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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Distrustful Kim Should Look at Ukraine not Libya

Ukraine, the holder of the third largest stockpile of nuclear weapons, agreed to give them up in signing the Budapest Memorandum of 1994. In return for de-nuclearizing, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Russia assured Ukraine’s territorial integrity. When Russia annexed Crimea contrary to international law and Russia backed an invasion of Eastern Ukraine, neither the United States nor the United Kingdom fulfilled its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum to protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity. In its hostile actions against Ukraine, Russia broke the foundation of postwar peace; namely, the sanctity of existing national boundaries.

I find it strange that, in the discussion of the de-nuclearization of North Korea, reference is made mainly to Libya’s Gadhafi giving up his nuclear program, as an example of the untrustworthiness of major-power guarantees. Gadhafi voluntarily allowed in inspectors who oversaw the dismantling of the Libyan weapons program, but he received no guarantees of personal safety or territorial integrity from the major powers.

The Ukraine case, on the other hand, constituted a clear abrogation of treaty obligations on the part of the United States and the United Kingdom, and, of course, Russia. If General Secretary Kim of North Korea has doubts about entering an agreement with the United States that would leave him without nuclear weapons, he should ponder the case of Ukraine. 

A nuclear Ukraine would likely still be in possession of Crimea and not have Russian troops and equipment in its East.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My War With Russian Trolls by Paul R. Gregory

Putin bases his legitimacy on high approval ratings. To counter the Russian people’s sense that they have no say in how they are governed, Kremlin propagandists must sell the story that Western democracies have it worse. Downtrodden Americans, they say, face poverty, hunger, racial and ethnic discrimination, unemployment, and they are governed by corrupt, inept, greedy, dysfunctional, and feuding politicians who sell out to the highest bidder on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley. This brings us to how the ballyhooed Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election has given Putin a gift that keeps on giving—a paralyzed federal government, incapable of compromise, in which a significant portion of the governing class questions the legitimacy of a new president.

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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Overlooked in Putin's Reelection: The Kremlin's Challenge Is From The Left

Stalin famously remarked that "the people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything." Under Putin, voters are nothing compared to those who decide who can be on the ballot. Indeed, Putin’s Central Electoral Commission rejected Putin’s main liberal rival (Navalny) on a technicality. Other potential contenders have been assassinated (Boris Nemtsov) or subjected to death threats (Mikhail Kasyanov). There should be no talk of a Russian “election” when the sitting president chooses his opponents, controls mass media, and has all the instruments of power behind his campaign.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

Putin's nuclear posturing part of effort to win back displeased public

Putin’s message to the West: “Do not mess with us. If you do anything that threatens the Russian state (namely me), you will be subject to devastation. Russia’s nuclear arsenal can defeat any missile defense system that the U.S. and NATO can deploy.”
Putin enjoys needling his opponents. He surely has not missed the fact that the U.S. can do little against a weak and dysfunctional North Korea, whose deliverable nuclear arsenal is scarcely measureable compared with Russia’s.
Whereas Kim Jong Un threatens nuclear retaliation if attacked, Putin threatens nuclear annihilation if his enemies meddle with his regime, and he decides what, how and when.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Did The FBI Vouch For The Crazy Russian Deal From The Steele Dossier?

Given that the Steele dossier is unverifiable, by design, and the Sechin-Carter deal bordered on the crazy, the only conclusion left is that FBI officials were guided by their hatred and fear of Trump, rather than by adherence to the law. If we cannot trust federal law enforcement agencies – the IRS, the FBI, and the Justice Department—we face a significant domestic crisis.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Trump should be wary of Putin's 'truth'-telling

If Putin can claim with a straight face that Russia did not orchestrate the Crimean annexation and has not used regular Russian troops in Ukraine, he can solemnly assert to President Trump that Russia did not intervene in the U.S. election and “believe” what he says.
After all, what is the difference between a Russian hacker hacking the DNC from Nigeria, a “lost” Russian paratrooper in east Ukraine and a “little green man” minding his own business in Crimea? None, according to Putin, are the responsibility of Russia.
Let’s hope that President Trump understands what Putin is actually saying.

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