Russia 1

An illuminating article. For us, lifelong students of Communism and the modern history of Russia, almost as full of surprises as of affirmations.

Angelo M. Codevilla writes at CRB:

What 21st-century Russia is in itself, to its neighbors, and to America flows from the fact it is no longer the Soviet Union. As the red flag came down from the Kremlin on Christmas Day 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin, when asked what he thought of Communism, nearly wept as he replied: “I wish it had been tried somewhere else.” Vladimir Putin, who famously said that the USSR’s collapse had been a tragedy, nevertheless shares the Russian people’s consensus that their country was Communism’s first and foremost victim, and that no one knows how long it may take to live down its dysfunctions. To its neighbors, this Russia is a rebudding tsarist empire. To Americans, it is a major adversary despite the lack of clashing geopolitical interests.

After Communism

The Revolution of 1917 was possible because socialists, in Russia and throughout the Western world, believed that “present-day society”, as Karl Marx put it, is a jumble of “contradictions”, which could be resolved only by tearing down the pillars of the house. Once that was done, history would end: man and woman, farmer and industrial worker, producer and consumer, intellectual and mechanic—heretofore at odds—would live harmoniously, freely, and prosperously ever after.

Because they really believed in this utopian dream, the socialists gave absolute power to Lenin and Stalin’s Communist Party to wreck and reorganize—to break eggs in order to make a delicious omelette. But Communism, while retaining some of Marxism’s antinomian features (e.g., war on the family and on religion), became in practice almost exclusively a justification for the party’s absolute rule. For example, the economic system adopted by the Soviet Union and by other Communist regimes owed precisely zero to Marx, but was a finely tuned instrument for keeping the party in control of wealth.

The Leninist party is gone forever in Russia because, decades after its leaders stopped believing in Marxism, and after Leonid Brezhnev had freed them from the Stalinist incubus that had kept them loyal to the center, they had learned to make the party into a racket. That, and the residual antinomian features, made Russia into a kakotopia. Russian men learned to intrigue and drink on the job rather than work. Shunning responsibility for women and children, they turned Russian society into a matriarchy, held together by grandmothers. In a thoroughly bureaucratized system, each holder of a bit of authority used it to inconvenience the others. Forcing people to tell each other things that both knew not to be true—recall that “politically correct” is a Communist expression—engendered cynicism and disrespect for truth. The endless anti-religion campaigns cut the people off from one moral system and failed to inculcate another. Alcohol drowned unhappiness, life expectancies declined, and fewer Russians were born.

Religious morality? Communism not a religious morality? Not the same religious morality in certain vital respects? All red capes waving at us bulls!  But for the sake of what’s to come, we’ll only stand and paw the ground – and give a snort or two.

The Russian people rejected Communism in the only ways that powerless people can—by passivity, by turning to anything foreign to authority, and by cynicism. Nothing being more foreign to Communism than Christianity, Russians started wearing crosses, knowing that the regime frowned on this feature of the Russia that had pre-existed Communism, and would survive it.

A louder snort. But on:

No sooner had the USSR died than Russia restored the name Saint Petersburg to Peter the Great’s “window on the West”. Even under Soviet rule, Russians had gone out of their way to outdo the West in Western cultural matters—“nekulturny” (uncultured!) was, and remains, a heavy insult in Russia. Moscow let countless priorities languish as it rebuilt in record time its massive Christ the Savior cathedral to original specifications. As the Russian Orthodox church resumed its place as a pillar of the Russia that had been Christianity’s bastion against the Mongol horde as well as against the Muslim Ottomans, golden domes soon shone throughout the land. Whatever anyone might think of the Russian Orthodox church, it anchors the country to its Christian roots.

Few Americans understood Vladimir Putin’s rise to power at the close of the 20th century as the reassertion of a bankrupt, humiliated, resentful people looking to make Russia great again. Since then, Putin has rebuilt the Russian state into a major European power with worldwide influence. Poverty and a resource-based economy notwithstanding, it is on a sounder financial basis than any Western country. Corruption is within historical limits. The leadership is appreciated by the vast majority, whose national pride and solidarity dwarf those of Western publics. Nearly all Russians approve strongly of its absorption of Crimea. Russia effectively controls Ukraine’s eastern end, and has exposed the West’s incapacity to interfere militarily in the former Soviet empire. In the Middle East, Russia is now the dominant force.

In sum, the Russian bear licks its deep wounds as it growls behind fearsome defenses.

The Neighborhood

Russia’s Westernism is neither imitation nor love of the West. It is the assertion that Russia is an indispensable part of it. The Russians saved Europe from Napoleon, and from Hitler, too. That they did the latter tyrannically, as Soviets, does not, in their minds, disqualify them from their rightful place in Europe, or justify Europeans, much less Americans, trying to limit Russia’s rightful stature. Today’s Russian rulers are not gentler or nicer than the emperor who shook off the Mongol yoke—who wasn’t known as Ivan the Nice Guy. Like their forebears they are calculating Russia’s stature in terms of the limits—primarily in Europe—set by their own present power as well as by that of their immediate neighbors.

Russian writing on international affairs focuses exclusively on the country’s role as a member of the European system. By the 2030s, if not sooner, the Russian government will have filled such territory, and established such influence, as befit its own people’s and its neighbors’ realities, and will be occupied with keeping it. More than most, Putin is painfully aware of Russia’s limits. Its declining population is less than half of America’s and a tenth of China’s. Despite efforts to boost natality, its demography is likely to recover only slowly. Nor is its culture friendly to the sort of entrepreneurship, trust, and cooperation that produces widespread wealth. What, then, are Putin’s—or any Russian leader’s—national and international objectives?

As always, Ukraine is of prime interest to Russia because it is the crux of internal and external affairs. With Ukraine, Russia is potentially a world power. Without it, it is less, at best. But Putin’s pressures, disruptions, and meddlings have shown him how limited Russia’s reach into Ukraine is, and is sure to remain. Hence, Russia’s conquest of Ukraine east of the Don River signifies much less the acquisition of a base for further conquest than the achievement of modern Russia’s natural territorial limit in Europe. The 20th century’s events forever severed Ukraine and the Baltic states from Russia; even Belarus has become less compatible with it. Modern Russia is recognizing its independence, even as the Soviet Union at the height of its power effectively recognized Finland’s. As the Russian Federation’s demographic weight shifts southeastward—and Islamism continues to gain favor there—the Russian government will have to consider whether to shift its efforts from keeping the Muslim regions within the federation to expelling and building fences against them.

As the decades pass, post-Soviet Russia will have to work harder and harder to cut the sort of figure in Europe that it did under the tsars. That figure’s size is the issue. The Russian empire’s size has varied over the centuries according to the ratios between its and its neighbors’ national vigor and power. In the past, Poland, Sweden, Turkey, the Hanseatic powers, Germany, all have shrunken or swollen Russia. Borders and spheres of influence have varied. There is no reason why this should not be so in the future. Russia will neither invade Europe nor dominate it politically because its people lack the political will, and its state the capacity, to do either. During Soviet times, this will and this capacity were the product of the national and international Communist Party apparatus, now gone forever.

A glance back at this gargantuan human structure reminds us of how grateful we should be that it now belongs to history. The Communist faction that resulted from the 1918 split in the international socialist movement—like the rump socialist faction that ended up governing Europe after 1945, but unlike the fascist one—already intended to conquer the world. (Fascism, Mussolini’s invention, recalled some of ancient Rome’s peculiar institutions and symbols—the fasces was the bundle of punishing rods carried by the consuls’ lictors—and added governing Italy through business-labor-government councils. It was not for export.) Communists worldwide came under the firm control of the Soviet Party’s international division run by formidable persons like Andrei Zhdanov and Boris Ponomarev, disposing of virtually unlimited budgets and, after 1929, of the services of countless “front organizations.” These, the party’s hands and feet and its pride and joy, reached out to every imaginable category of persons: union members, lawyers, teachers, journalists, housewives, professional women, students, non-students. Each front organization had an ostensible purpose: peace, through opposition or support of any number of causes. But supporting the “Soviet line” was the proximate purpose of all. Through tens of thousands of “witting” Communists, these fronts marshaled millions of unwitting supporters, helping to reshape Western societies. Soviet political control of Europe was eminently possible, with or without an invasion, because the Soviet domestic apparatus had marshaled Soviet society, and because its international department and front organizations had convinced sectors of European societies to welcome the prospect.

The tools that today’s Russia wields vis-à-vis Europe are limited to commerce in natural gas, and to the opportunities for bribery that this creates—witness Russian Gazprom’s employment of former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Not only do European governments not fear being invaded by Russia, they refuse to diversify their sources of natural gas, and generally oppose American sanctions imposed on Russia because of its actions in Ukraine. The notion among European ruling parties that the voters who are in the process of rejecting them for various “populist” and nationalist options, are pining for Russian-style governance or tricked by Russian wiles is a baseless attempt to sidestep the ruling parties’ own failures.

The Lefty globalists think that? There’s a surprise! Whatever makes them think so? We see the populist movements as being unequivocally towards conservative nationalism, self-determination, personal liberty, not … neo-tsarism.

Europe’s rulers know that Russian military forces are not built to conquer the continent, because these forces lack the wherewithal for large-scale projection of power. Instead, they possess formidable capacity for what soldiers call “area denial”. This fits Russian leaders’ strategic goals, the people’s sentiments, and material constraints. The wars that today’s Russian military are built to fight are in areas that today’s Russian military sees most threatened by the U.S. and NATO, on its borders with Poland and Lithuania (where Russia crushed the Wehrmacht in 1944-45), and in Ukraine, north of Crimea. Russia’s military posture has ever been, and gives every sign of remaining, strategically defensive but operationally offensive. Now as before, when war seems imminent Russia’s operational doctrine calls for taking the initiative in a preemptive manner.

Although Russian strategy would be to surround and seal off foreign troops by air and ground, for the first time in Russia’s history, military manpower is scarce and precious. Economizing manpower is one reason why the country has fully integrated nuclear weapons in ordinary military operations, recalling nothing so much as President Dwight Eisenhower’s doctrine in the 1950s of “more bang for the buck”. To seal off the airspace, and to provide an umbrella for their ground forces, the Russians would use the S-400 air-missile defense system—the world’s best, which is now deployed around some 300 high-value locations. Strikes (or the threat thereof) by the unique Iskander short-range missile would preclude the foreign forces’ escape, as Russian troops moved in with Armata tanks, which carry the world’s best reactive armor.

Possession of perhaps the world’s best offensive and defensive strategic forces—comparable to America’s and far superior to China’s—is why Russia is confident that it can contain within limited areas the wars that it needs to fight. Because Russia has nothing to gain by military action against America or China, this arsenal is militarily useful only as insurance against anyone’s escalation of border disputes, and as the basis for Russia’s claim to be a major world player.

