CENSORED: HERE ARE THE CRIMES THEY ARE HIDING FROM YOU | RUDY GIULIANI


Rudy Giuliani’s video podcast points out the obvious election meddling censorship to protect Crooked ex-Vice President (Quid Pro) Joe Biden and the Biden Crime Family trying to ensure a Leftist anti-American election victory over President Trump.

 

DEFEAT LEFTIST CENSORSHIP – spread the word!!!!

 

JRH 10/31/20

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OR just buy some FEEL GOOD coffee, that includes immune boosting products. My Facebook account has been completely disabled. I never incite violence (unlike the Left). Facebook allowed me to re-sign as a beginner with Group memberships absent. Other than likes, I’ll not be posting. YOU should Combat censorship by sharing voluminously. NEVER cave to the Left! VOTE TRUMP!

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Bitchute VIDEO: CENSORED: HERE ARE THE CRIMES THEY ARE HIDING FROM YOU | RUDY GIULIANI

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Report: State Dept. Confirms China, Iran, and Russia Are Working Together to Blame US for COVID-19


You know after 9/11 I delved so much into Islam and that religion’s history I learned way more than any religious-minded Muslim would want me to know because I began blogging Islamic facts that most Muslims are unaware or in mandated self-denial.

 

The Wuhan China derived COVID-19 Pandemic not only has killed but in America has altered the Liberty Americans love. So I see myself beginning to obsess all on all Globalist, Communist and especially Communist China.

Below we read how America’s old enemies are still enemies by colluding with ChiComs that the American Left keeps wanting to extol rather than blame. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised about the American Left because they are all  witting or unwitting Communist Fellow Travelers or friendly Useful Idiots of the New World Order Agenda.

 

JRH 4/23/20 (H/T Michael Giangiordano on Facebook Group Concerned Conservatives)

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Report: State Dept. Confirms China, Iran, and Russia Are Working Together to Blame US for COVID-19

 

By Julio Rosas

Apr 23, 2020 12:00 PM

Townhall

 

Source: AP Photo/Andy Wong

 

The State Department confirmed to staff members of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform during a briefing on April 15 that the state-run media in China, Russia, and Iran are working in together to blame the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic on the United States, according to an internal GOP Oversight and Reform Committee report.

 

In the report that was obtained by Townhall, it also laid out how the World Health Organization and China had been misleading on the severity of COVID-19 during the early stages of the pandemic, which originated out of the city of Wuhan, the capital of Central China’s Hubei province:

 

“According to a cybersecurity report, Chinese state-run media has attempted to shift the blame for the pandemic away from China and instead painted China as a global leader in the response to the pandemic. A spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry has openly blamed U.S. servicemembers for originating the virus in China. China further censored and detained any Chinese official, including doctors, who tried to warn of the true origins of the virus.

 

“The State Department has confirmed Chinese, Iranian, and Russian state-run media are all promoting similar messages in an effort to blame the U.S. for COVID-19. Further, China is attempting to use propaganda regarding its pandemic response to convince the world that socialism, communism, and authoritarianism are better than freedom, liberty, and representative government.”

 

The State Department said they are doing the following to push back against Chinese propaganda:

 

  • Using a global programmatic strategy to counter and expose propaganda by partnering with international organizations to reinforce U.S. messages.

 

  • Countering the CCP’s claim of supremacy in COVID-19 response by using social media campaigns in Europe, India, Africa, and the Indo-Pacific to push out the truth about the U.S. response to the pandemic, including their status as a long-standing leader in global public health.

 

  • Continual coordination of foreign media analysis and response between the Group of Seven to ensure a synergy of effect – multiplying the efforts of all the countries to combat global propaganda campaigns.

 

Pointing to the U.S. intelligence community finding evidence of China purposefully underreporting their number of cases and deaths from COVID-19, the report said, “The global health community relied on these early Chinese reports to plan responses in other countries, and such underreporting may have led other countries to operate under false assumptions regarding the spread of the virus.”

 

The report further takes aim at the WHO’s missteps, resulting in lost time to adequately prepare for the disease.

 

Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the novel #coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in #Wuhan, #China????. pic.twitter.com/Fnl5P877VG

— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) January 14, 2020

 

“These preliminary investigations included China jailing any doctor that disseminated any information about COVID-19 not first cleared through state-run media. Additionally, the WHO failed to promote in a timely manner Taiwanese warnings of human-to-human transmission in December 2019; Taiwan is not currently recognized by the WHO as an independent nation. On January 23, 2020, the WHO finally recognized human-to-human spread was occurring – a month after the first warnings,” the report stated about the WHO’s now-infamous January 14 tweet.

 

“By the time the WHO declared COVID-19 a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on January 30, 2020, the disease had infected almost 10,000 and killed almost 1,000 people in nineteen different countries,” it continued. “The Guardian has reported the delay in the PHEIC declaration was a result of intense pressure from China. While making the declaration, Dr. Tedros said ‘China is to be congratulated for the extraordinary measures it has taken to contain the outbreak.’ Since then, there have been over 2.5 million new cases and 175,000 deaths worldwide.”

 

Because the WHO criticized President Trump’s order to restrict travel to and from China and their continued praise for China “despite clear Chinese efforts to cover-up their complicity in the pandemic,” Oversight Republicans wrote to Dr. Tedros in early April demanding documents and a briefing. The request included:

 

  • All documents and communications regarding public health, including but not limited to COVID-19, novel coronavirus, or coronavirus, between the WHO and the Chinese Communist Party or the government of China between August 2019 and present.

 

  • All documents and communications regarding the total number of infected persons and deceased persons related to the current COVID-19 pandemic in China, including those infected but asymptomatic.

 

The Ethiopian Embassy contacted Oversight Republicans to confirm they had received the letter on April 11, but so far, no documents have been produced and the briefing has yet to be scheduled.

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If There Is a Neocon Warning – Pay Attention


John R. Houk

© June 26, 2019

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) in conjunction with the Think Tank American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has put together a report measuring Russia’s potential threat to American interests today.

 

In the Bush II Presidential years the AEI had a Neoconservative reputation in its policy advocacy. In this day and age Neocons are pretty much castigated by the American Left and American Right.

 

On a personal level I have been an admirer of Neoconservatism’s American Exceptionalism and a Foreign Policy based on military strength. Traditional Conservatives (sometimes called Paleocons) view this kind of aggressive Foreign Policy as a Big Government budget destroyer. There are those the American Left would label as the racist Right who castigate Neocons as ex-Communist Jews that can’t be trusted.

 

There is a large amount of truth to the “ex-Communist” association since a large number of early Neocon proponents were indeed Communists or at least Marxist sympathizers, BUT these rebels against Communism woke up to the ideological failures. Socialism (and yes this includes National Socialism aka Nazism) and varieties of Marxism have led to much of history’s oppressive regimes and the genocide of huge groups of human beings.

 

However, to label a “Communist” a “Jew” is a bit of an oxymoron. Communists are anti-religion atheists by nature and a good Jew practices the religious faith of Judaism. It is true there are people of a Jewish heritage that have repudiated the religious tenets of Judaism and embraced Marxist-Communist ideology. If one embraces Communism one rejects religion. That would make a Jew who became a Communist an ex-Jew. Incidentally, a person of Christian heritage, Islamic heritage, Buddhist heritage or any religious heritage who embraces Communism have rejected their religious heritage and have become an ex-whatever heritage.

 

Condemning all Jews because a few rejected their religious heritage should logically lead to the same condemnation of other people rejecting their religious heritage. I doubt Jew-haters follow that logic since one rarely hears the label that all Christians, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. are evil because a few accept atheistic One World Government Communism. Hence the hypocrisy of hating Jews because of Communism is just plain racism. (Muslims hate Jews because their revered writings tell them to hate Jews [Percentages]. That’s a whole different kind of racism. One sees that kind of racism among idiot Christians who believe all Jews are responsible for killing Jesus when it was a secret night tribunal of Jewish leaders fearing a rebellion would displace status among their Roman overlords. Human fear and jealousy got Jesus Crucified. God’s love Resurrected the Son of God which offers Saving Redemption to ALL who Believe in the Risen Savior – to the Jew first then to the non-Jew.)

 

The American Left deride the Neocons’ American Exceptionalism as nationalistic anti-globalist rejectors of Socialism/Marxism.

 

Have Neocons made mistakes? DEFINITELY! The principle of nation-building based on American Republic Representative-Democracy only works in cultures amenable to the Western heritage. This unfortunate discovery became evident in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Those cultures have been brainwashed into Islamic thought for too long for the populace to understand let alone accept Western Representative Democracy.

 

When Neocons have a warning about Russia in relation to American National Interests and National Security the benefit of the USA is what is in mind.

 

JRH 6/26/19

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CONFRONTING THE RUSSIAN CHALLENGE

 

Russian Soldier

 

By Frederick W. KaganNataliya Bugayova, and Jennifer Cafarella

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (PDF)

Institute for the Study of War

[Institute for the Study of War (ISW) and Critical Threats Project (CTP) at the American Enterprise Institute]

June 2019

 

Russia poses a significant threat to the United States and its allies for which the West is not ready.  The West must act urgently to meet this threat without exaggerating it.  Russia today does not have the military strength of the Soviet Union. It is a poor state with an economy roughly the size of Canada’s, a population less than half that of the U.S., and demographic trends indicating that it will lose strength over time.  It is not a conventional military near-peer nor will it become so.  Its unconventional warfare and information operations pose daunting but not insuperable challenges.  The U.S. and its allies must develop a coherent global approach to meeting and transcending the Russian challenge.

 

[Download the full report here and the Executive Summary here.]

 

The Russian Threat

 

President Vladimir Putin has invaded two of his neighbors, Georgia and Ukraine, partly to stop them from aligning with NATO and the West.  He has also illegally annexed territory from both those states. He has established a military base in the eastern Mediterranean that he uses to interfere with, shape, and restrict the operations of the U.S. and the anti-ISIS coalition.  He has given cover to Bashar al Assad’s use of chemical weapons, and Russian agents have used military-grade chemical weapons in assassination attempts in Great Britain.  Russia has threatened to use nuclear weapons, even in regional and local conflicts. And Moscow has interfered in elections and domestic political discourse in the U.S. and Europe.

 

The Russian threat’s effectiveness results mainly from the West’s weaknesses.  NATO’s European members are not meeting their full commitments to the alliance to maintain the fighting power needed to deter and defeat the emerging challenge from Moscow. Increasing political polarization and the erosion of trust by Western peoples in their governments creates vulnerabilities that the Kremlin has adroitly exploited.

 

Moscow’s success in manipulating Western perceptions of and reactions to its activities has fueled the development of an approach to warfare that the West finds difficult to understand, let alone counter.  Shaping the information space is the primary effort to which Russian military operations, even conventional military operations, are frequently subordinated in this way of war.  Russia obfuscates its activities and confuses the discussion so that many people throw up their hands and say simply, “Who knows if the Russians really did that?  Who knows if it was legal?”—thus paralyzing the West’s responses.

 

Putin’s Program

 

Putin is not simply an opportunistic predator.  Putin and the major institutions of the Russian Federation have a program as coherent as that of any Western leader.  Putin enunciates his objectives in major speeches, and his ministers generate detailed formal expositions of Russia’s military and diplomatic aims and its efforts and the methods and resources it uses to pursue them.  These statements cohere with the actions of Russian officials and military units on the ground.  The common perception that he is opportunistic arises from the way that the Kremlin sets conditions to achieve these objectives in advance. Putin closely monitors the domestic and international situation and decides to execute plans when and if conditions require and favor the Kremlin. The aims of Russian policy can be distilled into the following:

 

Domestic Objectives

 

Putin is an autocrat who seeks to retain control of his state and the succession.  He seeks to keep his power circle content, maintain his own popularity, suppress domestic political opposition in the name of blocking a “color revolution” he falsely accuses the West of preparing, and expand the Russian economy.

 

Putin has not fixed the economy, which remains corrupt, inefficient, and dependent on petrochemical and mineral exports.  He has focused instead on ending the international sanctions regime to obtain the cash, expertise, and technology he needs.  Information operations and hybrid warfare undertakings in Europe are heavily aimed at this objective.

 

External Objectives

 

Putin’s foreign policy aims are clear: end American dominance and the “unipolar” world order, restore “multipolarity,” and reestablish Russia as a global power and broker.  He identifies NATO as an adversary and a threat and seeks to negate it.  He aims to break Western unity, establish Russian suzerainty over the former Soviet States, and regain a global footprint.

 

Putin works to break Western unity by invalidating the collective defense provision of the North Atlantic Treaty (Article 5), weakening the European Union, and destroying the faith of Western societies in their governments.

 

He is reestablishing a global military footprint similar in extent the Soviet Union’s, but with different aims. He is neither advancing an ideology, nor establishing bases from which to project conventional military power on a large scale.  He aims rather to constrain and shape America’s actions using small numbers of troops and agents along with advanced anti-air and anti-shipping systems.

 

Recommendations

 

A sound U.S. grand strategic approach to Russia:

 

  • Aims to achieve core American national security objectives positively rather than to react defensively to Russian actions;

 

  • Holistically addresses all U.S. interests globally as they relate to Russia rather than considering them theater-by-theater;

 

  • Does not trade core American national security interests in one theater for those in another, or sacrifice one vital interest for another;

 

  • Achieves American objectives by means short of war if at all possible;

 

  • Deters nuclear war, the use of any nuclear weapons, and other Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD);

 

  • Accepts the risk of conventional conflict with Russia while seeking to avoid it and to control escalation, while also ensuring that American forces will prevail at any escalation level;

 

  • Contests Russian information operations and hybrid warfare undertakings; and

 

  • Extends American protection and deterrence to U.S. allies in NATO and outside of NATO.

 

Such an approach involves four principal lines of effort.

 

Constrain Putin’s Resources.  Russia uses hybrid warfare approaches because of its relative poverty and inability to field large and modern military systems that could challenge the U.S. and NATO symmetrically.  Lifting or reducing the current sanctions regime or otherwise facilitating Russia’s access to wealth and technology could give Putin the resources he needs to mount a much more significant conventional threat—an aim he had been pursuing in the early 2000s when high oil prices and no sanctions made it seem possible.

 

Disrupt Hybrid Operations.  Identifying, exposing, and disrupting hybrid operations is a feasible, if difficult, undertaking.  New structures in the U.S. military, State Department, and possibly National Security Council Staff are likely needed to:

 

  1. Coordinate efforts to identify and understand hybrid operations in preparation and underway;

 

  1. Develop recommendations for action against hybrid operations that the U.S. government has identified but are not yet publicly known;

 

  1. Respond to the unexpected third-party exposure of hybrid operations whether the U.S. government knew about the operations or not;

 

  1. Identify in advance the specific campaign and strategic objectives that should be pursued when the U.S. government deliberately exposes a particular hybrid operation or when third parties expose hybrid operations of a certain type in a certain area;

 

  1. Shape the U.S. government response, particularly in the information space, to drive the blowback effects of the exposure of a particular hybrid operation toward achieving those identified objectives; and

 

  1. Learn lessons from past and current counter-hybrid operations undertakings, improve techniques, and prepare for future evolutions of Russian approaches in coordination with allies and partners.

 

The U.S. should also develop a counter-information operations approach that uses only truth against Russian narratives aimed at sowing discord within the West and at undermining the legitimacy of Western governments.

 

Delegitimize Putin as a Mediator and Convener.  Recognition as one of the poles of a multipolar world order is vital to Putin.  It is part of the greatness he promises the Russian people in return for taking their liberty.  Getting a “seat at the table” of Western-led endeavors is insufficient for him because he seeks to transform the international system fundamentally.  He finds the very language of being offered a seat at the West’s table patronizing.

 

He has gained much more legitimacy as an international partner in Syria and Ukraine than his behavior warrants.  He benefits from the continuous desire of Western leaders to believe that Moscow will help them out of their own problems if only it is approached in the right way.

 

The U.S. and its allies must instead recognize that Putin is a self-declared adversary who seeks to weaken, divide, and harm them—never to strengthen or help them.  He has made clear in word and deed that his interests are antithetical to the West’s.  The West should therefore stop treating him as a potential partner, but instead require him to demonstrate that he can and will act to advance rather than damage the West’s interests before engaging with him at high levels.

 

The West must not trade interests in one region for Putin’s help in another, even if there is reason to believe that he would actually be helpful.  Those working on American policy in Syria and the Levant must recognize that the U.S. cannot afford to subordinate its global Russia policy to pursue limited interests, however important, within the Middle East.  Recognizing Putin as a mediator or convener in Syria—to constrain Iran’s activities in the south of that country, for example—is too high a price tag to pay for undermining a coherent global approach to the Russian threat.  Granting him credibility in that role there enhances his credibility in his self-proclaimed role as a mediator rather than belligerent in Ukraine.  The tradeoff of interests is unacceptable.

 

Nor should the U.S. engage with Putin about Ukraine until he has committed publicly in word and deed to what should be the minimum non-negotiable Western demand—the recognition of the full sovereignty of all the former Soviet states, specifically including Ukraine, in their borders as of the dates of their admission as independent countries to the United Nations, and the formal renunciation (including the repealing of relevant Russian legislation) of any right to interfere in the internal affairs of those states.

 

Defend NATO.  The increased Russian threat requires increased efforts to defend NATO against both conventional and hybrid threats.  All NATO members must meet their commitments to defense spending targets—and should be prepared to go beyond those commitments to field the forces necessary to defend themselves and other alliance members.  The Russian base in Syria poses a threat to Western operations in the Middle East that are essential to protecting our own citizens and security against terrorist threats and Iran.  Neither the U.S. nor NATO is postured to protect the Mediterranean or fight for access to the Middle East through the eastern Mediterranean. NATO must now prepare to field and deploy additional forces to ensure that it can win that fight.

 

The West should also remove as much ambiguity as possible from the NATO commitment to defend member states threatened by hybrid warfare.  The 2018 Brussels Declaration affirming the alliance’s intention to defend member states attacked by hybrid warfare was a good start.  The U.S. and other NATO states with stronger militaries should go further by declaring that they will come to the aid of a member state attacked by conventional or hybrid means regardless of whether Article 5 is formally activated, creating a pre-emptive coalition of the willing to deter Russian aggression.

 

Bilateral Negotiations.  Recognizing that Russia is a self-defined adversary and threat does not preclude direct negotiations.  The U.S. negotiated several arms control treaties with the Soviet Union and has negotiated with other self-defined enemies as well.  It should retain open channels of communication and a willingness to work together with Russia on bilateral areas in which real and verifiable agreement is possible, even while refusing to grant legitimacy to Russian intervention in conflicts beyond its borders.  Such areas could include strategic nuclear weapons, cyber operations, interference in elections, the Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, and other matters related to direct Russo-American tensions and concerns.  There is little likelihood of any negotiation yielding fruit at this point, but there is no need to refuse to talk with Russia on these and similar issues in hopes of laying the groundwork for more successful discussions in the future.

 

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE.

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If There Is a Neocon Warning – Pay Attention

John R. Houk

© June 26, 2019

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CONFRONTING THE RUSSIAN CHALLENGE

 

1400 16th Street NW, Suite 515 Washington, DC 20036
ph. (202) 293-5550


©2007 – 2019 THE INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR

 

Trump accuses NY Times of ‘virtual treason’…


President Trump is accusing the New York Times of treason because the Leftist rag told the world about a classified U.S. mission to mess with Russia undoubtedly due Russian cyber warfare being conducted against the United States. The most public of which is cyber meddling in U.S. election cycles.

