Ooobie on Everything

Trump Sucks Up to Mad Man McCain

Let me open with this announcement: I don’t believe that Assad (much less Russia) carried out a chemical weapons (cw) attack in Syria. This was an act of provocation, with or without US involvement, that was carefully calculated to draw the response it did. I believe that this action was based on a judgment that Trump was a foreign affairs neophyte whom his domestic and other foes could push to a rash and poorly considered action to prove his boasts of toughness and his leadership. Faced with an endless and ugly barrage of fake news and false accusations, he fell for whatever he was being sold and grabbed the chance to assert himself as president.

This latest US violation of international law happened only days after the announcement by Trump’s highest reps that unseating Assad was not our primary goal in Syria. We wanted only to defeat ISIS and the jihadists. I thought, sanity prevails. But John McCain was beside himself, or outside himself, or wherever people beyond all utility hang out. I’ve heard he flew to Syria to consult with his tiny proxy army. If so, who knows what wise advice this old white guy gave to those “rebels” living in a complex of tunnels in the side of a mountain. All we know is soon afterwards, an attack by the Syrian Air Force occurred at the same time chemical weapons were released on the ground. (The US insists it was aerial release, but as former Ambassador to Syria Peter Ford said, “[there is] “no proof that the cause of the explosion was what they said it was” and that for Assad such an attack would be “totally self-defeating.”

Here’s what I do believe: Trump, tough guy in business, doesn’t have the political judgement of gravel outside of an appeal to the voters. He should have hung tight and continued to reject the Russian Fairy Tale in which the Witch, Vladimir Putin, gets the innocents (DNC and Clinton Campaign) into his ovens and then serves up Trump; he should have fought those who think the Russian Bogeyman can cover up the crimes of our political class. Instead we have had the recusal of Sessions (innocent of any crime or misbehavior whatsoever and with no earthly interest in helping Russia); the recusal of Nunes who revealed the heinous surveillance by Obama of political opponents; the removal of Bannon from the NSC; and the promise to work with the Dems to get some piece of crap supposedly better than the current piece of crap called Obamacare. Trump obviously isn’t getting politics. And frankly, I’m not getting him, either.

And now this incredible blunder and horrible crime. A nation not at war with the US, not even posing a threat to the US, is once again being assaulted by the United States. Why? I’ll venture this. Because Trump is getting all shook up over the assault he is being subjected to by our own Commies. He can’t fight internal enemies and external enemies, too, and external is easier. Obama promised to honor an idiotic red line, so Trump will make good on the promise. Precisely as his political enemies calculated. And now he gets his reward, in Pavlovian style, which is CNN opining that he’s finally president. All it took was the start of WWIII.

Trump would never erect a building without all the facts about the job. So how could it be that he committed an act of war on the basis of an unproven claim of responsibility? How could he fall for such a ruse by the enemy? If we end up at war with Russia, and China and Iran, will anybody remember it was the Democrats pushing him there?

But hold on. Let’s take a closer look and offer information on Syria from other sources that the USG will not give you.

“Russia’s defence ministry has argued that Syrian planes were destroying chemical weapons, not deploying them, and said the airstrikes targeted a rebel storage depot for toxins.”

Absurd, say the Americans.

“Khan Sheikhoun, where the attack happened was a hewn mountain with tunnels and impenetrable bunkers. Definitely a major hiding place for manufacturing weapon supplies for the Islamist rebels on a major scale. It is a “warehouse used to both produce and store shells containing toxic gas” as Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major-General Igor Konashenkov said.”

Why aren’t the western media showing the photos that make clear this attack was on a military target, not a simple village living peacefully? And why is nobody looking at the opposition? Here is what UN rep Carla del Ponte said in 2013 about the results of the UN investigation into the use of cw in specific attacks in Syria:

Ms Del Ponte, a former Swiss attorney-general and prosecutor with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), did not rule out the possibility that troops loyal to President Bashar al-Assad might also have used chemical weapons, but said further investigation was needed. “I was a little bit stupefied by the first indications we got… they were about the use of nerve gas by the opposition,” she said.

Ms. del Ponte’s seasoned judgment was spurned by “most western governments” who insisted it was all the work of the Assad government. The final report laid all the attacks at the government’s doorstep by insinuation without actually having the evidence to do so, as it admitted.

Today’s America seems to be hurtling toward some apocalyptic scenario of war abroad and at home. So far I lack any confidence that Trump will hold the line on his campaign promises for a new American foreign policy. So far it looks like he is so desperate to be loved that he plays the eager sap for the warmongers and the military-industrial complex. So far, I’m concerned he is going to take us to the brink of a massive conflict. Russia now and urgently is going to seriously beef up Syrian air defense systems with Russia’s latest hardware and technology, so the next time a jet flies over a Syrian airbase they will probably come down in flames. Then what will happen?


America, the Ridiculous

I write while the US of A is in mid-throes of anti-Russian madness. Russia, if the increasingly demented members of the US politocracy are to be believed, is the cause of every ill in the United States and the entire rest of the world that is not friends with VLADIMIR PUTIN (cue: Jaws music). The Russians caused Brexit, which nobody tumbled to until after the Russians got Donald Trump elected to the presidency, when the scales fell from their eyes and they saw pretty  much everywhere the hand of Satan, aka Vlad. The wicked Russian released ill-gotten information snatched (supposedly) straight from the Dems themselves. The stolen goods were rich with evidence of corruption and wrongdoing, ethnic contempt and contempt for Americans — and not one word of it was ever denied. But the culprit isn’t the corrupt nasty folks led by Hillary and Bill Clinton. No, the culprit is, of course, Russia. How dare Russia lift the veil on all that crime? If indeed Russia had anything to do with it, and there is precious little evidence of this claim.

This is the last act from the Theater of Brattiness best exemplified by its icon and champion, a man from nowhere with a lot of sly self-promotion but not a shred of depth or wisdom. He was the ultimate empty suit kept afloat by ego. I imagine he sails off (not too far! Kalorama!) to billions paid into a variety of secret accounts by such as Soros and Buffett. Maybe I’m wrong! Maybe I’m the only one who thinks he was a robot paid for by the elite to push globalization and even more unimaginable wealth for the unimaginably wealthy.

