william.scherk

One person whose opinions I wish we could consult right now is the founder of Objectivism. Having a cold eye on the Soviet Union, a cold eye for any unfree state, a cold eye for dictatorships, Ayn Rand would likely be able to add moral clarity to the 'debates' about Russia Russia Russia.

A  couple of folks here have contended that Rand would be enamoured of Donald Trump, a notion I find preposterous. But I could be very wrong.

Message added by william.scherk

What to learn about Russian goals when you don't really care [updated]

william.scherk

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One of the items I fish out of the general Russia Russia Russia hoopla is geopolitical strategy. In other words, setting aside the unproven allegations of the Trump-Russia 'collusion' grab-bag, and putting to one side the actual details of the "Russia hack" of the 2016 US presidential election -- leaving the residual "what is this administration's larger strategy with regard to Russia, its hopes and fears, its ambitions."

This is no easy task. The election campaign revealed just a few rules of thumb that a Trump administration would use in a new relationship. 

Each of us will have an impression of just what President Trump hopes to achieve in relation to Russia between now and 2020. For me, having studied utterances of Michael Flynn and the many Russia/Putin statements from the president, it is to "get along," to cooperate where it serves American interests, and perhaps to let Russia back in from the cold by removing sanctions where appropriate. In an sense, it is a desire to move the 'deep state' off its suspicious foundations in order to make a better partnership with the Eurasian nuclear power. 

(the 'deep state' I envision as the intersection of established policy [of the executive branch, including national security agencies] and law [from the legislature]; it is the entrenched state of affairs, the 'ship of state' -- a vehicle of praxis built up over time. The 'deep state' of course takes its orders not from a shadowy cartel, but from department policy as written, intelligence findings as transmitted, and law. Law as in the welter of official acts and regulations, eg, Magnitsky-related sanctions. The 'deep state' vehicle can be refitted and given new missions, but this takes time, time to install new commanders with clear mission statements, time to legislate and decree a change in direction, speed, goal and targets)

Having established their own briefs on facts and values, strategy and intelligence, law and practice, OLers might like me might have asked themselves the same set of questions -- not of the American 'vehicle' commanded by President Trump, but of the Russian ship of state.

What Russia wants.

-- that boring introduction done, here is a well-written analysis of Russian imperatives:

Russia’s Evolving Grand Eurasia Strategy: Will It Work?

NB: at 4200 words the article is not light reading.  But I suspect readers will be better able to answer the question "What is a proper Russia policy for the USA?" 

One person whose opinions I wish we could consult right now is the founder of Objectivism. Having a cold eye on the Soviet Union, a cold eye for any unfree state, a cold eye for dictatorships, Ayn Rand would likely be able to add moral clarity to the 'debates' about Russia Russia Russia.

A  couple of folks here have contended that Rand would be enamored of Donald Trump, a notion I find preposterous. But I could be very wrong.

[Spelling and grammar plotzes fixed Jan 10, 2018]



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The was no "Russia Hack" of the election.  The Russians would have had to fiddle the vote count in over 40,000 polling places. No nation or organization could do that.   Hillary lost fair and square. 

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16 minutes ago, BaalChatzaf said:
15 minutes ago, WSS [emphasis added] said:

One of the items I fish out of the general Russia Russia Russia hoopla is geopolitical strategy. In other words, setting aside the unproven allegations of the Trump-Russia 'collusion' grab-bag, and putting to one side the actual details of the "Russia hack" of the 2016 US presidential election -- leaving the residual "what is this administration's larger strategy with regard to Russia, its hopes and fears, its ambitions."

The was no "Russia Hack" of the election.  

Your literal mind read "'Russia Hack' of the 2016 US presidential election" narrowly. Thanks for pointing out that the phrase can be misunderstood, and may need replacing with a better conceptual frame.  

There are several current alternatives that don't use 'hack,' such as meddling, interference, active measures -- without specifying that actual reported "hacks" (cyber-intrusions, information theft, spear-phishing 'attacks' on state election systems, etc) must have been Russia-directed. Not to mention the details of the aggressive 'active measures' in the field of information warfare. We need not agree that Russia meddled to have discussion on policy and the road ahead.

To the point of the OT ...

I suggested setting aside the two contentious issues of RussiaHack RussiaTrumpCollusion , in order to focus on what can be known of RussiaGeoStrategy, of aims and goals of the Russian Federation.  

