(click for larger)
fan·dan·go: NOUN a lively Spanish dance for two people, typically accompanied by castanets or tambourine; a foolish or useless act or thing: “the Washington inaugural fandango”
(A prequel of sorts): ‘What Trump Can Expect from Putin’, Ray McGovern, July 1, consortiumnews.com
(In the style of a President’s Daily Brief for President Trump:), some deserving outtakes:
“Putin’s generals, like yours, are required to impute the most provocative intentions to military capabilities; that is what military intelligence is all about. Thus, they cannot avoid seeing the ABM deployments as giving the U.S. the capability for a first strike to decapitate Russia’s ICBM force and, by doing so, protecting the U.S. from Russian nuclear retaliation.
And, as Putin has made clear, the Kremlin sees U.S. claims that the deployments are needed to thwart a strategic strike from Iran as insultingly disingenuous – all the more so in light of the 2015 multilateral agreement handcuffing Iran’s development of a nuclear bomb for the foreseeable future.
Yet, the U.S.-Russia strategic balance becomes more and more precarious with the deployment of each new ABM site or warship, together with rising concerns at the possibility of a U.S. technological breakthrough. With the time window for Russian leaders to evaluate data indicating a possible U.S. nuclear strike closing, launch-on-warning becomes more likely – and so does World War III.
Your visit to Warsaw en route to Hamburg for the G-20 summit will shine the spotlight on the threat Putin sees in the deployment of missile defense systems in Poland – as well as Romania and elsewhere on Russia’s periphery.
It is no secret that Russian leaders feel double-crossed by NATO’s steady creep eastward, but Russia’s strategic planners seemed to believe they could handle that – up to a point. That point was reached with the Feb. 22, 2014 coup d’etat in Ukraine, which Moscow viewed as one U.S.-backed regime change too many and one that installed a virulently anti-Russian government along a route historically used by foreign invaders.
On April 17, 2014, the day before Crimea was re-incorporated into Russia, Putin spoke of what motivated Russia’s strong reaction. The “more important” reason he gave was the need to thwart plans to incorporate Ukraine and Crimea into the anti-ballistic missile deployment encircling Russia.”
Putin explained: “This issue is no less, and probably even more important, than NATO’s eastward expansion. Incidentally, our decision on Crimea was partially prompted by this.” [snip]
(Well, the warm water port at Sevastapol is pretty important, too.) ;-)
“Putin’s misgivings were hardly allayed by President Obama’s ten-second pas de deux five years ago with Dmitry Medvedev in South Korea. An ABC open mike picked up their private conversation on March 26, 2012, at a summit on nuclear security in Seoul.
Obama is heard assuring then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that the missile defense issue “can be solved,” but that it was “important for him (Putin) to give me space.” President Obama asked Medvedev to tell Putin that Obama would have “more flexibility” after being re-elected. More flexibility or no, the missile defense program proceeded unabated, with Washington shunning bilateral talks.
It is now five years later, but there will be a residue of distrust on Putin’s part with respect to ABM deployment. We still expect Putin to show his characteristic reserve, but you will be dealing with someone who feels he’s been diddled on this key issue, and who, on occasion, gets angry when others don’t grasp the gravity of this potentially existential moment.” [snip]
“Since the Ukraine crisis, U.S. media and political circles have subjected Putin to an unrelenting demonization, including comparisons of him to Adolf Hitler and an over-the-top campaign to blame him for Hillary Clinton’s defeat and the Trump presidency.
Yet, while the tone of the Russia-bashing in Washington has reached hysterical levels, the Defense Intelligence Agency has just published a balanced assessment of “Russia’s Threat Perceptions,” which offers a view from Moscow’s vantage point:
“Since returning to power in 2012, Russian President Putin has sought to reassert Russia as a great power on the global stage and to restructure an international order that the Kremlin believes is tilted too heavily in favor of the United States at Russia’s expense.
“Moscow seeks to promote a multipolar world predicated on the principles of respect for state sovereignty and non-interference in other state’s internal affairs, the primacy of the UN, and a careful balance of power preventing one state or group of states from dominating the international order. …
“Moscow has sought to build a robust military able to project power, add credibility to Russian diplomacy, and ensure that Russian interests can no longer be summarily dismissed without consequence.”
A fair assessment, in our view.”
Ray McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, during which he served as chief of the Soviet Foreign Policy Branch.
