The Russian media outlet Fotanka.ru published a long interview by Irina Tumakova on events Russian lawmakers should anticipate in 2017 with one of the most influential and highly quoted intellectuals, Professor Valery Solovei.In the interview, Solovei stated that Russia will witness “the start” of a “very serious political crisis in 2017,” which will last for about three years. He further explained that the political crisis will be characterized by the “growing incapacity of the state power to make decisions”, and implement them. “And at the same time it’s the increase of mass discontent; the society refuses to trust this power. And the refusal gathers strength. I think this process will take two or three years. But it will start in 2017. And the presidential election of 2018 will be an important, maybe even critical, stage of this crisis,” Solovei stated.
According to the Russian intellectual, Russian President Vladimir Putin may for run for the presidency in 2018. However, a constitutional reform would allow Putin to retire from the presidency but retain control. In a previous interview with Russia’s daily newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, Solovei reported about a large-scale constitutional reform in the works that will reduce the Russian presidency to implementing primarily ritualistic and representative functions, but will confide real power to the hands of the head of the State Council. “A post that Putin, naturally, will assume,” Solovei added. At the moment, the State Council is a consultative and extra-constitutional organ, this is the reason why a constitutional reform would be needed.
Commenting on U.S.-Russia relations, Solovei said that Moscow can offer Washington to “to untie the Syrian knot”, and to put pressure on North Korea. However, he added that “Americans don’t care about Russia,” since “they are busy with their own problems.” Solovei stressed: “And if they decide that we are their problem, they will exercise pressure. In the meantime, we are trying to pretend that we are not a problem for them.” Solovei also warned that contrary to U.S. former president Barack Obama, who “was a rather weak president in the sphere of foreign policy,” U.S. President Donald Trump could apply “very strong pressure” on the Russian elite, within “a very short time.”
Below are excerpts from the interview with Solovei:Valery Solovei (Source: znak.com)
Solovei: ‘The [Russian] Authorities Cannot Offer… The Society Any Positive Prospect, In Any Sphere Of Life’
Q: “What political events of 2016 do you consider important enough to impact 2017?”
Solovei: “Last year was not very rich in political events. One cannot claim that the State Duma election, especially in the way it was conducted and its results, was important or in any way fateful. More memorable are the events of the end of the year. Such as minister [Alexey] Ulyukaev’s arrest or Alexei Navalny’s declaration that he was planning to run for the office of president of the Russian Federation. That’s why I think that when historians evaluate 2016, they will not measure its abundance in events but rather the trends that were formed during this year. First and foremost, it is the start of gradual politicization of the Russian society. It is not clearly seen to the naked eye, but I think that it in 2017 it will already be quite clear.”
Q: “How does this politicization manifest itself?”
Solovei: “Our state interferes in all spheres of life, including private life. It is even interested in who sleeps with whom and in what way. When it starts intruding everywhere, it produces growing resentment. The resentment will sooner or later spread into the area of politics. Because any matter where the authorities interfere becomes a matter of politics by definition. It is not unique to Russia, but is a worldwide phenomenon: any issue where the powers interfere immediately becomes a political issue. If the authorities interfere everywhere, they are the ones turning any issue into politics.”
Q: “Why do they do that?”
Solovei: “Out of fear. They want to control everything. They think that if they are in total control, there will be fewer unexpected developments. But in this way, they provoke mounting resentment and aggression in people.”
Q: “That is, the opposite effect is achieved?”
Solovei: “Precisely. And some people are even beginning to realize that. Characteristically there are already attempts to call [Culture] Minister [Vladimir] Medinsky to order, to try and avoid politicization of culture. Because we used to have culture. For example, you didn’t want to know anything about politics, it was all esthetically disagreeable to you. Suddenly, you realize you cannot visit an exhibition or go to a concert anymore, because there are some church banner waving, anti-Maidan militia units there. Because minister Medinsky starts telling you how to evaluate certain historical events. And the minister is a state official. And this causes strong resentment.”
Q: “The second half of 2016 was relatively quiet. Putin, in his address to the Federal Assembly was peacefulness itself. Is this a manifestation of the fact that certain things have gotten through to the authorities?”
