NEWSLINK: “Lost in Translation” – Sarah Lindemann-Komarov/Portland Press Herald (Maine)/Medium

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Throughout the 25 years I have lived in Siberia people have turned to me as a translator, not of English, but of America. Never more so than now, from my University students to the Kazakh fast food cashier at the mall, “Trump?”. I know they ask hoping I can provide a translation of the meaning of Trump that will reinforce […]

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NEWSLINK: “The ‘Russia Scare’ Coalition: ISIL’s ‘Useful Idiots’? Victory by the ‘Russia scare’ coalition will limit America’s ability to fight ISIL, complicate efforts to win UNSC support for tough enforcement of the Iran nuclear deal and give China more leverage over both Moscow and Washington.” – The National Interest editorial

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“The turmoil surrounding Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn’s resignation and wider allegations of links between President Donald Trump, his campaign and Russia seems to have made a strong impression in Moscow. Many there had already calibrated initially unrealistic expectations after Mr. Trump’s initial weeks in office; recent events have tempered even these more limited ambitions. Hopes have long faded that Washington […]

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RUSSIALINK Russia Direct/Ivan Tsvetkov: “After Flynn’s dismissal, Russia starts to doubt Trump. After National Security Advisor Michael Flynn’s scandalous resignation and Donald Trump’s tough new rhetoric toward the Kremlin, Russia has started to back away from the U.S. president. That could be dangerous.”

Kremlin and River

“This week has not been easy for U.S.-Russia relations, especially with the scandalous resignation of President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Russia is now back on the agenda of the U.S. media after a brief period in which U.S. President Donald Trump’s early presidential moves overshadowed any talk of foreign policy. The image of Flynn is controversial in […]

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NEWSLINK: “Survey: U.S. Vital Interests Vis-à-Vis #Russia” – Russia Matters/Thomas Graham, Stephen Kinzer, Jack Matlock, Matthew Rojansky, Paul Saunders

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“Every new U.S. president assumes office with a firm intention to pursue polices based on national interests, but not every one of them publicly formulates what exactly these interests are. We have asked a handful of top experts on #Russia three related questions: (a) What are America’s top five vital national interests; (b) which of them can Russia significantly impact […]

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President Trump’s Boris Yeltsin Moment

Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – February 15, 2017) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. President Donald Trump is irritated about the media furor surrounding the departure of his national security adviser. “The real scandal here is that classified information is […]

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End of Kremlin’s Dream of ‘Big Deal’ with Trump Makes Putin More Dangerous Not Less

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 16, 2017) Andrey Piontkovsky is undoubtedly correct that “‘a big deal’” between Moscow and Washington has become “impossible” given the fallout from the Flynn scandal because “any step by Trump in this direction would mean for him political death” (nv.ua/opinion/piontkovskiy/novaja-realnost-kremlja-647586.html). But while the Russian commentator doesn’t say so in his latest […]

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The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn

Michael Flynn file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eli Lake – February 14, 2017) Eli Lake is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. If we are to believe the Trump White House, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn just resigned […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Two explosive reports on Trump and Russia. Zero on-the-record sources.” – Washington Post/Callum Borchers

Satellite Dishes

“… Which is it? Is the media making up fake nonsense? Or is the intelligence community leaking real information? …. anonymity invariably promotes skepticism about sources’ motives. The Times wrote that ‘all of the current and former officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because the continuing investigation is classified.’ That makes sense; it also makes sense to wonder whether […]

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NEWSWATCH: “As Trump re-evaluates NATO, NATO must rethink Russia; With tensions running high in NATO, it seems the alliance is in sore need of a fresh course on Russia and a new deal on security. A former US ambassador to Moscow and an ex-German envoy to NATO gave their takes to DW.” – Deutsche Welle/Darko Janjevic

NATO Meeting file photo

… In addition to calling NATO ‘obsolete,’ Trump has pressured … members to increase … defense spending and signaled a more isolationist foreign policy …. * * * Unlike Trump, Matlock believes … boosting defense spending would be a step in the wrong direction. * * * … With the United States changing its stance, European powers will need to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Why Trump Is Right on Russia” – New York Times/ANATOL LIEVEN