Priorities and Collusion

Russia loomed small in U.S. foreign policy from the time of the founding until the 1917 Bolshevik coup, because the interactions between America’s and Russia’s geopolitical and economic interests were few and mostly compatible. Given that these fundamentals have not changed, it would be best for both countries if their policies gradually returned to that long normal.

But for both countries, transcending the past century’s habits is not easy. The essential problem is that neither side’s desires, nor its calculus of ends and means, is clear to the other, or perhaps to itself. It seems that the main thing Putin or any other Russian leader might want from America is no interference as Russia tries to recreate the tsars’ empire. Thus Russia’s continuing relations with anti-U.S. regimes in Latin America can only be understood as Cold War inertia—the almost instinctive sense that what is bad for America must somehow be good for Russia. The U.S. government, for its part, while largely neglecting Russia’s involvement in the Western hemisphere, tries to limit its influence in Europe while at the same time reaching agreements concerning strategic weapons—a largely Cold War agenda. The soundness of these priorities on both sides is doubtful.

Both Russia and the U.S. fear China, and with good reason. The crushing size of contemporary China’s population and economy frightens the Russians. The fact that some Russian women marry Chinese men (disdaining Russian ones) embarrasses them and has made them more racially prejudiced than ever against the Chinese. Yet Russia aligns with China internationally and sells it advanced weapons, paid for with American money—money that China earns by trading its people’s cheap labor for America’s expensive technology. With these weapons as well as its own, China has established de facto sovereignty over the South China Sea and is pushing America out of the western Pacific. Nonetheless, the U.S. treats Russia as a major threat, including “to our democracy”. For Russia and America to work against one another to their common principal adversary’s advantage makes no geopolitical sense. But internal dynamics drive countries more than geopolitics.

Nowhere is this clearer than with the notion that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election—a charge which has roiled American public life for the past two years and counting. Interference in American life? That is what the Soviet Union was all about. By contrast, current concerns about Russia are a tempest, albeit a violent one, in a domestic American teapot.

In America, the Soviets worked less through the Communist Party than they did in Europe. Here [in America], they simply seduced and influenced people at the top of our society. Even in America prominent persons in the Democratic Party, academia, media, and intelligence services (or who would become prominent, e.g., future Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders and CIA Director John Brennan), were Communists more or less openly. Far more important to the Soviets were persons convinced that Soviet and American interests were identical. Harry Hopkins, for example, who ran the U.S. government on President Franklin Roosevelt’s behalf, considered Stalin’s objectives to be so indistinguishable from America’s that the KGB considered him to be effectively Stalin’s agent. By contrast, Alger Hiss, an important State Department official, was one of many controlled Soviet agents within the U.S. government. But the compatibility between Hiss’s views and those of many in the U.S. ruling class was striking. For example, even after Soviet archives confirmed Hiss’s status as a Soviet agent, Robert McNamara, secretary of defense under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, like many of his class, angrily insisted on Hiss’s innocence.

The comradeship of American liberals and Soviet Communists lasted to the Soviet Union’s end. In May 1983, for example, in an incident widely reported at the time and confirmed by Soviet archives, former U.S. senator John Tunney visited Moscow and, on behalf of his friend and classmate—and prospective Democratic presidential candidate—Senator Edward Kennedy, proposed to KGB director Viktor Chebrikov that Kennedy work with Soviet dictator Yuri Andropov to “arm Soviet officials with explanations regarding problems of nuclear disarmament so they may be better prepared and more convincing during appearances in the USA” because “the only real potential threats to Reagan [in the 1984 election] are problems of war and peace and Soviet-American relations”. Kennedy promised “to have representatives of the largest television companies in the USA contact Y.V. Andropov for an invitation to Moscow for the interviews”. Collusion, anyone? Today, with the Soviet Union gone, its moral-intellectual imprint on our ruling class remains.

The contemporary notion of Russian interference, however, owes nothing to Russia. It began when, in June 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) tried to explain how a trove of e-mails showing its partiality for Hillary Clinton over Bernie Sanders got into the public domain, alleging that they had been hacked from its server by Russian agents. To this day, there is zero evidence for this, the DNC not having allowed access to that server by any law enforcement agency or independent party.

Throughout the rest of the 2016 campaign, this narrative merged with one from CIA Director John Brennan and other leaders of U.S. intelligence, who were circulating a scurrilous dossier, paid for by the Clinton campaign, that alleged Trump’s connections with Russia. The Obama Administration used the dossier as the basis for electronic and human surveillance of the Trump campaign. Together, these narratives prompted a two-year investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, which found no basis for the dossier, or for a relationship between Russia and the Trump campaign. Nevertheless, the assertion of Trump’s indebtedness to Russia became the pretext for #TheResistance to the 2016 election’s result, led by the Democratic Party, most of the judiciary, the bureaucracy, and the media.

In Europe as well as in America, the establishment’s protagonists have pointed to Russia to allege that their rejection by the voters is somehow “undemocratic”. Larry Diamond in the Wall Street Journal, following Robert Kagan in the Washington Post, wrote that “in one country after another, elected leaders have gradually attacked the deep tissues of democracy—the independence [from sovereign voters] of the courts, the business community, the media, civil society, universities and sensitive state institutions like the civil service, the intelligence agencies and the police.” Voting against the establishnment, you see, is undemocratic!

What Are Our Interests?

Making impossible a rational public discussion of U.S. policy toward Russia is the very least of the damage this partisan war has wrought. American liberals believed the Soviet Union’s dissolution was impossible; conservatives flattered themselves that they caused it. Few paid attention to what happened and how. Once the Soviet Union was gone, the West in general and Americans in particular presumed to teach Russians how to live, while helping their oligarchs loot the country. Russians soon got the impression that they were being disrespected. At least as Soviets, they had been feared. The Clinton Administration was confident that Russia would become a liberal partner in the rules-based international order. At the same time Clinton tried to load onto Russia the hopes that the U.S. establishment had long entertained about global co-dominion with the Soviets. In the same moment they pushed NATO to Russia’s borders—a mess of appeasement, provocation, and insult. Long-suffering Russians, who had idolized the West during the Soviet era, came to dislike us.

As the George W. Bush Administration fumbled at the new reality, it tried to appease Russia by continuing to limit U.S. missile defenses in fact, while publicly disavowing the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty; it formally objected to Russia’s dismemberment of Georgia, while effectively condoning it. The incoming Barack Obama Administration tried to go further along the same self-contradictory line by withdrawing anti-missile support from eastern Europe, and quietly promising even more restraint. But when, in 2014, Putin seized Crimea, Obama imposed serious economic sanctions and agreed to place NATO and American troops in Poland and the Baltic States. Then, for the most tactical of domestic political considerations, the Obama Administration, and hence the U.S. establishment, decided to try explaining the course and results of the 2016 U.S. election campaign as “Russia’s attack on our democracy”.

What are the American people’s interests in Eurasia, and how big are these interests? Although today’s Russia poses none of the ideological threats that the Soviet Union did—and despite the absence of geopolitical or any other clashing interests—Russia is clearly a major adversary in Europe and the Middle East. Its technical contributions to China’s military, and its general geopolitical alignment with China, are most worrisome. What, other than Soviet inertia and wounded pride, motivates the Russians? The U.S. maintains economic sanctions on Russia. To achieve precisely what? From both sides’ perspective, it is difficult to see what good can come from this continued enmity.

Today’s triangular U.S.-Russia-China calculus is not comparable to the Soviet-Chinese military confrontation of the 1970s and ’80s, when both the U.S. and China feared Soviet missiles, and the U.S. best served its own interests by implicitly extending its nuclear umbrella over China. Today, the problems between Russia and China stem from basic disparities that U.S. policy obscures by treating Russia as, if anything, more of a threat than China. The best that the U.S. can do for itself is to say nothing, and do nothing, that obscures these disparities. Without backhanded U.S. support for close Russo-Chinese relations, the two countries would quickly become each other’s principal enemies.

Ongoing U.S. anxiety about negotiations with Russia over weaponry is nothing but a legacy of the Cold War and a refusal to pay attention to a century of experience, teaching that arms control agreements limit only those who wish to limit themselves. Russia violated the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by developing the Iskander missile; the U.S. was right to withdraw from the agreement, but mistaken in ever expecting another country not to arm itself as it thinks best. In that regard, Americans should not listen to, never mind accommodate in any way, Russia’s (or any other country’s) objections to U.S. missile defenses. These are in our clear and overriding interest. Defending America as best we can—against missiles that might come to us from anywhere, for any reason—is supremely our business.

What then are America’s legitimate, realizable demands on Russia?

Putin’s Russia, by its 2015-18 intervention in Syria and its management of Turkey, achieved the tsars’ historic desire for a warm water port. Although the former conquest is firm, keeping Turkey friendly to Russia must ever be troublesome. Absent a friendly Turkey, Russia’s renewed control of Crimea and even the Syrian bases will be of very limited worth for any but defensive purposes. Whatever else might be said of its role in the Middle East, Russia has brought more stable balance to local forces than ever in this young century. Only with difficulty will American statesmen regret that our old adversary now deals with some of the problems that bedeviled us for a half-century.

The U.S. would be more secure geopolitically were Russia merely one of several European powers. But it has always been an empire, whose size has varied with time. An independent Ukraine has always been the greatest practical limitation on Russia’s imperial ambitions. That is very much a U.S. interest, but is beyond our capacity to secure.

U.S. relations with Russia regarding Ukraine are analogous to U.S. relations with Europe 200 years ago. Our overriding interest then was to prevent the Europeans from holding any major part of the Western hemisphere. By stating America’s intention to guard its hemispheric interests while forswearing meddling in European affairs, the U.S. encouraged them to face that reality. Today’s Russia realizes it cannot control Ukraine except for its Russian part, nor the Baltics, never mind the Visegrád states. The U.S. could lead Russia to be comfortable with that reality by reassuring it that we will not use our normal relations with Ukraine or with any of Russia’s neighbors to try to define Russia’s limits in Europe. We should realize that our setting such limits is beyond America’s capacity, and that it undercuts the basis for fruitful relations.

The U.S. prefers the Baltic States, and especially Ukraine, to be independent. But we know, and should sincerely convey to Russia, that their independence depends on themselves, and that we regard it as counterproductive to make them into American pawns or even to give the impression that they could be. Ukraine’s independence—and hence Russia’s acceptance of it as inevitable—depends on Ukraine retrenching into its Western identity, rejecting the borders that Stalin and Khrushchev had fixed for it, and standing firmly on its own feet—as, for example, by asserting its Orthodox church’s independence from Russia’s.

