Archive for the ‘Russian Aggression’ category

Expect America’s Tensions with China and Russia to Rise in 2018

December 30, 2017

Expect America’s Tensions with China and Russia to Rise in 2018, Gatestone Institute, John Bolton, December 30, 2017

Yesterday’s 2017 review and forecast for 2018 focused on the most urgent challenges the Trump administration faces: the volatile Middle East, international terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. Today, we examine the strategic threats posed by China and Russia and one of President Trump’s continuing priorities: preserving and enhancing American sovereignty.

Russia and China will be among the Trump administration’s key strategic challenges in the coming year. Photo: Wikipedia.

China has likely been Trump’s biggest personal disappointment in 2017, one where he thought that major improvements might be possible, especially in international trade. Despite significant investments of time and attention to President Xi Jinping, now empowered in ways unprecedented since Mao Tse Tung, very little has changed in Beijing’s foreign policy, bilaterally or globally. There is no evidence of improved trade relations, or any effort by China to curb its abuses, such as pirating intellectual property, government discrimination against foreign traders and investors, or biased judicial fora.

Even worse, Beijing’s belligerent steps to annex the South China Sea and threaten Japan and Taiwan in the East China Sea continued unabated, or even accelerated in 2017. In all probability, therefore, 2018 will see tensions ratchet up in these critical regions, as America (and hopefully others) defend against thinly veiled Chinese military aggression. Japan in particular has reached its limits as China has increased its capabilities across the full military spectrum, including at sea, in space and cyberwarfare.

Taiwan is not far behind. Even South Korea’s Moon Jae In may be growing disenchanted with Beijing as it seeks to constrain Seoul’s strategic defense options. And make no mistake, what China is doing in its littoral periphery is closely watched in India, where the rise of Chinese economic and military power is increasingly worrying. The Trump administration should closely monitor all these flash points along China’s frontiers, any one of which could provoke a major military confrontation, if not next year, soon thereafter.

North Korea’s nuclear weapons program is where China has most disappointed the White House. Xi Jinping has played the United States just like his predecessors, promising increased pressure on Pyongyang but not delivering nearly enough. The most encouraging news came as 2017 ended, in the revelation that Chinese and American military officers have discussed possible scenarios involving regime collapse or military conflict in North Korea. While unclear how far these talks have progressed, the mere fact that China is engaging in them shows a new level of awareness of how explosive the situation is. So, 2018 will be critical not only regarding North Korea’s nuclear weapons threat but also whether Sino-American relations improve or take a distinct turn for the worse.

On Russia, the president has not given up on Vladimir Putin, at least not yet, but that may well come in 2018. Putin is an old-school, hard-edged, national interest-centered Russian leader, defending the “rodina” (the motherland), not a discredited ideology. Confronted with U.S. strength, Putin knows when to pull back, and he is, when it suits him, even capable of making and keeping deals. But there is no point in romanticizing the Moscow-Washington dynamic. It must be based not on personal relationships but on realpolitik.

No better proof exists than Russia’s reaction to Trump’s recent decision to supply lethal weapons to Ukraine, which is now a war zone entirely because of Russian aggression. To hear Moscow react to Trump’s weapons decision, however, one would think he was responsible for increased hostilities. President Obama should have acted at the first evidence of Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine, and even Trump’s aid is a small step compared to President Bush’s 2008 proposal to move Kiev quickly toward NATO membership. Nonetheless, every independent state that emerged from the Soviet Union, NATO member or not, is obsessed with how America handles Ukraine. They should be, because the Kremlin’s calculus about their futures will almost certainly turn on whether Trump draws a line on Moscow’s adventurism in Ukraine.

Just as troubling as Russia’s menace in Eastern and Central Europe is its reemergence as a great power player in the Middle East. Just weeks ago, the Russian Duma ratified an agreement greatly expanding Russia’s naval station at Tartus, Syria. In 2015, Obama stood dumbfounded as Russia built a significant air base in nearby Latakia, thus cementing the intrusion of Russia’s military presence in the Middle East to an extent not seen since Anwar Sadat expelled Soviet military advisers and brought Egypt into the Western orbit in the 1970s.

This expansion constitutes a significant power projection for the Kremlin. Indeed, it seems clear that Russia’s support (even more than Iran’s) for Syria’s Assad regime has kept the dictatorship in power. Russia’s assertiveness in 2017 also empowered Tehran, even as the ISIS caliphate was destroyed, to create an arc of Shia military power from Iran, through Iraq and Syria, linking up with Hezbollah in Lebanon. This Russian-Iranian axis should rank alongside Iran’s nuclear-weapons program on America’s list of threats emanating from the Middle East.

