There has been massive collusion with the Russians over the last ten years…by the Clintons. From John Solomon at thehill.com:
With Republicans on both House and Senate investigative committees having found no evidence of Donald Trump being guilty of Democrat-inspired allegations of Russian collusion, it is worth revisiting one anecdote that escaped significant attention during the hysteria but continues to have U.S. security implications.
As secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked with Russian leaders, including Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and then-President Dmitri Medvedev, to create U.S. technology partnerships with Moscow’s version of Silicon Valley, a sprawling high-tech campus known as Skolkovo.
Clinton’s handprint was everywhere on the 2009-2010 project, the tip of a diplomatic spear to reboot U.S.-Russian relations after years of hostility prompted by Vladimir Putin’s military action against the former Soviet republic and now U.S. ally Georgia.
A donor to the Clinton Foundation, Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, led the Russian side of the effort, and several American donors to the Clinton charity got involved. Clinton’s State Department facilitated U.S. companies working with the Russian project, and she personally invited Medvedev to visit Silicon Valley.
The collaboration occurred at the exact same time Bill Clinton made his now infamous trip to Russia to pick up a jaw-dropping $500,000 check for a single speech.
As in most dictatorships, or call it an authoritarian regime if you’d like, the military plays the essential role in Venezuela. From Patrick J. Buchanan at buchanan.org:
“Pay the soldiers. The rest do not matter.”
This was the deathbed counsel given to his sons by Roman Emperor Septimius Severus in A.D. 211.
Nicolas Maduro must today appreciate the emperor’s insight.
For the political survival of this former bus driver and union boss hangs now upon whether Venezuela’s armed forces choose to stand by him or to desert him and support National Assembly leader Juan Guaido.
Wednesday, Guaido declared Maduro’s election last May to a second six-year term to be a sham, and had himself inaugurated as acting president.
Thursday, the defense minister and army chief General Vladimir Padrino Lopez, with his top brass, dismissed the 35-year-old Guaido as a U.S. puppet, and pledged allegiance to Maduro.
Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told the U.N. Security Council: “Now it is time for every other nation to pick a side. … Either you stand with the forces of freedom, or you’re in league with Maduro and his mayhem.”
By Friday, however, the world had already taken sides.
The US government is basically following the blueprint it laid out in Ukraine and Syria. Unfortunately, neither of those has turned out particularly well, and prospects don’t look any better in Venezuela. From Whitney Webb at theantimedia.org:
Since the decision of the Trump administration on Wednesday to recognize a member of the Venezuelan opposition, Juan Guaidó, as an unelected “interim president,” the situation in the South American country has become increasingly tense, with efforts to force the current government of Venezuela — led by Nicolás Maduro — out of power having grown in intensity over the past few days.
Despite the enormous pressure, his government faces from both local and international sources, Maduro has managed to maintain his position thanks to a combination of factors. These include the loyalty of the country’s well-armed military, in addition to popular support from Venezuelans who recently voted for Maduro, as well as Venezuelans who may not like Maduro but prefer him to a politician hand-picked and foisted upon them by the United States.
Yet, the long-standing campaign of the United States to effect regime change in Venezuela — a campaign that has been ongoing ever since Hugo Chávez, Maduro’s predecessor and mentor, was elected in 1998 — has shown time and again that the U.S. is unwilling to let go of its dream of installing a “friendly” government in the world’s most oil-rich country.
For that reason, if the Trump administration’s attempt to simply install a Venezuelan president fails to produce the intended result (regime change), there is substantial concern that the U.S. will turn to other means to bring about a change in government, including the instigation of a new proxy war.
The hawks want to keep the camel’s nose under the Syria tent indefinitely. You never know when you’re going to want to intervene or stage a regime change. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:
As the Pentagon appears to be moving forward on President Trump’s ordered troop draw down from Syria, administration hawks as well as foreign allies like Israel have one final card to play to hinder a total withdrawal. They argue that some 200 US troops in Syria’s southeast desert along the Iraqi border and its 55-kilometer “deconfliction zone” at al-Tanf are the last line of defense against Iranian expansion in Syria, and therefore must stay indefinitely.
Al Waleed border crossing, known in Syria as al-Tanf, is one of three official border crossings between Syria and Iraq. It’s long been blocked and controlled by US special forces and US-backed local militias.