Wise U.S. policy would remove sanctions that previous administrations placed on Russia on behalf of Ukraine. Fruitless strife has been these sanctions’ only result. For example, they emboldened Ukraine to suppose it had U.S. support for presuming it had the same right to navigation in the Sea of Azov, passing under a Russian bridge, as it does in the Atlantic Ocean.

But in accord with the Monroe Doctrine, we should be willing to wage economic war on Russia—outright and destructive—on America’s own behalf, were the Russians to continue supporting anti-U.S. regimes in the Western hemisphere. If you want economic peace with America, we would say, stop interfering in our backyard. We Americans, for our part, are perfectly willing to stop interfering in your backyard.

In sum, nothing should be geopolitically clearer than that the natural policy for both America and Russia is not to go looking for opportunities to get in each other’s way.

This raging war 9

The fiercest, most intense and most extensive war ever fought is raging now. The battleground where no blood is spilt, no corpses buried, is the abstract sphere of ideas. The weapons are words.

The sides are Globalism versus Nationalism.

The issue is the future of the human race.

The question is, should there be separate self-governing nations or world government?

The Cold War was about the same question. International communism with its world government aspirations sought to conquer nation states defending individual freedom. The communist side lost, but its ideologues lived to fight another day.

Many of them lived in the nation states whose governments opposed the spread of communism. They fight now for their world government ideal from within their free countries.

John Fonte writes at American Greatness:

In 2008, Robert Kagan, then advising the presidential campaign of Senator John McCain, declared that the “United States . . . should not oppose, but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty.”

The social-material base of the transnationalists [the globalists – ed] is housed in many institutions and organizations. For example, in the leadership of the United Nations; with bureaucrats from the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank; with judges from the World Court in the Hague, the International Criminal Court, and the European Court of Human Rights.

The social base certainly includes the leadership of the European Union (which is a model for supranational governance) and its administrators in the European Commission, judges in the European Court of Justice, and other EU officials. It includes international non-governmental organizations (e.g. Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, George Soros’s Open Society foundations, etc.); and it includes “the Davoisie,” the global corporate leaders who attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. …

[T]he Obama Administration [promoted] transnational progressivism and diminishing democratic sovereignty. As Obama told the United Nations in 2016:

We’ve bound our power to international laws and institutions . . . I am convinced that in the long run, giving up freedom of action—not our ability to protect ourselves but binding ourselves to international rules over the long term—enhances our security.

With the Brexit referendum, the election of Donald Trump, and the rise of conservative democratic nationalists throughout the West, the global governance project has been seriously challenged for the first time. It appears that the “arc of history” has been altered.

So, what is this conflict between democratic sovereignty and transnational progressivism (or globalism) all about?

It is about the oldest questions in politics, examined by Plato and Aristotle: who should rule and on what basis? Who makes the rules by which we are governed? What is legitimate and what is not?

The program for the National Conservative Conference states that since the fall of the Berlin Wall, many American conservatives have “grown increasingly attached to a vision of a ‘global rules-based liberal order’ that would bring peace and prosperity to the entire world while attenuating the independence of nations”.

Wait! Conservatives have done that? Which conservatives? Why? When? And in what way, then, are they conservative?

So, let us examine this post-1989 “global rules-based liberal order”.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, many conservatives embraced President George H. W. Bush’s call for a “new world order”. It appeared to be a consolidation of the West’s Cold War victory and, thus, the building of a Reagan-Thatcher global order based on expanding liberal democracy and free markets.

Ah! Phew! A Reagan-Thatcher liberal order would be just fine.

But the “rules” in this “rules-based” liberal global order began to “evolve” (as academics like to say).

“Evolve” to the “academics” means change into a totally different, in fact an opposite concept.

In the 1990s, the United Nations Landmines Treaty and the establishment of the International Criminal Court were enacted by globalist forces (including European nation-states, American NGOs, and foundations) against the concerns of American sovereignty.

Recognizing this new transnationalist challenge in September 2000, John Bolton, in a University of Chicago law journal article, portrayed a coming conflict between “Globalists and Americanists.” At that time, 19 years ago, Bolton warned that we must take global governance seriously as a threat to democratic sovereignty.

A decade later, the Obama Administration in the name of the liberal global order was strong-arming democratic nation-states into adhering to progressive social policies concerning radical feminism, abortion, LGBT, and gender issues.

Meanwhile, the EU forced the removal of democratically elected leaders in Italy and Greece, and, led by Germany, facilitated mass migration from the developing world without the consent of the people of Europe’s democratic nation-states. It appears that the “rules” have changed as the liberal global order envisioned by Reagan-Thatcher conservatives has morphed into the transnational progressive order of Barack Obama and Angela Merkel.

In a “rules-based” global order the crucial question, of course, is who makes the rules? We are always reassured by the foreign policy establishment, dominated by self-styled “liberal internationalists” (who are, in reality, transnational progressives)—“don’t worry, Americans and their democratic allies will be making the rules”.

Yes, it is true that American elites will play an oversized role in the formation of global “rules”. Therefore, we should take a close look at what American elites are saying.

A leading international relations specialist, and supporter of global governance, Princeton University Professor G. John Ikenberry asks how do nation-states “reconcile the international liberal vision of increasing authority lodged above the nation-state—where there is a sharing and pooling of sovereignty—with domestic liberal democracy built on popular sovereignty.” He admits, “This is the unresolved problem in the liberal international project.”

Ikenberry’s answer is buried in several footnotes in his book, Liberal Leviathan. He cites American international relations scholars, Robert Keohane and Joseph Nye. Their argument is that national democracies cannot be relied upon to formulate the global “rules” because they disregard the interests of foreigners (Keohane cites the United States and Israel explicitly as major transgressors in this regard.)

Given the “limitations” of democratic sovereignty—of democratic self-government—American international relations specialists contend that the legitimacy of the rules-based order lies with “external epistemic communities” and “external epistemic actors.” You got that? “External epistemic actors.” In other words, for American transnationalists, global experts in international law, human rights, the environment, gender equity, and the like, would have greater legitimacy in the creation of “global rules” than democratically elected officials. This is a prescription for post-democratic rule.

Unelected dictators – among them no doubt some Americans – will be the world’s rulers as they are now of the EU. And like the rulers of the EU, they will be redistributionists, Socialists, collectivists. Their world order will be ruled much as China is. By force and coercion. By the imposition of an orthodoxy of ideas. Heretics will be removed before the contamination of an unauthorized opinion can spread.   

Without a doubt, the American leadership class is crucial to the success of the post-democratic global governance project. Because of the power of the American nation-state, U.S. submission to global authority would have to be voluntary. And that, indeed, is the dream of American transnational progressives (including our corporate elites)—America would provide what they would loudly hail as “leadership” in first creating and then submitting to the “rules” of a supranational legal regime.

This is what the American Bar Association means when it advocates the “global rule of law”. This is what Robert Kagan meant when he asserted that the United States “should not oppose but welcome a world of pooled and diminished national sovereignty”.

This is what President Bill Clinton meant when he told his confidant Strobe Talbott that “we have to build a global social system” for a world in the future in which America was no longer the leading power. Talbott noted that Clinton was “careful not to broadcast” these beliefs “while in office”.

And this is what President Obama meant when he told the United Nations in 2016 that by “binding ourselves to international laws and institutions” and that by “giving up freedom of action” and “binding ourselves to international rules over the long term” America would actually enhance its security. …

For decades conservative thinking has ignored the globalist challenge. The good news is that the Trump Administration is taking the conflict between democratic sovereignty and global governance seriously.

During his U.N. speech in 2017, President Trump mentioned sovereignty more than 20 times. He began by declaring “In foreign affairs we are renewing the principle of sovereignty”. He stated, “Our success depends upon a coalition of strong and independent nations that embrace their sovereignty to promote security, prosperity, and peace.”

The following year, President Trump told the United Nations:

[S]overeign and independent nations are the only vehicles where freedom has ever survived and democracy has ever endured . . . so we must protect our sovereignty and our cherished independence above all . . . We reject the ideology of globalism, and we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.

So of course the globalists – aka the Left, the Progressives, the Communists, the Democratic Party, the EU, the UN, and namely Merkel, Putin, Xi Jinping, Corbyn, Pelosi – hate him. Hate him. The savior of freedom.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, speaking in Brussels, declared “our mission is to reassert sovereignty, reform the liberal international order, and we want our friends to help us and exert their sovereignty as well.” The speech was called, “Restoring the Role of the Nation-State in the Liberal International Order.”

Months later, Pompeo told the Claremont Institute:

Countries all over the world are rediscovering their national identities, and we are supporting them. We’re asking them to do what’s best for their people as well. The wave of electoral surprises has swept from Britain to the United States and all the way to Brazil.

Today, we are witnessing the awakening of a national conservatism that might have been dormant, but has always been with us. …

The old conservative formula, that essentially ignored the transnational progressive challenge externally—and the identity politics-multiculturalist challenge internally—is not adequate to face the contemporary threats from global progressive left-liberalism.

National conservatism (in our country, we could call it Americanism) is needed to frame the two core issues of our time: the external challenge from globalism that I have examined, and the closely related internal challenge from identity-politics, multiculturalism, intersectionality, political correctness, social justice, woke-ism, whatever you want to call it—that the Claremont Institute and several speakers at the National Conservatism Conference have identified as the major adversary facing our nation today.

On both fronts, externally and internally, we are now involved in a conflict that will determine, not simply the direction of politics, but the existence of the democratic nation-state in America, Britain, the West, and throughout the world.

President Trump’s success at Helsinki 1

Can the meeting in Helsinki of the presidents of the US and Russia be reckoned a success for President Trump?

Joel B. Pollak thinks it can. He writes at Breitbart:

President Donald Trump scored a diplomatic win on Monday at his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland.

The media, the Democrats, and the Never Trump contingent declared immediately that Trump had failed. But they were bitterly prejudiced against the meeting from the start, to the point where many insisted that Trump cancel it.

To them, looking at the summit through the lens of “collusion”, the summit could only be the ultimate payoff for Putin’s election meddling in 2016. But viewed through the lens of diplomacy, the summit was a milestone in US-Russia relations.

Judging from their remarks at the press conference that followed, the two leaders touched on every major important area of foreign policy: Syria, where the U.S. wants Russia to keep Iran at bay; North Korea, where the U.S. wants Russia to help it pressure the Kim regime to denuclearize; Iran, where the U.S. is attempting to re-organize international pressure; and Ukraine, where the U.S. wants Russia to de-escalate.

President Trump, as promised, challenged Putin on the subject of Russian interference in U.S. elections. It was Putin, not Trump, who pointed that out [at the press conference] — adding: “I had to reiterate things I said several times, including during our personal contacts, that the Russian state has never interfered and is not going to interfere into internal American affairs, including election process.”