Finally, the pure folly of both the U.N. Security Council and the General Assembly crossing the United States on the Jerusalem embassy decision was a mistake of potentially devastating consequences for the United Nations. Combined with the International Criminal Court’s November decision to move toward investigating alleged U.S. war crimes in Afghanistan, there is now ample space for the White House to expand on the president’s focus on protecting American sovereignty.

Trump’s first insight into the rage for “global governance” among the high minded came on trade issues, and his concern for the World Trade Organization’s adjudication mechanism. These are substantial and legitimate, but the broader issues of “who governs” and the challenges to constitutional, representative government from international bodies and treaties that expressly seek to advance global governing institutions are real and growing. America has long been an obstacle to these efforts, due to our quaint attachment to our Constitution and the exceptionalist notion that we don’t need international treaties to “improve” it.

No recent president has made the sovereignty point as strongly as Trump, and the United Nations and International Criminal Court actions in 2017 now afford him a chance to make decisive political and financial responses in 2018. If 2017 was a tumultuous year internationally, 2018 could make it seem calm by comparison.

John R. Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) served as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and as undersecretary for arms control and international security affairs at the U.S. Department of State under President George W. Bush. He is now a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.

This article first appeared in The Hill and is reprinted here with the kind permission of the author.

Cartoon of the Day

April 19, 2016

H/t Liberty Alliance

Buzz-Navy-600-LI-1-1-600x336

Russian Jet Threatened U.S. Recon Aircraft

April 17, 2016

Russian Jet Threatened U.S. Recon Aircraft, Washington Free Beacon, April 16, 2016

(No problem. Weakness is strength and strength is weakness. — DM)

rc-135-540x286RC-135 / image via Wikipedia

A Russian fighter jet flew dangerously close to a U.S. RC-135 reconnaissance aircraft on Thursday in the latest military provocation by Moscow over the Baltic Sea, the U.S. European Command said Saturday.

“On April 14, a U.S. Air Force RC-135 aircraft flying a routine route in international airspace over the Baltic Sea was intercepted by a Russian Su-27 in an unsafe and unprofessional manner,” said Navy Capt. Danny Hernandez.

“This intercept comes shortly after the unsafe Russian encounters with USS Donald Cook,” he added. “There have been repeated incidents over the last year where Russian military aircraft have come close enough to other air and sea traffic to raise serious safety concerns, and we are very concerned with any such behavior.”

Hernandez said the U.S. aircraft, a militarized Boeing 707 jet, was operating in international airspace “and at no time crossed into Russian territory.”

“This unsafe and unprofessional air intercept has the potential to cause serious harm and injury to all aircrews involved,” he said. “More importantly, the unsafe and unprofessional actions of a single pilot have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries.”

According to Hernandez, the Su-27 carried out “erratic and aggressive maneuvers” by approaching the RC-135 at a high rate of speed from the side.

The Russian jet “then proceeded to perform an aggressive maneuver that posed a threat to the safety of the U.S. aircrew in the RC-135U,” the spokesman said.

“More specifically, the SU-27 closed within 50 feet of the wing-tip of the RC-135 and conducted a barrel roll starting from the left side of the aircraft, going over the top of the aircraft and ended up to the right of the aircraft,” he said.

The U.S. government is protesting all the incidents this week to the Russian government through diplomatic channels, he said.

The RC-135U, an electronic intelligence-gathering aircraft, is normally operated by five air crew and up to 16 electronic warfare officers and six or more regional specialists.

The dangerous aerial incident came two days after a simulated Russian aerial assault against the guided missile destroyer USS Donald Cook in the Baltic Sea. Washington called the simulated assault a military provocation, and said it nearly caused an international shootout.

Two Russian fighter-bombers, identified as Su-24s, made close passes over the Cook, including one jet that came within 30 feet of the warship.

A Navy officer said the buzzing was the most reckless flyover of a U.S. warship by either a Russian or Chinese warplane since the Cold War. “I’ve been in a lot of those situations and I’ve never seen any plane come that close,” the officer said.

The aerial harassment appears to be part of a Russian military campaign of intimidation against the United States and NATO.

