Posts Tagged ‘russia’


February 17th, 2024 Comments off

Navalny knew he was a marked man. On August 20, 2020 a nerve agent attack , undoubtedly instigated by Russia’s secret services on the orders of Vladimir Putin, nearly killed Alexei Navalny. His life was saved by urgent medical treatment he received in Germany. Having botched their first assassination attempt, the Kremlin hoped Navalny would remain in Germany. However, Russia’s most prominent opposition leader insisted on returning to his homeland, harboring no illusions of the fate that awaited him.

Arrested and convicted on trumped-up charges, Navalny was serving a 30-year prison sentence in Putin’s version of the Gulag. Recently, he was transferred incognito to one of the most isolated and harsh prison camps in Putin’s Russia. There was a clear reason for this move, which greatly increased his isolation from his circle of supporters. Finally, the Russian Prison Service released a bizarre statement on February 16, 2024 that Navalny had died suddenly while taking a walk.

Without question, Putin gave the order that the time had come to murder the most courageous opponent he faced. With Russia’s rump “election” for president scheduled on March 15-17, the Russian dictator wanted this last irritant standing in the way of his coronation eliminated once and for all. At age 47, Navalny has become a martyr to the Russian motherland no less than the soldiers who gave their lives in the war against Hitler. Putin had a particular loathing for Navalny, for he went beyond\d the usual plank of the Russian opposition. While calling for freedom and true democracy for the Russian people, Navalny also used social media with great skill to expose the vast corruption of Putin and his cronies, and demonstrate conclusively that the Russian dictator and his clique have stolen tens of billions of dollars from the Russian people.

The timing of Navalny’s murder is no coincidence. Tucker Carlson, an American media personality, was in Moscow, and had just recently interviewed Putin. More than the interview, however, Tucker Carlson’s short reports have been even more beneficial to the Kremlin tyrant. He has portrayed Putin as a highly capable leader, and as proof he went grocery shopping in Moscow, marveling at prices far below what groceries cost in the United States. He made the claim that higher food prices at home are proof positive of how bad and inferior America’s leaders are.

Tucker Carlson’s critics point out that what seem like low grocery prices in Russia are reflective of extremely low average wages, and that a typical Russian family spends a far higher percentage of their income on food than their American equivalent. Those critics are missing the point. Tucker Carlson may be many things, but he is not a stupid man. He knows very well that his hit piece about Moscow food prices is complete nonsense. Than why has he engaged in pro-Putin propaganda?

I am convinced from statements this American media celebrity has made in the past that he does not view Putin’s Russia as a threat to the US, but sincerely believes that the Peoples Republic of China is the greatest danger confronting America. He views supporting Ukraine in resisting Putin’s aggression as being the catalyst that has pushed the Russian dictator into the arms of the Chinese. Tucker Carlson apparently believes that allowing Putin to devour Ukraine, and ignoring his suppression of basic human rights, is a price worth paying if it results in flipping Putin into the anti-China camp.

My own view is that Tucker Carlson is tragically naive. Appeasing dictators has been historically proven to be antithetical for democratic countries, including America. Furthermore, Putin’s alliance with China is based on his greater comfort in being in solidarity with a fellow authoritarian polity. Allowing Putin to march into Kiev unopposed would not affect this dictator’s calculus in the least. So in the final analysis, all Tucker Carlson accomplished was to provide a distraction while the tyrant rid himself of his most prominent democratic critic, this time permanently.

As for Navalny’s legacy, his martyrdom has left a stain of blood on the Kremlin walls that will never clot. Despite repression of immense ferocity, Russians are beginning to sense that the tyranny and corruption of the Putin regime is inimical to their country’s future. Not only the liberal elements in Russian society, but even the nationalist community, which up till now have been the chief supporters of Putin’s attempt to conquer Ukraine by force. Putin’s corrupt police forces and judiciary have begun to target pro-war nationalists, an example being the imprisonment of Igor Girkin. On telegram, Russian nationalists openly and bitterly condemn the corruption and fraud of the Putin regime,which have led to the deaths of many of Russia’s soldiers in Ukraine. Perhaps Russian nationalists will recall the words of Russia’s greatest nationalist and patriot of the last century, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who in his chronicle of Soviet prison camps, “The Gulag Archipelago,” warned against excusing those guilty of criminal misuse and abuse of the nation’s justice and prison system.

