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Corrupt Government
See other Corrupt Government Articles

Title: Documents Reveal How Russian Official Courted Conservatives In U.S. Since 2009
Source: NPR
URL Source: https://www.npr.org/2018/05/11/6102 ... onservatives-in-u-s-since-2009
Published: May 11, 2018
Author: Tim Mak
Post Date: 2018-05-11 17:53:52 by Willie Green
Keywords: None
Views: 534
Comments: 19

Kremlin-linked Russian politician Alexander Torshin traveled frequently between Moscow and various destinations in the United States to build relationships with figures on the American right starting as early as 2009, beyond his previously known contacts with the National Rifle Association.

Documents newly obtained by NPR show how he traveled throughout the United States to cultivate ties in ways well beyond his formal role as a member of the Russian legislature and later as a top official at the Russian central bank. These are steps a former top CIA official believes Torshin took in order to advance Moscow's long-term objectives in the United States, in part by establishing common political interests with American conservatives.

"[Vladimir] Putin and probably the Russian intelligence services saw [Torshin's connections] as something that they could leverage in the United States," said Steve Hall, a retired CIA chief of Russian operations. "They reach out to a guy like Torshin and say, 'Hey, can you make contact with the NRA and some other conservatives ... so that we can have connectivity from Moscow into those conservative parts of American politics should we need them?' And that's basically just wiring the United States for sound, if you will, in preparation for whatever they might need down the road."

Depth Of Russian Politician's Cultivation Of NRA Ties Revealed

Torshin's trips took him to Alaska, where he requested a visit with former Gov. Sarah Palin; to the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C.; to Nashville, where he was an election observer for the 2012 presidential race; and to every NRA convention, in various American cities, between 2012 and 2016.

But the jig is up. Last month, Torshin was designated for sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department.

"We can conclude that the administration thought he was acting to advance Putin's malign agenda, but what precisely [he did] they did not make clear," said Daniel Fried, a former State Department coordinator for sanctions policy who helped craft the sanctions that ultimately were employed against Torshin.

Arriving at Sarah Palin's doorstep

Torshin's outreach to the United States started well before Russia's now-public campaign of electoral interference during the 2016 elections. And it appears to be a cultivated effort to reach out to conservatives, even in its earliest stages.

"I really do think the Russians are looking at being able to reach out to the right ... to say, 'Hey, you know Russians actually share a lot of the same values,' " said Hall, whose 30-year career in the CIA concluded in 2015.

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Hall said their message was: "You know, we don't like LGBT causes any more than you conservatives on the right in the United States do; we are interested in engaging the NRA ... the church plays an important role in Russia just as it should in the United States."

Torshin's earliest known visit to the United States was in 2009, when he requested a meeting with former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin — a request that has never before been reported.

An email from the former Alaska governor's archives, released because of a public records request from activist Andree McLeod and posted online en masse by then-Alaska Dispatch News reporter Richard Mauer, shows how Torshin made the approach through the Russian ambassador to the U.S., who was then-Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

An aide wrote to Palin in May of 2009: "You had received a request to call the Russian Ambassador regarding a proposed visit by Mr. Alexander Torshin... Torshin will be visiting Alaska on June 6, 2009 and we have asked the Lt. Governor to meet with him." Neither the Russian Embassy nor Palin responded to a request for comment.

The lieutenant governor at the time was Sean Parnell, who would go on later to become the governor of Alaska. Parnell told NPR he doesn't recall meeting with Mr. Torshin, nor did the name ring a bell — but he said it wouldn't be odd for him to take such a meeting.

"It wouldn't be unusual for Alaska's Lt. Governor to take a meeting with a visiting foreign dignitary, especially if the Governor's Office had been approached first by the visitor/visiting delegation to schedule a meeting and the governor had declined," Parnell said in an email.

Torshin's travels in the United States continued with a strange trip to Tennessee. Public records requests made by NPR shed light on how Torshin managed to become an election observer in Nashville during the 2012 presidential elections.

"The interesting thing about election monitoring is it does get foreign officials out and about in places that they perhaps might not usually go," said Hall, the former CIA chief of Russian operations. "It wouldn't be uncommon for either somebody like Mr. Torshin, or a diplomat, or a Russian intelligence officer to appear in places like Washington or New York ... But a place like Nashville, or other locations in the United States, provide sort of an insight about what's really going on in the heartland."