Moscow has adopted hostile military policies toward the United States over U.S. deployment of missile defenses in Europe, which Moscow says threaten its missile forces. The Russians also have been upset by Western sanctions against its military annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

Strategically, Russian leader Vladimir Putin has been seeking to regain control and influence over what Moscow calls the “near abroad”—former Soviet republics and Eastern Bloc nations along the periphery of Russia’s borders in Eastern Europe.

The policy has led to military aggression against the Republic of Georgia in 2008 and Ukraine in 2014, where Russian troops took over the Crimean peninsula and are continuing to fuel separatist activity in eastern Ukraine.

In response, the United States and NATO are bolstering U.S. and allied military forces in Eastern Europe, with a specific emphasis of increasing military forces and troops near the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania, as well as in Poland.

The recent Russian military provocations coincide with military activities by Moscow in the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, which remains a major subject of U.S. monitoring. Russia in the past has threatened to deploy nuclear-capable Iskander short-range missiles in the enclave on the Baltic Coast between Poland and Latvia.

Earlier this week, Brian McKeon, principal undersecretary of defense for policy, told a House subcommittee hearing that Russia has prevented U.S. and allied flights over Kaliningrad that are allowed under the Open Skies Treaty.

Mark Schneider, a former Pentagon strategic forces analyst who specializes in Russian affairs, said the recent incidents over the Baltic Sea, including the simulated attack of a U.S. warship, are fundamentally different from past Russian provocations.

“It is a major escalation of Russian aggressiveness although it fits into a pattern of Russian activity that goes back years,” Schneider said. “The Russian Defense Ministry reaction was blatantly dishonest.”

Schneider said the likely U.S. response to these provocations are what former Pentagon official Richard Perle once dubbed “demarche-mellows,” or very weak, pro forma protests.

“If so, incidents like this will probably continue to escalate,” Schneider said.

Thursday’s aerial encounter involving the RC-135 was at least the second time this year that Russian jets have conducted a dangerous intercept of a reconnaissance aircraft.

On Jan. 25, a Russian Su-27 came within 20 feet of an RC-135 over the Black Sea in what Navy Capt. Daniel Hernandez said was an “unsafe and unprofessional” action.

Unlike Thursday’s encounter, the Russian jet in January did not do a barrel roll, but instead made an aggressive, high-speed banking turn away from the intelligence aircraft.

The maneuver disturbed the pilot’s control of the RC-135.

The dangerous Su-24 overflight of the Cook on April 12 came a day after two other Russian Su-24s flew over the ship 20 times, including a dangerous pass as an allied helicopter was being refueled, causing a delay in flight operations until the Su-24s left the area.

The same day, a Russian Ka-27 Helix helicopter flew around the Cook, which had finished a port visit to Poland and had a Polish helicopter on board.

“The Russian aircraft flew in a simulated attack profile and failed to respond to repeated safety advisories in both English and Russian,” the European Command said in a statement.

The Pentagon released video of the encounter showing the close pass, which created a wake in the water.

Secretary of State John Kerry on Thursday criticized the Russian military provocation, though he declined to say what steps the United States would take in response.

The State Department lodged formal protests with Russia.

“We condemn this kind of behavior. It is reckless. It is provocative. It is dangerous. And under the rules of engagement that could have been a shoot-down,” Kerry told CNN and the Miami Herald.

“People need to understand that this is serious business and the United States is not going to be intimidated on the high seas. … We are communicating to the Russians how dangerous this is and our hope is that this will never be repeated,” Kerry said.

The Cook is equipped with anti-aircraft defenses including the Close-In Weapons System, an automated air defense gun that can destroy aircraft with 25-millimeter rounds. The weapon was not readied because the ship was operating under the U.S.-Russian agreement not to illuminate each other’s aircraft.

“We have deep concerns about the unsafe and unprofessional Russian flight maneuvers,” the European command said in a statement.

“These actions have the potential to unnecessarily escalate tensions between countries, and could result in a miscalculation or accident that could cause serious injury or death.”

Kerry on Friday discussed the Cook incident with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, a State Department spokesman said.

Moscow sought to play down the incident involving the Cook. Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told the state-run Interfax news agency that the Russian pilots acted within safety guidelines.

The incidents violated the bilateral U.S.-Russian agreement designed to prevent incidents at sea. The accord prohibits conducting simulated attacks and also limits the use of automated anti-aircraft guns.