A lie, of course. Putin is a liar and a murderer – a KGB crocodile with a deceptive smile. Still, the interference was trivial, no doubt routine, and accomplished nothing. And as Putin is the ruler of Russia, President Trump is right to try to establish person-to-crocodile relations with him.

Putin also volunteered the information that Trump had insisted the Russian annexation of Crimea was “illegal”. So much for appeasement.

Trump was also aggressive on the topic of Europe. Having just come from the NATO summit, where he berated Germany over buying gas from Russia while relying on America’s protection, Trump announced that the U.S. would compete with Russia to sell gas to Europe.

That is a major challenge of geopolitical significance, a sign the U.S. is going to use its technological edge in oil and gas production to boost Europe’s economic independence from Russia. All Russia has, Trump noted, is the advantage of location.

At the press conference, the Russian journalists — who do not enjoy press freedom — asked questions relevant to foreign policy. The American journalists – who are theoretically free to think freely – devoted nearly every single question to allegations relating to phony charges of Russian “collusion” with the Trump campaign, including the latest developments in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe. Their concerns had little to do with US-Russia relations and everything to do with domestic US politics.

Trump’s critics are seizing on a single phrase: “I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today.”

He never “attacked” US intelligence agencies, nor did he explicitly take one side over the other. He said that he trusted Putin — as he should have done, if his goal was to improve relations. He added that “I don’t see any reason why it would be” Russia who carried out the hacking, nudging Russia toward a less adversarial posture.

Trump-haters are also pretending that Trump somehow elevated Putin by granting him a one-on-one meeting. Putin does not need the U.S. to make him more important. He has a massive nuclear arsenal. He just handed out the trophies at the FIFA World Cup. He has military bases in strategic points in key conflict zones.

The question is not whether Trump should have met Putin but rather why they had not met sooner, given the fact that certain US interests in 2018 cannot be achieved without cooperating with Russia.

It is worth noting that in meeting with Putin, Trump was honoring an explicit campaign promise. At a Republican primary debate in 2015, Trump said of Putin: “I would talk to him. I would get along with him. I believe–and I may be wrong, in which case I’d probably have to take a different path, but I would get along with a lot of the world leaders that this country is not getting along with.” Whatever the merits of that approach, the fact that Trump kept his word increases his credibility, at home and abroad.

Conservative critics — including myself — suggested at the time that Trump’s approach would fail, for the same reasons Obama’s “reset” had failed: namely, that the two countries have several divergent interests and values that transcend any particular pair of leaders.

But Trump has built an advantage that Obama never enjoyed by showing Putin that he is prepared to use the U.S. military to back American interests. That caught Putin’s attention and showed him he has at least some interest in cooperating, for now.

The meeting was also noteworthy for what was not said. Putin complained about the US pulling out of the Iran deal, but he was quiet about reports that the U.S. had killed hundreds of Russian military contractors in Syria (without losing a single American). Putin also said nothing about US airstrikes against Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

He dared not complain. That is because, far from being weak, Trump has been tougher than his predecessors toward Russia, letting his actions speak louder than his words.

The ultimate test of the Helsinki summit lies in the future. The Soviet Union was thought to have “won” the historic conference in Helsinki in 1975, until the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Accords helped bring down communism.

What is clear already is that Trump advocated for American interests without conceding anything to Putin other than his dignity. Trump’s critics, who are reduced to worrying that a soccer ball [gifted to him by Putin] could be used to spy on the U.S., are hysterical precisely because they know he succeeded.

We too think the meeting was a success for President Trump. And yes, the test lies in the future.

Russia’s future does not look rosy.

Its economy is precarious. Its main export commodity is oil. Competition with America selling fossil fuels to Europe would be a serious blow to it.

As the Financial Times reported on February 27, 2018 [links to the FT do not work for non-subscribers]:

The lack of investment shows everywhere: low levels of industrial automation paired with a rapidly ageing and shrinking workforce; weak infrastructure; increasing bureaucracy; and corruption are driving production and transaction costs up, hampering attempts to compete with other emerging markets.

And the Russians themselves are dwindling away. Though Russia’s fertility rate has risen from 1.25 in 2000 (a rate which, if sustained, would halve the population with each generation) to 1.6 in 2018, it is still shrinking. Hence the “rapidly ageing and shrinking workforce” that the Financial Times mentions in passing.

However, the Democrats and their media shills cannot bear the idea that the summit was another success for President Trump.

John Brennan, one of the most evil players, erstwhile director of the CIA, goes so far as to say that the president’s meeting with Putin amounts to treason. That such a man makes such an accusation is deeply ironic.

George Neumayr explains at The American Spectator:

John Brennan’s anti-Trump tweets grow more and more maniacal. His latest tweet holds that Donald Trump’s Russian diplomacy in Helsinki “rises to & exceeds the threshold of ‘high crimes & misdemeanors’. It was nothing short of treasonous.”

That tells people all they need to know about the unseriousness of the left’s impeachment drive, not to mention exposing once again the demented malice behind the Obama administration’s spying on the Trump campaign.

The unhinged criticism is also hilariously rich, given that John Brennan, who supported the Soviet-controlled American Communist Party, meets the textbook definition of a useful idiot for the Russians. At the height of the Cold War, he was rooting for the Reds, casting his vote in 1976 for Gus Hall, the American Communist Party’s presidential candidate. If anyone is adept at serving as a dupe for the Russians, it is John Brennan. …

Anybody familiar with Brennan’s past, which includes not only supporting the evil empire of the Soviets but also the evil empire of radical Islam (his time as Obama’s CIA director was marked by apologetics for the thugs of the Muslim Brotherhood, ludicrous attempts to sanitize the concept of jihad, and nonstop whitewashing of the problem of Islamic terrorism), can only laugh at his anti-Trump antics.

That the media gives this fulminating fool and fraud a platform is a measure of its own lack of seriousness and absurdly sudden hawkishness.

The outrage about the Trump-Putin meeting is empty noise, generated by the America Last crowd to hurt an America First president. It won’t work. From Hillary to Pelosi to Brennan, they are the little lefties who cried wolf — after decades of feeding wolves. Their credibility is nil; their counsel is immature and reckless. …

Brennan isn’t just throwing stones from his glass house but boulders. He once said that he feared his support for Soviet stooge Gus Hall threatened his entrance into the CIA in 1980. This sounds like a wild satirical parody, but it isn’t: a dupe for the Soviet Union rises to the top of the CIA, uses his position to shill for Islamic radicals, eggs the FBI into spying on the Trump campaign, then leaves the CIA only to resume the radicalism of his youth, calling for civil disobedience and the overthrow of a duly elected president. Brennan’s only expertise on treachery comes from his own.

The right questions 5

The Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy’s chief persecutor of President Trump has sent him a list of questions, of the when-did-you-last-beat-your-wife type, in the hope of tricking him  into saying something for which they could have the House of Representatives impeach him, if that assembly should come to be dominated by the Democratic Party while President Trump is in office.

Here are questions that urgently need answers from the leaders of the Left-Wing Conspirators themselves.

From Front Page, by Lloyd Billingsley, questions for Chief Persecutor Robert Mueller:

Investigations normally pursue a crime. What crime, exactly, are you investigating? Given the time and money you have put in, the people have a right to know.

Special Counsel Mueller, if you operate in search of collusion, what statute, exactly, would you use to prosecute collusion? Please supply the numbers in the U.S. code.

Special Counsel Mueller, you have been called a man of great integrity. Why did you front-load your investigative team with highly partisan supporters of Hillary Clinton? Were independent, non-partisan lawyers not available?

If your target is Russian influence in general, Special Counsel Mueller, why are you not investigating the Clinton Foundation and its dealings with Russia? Have you consulted the book Clinton Cash?

Special Counsel Mueller, what is your understanding of Fanny Ohr? She is the Russia expert, wife of demoted DOJ official Bruce Ohr, who worked for Fusion GPS on the Steele dossier. In your expert opinion, why might Fanny Ohr have acquired a short-wave radio license about that time? Was it to communicate with Russian contacts and avoid detection? Did the FBI monitor any of Ohr’s communications?

As you know, Peter Strzok was formerly FBI counterintelligence boss, a very important position. Why was agent Strzok unable to detect the work of the Democrats’ IT man Imran Awan, who had no security clearance but gained repeated unauthorized access to computers of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees? Was that because agent Strzok was busy exonerating presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her destruction of evidence, including more than 30,000 emails?

Agent Strzok changed “gross negligence,” which was a crime, to “extremely careless,” which was not, and FBI boss James Comey repeated that change. What is your take on that? Did you ever exonerate a suspect before you even talked to them?

In your view, former FBI Director Mueller, what was all that business with Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton out on the tarmac? Was it just to exchange pleasantries? Given the time and money you have put in, the public has a right to know.

As you know, Special Counsel Mueller, the FBI sought to identify and discipline the agent who made public the Lynch-Clinton meeting. Who is that person and what is he or she doing now? As you know, agent Strzok still has his badge, his gun and his security clearance.

As you also know, the Communist Party USA was created and sustained by Soviet Russia. In the 1980 and 1984 elections, their candidates were Gus Hall for president and Angela Davis for vice president. Former FBI Director Mueller, how much did Russia spend on those elections? Or did the FBI not bother with Russian intervention in those days?

Former CIA boss John Brennan is claiming that Donald Trump will be relegated to the dustbin of history. In 1976, Brennan voted for the Stalinist Gus Hall for president. In your opinion, former FBI Director Mueller, should that have disqualified Brennan from working for the CIA? And would you have hired him at the FBI? If so, in what capacity?

As you know, Special Counsel Mueller, the FBI failed to stop Omar Mateen’s attack in Florida, and despite warnings failed to stop the Tsarnaev brothers from bombing the Boston Marathon. Why did the powerful agency you once headed fail to stop those acts of terrorism that claimed so many innocent lives?

The FBI was aware of Major Nidal Hasan’s emails to terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki but failed to stop him from murdering 13 unarmed American soldiers at Fort Hood. Sen. Joseph Lieberman sought to make the Hasan-Awlaki emails public but the FBI blocked their release.

Former FBI Director Mueller, when reporters asked you if the FBI had dropped the ball by failing to act, you said, “No. I think, given the context of the discussions and the situation that the agents and the analysts were looking at, they took appropriate steps.” Any second thoughts on that? At the time you expressed no regret over Hasan’s victims, but maybe you have some now?

