commons" and Tax Cuts for the rich with "Trickle Down" as the prevailing economic model for the past 40 years. And warmongering.

The MSM has never openly opposed any US war and it has, in fact, provided justification for all US invasions.

Liberal - Conservative labeling is a tool to divide the commons.

fast freddy | Jul 16, 2017 1:56:36 PM | 17
The Corporate Media is owned by 6 corporations as a result of (liberal?) Bill Clinton admin enacting Republican (with Democrat Complicity) "Media Consolidation" aka monopolies.

One Media owner is GE which also manufactures aircraft engines and weaponry and seeks government contracts for same.

Liberal? ideals regularly featured are "Austerity For the Commons" and Tax Cuts for the rich with "Trickle Down" as the prevailing economic model for the past 40 years. And warmongering.

The MSM has never openly opposed any US war and it has, in fact, provided justification for all US invasions.

Liberal - Conservative labeling is a tool to divide the commons.

stevelaudig | Jul 16, 2017 2:02:25 PM | 18
Meanwhile the list of those killed directly by the USG in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Afghanistan, Iraq, Panama, Grenada, Syria. Or indirectly by arming the murderers of the Yemeni, Ukraine and on and on and on, whose names we don't and may never know. "Their name is Legion". He's a bullshit academic who should participate in the wars he wants others to fight to prove 'his theory'.. He can put his own skin in the game.
Sven Lystbak | Jul 16, 2017 2:23:35 PM | 19
It is worth noting that 10 journalists and media persons have been killed in the Ukraine since the glorious revolution in 2014 against only 2 in Russia over the same period. This of cause is of zero interest to the western MSM.
Oui | Jul 16, 2017 2:26:41 PM | 20
The WSJ held an interview with Peter W. Smith and published an article by Shane Harris on June 29 titled "GOP Operative Sought Clinton Emails From Hackers, Implied a Connection to Flynn".

Peter Smith Tapped Alt-Right to Access Dark Net

Charles C. Johnson said he also suggested that Smith get in touch with Andrew Auernheimer, a hacker who goes by the alias 'Weev' and has collaborated with Johnson in the past. Auernheimer--who was released from federal prison in 2014 after having a conviction for fraud and hacking offenses vacated [on appeal - May 2014] and subsequently moved to Ukraine .

Oui | Jul 16, 2017 2:27:13 PM | 21
See Part 1 - GOP Operative Peter Smith's Death Ruled A Suicide
Petri Krohn | Jul 16, 2017 2:38:07 PM | 22
The conflict is not between Russia and the West. It is not even between the West and the East. It is between Modernity and Post-Modernity.
  • Russia, secular Arab Socialist Syria, and Trump present Modernity.
  • The War Party, Identity politics, transsexualism, ISIS, and The Resistance present Post-Modernity.
mh505 | Jul 16, 2017 2:42:19 PM | 23
@ 12

Interesting article on the subject :

How Harvard Lost Russia .
The best and brightest of America's premier university came to Moscow in the 1990s to teach Russians how to be capitalists. This is the inside story of how their efforts led to scandal and disgrace.

http://www.institutionalinvestor.com/Article/1020662/How-Harvard-lost-Russia.html?ArticleId=1020662&single=true

telescope | Jul 16, 2017 2:45:54 PM | 24
American lies should be put in context. The USA is a dying country, that is all but unmanageable, in the midst of its second Civil War (fought mostly in the media now, but the erosion of country's national fabric is immense and keeps worsening). In such circumstances, finding external enemy in order to redirect the destructive energy outward is simply a matter of national survival. That's why we have the anti-Russia frenzy.

It'll fail because Russia is militarily unassailable, and because continuing with the campaign is not only not helping with the domestic politics, but is scrambling America's geopolitical calculations. It's a geopolitical dead-end.

All in all, what we are seeing in the US is a full-scale panic of the establishment, with the MSM arm simply putting it all out there, no matter how preposterous or inaccurate, in a desperate bid to salvage something that is fundamentally unsalvageable.

That's how great countries fracture and disappear. It' ugly, and will only get uglier.

ruralito | Jul 16, 2017 2:56:08 PM | 25
@6 good catch!
james | Jul 16, 2017 3:17:58 PM | 26
@16 fastfreddy.. yeah, that is worth repeating...

@ 23 mh505... thanks.. that is a good link for getting a better understanding.. i wonder how Yascha Mounk perceives all this? surely he can't be ignorant of it.. is someone paying him for his propaganda? what a waste of money it is!!!

james | Jul 16, 2017 3:24:31 PM | 27
Yascha Mounk can be contacted mounk@fas.harvard.edu
Anonymous | Jul 16, 2017 3:49:31 PM | 28
Also another thing (I'm #6) again...

So, going back to the photo. There are 8 chairs/portraits in each row, and about 10 rows, so that's roughly 80 people affiliated with journalism that have died one way or another that might or might not be connected to their work, in 37 years (if we just assume it starts at 1980, seeing as there is a 1983 case in direct view...)

Considering that we clearly have journalists that have died while reporting from combat zones (see my earlier comment) as well as journalists that have died due to injuries received while reporting from dangerous "civilian" situations, it all comes across as pretty unremarkable.

Mind you, between 1980 and 1991, the USSR was a country of nearly 300 million people, and the Russian Federation has been hovering in the 140-150 ballpark since 1991.

Mind you, that the USSR was getting increasingly lawless towards the end, and pretty much all successor states were in a state of anarchy for at least a couple of years past the Soviet demise (some longer than others, Russia longer than most thanks to Yeltsin and the total carnage that the West supported)

Mind you that multiple armed conflicts occured during this time, both domestically (Chechnya 1 and 2 for instance, in which a number of journalists were injured or killed) and in the near-abroad (the Georgian/Abkhazian/Ossetian/Ajaran conflicts, the Azeri-Armenian conflicts, the numerous Central Asian conflicts, the the brief Moldovan warm, the Yugoslav wars etc)

...All things considered, 80 journalists dead over all this time is nothing compared to say Mexico. And Russia's also known to have way more journalists per capita than most countries, which further adds to how underwhelming these statistics really are. The final nail in the coffin is, of course, that all these scary statistics sank like a rock after Putin took office and Russia has never been as peaceful, free and civilized as it is right now. But we've been through that.

Somebody should compile all the relevant information on this and make a glossy report, to be honest. I mean, it's all out there, it's just that they get away with outright lying about it because people don't bother doing any research on their own and they know it.

mh505 | Jul 16, 2017 4:03:42 PM | 29
@ 26 james

You can be entirely certain that the guy does not believe his own drivel. But: he may lose his job otherwise, which some would consider attenuating circumstances.

To me, he is not the worst among those Harvard boys. A hypocrite of a much higher magnitude has to be Jeffrey Sachs, who was among the most diligent drivers behind the destruction of post-communist Russia; yet today acts as if he never was even there. A Saulus turned Paulus, except no atonement in any way

nonsense factory | Jul 16, 2017 4:16:30 PM | 30
Did a Google News search on Yascha Mounk.
First, his publicity is based on some fairly bogus research on "millenials abandoning democracy". The WaPo ran a decent article discrediting it, worth noting since the guy seems to have a taste for spinning data for political reasons:
. . .scary-chart-about-the-future-of-democracy-is-pretty-misleading/
Second, he calls for a "Cold War mentality", putting him in with the likes of Clinton & McCain & Bush-Cheney, Gary Kasparov, etc. It's pretty boilerplate neocon/neolib thinking, here's a taste:
It's time to return to a Cold War mentality
By Yascha Mounk, Slate Mar 2017
Two years ago, when Garry Kasparov, the chess champion turned political dissident, began to warn that Vladimir Putin sought to undermine liberal democracy!not only in neighboring countries, but all over the West!he was widely written off as a crank. After Russia managed to hack the servers of the Democratic National Committee and spread fake news on an industrial scale, his warnings were finally recognized as all too prescient. But it is only over the past weeks, as journalists around the world have broken dozens of stories about Russian meddling in the democratic process, that the sheer scale of this effort has become apparent.

The last time there was such a massive PR push inside the USA on a foreign policy issue was during the 2002-2003 runup to the Iraq invasion, based on an equally bogus story as the Russia bogeyman one, i.e. Iraqi WMDs.

The fact is, a multipolar world without "American exceptionalism" will be a better deal for the average American citizen, if not for the Washington circle of trough-feeders. This is a basic truth that the neoliberal empire-builders just can't handle. Of course, the big academic institutions are on board with endless military-industrial budgets, NATO expansion, regime change. Just as academic institutions in the old Soviet Union always went along with Central Committee PR lines.

On the other hand, on domestic policy? If you look into details, Clinton and Trump are not so different here - basically it's corporate rule, Trump and Clinton have similar numbers of Goldman Sachs people on their teams. Equally disastrous policies on the fundamentals like infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, etc. We'd be better off just giving our tax dollars to China to have them rebuild our infrastructure, it's that pitiful.

Maybe Trump should just spend the next four years abroad, running around with world leaders having a good time, ignoring all the neoliberal establishment pleas for regime changes and NATO wars, completely ignoring the domestic situation? The corrupt federal government in Washington can fight itself to death, and the states can run domestic policy instead?

[Jul 16, 2017] War on Russia Is Murdering Russians - LewRockwell

Notable quotes:
"... War with Russia is a call to murder Russian people. They don't deserve our hatred. ..."
"... Those of you who are preoccupied with the narrative that Russia hacked the election, please stop discounting the millions of us who had not voted for decades that came out to prevent Mrs. Clinton from rising to such a position of power. Then stop to consider that what you want the American Government to do, create an enemy of Russia, is to create an enemy of the Russian people. You want to kill the people who I have seen in these videos for really no better reason than you don't like how an election turned out. ..."
Jul 16, 2017 | www.lewrockwell.com
War on Russia Is Murdering Russians

By Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.

July 14, 2017 Email Print Share

Writes Bob Strodtbeck:

Dear Lew,

Several months ago you had a video of a group of young Russian women singing a Russian folk song acapella (Youtube, Russian Girls Sing Lube) which left a lasting impression on me. For the last several days I have been exploring Russian folk music for the sake of getting an idea of what these people are like. My observations are below with a link to a video by a Russian folk music group.

The point is people who have their noses twisted out of joint over the defeat of a horribly corrupt presidential candidate would choose to see people such as those I have seen in the Russian folk music videos vaporized. We have become a hideous country.

War with Russia is a call to murder Russian people. They don't deserve our hatred.

This text is from my facebook posting which also has a link to the folk music video.

I have been taking time recently to find some information on the Russian people since the American political system seems so dedicated to make war against Russia.

I have been captivated by their folk music and the love they put into it. Much of it has been acapella and beautiful. In all of those presentations I got the sense that each singer considered the song more important than their individual talent, and the sound of the group the tribute to the song.

In watching tho se videos I came to the impression that the Russian people are happy, proud and strong. This impression speaks highly of their character, as it was within the lifetime of most Americans that the Russian system collapsed and those people had the duty to rebuild their economy, culture, and faith from the rubble left by Soviet Communism. It seems to me they have done it.

The main point here is a war with Russia is a war on these courageous, warm, and resilient people. I challenge anybody who is upset with what happened in the election last November to watch any of these videos and ask yourself if you have ever been as happy as the people that are in them. I don't believe any of them care who is President of the United States or probably that Vladimir Putin is the leader of their country. After all, Putin said that Russia spans 11 time zones an most Russians live life without worrying about the government.

Those of you who are preoccupied with the narrative that Russia hacked the election, please stop discounting the millions of us who had not voted for decades that came out to prevent Mrs. Clinton from rising to such a position of power. Then stop to consider that what you want the American Government to do, create an enemy of Russia, is to create an enemy of the Russian people. You want to kill the people who I have seen in these videos for really no better reason than you don't like how an election turned out.

You think about that.

[Jul 14, 2017] Americas War for Global Domination by Michel Chossudovsky

While published almost 15 years ago, this artile still looks as if written yesterday. Presidents change but foreign policy does not.
Notable quotes:
"... US military and intelligence operations in the post Cold War era were led in close coordination with the "free market reforms" imposed under IMF guidance in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, which resulted in the destabilization of national economies and the impoverishment of millions of people. ..."
"... The World Bank sponsored privatization programmes in these countries enabled Western capital to acquire ownership and gain control of a large share of the economy of the former Eastern block countries. This process is also at the basis of the strategic mergers and/or takeovers of the former Soviet oil and gas industry by powerful Western conglomerates, through financial manipulation and corrupt political practices. ..."
"... The deployment of America's war machine purports to enlarge America's economic sphere of influence. The U.S. has established a permanent military presence not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has military bases in several of the former Soviet republics on China's Western frontier. In turn, since 1999, there has been a military buildup in the South China Sea. ..."
"... The Pentagon views 'territorial control' over Syria, which constitutes a land bridge between Israel and occupied Iraq, as 'strategic' from a military and economic standpoint. It also constitutes a means of controlling the Iraqi border and curbing the flow of volunteer fighters, who are traveling to Baghdad to join the Iraqi resistance movement. ..."
"... Washington has adopted a first strike "pre-emptive" nuclear policy, which has now received congressional approval. Nuclear weapons are no longer a weapon of last resort as during the cold War era. ..."
"... The war on Iraq has been in the planning stages at least since the mid-1990s. A 1995 National Security document of the Clinton administration stated quite clearly that the objective of the war is oil. "to protect the United States' uninterrupted, secure U.S. access to oil. ..."
"... In September 2000, a few months before the accession of George W. Bush to the White House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published its blueprint for global domination under the title: "Rebuilding America's Defenses. ..."
"... The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest. It calls for "the direct imposition of U.S. "forward bases" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East "with a view to ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential "rival" or any viable alternative to America's vision of a 'free market' economy" (See Chris Floyd, Bush's Crusade for empire, Global Outlook, No. 6, 2003) ..."
"... The PNAC's reference to a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" echoes a similar statement by David Rockefeller to the United Nations Business Council in 1994: ..."
"... We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order." ..."
"... " it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus [in America] on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." ..."
"... The "catastrophic and catalyzing event" as stated by the PNAC is an integral part of US military-intelligence planning. General Franks, who led the military campaign into Iraq, pointed recently (October 2003) to the role of a "massive casualty-producing event" to muster support for the imposition of military rule in America. (See General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution, November 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/EDW311A.html ). ..."
"... In many regards, the militarisation of civilian State institutions in the US is already functional under the facade of a bogus democracy. ..."
"... In the wake of the September attacks on the World Trade Center, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics ..."
"... Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive "defensive war" doctrine and the "war on terrorism" against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon's propaganda campaign. ..."
"... The objective is to present "preemptive military action" --meaning war as an act of "self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "rogue States" and "Islamic terrorists" ..."
"... In other words, the Clinton Administration was "harboring terrorists". Moreover, official statements and intelligence reports confirm links between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001) ..."
"... The ties of these terrorist organizations (particularly those in Asia) to Pakistan's military intelligence (ISI) is acknowledged in a few cases by official sources and press dispatches. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), some of these groups are said to have links to Pakistan's ISI, without identifying the nature of these links. ..."
"... both Richard Armitage and Colin Powell played a role in the 9/11 cover-up. ..."
"... The FBI confirmed in a report made public late September 2001 the role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence. According to the report, the alleged 9-11 ring leader, Mohammed Atta, had been financed from sources out of Pakistan. A subsequent intelligence report confirmed that the then head of the ISI General Mahmoud Ahmad had transferred money to Mohammed Atta. (See Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, op.cit.) ..."
"... Increasingly, the military-intelligence establishment (rather than the State Department, the White House and the US Congress) is calling the shots on US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Texas oil giants, the defense contractors, Wall Street and the powerful media giants, operating discreetly behind the scenes, are pulling the strings. If politicians become a source of major embarrassment, they can themselves be discredited by the media, discarded and a new team of political puppets can be brought to office. ..."
"... The "Criminalization of the State", is when war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide "who are the criminals", when in fact they are criminals. ..."
"... In the US, both Republicans and Democrats share the same war agenda and there are war criminals in both parties. Both parties are complicit in the 9/11 cover-up and the resultant quest for world domination. All the evidence points to what is best described as "the criminalisation of the State", which includes the Judiciary and the bipartisan corridors of the US Congress. ..."
"... Under the war agenda, high ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military, the US Congress and the Judiciary have been granted the authority not only to commit criminal acts, but also to designate those in the antiwar movement who are opposed to these criminal acts as "enemies of the State." ..."
"... More generally, the US military and security apparatus endorses and supports dominant economic and financial interests - i.e. the build-up, as well as the exercise, of military might enforces "free trade". The Pentagon is an arm of Wall Street; NATO coordinates its military operations with the World Bank and the IMF's policy interventions, and vice versa. Consistently, the security and defense bodies of the Western military alliance, together with the various civilian governmental and intergovernmental bureaucracies (e.g. IMF, World Bank, WTO) share a common understanding, ideological consensus and commitment to the New World Order. ..."
Dec 15, 2003 | www.informationclearinghouse.info

Originally published by Global Research (12/15/03)

We are the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history.

The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.

The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are part of a broader military agenda, which was launched at the end of the Cold War. The ongoing war agenda is a continuation of the 1991 Gulf War and the NATO led wars on Yugoslavia (1991-2001).

The post Cold War period has also been marked by numerous US covert intelligence operations within the former Soviet Union, which were instrumental in triggering civil wars in several of the former republics including Chechnya (within the Russian Federation), Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the latter, these covert operations were launched with a view to securing strategic control over oil and gas pipeline corridors.

US military and intelligence operations in the post Cold War era were led in close coordination with the "free market reforms" imposed under IMF guidance in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, which resulted in the destabilization of national economies and the impoverishment of millions of people.

The World Bank sponsored privatization programmes in these countries enabled Western capital to acquire ownership and gain control of a large share of the economy of the former Eastern block countries. This process is also at the basis of the strategic mergers and/or takeovers of the former Soviet oil and gas industry by powerful Western conglomerates, through financial manipulation and corrupt political practices.

In other words, what is at stake in the US led war is the recolonization of a vast region extending from the Balkans into Central Asia.

The deployment of America's war machine purports to enlarge America's economic sphere of influence. The U.S. has established a permanent military presence not only in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has military bases in several of the former Soviet republics on China's Western frontier. In turn, since 1999, there has been a military buildup in the South China Sea.

War and Globalization go hand in hand. Militarization supports the conquest of new economic frontiers and the worldwide imposition of "free market" system.

The Next Phase of the War

The Bush administration has already identified Syria as the next stage of "the road map to war". The bombing of presumed 'terrorist bases' in Syria by the Israeli Air Force in October was intended to provide a justification for subsequent pre-emptive military interventions. Ariel Sharon launched the attacks with the approval of Donald Rumsfeld. (See Gordon Thomas, Global Outlook, No. 6, Winter 2004)

This planned extension of the war into Syria has serious implications. It means that Israel becomes a major military actor in the US-led war, as well as an 'official' member of the Anglo-American coalition.

The Pentagon views 'territorial control' over Syria, which constitutes a land bridge between Israel and occupied Iraq, as 'strategic' from a military and economic standpoint. It also constitutes a means of controlling the Iraqi border and curbing the flow of volunteer fighters, who are traveling to Baghdad to join the Iraqi resistance movement.

This enlargement of the theater of war is consistent with Ariel Sharon's plan to build a 'Greater Israel' "on the ruins of Palestinian nationalism". While Israel seeks to extend its territorial domain towards the Euphrates River, with designated areas of Jewish settlement in the Syrian heartland, Palestinians are imprisoned in Gaza and the West Bank behind an 'Apartheid Wall'.

In the meantime, the US Congress has tightened the economic sanctions on Libya and Iran. As well, Washington is hinting at the need for a 'regime change' in Saudi Arabia. Political pressures are building up in Turkey.

So, the war could indeed spill over into a much broader region extending from the Eastern Mediterranean to the Indian sub-continent and China's Western frontier.

The "Pre-emptive" Use of Nuclear Weapons

Washington has adopted a first strike "pre-emptive" nuclear policy, which has now received congressional approval. Nuclear weapons are no longer a weapon of last resort as during the cold War era.

The US, Britain and Israel have a coordinated nuclear weapons policy. Israeli nuclear warheads are pointed at major cities in the Middle East. The governments of all three countries have stated quite openly, prior to the war on Iraq, that they are prepared to use nuclear weapons "if they are attacked" with so-called "weapons of mass destruction." Israel is the fifth nuclear power in the World. Its nuclear arsenal is more advanced than that of Britain.

Barely a few weeks following the entry of the US Marines into Baghdad, the US Senate Armed Services Committee gave the green light to the Pentagon to develop a new tactical nuclear bomb, to be used in conventional war theaters, "with a yield [of up to] six times more powerful than the Hiroshima bomb".

Following the Senate decision, the Pentagon redefined the details of its nuclear agenda in a secret meeting with senior executives from the nuclear industry and the military industrial complex held at Central Command Headquarters at the Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. The meeting was held on August 6, the day the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, 58 years ago.

The new nuclear policy explicitly involves the large defense contractors in decision-making. It is tantamount to the "privatization" of nuclear war. Corporations not only reap multibillion dollar profits from the production of nuclear bombs, they also have a direct voice in setting the agenda regarding the use and deployment of nuclear weapons.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon has unleashed a major propaganda and public relations campaign with a view to upholding the use nuclear weapons for the "defense of the American Homeland."

Fully endorsed by the US Congress, the mini-nukes are considered to be "safe for civilians".

This new generation of nuclear weapons is slated to be used in the next phase of this war, in "conventional war theatres" (e.g. in the Middle East and Central Asia) alongside conventional weapons. In December 2003, the US Congress allocated $6.3 billion solely for 2004, to develop this new generation of "defensive" nuclear weapons.

The overall annual defense budget is of the order of 400 billion dollars, roughly of the same order of magnitude as the entire Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the Russian Federation.