Solovei: “No, it’s a manifestation of the fact that [first deputy chief of chief of the Presidential Administration, Sergey] Kiriyenko has received an instruction to patch up relations with masters of culture. But the machine has been put in motion. It has strong momentum, you cannot just stop it. What is the easiest job for the law (or lawlessness) enforcement bodies? Catching those who like or repost social network posts. They will register a crime solved, and they don’t even have to sweat for it, it’s enough to join [the Russian social network] VKontakte.”
Q: “Politicization of society is one trend. What are others?”
Solovei: “The authorities cannot offer the people, the society any positive prospect, in any sphere of life. This ‘peacefulness’ you’ve noticed in the presidential address is easily explained: he has nothing to say. Simply nothing about what is actually troubling people.”
Q: “Previously, when those in power had nothing to say, they explained to us that it was all the fault of ‘our Western partners’.”
Solovei: “No, earlier, from 2003 to 2014, Putin had something to say because the economic situation was not bad, despite the crisis of 2008-2009. People had hopes for the future. And they would invent and construct what was missing in their heads. They knew that we were in the upward trend. And as long as we are in the uptrend, those in power may be forgiven many things.”
Q: “But I meant the explanations after 2013.”
Solovei: “Then, for two years, from 2014 to 2015, the authorities kept explaining to us that greatness comes with a price. But the problem is that you can’t feed people with greatness. And this propaganda of greatness stopped being effective long before now – a year ago, at the turn of 2015-2016. And now the president has nothing to say. When will we see the light at the end of the tunnel? He cannot even tell people when the tunnel will end. This creates apprehensions in people – even those who don’t think about it (and those are the majority). People get the feeling that this crisis is here for a long time that the authorities cannot offer any solution. Accordingly, they cannot feed us the stability spiel any longer. What kind of stability is it when life gets worse and worse? Incomes decrease. Two years ago the president said: you need to be patient for two years – and then everything will be OK.”
Solovei: ‘The Official Forecasts Predict 15-20 Years Of Poverty’
Q: “Two years have passed, and the situation is not as dire as it seemed.”
Solovei: “Yes, but the official forecasts predict 15-20 years of poverty.”
Q: “How many of the 86% of the population see these forecasts?”
Solovei: “They don’t have to see them. People feel. Many things that people are unaware of, that they don’t reflect upon, they sense instinctively. And they react by their behavior. Why do people spend less money? Not only because their income has decreased. They have some savings. But they feel instinctively – this crisis is serious. And the state sees this. And it says: so, you don’t want to give your money to us – then we’ll take it from you. We will introduce entry fee into the city, entry fee into courtyards, we will pull the money out of your pockets.”
Q: “This is definitely something people don’t like at all.”
Solovei: “That’s what I’m talking about: the state offers nothing, gives no hope, and wants to take from you. This produces resentment. And it all started to become apparent in 2016.”
Q: “In what way will this discontent and this politicization manifest themselves?”
Solovei: “They are already apparent. For example, the so-called urban activism is on the rise. There are more and more organizations in Moscow that defend the rights of hoodwinked stakeholders and car owners and protest against infill construction. I know that the same is happening in other large cities. This movement is not political in and of itself. It pursues no political goals. It just says: let us live normally, let us have a say in the decisions on issues that are relevant to us. People are just protecting their interests.”
Q: “Has this reached the level where people don’t care what to protest against as long as they can give vent to their frustration?”
Solovei: “No, people are not making a stand against anything. They say: we don’t want this or that because it decreases our income, makes our lives worse, negatively affects the urban environment. They do not make any political demands; they do not say it’s all because of Putin or United Russia. But sooner or later, it will come to that.”
Q: “How can this happen? There are those who understand this, but most people, as I understand from my talks with them, have to have this connection explained to them.”
Solovei: “There’s no need to explain anything! Or to raise political consciousness. People will get to it themselves. They cannot change anything because such is the nature of power. And if such is the nature of power, sooner or later you find yourself faced with a dilemma: either I go on suffering or I make a stand against this power. And there are always 3-4 percent of people who say: we will no longer tolerate this. This is quite enough. You don’t need 86 percent. These figures – 86%, 14% – mean nothing for politics. They matter in voting only, not in mass public politics. Because 86% always sit at home, whereas 14% may actually take to the streets.”
Q: “But the people in power are no fools, they must be aware of this.”
Solovei: “Firstly, let’s not overestimate their intellectual capabilities. The power in Russia, like everyone else, acts on the principle of ‘as long as everything’s quiet – thank God’, the people have swallowed this until now, so they’ll continue to do so, and somehow it will go away. And if it does not – we have law enforcement agencies. But the problem is that there are no law enforcement agencies. It’s all a giant sham.”
Q: “What about the National Guard?”
Solovei: “What about it? There is no National Guard. It was meant to be some sort of elite unit. But as it turned out, it was not elite at all. Moreover, the efficiency of police has decreased abruptly. The National Guard consists of the same former policemen whose lives have become much worse. When they joined the National Guard, they lost some of their income. They are taxpayers, just like everybody else, but the authorities demand more from them, and the people are not very fond of them. Their lives are no picnic. So it all hangs by a thread.”
Q: “What happens if this thread snaps?”
Solovei: “It can still hold on. You know, it’s always like that in Russia: there is nothing temporary that could not be turned into a permanent fixture. A building is about to fall down – let’s reinforce it with piles. There is a crack in the wall – let’s put some wallpaper on it, it’ll hold the wall together.”
Q: “The appointment of Kiriyenko to the post of deputy head of the presidential administration, in charge of domestic policy, is it one of those ‘patches’?”
Solovei: “No, there are other reasons behind it. And not only political ones. Simply put, a certain group wanted to remove Kiriyenko from Rosatom [State Atomic Energy Corporation], take Rosatom under its own control. And Kiriyenko did not want to leave. Nevertheless, Putin trusts him personally and values him highly. Kiriyenko was picked, firstly, for the election campaign, and, secondly, for the constitutional reform. And there are several versions of this constitutional reform that are being prepared under his supervision.”
Q: “What do they want to change in the Constitution?”
Solovei: “To redistribute authority in state government bodies and create new government bodies. The most well-known part of what they discussed is the establishment of the State Council, a competent state authority. It is not the only variant, there are several of them, but it does not mean all of them will be implemented. Or any of them. Because the National Guard experiment has turned out to be most unsuccessful, and this curtails the implementation of the reform. There are preparations for it, to be sure; maybe the preparations are over already. In the same way, the economic reform is being prepared. Putin gave the assignment– and it’s under preparation. First, it was [former Minister of Finance Alexey] Kudrin who was responsible. Now they are speaking about some integrated governmental program, into which Kudrin’s ideas will be incorporated. There are already several versions of reform lying in the basements of the [Russian Prime Minister’s] White House, but it does not mean anything.”
Q: “Political protests, constitutional and economic reforms – how come everything grows, ripens, but does not actually come to fruition?”
Solovei: “It can all go on for quite a long time at a slow pace. And then, one day at an ugly moment and for someone else perhaps a gorgeous moment it can all explode. A weak spot will reveal itself, and – after all, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.”
Solovei: ‘I Do Not Rule Out The Possibility That [Putin] Will Not Run [For The Presidency In 2018]’
Q: “Should we fear it in 2017?”
Solovei: “Nobody can tell you that. I believe that we will see the start of a very serious political crisis in 2017. I’d like to emphasize – only its start. The crisis itself will last for about three years.”
Q: “What do you mean by the words ‘political crisis’? What will it look like?”
Solovei: “It is a growing incapacity of the state power to make decisions, and what’s more – to implement them. And at the same time it’s the increase of mass discontent; the society refuses to trust this power. And the refusal gathers strength. I think this process will take two or three years. But it will start in 2017. And the presidential election of 2018 will be an important, maybe even critical, stage of this crisis.”
Q: “Can you already tell who will run for presidency in 2018?”
Solovei: “I can’t even tell whether Putin is going to be a candidate. He is getting ready for the elections, but it has not been finally decided yet.”
Q: “He said recently that he was very tired and that he would like to travel but the president’s job does not let him.”
Solovei: “He said it twice over the past two months, which is not typical of him. So, I do not exclude the possibility that he will not run.”
Q: “I will ask the pet question: if not Putin – who then?”
Solovei: “Dmitry Medvedev. He is the most suitable candidate.”
Q: “And how do you evaluate Navalny’s chances?”
