The build-up to war on Russia

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Russia's build up to war

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Mar 19, 2017 7:23 pm

How Russia Is Turning Syria into a Major Naval Base for Nuclear Warships (and Israel Is Worried)

Michael Peck
March 18, 2017

During the 1970s, the Syrian naval base of Tartus became a major port servicing warships of the Soviet Union’s Fifth Mediterranean squadron.

The Soviet Union is gone, and so is Syria as a unified nation. But Russia is back, and it’s building up Tartus again as a naval base that can handle Russia’s largest nuclear-powered ships.



Already, Israel says the Tartus base is affecting its naval operations. U.S. and NATO operations could be next.

Under the forty-nine-year agreement inked late last year by Russia and Syria, “the maximum number of the Russian warships allowed at the Russian naval facility at one time is 11, including nuclear-powered warships, providing that nuclear and ecological security rules are observed,” according to Russia’s RT news site. Russia will also be allowed to expand port facilities to accommodate the vessels.

The specification allowing nuclear-powered warships means that Russia wants to be able to base in Syria large surface ships, namely Kirov-class nuclear-powered battle cruisers, as well as nuclear submarines.

In addition, the treaty allows “Russia is allowed to bring in and out any kind of ‘weaponry, ammunition, devices and materials’ to provide security for the facility staff, crew, and their families throughout the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic ‘without any duties or levies,’” according to RT.

Expansion of the port will take about five years, according to an anonymous source cited in Russia’s Sputnik News. “The source added that the works would focus on dredging operations to allow cruisers and even possibly aircraft carriers to use the facility’s infrastructure,” Sputnik News reported. “According to the source, Russia also needs to develop the facility’s ground infrastructure, through construction of canalization, electricity generation facilities and barracks for the servicemen.”

Sputnik News also listed other provisions of the agreement. These include:

• Russia will be responsible for sea and air security of the base, while Syria handles the land defenses.

• Russia can deploy “temporary mobile outposts” beyond the base, as long as they coordinate them with the Syrians.

• Russia can renovate the base at will, including underwater construction, and build offshore platforms.

• Upon Syrian request, Russia will send specialists to service Syrian warships, conduct search and rescue in Syrian waters, and organize the defense of Tartus.

• Syria agrees not to “make any objections related to the military activities of the base, which will also be beyond Damascus’ jurisdiction.”

• “Syria also pledges to solve any conflicts that may arise if a third party objects to the activities of the base.”

The Tartus deal is significant on several levels. For starters, the explicit mention of Tartus servicing nuclear-powered ships suggests that Russia may operate its biggest ships in the eastern Mediterranean, such as the nuclear battle cruiser Peter the Great. At the least, it indicates that nuclear submarines could be based at Tartus.

That Russia can put deploy outposts beyond the base suggests that Russia will take an expansive view of defending Tartus against rebel attacks. Russia will also be responsible for sea and air security at Tartus. Yet since the Syrian rebels don’t have a navy or air force—but the Americans and the Israelis do—this indicates that Moscow is eyeing Tartus through the lens of a possible conflict with outside powers.

However, the agreement also contains two contradictory provisions. On the one hand, it bars Syria from objecting to Russian military activities at the base, which will not be under Syrian jurisdiction. So, if Russian ships and aircraft ever decide to harass NATO and Israeli forces in the Mediterranean—just as Russia has done in the Black Sea—then Syria can’t stop them.

On the other hand, Syria is obligated to “solve any conflicts” if a “third party” objects to the activities at the Tartus base. If this means that the United States or Israel complains, then Syria must resolve the problem—even though it has no jurisdiction over the base or operations conducted from there.

In any event, Israel has gotten the message. “There have been instances in which we assessed the situation and changed or chose not to carry out operations,” Rear Adm. Dror Friedman, Israeli Navy chief of staff, told the Jerusalem Post.

“You see their activities in the field and you see them putting down roots, you see their activities in the Port of Tartus and you understand that this isn’t the activity of someone who is planning to pack their bags and leave tomorrow morning.”

Michael Peck is a contributing writer for the National Interest. He can be found on Twitter and Facebook.

