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Posts tagged ‘Soviet Union’

Kasparov: Appease Putin and He’ll Come Back for More.


Image: Kasparov: Appease Putin and He'll Come Back for More

 

By Elliot Jager

Vladimir Putin is neither a modern-day Hitler nor a master strategist. He is best understood as a bellicose poker player up against a bunch of docile opponents, Garry Kasparov writes in Politico.

Kasparov, a chess grandmaster and chairman of the Human Rights Foundation in New York, who was born in Baku, Azerbaijan, then part of the Soviet Union, writes that he has dedicated himself “to opposing Vladimir Putin’s campaign to destroy democracy and civil liberties in Russia.”

What Putin has going for him that his Soviet precursors did not is unhindered entrée to international markets and institutions, Kasparov says. “Putin’s oligarchs bank in London, party in the Alps, and buy penthouses in New York and Miami, all while looting Russia under the auspices of a reborn KGB police state.”

European authorities have enabled Putin by facilitating his regime’s access to Western capital. Western banks helped underwrite the Kremlin takeover of dissident Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s Yukos oil empire, Kasparov writes.

Putin rules like an authoritarian communist dictator but acts like a Western mogul. He is no Hitler, but “turning the other cheek” to him “just gets you slapped again,” Kasparov writes.

President Barack Obama, British Prime Minister David Cameron, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel are mistaken to worry about possible “instability” and “high costs” in confronting Putin. What “could be worse than the instability caused by the partial annexation of a European country by a nuclear dictatorship, carried out with impunity?”  Kasparov asks.

Merkel seems to now appreciate the urgency of standing up to Putin, he notes.

Kasparov’s conclusion is that “Putin is no master strategist. He’s an aggressive poker player facing weak opposition from a Western world that has become so risk-averse that it would rather fold than call any bluff, no matter how good its cards are.”

He’s no Hitler, but Kasparov writes the instructive analogy is that “appeasing a dictator” and “greedily grabbing at an ephemeral peace” in the face of aggression is a recipe for war in the long run.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Russian Newsman: Moscow Could Turn US to ‘Radioactive Ash’.


MOSCOW — A Kremlin-backed journalist issued a stark warning to the United States about Moscow’s nuclear capabilities on Sunday as the White House threatened sanctions over Crimea’s referendum on union with Russia.

“Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash,” television presenter Dmitry Kiselyov said on his weekly current affairs show.

Behind him was a backdrop of a mushroom cloud following a nuclear blast.

Kiselyov was named by President Vladimir Putin in December as the head of a new state news agency whose task will be to portray Russia in the best possible light.

His remarks took a propaganda war over events in Ukraine to a new level as tensions rise in the East-West standoff over Crimea, a southern Ukrainian region which is now in Russian forces’ hands and voted on Sunday on union with Russia.

Russian television showed images of ethnic Russians in Crimea dancing, singing and celebrating the referendum but followed them with accusations that Kiev’s new authorities and the West have allowed ultra-nationalists to attack Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine.

Kiev and the West blame the violence in eastern Ukraine on pro-Russian groups and say the Crimea referendum is illegitimate. The United States has warned of imminent sanctions against Moscow.

 

Kiselyov is an outspoken defender of Putin and once caused outrage by saying the organs of homosexuals should not be used in transplants.

His show portrayed the Ukrainian authorities as unable to maintain law and order. Putin made a similar charge in a telephone conversation with U.S. President Barack Obama on Sunday.

Such remarks have caused concern in Kiev that Moscow might send troops to eastern Ukraine, acting on a vote in Russian parliament allowing him to use the armed forces if compatriots are deemed in need of protection in Ukraine.

As the crisis escalated, the news in Russia has taken on shades of Soviet-era propaganda, with reporters peppering reports with references to what they say was the cooperation of some Ukrainians with the Nazis in World War Two.

There is also now growing menace in some of the reports, as well as echoes of the Cold War.

Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted Crimea to Ukraine in 1954, when Ukraine and Russia were both parts of the Soviet Union.

Many people in Crimea hope union with Russia will bring better living conditions and make them citizens of a country capable of asserting itself on the world stage.

Others see the referendum as a land grab by the Kremlin as Ukraine’s new rulers try to move the country towards the European Union and away from Russia’s sway.

 

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Source: Newsmax.com

Ron Paul: Putin ‘Has Some Law on His Side’ in Crimea.


Former Texas Rep. Ron Paul says the United States is partially to blame for the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

Speaking on the Fox Business Channel program The Independents, Paul accused the U.S. and the West of helping to overthrow Ukraine’s government under President Viktor Yanukovich. He went on to say that Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose military has invaded the Crimean peninsula portion of Ukraine, has “some law on his side” for his actions.