 

I would not be surprised to find out some day the USA and Russia have been exchanging cyber barbs for quite some time. Is it ethical or even legal for the NYT to expose clandestine and probably Classified cyber missions intended as bloodless reprisals to Russian cyber-crimes? It’s definitely not ethical! If exposing Classified actions against a foreign enemy isn’t illegal, IT SHOULD BE!

 

Justin Smith pointed this post on my Facebook Group Social Media Jail Conversations for Conservatives & Counterjihadists

(yeah I know, lengthy title. I had just emerged from Facebook jail and was quite annoyed at the time. So I created the group. Feel free to join the still relatively small group). The group URL to Justin’s share is HERE.

 

Justin did not include the URL from whence he found the post. Justin’s reason: The “URL is being banned by Facebook”. The banned website is The Patriot Brief. Interestingly The Patriot Brief picked up the article from The National Sentinel. It is from the original source I am cross posting below. In case you are curious The Patriot Brief link to the article is HERE.

 

JRH 6/17/19

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Trump accuses NY Times of ‘virtual treason’ after report exposing U.S. cyber-targeting of Russian infrastructure: He’s right

 

By Jon Dougherty

June 16, 2019

The National Sentinel

 

NYT Building

 

(NationalSentinel) We have made the observation before that in the age of Donald Trump, the establishment media has become a national security liability due to the fact that major outlets will publish just about anything in order to undermine him.

 

But in doing so, these same outlets also undermine our country — and some 312 million American citizens — making them as big a threat to our security as any foreign power.

 

The New York Times did it again Sunday with a story claiming that the Trump administration has escalated attacks on Russia’s power grid:

 

The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.

 

In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.

 

Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.

 

But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.

 

“It has gotten far, far more aggressive over the past year,” one senior intelligence official told the Times. “We are doing things at a scale that we never contemplated a few years ago.”

 

You know what else carries “significant risk?” Reporting classified information that provides valuable insight and intelligence for a nuclear-armed adversary.

 

So much for “Russia collusion,” right?

 

The revelations infuriated POTUS Trump, and rightfully so. He said on Twitter the paper committed “a virtual act of Treason” over its report, The Hill noted.

 

“Do you believe that the Failing New York Times just did a story stating that the United States is substantially increasing Cyber Attacks on Russia,” Trump tweeted. “This is a virtual act of Treason by a once great paper so desperate for a story, any story, even if bad for our Country.”

 

“Anything goes with our Corrupt News Media today,” he added. “They will do, or say, whatever it takes, with not even the slightest thought of consequence! These are true cowards and without doubt, THE ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE!”

 

He also claimed the Times report was “NOT TRUE.”

 

The fact is the Times report most likely is true. Rational people understand that in light of report after report regarding Russia/China/Iran/North Korea targeting U.S. infrastructure, it makes sense for America — which is a cyber superpower — to respond in kind.

 

But these kinds of operations are not meant to be revealed. Doing so not only compromises said operations, but foreign intelligence agencies gleaning details from published open source information very often learn things that help them counter our moves.

 

Which, again, puts our country at risk.

 

The Times editors know this. They understand full well what revealing this kind of highly classified information can mean to an adversary.

 

And yet, they published it anyway. Just to ‘get Donald Trump.’

 

What does that say about them? It says — again — that the president has been right about our own press since he took office: They are more of an enemy than some of our adversaries. Or at least the equivalent.

 

Even though we have speech protections written into our Constitution via the First Amendment, you still can’t slander someone, libel them, yell ‘fire’ in a theater, or engage in various forms of “hate” speech.

 

Publishing highly classified information that provides ‘aid and comfort’ to an adversary should be legally actionable as well. Doing so harms our country by weakening our national security.

 

Think about it: Does anyone believe that FDR would not have punished the NYTimes or the Washington Post if either paper had published plans for the D-Day invasion, just because their editors believed Americans ‘had a right to know’?

 

Granted, we were in an actual war then, and we’re not fighting Russia — now. Though you could argue that in places like Syria, where Russian-sponsored mercenaries from the Wagner Group attacked U.S. forces and their allies early last year, amounts to a real conflict. Or Russia putting forces into Venezuela, in our hemisphere. Or encroaching on NATO’s eastern flank.

 

We have argued before that reporting the details about these highly classified operations are harming our national security at a time when the world is more dangerous than ever, not less, and for no good reason. The Times is just as guilty, in our view, as the U.S. officials who leaked the information. If they can be charged under the Espionage Act, then the ‘paper of record’ that published the information should be equally culpable.

 

The president is right.

__________________________

Follow Jon Dougherty on Twitter at @JonDougherty10

 

© 2017-2019 USA Features Media LLC.

 

ABOUT The National Sentinel

 

The National Sentinel is a fiercely independent, non-corporate-owned news site dedicated to bringing our readers fresh, informative content and the news of the day, without the bias and political chicanery of the so-called “mainstream” media.

 

Updated daily and throughout the day, rely on us to provide you with unfiltered news and information you won’t find anywhere else that helps you to make informed decisions. Like the media is supposed to do.

 

The National Journal is part of the USA Features Media network of sites. Follow USA Features on Facebook (click here).

 

A note about our advertisers: In accordance with Federal Trade Commission regulations, we are disclosing that our site earns a commission off of items we advertise and sell, as an affiliate. Think of it like a tip for bringing you awesome content! In any event, we have an advertising relationship with the stores we link to. Now you know.

 

See usage rights/permissions here. … READ THE REST

 

7 Reasons Why the Uranium One Scandal Won’t Go Away


VIDEO: Bob Hope Says Democrats Are Like Zombies

There is one sure truism in this day and age: If a member of the Democratic Party’s lips are moving, a LIE is spewing forth. When you hear a Dem claim Obama was scandal free or not a single whisper of a scandal, THAT DEM IS LYING!

 

ERGO the Dem Claim that the Uranium One scandal is debunked and settled, THAT DEM IS…!

 

(This Epoch Times post is an updated version from the original 5/9/19 post.)

 

JRH 5/22/19

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7 Reasons Why the Uranium One Scandal Won’t Go Away

 

By Seamus Bruner

May 9, 2019 Updated: May 22, 2019

The Epoch Times

 

Crooked Hillary & Slick Willie

 

Commentary

 

The Trump–Russia collusion narrative is officially dead, now that special counsel Robert Mueller has concluded there is no evidence of collusion.

 

With the cloud of the Mueller probe lifted, President Donald Trump can now go on the offensive with an attorney general who appears ready to drop the hammer on corruption in Washington. Moreover, Attorney General William Barr doesn’t appear to be intimidated by Democratic lawmakers who have already threatened him with impeachment and even incarceration.

 

Former President Barack Obama’s allies have lately claimed his term in office was “scandal-free,” a claim his critics find “laughable.” Abuses of power under the Obama administration ranged from drone-strike assassinations of U.S. citizens to the IRS’s targeting of conservatives. In fact, the Obama administration was a magnet for scandals. One of the largest—and perhaps least understood—involves the Russian takeover of Uranium One, a Canadian mining company with large uranium holdings in the United States.

 

The mainstream press has repeatedly declared the Russian purchase of Uranium One a “debunked conspiracy theory.” But it’s no theory, nor has it been debunked. The Uranium One deal was complicated and had many moving parts, which also explains why misinformation about it has spread widely.

 

It’s true that the Clinton Foundation received undisclosed millions from Uranium One stakeholders—such as the $2.35 million from board Chairman Ian Telfer. The Obama administration did allow the Russians to acquire domestic nuclear assets critical to U.S. national security. But minor inaccuracies in the soundbites have allowed self-appointed fact-checkers such as PolitiFact and Snopes to selectively “debunk” the larger story without critically examining the full set of facts.

 

In the coming months, readers may find the Uranium One scandal coming back into focus. For that purpose, it’s time to set the record straight.

 

Here are seven reasons why the Uranium One scandal isn’t going away:

 

1. Uranium One is the largest foreign-influence scandal in US history.

 

If you ask any American what the largest political scandal in our history was, you will likely find that former President Richard Nixon’s Watergate affair tops the list. Nixon’s spying on political opponents left such a bruise on America’s collective psyche that adding “-gate” to later political scandals is an homage. For Nixon, the coverup was worse than the crime.

 

Scandals that result in the impeachment of a sitting president are hard to top, which is why the Clinton–Lewinsky fiasco also ranks high among U.S. political scandals. Those shenanigans—and the more recent targeting by Obama of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign—demonstrate clear abuses of power, but have little to do with foreign influence.

 

The Uranium One scandal, however, involves alleged bribery, kickbacks, extortion, and money laundering at the highest levels of the U.S. nuclear industry. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) informant-turned-whistleblower William Douglas Campbell infiltrated Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle and claims to have video evidence of “suitcases full of bribery cash.”

 

Uranium One Scandal Collage of Facts [Click embedded link for FULL SIZE]

 

It’s now known that former President Bill Clinton was paid $500,000 by a Kremlin-backed bank to deliver a speech in Moscow just months before the Uranium One sale was approved by the Obama administration. Clinton sought approval from his wife’s State Department to meet with a Russian board member of Rosatom, the state-owned nuclear agency. Clinton ended up meeting directly with Putin instead, who thanked the former president for the visit. Soon after, Bill Clinton was paid a half million dollars by Russian interests, and Hillary Clinton’s State Department allowed the Russian takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

 

When Peter Schweizer first broke the Uranium One scandal in April 2015, Hillary Clinton’s apologists immediately claimed that her State Department was just one of several Obama administration agencies that approved the sale—but is that really any better? Because if none of the Obama agencies who approved that deal found any issues with it, perhaps other players were just as conflicted as Bill and Hillary Clinton.

 

The Uranium One scandal contains elements of corruption and abuses of power. Neither Watergate nor the Lewinsky affair involved payments to top White House officials by foreign adversaries in exchange for favorable policies. However, Uranium One did—and the payments were massive.

 

The $145 million figure refers to the collective “commitments and donations” made to the Clinton Foundation by “investors who profited from the deal,” as documented extensively in Schweizer’s book “Clinton Cash” and confirmed by The New York Times. Any uncertainty in the dates or amounts is due exclusively to the Clinton Foundation, which reports its donations once per year and in wide ranges—or as Schweizer calls it, “the Clinton blur.” The bulk of the $145 million figure came from longtime Clinton friend Frank Giustra. Another major Clinton donor included in that figure is uranium investor Frank Holmes, who was grilled on his timely donations by CNBC.

 

2. Uranium One was never just a Clinton scandal; it’s also an Obama scandal.

 

In addition to Obama’s State Department, his Department of Justice (DOJ) had a lead role on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) that approved the sale. Thus, top DOJ and FBI officials share blame for not blocking the transaction in 2010. That could explain why Obama’s top DOJ and FBI personnel stonewalled their own field office investigations involving Hillary Clinton’s Uranium One conflicts. Those investigations effectively exonerated her just before the 2016 election.

 

The DOJ’s role in the 2010 CFIUS review is troubling. No one from the DOJ involved with that committee raised any objections to the deal, despite separate ongoing FBI investigations into Russian espionage and racketeering schemes—schemes that specifically targeted the U.S. nuclear industry. Despite hard evidence of these schemes, the FBI, the DOJ, and other Obama agencies nevertheless raised no objections to the Russian takeover of U.S. nuclear assets.

 

The fact that Clinton’s State Department wasn’t the only Obama agency in the CFIUS review with conflicting motives must be fully investigated. The Democrats are right, Clinton couldn’t have approved the deal singlehandedly. They seem to think that this exonerates Clinton, when, in fact, it really damns the broader Obama administration.

 

Epoch Times VIDEO: The mainstream press has repeatedly declared the Russian purchase of Uranium One a “debunked conspiracy theory.” …

YOUTUBE VERSION: https://youtu.be/9NhLg-KohtY

 

3. Uranium One likely played a major role in the origins of the Trump–Russia collusion hoax.

 

Last month, Barr pledged to investigate the origins of the Trump–Russia probe, also known as “Spygate.” As this latest saga unfolds, note that many of the same players in the Obama targeting of the Trump campaign also played lead investigative roles in each of the Russian nuclear schemes.

 

James Comey, Robert Mueller, Andrew McCabe, and Andrew Weissmann all appear to have been involved in both the investigation of long-running Russian nuclear conspiracies and in the attempt to unseat a duly elected president who threatened to expose them.

 

At the time of the sale, Obama’s FBI—headed by Mueller—had intimate knowledge of ongoing Russian espionage and bribery schemes, but the deal went through anyway. McCabe headed the FBI investigation, which began in 2009, into the bribery, kickbacks, and money laundering linked to Uranium One. Weissmann and Rosenstein headed the DOJ prosecution of the Russian principals and announced the charges, years later in 2014.

 

One felon received 48 months for crimes that could have carried up to a 20-year sentence. Those convictions didn’t occur until after Obama’s top officials approved the sale. The DOJ’s failure to publicly object to the Uranium One purchase, despite knowing about ongoing bribery and espionage schemes, raises a major red flag.

 

The overlap of the previous Russian influence investigations with the 2016 Trump–Russia investigation deserves a thorough review by Barr.

 

4. ‘What did Obama know, and when did he know it?’

 

In autumn 2015, an FBI agent sent notices to the Obama CFIUS agencies that required them to preserve their Uranium One records. Those records remain secret but may shed light on the largest questions of all: What did Obama know about the Russians’ nuclear schemes, when did he know it, and why did his administration allow them to proceed?

 

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI) is legally required to submit a threat analysis of any sale under review to CFIUS. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) has demanded the threat analysis performed by Obama’s then-DNI James Clapper. Notably, Clapper has a history of lying under oath to Congress and is currently under fire for intelligence leaks that were damaging to the Trump campaign.

 

Once it’s made public, Clapper’s threat analysis of the Uranium One deal will be very telling—either the analysis was thorough, or it was not. That’s bad news for the Obama administration in either case.

 

The Hill’s John Solomon framed the issue another way in October 2018:

 

“Since the emergence of [Uranium One whistleblower Campbell’s] undercover work, there has been one unanswered question of national importance.

 

“Did the FBI notify then-President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and other leaders on the CFIUS board about Rosatom’s dark deeds before the Uranium One sale was approved, or did the bureau drop the ball and fail to alert policymakers?”

 

Neither outcome is particularly comforting.

 

5. Whistleblowers are ready to talk. An ‘avalanche’ is coming.

 

There are now at least three credible Uranium One whistleblowers who have provided information to authorities since the story first broke.

 

As previously mentioned, William D. Campbell was an FBI operative who had infiltrated Putin’s inner circle. Campbell worked directly with Rosatom chief Sergei Kiriyenko, who has since been promoted to Putin’s first deputy chief of staff. Campbell documented evidence of the Russians’ nuclear ambitions and their strategy to infiltrate the U.S. nuclear supply chain through the Uranium One purchase. According to Campbell, Moscow paid millions in an influence operation targeting Obama administration decision-makers.

 

Last November, 16 FBI agents raided the home of former FBI contractor Dennis Nathan Cain, a federally protected whistleblower who claims that he can provide documented evidence that the FBI and DOJ failed to investigate possible criminal activity related to the Clinton Foundation and the Russian takeover of Uranium One. Cain recently tweeted his appreciation for Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.): “Thank you @RepDougCollins for releasing this testimony. It proves the DoJ under BHO was running a two-tier system of justice that allowed politically connected get away [sic] with serious crimes. What other crimes were ignored?”

 

Former top Uranium One executive Scott Melbye attended the conservative CPAC conference this year. Melbye hammered the Uranium One scandal, calling Clinton’s role “bizarre,” according to The Daily Beast.

 

“People who say that’s exaggerated or there’s nothing there—there’s definitely something there,” Melbye said. “As an American, I’m outraged at that whole episode.”

 

Campbell, Cain, Melbye, and others appear to have more than enough inside information relating to Uranium One to demonstrate widespread corruption at the highest levels of the Obama administration. In addition, more whistleblowers are expected to come forward with more bombshell reports.

 

6. Top GOP lawmakers are not going to let Uranium One be swept under the rug.

 

Former Senate Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has been tracking the Uranium One case since day one, and has sent numerous letters to Obama agencies to clarify their roles.

 

In a statement last month, Grassley said: “I’ve been pushing for years for more answers about this [the Uranium One] transaction that allowed the Russian government to acquire U.S. uranium assets. I’ve received classified and unclassified briefings about it from multiple agencies. And I’ve identified some FBI intelligence reports that may shed more light on the transaction. … If the Democrats want to be consistent, they’ll have to treat the Clinton, Uranium One, and Russia-related investigations the same [as the Mueller report]. Anything less than that reeks of political gamesmanship and sets a clear double standard.”

 

Barrasso expressed early concerns. In a 2010 letter to Obama, the senator warned: “This transaction would give the Russian government control over a sizable portion of America’s uranium production capacity. Equally alarming, this sale gives ARMZ [Uranium Holding Co.] a significant stake in uranium mines in Kazakhstan.”

 

More recently, Barrasso has pushed to expand the investigations of the sale and has demanded answers regarding Uranium One’s exports of nuclear materials outside the United States—an unacceptable development, as first reported by John Solomon.

 

Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), and several of their colleagues—notably Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.) and Ron DeSantis (now Florida governor)—have repeatedly demanded answers about the Obama administration’s approval of the Russian takeover of Uranium One. GOP lawmakers introduced a resolution last year excoriating the Obama FBI and DOJ for their roles in the Spygate scandal, which they linked to the Uranium One scandal.

 

It’s safe to say that these lawmakers are invested in the full exposure of Uranium One events and bringing swift justice to the Obama officials who were responsible.

 

7. President Trump and Attorney General Barr appear to be ready to drop the hammer.

 

Barr has found the Uranium One matter significant and worthy of a full investigation. In a 2017 interview with The New York Times, Barr said that the DOJ was “abdicating its responsibility” if it wasn’t investigating the Clinton Foundation vis-à-vis the Uranium One deal. In Barr’s confirmation hearing this year, Democrats grilled him on his support for the Uranium One “conspiracy theory.” While Barr seemed to distance himself during the hearing, New York Times reporter Peter Baker subsequently leaked an email in which Barr said he “believed that the predicate for investigating the uranium deal, as well as the foundation, is far stronger than any basis for investigating so-called, ‘collusion.’”

 

It’s clear that Barr doesn’t believe that the Uranium One deal has been fully investigated.

 

To date, Trump has been fully cleared of all allegations of collusion with Russia. Multiple separate investigations led by special counsel Mueller, the House Intelligence Committee, and the Senate Intelligence Committee have all concluded that there was no collusion. And yet, Democrats in Congress now want Mueller to testify and want to hold Barr in contempt if he doesn’t surrender himself to their endless interrogations.

 

If the Democrats want to go to war with Barr, he appears to have more than enough evidence to expose corruption that would crush the Obama administration and its defenders—starting with Spygate and ending with Uranium One.

 

At its core, the Uranium One deal is quite simple: Putin wanted long-term access to the U.S. nuclear supply chain. Decision-makers in Washington were under no obligation to give Putin what he wanted. Politics aside, does anyone really think that Putin deserves any access to an industry critical to the American energy sector and national security? Of course not.

 

Yet, in 2010, the Obama administration acquiesced and Putin gained a significant stake in an industry critical to U.S. energy and national security. Period.

_________________________

Seamus Bruner is the author of the book “Compromised: How Money and Politics Drive FBI Corruption.”

 

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ABOUT TET

 

The Epoch Times, published by The Epoch Times Association, Inc., a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to seeking the truth through insightful and independent journalism.

 

We stand outside of political interests and the pursuit of profit, to educate readers about today’s most critical issues with the intention of broadening minds and uplifting society. A well-informed society is the cornerstone of a flourishing democracy.

