THE MEETING. I don't expect anything to be settled: the Russia/collusion/interference nonsense has to be exploded before Trump is free to do what should be done and Putin has no reason to ever trust the mere word of a US President. Like the Trump-Kim meeting, it will be a first step in a long journey. I do enjoy, though, that Trump cunningly made Bolton set up the meeting thereby revealing that neocons are for sale too and pre-empting their opposition to any improvement of US-Russia relations.
THE BEST ACCOLADE TRUMP COULD EVER WISH FOR. "'He's willing to destroy the world': Billionaire investor and liberal donor George Soros blasts Trump's presidency saying 'everything that could go wrong has gone wrong'" Hope so. DM readers agree.
WORLD CUP. A triumph. Russia has gained enormously I think. Money well spent. One Brit: "The British media should be ashamed of themselves for their clear propaganda against the Russian people. Absolutely class country." Millions of people who were there or who had friends who were and told them what they saw will form a mighty bulwark against more anti-Russia lies. This video by an English father-son team has 90K views so far. Casual Russophobia will be harder to sell and the credibility of Western media has taken another hit.
RETIREMENT. The government plans to raise retirement ages: men from 60 to 65 by 2028 and women from 55 to 63 by 2034. This is causing some angst – and a dip in Putin's popularity – but it makes sense as life expectancy rises across the board. Typical Western coverage based on out-of-date information.
RUSSIAN WEAPONS. It's often pointed out that the US spends much more on defence than Russia but this is not really a very meaningful comparison: USA has 700+ foreign bases and 10 carrier battle groups; Russia 4 that I can think of and none. But there is another important difference: these days, to put it rudely, American weapons are made to make money, Russian weapons are made to work. Even the Pentagon has had to notice that the Mi-17 helicopter is better (and cheaper) than the Blackhawk, and the Iraqi Army appears to be replacing Abrams tanks with T90s (ditto). And, while the US has spent two decades bombing weak opponents, Russia is working on the big one: new tank tactics described.
DIPLOMACY. A very important difference between Moscow and Washington (at least pre-Trump) is that, while the latter decrees some countries to be unclean, Moscow keeps relations open with everybody. This piece shows how, bit by bit, Russia is coming close to some US allies.
RULINGS. Mercouris once argued (neither he nor I can find it now) that, when Russia presented its case in front of real courts that made real rulings that set real precedents, it didn't do badly. A court has suspended the ruling that said Ukraine Naftohaz could seize some Gazprom European assets.
DEPRESSED? World Cup success got you down? Fearful of a Trump ‘peace deal’ with Putin? Worried NATO's going to go pop? It's time to play Skripalmania II! "…believes… thought to… thought to… thought to… almost certainly… believed…". More sick people in Wiltshire! Commenters on both stories remain unconvinced. Gone to the well once too often, I guess.
AMERICA-HYSTERICA. The IG report has lots of meat in it but it was covered by a summary that contradicted some of the findings so its impact was blunted. But more is coming: Nunes is chewing away at it (watch the interview – a lot of dots connected). Clearly Trump has decided the story is dying, otherwise he wouldn't have decided to see Putin.
STUPIDEST PIECE ABOUT WORLD CUP. "Russia’s National Team Is Too Russian, Which Is One Reason It Will Bomb out of the World Cup".
PUTIN DERANGEMENT SYNDROME. "Vladimir Putin has positioned himself as the leader of an authoritarian, white-supremacist and xenophobic movement that wants to break up the EU, weaken America’s traditional alliances and undermine democracy". So much to do, so little time.
UKRAINE. More noticing of nazis from those (AC) who (NW) told us formerly it was only Russian propaganda: Atlantic Council and Newsweek. Washington's wars end in one of three ways 1) ceremony in Tokyo Bay 2) helicopters off the Embassy roof or 3) walk away and pretend it never happened. I think we're seeing the ground prepared for number 3. (It's almost as if there's a secret signal, isn't it?)
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer