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Putin’s Blitz Leaves Washington Rankled and Confused
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On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a blistering critique of US foreign policy to the UN General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Barack Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back. This is from Reuters:

“France will discuss with its partners in the coming days a proposal by Turkey and members of the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday…

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think,” Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly…

Hollande said such a proposal could eventually be rubber-stamped with a U.N. Security Council resolution that “would give international legitimacy to what’s happening in this zone.”…(France, partners to discuss northern Syria ‘safe zone’: Hollande, Reuters)

Hollande is a liar and a puppet. He knows the Security Council will never approve a no-fly zone. Russia and China have already said so. And they’ve explained why they are opposed to it, too. It’s because they don’t want another failed state on their hands like Libya, which is what happened last time the US and NATO imposed a no-fly zone.

But that’s beside the point. The real reason the no-fly zone issue has resurfaced is because it was one of the concessions Obama made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the use of Incirlik airbase. Washington has kept the terms of that deal secret, but Hollande has let the cat out of the bag.

So who put sock-puppet Hollande up to this no-fly zone nonsense?

Why the Obama administration, of course. Does anyone seriously believe that Hollande is conducting his own independent policy in Syria? Of course not. Hollande is just doing what he’s been told to do, just like he did when he was told to scotch the Mistral deal that cost France a whopping $1.2 billion. Washington and NATO didn’t like the idea that France was selling state-of-the-art helicopter carriers to arch-rival Putin, so they ordered Hollande to put the kibosh on the deal. Which he did, because that’s what puppets do; they obey their masters. Now he’s providing cover for Obama so the real details of the Incirlik agreement remain off the public’s radar. That’s why we say, Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back, because, ultimately, the no-fly zone damages Russia’s interests in Syria.

The significance of the Reuters article cannot be overstated. It suggests that there was a quid pro quo for the use of Incirlik, and that Turkey’s demands were accepted. Why is that important?

Because Turkey had three demands:

1–Safe zones in north Syria (which means that Turkey would basically annex a good portion of Syrian sovereign territory.)
2–A no-fly zone (which would allow either Turkish troops, US Special Forces or US-backed jihadi militants to conduct their military operations with the support of US air cover.)
3–A commitment from the US that it will help Turkey remove Assad.

Did Obama agree to all three of these demands before Erdogan agreed to let the USAF use Incirlik?

Yes, at least I think he did, which is why I think we are at the beginning of Phase 2 of the US aggression against Syria. Incirlik changes everything. US bombers, drones and fighters can enter Syrian airspace in just 15 minutes instead of 3 to 4 hours from Bahrain. That means more sorties, more surveillance drones, and more air-cover for US-backed militias and Special Forces on the ground. It means the US can impose a de facto no-fly zone over most of Syria that will expose and weaken Syrian forces tipping the odds decisively in favor of Obama’s jihadi army. Incirlik is a game-changer, the cornerstone of US policy in Syria. With access to Incirlik, victory is within Washington’s reach. That’s how important Incirlik is.

And that’s why the normally-cautious Putin decided to deploy his warplanes, troops and weaponry so soon after the Incirlik deal was signed. He could see the handwriting on the wall. He knew he had to either act fast and turn the tide or accept the fact that the US and Turkey were going to topple Assad sometime after Turkey’s snap elections on November 1. That was his timeline for action. So he did the right thing and joined the fighting.

But what does Putin do now?

On Wednesday, just two days after Putin announced to the UN General Assembly: “We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world,” Putin ordered the bombing of targets in Homs, an ISIS stronghold in West Syria. The attacks, which were unanimously approved by the Russian parliament earlier in the day, and which are entirely legal under international law (Putin was invited by Syria’s sitting president, Assad, to carry out the airstrikes), have put US policy in a tailspin. While the Russian military is maintaining an open channel to the Pentagon and reporting when-and-where it is carrying out its airstrikes, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US plans to “continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria” increasing the possibility of an unintended clash that could lead to a confrontation between the US and Russia.

Is that what Washington wants, a violent incident that pits one nuclear-armed adversary against the other?

Let’s consider one probable scenario: Let’s say an F-16 is shot down over Syria while providing air cover for Obama’s militants on the ground. Now that Russia is conducting air raids over Syria, there’s a good chance that Putin would be blamed for the incident like he was when the Malaysian airliner was downed over East Ukraine.

So what happens next?

Judging by similar incidents in the past, the media would swing into full-propaganda mode exhorting the administration to launch retaliatory attacks on Russian military sites while calling for a broader US-NATO mobilization. That, in turn, would force Putin to either fight back and up-the-ante or back-down and face disgrace. Either way, Putin loses and the US gets one step closer to its objective of toppling Bashar al Assad.