Image: Russian nuclear-powered guided missile cruiser Admiral Ushakov and the guided missile cruiser Marshal Ustinov in 1992. Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy
http://nationalinterest.org/blog/the-bu ... hips-19813


Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defenses
By Oren Liebermann, CNN
Updated 1:50 PM ET, Sun March 19, 2017
Israel threatens to destroy Syrian air defense


Russia, Syrian military sources and rebel officials confirmed that a new agreement had been reached after a first evacuation plan collapsed the day before amid fresh fighting. Syrian state television reported that some 4,000 rebels and their families were to be evacuated.

Wounded Syrians and their families gather at the rebel-held al-Amiriyah neighbourhood as they wait to be evacuated to the government-controlled area of Ramoussa on the southern outskirts of the city on December 15, 2016.

Russia, Syrian military sources and rebel officials confirmed that a new agreement had been reached after a first evacuation plan collapsed the day before amid fresh fighting. Syrian state television reported that some 4,000 rebels and their families were to be evacuated.

Jerusalem (CNN)Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has warned Syria that Israel will destroy its air defense system if Syria fires an anti-aircraft missile at Israeli aircraft again.

Speaking on Israel public radio Sunday morning, Liberman said, "The next time the Syrians use their air defense systems against our airplanes, we will destroy all of them without thinking twice."
His threat comes after Syria fired anti-aircraft missiles at Israeli military jets overnight Thursday into Friday.
The Syrian military said the jets struck a military site near Palmyra, while Israel says they targeted a weapons shipment to Iran-backed Hezbollah. Syria claims their missiles downed one Israeli jet and hit another, which Israel rejected as "absolutely untrue."
"Our central problem, and this above and beyond all of the other issues, is the transfer of advanced weapons from Syria to Lebanon," Liberman said.
"Every time we identify a transfer like this, we will work to prevent the transfer of game-changing weapons. On this issue there will not be any compromise," the outspoken Defense Minister added.
Liberman has not shied away from threatening rhetoric since taking over the Defense Ministry last year.
Rising tensions
Friday's encounter was the most serious clash between Israel and Syria since the start of the Syrian civil war six years ago. Tension between the two countries de-escalated as the conflict progressed, but the threats have increased between the two countries in recent months., along with Israel's reported strikes.

An airstrike near Palmyra would be one of the deepest inside Syria since the beginning of the fighting.
The military actions did not go unnoticed both in the Middle East and further afield.
In a sign of Russia's displeasure with the strike, Moscow summoned Israel's ambassador to Russia, Gary Koren, less than 24 hours after it happened.
It is the first time in recent years that Moscow has summoned Israel's envoy over a strike in Syria, and it comes one week after Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Russian President Vladimir Putin to reaffirm coordination between the Israeli and Russian militaries over Syria.
The two countries established coordination last year to avoid conflicts in Syrian airspace, ostensibly to allow both countries to operate freely.
Palmyra, once held by ISIS and retaken by the Syrian government, is strategically important to both the regime and its opponents.
The intercept triggered alarm sirens in the Jordan Valley and shrapnel from the explosion, which was heard as far south as Jerusalem, landed in western Jordan, the Jordanian military said.
Most of Israel's reported strikes have been around the Syrian capital of Damascus, about 60 kilometers (37 miles) from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, which Israel seized from Syria during the Six-Day War in 1967.
Weapons

Israel denies Syrian claim it downed Israeli plane 02:32
In December, Liberman told a delegation of European Union envoys that Israel will "prevent the smuggling of sophisticated weapons, military equipment and weapons of mass destruction from Syria to Hezbollah."
It was another acknowledgment of Israel's ongoing operations in Syria. Last April, Netanyahu confirmed that Israel had struck Syria "dozens of times," breaking with the policy of remaining quiet about involvement in its war-torn northern neighbor.
In a video statement released Friday, Netanyahu was adamant in his defense of Israel's move to prevent weapons being supplied to Hezbollah. "When we identify attempts to transfer advanced weapons to Hezbollah and we have intelligence and it is operationally feasible, we act to prevent it," he said.
"That's how it was yesterday and that's how we shall continue to act," he added.
"We are fully determined and the evidence of that is that we are acting. Everybody must take that into account -- everybody."
Hezbollah

