President Obama is on the verge of an historic triumph.
Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, the American Left has been bitter about America’s victory in the Cold War. For decades, they preached moral equivalence between the United States and the Soviet Union.
Without firing a shot, Reagan achieved the unthinkable — the U.S.S.R was swept into the dustbin of history. Moreover, the United States emerged as the world’s sole superpower. Its military might was unrivaled. Its economic prosperity was unmatched. Its democratic system was the envy of the world. Continue reading
TBILISI/BERLIN (Own report) – Since their partial Ukrainian success in the power struggle over the ring of countries separating Russia’s borders from those of the EU, Berlin and Brussels have been stepping up their efforts to integrate Georgia into their hegemonic system. The EU is calling on Georgia – a country, geostrategists accord great importance not only for Russia’s encirclement, but for European access to Asia – to sign the EU Association Agreement in June, ahead of schedule. As in the case of Ukraine, Georgia is already integrated into the German-European military policy. The parliament in Tbilisi has recently voted to contribute Georgian troops to EU military operations in Africa. Georgia’s development following the 2003 “Rose Revolution” is very similar to what the Ukrainians find themselves confronted with since the February putsch in Kiev. Simultaneous with military-political integration into Western alliance structures, and the country’s accessibility for foreign investors, the population is sinking into impoverishment. Polls indicate that today only 27 percent of the Georgians have a “full-time job” that pays a living wage. Continue reading
Andrej Illiaronov, Putin’s economic adviser between 2000 and 2005 and now senior member of the Cato Institute think tank, said that “parts of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltic States and Finland are states where Putin claims to have ownership.”
“Putin’s view is that he protects what belongs to him and his predecessors,” he said.
When asked if Putin wishes to return to the Russia of the last tsar, Nicholas II, Illiaronov said: “Yes, if it becomes possible.” Continue reading
Vladimir Putin and his American apologists like to blame NATO’s post-Cold War expansion for his territorial conquests, which ignores that the alliance refused in 2008 to let Georgia and Ukraine even begin the process of joining. Those are the two countries the Russian has since carved up, and the question now is whether Russia’s expansionism will slap Western leaders out of their self-defense slumbers.
NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen sounded the alarm last week in a visit to Washington. “I see Crimea as an element in a greater pattern” of Russian strategy, he told an audience at the Brookings Institution. Moscow’s annexation of Crimea, he said, is “a wake-up call” that “must be followed by increased European investment in defense.” He might have included the U.S.
BERLIN (Own report) – In light of the pending incorporation of the Crimea into the Russian Federation, German politicians and media are stepping up their Russophobe agitation. The public’s “understanding for Moscow’s alleged motives” regarding the Crimea, remains “strikingly high,” complains a leading German daily. This reflects the view that Western global aggressions are either “not better or even worse.” In this context, a leading German newspaper, the “Süddeutsche Zeitung,” has discontinued a Russian PR insert, which it had begun carrying following a lucrative European-Russian economic conference. Another leading publication, the weekly “Die Zeit”, has “apologized” for having printed differentiated articles about the Ukraine. The author, a freelance journalist, had also earned his living, doing editorial work for the above-mentioned Russian PR insert. Last week, the leading German Green Party’s candidate for the European parliamentary elections tabled a motion for a gag order on former German Chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, who had criticized the EU’s Ukrainian policy. This motion, to restrict his right of freedom of expression, has been ultimately rejected by the European parliament, however, not by her Party. Continue reading
President Vladimir Putin ordered an urgent drill to test the combat readiness of armed forces across western Russia on Wednesday, news agencies reported, flexing Moscow’s military muscle amid tension with the West over Ukraine.
“In accordance with an order from the president of the Russian Federation, forces of the Western Military District were put on alert at 1400 (1000 GMT) today,” Interfax quoted Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu as saying.
Putin has ordered several such surprise drills in various parts of Russia since he returned to the presidency in 2012, saying the military must be kept on its toes, but the geopolitical overtones could hardly have been clearer this time. Continue reading
Germany’s strongman fires a shot across the bow of Vladimir Putin — and doesn’t hold back. What makes this article sting even more is that he teamed up with Garry Kasparov, the Russian chess master, who is also one of Putin’s most outspoken critics. In addition, another strongly made point when reading between the lines, is that he hinted that America has wimped out and no longer has the stomach to stand up for itself and face up to Putin’s political strong-arm tactics. Lastly, this article hints out that Russia has provoked Europe into filling the vacuum the United States has left behind in its retreat.
