THE AMERICANS ARE OUT, RUSSIANS ARE IN + THE GERMANS ARE UP
ARTICLE V died today. Or, maybe yesterday; I can’t be sure. General Hastings Ismay, 1st Baron Ismay, the first Secretary General of NATO, famously said NATO exists “To keep the Americans in, the Russians out, and the Germans down.” Now, after everyone saw how well Trump performed for Putin at last week’s NATO mini-summit in Brussels, it should be as clear as daylight that the Americans are out, the Russians are in and the Germans are up. More champagne in the Kremlin, and not the shitty Russian kind, as Agence France Presse reports German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Sunday Europe “must take its fate into its own hands,” after Brexit and the reign of terror of Trump, the Terrible. At an election rally in Munich, and fresh off the heels of encounters with Trump and his golf cart, Merkel told an election rally, “The times in which we could completely depend on others are on the way out. I’ve experienced that in the last few days”. Or as Dr. Strangelove might say, “Animals will be bred and then slaughtered,” followed by a lot of nukes. Merkel echoes TRUMPISTAN WATCH’s first thought: get drunk you stupid bastards, life as we knew it is over! Putin may have seized the king, but the queen is still frolicking. Long live the leader of the free world, German Chancellor Angela Merkel!
U.S. FOREIGN POLICY AT ODDS OVER DEATH OF MOTHER ARTICLE V
While TRUMPISTAN WATCH has lifted the opening lines of Albert Camus’ The Stranger, replacing “Mother” with “Article V,” to initiate discussion of Trump’s ambivalence towards NATO and Article V, there is a bit of dispute within the U.S. foreign policy establishment as to whether mother Article V is in fact dead. The New York Times reports former U.S. Ambassador to NATO, now head of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, Ivo Daalder, said after Trump failed to do the one job he had to do at the NATO mini-summit, “This seems to be the end of an era, one in which the United States led and Europe followed,” adding, “Today, the United States is heading into a direction on key issues that seems diametrically opposite of where Europe is heading. Merkel’s comments are an acknowledgment of that new reality.” Daalder added, “This is ‘America first’ — a policy focused on narrow self-interest — and abandons the idea that the best way to enhance our security and prosperity is by having strong allies and leading globally in pursuit of common values and interests.” Maybe that is because Trump’s America has no values but give Trump money, grab pussy, shit on minorities, bend over for Russia? Meanwhile the increasingly tainted by association National Security Advisor to Trump, H.R. McMaster, seemed to fail his most recent history test telling reporters at the end of the G7 summit in Taormina, Italy, “I think it’s extraordinary that there would be an expectation that the president would have to say explicitly that he supports Article 5. Of course he does,” according to Reuters. By McMaster’s ever devolving logic, “He did not make a decision not to say it,” which means, “It was implicit in the speech. There was no decision to not put it in there. It is a matter of fact that the United States, the president, stands firmly behind our Article 5 commitments under NATO.” Does he listen to voices outside the White House nowadays because that does not appear to be what others in attendance have to say of Trump trash’s rantings, commonly referred to as diarrhea of the mouth?
MACRON MAY SHARE MANTEL OF LEADER OF FREE WORLD WITH MERKEL
The Washington Post reports, “French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a blunt greeting to Vladimir Putin on Monday, criticizing the use of chemical weapons by Syria’s Russian-backed government and blasting two Russian state-owned media organizations as ‘organs of influence and propaganda.’” President Macron, may we French kiss you? Thank god for real European leadership at a moment like this, as the U.S. has taken a mental recess to wave its trash flag for the time being. Macron also jibed at the Russian fascist in the Kremlin in response to a question about the French elections, which Russian state hackers tried to have a hand at, using WikiLeaks in a failed attempt to spread disinformation. “It is not for me to comment on Madame Le Pen’s visit,” to kiss little guy Putin’s ring in Moscow, Macron said. “Elections are the decisions of sovereign people.” You mean Glenn Greenwald and Sean Hannity and Julian Assange and the Russians and Jack Posobiec and all the other assholes that appear to be in Russia’s pocket do not get to decide? Beautiful. Life is beautiful. Macron also pledged to defend “all people, all minorities,” which is the most anti-Russian sentiment of all. Naturally the Kremlin’s chief foreign liar, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov did not like this too much, whining a bunch today about the “anti-Russian campaign launched by the Obama administration,” who of course is no longer in power, but you know, do not let reality intercede in Kremlin bullshit – or self-reflection! Oh, is baby Lavrov sad? Me so happy! Oh and vive la France!!!
RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DISCUSSED DEROGATORY INFO ON DONALD + FRIENDS
CNN reports this morning, “Russian government officials discussed having potentially ‘derogatory’ information about then-presidential candidate Donald Trump and some of his top aides in conversations intercepted by US intelligence during the 2016 election”. Could it be, the fabled pee pee tape? Or perhaps so much more and so much worse! CNN reports, “One source described the information as financial in nature and said the discussion centered on whether the Russians had leverage over Trump’s inner circle.” No intelligence sources “would say which specific Trump aides were discussed,” because better to keep the scandalous, treasonous ties between Trump and Russia in the news. We do have a public after all that is accustomed to reality TV’s episodic nature and expectations must be met! For everyone else there is denial, lies, propaganda and fake news and the mistaken belief that one’s opinion matters more than the findings of 17 U.S. intelligence agencies.
PRINCELING JARED TO KISLYAK: GIVE ME SECRET TREASONOUS TINFOIL HAT
The Washington Post reports Ivanka basically married her Daddy. Just kidding, that is an inference based on their report that “Jared Kushner and Russia’s ambassador to Washington discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between Trump’s transition team and the Kremlin, using Russian diplomatic facilities in an apparent move to shield their pre-inauguration discussions from monitoring,” citing U.S. officials based on intelligence reports. Was Signal not enough for these two? The scoop dropped just as the Memorial Day holiday weekend was kicking off. What did Jared really need a Russian tinfoil hat for when everyone knows far better quality ones are sold right here in America (albeit probably made in China)? The little princeling’s request probably baffled Kislyak too who “reported to his superiors in Moscow that Kushner, son-in-law and confidant to then-President-elect Trump, made the proposal during a meeting on Dec. 1 or 2 at Trump Tower,” because the best the Ruskis could offer was “Russian diplomatic facilities in the United States for the communications.” Trump’s ousted National Security Advisor Michael “Lock him up!” Flynn was also in attendance at the meeting because of course he was. Most interestingly, “The Post was first alerted in mid-December to the meeting by an anonymous letter, which said, among other things, that Kushner had talked to Kislyak about setting up the communications channel. This week, officials who reviewed the letter and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive intelligence said the portion about the secret channel was consistent with their understanding of events.” Bannon? Steve-o, was that you? You know, if Seth Rich had lived none of this would have happened, if you like the Sean Hannity take… Or if you prefer the left’s more Greenwald-ian form of denial, more evidence of an evil empire that Russia had nothing to do with because lamestream media lies. And if you prefer the POLITICO Magazine take for the weekend, which has us snuggle up in the realm of unreality, Kushner is strong and handsome, just like the horse Putin sits his hiney on. Or if you prefer to live in the realm of fact-based reality, clearly the princeling kid is a naïve piece of garbage and Aryan princess Ivanka married Daddy, or a lite version of him with less charisma and a more youthful punim.
From The Washington Post.