But by the way, even if we all know that the latest bit of buffoonery — the explusion of 35 Russian secret operatives and adding some more Russian institutions to the sanctions list — can be easily reversed by Trump (and should be), it all leaves a very nasty taste in Russian mouths. In particular as the USG once again fails to provide evidence to support very tendentious claims of Russian interference in foreign elections, and US elections at that. The US itself of course has carried out and continues to carry out dirty ops to influence foreign elections, up to and including illegal wars (aka “bombing campaigns”). Just ask a Ukrainian, any Latin American, an Iraqi, maybe a Libyan. So from the Russian point of view, it’s just more US bullshit ordered by the Clown Brigade.

From my point of view, as well. First of all, we have the fact that the indictment against Russia and against Putin himself appears to have sprung full-blown from the forehead of the CIA. This US Temple of Lies has concocted more false stories than all the top tabloids combined. And fantasies concocted not only for distribution abroad, or just to the US public at large. They concoct false stories for their own employees, by funneling lies from the operations side to the analytical side, backed up by “highly credible source” gold stars. Then their own analysts churn out finished analysis coming to exactly the right conclusion for getting policy action from State and other brain-dead agencies, as the CIA would think and speak of them.

So, here is the way it is: with no new information, unless it might be a suddenly discovered CIA asset with the very information they were seeking, the CIA reconsiders earlier conclusions, made when it was assumed the US public was going to hail the Queen. Back then, the intel community concluded that the Russians could not be proven to have been the hackers of the DNC or Podesta. They didn’t even mention Wikileaks. But suddenly the CIA believes it does in fact have the evidence, right there before one’s eyes, abracadabra. Now we know practically the patronymics of the hackers, where they come from, who was behind them, and what that Master of the Game was aiming to do. The CIA issued two photos of guys who look mushroomy enough for the technogeek world, but I’m not sure it convinces me of anything other than that. The false analysis grounded in false facts is shared with all the other agencies, some of them notorious dupes with the analytical skill of gravel, and others much sharper if not always ethical. The latter would include the FBI, which wasn’t buying the CIA story until, I imagine, gobs of pressure came down on them. (Here’s a suspicion: that the polit kommisars at CIA felt justified in a made-up story helpful to the Democrats because in their fevered imagination Comey and arch-enemy FBI were on Trump’s side and cost the Dems the election. Excuse me while I cough up a hair-ball.) Both Wikileaks and the self-identified intermediary between the DNC and Wikileaks deny all such charges, but what do they know? Obviously they are in on it with Vlad and the Reds.

And of course now we have the response to Congressional and public demands for the evidence behind the anti-Russian actions by the US president. What  has been provided is a much condensed version of far denser bull-shit that offers no substantial evidence of Russian hacking, much less a link to Wikileaks. Most damning of all, it is prefaced with a disclaimer that essentially says, nobody in the intelligence community believes a word of this malarkey and we’re not taking the fall for it, so read it at your own peril.

Meanwhile, Vlad the Impaler is having a merry old Christmas and New Year’s. He is so well-seated internationally that he can afford to scoff at the expulsion of Russian diplomats and hold his retaliatory hand pending arrival of a grown-up at the White House. He even invited US diplomatic children to a wonderful Christmas celebration party at the Kremlin. But he knows the USG won’t allow those little kids to attend, it would be a rejection of Obama’s snit. So one day instead of someone saying, “when I was little I went to a Kremlin Christmas party and met the president of Russia!” — they will say “I didn’t go to the Kremlin Christmas party or meet the president of Russia.”

It is good that the days of the Dark Emperor (and I’m imbuing that with a spiritual rather than epidermal significance) are drawing to their sickly close, although he threatens to raise his battalions for future battle. But for the moment, let me give thanks to God, again and again, for destroying the plans these people had for us and giving us a small opening to redeem this country.

Happy New Year to all!

 

 


The Age of Hysteria

These days the world is filled with the clamor of hysteria over events that range from 50 people killed in Orlando to Donald Trump wanting Mexico to pay for that wall to the latest events across the pond. What starts as just another outburst of indigation over an ideological dispute or a tragedy or a major turn of events is picked up by what are jestingly called mainstream media, which quickly fan the indignation into a conflagration. Let no good crisis go to waste is presumably the motivation. Social media takes it farther yet, condensing the story down to a couple of lines or a catchy phrase (no fly, no gun being a good example) that is then passed around endlessly in what poses as education for the younger generations. Thus in the wake of any politically useful crisis we see waves of mindless reaction so shrill it sets your teeth on edge. Take, for example, Brexit.

Whether or not the UK leaves the EU is of no importance to 99.9 percent of Americans or almost anybody outside the UK. Trade is not going to cease; cultural ties will not evaporate; UK citizens will not be set adrift in the Arctic and forbidden ever to visit the continent. The hysteria we are seeing was deliberately cultivated by the “stay” crowd, who think scare tactics are a good way to win votes. But now all that fear-mongering is bearing unanticipated fruit. Instead of handing the “stays” a victory, it is sending shock waves through an unprepared and worked-up financial sphere. The market has plunged, but I’m pretty sure this is only temporary. The ultra-rich who control the markets have temporarily pulled their money out, spooking everybody else; but as soon as the big boys pocket their profits they will be back in at reduced prices.

The one thing the EU can rightfully worry about is the great impulse this victory will have on the other “exit” parties in Europe, particularly in France and Germany. This will cause great angst for all the faceless bureaucrats drawing huge salaries from the EU machine, but I personally don’t think the EU is going to fall apart at the seams, and I don’t even think the ruling elites will learn anything from this. I think those who run the EU will continue to suck up every crumb of national sovereignty and taxpayer money in Europe until there is only One Europe (Except Russia) and The State is the People becomes the European motto.

In the meantime, however, the market turmoil feeds the narrative that leaving the EU will kill the UK and everybody else in the world. Now we have a “movement” of the losers in the Brexit vote who are bursting with anger that other people don’t share their views. As a result, they are forced to threaten violent protests until they get their way. Their way, by the way, is a “re-vote” with brand new rules that will make it impossible for the UK to leave the EU, just wait and see. They are going to try to make the rule that 3/4 of the voters have to agree to leave, or a majority of voters in all the UK countries have to agree, or some such unachievable goal. Just enough to defeat Brexit, which already won, but never mind that minor point.