“This whole thing that Putin is the big cause of the trouble is pretty good evidence that the Europeans as well as the American government have contrived to have the overthrow of a government that most people say had been elected,” Paul said.

“And they say everything that Putin does is illegal. He’s no angel, but actually he has some law on his side. They have contracts and agreements and treaties for a naval base there and the permission to go about that area.”

Story continues below video.

Paul compared the situation to the Americans’ presence at Cuba’s Guantanamo Bay, where the U.S. has a suspected terrorists. and a detention facility for suspected terrorists.

Host Matt Welsh asked Paul about Russia’s actions, which have included stacking its army along the border and taking over a Ukraine base in Crimea.

“I don’t think we should do all that threatening,” Paul said.

Welch interjected, saying he was referring to the Russians in his question.

“I know but we’re there,” Paul said. I know you were talking about the Russians. You listen to [Sens. Lindsey] Graham and [John] McCain, [they say] ‘Oh, now we can build our missiles in Russia’s backyard.’ No, I don’t think so.

“If you believe in limited government, everybody should have the right to minimize their government. There should be a right of secession. We loved secession when we seceded from Great Britain, and we loved secession when the Soviet Union broke up. So why not have the break up of these countries?”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jason Devaney

Cheney: Crimea Not a Lost Cause.


Image: Cheney: Crimea Not a Lost Cause

By Greg Richter

Former Vice President Dick Cheney doesn’t like it when he hears his friends say, “It’s just Crimea,” referring to the Russian takeover of that portion of Ukraine.

“It’s not just the Crimea,” Cheney said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.”

“It’s a significant effort on [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] part to reverse the downfall, if you will, of the Soviet Union and try to regain a lot of that territory, which voted for independence and sovereignty as the old Soviet Union fell apart.”

Cheney sees a sense of resignation in most in the West that Crimea is a lost cause. Russian troops rode into the southern peninsula of Ukraine late last month and have been occupying ever since. Putin said he is concerned because many ethnic Russians live in Crimea.

A March 16 referendum has been set for voters to determine whether Crimea will remain part of Ukraine or join the Russian Federation. Ukraine says the vote goes against the country’s constitution.

Even former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Sunday that Crimea will not slip out of Russia’s hands.

Cheney agreed with many others that economic sanctions and military aid should be considered.

“Tomorrow, if Putin is successful in the Crimea, who’s to say he won’t decide to tell the folks up in Lithuania or Latvia or Estonia he wants part of their territory because it’s got Russians on it?”

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

Pete Hoekstra: What Happens in Ukraine Doesn’t Stay in Ukraine.


Russia has invaded Ukraine militarily and electronically. Already strained, P5 plus 1 negotiations over Iran’s nuclear weapons programs are breaking down.

Examined in isolation they would appear to be international outliers existing separately in their own vacuums. But are they really?

Not at all. What happens in Ukraine doesn’t stay in Ukraine.

What happens in Iran doesn’t stay in Iran. Events in the two countries are in fact closely intertwined.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has always resented the collapse of the Soviet Union and harbors ambitions in which he absorbs the breakaway sovereign satellite states – such as Ukraine – to once again become a global superpower.

At the same time, a defiant Iran continues to advance its nuclear weapons programs, expand its sphere of influence, extend its support of global terror, build its ballistic missile stockpile, and grow its cyber capabilities.

Both Russia and Iran have significant global aspirations and view the United States as the biggest obstacle to achieving their goals. Recent events have pushed Russia and Iran closer together, which will result in dangerous consequences for the United States.

Russia always had very few reasons to support the West during negotiations over lifting sanctions on Iran in exchange for halting its nuclear weapons program. It now has no reason to support the coalition given its aggression in Ukraine against strong Western opposition.

The nuclear talks with Iran will now inevitably fail without Russian support, and there will be no hope of re-imposing sanctions on the Islamic Republic. Events in Ukraine will provide Iran with a significant amount of time to further work on its nuclear weapons program and build upon an already well-developed cyber capability.

The cyber capability may be the most troubling. Cyber reaches globally and crosses borders effortlessly. It can cause massive damage and is difficult to attribute.

Only a few years ago most experts rated Iran at tier two or tier three in its cyber capabilities. Today, with Russian assistance, Iran has closed the gap significantly and ranks closely behind tier one cyber powers such as the United States, China, and Israel. Experts are not only surprised, but they are perplexed at how Iran could have made up so much ground so quickly.

