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Posts Tagged ‘Russia’

Why Both Republicans and Democrats Want Russia to Become the Enemy of Choice — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on February 7, 2020

Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said “As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying.

All this because Russia offered a MUCH better financial deal to bankrupt Ukraine than the EU.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2020/02/06/why-both-republicans-and-democrats-want-russia-to-become-the-enemy-of-choice/

 Philip Giraldi

One of the more interesting aspects of the nauseating impeachment trial in the Senate was the repeated vilification of Russia and its President Vladimir Putin. To hate Russia has become dogma on both sides of the political aisle, in part because no politician has really wanted to confront the lesson of the 2016 election, which was that most Americans think that the federal government is basically incompetent and staffed by career politicians like Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell who should return back home and get real jobs. Worse still, it is useless, and much like the one trick pony the only thing it can do is steal money from the taxpayers and waste it on various types of self-gratification that only politicians can appreciate. That means that the United States is engaged is fighting multiple wars against make-believe enemies while the country’s infrastructure rots and a host of officially certified grievance groups control the public space. It sure doesn’t look like Kansas anymore.

The fact that opinion polls in Europe suggest that many Europeans would rather have Vladimir Putin than their own hopelessly corrupt leaders is suggestive. One can buy a whole range of favorable t-shirts featuring Vladimir Putin on Ebay, also suggesting that most Americans find the official Russophobia narrative both mysterious and faintly amusing. They may not really be into the expressed desire of the huddled masses in D.C. to go to war to bring true U.S. style democracy to the un-enlightened.

One also must wonder if the Democrats are reading the tea leaves correctly. If they think that a slogan like “Honest Joe Biden will keep us safe from Moscow” will be a winner in 2020 they might again be missing the bigger picture. Since the focus on Trump’s decidedly erratic behavior will inevitably die down after the impeachment trial is completed, the Democrats will have to come up with something compelling if they really want to win the presidency and it sure won’t be the largely fictionalized Russian threat.

Nevertheless, someone should tell Congressman Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, to shut up as he is becoming an international embarrassment. His “closing arguments” speeches last week were respectively two-and-a-half hours and ninety minutes long and were inevitably praised by the mainstream media as “magisterial,” “powerful,” and “impressive.” The Washington Post’s resident Zionist extremist Jennifer Rubin labeled it “a grand slam” while legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin called it “dazzling.” Gail Collins of the New York Times dubbed it “a great job” and added that Schiff is now “a rock star.” Daily Beast enthused that the remarks “will go down in history” and progressive activist Ryan Knight called it “a closing statement for the ages.” Hollywood was also on board with actress Debra Messing tweeting “I am in tears. Thank you Chairman Schiff for fighting for our country.”

Actually, a better adjective would have been “scary” and not merely due to its elaboration of the alleged high crimes and misdemeanors committed by President Trump, much of which was undeniably true even if not necessarily impeachable. It was scary because it was a warmongers speech, full of allusions to Russia, to Moscow’s “interference” in 2016, and to the ridiculous proposition that if Trump were to be defeated in 2020 he might not concede and Russia could even intervene militarily in the United States in support of its puppet. Schiff insisted that Trump must be removed now to “assure the integrity” of the 2020 election. He elaborated somewhat ambiguously that “The president’s misconduct cannot be decided at the ballot box, for we cannot be assured that the vote will be fairly won.”

Schiff also unleashed one of the most time honored but completely lame excuses for going to war, claiming that military assistance to Ukraine that had been delayed by Trump was essential for U.S. national security. He said “As one witness put it during our impeachment inquiry, the United States aids Ukraine and her people so that we can fight Russia over there, and we don’t have to fight Russia here.”

Schiff, a lawyer who has never had to put his life on the line for anything and whose son sports a MOSSAD t-shirt, is one of those sunshine soldiers who finds it quite acceptable if someone else does the dying. Journalist Max Blumenthal observed that “Liberals used to mock Bush supporters when they used this jingoistic line during the war on Iraq. Now they deploy it to justify an imperialist proxy war against a nuclear power.” Aaron Mate at The Nation added that “For all the talk about Russia undermining faith in U.S. elections, how about Russiagaters like Schiff fear-mongering w/ hysterics like this? Let’s assume Ukraine did what Trump wanted: announce a probe of Burisma. Would that delegitimize a 2020 U.S. election? This is a joke.”

Over at Antiwar Daniel Lazare explains how the Wednesday speech was “a fear-mongering, sword-rattling harangue that will not only raise tensions with Russia for no good reason, but sends a chilling message to [Democratic Party] dissidents at home that if they deviate from Russiagate orthodoxy by one iota, they’ll be driven from the fold.”

