A Russian Defense

AS a child of the Cold War I NEVER thought I would see the day when Americans, ordinary Americans, would come to the defense of Russia or anything Russian…..would this fall under the category of “seen it all now”?

Since so many Americans have found this new love for Russia I thought I would post a couple of articles from one of the Russian leaning journals….”Neo Eastern Outlook”…….

The first one is what this group sees is happening around the world….the US many interventions…..is it pressing its will or is it searching for stability?

US foreign policy has for decades been predicated on achieving and maintaining global peace, security and stability. In reality, it has for over a century constituted an overreaching desire to achieve and maintain global hegemony.

And where US efforts focus on achieving hegemony, division and destruction follow. From the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, US intervention politically or militarily all but guarantee escalating tensions, uncertain futures, socioeconomic instability and even armed conflict.

Source: US Foreign Policy: Hegemony or Stability, Not Both | New Eastern Outlook

The US is fighting so many wars around the world…..this group questions whether the US has a strategy or not……

It’s getting pretty crazy, the warring around of Washington since the Trump Project took office January 20. The question is whether there is a true strategy behind the dramatic escalation of Trump Administration military aggression around the world. There definitely is in my view, and it’s not good for world peace, not good for the United States and the rest of the world.

First, just a week into office, the new President authorized a Navy Seal illegal attack in Yemen’s civil war in which one Seal was killed and four wounded, allegedly intervening to hit the Al Qaeda in Yemen terrorist organization, yet another spin-off of the CIA’s Afghan Mujahideen. Then on April 7, a Syrian false flag sarin bomb allegation, with no independent international verification, was used by Washington as excuse for the US Navy to launch 59 US Tomahawk missiles to try to destroy a key airbase of the legitimate government of Syria. Videos, most faked, showing dead or suffering children was the offered pretext as well as the alleged disgust of Ivanka Trump, the President’s alarmingly influential daughter.

Source: The Not-So-Grand Strategy Behind America’s Warring Around | New Eastern Outlook

There this for all those in support of Russia…..you have a good look at what they are thinking about our interventions and our wars…..

Any comments from the “Peanut Gallery”?

Closing Thought–28Apr17

Speaking Of Russia!

Did You Say Comintern?

No!  I said “Crimintern”….and it has nothing to do with the Communist International (COMINTERN)….

  • Over the past 20 years, the role of Russian organised crime in Europe has shifted considerably. Today, Russian criminals operate less on the street and more in the shadows: as allies, facilitators and suppliers for local European gangs and continent-wide criminal networks.
  • The Russian state is highly criminalised, and the interpenetration of the criminal ‘underworld’ and the political ‘upperworld’ has led the regime to use criminals from time to time as instruments of its rule.
  • Russian-based organised crime groups in Europe have been used for a variety of purposes, including as sources of ‘black cash’, to launch cyber attacks, to wield political influence, to traffic people and goods, and even to carry out targeted assassinations on behalf of the Kremlin.
  • European states and institutions need to consider RBOC a security as much as a criminal problem, and adopt measures to combat it, including concentrating on targeting their assets, sharing information between security and law-enforcement agencies, and accepting the need to devote political and economic capital to the challenge.

Source: Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe | European Council on Foreign Relations

Keep in mind that this group, the ECFR, will be a anti-Russian think tank….it will echo anything the Western powers want to use to influence others…..

Thanx for your time today on IST….I must shut down the keyboard until the morrow…..peace out, my friends……chuq

Afghanistan: Land Of The Proxy

My old farts that visit IST will remember the days of yore, 1979, when the USSR entered Afghanistan…..I use “old farts” because few seem to want to remember that we have been doing “business” in Afghanistan for over 25 years.

The USSR entered neighboring Afghanistan in 1979, attempting to shore up the newly-established pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. In short order, nearly 100,000 Soviet soldiers took control of major cities and highways. Rebellion was swift and broad, and the Soviets dealt harshly with the Mujahideen rebels and those who supported them, leveling entire villages to deny safe havens to their enemy. Foreign support propped up the diverse group of rebels, pouring in from Iran, Pakistan, China, and the United States.

It was a proxy war between the USSR and the US and the people of Afghanistan were caught in the middle of the 9 years of death and destruction……The US armed the opposition to the Russian occupation and today it appears that Russia is arming the opposition to the American occupation…..

The Afghan War is going extremely poorly, 16 years in, and the US military needs someone to blame for its failures. The first choice among a lot of top military figures seems to be Russia, and while they offer no evidence to back up their claims, several have alleged that Russia might conceivably be arming the Taliban.

US commandeer Gen. John Nicholson appeared to be joining that camp today during comments in Kabul, complaining about the “malign influence” of Russia in the country, and insisting that he was “not refuting” allegations of Russia shipping weapons to the Taliban.

(antiwar.com)

I bring all this up because there seems to be another proxy war between Russia and the US brewing…..and yes Afghanistan will be caught in the middle once again.

