Is Putin the ‘Preeminent Statesman’ of Our Times?
Thursday - March 30, 2017 at 8:35 pm
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By Patrick J. Buchanan
“If we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the preeminent statesman of our time.
“On the world stage, who could vie with him?”
So asks Chris Caldwell of the Weekly Standard in a remarkable essay in Hillsdale College’s March issue of its magazine, Imprimis.
What elevates Putin above all other 21st-century leaders?
“When Putin took power in the winter of 1999-2000, his country was defenseless. It was bankrupt. It was being carved up by its new kleptocratic elites, in collusion with its old imperial rivals, the Americans. Putin changed that.
“In the first decade of this century, he did what Kemal Ataturk had done in Turkey in the 1920s. Out of a crumbling empire, he resurrected a national-state, and gave it coherence and purpose. He disciplined his country’s plutocrats. He restored its military strength. And he refused, with ever blunter rhetoric, to accept for Russia a subservient role in an American-run world system drawn up by foreign politicians and business leaders. His voters credit him with having saved his country.”
Putin’s approval rating, after 17 years in power, exceeds that of any rival Western leader. But while his impressive strides toward making Russia great again explain why he is revered at home and in the Russian diaspora, what explains Putin’s appeal in the West, despite a press that is every bit as savage as President Trump’s?
Answer: Putin stands against the Western progressive vision of what mankind’s future ought to be. Years ago, he aligned himself with traditionalists, nationalists and populists of the West, and against what they had come to despise in their own decadent civilization.
What they abhorred, Putin abhorred. He is a God-and-country Russian patriot. He rejects the New World Order established at the Cold War’s end by the United States. Putin puts Russia first.
And in defying the Americans he speaks for those millions of Europeans who wish to restore their national identities and recapture their lost sovereignty from the supranational European Union. Putin also stands against the progressive moral relativism of a Western elite that has cut its Christian roots to embrace secularism and hedonism.
The U.S. establishment loathes Putin because, they say, he is an aggressor, a tyrant, a “killer.” He invaded and occupies Ukraine. His old KGB comrades assassinate journalists, defectors and dissidents.
Yet while politics under both czars and commissars has often been a blood sport in Russia, what has Putin done to his domestic enemies to rival what our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has done to the Muslim Brotherhood he overthrew in a military coup in Egypt?
What has Putin done to rival what our NATO ally President Erdogan has done in Turkey, jailing 40,000 people since last July’s coup — or our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over the extrajudicial killing of thousands of drug dealers?
Does anyone think President Xi Jinping would have handled mass demonstrations against his regime in Tiananmen Square more gingerly than did President Putin this last week in Moscow?
Much of the hostility toward Putin stems from the fact that he not only defies the West, when standing up for Russia’s interests, he often succeeds in his defiance and goes unpunished and unrepentant.
He not only remains popular in his own country, but has admirers in nations whose political establishments are implacably hostile to him.
In December, one poll found 37 percent of all Republicans had a favorable view of the Russian leader, but only 17 percent were positive on President Barack Obama.
There is another reason Putin is viewed favorably. Millions of ethnonationalists who wish to see their nations secede from the EU see him as an ally. While Putin has openly welcomed many of these movements, America’s elite do not take even a neutral stance.
Putin has read the new century better than his rivals. While the 20th century saw the world divided between a Communist East and a free and democratic West, new and different struggles define the 21st.
The new dividing lines are between social conservatism and self-indulgent secularism, between tribalism and transnationalism, between the nation-state and the New World Order.
On the new dividing lines, Putin is on the side of the insurgents. Those who envision de Gaulle’s Europe of Nations replacing the vision of One Europe, toward which the EU is heading, see Putin as an ally.
So the old question arises: Who owns the future?
In the new struggles of the new century, it is not impossible that Russia — as was America in the Cold War — may be on the winning side. Secessionist parties across Europe already look to Moscow rather than across the Atlantic.
“Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism,” writes Caldwell. “That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that’s true even here.”
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DONALD TRUMP’S MESSAGE OF COOPERATION TO BASHAR AL-ASSAD
Published: April 3, 2017
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The editor-in-chief of Lebanon’s prestigious al-Akhbar newspaper, Ibrahim al-Amin, has revealed in his recent editorial  that Tulsi Gabbard, the United States Representative for Hawaii whose trip to Syria in January and meeting with Bashar al-Assad was widely reported in media, had conveyed President Trump’s offer of cooperation to Assad during the meeting.
