NEWSWATCH: “Contact averts conflict. Why Russia is foolish not to invite NATO observers to its war games. Instead, the biggest exercises in Europe since the cold war will be conducted amid secrecy and mistrust.” – The Economist editorial

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… Russia will hold … the biggest military exercise in Europe since the end of the cold war. According to NATO estimates … involv[ing] at least 100,000 troops …. Revived from Soviet times by … Putin … the Zapad (West) drills … take place every four years. … the Kremlin insists that the scenarios … are purely defensive [but] that is not always how they have looked […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Front Line Drawn Across Russia’s Backyard” – Stratfor

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Globalization has changed how we think about time, space and distance, but geography is still the same where it counts: national security. … former Soviet states lining Russia’s border know this better than most … their proximity to the eastern giant renders them more vulnerable to Moscow’s hybrid warfare …. Nations like Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova sit on the front line of […]

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Interfax: Serious Russia-NATO talk about de-escalation in Europe requires restoration of military contacts – Grushko

NATO Meeting file photo

BRUSSELS. July 13 (Interfax) – Information briefings even at the level of ambassadors in the NATO-Russia Council (NRC) are not sufficient for a serious talk about de-escalation of the military situation in Europe; what is needed is a restoration of interrupted military contacts, Alexander Grushko, Russia’s Permanent Representative to NATO, said after a NRC meeting on Thursday. “If someone is […]

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Kennan Cable No.24: Russian Foreign Policy in the Arctic: Balancing Cooperation and Competition

Arctic Map

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Stacy R. Closson, Assistant Professor, Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce, University of Kentucky – June 26, 2017) Introduction The Arctic region presents a particularly interesting case study of Russian foreign policy. In a time when Russia is showing renewed aggression on three fronts – the Baltic Sea region, Syria, and Ukraine – and meddling in […]

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Moscow Media Report that West Wants to Dismember Russia Dismissed by Russian Experts

Russia Regions Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 26, 2017) On Saturday, a Russian television program featured a claim by an unnamed Russian intelligence officer that NATO viewed the destruction of the USSR as “only the first step” and then planned “to create a Middle Volga Republic” in order to reduce “all of Russia to the size and power […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Snapshot Analysis: Trump, NATO, Russia” – Russia Matters/ Nikolas K. Gvosdev

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“As predicted … #Trump’s summit with other #NATO leaders … showed a White House focused on meeting its treaty commitments … also determined to see its partners take on primary responsibility for countering threats that affect them, particularly in their own neighborhood. For #Russia, Trump’s public comments sounded like a mixed bag: … the president called Moscow a ‘threat’ and expressed no interest […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Ministry statement in connection with anniversaries in Russia-NATO relations”

Russian Foreign Ministry Building Tower file photo

“These days we will mark 20 years of the Founding Act on Mutual Relations, Cooperation and Security, which Russia and NATO signed in Paris on May 27, 1997, and 15 years of the declaration titled Russia-NATO Relations: A New Quality, which was adopted at the Russia-NATO summit meeting in Rome on May 28, 2002. We have to point out that […]

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NEWSWATCH: “U.S. to Boost Surveillance For Russian Exercise; Officials say U.S. will move ships into Baltic Sea and take over North Atlantic Treaty Organization air-policing duties” – Wall Street Journal/ Julian E. Barnes

Black Sea Satellite Photo file image

“The U.S. will bolster its ability to observe Russia’s military in the Baltic Sea region ahead of a major exercise by Moscow …. including by moving ships into the Baltic Sea and taking over [NATO] air-policing duties while the #Russian exercises occur in September. The U.S. could temporarily deploy a Patriot missile-defense battery in the region, officials said. … the Russian drill, known […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russia Gambles in Afghanistan – Again Moscow’s overtures with the Taliban risk destabilizing the region and antagonizing military superpowers” – Moscow Times/ Artemy Kalinovsky