Solovei: “If he can work out the right message to give to the country, he could have a good chance. He has the social networks, the population of large cities that he can win over… I think his chances are underappreciated. If he approaches it in a competent and sensible way, he can challenge Putin. And even defeat him.”
Q: “Medvedev or even Navalny – will Putin simply retire and travel?”
Solovei: “I don’t think so. This is what the constitutional reform is about: to let him retire but retain control. But nothing is decided yet. Any decision in Russia, especially now, is put off till the last moment.”
Q: “What do you mean by the ‘last’ moment?”
Solovei: “When you can no longer delay the decision, you have to make it. That is, you had to make it yesterday, so you’ll make it today. Because you always count on the chance that the circumstances will change for the better. By the way, it was Putin who started it. This hope that fate may throw you a surprise: oil prices will go up, Brexit, Trump will be elected president, etc.”
Q: “How can Trump’s election affect Russia? Watching the news, one gets the impression that his victory in the U.S. is Russia’s new national holiday, as if a new ‘good supervisor’ was appointed instead of evil Obama.”
Solovei: “Such is the Russocentric character of our propaganda; it shows that the entire world revolves around Russia. Everybody thinks only about how to do it harm, all that’s going on should be seen from our point of view. Of course, it is not so. But there is a chance to come to an agreement and weaken the sanctions. There’s a chance – it does not mean everything is settled, but it is possible. With Hillary Clinton it would hardly be possible. But with Trump you can talk, which is good for Russia. Or, more precisely, for its authorities.”
Q: “Why for the authorities?”
Solovei: “Because, firstly, it would relax the grip of the economic vise. Secondly, it would remove the American pressure on the elite – which is what it is really afraid of. By the way, our elite was lucky with Obama. He was a rather weak president in the sphere of foreign policy. Any strong American president, like Ronald Reagan, or even Trump, could apply very strong pressure on our elite – much more powerful than the pressure it is experiencing now. And within a very short time.”
Q: “Maybe, this is what Trump will do? Contrary to all the rejoicing in the Russian press, the team he has formed could not be described as great lovers of Russia.”
Solovei: “That is true. But that depends on whether we can come to an agreement. Americans don’t care about Russia; they are busy with their own problems. And if they decide that we are their problem, they will apply pressure. In the meantime, we are trying to pretend that we are not a problem for them.”
Q: “It is clear what we want from America. But Trump is a businessman. What can we offer in return, in what can we interest him?”
Solovei: “We can’t offer much, but we do have something. We can offer to untie the Syrian knot, we can participate in it together. We can offer to put pressure on North Korea, although here we are not as strong as, say, China.”
Q: “And that’s it?”
Solovei: “I think so, yes.”
Q: “Isn’t it too little to exchange for Crimea and sanctions?”
Solovei: “Nobody in Russia can possibly hope that the Crimea issue will be resolved! And after all, the most serious sanctions were applied against us not because of Crimea, but because of Donbass. Especially since the sanctions can be, in fact, watered down without announcing their removal. Which is what we hope for: that if we reach an agreement on Syria, we will then be able to come to an agreement on sanctions.”
Q: “In the beginning of our conversation you mentioned Ulyukaev’s arrest as an important event of 2016. In what way can it draw attention to itself in 2017?”
Solovei: “Actually, Ulyukaev’s arrest is the third trend what was formed in 2016. Not an event, but a trend. And a very important one: transformation of punitive measures into a mechanism for controlling the economy and politics. This is the meaning of repressive crackdowns: they must be illogical. So that people would be afraid. Imagine: you are under threat, but you don’t understand the logic behind it. Will you be eager to work? You will hardly try very hard if you know that any initiative on your part serve as the basis for launching a criminal investigation.”
Q: “Are they trying very hard now?”
Solovei: “At least they work. But the risk of persecution decreases their efficiency. It gets harder and harder to make decisions and ensure their implementation. That’s why it is yet another trend that will bring about the political crisis.”
Q: “I believe there were conversations similar to ours in early 1916; at that time, Lenin said that there would be no revolution in his generation.”
Solovei: “To be precise, he said it in January 1917. Three weeks before the revolution in Russia started. But no revolution in the world history has ever been predicted. I wrote an entire book about revolution [titled ‘Revolution! The Fundamentals of Revolutionary Struggle in Modern Times’], which is very popular, especially in the State Duma. You can spend an evening telling people that ‘everything is peaceful in Baghdad’ [reference to a popular movie and song], and the next day you’ll find yourself in a revolutionary country.”