Today’s Wall Street Journal ran a blurb on its front page that reads, “Pressure abated on the U.K. to serve swift notice of its intention to leave the EU after last week’s referendum, as senior European policy makers suggested Britain should be allowed time to rethink the decision.This is the height of arrogance — the EU is essentially telling the UK that it doesn’t recognize the vote as valid or binding and now it will grant the ignorant UK time to “rethink.” Meanwhile, Cameron — humiliated by the exit vote — has kept the pot boiling by postponing his departure from office until October, and refusing “on principle” to invoke Article 50, which he graciously leaves to his successor. This is a pretty big time gap for notifying of intent to leave, and it makes one wonder what’s up. Seems as if what Cameron is doing is buying time to let the losing side organize a counter-attack. If all the obvious scheming and conniving going on doesn’t tell you which way the winding is blowing, you’re not paying attention. We may be about to witness a world-class heist of democracy in the UK, home of modern democracy. Stay tuned.

Then we have the sorry GOP, which gives us high-profile members of the elite spouting their high principles and their aversion to Donald Trump and in some cases their allegiance to Hillary Clinton. George Will, a prim snob with a bad rug, said that we just have to hold our noses and vote for someone else to insure Trump’s defeat. Will shared his optimism that in four years it will be a new ballgame and then we can all come together. What an idiot. If people such as he conspire to bring down Trump and give the Clintons access once more to the US purse, I will never ever again vote at any level for a Republican. And I’m one of many  millions who will take the same approach. There will be no GOP that could compete at a national level, and probably not at the local level either. Hello One Party State. But let’s face it — the GOP elite is way more comfortable with the corrupt, corporatist, quasi-socialist left than it is with the people they think support them. I am almost tempted to give the GOP some money so I can go to the Convention, where there will be violence I am sure, and not just by paid and organized left-wing mobs. There could be violence on the Convention floor if the Bush and Romney branch of the party tries to wrest the nomination from Trump. In this respect, there certainly are similarities with the UK, where the effort to undo the results of the referendum could well provoke violence from the right.

Syria again! The US and its pals have stepped forward boldly in favor of launching a real war against Assad’s government. No more fake peace talks and putzing around with hapless proxy armies. No, now we’ll send in our best to die there or leave maimed and we’ll say it is to make the world safe. I don’t get it. Did nobody in Washington, London, Berlin or Paris notice that Russia’s Air Force is already in place in Syria providing military support to the government by treaty and legally? If they decide they will play chicken with Russia in this case, they should stop and really “re-think.” This assault on Assad tears away the fiction that the USG and other NATO states are focused on the threat from ISIS in Syria. They are not. They want to overthrow another government while the world looks the other way. But this time Russia is not going to look the other way.

This is not a subject being avidly discussed in the US, but in Europe there is growing concern about a war with Russia, their focus being the build up of NATO armament and troops on Russia’s border rather than the lunge towards head-on collision in Syria. Germany even refused to send a German battalion to the huge NATO military exercises going on in eastern Europe (exercises that are now occurring almost constantly). German Foreign Miniser Steinmeier shared his view that a tank parade on Russia’s border was not going to make anybody safer and opined that Germany’s history of two wars against Russia precludes involvement in NATO war exercises clearly aimed at Russia. He also spoke out against NATO war-mongering (his words). If even the arch-conservatives in Germany recognize the growing threat of conflict and NATO’s role in stoking those tensions, surely the wise Americans will soon come to the same realization. Right?

 

 

 

 

 


Who Cares?

I’m coming close to that state of blissful indifference to everything that I once experienced in a traffic accident that didn’t happen, but thanks only to Heavenly Intervention. Only this time I’m not anticipating that God will stop doing something important, like working on “Human Being, Type II,” to save our sorry behinds from what is heading our way.

Trump has won the Republican candidacy. His big ugly persona carried the day. Right now, in a match-up with Hillary Clinton, Trump leads (Rasmussen poll) by a couple of points. But another poll has her up by 13 points. On the other hand, Guccifer the Mad Romanian has told the FBI that hacking Hillary Clinton’s server was a snap. (Despite the fact that her computer was under Secret Service observation at all times, per Mrs. C.) What are the chances that the Russians and the Chinese and probably a dozen other countries didn’t hack into it as well? I bet Mr. Putin has a special file cabinet full of her emails. We all await with bated breaths the announcement of Hillary Clinton’s indictment, sure to come at any moment, or maybe not.

Still, it is apparent that the great majority of American voters agree with me that this is the worst set of choices given to our country ever. Trump just hits the 41 percent mark and she is at 39. She is the walking personification of corruption and venality, she is rank with it, but still — 39 percent of voters want her to continue to use public service to enrich herself and her miserable little family.

As for Trump, he is Erratic with a capital E. He once boasted he can do business with Putin and get back on good terms with Russia, but he just told the world that if Russian jets buzzed US warships close to Russia’s border he would just have them shot down. Don’t you just love a strong man? Trump also thinks transgendered people should get to use the bathroom of their choice. He wouldn’t even demand a genital check. Do the people thumping Trump’s drum have any idea how totally uninformed and off the wall he is, how unpredictable and unfixed? I don’t want to ponder what would lie ahead under a Trump presidency — whom would he select for the Supreme Court, for example? A New York Republican? The guy is like a ticking time bomb.

Trump is for Trump, it’s that simple. Others may feel the outflow of his good will, but it’s all about him. Are there no politicians today except for these self-absorbed and sad examples of the decay of US society and politics?

But I have to vote for Trump. Because the other side offers no choices either. Can we really endure four years of Hillary in Mao suits with both hands in the cookie jar? Wouldn’t we need to do a sonogram to look for all the loot she would carry out of the White House this time? Can we afford the pick she would make to the Supreme Court?

So I’m trying to zone out and not think about what alternative futures await us, as NATO “ponders Russian risk-taking” instead of worrying about its own and the US goes so far down the drain that you can hear the sucking noise.

Instead let’s turn to Syria, which was supposedly in a truce-like situation. Russia withdrew most of its air forces, but stated it would continue to support the Syrian offensive against ISIS and any others threatening Syria, as needed. Russia was reporting ceasefire violations by the US-backed forces from the start of the agreement, which is no surprise. The US is trying to get their mercenaries deployed into new operational sites before they go to the next phase of fighting.

