Sweden Brings Back Conscription 

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Old joke: Where do the Swiss keep their armies?

Answer at the bottom.

STOCKHOLM (AFP-Jiji) — Sweden is to reintroduce compulsory military service, seven years after abandoning it, to respond to global security challenges including Russia’s assertive behavior in the Baltic Sea region, Stockholm said Thursday.

“We are in a context where Russia has annexed Crimea,” Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told AFP, adding, “They are doing more exercises in our immediate vicinity.”

Sweden has had a professional army, staffed by volunteers, since 2010.

“We saw that our units could not be filled on a voluntary basis. A decision had to be taken to complement the [volunteer] system, which is why we are reactivating conscription,” Hultqvist said.

A non-NATO member, Sweden has not seen armed conflict on its territory in two centuries. It put conscription on hold in 2010 after it was deemed an unsatisfactory way of meeting the needs of a modern army.

In the past two decades the military’s budget has been slashed as its mission was revamped to focus more on peacekeeping operations abroad and less on the country’s defense.

But in recent years, concerns have risen about Russia’s intentions in the region — with alarms bells ringing after Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea Peninsula in 2014, experts noted. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: China and Russia Think the U.S. under Obama ‘Does Not Earn Any of Their Respect’ 

Taking a question about the conspicuous absence of a mobile staircase for Air Force One when Obama landed in China, Charles Krauthammer said this indignity was more than merely a “microaggression” for the experienced Chinese.

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Sacre Bleu! Exodus of 10,000 French Millionaires Amid Rising Muslim Tensions

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The report was compiled by New World Wealth, an agency that gives information on the global wealth sector.

Anaya Roy reports: Rising tensions in France, especially in Paris following a series of Islamist terrorist attacks in 2015, have spurred an exodus of its super-wealthy citizens, a new report on migration trends of millionaires and high-net worth individuals across the world reveals. The report warns that other European countries, including the UK, Belgium, Germany and Sweden “where religious tensions are starting to emerge”, will also see similar trends.

[Read the full story here, at ibtimes.co.uk]

Regarding a Brexit, the report suggests millionaires would want to stay in Britain even if it leaves the single currency bloc.

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The report was compiled by New World Wealth, an agency that gives information on the global wealth sector. The report was based on data collected from investor visa programme statistics of each country; annual interviews with around 800 global high net worth individuals and with intermediaries like migration experts, second citizenship platforms, wealth managers and property agents; data from property registers and property sales statistics in each country; and by tracking millionaire movements in the media.

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Millionaire outflow

According to the report, Millionaire migration in 2015, France topped the list of countries with maximum millionaire outflows as it lost 10,000 millionaires, or 3% of its millionaire population. Among the cities that saw maximum millionaire outflow, Paris, was at the top – losing about 6% of its millionaire population or 7,000 millionaires in 2015 to the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and Israel.

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“The large outflow of millionaires from France is notable – France is being heavily impacted by rising religious tensions between Christians and Muslims, especially in urban areas. We expect that millionaire migration away from France will accelerate over the next decade as these tensions escalate,” the report warns.

“As for inflows, Australia was the favourite destination with maximum inflows in 2015 – a total of 8,000 new millionaires. The US was ranked second with 7,000 inflows, followed by Canada, Israel, the UAE and New Zealand.”

After France, the list of countries ranked by millionaire outflows includes China ranked second, followed by Italy, India, Greece, the Russian Federation, Spain and Brazil in descending order. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Fistfight! Ukrainian Parliament 

Brawl erupted in Ukraine’s upper house of parliament when a member of the legislature attempted to drag prime minister Arseny Yatsenyuk from the floor’s podium.

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From The Daily Beast:

The Ukrainian parliament on Friday broke out into a brawl after one member approached Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, handed him a bouquet of roses, and then forcefully picked him up by the crotch, and removed him from the podium. Mayhem ensued, with members rushing toward the two men. The prime minister had been defending his embattled government.


Diplomats: Iran Announcement Monday

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VIENNA (AP) —  George Jahn and Matthew Lee report: Negotiators at the Iran nuclear talks plan to announce Monday that they’ve reached a historic deal capping nearly a decade of diplomacy that would curb the country’s atomic program in return for sanctions relief, two diplomats told The Associated Press on Sunday.