Hezbollah is a Lebanese militant group and political party, funded and supplied by Iran. The group is at odds with Israel over territory located along the Lebanon-Israel border. It also supports the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad, committing thousands of fighters to battle alongside Assad's forces. The United States, Israel, and the Arab League consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization while the European Union classifies Hezbollah's military wing as a terrorist group.
As recently as late February, Syrian media reported that Israeli jets hit military positions and weapons convoys near Damascus.
In November 2012, Israel fired warning shots toward Syria after a mortar shell hit an Israeli military post, the first time Israel had fired on Syria across the Golan Heights since the 1973 Yom Kippur War.
Israeli jets have been hitting targets in Syria since at least 2013, when US officials told CNN they believed IDF jets had struck inside Syrian territory. In 2014, the Syrian government and an opposition group both said an IDF strike had hit Damascus' suburbs and airport.
Israeli strikes have also gone after ISIS fighters inside Syria. Late last year, IDF troops operating in the disputed Golan region came under fire from militants of the ISIS affiliate Khalid ibn al-Walid Army, Israeli military spokesman Lt. Col. Peter Lerner said.
The soldiers fired back, triggering an exchange of gunfire. A subsequent Israeli airstrike destroyed a vehicle carrying four militants, Lerner said.
http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/19/middleeas ... -liberman/
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Sun Mar 19, 2017 10:38 pm

https://www.thenation.com/article/us-of ... americans/

Since allegations of Russian meddling in the US election began to emerge eight months ago, the pressure to “counter” Russian propaganda and its allegedly existential threat to our democracy has risen in direct proportion. The much-anticipated Office of the Director of National Intelligence report on Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election from January was roughly 40 percent a 2012 document on the Russian propaganda network Russia Today–a focus that left even the harshest Kremlin critics perplexed.

The fear of Russian propaganda has also consistently been lumped in with the corollary fear over the rise of “fake news.” Indeed, when lobbying for the creation of the Global Engagement Center in her first speech post-election, Hillary Clinton decried “fake news” for putting lives “at risk” and praised bipartisan commitment to combat its spread. New sanctions on Russia, proposed in January by Senators John McCain and Ben Cardin, would add an additional $100 million to the GEC’s coffers to, among other things, counter “fake news” supposedly emanating from Moscow.

What exactly is and isn’t “fake news” worthy of countering? Who will be doing the “countering” and whom will this “countering” target? These question remain unanswered as tens of millions dollars pour in to stopping the Russian disinformation menace. Without the State Department’s clarifying its position on targeting Americans or paying American journalists, the risk of government “counter”-propaganda’s quickly becoming good old-fashioned regular propaganda is as obvious as it is pernicious.

“Until we have more clarity about disseminating directly to Americans and the government’s obligation to attribute,” Sager insists, “It’s going to be very difficult to know when exactly the government is talking to us.”
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 4:58 pm

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/21/a ... roupthink/

A Breach in the Anti-Putin Groupthink
March 21, 2017

The mainstream U.S. media has virtually banned any commentary that doesn’t treat Russian President Putin as the devil, but a surprising breach in the groupthink has occurred in Foreign Affairs magazine, reports Gilbert Doctorow.

By Gilbert Doctorow

Realistically, no major change in U.S. foreign and defense policy is possible without substantial support from the U.S. political class, but a problem occurs when only one side of a debate gets a fair hearing and the other side gets ignored or marginalized. That is the current situation regarding U.S. policy toward Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses UN General Assembly on Sept. 28, 2015. (UN Photo)

For the past couple of decades, only the neoconservatives and their close allies, the liberal interventionists, have been allowed into the ring to raise their gloves in celebration of an uncontested victory over policy. On the very rare occasion when a “realist” or a critic of “regime change” wars somehow manages to sneak into the ring, they find both arms tied behind them and receive the predictable pounding.

While this predicament has existed since the turn of this past century, it has grown more pronounced since the U.S.-Russia relationship slid into open confrontation in 2014 after the U.S.-backed coup in Ukraine overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych and sparking a civil war that led Crimea to secede and join Russia and Ukraine’s eastern Donbass region to rise up in rebellion.

But the only narrative that the vast majority of Americans have heard – and that the opinion centers of Washington and New York have allowed – is the one that blames everything on “Russian aggression.” Those who try to express dissenting opinions – noting, for instance, the intervention in Ukrainian affairs by Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland as well as the U.S.-funded undermining on Yanukovych’s government – have been essentially banned from both the U.S. mass media and professional journals.