So, Bob, set aside the two moshpits and maybe give the initial post another gander. Maybe even have a dunk into the article I cited.  Maybe give your informed opinion. 

-- I'll get back to revising the shorthand phrase "Russia Hack," but will make it in another blog post. Here is hoping you have something to say of interest to our OL readers, further to the third set of Russia questions above. 

In other words, if there is disagreement on Russia1 and Russia2, how about Russia3 ... ?

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13 hours ago, william.scherk said:

Your literal mind read "'Russia Hack' of the 2016 US presidential election" narrowly. Thanks for pointing out that the phrase can be misunderstood, and may need replacing with a better conceptual frame.  

There are several current alternatives that don't use 'hack,' such as meddling, interference, active measures -- without specifying that actual reported "hacks" (cyber-intrusions, information theft, spear-phishing 'attacks' on state election systems, etc) must have been Russia-directed. Not to mention the details of the aggressive 'active measures' in the field of information warfare. We need not agree that Russia meddled to have discussion on policy and the road ahead.

To the point of the OT ...

I suggested setting aside the two contentious issues of RussiaHack RussiaTrumpCollusion , in order to focus on what can be known of RussiaGeoStrategy, of aims and goals of the Russian Federation.  

So, Bob, set aside the two moshpits and maybe give the initial post another gander. Maybe even have a dunk into the article I cited.  Maybe give your informed opinion. 

-- I'll get back to revising the shorthand phrase "Russia Hack," but will make it in another blog post. Here is hoping you have something to say of interest to our OL readers, further to the third set of Russia questions above. 

In other words, if there is disagreement on Russia1 and Russia2, how about Russia3 ... ?

In modern times,  powerful nations  have  interfered with or attempted to influence the internal affairs of other nations. During the cold war, the U.S. broadcast propaganda to the Soviet Union and its satellite  nations.  That is  "hacking" in the broad sense of the term.   As you rightly assumed,  I took the term in the narrow computer application context of the word.  Exposing secrets is another extensions of the term,  particularly if the secrets are extracted from some form of computerized storage. 

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Snatched from the jaws of Google (by way of The Hill):

Quote

New White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Sunday that the administration supports congressional sanctions against Russia.

“The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting the sanctions in place,” Huckabee Sanders told ABC’s “This Week.” 

The press secretary’s comments come as the House prepares to voteTuesday on the legislation, which places new sanctions on Moscow while also permitting lawmakers vote to block the administration from altering sanctions policy. The legislation passed the Senate last month.

The White House pushed Congress to ease the limitations on its ability to lift the sanctions, but the legislation is likely to go to Trump’s desk this week without the changes.

Huckabee Sanders said the White House is happy with where the bill is now.

“The original piece of legislation was poorly written, but we were able to look at the House and Senate,” she said. “And the administration is happy with the ability to do that, to make the changes that were necessary and we support where the legislation is now.”

 

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On 7/22/2017 at 7:33 AM, BaalChatzaf said:

In modern times,  powerful nations  have  interfered with or attempted to influence the internal affairs of other nations.

See an earlier point of information ... and your and Michael's response to it ...

 

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I covered the question of USA-Russia aims and goals. Whether or not you accept a particular set of Russian goals, and whether or not you accept that a Trump goal remains a 'better relationship' ... we do get clues from the Russians themselves. From the OT:

Quote

Russia’s Evolving Grand Eurasia Strategy: Will It Work?

NB: at 4200 words the article is not light reading.  But I suspect readers will be better able to answer the question "What is a proper Russia policy for the USA?" 

One person whose opinions I wish we could consult right now is the founder of Objectivism. Having a cold eye on the Soviet Union, a cold eye for any unfree state, a cold eye for dictatorships, Ayn Rand would likely be able to add moral clarity to the 'debates' about Russia Russia Russia.

-- now, whether or not you grant any credence to any writer from Buzzfeed, the claim today is that 'secret' Russian documents have surfaced. True, partially true, fey canoes, a thimble of truth in a beaker of crap?

Quote

Russia Sought A Broad Reset With Trump, Secret Document Shows
A Russian proposal obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals Moscow’s ambitious plan to break with the past and launch a major rapprochement with the United States.

The gist is that Russia had detailed suggestions/plans to normalize relations. 

Quote

WASHINGTON – In the third month of Donald Trump’s presidency, Vladimir Putin dispatched one of his diplomats to the State Department to deliver a bold proposition: The full normalization of relations between the United States and Russia across all major branches of government.