The envoys said a provisional agreement may be reached even earlier — by late Sunday. But they cautioned that final details of the pact were still being worked out. Once it is complete, a formal, final agreement would be open to review by officials in the capitals of Iran and the six world powers at the talks, they said.

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Senior U.S. and Iranian officials suggested, however, there might not be enough time to reach a deal by the end of Sunday and that the drafting of documents could bleed into Monday.

All of the officials, who are at the talks in Vienna, demanded anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss the negotiations publicly.

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“We are working hard, but a deal tonight is simply logistically impossible,” the Iranian official said, noting that the agreement will run roughly 100 pages.

The senior U.S. official declined to speculate as to the timing of any agreement or announcement but said “major issues remain to be resolved.”

Despite the caution, the negotiators appeared to be on the cusp of an agreement.

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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Thursday had threatened to walk away from the negotiations, said Sunday that “a few tough things” remain in the way but added “we’re getting to some real decisions.”

En route to Mass at Vienna’s gothic St. Stephens Cathedral, Kerry said twice he was “hopeful” after a “very good meeting” Saturday with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who had Muslim services Friday. Read the rest of this entry »


ты уволен! Russian State TV Reporter Fired After Criticising Vladimir Putin

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Konstantin Goldenzweig says he is ashamed of taking part in Kremlin ‘propaganda madness’

 writes: A Russian state television reporter has broken ranks and apologised for taking part in “propaganda madness” after being sacked for criticising Vladimir Putin.

Konstantin Goldenzweig, the former Berlin correspondent of the NTV channel, lost his job after giving an interview to a German station in which he referred to the Russian president’s “well-known cynicism” and suggested it was advantageous to the Kremlin that the war in eastern Ukraine was prolonged.

The journalist now says he is ashamed at having take part in what he called Russia’s “general propaganda madness” since the beginning last year of the war in Ukraine, where combined Russian and rebel forces are fighting government troops.

State television in Russia dominates broadcast media and produces highly politicised and biased reports which often refer to Ukraine’s government as the “Kiev junta”. Some dispatches have been shown to be fabricated.

Vladimir Putin speaking in Milan this month

Vladimir Putin speaking in Milan this month

There have been some controversial departures from the state-run English-language channel RT in recent years but this is the first time since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis that a high-profile correspondent from a major terrestrial channel has criticised his employer so publicly.

In an interview with the independent news site, Meduza, Mr Goldenzweig said he was ousted from NTV shortly after giving the interview on June 8 to the Phoenix channel, in which he said that Mr Putin felt “insulted” for being excluded from the G7 meeting of leading states in Bavaria.

He said he had already decided to leave NTV at the end of July after becoming disillusioned with his work, but he was forced out early after the general director of the channel became enraged at his interview comments.

“I am truly ashamed of what I have been doing for the last year and a half,” he told Meduza.

Before autumn last year Mr Goldenzweig had managed to avoid politicising his reporting, producing frequent dispatches about German culture, but he then started to get frequent orders for crude propaganda from Moscow, he said.
Read the rest of this entry »


German Tanks Roll Back into Poland

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The tiny Polish town of Swietoszow did not officially exist during the Cold War; as home to a massive but secret Soviet tank force ready to strike at the West, it was removed from all public maps and records.

Last week Nato used the base for the first big deployment of a new special force to defend eastern Europe from an increasingly expansionist Russia.

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American Black Hawk helicopters thundered in the skies as German tanks rolled from across the nearby border, along with troops and hardware from seven other nations that make up Nato’s Spearhead Force, which was set up last year in response to Russia’s intervention in Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Putin Admits to Weighing Nuclear Option During Crimea Conflict

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Rare photo of Vladimir Putin from when he worked as an informant for Starsky and Hutch


Putin Accuses West of Provoking Ukraine Crisis

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MOSCOWJames Marson and Andrey Ostroukh report: Striking a defiant tone, President Vladimir Putin on Thursday accused the West of provoking a crisis in Ukraine and using sanctions to try to constrain Russia.