Other incidents in recent months included a near collision between a Russian fighter and an RC-135 over the Black Sea on May 30, and on April 7, 2015, a Su-27 flew within 20 feet of an RC-135 over the Baltic Sea.

Additionally, last October, two Russian Tu-142 bombers made low passes near the aircraft carrier USS Reagan as it sailed in the Sea of Japan near the Korean peninsula. And on July 4, 2015, two Tu-95 nuclear-capable bombers approached within 40 miles of the California coast and radioed a “happy birthday” message to intercepting U.S. pilots.

The July 4 provocation occurred the same day President Obama held a telephone call with Putin.

Russia also has sent Tu-95 bombers to circle the Pacific island of Guam several times. The island is a major military hub and central to the U.S. military’s pivot to Asia.

Bolton: Will Obama Apologize For US Destroyer ‘Getting in Way’ of Russian Airplane?

April 15, 2016

Bolton: Will Obama Apologize For US Destroyer ‘Getting in Way’ of Russian Airplane? TownhallCortney O’Brien, April 15, 2016

Bolton

Lt. Col. Ralph Peters (Ret.) was very blunt in his assessment of the incident in the Baltic Sea on Monday, when a Russian warplane buzzed awfully close to a U.S. Navy destroyer.

“I’m very, very worried that in the closing months of Obama’s presidency we’re gonna see American blood,” Peters said in an interview with Fox News.

It was a bold prediction, but one that former Ambassador John Bolton agrees with. During his own conversation on Fox Friday morning, Bolton predicted “there’s more” Russian aggression to come.

“If that airplane had caught a gust of wind, it could have been right up against that destroyer,” the ambassador explained.

Russia’s latest stint in the Baltic Sea signals to our NATO allies that the U.S. can’t take care of itself, he continued.

“I just hope Obama doesn’t apologize for destroyer getting in the way of that airplane.”

Based on the White House’s typical response to foreign intimidation, Bolton’s question is a fair one. Before the Russian airplane flew near our destroyer, Iran captured 10 of our American sailors and celebrated it. Secretary of State John Kerry actually thanked Iran for their compassion during the ordeal. President Obama, meanwhile, continues to defend his nuclear deal with the nation, which has basically given Iran a pass for its bad behavior. A Middle East expert who is very critical of that agreement argues it has severely damaged America’s image as a superpower.

Obama is also no stranger to apologies. He has asked for forgiveness on America’s behalf in about every corner of the globe, it seems. In Argentina last month, he noted the “early dark days” of the CIA and our country’s human rights violations. He continued to express regret over America’s human rights record in Cuba. Yes, Castros’ Cuba, where free speech is suppressed and punished.

Our adversaries are taking advantage of our president’s shows of weakness.

Iran will continue to intimidate us “indefinitely,” Bolton argued, for they know that under Obama, “they will face no consequences.”

A new report indicates that an Iranian general is in Moscow this week to discuss military options with President Putin.

Iran is “going to push the envelope” and “they’ll succeed,” Bolton warned.

Persia, Putin and the Pansy

October 3, 2015

Persia, Putin and the Pansy, Times of Israel, Irwin G. Blank, October 3, 2015

(Guess the name of the Pansy. But please see, The Moscow-Washington-Tehran Axis of Evil. — DM)

Putin, a product of the Soviet Communist system is well acquainted with the dictum of the father of the Bolshevik revolution that gave birth to the regime that he so faithfully served. V. I. Lenin’s famous quote-” Probe with a bayonet. If you meet steel, stop. If you meet mush, then push.”

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In ancient times there was no greater empire than that of Persia. This imperial power stretched from the mountains of Afghanistan all the way to the islands of Greece and the deserts of North Africa and the Middle East. Against the Greeks of Alexander the Great, it could field armies of millions of troops arrayed with the most modern weapons of war at the time. Until the rise of the Roman Empire, no power on Earth, made nations tremble as did the rulers of Persia.

Today the fanatic Ayatollahs in Teheran, with a megalomaniacal apocalyptic dream of Islamist imperialism and world conquest under their banner of jihad are hell bent on the recreation of their ancient empire and the destruction of all they see as infidels and unbelievers. Their conception of faith is a political and social fanaticism that goes even further than the hysterical rantings and horrendous nightmare that Nazi Germany once attempted to foist on mankind. Indeed, the very Nazi terminology for its origin, the word “Aryan” is associated with the nation whose name is a derivative of that racist term-Iran.