As I’ve said before, US Plan A and Plan B were always intended by the US to be one plan to overthrow Assad. Plan A was a mutually agreed path toward a negotiated political settlement that, at Russian and Syrian insistence, could not include the ouster of Assad except through a popular referendum, and at Turkey’s insistence, couldn’t include the Kurds who are fighting ISIS in Syria. Allowing a referendum on who should lead the government without first ousting Assad is something the US waffled on but secretly abhorred. Since the US always planned to use the ceasefire to put their troops into place, it knew Plan A would fail when Russia and Syria reacted with force to prevent that happening. Hence, Plan B, the overt armed overthrow of Assad that, the US and NATO will argue, was made unavoidable by Assad and Russia’s assault on civilian populations that just happen to be in areas into which either ISIS or US proxy forces are infiltrating or where they are actively fighting. US proxies are already opening a front inside Damascus, so there will of course be civilian casualties when Syrian forces attack them. Those casualties will provide the US the pretext it always uses for its wars — “humanitarian catastrophe.” Then what do we hav? A face-off between Russia’s air force and the US air force. With either Hillary Clinton at the helm and thirsting for her first real war, or Donald Trump there getting ready to play show-off, the US is in serious trouble.

And finally we have eastern Europe and the Baltic states, where the US seems to think it can put as many tanks and men on Russia’s borders as it wants, hold as many war exercises aimed against Russia as it likes, and still act affronted when Russia buzzes its aircraft or its soldiers. The US is the clear aggressor in this situation and if there ever was a peace movement in Europe, this is the time for it. But since Europe is being swamped with illegals from all those countries we’re wrecking, I guess that’s not in the cards. Now Russia is putting three new military divisions on its western, northern and southern borders. That should calm things down.


The Besieged Mrs. Clinton and Other Good News

Hillary Clinton is in very very deep doo-doo. The FBI has stumbled across something in those unsuccessfully “disappeared” Clinton e-mails that apparently perked them up enough to open a second investigation into the Clinton Foundation. This Foundation is gaining an ever seamier reputation for its corrupt practices, such as using the power of the Secretary of State to secure massive donations all available to the Clintons for their felonious use. I’d love to be the forensic accountant tracing donations to the Global Slush Fund. And tracking outflows from the Foundation to other entities, perhaps in a way that made a trace hard. It’s pretty clear that the Foundation they set up is intended to pad the financing of Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency, giving her enough non-traceable funds to make the difference between victory and defeat. This would be the much more clever and invisible version of the “small donations from abroad” scam that heavily financed Obama’s catapult to the presidency. Apparently the FBI is trying to untangle those intertwining parts, connecting the dots in the Clintons’ influence-buying game.

If the Foundation is in trouble, I’d imagine our pal Bill isn’t sleeping any easier than his homely wife.  It couldn’t happen to two nicer people. I was looking at photos of the two and thinking: he looks pretty bad these days. Bill’s red nose is starting to look absolutely natural in that landscape of aging skin as he tries desperately to recapture his glib, sexy rock-star days. And Hillary is, despite her surgical work, still an ugly old white woman. And an unlikable one at that. If their offer is two for one, I think they’ve lost the youth vote.

Now to the GOP side. Here the waters are murky indeed. Trump seems to be cycling into some sort of a mania, saying really nutty things like he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and none of his supporters would care. That sounds a lot like he is calling his supporters insane, or criminally inclined, or just stupid. It also sounds a lot like he himself is losing all touch with reality. Now the utterly inexplicable decision not to participate in the debate because of Megyn Kelly’s alleged hatred of and bias toward him. Unlikely excuse and if it’s sincere, he’s a fool. Who gives him the absolute right to pick his interlocutors? If he can’t deal with hard questions, he’s not going to win any national election. Enough with his demonizing anybody who questions him. We already have had this kind of president and we don’t want another one. Worse, he now begins again and in capital letters to look like the circus clown, performing and un-serious. I think he may be faltering under the enormous pressure on him. He seems to be spinning out. But the tragedy is that if he isn’t chosen, he could try to take down the GOP with him. A suit against Cruz on the basis of his US citizenship? Hey, Donald: we already had a guy born in Kenya and raised in Malaysia as president, so don’t worry about the Canadian angle. They speak the same lingo, more or less.

Trump’s unpredictability and political wildness raise the possibility or even likelihood that the money men and the ruling Republican elite will unite behind some other candidate deemed able to beat whomever the Democrat Socialists nominate. I still think Rubio is the likeliest candidate. He has all the qualities to be a star candidate and in particular to dance rings around either of the Golden Agers being run by the Democrat Socialists. He could best either of them in a debate. I think he could get a lot of the Latino vote, especially among the girls. But Ted Cruz is also excellent. My favorite Rand Paul isn’t going to get close to the nomination, but he’d be great.

And back to Mrs. Clinton and the question of the day: is it okay to run a person for president when said person is rumored to be headed to indictment for her security breaches? The Socialists of course say “yes,” as long as the felon is not yet found guilty. And of course if elected, there’s that presidential immunity thing. So she could easily bury the whole thing during her first tenure as Madame President. The rumor is rampant that she is going to be indicted for something related to all her electronic and other misbehavior. I think that the FBI is ready, but it is Obama who will decide if the weapon is turned against the Clintons. So far Obama has allowed the FBI to dig and make the Clintons’ lives agony. The unknown is this: at what point is  he  going to call off the dogs? At what point is he going to say, make it go away? Or perhaps a presidential pardon? That would be rich for that boy Obama with his thin black skin. Now Obama has all the power. Will he use it? After all, Bernie Sanders really is his true alter ego, on whom Obama could count to continue pushing his agenda.

On to foreign policy, where things look as lousy as usual. In Germany, women were harassed and worse on New Year’s Eve as they attempted to celebrate. “North African or Middle Eastern looking men” in large numbers joined up to engage in a female-baiting sport and so far Germany’s leaders have done little more than gasp and wring their hands. In Sweden, assaults by the Arab community against the peace-loving native Swedes, including young women, is rising. It is so serious that the peace-loving PM is warning that “in coming years” up to 80,000 self-declared refugees are to be sent home. The Arab/North African inundation is having serious political ramifications in Europe. Nationalist governments may be in the offing, for example in Netherlands where Geert Wilders could be the next top dog. In the security realm, trust is no longer abundant. Individual nations are now reasserting their own border defenses in violation of the Schengen agreement on open borders. This will likely set off a chain reaction, because who can afford NOT to have such controls when the others do? It’s a new era for the EU and it will struggle to survive. All these ugly results from Merkel’s warm outreach to the million Moslem refugees she invited to Germany and the rest of Europe spell likely doom for her government.

In Russia, that nation ended a year of real and painful economic belt-tightening due to EU sanctions, but forged ahead to make Crimea energy-independent from Ukraine and otherwise integrate the region into the Russian Federation. Russia also is moving ahead with the creation of three new military divisions on its western border to counter the NATO build-up in Eastern Europe. Anti-Americanism is at an all time high. Russia’s xenophobia is now in full swing, thanks to US/EU ineptitude in foreign policy.