In his annual state of the union address, Mr. Putin defended Moscow’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region in March, saying Russia would never give up the “sacred” peninsula. He accused the U.S. and Europe of cynically using the Ukraine crisis as an excuse to pursue a long-held strategy aimed at weakening Russia.

“The policy of containment was not invented yesterday. It has been carried out against our country for many years,” he said. “Whenever someone thinks that Russia has become too strong or independent, these tools are quickly put into use.”

Mr. Putin’s one-hour speech in the Kremlin’s ornate St. George’s Hall underscored his hard-line response to Western sanctions that, along with low oil prices, have pushed Russia’s economy toward recession. Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Putin’s Veiled Nuclear Threat

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“Thank God, I think no one is thinking of unleashing a large-scale conflict with Russia. I want to remind you that Russia is one of the leading nuclear powers.”

Aug 29 (Reuters) – Alexei Anishchuk reports: President Vladimir Putin said on Friday Russia’s armed forces, backed by its nuclear arsenal, were ready to meet any aggression, declaring at a pro-Kremlin youth camp that foreign states should understand: “It’s best not to mess with us.”

“Russia is far from being involved in any large-scale conflicts. We don’t want that and don’t plan on it. But naturally, we should always be ready to repel any aggression towards Russia.”

Putin told the assembly, on the banks of a lake near Moscow, the Russian takeover of Crimea in March was essential to save a largely Russian-speaking population from Ukrainian government violence. He said continued fighting in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists launched an uprising in April, was the result of a refusal by Kiev to negotiate.

“Russia’s partners…should understand it’s best not to mess with us.”

Ukraine, and Western governments, accuse Russia of sending troops and armour to back the separatists in a conflict that has already killed over 2,000 people. Russia denies the charge. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Every Single Day We’re Lying’: RT Reporter Resigns Over Coverage of MH17 Crash

For the NY Daily News A Russia Today reporter quit Friday, furious over the way the network covered the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 crash.

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.

via YouTubeSara Firth, a London-based correspondent for Russia Today, resigned Friday, saying she's tired of lying and telling 'sexier' stories.

Firth, a London-based correspondent for Russia Today, resigned Friday: ‘ tired of lying and telling ‘sexier’ stories’.

“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 firth-tallRussian 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 »


Ностальгия! Nostalgia: Young Russians Yearn for the Glory Days of the Soviet Union

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Tales of standing toe to toe with the United States have been handed down by nostalgic parents

soviet-iconFor The Independent, Abigail Hauslohner writes: The Soviet Union used to command respect on the international stage. It stood toe to toe with the United States. It wielded its influence in the far corners of the globe. Oksana Chernysheva, a first-year journalism student at the International University in Moscow, shares the view of her President, Vladimir Putin: the collapse of the Soviet Union was a disaster.

“We used to be huge and strong, and then it collapsed,” she said. But what for the 61-year-old Mr Putin amounts to an acute sense of lost glory is for Ms Chernysheva, 18, an opinion based almost entirely on wistful tales handed down by nostalgic parents. She was born five years after the Soviet Union fell apart.

Mr Putin’s moves this year to annex Crimea and to support pro-Russian movements in Ukraine appear to have resonated with a younger generation that has no memory of the Soviet Union but yearns for its power.

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According to the Levada Centre, an independent polling organisation in Moscow, the President’s high approval rating among young people tops even his numbers among an older generation that remembers the empire and views Crimea and Ukraine as essentially Russian.

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People 18 to 24 years old – the youngest group among 1,600 people surveyed in late May – backed Mr Putin more than any other age bracket, at 86 per cent, said Karina Pipiya, a spokeswoman for the centre. Read the rest of this entry »


Russian Chocolate Bar Showing Map of Russia 2015 Includes Ukraine and Alaska

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contributor-80x100-mchastainFor Breitbart.com reports: Russian President Vladimir Putin said he will respect Ukraine’s presidential election and work with the new president, but there is an interesting chocolate bar for sale in Russia.

