Sunday, September 11, 2016

Recent Posts

Recent Posts


U.S. remembers victims 15 years after 9/11 attacks | Reuters

FBI agent climbed the ranks but chose to end his career back in a field office - The Washington Post
CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: General disdain builds around the world for President Obama | Columnists |
U.S., Russia seal Syria cease-fire, new military partnership - Chicago Tribune
For US and Russia, War in Syria is Mainly in the Air |
Илюмжинов попросил Обаму предоставить...
Putin Personality Disorder | Brookings Institution
House Intel chairman: Russians could “absolutely” be trying to influence U.S. election - CBS News
CIA Chief Says Russian Hacking Threatens U.S.
CIA Director John Brennan Warns of Russian Hacking - The New York Times
Head of Russia's anti-corruption agency is found with $122m in CASH in his house  | Daily Mail Online
How Putin is messing with American heads
Morell and Vickers: An open letter to Donald Trump - The Washington Post
Editorial: U.S. doesn’t need a Putin
Trump Blackmailed by Putin, According to Former CIA Agent - Santa Monica Observer
Is Putin As Popular as Trump Says? - The Daily Beast
Putin's Propaganda Network Is Vast, and US Needs New Tools to Counter It | US News Opinion
bne IntelliNews - Russia builds on G20 success in push to shed sanctions
Happy 136th Birthday to the 'Sage of Baltimore' - H.L. Mencken - AEI | Carpe Diem Blog » AEIdeas
Russia-China Economic and Trade Partnership Falters - NBC News
Election brings whiplash on Russia | TheHill
'Media hostility' is the latest buzzword in Russia-West information war | Russia Direct
Former CIA chief says Vladimir Putin is playing Donald Trump as an 'unwitting agent' - Washington Times
Roots of Putinism in USSR’s fall - Opinion - The Times-Tribune
What is Putinism? | Huffington Post
Putinism Is an Aberration | Huffington Post
Is Syria the beginning of the end of Putinism? - The Washington Post
How America could slide towards Putinism

9.10.16 Sa

A Walk Around the Void of 9/11 - The New York Times
Our Russia Problem - The New York Times
The Bitch America Needs - The New York Times
Clinton, Trump escalate fight in dramatic week on national security | Reuters
Trump’s Love for Putin: a Presidential Role Model - The New York Times
Putin, Admired by Donald Trump, Emphasizes Strength as Virtue - The New York Times
Obama, Acknowledging U.S. Misdeeds Abroad, Quietly Reframes American Power - The New York Times
Donald Trump’s Ideology of Applause - The New York Times
For Russia, Donald Trump is a dream come true - The Washington Post
The Selling of Donald J. Trump - The New York Times
Trump moves praise for Putin closer to the mainstream of the GOP - The Washington Post
A Trump interview may be crowning glory for RT, a network funded by the Russian government - The Washington Post
putin inside trump matryoshka doll - Google Search
Trump & Putin: Really Into Each Other | Dave's Ink Illustration
Donald Trump’s falsehood-laden press conference, annotated - The Washington Post
U.S. investigating potential covert Russian plan to disrupt November elections - The Washington Post
How Closely Are Paul Manafort and Donald Trump Tied to Vladimir Putin? - The Atlantic
How the conservative media is taking over the Republican Party - The Washington Post
Trump: Iranian boats that make improper ‘gestures’ will be ‘shot out of the water’ - The Washington Post
Russia and the United States Reach New Agreement on Syria Conflict - The New York Times
U.S., Russia reach deal on cease-fire in Syria - The Washington Post
When only pizza & vodka will do: Lavrov treats tired journos to US-Russian snack after Syria talks — RT Viral
Remembering 9/11: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri threatens more US attacks
Report details horror, heroism during San Bernardino shooting | Reuters
North Korea’s Nuclear Enabler - The New York Times
Bob Graham: Release More 9/11 Records - The New York Times
What’s a nice lesbian like you doing at Miss America? Erin O’Flaherty’s historic quest. - The Washington Post
President Reagan’s would-be assassin is set to be released Saturday - The Washington Post
Blog: Putin leads. Obama leads from behind
Russia's Putin inaugurates $2 billion Moscow railway project | Reuters
U.S. returns to 1 World Trade Center 15 years after attacks | Reuters
Sunday: CIA Director John Brennan, Rep. Devin Nunes - News 12 Now

Posts - 9.10.16

News Reviews and Opinions: "Mr. Trump seems to suffer from a manufacturing defect." - The Selling of Donald J. Trump - NYT | "No wonder Putin, covert manipulator of the West, smirks." - » For Russia, Donald Trump is a dream come true 10/09/16 08:49 from Mike Nova's Shared Newslinks
News Reviews and Opinions: The personal health of the candidates as the Presidential Elections - 2016 issue : "Americans need to know more..."