Putin knows all this. He understands the risks of military involvement which is why he has only reluctantly committed to the present campaign. That said; we should expect him to act in much the same way as he did when Georgian troops invaded South Ossetia in 2007. Putin immediately deployed the tanks to push the invading troops back over the border into Georgia and then quickly ended the hostilities. He was lambasted by critics on the right for not invading Georgia and removing their leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, in the Capital. But as it turned out, Putin’s restraint spared Russia the unnecessary hardship of occupation which can drain resources and erode public support. Putin was right and his critics were wrong.

Will his actions in Syria mirror those in South Ossetia?

It’s hard to say, but it’s clear that the Obama crew is thunderstruck by the speed of the intervention. Check this out from the UK Guardian: “Back at the White House, spokesperson Josh Earnest suggests that Vladimir Putin did not give Barack Obama warning about his intentions to begin air strikes in Syria.

“We have long said we would welcome constructive Russian coordination,” Earnest says, before qualifying that the talks between US and Russian militaries will be purely tactical: “to ensure that our military activities and the military activities of coalition partners would be safely conducted.” (The Guardian)

What does Earnest’s statement mean? It means the entire US political class was caught off-guard by Putin’s blitz and has not yet settled on an appropriate response. They know that Putin is undoing years of work by rolling up proxy-units that were supposed to achieve US objectives, but there is no agreement among ruling elites about what should be done. And making a decision of that magnitude could take time, which means that Putin should be able to obliterate a fair number of the terrorist hideouts and restore control of large parts of the country to Assad before the US ever agrees to a strategy. In fact, if he moves fast, he might even be able to force the US and their Gulf allies to the bargaining table where a political solution could be reached.

It’s a long-shot, but it’s a much better option then waiting around for the US to impose a no-fly zone that would collapse the central government and reduce Syria to Libya-type anarchy. There’s no future in that at all.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Russia, Syria 
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  1. Russia is doing what it must do and I am thankful for it. The danger is that the ‘exceptional and indispensable’ lunatics in the West will double down on stupid.

    • Replies: @Realist
  2. Realist says:

    Washington is always Rankled and Confused.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
    • Replies: @KA
  3. Realist says:

    ” The danger is that the ‘exceptional and indispensable’ lunatics in the West will double down on stupid.”

    And most Americans will be right there to support them.

    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  4. @Realist

    Just listening to the people around me gives me the impression that they 100% drink the MSM coolaid and likes it.

  5. Mike omitted Iraq is in process of turning to the Russia, Iran, Syria axis, not to mention Iran is preparing to inject ground forces into Syria. Putin has flipped the western powers banquet table:


    ^ “The bottom line going forward is that the US and its regional and European allies are going to have to decide whether they want to be on the right side of history here or not, and as we’ve been careful to explain, no one is arguing that Bashar al-Assad is the most benevolent leader in the history of statecraft but it has now gotten to the point where Western media outlets are describing al-Qaeda as “moderate” in a last ditch effort to explain away Washington’s unwillingness to join Russia in stabilizing Syria. This is a foreign policy mistake of epic proportions on the part of the US and the sooner the West concedes that and moves to correct it by admitting that none of the groups the CIA, the Pentagon, and Washington’s Mid-East allies have trained and supported represent a viable alternative to the Assad regime, the sooner Syria will cease to be the chessboard du jour for a global proxy war that’s left hundreds of thousands of innocent people dead”

    • Replies: @Bill Jones
  6. The time has past for sanctions and propaganda. Russia, China and Iran have made it clear they will not take orders from Washington. The Empire can admit that is does not and will not rule the world or it can proceed to nuclear winter. My hope is that Washington will simply continue posturing, threatening, dithering, stalling, lying and bombing wedding parties until the dollar goes tits up. At which time they will repatriate their legions or simply abandon them in place.

    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
  7. @WorkingClass

    ” . . . Russia, China and Iran have made it clear they will not take orders from Washington. . . .”

    Nor should they.

  8. Wally says: • Website

    “That’s why we say, Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back, because, ultimately, the no-fly zone damages Russia’s interests in Syria.”

    And who says that a no fly zone, regardless of who wants and decides it, would even be obeyed by Russia?

  9. And there is, of course no danger of of a man like Putin whose main concern seems to be the interest of his people being elected in the US

    • Replies: @Realist
    , @tbraton
    , @AndrewR
  10. Realist says:
    @Bill Jones

    “And there is, of course no danger of of a man like Putin whose main concern seems to be the interest of his people being elected in the US”

    No, sadly this country will elect another worthless, lying, corrupt asshole.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson, Ace
    • Replies: @Astuteobservor II
  11. I doubt the Syrian Arab Army at this point has the resoources to retake control of eastern Syria, even with Russian air support. A few hundred or couple thousand Iranian soldiers would not be enough to tip the balance either. But western Syria can be secured.