 

Being independent, we investigate issues overlooked—or avoided—by other media outlets. We do this because we believe journalism must play the role of being truly responsible to society.

 

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Monroe Doctrine, Venezuela & Russia


John R. Houk

© April 6, 2019

 

Nations recognizing presidential power (Maduro vs Guaidó) during the 2019 Venezuelan presidential crisis as of 28 February 2019:

 

Conservatives enjoy using the example of Venezuela as an example of the failures of Socialism as the dominant political doctrine of a nation.  But there is more than Socialism to add to Venezuela’s failure.

 

Not long ago Venezuela had a Presidential election in which Nicolás Maduro (Moros) – who succeeded Hugo Chavez upon his deathfraudulently won. Venezuela’s Nationally Assembly chose Juan Guaidó (full name: Juan Gerardo Guaidó Márquez) as interim President.

 

Most nations sided with Guaidó over Maduro but Maduro had the Venezuelan military behind him. And now the power of former Communist Russia is behind Maduro and sending military personnel to Venezuela. European powers sending their military to the North and South American continents has never set well with the U.S. government since official policy every American should have learned in some form of civics class – The Monroe Doctrine first voiced in 1823.

 

In case you  missed that class or are victimized by America’s current Leftist education system, here is a roughly 6-minute Youtube primer:

 

VIDEO: What is MONROE DOCTRINE? What does MONROE DOCTRINE mean? MONROE DOCTRINE meaning & explanation

 

Posted by The Audiopedia

Published on Feb 22, 2017

 

 

The Monroe Doctrine was a U.S. policy of opposing European colonialism in the Americas beginning in 1823. It stated that further efforts by European nations to take control of any independent state in North or South America would be viewed as “the manifestation of an unfriendly disposition toward the United States.” At the same time, the doctrine noted that the U.S. would recognize and not interfere with existing European colonies nor meddle in the internal concerns of European countries. The Doctrine was issued in 1823 at a time when nearly all Latin American colonies of Spain and Portugal had achieved or were at the point of gaining independence from the Portuguese and Spanish Empires.

 

President James Monroe first stated the doctrine during his seventh annual State of the Union Address to Congress. The term “Monroe Doctrine” itself was coined in 1850. By the end of the 19th century, Monroe’s declaration was seen as a defining moment in the foreign policy of the United States and one of its longest-standing tenets. It would READ THE REST

 

For greater detail on the emergence of the Monroe Doctrine, its historical application and eventual Latin American resentment:

 

 

 

 

America currently is fairly split between the GOP and Dems still under the influence of the Obama make-America-weak-again (MAWA treason) doctrine. MAWA links:

 

 

 

 

Yup, you would be correct. I blame Barack Hussein Obama for Russia having the cojones to send anything military to the Socialist-Marxist Nicolás Maduro the dictator of Venezuela.

 

Below is an Institute for the Study of War (ISW) analysis looking at Russia propping up the Maduro dictatorship seeing if President Trump will continue the Monroe Doctrine.

 

JRH 4/6/19

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Russia in Review: March 26 – April 4, 2019

 

By Darina Regio and Michaela Walker

April 5, 2019 2:06 PM

Institute for the Study of War

 

Russia in Review is a weekly intelligence summary (INTSUM) produced by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW). This ISW INTSUM series sheds light on key trends and developments related to the Russian government’s objectives and its efforts to secure them. Receive future Russia in Review INTSUM products via-email by signing up for the ISW mailing list.

Reporting Period: March 26 – April 4, 2019 (read the previous Russia in Review here)

Authors: Darina Regio and Michaela Walker

Key TakeawayRussia intensified its military support and extended its economic lifeline to the Nicolas Maduro regime in Venezuela. The Kremlin is reinforcing Maduro to protect Russian investments in Venezuela and confront the U.S. in the Western Hemisphere. Meanwhile, NATO is responding to Russia’s reinforced military posture in Eastern Europe.

The Kremlin is reinforcing Nicolas Maduro’s regime to contest the U.S. in South America and protect Russia’s investments in Venezuela. Russia has doubled down on its long-standing support of Maduro after Venezuela’s National Assembly, the official legislative body, declared Maduro’s rule to be illegitimate on account of a sham election in 2018. The National Assembly President Juan Guaido declared himself Interim President of Venezuela on constitutional grounds on January 23, 2019.[1] The U.S. and more than 50 other countries have recognized the decision. The Kremlin has condemned the transition as “colonial” and “aggressive.”[2] The Kremlin has blocked measures against Maduro in the UN Security Council and lauded Russia’s “strategic partnership” with Venezuela.[3]

Russia has intensified its effort to secure the regime in Venezuela militarily. Venezuelan officials stated on April 4 that they do not rule out the possibility of additional Russian military personnel arriving in Venezuela.[4] The Kremlin deployed 100 military advisors, including cybersecurity specialists, led by Russian Ground Forces Chief of Staff Col. Gen. Vasily Tonkoshkurov to Venezuela on March 23.[5] U.S. Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams stated that one of the force’s tasks is to repair Venezuela’s S-300 Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (SAMS).[6] The advisors are also likely tasked with reinforcing Maduro’s security. Russia also reportedly deployed 400 contractors from the private military company (PMC) Wagner Group to Venezuela in January 2019 to provide support and physical protection to Maduro.[7] Russia has relied on the Wagner Group to support its operations in Syria, Ukraine, and Africa. The Kremlin cannot afford to project significant military power into South America and is using limited tools, such as PMC and military advisors, to achieve its objectives.

The force marked the latest escalation in the military assistance provided to Maduro by the Kremlin. Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino Lopez inaugurated a helicopter flight simulator in Venezuela built in cooperation with Rosoboron export on March 29.[8] Lopez noted that Venezuela and Russia would open a similar flight simulator for Russian Su-30MK2 ‘Flanker-C’ fighter jets as well as a factory to produce AK-103 Kalashnikovs by late 2019. The plant is part of a long-delayed deal signed in 2006.[9] Russia also dispatched two nuclear-capable Tu-160 ‘Blackjack’ strategic bombers to Venezuela in December 2018.[10] Russia has sold at least $4 billion worth of military equipment to Venezuela since 2006, including 5,000 Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems (MANPADS), 23 Su-30MK2 ‘Flanker-Cs’, 10 Mi-35M ‘Hind-E’ attack helicopters, and at least three S-300VM SAMS.[11]

The Kremlin is also economically entrenched in Venezuela. Russia maintains large investments in Venezuela, particularly in the oil, gold mining, and military industrial sectors. The Government of Russia and Rosneft have lent Venezuela at least $17 billion since 2006.[12]Maduro most recently secured a $6 billion investment package in the oil and mining sectors after a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in December 2018.[13] The deal occurred despite tensions between Rosneft and Venezuelan state-owned oil company Petroleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA) regarding faltering debt payments by Venezuela. Russia is a key exporter of wheat to Venezuela.[14] The Kremlin has also been working on a revival plan for Venezuela’s economy and proposed an informal draft for Maduro’s consideration in January 2019, shortly before the Maduro was faced with the opposition challenge.[15]

The Kremlin is providing other economic lifelines to mitigate international sanctions against Maduro. Russia reportedly converted 30 tons of gold stored on behalf of Venezuela into $1.2 billion in cash for Maduro in January 2019.[16] PDVSA moved its regional headquarters from Lisbon to Moscow in March 2019 and opened a bank account in Gazprom bank in Russia in February 2019 to circumvent European sanctions.[17] Rosneft has also stepped in to support oil production in Venezuela, providing valuable chemical thinners to dilute its heavy crude oil and tankers to ship the resulting product to refineries in India.[18]

The Kremlin aids Maduro in pursuit of Putin’s larger objectives, including the end of American hegemony and asserting Russia as a global power to be reckoned with. The Kremlin intends to prevent what it frames as an American attempt to overthrow Maduro’s regime.[19] Putin has a strong aversion to forced regime change – regardless of the circumstances – given his concerns about preserving his own regime. The Kremlin likely also views the preservation of Maduro’s regime as a potential long-term vector for influence in the Western Hemisphere. Russia engaged in a similar calculus with its support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov stated that Venezuela would not become “another Syria” for Russia, and the Kremlin will likely use various means at a reasonable cost to ensure that Maduro’s regime stays in power.[20]

Meanwhile, Russia continues to reinforce its military posture in the European theater while portraying the U.S. as a disruptor of the international balance. The Kremlin is deploying anti-access, area-denial (A2AD) systems in the European part of Russia and holding sporadic military drills near NATO borders. The Russian Western Military District held an unannounced air defense exercise across five different regions bordering several NATO members on March 19.[21] The drills included more than 1,000 troops, 30 aircraft, and 20 S-300 surface-to-air missile systems. Russia’s 7th Guards Mountain Air Assault Division later held a major exercise involving 1,500 troops and 300 military vehicles on the occupied Crimean Peninsula on March 25.[22] Russia previously deployed additional S-400 SAMS to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula on February 8, Leningrad Oblast near St. Petersburg on March 12, and Kaliningrad Oblast between the Baltics and Poland on March 15.[23] Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced on February 4, 2019, that Russia will develop a land-based version of the naval intermediate-range Kalibr cruise missile and land-based launchers for hypersonic short- to medium-range missiles in response to the U.S. notice that it will withdraw from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in light of Russia’s long-standing non-compliance. Putin stated that Russia would deploy intermediate- or short-range missiles only in response to similar U.S. deployments.[24]The Kremlin conducts sporadic military drills in order to test responses from NATO and threaten the West’s partners. Russia will continue to call its actions a ‘symmetric’ response to the U.S. in order to justify further deployments on the European border.

NATO is responding to the changing Russian military posture by building up its military capabilities. The U.S. signed defense cooperation agreements with Lithuania on April 2 and with Hungary on April 4.[25] NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that the alliance will increase its naval presence and activity in the Black Sea to protect NATO allies’ security interests.[26] The Permanent Representative of the U.S. to NATO Ambassador Kay Bailey Hutchison emphasized that NATO’s presence was intended to ensure safe passage of Ukrainian vessels through the Kerch Strait. Two ships from Standing NATO Maritime Group Two made port calls in Odesa on April 1 the day after Ukraine’s presidential elections, while a third arrived in Poti, Georgia.[27] Stoltenberg also announced that the alliance has committed to constructing a $260 million U.S. military equipment storage facility in Powidz, Poland. Stoltenberg confirmed that this project is intended to “underpin the increased U.S. presence in Poland.”[28] Russia is much less likely to carry out a conventional attack against NATO member states along its borders if it is clear that the U.S. will defend those states militarily and that it can readily do so. NATO member nations should be prepared for an increase in covert Russian operations as a result of a defensive NATO military buildup.


[1] Doug Stanglin, “U.S. Recognizes Venezuela Opposition Leader Juan Guaido as President; Russia Backs Maduro,” USA Today, January 23, 2019, https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2019/01/23/venezuela-juan-guaido-declares-himself-president-amid-protests/2658642002/.
[2] [“Commentary of the Official Russian Foreign Ministry Representative M. V. Zakharova Regarding the U.S. Line with Respect to Venezuela,”] Russian Foreign Ministry, March 30, 2019, http://www.mid(.)ru/ru/maps/ve/-/asset_publisher/xF355DHtiSes/content/id/3595365; [“Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zakharova Media Presser Regarding Accusations of Russian Meddling in Venezuela’s Internal Affairs,”] Russian Foreign Ministry, March 26, 2019, http://www.mid(.)ru/ru/maps/ve/-/asset_publisher/xF355DHtiSes/content/id/3591552.
[3] [“Opening Remarks by Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov During Meeting with Venezuelan Executive Vice President Rodrigues, Moscow, March 1, 2019,”] Russian Foreign Ministry, March 1, 2019, http://www.mid(.)ru/ru/maps/ve/-/asset_publisher/xF355DHtiSes/content/id/3550044; Michael Schwirtz, “Russia Blocks Venezuela Measure at U.N, Calling It a U.S. Ploy for Regime Change,” The New York Times, February 28, 2019, https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/world/americas/russia-venezuela-veto-united-nations.html.
[4] “Venezuelan Deputy Minister Says More Russian Troops Could Arrive – Interfax,” Thomas Reuters Foundation, April 04, 2019, http://news.trust.org//item/20190404095809-d5vel/.
[5] Matt Spetalnick, “Russian Deployment in Venezuela Includes ‘Cybersecurity Personnel’: U.S. Official,” Reuters, March 26, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-russians/russian-deployment-in-venezuela-includes-cybersecurity-personnel-u-s-official-idUSKCN1R72FX.
[6] “Briefing With Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams,” U.S. Department of State, March 29, 2019, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2019/03/290780.htm.
[7] Maria Tsvetkova and Naton Zverev, “Exclusive: Kremlin-linked Contractors Help Guard Venezuela’s Maduro – Sources,” Reuters, January 25, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-russia-exclusive/exclusive-kremlin-linked-contractors-help-guard-venezuelas-maduro-sources-idUSKCN1PJ22M.
[8] Alec Luhn and Harriet Alexander, “Russia Opens Military Helicopter Training Center in Venezuela,” The Telegraph, April 2, 2019, https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/04/02/russia-opens-military-helicopter-training-centre-venezuela/.
[9] [“Kalashnikov Plant in Venezuela Will Be Finished by End of the Year,”] Interfax, February 18, 2019, https://www.interfax(.)ru/world/651019.
[10] Tom Phillips, “Venezuela Welcomes Russian Bombers in Show of Support for Maduro,” The Guardian, December 10, 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/10/venezuela-russian-bombers-maduro.
[11] “SIPRI Arms Transfers Database,” The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, March 11, 2019, https://www.sipri.org/; Girish Gupta, “Exclusive: Venezuela Holds 5,000 Russian Surface-to-Air MANPADS Missiles,” Reuters, May 22, 2017, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-arms-manpads/exclusive-venezuela-holds-5000-russian-surface-to-air-manpads-missiles-idUSKBN18I0E9; “Venezuela Allocates $480m to Buy Sukhoi Aircraft from Russia,” Air Force Technology, November 01, 2015, https://www.airforce-technology.com/uncategorised/newsvenezuela-allocates-480m-to-buy-sukhoi-aircraft-from-russia-4708156/; “Upgraded ‘Hinds’ for Venezuela,” Air Forces Monthly, February 15, 2017, https://airforcesmonthly.keypublishing.com/2017/02/15/upgraded-hinds-for-venezuela/; “Venezuela: Military Alert Following the Political Crisis in the Country,” ImageSat International, https://imagesat.maps.arcgis.com/apps/Cascade/index.html?appid=1677a63fa94548ecae49bf1dae1d26bd.
[12]Anton Troianovski, “Russia Spent Billions to Build Influence in Venezuela. Now it Faces a Bet Gone Bad,” The Washington Post, January 25, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2019/01/24/russia-spent-billions-build-influence-venezuela-now-it-faces-bet-gone-bad/?utm_term=.f7b04c1ca198.
[13] Corina Pons and Luc Cohen, “Venezuela signs oil, gold investment deals with Russia: Maduro,” Reuters, December 06, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-russia/venezuela-signs-oil-gold-investment-deals-with-russia-maduro-idUSKBN1O51WX.
[14] Alexandra Ulmer and Marianna Parraga, “Exclusive: Rosneft’s Sechin Flies to Venezuela, Rebukes Maduro Over Oil Shipments,” November 24, 2018, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-venezuela-exclusive/exclusive-rosnefts-sechin-flies-to-venezuela-rebukes-maduro-over-oil-shipments-idUSKCN1NT0TJ; Polina Devitt, “Russia Helping Venezuela with Wheat Supplies, Says Foreign Minister,” March 01, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-russia-wheat-idUSKCN1QI4EC.
[15] “Russia Offers Venezuela Plan on Revitalizing Economy – Deputy Finance Minister,” Sputnik, January 15, 2019, https://sputniknews(.)com/latam/201901151071490301-russia-venezuela-economy/.
[16] Irek Murtazin, [“Golden Flight,”] Novaya Gazeta, January 31, 2019, https://www.novayagazeta(.)ru/articles/2019/01/31/79378-zolotoy-reys; [“Another Mysterious Nordwind Airlines Flight Flew from Moscow to Venezuela, and Then to Africa,”] Novaya Gazeta, March 4, 2019, https://www.novayagazeta(.)ru/news/2019/03/04/149712-iz-moskvy-v-venesuelu-a-zatem-v-afriku-letal-esche-odin-zagadochnyy-reys-nordwind-airlines.
[17] Polina Ivanova and Maria Tsvetkova, “Venezuela to Move State Oil Firm PDVSA Office from Lisbon to Moscow,” Reuters, March 01, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-russia-pdvsa/venezuela-to-move-state-oil-firm-pdvsa-office-from-lisbon-to-moscow-idUSKCN1QI4BM; Corina Pons and Marianna Parraga, “Exclusive: Venezuela Shifts Oil Ventures’ Accounts to Russian Bank – Document, Sources,” Reuters, February 09, 2019, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-politics-pdvsa-banks-exclus/exclusive-venezuela-shifts-oil-ventures-accounts-to-russian-bank-document-sources-idUSKCN1PY0N3.
[18] Mariana Zuñiga, Anthony Faiola and Anton Troianovski, “Mariana Zuñiga, Anthony Faiola and Anton Troianovski,” The Washington Post, March 29, 2019, https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/as-maduro-confronts-a-crisis-russias-footprint-in-venezuela-grows/2019/03/29/fcf93cec-50b3-11e9-bdb7-44f948cc0605_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.82716599f2c8.
[19] “We Won’t Allow a Color Revolution in Venezuela, Moscow Says,” The Moscow Times, February 15, 2019, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/02/15/we-wont-allow-a-color-revolution-in-venezuela-moscow-says-a64509.
[20] [“Sergei Lavrov: Ukraine “Added Heat” in the Efforts of the United States to Punish Russia,”] Moskovskij Komsomolets, April 03, 2019, https://www.mk(.)ru/politics/2019/04/03/sergey-lavrov-ukraina-dobavila-zharu-v-staraniya-ssha-nakazat-rossiyu.html.
[21] [“More Than 30 Airplanes and About 20 Units of the S-300PM Air Defense Missile Systems of the Western Military District Involved in Exercise in 6 Russian Regions,”] Russian Defense Ministry, March 19, 2019, https://structure.mil(.)ru/structure/okruga/west/news/more.htm?id=12222184; “Russian S-300 Missile Systems Destroy Notional Enemy’s Aircraft in Drills,” TASS, March 19, 2019, http://tass(.)com/defense/1049302.
[22] Illia Ponomarenko, “Russian Airborne Forces Hold Large Offensive Drills in Occupied Crimea,” Kyiv Post, March 25, 2019, https://www.kyivpost.com/ukraine-politics/russian-airborne-forces-hold-large-offensive-drills-in-occupied-crimea.html.
[23] Yulia Krimova, “S-400 Exercises to Protect Crimea from Airborne Attack Began,” Rossiyskaya Gazeta, February 8, 2019, https://rg(.)ru/2019/02/08/reg-ufo/s-400-pristupili-k-ucheniiam-po-zashchite-kryma-ot-vozdushnyh-atak.html; “Regimental Set of S-400 Air Defense Systems Enters Duty in Russia’s West,” TASS, March 15, 2019, http://tass(.)com/defense/1048805; “New S-400 Unit of the Western Military District Began Their Military Service in Leningrad Oblast,” TASS, March 12, 2019, https://tass(.)ru/armiya-i-opk/6208057.
[24] “Meeting with Sergei Lavrov and Sergei Shoigu,” The Kremlin, February 2, 2019, http://en.kremlin((.))ru/events/president/news/59763.
[25] Sebastian Sprenger, “Lithuania is First Baltic Nation to Sign US Defense-Cooperation Pact,” Defense News, April 04, 2019, https://www.defensenews.com/global/europe/2019/04/03/lithuania-is-first-baltic-nation-to-sign-us-defense-cooperation-pact/; “United States and Hungary Sign Defense Cooperation Agreement,” U.S. Department of State, April 04, 2019, https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2019/04/290921.htm; “United States, Lithuania Sign Defense Cooperation Plan,” U.S. Department of Defense, April 02, 2019, https://dod.defense.gov/News/News-Releases/News-Release-View/Article/1803624/united-states-lithuania-sign-defense-cooperation-plan/.
[26] “Stoltenberg: NATO Coordinates Efforts to Support Ukraine in Black Sea,” Ukrinform, April 05, 2019, https://www.ukrinform(.)net/rubric-defense/2674814-stoltenberg-nato-coordinates-efforts-to-support-ukraine-in-black-sea.html; “NATO to Deter Russia in Black Sea with Heightened Surveillance, U.S. Says,” The Moscow Times, April 03, 2019, https://www.themoscowtimes.com/2019/04/03/nato-to-deter-russia-in-black-sea-with-heightened-surveillance-us-says-a65067.
[27] “NATO Ships Visit Odesa,” NATO Allied Maritime Command, April 01, 2019, https://mc.nato.int/media-centre/news/2019/nato-ships-visit-odesa.aspx; “SNMG2 Visits Georgian Port of Poti,” NATO Allied Maritime Command, April 01, 2019, https://mc.nato.int/media-centre/news/2019/snmg2-visits-georgian-port-of-poti.aspx.
[28] James Marson, “NATO Plans Facility in Poland to Store U.S. Military Equipment,” The Wall Street Journal, March 22, 2019, https://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-plans-facility-in-poland-to-store-u-s-military-equipment-11553271255.

