Not Everyone is Down with the Anti-Russia Hysteria; Syrian President’s Interview with Italian Media

When the Ukraine crisis erupted in late 2013-early 2014, the western establishment media embarked on its anti-Russia campaign in earnest. According to establishment media, Putin had suddenly woken up one day and decided that things were just getting too boring. It was time to invade Crimea, the Donbas and maybe the Baltics and Poland while snapping his fingers to the Starship’s “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now.”

Then when the results of the 2016 election came in, the anti-Russia hysteria really went into overdrive as the Hillary machine sought to evade blame for her epic failure. Now, if you question the establishment on economic or foreign policy – hell, if you even look at the establishment and its media mouthpieces funny – you’re gonna get called a Russian asset.

But having reached a saturation point, how effective is the anti-Russia propaganda? It has certainly had a negative effect on the political discourse in the U.S., but do all Americans really think Putin is coming to destroy freedom, democracy, and chocolate? Does he have a secret plan to round up trans-sexual unicorns to spite liberals and “sow discord”?

Well, according to a couple of recent surveys of opinion, the results have been a bit mixed. A survey was released last week which revealed that almost half of U.S. military households and over a fourth of Americans overall viewed Russia as an ally. But, of course, rather than consider that their nonstop campaign of animus toward Russia is over-the-top and maybe not entirely justified or wise, Washington and establishment media are framing this as the successful results of a pernicious Russian influence campaign. Voice of America reported it thus:

WASHINGTON – Russian efforts to weaken the West through a relentless campaign of information warfare may be starting to pay off, cracking a key bastion of the U.S. line of defense: the military.

While most Americans still see Moscow as a key U.S. adversary, new polling suggests that view is changing, most notably among the households of military members.

The second annual Reagan National Defense Survey, completed in late October, found nearly half of armed services households questioned, 46%, said they viewed Russia as ally.

Overall, the survey found 28% of Americans identified Russia as an ally, up from 19% the previous year.

Representatives of the government have assured us they’re going to get out in front of this horrible trend of conciliatory sentiments toward the world’s other nuclear superpower:

“There is an effort, on the part of Russia, to flood the media with disinformation to sow doubt and confusion,” Defense Department spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Carla Gleason told VOA.

“This is not only through discordant and inflammatory dialogue but through false narratives designed to elicit sympathetic views,” she said, adding, “we are actively working to expose and counter Russian disinformation whenever possible.”

A recent Pew survey of people around the world showed which countries were perceived as the biggest threat. Russia wasn’t even in the top 6 and didn’t yield double-digits except in the US. (24%) and Canada (10%).

Proud holder of the number one spot as perceived threat in the world is the U.S., followed by China, Pakistan, Iran and Israel.

In the heart of Europe, the anti-Russia hysteria now seems to be hitting a wall. According to a new YouGov poll, 55% of Germans thought that they should lessen their reliance on the U.S. for their defense, while 54% favored more cooperation with Russia.

Earlier this week Syrian president Bashar al-Assad gave an interview with the Italian media outlet, RaiNews 24. He discussed several issues, including the OPCW whistleblowers who have exposed the conclusions that blamed the Douma chemical attack in April of 2014 on the Syrian government to be fraudulent.

Learn more about the OPCW whistleblower story below. It has not been covered by the establishment media except for one UK outlet and Tucker Carlson (!).

Update on Normandy Four Talks

Moscow-based journalist Bryan MacDonald has tweeted the following thread regarding what happened at the Normandy Four talks:

Russia’s @Kommersant (known to have good Kremlin sources) reports Paris negotiations on peace in Eastern Ukraine have failed to reach an agreement. Moscow claims it’s because Kiev can’t agree to withdraw its military from front lines. https://kommersant.ru/doc/4187813?from=main_1…

Putin says he had a “good, businesslike” private meeting with Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky. The leaders are now having dinner with Emmanuel Macron & Angela Merkel. With a press briefing to follow

Kommersant adds that Ukraine and Russia have agreed on gas transit. If so, that would be a major win for Zelensky and give him something tangible to take back to Kiev.