The orthodoxy that Lazare was writing about includes the established Nancy Pelosi/Chuck Schumer narrative that Russia invaded “poor innocent Ukraine” in 2014, that it interfered in the 2016 election to defeat Hillary Clinton, and that it is currently trying to smear Joe Biden. One might add to that the growing consensus that Russia can and will interfere again in 2020 to help Trump. Absent from the narrative is the part how the U.S. intervened in Ukraine first to remove its government and the fact that there is something very unsavory about Joe Biden’s son taking a high-paying sinecure board position from a notably corrupt Ukrainian oligarch while his father was Vice President and allegedly directing U.S. assistance to a Ukrainian anti-corruption effort.

On Wednesday, Schiff maintained that “Russia is not a threat … to Eastern Europe alone. Ukraine has become the de facto proving ground for just the types of hybrid warfare that the twenty-first century will become defined by: cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, efforts to undermine the legitimacy of state institutions, whether that is voting systems or financial markets. The Kremlin showed boldly in 2016 that with the malign skills it honed in Ukraine, they would not stay in Ukraine. Instead, Russia employed them here to attack our institutions, and they will do so again.” Not surprisingly, if one substitutes the “United States” for “Russia” and “Kremlin” and changes “Ukraine” to Iran or Venezuela, the Schiff comment actually becomes much more credible.

The compulsion on the part of the Democrats to bring down Trump to avoid having to deal with their own failings has brought about a shift in their established foreign policy, placing the neocons and their friends back in charge. For Schiff, who has enthusiastically supported every failed American military effort since 9/11, today’s Russia is the Soviet Union reborn, and don’t you forget it pardner! Newsweek is meanwhile reporting that the U.S. military is reading the tea leaves and is gearing up to fight the Russians. Per Schiff, Trump must be stopped as he is part of a grand Russian conspiracy to overthrow everything the United States stands for. If the Kremlin is not stopped now, it’s first major step, per Schiff, will be to “remake the map of Europe by dint of military force.”

Donald Trump’s erratic rule has certainly dismayed many of his former supporters, but the Democratic Party is offering nothing but another helping of George W. Bush/Barack Obama establishment war against the world. We Americans have had enough of that for the past nineteen years. Trump may indeed deserve to be removed based on his actions, but the argument that it is essential to do so because of Russia lurking is complete nonsense. Pretty scary that the apparent chief promoter of that point of view is someone who actually has power in the government, one Adam Schiff, head of the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

 

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‘Nobody ever gets points for saying anything good about Russia’: Stephen Cohen says, as Rep. Schiff spreads ignorance about Putin — RT World News

Posted by M. C. on January 29, 2020

According to the researcher, Putin’s chief ambition is “to rebuild Russia from the disaster into which it fell in the 1990s” after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The last thing Putin wants is instability. He’s trying to build economy at home and economic relations with countries abroad because he sees that as a way to modernize Russia.

The Russia researcher said that Moscow is currently focused on ties with China, but Putin would like to have good trade relations with Europe and the US as well.

https://www.rt.com/news/479380-stephen-cohen-schiff-putin/

US Congress heavyweights like Adam Schiff deeply misunderstand Russia but keep on bashing Moscow because it has become “politically advantageous” in Washington, Russia researcher Stephen Cohen said.

“Being highly-critical of Russia is good politics in the United States,” Cohen, professor emeritus of Russian studies at New York University and Princeton University, told the Grayzone’s Aaron Mate in an interview, uploaded online on Monday.

Nobody ever gets any points for saying anything good about Russia – and only rarely for advocating any kind of partnership with Russia.

Cohen said that “politically it’s advantageous to a lot of people to bash Russia,” and even some of the “progressive” Democratic Party candidates in the 2020 presidential race employ rhetoric, which is hostile toward Moscow.

It has become an American way of life to blame Russia when things go wrong. Of course, sometimes Russia is to blame, but not all the time. And yet that’s become part of our discourse.

The US Democratic Party’s lead impeachment manager, Representative Adam Schiff, has invoked Russia a lot during the trial in the Senate. Democrats want to oust President Donald Trump because they believe he briefly suspended military aid to Ukraine while trying to pressure Kiev into investigating the dealings of his chief 2020 rival, former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Sending weapons to Ukraine serves America’s “abiding interest in stemming Russian expansionism,” Schiff argued.

Cohen, however, said that shipping weapons to Kiev would effectively amount to the US turning its back on Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelensky’s efforts to resolve the conflict with Russia through peaceful means. Instead, he thinks Washington should focus on encouraging the neighbors to negotiate.

“If Zelensky had full American backing for his peace talks with Putin – that would help him a lot.”