Given that massive and deadly failure on your watch, why should the people have any confidence in your current probe? Given the time and money you have put in, your team of Clinton cronies, and the absence of any crime or collusion, the people have a right to know. Meanwhile, please indulge a final question

As Paul Kengor showed in The Communist, the FBI had an extensive file on African American Stalinist Frank Marshall Davis, who was in fact a Soviet agent. Were you aware that Frank Marshall Davis was the man known only as “Frank” in the Dreams from My Father book by POTUS 44? Did that ever come up in your time as FBI Director from 2001-2013? The people would sure like to know.

From American Greatness, by Victor Davis Hanson, questions for Barack Obama:

What did you mean when you were heard, by accident, on a hot mic, providing the following assurances to outgoing Russian Prime Minister Medvedev: “On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solved, but it’s important for him to give me space . . . This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility”?

Did you and the Russian government have any private agreements to readjust Russian-American relations during your own 2012 reelection campaign? Were there other such discussions similar to your comments to Prime Minister Medvedev?

If so, do you believe such Russian collusion had any influence on the outcome of the 2012 election?

Did your subsequent reported suspension of, or reduction in, some planned missile defense programs, especially in Eastern Europe, have anything to do with the assurances that you gave to the Russian Prime Minister?

Did the subsequent Russian quietude during your 2012 reelection campaign have anything to do with your assurances of promised changes in U.S. foreign policy?

Did you adjudicate U.S. responses to Russian behavior on the basis of your own campaign re-election concerns?

More specifically, what exactly did you mean when you asked the Russian Prime Minister for “space”? And further what did you intend by suggesting that after your 2012 election you would have more “flexibility” with the Russian government?

Would you please define “flexibility” in this context?

What do you think Prime Minister Medvedev meant when he replied to your request for space, and your promise for flexibility after the election, with: “Yeah, I understand. I understand your message about space. Space for you . . . I understand . . . I will transmit this information to Vladimir?”

Did you hear subsequently from the Russians that Prime Medvedev had delivered the message that you had intended for Vladimir Putin?

Subsequently, did Vladimir Putin communicate with you about any such understanding that the U.S. government would modulate its foreign policy during your reelection campaign in exchange for “space”?

Did any such arrangement in 2012 have anything to do with the later absence of a strong U.S. response to subsequent cyber-attacks by Russian operatives, or to the later 2014 Russian invasions of both Eastern Ukraine and the Crimea?

During the email controversies over the illegal use of a private email account and server by your secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, you stated publicly that you first became aware of her improper use of a private server through press accounts. Yet records show that you yourself communicated with Secretary Clinton over her unauthorized email account. How do you reconcile your public statements with your private actions?

Did you ever at any time improperly transmit classified information over Secretary of State Clinton’s email server under a pseudonymous email account?

Do you feel that you violated federal law by communicating with your secretary of state over an unsecured email server?

Did you discuss in any fashion with your own Department of Justice the ongoing FBI investigation of Secretary of Clinton’s email server and account? Do you know anything about a September 2016, election-cycle communication in which FBI investigator Lisa Page texted to fellow FBI investigator Peter Strzok that “potus wants to know everything we’re doing?” What did you wish to know from the FBI about the email investigation?

When in August 2016 you declared on Fox News that then candidate Hillary Clinton had not endangered national security by the use of an unsecured email server (“I can tell that you this is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered . . .  she has not jeopardized America’s national security”), on what basis did you offer such a blanket exoneration? Had the FBI confirmed to you such a conclusion?

Do you have any knowledge of the contents of any of the 30,000 emails that were deleted by Secretary Clinton?

Were you aware at any time — before, during, or after — of a clandestine meeting between Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former president Bill Clinton on an airport tarmac in Phoenix, Arizona before their meeting became public?

If so, what immediate actions did you take to ensure the integrity of the ongoing investigation of Secretary Clinton’s email account?

Were you briefed at any time on the contents of the Fusion GPS so-called Steele dossier? If so, when and by whom, and what actions did you take in response to such knowledge?

Were you aware that members of your Justice Department and the FBI had relied on the purchased Steele dossier to obtain FISA warrants to surveille member(s) of the Trump campaign staff during the 2016 election?

Were you aware at any time that FISA court judges were not informed of the fact that the author of the dossier has been hired by the Clinton campaign, or had been fired from a cooperative relationship with the FBI, or that the dossier itself was unverified by the FBI or that news accounts about it that were presented to the court as verification of its contents, were in fact, based on selective leaks of its contents to media sources?

If you were aware of any of the above, what action did you take?

Have you ever discussed the Fusion GPS/Steele dossier with Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Bruce Ohr, Glenn Simpson, Rod Rosenstein, or Hillary Clinton? If so when and under what circumstances?

Were you aware that transcripts of such subsequent FISA surveillance were made available to members of you own staff and administration, including, for example, Samantha Power, Ben Rhodes, and Susan Rice?

At any time during the 2016 campaign were you briefed on the contents of the Steele dossier by either your CIA director John Brennan, or Director of National Intelligence James Clapper?

Did you speak at any time with former Senator Harry Reid about the contents of the Steele dossier?

Were you aware at any time that members of your administration had viewed classified transcripts of such surveillance, requested that redacted names of the surveilled were to be unmasked, and then leaked those names to the press?

Did you ever approve or know of direct surveillance of the Trump campaign or transition?

If so, what actions did you take either to reprimand such actions or to prevent their recurrence?

At what time where you briefed by either FBI Director Robert Mueller, or Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on the progress of the so-called Uranium One investigation?

Did Attorney General Loretta Lynch discuss with you the nature of that investigation?

Were you at any time worried about the compromised status of U.S. uranium sources, and if so what did you do about such concerns?

Did you at any time talk with members of the Russian government or those with ties with the Russian government about the Uranium One sale?

Were you aware at any time of massive gifting from Russian-related operatives to the Clinton Foundation?

Were you aware that Bill Clinton in June 2010 had received a $500,000 honorarium for a speech in Moscow from business interests with ties to the Russian government?

Did you at any time discuss with Secretary Clinton either President Clinton’s speech or her own violations of supposed promises and agreements with your office — specifically that both the Clinton Foundation and Bill Clinton would not have commercial relations or receive gifts/honoraria from any interests seeking commercial agreements or exemptions from the State Department?

Were you aware that Secretary Clinton’s personal aide, Huma Abedin, was as a private consultant conducting business with foreign entities, while still employed by the Clinton State Department?

How and when did you first become aware of the hacking of the email accounts at the Democratic National Committee?

Did your administration have any discussions with John Podesta, Donna Brazile or any members of the DNC concerning such data breaches?

Were you aware that DNC Chairman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, did not offer DNC computers to FBI investigators for examination after they were compromised?

Were you told by any member of your administration why this was so?

Were you aware at any time, prior to James Clapper’s false testimony in a congressional hearing, that the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies had illegally surveilled American citizens?

Were you aware at any time, prior to John Brennan’s false testimony in a congressional hearing, that U.S. drone attacks in Afghanistan and Pakistan had inadvertently killed noncombatant civilians?

Did you take any action to reprimand John Brennan for lying to Congress on two occasions, concerning his false assertions that drones had not killed civilians, and that the CIA had not monitored U.S. Senate staffers’ computer communications?

Did you take any action to reprimand James Clapper for providing false testimony to the Congress concerning NSA surveillance?

Were you aware of the communications between your Justice Department and any local, state, or federal authorities concerning the jailing of Internet video maker, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula on suddenly discovered probation violations?

When and by whom were you first briefed that the Benghazi attacks were pre-planned terrorist attacks and not, as members of your administration had alleged, spontaneous riots resulting from an Internet video?

When and by whom were you briefed about Lois Lerner’s conduct at the IRS?

Did you discuss with anyone Lois Lerner’s decision to invoke her Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination?

On what basis did you assert that neither Lois Lerner nor her associates were guilty of “even a smidgen of corruption”?

Was your public exoneration based on any evidence presented to you by internal IRS or FBI investigators? If so, when and by whom?

Why in the last days of your presidential tenure, did you suddenly vastly expand the number of agencies and intelligence analysts privy to classified NSA intelligence gathering?

On what grounds did you take such action, and did your decision have anything to do with your knowledge of the classified surveillance of Donald Trump, or his campaign, or information in the Steele dossier?

In the past, were you aware of the circumstances under which the sealed divorce records of both your 2004 Illinois primary and general election Senate opponents, Blair Hull and Jack Ryan respectively, were illegally leaked to the press? At any time, did you view such sealed records and, if so, when and by whom were you apprised that such records were leaked to the press?

From us, one self-answering question:

Why does the Democratic Party reek of corruption?

Missile strikes on Syria: punishment, prevention, and warning 4

“What did the missile strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons sites do for America?”

“Why should Americans expend blood and treasure for Syrians victimized by their own government?”

“America is not the world’s policeman.”

Such are the questions and protests that are coming from angry commentators, including many conservatives.

So was President Trump’s decision to act as he did right or wrong?

Claudia Rosett, for long a trusty reporter on the horror show called the United Nations, writes at PJ Media:

With air strikes on Syria’s chemical weapons facilities, carried out jointly with Britain and France, America has done the right thing.

Leading from in front, President Trump is finally redrawing the red line that President Obama erased in 2013. Whatever the threats and criticisms that will surely follow, the world will be safer for it. The vital message is that America is no longer the hamstrung giant of the Obama era. Tyrants such as Syria’s Bashar al-Assad, and his patrons in Moscow and Tehran, have been served notice that it would be unwise to continue to assume that America will waffle, appease or simply retreat while they take upon themselves the shaping – to monstrous effect – of the 21st-century world order. This message is also likely to resonate in Beijing (which has reportedly been planning live-fire naval exercises next week in the Taiwan Strait) and Pyongyang (with its nuclear missile projects).

The immediate aim of the US-led air strikes was to end the chemical weapons attacks that Syria’s Assad regime has continued to inflict on its own people – despite Assad’s promises in 2013 to surrender his chemical weapons, and Russia’s promise to ensure Assad did so. On Friday, speaking at a meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Nikki Haley charged that by U.S. estimates, “Assad has used chemical weapons in the Syrian war at least 50 times” – some of these attacks within the past year, including the gas attack that killed dozens … in the Syrian city of Douma.

There’s room for debate about whether it is America’s responsibility, on humanitarian grounds, to stop such atrocities. But whatever your views on protecting children in a far-off land from the hideous effects of chemical weapons, there is a larger, strategic reason for trying to stop Assad. Syria, with its liberal use of chemical weapons, has been setting a horrific precedent – repeatedly violating the Chemical Weapons Convention to which Damascus acceded in 2013, and eroding the longstanding international taboo against chemical warfare. This is dangerous way beyond Syria. As Haley told the UN Security Council: “All nations and all people will be harmed if we allow Assad to normalize the use of chemical weapons.”