When a handful of independent news sites (including Consortiumnews.com) tried to report on the other side of the story, they were denounced as “Russian propagandists” and ended up on “blacklists” promoted by The Washington Post and other mainstream news outlets.

An Encouraging Sign

That is why it is encouraging that Foreign Affairs magazine, the preeminent professional journal of American diplomacy, took the extraordinary step (extraordinary at least in the current environment) of publishing Robert English’s article, entitled “Russia, Trump, and a new Détente,” that challenges the prevailing groupthink and does so with careful scholarship.


In effect, English’s article trashes the positions of all Foreign Affairs’ featured contributors for the past several years. But it must be stressed that there are no new discoveries of fact or new insights that make English’s essay particularly valuable. What he has done is to bring together the chief points of the counter-current and set them out with extraordinary writing skills, efficiency and persuasiveness of argumentation. Even more important, he has been uncompromising.

The facts laid out by English could have been set out by one of several experienced and informed professors or practitioners of international relations. But English had the courage to follow the facts where they lead and the skill to convince the Foreign Affairs editors to take the chance on allowing readers to see some unpopular truths even though the editors now will probably come under attack themselves as “Kremlin stooges.”

The overriding thesis is summed up at the start of the essay: “For 25 years, Republicans and Democrats have acted in ways that look much the same to Moscow. Washington has pursued policies that have ignored Russian interests (and sometimes international law as well) in order to encircle Moscow with military alliances and trade blocs conducive to U.S. interests. It is no wonder that Russia pushes back. The wonder is that the U.S. policy elite doesn’t get this, even as foreign-affairs neophyte Trump apparently does.”

English’s article goes back to the fall of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s and explains why and how U.S. policy toward Russia was wrong and wrong again. He debunks the notion that Boris Yeltsin brought in a democratic age, which Vladimir Putin undid after coming to power.

English explains how the U.S. meddled in Russian domestic politics in the mid-1990s to falsify election results and ensure Yeltsin’s continuation in office despite his unpopularity for bringing on an economic Depression that average Russians remember bitterly to this day. That was a time when the vast majority of Russians equated democracy with “shitocracy.”

English describes how the Russian economic and political collapse in the 1990s was exploited by the Clinton administration. He tells why currently fashionable U.S. critics of Putin are dead wrong when they fail to acknowledge Putin’s achievements in restructuring the economy, tax collection, governance, improvements in public health and more which account for his spectacular popularity ratings today.

English details all the errors and stupidities of the Obama administration in its handling of Russia and Putin, faulting President Obama and Secretary of State (and later presidential candidate) Hillary Clinton for all of their provocative and insensitive words and deeds. What we see in U.S. policy, as described by English, is the application of double standards, a prosecutorial stance towards Russia, and outrageous lies about the country and its leadership foisted on the American public.

Then English takes on directly all of the paranoia over Russia’s alleged challenge to Western democratic processes. He calls attention instead to how U.S. foreign policy and the European Union’s own policies in the new Member States and candidate Member States have created all the conditions for a populist revolt by buying off local elites and subjecting the broad populace in these countries to pauperization.

English concludes his essay with a call to give détente with Putin and Russia a chance.

Who Is Robert English?

English’s Wikipedia entry and biographical data provided on his University of Southern California web pages make it clear that he has quality academic credentials: Master of Public Administration and PhD. in politics from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He also has a solid collection of scholarly publications to his credit as author or co-editor with major names in the field of Russian-Soviet intellectual history.


He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 1982–1986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations.

Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled “Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016.”

English’s objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending America’s strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton.

By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanders’s inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington.

While there is nothing new in such “flexibility,” there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her.

Then, there are times, such as the article for Foreign Affairs, when an academic may be speaking for his own analysis of an important situation whatever the political costs or benefits. Sources who have long been close to English assure me that the points in his latest article match his true beliefs.

The Politics of Geopolitics

Yet, it is one thing to have a courageous author and knowledgeable scholar. It is quite another to find a publisher willing to take the heat for presenting views that venture outside the mainstream Establishment. In that sense, it is stunning that Foreign Affairs chose to publish English and let him destroy the groupthink that has dominated the magazine and the elite foreign policy circles for years.