DERIPASKA SEEKS + DENIED IMMUNITY BY U.S. CONGRESS
The New York Times reports, “Oleg V. Deripaska, a Russian oligarch once close to President Trump’s former campaign manager, has offered to cooperate with congressional committees investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, but lawmakers are unwilling to accept his conditions,” because they have a chance of nabbing him? Yeah, right. According to The New York Times, “Deripaska’s offer comes amid increased attention to his ties to Paul Manafort,” as “The two men did business together in the mid-2000s, when Mr. Manafort, a Republican operative, was also providing campaign advice to Kremlin-backed politicians in Ukraine. Their relationship subsequently soured and devolved into a lawsuit.” Deripaska is a member of Putin’s inner circle, which makes the request for immunity all the more bizarre, confounding and fascinating. However, “the Senate and House panels turned him down because of concerns that immunity agreements create complications for federal criminal investigators”. It is also no guarantee that he or anyone will tell the truth, nor does it necessarily mean there is something to hide. As a member of Putin’s inner circle, it is safe to assume there is still interests to protect less he wind up on “the trail of dead Russians”. Deripaska lives in Moscow and in the past, “The State Department has refused to issue him a business visa because of concerns over allegations that he was connected to organized crime”. However, “Mr. Deripaska came to the United States eight times between 2011 and 2014 with government permission as a Russian diplomat, according to affidavits he gave in a little-noticed lawsuit in a Manhattan court.” Curiously, “Mr. Deripaska, whose companies have long had offices in New York, has expanded his American holdings over the past 10 years, buying high-priced Manhattan townhouses and a major stake in a Russian-language newspaper in New York.” Manhattan real estate, is it for normal people anymore? Now, for the real intrigue: “The timing of Mr. Deripaska’s diplomatic visits to the United States are notable because they began after the F.B.I. withdrew from a secret deal that allowed him into the country. In 2008, the F.B.I., over State Department objections, arranged for him to receive a special visa after he agreed to help the bureau find a retired agent, Robert Levinson, who had disappeared in Iran the year before.” The deal ended in 2009 when the F.B.I. determined the deal was not headed towards a resolution in Levinson’s case. Also of intrigue is that Deripaska “also agreed to ‘support’ a hedge fund run by the former president of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, by investing in it through an offshore shell company, according to one filing. Through his assistant, Mr. Wolfensohn declined to comment.” Money. It does not care who owns it.
From The New York Times.
PATRIOT SENATOR JOHN MCCAIN SAYS PUTIN BIGGER THREAT THAN ISIS
Patriot Senator John McCain gave an interview to Australia’s Broadcasting Corporation (the other ABC in global television) where he said Putin is a bigger geopolitical threat than ISIS, which is absolutely true. What he did not say was that Putin’s puppet, American president Donald Trump may be an even greater threat than both. According to ABC, “During a visit to Canberra, Senator McCain said Mr Putin was the ‘premier and most important threat, more so than ISIS,’” adding, “I’ve seen no evidence they succeeded, but they tried and they are still trying to change elections. They just tried to affect the outcome of the French election. So I view Vladimir Putin — who has dismembered Ukraine, a sovereign nation, who is putting pressure on the Baltics — I view the Russians as the far greatest challenge that we have.” McCain added the solution for now is more sanctions, which he hopes the Senate can enact when it is back in session. Yes, please! McCain also taunted the traitor trash squatting in the White House when he said, “We have done nothing since the election last November to respond to Vladimir Putin’s attempt to change the outcome of our elections. So, way to go Vladimir. We haven’t responded at all”. Hear that wannabe strong man Trump, you weak boy? He also attacked princeling Jared’s desire for a custom made Russian tin foil hat for top-secret communications with the Kremlin, telling ABC, “I don’t like it, I just don’t. I know some administration officials are saying this is standard procedure. I don’t think it’s standard procedure prior to the inauguration of the President of the United States by someone who is not in an appointed position.” McCain added, “This is becoming more and more bizarre, in fact you can’t make it up.” No, you really can’t. In fact, if this were a novel, critics would charge it lacked verisimilitude.
