Where Oh Where Did Russia-Gate Go?

I do enjoy international relations and it has been sadly missing while people thumped their chest about the vote….and now before the conversation turns to 2020 I would like to talk about other “stuff”…….

The election is over and a distant story has been replaced with who voted for who and why….does anyone out there remember the whole Russia-gate thingy?

Well to make a bunch of Trump supporters happy it has been all but forgotten…..

After all the screaming headlines and hysterical talk of “treason,” the Russia-gate hoax was almost entirely absent from the midterms. One would think that the other party being in the hands of a ruthless foreign dictator who has it in for America would be a major campaign issue – that is, if the Democrats actually believed their own propaganda. However, we’ve seen neither hide nor hair of Putin in all those campaign ads, or at least hardly a glance: that’s because Russia-gate has always been a fraud, a setup, and really a criminal conspiracy to take down a sitting US President on the basis of a gigantic lie.

As the promulgators of that lie are exposed – the Deep State amalgam that includes foreign intelligence agencies as well as Trump’s domestic opponents – Democrats are backing away from what has suddenly become, for them, a very messy narrative. For what has happened is that the narrative has turned on them, and now implicates them in a massive scheme to embroil the Trump campaign in a web of foreign influencers.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/11/04/whatever-happened-to-the-russia-gate-scandal/

Now that the election has been decided will the Russia thingy come around again?

I’m guessing yes it will….especially since Our Dear Supreme Leader has fired Sessions…..

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Those Russian Sanctions

Sanctions have been in place against Russia since Obama’s days….part of the problem, legal problems, with the 2016 election is that Trump organization may have been working to throw out the sanctions…….and then once everyone, except Trump, agreed that Russia interfered with the 2016 elections more sanctions were imposed.

But first a working definition of sanctions…..Sanctions are an important tool of governance in the global financial industry. Most countries have used sanctions or had sanctions placed against either them or their citizens. States increasingly use sanctions to fight economically, rather than physically, and as such, sanctions have become a common tool in foreign relations, peacekeeping and conflict resolution. Given their prevalence, everybody in the financial industry should have a good understanding of what sanctions are, how they work, and why they are used.

https://complyadvantage.com/knowledgebase/sanctions/

This is all information that most international relations wonks know….but now I would like to know…just what these sanctions are actually doing?

On September 20, Washington’s announced new sanctions on 33 Russian individuals or entities for election interference. In addition, America’s November deadline is approaching for Russia to meet Washington’s demands for international inspections and guarantees that Moscow will never use chemical weapons again. Assistant Secretary of State Manisha Singh warned during testimony to Congress on September 13, that without compliance a “severe” “second tranche of sanctions” will be imposed. It is not clear what sanctions are meant to accomplish or whether they are working.

For instance, the September 20 sanctions were a part of the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). They are meant “to impose costs on Russia in response to its interference in the United States election process, its unacceptable behavior in eastern Ukraine, and other malign activities.” Also, the November deadline and demands were made on August 27 after Russia used the Novichok nerve agent in an attempted assassination of former Russian spy, Sergei Skripal, and his daughter Yulia, in the United Kingdom. In that case, U.S. anti-biochemical weapons law required a response.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/09/26/what_is_the_purpose_of_us_sanctions_on_russia_113837.html

I am still working on just what these sanctions do.

Are they, the sanctions, working?  What damage are they actually doing?  Were they really intended to do any damage to Russia or was it just a show of force…a toothless attempt.

America’s War On Communism

Some might think this is a post about the Cold War and the confrontation of the US and Soviet Union……but that would be a mistake….but one that would be logical if history is not known.

One hundred years ago today, 19 September 1918, the American Expeditionary Force in Russia was attacked by the Red Army.

That is correct the US sent troops to Russia to fight in their Civil War against the Red Army…..

Many Americans would be surprised to learn that the USA, along with Britain, France, and Japan, fought a campaign in Russia just after the Great War (World War I). The primary objective of this action was the re-establishment of an Eastern Front following the collapse of the Russian government during the 1917 Bolshevik revolution, but Allied fear of communist ambitions in other countries also played into the intervention as will be seen below. The overall campaign was named the Polar Bear Expedition, but was also known as the Northern Russian Expedition, the American North Russia Expeditionary Force – ANREF or the American Expeditionary Force North Russia – AEFNR.

These efforts are not mentioned in most history survey courses, and few texts even mention that US troops (or those of any other nation) fought against the Bolsheviks during this period. The presence of US Army units from Michigan in Vladivostok, Archangel, and other Russian locations is rarely noted although the University of Michigan maintains an archive of photographs and other primary evidence relating to the period.

http://www.criticalenquiry.org/history/polarbear.shtml

For further reading on this bit of forgotten American history….

http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/889/woodrow-wilson-and-the-american-expeditionary-force-to-siberia-1918-1920

https://www.armyheritage.org/75-information/soldier-stories/347-aefnorthrussia

Have you ever heard the Russia is being paranoid?