In theory, the United Nations was supposed to prevent this, ensuring in tandem with the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons that Assad would give up all his chemical weapons – with the specific oversight and guarantees of Russia, under a deal cut in 2013 by Obama and Putin. As I explained in an article earlier this week for The Hill, the UN has failed utterly, thanks to Putin’s cynical exploitation of the entire setup. Russia used the chemical weapons disarmament deal as a portal for its own military entry into Syria in support of Assad, and has since been using its veto on the UN Security Council, along with a torrent of Kremlin propaganda, to run diplomatic cover for Assad.

As many conservative commentators pointed out at the time, it was stupid (if not collusional) of Obama and his secretary of state John Kerry to hand over the responsibility for overseeing Syria’s WMD abandonment to Russia.

The upshot has been that if the US does not stop Assad’s use of chemical weapons, then nobody will.

Neither Britain nor France would have done it without the US.

The US could have done it on its own. British and French participation in the missile attack was useful for President Trump, though not necessary for the success of the operation. The huge majority of the missiles were American – 88 of the 105. Nine were French and 8 were British.

Prime Minister May allowed British forces to strike Syria along with US forces because she “owed” President Trump for his supporting her, when she hit back at Russia for the poisoning of two Russian expats in Britain by expelling Putin’s diplomats and closing a consulate. She asked President Trump to do the same, and he did. She was able to give the order for the strike on Syria by the RAF without consulting parliament because the MPs were still absent on their Easter break. She seized the moment, and now there’s an outcry in the Commons – as well as the country – about it.

As for President Macron, he seems to be fascinated by President Trump, wanting to follow him and yet also to direct him. Macron claimed that he had “convinced” Trump that he should keep the US military engaged in Syria – and then he retracted the claim.

Last April, after Assad used sarin gas in an attack that killed almost 100 people, Trump ordered a strike of 59 Tomahawk missiles on a Syrian airbase. Evidently, that was not enough to stop Assad’s chemical weapons spree.

At a Pentagon press briefing Friday evening held shortly after Trump’s public announcement of the strikes on Syria, Gen. Joseph Dunford listed three targets “struck and destroyed,” which he said were “specifically associated with the Syrian regime’s chemical weapons program.” The last two on his list were chemical weapons storage facilities, one of which included “an important command post”. On these, I don’t know anything beyond the generic descriptions Dunford gave at the briefing.

But the first target on Dunford’s list had a very familiar ring. He described it as “a scientific research center located in the greater Damascus area”. He added: “This military facility was a Syrian center for the research, development, production and testing of chemical and biological warfare technology.”

That sure sounds like the notorious Syrian Scientific Studies and Research Center, also known as the SSRC. In which case there can be no doubt that these air strikes were aimed at an incredibly high-value target, an outfit central to some of the worst depravities of Assad’s weapons programs, and – as it happens – a longtime client of North Korea and Iran. On the 99 percent probability that this was the research center to which Dunford referred, here’s some background:

For starters, I’d credit Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis with telling it exactly as it is, when he said at the same Pentagon press briefing Friday night, “We were very precise and proportionate. But at the same time, it was a heavy strike.”

The SSRC has been on the U.S. sanctions list for 13 years, first designated under the Bush administration in 2005, with periodic, horrifying updates under the Obama and Trump administrations, targeting its various fronts, procurement arms, officials and connections.

This is not just any old research center. According to the U.S. Treasury, it is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the missiles to deliver them”. …

On April 24, 2017, following Assad’s sarin gas attack on the Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun, the Trump administration blacklisted 271 employees of the SSRC, stating that these individuals “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons since at least 2012”.  In other words, during the same time frame in which Russia (and former secretary of State John Kerry) were assuring us that 100 percent of the chemical weapons were gone from Syria, the Syrian regime’s SSRC was prolifically busy plowing ahead with Assad’s chemical weapons program.

We also have it on good authority that during roughly that same interval, the SSRC was ordering up shipments from North Korea. According to the UN Panel of Experts on North Korea sanctions, in a report dated March 5, 2018, their investigations into weapons and dual-use shipments to Syria from North Korea turned up more than 40 shipments between 2012 and 2017 “by entities designated by Member States as front companies for the Scientific Studies Research Centre of the Syrian Arab Republic.” Among these shipments were items “with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons programs”.

If the SSRC was indeed struck and destroyed, the likely benefits are enormous. That would deprive Assad of one of the most diabolical laboratories of his evil regime, quite likely providing a big setback to his chemical weapons program, with the two-fer that it might also have zapped his bioweapons program.

It would also send a useful message to everyone from the SSRC’s suppliers, such as Iran and North Korea, to such predatory dictators as Russia’s Putin and China’s Xi Jinping. Destroying the SSRC with air strikes ought to drive home, in a way that no amount of UN debate and no quantity of sanctions designations ever could, that these days the U.S. and its allies are serious about their red lines. 

The SSRC was struck. According to the caption to this picture in The Independent, this rubble is what’s left of “part” of it.

The Obama administration’s collusion with Russia 1

Why is there an investigation going on into alleged collusion between President Trump and Russia for which there is no scrap of evidence, but no investigation into the collusion between Hillary Clinton and Russia for which there is ample evidence, and in which she was helped by numerous public employees at tax-payers’ expense, including the person appointed to head the investigation?

That question is no doubt being asked by millions of Americans, and it is asked by Doug Hagmann in an article at Canada Free Press. He provides a time-line of the story of the Clintons’ treachery, from which we have taken this extract:

September 6, 2005: Former U.S. President Bill Clinton and Canadian billionaire Frank Giustra appear together in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The stated purpose of their trip was allegedly humanitarian, where they were to help HIV/AIDS patients gain access to certain drug therapies. Interestingly, Kazakhstan, a nation of 15.4 million, did not have an HIV/AIDS problem …

Kazakstan, however, has rich natural resources … including uranium.

Interestingly, the Almaty trip was also organized, in part by Sergei Kurzin, who once worked for the former federal fugitive Marc Rich, who was pardoned by Clinton on his last day as President.

Giustra, at the time of that trip, was the head of UrAsia Energy Ltd. During this trip, Giustra reportedly met with Kazakhstan officials to securing uranium mining contracts.

While the Giustra-Clinton partnership began publicly in 2005 through the establishment of the Clinton-Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative, Clinton and Giustra have a rich history as well that predates 2005 …

September 7, 2005: Hillary Clinton, former Senator for New York and then-member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, threatened to withhold aid to Kazakhstan unless and until the UrAsia mining deal went forward amid political bureaucracy inside Kasakhstan.

September 8, 2005: Giustra’s UrAsia Energy Ltd was awarded Kazakhstan mining rights from Kazatomprom, the atomic energy agency for Khazakhstan. UrAsia suddenly became the world’s largest uranium mining producer.

February 2006: Frank Giustra donates $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation.

August 2006: FBI Director Robert Mueller, in conjunction with the CIA reportedly begins an investigation into uranium smuggling/corruption from the former Soviet Republics.

June 2007-June 2008: Uranium One begins to purchase U.S. mines, acquiring sites in multiple states in the United States, including Wyoming (representing 20% of U.S. uranium deposits).

August 2008: Then FBI Director Robert Mueller was notified of alleged corruption and bribery involving a Uranium One and Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation deal in the state of Wyoming and elsewhere.

February 3, 2009:Eric Holder becomes U.S. Attorney General

June 4, 2009: Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom) established in 2007, the regulatory body of the Russian nuclear complex and the body that controls the Russian nuclear arsenalsecures a 17% ownership stake in Uranium One, marking the beginning of an aggressive campaign to control the U.S. uranium market. The head of Roasatom is Sergei KirIyenko, former energy minister and then prime minister of Russia (the latter during the Clinton presidency).

Wikileaks Revelations: Diplomatic cables sent to Hillary Clinton in 2009 and during her tenure as Secretary of State confirmed that she knew of Moscow’s nuclear ambitions via Rosatom in Ukraine and Kazakhstan, and knew that Russian military intelligence (GRU) was directly behind these nuclear ambitions.

June 9, 2009: Kazakhstan government arrests head of Kazatomprom (former Clinton Chappaqua guest Mukhtar Dzhkishev) on charges related to Uranium One deal corruption. The reason? Putin wanted the uranium in Kazakhstan and put pressure on Kazakhstan’s dictator to keep his hands off the uranium. This prompted the arrest of  Dzhkishev and jeopardized the sale of Kazakhstan’s uranium to Rosatom.

The Clinton State Department intervened. Hillary Clinton used her position to threaten to withhold financial aid to Kazakhstan, which resulted in the Rosatom purchase to proceed.

June 12, 2009: Rod Rosenstein, U.S. Attorney for Maryland, reportedly begins an investigation into bribery and corruption regarding Uranium One and Rosatom deals. It is important and perhaps relevant to note the existence of the FBI informant William Campbell who was “outed” by U.S. intelligence and whose name was provided to the media in November 2017.

The reason for Rosenstein’s involvement is simple and relates to the existence of the government whistleblower (Mr. Campbell). The Russian commercial agent responsible for the sale and transportation of uranium from disassembled nuclear warheads from Russia to the U.S. is Tenex, a subsidiary of Rosatom. The U.S. arm of Tenex is known as Tenam USA, based in Bethesda, MD and headed by Vadim Mikerin. Mikerin was responsible for managing Rosatom/Tenex contracts with U.S. uranium purchasers, thus giving him leverage over U.S. companies. He used this leverage to extort and defraud U.S. contractors into paying highly inflated prices for uranium, enriching Kremlin officials and compromisimg the companies who paid the bribes. …

September 21, 2009: Robert Mueller, then-FBI Director, personally delivers a 10-gram sample of highly-enriched uranium to the Russian government at the behest of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

This was learned through Wikileaks via Twitter (on May 17, 2017) in reference to a State Department cable. The uranium was allegedly confiscated from smugglers in Georgia, although raising legitimate questions about the role of Mueller with the Clintons and Uranium One.

Notably, Wikileaks released the controversial cable on May 17, the same day that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein tapped Mueller as an “independent” counsel to investigate any supposed Trump-Russian ties.

Mid 2009 through Late 2010: Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton intervenes on multiple occasions on behalf of Uranium One/Rosatom and the inner workings of the transfer of the sale of U.S. uranium assets in her official capacity.

June 29, 2010: While Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State, Bill Clinton collected $500,000 (one-half million dollars) for a one-hour speech he delivered in Moscow, his first Moscow speech in five years. The speech was given at a seminar hosted by Renaissance Capital inMoscow, a Kremlin-controlled investment bank populated by former Russian intelligence agents with close ties to Putin.