From the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
EXXON CEO DARREN WOODS AT ST. PETERSBURG FORUM THIS WEEK
Reuters reports, “Exxon Mobil chief executive officer Darren Woods is expected to attend the St Petersburg International Economic Forum this week,” citing two industry sources. Recall Russian Order of Friendship medal recipient and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson came to the State Department from Exxon Mobil, and Woods ascended to the role of C.E.O. then. According to Reuters, “Woods is due to attend the June 1-3 forum where Russian President Vladimir Putin will deliver the keynote speech, the sources said,” and citing one of the sources, “A meeting between Mr Woods and Mr Putin is possible.” While Exxon would not respond to a request for comment, Reuters notes “Mr Woods visited Moscow in March to meet Mr Putin. Russian energy minister Alexander Novak and the head of top Russian oil producer Rosneft, Igor Sechin, also attended.” Tillerson attended last year’s St. Petersburg Forum, “having stayed away for two years over Russia’s intervention in Ukraine.” Sanctions in 2014 kept Exxon out of joint exploration with Rosneft in the Arctic’s Kara field but Rosneft and Exxon are partners in the Sakhalin-1 Pacific oil project, which is not subject to U.S. sanctions. The Exxon-led joint venture has put the company in the crosshairs of Russia’s government over taxes, Reuters reports.
TWO HACKERS WANTED BY U.S. ARRESTED IN LATVIA LAST MONTH
The Baltic Times reports, “The Latvian State Police in cooperation with the colleagues from the U.S. law enforcement authorities in late April detained two men, who are being investigated by the U.S. authorities for cyber crimes,” citing Latvian State Police. The Baltic Times is not naming the two men as it appears the Latvian police and state are not, but they “were detained ‘in close cooperation’ with the U.S. colleagues, said Ilze Jurevica, a spokeswoman for the Latvian State Police,” according to The Baltic Times. Jurevica “said she was not in a position to disclose any details such as the citizenship of the detained men or the particular crimes for which they were being investigated because the investigation was being conducted by the U.S. authorities.” Important to note Latvia is home to a large Russian diaspora and ethnic Russians who Latvia calls “non-citizens” unless they pass a Latvian language test and accept full Latvian citizenship. Latvia’s prosecutor’s office is handling the extradition, according to The Baltic Times.
From The Baltic Times.
ESTONIA EXPELS TWO RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS
The AP reports, “Estonia has informed Russia that two of its diplomats in the country will be expelled, the Baltic country’s foreign ministry said Friday.” According to the AP, “News agency Baltic News Service reported that the diplomats were Russian Consul General Dmitry Kazennov and consul Andrey Surgaev, both in Narva, Estonia’s third-largest city, which sits on the border with Russia.” The Estonian Foreign Ministry told AP only that the Russian Foreign Ministry had been informed and the Russian Foreign Ministry said the expulsion was “provocative and baseless”. Cry me a river, Russia, let’s call it the Volga, which is already so full of tears and blood.
From The AP.
GET READY FOR RIOTS RUSSIA, YOUR PEOPLE WANT FREEDOM
And no, it will not be the Russian people rioting, but the Russian state and its agents of the state, what we in Chicago call a police riot after events in 1968 during the Democratic National Convention in our fair city. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports, “Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny and his allies have formally requested permission from the authorities to hold anticorruption rallies in Moscow and several other cities on June 12.” According to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Navalny said on his website on May 29 that activists in 212 cities plan to hold demonstrations. The number of cities in which they have applied for permits was not immediately clear.” Preparing for the inevitable contingency of Kremlin fear, “Navalny said that rallies will be held regardless of whether permission is granted, citing what he said was the right of citizens to demonstrate on the June 12 Russia Day holiday.” Russia is so big and strong and powerful and totally afraid of politically engaged youth, who can destroy Putin’s legitimacy, just like a real superpower. Yeah, right. How frightened is the Kremlin? Enough to unleash one of its human garbage oligarchs against Navalny in a defamation lawsuit. A Moscow court has begun hearings in the case brought by Alisher Usmanov, an Uzbekh-born gangster, or rather oligarch, who previously taunted Navalny with low-grade YouTube videos. Bon courage, Navalny! Spoken in French because not sure of a German equivalent and these are the languages of world leaders now.