  12. @Ronald Thomas West

    Al Qaeda and its various franchises are merely the CIA’s Foreign Legion.

    • Replies: @bunga
    , @Ronald Thomas West
  13. Macilrae says:

    An interesting point, raised by a commentator in the Guardian article referenced above, is that there may well be a deeper game afoot than merely the elimination of Assad’s opponents by Russia – the question arises as to what would happen if Israel escalates its involvement, directly attacking Government targets under the Russian’s noses. It may well be for this reason that the SU-30 Flankers (primarily an extremely agile fighter) have been deployed by the Russians – as an implicit warning to the Israelis, who seldom relish fighting on equal terms; still less in a confrontation with the Russians.

    Since the Opposition has no aircraft, it is hard to see what other purpose could be served by this deployment.

    • Replies: @Simon in London
  14. What does Earnest’s statement mean? It means the entire US political class was caught off-guard by Putin’s blitz and has not yet settled on an appropriate response.

    This explains the risible incoherence of the propaganda of the last 24 hours from the Yanks and their pathetic vassals like the Aussie Justice Minister in NY who whined about how the Russians were “untrustworthy” after wasting a base of Al Nusra Front guerillas (US allies). Their meassage is completely disorganised.

  15. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    That the world let this go on for so long is proof that we are living in a Jomo-centric world.


    And CNN shows you a Pope they despise [for hours on end] while FOX NEWS promotes single-digit candidates – and Trump leads the polls nationwide – then goes to CSPAN to be ignored by mainstream media.Yes folks, we're doomed. It's over.Ronald HintonP.S: Is it Journalism yet?

    Posted by Ronald Hinton on Saturday, September 26, 2015

    Naomi Wolf:

    “Shocking, astonishing, jaw-dropper: Putin spells out in surprisingly clear sober and even statesmanlike detail the way the US armed funded and fomented the mercenaries who became ISIS and how this situation sends mercenaries to occupy countries with oilfields, then the mercenaries (now ISIS) sell the oil to the US’ allies and the US has access to the oil through their allies. He lays out US complicity in this arrangement. He critiques with careful examples including Libya the US strategy of dong this same thing with mercenaries that pose as ‘rebels’ or ‘extremists’ over and over — he cites Libya. And he asks the US to move past its militaristic endless push for domination for the sake of oil resources. Boy does this explain the weird fancy dinner party I attended for Pussy Riot where everyone was a Western gas hedge fund guy. Share widely and watch every single word.”

  16. tbraton says:
    @Bill Jones

    “And there is, of course no danger of of a man like Putin whose main concern seems to be the interest of his people being elected in the US”

    I never thought I would say this, but, when I saw that two-segment interview with Putin that started off the new season of 60 Minutes on Sunday, I said to myself “why can’t we have a President like that?” When the President of Russia looks so good in comparison to the lunkheads we have had as President of the U.S. for many years now, you know there is something seriously amiss here at home. Of course, the third and final segment of Sunday’s show was an interview of Donald Trump.

    • Replies: @Orville H. Larson
  17. @Macilrae

    There’s also the Turks, if not the Americans.

    • Replies: @Macilrae
  18. AndrewR says:
    @Bill Jones

    From what I’ve read of Putin, his main priority seems to be the enrichment of self and fellow oligarchs. But he still has far more concern for the future of Russia than the elites in the US do for the future of the US.

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  19. bunga says:
    @Bill Jones

    So why US media is complaining of Russia targeting non IS held rebel areas? WaPo NYT FOX have lost sleep over the new developments and FOX lost it even yesterday when it should have spent some more time on OR shooting. But the moment it became known that it was some Chris Mercer , it started focusing on Russian action in Syria, Iran ,Nuclear Deal and Israel- all combined in same footage

    • Replies: @Ace
  20. Macilrae says:
    @Simon in London

    Yes, just so – I rather take it for granted that there is sufficient sanity to avoid at all costs a Russia US confrontation but, as you rightly say, the Turks are a possibility.

  21. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    “From what I’ve read of Putin, his main priority seems to be the enrichment of self and fellow oligarchs.”

    Here’s the big problem with Russia. The problem isn’t just the oligarchs or mainly the oligarchs. It’s the people. If Russians were more like Germans or Japanese, more would get off their butts and work at doing stuff.
    But most Russians, though hardy, are without initiative and intellect. They exist to take orders and be given stuff to do.
    So, Russia is naturally bound to favor the oligarchs.
    Because so many Russians are lackluster, most of the wealth is gonna concentrate at the top, indeed more so than in the West, which is also pretty oligarchic these days.

