Category Archives: Russia

Marching Orders

Is Trump even trying to look like he’s not a Putin puppet? Not that I can tell.

This was published on May 23 in Sputnik News, a Russian propaganda outlet:

Moscow has called on Washington to settle the issue of the “illegal” seizure of Russian diplomatic property in the United States in the latter days of the Obama administration in a constructive way, adding that if the problem isn’t resolved, the countermeasures by Russia will follow.

In December President Obama had seized the two diplomatic compounds, saying they were used for intelligence gathering purposes. The move was retaliation for Russia’s hacking the U.S. election.

And now, six months later, we have this:

The Trump administration is moving toward handing back to Russia two diplomatic compounds, near New York City and on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, that its officials were ejected from in late December as punishment for Moscow’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Just one week after Sputnik said Putin wants his Russian spy houses back, Trump is following his marching orders. But, no puppet, no puppet.

Got it.

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Filed under Donald Trump, Russia

Putin Hates Hillary Memory Hole

Donald Trump’s Twitter feed notwithstanding, U.S. intelligence long ago confirmed that Russia hacked DNC computers, RNC computers, etc. This is not up for debate, nor has it ever been up for debate. The tiny bit of daylight between the CIA and the FBI is the motive behind the hacking: was it to help sway the election to Trump, as the CIA believes, or was it just to undermine Americans’ faith in a democratic institution, as the FBI maintains?

As I’ve said before, it’s obvious the goal was to help Trump. When everyone is hacked but only the Democrats’ emails are released to Russian propaganda tool WikiLeaks, you have to be pretty dumb to think anything else was going on. Whether the Kremlin actually thought it would work or not is another matter. Clearly, they were trying to help Trump, and if Hillary Clinton still won, hers would be a damaged win. A damaged President Hillary Clinton would be almost as good as a President Trump. Remember: pre-election day, everyone assumed Hillary was going to win.

Furthermore we have history. Vladimir Putin hates Hillary Clinton for many reasons, chief among them being he viewed her as a threat to his hold on power. From the 2011 memory hole:

MOSCOW — Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin accused Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Thursday of inciting unrest in Russia, as he grappled with the prospect of large-scale political protest for the first time in his more than decade-long rule.

In a rare personal accusation, Mr. Putin said Mrs. Clinton had sent “a signal” to “some actors in our country” after Sunday’s parliamentary elections, which were condemned as fraudulent by both international and Russian observers. Anger over the elections prompted a demonstration in which thousands chanted “Putin is a thief” and “Russia without Putin,” a development that has deeply unnerved the Kremlin.

Speaking to political allies as he announced the formation of his presidential campaign, Mr. Putin said that hundreds of millions of dollars in “foreign money” was being used to influence Russian politics, and that Mrs. Clinton had personally spurred protesters to action. The comments indicate a breakdown in the Obama administration’s sputtering effort to “reset” the relationship between the United States and Russia.

Gee, can’t imagine why he wouldn’t want Hillary to be president of the United States, can you?

And then there’s this from 2010:

TBILISI, Georgia—U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday assured Georgia that it remains a key U.S. partner, using tough language to call for Russia to end its “occupation” of separatist territories in the Caucasus nation, while shying from criticism of President Mikheil Saakashvili’s democratic credentials.

Fears had been growing here that Georgia was lower on the U.S.’s list of priorities than it was during the presidency of George W. Bush, as the Obama administration pursues a “reset” policy on Russian relations aimed at easing tensions and strengthening economic ties.

“We continue to call for Russia to abide by the August 2008 cease-fire commitment…including ending the occupation and withdrawing Russian troops from South Ossetia and Abkhazia to their preconflict positions,” Mrs. Clinton said at a joint news conference with Mr. Saakashvili. “The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The far-left never tired of portraying Hillary Clinton as a warmonger, but the truth is she was hawkish in her dealings with Vladimir Putin, an oppressive oligarch who deserved to be treated with caution. The result was that Putin worked to swing the election to his BFF Donald Trump, or at least inflict as much damaged on Hillary as possible. Mission accomplished.

What I don’t understand is why the moderate GOPers, who always claimed President Obama was “soft on Russia,” fell in line behind Donald Trump. I’m thinking of folks like Marco Rubio and Tennessee’s own Bob Corker, who called Obama’s actions weak on Russia. And yet they fell in line behind Trump, whose campaign’s ties to the Kremlin were no secret, and who had long praised Putin. I don’t get it.

As the Washington Post reported a few days before the election,

“Putin has kind of got it in for Hillary,” said Clifford Kupchan, chairman of the consulting firm Eurasia Group and a Russia expert who attended private meetings with Putin during the Clinton years. “The statements after the Duma riots were like kerosene on a fire, and it really made Putin angry.”

This was before the election, when a Hillary Clinton win seemed all but assured. But Putin’s man squeaked by on a technicality, and now we’re all suffering the consequences.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, Hillary Clinton, Russia

>So Much For Trade Delegations With Russia

>Palin’s alleged “Russian experience” is turning out to be even thinner than watching Putin’s plane fly overhead.