Speaking on the Senate floor, Schiff accused Moscow of trying to undermine the faith in democracy and government institutions around the globe.

Cohen argued that the congressman misunderstands what Russian President Vladimir Putin actually “sees as his own historical mission,” and it is almost the opposite of what Schiff attributes to him.

According to the researcher, Putin’s chief ambition is “to rebuild Russia from the disaster into which it fell in the 1990s” after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

The last thing Putin wants is instability. He’s trying to build economy at home and economic relations with countries abroad because he sees that as a way to modernize Russia.

The Russia researcher said that Moscow is currently focused on ties with China, but Putin would like to have good trade relations with Europe and the US as well.

“The notion that he wants to foster discord in the very countries, with which he wants what he calls ‘modernizing trade relations’ is just ignorance on the part of Adam Schiff. Because Schiff runs his mouth a lot about Russia, we get to hear the kind of ignorance… that dominates a large segment of policy-makers in Washington.”

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Russia And China Are Apparently Both Under The Impression That War With The United States Is Coming… – The American Dream

Posted by M. C. on November 26, 2019

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/russia-and-china-are-apparently-both-under-the-impression-that-war-with-the-united-states-is-coming

Could it be possible that the U.S. is heading for a major war?  If you ask most Americans that question, they will look at you like you are crazy.  For most people in this country, war with either Russia or China is not something to even be remotely concerned about.  But the Russians and the Chinese both see things very differently.  As you will see below, Russia and China both seem to be under the impression that war with the United States is coming, and they are both rapidly preparing for such a conflict.

Let’s start with Russia.  After repeatedly slapping them with sanctions, endlessly demonizing their leaders and blaming them for just about every problem that you can imagine, our relationship with Russia is about the worst that it has ever been.

And when the Trump administration announced that it was withdrawing from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, that pushed things to a new low.  In the aftermath of that announcement, Russian official Andrei Belousov boldly declared that “Russia is preparing for war”

He said: “Here recently at the meeting, the United States said that Russia is preparing for war.

Yes, Russia is preparing for war, I have confirmed it.

“We are preparing to defend our homeland, our territorial integrity, our principles, our values, our people – we are preparing for such a war.”

Here in the United States, there is very little talk of a potential war with Russia in the mainstream media, but in Russia things are very different.  Russian news outlets are constantly addressing escalating tensions with the United States, and the Russian government has been adding fuel to that fire.  For example, the Russian government recently released a video of a mock nuclear strike against their “enemies”

Russian submarines have recently carried out a mock nuclear attack against their “enemies.” The Russian government has released footage of the atomic strike and it is sparking fears that the third world war is quickly approaching.

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has published shocking videos that show a range of nuclear missile drills including a submarine carrying out a mock atomic strike. These videos are the latest in a series of escalating war-games ordered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to The Express UK.

I’ll give you just one guess as to who the primary enemy in that drill was.

And what Russian President Vladimir Putin recently told the press about a potential nuclear war was extremely chilling

If any nation decides to attack Russia with nuclear weapons, it may end life on Earth; but unlike the aggressors, the Russians are sure to go to heaven, President Vladimir Putin has said.

“Any aggressor should know that retribution will be inevitable and he will be destroyed. And since we will be the victims of his aggression, we will be going to heaven as martyrs. They will simply drop dead, won’t even have time to repent,” Putin said during a session of the Valdai Club in Sochi.

Under normal circumstances, Putin would never talk like that.

But these are not normal times.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping is ordering his military to focus on “preparations for fighting a war”

China’s President Xi Jinping ordered the military region responsible for monitoring the South China Sea and Taiwan to “assess the situation it is facing and boost its capabilities so it can handle any emergency” as tensions continue to mount over the future of the South China Sea and Taiwan, while diplomatic relations between Washington and Beijing hit rock bottom.

The Southern Theatre Command has had to bear a “heavy military responsibility” in recent years, state broadcaster CCTV quoted Xi as saying during an inspection tour made on Thursday as part of his visit to Guangdong province.

“It’s necessary to strengthen the mission … and concentrate preparations for fighting a war,” Xi said. “We need to take all complex situations into consideration and make emergency plans accordingly. “We have to step up combat readiness exercises, joint exercises and confrontational exercises to enhance servicemen’s capabilities and preparation for war” the president-for-life added.

So who are the Chinese concerned that they may be fighting against?

Needless to say, the United States is at the top of the list

The president instructed the military to ramp-up opposition to ‘freedom of navigation’ exercises being undertaken by the US, Australia, France, the UK, Japan and others through the waterway through which arterial shipping lanes have grown since the end of World War II.

