Author Topic: Russia in the 21st Century  (Read 262883 times)

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Offline Journeyman

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #675 on: January 26, 2017, 11:03:17 »
Nine Lessons of Russian Propaganda

Domestic propaganda is most important.

Destroy and ridicule the idea of truth.

Headlines are more important than reality.

Demoralize. 

Move the conversation.  No matter how ridiculous their propaganda, no matter how many times it is proven to be false, it succeeds in shifting the conversation.

Pollute the information space.

 "Gas lighting" -- accuse the enemy of doing what you are doing to confuse the conversation ...
Wow, I was in the completely wrong thread, reading those.   ;) 
I even read works I disagree with;  life outside  an ideological echo chamber.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #676 on: January 29, 2017, 11:08:37 »
This from Putin's Info-machine re:  his chat with POTUS45 on the phone ...
Quote
Vladimir Putin congratulated Donald Trump on taking office and wished him every success in his work.

During the conversation, both sides expressed their readiness to make active joint efforts to stabilise and develop Russia-US cooperation on a constructive, equitable and mutually beneficial basis.

Mr Putin and Mr Trump had a detailed discussion of pressing international issues, including the fight against terrorism, the situation in the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, strategic stability and non-proliferation, the situation with Iran’s nuclear programme, and the Korean Peninsula issue. The discussion also touched upon the main aspects of the Ukrainian crisis. The sides agreed to build up partner cooperation in these and other areas.

The two leaders emphasised that joining efforts in fighting the main threat – international terrorism – is a top priority. The presidents spoke out for establishing real coordination of actions between Russia and the USA aimed at defeating ISIS and other terrorists groups in Syria.

The sides stressed the importance of rebuilding mutually beneficial trade and economic ties between the two counties’ business communities, which could give an additional impetus to progressive and sustainable development of bilateral relations.

Mr Putin and Mr Trump agreed to issue instructions to work out the possible date and venue for their meeting.

Donald Trump asked to convey his wishes of happiness and prosperity to the Russian people, saying that the American people have warm feelings towards Russia and its citizens.

Vladimir Putin, in turn, emphasised that the feeling is mutual, adding that for over two centuries Russia has supported the United States, was its ally during the two world wars, and now sees the United States as a major partner in fighting international terrorism.

The two leaders agreed to maintain regular personal contacts.

The conversation took place in a positive and constructive atmosphere.
Nothing on whitehouse.gov yet.
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

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Offline tomahawk6

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #677 on: January 29, 2017, 18:43:52 »
Russian security organs have arrested 4 FSB officers and it was revealed that a former KGB General linked to fake news was found dead in his car.


https://www.yahoo.com/news/m/5162d518-cc94-3bcb-b4ff-049fd3dd1cdb/russia-charges-four-top.html

KGB General Found dead

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/27/mystery-death-ex-kgb-chief-linked-mi6-spys-dossier-donald-trump/

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #678 on: February 08, 2017, 20:23:27 »
This from Putin's Info-machine re:  his chat with POTUS45 on the phone ...
And here's POTUS45's version:
Quote
President Donald J. Trump received a congratulatory call today from Russian President Vladimir Putin. The call lasted approximately one hour and ranged in topics from mutual cooperation in defeating ISIS to efforts in working together to achieve more peace throughout the world including Syria. The positive call was a significant start to improving the relationship between the United States and Russia that is in need of repair. Both President Trump and President Putin are hopeful that after today's call the two sides can move quickly to tackle terrorism and other important issues of mutual concern.
Meanwhile, EST military int's best publicly-shared guesstimate:  slim (but not zero) chance of a Russian invasion this year ...
Quote
The threat of a direct Russian military attack on NATO member state is low in 2017, but it cannot be ruled out, Mikk Marran, the director general of Estonian Information Board (EIF), Estonia's foreign intelligence service, said LETA/BNS.

The Information Board on Wednesday published a report titled "International Security and Estonia 2017" which describer the threats against Estonia and also assesses the military danger arising from Russia, the Ministry of Defense said.

"We clearly state in the report that in 2017 the probability of a Russian military attack against NATO is low," Marran said at the report's presentation to journalists. "This likelihood is not non-existent, but it is low," he stressed.