Afghanistan Map of Ethnicities

“… In recent weeks, senior U.S. military officials have accused the Russian government of providing support to the Taliban, the militant group still waging a bloody insurgency against the government in Afghanistan. …”

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NEWSLINK: “Syria crisis: G7 leaders couldn’t change Vladimir Putin’s mind on backing Assad – even if they wanted to. Russia now relies on Syria for its new status as a great world power – and the West knows the risks of leaving a power vacuum in the Middle East.” – The Independent (UK)/ Patrick Cockburn

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

“It is very unlikely that Russia will change its support for President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, despite calls to do so from foreign ministers from the G7 nations gathered in Italy in the aftermath of the use of poison gas in Syria and the US missile strikes. Russia owes its return to great power status in the eyes of much of the […]

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Putin Aims to Undermine Western Democracies With Election Meddling, Experts Say

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Voice of America – voanews.com – Ken Bredemeier – March 9, 2017) WASHINGTON – Russian President Vladimir Putin is single-handedly trying to undermine democracy in the United States and Europe and rupture their decades-old NATO alliance by meddling in their elections, foreign affairs analysts and Estonia’s former president told a congressional hearing Thursday in Washington. One of the experts, Peter […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Will the U.S. and Russia dance or duel? Why Russia is playing a more muscular role in the world and how that may prevent closer ties between Trump and Putin.” – Christian Science Monitor/Peter Ford

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

“Twenty years ago, Russia was a member of the Group of Eight industrialized democracies, a NATO partner, and a fledgling but enthusiastic new recruit to a budding ‘new world order.’ Today, Russia has been kicked out of the G8, NATO has suspended all cooperation with Moscow, and … Putin says his nation is engaged in a ‘civilizational’ battle with the West […]

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NEWSLINK: “Handling Russia Should Not Be So Difficult for the West; Western countries are still struggling to develop a long-term strategy to address the increasing problems that Russia poses for their security” – Chatham House/John Lough

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

“… it is time for Western leaders to recognize that the scale of the Russian challenge is directly proportionate to the level of effort they invest to address it. The lack of focus on how to respond to Russia’s increasingly dangerous and disruptive behaviour has made the problem worse. It has encouraged #Moscow to think that it is more powerful […]

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NEWSLINK: “Mutual Assured Deterrence” – Project-Syndicate/Sergei Karaganov

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… Relations between Russia and the European Union, and with the EU’s close ally the United States, are increasingly fragile. There has been an effort to cope with shifting power dynamics in Europe by restoring the military-political divide between NATO and Russia – this time, some 600 miles (965 kilometers) east of where it was during the Cold War. But […]

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NEWSLINK: “BOOK REVIEW: SHOULD WE FEAR RUSSIA? [re: Dmitri Trenin]” – Paul Robinson/Irrussianality

Kremlin and River

“… Trenin’s answer to the question posed by his book is a bit of a ‘no’ and a bit of a ‘yes’. Russia isn’t a ‘threat’, he says, but its policies do pose a ‘challenge’ to the West, and are likely to keep doing so for the foreseeable future. ‘While most fears need to be put to rest’, he concludes, […]

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RUSSIALINK: TRANSCRIPT: Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s address and answers to questions at the 53rd Munich Security Conference, Munich, February 18, 2017”

Sergei Lavrov file photo

“… Question: I have a concrete question about military exercises. Why are Russian military exercises held without prior announcement, and why are they so non-transparent? This year you will hold the largest Zapad (West) exercises in 20 years, which have alarmed your neighbours. What should be done to build up confidence regarding this issue? …” [featured image is file photo]

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TRANSCRIPT: [Putin at] Meeting of Federal Security Service Board

(Kremlin.ru – February 16, 2017) Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security. President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon. These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ensuring Euro-Atlantic Security” – Project-Syndicate/ Des Browne, Wolfgang Ischinger, Igor Ivanov, Sam Nunn