Tensions over the South China Sea have been increasing for several years, and starting a trade war with China in 2018 has certainly not helped things.

At this point, even many U.S. analysts can see the writing on the wall.  For instance, just consider what Harvard Professor Graham Allison recently told Steve LeVine

He said, if history holds, the U.S. and China appeared headed toward war.

Over the weekend, I asked him for an update — specifically whether the danger of the two going to war seems to have risen.

“Yes,” he responded. The chance of war is still less than 50%, but “is real — and much more likely than is generally recognized.”

Of course we didn’t get to this point overnight.  Tensions with Russia and China have been simmering for quite a while, and both of those nations have been rapidly modernizing their military forces.  For much more on this, please see my recent article entitled “Russia And China Are Developing Impressive New Weapons Systems As They Prepare For War Against The United States”.

Sadly, the vast majority of the U.S. population is utterly clueless about these things.

But those that are serving in the military have a much better understanding, and one recent survey found that about half of them expect the U.S. to be “drawn into a new war within the next year”…

We should hope for peace, but throughout human history peace has never lasted for long. Major global powers continue to edge closer and closer to conflict, and that is a very dangerous game to be playing.

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America’s Military Is Misdirected, Not Underfunded – Defense One

Posted by M. C. on November 4, 2019

The real problem with current U.S. security strategy is that it is aimed at the wrong targets and employs the wrong tools to deal with the most urgent challenges we face.

https://www.defenseone.com/ideas/2019/11/americas-military-misdirected-not-underfunded/161025/

U.S. strategy should be more focused on preventing conflict with nuclear-armed China than on spinning out elaborate war-fighting scenarios.

The Heritage Foundation released its 500-page index of military strength this week. Unfortunately, what it achieves in length is undermined by its stale and unpersuasive assumptions.

As usual, Heritage gives all of the military services low marks. While there’s always room for improvement, the Heritage methodology seems arbitrary at best, and misleading at worst. The biggest complaint in the index is that America’s military is a “one-war force” that could not win simultaneous wars against Russia and China. But the two-war standard is a convenient myth that has historically had more to do with justifying high Pentagon budgets than it has with any rational assessment of the primary security challenges facing the United States and its allies.

The Center for International Policy’s Sustainable Defense Task Force – a group of ex-White House and Congressional budget experts, ex-military and Pentagon officials, and representatives of think tanks from across the political spectrum – takes a different view of the issue of great power rivalry.

Our European allies spend three times as much on their military forces as Russia does. Given better coordination and a more coherent strategy, they are more than capable of taking the lead in addressing any conceivable military challenge posed by Russia, with a reduced level of direct U.S. support. In any case, the greatest threats posed by the Putin regime – hybrid warfare, nuclear weapons, support for divisive nationalist parties, and cyber-attacks – cannot be dealt with by traditional military means.

Related: The National Defense Strategy Is No Strategy

Related: What’s Great Power Competition? No One Really Knows

Related: Is the Pentagon Truly Committed to the National Defense Strategy?

As for China, its biggest long-term challenge is economic, not military. Beijing’s aggressive global infrastructure initiatives are garnering priority access to key resources, and its steady economic growth could allow it to catch up with the U.S. military within the next two decades. But there is much that can be done to head off that eventuality, and the primary tool for doing so should not be bulking up the U.S. naval presence in the Pacific.

U.S. strategy should be more focused on preventing conflict with China – a war between two nuclear powers that would be a disaster for all concerned – than on spinning out elaborate war-fighting scenarios…

U.S. policy towards Russia and China should seek areas of potential cooperating rather than assuming unending confrontation. Climate change and nuclear arms control are two promising avenues for joint effort. As happened during the Cold War, nuclear arms control can be pursued even during periods of tension between Washington and Moscow. Reversing the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle the carefully crafted hard-won system of global nuclear arms control – from abandoning the multilateral deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program to walking away from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces treaty – needs to be reversed, and the sooner the better. And there will be no progress on climate change without substantial cooperation between the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases.

The truth is, a policy that takes a more realistic view of great power rivalry; abandons planning for large-scale counterinsurgency and nation building initiatives like those that have been pursued in Iraq and Afghanistan; adopts a deterrence-only nuclear strategy along the lines outlined by the organization Global Zero; and cuts excess bureaucracy could allow for at least a 10 percent reduction in the size of the U.S. military and save $1.2 trillion from current Pentagon plans over the next decade.

