Category Archives: Russia
In his Super Bowl interview with President Trump, Bill O’Reilly accused the Russian President of killing people. Trump’s response? “You think our country’s so innocent?”
That made me think of one of my favorite exchanges between Michael Corleone and Kay Adams:
Michael: My father is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.
Kay: Do you know how naive you sound, Michael? Presidents and senators don’t have men killed.
Michael: Oh. Who’s being naive, Kay?
Except Trump is president, not a mob boss. Now who’s being naive?
Anyway, I got the idea for this cartoon from a Holman Jenkins column in the WSJ.
His assessment of Trump’s comments was, “unwise, spoken by somebody with a thin grasp of his circumstances.” But he went on to say, “Trump, clumsily, was actually keeping up a longstanding U.S. policy of covering up for Mr. Putin.” Then Jenkins detailed the Ryazan bombing plot by Putin security thugs to frame Chechen terrorists. It rarely gets mentioned by American officials. Jenkins thinks that’s because everybody wants to make a deal with Putin.
He concludes, “Read a certain way, Mr. Trump’s comments make him the first U.S. president to address Mr. Putin’s real nature.”
At a press conference today Donald Trump said that he thinks Russia probably did hack the DNC. He added that lots of countries hack. And he claimed the DNC was careless with its servers. Not to mention Hillary Clinton and John Podesta, windows logon: p@ssw0rd.
Fake News Hack
Yesterday Buzz Feed and CNN ran with an unverified story of a Trump honey trap in Moscow. The story claims Putin blackmailed Trump into reporting on Russian Oligarchs with whom he had dealings. Trump and Mike Pence both condemned the story as fake news at the press conference.
Update: A former British spy named Christopher Steele prepared ane opposition research dossier on Trump. It contained unverified material about Russian romps with prostitutes and sweetheart business deals that would make Trump vulnerable to blackmail. The NYT called the dossier Washington’s “worst kept secret”. It was circulated among the NSA, CIA, FBI, and various news organizations. It went unreported because it wasn’t verifiable. That is until BuzzFeed published it. CNN did not publish the contents of the report. It published a story that that the contents of the Dossier had been attached to a confidential report prepared for Donald Trump by the CIA. BuzzFeed, however, did publish the contents of the dossier.
In 2012 President Obama said, “We have been very clear to the Assad regime — but also to other players on the ground — that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized.”
Here’s an Arms Control Association timeline of chemical weapons “moving around or being utilized” in Syria.
The agreement seems to remove the prospect of any strike against Syria following the chemical attacks in Damascus on 21 August which killed up to 1,300 people.
Putin later entered the war with airstrikes in support of Bashar al Assad. That turned the tide in his favor and unleashed a greater flood of refugees and dead.
With the destruction of Aleppo in December Charles Krauthammer wrote that the Obama administration could offer only bitter speechmaking at the UN:
In the end, the world’s greatest power was reduced to bitter speeches at the U.N. “Are you truly incapable of shame?” thundered U.S. ambassador Samantha Power at the butchers of Aleppo. As if we don’t know the answer.
Red Line Threat
Last week the administration drew a new red line through the West Bank and West Jerusalem for building settlements.
The UN likes to pick on Israel. But the U.S. usually stands up for its ally by vetoing hostile Security Council resolutions. Last week was different. UN ambassador Samantha Powers ole’d through a resolution condemning Israel for building settlements on the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.
Abstention on the UN vote reflected our values – according to John Kerry.
However, the resolution didn’t reflect the values of Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz. He does not believe Barack has your back:
“It goes right to the heart of Jewish Jerusalem. It says Jews can’t pray at the holiest site in Judaism, they can’t attend Hebrew University,” Dershowitz said, adding that Obama had Israel’s back, but “as a target.”
It won’t be easy for Trump to roll back a Security Council resolution because Russia and China hold veto power. But one thing The Donald could do is cut the United States $3 billion contribution to the UN. That amounts to 20% of all UN funding.
Speaking of having Israel’s back, Bret Stephens says Obama has a habit of helping enemies and back stabbing friends.
Barack Has Your Back
Stanford Professor Victor Davis Hanson thinks Obama has sought to rewrite the traditional approaches to foreign policy.
To paraphrase the Sophoclean code, it is wise to help your friends and hurt your enemies…
Turning the other cheek is the proper New Testament aspiration for individuals to live by, but the Sermon on the Mount is deadly for nations, at least until the nature of man changes…
Diplomacy is like the tax code: Subsidize hostility and you get more hostile actors; tax friendship and you get fewer friends.
Bibi, on the other hand, won’t be turning the other cheek. Or his back.