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“Few of the Trump administration’s priorities have received as much criticism from the American foreign policy establishment as the president’s desire to improve relations with Russia. … This makes little sense. There are many good reasons for the United States to reach conciliation with Moscow on issues from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. … Unlike China, Russia is not […]

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Re: The Gathering Storm

Eurasia Map

Subject: The Gathering Storm Date: Fri, 27 Jan 2017 From: David Law <davidmurraylaw@gmail.com> The Gathering Storm By David Law Senior Associate, Security Governance Group; former Head of NATO Policy Planning and Speechwriting Unit With Donald Trump now sworn in as the American President and Commander-in-Chief, here are some thoughts on where the world may be headed. In 1948, Winston Churchill […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin: Talks to Decide Future of Nuclear Pact With US” – AP

Russian Mobile ICBM Parade File Photo

“The possibility of extending a pivotal Russia-U.S. arms control pact is to be discussed in prospective talks …. Peskov[] said the prospects of extending the New START Treaty … set to expire in 2021 will ‘depend on the position of our American partners’ and require negotiations. … the 2010 pact … limited Russian and U.S. nuclear arsenals to no more […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Russians think when they hear ‘Putin’s a killer'” – Washington Post/Andrew Roth

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Change may be coming under the Trump administration. The State Department and the White House have been silent this week on two events: the latest sentencing of opposition leader Alexey Navalny for embezzlement, likely ending his 2018 bid for president, and the mysterious, life-threatening illness of Vladimir Kara-Murza, another opposition figure, who, his family believes, has been poisoned twice since 2015. …”

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Interfax: Lifting of some restrictions from FSB confirms Trump’s intention to normalize relations with Russia – former FSB Director Kovalyov

Portion of U.S. Treasury Department Building Facade, North Side, with Sculpture of Alexander Hamilton

MOSCOW. Feb 9 (Interfax) – The U.S. Department of the Treasury’s decision to drop some restrictions imposed earlier on the issuance of licenses and permits to export computer technologies to Russia shows that the Donald Trump administration is consistent in its efforts to normalize cooperation with Russia, Nikolai Kovalyov, a State Duma deputy and former head of the Federal Security […]

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Putin’s Tough Choice: China Or The West

Eurasia Map

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – February 3, 2017) To many observers, the appointment of Tillerson to the helm the State Dept signaled the Administration’s priority of supporting the oil industry, which in recent years has been under severe pressure from OPEC’s campaign of over-production that forced prices down to a post-recession low. Seen from a different angle, the move also […]

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NEWSLINK: “Kiev Is Fueling the War in Eastern Ukraine, Too; A muted White House isn’t just emboldening the Kremlin — it’s inciting the politics of war throughout Ukraine.” – Foreign Policy Magazine/ISAAC WEBB

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“… Beginning Jan. 29, rockets rained down on residential and military positions along the front line, killing civilians and soldiers alike. One 60-year-old woman was killed in separatist shelling as she walked from her home to a nearby market; a 24-year-old medic was killed when a shell exploded next to the ambulance she was driving. The fighting decimated local water […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Bad Equilibrium” – project-syndicate/Anders Åslund

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

After more than two years of economic contraction, Russia seems to have achieved some semblance of stability. Though economic growth is expected to reach only about 1% in 2017, the fear of economic destabilization that has permeated the country since its 2014 invasion of Crimea – which was met with crippling sanctions from the West – has all but evaporated. […]

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NEWSLINK: “We can’t let Trump go down Putin’s path; Russia’s experience shows why Americans must act now to safeguard democratic institutions.” – Washington Post/Michael McFaul

File Photo of Barack Obama Sitting at Desk with Mike McFaul Standing Next to Him Facing Him

“Michael McFaul is director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Hoover fellow at Stanford University, and a contributing columnist to The Post. He was previously special assistant to President Barack Obama at the National Security Council from 2009 to 2012 and U.S. ambassador to Russia from 2012 to 2014.”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump Administration Looks at Driving Wedge Between Russia and Iran” – Wall Street Journal