Produced by a Russian company called Shokobox, it shows Russia in 2015, and the country is a lot bigger. Labeled as “new territory” is Crimea while “promising” territories are Ukraine, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Scandinavia, Belarus, Central Asia… and Alaska. Read the rest of this entry »


Sanctions? What Sanctions? Paris Arms Putin

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For NROJohn Fund writes: France has decided to ignore pleas from the U.S. and its other NATO allies and go forward with a $1.7 billion contract to sell two helicopter carriers to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. “The contract has been paid and there would be financial penalties for not delivering it,” a French official told Reuters on Monday. “It would be France that is penalized. It’s too easy to say France has to give up on the sale of the ships. We have done our part.”

The French decision makes a mockery of the attempt to impose sanctions on Russia for its illegal annexation of Crimea in March, the first forcible shifting of borders in Europe in more than 60 years. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] The Hammer: ‘Obama Doesnt Even Understand That Putin’s Winning’

Charles Krauthammer said President Obama’s approach to foreign policy shows that his view of human nature is lacking.

“He has trouble understanding that other countries have national interests,” he said. “And they do want to dominate other countries. He said that’s not how people act in this century. It is how people act in this century, and every century back to the Stone Age.”

Read the rest of this entry »


Vladimir Putin’s Next Move

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ForWorld Affairs JournalMichael Totten writes: If Vladimir Putin invades Poland, I’ll eat my hat.

It’s not going to happen.

Even so, American ground troops are being deployed there as a response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and annexation of Crimea. This is the West telling him STOP. He’s not going to invade a European Union or NATO state either way, but we’d end up sending a crazy-weak signal if all we did was collectively shrug.

“Even an unspoken threat of invasion, occupation, and annexation is enough to make Ukraine act with tremendous caution toward Moscow, but if Putin pulls the trigger, Kiev would have nothing left to lose.”

Ukraine still isn’t in NATO, however, and probably never will be, so it’s still vulnerable. Putin can slice it and dice it all over again. The US won’t physically stop him for the same reason he won’t invade Poland. Nobody wants to blow up the world, especially not over this.

So Ukraine’s vulnerable. Pro-Russian militiamen are occupying dozens of government buildings, city halls, and police stations in the eastern part of the country where many ethnic Russians live. It’s hard to say for sure if Putin is egging these people on or if they’re acting on their own, envious of their cousins in Crimea who got to go “home” without moving. Either way, they’re serving Putin’s agenda.

By annexing Crimea, he proved to the world that he’s willing to mutilate Ukraine when it displeases him, which it very much did when it cast off his vassal, Viktor Yanukovych, in February. Read the rest of this entry »


The Rise of The Soviet Empire: Putin’s Zombie Propaganda Reanimates Russian Nationalism

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Putin’s use of Soviet-era symbolism has alarmed those already fearful for the country’s democratic institutions

Kathrin Hille writes: Igor Dolutsky finds nothing unusual in disagreeing with everyone around him. In the 35 years he has been teaching history in Moscow schools, his habit of questioning official narratives and challenging political taboos has cost him his job more than once.

“I would argue that for years we have been seeing what you could call the Nazification of the elite.”

— Igor Yakovenko, former head of the Russian Journalists’ Association

But when the mild-mannered 60-year-old tried to discuss Russia’s annexation of Crimea in class, things almost got out of hand. “My students swore at me and said I wasn’t telling the truth,” he says. “Then they said I didn’t love Russia or the Russian people, and told me to leave the country.”

Mr Dolutsky has long been a thorn in the side of Vladimir Putin’s government. Ten years ago the government pulled his history textbook from the curriculum for its critical description of President Putin and its inclusion of unpalatable facts about Soviet history. Today he teaches in a private school, headed by a friend from his university days, which allows Mr Dolutsky to continue to talk about the Soviet Union’s occupation of the Baltic states, discuss whether Russia committed genocide in Chechnya and label Mr Putin’s changes to the political system a coup d’état.

But Moscow’s annexation of Crimea has set off rapid and drastic changes that threaten to submerge such outposts of dissent. In a speech marking the consummation of Russia’s union with the Black Sea peninsula on March 18, Mr Putin lashed out against a “fifth column” of “national traitors” enlisted by the west to subvert Russia. He vowed to respond forcefully. Read the rest of this entry »


[PHOTOS] Romantic Pictures from Russian Dating Sites

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“Me strong man, like Putin”

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“I’ll be your trashy dirty girl”

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“Watch as I demonstrate my talent for oral sex. You like oral sex?”