Although she told ABC’s Charlie Gibson that there are “trade missions back and forth,” a look through the governor’s website finds very little evidence of any such missions. And Palin herself put the kabosh on what opportunities did exist for Alaska-Russia relations by slashing the budget of the Northern Forum.

Reader g in comments directed me to this story:

Opportunities abound for Alaska governors to engage in Russian diplomacy, with the state host to several organizations focusing on Arctic issues. Anchorage is the seat of the Northern Forum, an 18-year-old organization that represents the leaders of regional governments in Russia, as well as Finland, Iceland and Canada, Japan, China and South Korea.

Yet under Palin, the state government — without consultation — reduced its annual financial support to the Northern Forum to $15,000 from $75,000, according to Priscilla Wohl, the group’s executive director. That forced the forum’s Anchorage office to go without pay for two months.

Palin — unlike the previous administrations of Gov. Frank Murkowski and Gov. Tony Knowles — also stopped sending representatives to Northern Forum’s annual meetings, including one last year for regional governors held in the heart of Russia’s oil territory.

“It was an opportunity for the Alaska governor to take a delegation of business leaders to the largest oil-producing region in Russia, and she would have been shaking hands with major leaders in Russia,” Wohl said.

Odd that the person John McCain called the country’s best energy expert didn’t feel the need to go to a meeting like this.

I guess she had other priorities.

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Filed under Northern Forum, Russia, Sarah Palin

>Some Foreign Policy Questions For Sarah Palin

>Sarah Palin’s latest gaffe occurred when Katie Couric asked about her foreign policy experience. She replied:

“As Putin rears his head and comes into the air space of the United States of America, where do they go? It’s Alaska. It’s just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there, they are right next to our state.”

Really? That’s foreign policy experience? Watching Putin’s plane fly overhead?

Surely there are some bigger foreign policy issues that Sarah Palin might have been involved with. For instance, what did she do last year when Putin claimed the North Pole:

Late last month, Moscow signaled its intentions to annex the entire North Pole, an area twice the size of France with Belgium and Switzerland thrown in — except all of it under water.

The ice-frozen North Pole is currently a no man’s land supervised by a U.N. Commission. The five Polar countries — Russia, the U.S., Canada, Norway and Denmark — each control only a 200-mile economic zone along their coasts. And none of these economic zones reach the North Pole. Under the current U.N. Maritime convention, one country’s zone can be extended only if it can prove that the continental shelf into which it wishes to expand is a natural extension of its own territory, by showing that it shares a similar geological structure.

So, the Russians claimed a great scientific discovery late last month. An expedition of 50 scientists that spent 45 days aboard the Rossia nuclear ice-breaker found that an underwater ridge (the Lomonosov ridge) directly links Russia’s Arctic coast to the North Pole. This, they insist, surely guarantees Russia’s rights over a vast Polar territory that also happens to contain some 10 billion tons of oil and natural gas deposits.

Did Gov. Palin do anything at all when Putin claimed this huge resource?

Probably not. Probably this is a matter for the U.N. Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf to take up (as indeed they will when the Commission meets in 2009). Because the truth of the matter is, when it comes to matters of foreign policy, the governor of any one individual state really doesn’t have that much input to give.

What about Canada? Alaska shares a physical border with Canada, which has been disputed since the Alaska purchase. Why doesn’t anyone in the media ask Gov. Palin about her role now that global warming has caused the Canada-Alaska boundary dispute to heat up:

“(The treaty) will secure U.S. sovereign rights over extensive marine areas, including the valuable natural resources they contain,” Bush said.

One of the areas Bush likely has in mind is the water along the border between Alaska and the Yukon.

Canada has long insisted the international border continues through the ocean in a straight line from the land. The U.S. argues instead that the border angles 30 degrees to the east.

The area is considered to have high oil and gas potential. Alaska has put exploration rights to the block up for sale several times, but no company has bid on it while its nationality remains disputed.

So, has Gov. Sarah Palin offered her foreign policy expertise on these delicate international boundary issues? Once again, it sounds like this is a foreign policy issue the President and U.S. Senate would handle.

I dunno, maybe she’s been an integral part of these Russian/Canadian boundary disputes. Somehow, though, I think not. Somehow I think if she had been involved in these issues affecting the boundaries of her state, we’d have heard her say something other than “you can see Russia from an island in Alaska” when pressed to give some foreign policy credentials.

Because the truth is, there’s just not much foreign policy involved in being a governor, I don’t care where your state is located. Remember in 2000 how Bush allegedly had foreign policy experience because Texas borders Mexico? That worked out so well for us.

(H/T, DailyKos diarist taricha).

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Filed under Canada, Russia, Sarah Palin

>Didn’t We Win That War?

>Because the other two wars they dragged us into are going so swimmingly, guess who thinks it’s a good idea to go to war with Russia? You guessed it: the usual suspects!

Bill Kristol: [Georgia] has had the third-largest military presence — about 2,000 troops — fighting along with U.S. soldiers and marines in Iraq. For this reason alone, we owe Georgia a serious effort to defend its sovereignty. Surely we cannot simply stand by as an autocratic aggressor gobbles up part of — and perhaps destabilizes all of — a friendly democratic nation.

But wait … a war with Russia? Really? Didn’t we win that war already?

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Filed under Afghanistan War, Neocons, Russia