However, other than employing proxy allies in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, the mad mullahs knew that their military, for all its goose stepping soldiers and bombast that they would require the tools necessary to fulfill their wicked aims. Firstly, it was able to build up a nuclear industry with the aim of developing the most lethal weapons of mass destruction. Through deception, deliberate obfuscation and diligent denial, it succeeded in the implantation of this atomic framework under the blindness of the international agency whose responsibility is to curtail the spread of nuclear weapons.

Furthermore, when its nefarious production methods and its open evidence of ballistic missile technology became apparent, Iran successfully parried the efforts to curtail its march toward nuclear weaponry by undertaking a Potemkin village of diplomacy whereby even the most seemingly astute diplomatically experienced national leaders, succumbed to the meanderings and sweetheart deal that Iranian negotiators engineered. The secrets of the Ayatollahs were swept under a Persian rug.

However, in the meantime, the Persian imperialist war mongers still were in great need of the assistance of a powerful ally in order to accomplish their more conventional aims in their desire to continue their conquest throughout the Middle East. What better place to seek this help than to another former empire builder than a nation which was chomping on the bit to return to an area of the globe from which it had been so unceremoniously evicted.

The former Soviet Union, now the Russian Federation, has had dreams of installing its imperial presence in the Mediterranean Sea since the days of the Czars. Until 1972 when the late Egyptian president, Anwar Sadat, evicted ( for the most part as a political move, not a military one) most of the Soviet personnel from his country, the USSR had been ensconced throughout Egypt and the Arab world. Indeed, it was the humiliating defeat of the Egyptian and Syrian forces by the Israel Defense Forces during the Yom Kippur War that demonstrated at that time, the weakness of the Soviet response to American supported Israel which was demonstrating the vapidness of the Soviet promise to come to the aid of its Arab allies. The US response to Soviet threats to directly intervene on behalf of its Egyptian and Syrian clients, by moving the US Navy’s Sixth Fleet towards the Syrian coast and the declaration of a higher war footing by all US forces, made the Soviets back down.

The political and military supported victory of American arms and diplomacy demonstrated the resolve of that world power to face down the threat of Soviet dominance in such a strategic region of Western interests. Not only did the diplomacy of Henry Kissinger and the Nixon White House make a shambles of the massive Soviet involvement in the Arab world, but it brought about the first true demarche of Soviet (Russian) imperial chicanery since the Berlin blockade of 1948 and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

But the Russian Federation today is led by a president whose demonstration of the old Russian imperial nightmare is alive and well. Vladimir Putin, a former high official of the dreaded KGB,( Soviet Secret Service) has no qualms about restoring the dreams of the Czars and the re-entrenchment of his nation’s appearance in the Middle East. As a significant power player on the world scene and a massive supplier of sophisticated arms to anyone who opposes Western influence anywhere on the planet, the situation in the Levant and the hysterical anti-American paranoia in Teheran led the Ayatollahs to the road towards Moscow.

Sending one of their highest ranking military official to Moscow was a masterstroke of diplomatic skullduggery in presenting Putin with a challenge and an opportunity he could not ignore, For here, he was presented with a silver platter with which to serve up a poisonous dish to his arch-rivals, America and NATO. After witnessing their weakness to confront his military in the Ukraine and the Crimea, as well as his bloody campaign in Chechnya, all Putin had to do was experience orgasmic delight in sending his sea and air forces into a disintegrating Syria and pour weapons by the shipload onto the docks of Bandar Abbas in Iran. In full sight of Western intelligence and American spy satellites, crate after crate of Soviet munitions were soon trundling off the piers of the Syrian port of Latakia.

Iran was facing a significant threat to its allies in that disintegrating country and witnessing the probable demise of its Syrian puppet, Bashar al-Assad. The forces of ISIS (an Iranian rival for control of the Islamic world)  were on the march and its debilitating of the Syrian military as well as its capture of large swaths of Alawite controlled territory would put an end to the mullah’s plans for conquest. The entire northern tier of the Middle East would collapse and the Persian dream of conquering all the Sunni dominated lands of the region would go up in smoke. Iran had invested heavily in its subterfuge of the regimes of Iraq, Yemen and its military adventures in those countries. It required a strong ally and it looked to its northern neighbor with which its shares a common enmity for the West, and Putin, licked his chops and dove onto the plate presented to him.

