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28 July 2016

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TonyL

Sarcasm at its finest, well done sir :) but it seems you probably still need the /s tag at the end, sigh.

Ghostship

As a Brit, I doubt it. There is something that keeps European politicians in line for the Washington Borg, so every now and then they make some noises to keep the Borg happy but the damage that virtually all countries in Europe suffered from the various wars in the last century will not be easily forgotten. So no, I don't think NATO's European members except perhaps Poland are gearing up to attack Russia, they already have enough problems to deal with.

turcopolier

TonyL and BillH

I am not amused. SST is not a place for the sardonic amusement of spoiled, naughty, children. Goodbye. pl

Aigin

Could I get a reality check? Putting aside for a moment the question of whether releasing e-mails of the DNC revealing what everyone already knew is a sensible way to affect an election three months away, not to mention the blowback from doing it in such a shoddy manner that your involvement is immediately identified (two propositions the mainstream media appears to have unthinkingly accepted), isn't the best guide to what a country or leader is likely to do how it has behaved in the past? We are told that Russia is committing military aggression in Ukraine (though I've seen surprisingly little actual evidence), that Putin wants to reform the USSR (despite any statements by him to this effect), and, according to the Atlantic Council, that Russia is ready to roll into the Baltics and Poland (places that would doubtless greet the Russian tanks with flowers and chocolate, just like the U.S. in Iraq).

What have the Russians actually done? They intervened in a war between South Ossetia and Georgia that was started by the Georgians. The Russian Army could easily have taken Tblisi and snuffed out Georgia as an independent country. It didn't. Instead, the Russians withdrew back into South Ossetia. The Russians have almost certainly provided assistance to the breakaway "republics" in Donetsk and Lugansk -- but have made no attempts (at least as far as I have seen) to destabilize the rest of Ukraine or extend "Novorossiya." They did take Crimea, but that is truly a special case.

If Putin truly wanted to re-form the Soviet Union, the logical place to start would be Central Asia. Kazakhstan in particular has a large Russia minority as well as lots of oil and gas. The same is true of a lesser extent of Uzbekistan. Kyrgyzstan is small, and Tajikistan is a basket case. It would be quite easy for the Russians to foment movements in any of those places to throw out the dictators and ask to join the Russian Federation. It would certainly be easier, more profitable, and much less dangerous than Russian tanks rolling into Estonia. Yet Russia has not done this. Doesn't that say something?

The Atlantic recently published a fairly hysterical article (I probably shouldn't link to it, but ... http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2016/07/russia-nato-trump-shirreff/492938/) speculating that because Putin hates NATO, Russia will invade the Baltics just to show how feeble NATO is. If you really wanted to expose NATO as a paper tiger, might it not be better to, say, convince the country with the second-largest army in the alliance to leave NATO and align with you? That seems to be exactly what is happening with Turkey, yet all we hear is how Putin is ready to risk nuclear annihilation by invading Ukraine/Latvia/Poland.

Am I missing something here?

Cortes

The great American art form, surely*, is cinema. At least I think so. Which makes me nervous that teeny bit nervous about being herded as a "Logan's Run" extra...

"Carousel Time!"

* Don't call me Shirley.

bth

NATO should have made clear that Ukraine would not become part of NATO. Also Putin greatly underestimated the ramifications to western Europe and US relations by moving on Crimea and then kicking the hornets over in Eastern Ukraine. Nothing good has come from these gross miscalculations.

As to Russia and the DNC. Hacking in isn't the same as publishing out via Assange. All that has been proven is that Russia had two groups in the databanks. I'd assert Assange has his own motives and other sources.

I also speculated a few months ago that Trump might try to meet Putin post convention. He might have been contemplating that but perhaps Hillary's statements and Assange's actions have made that less likely or favorable to Trump. Trump is his own worst enemy. Advocating Russian espionage is beyond stupid on his part.

By the way Kerry has been very quiet the last week. Where is he?

Mac

Colonel and Committee of Correspondence,

Please help me explain to a friend why arming Ukraine is folly....

Thank you

Mac

turcopolier

bth

It remains to be seen if annexation of Crimea and support for east Ukraine are or were folly. Putin seems to be doing quite well. Kerry is around somewhere trying to figure out how to BS the Russians into doing what he and the other Borgists want. pl

Kooshy

FYI, this article with regard to DNC' emails, is dead on.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/07/28/blame-it-on-the-russians/

Sam Peralta

bth

Trump is focused on the election. He intentionally creates outrage knowing full well that the MSM love everything sensational. He got plenty of free media cycles on that one. I don't think he advocated espionage but instead asked the Russians if they have any of Hillary's emails that she claims were deleted from her "private" server to allow the media a feeding frenzy over them. I believe he was mocking Hillary and the MSM.