Putin may believe that his barbaric and cynical assassination of Navalny has rid him of a political irritant. Instead, however, he has transformed Navalny into a martyr that will eventually empower forces that will in time overwhelm the Kremlin’s tyrant and his clique.

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Russia Faces Severe Economic Trouble as the Currency Sinks and Deficits Explode

August 15th, 2023 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for



War is the province of uncertainty. When the ruler of Russia made the fateful decision to invade Ukraine, by all accounts he expected a blitzkrieg that would overrun the country in a matter of days. Now, one and a half years into a vicious war with no end in sight, the chickens are coming home to roost in terms of economics.

Apologists for Putin claimed that the sanctions imposed on Russia were not working, and pointed to the appreciation of the national currency, the rouble, as evidence. In the first months of the war, the rouble did indeed gain value, but for reasons largely ignored by pro-Putin aficionados. In the first place, the cut-off of Western exports to Russia, combined with initially strong oil sales abroad, did improve Moscow’s balance of payments for a period of time, at least on paper. Then there was the monetary tightening engaged in by Russia’s central bank.

The governor of the Russian central bank is Elvira Nabiullina. She is a Yale-trained economist and is widely regarded as an excellent central banker. According to some media reports at the time of Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine, Nabiullina was opposed to the invasion and submitted her resignation, but Putin refused to accept it. Besides being one of the very few women in a senior government position in the Russian Federation, Nabiullina is respected as highly professional by her foreign colleagues. In the wake of the invasion and the swift decline in value of the rouble, she undertook a massive increase in monetary tightening, raising interest rates for a period to as high as 20 percent. This halted the decline of the rouble, and brought about its subsequent appreciation. As the currency stabilized, Nabiullina gradually lowered interest rates.

However, the Russian central bank cannot control macroeconomic trends unleashed by the war. Western countries that were once major customers for Russia’s energy exports have, in a surprisingly short period of time, largely weaned themselves away from Russian oil and natural gas. To replace lost markets, Moscow has been forced to sell its energy exports to other countries, especially China and India, at a large discount. This has eroded revenue earned from Russia’s major export commodity. In addition, the war has added tens of billions of dollars in unanticipated annual military expenditures, while tightening the supply of labor due to army mobilization and the decision by hundreds of thousands of Russians, the majority being young men, to flee the country. Finally, the sanctions have reduced Moscow’s access to large sums of capital, including foreign currency reserves. All these steps have cumulatively had a negative impact on the Kremlin’s finances.

The government’s budget deficit is exploding, and the large current account surplus that existed in the early months of the invasion has been severely diminished. All these developments have eroded the value of the rouble, which dropped in value from around 70 to the U.S. dollar at the beginning of the year to about 100 to the dollar in August.

Predictably, the ultra-nationalist media and blogger community attacked Nabiullina, blaming the central bank for the collapse of the rouble. In part under pressure from the government, the central bank has sharply increased interest rates from 8.5 % to 12 percent, an increase of 350 basis points. This most recent act of monetary tightening has brought a modest appreciation in the rouble that is likely to be temporary. The fact is that Putin’s war has unleashed a torrent of negative macroeconomic trends. While Russia’s large energy and agricultural sector renders it immune to total economic collapse, the nation is likely to experience increasingly sluggish and even negative economic growth, combined with high inflation that will erode the already meager disposable income typical for the vast majority of Russians. This increasingly dire economic trend does not bode well for Russia’s future political stability.

Three Underreported Trends Pointing To Grave Global Economic Crisis

May 3rd, 2021 Comments off

Pundits are already praising President Biden’s debt-fed economic boom through vast levels of public indebtedness, which add a few temporary percentage points to the U.S. GDP, while the Eurozone has slipped back into recession. Far more telling  are three interconnected economic trends, recognized by economists and sophisticated entrepreneurs, but largely ignored in the popular media. These trends are:


  1. Global microchip shortage. The Covid pandemic both increased the demand for high technology cyberspace platforms , while disrupting supply chains on which the worldwide fabrication of computer chips depends. And not only cyber platforms; many manufacturing  processes and end-products, such as the automotive industry, depend on microchips. In the wake of the chip drought, factories across the globe have been forced to close down, adding to the unemployment rolls.