According to Marran the military threat is about the same as it was a year ago. He said that while NATO can be efficient and Russia has unfinished military conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, the situation will remain the same.

"Considering the fact that the Russian government is an authoritarian regime, the risk that the Russian leadership will make a strategic miscalculation and decide to test the functioning of NATO's collective defense cannot be completely ruled out. Moreover, the Russian regime has to keep an "external enemy" prominent to divert attention from domestic problems and stifle society's aspirations for democracy," it is written in the second annual overview of the Information Board.

According to EIB, Russia will continue with active influencing activities in the direction of the West, including Estonia. "Such activities are not just propaganda, but a set of different methods and tactics, the aim of which is to increase tensions in the society and to harm the reputation of the West, including Estonia," Marran said ...
Russian media's headline:  "Estonian intelligence service says armed conflict between NATO, Russia unlikely"
The full EST mil int report, in English, here (64 pg PDF)
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #679 on: February 20, 2017, 08:29:08 »
Baaaaaaaaaaaaad NATO ...
Quote
Chairman of the Defense Committee in the lower house of Russia’s parliament and former Airborne Force Commander Vladimir Shamanov said on Monday a possibility existed that NATO forces might launch an offensive against Russia on the alliance’s eastern flank.

"The balanced development of the [Russian] troops’ military branches and services continued in 2016… the formation of four motor rifle divisions and one tank division was completed. This is a direct response to the challenges and threats linked with NATO’s course towards building up its presence in the alliance’s eastern flank," the MP said at a meeting with military attaches accredited in Moscow. The discussion focused on the lower house’s work on the legislative provision for the country’s defense in 2016.

"In the West, they call it the containment of Russia. We believe that these forces and means may be used in offensive operations against our country," the politician said.

"In our history, we signed a non-aggression pact with Hitler but he treacherously attacked our country on June 22," the parliamentarian said ...
On that bit in yellow, it's good to remember lots of agreements get broken all the time ...
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #680 on: February 22, 2017, 13:27:54 »
Bear sharpens claws:

Quote
Planes, tanks and ships, oh my!: Russian military gets a sweeping, massive upgrade

The Russian military received a sweeping array of new weapons last year, including 41 intercontinental ballistic missiles, and the wide-ranging military modernization will continue this year, the defence minister said Wednesday [Feb. 22].

Minister Sergei Shoigu told lawmakers the air force will receive 170 new aircraft, the army will receive 905 tanks and other armoured vehicles while the navy will receive 17 new ships this year.

Amid tensions with the West, the Kremlin has continued to spend big on new weapons despite Russia’s economic downturn.

Also this year, three regiments of Russia’s strategic nuclear forces will receive new intercontinental ballistic missiles, Shoigu said. Each regiment has up to 10 launchers.

The rising number of new weapons has raised demands for new personnel. Shoigu said the military currently needs 1,300 more pilots and will recruit them by 2018...

The weapons modernization effort has seen the 1-million Russian military narrow the technological gap in some areas where Russia had fallen behind the West, such as long-range conventional weapons, communications and drone technologies.

Shoigu said the military now has 2,000 drones compared to just 180 in 2011. He also noted that Russia has now deployed new long-range early warning radars to survey the airspace along the entire length of its borders.

The minister said the military will complete the formation of three new divisions in the nation’s west and southwest, and also deploy a new division on the Pacific Islands, which have been claimed by Japan...
http://news.nationalpost.com/news/world/planes-tanks-and-ships-oh-my-russian-military-gets-a-sweeping-massive-upgrade

Mark
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #681 on: February 22, 2017, 14:18:07 »
3 Divisions in southern and western command? and another for the far east? almost 1000 AFV's, anyone else feel like this sounds like a build up to something?
"We are called a Battalion, Authorized to be company strength, parade as a platoon, Operating as a section"

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #682 on: February 22, 2017, 16:16:28 »
3 Divisions in southern and western command? and another for the far east? almost 1000 AFV's, anyone else feel like this sounds like a build up to something?
Like the old Soviet days, it's aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaall defensive against the NATO juggernaut that just won't stop imperializing ...

