Using The Appropriate Weapon To Get The Desired Results

There are wars and there are wars. Sometimes a war does not involve guns or soldiers. In the world of computers and the internet, sometimes it simply involves a computer and a very smart person. Cyber-warfare is always a threat, but economic warfare is also a very powerful weapon. As a successful businessman, President Trump is well aware of that.

On Friday, Larry Kudlow posted an article at National Review explaining how President Trump is very effectively dealing with Russia. The American media did not give a lot of coverage to President Trump’s speech in Warsaw, but I am sure the speech got the attention of the Russian leaders..

The article reports:

A few years back, in one of his finest moments, Senator John McCain said on a Sunday talk show that “Russia is a gas station masquerading as a country.” It was right when he said it, and it’s even more right today.

…But with energy prices falling, Vladimir Putin’s Russia has essentially been in a recession over the past four years. With oil at $50 a barrel or less, Russian budgets plunge deeper into debt. It’s even doubtful the Russians have enough money to upgrade their military-energy industrial complex.

…Now, Russia still has a lot of oil and gas reserves. And it uses this to bully Eastern and Western Europe. It threatens to cut off these resources if Europe dares to complain about Putin power-grabs in Crimea, eastern Ukraine, the Baltics, and elsewhere.

But enter President Donald Trump. In his brilliant speech in Warsaw, Poland, earlier this week, he called Putin’s energy bluff.

President Trump made it clear that America was willing to become a supplier of energy to Europe. The moves that will make that a reality are already taking place.

The article concludes:

In short, with the free-market policies he’s putting in place in America’s energy sector and throughout the U.S. economy, the businessman president fully intends to destroy Russia’s energy-market share.

And as that takes hold, Russia’s gas-station economy will sink further. And as that takes hold, bully-boy Putin will have to think twice about Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltics. He’ll have to think twice about his anti-American policies in the Middle East and North Korea. And he’ll have to think twice about his increasingly precarious position as the modern-day Russian tsar.

And the world may yet become a safer place.

Trump has Putin over a barrel.

And that is how you take power without firing a shot. The free market wins again.

 

A Different Perspective On The Leaked NSA Report

Yesterday Bloomberg posted an article about the recently leaked NSA report about Russian hacking into the 2016 election. The article is fairly complex in its explanation of the electronics involved. I don’t totally understand what is being said, but I wanted to share the information.

The article reports:

The publication that revealed a classified National Security Agency report on alleged Russian attempts to hack U.S. election-related systems, treats the report  as possible evidence that Russia tried to rig the vote. More likely, however, the Kremlin expected the vote to be rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton.

According to the leaked report, the Russian military intelligence, GRU, ran a spear-phishing campaign targeting the employees of VR Systems, a voting hardware and software producer. At least one of its employee accounts was apparently compromised. Then, the hackers used the harvested credentials to trap local government officials in charge of organizing elections. Emails, coming credibly from a VR Systems employee, contained malware that would have allowed the GRU (although the report provides no clues as to how the attribution was made) to control the computers of these local officials. The NSA doesn’t seem to have determined whether the hackers managed that with any of their targets.

Logically I would have expected the Russians to support the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. As President, she would have been closely aligned with the policies of President Obama, who famously told Dmitry Medvedev, “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”  Also, Hillary Clinton was involved in a transaction that brought cash into the Clinton Foundation and allowed Russia to obtain 20 percent of America‘s uranium reserves. I would think that Putin would have been hoping that Hillary would be elected. She probably would have made a great blackmail target using information gained from her unsecured server.

The article continues:

I have written before that it’s not impossible to rig a U.S. presidential election (and was ridiculed for saying so). The rigging, however, would require a vast conspiracy spanning the entire country and involving local election officials — the kind that exists in Russia. Trump, with his cheap, hastily thrown together campaign infrastructure could have achieved nothing of the kind, but, as the election campaign drew to a close, he appeared to fear such an effort from Barack Obama’s Democratic administration.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. The author paints a picture very different from the picture being painted by the mainstream media.