October 22, 2010: The Committee on Foreign Investments (CFIUS) approves Rosatom-Uranium One merger. Hillary Clinton served as the titular head of CFIUS in her capacity as Secretary of State. Other committee members included the secretaries of the treasury, state, defense, homeland security, commerce and energy; the attorney general; and representatives from two White House offices (the United States Trade Representative and the Office of Science and Technology Policy). The President of the United States has the final approval of the merger and allowed it to proceed.

THE RESULT: “Uranium One and half of projected American uranium production were transferred to a private company controlled in turn by the Russian State Nuclear Agency.” – Peter Schweizer [wrote in his book Clinton Cash].

Of important (and recent) note is that the FBI informant with direct knowledge and evidence of corruption, bribery, and other related crimes never reported to CFIUS. … His vital information was intentionally withheld by those at the highest levels within U.S intelligence agencies and the top judiciary positions.

December 10, 2010: Rosatom completes its acquisition of Uranium One.

In 2013, Rosatom announced plans to take 100% control of Uranium One, a move that was hailed in Russia under the headline “Russia Nuclear Energy Conquers the World.”

It should be abundantly clear, from this rather abbreviated timeline alone, that U.S. government officials, including but not limited to Hillary Rodham Clinton as Secretary of State were instrumental in the selling of one of most precious natural resources to foreign interests for self-enrichment.

Such enrichment is estimated to exceed $145 million in quid-pro-quo contributions from foreign entities, including and especially those representing Russia, to the Clinton Foundation funneled through shell corporations.

Barack Hussein Obama had not only the power but the responsibility to stop this transfer in the interest of our national security but failed to do so.

Then U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was informed of bribery and corruption related to the multiple transactions in the sale of one of our most strategic assets, also failed to intervene. His successor, Loretta Lynch, also failed to launch any investigation into the foreign dealings between Bill and Hillary Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and foreign nationals in this matter.

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is now tasked with investigating Russian collusion between Russian and Donald Trump and his campaign officials, apparently did nothing as well. Nor did Rod Rosenstein.

The story makes it plain that the FBI is a corrupt institution, all too easily used by a corrupt Leftist administration to act against the interests of the American people.

Which makes it necessary to ask, “Should the FBI be abolished?”

The question is asked and answered at The American Spectator by Steve Baldwin. He looks back over many years of FBI history and lists the agency’s activities that were not only criminal but shockingly evil. He makes a persuasive – no, more, a compelling case for its abolition. It is a long article, but a must-read.

What emerges from all this is that the Clintons and their gang and conspirators belong in prison. And the FBI belongs in – yes, the ashcan of history, but also – the archives of criminal gangs, as likely the biggest and most powerful in history.

Special counsel 1

Hillary Clinton has been appointed special counsel to investigate her collusion with Russia and her corrupt practices with the Clinton Foundation.

Okay, that’s not true. She hasn’t been.

But the idea is not absurd, if the appointment of Robert Mueller to investigate felonious and corrupt practices by persons connected with the 2016 presidential election is not absurd.

Bruce Bialosky writes at Townhall:

When the people of the United States were reintroduced to Robert Mueller, he was made known to us as a man of impeccable credentials and rock-solid integrity that would consider Russian involvement in the U.S. presidential campaign and alert the American people to any wrongdoing. It is now clear he is riddled with conflicts of interest and steeped in the situation himself. If he were that person with unimpeachable rectitude, he would step aside. …

First … most related to Mueller … is the sale of 20% of our native uranium supply to a Russian-controlled firm. When one speaks of a Russian-controlled firm, it goes without saying Putin has his hand in there somewhere. …

Peter Schweizer [in his book Clinton Cash] dealt with the sale of a large portion of our uranium supply to … a major adversary. …  The charge that the sale was improper was barely picked up by the press and then dropped as the press focused on the wild accusations being made that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians which [collusion] catapulted him to the Oval Office.

New revelations have focused on whether there were illegalities and payoffs to the Clintons through money paid to President Clinton for speeches and multi-million dollar donations to the Clinton Foundation which were used to underwrite the Clinton lifestyle and keep their future campaign staff together and working on the Clinton behalf.

Is there really any question about it?

Certainly, the fact that the main character in the Uranium One deal, Frank Giustra, supplied his private plane to the Clinton’s for campaign events was itself an illegal act.

The Clintons would like you to believe that the agencies involved in approving the uranium deal were somehow as powerful or significant as the Secretary of State, the most important cabinet post. The Democrats want you to believe that Clinton really did not have sway on this decision. To contrast, her successor stopped the Keystone Pipeline single-handedly. This argument makes no sense. Also, none of the other participants had a private foundation receiving millions in donations from parties to the transaction.

Mueller was Director of the FBI … when this all happened.

How could he carry on his duties as head of the FBI and then be in charge of investigating FBI activities without it being a clear conflict? 

Next, there is the issue of James Comey (aka Mueller’s bosom buddy) whose actions during the election reek and yearn to be investigated. It is clear he politicized the FBI by his actions. It is clear he decided to hold that press conference where he usurped prosecutorial responsibility with warped logic and divinely created new standards that provided Clinton enough cover to continue her run for the presidency. In addition, paperwork shows he may have made his decision before considering all of the facts.

May have? Paperwork shows he did.

How could Mueller possibly consider this questionable activity of the agency he once ran for 12 years with anything but a prejudiced eye, attempting to protect an agency that clearly looks compromised because of political positioning?

Then there is the infamous Steele dossier. This is a doozy. The twisted arguments to cover the potentially criminal activity bewitches the imagination. The research, which was originally funded by a Republican billionaire to Fusion GPS, will be used as a cover while his money had nothing to do with the potentially illegal action. In fact, think about it, if Paul Singer paid for the research by Fusion GPS up until April, it would be highly inappropriate for Fusion to release that information to the DNC and HRC campaign without authorization by Singer. Yet those who are trying to confuse the situation assert the dossier was a continuum. That is nonsense.

Christopher Steele was hired during the period of the funding by the DNC and HRC campaign. The fact that Maggie Haberman of the NYT, an ardent non-supporter of Trump, would come forth and complain about being lied to by Fusion GPS and related entities for over a year speaks volumes.

Which brings into question why all the lies? Why does no person of consequence at the HRC campaign or DNC have any idea who spent millions to get this info? … HRC wanted to be president, but she did not know about this, the wiping of her hard drive or other important matters of her time at state or the campaign.  That’s a stretch, to put it mildly

Hillary Clinton is not competent. But she is cunningly crooked and unscrupulous. And she has done incalculable harm to millions of people in the Middle East. Her naive, smug, little-girl policies – as Secretary of State! – towards Libya, Syria and Iraq were the cause of untold numbers of deaths, and of multitudes being displaced and pouring into Europe, ultimately to destroy it. What has she thought and said that the world will remember? The attempt at wit with  “We came, we saw, he died” – of the grisly murder of the dictator of Libya, Muammar Qaddafi, from which Libya has still not recovered?  Well, the loss of Qaddafi is not to be lamented. But she slept through the similarly horrible murder of US Ambassador Chris Stephens and three other Americans, much to be lamented, in Benghazi; about which she infamously said when questioned by Congressmen, “What difference, at this point, does it make?Those two sentences are the utterances she will bequeath to posterity. Two nasty, stupid comments.

Was the infamous dossier a lynchpin for the rationale of Mueller’s hiring in the first place as it was supposedly prima facie evidence of Trump collusion? Now that is it is clear it was the Dems working with Steele and the Russians, it was only “opposition research” [according to the Dems]. [Yet] when Donald Jr. met with some Russian unknown, on the advice of a colleague, who supposedly had ties to the Kremlin (because this person would have some dirt on Clinton), the [Democratic] world nearly exploded even though it was supposedly for opposition research and provided nothing.

Somehow, someway, the dossier which is supposedly for opposition research ended up in the hands of the FBI run by Comey. …

And then there is the informant that has been sequestered by the FBI. Why? And why did they apparently meet with Steele and discuss hiring him?

Also, why has Congress requested documents from the FBI and been denied them for six months. Seems very much like an agency out of control.

Seems very much like an agency corrupted by the Obama presidency, one of the two sources of sepsis that has poisoned the entire body politic. The other – older, more persistent, most toxic – is the Clinton source. 

How is Mueller supposed to consider the activity of Comey and the FBI regarding this with any creditability or independence?

He cannot. And the writer gives him this special counsel: “Resign.”

We doubt he will.  But perhaps congressional Republicans will find a way to remove him from his appointment.

A special counsel to investigate Robert Mueller’s involvement in the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy against Donald Trump might then be usefully appointed.  

The Russian hacking that never happened 3

The Nation weekly journal is generally on the side of the Others: the Democrats, the socialists, the statists, the Islam-promoters, the politically correct, the “social justice warriors”.

So if THEY say that there was no Russian hacking of the DNC during the 2016 election year and can prove it – which it seems they can and have – then the conspiracy to spin a “narrative” that presidential candidate Donald Trump plotted with “the Russians” to keep Hillary Clinton out of the White House, is over.

We quote the meaty parts of the article by Patrick Lawrence at The Nation:

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised — a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept — as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate”.  This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

  • There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year — not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak — a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.
  • Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.

This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. …

 

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. …

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any. …

Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. … [but] “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said …

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. … Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known — they were published last September — and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege’, meaning a key.” …

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate — the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second — half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between — but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads — conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like — degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting.“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use. …

VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

  • On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
  • On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
  • On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
  • On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.

It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent”.

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment [ICA], the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers — an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. … The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

How has the Democratic Part reacted to the revelation, in a usually supportive magazine, that they have been proved to have lied?

Flat denial, and accusation that the revelation is itself  a “conspiracy  theory”:

[The Nation’s] Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.” 

We await with keen interest – animated we confess by more than a little Schadenfreude – the reaction of: the Mainstream Media, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Robert Mueller, James Comey, Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.o, Vladimir Putin, Uncle Tom Cobley and all.

Collusion? 1

Was there collusion between the Obama administration and the Kremlin to entrap members of Donald Trump’s family and campaign team ?

John Solomon and Jonathan Easley write at The Hill:

The Russian lawyer who penetrated Donald Trump’s inner circle was initially cleared into the United States by the Justice Department under “extraordinary circumstances” before she embarked on a lobbying campaign last year that ensnared the president’s eldest son, members of Congress, journalists and State Department officials, according to court and Justice Department documents and interviews.

This revelation means it was the Obama Justice Department that enabled the newest and most intriguing figure in the Russia-Trump investigation to enter the country without a visa.

Just five days after meeting in June 2016 at Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr., presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner and then Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Moscow attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya showed up in Washington in the front row of a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on Russia policy, video footage of the hearing shows.