 The conversation was conducted by journalist Irina Tumakova.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6698, Russian Daily Mk.ru Removed Interview With Renowned Scholar Valery Solovei Predicting That ‘It Is Not Unlikely That [Putin] Will Have To Be Absent From The Public Spotlight For A Few Months’, December 2, 2016.
 Fotanka.ru, January 4, 2017.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6756, Echo Of Moscow Interviews Russia’s Anti-Corruption Crusader Navalny Following His Announcement That He Will Run For President In 2018, January 26, 2017. This week a Russian court in a retrial found Navalny guilty of corruption charges, and the guilty verdict, even it does not involve jail time, will disqualify him from running. Themoscowtimes.com, February 8, 2017.
 See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6698, Russian Daily Mk.ru Removed Interview With Renowned Scholar Valery Solovei Predicting That ‘It Is Not Unlikely That [Putin] Will Have To Be Absent From The Public Spotlight For A Few Months’, December 2, 2016.
Hated by those who hate Russia
by Iben Thranholm
January 26, 2017
Recently Marie Krarup, a member of the Danish Parliament for the Danish People’s Party – contacted me to say that the EU task force East Stratcom has placed me on a list branding me as a pro-Russian propagandist and is accusing me of spreading Russian disinformation.
This organisation was set up in March 2015 by the European Council to implement an action plan on strategic communication to address what it labels ”Russia’s on-going disinformation campaigns”, allegedly aiming to destabilize European democracy. To this end, East StratCom ”publishes two public weekly newsletters to stay up to date with the latest disinformation stores and narratives”. Have a look at EastStratcoms website.
This was shocking news to me. Marie Krarup requested a consultation with Danish Minister for Foreign Affairs Anders Samuelsen. She found that the task force accusation violated my constitutional rights under Danish law to exercise freedom of speech, and found this to be stark evidence of the EU usurping undemocratic and totalitarian privilege to list commentators, pundits and journalists that criticize EU policies and EU leaders.
The minister disagreed. He stated that Iben Thranholm deserved her listing as a pro-Russian agent and should remain so listed. He indicated that I was hired by the Kremlin to destabilize Europe. Despite the consultation, this remains his position. No action has been taken to amend the list. No further comment has been offered on the case in the media.
The consequences may be dire. If the conflict with Russia escalates, the state will have the right to imprison me as an enemy of the state. Already now I have been branded a traitor and unpatriotic. Many opinion leaders and colleagues have composed and published an open letter criticizing the ministry. Social media have been brimming with support, but my government remains stubborn in its accusation that I am a Russian agent. This means that I am no longer protected by the state of which I am a national.
For the last couple of years, I have used Russian English-language media like RT op-ed section and Russia Insider for publishing my thoughts on the way the Western elites’ hatred of Christianity weakens and undermines Western culture.
My choice of non-Western media like RT as a platform is certainly not motivated by any payment from Putin. No, it is rooted in the fact that as a conservative Christian Catholic, my thoughts and views are simply increasingly difficult to get published in Europe.
For years now I have had to work as an independent journalist. No editor will take on the risk of employing a person who is open and outspoken about his or her Christian faith, let alone Catholic faith, the way I am. Christians are socially marginalized, derided, and viewed with suspicion if not actually as mentally disturbed. The few Christians left are either secularized – gone native by agreeing with the establishment – or have taken a vow of silence for fear of the political correctness storm troopers. They have no impact on European culture. Their salt has lost its power to keep society from putrefaction.
The article that landed me on the East Stratcom list dealt precisely with the way the elite abused arguments of Christian charity to abandon registration of the identity of who entered which country and for adopting a blanket open-border policy when the tsunami of refugees and immigrants flooded across Europe’s borders in 2015. Their hatred of Christianity certainly does not keep them from abusing arguments of Christian charity divorced from its context when it suits their own agenda.
