Tag Archives: Russia

Sanctions Bill: An Ode to Hypocrisy, Groupthink, Smugness, and Cronyism, by Justin Raimondo

Congress enshrines a state of permanent US hostility towards Russia, Iran, and North Korea. From Justin Raimondo at antwar.com:

The Republican-controlled Congress couldn’t get it together on healthcare, infrastructure, immigration, or much of anything else, but, hey, they got together with the Democrats on a Russia sanctions bill: the “Russia, Iran, and North Korea Sanctions Act.” If you read the text, the proportion of moral preening, rheotorical rodomontade, and blustering bloviation is unusually high, even for a bill with Lindsey Graham’s and John McCain’s imprint all over it. That it also manages to violate the terms of the Iran deal is an extra added bonus.

The meat of the bill involves tying the President’s hands when it comes to actions intended to “significantly alter US foreign policy with regard to the Russia Federation” – with the explicit understanding that the default policy is implacable hostility. Under the terms of this bill, no action designed to improve relations with the Russians  is permitted. In order to take such actions, the President must first submit a proposal to the appropriate congressional committee, in both houses of Congress, which must then approve (or, more likely, disapprove) it.

This bill is, in effect, a de facto declaration of war – cold war, to be more precise. This is the Congress of the United States putting the nation – and the Russians – on notice that Cold War II has begun.

The bill is filled with self-justifying polemics, asserting that Russians have delayed or obstructed the Minsk agreements, when in reality it is the government of Ukraine which has refused to implement its part of the agreement by failing to hold local elections in eastern Ukraine, refusing to reform the constitution to comply with the Minsk accord, and continuing to bomb, strafe, and murder its own people in that region.

To continue reading: Sanctions Bill: An Ode to Hypocrisy, Groupthink, Smugness, and Cronyism

 

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Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal, by Peter Korzun

Looks like Iraq is not going to be the Middle East’s shining star of democracy nor a reliable US satrapy. It’s lining up with Iran and Russia. From Peter Korzun at strategic-culture.org:

It was reported on July 20 that Russia and Iraq have struck a deal on supplying a large batch of T-90 tanks. Vladimir Kozhin, the Russian president’s aide for military technical cooperation, confirmed the agreement but declined to provide details, saying only «the number of tanks is substantial». Russian military analyst Ruslan Pukhov told Russian newspaper Izvestia that the deal might cover deliveries of several hundred T-90 tanks, and that the contract may exceed $1 billion.

The T-90 is among the best-selling tanks in the world. Hundreds of vehicles have been sold to India, Algeria, Azerbaijan and other countries. A small number of tanks has been delivered to Syria to reinforce the military’s capabilities of combatting Islamic State (IS). Kuwait, Vietnam and Egypt are considering the option of purchasing T-90s.

Known for its firepower, enhanced protection and mobility, the T-90 features a smoothbore 2A46M 125mm main gun that can fire both armor-piercing shells and anti-tank missiles and the 1A45T fire-control system. Standard protective measures include sophisticated armor, ensuring all-round protection of the crew and critical systems, including Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor and active infrared jammers to defend the T-90 from inbound rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missiles and other projectiles.

During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage

The agreement to purchase the tanks was also confirmed by the Iraqi Ministry of Defense. The T-90s will reinforce the Iraqi M1A1 Abrams fleet damaged in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants. The decision to buy the Russian tanks was prompted by the successful performance of T-90s in Syria. During the battle for Aleppo, Syria, a T-90 was hit by US-made BGM-71 TOW missile. The direct impact caused no damage. For comparison, in October last year, an M1 Abrams was hit by a 9M133 Kornet anti-tank missile at the Qurayyah crossroads south of Mosul. The missile rammed into the turret from behind to make the ammunition compartment explode.

To continue reading: Moscow, Baghdad Sign Huge Arms Deal

 

Could Trump End the Syrian War? by Eric Margolis

As Eric Margolis notes, the US has no real business being in Syria, no strategic interests. However, if Trump actually ends the Syrian war, there’ll be hell to pay with the Deep State, which will not realize its cherished goal of deposing Assad. From Margolis at lewrockwell.com:

Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because he vowed to end the foreign conflicts in which the US had become entangled. So far, they have been disappointed. But this week a light flashed at the end of the tunnel.

President Trump, according to numerous reliable Washington sources, has decided to end US arms supplies and logistics support to Syria’s jihadist rebels that have fuelled the bloody six-year conflict. Washington, and its allies Britain and France, have persistently denied arming Syria’s jihadist rebels fighting to bring down the Russian and Iranian-backed government of President Bashar Assad.