Although previously forced to step down due to a plagiarism scandal a few years ago, don’t count him out of politics of just yet. Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg is brilliantly skilled in politics and boasts a family background that could propel him as Germany’s next leader on bloodline alone, or even the EUs. Whether or not he’ll ascend to either of these, only time will tell. Here’s a quick quote to summarize this background:
“Beyond all this, Guttenberg and his wife have an intriguing and captivating family heritage. Karl-Theodor, as we’ve noted before, belongs to a wealthy aristocratic family whose bloodlines have been traced as far back as 1158. In 1700, Guttenberg’s forefathers were conferred the title Baron of the Holy Roman Empire. Guttenberg is also related to the Hapsburgs, another prominent royal dynasty that has a rich history with the Holy Roman Empire. Even today, KT owns an impressive castle that sits high on a hill overlooking the village of Guttenberg, Bavaria. The lineage of Stephanie Gräfin von Bismarck-Schönhausen is equally as impressive. Guttenberg’s wife is the great-great-granddaughter of Otto von Bismarck, the father of the modern German state and the first chancellor in the history of modern Germany.” – Source: The Trumpet
Since Vladimir Putin’s official return to power in 2012, the Russian President seems to have set his mind on teaching the rest of the world a few simple lessons. First, that he shall not be underestimated on the international stage; second, that Moscow will keep reasserting control over what it considers to be its legitimate sphere of influence for Russia; and finally, that he shall do whatever he pleases at home. To convey his message, Putin has supported a murderous dictator, lectured the U.S. about multilateralism, blackmailed his neighbors into accepting Moscow’s ironfisted embrace, inflamed anti-American and anti-gay sentiments, and brutally cracked down on dissidents.
From Syria and the Snowden saga to blatant human-rights violations and, most recently, pressuring Ukraine’s leadership into a sudden change of heart on its association with the E.U., Putin has managed to bedevil the West all year long. His latest clemency decision for some prominent critics of the regime, only two months before the Olympics in Sochi, lacks credibility; it is an arbitrary reflection of being at an autocrat’s mercy, not an act of mercy under the rule of law. Continue reading
America abandoned central Europe to try and make friends with Russia—and got nothing in return.
The Iskander-M is no Soviet relic. It is a thoroughly modern missile, designed to evade and confuse anti-missile systems. Probably battle-tested during Russia’s invasion of Georgia, Russia considers it “the most effective and deadly nonstrategic (and even perhaps strategic) ballistic missile in existence”—according to Stratfor emails revealed by Wikileaks last year. “Its high velocity allows the missile to penetrate antimissile defenses,” states the email. “It can fly low and make evasive maneuvers in order to prevent interception by surface air missiles.” The missiles are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, but Russia has not admitted to developing one.
How did these missiles end up on Europe’s boarders? Continue reading
Hundreds of high-level political figures, CEOs and international experts from around the world explored the economic, political and strategic potential of the region at the third Caspian Forum in Istanbul. Experts and politicians discussed the latest about the Caspian region, particularly efforts to transport its energy resources to an eager European market. Experts described the Caspian as the centre of trade relations between East and West and as the new centre of energy for the world.
Participants at the December 5th forum also discussed the latest on transportation projects designed to establish a modern Silk Road trade route that would link Asia and Europe. Turkey and Azerbaijan have been at the centre of those efforts. Continue reading
If Ukraine is to still join the EU, expect it to after the cold winter subsides. This way, Russia can no longer blackmail the Ukranian leadership via energy supplies by shutting off the gas lines as it did a few years back — which also was a statement to Europe as it, too, was affected.
Every decent revolution produces an iconic scene. The 1989 Tiananmen protests had tank man; during Germany’s reunification it was a segment of the Berlin Wall swaying back and forth like a wiggly tooth before finally collapsing; in Baghdad in 2003, it was the slow-motion toppling of the giant statue of Saddam Hussein. On Sunday, the budding revolution in Ukraine got its iconic scene, when, amid protests of roughly 500,000 in Kiev’s Independence Square, angry marchers felled a Vladimir Lenin statue then slugged it to pieces with sledgehammers.
The protesters are upset with President Viktor Yanukovich, and specifically his November 29 decision to reject a free-trade deal with the EU. The decision was seen not only as a rejection of Europe, but an embrace of Russia. Many Ukrainians worry that Yanukovich, despite repeated denials, has struck a deal with Vladimir Putin to form a customs union with Russia.
Whatever the outcome, events in Ukraine highlight three important geopolitical realities, each of which is also prophetically significant. Continue reading
Sweden is to join the NATO Response Force (NRF) and participate in Steadfast Jazz — the western military alliance’s largest exercise in the last seven years, it was announced Monday.
According to a NATO statement, the Swedish move comes after the North Atlantic Council approved the Swedish contribution on October 14. Continue reading
Earlier this year, in an address delivered on the day devoted to the “defenders of the Fatherland,” the Russian president proclaimed: “Ensuring Russia has a reliable military force is the priority of our state policy. Unfortunately, the present world is far from being peaceful and safe. Long obsolete conflicts are being joined by new, but no less difficult, ones. Instability is growing in vast regions of the world.”
This is not empty talk. The rhetoric has been matched by a concurrent allocation of resources; Russia is now engaged in its largest military buildup since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago, with major increases in defense spending budgeted each year to 2020. Putin has pushed for this program even over the objections of some within the Kremlin who worried about costs and the possible negative impact on Russian prosperity; opposition to the expansion of military spending was one of the reasons the long-serving Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin left the cabinet two years ago.
The rest of the world is taking notice. Continue reading