George Will writes: Russia’s ongoing dismemberment of Ukraine and the Islamic State’s erasing of Middle Eastern borders have distracted attention from the harassment of U.S. Navy aircraft by Chinese fighter jets over the South China Sea. Beijing calls this sea, and the Yellow and East China seas, the “near seas,” meaning China’s seas. The episodes involving aircraft are relevant to one of Admiral Jonathan Greenert’s multiplying preoccupations — CUES, meaning Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.
“Cascading dangers are compelling Americans to think afresh about something they prefer not to think about at all — foreign policy.”
This is designed to prevent incendiary accidents, a topic of special interest during this month’s centennial commemorations of the beginning of a war that, ignited by miscalculations, ruined the 20th century. Greenert, chief of naval operations, has carrier-based aircraft flying from the Persian Gulf to targets in Iraq. He is, however, always thinking about the far side of the largest ocean.
One hundred years ago, the principal challenge of world diplomacy, which failed spectacularly, was to peacefully integrate a rising, restless power — Germany — into the international system. Today’s comparable challenge is China. Greenert, who knows well his Chinese counterpart, Admiral Wu Shengli, radiates a serene patience about China. Read the rest of this entry »
Andy Tully writes: Oil and gas are at the heart of the Russian economy and are largely responsible for keeping Moscow’s government budget in balance. But the recent decline in the price of oil from the North Sea and Texas has now spread to Urals crude, giving President Vladimir Putin one more economic headache.
The price of Urals crude fell just below $100 per barrel on Aug. 18, an 18-month low. On Aug. 19, it dropped to less than $97 per barrel. These declines coincided with similar drops in the price of Brent crude from the North Sea and U.S. oil.
The reasons are fairly easy to recognize. First, the United States has been on a drilling tear, extracting oil at record levels to increase its supply at a time when demand is waning. Second, though more tentative, is that conflicts in North Africa and the Middle East are so far not interfering with oil production in these regions.
This oil production boom raises problems for Moscow. Two-thirds of Russia’s exports are oil and gas, accounting for fully half of the central government’s revenues. That means that so far this year, every dollar drop in the price of Russian oil means a cut of about $1.4 billion in revenues. Read the rest of this entry »
— Washington Post (@washingtonpost) August 20, 2014
Kiev (AFP) – Max Delany with Anais Llobet in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky, Russia reporting: Ukraine said on Friday it had destroyed part of a Russian military convoy that entered onto its territory in an incursion that has sent cross-border tensions rocketing.
NATO accused Russia of active involvement in the “destabilisation” of eastern Ukraine, where pro-Kremlin separatists have been fighting against Kiev for four months.
The two countries have also been wrangling for days over a Russian convoy that Moscow says is carrying humanitarian aid for besieged rebel-held cities but which Kiev suspects could be a “Trojan horse” to provide military help to the insurgents.
Fears that the border clash could spill into all-out war between Kiev and Moscow sent major share markets tumbling across Europe and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
Aid Trucks to Ukraine? Almost Empty
A convoy of Russian trucks carrying aid for eastern Ukraine has been opened up to journalists at the border. The Ukrainian government had insisted that inspectors checked the trucks’ cargo, amid fears that they could be carrying military supplies for the rebels – an accusation Russia has rejected. The BBC’s Steve Rosenberg noted that many of the trucks were “almost empty”.
1962 … “It-is-good-to-be-a-Communist!”
Source: x-ray delta one
British lawmaker calls to strip Russia of World Cup http://t.co/YPgmFrST1K
— The Times of Israel (@TimesofIsrael) July 26, 2014
— Andrei Nikitchyuk (@AndreiNikit) July 24, 2014
Now that the U.S.-Russia relationship has broken down, Moscow could throw a wrench into the teetering nuclear negotiations with Iran.
“If Putin decides that retaliating against the U.S. and ruining Obama’s foreign policy legacy is more important than sealing a pact with Iran, the whole thing could unravel.”