This incident could be one of the reasons that Russia is leery of the intentions of the US….after all we sent an invading force to their country…..which is interesting since the US was considered an isolationist country in those days.

But why did we participate in a Russian Civil War?  But first let’s look at the war……

In 1918 a variety of different groups opposed the Bolshevik government. This included landowners who had lost their estates, factory owners who had their property nationalized, devout members of the Russian Orthodox Church who objected to the government’s atheism and royalists who wanted to restore the monarchy. The closing down of the Constituent Assembly and the banning of all political parties united Socialist Revolutionaries, Mensheviks and Cadets. Others were unhappy with the acceptance of the harsh terms of the Brest-Litovsk Treaty which resulted in Russia being deprived of a third of her population, a third of her factories and three-quarters of her coal and iron producing areas. She also had to pay reparations totalling 3000 million roubles in gold.

http://spartacus-educational.com/RUScivilwar.htm

Could this American intervention be the opening shot of the coming Cold War?

That concludes your history lesson for the day.

It’s Syria!

It has slipped from the news with all the antics from the man in the Ivory Tower….but Syria is still as deadly as it has been for damn near a decade…..

These days the news is more about Russia and the possibility of US troops having to fight the Russians in Syria…….

 As things in Syria seem poised to heat up dramatically in the coming weeks,CNN has reported that Russia has warned the U.S. that the Russian and Syrian militaries are prepared to launch an offensive on the Al-Tanf military base in Syria, an installation that has been controlled by the U.S. military since 2016.

According to U.S. defense officials who spoke to CNN, Russia has warned the U.S. military twice within the last week alone that its forces, as well as those of the Syrian military, are poised to launch an attack on the base’s “deconfliction zone.” The deconfliction zone is a 34-mile (55-kilometer) radius around the base that the U.S. has unilaterally enforced even though it is not internationally recognized. In the past, the U.S. has attacked the Syrian military and allied forces that have approached the deconfliction zone, which the U.S. later justified as an act of “self-defense.

https://theantimedia.com/russia-may-attack-us-military-syria/

This would not be such a good idea……Syria is volatile and to the point that the US and Russia could come to a huge push and shove….

Following Thursday’s report that Russia had recently informed the US of planned military operations against terrorist groups on the Syria-Jordan border, a company of US Marines conducted a live-fire exercise in the same area. Officials say it was intended to be a “warning” to Russia.

The exercise took place near the US base at al-Tanf, at the corner of Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan. Though the US no longer really has any rebel allies in the area, which was the initially point of the Tanf base, the US does regularly attack any pro-Syrian forces who get too close.

The proximity of Islamists, especially al-Qaeda-linked groups on the Jordan border, has pretty much been ignored by the US. The possibility that Russian and Syrian forces might take care of those groups has infuriated the US, and led to threats of force.

https://theantimedia.com/us-military-warning-russian-troops-syria/

Syria is not gone and it is definitely not forgotten…..like all our small wars…..it could take one small screw up to turn it deadly and all encompassing.

A Russian Space Program?

The US is planning a Space Force and Russia has a new weapon to be deployed into space…..now where is this news you ask……

Her title is a long one: US Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification, and Compliance. And on Tuesday Yleem Poblete sounded an alarm, bringing before a UN conference “a matter related to outer space that is of great concern to my government and that relates to space security.” Her comments initially centered around Russia and its history of moves in pursuit of “the development and deployment of anti-satellite weapons” before getting specific: She’s concerned about Russia’s launch of an inspector satellite that has acted “abnormally.”

  • An excerpt of her comments: In October “the Russian Ministry of Defense deployed a space object they claimed was a ‘space apparatus inspector.’ But its behavior on-orbit was inconsistent with anything seen before from on-orbit inspection or space situational awareness capabilities. We are concerned with what appears to be very abnormal behavior … We don’t know for certain what it is and there is no way to verify it. But Russian intentions with respect to this satellite are unclear and are obviously a very troubling development.”
  • Reuters reports a Russian delegate in attendance brushed off Poblete’s remarks, calling them “the same unfounded, slanderous accusations based on suspicions, on suppositions and so on.”
  • At Jalopnik, Jason Torchinsky writes that we not only don’t know much about the satellite, he couldn’t even “find a likely candidate” based on his review of October 2017 launches, though he outlines why the Kosmos-2523 may be the one. As far as what it’s up to, “has it ‘inspected’ non-Russian satellites? Is it a test of a satellite-killer system designed to cripple an enemy’s orbital assets? All we do really know is that Kosmos-2523 has made the US State Department sufficiently nervous to make the alarming statements they made.”
  • The Washington Times reports Poblete pushed the UN to hold out for a tougher version of the “Treaty on the Prevention of the Placement of Weapons in Outer Space,” a Chinese-Russian treaty that exists in draft form and aims to keep weapons systems out of space, though Poblete asserts the draft version is flawed in that it doesn’t allow for international inspectors.
  • A research analyst with the Royal United Services Institute flags the timing of it all, pointing out to the BBC that Poblete’s comments come on the heels of President Trump’s Space Force announcement. “The narrative coming from the US is, ‘space was really peaceful, now look at what the Russians and Chinese are doing’—ignoring the fact that the US has developed its own capabilities.”
  • In other US-Russia news, Reuters on Wednesday reported that the US will up its count of Marines stationed in Norway from 330 to 700, with the plan being to station some of them nearer to the Russia border. Norway says the decision relates to training needs. Russia called it a “clearly unfriendly” move.