The editorial in Arabic is full of detailed accounts of Gabbard's conversations with Assad, her airport handlers, security detail, etc. Although al-Akhbar newspaper generally takes the side of the Assad regime against the Syrian opposition but its reporting over the years, particularly on the conflict in Syria, has been fairly balanced, insightful and highly credible.
Additionally, what lends further credence to Ibrahim al-Amin’s account of Tulsi Gabbard’s meeting with Bashar al-Assad is the fact that the views of Gabbard and Donald Trump on the crisis in Syria are quite similar. The English translation of a relevant excerpt from the Arabic editorial reads as follows:
Tulsi Gabbard asked Assad: “If President Trump contacted you, would you answer the call?” Assad replied: “Is this a hypothetical question, or a proposal?” Gabbard: “It’s not hypothetical. This is a question to you coming from President Trump which he asked me to convey to you. So let me repeat the question: If President Trump contacted you, would you answer the call?” Assad replied: “Of course. And I’ll give you a number where I can be reached quickly.”
Moreover, on the campaign trail, in his speeches as well as on TV debates with other presidential contenders, Donald Trump repeatedly mentioned that he has a ‘secret plan’ for defeating the Islamic State without elaborating what the plan is? To the careful observers of the US-led war against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, however, the outlines of Trump’s ‘secret plan’ to defeat Islamic State, particularly in Syria, are now getting obvious.
As far as the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq is concerned, the Trump Administration is continuing with the policy of its predecessor. The Trump Administration’s policy in Syria, however, is markedly different from the regime change policy of the Obama Administration.
Unlike Iraq where the US is providing air and logistical support to Iraq’s armed forces and allied militia in their battle to retake Mosul from the Islamic State militants, the conflict in Syria is much more complex that involves the Syrian government, the Sunni Arab militant groups, the Kurds, Turkey and Russia.
Regarding the recapture of Palmyra from the Islamic State by the Syrian regime, a March 2 article in the Washington Post carried a rather paradoxical headline: “Hezbollah, Russia and the US help Syria retake Palmyra” . The article by Liz Sly offers clues as to how the Syrian conflict might transform under the new Trump Administration.
Under the previous Obama Administration, the unstated but known policy in Syria was regime change, and any collaboration with the Syrian regime against the Islamic State was simply not on the cards. The Trump Administration, however, looks at the crisis in Syria from an entirely different perspective, a fact which is obvious from Donald Trump’s statements on Syria and more recently, from Ibrahim al-Amin’s testimony on Tulsi Gabbard’s message of cooperation from President Trump to Bashar al-Assad. Moreover, unlike the Obama Administration which was hostile to Russia’s interference in Syria, the Trump Administration is on friendly terms with Assad’s main backer in Syria, i.e. Russia.
It is stated in the aforementioned article by Liz Sly that the US carried out 45 air strikes in the vicinity of Palmyra against the Islamic State’s targets in the month of February alone, which must have indirectly helped the Syrian government troops and the allied Hezbollah militia to recapture Palmyra along with Russia’s air support.
Although expecting a radical departure from the six years-long Obama Administration’s policy of training and arming the Sunni Arab militants against the Syrian regime by the Trump Administration is unlikely. However, the latter regards jihadists as a much bigger threat to America’s security than the former. Therefore some indirect support and a certain level of collaboration with Russia and the Syrian government against radical Islamists cannot be ruled out.
What would be different in the respective Syria policy of the two markedly different US administrations, however, is that while the Obama Administration did avail itself of the opportunity to strike an alliance with the Kurds against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, but it was simply not possible for it to come up with an out of the box solution and use the Shi’a-dominated regime and allied militias against the Sunni Arab militant groups particularly the Islamic State.
The Trump Administration, however, is not hampered by the botched legacy of the Obama Administration in Syria, and therefore it might align itself with the Kurds as well as the Russians and the Syrian government against the Islamic State’s militants in Syria.
Two obstacles to such a natural alignment of interests, however, are: firstly, Israel’s objections regarding the threat that Hezbollah poses to its regional security; and secondly, Turkey which is a NATO member and has throughout nurtured several Sunni Arab militant groups during the six years-long conflict would have serious reservations against the new American administration’s partnership not only with the Russians and the Syrian government but also with the PYD/YPG Kurds in Syria, which Turkey regards as an offshoot of separatist PKK Kurds in southeast Turkey.
It would be pertinent to mention here that unlike the pro-US, Iraqi Kurds led by Masoud Barzani, the Syrian PYD/YPG Kurds as well as the Syrian government are also ideologically aligned, because both are socialists and have traditionally been in the Russian sphere of influence.
full article continues at link
Deep State War? Russian Officials Keep Dying Unexpectedly
by Tyler Durden
Feb 27, 2017 7:09 PM
Six Russian diplomats have died in the last 60 days. As Axios notes, all but one died on foreign soil. Some were shot, while other causes of death are unknown. Note that a few deaths have been labeled "heart attacks" or "brief illnesses."