The Mess In The Middle East

Yesterday the BBC posted an article about the ongoing war in the Middle East. I generally don’t trust the BBC as a source on the Middle East because I feel that they are biased against Israel, but in this case, the article provides a lot of good information.

The article included a map showing where things currently stand:

MiddleEastAs you can see, the situation is a mess. The article was not about the map; however, the article was about a shift in the execution of the war by the pro-Bashar al-Assad forces in Russia and Iran.

The article states:

Russia’s defence ministry says it has used a base in western Iran to carry out air strikes in Syria.

Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters took off from Hamedan on Tuesday, a statement said.

Targets were hit in Aleppo, Idlib and Deir al-Zour provinces, it added. Local groups said 27 civilians had died.

It is reportedly the first time Russia has struck targets inside Syria from a third country since it began a campaign to prop up Syria’s president last year.

Iran is Bashar al-Assad’s main regional ally and has provided significant military and financial support since an uprising against him erupted in 2011.

…Russia has been operating jets and helicopters from bases in Syria for the past year, but this is the first time that Moscow has deployed aircraft to a third country in the region.

Reports indicate that up to six Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombers – known by the Nato codename of “Backfire” – are now operating from an air base in western Iran.

These planes – originally designed as a long-range strategic bomber – have already been engaged in the Syrian air campaign but operating from bases in southern Russia. Placing them in Iran dramatically reduces the duration of their missions. The Russian defence ministry says that an unspecified number of Sukhoi-34 strike aircraft have also been sent to Iran.

Their deployment marks an intensification of the Russian air campaign – perhaps a reflection of the scale of the fighting in and around Aleppo – and it is a demonstration of the growing warmth in ties between Moscow and Tehran, the Syrian government’s two closest allies.

This is not good news.

The article concludes:

Also on Tuesday, Human Rights Watch alleged that Russian and Syrian government aircraft had been using incendiary weapons in civilian areas in violation of international law – something Moscow has denied.

A review of photographs and videos indicated there were at least 18 incendiary weapon attacks on rebel-held areas in Aleppo and Idlib between 5 June and 10 August, the US-based group said. Witnesses and emergency workers reported at least 12 civilians wounded in five of the attacks.

President Obama is in the process of forming an alliance with Russia to fight ISIS. That is a serious mistake. The only reason Russia is involved in this is to prop up Bashar al-Assad, to cement its relationship with Iran, and to regain the status it had as a world power before the Soviet Union dissolved. Vladimir Putin is not our friend and should be handled as carefully as a scorpion.

The Definition Of Spin

It is going to be a long election season. I understand that it will only last until November, but it is going to be a long season. During that time we can expect the major media to tell us all variety of things about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. If you believe the mainstream media, by November you will be convinced that Hillary should be nominated for sainthood and Donald should be banished from the earth. That sort of bias is what has led to the rise of the alternative media.

One charge against Trump that the media is trying right now is that he and Putin have a wonderful relationship and Hillary is the only one who can protect us from the evil Russians. It’s a valiant effort at a really good smear campaign, but as usual, the facts tell a different story.

Katie Pavlich posted a story at Townhall today about the relationship between the Clintons and Russia.

The story reminds us of some of the history of that relationship:

Following his 2009 visit to Moscow, President Obama announced the creation of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission. Mrs. Clinton as secretary of state directed the American side, and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov represented the Russians. The stated goal at the time: “identifying areas of cooperation and pursuing joint projects and actions that strengthen strategic stability, international security, economic well-being, and the development of ties between the Russian and American people.”

The Kremlin committed $5 billion over three years to fund Skolkovo. Mrs. Clinton’s State Department worked aggressively to attract U.S. investment partners and helped the Russian State Investment Fund, Rusnano, identify American tech companies worthy of Russian investment. Rusnano, which a scientific adviser to President Vladimir Putin called “Putin’s child,” was created in 2007 and relies entirely on Russian state funding.

…Soon, dozens of U.S. tech firms, including top Clinton Foundation donors like Google, Intel and Cisco, made major financial contributions to Skolkovo, with Cisco committing a cool $1 billion. In May 2010, the State Department facilitated a Moscow visit by 22 of the biggest names in U.S. venture capital—and weeks later the first memorandums of understanding were signed by Skolkovo and American companies.