The proposal, spelled out in a detailed document obtained by BuzzFeed News, called for the wholesale restoration of diplomatic, military and intelligence channels severed between the two countries after Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria.

The broad scope of the Kremlin’s reset plan came with an ambitious launch date: immediately.

By April, a top Russian cyber official, Andrey Krutskikh, would meet with his American counterpart for consultations on “information security,” the document proposed. By May, the two countries would hold “special consultations” on the war in Afghanistan, the Iran nuclear deal, the “situation in Ukraine,” and efforts to denuclearize the “Korean Peninsula.” And by the time Putin and Trump held their first meeting, the heads of the CIA, FBI, National Security Council and Pentagon would meet face-to-face with their Russian counterparts to discuss areas of mutual interest. A raft of other military and diplomatic channels opened during the Obama administration’s first-term “reset” would also be restored.

"This document represents nothing less than a road map for full-scale normalization of US-Russian relations,” said Andrew Weiss, the vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, after reviewing the proposal provided by BuzzFeed News.

Besides offering a snapshot of where the Kremlin wanted to move the bilateral relationship, the proposal reveals one of Moscow’s unspoken assumptions – that Trump wouldn’t share the lingering US anger over Moscow’s alleged interference in the 2016 election and might accept a lightning fast rapprochement.

“It just ignores everything that caused the relationship to deteriorate and pretends that the election interference and the Ukraine crisis never happened,” said Angela Stent, a former national intelligence officer on Russia during the George W. Bush administration who also reviewed the document.

[...]

In pushing its reset plan, Moscow seemed to underestimate the political blowback the Trump administration would face if it carried out a large scale rapprochement amid high-profile investigations by the FBI and Congress into allegations of collusion with Russia.

“Putin doesn’t seem to understand that Trump’s powers are not the same as his,” said Steven Pifer, a Russia expert at the Brookings Institution. “The checks and balances, the special prosecutor and congressional investigations have tied Trump’s hands in ways that didn’t occur to Putin.”

When asked if he is disappointed in Trump, given early hopes of improved relations, Putin has responded frostily.

“Your question sounds very naive,” Putin told a reporter at a press conference in China last week. “He is not my bride, and I am not his groom.”

“Each country has its own interests,” he added.

Still, the decision by the US Congress to slap new sanctions on Russia in August, which prompted Moscow to force the firing or transfer of hundreds of US employees in Russia, which in turn prompted the US to shutter Russia’s consulate in San Francisco, is not what Russia’s parliament presumably hoped for when it burst into applause the night of Trump’s surprise election victory over Hillary Clinton.

“When the Russians submitted this proposal, they were under the impression that Trump would do what he said he would do: Make a deal with Putin and normalize relations,” said Stent, who is also director of Eurasian studies at Georgetown University.

“That’s a reflection of the way their own system works,” she said. “If Putin wants something done, the Duma is compliant, the Ministry of Defense is compliant. But in the US, a lot of these things aren’t in the purview of the White House even if you have a president who is inclined.”

 

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The world is on the brink of general nuclear proliferation, so do we take out North Korea now to prevent it--if that would do the job--or just let it go?

In this century we are going to have nuclear weapons going off. A city here; a city there. Maybe even worse.

Goodbye Israel?

This thread is quite naive and not for grownups.

--Brant

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8 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:

˙sdnuʍoɹƃ ɹoɟ ʇou puɐ ǝʌᴉɐu ǝʇᴉnb sᴉ pɐǝɹɥʇ sᴉɥ┴

It's a blog entry with an initial focus on Russian strategic aims or goals. It appears you aren't much interested in discussion of the topic, naive or childish or whatever. So you may wish to communicate your concerns with nuclear proliferation ... with North Korea joining the club of nations with nuclear arms.

Goodbye Israel? Seems like a point in search of an argument. A grown-up argument.

Edited by william.scherk

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20 minutes ago, william.scherk said:

It's a blog entry with an initial focus on Russian strategic aims or goals. It appears you aren't much interested in discussion of the topic, naive or childish or whatever. So you may wish to to communicate your concerns with nuclear proliferation ... with North Korea joining the club of nations with nuclear arms.

Goodbye Israel? Seems like a point in search of an argument. A grown-up argument.

Israel has nukes.  As a matter of fact inventing  nuclear and thermonuclear weapons is a Jewish cottage industry. 

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5 hours ago, BaalChatzaf said:

Israel has nukes.