1. You probably remember Russia's Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov — he was assassinated by a police officer at a photo exhibit in Ankara on December 19.
2. On the same day, another diplomat, Peter Polshikov, was shot dead in his Moscow apartment. The gun was found under the bathroom sink but the circumstances of the death were under investigation. Polshikov served as a senior figure in the Latin American department of the Foreign Ministry.
3. Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died in New York this past week. Churkin was rushed to the hospital from his office at Russia's UN mission. Initial reports said he suffered a heart attack, and the medical examiner is investigating the death, according to CBS.
4. Russia's Ambassador to India, Alexander Kadakin, died after a "brief illness January 27, which The Hindu said he had been suffering from for a few weeks.
5. Russian Consul in Athens, Greece, Andrei Malanin, was found dead in his apartment January 9. A Greek police official said there was "no evidence of a break-in." But Malanin lived on a heavily guarded street. The cause of death needed further investigation, per an AFP report. Malanin served during a time of easing relations between Greece and Russia when Greece was increasingly critiqued by the EU and NATO.
6. Ex-KGB chief Oleg Erovinkin, who was suspected of helping draft the Trump dossier, was found dead in the back of his car December 26, according to The Telegraph. Erovinkin also was an aide to former deputy prime minister Igor Sechin, who now heads up state-owned Rosneft.
If we go back further than 60 days...
7. On the morning of U.S. Election Day, Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov was found unconscious at the Russian Consulate in New York and died on the scene. Initial reports said Krivov fell from the roof and had blunt force injuries, but Russian officials said he died from a heart attack. BuzzFeed reports Krivov may have been a Consular Duty Commander, which would have put him in charge of preventing sabotage or espionage.
8. In November 2015, a senior adviser to Putin, Mikhail Lesin, who was also the founder of the media company RT, was found dead in a Washington hotel room according to the NYT. The Russian media said it was a "heart attack," but the medical examiner said it was "blunt force injuries."
9. If you go back a few months prior in September 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s driver was killed too in a freak car accident while driving the Russian President’s official black BMW to add to the insanity.
If you include these three additional deaths that’s a total of nine Russian officials that have died over the past 2 years that WeAreChange.com's Aaron Kesel knows of - he notes there could be more.
As Kesel explains, it’s worth noting that governments, specifically the CIA, have for long periods of time had chemical concoctions that can induce a full systematic shutdown of a person’s nervous system and in some cases cause someone’s’ heart to explode.
Lavrov Gives Landmark Speech: New Centers of Economic Power Will End US 'Global Domination'
Russia's Foreign Minister paves the way for a consensus-driven world order in a landmark speech in Moscow
Matthew Allen Subscribe to Matthew AllenSat, Mar 25, 2017 | 12,664 114
This is perhaps one of Sergei Lavrov's finest addresses. It needs to be read in its entirety to fully appreciate the scale and depth of Lavrov's observations — although we've provided a very short excerpt for those with short attention spans.
Lavrov's driving thesis is that the U.S.-led global order has abandoned the concepts of state sovereignty and international law, choosing political expediency over consensus.
Lavrov believes that shifting economic centers will bring this era to an end:
Ironically, the American elite, which emerged as freedom fighters and separatists anxious to cast off the yoke of the British crown, had transformed itself and its state by the 20th century into a power thirsting for global imperialist domination. The world is changing, however, and – who knows – America might yet purify itself and return to its own forgotten sources.
The redistribution of the global balance of power continues. We are witnessing new centres of economic power and associated political influence come into being in the world...The formation of a polycentric international order is an objective process. It is in our common interest to make it more stable and predictable.
full story at link
MARCH 27, 2017 BY GIZA DEVELOPER 2 COMMENTS
FOREIGN MINISTER SERGEI LAVROV: WESTPHALIA, SOFT POWER, AND NEW ...
Many people sent me this transcription of a recent speech by Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, speaking to the Military Academy of the Russian General Staff. Indeed, the speech is quite important for what it says, and to a certain extent, confirms many high octane speculations that I've advanced here, and more extensively in private conversations. For our purposes today, Mr. Lavrov stressed many things in his speech, but I want to focus on three: (1) the Westphalian system, (2) the foreign policy of "human rights" that has enabled US unipolarism and interventionism, and (3) the appearance of wholly new types of non-nuclear strategic weapons of mass destruction.