Former President George W. Bush actively considered invading Syria around 2008 in collusion with Israel. But the Israelis then pointed out that there were no Western-friendly groups to replace Assad, only extreme militant Sunni Muslim groups. Even the usually reckless Bush called off the invasion of Syria.

By contrast, Barack Obama gave a green light to the CIA to arm, train and logistically support anti-Assad jihadist rebels in Syria. Arms poured in from Lebanon and, later, Turkey, paid for by Saudi Arabia and the Gulf emirates. Small numbers of US, British and French advisors went to Syria to teach the jihadists how to use mortars, explosives, and anti-tank weapons. The media’s claim that the fighting in Syria was due to a spontaneous popular uprising was false. The repressive Assad government was widely unpopular but the uprising was another CIA ‘color-style’ operation.

The object of this operation was to overthrow President Assad and his Shiite-leaning regime, which was supported by Iran, a bogeyman to all the US-backed feudal Arab oil monarchies. Syria was also to be punished because it refused Washington’s demands to sever ties with Iran and accept US tutelage.

To continue reading: Could Trump End the Syrian War?

 

Meow, by James Howard Kunstler

Political paralysis may kill and partisan rancor may kill government as we know it after the shit hits the fan. From James Howard Kunstler at kunstler.com:

For all his blunders and stumbles in his first half-year as President (cough cough), Donald Trump seems to have more lives than Schrödinger’s Cat. Or maybe it just seems that way. Or maybe he isn’t really there at all (like the news these days). Maybe Trump only represents one comic probability in an infinite number of universes of probability, both comic and tragic. I begin to understand why the folks in Hollywood are having a whack attack over the chief executive: you can’t storyboard this bitch; it’s like leaving The Three Stooges on their own in a sound stage to re-make Gone With the Wind.

But then, you begin to wonder: is Russia really there, or is it, too, just another figment of possibility? Don’t try to figure that out by reading the oracular observations of The Washington Post. These days Russia seems to be at once everywhere and nowhere, like the Devil north of Boston in 1693. For example, this fellow Jeff Sessions. Have you noticed that his name rhymes with Russians? Hmmmm. And wasn’t he caught chatting with the Russian Ambassador at the very same convocation of Republicans that picked notorious colluder Donald Trump to stand for President? That’s enough of your damn evidence right there!

Yes, things are passing strange in the world’s greatest democracy these days. To me, seeing the thing through an historical lens, it’s looking more and more like the Salem Witch Frenzy meets the French Revolution with a spin of quantum confusion on top. Right now we’re in the first phase, sheer political lunacy. Beliefs have become ungrounded from the facts of life. The guy whom fate or a prankish deity put in the White House doesn’t even fit the template of the world’s most infamous heads-of-state. I’m sorry to dredge up old Adolf, but really, Hitler himself seemed to have a much firmer idea about what he was doing than Trump does.

The ObamaCare reform fiasco looks like a tipping point toward a strain of toxic political paralysis that might literally kill the government as we’ve known it. Over the many months of debate, congress never even got around to raising the salient issue: that the 18-or-so-percent of the economy “health care” represents consists largely of outright racketeering. Well, they sure blew that one. The major parties are disintegrating before our eyes, despite the seeming sense of decorum that senators present on TV. The public may seem to be mentally on vacation, snoozing on the beach in the midsummer doldrums, but something vicious is in the wind offshore.

To continue reading: MeowMeow

Was Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Meeting a Criminal Act? by Andrew P. Napolitano

The answer is: maybe. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, The New York Times revealed that in June 2016, Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son; Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and chief confidant; Paul Manafort, Trump’s then-campaign chief executive; and others met secretly at Trump Tower with a former Russian prosecutor and a former Soviet counterintelligence agent to discuss what negative (most likely computer-generated) information the Russians might have to offer them about Hillary Clinton.

Within days of the meeting, the elder Trump announced publicly that he would soon release a litany of reasons why Clinton was unqualified to be president and that they would include new allegations about Clinton and Russia. The new allegations did not come.

When the Times reporters asked the younger Trump about the meeting last week, he initially claimed it concerned Americans adopting Russian babies. Then he claimed it was about Russian concerns over American economic sanctions on select Russians. When the reporters told him they had his emails, which tell a different story, he released his emails to the public so as to beat the Times to the punch.

Then, media hell broke loose about whether the Trump campaign was working with the Russians to acquire information about Clinton, and, particularly, whether any Trump campaign officials engaged in criminal behavior.

