Modernizing ‘The Manchurian Candidate’

Has anyone here seen the Manchurian Candidate….the original not the cheesy re-make…?  You should watch it then this post would make more sense than just a rant…..

We all have heard the back and forth by all sides about the “hacking” in the last election…..Trump is saying not so fast more info is needed but one of his advisers, James Woolsey, does not totally agree…..

Senior Donald Trump adviser James Woolsey says that despite the president-elect’s skepticism, he believes Russian hackers really were involved in election-related skulduggery. “I think the Russians were in there, but it doesn’t mean other people weren’t, too,” Woolsey tells CNN. “It’s often not foolproof to say who it is because it is possible and sometimes easy to hide your tracks. There’s lots of tricks.” Woolsey, who served in both Democratic and Republican administrations and was CIA director under Bill Clinton, admitted that Trump is an ” expert in weaving around” issues like this, and there is a chance that he could just be playing the media with claims to “know things that other people don’t know” about the hacking allegations.

The original movie is about a “sleeper” agent planted in the country that will effect the election…..

There are some similarities in life as in the movie….the closeness of some to Russia and the possibility of some sort of “coup” to put Russia in charge…..

An interesting article….(please I do not agree but it is a interesting point….that is if one takes the time to read it)…..

Donald Trump’s transition from U.S. President-elect to taking power recalls nothing so much as a forgotten Hollywood genre: the paranoid melodrama. Perhaps the greatest film of this type, “The Manchurian Candidate,” concerns a communist plot to use the brainwashed son of a leading right-wing family to upend the American political system. Given the fondness that Trump and so many of his appointees seem to have for Russian President Vladimir Putin, life may be about to imitate – if not exceed – art.

To be sure, the attraction for Putin that Trump and his picks for secretary of state and national security adviser ― Rex Tillerson and Michael Flynn ― share is not the result of brainwashing, unless you consider the love of money (and of the people who can funnel it to you) a form of brainwashing. Nonetheless, such Kremlinophilia is ― to resurrect a word redolent of Cold War paranoia ― decidedly un-American.

Source: Trump and ‘The Manchurian Candidate’ Are Too Similar for Comfort | The Huffington Post

There are just so many thoughts about what to expect and the possibilities after 20Jan17…..a day that will live in…… (you insert the term )…….

Is It Just Paranoia?

I apologize it seems that I am beating you about the brain with historical perspectives today….but it is a new year so why not learn something, right?

With all the stuff about Russia coming to the forefront…the hacking…the military build-up….the political rhetoric…..is there reason for them to be paranoid?

Keep in mind this is a historic perspective and not some endorsement of anything….just a short history lesson is all.

Russia has had two major invasion in history…..the first was Napoleon in 1812 and then in 1941 by Germany and each time the invaders came in through Poland and Central Europe….so at the end of WW2 Russia kept the invasion route under their control so it could not ever happen again.

Then the US…..Russia worried about the US and its new weapon, the A-bomb…..they, the US, had used it twice and would they use it again?  Yes they were worried about a possible invasion by the US.  Now you ask why would the US consider such a thing?

But first a little background…..I recently watched a History Channel program that was entitled “America’s First War on Communism”….it was a look at the Korean War.

Being a history nut I quickly sent an email to the Channel and then wrote a piece here on IST….I worked to dispel a misconception…that was not the first War on Communism…..

Source: America’s First War On Communism – In Saner Thought

That is correct the US sent troops into Russia in 1919 in support of the Whites, the loyalist that were fighting the Communists in the Civil War that ensued after the revolution…..but for more info read on……

It was a war few Americans knew about then or now. Orchestrated behind closed doors, inspired by panic, and plagued by futility, America’s military intervention in Siberia during the First World War continued long after the Armistice sent the doughboys in France home.President Woodrow Wilson considered the order to send American troops to Siberia, a region besieged by civil war, lawlessness, and murder, one of the most difficult decisions of his presidency. Despite Russia’s separate peace treaty with Germany ending the war on the Eastern Front early in 1918, Wilson hesitated to get involved in Russia’s civil war even at the Allies insistence. By Summer 1918 things changed. The mounting Japanese occupation of Siberia threatened American business interests in the East. Piles of Allied military goods amassing to over 600,000 tons of war materials laid vulnerable around the crowded city.[1] The plight of the stranded Czech Legion vulnerable to the merciless Red Army gave Wilson a much needed moral foundation for intervention. Intervention, Wilson realized, could be used later to pressure the Allies into adopting his ideas for a League of Nations.

Source: AEF Siberia

NATO is building up on Russia’s western border…I would say ….There is good reason for Russia to have these feelings of paranoia….as they say….old habits die hard..

From Dead Drops To Hacking

Everyone that visits IST regularly knows that do enjoy my history and dropping a bit of historical perspective from time to time.

So how can I change that in this New Year.

Since the “hacking” by the Russians there seems to be a bit of interests in the spy game as they say…..so let me drop some more history on you guys about the spying by the Russians over the decades…..

From sleeper agents in suburban America to an assassination in London and hacking of the US presidential election, the list of alleged activities by Soviet and Russian spies abroad is long.