Here's the article:
1) The Westphalian System: Notably, Mr. Lavrov mentions the Westphalian system, and later the Congress of Vienna system, and the consequences of not including Russia in similar collective security arrangements that occurred after World War One:
I’m aware that some entertain the notion, which is eagerly picked up by Russophobes, that Russia’s vast geography took shape due to expansion resulting from an internal sense of insecurity. As if the Russians, who for several centuries expanded their territory, were trying to “push back” a potential aggressor. To this, I can say that the greatest misfortunes in the past centuries came to Russia almost always from the West, while Russia, according to Mikhail Lomonosov’s famous dictum, “expanded through Siberia,” bringing different peoples and lands in the East under its wing. Many centuries of experience of harmonious coexistence of different ethnicities and religions within one state now allow Russia to promote a dialogue and form partnerships between cultures, religions and civilisations, which is also what happens within the UN, the OSCE and other international and regional organisations.
Another hallmark associated with our vast Russian territory concerns respect for the state, which is the guarantor of the country’s unity and the security of its citizens. A strong state also underpins an independent foreign policy. In international relations, all of that is embodied in the notion of sovereignty.
The sovereignty of states, their equality as the main subjects of international relations, was substantiated and approved within the Westphalian system that took shape in Europe in the 17th century. Currently, these traditional notions are being questioned in a number of Western countries. They are trying to secure for themselves, for example, the ability to interfere in other people’s affairs under the pretext of non-compliance with all sorts of unilaterally engineered human rights concepts like the so-called “responsibility to protect.” We are against such a distorted interpretation of the most important universal international legal norms and principles. Healthy conservatism with regard to the inviolability of the stabilising foundations of international law unites Russia with most countries of the world. (Emphasis added)
full article at link below
Vladimir Putin Vows to Defend Christianity Worldwide
BY CLARE MORRIS , CHRISTIAN POST CONTRIBUTOR
Feb 12, 2012 | 8:59 PM
The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church has told Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin this week of the urgent situation Christians are facing around the world in persecution hot spots, and has asked him to use his power to aid their situations.
RT online reported that Metropolitan Hilarion, foreign relation chief of the Russian Orthodox Church presented evidence and statistics that stated, "Every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the word."
Christians face persecution in many nations; from church demolition in Afghanistan and bombings of churches in Iraq, to the violence against Christians taking place in rebellious towns in Syria.
After delivering the facts, Metropolitan Hilarion asked Putin to make protection and defense of Christianity around the globe a major part of his foreign policy.
And, as reported by Interfax, Putin replied, "You needn't have any doubt that that's the way it will be," assuring Hilarion that Russian foreign policy would defend Christians from persecution abroad.
story at link
Carriage of carnage: Pictures emerge from INSIDE the train where a nail bomb killed 11 in St Petersburg metro attack as police issue CCTV of 'Islamist suicide bomber who also planted a second device that was defused'
The horrific blast occurred between Sennaya Ploshchad and Sadovaya train station in St Petersburg, Russia
Ambulances raced to the scene of the carnage caused by a nail bomb which was detonated on the network
At least 11 people are reported to have been killed by the blast and 50 including children have been injured
Nobody has claimed responsibility, but previous attacks on Russia have been blamed on ISIS and Chechens
Bearded man who was identified on CCTV as the main suspect has handed himself and insists he is innocent
Russian detectives now believe a suicide bomber with links to radical Islamists was behind the horrific attack
By Gareth Davies and Julian Robinson and Anthony Joseph In London and Will Stewart In St Petersburg For Mailonline
PUBLISHED: 08:09 EDT, 3 April 2017 | UPDATED: 20:53 EDT, 3 April 2017
These are the first images showing carnage inside the carriage of a St Petersburg metro train after a nail bomb exploded inside - killing 11 people and injuring 50.
The horrifying pictures show bodies, blood, wreckage and debris strewn across the carriage of the train, which was hit by the blast while travelling between Sennaya Ploshchad and Sadovaya metro stations.
Police in Russia now believe a suicide bomber, who has close links to radical Islamists, was behind the attack.
He was described as being a 22-year-old from Kazakhstan and CCTV images of the suspect have been released.
One image shows a man in a red Parka jacket, wearing glasses and a dark green beanie hat and carrying a rucksack on his back. Another CCTV image shows the suspected suicide bomber walking along the street with both his fists clenched.
Despite initially issuing search warrants for two suspected terrorists, authorities believe the suspected suicide bomber was behind the attack and also have intelligence to suggest he planted a second explosive device - disguised as a fire extinguisher - which was found and defused at a nearby station.
Read more below