Is There A Boogeyman In The Closet?

Sounds like it could be a song by Little Feat (think “Fat Man In The Bathtub”)

We have a wealth of speculation going on in the media after the Putin-Trump press conference……basically the MSM has lost its mind over the presser……I will say that if they want this speculation to stop then let the interpreter testify before Congress.

Russia has become the scapegoat for everything wrong in the world….there is little doubt that they meddled in the election…..and yes they invaded Crimea and shot down an airplane……and I am sure that I forgot a couple of other so-called digressions……my point is that Trump and Putin are talking which at the best of times would be a good thing but with the president I am NOT so sure how good it will be…..

But since the presser and the babbling that Trump gave as answers to direct questions the media has been losing its mind……

The reaction of the U.S. establishment media and several political leaders to President Donald Trump’s press conference after his summit meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday has been stunning.

Writing in The Atlantic, James Fallows said:

“There are exactly two possible explanations for the shameful performance the world witnessed on Monday, from a serving American president.

Either Donald Trump is flat-out an agent of Russian interests—maybe witting, maybe unwitting, from fear of blackmail, in hope of future deals, out of manly respect for Vladimir Putin, out of gratitude for Russia’s help during the election, out of pathetic inability to see beyond his 306 electoral votes. Whatever the exact mixture of motives might be, it doesn’t really matter.

https://consortiumnews.com/2018/07/16/us-media-is-losing-its-mind-over-trump-putin-press-conference/

I admit that I think that talking is a good thing….however the answers given to direct questions leaves room for so much speculation and the media is only doing what is always doing speculating.

I agree with some of the points being brought out by the media but I also think that this should not be the focus for days on end…..it was a meeting with no set solutions to problems and then the presser was a love fest that we all knew would be  the outcome (and so did the media)….Russia is still the boogeyman in the closet that it has always been.

The only thing to change is the speculation on what the “real” relationship is between Vlad and Our Dear Leader.

In closing…..In case you may have never heard of Little Feat……

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Saboteurs Of Peace?

I will admit that I have been a staunch opponent of the president and I know there are those that support him (why?)….and in the past I have stated that I did supporter some of his foreign policy claims but since his election I have been disappointed in his actions.

In that vain of thought I would like to offer a post from another writer that has a different look at the meeting between Putin and Trump……

If there was ever any doubt that the Russia-gate hoax is a scheme by the War Party to salvage their bankrupt foreign policy, and depose a democratically-elected President, then Robert Mueller’s indictment of twelve alleged GRU agents for “interfering” in the 2016 election settles the matter once and for all. Are we supposed to believe it was just a coincidence that the indictment was made public just as Trump was about to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki?

An indictment of twelve individuals who will never contest the charges, and which will not have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law – to whom is it addressed? Not to any jury, but to the court of public opinion. It is, in short, pure propaganda, meant to sabotage Trump’s Helsinki peace initiative before it has even convened.

https://original.antiwar.com/justin/2018/07/15/saboteurs-of-peace-on-the-road-to-helsinki/

I am sure that within his circle of supporters they see this (the opposition to the meeting) as propaganda……but as an old radical I also see the press as trying to sabotage any thing that could come out of this meeting……but as an old radical and antiwar supporter I see it as an attempt to keep the war party in total control of the policies.

I do not like Trump’s policies but I dislike war even more….but if he can end some of our many wars then I will give him his props when it is due.

There are some that see the recent Putin/Trump meeting as a possibility of a solution for our war in Syria….

To start with, the “grand bargain” on Syria analysts believe is possible will be neither “grand,” as Syria today is not the focal point for Russia or, more importantly, the United States, nor can it be referred to as a “bargain” per se, since the situation has already taken shape and the presidents will just need to formalize it.

We will have to wait and see if there is any progress on the Syrian front….
There were a couple of statements made by pundits……
1–US does not approve of Russia in Syria…..
2–Does not like it when Russia sells military hardware around the world…..
3–Russia has invaded sovereign nations…..
Does anyone else see the hypocrisy?

The Big Meeting Or The Spirit Of Helsinki

Today I have dedicated my posts to the “Big Meeting” that the whole world is talking about and some of it is also just as worried.