+ France, UK, USA, Russia, India, China, Pakistan, and now North Korea. Depending on the President's handling of the JCPOA, Iran may join the club.

Brant suggests certain nuclear outcomes in the 21st century -- at least a couple of cities destroyed.

I am willing to bet only as far as my life-span, which I presume will end in 2025. Just so I can pay out or fetch in my winnings while alive, and thence enjoy the lesson of history. I predict no nuclear destruction before I die, or before OL dies, depending on who goes first.

In some arguments I have seen, the North's bizarre Juche ideology and more bizarre society are -- if not rational, at least understandable -- understandable in the context of a very long war-footing without and with actual war ...

Roughly as hewn in some arguments, the war waged by North Korea is a conflict with a perfect through-line, the overthrow of alien control and subjugation. This began against Japan at the start of that conflict. Alien subjugation allied with feudal gulfs between peasant and ruler (and landlord). Thus began the rise of Kim il Sung, in the thirties, as the original antifa. Or at least as communist guerilla forces ...

Fast forward past WWII, the society fully split frozen in two armed factions, Kim Il Antifa kept going, against new adversaries, as Japan came under American tutelage, as military conflict continued to be seen as the sole solution to Korea's dislocations. Looking through Gary Gilmore's eyes, so to speak.

Fast forward past ceasefire and Kim Il Antifa is still at it through the sixties and seventies, while to the south, a military-industrial dictatorship initially rivaled the north in brutal carnage.

Zoom forward through anti-communist internal "dirty war," into the eighties social convulsions, past fledgling political freedoms to the emergence of full democracy in the late nineties. Past the south's climb up to first-world technological infrastructure and income, to the Kim Jong Bizzaro antifa state achieving its nuclear goal.

That long arc of northern Juche war footing is then a narrative "understood" by the unsavoury regimes that are its friends. From China to Zimbabwe to Syria, they 'get' the bizarre anti-imperialist line or arc.

On the Russia side then, there is an understanding that pretends the Kim royalty sought a "nuclear umbrella."

In this reading, the North can rest, rest assured that its fans will see its nukes as strategic deterrent to "regime change." It can feel 'safe.

 

The challenge is biggest in South Korea. Every decade it has gotten stronger, by economic measure, in education, culture, science. It has had a flourishing of its creative enterprises,  such that it can export its cultural products to pan-Asian markets.

The challenge of living next door to the height of militaristic crazy, embedded in a conflict begun in 1933. Do we interface with Nuke Baby Antifa ... ? 

In researching the state of the south's might in Asia, I came across multiple mentions of a rennaissance in Korean film (its television and pop music having captured huge markets). Just imagine what a free imagination could make of the bizarre state of war that persists. They've done it. Punching far above their weight, umbrella or not.

Here's a rather shocking example of the punch of the south's films. A "remix" of scenes from a 2003 horror film called Old Boy.

-- in this commentary I aimed at including jejeune," but failed. Give a child a man's tool and all that.

Edited by william.scherk

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I thought to re-up this thread with an excerpt from a front-porch posting. I am still on my trawl of Tribes-etc reading -- the archives here at OL are rich! I found an instance of tribe-bashing!

(this excerpt veered off from discussion of the notion that then-candidate Trump "excused" Russia for targeting and killing journalists and political opponents (eg, Litvinenko, Nemstov, etc), since the USA was no angel in terms of killing ... 

On 2/8/2017 at 11:28 AM, william.scherk said:

The Syrian war is complex, needless to say, but I hold that one can assess ISIS as wholly evil in intent, and wholly inimical to freedoms most basic -- and also assess the 'evil' of other players in the cockpit.  One can assess the failures of the Syrian military to confront ISIS instead of the FSA, Kurdish commies, varied non-Islamic civic opposition, and the galimaufrey of armed opposition.

I figure for myself that the index of evil is multivariate. It can only be simplified to a given point, beyond which is misunderstanding of the root of conflict.

For example, yesterday Amnesty International released a report that highlighted documented war crimes by the Assad regime in its prisons (specifically Sednaya). Folks will already be aware of the war crimes of the regime, as depicted by the "Caesar" photos which show actual torture-starvation victims in the many thousands. They may not be aware that the "regressive left" is complicit in denying and attempting to refute the evidence, using a crippled 'leftist' logic (eg, per the folks at Counterpunch): 

The new AI report documents an additional aspect of the Baath state:  secret 'execution factory'  prisons. In this report, we learn that the regime systematically hangs en masse tens of thousands of 'suspects' ...