If recent developments are any indication, Russia is becoming increasingly focused on and active in Afghanistan. The Russian government has held several consultations with Tajikistan on expanding security cooperation on the Tajikistan-Afghanistan border and has explored increasing the scope of its Central Asian military bloc, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). It has also increased its diplomatic engagement with the Taliban and, according to Afghan and U.S. officials, may even be providing security assistance to the group. Long a consideration for Russia, Afghanistan is growing in importance to Moscow at both the tactical and strategic levels. And as it does, it is becoming an increasingly important theater for the U.S.-Russia competition.

Source: Afghanistan: The Next Big U.S.-Russia Proxy Battle | RealClearDefense

This is what the US and Russia are very good at doing……using proxies so they do not have to get their hands dirty….as it were……

Russia is a great power that retains muscle memory (and a strategic arsenal) from its past superpowerdom. In the Ukraine and Syria, Russia has challenged the United States—its former peer and a hesitant hegemon in decline—through direct military interventions. Additionally, Moscow has impressively deployed hybrid warfare tactics to create the perception that it has influenced the U.S. presidential election and forged a rift between the incoming commander-in-chief and elements of the U.S. intelligence community.

Surprisingly, Afghanistan is emerging as another arena in which Moscow is pointedly working at odds with Washington’s interests. Indeed, recent moves by Russia now represent a pivot toward Afghanistan, posing a set of challenges that have been unanticipated by U.S. observers of the region. The incoming Trump Administration ought to be aware of Russia’s newfound assertiveness vis-à-vis Afghanistan, both in the threats it poses as well as the potential opportunities it may present.

Source: Russia Returns to Afghanistan | The National Interest

What is left to say….some tactics never change….and that could very well be the problem.

There is one more thing to say…..

Mattis did meet with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and offered the same assessment that US officials have been offering on the Afghan War for the past 16 years, that it’s “going to be a tough year” in Afghanistan, and that the US appreciates the major problems facing the country.

There you have same song, different year.

After I wrote this draft another Afghan story came to my attention……

The use of a large conventional bomb against an Afghan tunnel complex occupied by Islamic State militants recently captured the media’s imagination. Talking heads rushed to discern the meaning of the decision. Was it President Donald Trump sending a message to North Korea? Was the president even involved in the decision? It turns out that he wasn’t.

The U.S. Commander in Afghanistan, Gen. John Nicholson, says he ordered the use of the MOAB (Massive Ordnance Air Burst Bomb, known colloquially as the “mother of all bombs”) for purely tactical reasons: “This is the right munition to reduce these obstacles.” The jubilation expressed by U.S. media in purely tactical destruction, however, sent a strategic message to some Afghans: that the United States considers their country a collection of targets to destroy rather than a country with a history and, hopefully, a future. A senior pro-government political analyst in Kabul whom I have known for decades points out that even if the Islamic State flees the area, the government’s weakness means the Taliban, who pose a greater threat to the government, will fill the vacuum.

Source: It’s Much Bigger Than Afghanistan: U.S. Strategy for a Transformed Region

The song is FAR from over!

3 Russian Theories About Syria

Everyone that is watching this play out is wondering just what was the real reason for the US strike at the Syrian airfield…..

I do a lot of research and I found a site that Russia has and there 3 theories on why the US hit the Syrian airfield…..(keep in mind I SAID Russian theories…not mine)….

1. “There’s a new sheriff in town.” The attacks reflect the promise US President Donald Trump campaigned on: the return of a “strong leader.” The impetus for the attack may have been domestic, international or both. If it was the former, then it’s mostly about impressing the domestic constituency, fixing failing ratings, winning points with Congress and distancing himself from the image of the “Kremlin candidate.” If the impetus was about his international posturing, he had to send a clear message to America’s foes and allies: Please the Israelis, satisfy the Gulf, alert Iranians, warn North Koreans and strip Russians of the perception that they run the show.

2. “The tail wags the dog.” In this hypothetical, the Syria strikes weren’t Trump’s decision. He might have been simply cornered by public pressure, as well as by Democrats and Republicans, to take action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He might have been tricked into believing that Assad alone was to blame for the gas attack, just after Trump had said he wasn’t opposed to the Syrian president remaining in power. In this narrative, the forced departure of Steven Bannon from the National Security Council signals a shift in the administration’s policy, and the Syria strikes were one result.

Another approach to this second narrative says the gas attacks were perpetrated by a “losing party” in Syria — whether this party is the United States or regional players. The behavior of Israel and Turkey in this respect is remarkable. Israel has long sought the destruction of the Syrian chemical arsenal. Turkey’s influence in Syria is fading, so it has quickly shifted from supporting the peace process with Russia and Iran to supporting the US military operation.

3. “The art of the deal.” The military strikes might not have been coordinated with Moscow, but there was some kind of an agreement via military or intelligence channels that the action would be taken for political reasons that would sit well with the White House and the Kremlin. Those supporting this third narrative point to the rather courteous nature of the bilateral communication before the attack. The Department of Defense says the United States warned Russia ahead of the strike “to minimize risk to Russian or Syrian personnel.” Syria’s armed forces were also warned and “took precautions in more than one military point, including in the Shayrat air base.”

