(NOTE: Next one will be delayed, away for a couple of weeks)
WADA YA KNOW? Fake story, fake accusation as I said at the time "My default position nowadays is that it’s all lies." NYT reports that WADA has cleared 95 of the 96 athletes they looked at. But that propaganda outlet cannot resist suggesting that that Russia may have destroyed the evidence. That's the information war: smear the unfounded charge all over; when the story collapses and the damage done, move on to the next one. What we did learn however, is that a remarkable number of Western athletes have a doctor's note that allows them to take banned substances. Interesting eh?
MOSCOW ELECTIONS. While the pedestal party won overall, there was some excitement because, in a very low turnout, "liberals" organised a win in some seats in Moscow. Karlin is not impressed and points out the correlation with bicycle rental stations. Shamir takes it more seriously seeing it as the latest Washington regime change effort. Perhaps he's right: both The Guardian and Newsweek hail it (BTW: the comment by Germann Arlington absolutely nails the Big Inconsistency of Western reporting: "If the elections are rigged then the result should have been the usual 98% for Putin's party. If the election is not rigged then why is it always presented as such?"). Russian politics are pretty frowsty: the pedestal party dominates (but the Putin Team is popular) the KPRF and LDPR were led by the same guys when the USSR was still around, even Yavlinskiy (then, now) is still out there (Crimea is part of Ukraine: not a big vote getter). One day things will start to change but I doubt this is the moment.
LISTENING IN. Wikileaks tells us about Russian scanning of electronic communications. Putin often tells us that everything is done legally. Well, it always starts that way, doesn't it? If they can, they will.
ZAPAD-2017. Well, the exercise is over and Russia didn't conquer/invade/attack or even threaten anybody. Next overreaction scheduled in four years. (I amuse myself laughing at the excitables.)
SAUDI-RUSSIA VISIT. My take on Salman bin Abdulaziz' visit to Moscow. I remember that Abdulaziz switched from London to Washington in 1945 and speculate that Riyadh may again be adjusting its place in the developing new power order.
STALIN'S NOT BACK. Robinson describes a visit to a church dedicated to the New Martyrs situated on a Cheka killing ground. The truth is that Russia remembers everything.
NEW PARK. The horrible old Rossiya Hotel is gone and replaced by an interesting park (design idea).
SANCTIONS. According to the UN rapporteur, sanctions and counter-sanctions cost the EU US$3.2 billion a month; the Russian economy has lost US$55 billion in total. He calculates the total cost to both at US$155 billion. In short, he agrees that Europe has been hit much harder than Russia and certainly much more than the USA. Perhaps that was the real point: Washington's "overriding strategic objective the prevention of a German-Russian alliance".
RUSSIANS IN SYRIA. The author has sent me a file of photos which are of interest. What is immediately apparent (I can't help comparing them with what I saw during Chechnya I) is the aura of tough professional competence and lots of sophisticated kit.
S-400. Turkish President Erdoğan says Ankara has already put down a deposit on the S-400 SAM system. I am still rather puzzled: this is a crown jewel weapon system and Turkey is, still, in NATO. We are assured that this is just the export model and that even taking it apart wouldn't reveal its secrets.
TRUST. Trump announced the closure of the CIA support to Syrian rebels. Or has it ended, or was that just weasel-wording that allowed the Pentagon to continue? Who can say? Foreign Affairs magazine, no less, has just gone public with "The Pentagon Is Spending $2 Billion Running Soviet-Era Guns to Syrian Rebels" and there are persistent reports (denied by Washington of course) that US helicopters lifted people out of Deir ez-Zor after the Syrians broke the siege. (Deir ez Zor was the scene of the US attack on Syrian forces a year ago.) Trump's constant references to the Iran nuclear deal as "one of the worst" does not give anyone confidence that Washington would keep its word to Pyongyang (or anybody).
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. All the reasons why the Russia-election-interference story is bunkum. Not least of which is the remarkable inactivity of the FBI: for example "The FBI has never questioned Assange [he confirms that] or Murray" and neither has it ever looked at the DNC servers. Nonetheless, every time you think the hysteria has gone as far as it can, it goes a bit farther: Morgan Freeland joins the circus. Bershidsky trashes the latest nonsense. One can hope that it's finally jumped the shark.