Iran’s cyber warfare program is now sophisticated enough to have carried out attacks on major U.S. financial institutions and penetrate into an unclassified U.S. Navy computer network that reportedly took four months to resolve.

Russia will continue its support for Iran’s aspirations of having a world class cyber warfare capability, both offensive and defensive.

Russia will also continue to extend its own global sphere of influence by antagonizing its neighbors and by moving into a perceived vacuum in Middle Eastern affairs created in part by Syria’s brutal civil war. Russia and Iran have long been suspected of sending weapons and other support to the Bashar al-Assad as the civilian death toll mounts.

The national security calculus for the United States is changing dramatically. It has at its core a developing relationship between Russia and Iran, an Iran with its nuclear program, terrorism support competencies intact, and a tier one cyber capability: none of which bodes well for the United States or the West.

Recent events should teach us that we cannot view any development in isolation, that it would be wise to consider the unintended consequences of any action or inaction.

What happens in Ukraine doesn’t stay in Ukraine. It can have ripple effects that alter the national security map around the world.

Pete Hoekstra is the former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and the Shillman Senior Fellow with the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

 

By Pete Hoekstra

Analysts: Putin Might Not Be All Wrong About Ukraine.


Vladimir Putin believes Russia’s troop movements in Ukraine’s Crimea region are sanctioned by a 1997 treaty that Moscow signed with Kiev, CIA director John Brennan told a senior lawmaker Monday, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The newspaper cited U.S. officials it didn’t name as the source of the information. The officials declined to identify the lawmaker, the Times said.

The treaty — which expires in 2042— requires that Russia coordinate military movements with Ukraine. Russia announced that Ukraine’s ousted — illegally in its view— President Viktor Yanukovych requested Moscow to send troops across the border, the BBC reported.

The Russian connection to the Crimea peninsula dates to the 1700s when Russia captured the territories from the Muslim Ottoman Empire. When Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union, Russia ceded the peninsula to the Ukrainian Soviet republic, according to the BBC. Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev was half Ukrainian.

The ethnic majority in the region is now Russian. Toward the end of World War II, Stalin deported hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslim Tatars from Crimea claiming they had collaborated with the Nazis.

Now, Russia points to a far-right element in the Ukrainian protest movement as having hijacked the campaign against Yanukovych. These forces have four posts in the new temporary government according to the BBC.

“The far right in Ukraine has now achieved the level of representation and influence that is unparalleled in Europe,” said University of Ottawa political scientist Ivan Katchanovski, according to The Daily Beast.

Meanwhile, veteran Russia watcher Stephen F. Cohen of Princeton and New York Universities writes in The Nation that while Moscow pursues many “repugnant” policies, coverage by the U.S. mainstream media basically denies Russia any legitimate interests “at home or abroad – even on its own borders, as in Ukraine.”

According to Cohen, the claim repeatedly made in the U.S. media that most Ukrainians long for integration into Europe is inaccurate. In fact, he wrote, the country is divided.

“There is not one Ukraine or one ‘Ukrainian people’ but at least two, generally situated in its Western and Eastern regions.”

Cohen said the media was also mistaken to discount Putin’s December 2013 offer to work with the West to save Ukraine’s economy.

Appearing on CNN on March 2, Cohen said Putin was not a thug, not out to recreate the Soviet Union, and “not even anti-American.”

Putin is behaving to protect what he sees as Russia’s vital interests, Cohen said.

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Elliot Jager

Obama Silent As Russia Tells Ukraine ‘Surrender Or Face Military Storm!”


 

The Russian military has given Ukrainian forces in Crimea until 5 a.m. Tuesday (10 p.m. ET Monday) to surrender or face a “storm,” Interfax news agency reported.

“If they do not surrender by 5 a.m. tomorrow, we will start a real storm in Ukrainian bases in Crimea,” according to the statement sent by the Russians to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, a ministry source told Interfax. NBC News could not immediately confirm the report.

russia-tells-ukraine-to-surrender-or-face-major-military-storm-obama-silent

The sound of absolute silence coming from the Obama White House is deafening.

The ultimatum was attributed to Alexandr Vitko, chief commander of Russia’s Black Sea fleet.

Ukraine mobilized for war on Sunday after Russian President Vladimir Putin declared he had the right to invade his neighbor to protect Russian citizens.

The standoff in Ukraine has created the greatest moment of tension between Russia and the West since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, an event Russian President Vladimir Putin once called the worst geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century. source – NBC News

Reuters contributed to this report.

by NTEB News Desk

AK-47, Africa And The Curse Of A Weapon By Evelyn Tagbo.