Wow. What a coincidence–donors to the Clinton Foundation profited from a decision made by the Secretary of State.

It gets worse:

At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The article concludes:

Here we are with another case of Clinton accusing her opponent of doing precisely what she’s been doing for years: profiting off of Russian business and government relationships in the private and public sectors.

Donald Trump is not the candidate who compromised national security for personal gain–Hillary Clinton is.

In Case You Have Been Sleeping Well…

Reuters is reporting today that Russia is clearing the way to send Iran anti-missile systems as soon as the sanctions are lifted on Iran. Doesn’t that news give you hope for peace in the Middle East?

The article reports:

Russia paved the way on Monday for missile system deliveries to Iran and started an oil-for-goods swap, signaling that Moscow may have a head-start in the race to benefit from an eventual lifting of sanctions on Tehran.

The moves come after world powers, including Russia, reached an interim deal with Iran this month on curbing its nuclear program.

The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ending a self-imposed ban on delivering the S-300 anti-missile rocket system to Iran, removing a major irritant between the two after Moscow canceled a corresponding contract in 2010 under pressure from the West.

This is another reason Congress should demand its constitutional right to review this treaty and a reason to reject the treaty. Once these anti-missile systems are delivered, there will be no way to prevent Iran from going nuclear, assuming that they do not already possess at least one nuclear bomb.

Please follow the link above to read the entire Reuters article. Russia will benefit economically when the sanctions are lifted, and the alliance that is being formed between Russia and Iran will not advance the cause of peace.

 

 

Timing Is Everything

Yesterday the big news item was the opening of diplomatic relations between the United States and Cuba. There is, however, a part of the story that is not being widely reported.

Bill Gertz posted an article yesterday at the Washington Times about an agreement signed between Russia and Cuba in May.

The article reports:

Months before President Obama announced on Wednesday that he is seeking to do away with decades of U.S. economic sanctions against the communist regime in Cuba, Russia concluded a security deal with Havana aimed at bolstering intelligence and military ties to the island dictatorship.

The Russia-Cuba agreement was announced May 16 when a memorandum was signed in Moscow establishing a joint working group between Russia’s Security Council and the Cuban Commission for National Security and Defense.

The security agreement comes amid fresh U.S. intelligence agency concerns that Russia is taking steps to follow through on plans to conduct strategic nuclear bomber flights over the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea, possibly with the help of Cuba and Venezuela.

Sometimes it just feels like Putin is playing chess while Obama is playing checkers.

Russia has been increasing its presence in the southern half of the Western Hemisphere for years. Russia has close ties to Venezuela. At the present time, however, both countries are in dire straits due to falling oil prices and are really not able to help each other very much. But in recent years, Venezuela has been extending the runway at Maiquetia international airport near Caracas. Some American officials believe that the extended runway will be able to accommodate the Russian Bear Hs, possibly equipped with nuclear-armed cruise missiles.

The article further reports:

The Russia-Cuba security agreement reached in May was announced by Nikolai Patrushev, former director of the Federal Security Service, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, and currently secretary of the Security Council, the key arm of the administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The situation in the world is changing fast and it is dynamic. That’s why we will need the ability to react to it promptly,” Mr. Patrushev told reporters May 16 in Moscow.

The Cuban delegation to Moscow at the time was headed by Col. Alejandro Castro, an Interior Ministry officer and son of current Cuban leader Raul Castro.

In July, Russian news outlets reported that Cuba had agreed to re-open the Soviet-era electronic listening post at Lourdes, Cuba. The facility, which spied on U.S. communications in the southern United States, was closed after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Mr. Putin later denied the spy post was being reopened.

Mr. Patrushev is Moscow’s point man for relations with Latin American states. In 2008, he traveled to Venezuela for talks with then-Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez at the time Russian and Venezuelan navy ships conducted joint exercises. Russia has supplied military equipment to the Venezuelan military.