“An extension is the only thing the Iranians need to complete their bomb work. The whole point of the sanctions was to make sure that time is not on the side of the Iranians.”
U.S. officials, lawmakers, and experts, have been watching and waiting for Putin to use the Iran negotiations as a way to mess with Obama ever since the tit-for-tat sanctions began in March.
Moscow and Tehran have been negotiating a $1.5 billion oil-for-goods exchange, which could undermine international pressure on Iran to make a deal with the West. But overall, Moscow has continued to be a reasonably constructive part of the international coalition pressing Iran to roll back its nuclear program. Read the rest of this entry »
“He’s relying on the Europeans. The Europeans will never act. They never act on anything unless they’re led by the U.S.”
On Friday’s Special Report, Charles Krauthammer slammed Obama for the “unbelievable, passive nature” of his speech, which addressed the Malaysian airliner catastrophe in Eastern Ukraine. Reacting to yesterday’s news of the shooting down of the civilian plane – almost certainly at the hands of Russian-armed rebels – the president appeared disinterested, and ”practically half asleep.”
That response makes sense only if Obama believes that the events will necessarily go badly for Russia. However, Krauthammer contended, there is no reason to think that is true in the absence of American leadership….(read more) The Corner
WASHINGTON —For the NY Times, MICHAEL D. SHEAR, SOMINI SENGUPTA and SABRINA TAVERNISE reporting: President Obama said Friday that the United States believed the Malaysia Airlines jetliner felled over eastern Ukraine was shot down by a surface-to-air missile from an area inside Ukraine controlled by Russian-backed separatists.
Mr. Obama’s remarks at the White House were the strongest public suggestions yet from the United States over who was responsible for the downing of the jetliner, which exploded, crashed and burned on Thursday on farmland in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people aboard.
Mr. Obama said the loss of life was an “outrage of unspeakable proportions” and a “global tragedy.” He vowed to investigate exactly what happened to end the lives of “men, women, children, infants who had nothing to do with the crisis” in that region. Mr. Obama also said that at least one American was among the dead.
“We are going to make sure the truth is out,” Mr. Obama said, referring to what he described as a trove of misinformation that has already shrouded the plane crash. Read the rest of this entry »
Sara Firth, who was born in the U.K. and has worked for the state-backed TV station since 2009, said Russia Today suggested the Ukrainian government took down the Boeing 777 flying over the country.
“I didn’t want to watch a story like that, where people have lost loved ones and we’re handling it like that.”
London-based reporter is not the first journalist to call the network’s bias into questions — another reporter quit in March over the way Russian management covered riots in neighboring Ukraine.
“It’s great team, so talented. But at the heart of that organization it’s rotten.”
“I couldn’t do it anymore,” she told Buzzfeed. “Every single day we’re lying and finding sexier ways to do it.”
Firth, who first reported Russian government-backed station from Moscow before transferring to the London office, said management put witnesses into the story who specifically blamed Ukraine for the crash.
“The second you start to question or report honestly then you’re a problem.”
One correspondent said a previous plane crash that Ukraine had been involved with was “worth mentioning,” she claimed. Read the rest of this entry »
Footage shows launcher with two missing rockets being smuggled back into Russia… http://t.co/WPoA3gULGO
— DRUDGE REPORT (@DRUDGE_REPORT) July 18, 2014
- Video: Pretty much everyone expressing dismay over White House response to world falling apart
- Video: Semi-retired president interrupts burger run to issue brief statement on plane being blown up
- BEAR IS LOOSE: Obama fundraises while Putin runs amok…
- KREMLIN: Putin ‘Informed’ Obama About Crash…
- REPORT: 23 Americans Killed…
- Obama gives crash 40 seconds before telling jokes…
- When Crisis Strikes, You Can Count On Obama To Grab A Delicious Snack
- Democrats are distancing themselves from our detached, unpopular president
— Mashable (@mashable) July 17, 2014