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“… We must reduce the danger of a #nuclear weapon being used. … We must reduce the risks associated with keeping nuclear forces on ‘prompt-launch’ status. … We must reduce the threat of nuclear and radiological materials falling into the wrong hands. … We must reduce the risks of a military confrontation by improving military-to-military communication through a new #NATO-#Russia […]

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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: “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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NEWSWATCH: “Even as #Trump seeks warmer ties with #Russia, U.S. deploys troops across Eastern #Europe” – Washington Post

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… major new deployments of tanks and other heavy equipment will fan out to nations on the #Russian frontier … part of the largest infusion of U.S. troops to #Europe since the 1991 breakup of the Soviet Union. … the long-planned effort comes at the most unsettled time for U.S.-European relations since World War II, with #Trump questioning old alliances […]

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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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NEWSWATCH: “‘VLAD WILL SMASH BRITAIN IN ONE DAY!’; Russians plot to turn UK into Siberian-style labour camp over claims Putin could defeat British Army ‘in a single afternoon’; Report slating the state of the army was met with glee in Moscow and by Russian internet users” – The Sun (UK)/WILL STEWART

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“A report claiming Russia could wipe out the British Army in one day was met with glee in Moscow – with some Russians admitting they want to turn Britain into a giant gulag. … * * * A paper by the Centre for Historical Analysis and Conflict Research (CHACR) … at the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, warned that severe […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Simple Reason Russia and America Keep Inching towards Crisis” – The National Interest/Ted Galen Carpenter

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“Tensions between the United States and Russia rose rapidly during the final months of the Obama administration. Symbolizing that trend is the new deployment of three thousand U.S. troops along with tanks and other military hardware in eastern Poland, directly on [the] border with Russia. … Long gone was the hope Obama expressed early in his presidency for a ‘reset’ […]

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RUSSIALINK Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs: “Reply by Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova to a media question on the U.S. troop buildup in Europe”

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“Question: Do you agree with the assertion promulgated by US and European media that the dispatch of US troops to Europe is not of major importance? …”  

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The Impossible Grand Bargain

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 16, 2017) There’s a very simple reason why a new reset won’t work. There’s a very simple reason why any grand bargain with Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin regime is doomed to failure. There’s a very simple reason why a new detente with Moscow would probably make matters much worse. And that’s the simple […]

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RUSSIALINK: “What kind of Russia should the West fear? RD Interview: Dmitri Trenin of the Carnegie Moscow Center explains how current misguided perceptions in both the United States and Russia could lead to a dangerous new geopolitical reality.” – Russia Direct

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

“… Russia should not be afraid of the West. A country like Russia can only be defeated by itself. Thus, it should be focused on dealing with its own weaknesses. In my view, NATO’s enlargement doesn’t create an existential threat for Russia and should be dealt with seriously, but calmly. The fear [of the West] is a very bad thing […]

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NEWSWATCH: “For 1st time since Cold War, U.S. tanks roll into Russia’s backyard” – CBS

U.S. Army Tanks in Transport Arriving in Germany, adapted from army.mil

“… All the massive hardware of a U.S. combat brigade arrived in Germany over the weekend, and started rolling east toward Poland, where 4,000 American soldiers will be waiting for it. … the first build-up of American troops and weapons in Europe in almost 30 years … meant, in large part, to reassure America’s nervous allies in Europe that the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Thousands of U.S. Troops En Route to Eastern Europe; Hundreds of tanks, fighting vehicles, and attack helicopters to be deployed in unprecedented operation” – Transitions Online

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

“A massive movement of U.S. troops and materiel is underway, headed for Eastern Europe with one goal uppermost: ‘to deter Russian aggression.’ U.S. troops began offloading more than 2,000 pieces of equipment including Abrams tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles … [to] equip around 3,500 U.S. troops  … one of the largest movements of American forces in Europe since the end […]