However, that appears to be in dispute according to Ukrainian media as relayed by Dr. Ivan Katchanovski (academic expert that has been cited on this blog regarding the Maidan violence in February of 2014):

Head of @NaftogazUkraine denies that @ZelenskyyUa and #Putin agreed on new Russian gas transit agreement via #Ukraine

Furthermore, Katchanovski says that Ukrainian media is also reporting that no deal has been reached at the meeting, but that a further exchange of prisoners before the end of the year has been agreed to:

#Ukrainian media reports that Zelensky and Putin discussed elections in #Donbas and resumption of #Ukraine control of border with #Russia there but failed to agree which would be first. Negotiations continue in #NormandySummit format of leaders of 4 states

My comment on this point: Russia and the Donbas rebels would be stupid to agree to returning control of the border prior to elections as Russia and the rebels would have little leverage to force Kiev to implement the agreement on elections. More from Katchanovksi:

#Ukrainian media also reports that #Zelensky and #Putin has agreed on new exchange of prisoners before New Year. #Ukraine#Russia#NormandySummit

So, it looks like some more trust-building measures have been agreed, but no deal. About the best that most of us expected at this point.

Update #1:

According to the Normandy Summit Communique just released to the public, the participants agree to the following:

  1. Current ceasefire will be sustained and strengthened by adding 3 new areas where forces on both sides will pull back. This will happen by the end of March, 2020; more de-mining activities will also occur;
  2. Confirmation of the Steinmeier Formula and the general principles of the Minsk Agreement;
  3. A further summit within 4 months.

I will provide a link to the communique once it is available. I have written this summary based on an image of the communique embedded within a tweet.

Normandy Four Meets Today; Nancy Pelosi Admits She Knew Bush II Administration Lied About WMD’s in Iraq But Didn’t Think it Was an Impeachable Offense – But Trump’s Phone Call with Zelensky Is

The leaders of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany are scheduled to meet today in Paris. Most analysts, myself included, are skeptical that anything substantive will come out of the meeting – namely because of the political pickle Zelensky finds himself in with respect to the ultra-right forces in Ukraine who have complained about Zelensky’s moderate steps toward even fulfilling the Steinmeier Formula and reviving the Normandy Four talks. US-UK-backed media outlets, including Hromadske, have run warnings to Zelensky not to make any concessions to Russia.

Interestingly, Thomas E. Graham, a former aide to George W. Bush and one of the few realists in his administration, wrote an article in October for Foreign Affairs magazine in which he outlined a proposal for how to resolve the Ukraine crisis. The article has been criticized for being unrealistic and for ostensibly making too many concessions to Russia (i.e. any concessions in a diplomatic process that, by definition, is supposed to include give-and-take). The article is behind a paywall but its main points are summarized by Professor Serhiy Kudelia on his Facebook page:

“Thomas Graham, former senior director on Russia at the National Security Council under George W. Bush, offers advice on how to achieve breakthrough during Normandy talks in Paris published in the leading US foreign policy journal: ‘The recent election in Ukraine of a new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, whose supporters now dominate the parliament, has created an opening for a comprehensive resolution of the crisis. Two tradeoffs are essential. First, to allay Russian concerns, the United States should tell Ukraine that NATO membership is off the table, while deepening bilateral security cooperation with Kiev. Second, Kiev should recognize Russia’s incorporation of Crimea in exchange for Moscow’s acceptance of the full reintegration of the Donbas into Ukraine without any special status. In a comprehensive agreement, Ukrainians would also receive compensation for lost property in Crimea and Ukraine would be afforded access to offshore resources and guaranteed passage through the Kerch Strait to ports on the Sea of Azov. The United States and the EU would incrementally ease their sanctions on Russia as these arrangements took effect. At the same time, they would offer Ukraine a substantial assistance package aimed at facilitating reform in the belief that a strong, prosperous Ukraine is both the best deterrent against future Russian aggression and a necessary foundation for more constructive Russian-Ukrainian relations. Such an approach would be met initially with great skepticism in Kiev, Moscow, and elsewhere in Europe. But Zelensky has staked his presidency on resolving the Donbas conflict, and Putin would welcome the chance to redirect resources and attention to countering spreading socioeconomic unrest in Russia.'”

What’s even more interesting is that on November 25th, Graham was in Moscow meeting with Russia’s deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov. The description of the meeting on the foreign ministry’s web page was short and vague, stating simply:

Opinions were exchanged on current issues of bilateral relations. They also touched on some international and regional issues.