    So, economically Russia is a basketcase. But the themes of Putin have nationalist overtones, and that is good. And Putin is right to fear Western-style privatization cuz it means Jewish-globalist takeover of everything such as media.

    • Replies: @Macilrae
    , @global
  22. @Bill Jones

    Tell me something I didn’t know:


  23. Renoman says:

    Putin is a real leader not some hand wringing Pussy like pretty well every Western leader. He’s gonna do more in a month than the US did in a year and the enemy won’t be driving any Russian vehicles and firing Russian guns when it’s over. GO VLAD!!!

  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    A new alliance has formed with devastating consequences for Israel. The possibility of Nasrallah in possession of advanced Russian weapons and munitions must be terrifying to Netanyahu.

  25. Macilrae says:
    @Priss Factor

    “Here’s the big problem with Russia. The problem isn’t just the oligarchs or mainly the oligarchs. It’s the people.”

    I see … and to what degree would you say this might apply to the US?

    • Replies: @Priss Factor
  26. @Realist

    it isn’t like we have a choice in the matter. everything is a farce.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
  27. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says: • Website

    “I see … and to what degree would you say this might apply to the US?”

    Yes, it is a problem in the US too for several reasons:

    Rise of finance as the biggest industry. And rise of gambling too.

    Massive immigration and massive outsourcing of certain industries.

    Due to ‘free trade’, the global rich can make more than ever by finding the cheapest labor while expanding consumer markets globally. And domestic wages can be lowered by import of massive numbers of immigrants.

    When finance becomes the main economy, it is bound to lead to oligarchies. Finance is mostly an insider game. Those who are inside get everything. Those on the outside haven’t a clue. Also, finance is one industry where you can make tons of money by producing nothing at all. It is system set up by weasels to suck the wealth from others into their own pockets. Soros is a master at this.

    Now, finance is crucial to any modern economy. It certainly has a role to play in handling savings, investing, lending, and etc. When kept to its basic functions, it causes no harm. But once smarties look for ways to use and abuse finance to make more money for themselves, finance becomes like Wolf of Wall Street. It turns into a casino where those-in-the-know fix things to make all the dough flow to them.
    Then, finance is no longer working with and serving the economy but defining the very nature of the economy. So, when finance became the #1 industry in the US, Americans needed to worry. Notice that there are so many tricks to finance. So many fancy instruments that have nothing to do with basic functions of finance. Instead, they are just more ways for financiers to play the game, rig the game, and pull all sorts of tricks to make more money for themselves without producing any goods or services.

    If there’s any decency, all financial tools should be banned but the most basic ones related to the essentials of saving, lending, investing, and trading. Take out all instruments that encourage insider info and gambling and wild speculation.

    In most sectors, you have to make something to make money. Or you have to provide tangible services. But finance doesn’t have to make anything. It is necessary as financial service, but financiers often play the game just to serve themselves in the most gratuitous manner.
    Also, it’s relatively easy to tell if a certain company is successful or not in non-financial industries. If a restaurant fails to attract customers, it is failing. If a factory builds stuff but can’t sell them, it too is failing.
    But look at for how long Lehman Bros and Bears Stearns got away with total nonsense before they finally went bust. Cuz finance deals only with paper work, things can be manipulated and distorted in all sorts of ways to hide the truth. You can cook the books more than in any other industry. And as the FED makes Wall Street and Washington incestuous partners and since Wall Street is the main contributor to political donations, finance sector can get away with all sorts of things with the full protection and bailout measures of the government.

    Even so, there is still a sizable middle class in America made up of hard workers, skilled professionals, and small businessmen. Such is much absent in Russia.
    And not all oligarchs are the same. Russian oligarchs really haven’t done much. They just got their hands on lots of natural resources.

    In contrast, a good number of American oligarchs made a lot of money by actually making cutting-edge stuff in medicine, technology, machinery, computers, robotics, transportation, and etc. They are visionary-creative oligarchs, and their industries do hire a lot of talented people. I hate Google arseholes, but who can deny that it is a great company that has created lots of opportunities for talented workers?

    Such is missing in Russia.

    Also, many US oligarchs are independent of the government. They are self-made people. Whatever one thinks of Steve Jobs or Bill Gates or Larry Ellison, they made stuff.
    In contrast, the only way to be super-rich in Russia is to be part of the inner circle closely aligned with government.