DARKNESS AT NUNES STILL HAS SUBPOENA POWER
Rep. Devin Nunes still has subpoena power over the House intelligence committee’s investigation into our little treasonous Russian puppet’s ties to his motherland (hint: not Manhattan or Queens), so we are all doomed to mass slaughter. In case you are unfamiliar with Arthur Koestler’s novel, pick it up now! (And never say TRUMPISTAN WATCH did not warn you a million different ways. This whole DARKNESS AT NUNES thing was never intended as some lighthearted joke for the unacquainted.) CNN reports Nunes is “still is in charge of a key decision: Whether to issue subpoenas to obtain records and testimony central to the investigation.” So Kafka has keys to the kingdom and is not acting in our best interests. In other news, water is wet and humanity is screwed. But all things do pass and this shall too, may you survive the slaughter to see the next baby boom and raise your kids with less narcissism and sociopathic tendencies that gave life to Trump. And everyone pray to Jesus or your Jesus equivalence that the hooker TRUMPISTAN WATCH imagines the Russians sent to Nunes is as good at doing to him as what Nunes is doing to the nation and geopolitical security right now.
RESPECTABLE PEOPLE DO NOT WANT ANYWHERE NEAR TRUMP TRASH
POLITICO reports, “President Donald Trump was already struggling to fill hundreds of top legal jobs throughout the federal government. Over the past two weeks,” as Trump’s Russia-related scandals and firing of former FBI Director James Comey have blown up in this administration’s overly bronzed face, “that task became exponentially more difficult, according to top GOP lawyers,” reports POLITICO. One GOP lawyer who held a top post in George W. Bush’s administration said, “They were dealing with a pool that had already shrunk and, now, of course, some people will be avoiding it like the plague,” after Trump trashed Comey by calling him a “nut job”. Well a sphincter says what? Trump’s errant tweets are also of concern to officials who do not want to wake up to an international media firestorm if they can avoid it and so-called “Never Trumpers” have been blacklisted because Trump demands loyalty over competence and ethics. POLITICO wishes to remind everyone, “Trump still has to fill senior Department of Justice roles and the 93 U.S. attorney posts around the country — a task complicated by his decision, in March, to demand the immediate resignation of all remaining Obama-era appointees without a bench of replacements ready to go.” If only criminal negligence and abdication of duties were impeachment worthy offenses as proscribed by the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution…
—–KNOW YOUR ENEMY—–
COMRADE DONALD: TRUMP WANTED REAGAN ERA SOVIET POST
The Hollywood Reporter of all places carries an exclusive interview with a former Nobel Prize winner, Bernard Lown, a cardiologist who invented the defibrillator and won “the 1985 Nobel Peace Prize with a top Soviet physician in recognition of their efforts to promote denuclearization.” Of course he is 95 years old now, like all the other great minds of the era of deterrence and containment that are aging out of this earth at an hour when we could most use their wisdom. Lown “tells The Hollywood Reporter that Trump sought and secured a meeting with him in 1986 to solicit information about Mikhail Gorbachev,” whom Lown had met the year before due to his Nobel win. According to The Hollywood Reporter, it was “During this meeting,” with Trump, “Lown says, the fast-rising businessman disclosed that he would be reaching out to then-President Ronald Reagan to try to secure an official post to the USSR in order to negotiate a nuclear disarmament deal on behalf of the United States,” which of course was “a job for which Trump felt he was the only one fit.” Surely it had nothing to do with those former Eastern bloc and Soviet girls Trump is known for marrying and that NATO armies are now issuing unusual warnings to their commands concerning possible honey traps. The Hollywood Reporter notes of their meeting “Lown emphasizes that the whole situation felt strange. ‘I thought there was another agenda, perhaps, but I didn’t know what that was,’ he says.” Must read as the article is rich on details and notes from archival articles and interviews on Trump’s views and interest towards the Soviet Union in the 1980s, none of which is new information but it is well laid out here. Trump, as a classic Russian proxy, has an obsession that goes back decades.