2.Explosive speculation in Bitcoin. Economic history knows many cases of speculative bubbles, such as the tulip bulb craze that occurred several hundred years ago. More recently, financially engineered sub-prime mortgage investment packages brought about the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09. That most recent episode, however, pales in the speculative hysteria that has been a characteristic of cyber currency  in general, and in particular Bitcoin. The explosive  growth of this cyber “currency,” created out of thin air by an anonymous individual known only by a pseudonym, with archaic blockchain technology and cyber “mining” expending vast amounts of carbon-derived energy for an opaque, semi-mystical process,  confounds all reason. Trillions of dollars appear to be pouring into this speculative investments like sharks drawn by blood to a feeding frenzy.  Unless the global economy has been transformed into a metaphysical realm, this cannot end well. When the bubble pops, the collateral damage to the world’s economy and financial system will be beyond catastrophic.

Sheldon Filger-blogger for


 3, Increasing tensions both between countries, and within nation-states. This phenomenon afflicts most countries,  large and small, but particularly the U.S. and Russia. In the case of Putin’s Russia, Moscow’s relations with her  neighbors and the United States  are at their worst since the peak of the Cold War, while internally the regime’s suppression of dissent has only further distanced a growing proportion of the citizenry from the government. In particular, anecdotal evidence points to a major proportion of Russia’s youth, especially university students , having lost trust in the government and preferring to emigrate. These trends, however, are not unique to Russia.  What this portends to is the likelihood that countries will actually seek external conflict as a means to facilitate national unity domestically.

The above three trends all point to elevated risks of stagflation; high inflation and recessionary economics.  These in turn are likely to further exacerbate internal and external conflicts across the globe.

President Biden After Two Months: Rapidly Rising Sovereign Debt & International Tensions

March 19th, 2021 Comments off

Sheldon Filger-blogger for

The supposed raison d’être of the Biden presidency was defined by its political allies and media supporters as  a “return to normality” after the 4-year administration of former president and major-league disruptor Donald Trump.  Now that the Biden administration has been in office for 2-months. what is the  scorecard?

Problematic, for 3 major reasons, all interconnected:


  1. Unprecedented rise in the national debt The passage of the latest Covid relief bill, following in the wake of earlier bills Congress approved during the last months of the Trump administration, have skyrocketed the U.S. national debt at a level never before seen. The stimulus package approved during the Obama-Biden administration following the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-09 is trivial in comparison. The latest package adds $1.9 trillion to the already staggering growth in the nation’s sovereign debt during the course of a single year. Defenders of the Biden administration claim that there should be no concern. Other indicators provide a different answer. Rising 10-year bond yields, the growing disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street and other factors point to a growth of future inflationary trends and expectations. Should inflation become realized at  higher rates than the past 15 years. the growth in debt servicing costs for the U.S. Treasury may break the U.S. Federal Budget in future years.
  2. Breakdown of control on the Southern border. The Biden administration has undone most of his predecessor’s border control policies. The result is a rise in massive, uncontrolled immigration from impoverished and violence-stricken Latin American countries, outside the legal process. This development has the potential to promote domestic instability in a country already stricken with a partisan divide characterized by growing mutual hostility.

3.Worsening international relations. In particular, President Biden  and his policymakers and advisors have exacerbated the already inharmonious relations that existed between Washington and its  two major global adversaries; Russia and China. The most recent  example was President Biden’s public comment that Putin was a “killer.” This needlessly hostile name-calling directed at the head of state of a major power possessing a nuclear arsenal equal to that of the U.S. was stunning. The supposedly more polished and experienced Biden, often contrasted as such with Trump, engaged in the type of  verbal insults and bullying expected at a schoolyard scrap, not from mature and professional policymakers. That such amateurish behavior has already occurred so early in the Biden presidency points to the likelihood of a worsening of bilateral relations between the U.S. and Russia, and probably a similar trend with China.

The above three factors are interconnected. They  points  to the United States, under the auspices of the Biden administration, engaging  in policies that are fiscally, domestically and geopolitically highly destabilizing. This makes a global economic depression a far more likely event in the near future.

Turkey Attacks Russia: Sarajevo 2015?

November 26th, 2015 Comments off

Recep Tayyip Erdogan, President of the Republic of Turkey, may at present be the most dangerous man on our planet. Renowned as a brilliant politician domestically, who skillfully manipulates Turkish public opinion for electoral gains, he has also established a reputation for shooting from the mouth without much forethought when it comes to foreign affairs. On November 24, 2015 Erdogan went beyond words, authorizing his air force to take down a Russian fighter jet.