    Russia needs to mold its people into citizens focused on self-discipline, work ethic, respect for learning, and passion for entrepreneurship. Unless Russians develop a new national character, most people will just rely on Putin and Oligarchs to sell oil and distribute some jobs and offer some benefits. I suppose life can be adequate that way, but it won’t lead to progress. Russia got rid of serfdom long ago, but a kind of serf-mentality still prevails in Russia. Russians try to grab what is there(like natural resources) but generally lack the vision to make something out of nothing with ingenuity and individuality.

    • Replies: @sher
  28. Art says:

    One can only imagine the pressure that Obama is under to do something drastic. All the war crazy neocon Jews are salivating.

    Fox News is apoplectic – its main Jew, Charles Krauthammer is on every program hyperventilating and screaming for military action from the White House.

    Let us hope Obama remembers “don’t do something stupid.”

    • Replies: @Ronald Thomas West
  29. @Art

    Let us hope Obama remembers “don’t do something stupid.”

    That’s asking a lot of a guy that meets weekly with John Brennan on “Kill List Tuesdays”

    I could go on with enough examples to sicken any sane person but you probably get the idea –

  30. Macilrae says:

    The Priss Factory said:

    “Russia needs to mold its people into citizens focused on self-discipline, work ethic, respect for learning, and passion for entrepreneurship.”

    I agree with a lot of what you say. I was in Russia at the very birth of the new oligarchy; saw a state-owned entity being ‘absorbed’ into private hands even as a token commissar sat in his office smiling and privily taking his share.

    Russians had good education under communism; they had vast natural resources and territory but they lack, even today, what they have always lacked – management. If they appear lazy and unmotivated, it was bred into them under communism, because they aren’t naturally lazy and they certainly aren’t stupid: no more so than “Americans” in fact. They just need good leadership and have never had it. Anarchy takes decades to live down and Putin treads a hazardous path among the oligarchs as he steadfastly tries to drag his people back from the abyss – on him we must disagree.

    But I asked you about Americans for another reason: the problem in America is the apathy which causes the majority to believe what the MSM are telling them and to pleasurably wallow in the pablum dispensed by the pop industry, the sports industry, the entertainment industry and the religious industry. This pablum, like the MSM, is of course dosed with state propaganda at every opportunity and it keeps the masses relatively content, over-fed and self indulgent and … apathetic. Especially, it keeps them from actively questioning government policy – and they will either vote for Tweedledum or Tweedledee. Meanwhile the oligarchs prosper and the poorer classes expand – this will go on for a good while yet, but not for ever.

    Just as an interesting example of media power: a survey was recently done of many countries asking who they see as the biggest threat to world peace:

    (conducted by the World Independent Network of Market Research and Gallup International 2013)

    the greater proportion of the world’s population asked said it was the USA: only the US, Canada and UK (plus, strangely, Romania) said it was Iran. Thus has the MSM the power to sway the thinking, the very limited thinking, of entire populations in these countries.

    • Agree: Orville H. Larson
    • Replies: @Drapetomaniac
  31. conatus says:

    Reuters had an article about a year ago, “Special Report :How the US made its Putin problem worse” April 19, 2014 by David Rohde and Arshad Mohammed
    We have repeatedly dissed Putin and the Rooskies by regarding them as vassals and not junior partners in the world with the two of us, the big guns. They let us fly over their airspace at the beginning of the Iraq War and in return we slapped them in the face, invited 7 more nations to join NATO and withdrew from the anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty to build a missile defense.
    Yeah we are trustworthy, a real good friend. Then we backed Kosovo and screwed Serbia(Russia’s buddy) all the while trying to export ‘Democracy'(which means ‘Be Gay!!!!’ in Americanski-speak.)
    No wonder they have copped an attitude toward us. We are world class slime balls. the lesson the Russians learned is if you deal with United States always count your change.

    • Replies: @Ace
  32. @tbraton

    Compared to the likes of “Blow Job Bill” Clinton, Bush The Lite, and O-Bomb-a, Vlad Putin looks like a pillar of statecraft.

    • Agree: tbraton
  33. Odysseus says: • Website

    I lost hope some time ago. America will continue to be ruled by eunuchs, nancy boys and women until the whole structure comes down. That may take quite a long time to occur if the history of Rome is any guide.

  34. tbraton says:

    “Compared to the likes of “Blow Job Bill” Clinton, Bush The Lite, and O-Bomb-a, Vlad Putin looks like a pillar of statecraft.”