Not only have Russian military forces seized control of the vital Syrian port of Latakia on the Mediterranean, but it has constructed revetments for air forces and ground personnel unseen in this region since the 1970s. His air forces have conducted bombing raids, not on ISIS, which was a planned political prevarication, but on US backed components of the anti-Assad coalition. Of course, Putin has no conflict with conducting airstrikes on civilians. After all, the West has been all but silent on the massive slaughter of approximately 300,000 civilians by the butcher of Damascus. Even when presented with irrefutable evidence of the use of internationally banned chemical weapons on his own countrymen, the US and NATO have been reticent (cowardly) in confronting this evil practice. Why not? The current leader of Syria’s father dropped poison gas on his own people in Homs when they revolted against his tyrannical rule and the world stood silent.

When the president of the United States declared that the Assad administration’s use of chemical weapons would cross a “red line” and force his hand – well, the red line turned into a yellow streak. The insipid and relatively weak assistance that this erstwhile leader of the world’s greatest superpower has shown to be the denigration and degradation of a once trusted and worthy ally. America’s allies no longer trust her and her enemies no longer fear her. It is not the American people who have lost their courage, it is their incompetently dangerous president and his minions that are responsible.

Not only for the rise of Russian/Iranian imperialism, but for its effect as daily demonstrated by the thousands, if not future hundreds of thousands, of men, women and children, fleeing from the murderous genocide of the Assad aided and abetted by this new Axis of evil-Islamic radicalism and Russian imperialism.

Iran seeks to conquer the Middle East and destroy the Sunni dominated Arab states of the region. With Russian assistance it will expand its imperial power behind Russian bayonets and the threat of its own nuclear umbrella to come. It is biding its time while innocents are being slaughtered and the threats against Israel, Jordan and Lebanon are unrelenting through public declarations and political oratory.

Putin, a product of the Soviet Communist system is well acquainted with the dictum of the father of the Bolshevik revolution that gave birth to the regime that he so faithfully served. V. I. Lenin’s famous quote-” Probe with a bayonet. If you meet steel, stop. If you meet mush, then push.”

The American president, who through Constitutional authority commands the most expansive and well trained military in the history of the world, who purports to be the defender of international human rights, has proven himself to be, in the face of wanton aggression and slaughter, in the abrogation of his country’s duty to defend its most vital and established interests, in his tepid response to evil and his recalcitrance to even identify the greatest threat to Western civilization since the rise of Nazi Germany, has without a doubt, at least in this writer’s estimate, become akin to an ostrich-a bird that buries its head in the sand and presents its foes with an irresistible target.

The Dictionary of American Slang has a word for such a person-a weakling and a wimp-the word is “pansy.” The pansy of the United States will bring the most terrible war upon us all-including by beloved tiny Jewish country.

The Moscow-Washington-Tehran Axis of Evil

October 3, 2015

The Moscow-Washington-Tehran Axis of Evil, Canada Free PressCliff Kincaid, October 3, 2015

(I am not posting this because I currently accept its conclusions or some of their bases. However, it’s frightening, interesting and has at least some food for thought. — DM)

KINCAID100315

The conventional wisdom is that Vladimir Putin has blindsided Barack Obama in the Middle East, catching the U.S. off-guard. It’s another Obama “failure,” we’re told. “Obama administration scrambles as Russia attempts to seize initiative in Syria,” is how a Washington Post headline described it. A popular cartoon shows Putin kicking sand in the faces of Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on a beach.

The conventional wisdom is driven by the notion that Obama has the best of intentions but that he’s been outmaneuvered. What if his intention all along has been to remake the Middle East to the advantage of Moscow and its client state Iran? What if he knows exactly what he’s doing? Too many commentators refuse to consider that Obama is deliberately working against U.S. interests and in favor of the enemies of the U.S. and Israel.

In his U.N. address, Obama said, “As President of the United States, I am mindful of the dangers that we face; they cross my desk every morning. I lead the strongest military that the world has ever known, and I will never hesitate to protect my country or our allies, unilaterally and by force where necessary.”

This is laughable. We still have a strong military, but the inevitable conclusion from what’s recently transpired is that he doesn’t want to protect the interests of the U.S. or its allies in the Middle East. This is not a “failure,” but a deliberate policy.

The trouble with conventional wisdom is the assumption that Obama sees things the way most Americans do. In order to understand Obama’s Middle East policy, it is necessary to consult alternative sources of news and information and analysis. That includes communist news sources.