While there is no firm evidence of the use of mini-nukes in the Iraqi and Afghan war theatres, tests conducted by Canada's Uranium Medical Research Center (UMRC), in Afghanistan confirm that recorded toxic radiation was not attributable to 'heavy metal' depleted uranium ammunition (DU), but to another unidentified form of uranium contamination:

"some form of uranium weapon had been used (...) The results were astounding: the donors presented concentrations of toxic and radioactive uranium isotopes between 100 and 400 times greater than in the Gulf War veterans tested in 1999." www.umrc.net

The Planning of War

The war on Iraq has been in the planning stages at least since the mid-1990s. A 1995 National Security document of the Clinton administration stated quite clearly that the objective of the war is oil. "to protect the United States' uninterrupted, secure U.S. access to oil.

In September 2000, a few months before the accession of George W. Bush to the White House, the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) published its blueprint for global domination under the title: "Rebuilding America's Defenses."

The PNAC is a neo-conservative think tank linked to the Defense-Intelligence establishment, the Republican Party and the powerful Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) which plays a behind-the-scenes role in the formulation of US foreign policy.

The PNAC's declared objective is quite simple - to:

"Fight and decisively win in multiple, simultaneous theater wars".

This statement indicates that the US plans to be involved simultaneously in several war theaters in different regions of the World.

Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney had commissioned the PNAC blueprint prior to the presidential elections.

The PNAC outlines a roadmap of conquest. It calls for "the direct imposition of U.S. "forward bases" throughout Central Asia and the Middle East "with a view to ensuring economic domination of the world, while strangling any potential "rival" or any viable alternative to America's vision of a 'free market' economy" (See Chris Floyd, Bush's Crusade for empire, Global Outlook, No. 6, 2003)

The Role of "Massive Casualty Producing Events"

The PNAC blueprint also outlines a consistent framework of war propaganda. One year before 9/11, the PNAC called for "some catastrophic and catalyzing event, like a new Pearl Harbor," which would serve to galvanize US public opinion in support of a war agenda. (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NAC304A.html )

The PNAC architects seem to have anticipated with cynical accuracy, the use of the September 11 attacks as "a war pretext incident."

The PNAC's reference to a "catastrophic and catalyzing event" echoes a similar statement by David Rockefeller to the United Nations Business Council in 1994:

"We are on the verge of global transformation. All we need is the right major crisis and the nations will accept the New World Order."

Similarly, in the words Zbigniew Brzezinski in his book, The Grand Chessboard:.

" it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus [in America] on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstances of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat."

Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter was one of the key architects of the Al Qaeda network, created by the CIA at the onslaught of the Soviet Afghan war (1979-1989).

The "catastrophic and catalyzing event" as stated by the PNAC is an integral part of US military-intelligence planning. General Franks, who led the military campaign into Iraq, pointed recently (October 2003) to the role of a "massive casualty-producing event" to muster support for the imposition of military rule in America. (See General Tommy Franks calls for Repeal of US Constitution, November 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/EDW311A.html ).

Franks identifies the precise scenario whereby military rule will be established:

"a terrorist, massive, casualty-producing event [will occur] somewhere in the Western world - it may be in the United States of America - that causes our population to question our own Constitution and to begin to militarize our country in order to avoid a repeat of another mass, casualty-producing event." (Ibid)

This statement from an individual, who was actively involved in military and intelligence planning at the highest levels, suggests that the "militarisation of our country" is an ongoing operational assumption. It is part of the broader "Washington consensus". It identifies the Bush administration's "roadmap" of war and "Homeland Defense." Needless to say, it is also an integral part of the neoliberal agenda.

The "terrorist massive casualty-producing event" is presented by General Franks as a crucial political turning point. The resulting crisis and social turmoil are intended to facilitate a major shift in US political, social and institutional structures.

General Franks' statement reflects a consensus within the US Military as to how events ought to unfold. The "war on terrorism" is to provide a justification for repealing the Rule of Law, ultimately with a view to "preserving civil liberties."

Franks' interview suggests that an Al Qaeda sponsored terrorist attack will be used as a "trigger mechanism" for a military coup d'état in America. The PNAC's "Pearl Harbor type event" would be used as a justification for declaring a State of emergency, leading to the establishment of a military government.

In many regards, the militarisation of civilian State institutions in the US is already functional under the facade of a bogus democracy.

War Propaganda

In the wake of the September attacks on the World Trade Center, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld created to the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics:

"The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries -- as an effort to influence public opinion across the world. (Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002.)

And, all of a sudden, the OSI was formally disbanded following political pressures and "troublesome" media stories that "its purpose was to deliberately lie to advance American interests." (Air Force Magazine, January 2003, italics added) "Rumsfeld backed off and said this is embarrassing." (Adubato, op. cit. italics added) Yet despite this apparent about-turn, the Pentagon's Orwellian disinformation campaign remains functionally intact: "[T]he secretary of defense is not being particularly candid here. Disinformation in military propaganda is part of war."(Ibid)

Rumsfeld later confirmed in a press interview that while the OSI no longer exists in name, the "Office's intended functions are being carried out". (Quoted in Federation of American Scientists (FAS) Secrecy News, http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/secrecy/2002/11/112702.html , Rumsfeld's press interview can be consulted at: http://www.fas.org/sgp/news/2002/11/dod111802.html ).

A number of government agencies and intelligence units --with links to the Pentagon-remain actively involved in various components of the propaganda campaign. Realities are turned upside down. Acts of war are heralded as "humanitarian interventions" geared towards "regime change" and "the restoration of democracy". Military occupation and the killing of civilians are presented as "peace-keeping". The derogation of civil liberties --in the context of the so-called "anti-terrorist legislation"-- is portrayed as a means to providing "domestic security" and upholding civil liberties.

The Central Role of Al Qaeda in Bush's National Security Doctrine

Spelled out in the National Security Strategy (NSS), the preemptive "defensive war" doctrine and the "war on terrorism" against Al Qaeda constitute the two essential building blocks of the Pentagon's propaganda campaign.

The objective is to present "preemptive military action" --meaning war as an act of "self-defense" against two categories of enemies, "rogue States" and "Islamic terrorists":

"The war against terrorists of global reach is a global enterprise of uncertain duration. America will act against such emerging threats before they are fully formed.

Rogue states and terrorists do not seek to attack us using conventional means. They know such attacks would fail. Instead, they rely on acts of terror and, potentially, the use of weapons of mass destruction ( )

The targets of these attacks are our military forces and our civilian population, in direct violation of one of the principal norms of the law of warfare. As was demonstrated by the losses on September 11, 2001, mass civilian casualties is the specific objective of terrorists and these losses would be exponentially more severe if terrorists acquired and used weapons of mass destruction.

The United States has long maintained the option of preemptive actions to counter a sufficient threat to our national security. The greater the threat, the greater is the risk of inaction- and the more compelling the case for taking anticipatory action to defend ourselves, ( ). To forestall or prevent such hostile acts by our adversaries, the United States will, if necessary, act preemptively."12 (National Security Strategy, White House, 2002, http://www.whitehouse.gov/nsc/nss.html )

To justify pre-emptive military actions, the National Security Doctrine requires the "fabrication" of a terrorist threat, --ie. "an outside enemy." It also needs to link these terrorist threats to "State sponsorship" by the so-called "rogue states."

But it also means that the various "massive casualty-producing events" allegedly by Al Qaeda (the fabricated enemy) are part of the National Security agenda.

In the months building up to the invasion of Iraq, covert 'dirty tricks' operations were launched to produce misleading intelligence pertaining to both Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and Al Qaeda, which was then fed into the news chain.

In the wake of the war, while the WMD threat has been toned down, Al Qaeda threats to 'the Homeland' continue to be repeated ad nauseam in official statements, commented on network TV and pasted on a daily basis across the news tabloids.

And underlying these manipulated realties, "Osama bin Laden" terrorist occurrences are being upheld as a justification for the next phase of this war. The latter hinges in a very direct way:

1) the effectiveness of the Pentagon-CIA propaganda campaign, which is fed into the news chain.

2) The actual occurrence of "massive casualty producing events" as outlined in the PNAC

What this means is that actual ("massive casualty producing") terrorist events are part and parcel of military planning.

Actual Terrorist Attacks

In other words, to be "effective" the fear and disinformation campaign cannot solely rely on unsubstantiated "warnings" of future attacks, it also requires "real" terrorist occurrences or "incidents", which provide credibility to the Washington's war plans. These terrorist events are used to justify the implementation of "emergency measures" as well as "retaliatory military actions". They are required, in the present context, to create the illusion of "an outside enemy" that is threatening the American Homeland.

The triggering of "war pretext incidents" is part of the Pentagon's assumptions. In fact it is an integral part of US military history.(See Richard Sanders, War Pretext Incidents, How to Start a War, Global Outlook, published in two parts, Issues 2 and 3, 2002-2003).

In 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff had envisaged a secret plan entitled "Operation Northwoods", to deliberately trigger civilian casualties to justify the invasion of Cuba:

"We could blow up a U.S. ship in Guantanamo Bay and blame Cuba," "We could develop a Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington" "casualty lists in U.S. newspapers would cause a helpful wave of national indignation." (See the declassified Top Secret 1962 document titled "Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba"16 (See Operation Northwoods at http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/NOR111A.html ).

There is no evidence that the Pentagon or the CIA played a direct role in recent terrorist attacks, including those in Indonesia (2002), India (2001), Turkey (2003) and Saudi Arabia (2003).

According to the reports, the attacks were undertaken by organizations (or cells of these organizations), which operate quite independently, with a certain degree of autonomy. This independence is in the very nature of a covert intelligence operation. The "intelligence asset" is not in direct contact with its covert sponsors. It is not necessarily cognizant of the role it plays on behalf of its intelligence sponsors.

The fundamental question is who is behind them? Through what sources are they being financed? What is the underlying network of ties?

For instance, in the case of the 2002 Bali bomb attack, the alleged terrorist organization Jemaah Islamiah had links to Indonesia's military intelligence (BIN), which in turn has links to the CIA and Australian intelligence.

The December 2001 terrorist attacks on the Indian Parliament --which contributed to pushing India and Pakistan to the brink of war-- were allegedly conducted by two Pakistan-based rebel groups, Lashkar-e-Taiba ("Army of the Pure") and Jaish-e-Muhammad ("Army of Mohammed"), both of which according to the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) are supported by Pakistan's ISI. (Council on Foreign Relations at http://www.terrorismanswers.com/groups/harakat2.html , Washington 2002).

What the CFR fails to acknowledge is the crucial relationship between the ISI and the CIA and the fact that the ISI continues to support Lashkar, Jaish and the militant Jammu and Kashmir Hizbul Mujahideen (JKHM), while also collaborating with the CIA. (For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Fabricating an Enemy, March 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO301B.html )

A 2002 classified outbrief drafted to guide the Pentagon "calls for the creation of a so-called 'Proactive, Pre-emptive Operations Group' (P2OG), to launch secret operations aimed at "stimulating reactions" among terrorists and states possessing weapons of mass destruction -- that is, for instance, prodding terrorist cells into action and exposing themselves to 'quick-response' attacks by U.S. forces." (William Arkin, The Secret War, The Los Angeles Times, 27 October 2002)

The P2OG initiative is nothing new. It essentially extends an existing apparatus of covert operations. Amply documented, the CIA has supported terrorist groups since the Cold War era. This "prodding of terrorist cells" under covert intelligence operations often requires the infiltration and training of the radical groups linked to Al Qaeda.

In this regard, covert support by the US military and intelligence apparatus has been channeled to various Islamic terrorist organizations through a complex network of intermediaries and intelligence proxies. In the course of the 1990s, agencies of the US government have collaborated with Al Qaeda in a number of covert operations, as confirmed by a 1997 report of the Republican Party Committee of the US Congress. (See US Congress, 16 January 1997, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/DCH109A.html ). In fact during the war in Bosnia US weapons inspectors were working with Al Qaeda operatives, bringing in large amounts of weapons for the Bosnian Muslim Army.

In other words, the Clinton Administration was "harboring terrorists". Moreover, official statements and intelligence reports confirm links between US military-intelligence units and Al Qaeda operatives, as occurred in Bosnia (mid 1990s), Kosovo (1998-99) and Macedonia (2001).(See See Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalisation, The Truth behind September 11, Global Outlook, 2003, Chapter 3, http://globalresearch.ca/globaloutlook/truth911.html )

The Bush Administration and NATO had links to Al Qaeda in Macedonia. And this happened barely a few weeks before September 11, 2001, Senior U.S. military advisers from a private mercenary outfit on contract to the Pentagon, were fighting alongside Mujahideen in the terrorist attacks on the Macedonian Security forces. This is documented by the Macedonian press and statements made by the Macedonian authorities. (See Michel Chossudovsky, op cit). The U.S. government and the Islamic Militant Network were working hand in glove in supporting and financing the National Liberation Army (NLA), which was involved in the terrorist attacks in Macedonia.

In other words, the US military was collaborating directly with Al Qaeda barely a few weeks before 9/11.

Al Qaeda and Pakistan's Military Intelligence (ISI)

It is indeed revealing that in virtually all post 9/11 terrorist occurrences, the terrorist organization is reported (by the media and in official statements) as having "ties to Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda". This in itself is a crucial piece of information. Of course, the fact that Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA is neither mentioned in the press reports nor is it considered relevant to an understanding of these terrorist occurrences.

The ties of these terrorist organizations (particularly those in Asia) to Pakistan's military intelligence (ISI) is acknowledged in a few cases by official sources and press dispatches. Confirmed by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), some of these groups are said to have links to Pakistan's ISI, without identifying the nature of these links. Needless to say, this information is crucial in identifying the sponsors of these terrorist attacks. In other words, the ISI is said to support these terrorist organizations, while at same time maintaining close ties to the CIA.

September 11

While Colin Powell --without supporting evidence-pointed in his February 2003 UN address to "the sinister nexus between Iraq and the Al Qaeda terrorist network", official documents, press and intelligence reports confirm that successive US administrations have supported and abetted the Islamic militant network. This relationship is an established fact, corroborated by numerous studies, acknowledged by Washington's mainstream think tanks.

Both Colin Powell and his Deputy Richard Armitage, who in the months leading up to the war casually accused Baghdad and other foreign governments of "harboring" Al Qaeda, played a direct role, at different points in their careers, in supporting terrorist organizations.

Both men were implicated --operating behind the scenes-- in the Irangate Contra scandal during the Reagan Administration, which involved the illegal sale of weapons to Iran to finance the Nicaraguan Contra paramilitary army and the Afghan Mujahideen. (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, Expose the Links between Al Qaeda and the Bush Administration, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO303D.html )

Moreover, both Richard Armitage and Colin Powell played a role in the 9/11 cover-up. The investigations and research conducted in the last two years, including official documents, testimonies and intelligence reports, indicate that September 11 was an carefully planned intelligence operation, rather than a act conducted by a terrorist organization. (For further details, see Centre for Research on Globalization, 24 Key articles, September 2003)

The FBI confirmed in a report made public late September 2001 the role of Pakistan's Military Intelligence. According to the report, the alleged 9-11 ring leader, Mohammed Atta, had been financed from sources out of Pakistan. A subsequent intelligence report confirmed that the then head of the ISI General Mahmoud Ahmad had transferred money to Mohammed Atta. (See Michel Chossudovsky, War and Globalization, op.cit.)

Moreover, press reports and official statements confirm that the head of the ISI, was an official visit to the US from the 4th to 13th of September 2001. In other words, the head of Pakistan's ISI, who allegedly transferred money to the terrorists also had a close personal relationship with a number of senior Bush Administration officials, including Colin Powell, CIA Director George Tenet and Deputy Secretary Richard Armitage, whom he met in the course of his visit to Washington. (Ibid)

The Antiwar Movement

A cohesive antiwar movement cannot be based solely on the mobilization of antiwar sentiment. It must ultimately unseat the war criminals and question their right to rule.

A necessary condition for bringing down the rulers is to weaken and eventually dismantle their propaganda campaign.

The momentum of the large anti-war rallies in the US, the European Union and around the world, should lay the foundations of a permanent network composed of tens of thousands of local level anti-war committees in neighborhoods, work places, parishes, schools, universities, etc. It is ultimately through this network that the legitimacy of those who "rule in our name" will be challenged.

To shunt the Bush Administration's war plans and disable its propaganda machine, we must reach out to our fellow citizens across the land, in the US, Europe and around the world, to the millions of ordinary people who have been misled on the causes and consequences of this war.

This also implies fully uncovering the lies behind the "war on terrorism" and revealing the political complicity of the Bush administration in the events of 9/11.

September 11 is a hoax. It's the biggest lie in US history.

Needless to say, the use of "massive casualty producing events" as pretext to wage war is a criminal act. In the words of Andreas van Buelow, former German Minister of Technology and author of The CIA and September 11:

"If what I say is right, the whole US government should end up behind bars."

Yet it is not sufficient to remove George W. Bush or Tony Blair, who are mere puppets. We must also address the role of the global banks, corporations and financial institutions, which indelibly stand behind the military and political actors.

Increasingly, the military-intelligence establishment (rather than the State Department, the White House and the US Congress) is calling the shots on US foreign policy. Meanwhile, the Texas oil giants, the defense contractors, Wall Street and the powerful media giants, operating discreetly behind the scenes, are pulling the strings. If politicians become a source of major embarrassment, they can themselves be discredited by the media, discarded and a new team of political puppets can be brought to office.

Criminalization of the State

The "Criminalization of the State", is when war criminals legitimately occupy positions of authority, which enable them to decide "who are the criminals", when in fact they are criminals.

In the US, both Republicans and Democrats share the same war agenda and there are war criminals in both parties. Both parties are complicit in the 9/11 cover-up and the resultant quest for world domination. All the evidence points to what is best described as "the criminalisation of the State", which includes the Judiciary and the bipartisan corridors of the US Congress.

Under the war agenda, high ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military, the US Congress and the Judiciary have been granted the authority not only to commit criminal acts, but also to designate those in the antiwar movement who are opposed to these criminal acts as "enemies of the State."

More generally, the US military and security apparatus endorses and supports dominant economic and financial interests - i.e. the build-up, as well as the exercise, of military might enforces "free trade". The Pentagon is an arm of Wall Street; NATO coordinates its military operations with the World Bank and the IMF's policy interventions, and vice versa. Consistently, the security and defense bodies of the Western military alliance, together with the various civilian governmental and intergovernmental bureaucracies (e.g. IMF, World Bank, WTO) share a common understanding, ideological consensus and commitment to the New World Order.

To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems like WMDs) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled. More generally we must reverse the "free market" reforms, dismantle the institutions of global capitalism and disarm financial markets.

The struggle must be broad-based and democratic encompassing all sectors of society at all levels, in all countries, uniting in a major thrust: workers, farmers, independent producers, small businesses, professionals, artists, civil servants, members of the clergy, students and intellectuals.

The antiwar and anti-globalisation movements must be integrated into a single worldwide movement. People must be united across sectors, "single issue" groups must join hands in a common and collective understanding on how the New World Order destroys and impoverishes.

The globalization of this struggle is fundamental, requiring a degree of solidarity and internationalism unprecedented in world history. This global economic system feeds on social divisiveness between and within countries. Unity of purpose and worldwide coordination among diverse groups and social movements is crucial. A major thrust is required which brings together social movements in all major regions of the world in a common pursuit and commitment to the elimination of poverty and a lasting world peace.

Copyright Michel Chossudovsky 2003

[Jul 14, 2017] Ignore the Haters. Russia Is Not Our Enemy

Notable quotes:
"... The Washington Post ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | reason.com
The intelligence and military leakers and Trump's political enemies believe friendly relations with Vladimir Putin's government are dangerous. But since Russia can annihilate our country, the greater danger is not engaging with Putin.

The anti-Russia hyperventilation covers the political spectrum. Republican Sen. John McCain told an interviewer that Putin is a greater threat than ISIS, accusing Russia of trying to change election results in America, France and elsewhere. But Putin's regime is not decapitating or urging lone wolves to massacre Americans on US soil. And as for Russian manipulation, the pro-Russian candidate Marine LePen was crushed in the May presidential election in France.

Democrat Hillary Clinton accused the Trump campaign of conspiring with Russia to "weaponize" leaked information against her with the WikiLeaks' dump of John Podesta email messages. Clinton's collusion assertion is based on her questionable assumption that WikiLeaks is an agent of Russia. Since WikiLeaks operates out of an embassy in London, one might expect our British allies to have leaked Putin's instructions to Julian Assange by now.

McCain, Clinton and others are amplifying the US intelligence community's public indictment of Russia for election meddling during the closing days of the Obama administration. That report also claims that Russian agents hacked Podesta's email and released them through WikiLeaks, but does not provide hard evidence.

Intelligence community assertions should be treated with skepticism. After all, this community concluded in 2002 that Saddam Hussein had WMD's. Further, a senior member of the intelligence community, James Clapper, lied to Congress in 2013 when he denied that the NSA collects data on Americans.

Even assuming the allegations are true, they do not lead to the immediate conclusion that Russia is an enemy. Friendly countries spy on one another and try to influence each other's elections all the time. President Obama called on British voters to reject Brexit, and the NSA appears to have bugged German Prime Minister Angela Merkel's mobile phone.

Israel spies on the US and tries to influence our elections. Jonathan Pollard's espionage "has few parallels" according to the CIA , which concluded he had "put at risk important U.S. intelligence and foreign policy interests." In 2012, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attempted to scuttle President Obama's re-election effort.

Most of the intelligence community memo focuses on the activities of RT, a Russian media group that operates a cable news channel, a web site and social media properties in the US. RT is accused of spreading propaganda and fake news that impacted our election. But such media are neither new nor unique to Russia.

Our Voice of America, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and other state media have been around for decades. Among the personalities on RT America are Larry King, Jesse Ventura, and former Air America hosts Thom Hartmann and Ed Schultz – none of whom appear to be stooges for Vladimir Putin. Further, as Simon van Zuylen-Wood noted in his excellent overview of RT , the network "is watched by so few people that Nielsen doesn't bother to publish its ratings."

To be sure, Putin has some very undemocratic inclinations. But the US has maintained and continues to maintain friendly relations with despotic nations. President Richard Nixon visited China in 1971, not long after Mao Zedong killed tens of millions of people with his Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution. Today, there is widespread support for friendly relations with Saudi Arabia – an undemocratic nation that stones women to death for adultery.