In reality, the US interest in hyping Russian space weapons is fairly transparently an attempt to bring new attention to the militarization of space, as President Trump has been very keen to establish an enormous Space Force, and failed to get Congressional funding.

Selling the Space Force to the public and the legislature is contingent on it being used for something. Barring an alien invasion, there just isn’t a lot of use for a Space Force that is “separate but equal” to the Air Force. That’s true even with Russia and China having some limited anti-satellite lasers, but the Space Force seems particularly important to the administration, and those lasers are all they have to hype.

But wait!

If you are old then you will remember Reagan’s “Star Wars” Initiative….why do I bring this up?  It is basically the same program that the US is accusing Russia of deploying……but if you need  look see…..

Sorry….but “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” sort of thing. Now ask…did the US truly abandon their “Star Wars”?  Or was it funded through the “black budget” that needs no Congressional approval?  Is Russia just keeping up with the US?

Thoughts?

Put China In A Box

Some have pointed out to me that putting China in a box would be near impossible…..I brought this forward because of something that I read a few days ago while surfing my ass off.

Henry Kissinger,(remember that name?) had a meeting with Our Dear Leader, Donald Trump and instructed him to work with Russia to put China in a box.

Henry Kissinger suggested to President Donald Trump that the United States should work with Russia to contain a rising China.

The former secretary of state—who famously engineered the tactic of establishing diplomatic relations with China in order to isolate the Soviet Union—pitched almost the inverse of that idea to Trump during a series of private meetings during the presidential transition, five people familiar with the matter told The Daily Beast. The potential strategy would use closer relations with Russia, along with other countries in the region, to box in China’s growing power and influence.

https://www.thedailybeast.com/henry-kissinger-pushed-trump-to-work-with-russia-to-box-in-china

Kissinger?  I went to a lecture he gave back in the 1980’s and went to sleep…the man is a monotone and after an hour would but a meth head to sleep.

Henry is one of the original neocons and war is all he sees at every turn.

Trump’s policies seems to be trying to do exactly what Kissinger was calling for in our foreign policy…..but is that what we truly need to be doing to China…after all they hold a lot of our debt.

Why Is Russia The Foe?

Since I have been writing about the Russian thing I have come across many people that want to know why I am such a downer about these situations with Russia.

First, as a soldier I was in the military intelligence branch of the Army and after I walked away from that I was employed by another agency doing the same thing….so as a soldier during the height of the Cold War I have an in grown distrust of Russia….is it irrational?

I do not think so but thinking Russia is an ally is wrong and I want people to realize it before it bites us in the ass.

But I am not alone….I read a thing that talks about the two prties are still stuck in the Cold War……

President Obama’s snotty swipe at Mitt Romney was his way of saying that he did not think that Russia was our enemy. What he did not consider was that his Russia policy was simply the flip side of the same coin as Romney’s. Both over-assessed Russian relevance. And now President Trump is doing the same.

Of course, the Trump administration insists their Russia reset is not a reset because Trump called for raising NATO defense spending targets to 4%.

It is a distinction without a difference. Both lend undue relevance to what in reality is a third world dump. Both policies are predicated upon Cold War assumptions of Russian strength.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/17/both_parties_stuck_in_the_cold_war_113613.html

Is it good that Russia and the US are talking to each other….under normal circumstances I would say yes it is…the problem is that 2 hour meeting without any advisers worries me.

After reading like I do ….I ran across something that made me reconsider what Dear Leader and Russia are doing on the international stage….if you watch world affairs and know that China has been screwing the US on trade for many years…..is it possible that Dear Leader is setting China up?

While the progressive left sees a Russian spy around every corner, there is a very real possibility that Washington and Moscow will collude for a very big reason—and soon.

Both nations have a reason to fear a coming change in the international order that will impact them both. And as history shows us time and again, a rising power that seeks to overturn the international system can make the most dedicated enemies join forces—and fast.

I can only be talking about one thing: a growing and more powerful China.

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-coming-american-russian-alliance-against-china/

Our Dear Leader has set up China as the enemy…and messaging that Russia as the new “ally”……

Any thoughts?