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Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Trump Dossier Is Fake -- And Here Are The Reasons Why

After reading the Orbis report I got the queasy feeling that it may have influenced intelligence community’s unclassified report Leaks of classified bits by NBCNews and the Washington Post suggest the findings were, in part, based on British intelligence and spies. I wonder if the reference is to Putin’s role, which the intelligence report characterized as direct. This is a matter the new administration must look into.
We have reached a sad state of affairs where an anonymous report, full of bizarre statements, captures the attention of the world media because it casts a shadow over the legitimacy of a President-elect, who has not even taken the oath of office. For example, the Trump dossier is tonight’s lead item on German state television and on BBC. False news has become America’s international export to the world media.

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Monday, January 9, 2017

Why Russia Cannot Become Our Friend: Memo to President Trump

Regrettably, the prospects for a successful negotiation with Putin over the “unsatisfactory condition of Russian-American relations” are near zero for the following reasons: The Putin regime requires confrontation with the US for its very survival, while Trump must deliver “beautiful deals” that “make American great again.” If Trump were to sign a deal which does not yield real enforceable concessions by Putin on Crimea, east Ukraine, or the Middle East, Trump’s deal-making image would be shattered along with his presidency.

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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Trump's Election Spoils Putin's Narrative To The Russian People

The 2016 election shows Russians that, in America, a candidate can come out of nowhere – a David to slay the Goliath of crooked American politics. This is contrary to Putin’s narrative of a decadent, greedy, and aggressive US establishment that uses its political monopoly to cut down a Trump-like candidacy. This is the last message Putin wants delivered to the Russian people with his own carefully-orchestrated election scheduled for 2018.

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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Putin Already Playing Nuclear Poker With Trump

“The Russian Federation reserves the right to utilize nuclear weapons in response to the utilization of nuclear and other types of weapons of mass destruction against it and (or) its allies, and also in the event of aggression against the Russian Federation involving the use of conventional weapons when the very existence of the state is under threat. The decision to utilize nuclear weapons is made by the president of the Russian Federation.”

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Monday, December 19, 2016

CBS' 'Face The Nation' Downplays Henry Kissinger's Doubts That Russia Sought To Elect Trump

Dr. Kissinger: “I can’t quite understand what their purpose would be because in all the polls Hillary was far ahead, and they could not have had information on the polls that others didn’t have.  And then to antagonize the president-to-be by getting into an open support of the opponent doesn’t make any sense to me.  They were hacking, but the use they allegedly made of this hacking eludes me.”

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Friday, December 16, 2016

Trump's "Full Throttle" Energy Policy Could Devastate Putin's Petrostate (Tillerson to Deliver the Message?)

Putin’s regime is based on Russia’s oil and gas resources, which, despite his pledge to diversify, account for a quarter of the economy and half of state revenues (two thirds if other minerals are included). Putin can live with a stagnant economy and popular unrest, but he cannot survive a large and irreversible loss of Russia’s oil and gas earnings.

Basic economics explains how a Trump “high resource case” would undermine Putin’s petrostate: The first US fracking revolution made the US energy industry the “swing” or “marginal producer” on the world market. No matter what OPEC or Russia produces, the long-run price of oil will be set by the break-even cost of US unconventional oil and gas. The break-even is currently between $50 and $60 a barrel, but it is headed to lows of $40 or below.  We should not underestimate the technological ingenuity of the fracking industry.

But wait! Will not President Trump, known admirer of Putin, and Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, Order of Friendship recipient, use their immense political clout to cash in on lucrative Russian deals. Will not Trump and Tillerson throw money at their “bromance” partners, Putin and his Rosneft sidekick Igor Sechin, and save Russia’s failing petrostate?

What deals are we talking about? Over the near term, oil prices rule out large international investments in Russia, even if sanctions were lifted. At best, the Shells and BPs will try to salvage what they can from past mega-investments at $100 oil. No one is standing in line to throw their money away on loss-making Russian mega-deals, least among them an ExxonMobil headed by Tillerson’s successor.

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