(image source)
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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Offline Thucydides

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #683 on: February 22, 2017, 16:31:10 »
While alarming in of itself, there are a few factors which still need to be taken into account:

1. Russia's GDP is about the same size as Italy's. Pouring all these resources into arms means a far smaller slice of pie is left for other things.
2. This overspending on the military is reflected in the generally dismal state of other Russian economic endeavours. For example, Italy has a small military force, but also produces coffee makers, cars and other things Russia does not (well, to be fair, Canada does not produce locally designed cars or coffee makers either).
3. The small and very specialized industrial base means it is difficult for Russia to truly innovate. Note that the PAK-FA was designed and built decades after the F-22, is deficient in its electronics (according to the Indians, who want in on the program) and still does not have engines of sufficient power to perform at F-22 levels.
4. Russia has a very limited force projection ability
5. China is on Russia's other border.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #684 on: February 22, 2017, 16:41:53 »
... 4. Russia has a very limited force projection ability ...
If you believe some commentators, they don't seem to need huge doses of just-military power projection over long periods to coerce convince other states to do what it wants.
“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #685 on: February 22, 2017, 16:52:58 »
Remember what happened the last time they got in a military spending contest.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #686 on: February 25, 2017, 15:25:10 »
From "The American Interest", how President Trump may turn out to be Russia's nightmare:

http://www.the-american-interest.com/2017/02/24/trump-isnt-sounding-like-a-russian-mole/

Quote
Trump Isn’t Sounding Like a Russian Mole
Walter Russell Mead

Trump’s core global strategy is intended to destroy any illusions in Moscow that Russia is a peer competitor of Washington’s.

With his latest effusive remarks to Reuters on the importance of expanding the U.S. nuclear arsenal, President Donald Trump has sent the press into a panic once again.

What the press has largely ignored about Trump’s latest pronouncement is an obvious truth that undermines its own narrative: someone who was safely in Vladimir Putin’s pocket wouldn’t run around saying things like this. While liberal America may have forgotten recent history, Russia certainly hasn’t: provoking a nuclear arms race with an outclassed, economically weak Soviet Union was Ronald Reagan’s winning strategy in the 1980s. Tech and wealth are two key American advantages over Russia now as they were over the Soviet Union then; Trump’s message here is that he intends to follow in Reagan’s footsteps to use these strengths to advance American power, with the inevitable result of marginalizing one of Russia’s primary sources of power and prestige. Putin’s ramshackle Russia is no more capable of matching an American nuclear buildup than Brezhnev’s sclerotic Soviet Union could keep up with the United States—and Putin knows it.

Whether it will work is an entirely different question, but there can be little doubt that Trump’s core global strategy will destroy any illusions in Moscow, or anywhere else, that Russia is a peer competitor of the United States. A Trump administration is going to be four years of hell for Russia: a massive American doubling down on shale production along with a major military buildup. Trump is, in other words, a nightmare for Putin and a much, much bigger threat to Putin’s goals than President Obama ever was or wanted to be.

If Trump were the Manchurian candidate that people keep wanting to believe that he is, here are some of the things he’d be doing:
•Limiting fracking as much as he possibly could
•Blocking oil and gas pipelines
•Opening negotiations for major nuclear arms reductions
•Cutting U.S. military spending
•Trying to tamp down tensions with Russia’s ally Iran

That Trump is planning to do precisely the opposite of these things may or may not be good policy for the United States, but anybody who thinks this is a Russia appeasement policy has been drinking way too much joy juice.

Obama actually did all of these things, and none of the liberal media now up in arms about Trump ever called Obama a Russian puppet; instead, they preferred to see a brave, farsighted and courageous statesman. Trump does none of these things and has embarked on a course that will inexorably weaken Russia’s position in the world, and the media, suddenly flushing eight years of Russia dovishness down the memory hole, now sounds the warning that Trump’s Russia policy is treasonously soft.

This foolishness is best understood as an unreasoning panic attack. The liberal media hate Trump more than they have hated any American politician in a generation, and they do not understand his supporters or the sources of his appeal. They are frantically picking up every available stick to beat him, in the hopes that something, somehow, will Miloize him.

