Tag Archives: Vladimir Putin

Putin Warns “Trust Between US And Russia Has Collapsed Under Trump” As Tillerson Gets Frigid Reception, by Tyler Durden

As a general rule, anything that increases trust between the world’s two largest nuclear powers is a good thing, and anything that decreases it is bad. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

Trust between Russia and the US has collapsed under the Trump administration, Russian President Vladimir Putin stated on Wednesday, as Moscow delivered an unusually frigid if not hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria, shortly after Putin said the recent chemical attack was a staged “false flag” and predicted that more are coming, while at the same time the US accused Russia of a gas attack “cover up.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Putin said that if Donald Trump had intended to bring about a thaw in US relations with Russia, he has failed to see this intention through.

“One could say that the level of trust on a working level, especially on the military level, has not improved but has rather deteriorated,” Putin said in an interview broadcast on Russian television moments after Tillerson sat down with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in an ornate hall. Putin doubled down on Russia’s support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, repeating denials that Assad’s government was to blame for the gas attack last week and adding a new theory that the attack may have been faked by Assad’s enemies.

Moments earlier, Lavrov greeted Tillerson with unusually icy remarks, denouncing the missile strike on Syria as illegal and accusing Washington of behaving unpredictably.

Quoted by Reuters, Lavrod said that “I won’t hide the fact that we have a lot of questions, taking into account the extremely ambiguous and sometimes contradictory ideas which have been expressed in Washington across the whole spectrum of bilateral and multilateral affairs. And of course, that’s not to mention that apart from the statements, we observed very recently the extremely worrying actions, when an illegal attack against Syria was undertaken.”

Lavrov also noted that many key State Department posts remain vacant since the new administration took office – a point of sensitivity in Washington.

To continue reading: Putin Warns “Trust Between US And Russia Has Collapsed Under Trump” As Tillerson Gets Frigid Reception

 

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How to Think About Vladimir Putin, by Christopher Caldwell

Here is an all too rare attempt by an American to understand rather than condemn Russia, the Russian point of view, and its leader, Vladimir Putin. From Christopher Caldwell at imprimis.hillsdale.edu:

The following is adapted from a speech delivered on February 15, 2017, at a Hillsdale College National Leadership Seminar in Phoenix, Arizona.

Vladimir Putin is a powerful ideological symbol and a highly effective ideological litmus test. He is a hero to populist conservatives around the world and anathema to progressives. I don’t want to compare him to our own president, but if you know enough about what a given American thinks of Putin, you can probably tell what he thinks of Donald Trump.

Let me stress at the outset that this is not going to be a talk about what to think about Putin, which is something you are all capable of making up your minds on, but rather how to think about him. And on this, there is one basic truth to remember, although it is often forgotten. Our globalist leaders may have deprecated sovereignty since the end of the Cold War, but that does not mean it has ceased for an instant to be the primary subject of politics.

Vladimir Vladimirovich is not the president of a feminist NGO. He is not a transgender-rights activist. He is not an ombudsman appointed by the United Nations to make and deliver slide shows about green energy. He is the elected leader of Russia—a rugged, relatively poor, militarily powerful country that in recent years has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled. His job has been to protect his country’s prerogatives and its sovereignty in an international system that seeks to erode sovereignty in general and views Russia’s sovereignty in particular as a threat.

By American standards, Putin’s respect for the democratic process has been fitful at best. He has cracked down on peaceful demonstrations. Political opponents have been arrested and jailed throughout his rule. Some have even been murdered—Anna Politkovskaya, the crusading Chechnya correspondent shot in her apartment building in Moscow in 2006; Alexander Litvinenko, the spy poisoned with polonium-210 in London months later; the activist Boris Nemtsov, shot on a bridge in Moscow in early 2015. While the evidence connecting Putin’s own circle to the killings is circumstantial, it merits scrutiny.

To continue reading: How to Think About Vladimir Putin

 

The FBI’s Conspiracy Theory of a Trump/Putin Collusion Has No Clothes, Paul Craig Roberts

As they say in Texas, this dog of a Trump/Putin conspiracy just won’t hunt. From Paul Craig Roberts at paulcraigroberts.com:

Unable to provide an ounce of evidence that a Trump/Putin conspiracy stole the presidential election from Hillary Clinton, the corrupt US “intelligence” agencies are shifting their focus to social media and to Internet sites such as Alex Jones and Breitbart. Little doubt the FBI investigation will trickle down to Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept, Zero Hedge, the Ron Paul Institute, Nomi Prins, Naked Capitalism, Lew Rockwell, Global Research, antiwar.com, and to others on the PropOrNot, Harvard Library, and Le Monde lists, such as top Reagan administration officials David Stockman and myself. It is extraordinary that the FBI is so desperate to protect the budget of the military/security complex that it brings such embarrassment to itself. Who in the future will believe any FBI report or anything a FBI official says?