In short, when it comes to U.S. military spending and capabilities, the sky is not falling, whatever the new Heritage analysis may allege. In fact, the United States is projected to spend over $1 trillion more during the decade covered by the Budget Control Act than in the prior decade, when the U.S. interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan were at peak levels…

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He’s a One-Man Ukrainian Lobby! – Taki’s Magazine – Taki’s Magazine

Posted by M. C. on November 1, 2019

https://www.takimag.com/article/hes-a-one-man-ukrainian-lobby/

by Ann Coulter

He’s a One-Man Ukrainian Lobby!

I have a confession. I behaved badly recently, and I’m just going to admit it.

As a guest at a dinner party in Georgetown, I stormed in and started bossing everyone around. First, I demanded that the foyer be painted a different color and wainscoting be added to the dining room. Then I had my hosts assemble their children so I could give them all different names. Before making my exit, I grabbed two legs of turkey off the entree platter and stuffed them in my purse.

I have a second confession. None of that happened. But if it had, I would be exactly like Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman.

He was born in Ukraine and raised there until age 3 1/2, when he was invited to our country. As you’ve no doubt heard, he served in our military. Thank you for your service, Colonel!

Now he is the top Ukrainian adviser on the National Security Council. Of all the people who could look out for the U.S.’s interests vis-a-vis Ukraine, we got someone who was born there.

As such, Vindman was permitted to listen to a phone call the president of the United States made to the president of Ukraine — a completely unnecessary, pro forma task.

So, naturally, when he had a policy disagreement with President Trump pertaining to the country he was born in, he thought he had a responsibility to agitate for removal proceedings against the duly elected U.S. president, just as I might have taken issue with the carpets in the Georgetown townhouse…

It would be bad enough if Col. Vindman’s policy disagreement with the president had to do with U.S. policy on Mexico or North Korea. But it was about the country where Col. Vindman was born.

We’re always told that Democrats don’t have to prove wrongdoing by Trump — for example, under the emoluments clause, in his foreign policy negotiations or when he fired his FBI director. Rather, it’s claimed that Trump’s conduct creates the appearance of impropriety.

Well, having a Ukrainian-born analyst butt in to ensure U.S. foreign aid flows effortlessly to the country of his birth gives the appearance that he’s concerned about fairness to Ukraine. That’s not what this is supposed to be about. It’s supposed to be about what’s in the best interests of the United States.

Worse, Vindman was dealing with the U.S.’s Ukrainian policy versus Russia, which Ukrainians hate because Stalin murdered millions of them. It’s like having an Armenian advise on whether we should be hostile to Turkey.

This is not the usual dual loyalty claim insultingly attributed to Irish or Jewish Americans who were born in this country. Lots of us have admixtures of other nationalities.

But when you were actually born in another country and that’s the precise policy matter you’re sticking your nose into, people are going to wonder if it’s really our national interests you’re looking out for.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 1: Immigrants are required to wait a minimum of two (2) generations before bossing around the most successful, prosperous, free country on Earth, and fully three (3) generations before advising on our government’s policy toward the countries of their forefathers.

We also need a constitutional amendment directed at 10th-generation Americans who fancy themselves foreign policy experts. Foreign policy is the idiot’s shortcut to imagined erudition, the last refuge of the insufferable.

Sen. Lindsey Graham was on TV last week, bragging about how he’d been to Syria — Afghanistan? Iraq? Who cares! — 75 times.

Not one person who voted for Graham has the peace and contentment of Syrians on his Top Ten Concerns list. Like everyone else, South Carolinians care about their jobs, their safety, their neighborhoods, their country.

But Sen. Graham wouldn’t sound like a deep intellectual if he went on TV and started talking about water treatment plants, despite the fact that clean drinking water is of far greater interest to his constituents…

It would be annoying enough if government officials, whose salaries we pay, spent all their time working on the betterment of other nations, but at least everything turned out GREAT. In fact, however, they’re never right, they always make things worse, and they never pay a price because, again, no one cares.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 2: Elected officials may take one government-funded boondoggle abroad for every three (3) trips they make to our southern border.

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The Demonization of Dissent

Posted by M. C. on October 30, 2019

https://outline.com/6HAsmM

James Carden

The war of words between former secretary of state Hillary Clinton and current 2020 presidential aspirant Tulsi Gabbard has been, in some respects, clarifying. Clinton’s insinuation that Russia is “grooming” the Hawaiian Democrat for a third-party run in order to influence the outcome of next year’s election, instead of provoking a “have you no shame?” response from the establishment media, was gleefully repeated by such establishment fixtures as the journalist Jonathan Alter and the scholar Norman Ornstein. In other words, McCarthyism has gone mainstream.

To get to the root of what is going on here, the spat between the Clinton camp and the upstart, anti-interventionist Gabbard must be placed within the broader context of the past several years during which, under the influence of Russiagate, the Democratic Party and the establishment media have taken the lead in calling for a new Cold War. Only then can Clinton’s accusation be seen for what it is, part of a long campaign of vilification and demonization against critics of the establishment consensus on Russia going back at least to late 2013, if not earlier.