So blind does hatred make them that they cannot understand how their own behavior is driving American public opinion in directions that bode ill for liberals in the future. In the first place, suppose Donald Trump does not in fact turn out to be the second coming of Benedict Arnold. Suppose instead, as is much more likely, that he turns out to be a very hawkish president, one who quite possibly will make George W. Bush look like Jimmy Carter. The media and Democratic Party leaders will have staked huge amounts of credibility on a position that turns out to be laughably untrue. Six months or a year from now, they will have to flip from calling Trump an anti-American traitor and Russian plant to calling him a dangerous, fascistic ultranationalist whose relentless hawkishness is bringing us closer to World War Three. Already there are some days when they mount both attacks at the same time: the hawkish traitor whose Nazi style America First ideology leads him to lick Putin’s boots. The media wants to cast Trump as both Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler; but you can’t give the Sudetenland to yourself.

The talking heads and the top pundits won’t admit it, and may not even see it—as our media is extremely good at hiding from facts that make it feel uncomfortable—but not many people will be convinced by this line of attack. Hawk or traitor: you can only pick one.

Meanwhile, the current media and Democratic drumbeat of fierce, hyper-patriotic anti-Russian fervor is legitimating exactly the kind of nationalist assertiveness and chauvinism that, in normal times, liberals try to tamp down. The liberal media, in the desperate hope of landing some blows on President Trump, is helping to create a national climate of alarmed and defensive patriotism that leads to exactly the kind of public opinion climate that is catnip to Republicans and poison to liberal Democrats.

Of course it’s possible that all the rumors and gossip about Trump and Putin are true, and that Putin holds powerful blackmail material on Trump, or alternatively that they share a dark and anti-democratic dream that they will jointly try to impose on the world. But if those things are true, we won’t find out because some nameless source has whispered something incriminating to one of Ben Rhodes’ 27 year-old journalistic naifs; it will be because Trump begins to shift American foreign policy in ways that benefit Russia.

What would those telltale signs of treason look like?

Trump might for example acquiesce in a greater Russian presence and say in the Middle East. He might limit U.S. fracking, helping to prop up Putin’s oil price. He might seek to reduce nuclear weapons stockpiles in ways that give Russia badly needed economic relief from an arms burden that daily pressures the country more, and that accepts a permanent parity between the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, leaving America perpetually hostage to a nuclear balance of terror with a much weaker Russia. He might slash military spending and procurement; rather than steadily building the gap between Russian and American military capabilities, he might slow down and allow the Russians and others to dream of catching up.

In other words, if President Trump really is a Putin pawn, his foreign policy will start looking much more like Barack Obama’s. Will the New York Times and the Washington Post really have the brass to call Trump a traitor for pursuing a mix of policies which came right out of Obama’s playbook?

This would be a foolish enough positioning to cause even the press, or at least some of it, to blush. The Gray Lady has her limits. What is happening instead is the identification of the largely ineffective and symbolic sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine and illegal annexation of Crimea as the gold standard of anti-Russia policy. If Trump so much as hints at bargaining away these largely decorative sanctions, we are likely to see a media firestorm of historic scale. It will not be grounded in reality; Obama’s chosen anti-Russia policy mix was as weak and hesitating as such policy can be. The sanctions were a way of pretending to ourselves that we had a Ukraine policy more than offering an actual path to forcing Russia to disgorge its gains. Trump’s policies of fracking and big military build up are more anti-Russian without sanctions than Obama ever thought was practical or wise.

This doesn’t mean that there aren’t some honest and important questions about Trump and Russia. Looking into President Trump’s business ties and possible conflicts of interest is legitimate journalism. And there is little doubt that some of the Russian and other ex-Soviet figures which whom President Trump did business in the past are not the kind of people one would want a future president associating with.

But Trump’s actual foreign policy hardly suggests a president in thrall to the Kremlin, and excessive dovishness is unlikely to be the besetting sin of the Trump administration. The more the media locks itself into the narrative of Trump the appeaser, the harder its job will become when the real difficulties of the Trump presidency begin to take shape.