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] On World Stage Obama Fumbles: Still Doesn’t Understand Definition of ‘Geopolitical’: Romney Responds

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[VIDEO] Krauthammer Still Not Thrilled with Administration’s Response to Putin’s Aggression in Ukraine

Putin “has to calculate: is it going to be worth an invasion?” Krauthammer said. “In that calculation you want to inject the fact that the Ukrainians are not going to sit by as in the Crimea.” Armed with U.S. weapons, the rest of Ukraine may be out of Putin’s reach, for now. But absent the weapons, we “are not giving [Putin] anything to alter his calculation,” Krauthammer said, “and that’s the scandal about our inaction.”

National Review Online


[VIDEO] Ukrainian Foreign Minister: Chances of Going to War with Russia Are Growing

Asked what he thought the chances of going to war with Russia are, he [Ukrainian Foreign Minister] responded:

“They are growing. We don’t know what Putin has in his mind and what would be his decision. That’s why this situation is becoming even more explosive than it used to be a week ago.”

Read more….

Read the rest of this entry »


The New Normal: Russia, China Annex Other Countries Territories with Impunity

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Breitbart.com‘s  brings us this morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com:

  • The ‘New Normal’: Russia and China annex other countries’ territories with impunity
  • Russia protests Estonia‘s treatment of its Russian minority
  • Xi Jinping redirects China’s ideology from Marxism to Nationalism

Russia and China annex other countries’ territories with impunity

With Russia’s annexation of Crimea now a fait accompli, it’s well to remember that this isn’t the first recent annexation of other countries’ territories. China has already seized islands in the South China Sea that have historically belonged to the Philippines and Vietnam and is operating on the belief that any “short, sharp attack” on any one island won’t bring an American response. China intends to continue annexing islands in this fashion. [“16-Jan-14 World View — China threatens military seizure of South China Sea island from Philippines”]

“Estonia has a centuries-old bitter history with Russia. People today vividly remember that Josef Stalin’s Red Army reoccupied Estonia in June 1940 and made it part of the Soviet Union…”

The news on Friday is that Russia is massing over 20,000 troops on the border with eastern Ukraine, evidently with the intention of invading, in order to annex some or all of that territory. It’s really not logical for Russia’s president Vladimir Putin to stop with Crimea, since there are plenty of ethnic Russians in eastern Ukraine—and because Crimea can’t survive without the fresh water, electricity, gas, and food that it imports from Ukraine. NBC News

Read the rest of this entry »


Eyes on the Spies: U.S. Intelligence Seeing Russian Spies and Saboteurs Infiltrating Ukraine

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty

Photo by Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty

The Daily Beast‘s Eli Lake reports:  Moscow claims it hasn’t invaded anyone. That’s because Russia is slipping into Ukraine special units of spies and saboteurs, senior U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast.
In the run-up to Russia’s paramilitary invasion of Crimea, U.S. intelligence saw Vladimir Putin’s saboteurs and mercenaries coming, and not stopping at Crimea either.

“This is the use of deniable special operators under GRU control to create provocations and really these are quasi-deniable operations.”

— John Schindler, a retired NSA counter-intelligence officer

During the last week of February, a summary of U.S. intelligence reporting said there was a very low chance that the ordinary Russian troops doing military exercises on Ukraine’s border were going to invade the country, according to a description of the document by a senior American official. But the intel report did predict accurately that Russian special operations forces would do all they could to reunite Crimea with Russia—and cause trouble in eastern and southern Ukraine. Read the rest of this entry »


Foreign Policy Rooted in Wishful Thinking

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Another revealing article about the President of the United States of Fantasyland. How the U.S. and its allies can tolerate this for three more years remains a mystery…

Mark Salter  writes:  For the briefest of moments Thursday, a certain cable news network stopped breathlessly reporting on the missing Malaysian airliner as if its disappearance is a harbinger of the end times, and turned to another news story of more lasting importance, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“…five-plus years of a mostly rhetorical foreign policy, where the president seeks to woo the world with words, but where deeds rarely follow and wishful thinking passes for strategy.”