Those behind this “investigation” understand that it is so ridiculous that they must give it gravity and credibility. They selected two reporters, Peter Stone and Greg Gordon, in the McClatchy News Washington Bureau, who fit Udo Ulfkotte’s definition of “bought journalists.” Hiding behind anonymous sources—“two people familiar with the inquiry” and “sources who spoke on condition of anonymity”—the presstitutes fell in with the attack on independent media, reporting that one former US intelligence official said: “This may be one of the most highly impactful information operations in the history of intelligence.” http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article139695453.html

Wow! A totally ridiculous “investigation” is one of the most important in history. The implication is that the Russians are operating through scores or hundreds of independent media sites to control how Americans vote.

There was once a time in America when people were skeptical of anonymous sources. It was widely understood that anyone could tell a reporter anything and that a reporter could claim an anonymous source whether or not the source existed. Perhaps it was the Watergate “investigation” by the Washington Post that gave anonymity credibility. The Post’s reports made it sound like any sources ratting on Nixon’s perfidy was at risk of their lives, and the subtle emphasis on risk gave anonymity credibility.

To continue reading: The FBI’s Conspiracy Theory of a Trump/Putin Collusion Has No Clothes

Western Interests Aim To Flummox Russia, by Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson

If Russia decideds to break away from China and Iran, and throw in its lot with the West, it will get very little in return. From Paul Craig Roberts and Michael Hudson at paulcraigroberts.org:

An article by Robert Berke in oilprice.com, which describes itself as “The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News,” illustrates how interest groups control outcomes by how they shape policy choices.

Berke’s article reveals how the US intends to maintain and extend its hegemony by breaking up the alliance between Russia, Iran, and China, and by oil privatizations that result in countries losing control over their sovereignty to private oil companies that work closely with the US government. As Trump has neutered his presidency by gratuitously accepting Gen. Flynn’s resignation as National Security Advisor, this scheme is likely to be Trump’s approach to “better relations” with Russia.

Berke reports that Henry Kissinger has sold President Trump on a scheme to use the removal of Russian sanctions to pry President Putin away from the Russian alliance with Iran and China. Should Putin fall for such a scheme, it would be a fatal strategic blunder from which Russia could not recover. Yet, Putin will be pressured to make this blunder.

One pressure on Putin comes from the Atlanticist Integrationists who have a material stake in their connections to the West and who want Russia to be integrated into the Western world. Another pressure comes from the affront that sanctions represent to Russians. Removing this insult has become important to Russians even though the sanctions do Russia no material harm.

We agree with President Putin that the sanctions are in fact a benefit to Russia as they have moved Russia in self-sufficient directions and toward developing relationships with China and Asia. Moreover, the West with its hegemonic impulses uses economic relationships for control purposes. Trade with China and Asia does not pose the same threat to Russian independence.

Berke says that part of the deal being offered to Putin is “increased access to the huge European energy market, restored western financial credit, access to Western technology, and a seat at the global decision-making table, all of which Russia badly needs and wants.” Sweetening the honey trap is official recognition of “Crimea as part of Russia.”

Russia might want all of this, but it is nonsense that Russia needs any of it.

To continue reading: Western Interests Aim To Flummox Russia

Putin’s Poisons, by Micah Morrison

Here’s another take on Vladimir Putin’s “murders.” Morrison concedes that no deaths can be “directly linked” to Putin, but circumstantial evidence and the fact that the murdered were political opponents, critics, and journalists investigating alleged corruption is enough for Morrison to indict Putin. By those standards however, at least two US presidents should also be indicted: Bill Clinton and Lyndon Johnson, and it might have been a better rejoinder for President Trump to have pointed that out to Bill O’Reilly. When it comes to either Russian or US politicians (or any other country, for that matter), SLL is reflexively inclined to believe the worst. From Morrison at judicialwatch.org:

As America sets out on its long strange trip with President Trump, nothing seems stranger than his repeated defense of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. “But he’s a killer,” Bill O’Reilly reminded the president in a weekend interview. “Putin’s a killer.”

“We’ve got a lot of killers,” the president responded. “What do you think—our country’s so innocent. You think our country’s so innocent?”

Meanwhile in Russia, real killers appear to have made another move to silence a critic of the Putin regime. Last week, the Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza collapsed in Moscow and was placed in a medically induced coma. His wife said doctors had diagnosed “acute poisoning by an undetermined substance.”

It’s a diagnosis that has FSB—the Russian intelligence service—written all over it. And it’s not the first time someone tried to whack Mr. Kara-Murza. In May 2015, he suffered multiple organ failure, fell into a coma and was hospitalized for two months. Mr. Kara-Murza believed he was deliberately poisoned for his political activities. His Moscow doctors thought maybe he took the wrong anti-depressant. Oh.