It is also true that Russia is a rival for influence on the world stage. This perhaps is why our generals, intelligence operatives, representatives, think tanks and the media so dislike Putin. While the foreign affairs intelligentsia views the world as a power-playing chessboard, this approach to geopolitics is contrary to the interests of ordinary Americans who don't benefit from international conflicts.

When President Trump met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak in the oval office a few weeks ago, he shared intelligence about a plot by Syrian-based ISIS operatives to place laptop bombs on civilian airplanes. Russia's presence in Syria may have helped thwart this plot. And it had an incentive to do so: ISIS previously downed a Russian civilian airliner in the Sinai Desert.

As president, Donald Trump has the legal right to declassify the intelligence. But some unelected bureaucrat in the US national security establishment decided that Trump's actions were inappropriate and leaked the story to The Washington Post . It is possible the leak alerted ISIS that its plot had been compromised, encouraging the terrorists to protect their bomb-building efforts from further scrutiny. The potential victims of this leak are civilian passengers of US airlines – the presumed target of the ISIS plot.

Russia also provided intelligence that, had it been handled properly by the FBI, could have prevented the Tsarnaev brothers from bombing the Boston marathon.

Rather than cooperating, however, the national security establishment not only seeks conflict with Russia, it looks for enemies around the world. Hostilities provide lucrative contracts and a sense of mission to those advancing them – but imposes huge costs on the rest of us. US troops are now engaged in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Somalia.

Worldwide warfare has driven national security spending toward $1 trillion a year. With a national debt approaching $20 trillion, this is a financial cost our country can ill afford. And since 2001, the US has suffered almost 7,000 deaths and over 52,000 wounded in foreign hostilities.

Democrats 50 years ago were peace organizers, fired by Martin Luther King's condemnation of the Vietnam War. And Barack Obama won the presidency promising to withdraw from Iraq.

But in their desire to rid the White House of Donald Trump, Democrats have forsaken their anti-war heritage. Instead, they are teaming up with Republican hawks and the Deep State to drive a wedge between the US and Russia.

Libertarians are the logical champions of peace and prosperity, but some have expressed sympathy for coercive US government actions to counter Russian influence. These include targeted sanctions and funding for groups in Eastern Europe that supposedly promote liberal democracy.

Although portrayed as a penalty on foreign powers, sanctions prevent US individuals and companies and individuals from doing business with those countries. A new Senate bill, S.722 , prevents US companies from working on gas pipelines between Russia and Western Europe. The bill also appropriates $500 million of US taxpayer money to a "Countering Russian Influence Fund," to be spent in Eastern Europe. The legislative language lists six possible uses for this money which sound good, but are vague and open to broad interpretation.

Libertarians recognize the state usually abuses the powers we give it. We should never advocate for restrictions on trade or appropriation of tax money for so-called democracy promotion. Peace and non-interventionism are core tenets of libertarianism that too many self-identified libertarians seem to forget. We must avoid repeating the mistakes we made in the runup to the Iraq War.

Regardless of one's position on Trump, Congress has not declared war on Russia. Russia has not invaded us. Russia is not our enemy.

[Jul 14, 2017] Russia Baiters and Putin Haters

Notable quotes:
"... "Is Russia an enemy of the United States?" NBC's Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, "Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug." ..."
"... "Why Russia is a Hostile Power" is the title of today's editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city: "Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy." ..."
"... Bush I and James Baker even accused Ukrainians of "suicidal nationalism" for contemplating independence from Russia. ..."
"... As for favoring "repression over democracy," would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history? ..."
"... Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don't bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally ! kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia. ..."
"... When the Cold War ended in December 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved into 15 nations. Moscow had given up her empire, a third of her territory, and half the population of the USSR. Marxist-Leninist ideology was dead. An epochal change had taken place. ..."
"... Yet hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin seem to exceed anything some of us remember from the worst days of the Cold War. ..."
"... Putin's Russia is called imperialist, though Estonia, next door, which Russia could swallow in one gulp, has been free for 25 years. ..."
"... Russia invaded Georgia. Well, yes, after Georgia invaded the seceded province of South Ossetia and killed Russian peacekeepers. ..."
"... Russia has taken back Crimea from Ukraine. True, but only after a U.S.-backed coup in Kiev replaced the elected pro-Russian regime. ..."
"... Russia has intervened to back Bashar Assad in Syria. Yes, but only after our insurgent allies collaborated with al-Qaida and ISIS to bring him down. Is Russia not allowed to support an ally, recognized by the U.N., which provides its only naval base on the Med? ..."
"... As big a clown as Trump is, just about everybody else in DC are proving to be even bigger clowns. ..."
"... Vladimir Putin is not a thug. The real political thugs reside in Congress such as McCain, Graham, Cruz, Pelosi, Schumer, just to name a few, and not to speak of the heads of the CIA, NSA and the other criminal organizations. ..."
"... Russiaphobia and Putin-hatred have reached unimaginable proportions within the Beltway. The Hartland America, however, couldn't care less. The whole Russian bashing is hypocritical and just disgusting. ..."
"... The entire Russian meddling-business is a media-spin. 95 per cent of it is anti-Trump and pro-Clinton and Obama. Didn't the US government intervene massively in the Yeltsin reelection? So far, not a single evidence proves Russian involvement in the US election. It's all baloney. ..."
"... The real reason for the Putin-bashing lies in his actions taken after he succeeds the criminal and corrupt Yeltsin gang. During the fateful 10-year term as Russia's president, an unprecedented robbery by a mafia-style network composed of the CIA, George Soros, and his Harvard-Boys together with the KGB and the Yeltsin-clan took place. ..."
"... After Putin had become President, he stopped the plundering of Russia at once and started to rebuild Russia from the scratch to its relatively political important role in international affairs. Without the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the greatest disaster, the US political class could not act so recklessly and turn the Middle East into chaos. ..."
"... Perhaps the thugs in Washington should put their own house in order before slinging mud at other heads of state! ..."
Jul 14, 2017 | www.unz.com

"Is Russia an enemy of the United States?" NBC's Kasie Hunt demanded of Ted Cruz. Replied the runner-up for the GOP nomination, "Russia is a significant adversary. Putin is a KGB thug."

To Hillary Clinton running mate Tim Kaine, the revelation that Donald Trump Jr., entertained an offer from the Russians for dirt on Clinton could be considered "treason."

Treason is giving aid and comfort to an enemy in a time of war.

Are we really at war with Russia? Is Russia really our enemy?

"Why Russia is a Hostile Power" is the title of today's editorial in The Washington Post that seeks to explain why Middle America should embrace the Russophobia of our capital city: "Vladimir Putin adheres to a set of values that are antithetical to bedrock American values. He favors spheres of influence over self-determination; corruption over transparency; and repression over democracy."

Yet, accommodating a sphere of influence for a great power is exactly what FDR and Churchill did with Stalin, and every president from Truman to George H. W. Bush did with the Soviet Union.

When East Germans, Hungarians, Czechs, Poles rose up against Communist regimes, no U.S. president intervened. For those nations were on the other side of the Yalta line agreed to in 1945.

Bush I and James Baker even accused Ukrainians of "suicidal nationalism" for contemplating independence from Russia.

When did support for spheres of influence become un-American?

As for supporting "corruption over transparency," ex-Georgia President Mikheil Saakashvili resigned in disgust as governor of Odessa in November, accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, our man in Kiev, of supporting corruption.

As for favoring "repression over democracy," would that not apply to our NATO ally President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi of Egypt, and our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte? Were U.S. Cold War allies like the Shah of Iran and Gen. Augusto Pinochet of Chile all Jeffersonian Democrats? Have we forgotten our recent history?

The Post brought up the death in prison of lawyer-activist Sergei Magnitsky in 2009. Under the Magnitsky Act of 2012, Congress voted sanctions on Russia's elites.

Yet China's lone Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Liu Xiaobo, sentenced to 11 years in prison for championing democracy, died Thursday of liver cancer, with police in his hospital room. Communist dictator Xi Jinping, who makes Putin look like Justin Trudeau, would not let the dying man go.

Will Magnitsky Act sanctions be slammed on China? Don't bet on it. Too much trade. Congress will do what comes naturally ! kowtow. Yet our heroic Senate voted 98-2 to slam new sanctions on Russia.

What are the roots of this hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin, whom a Fox analyst called "as bad as Hitler"?

During the Cold War, every president sought detente with a USSR that was arguably the most blood-soaked regime of the century.

When the Cold War ended in December 1991, the Soviet Union had dissolved into 15 nations. Moscow had given up her empire, a third of her territory, and half the population of the USSR. Marxist-Leninist ideology was dead. An epochal change had taken place.

Yet hostility to Russia and hatred of Putin seem to exceed anything some of us remember from the worst days of the Cold War.

... ... ...

Thirdeye , July 14, 2017 at 5:29 am GMT

As big a clown as Trump is, just about everybody else in DC are proving to be even bigger clowns.

Ludwig Watzal , Website July 14, 2017 at 5:48 am GMT

Vladimir Putin is not a thug. The real political thugs reside in Congress such as McCain, Graham, Cruz, Pelosi, Schumer, just to name a few, and not to speak of the heads of the CIA, NSA and the other criminal organizations.

Russiaphobia and Putin-hatred have reached unimaginable proportions within the Beltway. The Hartland America, however, couldn't care less. The whole Russian bashing is hypocritical and just disgusting.

The entire Russian meddling-business is a media-spin. 95 per cent of it is anti-Trump and pro-Clinton and Obama. Didn't the US government intervene massively in the Yeltsin reelection? So far, not a single evidence proves Russian involvement in the US election. It's all baloney.

The real reason for the Putin-bashing lies in his actions taken after he succeeds the criminal and corrupt Yeltsin gang. During the fateful 10-year term as Russia's president, an unprecedented robbery by a mafia-style network composed of the CIA, George Soros, and his Harvard-Boys together with the KGB and the Yeltsin-clan took place.

After Putin had become President, he stopped the plundering of Russia at once and started to rebuild Russia from the scratch to its relatively political important role in international affairs. Without the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the greatest disaster, the US political class could not act so recklessly and turn the Middle East into chaos.

Perhaps the thugs in Washington should put their own house in order before slinging mud at other heads of state!

Renoman , July 14, 2017 at 8:43 am GMT

Russia is no threat, America is the threat. The past is gone, trade with them, make deals, take their money and leave them alone. Grow up!

El Dato , July 14, 2017 at 9:47 am GMT

A disturbing item on the Magnitsky Thing: How Russia-gate Met the Magnitsky Myth

While I do think that property rights are often roadkill of the Russian Oligarchic and State 4x4s, there seem to be heard the loud banging sounds of construction behind the Magnitsky act.

El Dato , July 14, 2017 at 10:52 am GMT

Tucker Carlson does a Death Star Trench Run on Ralph Peters, so-called "military expert" and Max Boot, Nazi detector extraordinaire:

Tucker Carlson, Neocon Slayer: He scores two takedowns in two days

Also drills into Democratic Congresscritter David Cicilline:

'Punish Russians for having RT?' Fox News host slams US senator over 'Russian propaganda'

Fun on Fox, who would have thunk it?

Avery , July 14, 2017 at 12:27 pm GMT

@Ludwig Watzal

Vladimir Putin is not a thug. The real political thugs reside in Congress such as McCain, Graham, Cruz, Pelosi, Schumer, just to name a few, and not to speak of the heads of the CIA, NSA and the other criminal organizations.

Russiaphobia and Putin-hatred have reached unimaginable proportions within the Beltway. The Hartland America, however, couldn't care less. The whole Russian bashing is hypocritical and just disgusting.

The entire Russian meddling-business is a media-spin. 95 per cent of it is anti-Trump and pro-Clinton and Obama. Didn't the US government intervene massively in the Yeltsin reelection? So far, not a single evidence proves Russian involvement in the US election. It's all baloney.

The real reason for the Putin-bashing lies in his actions taken after he succeeds the criminal and corrupt Yeltsin gang. During the fateful 10-year term as Russia's president, an unprecedented robbery by a mafia-style network composed of the CIA, George Soros, and his Harvard-Boys together with the KGB and the Yeltsin-clan took place.

After Putin had become President, he stopped the plundering of Russia at once and started to rebuild Russia from the scratch to its relatively political important role in international affairs. Without the collapse of the Soviet Union, which was the greatest disaster, the US political class could not act so recklessly and turn the Middle East into chaos.

Perhaps the thugs in Washington should put their own house in order before slinging mud at other heads of state!

Well said.

btw: US has been meddling – and then some – in foreign elections for decades. The one that immediately comes to mind is Operation Ajax (1953), the combined US & UK coup against the _democratically_ elected Iranian government of Mosaddegh .

[Jul 13, 2017] Progressive Democrats Resist and Submit, Retreat and Surrender by James Petras

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" ..."
"... Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: " Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'. ..."
"... Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints. ..."
"... Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more! ..."
"... Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen! ..."
"... Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party. ..."
"... This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary. ..."
"... Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.) ..."
"... Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches. ..."
"... They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. ..."
"... Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act ..."
Jul 10, 2017 | www.unz.com

Introduction

Over the past quarter century progressive writers, activists and academics have followed a trajectory from left to right – with each presidential campaign seeming to move them further to the right. Beginning in the 1990's progressives mobilized millions in opposition to wars, voicing demands for the transformation of the US's corporate for-profit medical system into a national 'Medicare For All' public program. They condemned the notorious Wall Street swindlers and denounced police state legislation and violence. But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Over time this political contrast between program and practice led to the transformation of the Progressives. And what we see today are US progressives embracing and promoting the politics of the far right.

To understand this transformation we will begin by identifying who and what the progressives are and describe their historical role. We will then proceed to identify their trajectory over the recent decades.

Progressives by Name and Posture

Progressives purport to embrace 'progress', the growth of the economy, the enrichment of society and freedom from arbitrary government. Central to the Progressive agenda was the end of elite corruption and good governance, based on democratic procedures.

Progressives prided themselves as appealing to 'reason, diplomacy and conciliation', not brute force and wars. They upheld the sovereignty of other nations and eschewed militarism and armed intervention.

Progressives proposed a vision of their fellow citizens pursuing incremental evolution toward the 'good society', free from the foreign entanglements, which had entrapped the people in unjust wars.

Progressives in Historical Perspective

In the early part of the 20th century, progressives favored political equality while opposing extra-parliamentary social transformations. They supported gender equality and environmental preservation while failing to give prominence to the struggles of workers and African Americans.

They denounced militarism 'in general' but supported a series of 'wars to end all wars' . Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas. By the middle of the 20th century, different strands emerged under the progressive umbrella. Progressives split between traditional good government advocates and modernists who backed socio-economic reforms, civil liberties and rights.

Progressives supported legislation to regulate monopolies, encouraged collective bargaining and defended the Bill of Rights.

Progressives opposed wars and militarism in theory until their government went to war.

Lacking an effective third political party, progressives came to see themselves as the 'left wing' of the Democratic Party, allies of labor and civil rights movements and defenders of civil liberties.

Progressives joined civil rights leaders in marches, but mostly relied on legal and electoral means to advance African American rights.

Progressives played a pivotal role in fighting McCarthyism, though ultimately it was the Secretary of the Army and the military high command that brought Senator McCarthy to his knees.

Progressives provided legal defense when the social movements disrupted the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

They popularized the legislative arguments that eventually outlawed segregation, but it was courageous Afro-American leaders heading mass movements that won the struggle for integration and civil rights.

In many ways the Progressives complemented the mass struggles, but their limits were defined by the constraints of their membership in the Democratic Party.

The alliance between Progressives and social movements peaked in the late sixties to mid-1970's when the Progressives followed the lead of dynamic and advancing social movements and community organizers especially in opposition to the wars in Indochina and the military draft.

The Retreat of the Progressives

By the late 1970's the Progressives had cut their anchor to the social movements, as the anti-war, civil rights and labor movements lost their impetus (and direction).

The numbers of progressives within the left wing of the Democratic Party increased through recruitment from earlier social movements. Paradoxically, while their 'numbers' were up, their caliber had declined, as they sought to 'fit in' with the pro-business, pro-war agenda of their President's party.

Without the pressure of the 'populist street' the 'Progressives-turned-Democrats' adapted to the corporate culture in the Party. The Progressives signed off on a fatal compromise: The corporate elite secured the electoral party while the Progressives were allowed to write enlightened manifestos about the candidates and their programs . . . which were quickly dismissed once the Democrats took office. Yet the ability to influence the 'electoral rhetoric' was seen by the Progressives as a sufficient justification for remaining inside the Democratic Party.

Moreover the Progressives argued that by strengthening their presence in the Democratic Party, (their self-proclaimed 'boring from within' strategy), they would capture the party membership, neutralize the pro-corporation, militarist elements that nominated the president and peacefully transform the party into a 'vehicle for progressive changes'.

Upon their successful 'deep penetration' the Progressives, now cut off from the increasingly disorganized mass social movements, coopted and bought out many prominent black, labor and civil liberty activists and leaders, while collaborating with what they dubbed the more malleable 'centrist' Democrats. These mythical creatures were really pro-corporate Democrats who condescended to occasionally converse with the Progressives while working for the Wall Street and Pentagon elite.

The Retreat of the Progressives: The Clinton Decade

Progressives adapted the 'crab strategy': Moving side-ways and then backwards but never forward.

Progressives mounted candidates in the Presidential primaries, which were predictably defeated by the corporate Party apparatus, and then submitted immediately to the outcome. The election of President 'Bill' Clinton launched a period of unrestrained financial plunder, major wars of aggression in Europe (Yugoslavia) and the Middle East (Iraq), a military intervention in Somalia and secured Israel's victory over any remnant of a secular Palestinian leadership as well as its destruction of Lebanon!

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act, thereby opening the floodgates for massive speculation on Wall Street through the previously regulated banking sector. When President Clinton gutted welfare programs, forcing single mothers to take minimum-wage jobs without provision for safe childcare, millions of poor white and minority women were forced to abandon their children to dangerous makeshift arrangements in order to retain any residual public support and access to minimal health care. Progressives looked the other way.

Progressives followed Clinton's deep throated thrust toward the far right, as he outsourced manufacturing jobs to Mexico (NAFTA) and re-appointed Federal Reserve's free market, Ayn Rand-fanatic, Alan Greenspan.

Progressives repeatedly kneeled before President Clinton marking their submission to the Democrats' 'hard right' policies.

The election of Republican President G. W. Bush (2001-2009) permitted Progressive's to temporarily trot out and burnish their anti-war, anti-Wall Street credentials. Out in the street, they protested Bush's savage invasion of Iraq (but not the destruction of Afghanistan). They protested the media reports of torture in Abu Ghraib under Bush, but not the massive bombing and starvation of millions of Iraqis that had occurred under Clinton. Progressives protested the expulsion of immigrants from Mexico and Central America, but were silent over the brutal uprooting of refugees resulting from US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or the systematic destruction of their nations' infrastructure.

Progressives embraced Israel's bombing, jailing and torture of Palestinians by voting unanimously in favor of increasing the annual $3 billion dollar military handouts to the brutal Jewish State. They supported Israel's bombing and slaughter in Lebanon.

Progressives were in retreat, but retained a muffled voice and inconsequential vote in favor of peace, justice and civil liberties. They kept a certain distance from the worst of the police state decrees by the Republican Administration.

Progressives and Obama: From Retreat to Surrender

While Progressives maintained their tepid commitment to civil liberties, and their highly 'leveraged' hopes for peace in the Middle East, they jumped uncritically into the highly choreographed Democratic Party campaign for Barack Obama, 'Wall Street's First Black President'.

Progressives had given up their quest to 'realign' the Democratic Party 'from within': they turned from serious tourism to permanent residency. Progressives provided the foot soldiers for the election and re-election of the warmongering 'Peace Candidate' Obama. After the election, Progressives rushed to join the lower echelons of his Administration. Black and white politicos joined hands in their heroic struggle to erase the last vestiges of the Progressives' historical legacy.

Obama increased the number of Bush-era imperial wars to attacking seven weak nations under American's 'First Black' President's bombardment, while the Progressives ensured that the streets were quiet and empty.

When Obama provided trillions of dollars of public money to rescue Wall Street and the bankers, while sacrificing two million poor and middle class mortgage holders, the Progressives only criticized the bankers who received the bailout, but not Obama's Presidential decision to protect and reward the mega-swindlers.

Under the Obama regime social inequalities within the United States grew at an unprecedented rate. The Police State Patriot Act was massively extended to give President Obama the power to order the assassination of US citizens abroad without judicial process. The Progressives did not resign when Obama's 'kill orders' extended to the 'mistaken' murder of his target's children and other family member, as well as unidentified bystanders. The icon carriers still paraded their banner of the 'first black American President' when tens of thousands of black Libyans and immigrant workers were slaughtered in his regime-change war against President Gadhafi.

Obama surpassed the record of all previous Republican office holders in terms of the massive numbers of immigrant workers arrested and expelled – 2 million. Progressives applauded the Latino protestors while supporting the policies of their 'first black President'.

Progressive accepted that multiple wars, Wall Street bailouts and the extended police state were now the price they would pay to remain part of the "Democratic coalition' (sic).

The deeper the Progressives swilled at the Democratic Party trough, the more they embraced the Obama's free market agenda and the more they ignored the increasing impoverishment, exploitation and medical industry-led opioid addiction of American workers that was shortening their lives. Under Obama, the Progressives totally abandoned the historic American working class, accepting their degradation into what Madam Hillary Clinton curtly dismissed as the 'deplorables'.

With the Obama Presidency, the Progressive retreat turned into a rout, surrendering with one flaccid caveat: the Democratic Party 'Socialist' Bernie Sanders, who had voted 90% of the time with the Corporate Party, had revived a bastardized military-welfare state agenda.