The only previous exception to the magazine’s lockstep was an article by University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer entitled “Why the Ukraine Crisis is the West’s Fault” published in September 2014. That essay shot holes in Official Washington’s recounting of the events leading up to the Russian annexation of Crimea and intervention in the Donbass.

It was a shock to many of America’s leading foreign policy insiders who, in the next issue, rallied like a collection of white cells to attack the invasive thinking. But there were some Foreign Affairs readers – about one-third of the commenters – who voiced agreement with Mearsheimer’s arguments. But that was a one-time affair. Mearsheimer appears to have been tolerated because he was one of the few remaining exponents of the Realist School in the United States. But he was not a Russia specialist.

Foreign Affairs may have turned to Robert English because the editors, as insider-insiders, found themselves on the outside of the Trump administration looking in. The magazine’s 250,000 subscribers, which include readers from across the globe, expect Foreign Affairs to have some lines into the corridors of power.

In that regard, the magazine has been carrying water for the State Department since the days of the Cold War. For instance, in the spring issue of 2007, the magazine published a cooked-up article signed by Ukrainian politician Yuliya Tymoshenko on why the West must contain Russia, a direct response to Putin’s famous Munich speech in which he accused the United States of destabilizing the world through the Iraq War and other policies.

Anticipating Hillary Clinton’s expected election, Foreign Affairs’ editors did not hedge their bets in 2016. They sided with the former Secretary of State and hurled rhetorical bricks at Donald Trump. In their September issue, they compared him to a tin-pot populist dictator in South America.

Thus, they found themselves cut off after Trump’s surprising victory. For the first time in many years in the opening issue of the New Year following a U.S. presidential election, the magazine did not feature an interview with the incoming Secretary of State or some other cabinet member.

Though Official Washington’s anti-Russian frenzy seems to be reaching a crescendo on Capitol Hill with strident hearings on alleged Russian meddling in the presidential election, the underlying reality is that the neocons are descending into a fury over their sudden loss of power.

The hysteria was highlighted when neocon Sen. John McCain lashed out at Sen. Rand Paul after the libertarian senator objected to special consideration for McCain’s resolution supporting Montenegro’s entrance into NATO. In a stunning breach of Senate protocol, a livid McCain accused Paul of “working for Vladimir Putin.”

Meanwhile, some Democratic leaders have begun cautioning their anti-Trump followers not to expect too much from congressional investigations into the supposed Trump-Russia collusion on the election.

In publishing Robert English’s essay challenging much of the anti-Russian groupthink that has dominated Western geopolitics over the past few years, Foreign Affairs may be finally bending to the recognition that it is risking its credibility if it continues to put all its eggs in the we-hate-Russia basket.

That hedging of its bets may be a case of self-interest, but it also may be an optimistic sign that the martyred Fifteenth Century Catholic Church reformer Jan Hus was right when he maintained that eventually the truth will prevail.

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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby brekin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:20 pm

He spent six years doing studies for U.S. intelligence and defense: 1982–1986 at the Department of Defense and 1986-88 at the U.S. Committee for National Security. And he has administrative experience as the Director of the USC School of International Relations.

Professor English is not without his political ambitions. During the 2016 presidential election campaign, he tried to secure a position as foreign policy adviser to Democratic hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders. In pursuit of this effort, English had the backing of progressives at The Nation, which in February 2016 published an article of his entitled “Bernie Sanders, the Foreign Policy Realist of 2016.”

English’s objective was to demonstrate how wrong many people were to see in Sanders a visionary utopian incapable of defending America’s strategic interests. Amid the praise of Sanders in this article, English asserts that Sanders is as firm on Russia as Hillary Clinton.

By the end of the campaign, however, several tenacious neocons had attached themselves to Sanders’s inner circle and English departed. So, one might size up English as just one more opportunistic academic who will do whatever it takes to land a top job in Washington.

While there is nothing new in such “flexibility,” there is also nothing necessarily offensive in it. From the times of Machiavelli if not earlier, intellectuals have tended to be guns for hire. The first open question is how skilled they are in managing their sponsors as well as in managing their readers in the public. But there is also a political realism in such behavior, advancing a politician who might be a far better leader than the alternatives while blunting the attack lines that might be deployed against him or her.