____________________

Monroe Doctrine, Venezuela & Russia

John R. Houk

© April 6, 2019

___________________

Russia in Review: March 26 – April 4, 2019

 

2018 Institute for the Study of War- www.understandingwar.org

 

ISW Blog Homepage

ISW Who We Are Page

HOW WE GOT HERE WITH RUSSIA


The Soviet Union and an overt Communist agenda managed by a Marxist-Leninist-Stalinist Russian government may have come to an end, BUT old guard Communists want to make Russia a global threat again. If you couple the Russian agenda with the American Left (you could say Socialist/Marxist) agenda, the United States of America is under threat from without and within.

 

Below is an Institute for the Study of War (UnderstandingWar.org) analysis of how Russia has arrived at its current state of existence.

 

(I have not included the table of contents, sponsor credits, author info, et al. I did include the rather lengthy End Notes section. For those other attributes you will have to click the ISW PDF link.)

 

JRH 3/14/19

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HOW WE GOT HERE WITH RUSSIA:

THE KREMLIN’S WORLDVIEW

 

By Nataliya Bugayova

March 2019

Institute for the Study of War [PDF]

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

The Kremlin’s increasingly assertive foreign policy, including its illegal occupation of Crimea in 2014 and its intervention in Syria in 2015, came unexpectedly to many in the West. . These events were nonetheless mere extensions of the worldview held by Russian President Vladimir Putin.. This worldview was built on more than two decades of compounded dissatisfaction with the West as well as Putin’s cumulative experiences in his ongoing global campaigns to achieve his core objectives: the preservation of his regime, the end of American hegemony, and the reinstatement of Russia as a global power.. Some of these ambitions were tamed, and others expedited, by external events, yet their core has remained the same and often at odds with the West.. The U..S.. believed that a brief period of non-assertive foreign policy from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s had become the new norm for Russia.. This period was not the norm but an anomaly.. Putin’s foreign policy has always been assertive, similar to Russia’s historic foreign policy.. The U..S.. may thus find itself once again surprised by Putin.. This paper examines the evolution of Russia’s foreign policy worldview since the collapse of the Soviet Union to help understand the likely next priorities of the Kremlin..

 

INTRODUCTION

 

The U.S. has routinely attempted to reset relations with Russia since the rise to power of Russian President Vladimir Putin in 2000. The Soviet Union’s collapse led legions of scholars and policy-makers to pivot towards the new issues of a post-Soviet Middle East, Europe, and Asia. An entire generation of Americans hardly thought about Russia. The Russian Federation was seen as a former foe that could be integrated—albeit uneasily—into the international system led by the U.S.

 

Yet Russia did not view the slate as clean. The Kremlin’s foreign policy narrative, by contrast, soon focused on America’s disregard for its interests and the need to achieve a multipolar international system free of U.S. hegemony. Putin has remained clear on these goals since his ascent to the Kremlin. Russia needed to recover from its weakened state, reestablish itself as a global power, and achieve a new world order that held up the Kremlin as an equal—not a dependent—to the U.S.

 

Putin’s twenty-year tenure in power has had a cumulative effect on his worldview. . His assertiveness has grown in step with his strengthened grip on domestic power and his growing perception that he faces only limited international pushback. His personal resentment of geopolitical slights has grown and fed back into Russia’s national security dialogue. The influence of other forceful national security leaders has also grown. Putin has responded to internal challenges by seeking foreign policy distractions. The direction of his aims has always been consistent even if the vigor and rancor with which they are pursued has increased.

 

Putin’s public tone has mirrored this evolution.. In 2000, Putin “did not see reasons that would prevent … cooperation with NATO under the condition that Russia would be treated as an equal partner” with the West.1 By 2007, he was openly attacking the unipolar world order of the post-Cold War: “It is a world in which there is one master, one sovereign … This is pernicious not only for all those within this system, but also for the sovereign itself because it destroys itself from within … The model is flawed because at its basis there is and can be no moral foundations for modern civilization.”2 By 2014, Putin was justifying action against this system: “There is a limit to everything … and with Ukraine, our Western partners have crossed the line.”3 The core concepts of his policy remained stable even as his rhetoric shifted from cautious outreach to direct criticism.

 

Putin’s worldview is Russia’s foreign policy. . The Kremlin’s foreign policy views largely predate the rise of Putin. Putin’s two decades in power, however, have enshrined his worldview as Russia’s. Putin’s Russia—unlike its predecessors—has no state machine or elite capable of balancing out his instincts and narratives. The Soviet Politburo typically served as a counterbalance to the rulers of the Soviet Union with the exception of Joseph Stalin. Imperial Russian had a base of influential elite that frequently shaped policy ideas with notable exceptions such as Peter the Great and Ivan the Terrible. Putin’s intimate circle of advisors is comparatively small with a contingent of military and security service leaders who have climbed with him for twenty years. Not all Russians accept (let alone support) all of these foreign policy ideas but their disagreement matters little among a population by-and-large focused on day-to-day issues. Putin’s and Russia’s foreign priorities, at least for the moment, are the same.

 

The line between narrative and belief has blurred over the last twenty years.. The Kremlin’s talking points are propaganda and it is easy to dismiss them as such. However, these narratives have been repeated and amplified for two decades. They have become self-sustaining and rebounded back into the national security debate. Even if Putin’s inner convictions differed from his rhetoric, he has imbued an entire generation—indeed, an entire national psyche—with a sense of grievance against the West. These narratives will thus inform the overall arc of the Kremlin’s foreign policy for years to come.

 

The following sections trace the articulation and evolution of this worldview since the fall of the Soviet Union. Americans tend to group the major events and thoughts of the past two decades into a series of historical periods such as the Cold War, the 1990s (prior to 9/11), and the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump. Russians hold a different view of recent events. These divergent interpretations of history—often reflected in rhetoric—are crucial to understanding the antagonistic worldview of Putin vis-à-vis the U.S. and NATO.

 

The Evolution of the Kremlin’s Foreign Policy graph

 

1991 – 1999: THE YELTSIN PERIOD

 

Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s tenure focused on establishing post-Soviet Russia and putting it on a democratic trajectory amidst enormous internal challenges. Yeltsin became the first president of the newly-created Russian Federation after the dissolution of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991. Russia’s economy soon collapsed from the shock of a rapid attempted transition from centralized control to the free market. Millions fell into poverty. State structures, including law enforcement and the military, were greatly weakened. Criminality spread across the former Soviet Union. An economic oligarchy emerged as a small number of individuals rapidly accumulated vast wealth, often taking advantage of the privatization of undervalued state assets. Russia suffered several terrorist attacks originating from groups in the North Caucuses, particularly the Chechen Republic. Yeltsin launched a largely failed military campaign to regain control over these territories in 1994. Communist hardliners meanwhile continued their efforts to regain control of Russia. They attempted to seize power violently in 1993 and then peacefully in the 1996 Russian Presidential Election. They failed both times—but both failures came too close for comfort.

 

Russian President Boris Yeltsin worked to improve the relationship between Russia and the U.S. during his two terms in the Kremlin. However, assertive foreign policy narratives had already begun to reemerge in Russia by the mid-1990s.

 

Yeltsin initially prioritized strategic partnership with the U.S. … and broader integration with the West.. “We have left behind the period when America and Russia looked at each other through gun sights,” Yeltsin said in his historic 1992 Address to the U.S. Congress.4 Yeltsin’s Foreign Minister Andrey Kozyrev advocated for Russia to join the club of developed civilized democracies and practice equal cooperation with the former Soviet Union.5 Russia and the U.S. signed numerous bilateral cooperation agreements.6 Russia joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace, which aimed to build trust between NATO and the former Soviet Union. Russia withdrew all of its troops from Germany by 1994.7 Russia also engaged the West for help with its economic reforms.

 

Assertive foreign policy rhetoric began to reemerge in the context of the 1996 Russian Presidential Election.. Economic turmoil continued to grip Russia and Yeltsin’s political opponents blamed the West for the failure of liberal economic reforms. These voices argued that Russia had disregarded its national interests in its attempts to cooperate with the U.S. and that Yeltsin’s administration had made too many concessions—such as agreeing to curb its arms sales to Iran or failing to oppose the initial expansion of NATO—with little to show in return.8 Yeltsin, likely influenced by electoral pressures, appointed Russian Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) Director Yevgeny Primakov as Russian Foreign Minister in 1996. Primakov criticized his predecessor for pursuing a “toothless” foreign policy that subordinated national interests to a desire to join the so-called “civilized world.”9 He claimed that Russia had become the “led” rather than the leader in foreign affairs.10 The Kremlin repeats these accusations to this day.11 Yeltsin also oversaw the passage of eased citizenship requirements for Russians outside of the Russian Federation that set the stage for later confrontations with neighbors in the former Soviet Union.12

 

Primakov refocused the conversation on national interests and introduced one of Russia’s first narratives regarding a multipolar world order. . He advocated for a multipolar international system that would not be dominated by the U.S.—a concept later embraced by Putin. He promoted a diversified foreign policy that called for expanded ties with India and China. Russia joined the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 1998. Primakov also stressed the need for Russia to abandon the role of a “junior” partner to the U.S. Current Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov credited the establishment of Russia’s independent foreign policy to Primakov in 2014, asserting that historians would ultimately term it the Primakov Doctrine.13

 

The Kremlin adopted a new and more assertive National Security Concept in 1997.. The document identified “NATO expansion as a national security threat” and warned that “other states are activating their efforts to weaken” Russia.14 The document also outlined more paternalistic policies towards the former Soviet Union. It included a passage prioritizing the “proclamation of the Russian language as the state language and the language of international communication of the people of Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States as a critical factor towards unifying the people of multinational Russia.” The document nonetheless concluded that the main threats to Russia’s national security were predominantly domestic and non-military challenges.

 

Yeltsin and the U. .S. . suffered their biggest diplomatic divide over the intervention of NATO in Yugoslavia in 1999. . Yeltsin opposed airstrikes by NATO against Serbia during the Kosovo War and called on the U.S. President Bill Clinton not to “take this tragic step” in the Balkans.15 NATO nonetheless launched the operation in order to end human rights abuses by Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic—an ally of Russia—against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. It occurred without authorization from the UN and over the protests of Russia. Yeltsin nonetheless responded within the framework of NATO by insisting upon the inclusion of the Russian Armed Forces in the subsequent international NATO Kosovo Force (KFOR).

 

Yeltsin and Primakov nevertheless recognized the continued importance of dialog with the U..S.. and NATO.. Yeltsin’s disagreement with the U.S. on Yugoslavia did not fundamentally affect other areas of relations between the U.S. and Russia. He signed several additional agreements with NATO including the 1997 Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security.16 He continued to stress the importance of cooperation with the U.S. and Russia’s aspiration to join the Group of Seven (or G7) in his national security address to the Russian Federal Assembly in 1996.17 Russia joined the G7 in 1997. Yeltsin maintained a warm personal relationship throughout his two terms in office with U.S. President Bill Clinton.18 Primakov also advocated throughout his life for international integration and cooperation with the West and NATO.19

 

Yeltsin and his foreign policy team did not yet operate within the framework of a grudge against the West.. They were largely pragmatic, sometimes confrontational, and increasingly assertive—but rarely bitter.20 Primakov laid out some of the most important theoretical bases of the policy later pursued by Putin but neither he nor Yeltsin acted on them seriously while in office. Russia remained too weak to pursue any of its emerging ambitions, especially after it suffered a major financial crisis in 1998.21 Yeltsin regardless was unlikely have turned hard against the U.S. His tenure was marked by a determination to build democratic institutions, integrate with the West, and prevent the return of the Communists.

 

1999 – 2002: THE EARLY PUTIN YEARS

 

Yeltsin resigned and appointed Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as Acting President on December 31, 1999. Russia was still recovering from its financial collapse in 1998. Economic oligarchs were actively influencing the political processes of the Kremlin. Putin was leading a second campaign in Chechnya which started in 1999. Russia continued to suffer from deadly terrorist attacks, including a major hostage crisis in Moscow in 2002 that killed 130 individuals.

 

Russian President Vladimir Putin had already formed one of his key foreign policy narratives—the critique of American global hegemony and its disregard for Russia after the Cold War—before his rise to power. Referring to the 1999 Kosovo War, then-Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Putin argued that “a group of countries is actively trying to change the world order that was established after World War II … The U.N. is being removed from the process of solving of one of the most acute conflicts” in Europe.22 Putin would continue to accuse “the so-called ‘victors’ in the Cold War” of trying to “reshape the world to suit their own needs and interests” throughout his terms in the Kremlin.23

 

Putin nevertheless focused on domestic affairs during his first years in office and revealed little animus against the West.. Putin viewed the weakness of the state and its internal economic turmoil as existential threats to Russia. “For the first time in the past two hundred to three hundred years, [Russia] is facing a real danger of sliding into the second and possibly third echelon of world states,” Putin wrote the day before his appointment as Acting President.24 He focused on rebuilding the economy and the strength of the government as well as consolidating his own grip on power. He prioritized strengthening law enforcement and security services, taming the oligarchs, eliminating political opponents, and regaining federal control over the Chechen Republic.

 

Putin’s initial advisory team would ascend to key roles in Russia’s national security and foreign policy debate. . Putin’s close circle of trusted military and intelligence officials brought with them a specific set of grievances and goals—first and foremost the restoration of domestic control and internal influence lost during the 1990s. Some of these early political officials would later play a key role in the development of foreign policy in the Kremlin:

 

  • Nikolai Patrushev replaced Putin as FSB Director in 1999. Patrushev currently heads Russia’s Security Council—the equivalent of the U.S. National Security Council (NSC).

 

  • Sergey Chemezov worked for Putin in Yeltsin’s Chemezov is currently the CEO of Rostec, a major state-owned defense-industrial conglomerate.

 

  • Igor Sechin served as Putin’s Chief of Staff when Putin was First Deputy Mayor of St. Petersburg. Sechin is currently the Executive Chairman of Rosneft, the state oil company.25

 

  • Sergey Naryshkin worked with Putin in the KGB and St. Petersburg. Naryshkin has held various roles in Putin’s Kremlin since 2004 and currently serves as SVR Director.26

 

  • Sergey Ivanov served as the head of Russia’s Security Council in 1999. Ivanov held various prominent roles in Putin’s Kremlin including Minister of Defense, First Deputy Prime Minister, and Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration.

 

Putin viewed the Kosovo War as a precedent that threatened the sovereignty of Russia. . He feared that the West could support a similar unilateral declaration of independence by breakaway regions such as Chechnya and force a halt to military operation against extremists launching attacks in the heart of Russia. Putin was convinced that this threat would “not stop with Chechnya’s independence” and that “Chechnya would be used as a platform to attack the rest of Russia.” He warned that the precedent could spread to other territories such as Dagestan, Ingushetia, and Tatarstan, and ultimately threaten the core of the Russian Federation. “If we do not stop the extremists [in Chechnya], we are risking a second Yugoslavia across the entire territory of the Russian Federation—the Yugoslavization of Russia,” Putin asserted in 2000.27

 

The idea that Russia must “fight to exist”—one of the key tenets in Putin’s foreign policy—also emerged at this time. Putin believed that the U.S. provided covert support to terrorists in Chechnya in order to destabilize Russia.28 The West in turn criticized the ongoing military campaign in Chechnya for its brutality and high levels of civilian casualties.29 Putin believed that if he conceded to calls to decrease the intensity of his military operations, Russia would face disintegration. His broader narrative reflected a core fear of state collapse and loss of territory. This rhetoric also tied back into earlier sentiments within the Kremlin that Russia was weak after the dissolution of the Soviet Union and risked losing sovereignty to external forces—in particular, the U.S.30 It followed, according to this view, that Russia must assert itself on the global stage to maintain its independence. The Kremlin began to view a less active foreign policy as another sign of lost sovereignty, a view that persists to the present day.

 

Putin’s early relationship with the U. .S. . nevertheless largely followed the path set by Yeltsin and Primakov. . Putin noted the prospect of cooperating on an equal basis with NATO in 2000.31 He supported the U.S. counter-terrorism mission against al Qaeda after 9/11 and signed an agreement in 2002 establishing the NATO-Russia Council.32 He emphasized the pursuit of democracy and stressed that “Russia is a part of European culture.” He criticized the unilateral withdrawal of the U.S. from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty in 2002 but still signed a bilateral Strategic Offensive Reduction Treaty in 2003 (later superseded by the New START Treaty in 2011). He largely readopted Yeltsin’s 1997 National Security Concept in January 2000.33

 

 

Putin later adopted a new Foreign Policy Concept in June 2000. The document continued a trend of assertive rhetoric toward the former Soviet states. It called for creating “a friendly belt on the perimeter of Russian borders.”34 It also stressed the need to “strengthen Russian sovereignty and achieve firm positions in the world community, consistent with the interests of the Russian Federation as a great power, as one of the most influential centers of the modern world.”

 

2003 – 2004: ACCELERATION

 

Putin’s foreign policy experienced an inflection in 2003 and 2004. A series of external and domestic factors accelerated Putin’s ambitions and foreign pursuits. He became more assertive on the international stage as he began to solidify his grip on domestic power.

 

Putin established in this period a firm grip on the internal affairs of Russia.. Russia quickly repaid its outstanding debts to the West, meeting its obligations to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by 2005 and the Paris Club by 2006.35 Both of these payments occurred ahead of schedule. The debt repayment was a point of personal pride for Putin that demonstrated the regaining strength and independence of Russia.36 Meanwhile, Russia was gradually restoring control over Chechnya after a military campaign that largely destroyed the regional capital of Grozny. Chechnya passed a constitution in 2003 that ostensibly granted broad autonomy to the Chechen Republic but preserved firm control from the Kremlin.