Ukraine and Syria are the two most urgent problem sets. On the former, diplomacy has stalled. France, the United Kingdom, and the United States appear to be consumed with other problems. Talks with Russia on the core issues behind the Minsk agreements—a cease-fire, a restoration of Ukrainian sovereignty, a workable political order in the Donbas region of Eastern Ukraine—might stimulate the Western appetite for leadership. With the rebels surrendering, President Bashar al-Assad’s Syria will be taking on a new form, the volatility of which could provoke a war between Iran and Israel. This is an outcome Russia and the United States would both want to avoid. They should be looking ahead in consultation with each other. U.S. leverage over Israel and Russian leverage over Iran is incomplete, but a basic degree of coordination would certainly help prevent conflict. Addressing these dilemmas should not be deferred to 2020 or 2024. Arms control, counterterrorism, the Arctic, and space are other issues that deserve real bilateral attention. Low-key discussions out of the public eye have modest potential, and the Russian and U.S. presidents could give these discussions a preliminary blessing in Helsinki.

In an ideal world, Trump would raise the issue of election interference one-on-one with Putin. Those U.S. officials who join Trump at other meetings would do the same. No less important, Trump would make an emphatic public statement about Russian meddling while together with Putin, as French President Emmanuel Macron has done at comparable moments. Putin will deny the meddling, and Trump should neither accept this denial, as he has in the past, nor make an official acknowledgment from Putin a precondition for moving forward. The confession will never come, but raising the issue with clarity and without embarrassment would convey American resolve and a willingness to respond. If Trump waffles on the issue in Helsinki, however, Russia will score a propaganda victory and will likely be emboldened to test further what redline, if any, the administration has on meddling.

(Foreign Affairs)

Will Dear Leader take troops out of Syria?  (I would not argue with that move)  Or will he end “war games” in Eastern Europe?

A big meeting with low expectations from our dear leader……

With heavy expectations for the first summit between President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, administration officials are desperately trying to downplay Monday’s talks, with Trump saying he’s come into the talks with very low expectations.

“Nothing bad’s gonna come out of it, and maybe some good will come out,” Trump said. He followed this up with a series of Tweets complaining that it would never be good enough for his critics.

(antiwar.com)

Ambassador Jon Huntsman sought to lower the bar even more on the summit by insisting the media is making a mistake in calling it a summit at all, saying it’s only a “meeting.” He emphasized the need to hold Russia accountable.

This is where some offer a small bit of advice to Our Dear leader…….

The meeting between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin in Helsinki this week comes on the heels of a turbulent NATO summit that saw the American president butting heads with the other European leaders. In an era where Trump seems to be combative with allies and collegial with adversaries, the world will be watching attentively.

Simply, the agenda of the summit is to discuss relations between the two countries. One of the most important topics will be Russian involvement in the 2016 American election. This comes as the two leaders will meet just days after special counsel Robert Mueller handed down 12 new indictments of Russian nationals in relation to election hacking.

http://thehill.com/opinion/international/397026-for-successful-summit-in-Helskini-trump-must-choose-words-wisely

Oh but wait….there are others that think that this meeting should be nothing more than a handshake and a photo op…….

President Trump should not seek a grand bargain in Helsinki. There is no grand bargain to be had with President Putin, a world-class deceiver. Likewise, Trump should not try to charm, flatter, or appease Putin. Previous presidents have tried that approach, and rather than resetting the relationship, it only made matters worse.

Regardless of how much American presidents wish it were not so, Russia is a prideful country with a long history that views the United States as an opponent.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/16/no_grand_bargain_in_helsinki_113608.html

Our Dear Leader has been wetting his pants for decades on the chance of getting a face to face with Putin and now he has what he has dreamed of for so long.

All in all if there is no advisers in this meeting then we will not know what the two talked about and I will bet that it has little to do with our national security and everything to do with the Trump name.

A little musical interlude in honor of the meeting held today…..

Let me remind my readers of the prediction made by Soviet Premier. Nikita Krushchev…….

What team is Our Dear Leader Playing on?(To use a football metaphor)

Need more be said?

“I really think the world wants to see us get along,” Trump told reporters

Please……What world would that be?

When Did They (Russia) Become A Friend?

Russia/US Summit/Meeting (depends on which version you want to believe) happening today…..