While some of the facts regarding the shootdown of the Russian Air Force SU-24 remain in contention between Turkey and Russia, what has emerged  is deeply disturbing. Even Turkey admits that the Russian aircraft was in its airspace for a mere seventeen seconds.  American authorities have informed various news agencies that the SU-24 was  in Turkish skies for only a few seconds, and was actually flying over Syria when it was destroyed by a missile fired by a Turkish fighter. These facts would seem to confirm the allegation made by Russian President Vladimir Putin that the shootdown of the SU-24 was premeditated. In other words, President Erdogan had apparently ordered his country’s air force to destroy a Russian military aircraft as soon as a pretext emerged. An overflight that may have occurred over Turkish air space for a few seconds provided that pretext.

If Erdogan sought to destroy a Russian aircraft, for what purpose would he have engaged in such a dangerously brazen escalation of the already explosive reality that is the failed and disintegrating state of Syria?

The Turkish president maintains that Russia’s claim that it is fighting ISIS is a canard, and that Moscow is primarily targeting the “moderate” opposition to Assad, which Turkey supports. Until the bombing of a Russian airliner over Sinai, that was certainly true. However, after the Metrojet plane was destroyed over the Sinai desert, Russia began shifting its bombing campaign towards the Islamic State. Furthermore, Turkey has been playing the same game, under Erdogan’s instructions. Also claiming to be fighting ISIS in Syria, the Turkish Air Force has actually conducted far fewer  air strikes on the Islamic State than Moscow’s air force. Instead, Turkish aircraft have primarily targeted the Kurdish militias in Syria, the same force that has been the most effective opposition to ISIS in northern Syria. Erdogan is much more interested in preventing the Kurds from achieving any form of sovereignty in the Middle East than in confronting the Islamic State.

The most likely explanation for Erdogan’s astonishing decision to launch an attack on a Russian aircraft was to thwart and strangle at birth the nascent indications of a possible grand coalition being formed to combat ISIS, involving the United States, France and Russia. After the terrorist attacks in Paris and the destruction of the Russian airliner in Egypt, French President Hollande saw a rare opportunity to bring together those three countries in facing a common danger. It must be noted that the Turks downed the Russian warplane on the same day Hollande was in Washington, meeting with President Obama prior to a follow-up meeting with Putin. The shootdown of the SU-24 probably has doomed President Hollande’s vision of a grand alliance working together in fighting the Islamic State.

Irrespective of Erdogan’s immediate objective, his reckless decision has perhaps put the entire planet on the path towards an unintended but potentially devastating war. President Putin will be forced to act  in some form, not only due to his own personal feelings. No matter how cool-headed and cautiously he may intend  to respond to the Turkish attack, he is not immune to Russian public opinion. Not only the shootdown, but the barbaric murder of one of the parachuting Russian pilots by Turkey’s allies in Syria–an act that is in clear violation of the Geneva Convention–will inevitably stimulate great indignation among the Russian people.

In 1914 renegade elements in a foreign intelligence service orchestrated the assassination of the heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne in Sarajevo. In the weeks that followed, miscalculations intersected with a system of military alliances that put the world on the path to world war. Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and Erdogan has already called on NATO for full support in the face of possible future Russian military countermeasures in response  to the destruction of the SU-24. Alarmingly, President Obama has already expressed public support for Turkey’s right to defend its airspace.

Before Turkey’s recklessly irresponsible leader drags the United States into an unintended military confrontation with Russia over events in Syria, President Obama should reconsider his blanket support for Turkey’s belligerent and brazen acts of violence against Moscow, and make clear that the United States–and NATO–will not be dragged into a conflict with Moscow over Erdogan’s dangerous adventurism.


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Russia Intervenes In Syria’s Civil War–Will This Be the End For Vladimir Putin?

September 16th, 2015 Comments off

A mythology surrounds the man who has been President or Prime Minister of the Russian Federation for the past sixteen years, particularly among a clique of sycophants in Western Europe and the United States. This Putin myth, embellished by the Kremlin’s international television propaganda arm “Russia Today,” has convinced some that Mr. Putin is much smarter and more thoughtful in his long-term thinking than his peers in the West. My question to those who still believe in the Putin myth of infallibility is this: why did the Russian president recently decide on sending his armed forces to Syria to participate in that sad country’s interminable and ever more bloody civil war?