    I must say I was impressed with the interview on 60 Minutes. He came across to me as very intelligent, with a very good sense of humor and a good deal of charm, and a very straight shooter, unlike the current numbnut in the Oval Office. If one stops and thinks about it, Putin’s position with respect to Syria is very much in accord with international law, in contrast to the position of the U.S. He is acting in response to a request of the legitimate government (whether you like it or not) of Syria and providing military defense against a rebellious force that seeks to overthrow the legitimate government. That rebellious force happens to be comprised, with the exception of the “four or five Syrian moderates” the U.S. used a half billion dollars to recruit, of Al Qaeda, which attacked us on 9/11 and is supposed to be our enemy, and, even worse, ISIS, which has demonstrated that it shares no values of Western Civilization. On the other hand, in complete violation of international law, the U.S. and its allies Turkey, the Emirates and Saudi Arabia (which supplied 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 and produced and financed Osama Bin Laden), have recruited, financed and armed an insurgent force which seeks to overthrow the legitimate government of Syria. And Obama is waging that war against Syria without the express approval of Congress, making our operation there doubly illegal.

  35. I’m rootin’ for Putin!

  36. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The Russians are now committed and they are fighting both the American proxy and ISIS. In ten years we will see how it worked out. Good luck.

  37. KA says:

    Some of the are walking dead demented without a head on their chicken shoulder

    ““They may be bombing civilians, which is actually not true,” McCain said, when asked about civilian casualties in Yemen.

    “Civilians aren’t dying?” I asked.

    “No, they’re not,” the senator replied. “Oh, I’m sure civilians die in war. Not nearly as many as the Houthis have executed,” McCain continued, referring to the Shiite militia waging an insurgency against the Sunni government in Yemen.

    Asked about the recent reports of Saudi forces bombing a wedding party in Yemen, McCain said, “I’m sure in wars terrible things happen and the Houthis however are an extremist group backed by the Iranians who are slaughtering Yemenis.”

  38. Truth says:

    Man, I had no idea there were so many Pinko-Commies on this site. What does “our marvelous and vainglorioius Pravda” have to say about this? Consult your daily subscriptions; I would assume it’s pretty much the same stuff you have written here, Po-Kovic.

    • Replies: @Ace
  39. @tbraton

    You should read the transcript of the entire 60 Minutes interview of Putin with Charlie Rose. CBS cut out so much that there can be no doubt that they are keeping the American people from getting the truth about Putin and U.S. foreign policy. America has a become like the old Soviet Union, and Russia, today, is more like the nation our Founding Fathers crafted. Who is the evil empire now?

    • Replies: @tbraton
  40. @Macilrae

    “Russians had good education under communism; they had vast natural resources and territory but they lack, even today, what they have always lacked – management.”

    If you mean management in terms of voluntary associations – then I agree.

    If you mean governance by way of government then they will suffer increasing levels of Ringo’s observation that everything government touches turns to crap and I disagree.

    • Replies: @Macilrae
  41. Ron Unz says:

    Well, for years I’ve been telling people we should consider the approach taken in some European countries a few hundred years ago…

    When a country was sufficiently badly managed, it would sometimes invite some foreign leader to come and assume power in order to set matters right.

    It seems to me that although the American people are generally pretty good, our ruling elites are absolutely dreadful, possibly among the worst in the world. So I think we’ve certainly reached the point at which a delegation of American notables should consider traveling to Moscow and offering the American throne to Putin, suggesting that he establish a new Dual Monarchy, or perhaps a slightly different version of Jerry Pournelle’s old Co-Dominion.

    Furthermore, given our own serious national infestation of worthless Oligarchs, his selection would be particularly apt, given his long and successful past experience in dealing with such greedy and troublesome individuals. Indeed, I suspect that the vast majority take flight from our shores even as Vladimir I was making his triumphal entrance into DC, much like rats immediately flee at the faintest whiff of “cat”…

  42. Truth says:
    @Ron Unz

    Mr. Unz, on behalf of the sub-150 IQers here, I have to ask; was this sarcasm?

  43. tbraton says:
    @Ron Unz

    “So I think we’ve certainly reached the point at which a delegation of American notables should consider traveling to Moscow and offering the American throne to Putin, suggesting that he establish a new Dual Monarchy, or perhaps a slightly different version of Jerry Pournelle’s old Co-Dominion.”

    Wow! And here I thought I was going against the grain by stating some uncomfortable truths about the war in Syria. I think Carly Fiorina would point out that your proposal, no matter how much sense it makes, might require a Constitutional amendment since I don’t seem to recall any Constitutional provision allowing for a “Dual Monarchy.” And then there is the slight problem that Putin was not born in the U.S., and I definitely recall there is such a requirement in the Constitution to run for President. With those two minor problems aside, I share your total disgust with our elite and the people running our foreign policy. It’s a shame we gave up our Greco-Roman myths of long ago because we sure could use a neo-Hercules to clean out our Augean stables. (I just Googled Augean stables and was reminded that the stables of King Augeas had not been cleaned for 30 years. Our stables might have more filth since 30 years only takes us back to Reagan in 1985. The one hopeful sign is that Hercules is reputed to have founded the Olympic games after completing the fifth labor.)