Sander's Progressive demagogy shouted and rasped on the campaign trail, beguiling the young electorate. The 'Bernie' eventually 'sheep-dogged' his supporters into the pro-war Democratic Party corral. Sanders revived an illusion of the pre-1990 progressive agenda, promising resistance while demanding voter submission to Wall Street warlord Hillary Clinton. After Sanders' round up of the motley progressive herd, he staked them tightly to the far-right Wall Street war mongering Hillary Clinton. The Progressives not only embraced Madame Secretary Clinton's nuclear option and virulent anti-working class agenda, they embellished it by focusing on Republican billionaire Trump's demagogic, nationalist, working class rhetoric which was designed to agitate 'the deplorables'. They even turned on the working class voters, dismissing them as 'irredeemable' racists and illiterates or 'white trash' when they turned to support Trump in massive numbers in the 'fly-over' states of the central US.

Progressives, allied with the police state, the mass media and the war machine worked to defeat and impeach Trump. Progressives surrendered completely to the Democratic Party and started to advocate its far right agenda. Hysterical McCarthyism against anyone who questioned the Democrats' promotion of war with Russia, mass media lies and manipulation of street protest against Republican elected officials became the centerpieces of the Progressive agenda. The working class and farmers had disappeared from their bastardized 'identity-centered' ideology.

Guilt by association spread throughout Progressive politics. Progressives embraced J. Edgar Hoover's FBI tactics: "Have you ever met or talked to any Russian official or relative of any Russian banker, or any Russian or even read Gogol, now or in the past?" For progressives, 'Russia-gate' defined the real focus of contemporary political struggle in this huge, complex, nuclear-armed superpower.

Progressives joined the FBI/CIA's 'Russian Bear' conspiracy: "Russia intervened and decided the Presidential election" – no matter that millions of workers and rural Americans had voted against Hillary Clinton, Wall Street's candidate and no matter that no evidence of direct interference was ever presented. Progressives could not accept that 'their constituents', the masses, had rejected Madame Clinton and preferred 'the Donald'. They attacked a shifty-eyed caricature of the repeatedly elected Russian President Putin as a subterfuge for attacking the disobedient 'white trash' electorate of 'Deploralandia'.

Progressive demagogues embraced the coifed and manicured former 'Director Comey' of the FBI, and the Mr. Potato-headed Capo of the CIA and their forty thugs in making accusations without finger or footprints.

The Progressives' far right - turn earned them hours and space on the mass media as long as they breathlessly savaged and insulted President Trump and his family members. When they managed to provoke him into a blind rage . . . they added the newly invented charge of 'psychologically unfit to lead' – presenting cheap psychobabble as grounds for impeachment. Finally! American Progressives were on their way to achieving their first and only political transformation: a Presidential coup d'état on behalf of the Far Right!

Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!

In return, President Trump began to 'out-militarize' the Progressives by escalating US involvement in the Middle East and South China Sea. They swooned with joy when Trump ordered a missile strike against the Syrian government as Damascus engaged in a life and death struggle against mercenary terrorists. They dubbed the petulant release of Patriot missiles 'Presidential'.

Then Progressives turned increasingly Orwellian: Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

Progressives, under Obama, supported seven brutal illegal wars and pressed for more, but complained when Trump continued the same wars and proposed adding a few new ones. At the same time, progressives out-militarized Trump by accusing him of being 'weak' on Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. They chided him for his lack support for Israel's suppression of the Palestinians. They lauded Trump's embrace of the Saudi war against Yemen as a stepping-stone for an assault against Iran, even as millions of destitute Yemenis were exposed to cholera. The Progressives had finally embraced a biological weapon of mass destruction, when US-supplied missiles destroyed the water systems of Yemen!

Conclusion

Progressives turned full circle from supporting welfare to embracing Wall Street; from preaching peaceful co-existence to demanding a dozen wars; from recognizing the humanity and rights of undocumented immigrants to their expulsion under their 'First Black' President; from thoughtful mass media critics to servile media megaphones; from defenders of civil liberties to boosters for the police state; from staunch opponents of J. Edgar Hoover and his 'dirty tricks' to camp followers for the 'intelligence community' in its deep state campaign to overturn a national election.

Progressives moved from fighting and resisting the Right to submitting and retreating; from retreating to surrendering and finally embracing the far right.

Doing all that and more within the Democratic Party, Progressives retain and deepen their ties with the mass media, the security apparatus and the military machine, while occasionally digging up some Bernie Sanders-type demagogue to arouse an army of voters away from effective resistance to mindless collaboration.

(Republished from The James Petras Website by permission of author or representative)

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WorkingClass > , July 12, 2017 at 9:21 pm GMT

But in the end, they always voted for Democratic Party Presidential candidates who pursued the exact opposite agenda.

Thank you for putting your finger on the main problem right there in the first paragraph. There were exceptions of course. I supported Dennis Kucinich in the Democratic Primary that gave us the first black etc. But I never voted for Obama. Throughout the Cheney Admin I pleaded with progressives to bolt the party.

This piece accurately traces the path from Progressive to Maoist. It's a pity the Republican Party is also a piece of shit. I think it was Sara Palin who said "We have two parties. Pick one." This should be our collective epitaph.

exiled off mainstreet > , July 12, 2017 at 11:20 pm GMT

This is an excellent summary of the evolution of "progressives" into modern militarist fascists who tolerate identity politics diversity. There is little to add to Mr. Petras' commentary.

alan2102 > , July 13, 2017 at 2:04 am GMT

EXCELLENT.

Astuteobservor II > , July 13, 2017 at 5:17 am GMT

at this point, are they still progressives though? they are the new far right

CCZ > , July 13, 2017 at 5:30 am GMT

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"

Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

Carlton Meyer > , Website July 13, 2017 at 5:56 am GMT

The great Jimmy Dore is a big thorn for the Democrats. From my blog:

Apr 29, 2017 – Obama is Scum!

Barak Obama is America's biggest con man who accomplished nothing "progressive" during eight years at the top, and didn't even try. (Obamacare is an insurance industry idea supported by most Republicans, which is why it recently survived.) Anyone who still likes Obama should read about his actions since he left office. Obama quickly signed a $65 million "book deal", which can only be a kickback since there is no way the publisher can sell enough books about his meaningless presidency to justify that sum. Obama doesn't get royalties based on sales, but gets the money up front for a book he has yet to write, and will have someone do that for him. (Book deals and speaking fees are legal forms of bribery in the USA.)

Then Obama embarked on 100 days of ultra expensive foreign vacations with taxpayers covering the Secret Service protection costs. He didn't appear at charity fundraisers, didn't campaign for Democrats, and didn't help build homes for the poor like Jimmy Carter. He returns from vacation this week and his first speech will be at a Wall Street firm that will pay him $400,000, then he travels to Europe for more paid speeches.

Obama gets over $200,000 a year in retirement, just got a $65 million deal, so doesn't need more money. Why would a multi-millionaire ex-president fly around the globe collecting huge speaking fees from world corporations just after his political party was devastated in elections because Americans think the Democratic party represents Wall Street? The great Jimmy Dore expressed his outrage at Obama and the corrupt Democratic party in this great video.

jilles dykstra > , July 13, 2017 at 6:27 am GMT

Left in the good old days meant socialist, socialist meant that governments had the duty of redistributing income from rich to poor. Alas in Europe, after 'socialists' became pro EU and pro globalisation, they in fact became neoliberal. Both in France and the Netherlands 'socialist' parties virtually disappeared.
So what nowadays is left, does anyone know ?

Then the word 'progressive'. The word suggests improvement, but what is improvement, improvement for whom ? There are those who see the possibility for euthanasia as an improvement, there are thos who see euthanasia as a great sin.

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Call me Deplorable > , July 13, 2017 at 12:06 pm GMT

They chose power over principles. Nobel War Prize winner Obomber was a particularly egregious chameleon, hiding his sociopathy through two elections before unleashing his racist warmongering in full flower throughout his second term. But, hey, the brother now has five mansions, collects half a mill per speech to the Chosen People on Wall Street, and parties for months at a time at exclusive resorts for billionaires only.

Obviously, he's got the world by the tail and you don't. Hope he comes to the same end as Gaddaffi and Ceaușescu. Maybe the survivors of nuclear Armageddon can hold a double necktie party with Killary as the second honored guest that day.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:10 pm GMT

@jilles dykstra

Discussions about left and progressive are meaningless without properly defining the concepts.

Properly defining the concepts would impede the system's ability to keep you confused.

Seamus Padraig > , July 13, 2017 at 12:16 pm GMT

Theodore Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson embodied the dual policies of promoting peace at home and bloody imperial wars overseas.

You left out the other Roosevelt.

Like a huge collective 'Monica Lewinsky' robot, the Progressives in the Democratic Party bent over and swallowed Clinton's vicious 1999 savaging of the venerable Glass Steagall Act

Hilarious!

Ignoring Obama's actual expulsion of over 2 million immigrant workers, they condemned Trump for promising to eventually expel 5 million more!

This is a huge myth. All that really happened is that the INS changed some of its internal terminology to make it sound as though they were deporting more people: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2014/04/21/lies-damned-lies-and-obamas-deportation-statistics/?utm_term=.7f964acd9b0d

Stephen Paul Foster > , Website July 13, 2017 at 1:28 pm GMT

The Progressives now, failing electorally, are moving on to physical violence.

See: http://fosterspeak.blogspot.com/2017/07/trumps-would-be-assassins.html

annamaria > , July 13, 2017 at 2:22 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer Obama, a paragon of American scoundrel

Anonymous IV > , July 13, 2017 at 2:49 pm GMT

@Seamus Padraig Agree on the bit about Obama as "deporter in chief." Even the LA Times had to admit this was misleading

http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-obama-deportations-20140402-story.html

so it's not just conservative conspiracy theory stuff as some might argue.

Still, the overall point of this essay isn't affected all that much. Open borders is still a "right wing" (in the sense this author uses the term) policy–pro-Wall Street, pro-Big Business. So Obama was still doing the bidding of the donor class in their quest for cheap labor.

I've seen pro-immigration types try to use the Obama-deportation thing to argue that we don't need more hardcore policies. After all, even the progressive Democrat Obama was on the ball when it came to policing our borders, right?! Who needed Trump?

Agent76 > , July 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm GMT

"Who controls the issuance of money controls the government!" Nathan Meyer Rothschild

June 13, 2016 Which Corporations Control The World?

A surprisingly small number of corporations control massive global market shares. How many of the brands below do you use?

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44864.htm

"Control the oil, and you control nations. Control the food, and you control the people." Henry Kissenger

Alfa158 > , July 13, 2017 at 5:33 pm GMT

@Carlton Meyer If Jimmy keeps up these attacks on Wall Street, the Banksters, and rent-seekers he is going to get run out of the Progressive movement for dog-whistling virulent Anti-Semitism. Look at how the media screams at Trump every time he mentions Wall Street and the banks.

yeah > , July 13, 2017 at 5:46 pm GMT

Mr. Petra has penned an excellent and very astute piece. Allow me a little satire on our progressive friends, entitled "The path to hell is paved with good intentions".

The early socialist/progressive travellers were well-intentioned but naïve in their understanding of human nature and fanatical about their agenda. To move the human herd forward, they had no compulsions about resorting to harsher and harsher prodding and whipping. They felt entitled to employ these means because, so they were convinced, man has to be pushed to move forward and they, the "progressives", were the best qualified to lead the herd. Scoundrels, psychopaths, moral defectives, and sundry other rascals then joined in the whipping game, some out of the sheer joy of wielding the whip, others to better line their pockets.

So the "progressive" journey degenerates into a forced march. The march becomes the progress, becoming both the means and the end at the same time. Look at the so-called "progressive" today and you will see the fanatic and the whip-wielder, steadfast about the correctness of his beliefs. Tell him/her/it that you are a man or a woman and he retorts "No, you are free to choose, you are genderless". What if you decline such freedom? "Well, then you are a bigot, we will thrash you out of your bigotry", replies the progressive. "May I, dear Sir/Madam/Whatever, keep my hard-earned money in my pocket for my and my family's use" you ask. "No, you first have to pay for our peace-making wars, then pay for the upkeep of refugees, besides which you owe a lot of back taxes that are necessary to run this wonderful Big Government of ours that is leading you towards greener and greener pastures", shouts back the progressive.

Fed up, disgusted, and a little scared, you desperately seek a way out of this progress. "No way", scream the march leaders. "We will be forever in your ears, sometimes whispering, sometimes screaming; we will take over your brain to improve your mind; we will saturate you with images on the box 24/7 and employ all sorts of imagery to make you progress. And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time."

TheJester > , July 13, 2017 at 6:18 pm GMT

Knowing who is "progressive" and know who is "far-right" is like knowing who is "fascist" and who is not. For obvious historical reasons, the Russian like to throw the "fascist" slogan against anyone who is a non-Russian nationalist. However, I accept the eminent historian Carroll Quigley's definition of fascism as the incorporation of society and the state onto single entity on a permanent war footing. The state controls everything in a radically authoritarian social structure. As Quigley states, the Soviet Union was the most complete embodiment of fascism in WWII. In WWII Germany, on the other hand, industry retained its independence and in WWII Italy fascism was no more than an empty slogan.

Same for "progressives". Everyone wants to be "progressive", right? Who wants to be "anti-progressive"? However, at the end of the day, "progressive" through verbal slights of hand has been nothing more than a euphemism for "socialist" or, in the extreme, "communist" the verbal slight-of-hand because we don't tend to use the latter terms in American political discourse.

"Progressives" morphing into a new "far-right" in America is no more mysterious than the Soviet Union morphing from Leninism to Stalinism or, the Jewish (Trotskyite) globalists fleeing Stalinist nationalism and then morphing into, first, "Scoop" Jackson Democrats and then into Bushite Republicans.

As you might notice, the real issue is the authoritarian vs. the non-authoritarian state. In this context, an authoritarian government and social order (as in communism and neoconservatism) are practical pre-requisites necessity to force humanity to transition to their New World Order.

Again, the defining characteristic of fascism is the unitary state enforced via an authoritarian political and social structure. Ideological rigor is enforced via the police powers of the state along with judicial activism and political correctness. Ring a bell?

In the ongoing contest between Trump and the remnants of the American "progressive" movement, who are the populists and who the authoritarians? Who are the democrats and who are the fascists?

I would say that who lands where in this dichotomy is obvious.

RobinG > , July 13, 2017 at 6:19 pm GMT

@Alfa158 Is Jimmy Dore really a "Progressive?" (and what does that mean, anyway?) Isn't Jimmy's show hosted by the Young Turks Network, which is unabashedly Libertarian?

Anyway, what's so great about "the Progressive movement?" Seems to me, they're just pathetic sheepdogs for the war-crazed Dems. Jimmy should be supporting the #UNRIG movement ("Beyond Trump & Sanders") for ALL Americans:

On 1 May 2017 Cynthia McKinney, Ellen Brown, and Robert Steele launched

We the People – Unity for Integrity.

The User's Guide to the 2nd American Revolution.

Death to the Deep State.

https://www.unrig.net/manifesto/

Ben Banned > , July 13, 2017 at 9:13 pm GMT

Petras, for some reason, low balls the number of people ejected from assets when the mafia came to seize real estate in the name of the ruling class and their expensive wars, morality, the Constitution or whatever shit they could make up to fuck huge numbers of people over. Undoubtedly just like 9/11, the whole thing was planned in advance. Political whores are clearly useless when the system is at such extremes.

Banks like Capital One specialize in getting a signature and "giving" a car loan to someone they know won't be able to pay, but is simply being used, shaken down and repossessed for corporate gain. " No one held a gun to their head! " Get ready, the police state will in fact put a gun to your head.

Depending on the time period in question, which might be the case here, more than 20 million people were put out of homes and/or bankrupted with more to come. Clearly a bipartisan effort featuring widespread criminal conduct across the country – an attack on the population to sustain militarism.

peterAUS > , July 13, 2017 at 10:05 pm GMT

@yeah Nice.

If I may add:
"and you also have to dearly pay for you being white male heterosexual for oppressing all colored, all the women and all the sexually different through the history".

"And if it all fails, we will simply pack you and others like you in a basket of deplorables and forget about you at election time. If we see that you still don't get with the program we will reeducate you. Should you resist that in any way we'll incarcerate you. And, no, normal legal procedure does not work with racists/bigots/haters/whatever we don't like".

Reg Cæsar > , July 14, 2017 at 1:19 am GMT

@CCZ

"Progressives loudly condemned Trump's overtures for peace with Russia, denouncing it as appeasement and betrayal!"
Perhaps the spirit of Senator Joseph McCarthy is joyously gloating as progressives (and democrats) take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

take their place as his heirs and successors and the 21st century incarnation of the House UnAmerican Activities Committee

which itself was a progressive invention. There was no "right wing" anywhere in sight when it was estsblished in 1938.

[Jul 13, 2017] Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy the many myths of Vladimir Putin by Keith Gessen

Feb 22, 2017 | www.theguardian.com
Russia's role in Trump's election has led to a boom in Putinology. But do all these theories say more about us than Putin?

Vladimir Putin, you may have noticed, is everywhere. He has soldiers in Ukraine and Syria, troublemakers in the Baltics and Finland, and a hand in elections from the Czech Republic to France to the United States. And he is in the media. Not a day goes by without a big new article on " Putin's Revenge ", " The Secret Source of Putin's Evil ", or "10 Reasons Why Vladimir Putin Is a Terrible Human Being".

Putin's recent ubiquity has brought great prominence to the practice of Putinology. This enterprise – the production of commentary and analysis about Putin and his motivations, based on necessarily partial, incomplete and sometimes entirely false information – has existed as a distinct intellectual industry for over a decade. It kicked into high gear after the Russian invasion of Crimea in 2014, but in the past few months, as allegations of Russian meddling in the election of President Donald Trump have come to dominate the news, Putinology has outdone itself. At no time in history have more people with less knowledge, and greater outrage, opined on the subject of Russia's president. You might say that the reports of Trump's golden showers in a Moscow hotel room have consecrated a golden age – for Putinology.

And what does Putinology tell us? It turns out that it has produced seven distinct hypotheses about Putin. None of them is entirely wrong, but then none of them is entirely right (apart from No 7). Taken together, they tell us as much about ourselves as about Putin. They paint a portrait of an intellectual class – our own – on the brink of a nervous breakdown. But let's take them in order.

Theory 1: Putin is a genius

It's simple: while the world is playing checkers, Putin is playing chess. He seized Crimea from the Ukrainians with barely a shot fired; he got back Yalta, the favoured beach resort of Chekhov and the tsars, and all he faced as punishment were some minor sanctions. He intervened on behalf of the Assad regime in Syria, after the US, Turkey and the Saudis spent years supporting the rebels, and in short order turned the tide of the war. He has been instrumental in undermining the pro-EU consensus, financing the Eurosceptic right – and, where convenient, the Eurosceptic left – aiming apparently to dismantle the postwar international order and replace it with a series of bilateral transactional relationships in which Russia can, for the most part, be the senior partner.

Finally, he interfered in the US election, the election for the most powerful post in the world, and managed to get his man in the White House. And what were the consequences? A few diplomats expelled from the United States is a small price to pay for a potential end to US sanctions, a renewal of economic ties and joint oil-drilling in the Russian Arctic, and the de facto acknowledgment of Crimea as part of the Russian Federation.

Domestically, Putin has managed to silence or co‑opt almost all opposition. The liberals squabble among themselves on Facebook and emigrate; the far right, which hates Putin for his refusal to go full fascist and, for example, take Kiev, is kept on a tight leash; and the democratic socialist left, hobbled by the massive pseudo-left authoritarian Communist Party of the Russian Federation, is so tiny Putin can hardly even see it (and he has many eyes).

Putin during his first two terms enjoyed immense luck in the form of a worldwide commodities boom, but he could have blown that luck. Instead, he husbanded it, and Russia grew rich. Now the closest thing to a rival to Putin within his inner circle is his prime minister, the pudgy and diminutive Dmitry Medvedev, who has distinguished himself primarily as a man who enjoys playing with his iPad. The lone domestic politician who has mounted a plausible threat to Putin is Alexei Navalny, a talented Moscow-based digital populist of variable political convictions, whom the Kremlin is keeping busy with various criminal charges and house arrests .

Putin-as-evil-genius is, unquestionably, the primary theoretical view in the west of the Russian president, whether by his multitude of critics or his smattering of admirers. Those who take a more jaundiced view of Putin's political, intellectual, and military capabilities – President Barack Obama, for one – are treated as naive, soft on Putin: the sort of people who play checkers, not chess. Meanwhile, most Russian observers of Putin tend to be surprised at the western awe of his overwhelming strategic prowess. Garry Kasparov, for example, the great chess champion and not-so-great opposition politician, finds the whole thing insulting to chess.

In any case, one does wonder about this genius business. Was it really worth international isolation, increasingly bothersome sanctions and the eternal enmity of the Ukrainian people to seize a beloved but past-its-prime resort area that Russians don't even really visit any more? There was fear that the post-Maidan government of Ukraine might cancel the lease on the large Russian naval port in Sevastopol, but surely a genius might have handled the threat through something short of seizing the entire peninsula?

As for Syria, Putin may bask for now in the glory of rescuing the Assad regime, but who will celebrate this glory with him? Certainly not Sunni Muslims, whom Assad has been slaughtering – some of those who survive will soon return to their homes in the Caucasus and Central Asia, newly angry at the Russian bear. As for the disintegration of the EU, which Putin seems to seek almost above all else, is this really a winning formula for Russia? The "Hungarian Putin", Viktor Orbán, is so far well-disposed toward Russia, but what we might call the Polish Putins of the Law and Justice party are committed Russophobes. And, as one shrewd commentator has pointed out, should Putin ever succeed in installing a rightwing nationalist leader in neighbouring Germany, that German Putin may well decide to go to war with the original Putin, as German Putins have always tended to do in the past.

And even our new American Putin, Donald J Trump, may -> not be as much of a boon to Russia as he seems at first glance. For one thing, Trump's apparent romance with the Russian president has ignited a storm of Russophobia in the US, the like of which has not been seen since the early 1980s. For another, Trump is a fool. It is not the way of genius to hitch your wagon to a fool.