A brief summary of the dreary news of the day from that embattled nation ended with a mention of some thuggish behavior by extremists who represent a small faction of Ukrainian nationalists. The incident provoked a comment from the show’s host. I can’t find a transcript of the remarks, but as best I remember it went something like this: We’ve been told the Russians are the bad guys and the Ukrainians are the good guys but things are never as simple as we’re told. Sometimes America supports some pretty bad people.

Well, one thing is certain. Things are never as simple as many cable news hosts try to make them out to be. But in this instance, contrary to the opinion stated above, the conflict essentially is a contest between good and bad.

Read the rest of this entry »


M.I.T. Reality Check: The U.S. Won’t Match Russia’s Gas Exports to Europe for Years

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No matter how fast export facilities for liquefied natural gas are approved, it will be years before the U.S. can challenge Russia’s position as a dominant supplier.

Mike Orcutt writes:  The crisis in Crimea has prompted calls for the U.S. to ramp up natural gas exports to Europe by quickly approving new facilities capable of liquefying the fuel and sending it overseas. The argument is that this could undermine Russia’s strategic power by reducing Europe’s heavy reliance on Russian gas.

The numbers on natural gas exported to Europe show just how simplistic this argument is. Russia dominates the market, and regardless of the speed of the approval process, it will take several years and tens of billions of dollars of investment for the U.S. to come close to Russia’s exports.

In 2012, pipelines carrying Russian gas supplied 34 percent of all the natural gas sold in the European Union by non-E.U. countries. Several nations, including Bulgaria, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic, rely on Russia to supply over 80 percent of their natural gas needs. Around 80 percent of the gas exported to Europe travels by pipeline; the rest arrives as liquefied natural gas (LNG).

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Read the rest of this entry »

[VIDEO] The Hammer: ‘Nothing that Obama Has Done Would in Any Way Dissuade Putin’

“We have no leadership from the United States. All we get from this administration is air,” he said. “The real problem is that the next step would be, can be, might be, attack on the rest of Eastern Ukraine and there is nothing that Obama has done that would in any way dissuade Putin.”

Charles Krauthammer thinks that American sanctions on several Russian individuals have done nothing to effect Russia’s economy or punish Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

“Everybody understands that these sanctions are a joke.”

National Review Online


Charles Krauthammer Curiously Not a Fan of Obama’s Response to Vladimir Putin

If he thinks that sanctioning seven Russians, out of a population of, what, 150 million, is a sanction, he’s living in a different world.”


Russian Deputy Prime Minister Laughs at Obama’s Sanctions

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Kirit Radia reports:  Russia’s deputy prime minister laughed off President Obama’s sanction against him today  asking “Comrade @BarackObama” if “some prankster” came up with the list.

The Obama administration hit 11 Russian and Ukrainian officials with sanctions today as punishment for Russia’s support of Crimea’s referendum. Among them: aides to President Vladimir Putin, a top government official, senior lawmakers, Crimean officials, the ousted president of Ukraine, and a Ukrainian politician and businessman allegedly tied to violence against protesters in Kiev.

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will dissuade Russia from annexing Crimea, but one an early clue that they will not be effective came just hours later when President Putin signed a decree recognizing Crimea as an independent state, perhaps an early step towards annexation.

Read the rest of this entry »


John Bolton: ‘Like Sending a Cupcake to Negotiate With a Steak Knife’

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Sending Secretary of State John Kerry to negotiate with his Russian counterpart in a bid to avert a Moscow-backed referendum in Crimea was “like sending a cupcake to negotiate with a steak knife,” former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton said on Sunday.

Cupcake vs. steak knife


COLD WAR: Russian State TV Anchor Boasts Putin’s Dominance, Warns That Russia Can ‘Turn U.S. to Radioactive Ash’

A picture taken on October 10, 2011, shows Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov posing for a photo after receiving a medal of Friendship during an awarding ceremony in the Kremlin in Moscow (AFP Photo/Mikhail Klimentyev)

October 10, 2011, Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov  (AFP Photo/Mikhail Klimentyev)

“Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.”