Mr. Kara-Murza was a close associate of Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition leader gunned down on a bridge near the Kremlin in February, 2015. In an amazing coincidence, all the security cameras on the bridge had been turned off for maintenance. At the time of his murder, Mr. Nemtsov was battling Putin regime corruption and organizing resistance to the war in Ukraine.

Russian intelligence uses the full tool kit against its opponents, but it has a particularly long association with poisons.

In 2004, the Ukraine opposition leader Viktor Yuschenko was slipped a near-fatal amount of TCDD, a contaminant found in Agent Orange, at a dinner with Ukrainian officials, including the deputy director of the intelligence services. Mr. Yuschenko survived the poisoning with substantial facial disfigurement. The Ukrainian intelligence official fled to Moscow.

To continue reading: Putin’s Poisons

 

Trump’s Apology for ‘Killer Putin’ is Wrongheaded, by Finian Cunningham

Here’s the money quote: “As for the «moral equivalence» complaint, the truly objective answer is that there is no comparison between unfounded allegations against Putin as a «killer» and what US presidents actually do as a matter of routine.” From Finian Cunningham at strategic-culture.com:

US President Donald Trump has landed in hot water yet again when he told media that he respected Russian leader Vladimir Putin – in spite of (unfounded and sensationalist) accusations that the latter is responsible for killing journalists and political opponents.

Trump was being interviewed on Fox News by Bill O’Reilly, and while expressing respect for Putin as the president of Russia, his interlocutor interrupted with the terse assertion: «He’s [Putin] a killer, though. Putin’s a killer».

Unfazed, Trump replied: «We’ve got a lot of killers. What, do you think our country’s so innocent?»

The program went on air Sunday ahead of the US Super Bowl football final, and so is sure to have drawn a record audience. Western media outlets also reported the interview in advance with outraged tone that Trump was offering an apology for the Russian leader, and equally as bad, that the president was making a moral equivalence with the misconduct of the US.

Britain’s Guardian headlined: «Donald Trump repeats his respect for ‘killer’ Putin».

The news outlet added: «Asked on Fox about the Kremlin chief’s bloody reputation, the US president said: ‘There are a lot of killers. We’ve got a lot of killers’».

The Washington Post, among other outlets, noted that this was not the first time that Trump has appeared insouciant in front of interviewers who make claims about Putin’s alleged involvement in violent repression against opponents.

The Post recalled: «It wouldn’t be the first time Trump has brushed aside the topic of Putin’s political killings».

As with much of Western media coverage on Russia and its leader, there is an offending journalistic sloppiness that states allegations and even slander («Putin’s political killings») as if they are factual.

To continue reading: Trump’s Apology for ‘Killer Putin’ is Wrongheaded

Remembrances of ‘Bromances’ Past, by Jack Kenny

Once upon a time the New York Times editorially embraced US presidents who wanted to improve relations with their counterparts in the Soviet Union. From Jack Kenny at antiwar.com:

It is not easy to arouse the frequently dormant patriotism of the New York Times, that eminent journal more often preferring to stand by Samuel Johnson’s warning that patriotism is “the last refuge of a scoundrel.” The dignified Times has generally found better ways to be a scoundrel and encourage others to be the same. The paper has more often warned against “jingoism” and xenophobia than it has bemoaned a lack of appreciation of “American exceptionalism” by an American president. And when, really, was the last time the Times criticized a U.S. president for not being tough enough, either rhetorically or in action, against Russia or the former Soviet Union? But now the president is Trump and it appears any stick is good enough to beat “the Donald” with.

To review: In an interview that aired on Super Bowl Sunday, Fox News controversialist Bill O’Reilly probed Trump’s relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He’s a killer,” O”Reilly reminded the president.

“You got a lot of killers,” Trump replied. “What, you think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump’s words, which are undeniably true, are less remarkable than O’Reilly’s response, which was, to say the least muted. He quickly moved on to other subjects. We can easily imagine the fiery indignation if the same had been said by a Democrat like, say, Barack Obama. Obama, you may recall, was roundly criticized by the patriots of the right for his inadequate appreciation of “American exceptionalism.” Obama stated his belief in such exceptionalism while at the same time expressing his appreciation of the same by peoples in other countries, who regard their respective countries as also exceptional. “Oh-ho!” cried the professional patriots. That proves Obama doesn’t really understand or appreciate American exceptionalism. Oh, well. He’s probably a closet African Muslim. And where was his birth certificate, anyway, and why did it take so long to find it?

To continue reading: Remembrances of ‘Bromances’ Past