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Restoring The Trust: Russification Of The West or Westernization Of Russia? - "[Mr. Putin] is on the lookout for levers to weaken Europe's ties with the US, our correspondent says, in the hope of one day turning Russia into Europe's main strategic partner." - Russia security paper designates Nato as threat - BBC News

M.N.: There is nothing particularly new in those news about the "Russian National Security Strategy" signed by Mr. Putin on the last day of 2015. It is the reiteration of the previous documents, most notably the military doctrine of 2014 and most importantly, it is the reiteration of contemporary thinking of the Russian leadership and security establishment about Russia's place in the world and the threats, real and imaginary, current and potential, that, in their minds, Russia is facing. 
How much of this is a sober assessment and how much is a political paranoia? 
The exact ratio is hard to determine, but it definitely is a mix. 
It might be useful to separate the unhealthy and excessive suspicions, which is a burdening baggage from the times past and long gone (we all might have certain nostalgic troubles parting with our old baggage) from reality. 
Basically, to put it in plain language, this "strategy" comes down to: 
"We do not trust you. You are out to get us. You are getting closer and closer to our borders. But we will defend ourselves and we are able to do it." 
Mr. Patrushev, current secretary of the Russian Security Council, stated many times that the West and the U.S. in particular are out to dismember Russia and to take her natural resources
Guys, the "healthy competition" between the states, as the U.S. politicians like to say, is the way of life. But no one is out to get you, no plans and no particular desire to do this, as I see the situation. No gain in it. No need for it. Certainly, it is not worth a war, especially the nuclear war. Natural resources can always be bought, and, in our days, relatively easily. Territories and foreign populace can be more of a burden than a boon, that's how the empires crumble. 
Frankly, many people, myself included would prefer to see Russia smaller, less unjustifiably ambitious, less threatening and less aggressive. But preferences are not easily translatable into realities, and there is always costs/benefits ratio. Things tend to resolve on their own, history takes its course, everything eventually falls into a place like pieces in a kaleidoscope. 
There is another part in these preferences. Many people, myself very much included, want to see Russia as a part of the Western world (for the lack of a better, more encompassing term), a part of the Western culture and a part of the Western alliance, and, yes, eventually a member of NATO. 
Tall order. But not inconceivable. Many obstacles have to be overcome, many issues have to be resolved. The main among them is the mutual trust. 
Mr. Putin, restore the trust!
That's what my little old cerebellum tells me.
In his New Year greeting to President Obama Mr. Putin correctly describes the significance and potential benefits of closer U.S. - Russia relations: the two countries are the key factors of insuring the world security and their "constructive dialogue and cooperation could be an effective deterrent to the new challenges and threats".
What is missing is the great intangible: the mutual trust which was squandered and almost destroyed lately. Relations between the countries are not unlike interpersonal relations: it takes years to build trust and it might take just one phrase or action to destroy it.
And these phrases and actions were aplenty: annexation of Crimea and the war in Eastern Ukraine, whatever their historical and ethnic background and circumstances, contradict the common sense of fairness and fair play, at least in Western perceptions; "saber rattling" and talk about the possible use of nuclear weapons, which could not be seen as something other than a "nuclear blackmail"; numerous, persistent violations of airspace, etc., etc.
Russian economy is in dire straits and on the brink of collapse, mass poverty, and social unrest may be looming on the horizon; the patience of Russian people is legendary but not endless.
Why don't you consider some simple but bold and straightforward steps? 