Iran Map and Flag

“… Trump … is exploring ways to break Russia’s military and diplomatic alliance with Iran in a bid to both end the Syrian conflict and bolster the fight against Islamic State …. The emerging strategy seeks to reconcile … Trump’s seemingly contradictory vows to improve relations with … Putin and to aggressively challenge the military presence of Iran – one […]

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Moscow Doesn’t Expect Trump to End Sanctions All at Once but ‘Cleverly’ Over Time, Markov Says

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 3, 2017) “Russophobia is so deeply rooted in European-American ideology,” Sergey Markov says, that Moscow doesn’t expect new US President Donald Trump to end all sanctions all at once but rather “in a clever fashion” that avoids problems for him and over a significant period of time. The words of Markov, […]

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Russians Will Pay a High Price for Obsession with US and Trump, Shevtsova Says

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 6, 2017) Russians are obsessed with Donald Trump because he allows them to imagine that they are once again a world power, Liliya Shevtsova says; but that is a dangerous misreading of the new American president and one for which Russians are going to pay a far higher price than they […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump-Putin ties now seen as key to peace in eastern Ukraine” – CNBC/Silvia Amaro

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

“Escalating violence in eastern Ukraine … has underlined the importance … Trump now plays in the region … promising to restore peace after a phone call with … Poroshenko. Trump has signaled his intent to have a closer relationship with Russia and … Putin. And with an open line of communication with Poroshenko, Trump could well prove … instrumental. * […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Open to Pragmatic Relationship With U.S. Despite Differences; Russia and U.S. could benefit from ‘pragmatic mutual relations,’ says Moscow” – Wall Street Journal/JAMES MARSON

Kremlin and River

“… ‘It is no secret that on a whole range of questions of international and regional policy, the positions of Moscow and Washington are diametrically different,’ Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters Monday, Russian news agencies reported. But that can’t and shouldn’t be a hindrance for establishing normal communications and pragmatic mutual relations between Russia and the U.S.’ … Trump […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S. Preps for Infowar on Russia” – DailyBeast/Tim Mak

Satellite Dishes

“While President Trump is still defending Vladimir Putin in public, American policymakers have finally awoken to Russian intervention in the U.S. democratic process-and are pumping tens of millions into a counter-propaganda initiative”

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RUSSIALINK Russia Direct/Michael McFaul: “Steve Bannon, the Grey Cardinal in the White House: Good or bad for Russia?”

Ambassador Mike McFaul file photo

“Michael McFaul is a former ambassador to Russia and the Director of Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. This article is revised and updated version of a blogpost that originally appeared on the Echo of Moscow website in Russian. Russia Direct republishes the article with the permission of Michael McFaul and Echo of Moscow.”

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RUSSIALINK TASS: “Russia ready to take its part of road towards restoration of relations with US”

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

“Moscow is ready to take its part of the road towards restoration of relations with Washington, which suffered major damage at the previous head of the U.S. administration Barack Obama, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview with Austria’s Profil weekly. Moscow is watching closely statements made by President Donald Trump about Russia, he said.”

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American Business Lobby In Moscow Sees Sympathetic Ally In President Trump; The American Chamber of Commerce in Moscow isn’t happy about sanctions. But don’t call it a policy position.

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – February 2, 2017) In mid-December, with Donald Trump’s ascension to the presidency looming, former Republican congressman Jack Kingston flew to Moscow. Kingston, a senior Trump surrogate, was dispatched to liaise with American firms working in Russia. The topic on everyone’s minds was the U.S. sanctions imposed on Russia in response to its […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Five issues on which Putin and Trump might find common ground”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Now that Donald Trump is in the White House, Russians are discussing the expected détente with the U.S., and they’re speculating on which issues and under what conditions Moscow and Washington might find common ground. RBTH and various international affairs experts discussed the possible issues and how they might be solved. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEY TIMOFEYCHEV, […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Toward a New Equilibrium in U.S.-Russian Relations; The new administration must understand how Russia relates to American goals” – Thomas E. Graham/The National Interest