America needs an intellectually solvent and emotionally stable press to give this president the skeptical and searching scrutiny that he needs. What we are getting instead is something much worse for the health of the republic: a blind instinctive rage that lashes out without wounding, that injures its own credibility more than its target, that discredits the press at just the moment where its contributions are most needed.
Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #687 on: March 10, 2017, 11:33:18 »
Setting the conditions for a new "Cold War"? The only real issue in this article is the definitive blaming of Russia for the election hacks, I would suggest the DNC hacks were far more plausibly done by disgruntled "Bernie Bros" angry at how the nomination process was manipulated against Senator Sanders and his very motivated supporters:

http://www.worldaffairsjournal.org/blog/michael-j-totten/brace-yourself-new-cold-war

Quote
Dispatches
Michael J. Totten
Brace Yourself for a New Cold War
8 March 2017

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.

“It turns out that the United Russia [Vladimir Putin’s party] has won the elections in the United States!” Omsk governor Viktor Nazaro said. “Tonight we can use the slogan with Mr. Trump; Yes We Did,” said Boris Chernyshev, a member of the Russian parliament’s ultranationalist faction. “I want to ride around Moscow with an American flag in the window, if I can find a flag,” said Margarita Simonyan, editor in chief of Putin propaganda channel RT (Russia Today). Alexander Dugin, former professor and fascistic Putinism philosopher, gushed that Trump’s inauguration was “incredibly beautiful—one of the best moments of my life.”

According to international public opinion surveys, Russia is the only country in the entire world where more people rooted for Trump than for Clinton. (He “beat” her in Russia by 21 points.)

He’s one of us, the Russians thought, sort of. A rising leader of the ragtag nationalist anti-globalist movements. Trump’s antipathy toward the European Union, NATO, and the bipartisan political class in the United States imperfectly mirrors their own attitudes and prejudices.

Russian dolls adorned with Trump’s face are available in stores all over Moscow and beyond. Putin even told the state-run media to provide non-stop friendly coverage to the new administration in Washington for a while. According to the Russian news agency Interfax, Russian media mentioned Trump more often in January than it mentioned Putin.

That’s over now. The media swooning has cooled. The Russian ruler has again eclipsed Trump. It’s not hard to understand why.

Having even a potentially innocuous meeting with Russian officials has rapidly turned into a new third rail in American politics. National Security Advisor Mike Flynn lost his job for lying about discussing sanctions with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had to recuse himself for saying under oath at a Senate hearing that he had no contacts with Russian officials even though he too had met with Kislyak in his office. Congress is investigating Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee last year, and even Republican members of Congress are wondering aloud if the Trump campaign had anything to do with it.

There is virtually no chance after all this that the Trump administration will be able to get away with lifting sanctions against Russia or anything else that looks chummy or even blandly cooperative without triggering a spectacular backlash that includes members of his own party and possibly even his cabinet.

Don’t think for a moment that Russians haven’t noticed this either. Of course they’ve noticed, and they have every reason to be anxious about it. Before long, anti-Russian sentiment in the United States could eclipse anti-Americanism is Russia. The only reason that hasn’t happened already is because so many Americans hoped for so long against hope that Russia shorn of totalitarian communism would eventually return “home” to the West like the prodigal son.

Russia, though, hasn’t been fully European since the Mongol invasion of Rus in the year 1240. Its forcible incorporation into the Golden Horde Empire endured for more than 200 years. Sure, Russia’s capital is on the European continent, but Russians see themselves as Eurasian. (North Korea and China, don’t forget, border Russia.)

Putin crafted the Eurasian Economic Union—which includes Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia—as an authoritarian crony state-capitalist competitor to the liberal democratic West that he detests. There isn’t a damn thing anybody in Washington can say or do to convince him to dump that project and align himself as a junior partner with the European Union and NATO, not when he’s the undisputed one-man boss of an entire continent-spanning alternative.

Understand something here. Both the European Union and Putin’s Eurasian Economic Union sent out feelers to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia for possible future membership. Rather than joining Putin’s Union like Belarus and the others, all three signed association agreements with the European Union. And all three have been dismembered and occupied in part by the Russians, indefinitely preventing them from joining the Western alliance. Neither the European Union nor NATO will even consider accepting a member state that has a disputed territorial conflict with Moscow.

If Russian and American national interests are so at odds then, why on earth did the Kremlin bother interfering in our election in order to get Donald Trump elected? I don’t believe that it did, at least not if you put it that way.