NEW NWO. Beijing shows its teeth.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer
Patrick, have you listened to Russian historian and professor emeritus Stephen Cohen’s weekly radio interview for this week. If not, you might be interested (each part is 20 minutes):
“Tales of the New Cold War: The Silence of the Doves.” PART 1 of 2.”
“Tales of the New Cold War: The Silence of the Doves.” PART 2 of 2.”
I would like to express my appreciation for your summary. After Trump’s weird and contradictory display at the UN (that seemed to presage a new world war)…what you are describing provides relief.
I am especially hopeful about the Saudi & Turkey news, because that could mean a faster resolution in Syria.
Russian surveillance contractors
Well, since Russia and Iran saved Erdogans life, he is now taking Turkey out of NATO.
MRW, Stephen’s look back and into past and present looks about right. Meets me somewhat. Along the line: what traces does the new cold war leave on the average American citizen? I did admittedly wonder, what traces does the GWOT leave on the average American. Or obviously, over here.
Some things I didn’t know, admittedly. They are interesting. Imagine? Did the US public know about encounters between Soviet and American representatives? encounters during the first cold war?
This looks very serious: “Syria – Russia Accusing U.S. Of Attacks, Abduction Attempts, Team-play With Al-Qaeda”
“The U.S. wants to keep Syrian government forces away from the oil fields north of the Euphrates. It has plans to build and control a Kurdish proto-state in north-east Syria and control over the eastern Deir Ezzor oil would give such a state the necessary economic base. But the U.S. has too few proxy forces available to actually take the oil area away from the Islamic State. Only the Syrian army has enough resources in the area. The U.S. is now cheating, attacking Syrian-Russian forces, and rushing to get an advantage. With the al-Qaeda diversion attack in north-west Syria defeated and more reserves available the Syrian alliance should think about a fast air-assault on the oil fields. As soon as the oil wells are under Syrian government control and the ISIS presence eliminated the U.S. has no more excuse to continue the current deadly game.”
Smells of WWIII
Patrick Armstrong –
Thanks for the link to the photos at RussianDefence.com. That Russian breakfast at: https://twitter.com/Russian_Defence/status/910611524183617541 looks pretty good to me. We used to eat a similar buckwheat porridge when I was a boy in Maine. But we had it with raw milk and a dash of maple syrup instead of gravy.
Not to worry about ww3 starting in Syria. Russia knows full well that the US had nothing to do with the attack, that in spite of their propaganda claim. So they won’t start the war. And why should we?
If a WW does come to happen it will be started on the Korean Peninsula. Not far at all from Russian Vladivostok.
I have expressed my opinion on this forum a number of years ago as to how the current global situation resembles the world before 1914.
If I be correct, then Near East would be the analogue of the Balkans – where WWI beganNote that US already went on nuclear alert in 1973, in support of that religious undertaking called Israel.
Great SITREP as usual Patrick. The NYT story on the cleared Russian athletes is journalistic malpractice. Rebecca Ruiz broke the original story so she has an investment in the Russia is guilty narrative. The part I find galling about it is that her latest story is using tactics that are meant to confuse the issue rather than clarify, that’s why I call it malpractice. If someone thinks Russia is guilty and makes a case for it, I would not make that accusation.
For example, she constantly conflates the issue of the conspiracy with the guilt of the athletes, she remarks that Rodchenkov didn’t testify and that’s one of the reasons why the athletes were exonerated. She gets around to mentioning that he only knows about the general system of cheating and not about the individual athletes but intermixes the issues in a confusing manner to create this cloud.
Another tactic, when one doesn’t have evidence, is to speak in a tone of ‘the evidence is overwhelming’ as if to belittle skeptics (dust thou art). She says that Russia destroyed evidence but doesn’t say what evidence, you know, Russian stuff. Doesn’t the Olympic committee keep the samples? I don’t know, this was not clarified.
I tried following some of the links in the article to see if I could find those emails in that database that proves that there was a conspiracy but found it hard to use and gave up. Hey wait a minute, why not quote from some of the emails rather than just say that they are incriminating, why make the reader search the database. Answer: providing a link gives it authority knowing that most will just be impressed that some evidence exists without chasing it down.
Journalism is dead in the U.S.