A New Cold War?

This subject was a hot item about a year ago…..and since has cooled down a bit….but with all the chest thumping in DC how long before we re-visit the concept?

The chances are looking good that it will be on again….US moving troops and equipment to the borders with Russia….Russian moving troops and rocket launchers within striking distance of Eastern Europe and all the rhetoric flying around the airwaves…..let’s not forget that China is slinking around the South China Sea……

As someone who is always on the lookout for the next conflict that could turn into out last conflict…….I say bend over and brace yourselves….

American-Russian relations are about to take a sharp turn for the worse.

President Donald Trump, like Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton before him, hoped to “reset” Washington’s dismal relationship with Moscow, but that was always the longest of long shots. Vladimir Putin’s ideology and perceived national interests require the West as an enemy, and no matter how many times Trump tweets that he respects Putin’s “strength” and says it would be “a good thing” if we could get along with Russia and unite against ISIS, neither the Kremlin nor permanent Washington will allow it.

To be sure, Russians initially swooned when Trump beat Clinton in the election last November.

Source: Brace Yourself for a New Cold War | World Affairs Journal

I know to some this is a cliche of sorts….but do not count anything out….not now there is enough crap flying around that anything could happen.

Okay let us say that I am being a bit pessimistic…..and there is not a new Cold War….with all the isolationist sounds coming from Trump (none of which I believe by any stretch) but let us say that we do shrink back to our borders ….what will a post-American order look like?

It is obvious that that our world has pivoted from the immediate post-Cold War order. Gone is yesterday’s unipolar dispensation with the United States sitting unchallenged atop other powers. It still possesses immense conventional and unconventional strength, but it is hardly unrivaled in various geographic corners. The big questions remain: What kind of global order is unfolding and how does America respond?

President Donald J. Trump’s frequent voicing of isolationist sentiments during and after the election campaign has been blamed by some critics for this international transformation. Yet he alone is not responsible for the shift. The international order has been undergoing a transformation for years, and the signs of that change began to materialize soon after Barack Obama assumed office. Trump’s move into the White House is more a consequence of this altered global scene than its cause. Obama initiated America’s international pullback with the military withdrawal from Iraq and severe cutbacks in Afghanistan, as well as blinking when Syria crossed his red line while “leading from behind.”

Source: Post-American World Order | Hoover Institution

There you have two takes on the near future…..which will be the most likely?

Closing Thought–09Mar17

Our Man In Moscow!

I have been waiting to see just who our presidente would choose as the ambassador to Russia….it would very telling…..

Now I do not need to fret any longer…he has made his choice….and it leaves me a bit scratching my head……

A White House official says former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr. is President Donald Trump’s choice to be the next US ambassador to Russia, the AP reports. Huntsman will be nominated for the diplomatic post as senior members of Trump’s administration face questions about their contacts with the Russian government. The White House official spoke on condition of anonymity ahead of a formal announcement.

Huntsman served as the ambassador to China during the Obama administration and speaks Mandarin. He had been considering a Senate run in 2018, a decision that would depend on whether Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, runs again. Huntsman in October called on Trump to drop out of the presidential race after the release of a recording on which Trump bragged about groping women.

By all accounts he was a good ambassador under Obama to China and now he heads to Moscow…..how did this person get two plum assignments for the State Department…the US two international rivals in all things….especially since Huntsman was so nasty to Trump during the campaigns…..Trump holds a grudge to the extreme yet not when it comes to Huntsman…

This is a bit suspicious to me…..there is more going on here than the placement of diplomats…me thinks.

Closing Thought–08Mar17

Live And Let Die–Russian Style

Has anyone else noticed the amount of people around Putin that have died?

There was the dude in London about 10 years ago….then a political opponent was shot dead in Moscow….an associate of Putin died in DC and then there was the political opponent that has been poisoned for the second time….there have been many people drop dead around the Russian…..

When Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s top United Nations envoy, collapsed suddenly from an apparent heart failure recently, it triggered widespread and predictable murmuring about possible foul play. With so many sudden and mysterious deaths at the upper levels of the Russosphere during the Putin years, chiefly among his opponents, it’s no surprise that rumors abound even when a stalwart loyalist like Churkin dies. The actual causes of many of the untimely deaths, like those of Alexander Litvinenko and Boris Nemtsov cases, however, have been considerably less mysterious. Clear assassinations of that kind naturally leave a cloud of suspicion over seemingly innocent but abrupt deaths—and, there have been an inordinate number. Indeed, I noted in a recent column that five prominent Kremlin-linked deaths have occurred in the UK—including Litvinenko, and Alexander Perepilichny whose demise seemed inexplicable until a mysterious Himalayan poison was found in his stomach tissue as this article in The Atlantic explains. All of this might also explain why former MI6 agent Christopher Steele, compiler of the notorious Trump ‘dossier’, went underground in his own country.

Source: Mysterious Circumstances Surrounding Russian Murders, Deaths | World Affairs Journal

I am waging that these will not be the last to expire around Mr. Putin.

Day is done…I am off to see the wizard….have day and see ya tomorrow….chuq

After I wrote this draft more news about deaths has come to the top……

Conspiracy theorists have pointed to a number of recent deaths of Russian diplomats in the past four months.

Russia’s permanent ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, died last month in New York after suddenly becoming ill on his way to work the day before his 65th birthday.

It was initially reported he had suffered a heart attack but an autopsy proved inconclusive.

The Russian Consul in Athens, Andrei Malanin, 55, was found dead on the floor of his apartment in Greece in January. Greek police said there was no evidence of a break-in and he was believed to have died of natural causes.

Russia’s Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, 67, was reported to have died of heart failure in January after a “brief illness” according to Indian media.

Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov, 63, was found unconscious having suffered severe head injuries at the Russian consulate in New York on US election day.

The Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was assassinated in Ankara by a policeman at a photography exhibition on 19 December and another diplomat, Peter Polshikov, was shot dead in his Moscow apartment on the same day.

Former KGB chief Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping British spy Christopher Steele draft a dossier on Donald Trump, was found dead in the back of his car last Boxing Day.

(the independent)

Russians are dropping like flies…..

Can the Left Weaponize Russia?

Of course it can….anything can be weaponized in politics……

The Dems need a plan…..could they do what the Right did in the 50’s……weaponize Russia to gain support and in turn gain voters?

The best weapon the GOP had 60 years ago was their hared of the USSR….their self-induced fear help them control the foreign policy that still hangs on to this day…..

The Dems had their asses handed to them in the elections of 2016….they need a plan….they need a plan that the American people will embrace and in doing so gain them votes…that magic wand that leads to power…..

Below link is a good look back at the days of the communism hysteria…..

Anti-Soviet sentiment used to be a powerful political unifier for the right. Fifty years later, some liberals think they can replicate that model.

With every passing week, President Donald Trump has furnished Democrats and a growing number of establishment Republicans with reason to worry that there is more to the president’s relationship with Russia than meets the eye. There is his ingratiating posture toward Vladimir Putin. His campaign’s machinations to change the Republican Party plank on Ukraine. Ominous threats to undermine NATO. The mysterious opposition research dossier suggesting that Moscow may possess “kompromat” of both a personal and business nature on Trump, though Moscow denies it. And now, a Fox interview in which the president drew moral equivalency between the Russian government, which imprisons and assassinates both dissidents and journalists, and the government in Washington.

Source: Can the Left Weaponize Russia? – POLITICO Magazine

The Dems will need all the ammo they can muster if they are to reverse the trend they created for themselves in the last decade…..

One More Putin Foe

There seems to be a trend occurring around Russia’s Putin…..opponents seem to die off all around him….

It was that ex-spy in London that was poisoned in his tea….then there are the homegrown opponents that die in Russia….and the opponent in DC that was found dead in his apartment…..and we can add another one to the ever growing list……

For the second time in less than two years, Russian dissident Vladimir Kara-Murza was suddenly stricken ill and hospitalized in Moscow this morning. At this moment, he is unconscious, in intensive care, and on life support. His symptoms today are identical to those of two years ago when he was hospitalized under highly suspicious circumstances with many believing he had been poisoned. His wife and three children live in a suburb of Washington D.C.