Express doubts about the establishment’s preferred policy toward Russia, and you will find yourself not only in the crosshairs of the liberal mainstream media but, even more worryingly, on the radar of the intelligence community—just ask a minor Trump campaign functionary like George Papadopoulos…

Over the last several years, high government officials have attempted to paint discourse and policy proposals with which they disagree as proof of disloyalty, if not worse.

One need only look to March 2017, when, on the floor of the US Senate, the senior senator from Arizona, John McCain, accused Kentucky Republican Rand Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin.” The accusation came amid an effort by Paul to have an actual debate (as opposed to a voice vote) over whether Montenegro should join NATO. Said McCain to Paul, “If there is objection, you are achieving the objectives of Vladimir Putin.”

Still more alarming, several months later, in December 2017, a little-noticed amicus curiae brief sent by former high-ranking US intelligence officials asserted that Russia uses “political organizers and activists, academics, journalists, web operators, shell companies, nationalists and militant groups, and prominent pro-Russian businessmen” to subvert the American political process.

Russia’s intermediaries, said the brief cosigned by, among others, former CIA director John Brennan, may include “the unwitting accomplice who is manipulated to act in what he believes is his best interest, to the ideological or economic ally who broadly shares Russian interests, to the knowing agent of influence who is recruited or coerced to directly advance Russian operations and objectives.”

And this is precisely what Clinton has now accused Tulsi Gabbard, a woman of color, a combat vet, and a major in the Army National Guard, of being: an accomplice in Russia’s malign campaign to influence the 2020 election. What we are now seeing is nothing less than a joint effort by the former secretary of state and her allies in the media (which very much include certain former high-ranking members of the US intelligence community) to vilify those like Gabbard who vocally oppose a new Cold War with Russia…

the silence with which this development has been greeted by many of the erstwhile guardians of political dissent on the left has been nothing short of deafening.

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A Question of Timing – The Coming Economic Collapse

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2019

https://internationalman.com/articles/a-question-of-timing/

by Jeff Thomas

France, 1788.    Russia, 1916.    Germany, 1937.

These dates have something in common. In France in 1788, political conditions had been getting questionable, but there was no apparent need to panic. That came the following year, with the sudden outbreak of the French Revolution. From that point on, it was dangerous even to go out in the streets of Paris. So many people had become enraged, that even if you were not a member of the aristocracy, you could easily become collateral damage.

And so, it would have been wise if, in 1788, you had decided to pack your bags and remove yourself from the epicentre of what was developing.

Similarly, in 1916, Russia was at war with the Germans, and the populace was becoming increasingly vocal about the state of the economy. Yet, even the czar believed that the people simply had to accept the situation and muddle through.

A year later, soldiers were deserting, a host of political wannabes were vying for power and anyone who simply wanted to be left alone to run his own life was now afraid to go out on the streets.

And of course, in Germany, prior to Kristallnacht in November of 1938, all the warnings were there that the country was beginning to unravel, but virtually everyone assumed that, somehow, things would be all right.

A year later, Germany was at war with five nations and had invaded three others. People were being rounded up, imprisoned and/or shot. Those who sought to get out of Germany found that they were no longer allowed to do so.

And history is full of similar cases. In hindsight, the warning signs have always been there: an increasingly autocratic government, increasingly volatile and irrational political struggles, mounting debt, increased taxation, a declining economy and the removal of basic freedoms “for the greater good.”

In 1929, if you lived in the US, you might have just paid $2,735 for a new Packard Custom 8 Roadster – a means of showing off your recent gains in the stock market. A year later, you might well have offered it for sale for only $100, as, for all your previous price offers, there were no takers. And you, like they, had been wiped out in the crash, and $100 meant the difference between eating and not eating.

In 1958, you might have been enjoying a daiquiri at El Floridita in Havana and joking to friends about ‘las barbudas’ – the tiny rebel force hiding in the Sierra Madre. A year later, the joking had ended and private businesses like El Floridita had been nationalized by the new government.

For millennia, the playbook has been the same. Countries that had been wonderful to live in, began to deteriorate from within, and the great majority of residents had failed to read the tea leaves – the warning signs that, in the future, conditions were not going to get better; they were going to get worse.

But why should this be so?

Well, in 1787, in the midst of the Scottish Enlightenment that gave rise to Adam Smith, economist and historian Alexander Tytler is credited as having said:

A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship.

He further noted that the latter stages of any such decline are marked, first, by complacency, then by apathy. The final stage is invariably one of bondage.