By Evelyn Tagbo

The man who invented AK-47, Michail Kalashnikov is dead.  He died Monday, according to Russia Today.  Kalashnikov died peacefully at the age of 94.  He spent much of his life in the Ural Mountains, the region in his home country of Russia where his popular rifle is produced.
Kalashnikov’s invention is a Russian invention that has found huge market in Africa.  It’s the most common weapon of destruction in Nigeria’s Niger Delta and the northeast where Islamic terrorists and militants continue to engage government in the struggle for power.

Nigeria’s chief of army standards and evaluation, Major-General Shehu Abdulkadir, recently noted 70 per cent of the 10 million illegal weapons in circulation in West Africa are in Nigeria.  Most of these weapons are AK-47s.  In many corners of Africa, these weapons are favored by political thugs, militants, religious terrorists, drug gangs, kidnappers, autocrats, guerrillas, child soldiers and armed robbers.

Last December, a British policeman Gary Hyde, 42, was jailed for seven years for overseeing an £800,000 consignment of rifles, among which were 40,000 AK47 assault rifles, from China to Nigeria in 2007. Hyde was jailed for shipping weapons without a licence and hiding more than £620,000 in commission payments.  Security experts say, many such dealers exists helping to facilitate the flow of weapons into Africa.

The Automatic Kalashnikov — Avtomat Kalashnikova, or AK-47, (1947 is the year the rifle’s design was finalized) went from an unknown weapon after the second world war to becoming the most prized possession of rebels, terrorists and despots. This is largely because of its ease of use, resistance to corrosion, light weight and relatively cheap price.

From its earliest days, the AK-47 has been judged a superior weapon because of its simplicity and reliability. In a compact, 10-pound package, a single fighter holds the fully automatic firepower of a machine gun. It has only eight moving parts, can be broken down and reassembled in 30 seconds and will fire when very dirty.

Experts say there are at least 100 million AKs in the world today and at least 1 million new ones are manufactured each year.   There are probably more Kalashnikovs in South Sudan now, with its many years of conflict, than there are books for primary school children to read.  According to The Independent, there is thought to at least one AK-47 per family in South Sudan, a country which ranks among the poorest in the world.

The gruesome attack in Kenya’s Westgate Mall last September that resulted in the death of over 60 persons was executed by young AK-47 wielding terrorists.  Similar attacks in Nigeria by the Boko Haram group are regularly carried out with the same rifle and Abubakar Shekau, the leader of the group, just like Osama bin Laden shows off his AK-47 in all his youtube messages.

AK-47 is now a global brand produced in different countries across the world with China producing even more than Russia.  The assault rifle is the world’s most popular weapon.  Praising the inventor during his 90th birthday, the  then Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev said “what you’ve done has made Russian weapons one of our best national brands…Kalashnikov is one of the most famous Russian words.”

Inventor Kalashnikov is not one of Russia’s billionaires and is not even ranked rich at all.  He is reported as never having a patent for his invention and so never earning much other than popularity from it.  His compatriot Viktor Bout, the poster boy of illegal gun sale in Africa, otherwise known as ‘merchant of death’ made more from Kalashnikov’s invention than the inventor himself.

Bout – perhaps the gunrunning world’s Pablo Escobar – was notorious for arming rebels in Liberia, Congo, Somalia, Sudan and Nigeria.  He was the biggest and most brazen gunrunner in Africa and the Middle East using his fleet of aging Russian cargo planes to hop between warzones, often selling his Soviet-era weaponry to both sides.

The then Soviet Union granted licenses to 18 countries including China and Egypt to produce AK rifle during the Cold War, but these countries continue to produce the weapon illegally years after those licenses expired.  There are at least 30 countries where the weapon is produced today.

For Africa, the name Kalashnikov is a sad reminder of all that’s wrong with the continent; its violent struggles of the part, and present. For the many victims of war and gun violence on the continent, Kalashnikov evokes bitter memories.  AK-47 is the instrument with which many of their husbands, father children, wives, mothers, sons, and daughters were killed.  For them, it would, perhaps, have been better that Michail Kalashnikov never invented AK.  Even with the fragile state of security in most parts of the continent, AK-47 remains a big nightmare.

When asked whether he feared that he may one day fall to his own invention, Kalashnikov said “I sleep well.”  And on how he feels when he sees terrorists and criminals with it, he said: “Whenever I look at TV and I see the weapon I invented to defend my motherland in the hands of these bin Ladens, I ask myself the same question: ‘How did it get into their hands?’ ” Kalashnikov said.