Now Washington is not formally a part of the Normandy talks but no doubt the U.S. wants to exert influence. I’m wondering if the Trump administration sent Graham to Moscow as some kind of back channel on the Ukraine issue. Of course, that would mean that the Trump administration is actually showing some competence. It will be interesting to see what happens.

In a recent CNN Town Hall, Nancy Pelosi was asked a question by a member of the audience about why she had opposed impeachment proceedings in the past, specifically against George W. Bush in 2006 for misleading the country into the Iraq war, but supports it now against Trump in connection with his phone call with the president of Ukraine. Below is video of her response. It needs no comment from me.

Polls: What Russians Think About Their Lives, How Inclined They are Toward Protesting and About What; Kamala Harris Drops Out of Presidential Race

Palace Square in St. Petersburg, site of Bloody Sunday, which triggered the first Russian Revolution of 1905

Several polls of Russian opinion have come out over the past few weeks that reveal some interesting insight into what Russians are thinking.

One Russian poll from November showed that 84% of Russians felt happy with their lives, with contentment with family life being counted as the most important contributing factor to that happiness. As TASS reported on the results:

“The level of happiness among Russians is still high, as 84% of those surveyed said they were content. The number is high in every social and demographic group but a thing to note is that people who consider their financial situation to be solid (94%) tend to be more optimistic than those complaining about a dire financial situation (66%),” the statement reads.

Keep that last line in mind as we continue on.

The same Russian polling agency did a poll in October which asked similar but different questions about Russians’ life satisfaction. This poll was also reported on by TASS:

“One in two Russians is satisfied with the life they lead (50%), which is the highest indicator for the last year. One-fourth of respondents, 25%, say they are partially satisfied with their life, and 22% of Russians are dissatisfied with it,” the poll says.

More than half of those surveyed (57%) positively evaluate the domestic situation, while 35% say the opposite. One-fourth of Russians are optimistic about the future, 25% are confident that their life will improve in a year, another 41% believe that nothing while change, while 23% think that things will just get worse.

“Half of those polled (48%) are concerned and worried about their future, but their number is falling. <…> One in four respondents said they are optimistic about the future (26%) and almost the same number (23%) are neither optimistic nor worried about it,” the state-run pollster said.

According to that last paragraph, although the number has gone down, around half of those polled are worried about their future, while 64% (from penultimate paragraph) think things will not change or will get worse. This is consistent with other polls I’ve looked at over the past couple of years indicating that Russians are getting a bit concerned and restless about the stagnating living standards, with wages having “contracted” over the past six years – though there was a small uptick last quarter attributed to the decline in inflation. In order to make ends meet or keep up their lifestyle, more and more Russians have been turning to credit.

This brings me to another interesting poll from early November in which 70% of Russians said they were concerned about social inequality in general. More specifically, they were concerned about falling incomes (63%), problems with getting free medical care (58%), and the high cost of necessities (58%).

But will this translate into protests in the street?

The protests in Russia we most hear about in western media are political protests in connection with more abstract ideas like democracy, freedom, and anti-corruption. But there have been protests over the past few years in various parts of Russia relating to socioeconomic issues that affect Russians’ material well-being. For example, there were protests by truck drivers over toll fees in 2015 and protests in response to the Putin government’s increase in the retirement age in 2018.

The results of a Levada Center poll released earlier this week showed that a fifth of Russians said they would participate in a political protest, but a third said they would be willing to protest economic conditions.

Apparently, the Russian government is indeed more concerned by the potential of protests based on socioeconomic discontent as reflected in a report by Professor Paul Robinson yesterday about a French sociologist who was denied entry to Russia where she was going to attend an academic conference.

The story in question is that French sociologist Carine Clément was detained by Russian border guards last week when she attempted to enter the country to attend an academic conference, and was then deported back to France. Clément had been due to give a paper discussing the French ‘Gilets jaunes’ [Yellow Vests] and comparing them to Russian vatniki (rednecks, roughly speaking). Superficially, it doesn’t seem like something which should really bother the Russian security services. After all, the Russian state-funded TV network RT has been about the only international media outlet to regularly report on the Gilets jaunes over the past year. Nevertheless, despite the fact that she has a Russian husband and daughter, Clément was declared a threat to national security and told that she was forbidden from entering Russia for 10 years…

I was able to find an English-language version of a 2015 article  [by Clement] entitled ‘Putin, Patriotism, and Political Apathy’.  It’s actually quite good, so I thought that I would share some excerpts of it here.