In some cases of collapse, the country is taken over by an outside force, but invariably, as stated above, the rot always starts from within. It’s simply human nature for the majority of any population, when passing through challenging times, to fall prey to promises that, somehow, a change in the form of government can and will result in the elimination of problematic conditions.

But how do those who make such claims sell their ideas? Do they suggest that everyone should work harder and practice a greater level of abnegation?

Well, no. Although such people may exist and may even become outspoken, they are, historically, never the individuals whom the majority of the population follow. Invariably, the majority (having become complacent and pathetic), choose those who promise to take from one group and share the spoils amongst those who are less productive.

As illogical as this promise is, most people, even if they doubt the reality of the claim, tend to think, “Well, it couldn’t be any worse. I might get something, so let’s give it a try.”

A very simple case in point is the Bahamas election of 1967, in which Bahamians elected their first ‘man of the people’ as their premier. Under his rhetoric of ‘Bahamas for Bahamians,’ he promised the large underclass of Bahamians that he would take the top jobs away from the British bankers and other business leaders and that the spoils would go to the average Bahamian.

Of particular interest were the luxury vehicles driven by successful businessmen. Bahamians in their thousands imagined that the senior staff in banks would be fired, that they themselves would be given the jobs… and the fancy Jaguar Saloons.

And that did happen to some extent. Those who were loyal to Prime Minister Lynden Pindling did move up to management positions overnight – positions for which they were not qualified. Not surprisingly, they were unable to learn decades of knowledge overnight. They subsequently either lost their new jobs, or the banks lost business on a massive scale.

And the Jaguars? Well, it turned out that there were thousands of Bahamians for every Jaguar that existed, and for 99.9%, there would be no previously imagined spoils.

Instead, their lives soon headed south in the coming months and years, as wealth flowed away from the Bahamas, most of it never to return.

In other countries the details have often been quite a bit more complex, but the scenario and the outcome have been the same.

Once the warning signs begin to appear, it’s important to remember that, historically, the process never reverses itself. An apathetic population is not one that will suddenly decide to roll up its sleeves and get the country, once again, on a productive footing.

Invariably, the population jumps on the toboggan of empty promises and rides it downhill until it reaches the economic bottom.

And so, circumventing such a situation becomes a question of timing. When it becomes clear that the telltale signs are reappearing once again, those who are wise will acknowledge that the sands are running out and it’s time to move on.

The signs tend to be the same in any locale, in any era. They’re quite easy to see. The difficult part is choosing to make an exit whilst it’s still easy to do so.

Editor’s Note: Unfortunately, there’s little any individual can practically do to change the trajectory of broke governments in need of more cash. There are still steps you can take to ensure you survive the turmoil with your money intact.

That’s precisely why bestselling author Doug Casey and his colleagues just released an urgent new PDF report that explains what could come next and what you can do about it. Click here to download it now.

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Washington Prefers Confrontation With Russia to Dialogue and Cooperation — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on October 10, 2019

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/10/08/washington-prefers-confrontation-with-russia-to-dialogue-and-cooperation/

Brian Cloughley

On September 24, while the Ukraine corruption scandal was gathering momentum in Washington, the US Air Force’s 31 Fighter Wing deployed F-16 strike aircraft to Graf Ignatievo Air Base in Bulgaria as part of Exercise Rapid Buzzard which has the aim of improving the “joint warfighting capability” of the US and Bulgarian air forces. It is hardly coincidental that Bulgaria has undertaken to spend $1.27 billion on buying F-16s, resulting in the US State Department declaring that “We salute Prime Minister Boyko Borisov and the Bulgarian government on its commitment to modernize its military through the acquisition of these highly capable, NATO interoperable aircraft.”

The build-up of US-NATO offensive weapons continues unabated round Russia’s borders, with Bulgaria being described by the State Department as “a reliable ally in an area of strategic importance to the United States.” In New York, the day before the F-16 redeployment, US and Polish Presidents Trump and Duda signed a joint agreement to greatly increase military cooperation and “develop the plan to bolster Polish–United States military ties and United States defence and deterrence capabilities in Poland.”

The increase in US military commitment to Poland involves establishment of six bases, from Poznan is the west to Lubliniec in the south, accommodating forces including a divisional headquarters, an attack drone squadron, a combat aviation brigade and a special operations force “facility”. Discussions are taking place about “the most suitable location in Poland for an armoured brigade combat team.”

Meanwhile, in sanity land, Deutsche Welle reported on 2 October that “news of an agreement reached Tuesday between Ukraine and pro-Russia separatists was met with optimism in Russia and Germany” with Chancellor Merkel, arguably the most able leader in Europe, saying that it is an “important step.” The move towards rapprochement resulted from agreement by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy to allow local elections in the Donbass regions of Luhansk and Donetsk where there has been an uprising against the Kiev government by Russian-speaking, Russia-cultured separatists.