I fear that the new President will make a too-simple cost-benefit calculation.  Russia is yes a guarantor of the Syrian state along with its allies Iran and Hezbollah. Russia is also  publicly opposed to ISIS (and partially engaged in degrading it).  The President may decide that a common enemy in ISIS can overrule or set aside concerns of the evils of the regime itself.  In which case, the entire spectrum of opposition will be abandoned to its fate, including the refugees closest in Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan. That has vast implications for the migration crisis ...

I'd like to believe that the President is focused and hard-headed and knows what he wishes to gain from negotiating a deal or deals with Russia.  I prefer to think that American ideals are what inform his decision-making and deliberations.

The end-game of the Syrian war is nearing, I think. There are no US interests in Syria large enough to mount much opposition to this month's Syria-Iran-Russia deal, such as it is -- especially given Putin and Trump's agreement basically leaving Russia in the lead.  A grateful leader showed his appreciation:

russia-syria.jpg

A further signal that the US will jettison its military role is the announcement that it will not directly arm the Kurdish forces currently in control of a PKK-tinged faux-federation in northern Syria ...

(much of the two-faced, slack, incoherent and ultimately failed US policy towards Syria since 2011 can be laid directly upon President Obama, in my opinion. Weak, unfocused and to some Syrian eyes, betraying American ideals ....)

willNotArmYPG.png

So, Iran is happy, Turkey is happier, the Syrian president is happy, and Russia is happiest. Israel, not so much -- sensing that Iran is getting a cozy foothold in Syria (including secret military bases and probable missile assembly facilities), and that Hizbollah has expanded its range. 

As President Trump said multiple times in the campaign, there are reasons to 'get along' with Russia. Disposing of Syria entirely to the neighbourhood and Uncle Vladimir can be supported as a somewhat cynical realpolitik.  US forces, secret or not, will be leaving Syria and Syrian airspace within the span of a year -- once ISIS is ground to mush, there is not much justification for the expense or danger. It's a big fucking problem that powerful neighbours and allies can solve. End cynical mark-up.

This marbled war map shows what distance we are from a united, sovereign state in that sad place. It is significantly out of date -- the recapture of ISIS-black territory has advanced to both Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour since it was posted in July.  But it offers the residual puzzle: how will Syria be put back together?  What is the Russian design for Syria ... ? 

syria_map_july_2017.jpg?resize=500,479

Meanwhile, in the Arctic, not just  Greenland is relatively balmy.  If the Arctic warming continues on course, Russia will be on top of the world!

gfs_nh-sat1_t2anom_1-day.png

Edited by william.scherk

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Here is a superficially-plausible explanation of Russia Russia Russia hoopla, from AMTV's Chad Boukzam. He describes a kind of air-tight conspiracy,  underlines his view that there is nothing to fear from Russian interests, suggests that anyone who doubts the goodness of Russia is part of a Deaps Tait plot. 

I am part of the plot!

Edited by william.scherk

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I think he's talking about neo-cons and doesn't even know it. That's "the new world order" of the deep state. That can be neutralized. That's only one, albeit huge, facet of Trump opposition. Another is the go along to get along Republicans in Congress. They are being marginalized. Trump's political base goes across both major parties except the Dems on top who have disfranchised their working class voters*. The major facet of Trump opposition is the moral hubris of the left out of academia infesting Hollywood and mainstream media. It's finally become clear it's the same hubris that powered communism into totalitarianism--that most of the opponents of the Vietnam War, for instance, weren't primarily against the war as such as were for communism. The entire left is communist at the core, even if most leftists don't know it they got that hubris. They have no arguments these days, only the use of force. Power grows out of the barrel of a gun. They are the modern day fascists. They have evolved from the intelligentsia (1930s to 1960s) to "where have all the flowers gone" (1960s and 1970s) to today's crap. Modern colleges and universities have become institutions of smart people being liberal-arts idiots.

--Brant

*"Workers Unite!" no longer works so goodbye to Marxism the foundation of Leninism in turn the foundation of communist totalitarianism of Stalin and Mao, Castro and Pal Pot and the Nork shithead

the jihad fascism of the Muslims comes from a religious base; you cannot state to state fight a religion but you can and should fight and neutralize a religion's fascist manifestations with state power and outright force the first object of said attention being Iran

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On 11/30/2017 at 3:55 PM, william.scherk said:

I thought to re-up this thread with an excerpt from a front-porch posting. I am still on my trawl of Tribes-etc reading -- the archives here at OL are rich! I found an instance of tribe-bashing!