This is not the time to do anything to bolster Cuba’s economy or standing in the world. All we are doing is propping up Cuba as its former sources of revenue, Venezuela and Russia, run out of money. This should have been the time for tough negotiations–not caving into anything the Cuban government wanted. President Obama has just made America less safe.

Russia Is Playing Chess, America Is Playing Checkers

The U.K. Telegraph posted an article today detailing the rapidly changing situation in the Ukraine. As it stands now, Russia admits that it has moved troops into the Ukraine, and the Ukraine has regained control of an airport taken over by Russian troops. Please follow the link above to the article to read about the latest events.

The article reports:

US Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to relieve diplomatic pressure that has increasingly assumed Cold War overtones by announcing that Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had assured him that Moscow “will respect the territorial integrity of Ukraine.”

Putin also appeared to take a more conciliatory approach late on Thursday by vowing to work on improving trade ties with Ukraine and promising to support international efforts to provide Kiev with funds that could keep it from declaring a debt default as early as next week.

As I said, checkers.

I don’t have a lot to say about the situation in the Ukraine, because I believe there may be a whole lot of things going on under the radar that I am unaware of. However, I will say that I suspect that there are many people in the Ukraine that are longing for freedom as they have seen it in the West, rather than the type of government they have seen in Russia. My prayer is that this situation will end peacefully with a free Ukraine. However, Putin is flexing his muscle, and America right now does not have a muscle to flex. That is not good.

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Why The Iranian Government Wants President Obama To Be Re-elected

Human Events posted a very interesting article yesterday. We all remember the following off-mic conversation between President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reported by Reuters on March 26 of this year:

“I understand your message about space,” replied Medvedev, who will hand over the presidency to Putin in May.

“This is my last election … After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama said, expressing confidence that he would win a second term.

“I will transmit this information to Vladimir,” said Medvedev, Putin’s protégé and long considered number two in Moscow’s power structure.

Now we have this report from Human Events:

Senior Iranian parliamentary sources revealed on Saturday that the Swiss envoy to Tehran has quoted US President Barack Obama as acknowledging Iran’s nuclear rights.

Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Livia Leu Agosti attended a meeting with senior Iranian foreign ministry officials a few days ago to submit a letter from the US president to Tehran leaders.

Vice-Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Hossein Ebrahimi told FNA that during the meeting, Agosti had told the Iranian officials that President Barack Obama recognizes Iran’s right of access and use of the nuclear technology.

“There are a couple of points with regard to this (US) message (to Iran),” Ebrahimi said and added, “Firstly, during the session to submit the message, the Swiss ambassador to Tehran quoted the US president as saying that ‘we (the US) recognize your nuclear rights’.”

This story is also being reported in FARS News–the news agency of the Revolutionary Guard. Because of the timing of this report and where it is being reported, I am a bit skeptical. However, after the conversation with Russian President Medvedev, the report at least needs to be made public. The part of this report that is noteworthy is that whether or not it is true, it is plausible. That may be all we need to know.

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How Did We Get Here ?

Today’s Washington Times posted a story about the current situation regarding the NATO missile defense sites in Eastern Europe that are supposed to be set up. These sites are supposed to be the subject of the recent open microphone remark by President Obama to Russian President Medvedev that President Obama would be able to be much more flexible in his second term. Well, evidently President Obama’s promise of flexibility in the future didn’t really impress the Russians.

The article in the Washington Times reports:

Russia’s most senior military officer (Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov) said Thursday that Moscow would strike and destroy NATO missile defense sites in Eastern Europe before they came online if the U.S. pushes ahead with deployment.

“A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens,” Russian Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov said at an international missile defense conference in Moscow attended by senior U.S. and NATO officials.

How did America get to a place where we are being overtly threatened by the Russians?

The article concludes:

Russian officials insist that the system has the capability to shoot down their ICBMs, thus robbing their nuclear deterrent of its credibility and destabilizing the Cold War-era balance of mutually assured destruction.

Neither the State Department nor the Pentagon had any immediate comment on the Russian threat Thursday.

I need to point out here that the missile defense system in question is a missile defense system–no one is saying anything about offensive weapons (except the Russians). How did we get to a place where the Russians can tell us whether or not we can place defensive missiles in Europe?

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