A fascinating analysis appears in the newspaper of the Socialist Workers Party, The Militant, one of the oldest and most influential publications among the left. You may remember the old photos which surfaced of Lee Harvey Oswald selling copies of The Militant before he killed the American president.

The headline over The Militant story by Maggie Trowe caught my eye: “‘Reset’ with US allows Moscow to send arms, troops to Syria.” It was not about Hillary Clinton’s reset with Moscow years ago, but a more recent one.

Here’s how her story began: “Moscow’s rapid military buildup in Syria is a result of the ‘reset’ in relations forged with the Russian and Iranian governments by the Barack Obama administration. The deal—reshaping alliances and conditions from Syria, Iran and the rest of the Middle East to Ukraine and surrounding region—is the cornerstone of U.S. imperialism’s efforts to establish a new order in the Mideast, but from a much weaker position than when the now-disintegrating order was imposed after World Wars I and II.”

Of course, the idea that “U.S. imperialism” is served by giving the advantage to Russia and Iran is ludicrous. Nevertheless, it does appear that a “reset” of the kind described in this article has in fact taken place. The author writes about Washington’s “strategic shift to Iran and Russia” and the “downgrading” of relations with Israel and Saudi Arabia. She notes that Moscow “seeks more influence and control of the country [Syria] and its Mediterranean ports and a stronger political hand in Mideast politics.” Iran “has sent Revolutionary Guard Quds forces to help prop up Assad, and collaborates with Moscow on operations in Syria,” she notes.

It is sometimes necessary to reject the conventional wisdom and instead analyze developments from the point of view of the Marxists, who understand Obama’s way of thinking. They pretend that Obama is a pawn of the “imperialists” but their analysis also makes sense from a traditional pro-American perspective. Those who accept the evidence that Obama has a Marxist perspective on the world have to consider that his policy is designed to help Moscow and Tehran achieve hegemony in the region.

At the same time, the paper reported, “Since Secretary of State John Kerry’s congenial visit with Putin in May, it has become clear that Washington would accept Moscow’s influence over its ‘near abroad’ in Ukraine and the Baltics, in exchange for help to nail down the nuclear deal with Tehran.” Hence, Obama has put his stamp of approval on Russian aggression in Europe and the Middle East. This analysis, though coming from a Marxist newspaper, fits the facts on the ground. It means that more Russian aggression can be expected in Europe.

The wildcard is Israel and it looks like the Israeli government is being increasingly isolated, not only by Obama but by Putin. The story notes that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Putin in Moscow on September 21, saying his concern was to “prevent misunderstandings” between Israeli and Russian troops, since Israel has carried out airstrikes in Syrian territory targeting weapons being transported to the Iranian-backed Hezbollah terrorists in Lebanon.

Some reports indicated that Israel had set up a joint mechanism with the Russian military to coordinate their operations in Syria.

However, the Russian leader reportedly told Obama during their U.N. meeting that he opposes Israeli attacks in Syria. The Israeli newspaper Haaretz ran a story that Russia intends to “Clip Israel’s Wings Over [the] Syrian Skies.” The paper added that Putin’s remarks to Obama showed that despite Netanyahu’s meeting with Putin in Moscow, “Russia intends to create new facts on the ground in Syria that will include restricting Israel’s freedom of movement in Syrian skies.”

It hardly seems to be the case that Obama has been outsmarted in the Middle East, or that Putin and Obama don’t like each other. Instead, it appears that Obama is working hand-in-glove with Putin to isolate Israel and that Obama is perfectly content to let the former KGB colonel take the lead.

Israel has always been seen by most U.N. members as the real problem in the region. Obama is the first U.S. President to see Israel in that same manner and to act accordingly. This is why Putin has not caught Obama off-guard in the least. They clearly see eye-to-eye on Israel and Iran.

Don’t forget that Obama actually telephoned Putin to thank him for his part in the nuclear deal with Iran. The White House issued a statement saying, “The President thanked President Putin for Russia’s important role in achieving this milestone, the culmination of nearly 20 months of intense negotiations.”

Building off the Iran nuclear deal, it looks like the plan is for Russia and the United States to force Israel to embrace a U.N. plan for a nuclear-free Middle East. That would mean Israel giving up control of its defensive nuclear weapons to the world body. Iran will be able to claim it has already made a deal to prohibit its own nuclear weapons development.

