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Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Turkey's Downing of the Russian Fighter: Expect Nuclear Saber Rattling and Threats to NATO's Existence

The world is in for a tense time of possible nuclear brinksmanship. If the United States and the other NATO countries blink, NATO is no more, and Putin has achieved his major goal. We must worry whether the Western world is led by leaders up to the task. There should be some sleepless nights in Berlin, London, Paris and Washington D.C. Putin is rightly described as a bully—and the standard procedure against bullies is to fight back. Turkey’s Erdogan has done just that. Will Turkey’s military allies back him up or cave once more? This test, if it comes, will have profound consequences.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Russia’s Economic Stagnation

Since the beginning of hostilities in Ukraine in February 2014, Vladimir Putin has assured the Russian people that any resulting economic hardship would be short and mild. Even after energy prices slumped, sanctions were imposed, and the economy weakened, Putin optimistically pointed to “signs of recovery,” to “declining dependence on oil,” and insisted that sanctions were not a burden but an opportunity. Russia’s premier, Dmitry Medvedev, assured the people that the government would “fulfill its social obligations [pensions and health care] in full.” Putin praised the Kremlin’s economic Houdinis for showing the West that its “economic sanctions are having no effect.”

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go to National Review Online

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Russia cooks its defense books Moscow says it spends less than it does so that NATO will cut back too.

Reports that Russia is limiting military spending to a 1 percent (nominal) increase in 2016 may be timed to deflate NATO’s initiative to raise defense spending to the target 2 percent for each member country. Russia is playing a dual role. On the one hand, it exults in its military power on prominent display in Syria. On the other, it plays the role of impoverished cousin — too poor to keep up military spending. Russia cannot have it both ways.

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Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Putin's Syria Narrative Must Win Russian Public Opinion--But It'll Be A Hard Sell

According to Putin’s Syria narrative, Russia will triumphantly rejoin the Western world as its savior after its good deed in the Middle East is complete. Hard feelings over Crimea will be long forgotten; sanctions will disappear. The U.S. will become a second-rate power, unmasked as all talk and no action. Other countries will understand where the power lies and whom to have as a friend. The question is whether Putin will be able to convince the Russian people to bear the burden of yet another foreign adventure. His propaganda succeeded for Ukraine, but is less likely to work for far away Syria.

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Putin’s foreign legion Russia is shifting its little green men to Syria.

For Putin, the foreign legion, particularly bolstered by Cuban professionals, means that he can use proxy fighters to fight ground wars in place of young Russians, who have no desire to die in a faraway land that has no real meaning for them. An added advantage is that he transfers a highly armed team of thugs away from the porous Russian border. There’s no telling what kind of mischief they could cause on Russian soil. Let’s see how this works out for him.

go to Politico

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

MH17: A Tragic Mistake Or Deliberate State Murder?

We are left with the choice between a tragic error made by rebel/Russian forces in the heat of battle versus believing in one of the most sinister acts of deliberate state murder of all time.

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