On the domestic front, Putin's genius now seems equally suspect. In 2011, he made the momentous decision to return to the presidency after ceding it for four years to Medvedev. The decision, announced in a humiliating manner by Medvedev himself, was soon followed by the largest protests in Moscow since the early 1990s. Putin was impressive in waiting the protests out. He did not make the mistake that Viktor Yanukovych made two years later in Ukraine by first overreacting and then, perhaps, underreacting to the situation. Instead, Putin let the protests lose steam and then picked off the protest leaders one by one with surreptitiously videotaped provocations and phony criminal charges, while Moscow itself underwent a kind of urban renaissance, complete with public parks and bike lanes, to assuage some of the anger of the creative class. But Putin did nothing to address the substance of the criticism coming from the opposition – that his political regime was corrupt, unresponsive, and that it had no vision. Instead, with the invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent nationalist mobilisation, he doubled down on the worst aspects of his reign.

Had Putin retired after 2008, as he said he would, and become a grand old man of Russian politics, there would have been statues built to him throughout the country. Under him, Russia had emerged from the chaos of the 1990s into a relative stability and prosperity. Now, however, with low oil prices, a collapsed rouble, risible counter-sanctions in place on European cheese, and a demoralised opposition, it is hard to imagine an end to the Putin era that is not violent, and whose violence does not lead to more violence. If this is genius, then it is of a very peculiar kind.

Theory 2: Putin is a nothing

The first sight many Russians got of Vladimir Putin was on New Year's Eve, 1999, when in a remarkable turn of events, a clearly ailing Boris Yeltsin, with six months left in his term, used his traditional televised end-of-year address to announce that he was resigning the presidency and handing the reins to his recently appointed, younger and more energetic prime minister.

Then Putin came on. The effect was startling. Yeltsin had looked confused and sickly. His speech was so slurred that he was hard to understand. He sat bolt upright as if wearing a brace. But this? This homunculus? Putin was tiny compared to Yeltsin, and though younger and healthier, he nonetheless managed to more closely resemble death. He spoke for a few minutes, promising on the one hand to keep Russian democracy strong, but on the other hand issuing various warnings to those who would threaten Russia – an incongruous performance. Many people didn't think it was likely that Putin would last very long in this august seat. For all his faults, Yeltsin was at least a someone: tall, with a booming voice, a former member of the Soviet Politburo. Whereas Putin? He was, people suddenly scrambled to learn, merely a colonel in the KGB. He had been sent abroad, but only barely – to the East German backwater of Dresden. He was short and had a squeaky voice and his hair was thinning. He was a nonentity even among the nonentities who remained after Yeltsin's perpetual clearing-out of his cabinets.

In a world where most people are convinced that Putin is a genius, this theory of Putin as a nobody deserves a second look. There really is an everyman quality to Putin. One of my favourite observations about him comes from a man who knew him back in St Petersburg in the 1990s. The man became a whistleblower after the successful medical supplies company he ran was asked, not long after Putin became president, to divert a portion of its earnings into the fund for "Putin's Palace", a huge complex going up on the Black Sea. But he had an interesting take on the president as he had known him before, as he told the British journalist Ben Judah :

He was an absolutely average man. His voice was average not tough, not high. He had an average personality average intelligence, not especially high intelligence. You could go out the door and find thousands and thousands of people in Russia, all of them just like Putin.

This can't be entirely right: Putin was above average in at least a few respects (he was the judo champion of Leningrad, for one). But there is insight in these words. It was part of Putin's charm that he didn't stand out. During his first interviews in office he stressed how much of a regular guy he was, how he had struggled financially during the 1990s, how much tough luck he'd had. He knew all the same jokes, had listened to all the same music and seen all the same movies, as everyone else of his generation. It is a testament to the power of Soviet culture, to both its egalitarianism and its limitations, that when Putin mentioned a line from a quasi-dissident song or movie of the 1960s or 1970s, almost everyone knew exactly what he was talking about. This did not put him out of the mainstream. He was the unremarkable only child of an unremarkable working family from Leningrad. It was almost as if the Soviet Union had coughed up, from the great mass of its humanity, this average exemplar, with his average aggressiveness, his average ignorance, his average nostalgia for the way things were.

Accounts of Putin's early years in office tend to confirm that he was something less than a colossus. He was impressed by the might of the American empire and awed by George W Bush. He was aware, too, of how limited his domestic power was. Russian politics during the Yeltsin era had been dominated by a small group of oligarchs, oil and banking titans with their own private armies. These were led not by short, skinny former colonels like Putin, but by barrel-chested former generals of the Interior Ministry and KGB. What's more, some of the oligarchs were brilliant strategists – they had survived the ruthless 1990s and emerged victorious, while Putin had muddled along as the corrupt deputy to a one-term mayor. Putin's early popularity was based on his tough attitude towards Chechens and oligarchs. He had succeeded in levelling Chechnya, but could he really win in a showdown with the oligarchs? He had no idea.

In 2003, in one of the main turning-points of his reign, it took Putin months to work up the nerve to arrest Mikhail Khodorkovsky , the country's richest man. But then he did it, and it worked. No people rose up in the streets to defend the fallen oligarch, no secret armies emerged from the forests. Putin got away with it, and he would get away with much more. He would grow into his office. Today you see tiny Putin walking through the cavernous chambers of the Kremlin during official ceremonies, and clearly his stature has not risen to the grandeur of his surroundings. But time itself has done its work. When he meets Trump, it will be his fourth US president. Numerous British prime ministers have left office, along with two French presidents and a German chancellor (whom, in a less than proud moment for the German people, Putin later hired). Putin remains. A kind of stature accrues to him just from surviving. A middling stature.

Theory 3: Putin had a stroke

This early classic of Putinology was popularised in a 2005 Atlantic article titled " The Accidental Autocrat ", which cited the work of a "behavioural research fellow" at the Naval War College in Rhode Island named Brenda L Connors. After studying film of Putin's movements, Connors concluded that he had a debilitating and likely congenital neurological deficiency, possibly caused by a stroke in utero, which prevented him from having full use of the right side of his body – which is why his left arm swings more than his right when he walks. Connors told the Atlantic that it was unlikely that Putin had ever crawled as an infant and that he still moves with his entire body, "in a head-to-tail pattern, like a fish or a reptile".

The explanatory power of this hypothesis in terms of predicting whether Putin will, for example, invade Belarus, is low, but nonetheless it is haunting. One pictures little fish-like Putin moving through the world of men and women who have use of both sides of their bodies, and he, without that ability, feeling sad.

Theory 4: Putin is a KGB agent

After his famous first meeting with Putin, the newly elected President George W Bush declared at a press conference that he had looked into the Russian's eyes and seen his soul. His advisers were mortified. "I visibly stiffened," national security adviser Condoleezza Rice wrote in her memoirs. Secretary of state Colin Powell pulled his president aside. "You may have seen all that" in his eyes, Powell told W, "but I still look in his eyes and I see K-G-B. Remember," he added ominously, "there's a reason he's fluent in German." Vice President Dick Cheney felt the same way: Every time he saw Putin, he told people, "I think KGB, KGB, KGB."

And ever since then, it's been the same way. Whenever Putin tried to be nice to someone, it was because he was a KGB agent, manipulating them. And whenever he was mean – as when he introduced a dog-fearing Angela Merkel to his black labrador retriever Connie – this, too, was because he was a KGB agent, angling for psychological advantage.

That the KGB formed the bulk of Putin's professional experience is beyond doubt – he worked there from the day he graduated college in 1974 until at least August 1991. And, what is more, the KGB was not just a company, but a university: at the Higher School of the KGB, in Moscow, which Putin attended, young agents took university-level classes. It was important, the KGB higher-ups believed, that the cadres understand the world they were being trained to subvert and manipulate. It is entirely likely that Putin kept in touch with his former KGB associates after 1991, while serving in the St Petersburg mayor's office. And it is true that Putin has brought many of his former KGB colleagues with him to the highest levels of government.

And yet I can't help but find the KGB hypothesis unsatisfying. When people such as Rice and Powell and Cheney speak of Putin's KGB past, they are suggesting that he treats politics as essentially a contest in manipulation. People are either his agents, whom he is running, or his adversaries, whom he is trying to weaken. This is a ruthless worldview, but don't many people in politics act this way? Aren't there a lot of bullies who divide people into those they can control and those they can't? Isn't that how Dick Cheney operated, for example? That doesn't make it an acceptable way to go through the world. It just doesn't seem particularly unique to the KGB.

But the KGB label has other uses in western mouths. It is synecdoche for the Soviet Union, and Putin-as-Soviet-revanchist, with a hammer in one hand and a sickle in the other, is one of his chief avatars in the western press. What exactly is meant by this? Certainly not that anyone thinks Putin supports a historic union of the proletariat (the hammer) and the peasantry (the sickle), nor that he is an actual communist who wants to expropriate the bourgeoisie. Rather the USSR is meant here in its aspect as an aggressive imperial power that occupied half of eastern Europe . And it is true that Putin seems to feel about the countries on the Russian periphery that they are not full countries with rights and sovereignty – it's fair to say he is an imperialist. What is unfair (to the Soviet Union, really) is to suggest that his imperialism is specifically Soviet in nature. The Soviets did not invent imperialism; the Russian Empire, for example, whose basic geography the Soviets managed to keep intact, did not become an empire by not conquering native Arctic peoples, prosecuting brutal decades-long wars in the Caucasus, and lopping off parts of Poland. Putin is a Russian imperialist, full stop.

But finally, of course, there is a moral connotation to saying that someone is "KGB", because the Soviet KGB carried out assassinations, harassed and imprisoned dissidents, and was one of the pioneers of what came to be known as fake news. But the idea that anyone who walked its halls was pure evil is as blinkered as the KGB's own idea of itself as the one uncorrupted, "professional" institution in late Soviet life.

The KGB was a giant organisation – in the 1980s it employed hundreds of thousands of people. After it started shedding staff in the 1990s, we learned that KGB agents came in all shapes and sizes. There was Philipp Bobkov, for example, who once persecuted Soviet dissidents, but who after the Soviet Union's collapse became an employee of the media oligarch Vladimir Gusinsky and a thoughtful commentator on the old KGB. Other KGB agents went into the private sector as surveillance specialists or hired assassins. There were KGB agents who stayed on with the FSB and tried to fight organised crime. There were KGB agents who stayed on with the FSB and used their positions to abet organised crime, to murder innocent citizens, and to amass small private fortunes. There were former KGB agents who fought bravely in Chechnya and there were former KGB agents who committed war crimes there. There was Alexander Litvinenko, the KGB agent turned FSB agent who was ordered by his corrupt superiors to kill the oligarch Boris Berezovsky, and who instead of doing so went public. Eventually in fear for his life he fled the country, settling in London where he cooperated with western intelligence agencies and published numerous anti-Putin broadsides. Years later, he was poisoned by a large dose of Polonium-210 in London by another former KGB agent, Andrei Lugovoi.

Theory 5: Putin is a killer

Though I now live in New York, I was born in Russia and sometimes write about Russia. This means that people often share their opinions of Putin with me. I remember one evening in March 2006, when I was introduced to a well-known French photographer. Upon learning that I was Russian, she said, "Pou-tine?" The French pronunciation was emasculating to the Russian President, making him sound like those Canadian french fries with gravy on them. "Pou-tine," said the photographer, "is a stone-cold killer."

I had heard this opinion before from some Russian oppositionists, but it was the first time I had encountered it in New York. Perhaps because the photographer was French, or perhaps because she was a photographer, the opinion struck me as primarily aesthetic: Putin was a killer because of his cold, bloodless face, his expressionless eyes, his refusal to smile. A few months later, Litvinenko was poisoned in London, and the journalist Anna Politkovskaya was shot while returning home with some groceries in downtown Moscow. The view that Putin was a killer became much more widespread.

I have no wish to dispute that characterisation here. Putin has launched violent, deadly wars against Chechnya, Georgia and Ukraine, and I agree with the recent British inquiry that concluded that Putin "probably" approved of the assassination of Litvinenko. But the launching of aggressive wars and the killing of a former operative who has defected are hardly the sort of thing that will get you kicked out of the international community.

No, there is another sense in which Putin is believed to be a murderer; it was the subject of much discussion in the United States during the strange rise of Donald Trump. During the Republican primaries, the conservative TV host Joe Scarborough, otherwise famously cosy with Trump, pressed the candidate about his sympathies for Putin – who, in Scarborough's words, "kills journalists and political opponents". A few days later, on a more prominent Sunday-morning politics programme, the former White House adviser George Stephanopoulos challenged Trump again. When Trump protested that "nobody's proven that he's killed anybody, as far as I'm concerned", Stephanopoulos confidently replied: "There have been many allegations that he was behind the killing of Anna Politkovskaya." Trump parried as best he could. But the issue obviously hasn't gone away. In an interview before the Super Bowl in early February, Trump was confronted by Fox blowhard Bill O'Reilly. "Putin's a killer," said O'Reilly, to which Trump infamously (though accurately) responded, "There are a lot of killers. We've got a lot of killers. What do you think? Our country's so innocent?"

"I don't know of any government leaders that are killers," said O'Reilly. He did not mean that he didn't know of any government leaders who had ordered the invasion of Iraq or who had signed off on dozens of drone strikes or shoot-to-kill missions such as the one that ended the life of Osama bin Laden. He meant that he didn't know of any leaders who went around killing regular folks.

The trouble with this accusation is not that it is false, but that, like most Putinology, it is sloppy. When most people accuse Putin of killing "journalists and political opponents", they mean Politkovskaya, killed in 2006, and the opposition leader and former deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov, killed in 2015. Allegations that Putin was behind the killing of Politkovskaya and Nemtsov do exist – but very few people with knowledge of the cases believe them. What they do believe is that Politkovskaya and Nemtsov were killed by associates of Ramzan Kadyrov , the violent dictator of Chechnya. In the Nemtsov case, the evidence for the involvement of people close to Kadyrov is overwhelming. In the Politkovskaya case, it is more circumstantial (and with Politkovskaya there is considerable evidence of other efforts to harm her, including an earlier poisoning attempt that looked more like a government operation), but still the most likely scenario.

And yet Kadyrov's involvement does not absolve Putin, because Kadyrov works for Putin. It has been widely reported that Putin was baffled and angry over the Nemtsov killing and refused for weeks to take Kadyrov's phone calls. On the other hand, here we are almost two years later, and Kadyrov is still in charge of Chechnya. He was put there by Putin. So if Putin did not directly order these killings – and, again, it is the consensus view among most journalists and analysts that he did not – he nonetheless continues to work with and support those who did.

With Putin the killer, we reach something like Putinology's conceptual blind spot. What we seem to be dealing with, in Russia, is neither a failed state, where the government has no power, nor a totalitarian state, where it has all the power, but something in between. Putin does not order killings, and yet killings happen. Putin ordered the takeover of Crimea, but, as best as anyone can tell, he seems not to have ordered the invasion of eastern Ukraine. That invasion appears to have been undertaken as a freelance operation by a small group of mercenaries funded by a well-connected Russian businessman. Real Russian troops came later. But if Putin isn't in charge of everything – if there are powerful forces operating outside of Putin's say-so – what's the point of Putinology? On this point, Putinology is silent.

The absolute worst crime of which Putin has been accused is the bombing of several apartment blocks in Moscow in 1999. In September of that year, with President Boris Yeltsin ill, presidential elections just around the corner, and a relatively unknown Putin recently moved from heading the FSB to running the government as Yeltsin's prime minister, two large apartment buildings blew up in Moscow, killing nearly 300 people. A few days later there was another building explosion, this time in the southern city of Volgodonsk. And a few days after that, in a bizarre incident, some men were caught by local police planting what appeared to be explosives in the basement of a building in Ryazan – the men turned out to be from the FSB. They quickly removed the apparent bomb and declared the whole thing a "training exercise" meant to test the vigilance of the populace and the police.

Though the government immediately accused Chechen terrorists of planting the bombs, and used this as justification for its invasion of Chechnya, a persistent minority has always insisted the government itself was responsible. (Litvinenko was one of the earliest and most vocal proponents of this theory.) A public commission to investigate the allegations was set up by the Soviet chemist turned dissident Sergei Kovalyov. Two members of the commission, Sergei Yushenkov and Yuri Shchekochikhin, were killed in 2003. Yushenkov was shot outside his apartment building; Shchekochikhin was poisoned.

The question of the Russian government's involvement in the bombings has remained a vexed one. The most authoritative account of the available evidence was written up a few years ago by John Dunlop of the Hoover Institute. While careful not to claim to have settled the case definitively, Dunlop argued that there is compelling evidence that the bombings were ordered by the Yeltsin inner circle and carried out by the FSB.

And yet here, too, Putin evades us. If the apartment bombings really were a palace plot, it was not Putin's palace but Yeltsin's that plotted them. And indeed the political killings that seem to characterise the Putin years also characterised the Yeltsin ones. This does not, again, absolve Putin of anything. But it points to a longer and more complex period of violence, of groups inside and outside the government employing assassination and terror as a political weapon, and not just the machinations of one evil man. If Putin, as president, is unable to stop this violence, then maybe someone else should be president; if Putin, as president, is a party to the violence, then certainly someone else should be.

But on our end, it behoves us to be judicious. The practitioners of Putinology are maddeningly imprecise, and in no area of Putinology is their imprecision more damaging. When George Stephanopoulos appears on national TV and declares that Putin ordered the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, it makes it that much harder to pin the blame on Putin for things that he did, demonstrably and undoubtedly, do.

Theory 6: Putin is a kleptocrat

Until around 2009, the complaints of Putin's liberal critics in Russia, amplified by western journalists and statesmen, centred on his abuses of human rights. He was the censor of the Russian media, the butcher of Chechnya, a total stick in the mud during our glorious invasion of Iraq, the killer of Litvinenko, and the invader of Georgia. It took the anti-corruption activist Alexei Navalny to fundamentally shift the discourse around Putin away from these abuses and towards something else: the theft of Russians' money. Navalny, a corporate lawyer and online anti-corruption activist, concluded that in contemporary Russia, human rights was not a winning issue, but money was. (He memorably dubbed Putin's United Russia a "party of crooks and thieves".) In this account, soon taken up by western Putinologists, Putin was no longer a scary monster but something simpler and more manageable: a thief.

The accusation had the virtue of being unquestionably true. Either that, or a surprising number of Putin's old friends were business geniuses, because in the period since he came to power, they had become billionaires. It was one thing for the Berezovskys and Khodorkovskys and Abramoviches to emerge from the vicious scramble of the 1990s with billions in their pockets – certainly they could not have made those billions were it not for their proximity to the Yeltsin regime, but they also had to survive the wilds of early Russian capitalism. They were geniuses of a kind. Whereas the only genius ever demonstrated by Putin's billionaire friends was befriending the future president of Russia.

If Putin liked his friends (which he seemed to) and if his friends liked lining their pockets (which they definitely did), then it followed that hitting Putin's friends in their wallets would cause Putin to pull back from some of his more outrageous foreign policy gambits, most notably in Ukraine. This was the genesis of the "targeted" sanctions imposed in 2014 by the US and EU against Putin's "inner circle".

If we do not hear so much anymore about Putin's kleptocracy, it may be because these sanctions failed to alter the behaviour of Putin on the world stage. No doubt Putin's friends, and Putin himself, did not enjoy the sanctions: Putin's friends because they were no longer allowed to travel to their favourite vacation spots in Spain; Putin because the sanctions put him beyond the pale of the international order. It was embarrassing.

But this did not stop Putin from stalling and undermining the Minsk accords meant to halt the fighting in eastern Ukraine, nor did it stop Putin from pursuing his brutal intervention in the Syrian civil war. If Putin's friends were begging him to come to his senses, he wasn't listening. More likely, Putin's friends knew that they had been the beneficiaries of his largesse, his unlikely rise to power, and that they had to support him, come what may. Kleptocrats are not the types to organise successful palace coups. For that, you need true believers. If there is a true believer among them, he has yet to show his face. In fact, it appears the closest thing to a true believer is Putin himself.

Putin lives a fairly modest day-to-day existence. Yes, he has a palace on the Black Sea, built with pilfered funds, but he doesn't actually live in it. In fact, it is unlikely that he will ever live in it. The palace is, in a way, the most hopeful thing that Putin is building – a promise of his eventual retirement, and under circumstances where he is not torn from limb to limb by a mob that has entered the Kremlin and overpowered his personal guards.

Theory 7: Putin is named Vladimir

A recent article published on the website of a respected American magazine warned readers that the end of communism "doesn't mean that Russia has dropped its primary mission of destabilising Europe", and described Putin as "a former KGB agent who, it is no accident, shares the name Vladimir Ilyich with Lenin". When it was pointed out that Putin does not, in fact, share the name Vladimir Ilyich with Lenin – his name is Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin – the article was corrected to say that it is no accident that Putin shares the name Vladimir with Lenin. If it is not an accident, this may be because it is one of the most common Russian names. But still, it cannot be denied. Both Putin and Lenin are named Vladimir.

The Putin-is-named-Vladimir hypothesis is either the historic high point of Putinology, or its nadir, depending on your perspective. But the confident proclamation of expertise by someone who does not technically know Putin's name is surely a sign of something. It's a sign that most Putinology is not and has never been about Putin. In the weeks before and after the Trump inauguration, the outpouring of Putinalysis was a function of wanting to wish Trump away, to blame him on someone else. Surely we could not have elected this bigoted idiot-narcissist – surely he must have been forced on us from somewhere else.

There is no reason at this point to dispute the consensus view of most intelligence analysts that Russian agents hacked the DNC and then leaked the emails to Julian Assange; it is also a well-known fact that Putin hated Hillary Clinton.

Furthermore, it is true that the election was very close, and it did not take much to tip the result to one side. But it is also essential to remember that there was hardly anything damaging in the leaked DNC emails.

Compared to the 40-year cycle of US deindustrialisation, during which only the rich gained in wealth; the 25-year rightwing war on the Clintons; the eight-year-old Tea Party assault on facts, immigration and taxes; a tepid, centrist campaign; and a supposed late-breaking revelation from the director of the FBI about the dubious investigation of Clinton's use of a private email server – well, compared to all those factors, the leaked DNC emails must rank low on the list of reasons for Trump's victory. And yet, according to a recent report, Hillary Clinton and her campaign still blame the Russians – and, by extension, Barack Obama, who did not make a big issue of the hacks before November – for her electoral debacle. In this instance, thinking about Putin helps not to think about everything else that went wrong, and what needs to be done to fix it.