— Russian television journalist Dmitry Kiselyov

Moscow (AFP) – Stuart Williams reports:  A leading anchor on Russian state television on Sunday described Russia as the only country capable of turning the United States into “radioactive ash”, in an incendiary comment at the height of tensions over the Crimea referendum.

“Russia is the only country in the world realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” anchor Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly news show on state-controlled Rossiya 1 television.

“Americans themselves consider Putin to be a stronger leader than Obama…Why is Obama phoning Putin all the time and talking to him for hours on end?”

Kiselyov made the comment to support his argument that the United States and President Barack Obama were living in fear of Russia led by President Vladimir Putin amid the Ukraine crisis.

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Crimea Parliament Declares Independence from Ukraine

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[VIDEO] Sunday News Show Roundup: John Fund: Environmental Lobby Stopping U.S. from Eliminating Europe’s Dependency on Russian Oil

National Review Online


Report: Russia Claims Intercepted U.S. Drone Over Crimea

A US predator drone takes off for a surveillance flight near the Mexican border on March 7, 2013 (AFP Photo/John Moore)

A US predator drone takes off for a surveillance flight near the Mexican border   (AFP Photo/John Moore)

Moscow (AFP) – A United States surveillance drone has been intercepted above the Ukranian region of Crimea, a Russian state arms and technology group said Friday.

“Judging by its identification number, UAV MQ-5B belonged to the 66th American Reconnaissance Brigade, based in Bavaria”

“The drone was flying at about 4,000 metres (12,000 feet) and was virtually invisible from the ground. It was possible to break the link with US operators with complex radio-electronic” technology, said Rostec in a statement.

The drone fell “almost intact into the hands of self-defence forces” added Rostec, which said it had manufactured the equipment used to down the aircraft, but did not specify who was operating it.

Read the rest of this entry »


Putin Deports Executives for Speeding as Sanctions Loom

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Jason Corcoran and Henry Meyer report: Even before the Ukraine standoff, foreign companies in Russia say they were alarmed by the number of executives being deported for minor infractions. Now with the West preparing sanctions, they’re bracing for more.

“Individuals have been stopped on the border for having two speeding tickets and told their visa is no longer any good.”

— Alexis Rodzianko, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow

Almost 1,000 people from countries outside the former Soviet Union have had their work visas revoked for committing two or more “administrative violations” since the end of last year, when the migration service and traffic police linked their databases, according to immigration authorities. Such offenses can be as minor as a parking ticket, smoking in prohibited areas or even jaywalking…Bloomberg


The Hammer: How to Stop Putin

stop-putin

The U.S. needs a serious foreign policy

Charles Krauthammer writes:  The president of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council challenges critics of President Obama’s Ukraine policy by saying “What are you going to do, send the 101st Airborne into Crimea?” Not exactly subtle. And rather silly, considering that no one has proposed such a thing.

[Charles Krauthammer is the author of  Things That Matter: Three Decades of Passions, Pastimes and Politics” Check it out at Amazon]

The alternative to passivity is not war but a serious foreign policy. For the last five years, Obama’s fruitless accommodationism has invited the kind of aggressiveness demonstrated by Iran in Syria, China in the East China Sea, and Russia in Ukraine. But what’s done is done. Put that aside. What is to be done now?

We have three objectives. In ascending order of difficulty: Reassure NATO. Deter further Russian incursion into Ukraine. Reverse the annexation of Crimea.

Reassure NATO:

We’re already sending U.S. aircraft to patrol the airspace of the Baltic states. That’s not enough.

1. Send the chairman of the Joint Chiefs to the Baltics to arrange joint maneuvers.

2. Same for the four NATO countries bordering Ukraine — Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania.

3. Urgently revive the original missile-defense agreements concluded with Poland and the Czech Republic before Obama canceled them unilaterally to appease Russia.

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NYT Ross Douthat’s Post-CPAC Conclusion: The Candidate Best Suited to Unify Republican Factions: Senator Marco Rubio

StrawPollCPAC2014

Ross, You lost me at hello.

Douthat_New-articleInline“…But let me conclude with one that seems a little more likely: a rerun of Bush’s 2000 path, in which Marco Rubio wins by uniting religious and moderate conservatives.