 

Putin also eliminated or otherwise subordinated rival powerbrokers during this period, mainly oligarchs with influence over the political process.37 Boris Berezovsky—one of Russia’s most powerful tycoons—fled to Britain in 2001. Mikhail Khodorkovsky—another powerful and influential oil baron—was imprisoned in 2003. The remaining oligarchs largely accepted Putin’s demand that they should not interfere in politics. Putin expanded the reach of the security services and strengthened the power of state. He further centralized power by eliminating the direct elections of regional governors in favor of presidential appointments in 2004.38

 

Putin began efforts to reintegrate former Soviet states into some form of political grouping led by Russia. . Putin pressured Ukraine to join the Common Economic Space—an integrated market for the former Soviet states that would later evolve into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).39 Ukraine entered the deal alongside Belarus and Kazakhstan in 2003.40 Ukraine later distanced itself from this process under pro-Western Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko. The Kremlin also applied similar pressure to Georgia under Georgian President Eduard Shevardnadze.41 Shevardnadze had exercised a more independent foreign policy, including a stated intent to join NATO, which threatened the continued influence of Putin’s Russia.42

 

Putin’s ambitions to regain control over his perceived rightful sphere of influence accelerated after a series of global events in 2003 and 2004..

 

  • The 2003 U..S.. Invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam Hussein struck several nerves with Russia. Putin held a strong aversion to forced regime change given his concerns about preserving his own regime. He was upset about a loss of influence in the Middle East due to the destruction of a former Soviet ally. He also resented the U.S. for acting over his objections and without explicit authorization by the UN (similar to the Kosovo War).

 

  • Putin was even more concerned by the “color revolutions” that saw a wave of peaceful protests against corrupt regimes in several former Soviet states, including Georgia’s 2003 Rose Revolution and Ukraine’s 2004 Orange Revolution. Putin accused the U.S. of instigating the revolutions and imposing “external governance” over these states.43 This perceived threat was deeply concerning to the Kremlin. It undermined the stated national security goal of creating a “friendly belt of neighbors” and presented a potential challenge to the regime itself. Putin held up the ‘color revolutions’ as an object lesson and a warning, stressing that the Kremlin “should do everything necessary so that nothing similar ever happens in Russia.”44 Putin internalized the notion of the “color revolution” as a method of covert destabilization by the West.

 

  • The Kremlin also criticized the expansion of NATO in 2004, when the alliance accepted seven new states in Eastern and Southern Europe. Russia remained more concerned, however, about its loss of control over the states of the former Soviet Union than the potential military threat from NATO. Putin stated at the time that the enlargement was “not a threat” to Russia but called it a “counterproductive” step that could not “effectively counter the main threats that we are facing today.”45 The Kremlin ultimately feared the emergence of widespread “anti-Russian rhetoric” as former Soviet states and clients moved towards NATO.46

 

The Kremlin nonetheless remained relatively moderate in its rhetoric against the West.. “It was difficult for us when the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the ABM Treaty. It was difficult for us when, bypassing the UN Security Council, they started the war in Iraq. Nonetheless, our countries have managed … to prevent a return to confrontation … [through] common sense and the understanding that common strategic interests … outweigh any tactical differences,” stated Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov in 2004.47 Putin also stated at the time that the U.S. remained a priority partner of Russia on some of the most pressing global problems, such as the War on Terror.48 The relative calmness of this rhetoric belied the fact that Putin was preparing to start speaking and acting openly to counteract what he perceived as a growing disregard for his interests.

 

2004 – 2012: OPEN CONFRONTATION

 

Putin easily won reelection in the 2004 Russian Presidential Elections. Russia benefitted from high oil prices. Putin later (due to term limits) accepted the post of Russian Prime Minister in 2008. He nonetheless continued to largely dictate the policies of the Kremlin and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. The Russian Constitution was modified to change the length of presidential terms from four to six years, effective after the departure of Medvedev.

 

“The United States has overstepped its national borders in every way” – Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2007

 

Putin increasingly pushed his foreign policy campaigns towards open confrontation in this period. He escalated his rhetoric against the U.S. and NATO. He simultaneously limited the civil liberties of Russians, presenting the measures as necessary to defeat subversion by the West.

 

The Kremlin launched a set of campaigns to regain control over former Soviet states..

 

  • Russia launched a major information campaign to restore its diminished political influence in Ukraine after the 2004 Orange Revolution. This campaign evolved into a decade-long effort to inflame domestic grievances and fuel popular sentiments against the West and the central government in Kyiv. The Kremlin would tap into this groundwork to launch its subversion campaign in Eastern Ukraine in 2014.

 

  • Russia also started a subversion campaign against the Baltic States following their accession to NATO. Russia launched a wave of cyberattacks on banks, media outlets, and government organizations in Estonia in 2007 shortly after the Government of Estonia decided to relocate a memorial to the Soviets from World War II. The Kremlin argued that the move dishonored the memory of Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany. Russia also applied other diplomatic pressures on the Baltic States, including a ban on certain imports from Latvia in 2006.49

 

  • The Kremlin framed the continued engagement of the U.S. and NATO with Ukraine and Georgia as national security threats to Russia.50 Russia invaded Georgia in August 2008 —four months after the 2008 NATO Bucharest Summit in which NATO signaled its ultimate intent to incorporate Georgia into NATO. Putin carved off the regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and subsequently recognized their unilateral declarations of independence from Georgia (made possible by the continued presence of the Russian Armed Forces).

 

  • Russia continued to expand the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), which now includes Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, and Kyrgyzstan as well as a free trade agreement with Vietnam. Putin also attempted to coopt Moldova, Ukraine, and Georgia into the EEU, although all three countries ultimately chose instead to sign association agreements with the European Union. Russia is still attempting to use the EEU as a tool to build regional influence and global credibility through agreements with states outside of the former Soviet Union such as Egypt.

 

Putin expanded on his narrative criticizing American hegemony and advocating for the return of a multipolar world.. Putin stated that “attempts to rebuild modern multifaceted civilization, created by God, according to the barracks-room principles of a unipolar world are extremely dangerous” during a visit to India in 2004.51 Putin later elaborated on this narrative at the 2007 Munich Security Conference. “We are seeing a greater and greater disdain for the basic principles of international law … The United States has overstepped its national borders in every way.”52 He accused the West of using international organizations as “vulgar instrument[s] designed to promote the foreign policy interests of one or a group of countries.” This rhetoric would become a central line of argument for the Kremlin. “The ambitions of one group have grown so much that they are presented as the opinions of the entire world community, which they are not,” Putin stated in 2014.

 

Putin also started to introduce aggressive rhetoric against NATO.. Putin stressed at the 2007 Munich Security Conference that NATO’s expansion was intended to encircle Russia.53 This statement was a departure from his initial reaction three years prior, in which he claimed that the enlargement of the alliance did not pose a national security threat to Russia. The context of this statement highlighted the increasingly combative tone adopted by Putin.

 

The intervention of NATO in Libya in 2011 further fueled Putin’s resentment of the West. .

 

Putin condemned international support for the intervention as a “medieval call for crusades.”54 He nonetheless ran into disagreement with then-Russian President Medvedev, who asserted that “all that is going on in Libya is connected with the outrageous behavior of Libya’s authorities and crimes that were completely against their own people.”55 Russia, possibly as a result of this internal debate, did not veto a resolution by the UN Security Council to impose a “no-fly zone” over Libya in 2011. The intervention eventually escalated into a full-blown military campaign that resulted in the overthrow and death of Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi.

 

Putin interpreted this incident as a betrayal at the hands of the West. Putin accused the U.S. and NATO of cynically manipulating the international system to impose regime change in Libya. “[The West] was [initially] saying ‘we do not want to kill Gaddafi’ and now even some officials are saying ‘yes, we are aiming to destroy Gaddafi.’ Who allowed [them] to do this? Was there a trial? Why have they decided to take up this right to execute a person?” Putin asked shortly before the death of Gaddafi in October 2011.56 The Kremlin also regretted its loss of political influence and multi-billion dollar industrial contracts in Libya.57 Medvedev later articulated the resulting grudge, stating that the shift from a limited intervention to protect civilians to the destruction of a sovereign government was “a cynical deception on the part of those who claim to be the world’s moral and political leaders … The cynical deception occurred at the [UN] Security Council’s roundtable. Its decisions were distorted and violated, while the so-called temporary military coalition usurped the powers of the United Nations.”58 Putin determined not to repeat this mistake and Russia began to consistently vote against UN Security Council resolutions aimed at addressing similar conflicts in Syria and the Middle East.59

 

The Kremlin also intensified its narrative about U. .S. . inference in the affairs of Russia. Russia. accused the West of using non-governmental organizations (NGOs) as covert means to orchestrate ‘color revolutions’ in the former Soviet Union.60 Putin claimed that external actors were financing political activities in Russia in 2005.61 He signed a new law on NGOs in 2006 that aimed to “deny registration to any organization whose goals and objectives…create a threat to the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, national unity, unique character, cultural heritage, and national interests of the Russian Federation.”62

 

The Kremlin criticized democratization aid to the former Soviet Union—ironically at a time when the U.S. was considering cuts to such aid.63

 

Putin may have held genuine fears of a ‘color revolution’ in Russia but his public accusations also aimed to justify domestic oppression in the face of an external threat from the West. The Kremlin accused the U.S. State Department of interfering with its judicial system after the U.S. voiced concerns about the arrest of Khodorkovsky in 2003.64 This idea of malign foreign interference itself was not new. The 1997 Russian National Security Concept mentions the threat of “purposeful interference by foreign states and international organizations in the internal life of Russia’s peoples.” Russia’s assertion that foreign press statements constituted itself an interference in sovereign affairs, however, aligned with Putin’s larger effort to redefine state sovereignty as forbidding even international commentary on the internal affairs of Russia.

 

Putin was thus unimpressed by the announced “reset” of relations with Russia by U..S.. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2009.. U.S. President Barack Obama stated that the U.S. would abandon plans to build a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe in September 2009.65 Putin praised the decision but rejected the idea of any reset in relations. “We are not talking about ‘reset’ … The U.S. Administration offered us this term,” Putin stated in 2009 and 2012.66 The divergence in worldviews between the U.S. and Russia remained stark despite outreach from the West.

 

2012 – 2018: PUTIN’S COUNTEROFFENSIVE

 

Putin was reelected as Russian President in 2012. He continued to crack down on civil liberties and protests against his reelection. Russia’s economy was stabilizing. Russia was accepted to the World Trade Organization in 2011. The World Bank labeled Russia a high-income country in 2013.67 In 2014, Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych suspended the signing of an association agreement with the European Union—sparking the Euromaidan Revolution. A series of protests forced Yanukovych to flee Ukraine. Meanwhile, the Syrian Revolution—part of the wider Arab Spring—descended into the Syrian Civil War. Russia interfered in both countries. The West began to impose sanctions on Russia for its violations of international norms. The Russian ruble collapsed due to the sanctions as well as a drop in global oil prices.

 

Putin won a third term as Russian President 2012. He moved quickly to regain and expand his domestic control and global influence.

 

Putin soon faced one of the most serious anti-regime protests during his time in office as mass demonstrations rallied against perceived electoral manipulation in the 2011 Russian Legislative Elections and 2012 Russian Presidential Elections. Thousands protested against Putin’s inauguration to a third presidential term in Bolotnaya Square in Moscow in May 2012. The Kremlin in turn detained hundreds of protesters and dozens of them in what became known as the ‘Bolotnaya Square’ Case. Street protests continued but largely died out by July 2013.

 

Putin continued to pressure civil society in the name of defending Russia against the West with the 2012 Foreign Agent Law.. The law, which granted him the authority to expel a number of American NGOs from Russia, was one of the first acts of his third term. The law was partly a response to the passage of the Magnitsky Act by the U.S. in 2012. The Magnitsky Act aimed to punish officials responsible for the death of Sergey Magnitsky, who died in prison in Moscow after investigating fraud involving Russian officials in 2009.

 

“No one listened to us then. So listen now” – Russian President Vladimir Putin, 2018

 

The 2014 Euromaidan Revolution in Ukraine was a major accelerant of Putin’s aggressive international agenda. . Euromaidan represented Putin’s fundamental fear of a loss of control over his neighbors—but also presented an opportunity for him to realize his long-standing foreign policy goals in the former Soviet Union. In February 2014, Putin deployed Russian Armed Forces to occupy the Crimean Peninsula of Ukraine. Russia subsequently organized an illegal referendum to annex Crimea. Putin sought in part to protect strategic naval basing for the Black Sea Fleet in Crimea, which had nowhere to go if Kyiv cancelled its deal with Russia. Putin also feared that the new Government of Ukraine would push to join NATO. He therefore engineered a separatist insurgency and military intervention in Eastern Ukraine aimed at asserting control over the politics of Kyiv. Putin framed external support to the protests as “crossing the line” by the West. “They have lied to us many times,” Putin said in his address on Crimea joining Russia to the Russian Federal Assembly in 2014. “[They have] made decisions behind our backs, informed us after the fact. This happened with NATO’s expansion to the East, as well as the deployment of military infrastructure at our borders. They kept telling us the same thing: ‘This does not concern you.’”68

 

Putin also launched a military intervention in Syria in September 2015. . He aimed to prevent a repeat of Iraq and Libya, where Russia inaction resulted in a loss of valuable clients in the Middle East. Putin did not intend to lose yet another one of Russia’s remaining allies whose ties dated back to the Soviet Union. He also sought the practical benefits of strategic air and naval basing on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea as well as expanded diplomatic leverage in the Middle East. The U.S. was not coherently pursuing a regime change against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, focusing instead on the narrow fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Yet Putin rejected the nuances of this policy. He deployed combat aircraft and special forces to sustain an air campaign and ground assistance mission in support of Assad and his allies in Iran (including combat forces from the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and Lebanese Hezbollah). He framed his campaign as a fight against terrorism, posturing as an effective regional partner and peace-broker.69 The Kremlin nonetheless emphasized that Assad was the “only legitimate power” in Syria and legitimized its own military intervention as a formal request from the sovereign Government of Syria.70

 

Putin continued to frame his actions as a requirement for Russia’s sovereignty: “Sometimes I think, maybe it would be better for our bear to sit quiet, rather than to chase piglets in the forest and to eat berries and honey instead.. Maybe they will leave [our bear] in peace. They will not. Because they will always try to put him on a chain … They will rip out its fangs and its claws [i.e. nuclear weapons]. Once they’ve ripped out its claws and fangs, the bear is no longer needed. They will make a stuffed animal out of it… It is not about Crimea. We are protecting our sovereignty and our right to exist.”71 This sentiment reflects one of Putin’s earliest and core narratives—Russia must assert itself to maintain its sovereignty. Putin has similarly framed sanctions as an effort by the West to punish the growing “might and competitiveness” of Russia. The Kremlin often asserts that Russia has historically been punished when it “rose from its knees.”72 It argues that Putin is the subject of international scorn not because of his foreign interference but because of his resistance to the West. Putin also continued to accuse the U.S. of systematic interference in the domestic affairs of Russia. The latest Russian National Security Strategy identified “intelligence activity by special services and organizations of foreign states” as one of the top national security threats facing Russia.73 The U.S. is “all over our domestic policy, they’re sitting on our head, dangling their feet and chewing bubble gum,” Putin told Megan Kelly on NBC in 2017.74

 

  • Putin has argued that his regime is being scapegoated for domestic failings in the U..S.. and Europe.. The Kremlin accuses the West of using Russia to justify additional defense spending or their domestic and foreign policy failures.75 Putin condemned NATO for inventing “imaginary and mythical threats such as the Russian military threat … It’s pleasant and often profitable to portray yourself to be defenders of civilization from some new barbarians, but Russia doesn’t plan to attack anyone.”76 Putin has framed the passage of the Magnitsky Act as driven by a constant domestic pressure in the U.S. to adopt laws targeting Russia.77 He more recently has claimed that the U.S. used Russia as an excuse to justify its own unilateral and long-planned decision to suspend its participation in the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty in 2019.78

 

Putin has pushed a narrative of the accelerating decline of the West. . Putin attributes global trends, such as the rise of populism, to the failure of the current governance models in which citizens lose trust in their leaders and the value of democracy.79 “Even in the so-called developed democracies, the majority of citizens have no real influence on the political process and no direct and real influence on power,” Putin stated in 2016.80 He added that “it is not about populists … ordinary people, ordinary citizens are losing trust in the ruling class.” The Kremlin reinforces these attacks on democratic processes as part of its effort to protect its regime against an internal revolution as well as its global campaign to undermine rival democratic institutions in the West.

 

The Kremlin frames all of its campaigns as defensive measures that are part of an attempt to restore balance to international relations.. The Kremlin justifies its actions as a response to any number of provocations, escalations, and parallel actions by the U.S. and NATO.81 “Of course we should react to [NATO’s military buildup].

 

How? Either the same as you and therefore by building a multi-billion-dollar anti-missile system or, in view of our present economic and financial possibilities, by developing an asymmetrical answer … I completely agree if you say that the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) is not directed against us, just as our new weapons are not directed against you,” Putin stated in 2007.82 Putin often stresses that Russia is open to partnerships and never seeks confrontation with its “partners in the East or West.”83

 

2019 AND BEYOND

 

Vladimir Putin won his fourth term as Russian President in March 2018.

 

“No one listened to us then. So listen now,” he stated in his address to the Russian Federal Assembly in 2018 while showing a video of the new nuclear capabilities developed by Russia.84

 

Putin’s core objectives remain constant—the preservation of his regime, the end of American global hegemony, and the restoration of Russia as a mighty and feared force to be reckoned with on the international stage. Some of his foreign policy pursuits are purely pragmatic and aimed at gaining resources. Others are intended for domestic purposes and have nothing to do with the West.

 

Most are justified, however, as responses to alleged threats, aggressions, lies, and interference by the West.

 

Putin may believe that he is approaching his goal of a multipolar international system. “Everything is being restored, the world is becoming, if it has not already become, multipolar,” he stated in 2018.85 He has not yet offered the vision for his next goals in this new order, but they will almost certainly involve further reductions in the global operations of the U.S. and its allies.

 

CONCLUSION

 

Putin’s assertiveness has been accelerated or dampened by various factors over time, including his confidence in his domestic grip on power, his economic stability, his dependence on the West, and his perception of the available latitude to act freely on the world stage without major pushback.

 

The West’s actions were a factor—but not the core driver—in Putin’s foreign policy. The U.S. tried to improve relations with Russia several times after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Putin nonetheless became arguably most assertive during the Obama Administration even as the U.S took strong steps to make amends with Russia, including a halt to plans to build a missile defense shield in Poland. The West hesitated for years to impose penalties on Russia for its repeated violations of international laws and norms including its invasion of Georgia and its cyberattacks on Estonia. The West only gradually started to impose sanctions on Russia after persistent human rights violations such as the death of Sergey Magnitsky or undisputable aggression such as the occupation of the Crimean Peninsula. It wasn’t until the Kremlin’s interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election that most Americans finally became cognizant of the full threat posed by Russia.

 

While the U.S. largely focused elsewhere, Putin escalated his global military posture, scapegoated his internal problems on the West, and used the myth of foreign interference to justify tighter controls over Russians in

 

Russia. Putin notably has almost never used similar rhetoric against China, which arguably presents one of the biggest national security challenges to Russia. China continues to expand its influence in places that Putin claims are beyond his ‘red lines’— the former Soviet Union and Russia itself. Yet Putin continues to condition his population to defend against NATO—an alliance that is currently struggling to persuade its members to devote two percent of their gross domestic products to military spending.