So an intel spook academic for hire who believed (and praised) Bernie for being as firm on Russia as Hilary and tried to get a permanent position with Bernie is now an expert on detente (or actually the policy of just fugetaboutit). But now he is pushing the script that people need to give Russia a chance?
Jeez, I know its hard to get content contra not wishing for ones country to be taken over by a foreign power, but surely you can do better than him.

He's just an apologist for the FSB's, the oligarchy & Putin crimes by providing sympathetic rationals and motives. He doesn't even try to deny or rebut that they did election meddling or have ties to Trump, but that they were hurt by US interests before. And the Putin puffery is pretty rank. He is either praising him, apologizing for him or trying to say he is a reformer compared to Yeltsin. Or citing the double standard or how worse other countries are. His whole essay is an exercise in blame shifting, passing the buck and minimization akin to a defense attorneys. "Sure, it is normal to be alarmed or repulsed by X but consider...

Some gems:

Few Russians who endured this corruption and humiliation have much sympathy with U.S. anger over Russian meddling in the 2016 election. And with any perspective on the 1990s, it is hard to fault them.


In his first few years in office, Putin passed tax and banking reform, bankruptcy laws, and other pro-market policies that Yeltsin hadn’t managed in a decade. Denying Putin credit in this way is typical.


Distaste for many aspects of Putin’s harsh rule is understandable. But demonization that veers into delusion by denying him credit for major progress (and blaming him for all problems) is foolish. Foolish because it widens the gulf between U.S. and Russian perceptions of what is going on in their country, with Russians rating Putin highly because they value the stability and pride he has revived. Foolish because it encourages the illusion that everything bad in Russia flows from Putin, so that if only Putin were removed then Russians would elect another liberal like Yeltsin.


Consider the case of Pussy Riot, the feminist-protest rock group, some of whose members were convicted of hooliganism in 2012 for staging a protest in Moscow’s Church of Christ the Savior—profanely mocking not only Putin but also the Russian Orthodox Church and its believers. Both activists and state officials in the United States praised Pussy Riot and demanded their release. Yet basic decency—and regard for the values and traditions of others—would suggest that hailing Pussy Riot as champions of free speech was disrespectful of Russia. It was also insensible if the United States is interested in cultivating sympathy among Russians, some 70 percent of whom identify as Orthodox believers. Russia is a conservative society that viewed the years of Yeltsin’s rule, and its onslaught of pornography and promiscuity, with horror. In polls, only seven percent of Russians said that political protest was permissible in a church, and only five percent agreed that Pussy Riot should be released without serious punishment. Surely the sensibilities of ordinary Russians deserve as much regard as those of a minority of cosmopolitan liberals. And hectoring by the West will hardly ease traditional Russian homophobia. Indeed, the outcry on behalf of Pussy Riot likely strengthened popular support for the notorious 2013 law against “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations.”


Russians see a double standard in U.S. judgments about their country—a prosecutorial stance that criticizes Russia for behaviors that go unnoticed in other countries. For example, The Washington Post has closely covered Russia’s anti-LGBT policies but has paid scant attention to the same in countries such as Lithuania, Georgia, and Ukraine, and when it has it has suggested that Russia is to blame for exporting its anti-gay beliefs. Since 2014, the Western media has similarly reported on Moscow’s alleged propaganda onslaught, while largely ignoring the brazen purchase of positive publicity by countries such as Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine. This is not the usual lobbying or public relations but the funding of ostensibly independent research on a country by that country itself—paying for upbeat election reports and other assessments by such groups as the Parliamentary Association of the Council of Europe.


His closing takes the cake though:

It may be that both sides are correct—that two decades of ignoring Russia’s interests have abetted Putin’s embrace of a deep-seated anti-Americanism and that a new détente is impossible. Or it may be that Putin is not innately hostile, but rather a typical strongman: proud and spiteful, but not uniquely corrupt or cruel, and capable of embracing a cooperative position if he finds a partner skilled enough to forge a deal respecting both U.S. and Russian vital interests. The only thing not in doubt is that both America and Russia—indeed, Europe and the wider world—badly need that détente.


That's like a high school essay conclusion that says everything and nothing. And Putin is not uniquely corrupt or cruel?
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:23 pm

Putin an exception to the rule of harsh men?