Rubio had a tough 2013, thanks to his unsuccessful immigration push, and he lacks the ideologically committed support of a Paul or Cruz or Huckabee. But his domestic-policy forays (first on poverty, soon on taxes) have gotten smarter since the immigration debacle, and events in Venezuela and Crimea may be making his hawkish foreign policy vision more appealing to conservatives.

Moreover, as much as the party and the country have changed since the Bush era,  the best way to unify the G.O.P. is still to build bridges between religious conservatives and moderate conservatives  —  in effect, to seem relatable to Santorum voters while reassuring Romney voters.  And Rubio, in affect and background and positioning, may be the right politician for that task…”

NYTimes.com


[VIDEO] More Sunday Talk Show Fun: Darth Vader Emerges, Says ‘No Question Putin Thinks Obama Is Weak’

“I think there’s no question [Putin] believes he is weak . . . ,” the former vice president told Face the Nation. “We have created an image around the world, not just to the Russians, of weakness and indecisiveness.”

The Corner – NRO


Obama’s Fantasy-Based Foreign Policy

obama-fantasy

For The Weekly Standard,  Stephen F. Hayes writes: On February 23, five days before Russia invaded Ukraine, National Security Adviser Susan Rice appeared on Meet the Press and shrugged off suggestions that Russia was preparing any kind of military intervention: “It’s in nobody’s interest to see violence returned and the situation escalate.” A return to a “Cold War construct” isn’t necessary, Rice insisted, because such thinking “is long out of date” and “doesn’t reflect the realities of the 21st century.” Even if Vladimir Putin sees the world this way, Rice argued, it is “not in the United States’ interests” to do so.

THE “UNCONTESTED ARRIVAL” OF RUSSIAN TROOPS IN UKRAINE, PRESUMABLY “HELPING TO DEAL WITH THE ECONOMIC TRANSITION”  NEWSCOM

THE “UNCONTESTED ARRIVAL” OF RUSSIAN TROOPS IN UKRAINE, PRESUMABLY “HELPING TO DEAL WITH THE ECONOMIC TRANSITION”
NEWSCOM

On February 28, Russian troops poured into Ukraine. As they did, Secretary of State John Kerry spoke to Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, his Russian counterpart. Kerry briefed reporters after their talk, plainly unaware of the developments on the ground. Kerry said that Russia wants to help Ukraine with its economic problems. Lavrov had told him “that they are prepared to be engaged and be involved in helping to deal with the economic transition that needs to take place at this point.”It was a remarkably transparent case of pretending the world is what we wish it to be, rather than seeing it as it is.

Hours later, television screens across the world displayed images of Russian soldiers infiltrating Crimea and Russian artillery rolling through Sevastopol. Obama administration officials told CNN’s Barbara Starr that the incursion was not “an invasion” but an “uncontested arrival” and that this distinction was “key” to understanding the new developments. Read the rest of this entry »


Putin Carterizes Obama, Totally

A Russian-style international observer at a Ukrainian air base in Crimea. Getty Images

A Russian-style “international observer” at a Ukrainian air base in Crimea. Getty Images

The Democrats are vulnerable again on handling the world

Note: WSJ is getting funky with their headlines, don’t you think? Totally…

Barack-Obama-Jimmy-Carter

Daniel Henninger writes: Air-dropping himself into Kiev Tuesday, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Russian seizure of Crimea is “not 21st-century, G-8, major-nation behavior.” He said Mr. Putin should allow “international observers” to enter Crimea.

International observers?

This calls to mind Humphrey Bogart’s Fred C. Dobbs facing the gang of Mexican bandidos in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre:

Dobbs: “If you’re the police, where are your badges?”

Chief bandido: “Badges? We ain’t got no badges. We don’t need no badges!”

We may assume Mr. Putin would say the masked Russians patrolling Ukrainian Crimea are “international observers.”

As of this week, it’s official. Vladimir Putin has turned Barack Obama totally into Jimmy Carter.

We may quibble over the timeline. Some might say it began when Mr. Obama whispered to then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev he’d have “more flexibility” after the 2012 election; others that it set in when the U.S. president took Mr. Putin’s offer to let Bashar Assad escape the bombing of his airfields for using WMD against his own people.

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