As far back as I can remember Russia has been in the cross hairs of the GOP….there was NOTHING about Russia that would be considered admirable……yes I know that most of those days were when Russia was called the USSR…a damnable communist state….and then the state collapsed and we saw a drive for democracy something they did not have under the communist leaders…..then we entered into the era of Putin and now Russia is our best friend….or so it seems if you listen to the dumbasses on the Right and even the GOP is graveling to Russia.

I remember 40 years ago I wrote something nice about Russia and I was beaten over the head by many with chants of “America…Love It Or Leave It”……my how times change……for those are the very same mental midgets that see no problem with Russia today.

I was asking this question and a friend turned me onto a leading paper in Philly that was asking the same question….

I am a member of the last generation that grew up thinking the Soviet Union was a godless, murderous regime that cast its enslaved inhabitants into perpetual darkness. I remember sitting at my desk at St. Mary’s Academy in 1967, praying for the souls of the boys and girls, the future swimmers, gymnasts, ballerinas, pole vaulters, weightlifters and cosmonauts who would battle us for world domination. I didn’t put a lot of effort into those prayers, because even at that young age I knew that those kids hated us as much as we hated Ovaltine (if you know what it is, you understand, and if you don’t know what it is, I can’t even begin to explain).

As I grew older, I became fascinated with what I called “Russia,” because even though I knew there were a lot of countries with distinct and separate cultures that had been swallowed up by this monstrous geographical hydra, I couldn’t pronounce 99 percent of the places with names that ended in “azakstan,” “bekistan,” “ikistan” and other things that sounded like seasonal allergies.

http://www.philly.com/philly/columnists/christine_flowers/when-did-russia-become-a-friend-of-america-20170713.html

He rid himself (Trump) of a hawk that was always pointing out the flaws in Russia and wanted the US to disengage from them…..after years of a “nation non grata” Russia has now found a “friend” in the White House.  My next question is what happened to that hawk Bolton?  Did he have an epiphany once he came to the White House?  He is a Russia fan now that he is supping with our dear leader?

Russia and US have always been butting heads over the division of the world…..but since January of 2017 everything points to Russia as an ally in some way…..Trump has even decided to rid himself of Russian hawks within his administration……

Shortly before Donald Trump detonated a NATO summit, shanked the beleaguered British prime minister and prepped for a face-to-face love session with Vladimir Putin, his White House quietly divested itself of a senior official hawkish on Russia and bullish on the transatlantic military alliance.

The circumstances of retired Army Colonel Richard Hooker’s departure from the National Security Council on June 29 are in dispute. It’s not clear whether Hooker was forced out or if his detail on the NSC came to its natural end. But what’s not in doubt is that for the past 15 months, Hooker was senior director for Russia, Europe and NATO.

https://www.justsecurity.org/59452/russia-hawk-axed-national-security-council/

Let me ask…..Our dear leader said in an interview with some tool named Morgan when asked about Russia said…..” Putin was “probably” ruthless, “but I could name others also.”  What does that have to do with the question….he tries to deflect all questions about Putin…leads me to think that something nefarious may be going on….think about it….if your wife was this evasion what would you think?

I guess these days it is whose line you want to believe….but regardless….Russia interfered in some way with the last election…they may or may not have had any influence….but the fact that they tried should be condemning….but for the GOP it is not.

Why?

Say “Adios” To NATO?

It is no secret that Trump does not like NATO in the least…..he is due in Europe to meet with NATO countries and he has sent a letter to a few of them asking for cash……

President Trump heads to Belgium next week for a NATO summit, and he has set the tone in advance with what the New York Times calls “sharply worded” letters to leaders of other member nations. The gist: Trump asserts that they’re not paying their fair share for defense, adding that the US is tired of picking up the slack and might rethink its role in alliance. Deutsche Welle reports that Trump sent letters to at least eight leaders, but the Times says it could be a dozen. It quotes from a particularly pointed one to Germany’s Angela Merkel. “The United States continues to devote more resources to the defense of Europe when the Continent’s economy, including Germany’s, are doing well and security challenges abound,” he writes. “This is no longer sustainable for us.”