 

The West’s behavior has not altered the fundamental principles guiding Putin’s foreign policy thought, which has remained largely unchanged since 2000. Putin believes that Russia is a great power that is entitled to its own spheres of influence and deserves to be reckoned with in all key decisions. He asserts that the true deviation from the norm was Russia’s moment of weakness in the 1990s and that Russia is merely reemerging to its rightful place in the international system.

 

Many of Putin’s principles are incompatible with the rules-based order and worldview of the West.

 

Putin’s concept of national sovereignty, for example, is often at odds with the sovereignty of other nations. European states enjoy the sovereign right to join NATO. Many of them hold legitimate security concerns about a resurgent Russia. Putin, however, does not view many of these states as truly sovereign. The Kremlin often describes smaller states as externally governed or too weak to hold foreign policy agency. For this reason, it often perceives revolutions or significant internal inflections in the former Soviet Union and beyond as subversive actions by the West rather than popular movements fueled by legitimate grievances. The Kremlin believes that it must maintain control over its neighbors and preserve or expand its historic spheres of influence. Its rhetoric against NATO is less about its fear of a direct military threat and more about its fear of a loss of its power and influence. Putin often frames violations of others’ sovereignty as a defense of his own.

 

Putin also aims to delegitimize the concept of humanitarian intervention as articulated by the West. He places his principles of state sovereignty above humanitarian concerns and asserts that legitimate governments have the right to resolve their internal affairs independent of external pressure. The Kremlin often frames any Western attempts to criticize Russia’s human rights record or those of its allies and clients as interference in sovereign internal affairs.

 

Putin sometimes reverses this rule and justifies his external interference on general human rights grounds. Russia often reserves the right to act against foreign governments in order to protect ethnic Russians. A key example is the Crimean Peninsula. Russia intervened militarily and organized an illegal referendum to annex Crimea to Russia under the boot of the Russian Armed Forces. The referendum and subsequent occupation did not change Crimea’s status under international law—to this day, Crimea remains a legal part of Ukraine. Putin nonetheless defends his intervention as a necessary action to “defend” an “oppressed” population of Russians.

 

Putin’s seemingly facile and convenient rhetoric can be easy to dismiss as cynical. His rhetoric is not empty, however. It is a declaration of his key foreign principle, one that is at odds with the fundamental basis of the rules-based international order – namely, that only the mighty are truly sovereign..

 

It is also easy to imagine that miscommunication is the source of conflict between Putin’s Russia and the West. This idea is false. Bush, Obama, and Trump have all reached out to Putin, sought to accommodate his interests as they understood them, and tried to soften policies and language that might offend him. Yet the Kremlin has responded with increasingly resentful language and actions.

 

Putin does not trust statements from the White House. He views the U.S. as dismissive of Russia’s vital interests regardless of any changes in administrations or rhetoric. Putin fundamentally views the shape of the current international order as the primary challenge to his interests. He believes, as he has said over and over, that a global hegemony, by which he means a world order led by America, is unacceptable to Russia.

 

Putin is no mere opportunistic predator. He may not always have a clear plan and acts expediently at times, but he knows what kind of world he wants and, even more so, what kind he does not. He seeks a world without NATO, with the U.S. confined to the Western Hemisphere, with Russia dominant over the former Soviet Union and able to do what it likes to its own people without condemnation or oversight, and with the Kremlin enjoying a literal veto at the UN Security Council over actions that any other state wishes to take beyond its borders. He has been working towards such a world since the moment he took office. His most recent statements suggest that he thinks he is getting closer. If the West aims to avoid further strategic surprise and preserve the rule-based international order, it must understand this divergent worldview and accept that Putin, when it comes to his stated foreign policy goals and priorities, is often a man of his word.

 

ENDNOTES

 

Nataliya Gevorkyan, Natalya Timakova, and Andrei Kolesnikov, [First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin] (Moscow: Vagrius Press, 2000), http://lib(.)ru/ MEMUARY/PUTIN/razgowor.txt.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, “Speech and Following Discussion at the Munich Security Conference,” Kremlin, February 10, 2007, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/ president/transcripts/24034.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, “Address by the President of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin, March 18, 2014, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/20603.

 

  1. “Summit in Washington; Excerpts from Yeltsin’s Speech: ‘There Will Be No More Lies’,” Reuters, June 18, 1992, https://www.nytimes.com/1992/06/18/world/ summit-in-washington-excerpts-from-yeltsin-s-speech-there-will-be-no-more-lies.html.

 

  1. Marina Lebedeva, Ksenia Borishpolets, and Maksim Kharkevich, [Russia in Global Politics] (Moscow: Moscow State Institute of International Relations, 2013), pg. 27, https://mgimo(.)ru/upload/docs_3/Russia-v-global-politike.pdf.

 

  1. [“Russian-American Relations in 1992 – 1996: Reference,”] RIA Novosti, April 4, 2011, https://ria(.)ru/20110404/360851191.html; “Vancouver Declaration: Joint Statement of the Presidents of the United States and the Russian Federation,” U.S. Government Publishing Office, April 4, 1993, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/ pkg/WCPD-1993-04-12/pdf/WCPD-1993-04-12-Pg545.pdf; [“Gore-Chernomyrdin Commission,”] Kommersant, June 20, 1995, https://www. kommersant(.)ru/doc/112167.

 

  1. Rick Atkinson, “Russian Troops Leave Germany,” Washington Post, September 1, 1994, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/1994/09/01/russian-troops-leave-germany/65e3176c-fbe6-47c4-979d-f5fdcb259f6c.

 

  1. John Broder, “Russia Ending Deal on Arms Negotiated by Gore,” New York Times, November 23, 2000, https://www.nytimes.com/2000/11/23/world/ russia-ending-deal-on-arms-negotiated-by-gore.html; [“Boris Yeltsin’s Visit to the U.S.,”] Kommersant, September 30, 1994, https://www.kommersant(.)ru/ doc/91124.

 

  1. Yevgeny Primakov, [A World Without Russia? The Consequences of Political Myopia] (Moscow: Rossiyskaya Gazeta, 2009), https://www.e-reading(.)club/chapter.php/98451/4/ Primakov_-_Mir_bez_Rossii__K_chemu_vedet_politicheskaya_blizorukost%27. html.

 

  1. [“Yevgeny Primakov: I Hope Putin Becomes President,”] Vesti, December 12,

2011, https://www.vesti(.)ru/doc.html?id=658070#.

 

  1. [“Putin Criticized Former Russian Foreign Minister Kozyrev,”] TASS, October 19, 2017, https://tass(.)ru/politika/4661540; Alexander Grishin, [“Former Russian Foreign Minister Pleased to Serve the United States,”] Komsomolskaya Pravda,

 

July 22, 2015, https://www.kp(.)ru/daily/26409/3284411/.

  1. [“Decree of the President of the Russian Federation #386,”] Kremlin, April 10, 1992, http://kremlin(.)ru/acts/bank/1184; [“Federal Law on the State Policy of the Russian Federation Regarding Compatriots Abroad,”] Kremlin, May 24, 1999, http://www.kremlin(.)ru/acts/bank/13875.

 

  1. Russia 24, [“Lavrov: Historians Will Formulate the ‘Primakov Doctrine’,”] YouTube, October 29, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLiOIJ0HpR4.
  2. [“Presidential Decree on the Approval of the National Security Concept of the Russian Federation,”] Collection of Legislation of the Russian Federation, December 29, 1997, http://www.szrf(.)ru/szrf/doc. phtml?nb=100&issid=1001997052000&docid=1210NationalSecurityConcept.

 

  1. [“TV Address of Russian President Boris Yeltsin on March 24, 1999 Regarding the Threat of NATO Strikes Against Yugoslavia,”] Kommersant, March 25, 1999, https://www.kommersant(.)ru/doc/215535.

 

  1. “Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation, and Security Between NATO and the Russian Federation,” NATO, May 27, 1999, https://www.nato.int/cps/en/ natolive/official_texts_25468.htm.

 

  1. [“On National Security: Address of the Russian President to the Federal Assembly,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 14, 1996, http://www.rusconstitution(.)ru/ timestream/event/499/; Sergei Kortynov, [Conceptual Foundations of National and International Security] (Moscow: Higher School of Economics, 2007), https://textbooks(.)studio/uchebnik-mejdunarodnie-otnosheniya/poslaniya-natsionalnoy-bezopasnosti-prezidenta.html.

 

  1. Strobe Talbott, “Boris and Bill,” Washington Post, May 26, 2002, https://www. washingtonpost.com/archive/lifestyle/magazine/2002/05/26/boris-and-bill/ ba5a863c-ece7-4e67-bd74-f81c2982c938.

 

  1. [“Academic Hour,”] Kommersant, January 14, 2015, https://www.kommersant(.)ru/ doc/2645293; Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation, [“Yevgeny Primakov’s Presentation at the Meeting of the ‘Mercury Club’,”] YouTube, January 14, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yg375FTjYE.

 

  1. [“Man of Life: Yevgeny Primakov,”] Russia-1, https://russia(.)tv/brand/show/ brand_id/4981/.

 

  1. Sebastian Walsh, “A History of Debt Defaults: Russia 1998,” Financial News, July 27, 2011, https://www.fnlondon.com/articles/a-history-of-debt-defaults-russia-1998-20110727.

 

. Public Russian Television, [“The New FSB Director Vladimir Putin Gives an Interview: 1999,”] December 7, 2017, YouTube, https://youtu.be/JDb57RK5SgI.

 

  1. [“Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,”] Kremlin, October 27, 2016, http://kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/53151; [“Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,”] Kremlin, October 24, 2014, http://kremlin(.)ru/ events/president/news/46860.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, [“Russia at the Turn of the Millennium,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, December 30, 1999, http://www.ng(.)ru/politics/1999-12-30/4_millenium. html.

 

  1. Roman Anin, “The Secret of the St. Princess Olga,” OCCRP, August 2, 2016, https://www.occrp.org/en/investigations/5523-the-secret-of-the-st-princess-olga.

 

  1. [“Naryshkin Told How He Met Putin,”] RIA Novosti, December 9, 2018, https://ria(.)ru/20181209/1547687041.html.

 

  1. Gevorkyan, Timakova, and Kolesnikov, [First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin] http://lib(.)ru/MEMUARY/PUTIN/razgowor.txt.

 

  1. Mosaic, “The Putin Interviews—Oliver Stone Part 1 of 4,” YouTube, June 12, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QvlKSbYkTXI.

 

  1. “Chechens Fear Risks of Leaving—And Staying,” CNN, December 8, 1999, http://archives.cnn.com/1999/WORLD/europe/12/08/russia.chechnya.03/; Steven Greenhouse, “U.S. Sharply Rebukes Russia For Its Offensive

 

in Chechnya,” New York Times, April 12, 1995, https://www.nytimes. com/1995/04/12/world/us-sharply-rebukes-russia-for-its-offensive-in-chechnya.html; Vagif Guseynov, [“Evolving Western Positions Regarding the Chechen Crisis,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 29, 2000, http://www.ng(.)ru/ specfile/2000-02-29/15_evolution.html.

 

  1. Russia 24, [“Putin: Film by Andrey Kardashev. Full Video,”] YouTube, March 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Pu0yrOwKI; [“Putin: Russia Has Maintained Sovereignty and Made Breakthroughs in Important Areas,”] RIA Novosti, December 19, 2017, https://ria(.)ru/20171219/1511255375.html; [“2013: Vladimir Putin’s Red Lines,”] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, September 26, 2013, https:// rg(.)ru/2013/09/26/valdai.html; [“The Best Moments of Putin’s Interview,”] Argumenty i Fakty, March 14, 2018, http://www.aif(.)ru/politics/russia/ne_imeyu_ prava_slabost_proyavlyat_samye_yarkie_momenty_iz_intervyu_putina; DenTV, [“Alexander Dugin: Russians Are on the Verge of Losing Their Identity,”] YouTube, March 6, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q7dzL3IodxQ.

 

  1. Gevorkyan, Timakova, and Kolesnikov, [First Person: Conversations with Vladimir Putin] http://lib(.)ru/MEMUARY/PUTIN/razgowor.txt.
  2. “NATO-Russia Relations: A New Quality,” NATO, May 28, 2002,

https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/official_texts_19572.htm.

 

  1. [“Presidential Decree on the National Security Concept of the Russian Federation,”] Kremlin, January 10, 2000, http://kremlin(.)ru/acts/bank/14927.
  2. [“Foreign Policy Concept of the Russian Federation,”] Nezavisimaya Gazeta, July 11,

2000, http://www.ng(.)ru/world/2000-07-11/1_concept.html.

  1. “Russia Paid Off IMF Debts,” UPI, February 1, 2005, https://www.upi(.)com/ Russia-has-paid-off-IMF-debts/66111107283700/; “Russia Pays Off Paris Club Debts,” BBC, August 25, 2006, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5271122. stm; [“Why Russia Had to Pay the Soviet Debts,”] TASS, August 21, 2017, https://tass(.)ru/ekonomika/4033459.

 

  1. [“Putin Talked About the IMF Debts of the Former Soviet Republics That Russia Paid Off,”] Lenta, June 13, 2017, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2017/06/13/debtimf/.
  2. David Filipov, “Russia Cracking Down on ‘Oligarch’ Empires,” Chicago Tribute, July 12, 2000, https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-2000-07-12-0007120402-story.html; David Crouch, “Ousting the Oligarchs,”

 

The Guardian, May 31, 2005, https://www.theguardian.com/world/2005/ may/31/russia; Marshall Goldman, “Putin and the Oligarchs,” Foreign Affairs, November/December 2004, https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/russia-fsu/2004-11-01/putin-and-oligarchs.

 

  1. [“Putin Cancelled the Elections of Governors,”] Korrespondent, December 12, 2004, https://korrespondent(.)net/world/109086-putin-otmenil-vybory-gubernatorov; Jeremy Bransten, “Russia: Putin Signs Bill Eliminating Direct Elections of Governors,” RFE/RL, December 13, 2004, https://www.rferl. org/a/1056377.html.

 

  1. [“On the Eve of Single Economic Space: Kuchma Against the Diplomats,”] Ukrayinska Pravda, September 17, 2003, https://www.pravda.com(.)ua/rus/ news/2003/09/17/4374367.
  2. [“Common Economic Space: Reference.”] RIA Novosti, January 1, 2012,

 

  1. https://ria(.)ru/20120101/529308191.html.

 

  1. Statement by President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze,” NATO, November 22, 2002, https://www.nato.int/docu/speech/2002/s021122h.htm; Jean-Christophe Peuch, “Georgia: Shevardnadze Officially Requests Invitation to Join NATO,” RFE/RL, November 22, 2002, https://www.rferl.org/a/1101463.html.

 

  1. Russia 24, [“Putin: Film by Andrey Kardashev. Full Video,”] YouTube, March 24, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Pu0yrOwKI; [“Putin Called External Control Humiliating for Ukraine,”] Lenta, August 17, 2015, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2015/08/17/putinobukraine/.

 

  1. [“Putin Said That the Authorities Will Not Allow ‘Color Revolutions’ in Russia,”] RIA Novosti, April 12, 2017, https://ria(.)ru/20170412/1492073208.html; Darya Korsunskaya, “Putin Says Russia Must Prevent ‘Color Revolution’,” Reuters, November 20, 2014, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-putin-security-idUSKCN0J41J620141120.

 

  1. Glenn Kessler, “NATO Seeks to Soothe Russia,” Washington Post, April 3, 2004, https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/politics/2004/04/03/nato-seeks-to-soothe-russia/2c46ac29-1b42-4121-8fc8-3fdf8302ee40; Seth Mydans, “Putin Doubts Expanded NATO Meets New Threats,” New York Times, April 9, 2004, https://www.nytimes.com/2004/04/09/world/putin-doubts-expanded-nato-meets-new-threats.html; [“Interview with Wall Street Journal,”] Kremlin, February 11, 2002, http://kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/21498.

 

  1. Vladimir Bogdanov, [“Growing Irritation in Moscow,”] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, March 30, 2004, https://rg(.)ru/2004/03/30/kreml.html.

 

  1. [“The Common Interests of Fighting Global Threats Outweigh Any Differences Between Russia and the United States,”] RIA Novosti, February 13, 2004, https://ria(.)ru/20040213/526860.html.
  2. [“Press Conference for Russian and Foreign Journalists,”] Kremlin, December 23,

2004, http://kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/22757.

  1. [“Onishchenko Discovered Carcinogens in Latvian Sprat,”] Lenta, November 9,

2006, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2006/11/09/sprots/.

 

  1. [“Putin Promises Substantive Support to Abkhazia and South Ossetia,”] Izvestia, April 3, 2008, https://iz(.)ru/news/422147#ixzz3aV2E3Gyz.
  2. [“Putin: Russia, India, and China Can Prevent the Creation of a ‘Unipolar World’,”] Lenta, December 4, 2004, https://lenta(.)ru/news/2004/12/04/putin.
  3. Putin, “Speech and Following Discussion at the Munich Security Conference,”

February 10, 2007, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/24034.

  1. ibid.
  2. Isabel Gorst and Neil Buckley, “Medvedev and Putin Clash Over Libya,” Financial Times, March 21, 2011, https://www.ft.com/content/2e62b08e-53d2-11e0-a01c-00144feab49a.
  3. “Russia Did Not Veto in UN to Protect Libyan Civilians—Medvedev,” RT, March

21, 2011, https://www.rt(.)com/russia/medvedev-un-resolution-lybia/.

 

  1. Russia-1, [“Putin Against Killing of Gaddafi,”] YouTube, April 26, 2011, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OFBOxGdrXR8.

 

  1. Alexei Anishchuk, “Gaddafi Fall Cost Russia Tens of Billions in Arms Deals,” Reuters, November 2, 2011, https://www.reuters.com/article/russia-libya-arms-idUSL5E7M221H20111102.

 

  1. Tom O’Connor, “Russia Says U.S. and Allies Lied When They Attacked Libya, Now It’s Ready to Get Involved,” Newsweek, November 13, 2011, https://www. newsweek.com/russia-says-us-allies-lied-libya-ready-help-1213872.

 

  1. Peter Ferdinand, “The Positions of Russia and China at the UN Security Council in the Light of Recent Crises,” European Parliament, March 1, 2013, http://www.europarl.europa.eu/RegData/etudes/note/join/2013/433800/ EXPO-SEDE_NT%282013%29433800_EN.pdf.

 

  1. [“Patrushev Talks About Western Actions Against Russia,”] Pravda, May 5, 2005, https://www.pravda(.)ru/news/world/12-05-2005/56630-patrushev_zapad_ revoljucija_sng_lukashenko_belorussija_demping-0/.

 

  1. [“Putin Will ‘Order Music’ Himself,”] Polit, July 20, 2005, http://www.polit(.)ru/news/2005/07/20/musicputt/.

 

  1. Katherin Machalek, “Factsheet: Russia’s NGO Laws,” Freedom House, https://freedomhouse.org/sites/default/files/Fact%20Sheet_0.pdf.

 

  1. [“U.S. Will Teach Foreign Journalists How to Talk About Democracy,”] RBC, December 14, 2005, https://www.rbc(.)ru/ politics/14/12/2005/5703bb819a7947afa08c909d; Curt Tarnoff, “U.S. Assistance to the Former Soviet Union,” Congressional Research Service, April 14, 2005, https://www.everycrsreport.com/files/20050414_ RL32866_4df4f774f1d7136d7c55b5330924fb4f2a63a2d2.pdf.

 

  1. “Yukos: Russia Hits Back at U.S.,” CNN, November 1, 2003, http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/europe/11/01/yukos/index.html.