Think about it. Almost everybody thought Trump would lose, including the president himself. His win last November surprised everybody. Vladimir Putin is a smart man, but he can’t see the future better than anyone else. Like the rest of us, he assumed Hillary Clinton would win.

So when his cyberagents hacked the Democratic National Committee and released what it found to WikiLeaks, Putin was attacking the presumed incoming president of the United States. He didn’t go after Clinton per se. Rather, he pre-emptively struck against the next White House. He would have done the same thing if Joe Biden or Tim Kaine or any other Democrat were at the top of the ticket. And he would have done the same thing to the Republican Party if, say, Marco Rubio were the GOP nominee and the presumed winner of the general election.

The fact that Trump actually won was a surprise and a bonus.

Trump said last September that he loves WikiLeaks, forgetting everything he ever knew about the rogue outfit. (Someone should ask him what he thinks of WikiLeaks dumping a trove of classified material onto the Internet supposedly revealing how the CIA spies on people all over the world through their smart phones.) Its founder Julian Assange is emphatically not a Republican operative. WikiLeaks has spent its entire existence waging geopolitical warfare against the United States, mostly on behalf of itself, but partly on behalf of the Russians and everyone else in the world who wants to pull down the American “empire.” Like the Russians, Assange trained his fire on Clinton not because he likes the Republicans but because the Democratic Party includes roughly half the elected officials in the United States and presumably would have included the next president of the United States.

Assange and Putin hoped to kneecap the incoming president before she could even get started.

Their hostility toward the United States in general isn’t obvious to everyone in this country. Putin’s approval rating actually increased during the last year among Trump’s most die-hard supporters. The rest of us, though—and the rest of us still includes most Republicans—are reacting against Russian malfeasance more strongly than we have at any time since the Berlin Wall fell.

That reaction is blowing up in the Trump administration’s face, but the president can turn it around by taking an unambiguously hawkish stance against Russia. Putin, meanwhile, can’t do anything to recover his reputation in the United States.

Trump has already started to reverse himself and isn’t as rhetorically kind to Putin as he was even recently. “Even in the way he talks you can now hear notes of Obama,” said Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov. “And you can hear in his address [to Congress]: the military budget will be increased by over $50 billion.”

During last year’s campaign, Trump openly considered recognizing Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula, joining just a handful of rogue states like North Korea and Venezuela. A couple of weeks ago, though, he backtracked and tweeted, “Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?”

Many of the president’s pro-Putin aides and staff—Paul Manafort, Carter Page and Mike Flynn to a lesser extent—are out now while many of his current cabinet members—in particular United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley and Defense Secretary James Mattis—are as staunchly hawkish on Russia as John McCain and Mitt Romney. Trump hasn’t stuck a sock in their mouths and probably never will. “There's a decreasing number of areas where we can engage cooperatively,” Mattis said recently, “and an increasing number of areas where we're going to have to confront Russia.”

There are other reasons Putin and his claque are unhappy. “With Trump in the White House,” Ivan Krastev and Stephen Holmes write in Foreign Policy magazine, “Putin has lost his monopoly over geopolitical unpredictability. The Kremlin’s ability to shock the world by taking the initiative and trashing ordinary international rules and customs has allowed Russia to play an oversized international role and to punch above its weight. Putin now has to share the capacity to keep the world off balance with a new American president vastly more powerful than himself. More world leaders are watching anxiously to discover what Trump will do next than are worrying about what Putin will do next.”

So after all this, the Kremlin has ordered Russia’s state-run media to stop writing about Trump as if he’s some kind of hero.

There’s a lot more going on, though, than a cooling of the Trump euphoria in Moscow. The Russians have plenty of reasons to fear the emergence, if not sooner then at least later, of a sustained bipartisan American hostility to Russia and Putin, with Donald Trump himself as its champion, that dwarfs anything the world has seen since Ronald Reagan engaged with détente with the Soviet Union’s last premier Mikhail Gorbachev.