  • The issue of Crimea, which was a trigger for these events is not closed and is not resolved. Invite Mr. Poroshenko, who appears to be quite a reasonable man, to Moscow, negotiate and try to resolve Crimea and Donbass issues with him in a bilateral format. If Ukraine is offered the monetary compensation and normalization of relations for this "geopolitical grab" (which it is, again, regardless of historical circumstances) it might be beneficial to both parties. Crimea presently is a raw gem, but its value viewed mostly from the Russian military perspectives, as a naval base. It can be a drain on a budget. Turn this gem into a diamond, polish and place it into a frame. It will take peace, cooperation and a lot of investments. It will take international participation. It is an ancient land, many different people and ethnic groups inhabited it and, hypothetically, may lay claim to it. Turn it into a showcase of international cooperation and a magnet for foreign investments, you will not be able to develop Crimea as it deserves this, by yourselves in the foreseeable future. Invite the NATO ships to visit as you mentioned yourself earlier.  
  • Join the Western coalition in the Middle East in honest, with fuller, more comprehensive coordination in all areas, including sharing intelligence and operational plans, and, hopefully under the unified command. I do not see anything wrong if Russian forces will be under American command or if the command alternates. This is not a question of misconceived pride, this is a question of learning how to work and fight together, it will enhance the camaraderie. And who knows, this experience might come quite handy in the future again. It will take a lot of trust, and if is done, will be done gingerly. Do not be dismayed by a setback with downing of a Russian jet by Turkey: one swallow does not a summer make. This experience of military cooperation might be very useful and a step to further cooperation. 
  • Cease all the hostile intelligence and "special operations" against the Western targets. They will not undermine the Western world and will, they will not sway the public and political opinions, eventually they will be discovered and understood and it will make people look at their authors as the madmen. Switch the strategy 180 degrees: start and enhance cooperation in intelligence, counterintelligence, and counter-terrorism. This is the extremely important aspect. 
Could US and Russia Enhance Intel Relationship? Yes, they could. And, yes, they should. "The head of the CIA is "determined" to keep conversations open between the intelligence communities of the United States and Russia and wants to see relations between the two nations "enhanced"..." The "healthy", and probably some not so healthy competition will remain (the girls always want to have some fun and they get boisterous at times), it would be idiotic not to admit this, but the healthy cooperation must start, also in honest, gradually, steadily, with many checks and balances, and eventually the cooperation component should prevail. I do not have any special or professional knowledge, expertise or experience in this area and I would never think that I would come to this thought, but I did, and it felt like a revelation. The intelligence relationship aspect is the inseparable and vital part of general relationship between countries. 

All this might sound more idealistic than realistic. Take it as a food for thought, and maybe as a food for fantasies. "Imagination rules the worlda leader is a dealer in hope." And, at the same time, "never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake". But sometimes, counter-intuitively, paradoxically, we do. Out of compassion, out of humanity? And keep in mind that more likely than not, it will not be appreciated and will be turned against you. 
Are Russians our enemies? Definitely not. Rivals? Frenemies? Hard to say, cannot be defined in one word. 
Is Putin our enemy? Not really, but he does not like us. He distrusts the West and America especially. 
I would venture my advice to him: "Volodya, take two weeks of vacation and travel across America, meet the people, both politicians and ordinary people, of all walks of life. Get a feel of what the country is about: complex, incredibly complex but strong and really free. You will love the country and you will love the people." 

For Russia, all this comes down to and is a part of general issues and questions, not unique to her but particularly acute at this stage and at this time: the issues of national identity, place and role in the world, alliances, rivalries, competitions and cooperation.

Russification Of The West or Westernization Of Russia?
Russification of Europe or Europeanisation of Russia?
Eurasianisation of Europe or Europeanisation of Eurasia?
These are the false dilemmas and false formulations.
The process of integration which appears and is as inevitable as it is quite protracted and painful, is much more complex than this simple or oversimplified formula.
This historical process has to be analyzed and understood.
The concept of dominant culture, the European, the Western, the Judeo-Christian culture in this case might be a key to this understanding. The reality is complicated further by the emerging issues of ethnic, racial and religious, within and outside the realm of Abrahamic religions, interactions and integration, by the contradictory and conflict ridden processes of social, religious and cultural integration and globalization.
For Russia, it would be a great mistake to try to drive a wedge between Europe and the U.S. and to try to exclude the U.S. from this process, as it is evident from her recent (within last 10 - 15 years, although this tradition goes further back) policies and foreign policy thinking, influenced by her renewed nationalism. It will be impossible and counterproductive. This strategy stems from insecurity and continuing imperial ambitions of territorial domination, which simply do not work in today's globalized world with the primary role of financial capital component in modern economies. Investments, not the territories are the key to social and economic development. Financial flows, not the flows of armies and arms determine the success and progress. Hence the new role of soft powers of economic warfare and economic sanctions, with all their inherent limitations. 

Michael Novakhov


The BBC's Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall says that Mr Putin is determined through his interventions in Syria and Ukraine to wield his country's military clout, so that the world in general and the United States in particular realise that Russia is an equal partner whose interests must be accommodated.
Our correspondent says Mr Putin wants the West to acknowledge Russia's right to treat its post-Soviet neighbours as part of its sphere of influence, free from links to Nato or any other Western-dominated alliance.
He is on the lookout for levers to weaken Europe's ties with the US, our correspondent says, in the hope of one day turning Russia into Europe's main strategic partner.

Russia News

Russia News