 

  1. Luke Harding and Ian Traynor, “Obama Abandons Missile Defence Shield in Europe,” The Guardian, September 17, 2009, https://www.theguardian.com/ world/2009/sep/17/missile-defence-shield-barack-obama.

 

  1. Polina Khimshiashvili [“Putin Did Not Notice the ‘Reset’,”] Vedomosti, December 20, 2012, https://www.vedomosti(.)ru/politics

 

  1. World Bank, Country and Lending Groups, 2015, https://web.archive.org/ web/20140702131322/http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-and-lending-groups.

 

  1. Vladimir Putin, “Address by President of the Russian Federation,” Kremlin, March

18, 2014, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/20603.

 

  1. [“Putin Explained Troop Deployment to Syria,”] Moskovskij Komsomolets, September 30, 2015, https://www.mk(.)ru/politics/2015/09/30/putin-obyasnil-vvedenie-rossiyskikh-voysk-v-siriyu.html.

 

  1. [“Peskov: Russia Will Be the Only Country Operating in Syria on Legitimate Basis,”] Gordon, September 30, 2015, https://gordonua(.)com/news/worldnews/ peskov-rossiya-budet-edinstvennoy-stranoy-osushchestvlyayushchey-operacii-v-sirii-na-legitimnoy-osnove-100135.html.

 

  1. RT, [“Putin: The Bear Will Never Be Left Alone,”] YouTube, December 18, 2014, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cwh5be7Jts.

 

  1. NTV, [“Vladimir Putin’s Press Conference 2018,”] YouTube, December 20, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1xHJhQl50.

 

  1. [“Presidential Decree #683: ‘On the National Security Strategy of the Russian Federation’,”] Rossiyskaya Gazeta, December 31, 2015, https://rg(.)ru/2015/12/31/ nac-bezopasnost-site-dok.html.

 

  1. “‘Take A Pill’: Putin Accuses U.S. Of Hysteria, Destabilizing The World,” RFE/ RL, June 2, 2017, https://www.rferl.org/a/st-pete-forum-putin-accuses-us-destabilizing-international-arena/28525266.html; Russia-1, [“Putin’s Best Moments with NBC’s Megyn Kelly,”] YouTube, June 4, 2017, https://www.youtube. com/watch?v=12s_n6F2ZEQ.

 

  1. [“Putin Believes That Anti-Russian Rhetoric May Decline in the U.S. After 2020,”] TASS, October 18, 2018, https://tass(.)ru/politika/5691040.
  2. “Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,” Kremlin, October 27,

2016, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/53151.

 

  1. RIA Novosti, [“Putin About ‘Magnitsky Act’,”] YouTube, December 26, 2012, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4TTRnZB9cI.

 

  1. RT, [“Putin Responded to Pompeo’s Ultimatum on the INF Treaty,”] YouTube, December 5, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ohONm97wt20.

 

  1. [“Putin: Most Citizens Do Not Have Influence Over Power in Democratic Countries,”] RIA Novosti, October 27, 2016, https://ria(.) ru/20161027/1480141794.html; NTV, [“Vladimir Putin’s Press Conference 2018,”] YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1xHJhQl50.

 

  1. [“Putin: Most Citizens Do Not Have Influence Over Power in Democratic Countries,”] RIA Novosti, October 27, 2016, https://ria(.)ru/20161027/1480141794.html.

 

  1. NTV, [“Vladimir Putin’s Press Conference 2018,”] YouTube, December 20, 2018, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ea1xHJhQl50.

 

  1. Putin, “Speech and Following Discussion at the Munich Security Conference,” February 10, 2007, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/transcripts/24034.
  2. Putin, “Address by the President of the Russian Federation,” March 18, 2014, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/20603.

 

  1. [“No One Listened to Us Then. So Listen Now,”] BBC, March 1, 2018, https://www.bbc.com/russian/news-43240396.

 

  1. “Meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club,” October 18, 2018, http://en.kremlin(.)ru/events/president/news/58848

 

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35 Key People Involved In The Russia Hoax Who Need To Be Investigated


The House Dem majority are ramping up investigations against Trump to perpetuate their highly unsubstantiated witch hunt. As Willis L. Krumholz of The Federalist points out, there should be further investigations about conspiracy in the 2016 election. Yet the people that should be investigated are the Obama and Crooked Hillary connections.

 

JRH 3/8/19

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Obama & Crooked Hillary. Photo Nathan Forget  Flickr

 

35 Key People Involved In The Russia Hoax Who Need To Be Investigated

As their desperate search for collusion continues, Democrats want to interview 81 people. Try this list instead.

 

By Willis L. Krumholz

MARCH 8, 2019

The Federalists

 

Funny how things change. The Washington Post couldn’t say a nice thing about congressional Republican efforts to investigate the Obama administration and FBI shenanigans that occurred before and after the 2016 election. That’s if they even covered these efforts at all.

 

But with Democrats controlling the House, and that legislative body’s subpoena power, the establishment media’s line has changed. Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee have just sent letters to 81 people, all associated with President Trump or the Russia probe, demanding answers on Russian election interference.

 

This is part of Democrats’ effort to continue their hunt for proof of Russia collusion—although they are already sure that Trump is guilty—as Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation appears to be winding down. To cover these events, the Post’s Philip Bump wrote an article titled: “The 81 people and organizations just looped into the Trump probe—and why they were included.” Of course, the article is totally unquestioning of the House Democrats’ desired narrative and motivations.

 

Investigated, But Not for the Reasons Dems Give

 

It isn’t worth it to go through Bump’s whole article, but even the commentary about the first name on the list—Rinat Akhmetshin—omits glaring and important facts. Bump says Akhmetshin “joined his colleague Natalia Veselnitskaya, a lawyer linked to the Kremlin, at the June 9, 2016, meeting in Trump Tower predicated on providing information that would undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.” But, Bump says, “the focus of the meeting instead reportedly focused on the Magnitsky Act—a law that resulted in sanctions on numerous prominent Russians.”

 

Bump somehow forgets to tell us that Fusion GPS, the opposition research firm hired by Hillary Clinton to create nefarious ties between Trump and Russia, was working with Akhmetshin and Veselnitskaya to lobby for the Russian government. Fusion GPS even provided the documents that were handed out at that Trump Tower meeting. Fusion GPS head Glenn Simpson also met with the Russians both before and after that Trump Tower meeting. Yet Simpson isn’t on the Democrats’ list.

 

So there’s a few people on the Democrats’ list who should be investigated, but not for the reasons Democrats say. Some should also be charged with crimes.

 

The following all played a part in the stunning and successful effort by Hillary Clinton’s campaign to infect the executive branch of the federal government with Trump-Russia conspiracy theories. Various writings—either authored by a Brit with ties to the Kremlin who was indirectly paid by Clinton’s campaign, or directly written by Hillary Clinton cronies—were funneled into the federal government through multiple avenues.

 

Partisan Democrats in the Obama administration were all too willing to believe the allegations, and use them as an excuse for bad behavior whether they believed them or not.

 

The documents have been called “dossiers,” but that really just attaches a fancy term to a Word document full of unverified mumbo jumbo that alleged Trump-Russia collusion. Those Word documents were then used to spy on the opposing political party’s presidential campaign, and to plant stories in the media right before the election insinuating that Trump had nefarious ties with Russia.

 

Here are 36 people who should be interviewed under oath, if they have not been interviewed already, some of whom should be subjected to criminal prosecution.

 

Obama and Comey’s FBI People

 

Gregory Brower was Jim Comey’s FBI congressional liaison, and left the agency in 2018. Brower was in Comey’s inner circle, and like many in Comey’s inner circle, Brower played the game of claiming things were classified when they were not, in order to label Republican investigators as leakers and hide how the FBI used the “dossiers.” Brower was called out by Sens. Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham for that.

 

Kevin Clinesmith, a former FBI lawyer, wrote anti-Trump texts with former top FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. According to the Washington Times, Clinesmith “worked on the 2016 probe into Hillary Clinton’s email use [known as Mid-Year-Exam], then worked on the FBI’s original investigation into the Trump campaign [known as Crossfire Hurricane] and, eventually, with the special counsel’s investigation into Mr. Trump’s presidential campaign.”

 

But Clinesmith, like Strzok, was let go from Mueller’s investigative team once his anti-Trump texts were uncovered by the FBI inspector general (IG), who is tasked with uncovering wrongdoing at the FBI. “Viva le resistance,” Clinesmith said in one text.

 

Joseph Pientka, an FBI official, was the go-between for Fusion GPS and the FBI. Pientka interviewed Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr on at least 12 occasions, who passed on the information Ohr’s wife Nellie (who worked for Fusion GPS) was receiving from Christopher Steele (who also worked for Fusion GPS), and who was using Edward Baumgartner, a British national with ties to Moscow, to compile the dossier for the Clinton campaign.

 

Steele was originally the direct FBI source, despite his ties to the Clinton campaign through Fusion GPS, but when Steele was caught leaking to the media to paint Trump as a Russian stooge just before the election, official FBI rules said that Steele’s use as an FBI source had to be discontinued. The FBI top brass worked around these rules, which are in place to prevent this very kind of abuse, by using Pientka to interview Ohr, who was getting his information from Steele.

 

Pientka also played a role in the interview of former Trump national security advisor Mike Flynn, where Pientka and Strzok interviewed Flynn, and Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI officials (including former deputy attorney general Sally Yates) used that interview to entrap Flynn for a completely non-nefarious conversation with the Russian ambassador. The pretext for the interview was the Logan Act, a 200-year old law that has never led to a conviction and is probably unconstitutional. Plus, it is violated by every incoming administration, as they seek to begin conducting foreign policy during the transition period.

 

All Flynn did was talk to the Russian ambassador and try to get Russia to not retaliate against sanctions Obama placed on Russia right before leaving the White House, and to not allow an anti-Israel vote at the United Nations. The Obama administration was going to allow this vote in the final days of Obama’s presidency, an unprecedented move.

 

Although Flynn was never charged with violating the Logan Act, he was later charged with lying to the FBI investors sent to interview him, under the pretext of a possible Logan Act violation—even though the agents didn’t think he was lying at the time, and even though the FBI had wiretapped access to the record of Flynn’s conversation with the Russian ambassador.

 

What happened to Flynn is a disgrace, and a total perversion of our justice system. And it is just one example in the dangerous trend of the left using our justice system to take out political opponents, where Democrat politicians point out a target or a supposed crime, and the federal bureaucracy dutifully moves into action.

 

Obama’s DOJ People

 

Tashina Gauhar is a Department of Justice attorney who was deeply involved in applications to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance (FISA) Court, which were used to spy on the Trump campaign using the dossiers. Gauhar was also one of the few people to see or be notified of the existence of missing Hillary Clinton emails found on Anthony Weiner’s computer. Weiner was being investigated for pedophilia and was married to top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

 

Gauhar and Andrew McCabe sat on those emails, and a cursory investigation—led by anti-Trump FBI agent Strzok—was only conducted when FBI field agents in New York threatened to go public. Gauhar later played a role in recommending former attorney general Jeff Sessions’ recusal from overseeing Mueller’s probe.

 

John Carlin is the head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division, and got out of the DOJ in late 2016. He was the former chief of staff to Mueller, when Mueller led the FBI in the 2000s. Carlin was involved in the FBI’s systemic abuse of the FISA surveillance laws, which included spying on the Trump campaign.

 

This included omitting information on FBI wiretap abuse to the FISA court, and omitting information when applying to spy on Trump campaign official Carter Page to the FISA court. Carlin was also regularly briefed on and involved with the FBI’s overall investigation into the Trump campaign, called Crossfire Hurricane.

 

David Laufman is a high-level DOJ official in the national security division. Laufman worked with FBI counterintelligence guy Strzok on both the Clinton email investigation and the investigation into the Trump campaign based on the still-unproven, Clinton-paid, and Russian-sourced “dossier.”

 

Mary McCord was the acting assistant attorney general for a time, replacing Carlin as the head of the DOJ’s national security division. She left the DOJ in 2017. McCord played a role in Yates’s plan to spy on Flynn and entrap him with the Logan Act.

 

George Toscas, a senior official in the Justice Department, was in charge of the “Mid-Year-Exam” investigation into Clinton’s email abuses. Toscas had a front seat to both McCabe and Comey’s efforts to hide the fact that Clinton’s emails were found on Weiner’s computer, and former Obama attorney general Loretta Lynch’s efforts to stymie the Clinton email investigation.

 

The importance of Hillary’s emails wasn’t just her flouting security rules. Many have speculated that Hillary’s 30,000 missing emails, which were stored on her home-brew server, would have shown pay-to-play activities Clinton conducted while Obama’s secretary of state.

 

Obama’s State Department People

 

Victoria Nuland was a top Obama State Department official, and potentially Clinton’s secretary of state. Nuland had a role in pushing Fusion GPS conspiracy theories in the State Department, and in the broader Obama administration.

 

She received the Steele dossier just after it was created, via Jonathan Winer, in July 2016. That was possibly two months before the document was in the hands of the FBI, unless the FBI had it sooner than we currently know. She then ultimately gave permission for the FBI to make the contact with Steele, which was initiated by Michael J. Gaeta, an FBI agent based in Rome who became Steele’s handler.

 

Steele even came to the State Department to directly brief officials on his work, paid for by the Clinton campaign. Nuland had an awkward exchange with Sen. Richard Burr, where she claimed she “actively” avoided this Steele briefing, but also said she didn’t hear about the briefing until after it occurred.

 

Safe to say that if Nuland was tied to the Trump campaign, she would already be indicted for perjury by Mueller’s team of angry Democrats.

 

Jonathan Winer was a top Obama State Department official. Winer received documents alleging Trump-Russia collusion from notorious Clinton guy Cody Shearer, through another even more notorious Clinton guy named Sidney Blumenthal, and received the Steele dossier from Steele in summer 2016.

 

Winer shared the contents of these documents with his boss, Nuland, and prepped a summary of these docs for the State Department. He also gave the Shearer document to Steele, who then gave it to the FBI. That both Shearer and Blumenthal are known Clinton cronies and hatchet-men never seemed to be important to Winer. Winer was also a source for at least two journalists who wrote articles prior to the election based on the Steele dossier.

 

Jonathan Finer was another Obama State Department official, and the chief of staff to former secretary of state John Kerry. Finer got the so-called dossier from Winer, and gave it to John Kerry. This of course, among several other pieces of information, raises questions as to whether President Obama saw the dossiers and knew about what was being done to the Trump campaign.

 

Elizabeth Dibble was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in London. She was reported to be one of the State Department officials who received information from Australian ambassador to the U.K. Alexander Downer, who has ties to the Clinton Foundation, about George Papadopoulos saying to Downer that Joseph Misfud—a European professor with potential ties to western intelligence agencies—told Papadopoulos that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton.

 

Misfud allegedly told Papadopoulos this in April 2016, and Papadopoulos allegedly told Downer what Misfud had said in early May. It is entirely possible that Papadopoulos was set up by Misfud, who has now disappeared and is hopefully just in hiding and not at the bottom of some body of water.

 

This chain of events became important when the FBI began using the Papadopoulos tip as an excuse for its “Crossfire Hurricane” investigation into the Trump campaign, in order to say why they didn’t rely on the Clinton-funded dossier.

 

But the FBI didn’t open Crossfire Hurricane until several months after the Dibble-Downer tip was received, and that tip, if it ever even occurred, didn’t go through the normal and proper chain of intelligence (others have claimed that the tip wasn’t taken seriously until the Democratic National Committee hack was made public).

 

More damning for the FBI’s Papadopoulos excuse was that they didn’t interview Papadopolous until after the 2016 election, and went after Carter Page for FISA surveillance instead. This was no damning piece of firsthand information, or emergency. It was hearsay, and what Papadopoulos said to Downer, and what Misfud said to Papadopoulos, is still disputed.

 

The reality is that the Clinton-funded dossier started the FBI’s investigation into Trump, at least the official Crossfire Hurricane investigation.

 

Finally, Thomas Williams is another State Department guy in the London embassy. Colin KahlKathleen Kavalec, and Lewis Lukens were all State Department officials who had some sort of interaction with the dossier, or Fusion GPS people.

 

People Tied to the DNC or Clinton Campaign

 

Perkins Coie, a law firm, was paid by the Clinton campaign to serve as a go-between to hide the fact that Hillary’s campaign was paying Fusion GPS to push the Trump-Russia smear.

 

Marc Elias is a lawyer at Perkins Coie, who hired Fusion GPS for the Clinton campaign.

 

Michael Sussmann is another lawyer at Perkins Coie, who received a story about a Russian bank, Alphabank, communicating with a server in Trump Tower from Fusion GPS. Sussmann went directly to the FBI with that story—to James Baker, who was general counsel of the FBI under Comey—prompting reports midway through the 2016 campaign that hinted Trump had nefarious ties with Russia.

 

Although it was widely debunked, the server angle again showed up in media stories, including in New York Times and Slate articles, right before the election in September of 2016. Hillary Clinton even tweeted that Slate article when it posted.

 

Robbie Mook was a top Hillary Clinton campaign official. As Fusion GPS was working on the dossier, Perkins Coie was getting the information from Steele and briefing Mook. It is important to note that Mook was the first Hillary official to publicly say that Russia wanted to help Trump win. Mook said this right before the Democratic National Convention.

 

This is more evidence that Clinton’s campaign is the entity that started the Russia investigation, by alleging that Trump had nefarious ties with Russia to distract from the DNC and Clinton campaign’s mistreatment of Bernie Sanders, as was revealed by the DNC email theft that was leaked by WikiLeaks right before the Democrats’ 2016 national convention.

 

Jake Sullivan is another top advisor in Clinton’s campaign, who played a role in forming the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

 

Cody Shearer is a longtime Clinton dirty tricks guy, with a record of smearing the Clintons’ political opponents. He authored a “dossier,” largely based on Steele’s work, that was picked up by Winer at Obama’s State Department.

 

Sidney Blumenthal is an even more infamous Clinton stooge. “Sid” is so infamous that Obama told Hillary that he didn’t want Blumenthal associated with the Obama administration. Blumenthal got the Trump-Russia conspiracies written by Shearer into the Obama State Department, when only the Clinton campaign was talking about Trump-Russia collusion.

 

Fusion GPS People

 

Fusion GPS is a D.C. based opposition research and public relations firm with a history of representing less-than-savory actors, including Planned Parenthood, the Venezuelan dictatorship of Nicolas Maduro, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Fusion has been shown in court documents to have paid still-unknown journalists, likely for the placement of stories or to push a certain narrative.

 

Rinat Akhmetshin is the aforementioned Russian spy guy who was working with Fusion GPS when he showed up in Trump Tower. Get him under oath and ask him how much he knew about Fusion’s work for the Clinton campaign.

 

Edward Baumgartner is the British national, fluent in Russian and with ties to the Kremlin, who actually worked on most of Steele’s dossier. To compile the dossier, Baumgartner used unknown Russian sources that were paid and totally unverified, possibly tied to the Kremlin.

 

Peter Fritsch is a partner at Fusion GPS.

 

Mary Jacoby is the wife of Fusion GPS head Simpson, and has bragged publicly that her husband started the Russia investigation.

 

Shailagh Murray was a senior advisor to the Obama administration. Her husband is Neil King Jr., who works at Fusion GPS.

 

Neil King Jr., a Fusion GPS guy married to Murray, was also Obama’s top communications advisor. On a related story, Politico quoted King without mentioning he worked for Fusion GPS. This is just one of many examples of the endless ties between reporters and Fusion GPS, and between so-called journalists and prominent Democrats.

