Russia

Is Russia Preparing to Invade Ukraine?

Featured image London’s Sun isn’t much of a newspaper. Most of its articles are about crime, actresses on vacation and reality TV actors behaving badly. But even the Sun knows that the potential outbreak of war in Central Europe is worth covering: Russia is reportedly deploying a massive army on the Ukrainian border amid fears of an imminent invasion which risks destabilising Eastern Europe. Ukraine‘s Deputy Defence Minister Ihor Dolhov says a »

Russia freakout

Featured image The freakout over Donald Trump’s alleged love affair with Vladimir Putin may or may not have a firm basis in reality. But to the extent that it’s Democrats who are freaking out, I can’t help but note their hypocrisy. It was President Obama and then-Secretary of State Clinton who gave us the Russian reset, one consequence of which was to deny Poland and the Czech Republic a missile shield. It »

Whom does Putin prefer?

Featured image One of the Democrats’ big talking points in this election is the claim that Vladimir Putin favors Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. The talking point serves two purposes: (1) as a response to every new WikiLeak and (2) as a selling point for Hillary in its own right. The talking point seems implausible, though. Hillary Clinton is the author of the Russian “reset,” which proved most beneficial for Putin (e.g., »

War In Europe? Ho Hum

Featured image It seems to be a closely guarded secret, but preparations for war are going on in Europe. A Russian fleet that includes that country’s only aircraft carrier made a point of sailing through the English Channel and along the European coast en route to Syria. Nuclear-capable Russian ships are making a demonstration in the Baltic Sea, and Russian troops, reportedly equipped with nuclear weapons, have moved near Russia’s borders with »

The Russian connection (?)

Featured image It is impossible to keep up with the falsehoods with which we are inundated by the presidential campaigns. Take, for example, Hillary Clinton’s assertion that 17 intelligence agencies concur with the finding that the Russians are responsible for the DNC and WikiLeaks/Podesta email hacks. This has become a key Clinton campaign talking point, repeated again this morning by Clinton campaign manager Robbie Mook on FOX News Sunday to Chris Wallace »

David Satter: Understanding Putin

Featured image In its September 2009 number GQ carried an interesting article by Scott Anderson on the September 1999 apartment bombings in Russia that left hundreds dead and led to Vladimir Putin’s rise to power. The piece profiled former Russian FSB officer Mikhail Trepashkin and collected evidence suggesting that the bombings were perpetrated by the FSB rather than by Chechen terrorists. It was the kind of intriguing investigative piece that most publications »

The Gathering Storm?

Featured image My late teacher of intelligence and strategy Harold Rood liked to say, “You run the show or the show runs you.” (Book here.) It was a corollary to his axiom that “Nothing happens for no good reason.” With these counsels in mind, there are some ominous news items from the last few days: USS Mason Fired 3 Missiles to Defend From Yemen Cruise Missiles Attack The crew of a guided-missile »

John Kerry threatens the Russians

Featured image Secretary of State John Kerry has threatened to stop talking with the Russians if they and their Syrian ally don’t quit bombing Aleppo. So New York Times reporter Michael Gordon lets on at the top of his story “Syria talks will end if Aleppo bombing continues, U.S. tells Russia.” Adam Entous and Felicia Schwartz add some details in their Wall Street Journal story “Obama administration threatens to suspend talks with »

Obama’s Syria policy explained

Featured image In writing about the pathetic efforts of John Kerry to arrange a cease fire in Syria, I’ve referred to the Secretary of State as the village idiot. But what about President Obama? Though his intellect may be overrated, he’s anything but an idiot. Obama is, instead, a clever operator who often thinks several moves ahead of his domestic, though not his foreign, adversaries. Why, then, has U.S. policy paved the »

Syria “cease fire” already violated

Featured image Yesterday, I wrote about the farcical Syria cease fire negotiated by John Kerry with Russia. If I had waited a few hours, I would have learned that the agreement, which went into effect yesterday, was immediately violated. According to the Washington Post: Residents and activists of the besieged rebel portion of Aleppo said that Syrian government helicopters had dropped barrel bombs on one neighborhood of the city and that loyalist »

Good grief, John Kerry — Part Two

Featured image After months of negotiating with Russia, John Kerry has obtained a “cease fire” agreement in Syria. The Washington Post characterizes the agreement as “the renewal of a cease-fire,” which tells you all you need to know about the value of this deal. Like its predecessors, this agreement was made to be broken as far as Russia is concerned. Even significant portions of the Obama administration appear not to believe in »

Good grief, John Kerry

Featured image President Obama has become a laughingstock in Moscow, Beijing, Tehran, and wherever else serious people are paying attention. But it is John Kerry, one suspects, who draws the biggest guffaws. Consider the Syria deal Kerry, with White House approval, presented to Russia in July. According to the Washington Post the proposal was this: the U.S. would share intelligence and coordinate its bombing of terrorists targets with Russia and Russia would »

Tim Kaine can’t defend Hillary’s Russian reset

Featured image Today on ABC News, Martha Raddatz asked Tim Kaine about Hillary Clinton’s Russian reset: Hillary Clinton was in charge with the so-called reset with Russia. Can you make an argument that it worked, given what happened in Crimea and Syria? Kaine could not. He answered: I don’t think you can make an argument that the relationship with Russia is in a good place right now. That’s a “no.” “But,” Kaine »

More Iran dividends

Featured image AFP reports that the Islamic Republic of Iran has deployed the Russian made S-300 missile system to protect its underground nuclear facility at Fordow. The Obama administration has expressed its “concern” for public consumption, but it’s an Obama threefer. Russia flaunts its contempt for Obama; the mullahs put American ransom money to work protecting the nukes they will acquire when they choose as they advance their program under the umbrella »

Memo sheds new light on Clinton-Russia uranium scandal

Featured image Of all the Clinton Foundation/Clinton cash scandals, the one I’ve always considered most disturbing involves the Russians gaining control over a large share of America’s uranium. Relying on a New York Times report, I wrote about this scandal here. Newly uncovered State Department documents shed additional light on this scandal. But before getting to the new material, I’ll summarize what the New York Times reported. What we knew already In »

Aleppo update

Featured image In early August, I wrote about the apparent break through by Syrian rebels in Aleppo. Before the war, Aleppo was Syria’s economic hub and a cultural treasure. Since 2012, it has been divided between regime forces and opposition fighters. It became the Syrian rebels’ last urban stronghold and, as such, the target of a siege by the Assad regime and Hezbollah forces supported, crucially, by Russian air power. A few »

Syrian rebels reportedly break through in Aleppo

Featured image Syrian rebels say they have broken a weeks-long siege in Aleppo in northern Syria. Such a breakthrough would represent both a symbolic and a strategic victory against the Assad regime, Hezbollah, and their backers — Iran and Russia. The Assad regime denies that there has been a breakthrough. However, video and photos uploaded by rebels and opposition activists suggest that the rebels have at least temporarily broken through the siege. »