Now we don’t actually know what the Putin-Drump two and a quarter hour discussions comprised, as it was a closed-door session with the four principals and two translators, according to Pepe Escobar’s ‘Putin and Trump stage-manage a win-win meeting’; With a ceasefire in southwestern Syria in the works, meeting proves diplomacy beats demonization, July 8, atimes.com
He mentions the agreement on the multi-party enforced cease-fire in Southern Syria, but gives The Real Big Story, i.e., the Putin-Xi Jinping three days earlier in Moscow. You’ve likely read it by now, but the cheat sheet is this:
“Xi repeatedly extolled the “strategic alliance”, or “the fast-growing, pragmatic cooperation”, or even the “special character” of China’s ties with Russia.
Putin once again pledged to support the New Silk Roads, or One Belt, One Road initiative (Obor), “by all means”, which includes its interpenetration with the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU).
The Russian Direct Investment Fund and the China Development Bank established a joint $10 billion investment fund.”, and they apparently ‘kept discussing a military cooperation roadmap’.
But interestingly, when Popular Resistance sent Escobar’s piece in their newsletter, part of it was this interview by ‘Putin Apologist’/s Russian expert Stephen Cohen. And fancy: Cohen can only get gigs with Tucker now? I can’t remember the last time Amy Goodman had him on. Tweety (of ‘Sarah Palin gives me a shiver uo my leg’ fame) goes full-tilt Roossia berzerk!
This one was on the right sidebar, an given the provocative title, his reasoning is nuanced and pretty durned sound, imo.
Scholar: Assault on Trump is greatest threat to our country, May 16, 2017
‘G20 is desperately trying to save a failed world order’, The G20 agenda utterly fails to break with the tired, broken free-market policies that brought devastation to our world, Nick Dearden, director of UK Global Justice Now, aljazeera.com
“We shouldn’t be fooled. The G20 agenda utterly fails to break with the tired, broken policies of the free market. In other words, those very policies which, by increasing inequality and devastating communities, turning everyone into a self-interested individual, have unwittingly given rise to the likes of Trump. And that’s to ignore the “Trumpism” in European politics – the barbaric immigration policy at Europe’s borders through which thousands of desperate migrants die in the Mediterranean every year.”
“Merkel crowns her benevolent agenda a “Partnership for Africa”. But as Zimbabwean activist Fanwell Bokosi told this week’s G20 counter-summit – “a partnership normally means both sides are at the table and agree”. In fact, this partnership is about using Western aid and power to politely suggest African countries might want to change their policies to make life easier for western multinationals to “invest” in their countries. It also means they will be able to avoid their taxes, and repatriate their profits back to the west when they’ve fleeced the continent.”
‘After Hamburg protests, German government plans crackdown on left-wing views’, 11 July 2017, andre damon, wsws.org
“In a long-planned military-police operation, some 20,000 police were mobilized from throughout Germany and the European Union to suppress largely peaceful demonstrators. As helicopters and fighter jets flew over the city of Hamburg, heavily-armed police, some brandishing machine guns and carbines, carried out hundreds of arrests, beat protesters with batons, sprayed them with water cannon, and doused them with tear gas and pepper spray.
Incidents of vandalism by a small group of petty-bourgeois anarchists were used as the flimsy pretext for this massive police crackdown. Amid widespread infiltration of anarchist groups by German police, there can be no doubt that actions by police agent provocateurs, planned and coordinated ahead of time, played a major role in the disturbances.” [large snip of extreme quotes and legislative wish lists and Nazi-esque concerts]
“Since the last federal election in 2013, both parties have been conspiring, with the support of the media, to bully the public into accepting a revival by Germany of great-power imperialist politics. This has entailed a massive rearmament and expansion of the country’s military and intelligence forces and the promotion of fascistic intellectual figures such as Jörg Baberowski, the Humboldt University academic who notoriously declared that “Hitler was not vicious,” as part of an effort to whitewash the crimes of German imperialism.
The moves against left-wing political organizations constitute an effort to pre-empt and intimidate widespread popular opposition to militarism and social inequality, expressed in the results of a recent EU poll that found that young people overwhelmingly believe the “gap between the rich and poor is widening,” and that “banks and money rule the world.” More than half of those polled said they would join a “large scale uprising.”
Oh, and a few folks aren’t terribly impressed with the Putin-Trump ‘reset’.
(‘As Trump and Putin Met, US and UK Defense Chiefs Discussed Ways to Deter Russia’, July 7, 2017)