Only 23 of the 59 cruise missiles launched actually hit their targets, which Moscow says indicates that the United States never really intended to inflict serious damage. As a result, the strikes destroyed only one equipment depot, a training building, six MiG-23 aircraft in repair hangars and a radar station, while the runway, taxiways and Syrian air force aircraft in parking areas remained intact.

Does anyone see the validity to these theories?
My question is……23 out of 59?  Where the Hell did those other missile wind up?  A smart bomb my ass!

Trump-Russia Connention….

There is lots of news these days about Pres. Trump and Russia….some times it is a bit overwhelming…..so I sat down and tried to give an overview for those readers that would like to learn more……why?  Because after this I will avoid this subject until there is some real news to report.

Former national security adviser Michael Flynn has offered to cooperate with congressional investigators in exchange for immunity from prosecution, a suggestion that has been met with initial skepticism, according to people familiar with the matter. – Washington Post

At least three senior White House officials, including the top lawyer for the National Security Council, were involved in the handling of intelligence files that were shared with the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and showed that Trump campaign officials were swept up in U.S. surveillance of foreign nationals, according to U.S. officials. – Washington Post

The House intelligence committee will soon receive top-secret documents that investigators expect to reveal whether private communications of the president-elect and his transition team were improperly gathered. – Washington Free Beacon

The top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee said Thursday that he will not jump to conclusions in the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling, but said “so far there is a great, great deal of smoke.” – Roll Call

Interview: Author and journalist Masha Gessen has emerged as a perceptive, prolific—and not at all predictable—analyst of the two presidents as American politics has been consumed by the investigations surrounding the Russian hacking of the U.S. election and whether Trump and his team might have colluded with it. – Politico

Mikheil Saakashvili writes: Of course, legitimate questions need to be answered about whether anyone in his camp colluded with Moscow, but based on my personal experience, I believe the conspiracy theories that are swirling around Trump are just that: theories. What is unquestionable fact is that his predecessor’s weakness and misreading of Putin has led to dire consequences in this part of the world. When will you Americans investigate that? – Politico

David Ignatius writes: President Trump has been trying since early March to deflect the FBI and congressional investigations of Russian covert action by arguing that he had been a victim of improper U.S. surveillance. His argument got little traction until last week, when Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) made the case for him. – Washington Post

Suzanne Spaulding writes: The committee already had a full-time job on its hands with regular intelligence oversight, which must continue. The Senate should provide more resources to appropriately staff this investigation — because it is the best hope for a prompt, impartial examination of a controversy hanging over the country. – Washington Post

Enough is enough!

Could Bitterness Be The Answer?

Another Sunday has arrived and there is absolutely nothing of interest in the news……that is of interest to me….I really do not care about celebs or some whack-a-doodle with a match…..so what could be the topic for today’s post?

How about something about Russia?  I mean we have not had enough Russian stories these many weeks, right?

We all are aware of the supposed influence of the Russians in our society….but has anyone really asked why would they give a crap?  Really?  Has anyone asked that one simple question?

We have heard it all with the Trump connection or the Albanians are coming….all the sensationalism around the topic.

But I believe I may have hit on the “real” reason for their anger……Alaska.

It seems some Russians are still pissed that the US bought Alaska…nay some say stole Alaska…..

Thursday marked the 150th anniversary of Russia’s sale of Alaska to the US—and in honor of the occasion, the New York Times takes a look at Russian attitudes toward the sale. Turns out some Russians are pretty bitter about it, claiming that Russia would be even stronger today if the country had kept hold of Alaska and its vast natural riches; the Times notes that the issue is an especially sensitive one given the current battle for influence over the Arctic. Even Vladimir Putin recently weighed in on the matter, saying Thursday that “what the US does in Alaska, it does on the global level.” He said he’s especially concerned about the US developing a missile system there.

The Russians, who started to settle Alaska in 1784, sold it less than a century later amid fears that Britain might seize it or Americans might overrun it if gold were discovered there. For the US, the deal meant a closer trade position with China and increased protection of the West Coast from the British, although of course there were some who called the $7.2 million purchase ($125 million in today’s dollars) “Seward’s folly.” (William H. Seward, then-US secretary of state, signed the deal with Russia.) For the indigenous people of Alaska, the anniversary brings mixed emotions; Alaska’s Native peoples were mistreated by both the Russians and the Americans. Professor William L. Iggiagruk Hensley, a descendant of Inupiaq Eskimos, takes an extensive look at the deal and its impact on Alaska’s Native peoples at The Conversation.

There you have it….the REAL reason Russia is pissed.

Now we can leave the rest of the crap to the speculative dicks with the networks……you now know the truth and the truth shall set you free.

Now go enjoy your Sunday and have a good day…be well, be safe…..chuq

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?