Clément starts off by noting Putin’s political popularity. This is genuine, she argues, and it’s not just a product of alternative voices being repressed. Political repression exists in Russia, but ‘Repression is not occurring on a massive scale. Many independent initiatives that are critical of current authorities still operate in broad daylight.’ The root of Putin’s support instead lies in the experience of the 1990s, Clément argues. In that time period, ordinary people ‘watched unscrupulous individuals make fortunes through small or big-time fraud’, while being treated with the utmost ‘contempt’ by the reformers and their allies, who dismissed them as ‘losers’ and ‘maladjusted’…

At the same time, Clément remarks, the liberal opposition is ‘cut off from the people’. It is obsessed with overthrowing the ‘Putin regime’, but ‘The problems that preoccupy most Russians, as indicated by polls, including poverty, housing, education, and health, do not appear as priorities.’ She recounts the story of a woman who visited the offices of the Yabloko party to complain about people who were poisoning dogs in her locality, and was told, ‘yes, of course, we see the problem. But tell us, how are we going to fight the regime?’

Russians see that this sort of thing is pointless, Clément argues. The political protests of the liberal opposition don’t interest them. Instead, they’re turning to more local forms of action, focusing on the sort of social-economic issues I mentioned at the start of this post. Clément believes that it is this sort of action, coming from below, and ‘rooted in local concerns and the realities of daily life’ which offers the best prospects for change in Russia.

Putin seems to have some awareness of average Russians’ concerns as he has reportedly been seeking feedback from his administration on how to “jump-start” the economy. His administration is also in the process of trying to implement the national projects that he has spoken of in his last two addresses to the Federal Assembly. Those infrastructure projects – with a special emphasis on improvement of roads – have been slow getting off the ground, however.


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Earlier this week, U.S. Senator Kamala Harris announced that she was dropping out of the race for the presidency.

All I can say is: Aloha, baby! Don’t let the door hit your tush on the way out.

But seriously, establishment media pundits are trying to spin this in various disingenuous ways – that she couldn’t gain traction because she was a woman of color, etc. But as political comedian and analyst Tim Black discusses below, it is because she was running a dismal campaign in which she articulated no major policy upon which she was running to fix a major problem – of which there are many currently in this country. The fact that she was very arrogant also hurt her. This arrogance was reflected in her dismissive treatment of Tulsi Gabbard, while refusing to address the substantive and very relevant problems with Harris’s record that Gabbard brought up. In fact, Harris was given several opportunities to answer Gabbard’s charges and failed every time.

Instead of offering substance as a candidate, Harris offered up her identity politics credentials, jokes that only she laughed at, and a mission to get Trump removed from Twitter. The era of style-over-substance neoliberal candidates is over. Unfortunately, Harris got the memo too late.

Caitlin Johnstone: 25 Times Trump Has Been Dangerously Hawkish on Russia

By Caitlin Johnstone

Medium.com

CNN has published a fascinatingly manipulative and falsehood-laden article titled “25 times Trump was soft on Russia”, in which a lot of strained effort is poured into building the case that the US president is suspiciously loyal to the nation against which he has spent his administration escalating dangerous new cold war aggressions.

The items within the CNN article consist mostly of times in which Trump said some words or failed to say other words; “Trump has repeatedly praised Putin”, “Trump refused to say Putin is a killer”, “Trump denied that Russia interfered in 2016”, “Trump made light of Russian hacking”, etc. It also includes the completely false but oft-repeated narrative that “Trump’s team softened the GOP platform on Ukraine”, as well as the utterly ridiculous and thoroughly invalidated claim that “Since intervening in Syria in 2015, the Russian military has focused its airstrikes on anti-government rebels, not ISIS.”


CNN’s 25 items are made up almost entirely of narrative and words; Trump said a nice thing about Putin, Trump said offending things to NATO allies, Trump thought about visiting Putin in Russia, etc. In contrast, the 25 items which I am about to list do not consist of narrative at all, but rather the actual movement of actual concrete objects which can easily lead to an altercation from which there may be no re-emerging. These items show that when you ignore the words and narrative spin and look at what this administration has actually been doing, it’s clear to anyone with a shred of intellectual honesty that, far from being “soft” on Russia, Trump has actually been consistently reckless in the one area where a US president must absolutely always maintain a steady hand. And he’s been doing so with zero resistance from either party.