Following US accusations that Russian spies tipped the vote in President-elect Donald Trump’s favour — by stealing Democratic Party information — here are some of the most brazen operations in the West.

Source: Flash – From dead drops to hacking: Moscow spies on world stage – France 24

Come on…..a beautiful redhead…..make me write bad checks….

The Russian “Hack” Report

Okay we have a report issued by the Intel people and the FBI on the hacking of the DNC and Podesta’s email account…..

Do you believe or do you join with your new “messiah” in the story of the hack?

In case you have an open mind (this is for people other than a GOPer)……

The 13-page report provides technical details regarding tools and infrastructure used by Russian civilian and military intelligence services to “compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the U.S. election, as well as a range of U.S. Government, political, and private sector entities.” (See the entire report below.)

Source: FBI, DHS release report on Russia hacking | TheHill

There is not much more in this released report that one could not have found on-line…..but in case you would like to read the report for yourself…..

Source: JAR-16-20296: GRIZZLY STEPPE – Russian Malicious Cyber Activity – JAR_16-20296A_GRIZZLY STEPPE-2016-1229.pdf

Personally, I would like to see the finished report when it comes out, probably next year….that is if it is not squashed by the new guy.

I cannot leave you guys without a little history……94 years ago, 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialists Republics, the USSR, was established…..

Russia, To Boldly Go…….

Looks like this situation is the one that will dominate the last days of a helluva year, 2016…..Did or did not Russia do some unauthorized hacking?

As usual there are two sides to every story…..those that are outraged and those that are trying desperately to ignore the reports with the hopes something else will materialize to capture the attention of the public…..

This whole Russia hacking thing is unusual and I just had to offer my historical perspective on the situation…..

Source: Ain’t Karma A Bitch? – In Saner Thought

It fascinates me to see how many Americans are lining up on the side of the defense of Russia….a decade ago I would have called these people idiots and morons…..

I think many Americans are too distracted with the election to care or read about something other than the “great” job Trump will do for this country (another bit of fantasy….IMO)…..

I read a piece in VOX that actually tries to explain the situation with the Russia hack…

National security has been the focus of virtually all of my professional life. I was in Washington on 9/11 and saw the smoke rising from the Pentagon. I arrived in Iraq shortly after the 2003 US invasion and spent several years living in Baghdad and writing about what had quickly become a bloody civil war. I covered the Bush administration’s decision to surge troops into Iraq in 2007 and the Obama administration’s decision to surge troops into Afghanistan in 2009. I’ve written about US spying efforts abroad and foreign spying efforts inside the US.

But I’ve never covered anything quite like Russia’s hack of the Democratic National Committee’s servers and the email account of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, moves designed to steal and then release information damaging to the Democratic presidential nominee.

Source: I’ve spent 15 years covering national security. I’ve never seen anything like the Russia hack. – Vox

True, we will have to wait an see just what tack our new president will take on this situation….I believe we are in for a long 4 years….and this could well be the opening salvo of a new Cold War.

There should be more attention to what Russia is doing with the Military…….

We began the forecasting process with Russia by looking at the country’s military capability. Russia has intervened in Syria to great fanfare, and while it has demonstrated undeniable improvements in some of its capabilities, the Russian military is far weaker than most make it out to be. Our 2016 forecast predicted a frozen conflict in Ukraine, and we came to the conclusion that this frozen conflict will be formalized in 2017 by answering a very basic question: What is the Russian military capability in Ukraine and in general?

The answer is found not by looking at events pertaining to the Ukrainian revolution in 2014, but rather the performance of the Russian military in the 2008 Georgia War. Russia achieved all of its strategic objectives in that five-day war, but serious deficiencies in Russian capabilities were revealed. Operational and tactical logistics left much to be desired, as the Russians had serious difficulties maintaining supply lines for food, fuel, and ammunition. Much of Russia’s military equipment was old and falling apart, Russian suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD) and electronic warfare capabilities were deficient, and use of precision-guided munitions was rare. Joint operational planning between different services was either nonexistent or ineffective.

After the war, Russia set out on an ambitious and vast military modernization program, reforming everything from doctrine to training to weapons. Russia set clear goals for reducing the number of conscript soldiers to professionalize the force. The 10-year State Armaments Program, announced by President Vladimir Putin in 2010, allocated 19.4 trillion rubles (worth $698.4 billion at the time) to revamp the equipment and weapons used by the Russian armed forces, and Russia’s military expenditures have been increasing both in absolute terms and as a percent of Russia’s GDP ever since.

Russia has taken some impressive steps forward. In 2008, it is unlikely Russia could have fielded a force and deployed it in Syria as it did in 2015. Of all the weapons Russia used in Syria, roughly 20% have been precision-guided munitions, which shows progress… but it also shows how much room Russia has to grow. Russia has deployed unmanned aerial vehicles to help with intelligence gathering, and both SEAD and joint inter-service operations have improved. According to Russian military officials, conscripts in the military have been reduced from roughly 600,000 in 2011, to 200,000 by the end of 2016.