Turkey continues to deal in stolen Syrian and Iraqi oil and to act as a transfer point for radicals entering Syria to defeat the last secular government in the region. The US continues to cover up Turkey’s crimes while still trying to get them to close their border to the ISIS-facilitated influx of foreign fighters. On the other hand, how much do we want them to close that border if they simply say no and don’t even get their hands slapped?

Jockeying for political talks to end the fighting in Syria continues. The Russians rejected US “opposition fighters” as allies of ISIS and Al Qaeda, but a compromise has been agreed to allow two separate opposition delegations: one made up of actual Syrians who oppose Assad and took up weapons; and the Syrian Kurds. The Turks don’t want the Syrian Kurds involved in the negotiations. I think this is going to be one of those inane political soap operas that go on while in the background the US tries to unseat Assad by proxy force in the face of Russian and Iranian military opposition to that goal.

All in all, it looks to be an interesting year, with both the domestic and international political arenas in full action and the balance of power teetering among a whole host of competing nations. Rocky waters ahead.

 

 

 

 


End of Year Thoughts

First thought: in just one year we will be bidding an adieu, not fond at all, to Obama and his Politburo. It gives me some spiteful pleasure to watch this comical fraud dwindle in significance as his lame duck period marches on and he amuses himself by giving Americans the finger over and over. Because make no mistake, each and every one of his actions in these last days is a finger to America, just as all his “major achievements” were. Thank God for term limits.

I think Obama’s determination to diminish US Second Amendment rights could be a critical moment in US history. There could be a very powerful backlash. He is also fanning the flames of racial hatred, with his incessant race-baiting and conveyance of the message that “whitey’s lives don’t matter.” Americans really hate Americans these days, and I’m speaking personally as well. When I hear someone moaning about discrimination I just tune out. Who cares. I’m so tired of the left and their incompetence and arrogance. Lefty go home!

In San Bernardino, a massacre crying out for the world to recognize it as act of Islamic terrorism, was instead treated gingerly and with great circumspection by Dopey. He told us, knowing how angry we all would be, that it remained to be seen if the act was one of domestic terrorism or just workplace violence (à la Fort Hood). He also sicced his lapdog Loretta Lynch on us with a a warning not to go persecuting the Moslems in America or face persecution.

Maybe Obama hoped to convince us that the rude jibes of the terrorist’s coworkers at a (gasp) Christmas party were the real trigger for the actions of an offended man who just happened to be Moslem. But then the FBI found the gun arsenal the loving couple was pulling together, and the couple’s murderous plans and their allegiance to radical Islam. Things turned south. It became impossible to pretend that Syed Farook and  Tashfeen Malik — when I hear their names I imagine a glittery duo on Dancing With the Stars — were just people driven to the edge by rudeness.

The final blow was FBI Director Comey asserting the murders were obviously terrorism, after which the President had no option but to call Comey a liar or go along with the truth. But I bet he was fuming all the while about that s.o.b. stepping in and spoiling his fun pulling the leg of the American people. The president, who as usual doesn’t change course when shown the error of his ways, is steadfastly ignoring the extreme vulnerability to terrorism of the US — with its open borders and destructive policies abroad. Instead he is regaling us with one boring speech after another that are somehow supposed to calm us down and make us see we are not in any danger or not much. How lame is that? By now I can hardly believe anybody is still tuning in when he makes another inane pronouncement from some venue that somehow is supposed to imbue him with authority and infallibility. The Pentagon. The White House Oval Office. Next it will be from atop Mt. Rushmore (he’d dearly love his ugly mug up on that mountainside).

On to other issues. I was appalled at the foreign policy positions taken by the GOP candidates at the last debate. Christie was the worst and most ignorant of them all. He seems to think he can use the same Jersey boys persona as a president that you can as a governor of…Jersey. He sets the standard for mindless Russophobia and macho posturing. First off, he can hardly set up a no fly zone in Syria, as he suggests, without first facing down Russian jets which already have a no-fly zone under the authority of the Syrian government. The Russians are within full legal rights to shoot down invading US jets (or any other foreign jets) or attack anti-government opposition troops seeded with US troops. What he is looking for and will certainly find is nuclear war. Christie’s pronouncements sound like something out of a comic book for the patriotically ill.

Pat Buchanan just wrote a column on that very subject. He assesses that there are actually three sensible GOP candidates regarding Russia and foreign policy: Trump, Paul, and Cruz. Seems Cruz actually spoke in favor of giving up this attempt to unseat Assad and suggests maybe we should work with him to defeat ISIS. That’s encouraging. Perhaps in the end common sense will prevail. Lord help us.

Perhaps Christie won’t get a chance to shoot down Russian jets in Syria. It seems the Russians scored with the recent meetings in Moscow between Kerry, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and President Putin. What resulted from this humbling petition from Washington for Moscow’s help was a whole series of cooperative steps in the UN and regarding US-Russian coordination (and perhaps cooperation) in Syria militarily. I’m pretty sure the US sought Russia’s blessing for certain anti-terrorist operations near the border with Turkey and it may have gotten it (or maybe not). Kerry had to give up US demands that Assad first go before any cooperation was possible, a critical victory for Putin and one the US hopes to paper over with a newly-passed and unanimous UNSC resolution on a ceasefire and a “roadmap to peace” in Syria. This resolution makes no mention of the ousting of Assad and instead calls for negotiations among all parties other than the terrorists toward a coalition government and holding of new elections. I can’t underscore enough how important this victory is for Russia, which took the bull by the horns and forced the US to correct its feckless and ruinous course in the Middle East.

On the other hand, it was precisely when pro-Russian Ukrainian president Yanukovich had reached an agreement with domestic opponents that would lead to near-term elections that he was overthrown in a violent coup, supported supposedly by nations such as Poland and Lithuania. So just because the US seems to have accepted that Assad must go, and Syrians must decide the fate of Syria, doesn’t mean any of that is true. Events could interfere with that peaceful outlook.

Merry Christmas. Happy Chanukah. If somebody else out there is having a religious holiday, may yours be good as well.