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

… Trump will face no more urgent foreign-policy task than developing a Russia policy. … The Russia We Face: The starting point for a new strategy is a clear understanding of how Russia relates to American goals. Its nuclear arsenal, vast natural resources and proximity to regions of undisputed strategic value …. Relations will focus on security matters …. The […]

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Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Subject: Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit Date: Wed, 1 Feb 2017 From: Raymond Smith <ray.smith531@gmail.com> Thoughts on first Trump-Putin summit By Raymond Smith Retired from the U.S. Foreign Service. Served six years in Moscow, including three as the embassy’s political affairs counselor. Participated in drafting numerous briefing memoranda for meetings between U.S. leaders and their counterparts. Author of Negotiating with […]

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What Vladimir Putin Could Explain to Donald Trump

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock, U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991 – jackmatlock.com – January 31, 2017) The telephone conversation last Saturday between the American and Russian presidents seems to have been amicable and constructive, at least in a general sense. They are reported to have discussed key world issues as potential partners, not as adversaries or enemies. That […]

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NEWSLINK: “A Grand Bargain: What Russia wants from the West” – Matthew Dal Santon/Medium

File Photo of G7 Leaders and other Officials Around Round Table at the Hague, with Flags

“The election of Donald Trump as president of the United States of America has elicited thousands of lines of newsprint as academics, journalists and the wider public seek to make sense of its implications. It has occasioned no less speculation in Russia, much of it shot through with a strong sense of Russia’s unexpected good luck. …”

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RUSSIALINK Russian International Affairs Council: “President Trump and US Policy Challenges. Flash interview of RIAC members and experts.”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“On 20 January 2017, Donald Trump took the office as 45th U.S. president. RIAC members and experts comment on the vital domestic and foreign policy issues the U.S.A. is going to face in the next four years.”

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NEWSWATCH: “The sanctions on Russia are working, Mr. President: Don’t lift them prematurely” – The Hill/Alexander Vershbow

Alexander Vershbow file photo

“… I have seen many U.S. presidents seek to engage … Russia. While it has never been easy, it was possible to find areas of common ground that increased the security of both sides — as long as the U.S. set clear objectives and stuck with them. … The sanctions are working. … Russia is interested in having sanctions removed. […]

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VIDEO NEWSLINK: “Center For The National Interest (CFTNI) panel discussion on U.S.-Russian relations” – C-SPAN

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

VIDEO: Center For The National Interest (CFTNI) panel discussion on U.S.-#Russian relations.  Panelists talked about Russian #hacking and the 2016 presidential election. Panelists included Dmitri Simes and former George W. Bush administration officials George Beebe and Paul Saunders. They spoke about the conclusions of the intelligence community report on Russian hacking and called for a more comprehensive investigation into the […]

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UN Braces as Trump’s Detente With Russia Upsets Balance of Power

UN Building file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Kambiz Foroohar – January 31, 2017) President Donald #Trump’s outreach to #Russia is reverberating through the United Nations, where U.S. allies worry that a partnership between Washington and Moscow could undermine a historic balance of power dating to the early days of the Cold War. For decades, the five veto-wielding members of the 15-nation Security Council […]

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Solovey on the Shape of the Emerging Putin-Trump ‘Big Deal’ on Ukraine and Much Else

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 30, 2016) Valery Solovey, one of the best connected and most thoughtful of Moscow’s foreign policy commentators, says that the telephone call between Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was the “first step toward ‘a big deal’” between the two not only over bilateral ties but also over a re-division of the […]

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NEWSLINK: “What Evangelicals Living Under Putin Think of Trump. Protestants and #Orthodox alike are mostly hopeful about America’s new president.” -Christianity Today/Kate Shellnutt

File Photo of Donald Trump Waving Before Large Crowd with Trump Signs, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov

“‘The hope for a new understanding between Russia and the USA is very strong, especially for evangelicals,’ said Wiliam Yoder, spokesman for the Russia Evangelical Alliance. Russia’s evangelical minority, roughly 1 percent of its population of 143 million, finds itself living and serving in the East-West tension between its nationalistic government and the outside evangelical groups that support its gospel […]