Despite Trump’s pledge for a “full” and complete American exit, the Tanf base could remain Washington’s last remote outpostdisrupting the strategic Baghdad-Damascus highway and potential key “link” in the Tehran-to-Beirut so-called Shia land bridge. Foreign Policy magazine identifies this as but the latest obstacle to an actual complete withdrawal of US forces:
“Al-Tanf is a critical element in the effort to prevent Iran from establishing a ground line of communications from Iran through Iraq through Syria to southern Lebanon in support of Lebanese Hezbollah,” an unnamed senior US military source told the magazine.
Washington’s initial justification for establishing the remote special operations outpost was to train local fighters to counter ISIS; however, not only has ISIS now been driven almost completely underground but Russia has accused US forces at al-Tanf of actually allowing ISIS terrorists to maintain a presence in the area in order to put pressure on Damascus.
Syria may not have to, and may not, sit still for Israel’s bombs any longer. From Elijah J. Magnier at ejmagnier.com:
Israel has attacked Syria many times during the last seven years of war imposed on Syria. It has run red-lights and broken taboos in order to provoke the “Axis of the Resistance” inside Syria, but has refrained from infuriating Hezbollah in Lebanon. Nevertheless, the most recent Israeli attack has pushed Syria and its allies beyond tolerable limits. Thus, President Assad prepared himself for a battle against Israel between the wars, knowing that such a battle could last weeks. But the president of Syria won’t be alone: Assad and Hezbollah’s Secretary general Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah will both be running any future battle against any Israeli aggression when the decision to engage will be taken.
Most recently Israel bombed the Syrian army and destroyed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) offices and bases in Syria without inflicting any human casualties. At the same time, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu put himself on the level of IRGC-Quds brigade General Qassem Soleimani, by challenging him on social media. In fact, Netanyahu fell right into the trap the Iranian general set for President Donald Trump.
There was a contingent in Russia that thought US style governance was something to which they should aspire. The operative word is “was,” Russiagate has destroyed that notion. From Stephen F. Cohen at thenation.com:
For decades, Russia’s self-described “liberals” and “democrats” have touted the American political system as one their country should emulate. They have had abundant encouragement in this aspiration over the years from legions of American crusaders, who in the 1990s launched a large-scale, deeply intrusive, and ill-destined campaign to transform post-Communist Russia into a replica of American “democratic capitalism.” (See my book Failed Crusade: America and the Tragedy of Post-Communist Russia.) Some Russian liberals even favored NATO’s eastward expansion when it began in the late 1990s on the grounds that it would bring democratic values closer to Russia and protect their own political fortunes at home.
Their many opponents on Russia’s political spectrum, self-described “patriotic nationalists,” have insisted that the country must look instead to its own historical traditions for its future development and, still more, that American democracy was not a system to be so uncritically emulated. Not infrequently, they characterize Russia’s democrats as “fifth columnists” whose primary loyalties are to the West, not their own country. Understandably, it is a highly fraught political debate and both sides have supporters in high places, from the Kremlin and other government offices to military and security agencies, as well as devout media outlets.
The so-called magic quadrant sure isn’t buying the notion of US unipolarity, and is doing everything in its power to oppose it. From Federico Pieraccini at strategic-culture.org:
With the end of the unipolar moment, which saw Washington dominate international relations, the richest and most powerful Eurasian countries are beginning to organize themselves into alliance structures and agreements that aim to facilitate trade, development and cooperation.
At the height of the US unipolar moment, Bill Clinton was leading a country in full economic recovery and the strategists at the Pentagon were drawing up plans to shape the world in their own image and likeness. The undeclared goal was regime change in all countries with unapproved political systems, which would allow for the proliferation of us-made “democracy” to the four corners of the earth. Clearly Eurasian countries like Russia, India, China and Iran were on top of the to-do list, as were countries in the Middle East and North Africa.
The bombing and destruction of Yugoslavia was the final step in the assault on the Russian Federation following the dissolution of the Warsaw Pact. Yeltsin represented the means by which Western high finance decided to suck all Russia’s wealth, privatizing companies and plundering strategic resources.
China, on the other hand, saw a rebirth as a result of American and European manufacturing companies relocating to the country to take advantage of the cheap labor it offered. India, historically close to the USSR, and Iran, historically averse to Washington, were struggling to find a new balance in a world dominated by Washington.
Tehran was clearly in an open conflict with the United States because of the 1979 Islamic revolution that liberated the country from Western submission under the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. India understood the new reality, laying the foundations for a close cooperation with Washington. Previously, the use of jihadism in Afghanistan, through the coordination between Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United States, had severely undermined relations between India and the United States, remembering that New Delhi was an important ally of Moscow during the Cold War.
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