Wednesday, September 30, 2015

As Russia Launches Air Strikes In Syria, Obama Must Make Sure We Don't Forget Ukraine

Vladimir Putin evoked the anti-Hitler coalition in his UN Speech. He, like any Russian, understands Hitler’s fatal blunder in opening an eastern front in June of 1941. Putin has, in effect, opened a second front in his war on the West with today’s bombing of anti-Assad forces. He is gambling that he can keep his Ukrainian front quiet as he carries out his Middle East venture. U.S. President Barack Obama now has an opportunity to  thwart Putin’s new world order of a Russian-dominated coalition of forces in the Middle East, a neutralized Ukraine, and a compliant Europe that welcomes Russia back into the fold, while Obama fumes on the sidelines. If the United States and Europe do not react, Putin will perhaps prevail. President Obama has the weapons to foil Putin, if he chooses to use them.

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My Interview on RT

I just completed my first interview (by skype) on Russia Today TV. They were very polite and professional. They wanted to know my views on the UN speeches of Putin and Obama, and whether a coalition could be formed to fight ISIS. I replied that Russia’s desire to keep Assad in power would be a stumbling block. I was then asked about the movement to eliminate the veto of certain security council member (directed against Russia for its veto of a criminal tribunal for MH17). The moderator then turned to sanctions to ask whether they were an effective mechanism. I replied that the Russian sanctions have been mild and were imposed because of the annexation of Crimea, MH17, and the introduction of regular Russian troops into southeast Ukraine starting in August. The moderator interrupted to say that there was no evidence of regular Russian forces in southeast Ukraine and declared that we had run out of time.

Maybe we had run out of time or my response on regular Russian forces went over their line. We’ll see if this comment is in the edited version. 

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Putin’s new world order The Russian president, far from ostracized, is the center of global attention.

The president of Russia uses a Putin-speak in his speeches that we must parse word for word, in our own best interests. Only after translating them into normal speech do we learn what he has said and why. His speech Monday to the United Nations General Assembly made seven overlapping and interdependent points that are worth translating.

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Sunday, September 27, 2015

On Syria, Putin goes for his holy grail

On Monday September 28, Russia’s president will propose to the UN General Assembly his plan for a broad coalition to defeat ISIS.  His words will be backed byclear evidence of a substantial Russian military buildup in Syria, including Russian fighters entering Syrian airspace with transponders off. Whereas Russian troops and equipment were delivered to Ukraine in strict secrecy, the Kremlin seems to be purposely telegraphing its military moves in Syria to tee up Putin’s speech.

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Friday, September 18, 2015

Putin’s Civil War With His Ukrainian Allies: Clearing the Decks For Syria?

Note Moskovsky Komsomolets’s remarkable jabs, reversals, and admissions: The DNR is labeled a “self proclaimed” republic, suggesting it has no legal status outside Ukraine. The “those who watch television” remark belittles Russians and east Ukrainians, who falsely believe that ethnic Russians in east Ukraine harbor a deep hatred and fear of Ukrainians.  Why should they not? Russian television has broadcast horror stories of rape, crucifixion, and murder by the Ukrainian neo-Nazis nonstop for more than a year.  Now “those who watch television” are supposed to believe something else!

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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

If Russian Soldiers Aren't Dying In Ukraine, Why Did Putin Make Casualty Stats A State Secret?

I challenge Putin and the Kremlin to remove the criminal penalties for revealing information on military casualties during “peacetime.” Such a law can only be interpreted as hiding a deep and dark secret. Russia has secrecy laws that have no other purpose than to conceal its involvement in Ukraine. The right way for the matter to be resolved is for Russia to repeal the law and allow independent verification.
If Russia truly wants the facts to come out, let there be open discussion, not whispers exchanged in shadows against the overwhelming chatter of the state media. Better still, Russia should disclose the actual number of Russian casualties for whom the government is providing compensation. But I forget. The official number is zero.

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