“It is painful for me to see when criminal elements of all kinds fire from my weapon,” he explained on his 90th birthday in 2009.  “I didn’t put it in the hands of bandits and terrorists, and it’s not my fault that it has mushroomed uncontrollably across the globe. Can I be blamed that they consider it the most reliable weapon? …It’s the politicians who are to blame for failing to come to an agreement and resorting to violence,” he said.

Armed conflict costs Africa about $18 billion yearly and about $300 billion between 1990 and 2005, according to Oxfam.  The proliferation of arms in parts of Africa is a tickling time bomb. It’s a major threat to security and development.  80 percent of all arms held in Nigeria are illegal and in private hands, according a study titled ‘The Violent Road’ by the National Working Group on Armed Violence (NWGAV) in conjunction with the United Kingdom based Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), Action on Armed Violence (AOAV).

Some admirers say criticizing Kalashnikov for his invention is like criticizing Henry Ford for making the Model T.  It is, perhaps, the failure of leadership, on one hand, and followership, on the other, that AK-47 seems more abused in Africa than anywhere else in the world.  Originally designed for soldiers who have to endure terrible conditions on the battlefield, it is now more popular among the continent’s terrorists, child soldiers and political thugs.

Evelyn Tagbo is a Massachusetts-based journalist, statistician and blogger.

Source:  SAHARA REPORTERS.

China Safely Soft-Lands Rover on the Moon.


State media say China has safely carried out the world’s first soft landing of a space probe on the moon in nearly four decades.

State television showed pictures of the moon’s surface as the Chang’e 3 lander touched down Saturday evening.

The lander carries a moon rover called “Jade Rabbit” that will separate from the lander and embark on a three-month scientific exploration.

China is the third country to carry out a lunar soft landing after the United States and the former Soviet Union. The last one was in 1976.

China’s ambitious space program is an enormous source of pride for the country. China plans to eventually land people on the moon.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: Newsmax.com

Michael Hayden: Only a ‘Fraction’ of Snowden’s Secrets Revealed.


The release of the classified U.S. information stolen by Edward Snowden is being carefully managed and much more high-level data is likely to be released over a long period, retired Gen. Michael V. Hayden, former Director of the National Security Agency, predicted to Newsmax.

Based on the timing of what has been released so far, “we’ve only seen a fraction” of what the renegade NSA contractor had, Hayden said in an exclusive interview.

“Even the Guardian, which has been key to publishing what Snowden has, recently suggested we may have so far seen only one percent of what he has,” said Hayden, who also was director of the CIA. “My sense is that we are seeing a carefully-manged rollout of what Snowden had.”

As for reports that Snowden has given all the documents he has to Glenn Greenwald of the The Guardian and filmmaker Laura Poitras, the former spymaster voiced his conclusion that “they are orchestrating what and when to release for the maximum effect.”

Hayden cited numerous examples — all of them very bad for the United States — of the effect of the Snowden document releases.

It “has neutered many present successes we’ve achieved and will lead to our adversaries change their procedures and tactics,” he said, “We’ve seen our adversaries change these before.

“And it has eroded trust and confidence among many who deal with the U.S. government. Regarding American business, Google and Microsoft have been singled out [for assisting the U.S. government in the eavesdropping procedure] but their circumstances are no different from Deutsche Telecom in Germany. And our allies have lost trust in us because we can’t keep a secret.”

The most poignant impact of the entire Snowden affair, Hayden believes, “is the impact it has had on the intelligence workforce. A few weeks ago, NSA employees were offered talking points for Thanksgiving to week on how to handle the revelations if they came up at family gatherings. And letters were sent home assure NSA employees that they are heroes.

“Actually, there was no real legal controversy. What NSA employees did in the execution of their assignments [revealed by Snowden] was completely lawful and properly overseen. There is no dispute over this.”

Noting that Snowden characterizes himself as a “an American” and he has been variously dubbed patriot, whistleblower, hero, traitor, enemy, and defector, we asked Hayden what he felt the former NSA contractor was.

“He’s an American defector,” Hayden replied, “And there is a long line of defectors who did what they did for so-called ideological reasons. Many of them realized the promises they received from other countries when they defected were not on strong grounds.”

Hayden added that if Snowden feels he acted as “an American,” then “one has to wonder why he went to two autocratic states to make his charges? If something was bothering him about his work, why didn’t he go for a congressional investigating committee and reveal it?”

He recalled defectors who went over to the old Soviet Union such as several of the United Kingdom’s “Cambridge Five” and ended up, in Hayden’s words, “isolated, lonely, depressed, and in some cases, plagued by alcoholism. There was a pattern there.”

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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