This evasion is the essence of Putinology, which seeks solace in the undeniable but faraway badness of Putin at the expense of confronting the far more uncomfortable badness in front of one's face. Putinology predates the 2016 election by a decade, and yet what we have seen in connection to Trump these past few months has been its Platonic ideal.

Here in front of us is a man – Donald J Trump – who has said countless cruel and bigoted things and proposed cruel and bigoted policies, who is a pathological liar, who has failed in almost everything he has ever tried and who surrounds himself with conmen and billionaires. And yet, day after day, there is breathless excitement over each new data point in the effort to uncover Trump's hidden connections to Russia – each one inflated by the hope that this, now, finally, will render him illegitimate, remove him from the White House, and end the liberal nightmare of having actually lost an election to this hateful dope.

If Donald Trump is impeached and imprisoned for conspiring with a foreign power to undermine American democracy, I will celebrate as much as the next American. And yet in the long run, the Russia card is not just bad politics, it is intellectual and moral bankruptcy. It is an attempt to blame the deep and abiding problems of our country on a foreign power. As some commentators have pointed out, it is a page from the playbook of none other than Putin himself.

[Jul 13, 2017] I suppose Lavrov called her a lady because hes a gentleman, but for me shes just a woman who shoots the shit that shes told and paid to shoot

Jul 13, 2017 | gravatar.com
moscowexile says: July 12, 2017 at 12:53 pm

Barbie Doll Nauert commented upon by Lavrov:

'Don't lag behind real events': Lavrov hits back after State Dept says he 'gets out ahead'

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has advised the US State Department to keep up with events after spokesperson Heather Nauert said that Lavrov "likes to talk a lot and get out ahead".

The Russian Foreign Minister was quick to retort, however.

"Nobody should get out ahead of things, but I suppose lagging behind real events does not help in a diplomat's job either."

"I don't understand how this lady can know what I like and don't like. We haven't been introduced", Lavrov said", speaking with the press following his meeting with the Belgian counterpart, Didier Reynders, in Brussels on Wednesday.

I suppose Lavrov called her "a lady" because he's a gentleman, but for me she's just a woman who shoots the shit that she's told and paid to shoot ! with a big, fixed smile on her Barbie-Doll face.

Big false smile, American know-nothing spokesperson.

[Jul 12, 2017] Top Russian Analyst Explains How US Relations Got So Bad

Notable quotes:
"... Sergey Markov is a one of the most influential Russian political scientists and publicists on international relations. ..."
"... He is omnipresent as a charismatic talking head on the top national TV shows, and his thinking reflects the opinions of Russia's political elites. He speaks English fluently, and writes in a lively, accessible style, unusual for academics. ..."
"... This article, exclusive to RI, gives an interesting insight into how Russian elites see US behavior. ..."
"... Russia responded by the food embargo from Russia, so the Russian producers in fact gained from the whole story, with president Obama still uttering his phrase about the Russian economy being "in tatters." ..."
"... The peak of Western sanctions against Russia during the period of "Russia Isolated" was the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. The pressure on Putin was so obvious, that he even had to leave the summit before all the other participants. ..."
"... That Western policy continued between March 2014 and autumn of 2015. Its legacy is still with us. After Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected the president in 2016, voices about the easing or even lifting the anti-Russian sanctions started to be heard in Europe and the US. But the legacy of 2014-2015 still dominates: the US requires Russia to change its policy in Ukraine (in fact, allowing the population of Donbass to be subjected to Nazi-like repressions). These requirements are unacceptable for Russia, but the West is determined not to lift sanction until its wishes (presented as "conditions of the Minsk agreement", even though Russia is not even mentioned there) are fulfilled. ..."
"... As a result, Trump was not allowed even to form his own new foreign policy team, he had to inherit that very part of Obama's foreign policy establishment, which Trump himself criticized during the elections. ..."
"... Currently, the Russia-US relations are in a state of a hiatus, a pause with no immediate end in sight. The new president of the US simply cannot conduct the Russia policy, which he had in his mind and which he promised his voters. His actions are blocked, and it is not clear how long this situation will persist. ..."
"... Very interesting assessment, but it ignores that Wall-Street starting with Clinton then re-enforced by Bush & Obama now Owns US Presidency, and Financiers do not adhere to Democratic principles, rather they are Dictators who view the public as assets to exploit, with Obama sabotaging Trump's Presidency on his way out. ..."
"... Vladimir Putin will eventually go down as 'The Shrewdest Gutsiest Moral Principled Politician of this era, with Chinese President Xi second, and US three stooges before Trump the most inept cowards or sell-outs in the history of that Nation. ..."
Jul 12, 2017 | russia-insider.com
Top Russian Analyst Explains How US Relations Got So Bad

A short history of US-Russia relations since 'Gorby-mania' Sergey Markov 15

Sergey Markov is a one of the most influential Russian political scientists and publicists on international relations.

He is omnipresent as a charismatic talking head on the top national TV shows, and his thinking reflects the opinions of Russia's political elites. He speaks English fluently, and writes in a lively, accessible style, unusual for academics.

This article, exclusive to RI, gives an interesting insight into how Russian elites see US behavior.


What would happen, if journalists from the early 2000s or even from the year 2007 (before Saakashvili's attack against South Ossetia) could by some magic gadget have access to the computer screens of their colleagues covering the recent G20 summit in Hamburg? These journalists would probably think they were transported into some kindergarten dystopia.

They would see everyone rejoicing about "the very fact" of a meeting of two middle-aged men with the most modern planes, ships and submarines at their disposal. A meeting that took place more than half of a year after they were supposed to meet as the presidents of the world's two most powerful countries. German chancellor Angela Merkel, arguably the third most powerful person in the world, says she is happy that the two men met and that they "stay in touch" (parents are usually happy about this kind of relationships between their children in a kindergarten).

The media frenzy around the meeting between these two middle-aged men looks absurd: what is there to admire and what is there to fear?

So, how did we allow the international relations to be reduced to the level when it became so difficult to organize a meeting between the presidents of Russia and the US – even on the background of the two very dangerous armed conflicts (in Syria and in Ukraine)? Why is a contact between two politicians in the epoch of modern transportation and communication – why is this contact such a problem now? Why does it take even more time and effort than the summits between Stalin, Roosevelt and Churchill during the World War II, when the capitals of the Allies were divided by the Nazi-occupied Europe and the Western Pacific occupied by the Japanese militarist regime?

In this situation, a short wrap-up of the Russia-US relations from the 1980s to 2017 might do some good: at least, it partially explains today's absurdities.

The history of relationships between Russia and the US in the last 25 years is full of zigzags and its own ups and downs. From my point of view, it is possible to single out 11 stages in this relationship. Each of them left its own legacy, and those different legacies continue to make a difference in various ways until now. Let me first single out all of these stages:

"Gorbomania" Consolidation of geopolitical pluralism. Russia First Russia doesn't matter War against terror. The epoch of "color revolutions" Perezagruzka 2 ("Reload of Relations") Onslaught on Putin (the Russian president is presented as an authoritarian leader of a regional power) Russia Isolated. Sanctions Russia is back as a world power "Russian hackers": pause of uncertainty

Act 1: Gorbomania (Gorby-mania)

The period of improvement in relations, which was based on hopes connected to Gorbachev, continued from 1987 until August 1991, the time of the de facto collapse of the Soviet Union. During this period, the US supported the new foreign policy course of Mikhail Gorbachev, which was generally aimed at openness, reconciliation with the West and general liberalization of the Soviet political regime. During this period the US did not conduct a policy aimed at the disintegration of the Soviet Union, the US' political course was instead promoting the unity of the USSR. This course was explained by the fear of the Soviet Union's collapse "in a Yugoslav way," with a possible nuclear war between former constituent republics.

One of the indicators of this cautious American approach to the unity of the Soviet Union was the famous "chicken Kiev speech" of the then president George W.H.Bush (the senior). He made that speech on August 1 of 1991 in the Supreme Soviet of what was then still the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic inside the Soviet Union. This body was already showing the signs of being the future parliament of independent Ukraine, making defiant moves against Moscow. However, in his speech president Bush told the audience that the US was not supporting Kiev's independence at the moment and that Ukrainians should rather orient themselves to the policies of the leader of the Soviet Union – Mikhail Gorbachev.

However, the period of Gorbomania (Gorby-mania) came to its natural end after the liquidation of the Soviet Union and the resignation of Mikhail Gorbachev from the position of the defunct country's president. The legacy of that period was the formation in the US of a stable and wrong stereotype of what "good Russia" should look like. This mythologized stereotype presented "good Russia" as the Russia of Mikhail Gorbachev, which would make all sorts of concessions to the West, willingly leaving to the West the territories, which historically had been under its influence. So, in future Americans would support only that kind of Russia's foreign policy, which would be a complete remake of Gorbachev's approach.

Act 2. Consolidation of Geopolitical Pluralism

The second period in the history of relations took the space between August 1991 and the beginning of the year 1992. It can be summed up by the famous formula of "consolidation of geopolitical pluralism." The essence of this formula consisted in the following. The USA did bot strive to see the Soviet Union collapse, but since this collapse took place anyway, there was no way Washington could permit any kind of rebirth of a union of post-Soviet republics under the stewardship of Russia. The reason: such a rebirth would mean a new life for Russian imperialism.

One could say that this period lasted shortly, but it would also be right to say that in a lot of ways this period continues to this day. There is still a widespread opinion in the US that Washington should provide all kinds of assistance to all the neighbors of Russia in a bid to stem the growth of Russian influence there. This opinion also puts the sign of equality between Russian influence and "Russian imperialism." The theory behind this opinion is that any kind of union among the former Soviet republics with Russian participation would mean the rebirth of the Russian empire. Any Russian empire, according to this view, would make Russia an enemy of democracy and, as a consequence, an enemy of the United States. So, this view justifies any kind of assistance to any kind of anti-Russian regimes in the post-Soviet space.

In its extreme manifestation, this view inspired a policy that spurred the US to support the violent coup in Ukraine in 2014. The US also supported the subsequent policy of state terrorism led by the new regime in Kiev, that was installed as a result of the coup. In its softer forms, this policy meant American support for de-Russification in all post-Soviet countries. This support was provided despite the obvious fact that this de-Russification often took violent forms.

Act 3. "Russia First".

The third period, which could tentatively be called "Russia First" approach, consisted in the policy led by the then president Bill Clinton, the policy aimed at helping create a stable and democratic Russia. The idea was that this Russia could be an ally of the West, a kind of "kingsize Poland." This kingsize Poland was supposed to be a part of the Western coalition, even though it would have a subordinate position inside this coalition. American support for denuclearization of Ukraine (the removal of former Soviet nuclear weapons from the territories of the former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan) – this American support was a part of "Russia First" policy.

In fact, Ukrainian political elites tried to retain the military nuclear capability on the territory of independent Ukraine. But Washington, represented by president Clinton and his key "ambassador-at-large" on Russia and post-Soviet space, Strobe Talbott, had a different plan. So, Washington pressured Kiev to transfer the nuclear weapons from the Ukrainian territory to Russia. This approach fitted the geopolitical interests of the United States, allowing to avert a possible conflict between Russia and Ukraine as nuclear powers. Such a conflict could have disastrous consequences for everyone. So, this policy fitted the Russian interests too.

The other distinct feature of the "Russia First" policy was the American pressure on the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and other international financial organizations. The aim was to persuade these structures to provide loans to Russia, even when the economic policy of the Russian government did not fit the requirements of the IMF and similar organizations to their client countries.

The other important element of "Russia First" policy was the presence of political and economic advisers from the United States and its allied countries in Russia. These people, being citizens of their countries, influenced the decisions of the Russian government, including some key decisions. Alas, the advice of these helpers, as well as the US assistance in general, did more harm than good, often leading to failures. The idea of making Russia a stable democratic country did not work. Russia crawled from one crisis to another. In 1993 Yeltsin made a violent coup d'etat, with tanks firing at the parliament's building, the constitution being changed and new policies rammed through without consent from the parliament. The presidential election of 1996, of which Yeltsin was declared the winner, had all the indications of being falsified (the bulletins cast were later destroyed by the government). If elections had been held in a fair way, the candidate of the Communist party of Russian Federation Gennady Zyuganov could have been the winner.

The crisis and the subsequent default in 1998 led the economy to a disaster. The same year IMF de facto refused to continue cooperation with Russia, stopped giving loans and predicted that the Russian economy would contract by 8 percent. This forecast revealed itself to be wrong. As soon as Russia stopped using the services of Western economic advisers, its economy started growing and added 9 percent in the course of two subsequent years.

The period of "Russia First" and its legacy are still very much alive in today's policy of the United States towards Russia. They Western elites stay convinced that at a certain moment they provided great assistance to Russia and its people, giving their valuable advice and providing billions of dollars in loans. In the Russian public opinion, however, the majority view of this period is negative. It is viewed as further proof of the West's negative influence on Russia and the anti-Russian character of its foreign policy. Russian public opinion puts on the Western advisers of the Yeltsin government part of the blame for the disaster that Russian economy had to go through in the 1990s. The majority view in Russia is that it was Yeltsin's government (and its foreign advisers) that led in the 1990s to Russia's deindustrialization, the collapse of social institutions, the decline of science and education, mass migration out of the country. At the time, the mortality rates in the country soared. The rapid deterioration of life's standards led to a lot of "premature" deaths: in 1991-1997 on the territory of the Russian Federation every year there were many more deaths registered annually than in 1990. The total number of "premature" deaths for social reasons is estimated at the level of 2 million.

In a huge chunk of Russia's public opinion the prevailing view is that this socio-economic degradation of the country was a part of a conscious effort by the West to deceive Russia and to inflict the biggest possible damage on it.

In this way, the 1990s stay the main source of the diverging mythologies still dominating the bilateral relations between Russia and the community of Western nations.

The West honestly thinks that in the 1990s it helped Russia and generally played a positive role in its development. The majority of the Russian public opinion for good reasons sticks to the view that the West in the 1990s preserved and pampered Yeltsin's corrupt regime, thus adding to the destruction of the country. An often cited argument in support of that view is the fact that the West supported Yeltsin's coup d'etat in 1993 and acquiesced to the falsification of the 1996 presidential election, which retained Yeltsin in power.

The diverging visions of the 1990s' legacy will determine the "conflict potential" of the relations between Russia and the US for many more years.

Act 4. "Russia Does Not Matter"

This period started in 1998 and continued until the year 2001. It was a reaction to the previous unsuccessful attempt to help Russia in a speedy forming of a democratic, stable and West-friendly socio-political system. The end product was a weak country with a corrupt government and a crumbling economy – a typical declining power.

This period was ushered in by an acute economic crisis of 1998, it included the beginning of the economy's regeneration in 1999-2001, Boris Yeltsin's resignation and his replacement by his younger successor Vladimir Putin.

Vladimir Putin, who was initially viewed in the US as just another opportunistic "apparatchik" brought to power by the corrupt ruling "family" in order to preserve that family's capitals and help it avoid the revenge of its enemies and Russia's people in general.

This period seats deep in Russian people's memory because it coincided with the peak of the Balkan wars with bombers from the US and other NATO countries bombing the then Yugoslav capital Belgrade and other cities of Serbia. The famous U-turn of the Washington-bound airplane of the then Russian prime minister Yevgeny Primakov also falls into this period. The prime minister was heading to the United States with a visit and, having learnt about the start of NATO's bombing of Serbia, Primakov decided to return back to Russia, making a U-turn over the Atlantic. Primakov decided to return without visiting Washington, even though the talks there had pivotal importance for the Russian economy.

It was then, during the bombing of Yugoslavia, that a serious change in the attitude of the public opinion to the West and especially to the United States took place. The cruel Western bombardment of Serb cities, led to the new perception of America as a hostile, aggressive and unjust country. The pro-American politicians in Russia started to be perceived as anti-Russian and generally unpatriotic.

Act 5. Russia and the US as Allies in the Fight Against International Terrorism (War On Terror)

The fifth period was ushered in by the terrorist act of 9/11 in the year 2001, when Russia and the US became allies in the fight against international terrorism. The preconditions for the alliance were created during the meeting between the Russian president Vladimir Putin and George Bush the junior in Ljubljana, the Slovenian capital, in June 2001. It was there that Bush said that he looked Putin in the eye and saw Putin's soul there. Putin's system of personal values cracked up to be remarkably akin to Bush – it was a combination of economic liberalism, social conservatism and religiosity.

Having learnt that Putin retained his Christians beliefs even inside the KGB, Bush made a conclusion that one could do business with Putin. This positive sentiment on Bush'a side got a powerful boost after the terrorist attack against the United States on 9/11 2001, when Putin became the first foreign leader who called Bush with an expression of support. Putin's support was not in words alone: on Putin's order, in 2001 all military activity of Russia was frozen for a few days, so that American armed forces could concentrate on fighting international terrorism, instead of wasting their resources on Russia.

In a few weeks the US became convinced that the brain center of the 9/11 attack was located in Afghanistan, so it was decided to crush the Taliban regime. It was then that Russia passed to the US a part of influence that Russia had over the Afghan-based Northern Alliance, a coalition of field commanders of mostly Tajik and Uzbek origin in the north of Afghanistan. As the US Airforce made its bombing strikes, all the "dirty work" of destroying the military might of Taliban on the Afghan ground was done by the Northern Alliance, with lots of help from the Russian special services and Russian army command. Most of the commanders of the Northern alliance had fought against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, but they later became allied with Russians in their fight against the Taliban.

The period of joint fight against terrorism was a great success, since the headquarters of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and the regime of Taliban (but not its ideology) were liquidated. Cooperation between the Russian and American special services allowed to prevent a number of jihadist terrorist acts.

However, that anti-terrorist cooperation was quickly weakened by the desire of the United States to develop on their success in Afghanistan by toppling Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. Russia condemned the preparation of that war. Bush perceived the Russian opposition to the war in Iraq as treason on Russia's side. His narrative was that Russia betrayed the anti-terrorist alliance. So, Bush thought himself in his right to terminate his obligations to Russia in the framework of the anti-terrorist alliance.

Even though the war in Iraq was recognized to have been a mistake in the United States, relations between Russia and the US (including the anti-terrorist track) never returned to the level of the period of the early days of the "War On Terror." The fact that the pretext for the war – the presumed possession by Saddam Hussein of the weapons of mass destruction – revealed itself to be a massive falsification, undermined Russia's trust in the US mainstream media and its periodic hysterias over various "mortal threats" requiring American military interventions.

In general, the period of the "war on terror" left in Russians a firm belief that partnership with the West in the anti-terrorist fight should continue. This belief was strengthened by the growth in the scope and sophistication of international terrorism. In the United States' elite too, there remained a substantial minority group which considered anti-terrorist cooperation with Russia feasible.

Act 6. Color Revolutions

Already in November 2003, the first "color revolution" won in Georgia using a rose as its symbol (the words "flower" and "color" have the same sounding in Russian). The new leader Mikheil Saakashvili, with active support from the United States, started conducting a very anti-Russian foreign policy. In 2004, another color revolution happened in Ukraine – the closest ethnic relative of Russia, in whose capital (Kiev) the proto-Russian ancient state Kievan Rus was born. The winner of the Ukrainian color revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, also took a very anti-Russian position. All of these revolution won with active support from the American government and so called "non-government" (Soros-financed NGOs) structures.

All of these revolutions had a powerful anti-Russian message and they were all supported by the US authorities, including the president of the United States. In the West, discussions about the desirability of a 'color revolution' in Russia started. Russia responded with a tough "no" to this "project for its future." Limitations on the work of American NGOs in Russia were imposed. Putin's speech of the year 2007 in Munich became the apotheosis of this Russian "no," with Putin denouncing not only the Western policy of "regime change," but also with Putin denouncing the unipolar world with the US and the EU as the undisputed pole.

The US continued their onslaught, however, and the next conflict happened in Georgia. The pro-US Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili started his military operation against what he called "pro-Russian separatists in South Ossetia," who had seceded from Georgia fearing genocide under the first Georgian ultranationalist president Zviad Gamsakhurdia back in 1991.

Saakashvili's artillery struck not only at South Ossetians, but also at the Russian peace-keeping contingent in South Ossetia. In retaliation, the Russian army intervened in South Ossetia, and soon the Georgian troops, who had already begun celebrating their conquest of the South Ossetian capital Tskhinval, were pushed back to their initial positions. The US did not have the guts to support their ally militarily and backed off. However, the red line of direct military combat between the Russian and American forces was dangerously close.

Act 7. The Politics of Reload (Perezagruzka 2)

This period, ushered in by Barack Obama's coming to power, is marked by a temporary hiatus in the information war between the two countries. Russia also joined the WTO, and it seemed that a normal dialogue was restarting. Even the arrest of 10 Russian reconnaissance operatives in the US did not lead to a cooling of relations between the two countries, but rather to a "spy exchange" and even to a certain warming of relations.

The policy of reload, started in 2009, promised great perspectives, but it was wrapped up in a rather brief period of time. Contradiction was programmed into the very structure of the "reload" strategy. The aim of the "reload" was to improve relations between the US and Russia in a bid to get Russian support for the American foreign policy initiatives. The problem consisted in the fact that not all of these foreign policy initiatives were acceptable for Russia or simply well thought through.

For example, in spring 2011 the US pushed through a resolution of the Security Council of the United Nations on Libya, with Russia abstaining in the hope of giving the US a chance to resolve the Libyan problem. The result was awful: the resolution was misinterpreted to pave the way for a Western military intervention in Libya on the side of Islamist insurgents against the country's ruler, Muhammar Qaddafi. After the Western bombings and the collapse of Qaddafi's regime, Libya was plunged into the abyss of a civil war which continues to this way. Russia's decision in 2011 not to veto the US-suggested resolution at the United Nations was a serious mistake, which Moscow is determined not to repeat in future.