    • Replies: @Jeff Albertson
  44. tbraton says:
    @Minnesota Mary

    “You should read the transcript of the entire 60 Minutes interview of Putin with Charlie Rose. CBS cut out so much that there can be no doubt that they are keeping the American people from getting the truth about Putin and U.S. foreign policy. ”

    Thanks for the suggestion, Minnesota Mary. If 60 Minutes cut out really juicy parts of the interview, I wouldn’t be surprised. As the host of our site, Ron Unz, pointed out years ago, our MSM have become “American Pravda.” I seem to recall that the brother of Obama’s advisor, Ben Rhodes, occupies a prominent spot at CBS News. And I also seem to recall that 60 Minutes excised some potentially embarrassing material from the Bill and Hillary Clinton interview back in early 1992, prior to the crucial New Hampshire primary. And as I pointed out on another thread several weeks ago, Jake Tapper of CNN, who was one of the hosts at the last Republican debate, posed one of his questions to the candidates by referring to “our enemy” Syria. How could any responsible journalist make such an outrageous statement. How can we refer to Syria as “our enemy” when Congress has not declared war against Syria and has no grounds for declaring such war against Syria.

    • Replies: @tbraton
  45. tbraton says:

    BTW here is the link to the complete transcript of the Charley Rose interview with Vladimir Putin in case anyone is interested in reading it:

    I find it interesting that the complete transcript is available only because it was provided by the Russians. It was posted on the Kremlin’s website! That seems to underscore Minnesota Mary’s point about “Who’s the Evil Empire now?”

    • Replies: @tbraton
    , @Minnesota Mary
  46. @Ron Unz

    Since he’s not a US citizen, I suppose we can’t write in Putin for president, can we? I would love to it, if only as a protest vote.

  47. tbraton says:

    In reviewing the transcript, I came across this question from Charley Rose, which apparently was not cut from the televised portion of the interview but which slipped right by me at the time:

    “CHARLIE ROSE: As you know, the Republicans are likely to win the elections. As for Iran’s nuclear deal, there is a big debate. What would you tell them?”

    I guess it must be the conventional thinking at 60 Minutes and/or CBS News that the Republicans will win “the elections,” which must mean the elections of 2016. That happens to be my view, but I’m somewhat surprised that Charley Rose would state it in such a matter of fact way.

  48. KA says:
    @Ron Unz

    Yes I agree. Isn’t that consistent with the Neo liberalization- free movement of capital and labor also?
    May be we cn get them on H 1 or guest worker visa .
    Europeans in medieval ages invited leaders,soldiers,dictators,and royals in times of domestic crisis or serious security threat and sought them abroad when dynastic succession had gotten messy or religious expression in one’s own land had faced challenges or redirection
    The tradition did not die . It changed its name and reason . Soviet did a lot. Lately few Fireign figures have joined Eukraine government. Austria was told to get rid of Haider otherwise .
    In other areas,America simply declare them to be persona non grata in their own countries . Regime change from outside by Hitler,Stalin or by the rich businessmen ( in Central America) have now been entirely taken over by US as a permanent fixture.

    A lot of tears would have been saved if our Founding Fathers instead of asking or native born citizenship as a requirement for any top government office could have inserted or added the clause that no foreign president or prime ministers should ever be chosen by any native born Amerrican.

  49. Vlad says:

    When we know that J Mac Cain confess syrian rebels are trained by CIA, what can we hope about these devils !

  50. @tbraton

    First, Constitution, ha,ha.
    Second, just give him Kissinger’s old job, or Jarret’s.

    We’re just asking for better management.

  51. Macilrae says:

    “If you mean governance by way of government then they will suffer increasing levels of Ringo’s observation that everything government touches turns to crap and I disagree.”

    Clearly, if we are to have a world comprising distinct nations, each nation must provide itself with a system of governance. Ringo’s comment is quite unhelpful because it gives no better alternative.

    Governance is what I meant when I said management.

    Ron Unz has chipped in to say that American ruling elites are “possibly among the worst in the world” but it seems to me there is no escaping some kind of elite class (even if imported, as he suggests!). Probably, however, we shouldn’t bother Putin because he has enough on his plate.

    Where in the world, then, do we find good governance? For which countries can we we look and say “their system is just and successful”? I suppose we immediately think of Sweden, Norway, Slovenia and maybe the Singapore of Lee Kwan Yew – certainly these are countries that have had very little obvious corruption but they are all very small – and until recently racially reasonably homogeneous (Singapore by design). As we look around we find it hard to name any nation that’s well run and corruption-free: certainly none of the big countries.