(this excerpt veered off from discussion of the notion that then-candidate Trump "excused" Russia for targeting and killing journalists and political opponents (eg, Litvinenko, Nemstov, etc), since the USA was no angel in terms of killing ... 

The end-game of the Syrian war is nearing, I think. There are no US interests in Syria large enough to mount much opposition to this month's Syria-Iran-Russia deal, such as it is -- especially given Putin and Trump's agreement basically leaving Russia in the lead.  A grateful leader showed his appreciation:

russia-syria.jpg

A further signal that the US will jettison its military role is the announcement that it will not directly arm the Kurdish forces currently in control of a PKK-tinged faux-federation in northern Syria ...

(much of the two-faced, slack, incoherent and ultimately failed US policy towards Syria since 2011 can be laid directly upon President Obama, in my opinion. Weak, unfocused and to some Syrian eyes, betraying American ideals ....)

willNotArmYPG.png

So, Iran is happy, Turkey is happier, the Syrian president is happy, and Russia is happiest. Israel, not so much -- sensing that Iran is getting a cozy foothold in Syria (including secret military bases and probable missile assembly facilities), and that Hizbollah has expanded its range. 

As President Trump said multiple times in the campaign, there are reasons to 'get along' with Russia. Disposing of Syria entirely to the neighbourhood and Uncle Vladimir can be supported as a somewhat cynical realpolitik.  US forces, secret or not, will be leaving Syria and Syrian airspace within the span of a year -- once ISIS is ground to mush, there is not much justification for the expense or danger. It's a big fucking problem that powerful neighbours and allies can solve. End cynical mark-up.

This marbled war map shows what distance we are from a united, sovereign state in that sad place. It is significantly out of date -- the recapture of ISIS-black territory has advanced to both Raqqa and Deir ez-Zour since it was posted in July.  But it offers the residual puzzle: how will Syria be put back together?  What is the Russian design for Syria ... ? 

syria_map_july_2017.jpg?resize=500,479

Meanwhile, in the Arctic, not just  Greenland is relatively balmy.  If the Arctic warming continues on course, Russia will be on top of the world!

gfs_nh-sat1_t2anom_1-day.png

Greenland was also balmy during the Medieval Warming period (900-1300).  That is when Danes settle on Greenland's  grassy green slopes  to farm and raise cattle.

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The title topic was "What to learn about Russian goals when you don't really care."  And -- "what is this administration's larger strategy with regard to Russia, its hopes and fears, its ambitions.")

Did Chad Boukzam's video essay bring anyone closer to understanding what Russia wants from America -- and whether America will deliver?

One word that you do find in Chad's screed but not Brant's interpretation is "sanctions." 

Bob or Brant -- is there any chance you might get interested in the topic of Russian goals and America's larger strategy? If not,  do you support America lifting its Magnitsky, Crimea and election-meddling-related sanctions on Russia?

If yes, what should Russia deliver as a quid pro quo?

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6 hours ago, william.scherk said:

The title topic was "What to learn about Russian goals when you don't really care."  And -- "what is this administration's larger strategy with regard to Russia, its hopes and fears, its ambitions.")

Did Chad Boukzam's video essay bring anyone closer to understanding what Russia wants from America -- and whether America will deliver?

One word that you do find in Chad's screed but not Brant's interpretation is "sanctions." 

Bob or Brant -- is there any chance you might get interested in the topic of Russian goals and America's larger strategy? If not,  do you support America lifting its Magnitsky, Crimea and election-meddling-related sanctions on Russia?

If yes, what should Russia deliver as a quid pro quo?

I don't have the time for the topic. I don't believe in sanctions against Russia and, derivatively, the United States using the dollar as a weapon which will eventually destroy it as the world's reserve currency.  Sanctions are morality in action. This has led to many unfortunate wars or used to channel the masses into this or that war. I don't believe we should be in Ukraine or that NATO should be used to pressure or threaten Russia into a corner. During the Cold War NATO butted the West (power) up against the East (power). Now we have Cold War deep state inertia. Stop it already! What do we expect to achieve? World War III? Etc.

