In purely cynical geopolitical terms, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin has completely outfoxed President Obama and the whole foreign policy apparatus of the West. The United States and our overfatted intelligence apparatus were caught with their pants down. The Europeans were just as badly suckered. Our National Security Agency may be able to track every email and phone call in the world, but it can’t grasp the plainly stated intentions of our obvious great power opponent, imperialistic Russia, which is now trying to reverse the breakdown of the Soviet Empire in the Cold War.
Putin has played a consistently brilliant chess game, snatching the Crimea — and soon, parts of the Ukraine — long before the West had any inkling. Even as Obama was shafting our closest allies in the Middle East, Israel, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Putin stood by Syria and Iran, his allies of convenience in that part of the world. With every East-West confrontation Obama has backed down. Now, with the collapse of Crimea without a shot being fired, Putin has finally revealed his plan.
Putin and his fellow KGB alums who now run Russia are long-distance chess players. Starting from a position of utter weakness with the breakdown of the Soviet Union and its colonies twenty years ago, they have systematically schemed to take power in Moscow, to centralize great chunks of the old Soviet Union, and to reorganize its broken economy on syndicalist lines — a centralized crony capitalism. Russia is still far from its peak power level from Soviet times, but its low-cost reconquest of the Crimea, parts of Georgia, and soon, major parts of the Ukraine count as an unqualified success.
The question is whether renewed Russian encroachment on Europe can ever be stopped. Sixty years ago, at the end of World War II, much of Europe lay in ruins, and the United States stepped in with a credible nuclear guarantee against Stalin and his successors. The Soviets proved to be a greedy type of imperialism, most significantly turning China into an ideological clone threatening all of Asia. Today, Putin and China are once more considering the advantages of a strategic alliance. Just as Russia snatched parts of Georgia and the Crimea, China has laid claim to vast undersea territories hotly disputed by Japan and the Philippines. China is now the biggest imperial exploiter of African resources. Obama has simply ignored a new Sino-Soviet expansionism, the way he always does.
Read complete article via Articles: Dangerous Times: Will Europe ever Defend Itself?.
(CNSNews.com) – Three days after President Barack Obama dispatched his ambassador to Afghanistan to hand deliver a personal letter from the president of the United States to Afghan President Hamid Karzai apologizing because U.S. forces at Bagram Air Force Base had mistakenly burnt some Korans, Karzai has responded to the gesture in a statement broadcast live on Afghan television.
Karzai, according to a BBC translation of his remarks made Sunday, told the Afghan people he was speaking to them after discussing the matter with “jihadi leaders,” “prominent scholars,” and Afghan elected officials, and that he spoke for the “pure sentiments” of the “Afghan nation” and the “Islamic world,” when he said: “We call on the US government to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice and put them on trial and punish them.”
via Karzai’s Response to Obama’s Apology: Put U.S. Troops on Trial and Punish Them | CNSNews.com.
(CNSNews.com) – A top Muslim Brotherhood official has warned that any cuts in U.S. aid to Egypt could affect Cairo’s peace treaty with Israel – the latest sign that Egypt’s emerging political forces intend to call Washington’s bluff over the diplomatic dispute triggered by a crackdown on non-governmental organizations.
Egyptian judges have referred 16 Americans and 27 others linked to NGOs for trial, accusing them of using foreign funds to encourage disruptive protests. Among the targeted NGOs whose assets and funds have been seized are the U.S. government-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute.
On Capitol Hill, the chorus of senior lawmakers calling for aid to Egypt to be suspended over the affair is growing, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned that the funds could be in jeopardy.
via Muslim Brotherhood Warns U.S. Aid Cut May Affect Egypt’s Peace Treaty With Israel | CNSnews.com.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had a clear and unified message coming out of their meeting in Washington, D.C. Monday: They are looking for a political solution in Syria and won’t consider putting international troops there unless the Syrian regime agrees.
Clinton and Davotoglu spent the afternoon preparing for the upcoming inaugural meeting of the “Friends of Syria” group this weekend in Tunisia. Following the meeting, they both urged the international community to support the Arab League’s recommendations for Syria following their Sunday meeting in Cairo, which included a request for a U.N.-Arab peacekeeping force in Syria. But Clinton said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the State Department accuses of murdering civilians, would have to agree first.
via Clinton: We need Assad’s consent to put troops in Syria | The Cable.
TEHRAN – Iran will soon unveil “big new” nuclear achievements, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Saturday while reiterating Tehran’s readiness to revive talks with the West over the country’s controversial nuclear program.
Ahmadinejad spoke at a rally in Tehran as tens of thousands of Iranians marked the 33rd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution that toppled the pro-Western monarchy and brought Islamic clerics to power.
Ahmadinejad did not elaborate on the upcoming announcement but insisted Iran would never give up its uranium enrichment, a process that makes material for reactors as well as weapons.
via Iran To Make Major Nuclear Announcement Within Days, Ahmadinejad Says | Fox News.
Iran is moving closer to civil and economic pandemonium. The Wall Street Journal is reporting inflation at over 20% per month and a massive decline in the value of the Iranian rial since December on the black market. Capital flight can be a leading indicator of a middle and upper middle class that is developing contingency plans. The Iranian public and merchant class are sending a signal to the world: they have lost confidence in their future and want a better store of value.
This is no time to lead from behind. Now is the time for the White House to reach out to the Iranian public to stress that U.S. sanctions against the central bank and a potential European embargo on Iranian oil are directed at the current regime and not at the Iranian people. This will not reduce the pain on the street, but thus far Washington’s message is again muted.
via The American Spectator : Don’t Waste Another Crisis, Mr. President.
Good news! On economic freedom, America is in the global Top 10.
Bad news: America is No. 10 — one blond hair ahead of Denmark.
According to the 18th annual Index of Economic Freedom, released Thursday by the Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal, Hong Kong enjoys the earth’s freest economy. The Chinese Special Administrative Region invariably has topped this list since it began in 1995. No. 2 Singapore leads Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Canada, Chile, Mauritius, and Ireland. Agnostic on political freedom, the Index evaluates fiscal discipline, taxes, regulations, monetary policy, rule of law, corruption, and other measures of economic liberty.
via We’re Number Ten – Deroy Murdock – National Review Online.
(Reuters) – Iranian state television said on Saturday Tehran had evidence Washington was behind the latest assassination of one of its nuclear scientists.
In the fifth attack of its kind in two years, a magnetic bomb was attached to the door of 32-year-old Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan’s car during the Wednesday morning rush-hour in the capital. His driver was also killed.
The United States has denied involvement in the killing and condemned it. Israel has declined to comment.
“We have reliable documents and evidence that this terrorist act was planned, guided and supported by the CIA,” the Iranian foreign ministry said in a letter handed to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, state TV reported.
“The documents clearly show that this terrorist act was carried out with the direct involvement of CIA-linked agents.”
via Iran says it has evidence U.S. behind scientist’s killing | Reuters.