Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Six Reasons Not To Worry About Russia Invading The Baltics

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Russia has failed the soft power war in the Baltics. It was lost since in the 1990s and is never coming back. The Scandinavian banks dominate Lithuania. There is not a Sberbank or a VTB Capital to be found. Amored weapons on the border, if there are any, do not translate into a pending invasion. NATO has just as many weapons on the same borders. The truth is that Russia does not have a seat at the table in the Baltics, and part of that is by design, both in the Baltics, and in Hillary’s Washington.

Turkey's rising tension with Russia over Kurds puts Erdoğan in a corner

(Guardian)  Escalating tension between Russia and Turkey will reach a new high when the Democratic Union party (PYD), the leading Kurdish political organisation in north-eastern Syria, which Ankara regards as a terrorist group, opens a representative office in Moscow on Wednesday at Vladimir Putin’s personal invitation.

The development comes amid a dangerous tug-of-war between Russia and the US for power and influence in strategic areas along the Turkey-Syria border. Washington backs the Syrian Kurds in fighting Islamic State (Isis) jihadis. Moscow’s priority is to thwart western-backed efforts to topple Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime.
Wednesday’s opening ceremony in Moscow, which is expected to be attended by Russian foreign ministry officials, is seen by Turkish politicians and analysts as a deliberate provocation and part of a wider bid to expand Russian regional influence.

In Turkish eyes, the move stems from a Putin vendetta that began last November after a Russian warplane entered Turkish airspace from Syria and was shot down. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, rejected Putin’s demand for an apology and compensation and has called on Nato for support. On Monday, Putin said he would not back down.

Monday, February 8, 2016

There is a Special Place in Hell

"There is a special place in hell" ... for women who don't vote for Hillary, says Madeleine Albright stumping for the Clinton Dynasty. And I'm sure Maddie will be there to greet them at the door. Undoubtedly one of the most evil creatures of the post Cold War period, and one those most responsible for reviving it.

Looks like Russia has a surveillance state to match that of the US.   Maybe even exceed it,

Russia’s spy agencies have the ability to snoop on emails via Sorm, a sophisticated system first developed by the KGB to eavesdrop on phone calls. The FSB’s (Federal Security Service) legal powers go well beyond those of the US National Security Agency or GCHQ. Russian internet service providers are obliged to install Sorm black boxes; they have no clue as to what Russian intelligence agents choose to intercept.
Soldatov and Borogan argue that what troubles Vladimir Putin is that the servers of big global platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are located in the US. Russia’s president takes a dim view of the internet, which he personally doesn’t use. In 2014 he dubbed it a “CIA project”. The challenge for the Russian authorities, as they saw it, was to force these US-hosted platforms to relocate their servers to Russian territory. There, of course, the state could control them.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Ukrainian Ex-Premier’s Visit to Washington Highlights Obstacles Facing Peace Pact

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Ms. Tymoshenko said that pushing too quickly to carry out the accord could allow Russia to retain the ability to destabilize Ukraine politically at Mr. Putin’s whim.

“It seems to me a fundamental mistake to try to end the Ukrainian conflict at any price,” she said.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Armed with new U.S. money, NATO to strengthen Russia deterrence

(Reuters)  U.S. plans for a four-fold increase in military spending in Europe to $3.4 billion in 2017 are central to the strategy, which has been shaped in response to Russia's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
Russia has made clear it would regard any moves to bring NATO infrastructure closer to its borders a threat and the Kremlin has warned it would take "reciprocal steps."
A study by the RAND Corporation, a U.S. defense think tank, found tat Russia could overrun the Baltics states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania within three days, leaving NATO and the United States no good options to respond.
Allies say there will not be permanent NATO bases in Poland or the Baltics despite strong campaigning by the new conservative Polish government. Warsaw will host the next summit of NATO leaders in July and sees offers of British and French troops for exercises as signaling a permanent presence, though diplomats deny this is the case.
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