From The Hollywood Reporter.
FOLLOW THE MONEY, NOT THE DUMBASS TWEETS
A recent New Yorker cartoon depicts a reporter talking to a source à la Watergate’s “Deep Throat” in an underground parking garage as the source instructs, “Follow the dumbass tweets.” Well, yes, but also follow the money. US News and World Report takes a deeper look at Trump’s numbers for the military, which, despite all dumbass tweets to the contrary, shows U.S. military budget numbers increasing for what is known as the NATO’S European Reassurance Initiative. U.S. News and World Report notes, “Trump’s budget also calls for more than $270 million for air bases and airports in Estonia, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Luxembourg, Norway, Romania and Slovakia – all members of NATO – to improve runways and support facilities to accommodate more U.S. military planes and troops,” adding “That money is a part of the almost $5 billion projected European Reassurance Initiative to counter Russian aggression in Europe”. Of course, “Speaking before NATO country leaders in Brussels on Thursday, Trump reiterated his complaints about most member countries not fulfilling the goal they collectively set in 2014 for each to commit 2 percent of their gross domestic products toward defense spending by 2024.” While the encounter was more crass as Trump is, the substance of the message echoes earlier American presidents, including Obama who complained about allies not paying their “fair share”. So yes, follow (or not) the idiot’s dumbass tweets but also follow the money, as that is where the meat and potatoes and substance are to be found. Better stated, the tweets are just Trump’s way of reaching his base who will not dig deeper.
MATTIS: “NATO IS NOT A THREAT + THEY KNOW IT”
Secretary of Defense James Mattis was on CBS Face the Nation Sunday discussing NATO and Russia. Unstated was that Mattis is also tasked with damage control after Trump crashed the Brussels NATO mini-summit (because he cannot focus long enough for a real one, allies made it extra short, like his baby fingers) and the G7 in Taormina, Italy on behalf of the Kremlin. Mattis told CBS News’ John Dickerson, “right now, Russia is choosing to be a strategic competitor for any number of reasons,” in what is being billed as Mattis “first formal television interview as defense secretary.” The timing after Trump refused to reaffirm support for Article V and act like Putin’s guy is more than a little conspicuous. Mattis reiterated, “But the bottom line is NATO is not a threat and they know it. They have no doubt about it.” According to CBS News, “Mattis said the U.S. is trying to deal with Russia diplomatically, at the behest of Mr. Trump. But the U.S. will also have to confront Russia when the Kremlin attacks on the cyber front or tries to change other countries’ borders, Mattis said. That places the U.S. in a ‘strategically uncomfortable position,’ he said.” CBS News also reports, “White House advisers said the country of Russia came up during the president’s talks with foreign leaders, but Gary Cohn, director of the White House Economic Council, said the controversy over Russia and Mr. Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, did not.”
From CBS News.
RUSSIAN DEFENSE STRATEGIC PLANS FOR NEXT THREE YEARS ANNOUNCED
IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly got around to covering Friday the mid-week announcement from Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu concerning Russia’s strategic plans for the next three years. Based on reports from the Russian Defense Ministry (which was picked up by TRUMPISTAN WATCH but as our task is media monitoring, waited to see what press coverage would come), “Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu outlined to the Russian Senate increases in the country’s nuclear and strategic capabilities,” on Wednesday of last week. Shoigu whined, “the United States’ desire for global leadership is a destabilising factor,” which is more than a little ironic as it suggests the U.S. is not the global leader (it so is, unlike Russia’s evil pseudo-empire) and it is the U.S., not Russia, responsible for all the election hacking shenanigans and aid to terrorist organizations from ISIS to the Taliban, which of course could not be farther from the truth. Such is the nature, though, of Russian state double speak and its wholly Orwellian nature.
