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Thursday, August 24, 2017

What the ‘Great Terror’ Taught Autocrats

The instruments of lesser terror are still routinely employed today. Vladimir Putin uses them to stay in power despite a weak economy, rising poverty and rampant corruption. The Kremlin allots state assets, government credits and university deanships to those in favor. Streaks of independence or defiance are punished by charges of corruption, confiscatory taxes and denial of business licenses. Political opponents are disqualified from the ballot, and ordinary protesters are sent to prison or put under house arrest. Anti-riot forces are given free rein to fire on demonstrators. Dissidents who become a real danger can be shot or poisoned. The murderer will never be found, despite an elaborate investigation and court proceeding.

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Tuesday, August 15, 2017

A Grand Bargain on Korea

North Korea has become an intractable problem for the United States. But there may be a way forward in the form of a grand bargain that requires fewer U.S. concessions than expected. In fact, the resolution of the Korean conundrum may be less challenging than containing Iran. A rejection by North Korea’s Kim Jong-un of such a deal would provide evidence of his irrationality and confirm the regrettable need for non-diplomatic measures.

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Monday, July 24, 2017

What Was The 'Top Secret' Information Passed On At Trump Tower?

The media frenzy has turned a ham-handed (on both sides) lobbying effort by unregistered Russian lobbyists into a dark cloak-and-dagger conspiracy involving the exchange of top secret information. Who cares whether Browder contributed a small amount to attend a Clinton Foundation event? In the meantime, the media ignores the fact that the same Russian agents were heavily involved in the one activity that almost made a difference in the 2016 election: the creation of the infamous Steele anti-Trump dossier.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Russia Didn't Interfere In U.S. Election To Help Trump, But To Destabilize America

The ironical outcome is that the real collusion may be between the enemies of Trump making an alliance with Putin to weaken their own country, all in order to overturn an election outcome they despise.

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Tuesday, July 4, 2017

The Real Colluder With Russia Isn't Trump -- It's Germany

Germany postures itself as the conscience of Europe. Besieged by floods of refugees, Germany takes them in and scolds those who do not. Germany claims to guard European unity against the insidious forces of the nation-state. Germany ridicules the United States for electing a right-wing novice, a real estate developer, no less. It is Germany that stands in the way of Trump’s purported plans to weaken NATO and break apart the European Union. But Germany, the self-declared paragon of European values, finds itself fighting an isolated battle to give Putin’s rogue state its political objectives for the benefit of Germany, Inc.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

How Much Is Saudi Aramco Worth? It Depends On The Country's Institutions

Capital markets are harsh judges. They lay bare the immense social costs of the poorly-run and corrupt energy companies of the world, such as Gazprom, Petrobas, and Rosneft. We now await its judgement on Saudi Aramco.