It would be understandable if you were unaware that Trump has been escalating tensions with Moscow more than any other president since the fall of the Berlin Wall; it’s a fact that neither of America’s two mainstream political factions care about, so it tends to get lost in the shuffle. Trump’s opposition is interested in painting him as a sycophantic Kremlin crony, and his supporters are interested in painting him as an antiwar hero of the people, but he is neither. Observe:

1. Implementing a Nuclear Posture Review with a more aggressive stance toward Russia

Last year Trump’s Department of Defense rolled out a Nuclear Posture Review which CNN itself called “its toughest line yet against Russia’s resurgent nuclear forces.”

“In its newly released Nuclear Posture Review, the Defense Department has focused much of its multibillion nuclear effort on an updated nuclear deterrence focused on Russia,” CNN reported last year.

This revision of nuclear policy includes the new implementation of so-called “low-yield” nuclear weapons, which, because they are designed to be more “usable” than conventional nuclear ordinances, have been called “the most dangerous weapon ever” by critics of this insane policy. These weapons, which can remove some of the inhibitions that mutually assured destruction would normally give military commanders, have already been rolled off the assembly line.

2. Arming Ukraine

Lost in the gibberish about Trump temporarily withholding military aide to supposedly pressure a Ukrainian government who was never even aware of being pressured is the fact that arming Ukraine against Russia is an entirely new policy that was introduced by the Trump administration in the first place. Even the Obama administration, which was plenty hawkish toward Russia in its own right, refused to implement this extremely provocative escalation against Moscow. It was not until Obama was replaced with the worst Putin puppet of all time Uthat this policy was put in place.

3. Bombing Syria

Another escalation Trump took against Russia which Obama wasn’t hawkish enough to also do was bombing the Syrian government, a longtime ally of Moscow. These airstrikes in April 2017 and April 2018 were perpetrated in retaliation for chemical weapons use allegations that there is no legitimate reason to trust at this point.

4. Staging coup attempts in Venezuela

Venezuela, another Russian ally, has been the subject of relentless coup attempts from the Trump administration which persist unsuccessfully to this very day. Trump’s attempts to topple the Venezuelan government have been so violent and aggressive that the starvation sanctions which he has implemented are believed to have killed tens of thousands of Venezuelan civilians.

Trump has reportedly spoken frequently of a US military invasion to oust Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro, provoking a forceful rebuke from Moscow.

“Signals coming from certain capitals indicating the possibility of external military interference look particularly disquieting,” the Russian Foreign Ministry said. “We warn against such reckless actions, which threaten catastrophic consequences.”

5. Withdrawing from the INF treaty

For a president who’s “soft” on Russia, Trump has sure been eager to keep postures between the two nations extremely aggressive in nature. This administration has withdrawn from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, prompting UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to declare that “the world lost an invaluable brake on nuclear war.” It appears entirely possible that Trump will continue to adhere to the John Bolton school of nuclear weapons treaties until they all lie in tatters, with the administration strongly criticizing the crucial New START Treaty which expires in early 2021.

Some particularly demented Russiagaters try to argue that Trump withdrawing from these treaties benefits Russia in some way. These people either (A) believe that treaties only go one way, (B) believe that a nation with an economy the size of South Korea can compete with the US in an arms race, (C) believe that Russians are immune to nuclear radiation, or (D) all of the above. Withdrawing from these treaties benefits no one but the military-industrial complex.

6. Ending the Open Skies Treaty

“The Trump administration has taken steps toward leaving a nearly three-decade-old agreement designed to reduce the risk of war between Russia and the West by allowing both sides to conduct reconnaissance flights over one another’s territories,” The Wall Street Journal reported last month, adding that the administration has alleged that “Russia has interfered with American monitoring flights while using its missions to gather intelligence in the US.”

Again, if you subscribe to the bizarre belief that withdrawing from this treaty benefits Russia, please think harder. Or ask the Russians themselves how they feel about it:

“US plans to withdraw from the Open Skies Treaty lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons and multiply the risks for the whole world, Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev said,” Sputnik reports.

“All this negatively affects the predictability of the military-strategic situation and lowers the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons, which drastically increases the risks for the whole humanity,” Patrushev said.