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OPEN MESSAGE FOR PRESIDENTS TRUMP AND PUTIN: YOUR TELEPHONE CALL

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Jack Matlock – Jan. 27, 2017 – also appeared at jackmatlock.com/2017/01/open-message-for-presidents-trump-and-putin-your-telephone-call/) As one who advised President Reagan on how to end the Cold War, I welcome your plans to discuss US-Russian relations tomorrow, January 28. Relations have reached a state that is dangerous for both our countries and, in fact, the entire world. One brief conversation cannot resolve the contentions […]

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Putin and Trump Want to Team Up, but That’s Not Going to Be Easy

Donald Trump

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner, Mikhail Fishman – January 27, 2017) No actor on the world stage was as publicly energized by the prospect of a Donald Trump presidency as Russia. At first glance, the support seemed entirely emotional. But there was also a rational interest: Trump was open to lifting sanctions, after all. Sanctions have had a […]

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Easing Russia Sanctions ‘Under Consideration’

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jennifer Epstein, Stepan Kravchenko – January 27, 2017) President Donald Trump is willing to consider removing U.S. sanctions against Russia when he has his first official discussion with Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin on Saturday, according to senior advisor Kellyanne Conway. “All of that is under consideration,” Conway said in a TV interview Friday on Fox News, […]

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Catching up on the Russian interference in the election story

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

Read Masha Gessen in the New York Review of Books: https://www.nybooks.com/daily/2017/01/09/russia-trump-election-flawed-intelligence/ Also the work of cyber security expert Jeffery Carr at Medium: https://medium.com/@jeffreycarr The work of Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept: https://theintercept.com/staff/glenn-greenwald/ A few interesting facts. NSA had only “moderate confidence” rather than “high confidence.” And NSA is the only group that could have hard evidence of a Russian connection. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. Lawmakers Want Documents on Russia Election Probe” – Reuters

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“The House of Representatives Intelligence Committee called on the Trump administration … to provide them with … documents related to the investigation of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 election. The request may be an effort to avoid a repeat of an unusual document access arrangement made between the Senate Intelligence Committee and CIA to review information related to enhanced […]

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Trump Team Aims to Test Russia’s Alliance With Iran

Middle East Map

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Eli Lake – January 24, 2017) Eli Lake is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the senior national security correspondent for the Daily Beast and covered national security and intelligence for the Washington Times, the New York Sun and UPI. As the #Trump administration begins planning its outreach to #Moscow, one question for the new president […]

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NEWSLINK: “U.S., Russia: A History of Containment” – Stratfor

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“One of the United States’ greatest geopolitical imperatives is to prevent the rise of regional hegemons with the ability to challenge it. Russia’s historical dominance of Eurasia, the Soviet Union’s rise as a superpower after World War II and its resulting political, economic and military rivalry with the United States have long made Russia a target of Washington’s actions abroad. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Trump’s pick for U.S. Treasury chief says 100% committed to Russia sanctions” -bne/Intellinews

“US #Treasury secretary nominee Steven #Mnuchin said he is 100% committed to enforcing the #sanctions against #Russia, as he gave evidence during the #Senate #Finance Committee confirmation hearings on January 19. * * * … Relations between the two countries plunged to their lowest ebb since the Cold War in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea and encouraged a separatist conflict […]

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How Tillerson Could Fuel A Russian Arctic Drilling Boom

Rex Tillerson file photo, adapted from image at readyagain.gov

(Oilprice.com – Robert Berke – January 23, 2017) Robert Berke is an energy financial analyst with experience as a government consultant to the State of Alaska. It’s now clear to nearly everyone that U.S. President Trump intends to seek warmer U.S. relations with Russia, while putting China and Iran relations in the deep freezer. Trump has made no secret of […]

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What Can Putin Really Offer Trump for a Deal?

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 23, 2017) The #Russian and #American #media are full of stories in which various experts discuss what a deal between Vladimir #Putin and Donald #Trump might look like, with almost all the attention going to the concessions Trump should make to Putin and much less to the issue of what Putin […]

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