 


NATO member brings down Russian jet in Syria

Turkey has shot down a Russian jet providing air cover to Syrian Army ground forces fighting ISIS near the Turkish border and close to the Russian base at Latakia. According to Russia, the jet was operating in Syrian airspace and had not crossed into Turkey and the data will demonstrate this. The Turks say it was shot down over Turkish airspace (yet the fireball, as the Turks described it, came down in ISIS-controlled Syrian territory). The Turks have run to Washington (NATO) to make sure everybody is armed with the same disinformation. I’m sure when the satellite imagery comes out from Russia, NATO war parties will insist the imagery is somehow cooked. And I wonder if we’ll ever see the Turkish imagery, or learn about their own decision-making process — just as we never saw or heard a scrap of existing evidence about what the Kiev regime was up to when it sent that civilian Malaysian airline into a war zone in eastern Ukraine. Some evidence isn’t helpful, as Washington can tell you, and that evidence needs to be buried.

This was inevitable, with NATO members waging illegal war in Syria chiefly to unseat Assad and Russia supporting the Syrian government under the terms of a legal treaty. The US, Turkey and a bunch of other corrupt and brutal Middle East governments want Assad gone. They claim Assad, someone we could do business with for many years, is just too brutal to hold office. It doesn’t matter that Assad is the only man who can hold Syria together for the moment, or that the governments calling Assad a monster are themselves monstrous (think Saudi Arabia). For the moment ISIS is only a minor distraction to everybody including the US. They won’t get really worked up until, Paris-style, the blood starts running in their own streets under ISIS swords. For these fools, for now, the important part is to get Russia out of Syria so NATO can “do its thing.” That “thing” is unseating governments, so far legal governments in every case.

Turkey I am sure has been getting more and more nervous as Russian air support has allowed Assad’s forces to regain ground and begin to take the fight to ISIS. Operating along the Turkish border in Syria, Russian efforts also provide cover for the Kurds, anathema to Turkey. Turkey wants Russia to just go away and let Turkey continue with its double-dealing and treachery.

I predicted that this conflict between NATO and Russia would develop. How could it not, with a variety of air forces flying over Syria dropping bombs on assorted enemies? And here we have it. I saw one comment on a blog site that said only, “can we have one last Christmas?” The Turks reported that the ejected pilots were last seen running, no doubt from ISIS beheaders, so I guess that cheers up the Turks no end. Remember that the only guys the Turks want to stop in Syria are the Kurds. If ISIS wants to kill them and the pro-Assad Syrians and the Russians, Turkey will be glad to help however it can.

There will be a great deal of propaganda unleashed in the next weeks. I’m dead certain that many in the US will use this incident to prove that NATO has to go whole hog, boots on the ground. The UN wholeheartedly endorsed the idea of a global fight against the Islamic Caliphate wherever it is and the US could use that as some kind of a fig-leaf for a “coalition invasion” — even though that wasn’t the meaning of the resolution at all. How many clashes between the US and Russia do you think there will be then? Do you think, as apparently the idiots in Washington do, that the Russians will turn tail and leave their legal mission the minute they see NATO coming? Not likely. And as for a US (so-called NATO) no-fly zone, the dream of the McCain crowd, it will be damned hard to establish when the Russians have already established their own no-fly zone.

There isn’t much more to say at this point. The developments will all unfold in the next days and we will find out some of the facts, while others are obscured or misstated. And I will write more then. But for the moment, remember one thing: neither the US nor its military arm NATO is an undisputed power anymore. Our efforts to bring down legal governments is being resisted with  military force, and if it is war the US and NATO want, it is war they will get. The US is caught in a situation of its own making where the solution can never peace but only more war. We are well and truly stuck in the tar baby and all that remains is for us to stick our whole head in the contraption and expire from our own stupidity.

 


Up to our Eyeballs

The moment has come: faced with a choice of collaborating with Russia and her allies to oust the mad jihadists from Syria, or opting for another US ground war, known waggishly as “boots on ground,” the US came down firmly on the side of ground war. Right now all we have is a contingent of 50 warriors, but that will grow as sure as God made little green apples. I don’t buy for a moment the idea that these guys are going to really shake up this collection of terrorists and mercenaries and fanatics and thus bring the Syrian disaster to an end. But here’s what I think those 50 men can accomplish and are intended to accomplish: they can embed themselves as “human shields” among “their” terrorists, hoping that Russia won’t bomb the areas anymore, which then keeps alive the dream of toppling Assad by force; and they can claim territory for the US. Nothing like “boots on ground” for claiming territory, although it is made more difficult by “planes in air”that think they already claimed the same territory.

Fifty men, even the best of men, are not going to substantively and directly change the course of events in Syria. They are going to be top-line targets for the savages currently taking over Syria and I dread that one or more of them will be captured. The only thing 50 military men can do is try to hold together the remnants of the US-backed terrorist team while feeding intel into plans for a much larger incursion. The US wants its own territory in Syria, where it can establish a no-fly zone, conduct operations, and give sanctuary to its fighters. The problem, as already noted, is that Russia is able to operate in the air anywhere where Mr. Assad allows them to operate, while the US has no such authority from anybody, not to bomb, not to invade, and not to train and supply terrorists for anti-state action. So what we are being set up for is the big confrontation that anybody sane worries about. I do not believe the presence of an infiltrated American soldier in an anti-Assad formation will keep Russia from bombing. Assad asked Russia in to help him fight the anti-government forces, so of course that is what Russia is doing and will continue to do. I think the Russians will have already made this clear to the Americans, privately and through whatever atrophied diplomatic channels still exist. Russia will not sit idly by and allow the US to carve off a chunk of Syria for its own, I don’t think, and it certainly won’t be cowed by US human shields from continuing to strike against Assad’s foes. This makes it all too possible that we are going to see a direct US-Russian face-off and perhaps the opening of some sort of conflict.  Turkey’s own dubious activities in Syria are another NATO/Russia flash-point. You should add to that the increasing likelihood that there will be a purely accidental and literal collision at some point somewhere in Syria between the two sides if you want to savor the dangerous territories we are in.

Russia’s entry into the Syrian fight has for the first time begun to impact on ISIS and other terror groups trying to bring down the government. Hence the downing of the Russian passenger plane in retaliation. Russia is having an effect, where the US achieved nothing for many months. The Russians are simultaneously pursuing a strong political/diplomatic track under the aegis of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. If not for Russia, the US would never be sitting at a negotiating table with all the key players in Syria. The US should have every reason to enter into collaboration with whomever is fighting ISIS, but it is adamantly against doing so with the Russian team. They have offered various lame excuses for failing to do so. They can’t work with Iran (hah). Hamas is involved. The real reason is that Russia has established a strong position in Syria that the US dare not threaten without risk of direct conflict. The US cannot deal with the concept of Russia as an equal partner, rather than a subordinate. The US no longer has the luxury of pondering which of its various hapless schemes it would make operational — the no fly zone? boots on ground? installation of US-backed government? It is now constrained in what it can do, and hence the low-key opening bid of 50 soldiers. From here on out it is pure risk. There will be more to come.