Such a scheme was outlined back in 2005 in an article by Mohamed Elbaradei, the director-general at the time of the U.N.‘s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). That’s the same body that is now supposed to guarantee Iranian compliance with the terms of the nuclear deal signed by Russia and the U.S.

Elbaradei argued there would have to be “a dialogue on regional security as part of the peace process,” to be followed by an agreement “to make the Middle East a nuclear-weapons-free zone.”

The “dialogue” appears to be taking place now, mostly under the authority and auspices of the Russian government, with President Obama playing a secondary role.

The obvious danger is that Israel would be forced to comply with the plan for a “nuclear-weapons-free-zone,” while Iran would cheat and develop nuclear weapons anyway.

Netanyahu told the U.N. that “Israel deeply appreciates President Obama’s willingness to bolster our security, help Israel maintain its qualitative military edge and help Israel confront the enormous challenges we face.”

This must be his hope. But he must know that Israel’s security is slipping and that the survival of his country is in grave danger in the face of this Moscow-Washington-Tehran axis.

Before Putin further consolidates his military position in the Middle East and Iran makes more progress in nuclear weapons development, Netanyahu will have to launch a preemptive strike on the Islamic state. “Israel will not allow Iran to break in, to sneak in or to walk in to the nuclear weapons club,” the Israeli Prime Minister said.

In launching such a strike before the end of Obama’s second presidential term, Israel would bring down the wrath of the world, led by Russia and the U.S., on the Jewish state.

Putin Declares Military Spending War

June 29, 2015

Pentagon accuses Russia of ‘playing with fire’ over nuclear threats towards Nato

by Mary Chastain 28 Jun 2015 Via Breitbart


Cool sunglasses. [Photo Credit: AFP]

(Yeah, well good luck with that one Putin. Just remember the last time your predecessors tried to outspend the good old USA. – LS)

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the country faces intense threats on its border and must upgrade its army for protection. Ukraine disagrees, as its government reports this week that over 54,000 Russian soldiers are standing by on its borders.

“Currently, Russia continues to deploy a group of troops in close vicinity to border and in the occupied territory of Ukraine, consisting of 45 battalion tactical groups, 17 company tactical groups, with a total number of servicemen exceeding 54,000 people, with all weapons and equipment,” stated the Anti-Terrorist Organization press office.

Putin promised new military graduates plans “to spend 22 trillion rubles (over $400 billion) through 2020 to give the armed forces dozens of navy ships, hundreds of new planes and missiles and thousands of tanks and other weapons.” But his nuclear-armed intercontinental missile program has been delayed, which means the first missile will not be available for several months. There are no specific details regarding why it is taking so long.

“The plant is doing its work,” one defense industry source told The Moscow Times. “Everything now depends on whether or not contractors deliver the [remaining] components on time. The red line that cannot be crossed is the end of October.”

Tensions between the West and Russia continue to rise on an almost weekly basis. Russia’s neighbors pleaded for more protection after Moscow invaded eastern Ukraine and illegally annexed Crimea in case Putin targets them next.

America recently announced more defense for NATO allies in Eastern Europe. It is the first time America has increased its presence in Europe since the end of the Cold War. The U.S. will spread weapons and 5,000 troops in Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, and Poland. All of these countries were once Soviet states or satellite states. Russian officials warned of retaliation if America places tanks and weapons near Russian borders.

“If heavy U.S. military equipment, including tanks, artillery batteries and other equipment really does turn up in countries in eastern Europe and the Baltics, that will be the most aggressive step by the Pentagon and NATO since the Cold War,” declared General Yuri Yakubov, the Russian defense ministry official. “Russia will have no option but to build up its forces and resources on the Western strategic front.”

In mid-June, Putin sent waves through the West when he announced that Russia will own 40 new intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2015. The move forced NATO to review its nuclear weapon policy.

“There is very real concern about the way in which Russia publicly bandies around nuclear stuff,” explained a NATO diplomat. “So there are quite a lot of deliberations in the alliance about nuclear [weapons], but it is being done very slowly and deliberately. We need to do due diligence on where we are.”

Putin also caused a panic when he told the world that Moscow can plant nukes anywhere in their territory, including Crimea. Under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), five countries, including Russia, may plant “nuclear weapons anywhere in its territory.” However, the United Nations and NATO still consider Crimea a part of Ukraine. In May, NATO lashed out against Russia’s buildup in Crimea. They also repeated to Moscow that none of them recognize their annexation of Crimea.