Not even the Russian president bothers to deny that Russia is establishing a forward operating base adjacent to the Syrian port of Latakia. The evidence is so overwhelming in an age of Internet access to satellite photography, why refute the obvious? Putin does offer a rationalization of sorts; the Kremlin, so says the Russian president, has decided to join the fight against the Islamic State, or ISIS. In reality, with Russia’s Syrian ally (and Iran’s puppet) Basher al-Assad on the ropes , President Putin has made a strategic decision to join with the Iranian Shiite theocracy and its Hezbollah proxy to continue to wage war on Syria’s Sunni Arab majority, primarily to save a long-time client from total collapse.

If Putin is as smart and savvy as his fans in the West maintain, why has he not learned from America’s failed overseas intervention in Iraq, not to mention Vietnam? Then there is the example closer to home, the Russian geopolitical disaster of a quarter of a century ago; the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan. If an army of 150,000 soldiers backed by massive airpower could not defeat the Islamist fighters in the mountains of Afghanistan, what calculus leads the Kremlin to believe that the much weaker Russia of today can have anything but a temporary and localized impact on the horrendous Syrian Civil War?

It appears that prestige, and a desire not to lose Russia’s version of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba–the Russian naval base in Tartus, Syria– are the basis of the deployment of Russian military assets to Latakia. Whatever the short-term benefits are for Assad and his Alawite minority regime, the long-term impact for Russia will be brutally punishing. The appalling Russian experience in Afghanistan should have informed Russia’s decision makers of the dangerous path they have embarked upon.

When Iran deployed its Hezbollah militia, paid mercenaries and Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps to Syria in the earlier stages of the Syrian Civil War, there were predictions outside the Middle East that this marked an irredeemable turn in the tide of battle in favor of Assad. A much more knowledgeable observer, the Beirut-based Palestinian-American journalist Rami Khouri, warned that Iran’s intervention in the Syrian Civil war would only inflame sectarian passions, leading to a regional Sunni-Shiite conflict. That predication had been vindicated in all its horror. Now Putin is doubling-down on the hell that he and his Iranian ally have contributed towards creating. Russia, which today has only a fraction of the military capability of the former Soviet Union, cannot achieve victory for Assad. However, as with Iran’s intervention in Syria, Vladimir Putin will succeed in galvanizing hatred towards his nation, unleashing a jihad against the Kremlin that will not only involve evermore fighters from the Sunni Arab world joining in a holy war against Russia’s invasion of the Arab world. In all probability, the festering discontent within Russia’s own borders among a disaffected and increasingly militant Muslim minority in regions such as Chechnya will be exacerbated. In the early years of Putin’s rule, Russia was subjected to a wave of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of Russian civilians, all attributed to unrest in Chechnya. That is but a harbinger of what will come, a predictable bloodbath on Russia’s own soil as blowback for Mr. Putin’s ill-fated attempt to show he can militarily intervene in the Muslim world without incurring the consequences his Soviet-era predecessors experienced over Afghanistan.




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Russia Faces Severe Economic Crisis: Putin, Oil and Ukraine

December 31st, 2014 Comments off

A perfect storm has ravaged Russia’s national economy. With the price of oil imploding, the impact of its decline is inflicting devastating pain on the Russian economy. Fiscally , oil and natural gas revenues account for half of the state budget. The fall in oil prices is compounded by economic sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States and Canada in response to President Putin’s aggressive polices vis a vis Ukraine.

There is nothing Putin can do about oil prices, especially with stagnant global demand and rising domestic production in the United States due to advances in shale extraction technology. However, he could mitigate the economic crisis through a more restrained policy on Ukraine. I doubt that will happen; it appears that in Russia, as with many other countries, nationalism trumps rational economic considerations.

It appears that bleak times are ahead for Moscow, and Russia’s nascent middle class. Just in the past 24 hours, the ruble dropped in value another five percent, all this in the wake of its earlier freefall when oil prices began to plummet. The erratic actions by Russia’s central bank only point to the inability by Russia’s rulers to arrest what will likely be a long-term period of economic recession and stagnation.