You've lived through Nixon, Regan, Bush Magog, Bush Dubya, and now Trump - you tell me
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby brekin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:32 pm

Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:23 pm wrote:Putin an exception to the rule of harsh men?
You've lived through Nixon, Regan, Bush Magog, Bush Dubya, and now Trump - you tell me


Which one of those has had an 18 year reign?
And I would have asked which of them was the former head of the countries intelligence agency that became president? But Bush Magog raised his head.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:34 pm

Bush Magog had a 12 year reign :tongout
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby brekin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:43 pm

Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:34 pm wrote:Bush Magog had a 12 year reign :tongout


Don't get down. Just sum with Bush Dubya (Bush Magog 12 + Bush Dubya 8) and you get an even 20.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:51 pm

Last edited by seemslikeadream on Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Why FBI can't tell all on Trump and Russia
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 6:55 pm

brekin » Tue Mar 21, 2017 2:43 pm wrote:
Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 5:34 pm wrote:Bush Magog had a 12 year reign :tongout


Don't get down. Just sum with Bush Dubya (Bush Magog 12 + Bush Dubya 8) and you get an even 20.


There you go - with math skills like these you could work for the Trump Admin
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby seemslikeadream » Tue Mar 21, 2017 7:05 pm

you should learn some history

let's keep it short so it will fit your attention span

This is Rory in 1972...NOTHING TO SEE HERE ...NIXON WON'T RESIGN

June 17, 1972 - August 8, 1974

Watergate Brings Down Nixon
A seemingly random robbery at a Washington, D.C. building leads to the first presidential resignation in American history.

Early in the morning of June 17, 1972, several burglars were arrested inside the office of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), located in the Watergate building in Washington, D.C. This was no ordinary robbery: The prowlers were connected to President Richard Nixon’s reelection campaign, and they had been caught while attempting to wiretap phones and steal secret documents. While historians are not sure whether Nixon knew about the Watergate espionage operation before it happened, he took steps to cover it up afterwards, raising “hush money” for the burglars, trying to stop the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from investigating the crime, destroying evidence and firing uncooperative staff members. In August 1974, after his role in the Watergate conspiracy had finally come to light, the president resigned. His successor, Gerald Ford, immediately pardoned Nixon for all the crimes he “committed or may have committed” while in office. Although Nixon was never prosecuted, the Watergate scandal changed American politics forever, leading many Americans to question their leadership and think more critically about the presidency.

WATERGATE: THE BREAK-IN
The origins of the Watergate break-in lay in the hostile politics of the 1960s. By 1972, when Republican President Richard Nixon (1913-1994) was running for reelection, the United States was embroiled in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) and deeply divided internally. In such a harsh political climate, a forceful presidential campaign seemed essential to the president and some of his key advisers. Their aggressive tactics included what turned out to be illegal espionage. In May 1972, as evidence would later show, members of Nixon’s Committee to Re-Elect the President (known derisively as CREEP) broke into the Democratic National Committee’s Watergate headquarters, stole copies of top-secret documents and bugged the office’s phones.

Did You Know?
Young Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein deserve a good deal of the credit for uncovering the details of the Watergate scandal. Their reporting won them a Pulitzer Prize and was the basis for their best-selling book “All the President’s Men.” Much of their information came from an anonymous whistleblower they called Deep Throat, who in 2005 was revealed to be W. Mark Felt, a former associate director of the FBI.

The wiretaps failed to work properly, however, so on June 17 the group returned to the Watergate building. As the prowlers were preparing to break into the office with a new microphone, a security guard noticed that they had taped the building’s locks. The guard called the police, who arrived just in time to catch the spies red-handed.

It was not immediately clear that the burglars were connected to the president, though suspicions were raised when detectives found copies of the reelection committee’s White House phone number among the burglars’ belongings. In August, Nixon gave a speech in which he swore that his White House staff was not involved in the break-in. Most voters believed him, and in November the president was reelected in a landslide.

WATERGATE: THE COVER-UP
It later came to light that Nixon was not being truthful. A few days after the break-in, for instance, he arranged to provide hundreds of thousands of dollars in “hush money” to the burglars. Then, he and his aides hatched a plan to instruct the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to impede the FBI’s investigation of the crime. This was a more serious crime than the break-in: It was an abuse of presidential power and a deliberate obstruction of justice. Meanwhile, seven conspirators were indicted on charges related to the Watergate affair. At the urging of Nixon’s aides, five pleaded guilty and avoided trial; the other two were convicted in January 1973.

