Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018 June 2018 July 2018 August 2018 September 2018 October 2018 November 2018 December 2018 January 2019 February 2019 March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 June 2019 July 2019


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Friday, January 04, 2019


... in Russia

by Tom Sullivan

Soviet tank graveyard and derelict Red Army barracks east of Kabul, Afghanistan.

That Chinese restaurant joke with the fortune cookie? The one where you read aloud the fortune and add "in bed" to the end? Donald Trump's foreign policy sounds like that joke, only ending with "in Russia."

During his cabinet meeting that wasn't a meeting on Wednesday, the sitting president rambled incoherently before cameras on multiple topics, including telling Iran’s leaders they “can do what they want” in Syria:

With a stray remark, Trump snuffed out a plan from his national security adviser, John Bolton, who this fall vowed that the United States would not leave Syria “as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders.”

The president’s statement offered the latest illustration of the dramatic gyrations that have characterized his foreign policy and fueled questions about whether his senior advisers are implementing his policies or pursuing their own agendas.
Or maybe someone else's agenda, the Washington Post's coverage suggests:
Critics say the shifting plan, which has rattled key U.S. allies, will embolden Russia and Iran, the Syrian government’s main foreign supporters. It also sets the stage for a confrontation between NATO ally Turkey and Kurdish-dominated Syrian forces that have been the chief U.S. partner against the Islamic State.
Trump also excused Russian intervention in Afghanistan, saying, "The reason Russia was in Afghanistan is because terrorists were going into Russia. They were right to be there." In Simi Valley, CA, President Ronald Reagan rolled over in his grave. Trump's comments echoed recent efforts by Vladimir Putin to rehabilitate the image of the USSR and rewrite the history of its invasion of Afghanistan:
Last month, Russian lawmakers took another big step in the same direction by approving a draft resolution that seeks to justify the Soviet Union’s war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989. The formal vote on the measure — proposed jointly by lawmakers from the United Russia and Communist parties — will be held before the 30th anniversary of the withdrawal of Soviet troops on Feb. 15. Hailing the decision, Communist lawmaker Nikolai Kharitonov called it a victory for “historical truth.”

The real historical truth — without quotation marks — was made public with the partial declassification of Soviet archives after 1991. The decision to invade Afghanistan was taken by the Politburo in December 1979; the measure was euphemistically titled “On the situation in ‘A.’ ” The first contingent of the USSR’s 40th Army crossed the Amu Darya River into Afghanistan on Dec. 25. Two days later, the Afghan dictator Hafizullah Amin – whose request for assistance served as the pretext for the invasion — was murdered by Soviet special forces in Tajbeg Palace.
Rachel Maddow's MSNBC coverage Thursday night recalled an incident early in the Trump presidency, citing this Associated Press report from February 2017:
According to one U.S. official, national security aides have sought information about Polish incursions in Belarus, an eyebrow-raising request because little evidence of such activities appears to exist. Poland is among the Eastern European nations worried about Trump’s friendlier tone on Russia.
Nobody was talking about this, Maddow observed. The concern existed nowhere except as part of a Russian "military intelligence disinformation campaign" to influence Belarus. Yet somehow it was an agenda item for the new Trump White House.

Last summer in an interview with Fox News, Trump blurted out that the people of Montenegro (a new NATO ally) "are a very aggressive people." Trump adds, "They may get aggressive and, congratulations, you're in World War 3." What?

As it happened, in 2016 there was almost a coup in Montenegro backed by Russian military intelligence, as reported again last week in Time. Those "aggressive" Montenegrans were about to approve a referendum to join NATO in the fall of 2016, the middle of the U.S. presidential campaign. Russia was not pleased. Fresh off the Trump campaign and owing millions to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, Paul Manafort became involved:
In more than a dozen interviews that TIME conducted this year, officials and political leaders in Montenegro confirmed that Deripaska and one other Russian oligarch bankrolled the pro-Russian opposition in 2016. Two of them said they heard Manafort’s name come up in strategy meetings for that opposition movement.

When asked about Manafort’s role, Medojevic, one of the leaders of this movement, confirmed that he had met with Manafort to discuss a potential partnership in the fall of 2016. He added that the meeting was a disappointment, and that no deal came out of it. In several follow-up conversations, however, he refused to talk about the meeting, saying that his contacts in the West were legitimate and urging reporters not to publish his initial comments.

For Medojevic and the rest of the opposition, the elections in Montenegro did not go smoothly. The day before the vote, a group of men was arrested and charged with plotting to overthrow the government of Montenegro, assassinate its leader and seize power by force – all with abundant help from Moscow. The Montenegrin authorities later charged two agents of Russia’s military intelligence service with masterminding the alleged coup. Several of the leaders of the opposition in that country, including Medojevic, are currently on trial for charges that stem from the alleged coup attempt.
Maddow pointed out that at his first NATO summit, Trump went out of his way to physically thrust aside the Montenegran prime minister.

Perhaps it was simply Trump being a pompous boor. But where does a deeply incurious, under-informed man such as Trump glean obscure tidbits on foreign policy that parrot propaganda from Russian intelligence? Trump famously repeats what he has heard from the last person(s) who spoke with him. Who might that be?