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Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude


President Obama Fires Secretary of Defense Hagel: Barack Obama and the Audacity of Failure

November 25th, 2014 Comments off

It is often remarked that the Ship of State  is the one ship which leaks from the top. Thus even before the blatantly theatrical political funeral dirge conducted at the White House in which President Obama announced that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, the sole remaining Republican in his cabinet, would  be leaving of his own accord after serving only 22 months, the usual “unnamed senior sources” representing the administration were already telling their media contacts that Hagel was, in effect, fired.

The New York Times reported that  “officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel…was brought in to employ.” ( The implication was that Hagel was a timid man, originally brought in to implement Obama’s stated policy of withdrawing from first Iraq and then Afghanistan, while downsizing  the Defense Department. With the emergence of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, a new policy was called for, and a new defense secretary, the unnamed White House source proclaimed, one more muscular and forceful in confronting the Islamic State.

While the passage of time will undoubtedly provide more leaks, perhaps a book of memoirs by Chuck Hagel and further context, this much is clear; President Barack Obama’s national security strategy in relation to Islamist threats stemming from the Middle East, in particular the Islamic State, has been an unmitigated disaster, and soon-to-be former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, a Vietnam combat veteran and moderate Republican with a strong streak of bipartisanship, has been set up as a scapegoat for the administration’s failures.

What we do know for sure is what both the President and his Defense Secretary had stated on the public record in connection with the Islamic State, also, known  as ISIS, and which President Obama insists on calling ISIL.

In January 2014 Obama told David Remnick of The New Yorker, after Islamist forces in Iraq seized Fallujah and raised the Al-Qaeda flag,  “The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.”  (

In contrast, Chuck Hagel had this to say about the Islamic State at a Pentagon press briefing conducted on August 21, 2014:  “They are an imminent threat to every interest we have, whether it’s in Iraq or anywhere else… They are beyond just a terrorist group. They marry ideology, a sophistication of military prowess. They are tremendously well-funded. This is beyond anything we’ve seen.” (

While the President was initially dismissive of the Islamic State, and has remained tentative and uncertain in his at times awkward responses, Hagel was far from the passive and timid defense secretary he is now being portrayed as by the masters of spin in the White House. His very forceful and articulate warning displays an impressive level of sober realism that is sorely lacking within the President’s national security council, and from Obama himself.

Turning Chuck Hagel into a scapegoat cannot obfuscate the glaring failures cascading out of the ruins of the administration’s inept foreign policy and national security strategy. Obama is a president who loudly proclaims red lines in the sand, such as use of chemical warfare agents by the Syrian regime, and when President Bashar al-Assad defied those red lines with a grotesque massacre of innocents in the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Obama grasped onto the flimsy straw tossed at him by Russia’s President Putin, rendering his red line invisible. His is an administration which sends presidential letters proclaiming friendship to the tyrannical “Supreme Leader” of Iran, who almost daily dishes out hatred and contempt for America, while permitting–perhaps encouraging–a senior unnamed official to tell journalist Jeff Goldberg of The Atlantic that Israel’s Prime Minster Netanyahu was, in effect, a fool for trusting President Obama’s pledges on preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, because what the administration really sought was to delay an Israeli military operation until the Iranian nuclear program progressed to the point where it was beyond the capacity of the Israel Defense Forces to take it out. ( No wonder few world leaders maintain trust in the President’s word and integrity.

Beyond the Middle East, President Obama has “engineered” the radical deconstruction of Russia-U.S. relations. It must be recognized that the President himself bears a major responsibility for the deterioration in ties between Moscow and Washington. In previous blog pieces, I have pointed out what I believe have been President Putin’s miscalculations. But why did the President send CIA  Director John Brennan to Kiev at a sensitive point in the emerging Ukrainian-Russia crisis? Not only did the administration engage in needlessly provocative acts that exacerbated the crisis over Ukraine; President Obama has given evidence that he harbors deep contempt-as well as profound ignorance-towards Russia. In an interview with The Economist conducted aboard Air Force One in August 2014 the President proclaimed boldly, “Russia doesn’t make anything.” ( Perhaps the President is unaware that America’s Atlas V rockets, the vehicle used by the Defense Department to launch U.S. spy satellites into orbit utilize the RD-180 rocket engine in their first stage–and this component is not made in America, but in Russia, the land Barack Obama believes  “doesn’t make anything.”