He has used this strategy of creating outrage garnering free publicity from the MSM to win the GOP nomination. And he hardly spent any money on the primary. Hillary and her Super PACs reportedly spent $40 million on attack ads last month, yet Trump is tied or ahead in several recent nationwide polls.

Tel

Quote: "Plus there's the psychological advantage of having some country/countries to blame for the lack of US success, or to distract attention away from US problems that need it."

Clinton and Obama are busy campaigning that the USA has been completely successful, nothing is going wrong, everyone has jobs, etc.

I dunno who would believe this, but that's their story and for the time being they are sticking to it. You have never had it so good.

rkka

While Russia was being run by FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers, Russians were dying off at the rate of nearly a million/year.

Once the FreeMarketDemocratic Reformers were removed from power, Russia began to recover. The birth rate started to improve immediately, and Russia's death rate started to decline in 2006. By 2009, the gap between Russia's births and deaths closed sufficiently that immigration could fill it, and so the Russian population was growing. By 2012, births in the Russian Federation exceeded deaths, for the first time since 1991.

In the mid-2000s, Putin proposed measures to support families having children. Western politicians and demographers poured scorn on the very idea that Russian demographics might improve. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau's population projections had Russia's population declining by 500,000/year as recently as 2015. Now Western politicians and demographers are reduced to claiming that "Putin had nuthin' to do with it!"

Putin inherited a helpless, bankrupt, dying Russia.

Russia now has a future. That's what Putin did, and he is rightly popular with Russians, Russians who pine for the days of the drunken incompetent comprador buffoon Yeltsin excepted.

Grizziz

I've always thought the US inherited the hatred of Russia from the Brits and the Brits hated Russia at least back as far as the Crimean War in 1853. Not saying this as fact and am happy to get updated.

asx

Multiculturalism or varied national origin need not cloud objectivity in policy. Think tankers and policy makers in government should swear an oath of no baggage and historical grudges irrelevant to current interests and be held accountable. Yes, they can bring deeper perspective, but it is really a double edged sword. Who polices for conflict of interest here?

Does appointing a Chinese-origin American as ambassador to China really help? Same with India. How has letting Central/Eastern Europeans to fuel Russophobia as state policy worked out so far?

Robert C

I've always thought of Russia annexing the Crimea on even more simpler terms. Imagine China spends 3-4 billion dollars on NGOs in Mexico City, and then helps to get a pro-China president elected, who then announces he/she will allow China to build a deep water port for the Chinese Navy in Porta Vallerta. Americans would be apoplectic.

Grizziz

I heartily agree with your assessment.
Also,you introduced means and opportunity without expounding. Are they threads worth following?

VietnamVet

Colonel,

The ruling ideology of the West is the free movement of capital and people together with the dismantling of sovereign states and replacing them with global institutions and corporate trade pacts. Donald Trump's "America First" threatens this so he is subject to full throated attacks by the media and the connected. Vladimir Putin stands in the way of the global hegemony and the return of Russia to the 1990s. Thus, the western hybrid war for a Kremlin regime change.

Hillary Clinton is supremely qualified to maintain the status quo. If Donald Trump wins, it has to be due to the perfidious Russians hacking the election; not Globalism’s Losers voting against their exploitation by the insanely wealthy and the enabling technocrats. Meanwhile, the "War of Russian Aggression" heats up, Turkey turns Islamist and the EU splinters due to the war refugees and austerity.

SmoothieX12

Putin is judged by his ability to transform the Russian economy from an exporter of oil, gas and academics to something more sustainable.

It seems like you are one of those thinkers who thinks that repeating popular BS will create new reality. FYI, Russia now is #1 exporter of grain in the world. If you didn't catch real news from Russia, Rosatom's portfolio of contracts exceeds 100 billion USD. Evidently you also missed the fact that Russia is #2 exporter of many #1 weapon systems in the world, some of which are beyond the expertise (industrial and scientific) of Europe (I assume you are from that part of the world). Do you know what it takes and what host of real hi-tech goes into production of a top fighter jet or modern SSK? Russia is an active and a dominant player at the commercial space launch business, in fact whole US Atlas program flies on Russian-made RD-180 rocket engines. I will repeat again, learn facts on the ground, which is relatively easy to do in the world of global IT. And finally, Russia will never live as well as US or Canada, for starters--there is a colossal difference in consumer patterns between Russians and North Americans (albeit there are many similarities too) but there is very little doubt that standard of living in Russia grew tremendously and a lot of it has very little to do with gas or oil prices. It has, however, a lot to do with retooling and re-industrialization of the country, which was ongoing since circa 2008. It is a very significant year. Last, but not least--Russia is huge own consumer market (and then some due to markets of former USSR) and that is a key. German MTU followed sanctions, well, guess what--it will never appear again on Russian markets. Thales loved to sell IR matrices to Russia, well, guess what.....you may fill in the blanks.