Trump adds that it will “become increasingly difficult to justify to American citizens why some countries do not share NATO’s collective security burden while American soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives overseas or come home gravely wounded.” Trump has long made clear he dislikes NATO, though he previously reversed his position that it was “obsolete.” Specifically, the US asserts that other nations are not meeting a commitment to devote 2% of their GDP to national defense, reports CNN. Belgian leader Charles Michel says he is “not very impressed” with Trump’s letter, and the Times collects a quote from a former Pentagon official: “Trump still seems to think that NATO is like a club that you owe dues to, or some sort of protection racket where the US is doing all the work protecting all these deadbeat Europeans.”

Speaking of letters an ambassador has sent a letter of resignation….

The United States embassy in Estonia has a brand new opening at the top, and the now-former ambassador, James Melville, went out swinging at President Trump, reports the Washington Post. “The honorable course is to resign,” Melville wrote Friday on Facebook. “For the President to say the [European Union] was ‘set up to take advantage of the United States, to attack our piggy bank,’ or that ‘NATO is as bad as NAFTA’ is not only factually wrong, but proves to me that it’s time to go.” Estonia, the Post notes, sits on the Russian border, and Melville’s resignation comes as Trump indicates he’s rethinking NATO protections for such countries and ahead of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. “Having served under six presidents and 11 secretaries of state, I never really thought it would reach that point for me,” Melville wrote.

Trump seems to forget that many of the NATO nations when asked came to the assistance of the US in a wide array of scenarios…..from Afghanistan to Iraq to African problems……..where will these allies be when asked in a time of need?

Further Reading:

True, the Trump administration continues to emit a range of conflicting signals about alliances. Within the pages of the National Security Strategy (PDF) and the unclassified summary of the National Defense Strategy (PDF)—the formal documents underpinning declaratory strategy—allies are seen as positive contributors to U.S. security. Yes, the documents continue to expound Trump’s point about the need for allies to carry more of the weight. See, for example, page 28 of the NSS: ‘We need our allies … to modernize, acquire necessary capabilities, improve readiness, expand the size of their forces, and affirm the political will to win.’

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/07/03/a_post-alliance_us_113577.html

Putin will play a game and will offer to give some concessions…..

 A senior Kremlin official tells Bloomberg that Vladimir Putin is preparing to offer significant concessions to President Trump at their July 16 summit in Helsinki, Finland in the hopes of beginning to repair strained relations between Russia and the United States. Chief among them, according to the official, is a discussion on Iran’s role in Syria – an issue that Moscow is simultaneously coordinating with Tehran.

http://theantimedia.com/putin-prepares-major-concessions-trump-summit/

If Trump weakens NATO how would Russia test its strength?

At Poland’s northeast border there’s only a narrow strip of inland border connecting it to NATO members Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. It’s called the Suwalki Corridor and it has long been an object of concern for Western military leaders.

To the west sits a unique spot Russian territory, the exclave of Kaliningrad, a key military port on the Baltic Sea. To the east is Belarus, a key Russian military ally. On the eve of this week’s NATO Summit, the former commanding general of U.S. Army Europe is issuing a new warning: cutting off that corridor could be how Russian President Vladimir Putin cuts off the Baltic states from the rest of NATO, possibly without firing a shot.

https://www.defenseone.com/threats/20/18/07/how-russia-could-test-nato-warns-former-us-army-europe-commander/149530/

The meetings to come will test the alliances that the US has depended on for decades….will they be there when needed again?

There is so much more and I will revisit this subject soon…..and report on “what is what” (love that saying)……

Then There Is Syria

No Irene the war in Syria has not ended…..BTW, how did ISIS get all that American weaponry that they have been using in the past?  Just wondering….

The US has NO plan in Syria other than fighting bad guys even Congress has asked for some sort of idea of what the plan is in Syria….

In a report accompanying the Senate’s must-pass annual defense authorization bill, lawmakers this week called out the Pentagon for “inconsistency” in its plan for Syria. US defense officials say that 2,000 US troops will stay there indefinitely, until the Islamic State (IS) is rooted out, despite President Donald Trump’s insistence that American forces leave the country “very soon.”

The Senate bill freezes $300 million requested for Syrian opposition fighters until the administration gives Congress an overdue and legally mandated outline of its plan for destroying the remnants of IS and stabilizing Syria. The bill also pegs $400 million for the anti-IS fight in next-door Iraq to a report on the “roles, missions and responsibilities of any future US military presence” in that country.