Like the good soldier he is, Chuck Hagel stood stoically and with his dignity intact, beside President Obama and Vice President Biden in the White House’s State Dining Room, as his thinly-disguised termination was being ceremoniously performed. In time, just as with his predecessors Leon Panetta and Robert Gates, he may pen a tell-all book of memoirs, highly critical of the President. However, we need not wait for a future book to conclude that it is the President and his tightly-knit national security team–a clique which largely excluded and isolated Chuck Hagel– and not the fired defense secretary–who bear the historical responsibility for a record of disastrous decision-making.

In 2008, candidate-for-president Barack Obama proclaimed the audacity of hope in a time of despair, and wrote a very thoughtful and sensible op-ed piece in The New York Times, entitled “My Plan For Iraq,”  in which Obama advocated the retention of a residual military force in Iraq and warned that,  “we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. ” (

As with so much else connected with President Obama and national security, he has acted contrary to his past words and proclaimed intentions. There is no longer hope; the despair remains. Amid  the debris of a ruined national security strategy, we are left with the audacity of failure, glaring and unhidden, in spite of the best efforts at scapegoating Chuck Hagel.


If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:



Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude


Malaysian Airlines Massacre: Vladimir Putin and Katyn Forest Version 2.0 Massacre: Vladimir Putin and Katyn Forest Version 2.0

July 22nd, 2014 Comments off

The horrific destruction of Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 is one of those rare events that shocks the conscience of the entire world. While an objective investigation has been rightly called for to uncover the full truth behind this horrific crime, is it unlikely that such truth will be easily discoverable. The President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, simultaneously  condemned as a rush to judgment finger-pointing at his government, called for a full investigation and simultaneously stated for the record that-without a doubt-the Ukrainian government was responsible.  Meanwhile, Putin’s Russian militias in Eastern Ukraine, suspected by most of the world of being behind the anti-aircraft missile firing that doomed MH17, have seized control of the debris field, where dead bodies, many of them fragmented, lay amid a million shattered metallic pieces of the destroyed Boeing 777. The allegations and observations made by journalists on the scene that these militias have shown disrespect for the human remains of the victims, engaged in theft, evidence tampering and appeared often to be drunk has presented the world with an unedited as well as unflattering portrait of Vladimir Putin’s Ukrainian policy as executed on the ground by the Kremlin.

In a previous blog pierce, written after Putin seized control of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, I warned of the dangerous path the Russian president appeared to be pursuing, and suggested a better alternative for serving Russia’s legitimate security and cultural interests in Ukraine, namely  replicating a modern version of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s policy towards Finland after World War II, what became known as Finlandization. Instead, Putin appears to have chosen a different model, one that was created by the CIA in the 1980s when it launched a covert war against Nicaragua with armed militias known as the Contras. In effect, Putin’s Russian militias operating in Eastern Ukraine bear stark resemblance to the Contras in form and substance.

The deliberate stifling of initial attempts to effect a proper investigation of the MH17 crash scene has aroused deep horror and indignation around the world, but especially in the Netherlands-of the 298 passengers and crew murdered in this atrocity, 193 were citizens of that small country. All this suggests that Mr. Putin has drawn the wrong lessons from Stalin. Instead of Finlandization, he appears to be implementing an updated version of the Katyn Forest episode, one of the darkest chapters in Russian history.

Katyn Forest outside Smolensk, Russia was the site where thousands of Polish prisoners of war, officers and NCOs, were murdered in cold blood  by the Soviet secret police, the NKVD, in 1940. In 1939 these men were captured by the Russians when Stalin signed his infamous pact with Hitler, which included a secret protocol for dividing  Poland between the two dictatorships. Stalin had the Polish officers shot to eliminate a potential obstacle towards imposing communism on the part of Poland occupied by the Soviet Union. In 1943, two years after Germany stabbed Stalin in the back and invaded Russia, Katyn Forest, which was then occupied by the German army, became the site of a major excavation. The Nazis had learned about the executions, leading them to uncover the mass graves. The Germans of course were committing the equivalent of many Katyn massacres themselves at that time; they cynically exploited the discovery  of Stalin’s crime to drive a wedge between the Allied nations confronting Hitler though a massive propaganda campaign. However, in the fall of 1943, the Russian army reoccupied Katyn Forest, and from that time on, the Soviets engaged in a large-scale cover-up program, involving the creation of fraudulent documents, phony forensic examinations and sham witnesses. The cover-up was very elaborate, though practically no one in Poland believed the official Soviet line about the massacre. In 1990, in the dying moments of the Soviet Union, President Mikhail Gorbachev officially admitted that the Katyn massacre was the responsibility of the Soviet secret police, and was carried out on Stalin’s orders.  Putin’s predecessor, Boris Yeltsin, released archives pertaining to the Katyn massacre, including a document bearing Stalin’s signature authorizing the mass executions.