By that time, a growing handful of people—including Washington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, trial judge John J. Sirica and members of a Senate investigating committee—had begun to suspect that there was a larger scheme afoot. At the same time, some of the conspirators began to crack under the pressure of the cover-up. Some of Nixon’s aides, including White House counsel John Dean, testified before a grand jury about the president’s crimes; they also testified that Nixon had secretly taped every conversation that took place in the Oval Office. If prosecutors could get their hands on those tapes, they would have proof of the president’s guilt.

Nixon struggled to protect the tapes during the summer and fall of 1973. His lawyers argued that the president’s executive privilege allowed him to keep the tapes to himself, but Sirica, the Senate committee and an independent special prosecutor named Archibald Cox were all determined to obtain them. When Cox refused to stop demanding the tapes, Nixon ordered that he be fired, leading several Justice Department officials to resign in protest. (These events, which took place on October 20, 1973, are known as the Saturday Night Massacre.) Eventually, Nixon agreed to surrender some—but not all—of the tapes.

Early in 1974, the cover-up began to fall apart. On March 1, a grand jury appointed by a new special prosecutor indicted seven of Nixon’s former aides on various charges related to the Watergate affair. The jury, unsure if they could indict a sitting president, called Nixon an “unindicted co-conspirator.”

In July, the Supreme Court ordered Nixon to turn over the tapes. While the president dragged his feet, the House of Representatives voted to impeach him for obstruction of justice, abuse of power, criminal cover-up and several violations of the Constitution. Finally, on August 5, Nixon released the tapes, which provided undeniable evidence of his complicity in the Watergate crimes. In the face of certain impeachment by the Senate, the president resigned on August 8.

Six weeks after the new president Gerald Ford (1913-2006) was sworn in, he pardoned Nixon for any crimes he had committed while in office. Some of Nixon’s aides were not so lucky: They were convicted of very serious offenses and sent to federal prison. Nixon himself never admitted to any criminal wrongdoing, though he did acknowledge using poor judgment. His abuse of presidential power had a negative effect on American political life, creating an atmosphere of cynicism and distrust. While many Americans had been deeply dismayed by the outcomes of the Vietnam War, Watergate added further disappointment in a national climate already soured by the difficulties and losses of the past decade.

http://www.history.com/topics/watergate
There’s a smell of treason in the air
presidential historian Douglas Brinkley

I'll settle for RICO
Organized Crime.....Asset Forfeiture
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump and Russia
What did trump know and when did he know it?
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Tue Mar 21, 2017 10:48 pm

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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Joao » Wed Mar 22, 2017 4:18 am

^^Source known for the Soviet monster-bane clip? Love it.
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Rory » Fri Mar 24, 2017 3:43 pm

Joao » Wed Mar 22, 2017 12:18 am wrote:^^Source known for the Soviet monster-bane clip? Love it.


Maple cocaine, on twitter. Is remarkable how well it depicts the hysterical Russia retards
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Re: The build-up to war on Russia

Postby Joao » Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:44 pm

Rory » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:43 am wrote:Maple cocaine, on twitter. Is remarkable how well it depicts the hysterical Russia retards.

Thanks. For the record, a tweeter clarifies that the clip is from the 1989 season of Doctor Who, specifically from a four-episode series called "The Curse of Fenric." Never really been able to appreciate the Doctor but I do love bizarre Cold War propaganda. From a description of the series:

Haemovores can be repelled by faith itself. The Doctor repels them by repeating the names of all his companions, the fervently Communist Sorin repels them with a red star badge from his uniform, and Reverend Wainwright sadly fails to repel one using a bible, as the horrors of World War II destroyed his faith.

Less tangential to the thread topic, I'm mildly surprised to see so much conflation of contemporary Russia with the USSR around the internet lately (not here). "They've been our enemy for 70 years" according to a post I saw on Reddit, presumably counting from the end of WWII. Quite the selective and absurdly simplified narrative--smells like a disinformation campaign.
Last edited by Joao on Fri Mar 24, 2017 7:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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