The first indicator of the Reload's speedy end was the American support for the protests that enveloped Moscow as a result of the opposition's defeat at the parliamentary elections of 2011. The US made clear its desire NOT to see Vladimir Putin back in the president's seat after the brief tenure of Dmitry Medvedev as the president. An important threshold was the official visit by the then US vice-president Joe Biden at the time. During his visit, Biden gave Putin an unsolicited "advice" not to present his candidacy for another term.

The conflict aggravated in 2013, when Moscow had the guts not to extradite the fugitive American whistle-blower Edward Snowden, who found himself on the Russian territory after his escape from Hong Kong putting Russia before a hard choice. The fact that Russia became the only country in the world that didn't cave in to Washington's demand for Snowden's scalp, this fact enraged Washington and in the first place the American intelligence community. After the Snowden episode the period of Reload actually came to its end.

The really important result of the Reload period was Washington's conviction that attempts to improve relations with Moscow by what the American side saw as "concessions" (even though they were not real concessions) – that these attempts are futile.

Act 8. Frontal Attack Against Russia's Interests (Putin presented as an "authoritarian leader of a regional superpower")

Here comes the 8th stage of the Russia-US relations, which lasted between 2012 and 2013. It was the time of a frontal personal attack against the Russian president Vladimir Putin. The Russian interests were attacked too.

American sanctions tied to the Magnitsky case and attempts to make an information attack against Putin's beloved project, the Sochi Olympics, were seen by many as hostile acts, the context of the Snowden scandal did not add to easing tensions.

It was then, back in the summer of 2013, that the American intelligence community, enraged by the Snowden episode, got down seriously to the project of removing the Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych. The opportunity presented itself when the controversy over the costs of Ukraine's joining the Association Agreement with the EU led to violent protests in Kiev. Western threats of personal sanctions paralyzed the will for resistance on the side of Yanukovych and Ukraine's government, oligarchs were pushed to change sides by the Western pressure. The legitimate government failed to restore order and prevent a violent "regime change", during which mass protests were "reformatted" as a violent rebellion.

The result of the 8th act was the establishment of a certain consensus in Washington. That consensus boiled down to the conviction that Russia is an enemy, and it should be treated as an enemy, with toughness sooner or later being rewarded by a victory. The outcome in Ukraine in the first days after the toppling of Yanukovych in the end of February 2014 was seen by the American elite as one such victory.

Act 9. Russia Isolated. Sanctions.

After the Ukrainian Maidan, a new low in Russia-US relations installed itself for duration. Russia reacted to the violent coup in Ukraine, with a rabidly anti-Russian regime established there, by taking back Crimea, with most of Crimeans more willing than ever to leave the newly nationalist Ukraine. The Russian leadership also supported the rebellion of the Donbass population, where the rebels were dying in an uneven fight against the Ukrainian army, with its airplanes, tanks and artillery. In response, the US started a powerful campaign against Russia. Sanctions against Russia were introduced, and the West started demanding that Russia stop its support for the movement in Donbass, which soon took the form of popular antifascist resistance.

A hybrid war, which the West accused Russia of leading, was in fact declared to Russia. Hundreds of Russian officials and business companies faced economic or visa sanctions. Ruble lost half of its value, which had a negative and a positive outcome: the negative was in a lower living standard and the positive in an increased competitive capacity of the Russian products.

Russia responded by the food embargo from Russia, so the Russian producers in fact gained from the whole story, with president Obama still uttering his phrase about the Russian economy being "in tatters."

The peak of Western sanctions against Russia during the period of "Russia Isolated" was the G20 summit in Brisbane, Australia. The pressure on Putin was so obvious, that he even had to leave the summit before all the other participants.

The result of the period was the formation of a big Euro-Atlantic anti-Russian coalition, with iron discipline inside it. The other outcome was the legacy of sanctions and other elements of a de-facto hybrid war, now seen as a legitimate method of resolving the "Russian problem."

That Western policy continued between March 2014 and autumn of 2015. Its legacy is still with us. After Donald Trump was unexpectedly elected the president in 2016, voices about the easing or even lifting the anti-Russian sanctions started to be heard in Europe and the US. But the legacy of 2014-2015 still dominates: the US requires Russia to change its policy in Ukraine (in fact, allowing the population of Donbass to be subjected to Nazi-like repressions). These requirements are unacceptable for Russia, but the West is determined not to lift sanction until its wishes (presented as "conditions of the Minsk agreement", even though Russia is not even mentioned there) are fulfilled.

Act 10. Russia is Back

The new 10th period in the history of relations between Russia and the US started to the accompaniment of the Russian fighter jets' engines, as the Russian aviation came to Syria to save president Assad from the foreign-supported insurgents. The most prominent among the insurgents were visibly unpalatable for years: they were jihadists from the so called Islamic State and Al-Qaeda. By the end of 2015 it became obvious that Russia changed the course of events in Syria, thus establishing itself as a leading world power, and not as a regional one (see the Act 8).

The result was not just the jihadists' failure to topple Assad, but a gradual reestablishment of the Syrian government's full control over the most developed regions of Syria, such as Damascus and Aleppo.

The result was the general view that "Russia is Back", by 2016 it became a generally accepted opinion. The narrative of the Western press changed dramatically: just months before it wrote about Russia as a declining power, which is isolated with its economy in Obamian "tatters," by the winter 2016/2017 the narrative changed to Russia being "an overwhelming threat." Now Russia is perceived as a mighty international force, which can force on the United States and the EU the unfavorable results of votes and elections (Brexit, Trump's election).

This view of Russia as a "reborn" power in international relations is often coupled with Putin's demonization. The view of the Russian president as an all-powerful demon, which can manipulate the results of elections and public opinion in the US, Germany and France, while easily pushing Britain into Brexit – this view will one day be viewed as a twenty first century conspiracy theory, on the par with myths about the all-controlling "elders of Zion" and similar absurdities.

The result of Act 10 is the view of Russia as a "comeback kid" on the global stage, but the actions of this resurgent power are viewed as hostile to the US.

Act 11 – the ongoing one. Russian Hackers: the Pause of Unpredictability

During his electoral campaign, Donald Trump promised to improve Russia-US relations and spoke in favor of ending the new cold war. However, despite his sensational victory at the elections, the new US president soon found himself in a situation when he simply did not have a chance to pursue his vision of foreign policy. The unprecedented pressure came from Trump's enemies and from the US establishment in general. Trump was accused of having been brought to power by Russian "super-hackers." He was constantly presented as an admirer of Putin and later as a person under Russian influence, simply because he owes his electoral victory to Russia and to Putin personally. The American president is on the brink of impeachment.

As a result, Trump was not allowed even to form his own new foreign policy team, he had to inherit that very part of Obama's foreign policy establishment, which Trump himself criticized during the elections.

Currently, the Russia-US relations are in a state of a hiatus, a pause with no immediate end in sight. The new president of the US simply cannot conduct the Russia policy, which he had in his mind and which he promised his voters. His actions are blocked, and it is not clear how long this situation will persist.

TIMELY CONCLUSIONS

So, which legacy is staying with us after all these periods of recent history?

  1. Washington is convinced that a "good Russia" is a possibility. This is the kind of Russia that cedes ground to the US on every issue. "Good Russia" is also supposed to willingly lave the territory of its historic influence. It is expected to conduct the policy against its own national interest and to follow all recommendations from abroad, even if that goes against the right of its own citizens.
  2. The US sees its aim as helping the countries around Russia in order to stem the spread of Russian influence. Russian influence is seen as negative by definition. Washington sees itself as a friend of the Russian people, not Russian state. The period of the 1990s, seen in Russia as a disaster, is admired in the US. In the US there is a widespread view of Russia as a vulnerable "giant on the feet of clay" Russia still believes it can be an ally of the US in the fight against terrorism.
  3. The US has powerful instruments of undermining Russia, the technologies of "soft power" in the first place. Washington is not prepared to any concessions towards Russia, they are viewed as a way to a dead end. Washington still sees Putin as a supernatural demon, with the media recreating that delusion Sanctions form the backbone of the US policy towards Russia Russia is seen in the US as an enemy of the US – weak or strong.
  4. Foreign policy towards Russia is still a hostage of the inner politics in the US. The "Russiagate" is seen as a way towards Trump's impeachment.

In this situation the US elite still has ahead of it the task of forming a coherent policy towards Russia.

TellTheTruth-2 , 13 hours ago

Meet the New World Order .. Once it is understood Communism and Zionism are both trees split from the same trunk and the same root system, the picture becomes clearer. Both had the same goal: World Domination. Which one won? Putin, a Christian, stopped the ZioCON/Communists looting of Russia and, when he started to prosecute them, they fled to Israel. Today they've shifted their focus to the USA and, and in addition to looting the USA, they're bringing their Iron Curtain police state down on us. Until Trump, at the risk of being called an anti-Semite, gets the courage to do what Putin did and toss the ZioCON/Communists out of the US Government, the USA will continue its' downhill slide and, if they ever get the guns, millions of Christians will die, just like they did to the Christians in Russia.

ghartwell TellTheTruth-2 , an hour ago

Good quick overview.

John C Carleton , 14 hours ago

Putin is a very influential person on the world stage at this point. But to call Trump and the German zionist collaborating cow, second and third most powerful people in the world? You do not understand they are hand puppets? And you are writing a political dissection piece?

Ivan Grozny , 7 hours ago

This article is one of the most sensible and comprehensible pieces I have ever seen! Kudos to the author! Very good, very good indeed!

William Reston , 11 hours ago

Congrats Russia-Insider, you now have two great analysts clearing up the mess and making things clear between the US and Russia - P. Goncharoff and S. Markov. I do appreciate their views and brains!

Vince Dhimos , 13 hours ago

Russophobia is racism.

Tobe Fair , 4 hours ago

Very interesting assessment, but it ignores that Wall-Street starting with Clinton then re-enforced by Bush & Obama now Owns US Presidency, and Financiers do not adhere to Democratic principles, rather they are Dictators who view the public as assets to exploit, with Obama sabotaging Trump's Presidency on his way out.

Considering US lack of any victory for the $Trillions squandered on Military Belligerence & Predation, 'Desperation' is more fitting than any Political strategy.

Vladimir Putin will eventually go down as 'The Shrewdest Gutsiest Moral Principled Politician of this era, with Chinese President Xi second, and US three stooges before Trump the most inept cowards or sell-outs in the history of that Nation.

How else could US Senate & Reps in-cahoots with Spy-services be so confident as to threaten it's newly "elected" President? Fact is, every Nation which survived US & clients' sanctions, embargoes & asset freezes (never to be returned) are Head & Shoulders above those who subjugated themselves out of fear or lack of fortitude. Enough victims who know how to fight, to outnumber gang-banging NATO and it's EU parasites. Exciting & Traumatic times ahead.

peter gill , 10 hours ago

The only thing effecting U.S. Russia relations is the Jewish lobby, both in the U.K. and the U.S. The good thing is that the world is now waking up to the word Zionist. The Jewish media up to now has had total control of world opinion. The writing is on the wall, there is other financial institutions the new world is turning to, and their options are limitless. Right now the Zionists think they can weather the storm; but if their wrong it will be the end of their monopoly. Add to that the growing backlash against Israel and the consequences of public opinion. Especially in the United States,Great Britain,Australia and of course Israel.

Jon Geissinger , 11 hours ago

The American public is asleep at the wheel, not unlike a drunk at the wheel of a 50' tractor trailer having a blackout episode or better yet, at the controls of a 10 mile long train running at 100 mph. The road/track is littered with people who are also asleep, and the end of the road/rail line is a steep cliff leading to nowhere, into the abyss. We, the U.S., are within inches of that end of the 'line', and nobody is paying attention. You will not affect the American Public unless you take things like reality TV, Dancing with the Stars or Honey Boo Boo away, and jack the price of gas up to $10 a gallon.

It does not matter if you are a tin foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist, a blind evangelical christian, or a normal run of the mill Joe the Plumber. The end result is the same, and it has been repeated over and over throughout man's history. Empires will rise and fall; their speed of ascension or decent is a factor of the technology today, the timeline is highly compressed today because of things like the internet.

Generally speaking, all we can do is just sit back for the ride, and if so inclined, prepare for the massive conflagration that will be the result of the impending crash.
Russia's star is on the rise, the United States, and those attached to it, are on the descent. Natural process of history. Get over it. Screaming for your safe space is something that was seen in the fall of Rome as well! As is the murder of the infants and unborn; all text book, checklist fall of empire.

You can sit back and ignore it, take note and watch it unfold, move to a safer location (southern hemisphere!), do as you please; the average man and woman are without any other control other than their exact location on the planet.

What the esteemed writer points out is the points of the checklist, nothing more. There was no cause and effect, it was a matter of natural process.

God is doing a thing and there is nothing you or I can do about it. Probably not even relocation!

So get over it!

William Toffan Jon Geissinger , 7 hours ago

There's nothing normal or inevitable about it, and God has nothing to do with it. We can control our fate through free will. Putin did it in Russia, so why can't the USA? True, Russians are less enamored with bread and circuses than the poorly educated average American, but just read the posts from average Americans on the internet, The times they are a changin! Social change is always brought about by a minority of people with conviction for their goals. The masses will inevitably follow. That is the real lesson of history.

Constantine William Toffan , 5 hours ago

Hope you're right. But while I also believe the US citizenry, should it rise up, could make a huge difference, not just within its homeland, but on an international scale.

The melancholic truth, however, is that the US Americans are among the most docile and subservient people collectively when it comes to politics. So while you're right about the exercise of free will (which is an important aspect of the Christian religion BTW), it seems highly unlikely that they will be galvanized for a well-directed political action.

Jon Geissinger William Toffan , 7 hours ago

History. It repeats itself. We are in another repeat of that loop. The American Public has nothing to do with it other than being unwitting victims.
THE ONLY way the American public will sit up and take notice is an actual, physical kick in the mouth; history. Beyond that, they will continue to take the BS that is dished out and say "thank you can I have another". Yes, there is a SMALL percentage of the public that is taking notice, but not enough to stop the slide, and certainly not enough to return to the Constitution and Declaration; the first American revolution was supported and enacted by 14% of the population.
The posts that you read are 1% of 1% of 1% of 1% of the population. That is .0000001% of 325 million people.
There is no recovery without a collapse.

Kjell Hasthi , 14 hours ago

- Russia's decision in 2011 not to veto the US-suggested resolution at the United Nations was a serious mistake, which Moscow is determined not to repeat in future.

What matters is if Russia was in arming mode at that time. My gut feeling is Putin already had concluded there will be a WWIII, and was preparing for that. The number of nuke shelters finished by Jan 2015 is astonishing. The buildup of Putin Jugend happened before or at the time?

By 2014 NATO had been turned into a expeditionary Corps ready to fight shoeless Africans. They are adapting themselves too late, like Britain 1940

[Jul 11, 2017] Siemens to press charges after turbines moved from Russia to Crimea

Notable quotes:
"... There's some hinky stuff going on with these turbines. I just posted Part III of my series this morning on the turbines. ..."
"... do something ..."
"... " Siemens added that it would file lawsuits to halt any further deliveries to Crimea and to return already-dispatched equipment to its original destination." ..."
Jul 11, 2017 | marknesop.wordpress.com

et Al , July 10, 2017 at 2:27 pm

Neuters: Siemens to press charges after turbines moved from Russia to Crimea
https://in.reuters.com/article/ukraine-crisis-crimea-power-idINKBN19V251

Germany's Siemens said on Monday at least two of its gas turbines had been moved "against its will" from Russia to Crimea, a region subject to sanctions barring EU firms providing it with energy technology

Siemens, which has repeatedly insisted it was not aware the turbines were destined for Crimea, said it would press criminal charges against those responsible for diverting the turbines .

Siemens added that it would file lawsuits to halt any further deliveries to Crimea and to return already-dispatched equipment to its original destination. It said it was evaluating what additional actions were possible.

#####

Is this a PR/face saving stunt? Where exactly are they going to file charges, Moscow, Berlin or Brussels. Maybe if they string it out until after Merkel's re-election they can gently let it drop. Otherwise, they could always just f/k off and leave Russia. Now that would be good for their business. I don't see them being among approved bidders for Russian projects in future.

yalensis , July 10, 2017 at 3:25 pm

There's some hinky stuff going on with these turbines. I just posted Part III of my series this morning on the turbines.

And wouldn't you know it, Prof. Robinson posted a comment on my blog with a link to a lenta piece claiming that the turbines ARE in fact of native Russian manufacture!

(Something which I tend to doubt, but I'll look into this .)

Anyhow, now I'm as confused as a hare at a dog show, and I don't know what to believe any more. I'll continue my posts tomorrow, but taking the lenta link into account.

Bottom line: Somebody out there is lying – GASP! Either the turbines are German, or they're not! And either the Germans knew the turbines were destined for Crimea, or they didn't know! And either the Russians are lying about the turbines being of native Russian manufacture, or .

marknesop , July 10, 2017 at 8:09 pm

Perhaps they are Siemens products manufactured to Siemens specifications in Russia, under license. That's far from uncommon, although I'm not sure to what extent it is done in Russia. But we know it is, because Russia intended to buy only the first two MISTRAL Class assault carriers from France – until the US State Department stepped in and fucked everything up for everybody, including and mostly France – and build the second pair in Russia.

et Al , July 11, 2017 at 2:14 am

Thanks for that yalensis. I really should visit your blog more often!

cartman , July 11, 2017 at 7:29 am

Doesn't Russia make its own turbines for hydro plants? How different are those from natural gas ones?

marknesop , July 10, 2017 at 8:03 pm

I'm pretty confident that they are pissed off they have to do anything, just because somebody blew the whistle. They have no choice now, they have to act or it will just snowball, with hysterical reporters roaring that Siemens isn't going to do anything when are they going to do something ??

Siemens is, of course, the builder of the Velaro high-speed train used in Russia, where it is called the Sapsan , or Peregrine Falcon. Russia bought 240 trains, 1,200 cars, and – most importantly – awarded Siemens a 40-year contract for preventive and all other maintenance . I doubt very much if they will jeopardize that over a couple of gas turbines. But the yapping press must be appeased.

kirill , July 10, 2017 at 9:05 pm

Siemens has no legal case. Just like no car manufacturer controls what you do with your car (e.g. who you sell it to), Siemens has no control over its turbines in the aftermarket.

kirill , July 10, 2017 at 9:03 pm

https://ria.ru/economy/20170710/1498213204.html

"Technopromexport bought four unfinished turbine assemblies on the secondary market and had them rebuilt and modernized."

Does not sound like these are brand new, fully assembled systems. BTW, Siemens has zero control over its products after they are sold. Perhaps if Russian law recognized some contract term that resale or rebuilding was forbidden then Siemens would have a case. Siemens would have no case in Russia based on contract laws in other jurisdictions and has to lump whatever Russian law dishes out. You can see similar limitations on warranties for products in North America: different states and provinces control warranties differently. Also, I have never heard of contract terms for any non-military product that impose such draconian limitations. Russia ***bought*** these aftermarket turbines and not leased them from Siemens.

marknesop , July 10, 2017 at 11:19 pm

That sounds like an end-user agreement. Under such an agreement, the purchaser must notify the seller prior to reselling the item to any third party. That usually happens with defense-related equipment or proprietary technology which the vendor fears will be reverse-engineered. As far as I know there is no reason to believe such an agreement was in force, and if it were the entity in trouble would not be Russia, but the country which sold them to Russia. In that case it was very likely to have been Germany itself.

Lyttenburgh , July 10, 2017 at 9:04 pm

" Siemens added that it would file lawsuits to halt any further deliveries to Crimea and to return already-dispatched equipment to its original destination."

Reply

[Jul 11, 2017] The present state of US Russia relations can only be described as "confrontation"

Jul 11, 2017 | russiareviewed.wordpress.com
Monday evening, director of the Carnegie Moscow Center Dr. Dmitri Trenin gave a lecture at my university's school of public policy.

I won't try to give my own analysis of his remarks, but I will report them here for your reading and discussing pleasure.

Present state of U.S.-Russian relationship

According to Dr. Trenin, the present state of relations can only be described as 'confrontation' (defined here as a state of relations in which collision is possible). We no longer have a crisis in U.S.-Russian relations; since July of 2014 the two countries have settled into a new paradigm.

Trenin takes issue with those who call this the "New Cold War." He says the current confrontation differs from the old days in three distinct ways:

Controlling confrontation

It goes without saying that we need to do whatever it takes to minimize the danger of kinetic collison. Trenin opines that since the U.S. election, U.S.-Russian confrontation has been "put on hold", but the idea that Trump would usher in a new reset or detente should be taken with a large grain of salt. According to Trenin, the Russian government was all but bracing for a Hillary Clinton victory.

Trenin's recommendations for how to control confrontation:

Future of U.S.-Russian relations

The future relationship between the U.S. and Russia lies somewhere between managed adversity and mismanaged adversity. There isn't a constituency in either country willing to work wholly to improve the relationship. However, cooperation between the U.S. and Russia is still possible in certain areas:

Trenin asserts that Russia has neither the will nor capacity to act as a superpower, and also that whatever future cooperation between the U.S. and Russia will have to occur within the existing framework of confrontation and adversity.

Thus concluded the lecture.


Questions from the audience

Yes, yours truly stayed for the Q&A, which tends to be the most disastrous part of any Russia-related lecture. In actuality, this particular Q&A wasn't bad!

Opinon on the recent anticorruption protests in Russia

Trenin says there are several sides to the issue (although he only explains one).

How will Russia and China maintain their political "friendship"? Population decline and demographic changes in Russia Russian economic development policy

Basically, there isn't one. Trenin says the Russian government has merely coasted on high oil prices, and when oil prices fell, the economy went into recession. He distills Putin into two things:

Neither one dealing with economic policy. Trenin pins hope for real economic development on the post-Putin era.


There's a postscript to this little exercise in dictation that can't be resisted, and you can make of it what you will:

In the entirety of this two-hour lecture (including student questions), Trump was mentioned by name exactly one time.

I suppose I should be thankful.