Trey N

"Also Putin greatly underestimated the ramifications to western Europe and US relations by moving on Crimea and then kicking the hornets over in Eastern Ukraine. Nothing good has come from these gross miscalculations."

What the hell are you talking about??! Are you saying that Russia should have just let NATO take over Sevastopol and the rest of the Crimea and rule the Black Sea? And let NATO advance practically unopposed to Rostov by ceding the Donbass? (and BTW, Russia was certainly NOT the party that "kicked over a hornets nest in Eastern Ukraine).

Does the term "vital national interests" have any meaning to you? Or perhaps the latest term, "red lines"? How are defending these vital interests "gross miscalculations"?

So, just what do you suggest Putin/Russia *should* have done in the face of the neocon-staged coup in Kiev?

different clue

SmoothieX12,

I am assuming the EU/US semi-sanctions against some exports to Russia are still in place. If I am correct, has the domestic Russian foodgrowing/foodmaking economy been able to grow/make the things that Russia used to get from Europe?

I am thinking of things like salmon for example. I had read that most salmon consumed in Russia was cornfed domestic salmon from the aqua stockyards of Norway. In the absence of that farmed salmon, has Russia been able to catch wild Pacific salmon from around Kamchatka and etc. and reliably ship bunches of it all over Russia?

different clue

Valissa,

The fact that Mr. Western could wake up to Obama's basic Bushness in only one or two years means that Mr. Western had a freer mind than most Obama supporters.

different clue

Warpig,

I envision a 6-way game of tug-of-war. Tie six ropes together at one end leaving the other 6 ends free. And each free-rope-end has its own team trying to pull the whole thing and the other 5 teams in that team's own direction. If 6 or more groups are all trying to hack our election 6 or more different directions, the result may be so visibly egregious as to get a critical tipping-point massload of people to force the electoral system back to Legal Paper Ballots.

Bill Herschel

I wonder whether anyone on this blog is as big a Russophile as I am. Just as an example, culturally Russia is the birthplace of modern theater, has a literature that is as excellent as any anywhere else, and brought into being much of modern orchestral music. Militarily Russia won WWII. Crimea? If the streets of Crimea were ankle deep in blood today from a counter-revolution or if Russia had had to fire a shot to "annex" Crimea, I would be filled with doubt.

But I have a very severe problem of paranoia. Who here thinks that the entire Western media can relentlessly attack Russia and Vladimir Putin personally (a man of immense popularity in Russia) without some kind of reaction on their part? The only question is what form that reaction will take. Annexing Estonia? Would that Neocons would actually hold their breath for that one.

No, I believe that, as I have said, the counter-attack will come within the borders of the United States using techniques comparable to those used by the U.S. to create failed states: stoke tribal hatreds, etc.

Hack voting machines? God, I wish I thought it couldn't be done, and such a hack could be made almost completely invisible with just a touch of statistical sophistication. What is true is that it appears that people with Russian names are intensely interested in the pre-election polling process, which after all is the yardstick against which any hack would be judged.

Colonel Lang has accused me of spreading propaganda with these ideas (which, incidentally, I think is a perfectly valid response). But if that is so, it troubles me that I am so troubled by them.

kao_hsien_chih

The 260% increase in the Russian median income (an important point--the middle Russian became financial secure under Putin) under Putin's watch underscores the other point: before Putin, Russia was a total and complete economic wreck. People who saw economic ruin firsthand don't cavalierly dismiss hard won economic security.

JamesT

Bill - in my humble opinion the annexing of Estonia is off the table as is the hacking of US voting machines. Some covert aid to Trump is, I think, on the table. I think Putin will constrain himself to doing to the US what he believes the US has done to Russia - were not the events in Crimea a replay of the events in Kosovo?

But I worry about the west crossing one of Russia's red lines (e.g., Hillary declaring a no fly zone over Syria and then shooting down Russian aircraft to enforce such a zone). The Russians don't go to war lightly, but once they do they don't mess about. Russia has a declared policy of first use of tactical nuclear weapons against a conventionally superior opponent such as the US. It could get real ugly real fast.

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