The US and Russian positions on Syria are actually very close, except that Russia rejects the right of another nation to tell the Syrians who their government can be. They favor settling political differences through direct negotiations and referendum. The US and its allies insist that the terrible Mr. Assad has to go and the US assumes it will be the nation to tell the Syrians who their government can be. The only reason they give for using force to unseat him is that he has been brutal in repressing opposition. Whoop-dee-do. We do business everyday with men as bad as or worse than Assad, men like the Castro zombies, and it’s water off a duck’s back. We only care about human rights when it serves our purposes. But honestly — I can’t see the logic in anything the US  is doing. They have failed at nation-building in each instance beginning with Bosnia and yet they keep trying the same losing strategy. They need to try something new in Syria, like international consultation. Perhaps between the two sides a solution can be found. All those refugees can go home. The US and the EU can pay to rebuild Syria.

I think that if we end up collaborating it will be a miracle. I think the US has decided on a basic course that has as its goals the limitation of Russian gains, the continued fight to unseat Assad, and the strengthening of US influence on what happens in Syria. I  think those 50 boots will end up being 50,000 boots and not nearly so many boots on ground will leave as entered. I think the 50 men gambit is a big neon sign saying, “we’re going in up to our eyeballs.”

 


US Foreign Policy: A Cry for Help

I’ve been working on a piece on domestic political inanity, but am taking a detour to comment on the latest news from DC regarding Russia. Whatever happens at home doesn’t matter if it doesn’t affect what is happening abroad, where we have lost our marbles. The only politician making sense on foreign policy at present is Rand Paul. All the rest, and Mrs. Clinton in first place, are macho posturers who think they can still push other major powers around with impunity and that not threatening Russia in its own backyard is weakness. What has set me off this time is the announcement that the White House is considering getting even tougher on Russia to make sure it behaves itself in Europe. To justify the action, NATO asserts some non-existent Russian threat to NATO countries on NATO’s “far eastern” fringe. There is nothing to suggest this, of course, but that’s the glory of propaganda: a lie repeated often enough becomes the truth.

The newly-imagined NATO militarization program involves upgrading all the regional armies (magnificent arms sales!), and even stationing missiles. We have already sent military advisers and military hardware to Ukraine, a country not a member of NATO that is sinking under the waves of ineptitude and division, and rumor is rife that the US is funding a mercenary army for Ukraine to fight against Russia and Russia’s own proxy army in eastern Ukraine. NATO also declared one of its new missions (and apparently newly discovered authorities) is to weed out corrupt governments in Europe. I have already watched with amazement the replacing of Ukrainian government officials with foreigners, no matter what the public wants — whose hand is behind this incredibly disrespectful attitude to national interests, do you think? The One World’ers, the ones now declaring the right to weed out somebody else’s government, anywhere in Europe. And how does the weeding out occur? Through Color Revolutions? Pre-planned and deliberate disruptions of public order to achieve a much larger goal? Violent ousters of the “corrupt government”? Is weeding out anything like what we did in Syria? Could Hungary be in for some weeding out, and the Czech Republic, too? The Hungarian prime minister is a pragmatic man who prizes Hungarian independence; even under the Soviet regime Hungary was known to be rather independent in its economic dealings with the west. Now the Hungarian president is being told by the US/EU what to do in both foreign and trade policy. It rubs the wrong way. And the Czech president has banned the US ambassador in Prague from ever going to the presidential palace after the latter insulted the former by telling him what to do vis-à-vis Russia. Sounds like corruption to me.

Before my patriotic readers cheer on US provocations in eastern Europe, consider this: the last time we tried putting missiles in Europe, we had a huge anti-war movement in all the west European countries. Nobody wants to be in the missile cross-hairs of the Russians, and certainly not on behalf of the Poles, who just hate the Russians on principle, or the Latvians with their neo-Nazi sympathies. And they would be in those cross-hairs if the Americans put missiles in their backyards. Many western and even eastern Europeans also reject the US rationale that it is only making Europe safer. Most people in western Europe don’t care what happens to Ukraine unless it involves a lot of refugees, but so far the refugees are going almost exclusively to Russia. Anybody with even one eye in his head can see that all the military armament over a twenty some year period has been flowing eastward, not westward. It was flowing eastward when Russia was barely able to keep its Army together. Pull out a map and look at foreign military bases belonging to the US and Russia. And yet it is obvious that Russia would never attack NATO short of a NATO attack on Russia. What’s the real goal of all this? Containment, disarming, “weeding out.”

I read an article today that warned that we have entered a New Cold War period. I shot back that the commentator should get serious, it isn’t a Cold War, it is the prelude to WWIII. Many west European commentators, including Le Pen in France and Farage in UK, are increasingly worried by the militant US position on relations with Russia and object to it. They blame NATO and EU actions for ushering in the opening phase of WWIII. This is a nuclear war we are discussing and people are beginning to sit up and take notice. As one west European recently wrote, if the US is reverting to its expansionist era, then the Europeans have a right to know of the new policy and adjust their own accordingly. Vladimir Putin has already ridiculed US plans, asserting that “only in a madman’s dream would Russia attack NATO.”

All of what we have been seeing in the development of a policy of confrontation with Russia coincides with the unfolding of the new and bigger US propaganda effort led by Cold War hounds Radio Free Europe, Radio Liberty and Voice of America. The US government was concerned about the burgeoning success around the world of Russia Today, a Russian state-controlled news outlet. I myself read and watch it on-line, not only for news on Russia, which is predictably skewed, but for news on my own country. You can always bank on finding the bad news stories that have been spiked in the US press, and they are all one hundred percent true. That’s why others read it, too — to hear the other side of the story, and the things their own governments are hiding. Really, who would have thought that one day propaganda would have a use?