She also engaged in a pro-Russia lobbying campaign and attended an event at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., where Russian supporters showed a movie that challenged the underpinnings of the U.S. human rights law known as the Magnitsky Act, which Russian President Vladimir Putin has reviled and tried to reverse.

The Magnitsky Act imposed financial and other sanctions on Russia for alleged human rights violations connected to the death of a Russian lawyer who claimed to uncover fraud during Putin’s reign. Russia retaliated after the law was passed in 2012 by suspending Americans’ ability to adopt Russian children.

At least five congressional staffers and State Department officials attended that movie showing, according to a Foreign Agent Registration Act complaint filed with the Justice Department about Veselnitskaya’s efforts.

And Veselnitskaya also attended a dinner with the chairman of the House subcommittee overseeing Russia policy, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and roughly 20 other guests at a dinner club frequented by Republicans.

In an interview with The Hill on Wednesday, Rohrabacher said, “There was a dinner at the Capitol Hill Club here with about 20 people. I think I was the only congressman there. They were talking about the Magnitsky case. But that wasn’t just the topic. There was a lot of other things going on. So I think she was there, but I don’t remember any type of conversation with her between us. But I understand she was at the table.”

Rohrabacher said he believed Veselnitskaya and her U.S. colleagues, which included former Rep. Ronald Dellums (D-Calif.), were lobbying other lawmakers to reverse the Magnitsky Act and restore the ability of Americans to adopt Russian children that Moscow had suspended.

“I don’t think this was very heavily lobbied at all compared with the other issues we deal with,” he said.

As for his former congressional colleague Dellums, Rohrabacher said he recalled having a conversation about the Magnitsky Act and the adoption issue: “Ron and I like each other … I have to believe he was a hired lobbyist but I don’t know.”

Veselnitskaya did not return a call seeking comment Wednesday at her Moscow office. Dellums also did not return a call to his office seeking comment.

But in an interview with NBC News earlier this week, Veselnitskaya acknowledged her contacts with Trump Jr. and in Washington were part of a lobbying campaign to get members of Congress and American political figures to see “the real circumstances behind the Magnitsky Act”.

That work was a far cry from the narrow reason the U.S. government initially gave for allowing Veselnitskaya into the U.S. in late 2015, according to federal court records.

The Moscow lawyer had been turned down for a visa to enter the U.S. lawfully but then was granted special immigration parole by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch for the limited purpose of helping a company owned by Russian businessman Denis Katsyv, her client, defend itself against a Justice Department asset forfeiture case in federal court in New York City.

During a court hearing in early January 2016, as Veselnitskaya’s permission to stay in the country was about to expire, federal prosecutors described how rare the grant of parole immigration was as Veselnitskaya pleaded for more time to remain in the United States.

“In October the government bypassed 
the normal visa process and gave a type of extraordinary 
permission to enter the country called immigration parole,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul Monteleoni explained to the judge during a hearing on Jan. 6, 2016.

“That’s a discretionary act that the statute allows the attorney general to do in extraordinary circumstances. In this case, we 
did that so that Mr. Katsyv could testify. And we made the 
further accommodation of allowing his Russian lawyer into the 
country to assist,” he added.

The prosecutor said the Justice Department was willing to allow the Russian lawyer to enter the United States again as the trial in the case approached so she could help prepare and attend the proceedings.

The court record indicates the presiding judge asked the Justice Department to extend Veselnitskaya’s immigration parole another week until he decided motions in the case. There are no other records in the court file indicating what happened with that request or how Veselnitskaya appeared in the country later that spring.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in New York confirmed Wednesday to The Hill that it let Veselnitskaya into the country on a grant of immigration parole from October 2015 to early January 2016.

Justice Department and State Department officials could not immediately explain how the Russian lawyer was still in the country in June for the meeting with Trump Jr. and the events in Washington.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has demanded the U.S. government provide him all records on how Veselnitskaya entered and traveled in the U.S., a request that could shed additional light on her activities.

Interviews with a half dozen Americans who came in contact with Veselnitskaya or monitored her U.S. activities in 2016 make clear that one of her primary goals was to see if the Congress and/or other political leaders would be interested in repealing the 2012 Magnitsky Act punishing Russia or at least ensure the Magnitsky name would not be used on a new law working its way through Congress in 2016 to punish human rights violators across the globe.

“There’s zero doubt that she and her U.S. colleagues were lobbying to repeal Magnitsky or at least ensure his name was removed from the global law Congress was considering,” said U.S. businessman William Browder, who was the main proponent for the Magnitsky Act and who filed a FARA complaint against Veselnitskaya, Dellums and other U.S. officials, claiming they should have registered as foreign agent lobbyists because of the work.

The 2012 law punished Russia for the prison death of Sergei Magnitsky, a Moscow lawyer and accountant who U.S. authorities allege uncovered a massive $230 million money laundering scheme involving Russian government officials that hurt U.S. companies.

Magnitsky became a cause celeb in the United States after his mysterious death in a Russian prison, but Russian officials have disputed his version of events and in 2011 posthumously convicted him of fraud in Russia.

It is that alternate theory of the Magnitsky fraud cause that Veselnitskaya and her U.S. allies tried to get into the hands of American officials, including Rohrabacher, the Trump team and other leaders.

Browder’s complaint, which alleges that Washington lobbyists working with Veselnitskaya failed to register as foreign agents, is still pending at the Justice Department. It identified several events in Washington that Veselnitskaya and her allies attended or staged in June 2016.

All of them occurred in the days immediately after the Russian lawyer used a music promoter friend to get an audience June 9 with Trump Jr. promising dirt on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton but instead using the meeting to talk about Magnitsky and the adoption issue, according to Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya.

On June 13, 2016, Veselnitskaya attended the screening of an anti-Magnitsky movie at the Newseum, which drew a handful of congressional staffers and State Department officials, according to Browder’s complaint.

The next day, she appeared in the front row of a hearing chaired by House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), sitting right behind a former U.S. ambassador who testified on the future of U.S-Russia policy.

Rohrabacher said he recalled around the same time a conversation with Dellums about Magnitsky and the adoption issue and then attending a dinner that included Veselnitskaya at the Capitol Hill Club with about 20 people.

Sources close to the lobbying effort to rename the Magnitsky Act, conducted over the summer of 2016, said it fizzled after only a month or two. They described Veselnitskaya, who does not speak English, as a mysterious and shadowy figure. They said they were confused as to whether she had an official role in the lobbying campaign, although she was present for several meetings.

The sources also described their interactions with Veselnitskaya in the same way that Trump Jr. did. They claimed not to know who she worked for or what her motives were.

“Natalia didn’t speak a word of English,” said one source. “Don’t let anyone tell you this was a sophisticated lobbying effort. It was the least professional campaign I’ve ever seen. If she’s the cream of the Moscow intelligence community then we have nothing to worry about.

*

Update:

Kristina Wong reports at Breitbart that the Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who asked to meet with Donald Trump Jr. at Trump Tower in June 2016, and did so for 20 minutes, had worked for years with Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS. That was the firm that produced the lying, absurd, and now entirely discredited dossier it made up for the Democrats to use against Donald Trump.

Plot after plot was laid to establish a connection between Donald Trump and Russia. One after another they have failed.

Meanwhile the very real collusion between the Democrats and Russians, and the treacherous sale of US uranium deposits to Russia that Hillary Clinton accepted bribes to permit when she was secretary of state, are apparently being disregarded by the Trump administration. Why?

 

Trump puts Putin over a barrel 1

President Trump’s great Warsaw speech was chiefly important for his saying this:

“The fundamental question of our time is whether the West has the will to survive.”

He said rightly that our Western civilization is the greatest ever achieved, and warned that if it is lost it will never come again.

And he declared his determination that it will survive.

But that wasn’t all he said that was important.

It is possible, even probable, that with that one splendid speech he has put an end to Vladimir Putin’s plan to realize his imperialist ambition, to reconstitute the Russian empire as it was in the time of the Soviet Union.

How might he have done that?

Larry Kudlow explains how at Townhall:

With energy prices falling, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has essentially been in a recession over the past four years. With oil at $50 a barrel or less, Russian budgets plunge deeper into debt. It’s even doubtful the Russians have enough money to upgrade their military-energy industrial complex.

Through crafty media relations and his own bravado, a deluded Putin struggles to maintain the illusion that Russia is a strong economic power. But it ain’t so. Not even close.

Now, Russia still has a lot of oil and gas reserves. And it uses this to bully Eastern and Western Europe. It threatens to cut off these resources if Europe dares to complain about Putin power grabs in Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, the Baltics, and elsewhere.

But enter President Donald Trump. In his brilliant speech in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week, he called Putin’s energy bluff.

In an absolutely key part of the speech, he took direct aim at Vladimir Putin’s energy bullying.

Trump said, “We are committed to securing your access to alternative sources of energy, so Poland and its neighbors are never again held hostage to a single supplier of energy.” 

President Donald Trump has quickly made it clear that Barack Obama’s war on business is over. He’s also made it clear, through regulatory rollbacks of breathtaking scope, that the Obama war on fossil fuels is over. Trump wants America to achieve energy dominance. He withdrew from the costly Paris climate accord, which would have severely damaged the American economy. He directed the EPA to rescind the Obama Clean Power Plan, which would have led to skyrocketing electricity rates. He fast-tracked the Keystone XL pipeline. He reopened the door for a modernized American coal industry. He’s overturning all the Obama obstacles to hydraulic fracturing, which his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton would have dramatically increased. And he has opened the floodgates wide to energy exports.

Right now, U.S. oil reserves are almost in parity with those of Saudi Arabia. We have the second-most coal reserves in the world. There are enough U.S. gas reserves to last us a century. We have already passed Russia as the world’s top natural-gas producer. We are the world’s top producer of oil and petroleum hydrocarbons. And exports of liquified national gas are surging, with the Energy Department rapidly approving new LNG projects and other export terminals.

All these America-first energy policies are huge economic-growth and high-wage-job producers at home. But in the Warsaw speech, Trump made it clear that America’s energy dominance will be used to help our friends across Europe. No longer will our allies have to rely on Russian Gazprom supplies with inflated, prosperity-killing prices.

In short, with the free-market policies he’s putting in place in America’s energy sector and throughout the U.S. economy, the business-man president fully intends to destroy Russia’s energy-market share. And as that takes hold, Russia’s gas-station economy will sink further.

And as that takes hold, Bully-boy Putin will have to think twice about Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltics. He’ll have to think twice about his anti-American policies in the Middle East and North Korea. And he’ll have to think twice about his increasingly precarious position as the modern-day Russian tsar.

And the world may yet become a safer place.

Trump has Putin over a barrel.

Posted under Diplomacy, Energy, Poland, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 10, 2017

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