    As to which are the worst in the world, there is a disturbing number of contenders for that distinction.

  52. @Ron Unz

    ” . . . It seems to me that although the American people are generally pretty good, our ruling elites are absolutely dreadful, possibly among the worst in the world. . . .”

    Well, I take exception, at least in part. If the American sheeple–er, people–were any good, they wouldn’t elect–and reelect–bought-and-paid-for political hacks to office. A grave failing, that.

    Of course, Unz is correct that “our ruling elites are absolutely dreadful, possibly among the worst in the world.”

  53. global says:
    @Priss Factor

    Well,as if USA doesn’t have oligarchs like trump-buffet-soros-kochs who actually influence and run USA govt

    • Disagree: Orville H. Larson
  54. @tbraton

    tbraton, thanks for providing the link!

  55. attonn says:

    Putin should nuke Qatar – and everything will become very quiet. I say Qatar, because one warhead would do the job.
    It’s a nice little warning to the rest of the gang.

  56. @tbraton

    One of the things that impressed me about that interview was the number of times Charlie Rose tried to bait Putin into saying something negative about the US government, Obama etc and how Putin invariably replied with something like, “It’s not for me to say,” or “That’s for Americans to decide.” Very diplomatic and careful not to offend.

  57. sher says:
    @Priss Factor

    most of american ‘progress’ has been through silicon valley which has progressed basically because of asian immigration, look up project socrates.

    The father of intel pentium, hdtv, java, usb, etc were from ‘backward, clannish, low iq’ india.

    So… what did the west do beside loot the americas to get rich??

    I don’t see anything else unless you count sellign their women to turk muslims.

  58. Ace says:

    I don’t understand the indifference now to the US arming and supplying ISIS and the”moderate terrorists” inside Syria.

    Obama was hot to invade with his”red line” nonsense and Putin saved the day for us then. There was US resistance to involvement but now we are at war with Syria with no declaration and every commentator, propaganda outlet, and consultant just assumes we should be outraged and alarmed by Russia’s attack on “our” Musims inside Syria.

    What the heck happened? Can Obama just attack any country and cost us billions on his say so? I don’t see this discussed. At one time this was a big deal.

    • Replies: @Avery
  59. Avery says:

    It isn’t just Obama.

    Since WW2 , all wars US has initiated or gotten involved in have been illegal according to US Constitution: only during WW2 US Congress declared war.
    But that hasn’t stopped the lawbreakers from doing whatever they want.

    What Obama has done is despicable and illegal, including the extrajudicial killing of a US citizen who was never charged with a crime, faced his accusers in court, nor convicted.
    US citizen Anwar al-Awlaki and his 16 year old son were killed on Pres Obama’s orders.
    His “crime” ? advocating killing of Americans.
    I despise Islamist radicals and the likes of al-Awlaki , but who gave Pres Obama the right to kill a US citizen with no trial ?

    And before Obama, Bush and Cheney decided on their own to invade a country 1000s of miles away from US.
    A country which had neither threatened nor attacked US.
    100s of 1000s of innocent Iraqis have been killed.
    Yet war criminals Bush, Cheney, Blair, etc instead of being locked up in the Hague, are prancing around, and collecting handsome speaking fees.

    It is a sick world we live in.

    • Replies: @Ace
  60. Ace says:

    I heard the USSR collapsed a short while ago. It was in all the papers.

  61. Ace says:

    I hate to admit to naivete but the US government had “legitimacy” in my eyes up to 1988. I thought Bush ’41 was useless and Clinton a creepy amoral flower child but something of an understandable experiment once the stress of the Cold War abated.

    Fast forward to now where I know the Supreme Court is corrupt, we have an America-hating freak as president, and we have a sham representative republic. Chicanery in the past seemed more an aberration. Now it’s a lunatic state awash in lies and ruled by gutless professional politicians who have contempt for the Constitution.

    I’ll reserve judgment on Anwar. You can’t be a Muslim and be a citizen of the US or any infidel country.

  62. Ace says:

    Excellent points. Not only is there the lost opportunity to deal respectfully and cooperatively with Russia but we’ve gone overboard on the demonization of Russia. I hated the Soviets but they went away (notwithstanding some poisonous residue throughout the rest of the world).

    The rush to expand NATO east is bizarre.

    As was the rush to involve ourselves in Bosnia, Libya, Egypt, and Syria. Those were classic opportunities to make the Europeans responsible for stuff in their back yard.

    There is something to this Zbignewskian ”we got to be top dog” idea.

    It’s a strange experience to be a US citizen and see the government act completely like an unelected oligarchy with zero domestic opposition. Ruritania.

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