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Putin’s New Year

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – January 9, 2017) So 2017 is here. And one thing we can be pretty certain of this year is that Vladimir Putin’s regime will try to push the advantage it gained last year — and intensify its efforts to undermine the liberal world order. And there will be plenty of targets of opportunity. […]

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Russian Foreign Ministry Appeals for NATO Reset

Globe Highlighting NATO Members

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 4, 2017) The Russian Foreign Ministry has unexpectedly spoken out in favor of a reset with NATO. A representative of the Ministry said it denied seeing the NATO alliance as an anachronism, and expressed a desire to restore relations with the military bloc. “We need to build normal relations with NATO and renew what […]

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No quick change in US policy expected under Trump – Kremlin

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – December 21, 2016) The Kremlin does not expect the USA to abandon plans to expand NATO and bring its infrastructure closer to Russian borders, or to lift sanctions, as soon as Donald Trump takes office in Washington, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary has said. “We do not expect to successfully resolve all the problems, nor do we expect America […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Beware: The #Russian bear is getting bolder” – Washington Post

Europe Map

… In #NATO member #Hungary, #Russian agents have been fingered for training with a #neoNazi militia; in … #Monte­negro … on the verge of joining the transatlantic alliance, #Moscow is accused of plotting a violent #coup. … In Hungary … [there was] a gunfight … between police and the leader of the National Front movement …. Police … discovered large […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Campaign in Syria Exposes Moscow’s Defense Gaps; Deployment of warships to assist Assad regime lays bare weaknesses in Russian military’s naval aviation and carrier operations” – Wall Street Journal

File Photo of Deck of Russian Aircraft Carrier Admiral Kuznetsov

“A flotilla of Russian warships in the Mediterranean … provid[es] a high-profile show of force in support of the Syrian regime. But … also throw[s] into sharp relief the limits of Moscow’s conventional military. … the quarter-century-old Kuznetsov lacks the kind of powerful catapult system … featured on U.S. carriers, forcing Russian planes to carry lighter payloads and less fuel […]

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Putinism a Greater Threat to the West than Soviet Communism Was

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 18, 2016) Putinism, as ideology and practice, is now a greater threat to the West than Soviet communism ever was, a reality few in Western countries now recognize precisely because the Kremlin leader is making use, in the best tradition of the judo master he is, values and methods that are […]

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This is not a new Cold War

Putin and Obama with U.S. and Russian Flags

Fresh talk of a new Cold War between Russia and the west relies on outdated thinking and ignores new realities. (opendemocracy.net – Anton Shekhovtsov – November 3, 2016) Anton Shekhovtsov is a visiting fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, Austria and editor of the Explorations of the Far Right book series at ibidem-Verlag. Against the background of worsening relations […]

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NEWSLINK Carnegie Moscow/Fyodor Lukyanov, René Nyberg, Angela Stent: “Three Dimensions: Is the Break Between the Kremlin and the West Permanent?”

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

As the U.S. presidential election approaches on November 8, Carnegie.ru asked three experts, one in Russia, one in the United States, and one in Europe, to comment on the question: “Is the break between the Putin administration and the West permanent?”  

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Containment 2.0

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Brian Whitmore – October 31, 2016) And so, I’m back. And while I may not have been visible in this space over the past couple weeks, I have in fact been pretty busy thinking and talking about Russian affairs in various venues in the United States and in Europe. And now is as good a time […]

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RUSSIALINK RBTH: “Poll: Nearly half of Russians fear World War III over Syria”

Syria Map

According to a survey by the Levada Center polling agency, almost half of Russians (48 percent) are afraid that the breakdown in relations between Russia and the West over Syria could lead to a third world war. Another 31 percent of respondents were not particularly concerned and 11 percent did not fear a possible deterioration of the current situation.

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Russia’s Use of Military Force as a Foreign Policy Tool: Is There a Logic?