Here is the backstory:

No seasoned campaign official would have met with foreign people, particularly former government officials, in order to discuss any materials they might have about an opponent, because the acquisition of materials from a foreign person or government is illegal under federal law. The inquiry that Donald Jr. received from a friend who served as an intermediary between the Trump campaign and the Russians should have been run past the campaign’s legal counsel, who no doubt would have told his colleagues to stay clear of such a proposed meeting, and then reported the overture to the FBI.

To continue reading: Was Donald Trump Jr.’s Russian Meeting a Criminal Act?

Pentagon report declares US empire ‘collapsing’, by Nafeez Ahmed

As the US empire collapses, the Defense Department calls for doubling down on the policies responsible for the collapse. From Nafeez Ahmed at renegadeinc.com:

Stunning new evidence reveals that the US Department of Defense is waking up to the collapse of American primacy, and the rapid unraveling of the international order created by US power after the Second World War.

The report demands a massive expansion of military-industrial complex to maintain global ‘access to resources’

But the Pentagon’s emerging vision of what comes next hardly inspires confidence. We breakdown both the insights and cognitive flaws in this vision. In future pieces we will ask the questions: What is really driving the end of the American empire? And based on that more accurate diagnosis of the problem, what is the real solution?

An extraordinary new Pentagon study has concluded that the US-backed international order established after World War 2 is “fraying” and may even be “collapsing”, leading the United States to lose its position of “primacy” in world affairs.

The solution proposed to protect US power in this new “post-primacy” environment is, however, more of the same: more surveillance, more propaganda (“strategic manipulation of perceptions”) and more military expansionism.

The document concludes that the world has entered a fundamentally new phase of transformation in which US power is in decline, international order is unravelling, and the authority of governments everywhere is crumbling.

Having lost its past status of “pre-eminence”, the US now inhabits a dangerous, unpredictable “post-primacy” world, whose defining feature is “resistance to authority”.

Danger comes not just from great power rivals like Russia and China, both portrayed as rapidly growing threats to American interests, but also from the increasing risk of “Arab Spring”-style events. These will erupt not just in the Middle East, but all over the world, potentially undermining trust in incumbent governments for the foreseeable future.

The report, based on a year-long intensive research process involving consultation with key agencies across the Department of Defense and US Army, calls for the US government to invest in more surveillance, better propaganda through “strategic manipulation” of public opinion, and a “wider and more flexible” US military.

To continue reading: Pentagon report declares US empire ‘collapsing’

Is Russiagate Really Hillarygate? by Paul Roderick Gregory

Special prosecutor Robert Mueller is going to have to look at the possibility that the Clinton campaign colluded with the Russians. From Paul Roderick Gregorey at forbes.com:

According to an insider account, the Clinton team, put together the Russia Gate narrative within 24 hours of her defeat. The Clinton account explained that Russian hacking and election meddling caused her unexpected loss. Her opponent, Donald Trump, was a puppet of Putin. Trump, they said, “encourages espionage against our people.” The scurrilous Trump dossier, prepared by a London opposition research firm, Orbis, and paid for by unidentified Democrat donors, formed a key part of the Clinton narrative: Trump’s sexual and business escapades in Russia had made him a hostage of the Kremlin, ready to do its bidding. That was Hillary’s way to say that Trump is really not President of the United States—a siren call adopted by the Democratic party and media.

Hillary and the Orbis Dossier

The most under covered story of Russia Gate is the interconnection between the Clinton campaign, an unregistered foreign agent of Russia headquartered in DC (Fusion GPS), and the Christopher Steele Orbis dossier. This connection has raised the question of whether Kremlin prepared the dossier as part of a disinformation campaign to sow chaos in the US political system. If ordered and paid for by Hillary Clinton associates, Russia Gate is turned on its head as collusion between Clinton operatives (not Trump’s) and Russian intelligence. Russia Gate becomes Hillary Gate.

Neither the New York Times, Washington Post, nor CNN has covered this explosive story. Two op-eds have appeared in the Wall Street Journal  (Holman Jenkinsand David Satter). The possible Russian-intelligence origins of the Steele dossier have been raised only in conservative publications, such as in The Federalist and National Review.

The Fusion story has been known since Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sent a heavily-footnoted letter to the Justice Department on March 31, 2017 demanding for his Judiciary Committee all relevant documents on Fusion GPS, the company that managed the Steele dossier against then-candidate Donald Trump. Grassley writes to justify his demand for documents that: “The issue is of particular concern to the Committee given that when Fusion GPSreportedly was acting as an unregistered agent of Russian interests, it appears to have been simultaneously overseeing the creation of the unsubstantiated dossier of allegations of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.” (Emphasis added.)

To continue reading: Is Russiagate Really Hillarygate?