Tag: Vladimir Putin

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I write today in defense of Vladimir Putin, Tsar of all the Russias.  Hear me for my cause. This is a strange thing for me to do.  My motivation is a comment earlier today by our friend KirkianWanderer.  After providing a very helpful translation of an inspirational and macho Russian military recruiting ad — which […]

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Join Jim and Greg as they enjoy hearing HHS nominee Xavier Becerra squirm as he insists he never sued the Little Sisters of the Poor, just the federal government for giving a contraception mandate exemption to the nuns. They also peel back the sexual harassment allegations against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and discuss the growing number of Democrats coming out to denounce him. And they hammer Amnesty International for removing its “prisoner of conscience” label for Russian political figure Alexei Navalny over comments Navalny made 15 years ago.


Join Jim and Greg as they wonder what could possibly qualify Pete Buttigieg to be the next Secretary of Transportation. They also react to Russian President Vladimir denying his government killed a prominent critic because his people would have finished the job. And they unload on the frauds at the Lincoln Project, who finally admit they’re now an anti-Republican outfit.

‘You Two Deserve Each Other’: Russia, China, and the Impending Fight Over Vladivostok


It seems that Xi Jinping’s move to a more openly aggressive foreign policy is extending in every direction, not just to his Southwestern neighbor India, but to his Northern ally, Russia. The PRC is now claiming past (and hinting at proper present) ownership of one of Russia’s major Pacific port cities, Vladivostok (Владивосток), on the basis of Qing rule in the territory. (For those who are unfamiliar with Chinese dynasties, the Qing were the final emperors of China and ruled from 1644 until 1912, but the territory under question was annexed by Russia in the 1860 Treaty of Beijing and Han people, who constitute(d) the majority of China’s population, had long been banned from entry by their Manchu rulers. Additionally, the Chinese Empire was not the first or last territorial entity to claim or assert ownership in the region). What does this bode for Russia and China individually, and their mutual relations?

>As a disclaimer, I understand very little Chinese, basically nothing beyond the ability to politely navigate a grocery store/restaurant and introduce myself, so my analysis will mostly fall on the Russian side of the issue, where I have a far superior linguistic arsenal. But, let’s begin by situating this (maybe) surprising turn of events within a broader context. For the sake of some minimal amount of brevity, I’ll summarize the pre-1949 relationship by saying that it was a mixed bag at the official level (borders were not firmly set in the pre and early modern worlds, and even beyond then people at a local level generally continue to interact regardless of their government’s wishes), and by the late 19th century favored Russia as the richer and more Westernized/militarily superior power.

Skipping a bit ahead, relations between the PRC and the USSR were often about as cosy as the climate of the Russian Far East. Naturally, the two largest Communist powers in the world were allies, and the Soviets sent aid to Mao when he was fighting the Kuomintang, but even then Stalin was stingy in the amounts that he sent, and as the years went on he hardly became more friendly. Mao, when he visited Russia, was made to feel like a lesser entity in all of his meetings with Uncle Joe, something that was particularly damaging to relations when the Chinese despot had such singular control, and in general the Soviets did not hesitate in displaying a paternalistic attitude towards the newer members of the Marxist-Leninist camp, encouraging technological and educational exchange programs but also emphasizing their superiority as longer standing, stricter communists and a more advanced society. 

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U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell on Iran Sanctions Snapback, America’s Energy Competition with Russia in the EU, Chancellor Merkel U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell occupies one of the most critical positions in American diplomacy, not only because Germany represents the EU’s largest economy and has disproportionate influence on the continent, but because of […]

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Michael Ledeen on the Potential Collapse of Iran’s Khomeinist Regime


For this week’s Big Ideas with Ben Weingarten podcast, I had historian, Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, former Special Advisor to the Secretary of State and consultant to the National Security Council during the Reagan administration, author of 38 books and most pertinent to today, Iran expert, Michael Ledeen on the podcast to discuss among other things:

  • The impending collapse of the Khomeinist regime and what the U.S. can do to accelerate it
  • The false narrative about alternatives for Iran being either appeasement or war
  • The history of U.S. intelligence failures in Iran
  • How secular and liberal Iran’s dissidents actually are
  • Whether there is a wedge that can be exploited between Iran and Russia
  • What will become of Hezbollah if the Iranian regime collapses
  • The allegedly political witch hunt against Iran hawk and Israel supporter Larry Franklin as an illustration of historic anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism in the foreign policy and national security establishment
  • Ledeen’s theory that Gen. Michael Flynn — with whom Ledeen co-authored the book, The Field of Fight — falsely pled guilty, and the real reason why Gen. Flynn was targeted in the first place

You can find the episode on iTunes, everywhere else podcasts are found, download the episode directly here or read the transcript here.

Putin Speaks Code. Does Trump Understand?


Back when word first leaked that Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort, and Donald Trump, Jr., had met with a Russian lawyer and others offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, President Trump seemed to think he was supplying an exculpatory cover story. Flying home from Germany on Air Force One, Trump reportedly instructed Don Jr. to claim that he and the Kremlin-linked lawyer had “primarily discussed a program about the adoption of Russian children.” There is apparently some debate about whether that misleading statement places the president in any legal jeopardy, but there is another aspect to the story that has received less attention. It came up again during the Helsinki debacle – Putin, the world’s richest man and most successful thief, is obsessed with the Magnitsky Act.