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(PONARS Eurasia – ponarseurasia.org – Samuel Charap – October 19, 2016) Samuel Charap is Senior Fellow for Russia and Eurasia at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. [PONARS Policy Memo; article also appeared at ponarseurasia.org/sites/default/files/policy-memos-pdf/Pepm443_Charap_Oct2016_4.pdf] Russia has used its military beyond its borders with unprecedented frequency in the period since the invasion of Crimea in February 2014. Depending on how […]

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NEWSWATCH: “What Clinton and Trump need to know about Putin’s Russia” – The Hill/Ariel Cohen

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

When Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump address security challenges … Putin’s Russia will loom large. This is no longer post-communist Russia attempting the transition to a market-based democracy and looking up to the West. That transformation was an epic failure. In Putin’s words, ‘Russia is rising from its knees’. … therein lies the threat. … The next American president will […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The scary truth about what Putin really wants (and Obama’s willful ignorance)” – Fox News/Judith Miller

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

What is Vladimir Putin up to? Evidence of Russian ambition seems to mount by the day. Seizing its neighbor’s territory. Russian bomber overflights of NATO member states. Sophisticated cyberattacks aimed at influencing America’s presidential election. Missiles fired at civilian aircraft. Devastating air strikes on hospitals and relief convoys in Aleppo as the ink dries on a U.S.-Russian cease-fire agreement for […]

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Putin Making the Same Mistake Hitler Did, Piontkovsky Says

File Photo of Benito Mussolini and Adolf Hitler Riding in Convertible

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, October 4, 2016) After meeting with the leaders of Britain and France, Adolf Hitler concluded that he was dealing with non-entities and that he couldn’t possibly lose a war against them, forgetting not only that these countries could and would change leaders but also that the outcome of conflicts reflects not just […]

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Eastern Europe Arming Itself because ‘No One Wants to Be the Next Ukraine’

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 28, 2016) In what many are calling “the Putin effect,” countries across Eastern Europe, including even #Belarus, nominally Russia’s closest ally, are now arming themselves even when they have to cut social welfare spending because, in the words of one commentator, “no one wants to be the next Ukraine.” This sacrifice […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The United States Must Be the World’s Policeman; Only America has the material and moral greatness to stop the slide into chaos and foster peace.” – The Wall Street Journal/Anders Fogh Rasmussen

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Barely had I been seated before Vladimir Putin told me that NATO – the organization that I then headed – no longer had any purpose and should be disbanded. … in December 2009, I sensed … Putin was challenging the world order that the U.S. created so successfully after World War II. Beginning in 2014, he invaded Ukraine and launched […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories” – New York Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

The New York Times addresses concerns about Russian disinformation campaigns, including Russia’s reputed involvement with a rash of misleading material on social media disrupting NATO-related debate in Sweden. With a vigorous national debate underway on whether Sweden should enter a military partnership with NATO, officials in Stockholm suddenly encountered an unsettling problem: a flood of distorted and outright false information on […]

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NEWSWATCH Anne Applebaum/@anneapplebaum: “finally – finally! – Russia’s extraordinary disinformation campaign is creeping towards the front pages”

Satellite Dishes

[Anne Applebaum, on twitter at @anneapplebaum, comments upon Russian disinformation and links to a story from the New York Times, “A Powerful Russian Weapon: The Spread of False Stories;” her tweet should be embedded below, yet it might take some time to load for some users; her tweet also can be accessed through this link: twitter.com/anneapplebaum/status/769960717877383168] finally – finally! – […]

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RIA Novosti: Russian envoy says NATO dialogue “gradually being restored”

NATO Logo, NATO, OTAN

(RIA Novosti – August 18, 2016) Russian permanent representative to NATO Alexander Grushko has said that dialogue with NATO is gradually improving. “Today our main attention is on political dialogue, which is gradually being restored. Two sessions of the Russia-NATO council have taken place,” Grushko told Russia’s state news agency RIA Novosti. “Furthermore, taking part in the last session were […]

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