Vladimir is perhaps the most authentic, articulate, informed, reasoned, effective, and persistent advocate for reform and decency in Russia. He has carried his message to audiences in Washington, and across Europe and his own country. He played a key role in the passage of the Magnitsky Act which restricts travel to the US and freezes the assets of designated Russians whose violations of human rights standards have been especially pronounced. Vladimir is also courageous beyond words. After his friend and colleague Boris Nemtsov was murdered outside the Kremlin almost exactly two years ago, Vladimir chose to return to Moscow to advocate for reform in Russia. He did so at considerable personal risk and sacrifice.

Source: Vladimir Kara-Murza, Opposition Leader, on Life Support in Moscow Hospital | World Affairs Journal

Seems this is a typical reaction by a Russian leader…..can you recall the purges that Stalin was famous for?  The old saying comes to mind…”slow and steady”….

Why Not Go To War?

I recently did a piece where I gave some props to McCain and his ally Graham…..they were showing their grit by standing up to the emperor on some issues…..and then when I was starting to like these guys a bit, after years if bad mouthing them, they just could not let some things go….

It appears the McCain and his crony Graham recently made a “fact finding” mission to the Ukraine and while there had to thump their chest like crazed primates….

The United States has never been particularly supportive of efforts by European nations to negotiate a ceasefire in Eastern Ukraine. Perennial hawks Sen. Lindsey Graham (R – SC) and John McCain (R – AZ) took things a step further, however, visiting Ukrainian troops on the frontlines and openly urging new military offensives against the ethnic Russian rebels.

Addressing the troops alongside Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, Graham declared 2017 to be “the year of offensive” against Russia, insisting Ukraine’s fight was America’s fight, and that he was determined to make the Russian “pay a heavier price.”

Sen. McCain concurred, insisting that the US could not allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to “succeed” in Ukraine, because if he does he’s liable to also “succeed” in other countries around the world.  (Domino Theory again?)

Graham is also said to be pushing a draft resolution aiming to impose a new round of sanctions against Russia for “trying to interfere with our election.” He insisted he would “never be satisfied” until the US punishes the Russian government.

(antiwar.com)

Appears the Pres. Trump and McCain/Graham are not on the same page when it comes to Ukraine…..

White House officials say President Trump had a “very good call” with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko over the weekend, during which hew promised to work to restore peace along Ukraine’s eastern border with Russia, an area which has faced years of civil war.

According to a read-out of the call, Trump promised to work with Ukraine, Russia, and all other parties on the issue, with an eye toward restoring peace along the border. Trump and Poroshenko also discussed the possibility of meeting in the near future.

Is that our only answer to any situation….GO TO WAR?  Or is there a possibility for some sort of diplomacy? (that would be a pipe dream)……

Can You Remember Ukraine?

My main interest is that of conflicts around the world and one of them has fallen off the front page and by doing so then no one seems to care about the situation….

There has bee a ceasefire in place for almost 2 years so the interest of the world slipped on to something else…..but like most armed conflicts there is always more happening than we know…..

A quick rundown……

The war in eastern Ukraine that simmered quietly for months has erupted in a lethal bout of fighting in recent days. The violence, which killed at least eight Ukrainian soldiers and three on the pro-Russian side, shifted the front lines by only a few hundred yards in several spots, but potentially complicates American efforts to improve relations with Russia. – New York Times

Ukraine says one of its soldiers has been killed in the country’s east, where fighting between government forces and Russia-backed separatists has flared over the past four days. – Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Russian-backed forces in eastern Ukraine have launched an offensive to recapture a city on the border of the territory currently controlled by separatist groups, according to a U.S. diplomat. – Washington Examiner

Editorial: Could it have been just a coincidence that Russian-backed forces in Ukraine launched their biggest offensive in months the day after Vladi­mir Putin spoke by phone with President Trump? Somehow, we doubt it. Rather, the volleys of Grad rockets and heavy artillery that have been raining down on Ukrainian army positions since Sunday look a lot like a test of whether the new president will yield to pressure from Moscow. – Washington Post

Yet another crisis waiting to happen and the Trump team needs to focus on prevent it from becoming an all out war.

Another region that bears the need for study is the region that perplexed Clinton in the 90’s….the Balkans

Ethnic tensions are rising in Kosovo, setting the stage for an early test of U.S.-Russian relations under President Donald Trump in a Balkan country where U.S. troops keep the peace decades after a NATO air campaign ended Serb rule over the Albanian population. – Stars and Stripes

You see there is more happening in the world than protests…..