“The committee is deeply concerned by the lack of clarity and conflicting messages from administration officials related to the Middle East and, specifically, Syria,” according to the Senate Armed Services report. The report adds that the committee “believes that the activities of the US military in Syria are not adequately integrated into a broader strategy designed to stabilize Syria and address the factors that gave rise” to IS.

The problem is also that Russia has designs on Syria and that is where we should be most concerned…..

Partners in the Syrian war and arch sceptics of Washington, Russia and Iran have come together in recent years as both countries pursue a more hands-on role in the Middle East.

Yet doubts about Russia’s reliability are surfacing in Tehran, as a host of regional players begin to pick their way through tensions in southern Syria.

For weeks, there have been signs that Russia is trying limit Iran’s military activity in Syria.

On 17 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that with the Syrian army’s recent victories, foreign forces should withdraw from Syria. When asked for clarification, Putin’s envoy said that the president was referring to Turkish, American, Iranian and Hezbollah soldiers.

http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/russia-wants-iran-out-syria-iranians-arent-so-happy-about-1850822925

Russia is replacing the US as the indispensable player in the region….

The U.S. is no longer the indispensable nation in the Middle East — it’s Russia. Putin has more control in this powder keg than American experts like to admit.

Who told Israel to “cool it” after their F-16 jet was shot down by Syrian forces? Russia. Who told Iran to knock off its toxic anti-Israel rhetoric? Russia. Who told Israel to stop airstrikes in Syria? Russia. Who told Iran to “calm down” after they lost seven soldiers in the attack? Russia. Who did Netanyahu meet last week to get Iran in line? Russia. Russia has even vowed to protect Israel from an Iranian attack.

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/05/22/forget-iran-russia-is-the-real-threat-to-the-us-in-the-middle-east.html

Russia is replacing the US in all areas and the US seems to be oblivious to the fact that we are losing our control of foreign policy….

Since the 1980’s the US has been trying to destroy Assad’s hold on Syria…..I found a CIA document that outlines what the US needs to do….

Yet, despite the fact that the Trump administration is apparently poised to continue the Obama regime’s proxy war of aggression against the people of Syria, an example of seamless transition, it should also be remembered that the plan to destroy Syria did not begin with Obama but with the Bush administration.

Even now, as the world awaits the continuation of the Syrian war through a Democratic and Republican administration, the genesis of that war goes back to the Republican Bush administration, demonstrating that there is indeed an overarching agenda and an overarching infrastructure of an oligarchical deep state intent on moving forward regardless of which party is seemingly in power.

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-10/1983-cia-document-reveals-plan-destroy-syria-foreshadows-current-crisis

This is the document for those that care about the war and the policies behind the war…..

https://www.scribd.com/document/344768700/CIA-Syria-Pipelines

Closing Thought–21May18

Well we had another mass school shooting this time in Texas….but I will not cover that for that is an effort in futility trying to change a culture of violence, guns and killing…..something we Americans excel at……

A Rifle To Kill Americans

There is a new Russian sniper rifle that is designed to kill NATO troops and that includes Americans….the odd part of this story is that this deadly rifle was promoted by the NRA…..

In late 2016, the US Army released a report noting that the Russian military, through experience gained during fighting in Ukraine, was undergoing a transformation and becoming a more potent battlefield threat to American forces. One troublesome development identified by the report’s authors was the increased proficiency of Russian snipers. “The capabilities of a sniper in a Russian contingent is far more advanced than the precision shooters U.S. formations have encountered over the last 15 years,” the study noted. One reason for this was the Russian military’s recent adoption of the ORSIS T-5000, a relatively new Russian-made firearm that the report called “one of the most capable bolt action sniper rifles in the world.” As one military technology expert noted, after reviewing this report, the US Army faced “being outgunned” by foes armed with the T-5000—which can be accurate at a distance of 2,000 yards—and these Russian rifles were showing up in Iraq and Ukraine. That is, this weapon posed a threat to US troops and those of its allies. Yet the National Rifle Association—which boasts it is identified with American patriotism—has helped promote Moscow-based ORSIS and its sniper rifle.

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/05/the-pentagon-considers-this-russian-sniper-rifle-a-big-threat-to-us-soldiers-the-nra-helped-promote-it/

A fascinating story……but it probably matters not…..