 

Thomas Catan is a Fusion GPS executive. He pled the Fifth in front of Congress when asked questions about the role of the dossier for the Hillary campaign.

 

Daniel Jones, a former staffer to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, heads the Penn Quarter Group, a D.C. “consulting firm.” He also heads a “nonprofit” called the “Democracy Integrity Project.” Jones’ groups have received millions from the likes of George Soros and Tom Steyer, two leftwing billionaires, to continue investigations into Trump via Fusion GPS. It appears as if Jones began picking up the tab for Fusion to continue its work as soon as the Clinton campaign and the DNC stopped paying Fusion after the election.

 

Glenn Simpson is the head of Fusion GPS. There are lots of indications that he lied to Congress during his testimony about Nellie Ohr, the wife of DOJ official Bruce Ohr, before it was publicly known that Nellie worked for Fusion GPS. Specifically, Simpson told Congress that only Baumgartner spoke Russian at Fusion. But Nellie spoke Russian, and she was largely hired because she was a Russia expert (and because her husband worked at DOJ).

 

Simpson also lied about the timing of his contacts with Bruce Ohr. Again, if he were associated with Trump, he would have been indicted by Mueller already.

 

The Big Fish

 

Of course, there’s also former director of national intelligence Jim ClapperComey and Andrew McCabe at FBI, and former CIA director John Brennan.

 

Comey and McCabe are leakers, and should be prosecuted as such. Brennan is a particular bad actor, and did much to spread the dossiers around the federal government and our intelligence community. It is also thought that Brennan pushed the FBI to investigate Trump, or at least increase the intensity of its spying on Trump’s campaign.

 

Will any of these guys ever be prosecuted? Better said, does new Attorney General Bill Barr care about the rule of law or not?

 

So Many Questions Yet to Be Answered

 

Was the Kremlin behind this whole thing, in order to sow distrust in the American political process? If so, that would make far too many Democrats their “useful idiots.” Why isn’t there more uproar about the fact that Fusion GPS was working for Russia while it was working for the Clinton campaign?

 

The other gnawing problem is the timeline to all of this. In early June 2016, the DNC publicly said that it had been hacked, two days after WikiLeaks announced that it had information that showed Clinton and the DNC were mistreating Sanders. Right away, Steele began his work for Fusion GPS in June.

 

The DNC says it first noticed that it was hacked on April 28, 2016. But DNC staffers weren’t forced to turn over their presumably infected equipment until June 10, 2016. And numerous set-up attempts of Trump campaign people occurred during 2016, possibly as early as April 2016.

 

You don’t have to think that the Clintons killed Seth Rich to think something stinks to high heaven here. Justice has been grossly miscarried, on a high and far-reaching level. If this is what America is to be like going forward, it will be only a shell of what it once was in the past. The only hope is for Barr’s DOJ to swing into action.

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Willis L. Krumholz is a fellow at Defense Priorities. He holds a JD and MBA degree from the University of St. Thomas, and works in the financial services industry. The views expressed are those of the author only. You can follow Willis on Twitter @WillKrumholz.

 

Copyright © 2019 The Federalist, a wholly independent division of FDRLST Media, All Rights Reserved.

 

Pentagon Gearing Up for Space Warfare


 

Are you or have ever been a Sci-Fi fan? I was an enormous fan in my teens and early adulthood. Today I am more a Sci-Fi dabbler than an obsessed fan. Here is the reason I share this hobby predilection.

 

Any future global war will have a military venue that most people do not imagine in the present unless – you have been or are a Sci-Fi fan.

 

I just read a Bill Gertz article in which the phrase “Space Warfare” is a serious military subject in which current military rivals are central figures. Science Fiction is a heartbeat away from being Science Fact in the National Security interests for the United States of America. (Unless of course Snowflake Obamanites guide our foreign policy into oblivion.)

 

JRH 3/8/18

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Pentagon Gearing Up for Space Warfare

New policy warns of counterattacks against space attacks

 

By Bill Gertz

March 8, 2018 5:00 am

Washington Free Beacon

 

Under Secretary of Defense for Policy John Rood / Getty Images

 

The Pentagon is preparing for war should China, Russia, or other adversaries attack vital American satellites and other space systems, a senior Pentagon official told Congress on Wednesday.

 

John Rood, undersecretary of defense for policy, testified before a House subcommittee that the Trump administration’s new defense policy calls for conducting military and other operations in response to space attacks, mainly by China and Russia.

 

Rood said American space systems are essential for “our prosperity, security, and way of life.”

 

“And [Defense Department] space capabilities are critical for effective deterrence, defense, and force projection capabilities,” he told a hearing of the House Armed Services subcommittee on strategic forces.

 

“Due to the critical importance of these assets, the national security strategy states, ‘any harmful interference with or attack upon critical components of our space architecture that directly affects this vital U.S. interest will be met with a deliberate response at a time, place, manner, and domain of our choosing.'”

 

The statement on space defense was the first clear policy announcement by a senior U.S. official outlining “declaratory policy” normally reserved for strategic nuclear weapons use.

 

The new policy represents a break from the policies of the Obama administration that sought to promote transparency initiatives and arms control agreements as a way to limit space weapons or conflict in space.

 

The policy likely will be opposed by arms control advocates, and by both China and Russia, which have been promoting agreements limiting space weapons at the United Nations while secretly building arms for space conflict.

 

Rood said the Pentagon has requested $12.5 billion in funding for the fiscal year 2019 that begins Oct. 1 for building up what he termed a “more resilient defendable space architecture.”

 

The request is $1.1 billion more than funding for last year on military space.

 

Rood, and Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of the Omaha-based Strategic Command, testified on the command’s budget request of $24 billion.

 

Neither elaborated on what space warfare capabilities are being developed. The Pentagon also has not said how it would deter and defend satellites from attack.

 

Space defense so far has involved development of intelligence capabilities to identify and assess if an incident in space is an attack, or the result of a malfunction or disruption due to collision with space debris.

 

Military space “resilience” also calls for the Pentagon to rapidly replace or restore satellites after attacks or other disruptions.

 

The Pentagon’s Defense Science Board, in a report last year, warned that the vulnerability of U.S. satellites to electronic attack was “a crisis to be dealt with immediately.”

 

The Joint Staff intelligence directorate warned earlier this year that China and Russia will have fully developed space attack weapons in place by 2020 that will threaten all U.S. satellites in low earth orbit—100 miles to 1,200 miles in space.

 

More than 780 orbiting satellites operated by 43 nations are currently in low-earth orbit and are vulnerable to electronic or kinetic attacks.

 

Satellites form the backbone of the U.S. military’s ability to conduct combined arms warfare over long distances. They provide communications, navigation, intelligence and surveillance, weapons targeting, and attack warning.

 

Analysts say anti-satellites attacks knocking out 12 Global Positioning System satellites, located in medium-earth orbit around 12,550 miles high, would be severely degraded military operations.

 

U.S. space weapons are likely to match anti-satellite weaponry developed by both China and Russia. That would include several types of weapons and capabilities, ranging from advanced missile defense interceptors modified for space attacks on satellites, cyber warfare capabilities to disrupt or destroy anti-satellite and space weapons systems both in space and on the ground, and lasers and electronic jammers.

 

A defense source said one of the more stealthy anti-satellite capabilities being considered is a laser weapon capable of overheating an orbiting satellite that would disrupt or destroy electronic components.

 

Small satellites with robotic arms capable of maneuvering and grabbing or crushing satellites also could be developed. Such satellites have been tested by China.

 

The experimental space plane known as the X-37B, that has been secretly tested on long-duration flights in space, is also said to be a potential platform for delivering weapons and fighting in space.

 

Hyten, the Stratcom commander, said in his prepared statement that the Pentagon and National Reconnaissance Office are implementing a “space warfighting construct.”

 

“This construct supports the national space policy and focuses on the forces, operations, and systems needed to prevail in a conflict that extends into space,” he said.

 

“Space is a warfighting domain just like the air, ground, maritime, and cyberspace domains,” Hyten said.

 

Currently, a defense and intelligence center called the National Space Defense Center [Blog Editor: NSDC info], located at Schriever Air Force Base, Colorado, runs 24-hour operations for rapid detection, warning, and defense from space attacks.

 

War games involving space war also are held regularly with U.S. military forces and allies, including Asian and European allies.

 

Hyten also revealed that U.S. adversaries will deploy hypersonic strike vehicles—that can travel at more than 7,000 miles per hour—in the next few years.

 

China has conducted at least seven tests of hypersonic vehicles and Russia as well has conducted several hypersonic missile tests.

 

The hypersonic vehicles are designed to defeat missile defenses.

 

Hyten urged speeding up U.S. development of hypersonic strike weapons as well as what he termed conventional prompt strike weapons.

 

“New long-range, survivable, lethal, and time-sensitive strike capabilities, such as a hypersonic (conventional prompt strike) weapon, will allow the U.S. to achieve its military objectives in these environments,” Hyten said. “This new weapon class prevents adversaries from exploiting time and distance and provides additional response options below the nuclear threshold.”

 

Rood said U.S. missile defenses currently are configured for countering missile threats from North Korea and Iran and are not capable of stopping strategic strikes from China and Russia.

 

The undersecretary described China and Russia as the “central challenges” for the Pentagon in an increasingly complex military threat environment. “Both Russia and China are seeking to reshape the world order,” he said.

 

Rep. Mike Rogers (R., Ala.), the subcommittee chairman, has been pressing for creation of a separate space corps within the Air Force.

 

Defense legislation passed last year calls for a study on the issue and for recognizing space as a warfighting domain.

 

“These were the first steps down a long path in the right direction,” Rogers said. “Much remains to be done here to ensure we’re postured to both successfully deter a conflict in space, and if need be, prevail over any adversary if a conflict extends into space.”

 

Rogers said for space defense, the Air Force has discussed the idea of shifting from large satellites to many smaller satellites. “But what I’ve seen so far in the FY ’19 budget isn’t convincing me we’re heading in that direction fast enough,” he said.

 

As part of the Pentagon’s budget for nuclear modernization, two modified nuclear weapons are planned.

 

One is a smaller warhead on submarine-launched ballistic missiles, to counter Russia’s development of a new nuclear cruise missile in violation of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Force Treaty.

 

A second smaller nuclear weapon will be a new sea-launched nuclear cruise missile designed to counter China’s large arsenal of medium and intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

 

The Pentagon also is bolstering the ground-based anti-missile interceptor force now located in Alaska and California. Twenty additional interceptors will be added to the 44 interceptors currently in place.

 

The added missiles are designed to counter North Korean and Iranian long-range missile threats.

 

Rood said the Pentagon is considering a third anti-missile interceptor base on the East Coast but has not made a final decision.

 

The third base will be part of the Pentagon’s forthcoming Missile Defense Review that is nearing completion.

 

Rood said recent disclosures of new strategic nuclear capabilities by Russia were known to the Pentagon. The statements were “not surprising but disappointing,” he said.

 

As for China, Rood warned that China is “developing a very large strategic offensive nuclear force.”

 

“Both countries are pursuing hypersonic weapons and other capabilities and their behavior in the cyber realm concerns us,” he said. “All of those things apiece are concerning and why in the national defense strategy we highlighted those two countries as our primary and central focus for our national security efforts going forward.”

 

Asked if the U.S. doctrine of mutual assured destruction used to deter nuclear conflict with China and Russia will endure, Hyten said: “I don’t think we have to worry about that for at least a decade.”

 

U.S. strategic nuclear capabilities will remain strong enough to keep the doctrine in place, he added.

 

Hyten said Strategic Command is interested in developing missile defenses capable of knocking out missiles in the early stages of flight.

 

Direct energy and cyber attacks are two possible weapons.

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Bill Gertz is senior editor of the Washington Free Beacon. Prior to joining the Beacon he was a national security reporter, editor, and columnist for 27 years at the Washington Times. Bill is the author of seven books, four of which were national bestsellers. His most recent book was iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, a look at information warfare in its many forms and the enemies that are waging it. Bill has an international reputation. Vyachaslav Trubnikov, head of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, once called him a “tool of the CIA” after he wrote an article exposing Russian intelligence operations in the Balkans. A senior CIA official once threatened to have a cruise missile fired at his desk after he wrote a column critical of the CIA’s analysis of China. And China’s communist government has criticized him for news reports exposing China’s weapons and missile sales to rogues states. The state-run Xinhua news agency in 2006 identified Bill as the No. 1 “anti-China expert” in the world. Bill insists he is very much pro-China—pro-Chinese people and opposed to the communist system. Former Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld once told him: “You are drilling holes in the Pentagon and sucking out information.” His Twitter handle is @BillGertz.

 

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The Washington Free Beacon is a privately owned, for-profit online newspaper that began publication on February 7, 2012. Dedicated to uncovering the stories that the powers that be hope will never see the light of day, the Free Beacon produces in-depth investigative reporting on a wide range of issues, including public policy, government affairs, international security, and media. Whether it’s exposing cronyism, finding out just who is shaping our domestic and foreign policy and why, or highlighting the threats to American security and peace in a dangerous world, the Free Beacon is committed to serving the public interest by reporting news and information that is not being fully covered by other news organizations.

 

The Beacon’s chairman is Michael Goldfarb. Its editor in chief is Matthew Continetti. Sonny Bunch is the executive editor. Bill Gertz is senior editor. READ THE REST

Russia, Iran & Turkey Axis


John R. Houk

© October 18, 2017

 

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has put together a map showing how the Russian military is targeting civilians in Putin’s effort to support Iranian client dictator Bashar al-Assad to remain in power in Syria.

 

Take notice of the regimes in full military cooperation to keep al-Assad in power: Russia, Iran and incredulously NATO-member Turkey.

 

Russia officially may not be a Communist nation, but an old Communist former-Soviet Union KGB officer runs Russia in Vladimir Putin. Ever since the October 1917 Lenin led Communist revolution overthrew and assassinated the Russian Czar and the entire royal family, Russia has been no friend of the USA.

 

Iran ceased being an American friend after crazy Khomeini kicked out the Shah, killing royal loyalists, killing fellow anti-Shah revolutionaries, including Western-minded Iranian civilians, and allow Khomeini activists to overrun the U.S. Embassy in Tehran holding American Embassy staff under torturous conditions for 444 days.

 

Turkey became an essential Cold War ally of the U.S. because the Communist Soviet Union was an actual threat to the Turkish Republic. Hence, Turkey became a member of NATO in Europe’s goal to be protected from Russian Communist imperialism which at the time made Eastern Europe Communist vassals. What changed with Turkey?

 

One – Russia became less a Communist global exporter and more a nationalist power broker. Two – Turkey under Erdogan’s leadership, has experienced a revival of Islamic originalism. Meaning Turkey is on a path to be a Sunni radical Islamic propagator as much as Iran is a radical Shia Islamic propagator. The only redeeming factor Turkey-Iran is eventually the age-old Sunni-Shia rivalry will eventually click in. Until Sunni-Shia mutual hatred diverts Turkey and Iran, Russia, Iran and Turkey have one mutual interest of taking down American power. Eventually all three will turn on each other, but until then American National Interests will face a tough road of uneasy speculative choices.

 

JRH 10/18/17

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*This e-mail is being resent with the corrected title and dates in the banner. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Russia Renews Targeting Civilians

[Info pertains to these dates: August 14 – October 7, 2017]

 

By Matti Suomenaro and the ISW Syria and Turkey Teams

Sent 10/17/2017 8:40 AM

Institute for the Study of War (ISW)

Email sent from: press@understandingwar.org

 

Russia renewed its violent, indiscriminate air campaign against civilians in Western Syria in order to coerce groups opposed to the Bashar al-Assad regime to accept a ceasefire or ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib Province. Russia shifted its air campaign to target rebel-held terrain in Idlib and Hama Provinces following an offensive launched by Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) – the successor of Syrian al Qaeda affiliate Jabhat Fatah al-Sham – in Northern Hama Province on September 19. The Russian Ministry of Defense launched an immediate disinformation operation to present this shift in its air campaign as a legitimate series of strikes against extremist groups attempting to disrupt a ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib Province brokered by Russia, Turkey, and Iran on September 15. Russia nonetheless mounted a systematic campaign of airstrikes against civilian infrastructure – including hospitals, schools, power stations, and mosques – as well as former U.S.-backed rebel groups unaffiliated with HTS or al Qaeda. The strikes marked a return to the widespread punitive air campaigns Russia previously directed against opposition-held terrain across Western Syria. Russia also employed advanced weapons systems to further inflict violence against Idlib Province under the guise of counter-terrorism operations. The Russian Black Sea Fleet’s Permanent Mediterranean Task Force launched Kalibr cruise missiles targeting Ma’arat al-Numan in Southern Idlib Province on September 22. Russia Tu-95MS ‘Bear’ strategic bombers later launched Kh-101 cruise missiles targeting the outskirts of Idlib City on September 26. Russia’s deliberate use of violence against civilians precludes any legitimate, Russian-enforced ‘de-escalation’ zone in Idlib Province.

 

Russia also leveraged its ongoing air campaign to co-opt Turkey away from the U.S. and NATO in order to further set conditions for the planned ‘de-escalation zone’ in Idlib. Russia concentrated its airstrikes in areas of Western Idlib Province along the Syrian-Turkish Border from September 25 – 30. The Russian Air Force likely sought to interdict the movement of HTS and opposition forces ahead of a Turkish Armed Force (TSK) deployment into Idlib by targeting rebel-held areas connecting Western Aleppo Province to the Bab al-Hawa Border Crossing on the Syrian-Turkish Border as well as key supply routes around Idlib City. Turkish President Recep Erdogan subsequently announced the start of cross-border operations to implement the Idlib ‘de-escalation zone’ on October 7. Erdogan stated that Russia would support his intervention. The TSK began deployments to observation positions in Northern Idlib Province near the majority-Kurdish Afrin Canton on October 12 following earlier reconnaissance missions. Russia likely perceives an opportunity to exploit widening diplomatic fissures between the U.S. and Turkey. Russia could thus attempt to use the ‘de-escalation zone’ to compel Turkey into deeper – albeit temporary – cooperation with Russia in Northwestern Syria at the expense of the United States.

 

The following graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, statements by Russian and Western officials, and documentation of Russian airstrikes through social media. This map represents locations targeted by Russia’s air campaign, rather than the number of individual strikes or sorties. The graphic likely under-represents the extent of the locations targeted in Eastern Syria, owing to a relative lack of activist reporting from that region.

High-Confidence Reporting. ISW places high confidence in reports corroborated by documentation from opposition factions and activist networks on the ground in Syria deemed to be credible that demonstrate a number of key indicators of Russian airstrikes.

Low-Confidence Reporting. ISW places low confidence in reports corroborated only by multiple secondary sources, including from local Syrian activist networks deemed credible or Syrian state-run media.

 

ISW – Russian Airstrikes in Syria map- 8-14 to 9-14-17

 

[Blog Editor: The following posted on email but not webpage]

 

The preceding graphic depicts ISW’s assessment of Russian airstrike locations based on reports from local Syrian activist networks, statements by Russian and Western officials, and documentation of Russian airstrikes through social media. This map represents locations targeted by Russia’s air campaign, rather than the number of individual strikes or sorties. The graphic likely under-represents the extent of the locations targeted in Eastern Syria, owing to a relative lack of activist reporting from that region.

 

Visit our websites — www.understandingwar.org and http://iswresearch.blogspot.com  — and follow us on Twitter (@TheStudyofWar).

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Russia, Iran & Turkey Axis

John R. Houk

© October 18, 2017

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Russia Renews Targeting Civilians

 

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