Allow me to quote some passages from the article, entitled “Misguided Compassion Threatens to Become the Downfall of Europe”
“Europe is like Judas, betraying its Christian tradition with the traitorous kiss of false compassion in order to obliterate the last vestige of Christian civilization in Europe. True charity always springs from a higher moral absolute, a clear distinction between right and wrong, good and evil. False charity offers compassion for the criminal and not the victim. No charity for the woman who is victimized by rape but pity for the perpetrator, the rapist. Such pity is a gross perversion.”
“In spite of their use – or rather abuse – of “loving one’s neighbor”, politicians are devoid of the Christian basis for distinguishing good from evil. Our politicians promote the forces of evil and utterly abandon their victims. This is merely an extension of the policies of the West in the Middle East since the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Western politicians consistently identify evil as good, and good as evil. They unleash destructive forces to rampage unimpeded and oppress good wherever the West enters the scene with its military or economic warfare.”
“The fierce hatred of the Western political elite for Christianity has robbed Europe of its moral compass. Using Christian arguments for waging war on Christianity and Christian culture is a vile demonic parody. From a spiritual perspective, it is clear that Europe has made an unholy alliance with islamism in order to annihilate its Christian civilisation. This diabolical scam wears a cloak of goodness and humanitarianism, but it is really a manifestation of moral decay and false altruism that threatens to bring about Die Untergang des Abendlandes, the end of Christian Europe”.
At the consultation in the parliamentary committee meeting, the minister alleged that my article contained lies and myths that fitted into a Kremlin narrative of the decline of the West, and that my arguments bore no relation to reality.
One may agree or disagree with this interpretation. The question is whether this makes me a Russian agent or an enemy of the state. The task force offers no proof of an agreement between the Kremlin and me. For the good reason that no such contract exists. It is an allegation, pure and simple. At the consultation, the minister refuses to take a position on the matter of principle involved in placing participants in the social debate on the list. He merely dismisses my statements as lies.
It is highly revealing that the task force pounces on this article on this subject, because it deals precisely with distinguishing between the truth and lies, and points out that the political elite has entirely lost its ability to distinguish between the truth and lies. This abandonment of truth is far and away the greatest threat to world peace in this day. Russia is not.
Today’s politics are entirely beyond the irrelevant left/right and red/blue paradigm.The real issue is truth v lies, good v evil, right v wrong.
The American election campaign blew this truth wide open. There was hardly any real policy debate, but reams of lies were revealed as masquerading as truth. In its wake, the unspeak designers launched the phenomenon of “fake news” in order to regain control of the narrative. The EU task force has also been set up for achieving a monopoly for the EU version of acceptable reality. The war on truth rages on after President Trump’s inauguration, and the presstitute media now intensify their campaign to brand Trump as a liar.
What irony that a very long epoch of relativism of values, during which the political elite and intellectuals decided that there is no truth, has now ended abruptly with a frenzied claim that truth is all that matters. What immense irony that those who taught young people that there is no truth now exalt themselves as truth tellers, and then hurls accusations of lying against any who does not toe the line of their pragmatic version of truth. The pinnacle of sad irony is that generations reared on the absence of truth from reality now clamor for truth. They have lost faith in the assumption that the media they trusted blindly are telling them the truth.
The media have been roundly exposed as liars. Yet the media claim that the exposure of their lies is a lie and that people who want the truth are lying. Those who tell the truth are blamed as liars, while the media adamantly maintain that they are the truth tellers. Confused? The world has moved from the usual conflicts in the realm of geopolitics and economics to moral and spiritual warfare. The world now witnesses an epic confrontation between the truth and lies, light and darkness, that was kept invisible for so long. A spiritual war is raging between those who choose good and those who choose to call good what is evil.
Yet who is prepared and equipped for this epic battle of our day? Relativism of values has rendered many, if not most, completely without solid ground and the first idea of what is good and what is evil, utterly unable to recognize truth and defend themselves against lies. They have learned no rudiments on discerning because they have grown up with no spiritual foundation and no inkling of Christian truth. This is a big problem, as it is impossible to understand the world today if one has no spiritual eyes with which to see.
No one can fight for truth, which is spiritual without the ability to recognize truth and distinguish it from the lie. Without the spiritual understanding, no one has the weapons to fight against evil and lies. The chaotic struggle raging in journalism and social media today is a visible expression of this spiritual war.
Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that “godlessness is the first step to the Gulag”. When EU politicians adopt unconstitutional methods for listing political opponents or people who publish moral truth, they declare their godlessness before God and man, and wage war against Christianity and Christian culture. When the state and its ideology place themselves in God’s seat, all hell breaks loose. Democracy offers no guarantee: collectivism can exercise totalitarianism under democracy’s banner. The freedom of speech is now violated in Europe and there is now no freedom for journalists to speak the truth as they see it.
In the 1940s, George Orwell wrote “during times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” This is our precise position today. Journalists must therefore accept it as a badge of honor and courage when the establishment brands them as liars and pro-Russian propagandists, for this is the highest evidence that they are speaking the truth. They must see themselves as freedom fighters and find comfort and strength in the words of Christ in the Gospel: “truth will set you free.”
FULL MEASURE: January 08, 2017 – Russia Watching via YouTube, January 11, 2017
Trump’s team is on point, Israel Hayom, Boaz Bismuth, December 14, 2016
(Please see also, Trump picked Tillerson for tough new Iran policy. — DM)
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, comes from outside the State Department, just like Colin Powell did under former U.S. President George W. Bush. There is one thing that should be noted, however: starting Jan. 20, both the U.S. president and the secretary of state will be outsiders, without political or diplomatic backgrounds. Get ready for changes and Washington-style inventions, like moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Tillerson comes to the State Department with 40 years’ experience in a multinational company, ExxonMobil. For the past decade, Tillerson, who knows the world, has served as head of the company. It’s hard to say that an inexperienced person has been appointed secretary of state. Even Henry Kissinger had less international experience than Tillerson when he was appointed to the role, unless you count the number of foreign students he taught at Harvard.
Some will say that the appointment of Tillerson is problematic, especially for Israel: first of all, because of his close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin; secondly, because of his close ties with the Gulf states; and third, because the former candidates for Trump’s secretary of state (former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, John Bolton, and even former Governor Mitt Romney) are considered more pro-Israel.
Let’s start with Russia: Tillerson might be a Putin favorite, but we can also assume this means he will always find a sympathetic ear at the Kremlin. What’s bad about that? The Obama administration sought to improve ties with Russia and was even responsible for a reboot in relations between Washington and Moscow. That reboot was so “successful” that at times we thought that Russia had resurrected the Soviet Union. We can assume that when Tillerson is in charge at the State Department, things will change. We can also assume that the president-elect and Tillerson will support the removal of sanctions currently in place against the Russians. Offered honey that sweet, the Russian bear will become much less irritable, and might continue strengthening ties with Israel.
Moving on to the Gulf states: Tillerson has worked for oil giants, so it’s obvious that he was in close contact with the Sunni Arab producers. The Gulf states, which like Iran about as much as Israel does, will explain to him that Tehran is a danger, not an opportunity. He’ll hear exactly the same thing in Jerusalem.
What tipped the scales in his favor, for Trump, was the fact that Tillerson knows how to close deals. Unlike former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, he won’t fly around the world just to try to move things along; he will get on a plane to solve problems. And possibly even help the movers get the embassy equipment from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. A new president, a new team, a new age.
Trump picked Tillerson for tough new Iran policy, DEBKAfile, December 14, 2016
Rex Tillerson, Chairman an CEO of Exxon Mobil, was named this week as the next administration’s Secretary of State to execute the tough foreign policies charted by president-elect Donald Trump, including his decision to stiffen the nuclear accord signed with Iran as soon as he moves into the White House on Jan. 20.
DEBKAfile reports this exclusively from New York and its intelligence sources.
While campaigning for the presidency, Trump called the accord “the worst deal” ever.
According to our sources, a special team is already working on revisions of the accord which the US and five other global powers concluded with Iran in 2015 in the hope of retarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program by a decade.
As new president, Trump will issue Tehran with a unilateral demand to accept those revisions as pre-condition for the continuation of relations between the US and Iran. He does not intend consulting America’s co-signers, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France, or asking them for their endorsement of the revamped accord.
The teams preparing the Trump administration’s Iran policy were put in place last week by Tillerson and designated national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn.
No members of the incumbent NSC, State Department, Pentagon or Treasury, who managed the Obama administration’s Iran policy, was invited to take part. The teams were instead chosen from among scientists, military leaders and intelligence officials who opposed the nuclear accord with Iran.