In fact, the very mention of Russian adoptions was a tipoff that Ms. Veselnitskaya was probably representing Vladimir Putin. Whether Trump knew this at the time is unclear. After all, he could not say what the nuclear triad was and endorsed “Article XII” of the U.S. Constitution. Maybe he thought mentioning that they discussed Russian adoptions was the most anodyne-sounding explanation for the meeting.

Except it wasn’t. If they spoke of adoptions, it means they spoke of the Magnitsky Act, the sanctions bill the U.S. enacted at the urging of William Browder, a hedge fund manager and, at one time, the largest foreign investor in Russia. Funny, Browder’s name came up again in Helsinki, when Putin accused him of tax evasion and theft and contributing to the Hillary Clinton campaign (all totally false) and suggested that the U.S. should hand him over for questioning in exchange for permitting Robert Mueller to question the 12 GRU agents just indicted for meddling in our election. Putin later added former U.S. Ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul to the list of those his goons would interrogate. Our stable genius president leaped at this as an “incredible offer.” A few days later, he scaled back.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America are amazed that more than 90 percent of House Democrats either opposed a resolution supporting Immigration and Customs Enforcement or refused to vote on it at all.  They also grumble as deficit projections once again head north of a trillion dollars and the number of food stamp recipients remains stubbornly high in a strong economy.  And they denounce Vladimir Putin’s proposal to allow U.S. investigators to interview the 12 Russians indicted for meddling in the 2016 elections in exchange for allowing the Russians to interview a former U.S. ambassador.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America learn from the late National Review founder William F. Buckley that the left drew a moral equivalence between the USSR and the United States during the Cold War, and they warn President Trump not to make the same mistake. They also compliment Chris Wallace of Fox News for asking pointed questions about election meddling to Russian President Vladimir Putin, but they fear the interview and Putin’s weak answers will soon be forgotten. And they fret that the left has taken fair criticism of the Trump-Putin summit to preposterous extremes by labeling it as morally equivalent with 9/11, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban Missile Crisis and Kristallnacht.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America analyze the California Democratic Party’s decision to endorse California Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s rival in the general election, Democratic state Sen. Kevin de Leon. They also criticize President Donald Trump for his inability to confront Russian president Vladimir Putin about multiple issues, especially election meddling, noting that the president seems more worried about defending his 2016 win than exposing the truth. And they laugh as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist, stumbles her way through an explanation about why Israel is an occupying force on “Firing Line.” They also finally resolve the biggest question in film: “Is Die Hard a Christmas movie?”

Victor Davis Hanson describes how President Trump’s unconventional approach to foreign policy has often proved to be more effective than the conventional wisdom proffered by the Washington establishment.

Jim Geraghty of National Review and Greg Corombos of Radio America briefly grouse about D.C.area drivers in inclement weather before sipping their martinis.  Then, they welcome the end of the Austin mail bombing horrors as the suspect apparently blows himself up as police close in on him.  They also fume as the GOP-led Congress pursues yet another omnibus spending bill with virtually no fiscal restraint in sight, leading Jim to declare that “fiscal conservatism is dead.”  And they sigh as President Trump defies his staff to congratulate Vladimir Putin on “winning” his election and because a disgruntled Trump staffer then leaked classified information to the media.

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“Who was kicking seat? One of you was kicking seat. Was it you, Igor?” “I will recline seat now. I trust there will be no objections.”  United Airlines’ new Customer Service Manager inquires if any passengers would “volunteer” to be “reaccomodated.” “Told you I would inaugurate a Spirit Airlines stewardess into Mile High Club before […]

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Victor Davis Hanson describes how Donald Trump is systematically dismantling the legacy of the Obama Administration … and explains why it’s paying such rich dividends for the country.

Richard Epstein considers what Michael Flynn’s recent guilty plea means for President Trump and his administration, rebutting many of the misleading claims that have emerged in recent press coverage.

Richard Epstein responds to suggestions that the Justice Department may appoint a special prosecutor to probe corruption allegations around Hillary Clinton. Also on the docket: exactly how independent of presidential prerogative should attorneys general be? Is it time for Jeff Sessions to step aside? And are the legal suspicions around both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton evidence of a decline in America’s leadership class — or proof that, for all its flaws, the system still works?

Richard Epstein reacts to the indictments brought against Paul Manafort and Rick Gates, as well as to a guilty plea from former Trump aide George Papadopoulos.

The Uranium One Thing Is a Non-Story and Here Is Why


It always amazes me how false legends get created, and soon, without any facts, they are cemented in everyone’s minds, the details get lost, and they become widely believed, even without evidence.

So it is with the Uranium One story, which is making the rounds again, thanks to a Tweet last week from the President who said, “Uranium deal to Russia, with Clinton help and Obama Administration knowledge, is the biggest story that Fake Media doesn’t want to follow!”

And so we have this false legend, already solidifying in people’s minds that Hillary Clinton sold off a large chunk of America’s uranium to Russia, probably in exchange for an enormous bribe to the Clinton Foundation. Because, when it comes to Hillary Clinton, people will believe almost anything. Look, I don’t like Hillary Clinton either, but the real stuff is bad enough, we don’t need to make up anything extra.

Victor Davis Hanson examines the major foreign policy challenges facing the Trump Administration, including how to properly calibrate the US relationship with Russia, how to defang a nuclear North Korea, and how to combat terrorism as ISIS shifts to a new era.