“In general, it is becoming apparent that Washington intends to use its technological leadership in order to maintain strategic dominance in the information space by actually pursuing a policy of imposing its conditions on states that are lagging behind in digital development,” he added.

7. Selling Patriot missiles to Poland

“Poland signed the largest arms procurement deal in its history on Wednesday, agreeing with the United States to buy Raytheon Co’s Patriot missile defense system for $4.75 billion in a major step to modernize its forces against a bolder Russia,” Reuters reported last year.

8. Occupying Syrian oil fields

The Trump administration has been open about the fact that it is not only maintaining a military presence in Syria to control the nation’s oil, but that it is doing so in order to deprive the nation’s government of that financial resource. Syria’s ally Russia strongly opposes this, accusing the Trump administration of nothing short of “international state banditry”.

“In a statement, Russia’s defense ministry said Washington had no mandate under international or US law to increase its military presence in Syria and said its plan was not motivated by genuine security concerns in the region,” Reuters reported last month.

“Therefore Washington’s current actions — capturing and maintaining military control over oil fields in eastern Syria — is, simply put, international state banditry,” Russia’s defense ministry said.

9. Killing Russians in Syria

Reports have placed Russian casualties anywhere between a handful and hundreds, but whatever the exact number the US military is known to have killed Russian citizens as part of the Trump administration’s ongoing Syria occupation in an altercation last year.

10. Tanks in Estonia

Within weeks of taking office, Trump was already sending Abrams battle tanks, Bradley infantry fighting vehicles and other military hardware right up to Russia’s border as part of a NATO operation.

“Atlantic Resolve is a demonstration of continued US commitment to collective security through a series of actions designed to reassure NATO allies and partners of America’s dedication to enduring peace and stability in the region in light of the Russian intervention in Ukraine,” the Defense Department said in a statement.

11. War ships in the Black Sea

12. Sanctions

Trump approved new sanctions against Russia on August 2017. CNN reports the following:

US President Donald Trump approved fresh sanctions on Russia Wednesday after Congress showed overwhelming bipartisan support for the new measures,” CNN reported at the time. “Congress passed the bill last week in response to Russia’s interference in the 2016 US election, as well as its human rights violations, annexation of Crimea and military operations in eastern Ukraine. The bill’s passage drew ire from Moscow — which responded by stripping 755 staff members and two properties from US missions in the country — all but crushing any hope for the reset in US-Russian relations that Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had called for.”

“A full-fledged trade war has been declared on Russia,” said Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in response.

13. More sanctions

“The United States imposed sanctions on five Russian individuals on Wednesday, including the leader of the Republic of Chechnya, for alleged human rights abuses and involvement in criminal conspiracies, a sign that the Trump administration is ratcheting up pressure on Russia,” The New York Times reported in December 2017.

14. Still more sanctions

“Trump just hit Russian oligarchs with the most aggressive sanctions yet,” reads Vice headline from April of last year.

“The sanctions target seven oligarchs and 12 companies under their ownership or control, 17 senior Russian government officials, and a state-owned Russian weapons trading company and its subsidiary, a Russian bank,” Vice reports. “While the move is aimed, in part, at Russia’s role in the U.S. 2016 election, senior U.S. government officials also stressed that the new measures seek to penalize Russia’s recent bout of international troublemaking more broadly, including its support for Syrian President Bashar Assad and military activity in eastern Ukraine.”

15. Even more sanctions

The Trump administration hit Russia with more sanctions for the alleged Skripal poisoning in August of last year, then hit them with another round of sanctions for the same reason again in August of this year.

16. Guess what? MORE sanctions

“The Trump administration on Thursday imposed new sanctions on a dozen individuals and entities in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea,” The Hill reported in November of last year. “The group includes a company linked to Bank Rossiya and Russian businessman Yuri Kovalchuk and others accused of operating in Crimea, which the U.S. says Russia seized illegally in 2014.”

17. Oh hey, more sanctions

“Today, the United States continues to take action in response to Russian attempts to influence US democratic processes by imposing sanctions on four entities and seven individuals associated with the Internet Research Agency and its financier, Yevgeniy Prigozhin. This action increases pressure on Prigozhin by targeting his luxury assets, including three aircraft and a vessel,” reads a statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from September of this year.