--Brant

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18 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:
On 12/4/2017 at 11:24 AM, william.scherk said:

Bob or Brant -- is there any chance you might get interested in the topic of Russian goals and America's larger strategy? If not,  do you support America lifting its Magnitsky, Crimea and election-meddling-related sanctions on Russia?

If yes, what should Russia deliver as a quid pro quo?

I don't have the time for the topic.

That's too bad for discussion.  You could alway just plonk in some boilerplate.

Quote

I don't believe in sanctions against Russia [...].  Sanctions are morality in action. This has led to many unfortunate wars or used to channel the masses into this or that war. I don't believe we should be in Ukraine or that NATO should be used to pressure or threaten Russia into a corner. During the Cold War NATO butted the West (power) up against the East (power). Now we have Cold War deep state inertia. Stop it already! What do we expect to achieve? World War III? Etc.

Thanks for sharing your opinion. I take it you are not much interested in Russian goals, in or at least assessing them, and I also take it that you support lifting the Magnitsky/Crimea/meddling sanctions and expulsion orders.  

Do I have that more or less right?  Moreover, do you support Putin's strategy to disrupt the Western alliance and undermine democratic values?

On 11/12/2016 at 3:53 PM, Brant Gaede said:

[Trump's] big virtue foreign policy wise I think will be disengagement from the eastern European assault on Russia via NATO, letting Russia implode from its reliance on oil and natural gas exports as continual fracking keeps the cost of oil down.

To thoroughly confuse the matter, the equivocal nature of the term "Sanctions."

On 1/29/2017 at 9:11 PM, Brant Gaede said:

If good puts up with (sanctions) evil, evil is empowered. If evil puts up with (sanctions) good, good is not empowered. It doesn't matter regardless for evil sanctions nothing.

 

Edited by william.scherk

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16 hours ago, Brant Gaede said:
23 hours ago, william.scherk said:

I take it you are not much interested in Russian goals, in or at least assessing them, and I also take it that you support lifting the Magnitsky/Crimea/meddling sanctions and expulsion orders.  

Do I have that more or less right?  Moreover, do you support Putin's strategy to disrupt the Western alliance and undermine democratic values?

I don't know what "democratic values" are.

When you have time and the return of interest, perhaps you will answer the bolded question. I don't want to presume over-much with the second question.

If you don't have opinions on Russian strategy vis a vis the West ... no worries, but I'll still wonder what you think America should 'get' from Russia if it comes to suspend or reverse the actions noted above. Freedom of conscience, speech, assembly, association; representative/republican form of government, rule of law, the primacy of individual rights and freedoms ...

Of glancing interest today is the reaction of the leadership to the announcement that the International Olympic Committee has barred Russia from competing in the Olympic Games next year in the Republic of Korea. Dope dope dope dope dope ...

Putin blames US for 'politically-motivated' Olympics ban

 

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On 9/12/2017 at 11:37 AM, william.scherk said:

 

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Russia Sought A Broad Reset With Trump, Secret Document Shows
A Russian proposal obtained by BuzzFeed News reveals Moscow’s ambitious plan to break with the past and launch a major rapprochement with the United States.

The gist is that Russia had detailed suggestions/plans to normalize relations. 

The Lawfare podcasts are good, wide-ranging, thoughtful and intelligent. Here's a sample of the kind of work they get up to, an interview with a dude who knows Russia better than you or me.

riseofputinfakenewsinterview.png

 "Freedom of conscience, speech, assembly, association; representative/republican form of government, rule of law, the primacy of individual rights and freedoms ... " + charter or constitutional rights that are inalienable, an independent judiciary ...

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Sanctions, sanctions, sanctions.

From Politico yesterday, Trump approves new Russia sanctions for violating Cold War arms pact, by Gregory Hellman.

The Trump administration is levying new sanctions on Russia it hopes will force it to comply with a Cold War-era nuclear arms treaty it has violated by deploying a banned cruise missile, according to a senior administration official.

The Commerce Department will punish Russian companies that have provided technology to help develop the new weapon, which was outlawed by the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty signed by the United States and then-Soviet Union in 1987.

The pact banned missiles with ranges between 500 and 5,500 kilometers, which when deployed on Europe's periphery were seen as highly destabilizing because they would provide little advance notice of attack — and could carry a nuclear warhead.

The administration’s decision, outlined to reporters on Friday, was made after a lengthy review undertaken by the National Security Council, the administration official said.

The goal, the official said, is to signal to Russia that the Trump administration will take treaty violations seriously and to “change the economic calculus” of Putin’s government.