Also attached were former administration officials hired by Exxon for their extensive knowledge of Iran’s oil trade and their close ties with oil circles in the Gulf Emirates, which like Israel, fought hard to pre-empt the nuclear deal with Iran.
Our sources have also learned that if Iran rejects the revised accord, the president elect has a list of new economic sanctions drawn up which are a lot tougher than the sanctions regime imposed by the Bush and Obama administrations.
The incoming president will have a fight on his hands to get the Tillerson appointment through the Senate in the face of objections raised by Republican lawmakers over his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin. However, Trump hopes to turn those ties to his advantage. He trusts that Tillerson is just the man to sell the new administration’s Iran policies to the Russian president.
Read more about Trump’s plans for his secretary of state in the coming issue of DEBKA Weekly (for subscribers) out on Friday. Dec. 16, 2016.
The world has turned itself upside down. Only yesterday the liberals and the left (the “progressives,” as they want to be called) regarded the CIA as the locus of evil, the gang that couldn’t shoot straight, forever poisoning gentle minds with a diet of conspiracy and tall tale.
In those gloomy days of the Cold War, where every day was seasoned with a sharp wind and a cold rain, it was the Democratic intellectuals who were forever chiding the rest of us that the Soviet Union was not so bad, the Russians just wanted to be understood and maybe deserved an occasional cuddle. It was the Republicans and other conservatives who were mindless rubes who imagined there was a mad Russian under everybody’s bed.
Now the CIA, in the liberal/left’s fevered dreams, is the last bulwark of the republic, the last remaining hope to turn the 2016 election result on its head and deprive Donald Trump of the victory he won. The Russians, it now turns out, are just as bad as the conservatives said they were.
The president, at last awake and paying attention to Russian cyber warfare, wants answers, and by noon on Jan. 20. He can then only dine out on the answers, because he won’t have any more authority to do anything about them than the cat.
Desperation pursues despair, and the Democrats are stumbling from inanity to insanity in search of a way to block Donald Trump’s path to the White House. Hilary Clinton’s remnant of a campaign has endorsed an attempt by a handful of members of the Electoral College — 9 Democrats and a rogue Republican — to get the “intelligence briefing” they think might derail next Monday’s scheduled day for the members of the Electoral College to vote for president, 306 of whom are honor bound to vote for the Donald. That’s 36 votes more than he needs.
“The bipartisan electors’ letter raises very grave issues involving our national security,” John Podesta said Monday. “Electors have a solemn responsibility under the Constitution and we support their efforts to have their questions addressed.
“Each day our campaign decried the interference of Russia in our campaign and its evident goal of hurting our campaign to aid Donald Trump. Despite our protestations this matter did not receive the attention it deserved by the media in our campaign. We now know that the CIA has determined Russia’s interference in our elections was for the purpose of electing Donald Trump. This should distress every American.”
What should distress every American is the way the left, the liberals, the progressives and their handmaidens in the press have discarded reasonable conversation to try out every absurd alarm, one after the other, to see whether one could stick, to undermine and undercut the results of what everyone agrees was a free and fair election on Nov. 8. None has worked. More than a month later, the republic stands.
Hysteria now threatens to become insanity. Rep. Jim Hines of Connecticut, a Democrat, says it came to him in the night, as if Marley’s ghost was rattling his chains at the bedside, “that this man is not only unqualified to be president, he’s a danger to the republic. I do think the Electoral College should choose someone other than Donald Trump to be president. That will lead to a fascinating legal issue, but I would rather have a legal issue, a complicated legal problem, than to find out the White House was now the Kremlin’s chief ally.”
Accusing a president-elect of treason, of plotting with the enemy against his country, and with no evidence at all, is something that even a congressman from Connecticut should understand is beyond the limits of rational and decent political debate. Alas, it’s par for the course on the left this season.
The sudden deep concern by President Obama and the Democrats about Russia and cyber warfare, is a bit rich. The Washington Post, which continues so deep in denial that its side lost the election that it may never find the way to the next stage of grief, hangs its survival on the conclusion of the intelligence agencies — which, to put it charitably, have a dismal record of finding out what’s going on anywhere.
A competent president and a responsible “intelligence community” would have done something about the Russians and their hackers a long time ago. Whining doesn’t work.