ALFA BANK SUES BUZZFEED OVER STEELE DOSSIER PUBLICATION
POLITICO reports, “The owners of a Russian bank,” Alfa Bank, “are suing BuzzFeed for publishing a dossier containing unproven claims that the businessmen were involved in bribing Russian President Vladimir Putin years ago and took part in an alleged Russian government scheme to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.” This is the second lawsuit brought against BuzzFeed over what has become known as the Steele dossier, the first leading to alterations on their site of the contents of the dossier so as to more effectively fend off accusations of libel and defamation. It is also the second major tie reported concerning Alfa Bank and the 2016 election as U.S.-based computer scientists had alleged a server in Trump Tower connected to Alfa Bank based on leaked logs of traffic between Alfa Bank and Trump Tower. POLITICO notes, “In a statement, BuzzFeed defended the publication of the dossier and warned of a possible chilling effect on reporters trying to explore potential connections between President Donald Trump, his election and the Russian government.” And that is the point, if we do not stop from the fatigue of the fire hose of Trump-Russia stories, look away entirely, dismiss it outright, journalists and the public will be silenced for their belated arrival to what is clearly the biggest story of the 2016 election, certainly bigger than Hillary’s emails, and the biggest story of Trump’s presidency — until there is mass slaughter or a nuclear exchange, maybe both at once?
—–RADIO MOSCOW: STORIES FROM THEIR PRESS AND OURS—–
30 YEARS SINCE ONE OF THE MOST CURIOUS OF COLD WAR EPISODES
BBC takes a look at one of the most curious episodes of the Cold War, when a young German peace activist and certifiable crazy (who later stabbed a nurse in 1989 for refusing his advances) named Matthias Rust flew a Cessna 172 into the heart of the Soviet Union, landing in Red Square before being detained by the KGB for one year. It was the thirtieth anniversary of his flight this past weekend, which led to Gorbachev using “the incident as a tool to remove hardliners who opposed his sweeping reforms. The confusion that helped Rust fly to Moscow gave him [Gorbachev] an excuse to sweep some of the old guard out of the way. Defence Minister Sokolov and Alexander Koldunov were among hundreds of commanders who lost their jobs. It was a Stalinist purge, minus the show trials and firing squads.” Today “Rust is an enigmatic figure, and BBC Future could not reach him to request an interview. Recent reports describe him as everything from a financial analyst to a yoga instructor to a peace envoy. It’s believed he makes much of his living as a high-stakes poker player.” Must read for the sheer oddity of the whole gambit and worth noting Rust believed he could cross the border of the Soviet Union by air before he could East Germany’s. Perhaps Russia is weaker than it pretends to be now as well?
From the BBC.
IN MEMORIAM: ZGIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI, 1928-2017
President Carter’s National Security Advisor died Friday at the age of 89. POLITICO notes, Brzezinski “helped topple economic barriers between the Soviet Union, China and the West as President Jimmy Carter’s national security adviser”. Brzezinski was “Born in Warsaw and educated in Canada and the United States,” and “was an acknowledged expert in Communism when he attracted the attention of U.S. policymakers. In the 1960s he was an adviser to John F. Kennedy and served in the Johnson administration.” In 1983, after his book, Power and Principle, came out, he told The Washington Post, “I have never believed in flattery or lying as a way of making it,” sentiments TRUMPISTAN WATCH shares. Brzezinski’s father was a Polish diplomat who served in France, Germany and Canada before retiring in 1944 when communists seized power in Poland. According to POLITICO, “Brzezinski’s climb to the top of the foreign policy community began at Canada’s McGill University, where he earned degrees in economics and political science. Later at Harvard, he received a doctorate in government, a fellowship and a publishing contract — for his thesis on Soviet purges as a permanent feature of totalitarianism.” POLITICO reports upon news of his passing, which was first shared by his daughter, MSNBC presenter Mika Brzezinski, former President George H.W. Bush and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft released a join statement that said in part Brzezinski was a “great American who served our nation with honor” and a “good man and a good friend.” Along with George F. Kennan, Brzezinski truly understood the dangers to humanity and liberty that the Soviet Union presented. In memoriam at an hour when such wisdom is most in need and endangered.
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