These improvements and the media campaign around the Russian intervention, however, obscure the two most important elements to consider in evaluating the Russian military. First, despite these improvements, Russia has neither the military capability nor the political capital to conquer Ukraine, even if it wanted to. Russia beat Georgia because Georgia is a small country and Russia could overwhelm the Georgians with larger numbers. Ukraine is eight times the size of Georgia in terms of total land and can field a much larger infantry force. Many of Russia’s Rapid Reaction Forces that would be mobilized in such an action still consist of significant numbers of conscripts. Even if Russia could blitz its way to Kiev, it couldn’t hold the country, considering the long supply lines and Ukraine’s large, hostile population. And if the US or NATO decided to intervene, Russia would require even greater forces.

Second, Putin and the Russian government are aware of these limitations. Since 2008, they have been doing everything possible to modernize the Russian armed forces and to reach, if not parity, then a level of strength that could give them more strategic options. That has meant increasing military spending.
While Russia was flush with oil money, that was a perfectly logical plan. But Russia was not expecting oil prices to collapse in 2014. Russia had planned a budget on the then-conservative estimate that oil wouldn’t fall below $82 a barrel. Oil has averaged between $34 and $35 a barrel in 2016, and there’s no reason to expect the oversupplied market to give Russia significant relief in the coming year. Modernizing Russia’s forces is one of the top priorities for the government in the next three years, but it’s not clear if Russia has the money to spend.

(excerpt from a report issued by Geopolitical Futures)

Like I said…it is starting to smell a lot like 1949.

A Geopolitical Convergence Between The US And Russia

For years now many pundits have been saying the the US and Russia are on a collision course….there have been minor confrontations but they, the experts, claiming that a major situation is due to occur in the future….some say the near future.

I read a good piece but it does have a pro-Russia lean to it….nonetheless it makes some good points and some outstanding observations.

It has to be recognized that the Cold War bipolarity after 1989 was, at least up to 2008, superseded by the US-led unipolarity – a hegemonic configuration of the US accumulated hyper power in global politics that presented quite new challenges to the international relations. However, after the event of 9/11, the US administration started to act on the accelerating achievement after the Cold War of supreme political and military power in the globe for the sake to complete a mission of a global hegemon. The US administration, however, purposely presented the 9/11 attack as the work of (only) a network of Al Qaeda, a Islamic terrorist organization led by Osama bin Laden who was a Saudi millionaire’s son but as well as „who learned his terrorist trade, with U.S. assistance, fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s“.[6] The US administration of the President George W. Bush responded very quickly and by the end of 2001 a Taliban regime in Afghanistan, that was a radical Islamic regime which was providing a base of operations for Al Qaeda, became demolished and the biggest part of the country occupied or controlled in a coalition with the US satellite states. That was the beginning of the announced „War on Terrorism“ that actually had to serve as a good excuse to further strengthen the US position as the global policeman followed by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Therefore, a policy of a global unipolarity – a condition of a global politics in which a system of international relations is dictated by a single dominant power-hegemon that is quite capable of dominating all other states, became an order of the day for both the Pentagon and the White House.

Source: A Geopolitical Convergence Between The US And Russia

WE will be watching the situation…..we have new president that seems to be a “friend” to Russia and its leader, Putin….the military front is the place to watch….and for both sides…..the game of “Risk” has begun

Every confrontation could be another small step to a major confrontation.

Putin’s Revenge

There is lots of idle chatter these days about Russia and Putin…..did he or didn’t he?

What most Americans do not know is the Putin has been part of the post-Soviet government from the first days…..he was a subordinate to Yeltsin, the popularly elected president of Russia.  He was a KGB operative that wanted to win the Cold War…is he still pursuing that end?

Putin has done more to influence political ideology in Europe and the world than did his predecessors in the USSR…..and it is growing…..

Humiliated by the 1990s, Russia’s strongman is determined to win Cold War 2.0. He may be succeeding.

Twenty years before Vladimir Putin began his ingenious campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election, his predecessor as Russia’s president stood on a dark street near the White House. In his underpants. Looking for a pizza.

It was September 1994, and Boris Yeltsin was in Washington for a state visit with his new friend, President Bill Clinton. The Soviet Union had collapsed just three years earlier, and a relationship was blossoming between the U.S. and Russia, one that held the promise of burying decades of hostility. Russia’s abrupt transition from communist dictatorship was chaotic, but a fragile democratic process and nascent capitalism were taking hold. U.S. officials entertained visions of a Western-friendly Russia as a partner in a stable and secure Europe. To that end, Clinton and Yeltsin had built an alliance on the shared goal of preventing a revanchist security state from taking power in Moscow and returning the U.S. and Russia to a Cold War state of hostility. During one early visit to Moscow, Clinton told a young audience to “choose hope over fear” and “find a new definition of Russia’s greatness.”

Source: Putin’s Revenge – POLITICO Magazine

There is a wealth of opinions on what the actual situation is all about….some think he interfered in the election and others do not see any problem with Russia (something I never thought I would hear another American do….take the side of Russia over their own)…..

But as the song says…”the times they are a changing”……makes me think of the Manchurian Candidate (the original not the piss poor re-make)…if confused then watch the original and you will see what I am going on about.