[Jul 11, 2017] Blast from the Past: notes on lecture 'How to Deal with Russia: Advice for the Future President'

Jul 11, 2017 | russiareviewed.wordpress.com
Posted on May 31, 2017 by J.T. 3 Comments

Below is an unedited set of notes from a lecture given by former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union Jack F. Matlock, Jr. sometime in Fall of 2016. This was before I started blogging about lectures seriously, so the notes may seem patchy in places.

All the usual disclaimers; shadowquoted to the max.


On allegations of Russian interference in the elections

Can Russia influence the campaign? Sure! Anybody they endorse is likely to lose votes.

Ambassador Matlock is skeptical of interference allegations.

I cannot imagine that if our election system is well managed, that any external actor can hack and change the election results.

He also believes the idea that the Russians prefer Trump is shaky. Many Russians prefer Hillary due to her predictability.

What does the new president need to understand?

U.S. foreign policy is in many respects not serving the national interest.

Why has this happened?

U.S. foreign policy has become too concentrated on militarism and the use of force to solve problems.

The most serious threats facing the world today are:

  1. Nuclear weapons
  2. Global warming/environmental degradation
  3. failed states/terrorism
  4. Disease
  5. International crime and corruption

All are only exacerbated by military force, and none can be managed without active cooperation with Russia and china.

Ambassador Matlock says the future of the world, and indeed mankind, will not be determined by geopolitical conquest or control of territory. The greatest challenges transcend national boundaries and can only be solved through international cooperation.

How did we get off track? Russian mistakes

These mistakes have costs aside from Western sanctions.

On sanctions. They don't incentivize a Russian change in policy and allow Russians to claim that the problem lies not with their own government's policy, but with American hostility.

Mistaken ideas
  1. Control of land and people equals strength
  2. The goal should be to maximize power (power for what?)
  3. We should not think of power as a hierarchy: Do more powerful nations have rights or privileges denied others?
  4. Rivalry for control of territory benefits nobody. It damages or destroys the area fought over.
  5. Military force cannot create democracy in another country.
Priority tasks
  1. Restore nuclear cooperation with Russia and bring China into the loop.
  2. Stop military competition with China.
  3. Stop expanding the alliance system and make clear there is no blank check to defend risky behavior.
  4. With both Russia and China, seek areas where cooperation is possible to mutual benefit.

Long term:

  1. Reduce the military component in foreign policy.
  2. Withdraw from others' fights.
  3. Talk to everyone.
  4. End democracy promotion abroad, demonstrate its virtues at home.
  5. Give Russia and China incentive to feel part of the industrial/post-industrial 21st century world.
The situation is not hopeless.

Trump could be convinced he needs a different approach to be a "winner". Hillary may want to overshadow the legacy of her husband and predecessor. Just as Reagan, elected on an anticommunist platform, surprised people, so could Hillary.

Matlock concluded the lecture with the following quote from Senator J. William Fulbright:

Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence.


And not one lesson has been learned since.

[Jul 10, 2017] John Helmer How the Russian Economy Looks If You Aren't Wearing NATO Night-Fighting Goggles

Notable quotes:
"... Hellevig warns against illusions. "Russia must understand that the Russia containment strategy of the West will be there for years to come, and will only disappear the day when they gather the courage to understand that Russia has overcome. Therefore, Russia must root all its economic strategy and development efforts in a firm understanding of this reality, and never to count on West in anything. Russia must, focus on China, the East, and the rest of the world." ..."
"... When American or European voters calculate that war against Russia is threatening their interests, then there may be a change in the war policy towards Russia. For US voters to turn against war, war must hurt. ..."
"... Unfortunately, China and Russia their own home-grown warmongers whose position is continuously advanced by the kind of bellicose claptrap spewed out in documents like the two cited above. Tuchman's *The Proud Tower* and *The Guns of August* have never been more relevant than they are today, but maybe it's her anti war magnum opus, *March of Folly*, that should be required reading for all high school students going forward (I fear previous generations may already be too brainwashed to see the light). ..."
"... There is without a doubt that both China and Russia have their war parties that are impatient with the diplomatic pace of their governments. They do exert pressure towards a more belligerent pose against the US. ..."
"... Unlike the US, the war parties in those two governments do not have that much influence in making their foreign policies. Unfortunately for the US there is the so called deep state that has infiltrated every branch or our government and is always pushing for more war. ..."
"... State owned enterprises in key sectors does not sound good to you because decades of relentless junk economics and neoliberal bullshit have had a terrible effect in our perception of the reality. ..."
"... No capital controls, no industrial planning, soft banking regulations, privatized utilities, privatized infrastructures, low real estate taxes, private banking, regressive tax code. That's the receipt to create a neofeudal economy incapable of competing in the international markets. ..."
"... The point, sir, is that if your industries are overwhelmed by imports they will be destroyed, leaving you dependent on external parties. De facto colonization does not run far behind. ..."
"... Helmer's article triggered some further questions: To what extent has the effort to punish and damage Russia through the low price of oil and sanctions pushed the Putin regime to increase Russia's financial, economic and military alliance with China mentioned by Ray McGovern in his article posted in today's NC Links section? ..."
"... My understanding is that the current government, not their central bank, was thinking about ways to make Russia less dependent on foreign imports before 2014. Unilateral tariffs or other import restrictions were considered but not implemented because of political reasons ! They were afraid there would be a consumer backlash. US and EU sanctions solved that problem.. The Russian people were willing to make that sacrifice in the face of an attack on their sovereignty. ..."
"... ,,,During the analyzed period Russia has been constantly increasing the volumes of mineral exports and despite the fact that in general "oil" exports positively affect the amount of fiscal revenues, the observed dynamics of GDP growth was in fact negative. It means that further economic growth in Russia is not possible at the expense of its natural resources endowments. The observed over the analyzed period dynamics of macroeconomic indicators reveals that Russian economy is still substantially influenced by crude oil prices. Russia needs to diversify its economy away from oil and gas dependency, because significant volumes of "oil" exports are not favorable to the economy in terms of its strategic development. And according to the obtained results, in order to stimulate "non-oil" exports monetary authorities should depreciate national currency on the one hand, whilst on the other hand fiscal burden should be mild towards to "non-oil" producers. Consequently, Russian government should focus on export-oriented development of non-oil sectors and find an optimum ratio between "oil" and "non-oil" exports so that "oil" revenues would have supported "non-oil" exports. This allows us to conclude that crude oil will continue to play, at least in foreseeable future, a dominant role in further development of the Russian economy. ..."
"... Or did I miss a reference to a downside of kleptocracy. ..."
"... This paper addresses Russian economic development and economic policy in 2015–2016. The analysis focuses on external and domestic challenges as well as the anti-crisis policy of the Russian government. Special attention is paid to key elements of the new model of economic growth in Russia. The paper discusses economic policy priorities for sustainable growth that include budget efficiency, structural reforms and import substitution, the encouragement of entrepreneurship, the efficiency of public administration, and the modernization of the welfare state. ..."
Jul 10, 2017 | www.nakedcapitalism.com
... ... ...

Hellevig warns against illusions. "Russia must understand that the Russia containment strategy of the West will be there for years to come, and will only disappear the day when they gather the courage to understand that Russia has overcome. Therefore, Russia must root all its economic strategy and development efforts in a firm understanding of this reality, and never to count on West in anything. Russia must, focus on China, the East, and the rest of the world."

In war, feats of courage, while awarded medals after the event, are usually irrationally motivated when they happen. Instead of courage to understand, Hellevig may mean something more like cost-benefit analysis, as performed in the minds of voters. When American or European voters calculate that war against Russia is threatening their interests, then there may be a change in the war policy towards Russia. For US voters to turn against war, war must hurt.

Hellevig doesn't have a programme for that as much as a programme for changing hearts and minds in the policy-making centres of Moscow. Here are his recommendations:

Who does Hellevig think, from Putin on down, believes these things, or is even willing to consider the case for them?

Sergei Glazyev is obvious, but he is window-dressing in the Kremlin wall. Not one of his policy recommendations has been adopted, nor even endorsed in public by the president; for details, click to open . Instead, Glazyev is treated to public dressing-downs from Putin's spokesman, Dmity Peskov. Glazyev, to be sure, is a prickly, vain character with a voice pitch that compares unfavourably to chalk across a blackboard. Those are not disqualifications for his ideas.

In his latest presentation on the economy, Putin sounded all of Hellevig's findings, with the exception of the imports-to-GDP ratio and surpassing Germany. However, Putin committed to none of Hellevig's recommendations. For the full text of the president's June 15 "Direct Line" broadcast, read this . Addressing the criticism of Central Bank interest rate policy – the only Russian target Hellevig explicitly attacks ! Putin agreed with the critics; he also agreed with the Central Bank.

"I very much hope that the Central Bank continues to move cautiously towards reducing the key interest rate," Putin started.

"Why has the Central Bank adopted such a cautious approach? Unfortunately, the Russian economy still depends on oil and gas. The price of natural gas depends on the price of oil, and a special formula is used to calculate it. The price of oil has recently exceeded $50, and today it is only $48, I think. The Central Bank believes that if it declines, the key interest rate would have to be adjusted. What matters most for us right now is not the key interest rate itself, but avoiding any sharp fluctuations in the key interest rate. We need to ensure a stable exchange rate for our national currency, the ruble. This is what underpins the Central Bank's cautious approach. Some may like it, others may not. I am simply trying to explain the Central Bank's logic. It deserves respect."

Left to right: Central Bank Governor Elvira Nabiullina; Finance Minister Anton Siluanov; ex-Finance Minister, Putin adviser and patron of the other two, Alexei Kudrin, at their own SPIEF session, June 16, 2016

So who else is Hellewig addressing with the new report? The regrettable answer is noone in particular. Russia's enemies are in for a long war, Hellevig acknowledges himself. US Congress action to finalize the new sanctions bill may come this month, even before the August summer recess; for details of the new Russian targets and US weapons to be deployed, according to the new statute, read this . A veto by President Trump is unlikely because there are two-thirds majorities in the Senate and House of Representatives to override.

So Hellevig's "What Doesn't Kill You" is a report in a vacuum unless it is convincing in the domestic producers' market, and in foreign investor markets.

Sentiment for the future of the Russian economy is measurable in what Russians with cash and capital say they plan to do. If they are producing, shipping, buying and selling more, that will show in growth rates for electricity consumption, cargo tonnage moved on railroads, and the flow of cash and capital goods inward and outward. The latest measures of the electricity and rail indicators show single-digit growth upon the depressed base numbers prevailing last year. However, the numbers for capital outflow, including Russian businessmen on the run, are also growing. The closer you get to the individuals who are moving their cash abroad, the less confidence in the future you hear.

From the regular monthly polling of confidence in the future on the part of Russian businesses, it's clear there is less optimism than Hellevig's: the score last month remained negative, as it had been in April and May. The minus-1 score wasn't as bad as last December, but at minus-8 even that was nowhere near as bad as the all-time low in measured Russian business confidence – minus-20 in 2008. For more details, read this .

Source: https://tradingeconomics.com/russia/business-confidence

The sentiment of foreign investors should be estimated differently. The long money goes into Russian debt; the short or hot money is in Russian equity. Normally, they move in parallel. But for confidence in Russian bonds and confidence in Russian shares, the trend lines this year have been running in opposite directions. By the end of June, foreign buying of Russian debt issues rose sharply, compared to April and May, with an aggregate of $2.8 billion invested last month. For shares the situation has been the reverse. Funds holding Russian shares have been selling steadily for the past four months, and $1.6 billion has been withdrawn over this period, according to EPFR Global.

Guest Post , Russia on July 9, 2017 by Lambert Strether . About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism ("Because markets"). I don't much care about the "ism" that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don't much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue ! and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me ! is the tens of thousands of excess "deaths from despair," as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics ! even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton's wars created ! bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow ! currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press ! a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let's call such voices "the left." Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn't allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I've been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.

JTMcPhee , July 9, 2017 at 8:18 am

Regarding the Spirit of NATO: I'm reminded of the discussion in "The Guns of August" about the French attitude, in the generation leading up to WW I, toward the war they were planning. Lots of General Staff activity, including jockeying for position as the One who would Rule Them All, and the reliance on a supposed "national psyche" of "attack, attack, attack" to be rendered victorious by the Superior Elan of the Nation and its forces.

One view through one lens of those NATO night vision goggles: "Putin's Russia and US Defense (sic) Strategy," http://inss.ndu.edu/Portals/82/Documents/conference-reports/Putins-Russia-and-US-Defense-Strategy.pdf

And then there's this: http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_56626.htm
"None so blind as those who will not see "

Olga , July 9, 2017 at 9:11 am

Don't forget the British calls (around 1910-1913) for a "little war" that would be quickly over – once we showed those Germans who's the boss Didn't quite work out that way. The viciousness with which Germany was punished after WWI hid a lot of French and British (unacknowledged) guilt. It is bloody unbelievable that 100 yrs after that war (plus WWII), the West is still warmongering. China and Russia better hurry up with that changing-the world-order project – lest there'll be nothing left to change.

JTMcPhee , July 9, 2017 at 9:35 am

But of course, out of it all, a marvelous new tradition and industrial base, Krupp and Fokker and the British and French and Scandinavian, etc. armaments industry, and the inventive new fonancialists that enabled it all and all that nationalist patriotic fervor! And Bernays, too!

"A certain amount of killing has always been a concomitant of business "

philnc , July 9, 2017 at 10:59 am

Unfortunately, China and Russia their own home-grown warmongers whose position is continuously advanced by the kind of bellicose claptrap spewed out in documents like the two cited above. Tuchman's *The Proud Tower* and *The Guns of August* have never been more relevant than they are today, but maybe it's her anti war magnum opus, *March of Folly*, that should be required reading for all high school students going forward (I fear previous generations may already be too brainwashed to see the light).

ToivoS , July 9, 2017 at 11:12 pm

There is without a doubt that both China and Russia have their war parties that are impatient with the diplomatic pace of their governments. They do exert pressure towards a more belligerent pose against the US.

Unlike the US, the war parties in those two governments do not have that much influence in making their foreign policies. Unfortunately for the US there is the so called deep state that has infiltrated every branch or our government and is always pushing for more war.

Edward E , July 9, 2017 at 12:07 pm

"China and Russia better hurry up with that changing-the world-order project"
From reading a lot of Finian Cunningham and Willem Middelkoop, it appears that is exactly what is happening.

edr , July 9, 2017 at 9:48 am

"Hellevig's point deserves repeating ! the Russian economy is far more diversified than the enemy thinks. "

Hellevig calls the west "our western partners" but Helmer above is calling who the "enemy"? and enemy to whom? From Helmer's perspective that doesn't make sense. Is Helmer American? His first paragraph is equally confusing. Is Helmer recommending that a country under Economic Threat by a Stronger power hide economic gains, or the opposite ?

Hellevig: "state ownership must be guaranteed in the new fledgling industries."

Doesn't sound like good advice to me. Some subsidies for important fledgling industries sound like a better idea, like solar for instance.

Hiho , July 9, 2017 at 11:47 am

State owned enterprises in key sectors does not sound good to you because decades of relentless junk economics and neoliberal bullshit have had a terrible effect in our perception of the reality.

The truth is that liberalized economies have never been able to compete in the world and never will be.

edt , July 9, 2017 at 1:06 pm

What's your definition of a liberalized economy?

I didn't mention anything about "key sectors" (that was a different recommendation from Hellevig).

I referred to his recommendation about "fledgling industries," which could be anything.

I guess we could all go to work for the government. That shouldn't create any problems.

edr , July 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm

What's your definition of a liberalized economy?

I didn't mention anything about "key sectors" (that was different recommendation from Hellevig).

I referred to his recommendation about "fledgling industries" which could be anything.

I guess we could all go to work for the government. That shouldn't create any problems.

JTMcPhee , July 9, 2017 at 2:09 pm

Or we can all change our names to "Galt." Voluntarily, or by corporatist/financialist fiat. Actually seems to be well under way.

Of course the Galtians do want just that precise amount of "regulation," to be provided by Philosopher Galts from within the monopoly (sic) on the use of force, just the precise amount that's needed to make the Galtian system work, and to monopolize the government-protected freedom to loot and cadge subsidies and rents from the rest of us, and make us eat their externalities

Working so well so far, isn't it? Checked the outside air temperature and habitability indexes around the place lately? But those who profit from skills at looting and rentier-ing kvetch about the "government" they pervert for personal advantage ! nice to have it both ways.

Let us mopes never try to figure out how to have a "government" that embodies both "civil" and "service," one that's not immediately captured and twisted by Kochs and Musks and other Robber Barons. So hard to do, when one has the funhouse-mirror image of the Magna Carta as one of the Holy Texts

Hiho , July 9, 2017 at 2:37 pm

No capital controls, no industrial planning, soft banking regulations, privatized utilities, privatized infrastructures, low real estate taxes, private banking, regressive tax code. That's the receipt to create a neofeudal economy incapable of competing in the international markets.

JTMcPhee , July 9, 2017 at 5:57 pm

"incapable of competing in the international markets": you say that as if it's a Bad Thing ? And that all the "competition" does not, to greater or lesser degree, manifest every one of those supposed noncompetitive "weaknesses" of failings?

reslez , July 9, 2017 at 9:05 pm

The point, sir, is that if your industries are overwhelmed by imports they will be destroyed, leaving you dependent on external parties. De facto colonization does not run far behind.

JTMcPhee , July 9, 2017 at 10:52 pm

I got what he was saying, I think, and if it was not irony, then my point is that all those bad things Hiho cites are happening everywhere, to one degree or another, under neoliberal-neocon globalization. All part of the global race to the bottom, which I believe each of the presumed "bad things" cited by Hiho are part and parcel of. With the burden of militarized attempts to achieve Full Spectrum Dominance laid on top, though it sure is not clear, given the ascendancy of post-supra-national corporations and wealth concentration in the hands of Supra-state individuals with no national ties or loyalties, "cui bono" from that effort.

One wonders who and what the Received Wisdom of pursuit of imperial autarky-hegemony and "global competitiveness"might be expected to benefit

And the outcome, the industrial output, of the global system-as-it-is seems demonstrably to be killing the habitability of the planet. And of importance to us "top predators," the "comfort" and sustainability of our own brittle species

More of the same gets you exactly what, again? Minute local short-term Elites and their self-indulgences, who seem to have the "feudalism creation" process well under way, for their personal benefit ?

RabidGandhi , July 9, 2017 at 5:12 pm

"Our Western partners" is Putin's usual formulation, as Helmer makes clear in the article. It is not Hellevig's.

Carey , July 9, 2017 at 10:51 am

FWIW, I have often found Mr. Helmer obscure and difficult to confidently parse, with enough factual errors that I do take him with a grain of salt.

Yves Smith , July 9, 2017 at 5:47 pm

You need to address this particular article and not engage in a drive-by attack. You apparently can't find anything wrong but don't like where this goes. This piece makes clear it depends on a single source and Helmer has written it up. So what, pray tell, is hard to understand about that?

Our Richard Smith writes about scammers and his articles are similarly difficult because the relations among players and mechanisms are complex. That is often why Helmer's articles are dense: he's dealing with lots of material from sources with their own motives.

JTMcPhee , July 9, 2017 at 6:04 pm

Yves, thank you for adding that. I took "Carey" to be a kind of FUD-peddling troll. Can't let people start thinking well of folks like Helmer, now can they? Got to impeach whenever there's the chance.

Of course I could have it all wrong, and "Carey" was commenting in all sincerity In faceless bitspace, it's so hard to know

ToivoS , July 9, 2017 at 11:54 pm

Glad to see you defending Helmer. He very often comes up with some pretty good insights. But my God he is sometime difficult to follow. Someone who makes the reader work that hard just might be able to use a good copy editor. But, on the other hand,he does make one think.

Chauncey Gardiner , July 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Helmer's article triggered some further questions: To what extent has the effort to punish and damage Russia through the low price of oil and sanctions pushed the Putin regime to increase Russia's financial, economic and military alliance with China mentioned by Ray McGovern in his article posted in today's NC Links section?

To what extent has the growing economic relationship between Russia and China reduced the effectiveness of US sanctions on Russia and indirectly led to derivative policy blowback with potentially damaging implications for the US, such as loss of petrodollar hegemony to the Chinese yuan? China is now putting pressure on the Saudis to accept payment for oil in yuan by using China's oil imports from Russia as negotiating leverage.

Seems like an awful lot of ignorance and miscalculation by the usual suspects to me.

ToivoSt , July 10, 2017 at 12:03 am

My understanding is that the current government, not their central bank, was thinking about ways to make Russia less dependent on foreign imports before 2014. Unilateral tariffs or other import restrictions were considered but not implemented because of political reasons ! They were afraid there would be a consumer backlash. US and EU sanctions solved that problem.. The Russian people were willing to make that sacrifice in the face of an attack on their sovereignty.

John Casey , July 10, 2017 at 1:00 pm

To what extent has the effort to punish and damage Russia through the low price of oil and sanctions pushed the Putin regime to increase Russia's financial, economic and military alliance with China mentioned by Ray McGovern in his article posted in today's NC Links section?

I'll add that ! as far as I can tell, at least ! there's almost never any news about this issue in the three chief political establishment outlets (NYT, WaPo, and WSJ). You'd think that the editors of those papers regard the nascent Russia-China strategic partnership as verboten. Something unmentionable.

I wonder why.

Damson , July 9, 2017 at 2:48 pm

Helllevig's report is unabashedly pro – Putin so that doesn't gel too well with Helmer – a consistent, if generally fair critic.

Hard to know what the essential point of Helmer's take on the report really is – a warning against perceived Russian hubris vis a vis NATO?

Wariness of Glazeyev's proposed reforms? Contrary to Helmer, I believe they have not been adopted not because they are perceived to be wrong, but because they are currently too radical for the Russian economy – still very much part of the global system. (Though the SWIFT expulsion threat was challenged vigorously, and a Sino – Russian alternative is being put in place, it would have caused havoc if it had gone ahead.)

The impression that he's a 'narcissistic' attention – w***é is a new one on me Maybe Helmer is buddies with Kudrin, your standard market ideologue and a dyed-in-the-wool neoliber