Unlike the Katyn Forest massacre, the slaughter of the innocent victims of MH17 was unlikely due to deliberate intent. If it was Russian militias that shot down the plane with missiles supplied on Putin’s orders, perhaps with direct assistance from Russian army personnel, it is most likely the culprits thought they were targeting a Ukrainian military transport plane rather than a civil aviation aircraft. From this point on, however, the similarities with Katyn became haunting and profane. Putin’s media outlets are already claiming that a Ukrainian fighter jet shot down MH17, believing it was a Russian aircraft carrying President Putin himself. It appears that the early stages of the cover-up are being engineered in Moscow.

As with Stalin’s cover-up of the mass murder at Katyn Forest, there are people who will believe Putin’s propaganda, no matter how ridiculously contrived. For example, the retired Cuban dictator, Fidel Castro, rushed off a pompous declaration in the form of a commentary, which appeared in the official Cuban Communist Party newspaper, Granma ( Seething with indignation, Castro denounced the “unheard of news that a Malaysia Airlines passenger plane had been hit at an altitude of 10,100 meters as it flew over Ukrainian territory, along a route controlled by the war-hungry government of chocolate king, Petro Poroshenko.”  The retired dictator wrote further that he  “cannot refrain from expressing our repudiation of the action of the anti-Russian, anti-Ukrainian and pro-imperialist government.” So in the eyes of Castro, the Ukrainian President shot down MH17. On the other hand, Venezuela’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs released an official statement declaring that the United States is responsible for the downing of MH17 (

Those exceptions are overwhelmed by the near-universal revulsion at the emerging cobbling-up of a cover-up of Russia’s complicity in the Malaysian Airlines massacre. I don’t know if Putin is pursuing a Katyn Forest-style cover-up of his government’s complicity in the MH17 shoot down out of ignorance of the growing disgust being aroused throughout the world, or if he really believes this obstruction of the truth will somehow serve Russia’s geopolitical interests. If the Russian president were to truly analyze the situation objectively, he would come to realize that allowing the full truth to come out, even if it were to show that a bad policy decision was made in supplying advanced anti-aircraft missiles to the militias in Eastern Ukraine, would be far less injurious to Russian national interests and his nation’s standing in the world, than unleashing its state-sponsored propaganda machine to concoct a sinister remake of the Katyn massacre cover-up.



If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:



Hillary Clinton Nude

Hillary Clinton Nude

Russia Ukraine Crisis Over Crimea Could Unleash New Round of Global Economic Crisis

March 28th, 2014 Comments off

The apparent relapse into a new Cold War between Russia and the Western nations over the annexation of Crimea by Moscow  will almost certainly have grave repercussions for the global economy. Starting with Russia, the tensions with Ukraine and her Western allies have resulted in economic sanctions, with more threatened. The World Bank has just released a report, suggesting that increased sanctions could result in capital outflows from Russia of $ 133 billion for 2014, with GDP contraction of 1.8 percent, resulting in a recession.

The tit-for-tat sanctions and increased tensions will also hammer Western economies, however. Europe is highly dependent on Russian-supplied oil and natural gas, Furthermore, the already fragile Eurozone will also be hurt by sanctions, either imposed  on Russia or by Russia. The politicians of the world it would seem are not satisfied with all their past blunders-they now want to start a new global crisis, which among other things, will likely exacerbate the still ongoing global economic crisis.


If Hillary Clinton runs for President of the United States  in 2016, see the video about the book that warned back in 2008 what a second Clinton presidency would mean for the USA:


Hillary Clinton Nude

Chilling video about Hillary Clinton and the 2016 presidential election from the author of the provocative book, “Hillary Clinton Nude: Naked Ambition, Hillary Clinton And America’s Demise.”


Hillary Clinton Nude