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. »

Putin’s infowar on America

Featured image Donald Trump induced some kind of a nervous breakdown in the Democrat/Media Complex last week with his invitation that Russia release its putative trove of deleted Clinton emails. The Democrats’ hysteria constituted an exercise in bad faith, the Media’s hysteria an exercise in servile stupidity. That’s just the way it is. They have moved on. They now seek to exploit Donald Trump’s refusal to abide by the first law of »

How HIllary helped U.S. investors fund Russian research for military uses

Featured image Russia has become a major issue in this year’s presidential campaign. It should have been a major issue in the last one, but President Obama countered Mitt Romney’s attempt to inject Russia into the debate with his sophomoric quip that “the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back.” Whether it’s ISIS (aka “the jayvee”) or Russia, Obama sure knows how to spot trouble. This year, both »

The New York Times: Two conflicting editorials, one cynical motive

Featured image James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal captures the shameless partisanship of the New York Times in just a few sentences. The sentences come from editorials that appeared in 2012 and 2016 regarding the views of the Republican presidential candidates on Russia. Here is the New York Times on March 29, 2012: Two decades after the end of the cold war, Mitt Romney still considers Russia to be America’s ‘No. »

Obama doubles down on failed Russia and Syria policy

Featured image The list of President Obama’s foreign policy failures is long. Thanks in large part to Obama, Iran is rich (and still able to go nuclear at the time of its choosing); Libya is a failed state and significant base for ISIS; the butcher Assad remains in power, while ISIS controls wide swaths of territory in Syria; Russia’s influence in the Middle East and Eastern Europe hasn’t been stronger in decades; »

Analyze this

Featured image Struggling with adult onset ADD, as I like to think of it, I forgot to include this intriguing quote from Paul Gregory’s Forbes column on the recently discovered hacking of the DNC’s databases by perpetrators acting on behalf of the Russian authorities, according to the DNC. Gregory notes: “The DNC’s hired cyber security firm explains that ‘it is extremely difficult for a civilian organization to protect itself from a skilled »