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I wrote this here back in July 2017, in the context of "What is a proper Russia policy for the USA?"

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Having established their own briefs on facts and values, strategy and intelligence, law and practice, OLers might like me might have asked themselves the same set of questions -- not of the American 'vehicle' commanded by President Trump, but of the Russian ship of state.

I am a fan of the analysts and thoughtful observers at Lawfare. This week Julia Ioffe and Alina Polyakova talked on the subject "What Putin wants and fears," striking off from Ioffe's recent article at the Atlantic, "What Putin Really Wants."

 

As our Dear Leader suggested back in 2006, an objective and rational approach to Russia must be hard-eyed ...

On 11/24/2006 at 5:19 AM, Michael Stuart Kelly said:

Thugs are thugs wherever they are. Like it or not, Russia is still a threat.

Of subsidiary interest is news out of the Trump administration, first reported at the Daily Beast  -- now splashing down in the Baltic Sea  -- this from the Baltic Times: US news portal: Trump adviser floated withdrawing US forces from Baltics

Also of interest to hard-eyed Russia-watchers, Trumpist or not, a 'minority report' issued today by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

Putin’s Asymmetric Assault On Democracy In Russia And Europe: Implications For U.S. National Security

 

 

 

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The real Deep State?

Men put in office by Donald Trump testified to the US Senate today.  Collectively, they represent the sum total intelligence of six executives. What was the message? Among others,  a threat assessment -- that Russian information warfare** is likely to be directed at the 2018 midterm elections.

wray_pompeo_coats.jpg.size.custom.crop.1

The full roster of gents who played political theatre today is Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, FBI Director Chris Wray, NSA Director Adm. Michael Rogers, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo.

It is interesting to take a Sather/Seaman/Nemos/out-there read of the show today. I would guess, unless the entity known as Q pipes up, that the take to take away is that they were all manipulable chess-pieces put in play by Mysterious Forces. It's a front for something else, maybe Obama-ish or Stalin-esque or Luciferian. I should check with the fellas. I wonder if they will deal with the forces behind the performance, or the performance itself.

One of those forces could be a Senator from that purplish blue red state of Virginia. Judging from some of his quoted questions, the political haymaking is by no means over, not even close, the political hustle and posturing is still Grand.  Which adds an intriguing possibility that the varied Yes-man Directors are dancing a Democratic hustle.

How else to square the Yes Men testimony against a Trumpian No., against a "Russia hoax" or "Witch hunt" ...? (or, a Muh Russia line of ridicule?)

-- Virginia Senator Mark Warner "asked all six of the US officials testifying to reaffirm the intelligence community's findings last year that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, and that the Kremlin will continue to intervene in future elections. All said yes."

Later, a Republican Senator pushed back. My tale is as reported by CNN, the next quotes too, so hold onto your hair ...

Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, however, took issue with Warner's assertion that the US was not prepared for Russia's efforts to interfere in the 2018 elections on social media.

Risch said that the members of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the intelligence community were not surprised at Russia's efforts in 2016. And he argued that the public has become more educated too.

"With all due respect to my friend from Virginia, I think the American people are ready for this," Risch said. "The American people are smart people, they realize there are people attempting to manipulate them, both domestically and foreign. And I agree with everyone on the panel this is going to go on. This is the way the Russians have done business, this is no surprise to us."

Another issue related to Russia's election interference is the US voting systems themselves. The Department of Homeland Security has said there were Russian efforts to try to hack into the voting systems in 21 states, and several lawmakers have raised concerns states and localities are unprepared for the 2018 election cycle.

"Voting begins in March, that's next month," said Sen. Roy Blunt, a Missouri Republican. "If we're going to have any impact on securing that voting system itself, it would seem to me, we need to be acting quickly."

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Edited by william.scherk

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Billy, have you seen the actual real examples of the Ruskies previous attempts at influence on social media? Heh. If not I'd suggest checking them out. They have the same quality and effectiveness as obviously uneducated foreigners transparently masquerading as royalty looking for someone to help them move their wealth to America.

"Trumps is be goot president. Will be glorious leader.  Helury horrible smell like stink garbages." Well, not quite that obvious, but awkward and unaware of American culture and how to tap into it, or how to convincingly mimic it. The idea that it had mass influence is ridiculous. It's a Narrative. The continuing grim seriousness about it by important top men in suits and frowny faces is a political clownshow.

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