18. Secondary sanctions

Secondary sanctions are economic sanctions in which a third party is punished for breaching the primary sanctions of the sanctioning body. The US has leveled sanctions against both China and Turkey for purchasing Russian S-400 air defense missiles, and it is threatening to do so to India as well.

19. Forcing Russian media to register as foreign agents

Both RT and Sputnik have been forced to register as “foreign agents” by the Trump administration. This classification forced the outlets to post a disclaimer on content, to report their activities and funding sources to the Department of Justice twice a year, and could arguably place an unrealistic burden on all their social media activities as it submits to DOJ micromanagement.

20. Throwing out Russian diplomats

The Trump administration joined some 20 other nations in casting out scores of Russian diplomats as an immediate response to the Skripal poisoning incident in the UK.

21. Training Polish and Latvian fighters “to resist Russian aggression”

“US Army Special Forces soldiers completed the first irregular and unconventional warfare training iteration for members of the Polish Territorial Defense Forces and Latvian Zemmessardze as a part of the Ridge Runner program in West Virginia, according to service officials,” Army Times reported this past July.

“U.S. special operations forces have been training more with allies from the Baltic states and other Eastern European nations in the wake of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation in 2014,” Army Times writes. “A low-level conflict continues to simmer in eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region between Russian-backed separatists and government forces to this day. The conflict spurred the Baltics into action, as Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia embraced the concepts of total defense and unconventional warfare, combining active-duty, national guard and reserve-styled forces to each take on different missions to resist Russian aggression and even occupation.”

22. Refusal to recognize Crimea as part of the Russian Federation

…even while acknowledging Israel’s illegal annexation of the Golan Heights as perfectly legal and legitimate.

23. Sending 1,000 troops to Poland

From the September article “1000 US Troops Are Headed to Poland” by National Interest:

Key point:Trump agreed to send more forces to Poland to defend it against Russia.

What Happened: U.S. President Donald Trump agreed to deploy approximately 1,000 additional U.S. troops to Poland during a meeting with Polish President Andrzej Duda on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Reuters reported Sept. 23.

Why It Matters: The deal, which formalizes the United States’ commitment to protecting Poland from Russia, provides a diplomatic victory to Duda and his governing Law and Justice ahead of November elections. The additional U.S. troops will likely prompt a reactive military buildup from Moscow in places like neighboring Kaliningrad and, potentially, Belarus.

24. Withdrawing from the Iran deal

Russia has been consistently opposed to Trump’s destruction of the JCPOA. In a statement after Trump killed the deal, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it was “deeply disappointed by the decision of US President Donald Trump to unilaterally refuse to carry out commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”, adding that this administration’s actions were “trampling on the norms of international law”.

25. Attacking Russian gas interests

Trump has been threatening Germany with sanctions and troop withdrawal if it continues to support a gas pipeline from Russia called Nord Stream 2.

“Echoing previous threats about German support for the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Trump said he’s looking at sanctions to block the project he’s warned would leave Berlin ‘captive’ to Moscow,” Bloomberg reports. “The US also hopes to export its own liquefied natural gas to Germany.”

“We’re protecting Germany from Russia, and Russia is getting billions and billions of dollars in money from Germany” for its gas, Trump told the press.

I could have kept going, but that’s my 25. The only reason anyone still believes Trump is anything other than insanely hawkish toward Russia is because it doesn’t benefit anyone’s partisanship or profit margins to call it like it really is. The facts are right here as plain as can be, but there’s a difference between facts and narrative. If they wanted to, the political/media class could very easily use the facts I just laid out to weave the narrative that this president is imperiling us all with dangerous new cold war provocations, but that’s how different narrative is from fact; there’s almost no connection. Instead they use a light sprinkling of fact to weave a narrative that has very little to do with reality. And meanwhile the insane escalations continue.

In a cold war, it only takes one miscommunication or one defective piece of equipment to set off a chain of events that can obliterate all life on earth. The more things escalate, the greater the probability of that happening. We’re rolling the dice on armageddon every single day, and with every escalation the number we need to beat gets a bit harder.

We should not be rolling the dice on this. This is very, very wrong, and the US and Russia should stop and establish detente immediately. The fact that outlets like CNN would rather diddle made-up Russiagate narratives than point to this obvious fact with truthful reporting is in and of itself sufficient to discredit them all forever.

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