This welcome development resulted in further optimism that there will be another series of discussions in the near future between Presidents Zelenskiy, Putin and Macron together with Chancellor Merkel, reviving the “Normandy Format” aimed at resolving the situation in eastern Ukraine on the lines of the peace agreement signed in Minsk in 2015.

Not much appeared in the western media about these initiatives, but Xinhua reported the French foreign ministry as stating that “France welcomes this progress, which was facilitated by the intense negotiations conducted over the last few weeks within the so-called Normandy format between France, Germany, Ukraine and Russia. The conditions have now been met for the forthcoming meeting of heads of state and government in the Normandy format aimed at making progress toward a lasting settlement of the conflict in Ukraine,” involving the separatists in the east of the country.

Although the modest progress was generally welcomed in Europe, there was no endorsement from Washington. This is understandable, because the entire government and media of the United States are obsessed with a massive scandal involving President Trump’s intention to have Ukraine confirm that his main 2020 presidential election opponent, Joseph Biden, had been in some way involved in shady dealings with Ukraine’s government. Further, as Time magazine summed up matters, it is said that Ukraine had “found a way to conspire against [Trump] during the 2016 election, and to collude with his rival, Hillary Clinton, by hiding the Democratic National Committee’s email server and feeding her allies dirt about Trump.”

All this was decidedly awkward for the US media, which has made it clear in the past that Ukraine, although corrupt to the core and verging on ungovernable, must be seen as a shining light of democracy, while neighbouring Russia is intent on extinguishing its sparkling example of freedom and social advancement. Washington ignores such inconvenient agencies as Human Rights Watch which in its 2019 Report observed that “The Ukrainian government continued restrictions on freedom of expression, freedom of information, and media freedom… These ranged from threats and intimidation to restricting journalists’ access to information.”

In July the US Senate approved a Resolution “marking the fifth anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity by honouring the bravery, determination, and sacrifice of the people of Ukraine during and since the Revolution, and condemning continued Russian aggression against Ukraine.” Tellingly, this drum-thumping ratification of aggression “applauds the progress that the Government of Ukraine has made since the Revolution in strengthening the rule of law, aligning itself with Euro-Atlantic norms and standards, and improving military combat readiness and interoperability with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.”

While the thrust of the Resolution was military confrontation, the most interesting paragraph concerns an important trade matter : the Nord Stream 2 pipeline which is intended to double the capacity of the existing pipeline conveying Russian gas to Germany. As Forbes noted in July, “Russia continues to dominate the global natural gas trade, accounting for 26% of global natural gas exports.”

The Senate disapproves of this impending improvement to the economies of Russia and Germany (and Europe as a whole) and alleges that in some strange fashion completion of the pipeline would “further undermine Ukraine’s economic stability, and threatens to increase the country’s vulnerability to further Russian military incursions.” There is no explanation offered as to how, exactly, the building of a gas pipeline of mutual benefit to provider and recipient can result in military incursions, but this sort of detail is irrelevant to deliberations and decisions in Washington.

What it all comes down to is the possibility of economic advantage to the United States, which would benefit enormously if Nord Stream 2 were cancelled, because Washington would then encourage Germany to import US gas, at a considerably higher price, with much profit to US producers.

Forbes notes that with “record production, and the most efficient and competitive natural gas industry in the world, the future shines bright for US gas exporters,” while “Although not as fast growing as China and India, Europe will remain a focus for US natural gas shippers.” Of course it is a focus, and it is not surprising that in July the US Senate legislated sanctions on companies and individuals involved in construction of the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2.

Washington’s combination of military confrontation and economic sanctions in its campaign against Russia has no moral basis, and Ukraine has no reason to be confident that it will benefit in any way from the current uproar over the 2016 election fandangos. As a Washington Post Editorial had it on 4 October: “the White House was conditioning security assistance on Ukraine’s promise to conduct the politically motivated investigations.” That is not the way allies operate, but then Washington isn’t an ally to anyone unless there is a promise of economic advantage to the Military-Industrial Complex. That is why the Washington Establishment prefers confrontation to dialogue and cooperation.

 

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What’s Russia to Us? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on October 5, 2019

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/10/angelo-m-codevilla/whats-russia-to-us/

By

Claremont Institute

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society,” as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions,” which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West.” Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia.

Read it here

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A Better Question Might Be Who Are They Paying And For What.

Posted by M. C. on October 1, 2019

If Russia hacked

 

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