The Kremlin reportedly fears that Trump will be removed from office—either by Congress or a military coup and possibly even assassinated—and that a venomous anti-Russian consensus will unite Americans, finally bringing about at least a partial end to our debilitating political polarization that Russia has been crowing about for a year now. They are most likely wrong about the first part of that equation. An American president hasn’t been assassinated for more than a half-century, no American president has ever been forcibly removed from power against his will internally, and the very idea of a military coup is absurd. The Russians are probably right, though, about the second part. A venomous anti-Russian consensus in America is already rising.

Whatever else happens, at some point Vladimir Putin will inevitably infuriate Trump. The American president is notoriously thin-skinned and couldn’t even get through a phone call with Australia’s friendly Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull without losing his cool. Even leaving all that aside, Trump may soon realize that the most effective way to retire the ongoing controversy surrounding his staff’s real and alleged dodgy ties to Russia is to fulminate against Putin the way he does against Barack Obama and Rosie O'Donnell.

Donald Trump hasn’t even been president for two months yet. His bizarre pro-Russian bumbling could easily turn out to be a mere blip at the start of his presidency. And if a galvanizing anti-Russian consensus does end up emerging, it’s likely to be much more intense than it would have been had Vladimir Putin left us alone.

Dagny, this is not a battle over material goods. It's a moral crisis, the greatest the world has ever faced and the last. Our age is the climax of centuries of evil. We must put an end to it, once and for all, or perish - we, the men of the mind. It was our own guilt. We produced the wealth of the world - but we let our enemies write its moral code.

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #688 on: March 12, 2017, 09:09:11 »
...  I would suggest the DNC hacks were far more plausibly done by disgruntled "Bernie Bros" angry at how the nomination process was manipulated against Senator Sanders and his very motivated supporters ...
Based on what evidence?  Heck, if we're going all :Tin-Foil-Hat:, why not blame the CIA for the hack?
Quote
... apparently the CIA has the ability to mimic Russian hackers. In other words, the CIA has the ability to hack anybody they want and make it look like the Russians are doing it or make it look like the ChiComs are doing it or make it look like the Israelis are doing it ...
More from those fake-newsers @ the Washington Post here.
« Last Edit: March 12, 2017, 09:18:53 by milnews.ca »
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #689 on: March 12, 2017, 17:32:35 »
Those ungrateful Latvians, asking to see a Russian military facility, then saying, "uh, no thanks" when the Russians say, "sure, drop on by ..." ...
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Russian ministry of Defense (Mindef) denounced today that Latvia denied the visit to military facilities that this country had previously requested to be closely monitored, describing them as a threat for its security.

Latvia asked in 2016 for a visit to the Russian air force brigade in the city of Ostrov and the landing troops of Pskov, but now this country refuses to do it, said a statement issued by Mindef.

Russia considers that the refusal of Latvia responds to an action of solidarity with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Mindef also referred to the statements made by NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg, who said that at least ten times Russia was invited by this organization to join the exercises in the region.

The Mindef statement said that according to a document signed in Vienna 2011 on the principle of openness by the two parties, Russia was only invited once to witness the exercise Anaconda-2016.

Mindef said that following the documents of Vienna, Russia sent its monitors to the exercises, but they only received negative answers to their requests from the Government of Poland, where the exercise took place ...
Could the Latvians be trying to avoid one of these situations?
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“Most great military blunders stem from the good intentions of some high-ranking buffoon ...” – George MacDonald Fraser, "The Sheik and the Dustbin"

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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #691 on: Today at 13:08:28 »
Ya don't say?
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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday compared a recent wave of street demonstrations in the country to the first stirrings of the Arab Spring, warning that his government would deal harshly with unsanctioned protests.

“This tool was used at the beginning of the so-called ‘Arab Spring,’” Mr. Putin said, referring to anticorruption protests held Sunday in Moscow and many other cities, Russian news agencies reported. “We know very well what this led to, what bloody events this led to.”

Thousands of Russians took to the streets Sunday in protests that were spurred by lawyer and anticorruption activist Alexei Navalny. In Moscow, riot police faced down marchers at an unsanctioned rally along one of the central boulevards of the capital, arresting hundreds ...
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Re: Russia in the 21st Century
« Reply #692 on: Today at 13:14:13 »
Yep! Leave it to a dictator to figure out how other dictators have fallen ... and thinking (deluding oneself?) that he knows how to deal with it.  ;D