In the past, of course, such propaganda would have been only for purveyance to the ignorant world and prohibited for distribution within the US, lest the American citizen also be influenced by untruths. Nowadays, there is no exemption from propaganda for the supposedly naive world or the US citizen. One of the clearest examples was the recent performance of our Ms. Potato Head press spokesperson at the US State Department. Despite OSCE monitoring reports showing that there are equal numbers of Minsk agreement violations in Ukraine by each side, Marie Harf insisted that “we know” that the “vast majority” of the incidents were by the “Russian-backed rebels” and only “a tiny minority” by Kiev’s forces. She absolutely refused to acknowledge the facts as reported by the European monitors and instead spread blatant disinformation. She briefly tried to justify any violations, however few, by Kiev by asserting that Kiev was fighting to defend its country and thus was morally right. She was forced back to issue by a Russia Today reporter, who put her down deftly with a little dig on US moral superiority, but the reporter got nothing for her efforts. Harf wasn’t budging and that’s that. Harf can follow simple instructions, like “deny deny, deny.”

In any case, here’s what I think. I think that the Russian propaganda and disinformation system is now ramping up to meet the US ramp-up; I think that Russians will meet any placement of US missiles in Ukraine and Eastern Europe by putting nuclear weapons in Kalingrad and Crimea and targeting them on European capitals and economic regions. They are also rapidly developing their own advanced anti-missile missile system. I predict a rebirth of the anti-war protest movement in Europe, where the left is already geared up for their usual anti-G7 antics. The addition of the more reputable anti-war elements will significantly raise the pressures on governments. Tensions within NATO between those looking for accommodation of Russian national interests and those determined to screw Russia will likely be exacerbated by growing tension between east and west. Chafing at the imposition of US interests over those of Europe will not help tempers.

I also predict that if there is not a serious reconsideration of the growing militarization of our foreign policy, we are looking WWIII in the face. At these close quarters, with the US pushing into Russia’s front door, accidents happen. And sometimes others provoke accidents for their own stupidly short-sighted purposes.

And I didn’t even mention our similar provocations of China, or the emerging Sino-Russian military cooperation and coordination of positions. The multi-polar world has emerged full-blown. No longer that stable bi-polar world, or the incredibly heady days of unipolar power for America, but one where powerful nations are asserting their rightful position in global decision-making. We need to recalibrate. We need to rediscover diplomacy.

 


Random Musings on Life

They say that a person becomes wiser as they grow older. I think that this process is an inevitability unless somebody spends his whole life scooting over the surface of life and never paying attention. There were quite a few years in my own life where that would describe my approach to disasters: don’t dwell on it, there are a thousand other mistakes yet to be made!

But in the last decade a far more contemplative self has emerged as the other end of the journey peeps over the horizon. I remember Jane Fonda (no fan am I) saying that these days she cries at everything. I can sympathize. What happens to us women (somehow I can’t see this happening to my husband) that makes us so overly sad even when everything is going just fine? How can a dog dying trapped in a sewer in India send a tear down the cheek? But then I think, well, heck, old people have a lot more to be sad about than young people do. There is a lot of loss as you get older, not only of your own youthful attributes but of people and places and things. No more Merry Christmas! You’ll have to make do with your memories. All these sadnesses just mount up until they’re ready to express themselves in tears over silly things and not just momentous tragedies.

And this morning I noticed that somebody beat Alabama, and I guess that would be football. My dear friend Eleanor, a direct descendent of Thomas Jefferson and a southern lady to the tips of her polished nails, would have been really disappointed, I thought, although maybe she was an Auburn rooter. I told her as much in my mind, saying “good thing you’re not around now, Eleanor.” I realized that I spend a lot of time in my mind talking to lost friends and loved ones and then it occurred that maybe that’s what happens with very old people. They talk in their heads with all those who have gone and since there are more and more of those, and fewer and fewer real people they even know anymore or even want to know, they just find a comfort zone in their interior landscape and stay there.

For the nonce, however, I am still in the here and now where I can hardly tear my eyes from this car-crash known as US foreign policy. And the thought that the hawks in the McCain camp (and that includes Democrats) will have the upper hand now doesn’t improve my mood. I find it fascinating that the Obama clique now want to soothe Russia’s ruffled nape. As with the Cuban desperado brothers, Fidel and Raul, the US president hopes to turn all expectations on their head by emerging as dear friends with a far more understanding and cooperative Putin. If that fails, he can shrug his 3000 dollar suit shoulders and say he tried.

Of course this is silly, what the two sides demand are light-years apart at this point. If NATO isn’t prepared to ebb from Russia’s borders, there can’t be any deal. Here’s what Russia wants: an agreement to cede Crimea to Russia to be concluded with Kiev; Ukraine to be fully federated, as in Germany, with the eastern provinces having an equal say in the country’s federal affairs; international recognition of the autonomy of the two break-away Georgian regions and Russia’s commitment not to annex; the neutral status of all remaining non-NATO states of the former Soviet Union internationally guaranteed; the right to trade according to a  nation’s own interests affirmed. Agreement would lead to a corresponding series of Russian measures to back down from its aggressive posture.

What the USG is asking might be Russia out of Ukraine; Crimea unsettled but not closed either; agreement to the freedom of the remaining former Soviet republics to associate with NATO and the EU; withdrawal of Russian forces from eastern Ukraine; involvement to far greater degree of OSCE and other international bodies in eastern Ukraine. The carrot is the lifting of sanctions that are hurting Europe as well as Russia, and an easing of the propaganda war against Russia, a kind of second chance for Russia to become a US lackey.

I rate the chances of success at about zero, although out of respect for Kissinger’s intelligence and rationality on most things, the Russians could agree to some window-dressing measures. They would like a return to Minsk and the inclusion of the rebels and Russia, too. The Kievan government will resist all the measures aimed at appeasing Russia at their expense, and the right wing will continue to grow stronger in that part of the country. I am utterly charmed by the west Ukrainian skill at dumping people into disgusting trash bins whenever they say something the mob leaders don’t like. What a collection of allies the US has gathered.

If there is one offer that I think could work, it would be to declare NATO off-limits to the remaining non-NATO countries on the territory of the former USSR. If this were done with the agreement of all, then I believe that Russia would make significant gestures of its own and we could climb down. But as long as NATO sits on Russia’s doorstep picking its teeth with missiles, Russia isn’t going to budge.

And here at home, we have public figures egging on the blacks and hispanics against whitey and “the people” against the police; this is provoking counter-racism, which isn’t pretty either. We have organizations openly working to make immigration easier than ever (Wall Street Journal) and Republican representatives embracing them and their ideas, and we have cyber-hacking of pretty much everything.  There is some prospect of another Clinton-Bush race, but please, God, spare us from both.

Happy New Year.