A memo left for Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett on Oct. 11, 2012, shows that local lawyer Kline Preston, known for his support of Putin, made the application for election observer status on behalf of Torshin.

"Russian Senator Alexander Torshin would like to observe our Presidential election. Polling stations," the 2012 message reads.

An email from Tennessee Coordinator of Elections Mark Goins shows that Torshin requested visits to the Davidson County Election Commission and the Williamson County Election Commission. And a sign-in sheet showed that he visited the polling station at Grassland Middle School in Williamson County, Tenn.

According to these documents, Torshin was accompanied by a Russian diplomat named Igor Matveev. Matveev had postings in Syria and the United States and is fluent in Arabic and English. Hall said that Matveev, who did not respond to a request for comment from NPR, fit the profile of a professional diplomat rather than an intelligence operative due to his background, "but basically the Russian intelligence services can and do oftentimes co-opt standard diplomats to do their bidding for them."

Torshin made no secret of his visit to Tennessee, and posted it on Twitter, as he has many of his visits to the U.S. He even posted a photo of himself in line at a Nashville-area polling place.

Translation: "Standing in line to the voting station. Like an average American. 6.45 am."

Russia has a long history of politicizing the use of election monitors — for example using Western, pro-Putin observers to vouch for the validity of its contested elections.

Preston, who arranged for Torshin's 2012 election observation status in his hometown of Nashville, recently went to Crimea. In a trip reported by a Russian state operated news agency, Preston declared that the election process in Crimea, which Russian annexed in 2014, was open, honest and trustworthy. He did not respond to a list of questions provided by NPR.

There were very few international doubts about the fairness of America's 2012 presidential elections, which makes Torshin's visit to Nashville for this ostensible purpose all the more perplexing.

And while there have been election monitors in the United States in the past, it usually involves an international organization like the OSCE, which during the 2012 elections sent 44 observers throughout the U.S. to monitor the elections.

"There are, of course, no real elections in Russia that Vladimir Putin doesn't approve of and essentially run himself," Hall said. "So the idea that any Russian entity would go to be an election monitor anywhere in the world is, of course, on its face ridiculous. It's sort of like sending an alcoholic to the distillery to make sure that everything is going OK."

More frequent visits leading up to 2016 campaign

From 2012 to 2016, Torshin began making regular visits to the United States that suggested Russians were trying to find common cause on issues like religion and guns. Torshin attended every National Rifle Association convention during this time and met high-ranking NRA officials.

These trips took him all across the American heartland, with stops in St. Louis, Houston, Indianapolis, Nashville and Louisville. Last month, the NRA acknowledged Torshin was a life member of the NRA and has been since 2012, but insisted he only ever paid his membership dues to the organization. The gun rights group said it had received $2,500 from about 23 Russia-linked contributors since 2015.

"Based on Mr. Torshin's listing as a specially designated national as of April 6, we are currently reviewing our responsibilities with respect to him," NRA general counsel John Frazer wrote to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., last month. The NRA has denied wrongdoing and says that it does not accept funds from foreign persons "in connection with United States elections."

Gun Control Advocates To Press Russia Questions During NRA Convention

Over a similar time period, Torshin also reportedly made repeated trips to Washington, D.C., to attend the National Prayer Breakfast — Yahoo reported that he even had a meeting scheduled with newly inaugurated President Donald Trump during the breakfast in 2017, but that the president pulled out at the last minute when an aide figured out who Torshin was. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.

Further, Torshin facilitated reciprocal trips during these years in which he brought Americans to Russia. In 2013 and 2015, he hosted gun rights advocates in Russia, including former NRA president David Keene, whom he developed a close relationship with.

His visits to America sometimes puzzled those who saw him there, as he appeared to have no serious expertise in the field he was purportedly representing. A speech Torshin gave in Washington, D.C., in March 2015, as deputy governor of the Bank of Russia, left some in the audience perplexed.

"For anyone at the lunch who's remotely familiar with finance or the world of central banking, Torshin demonstrated no significant expertise in either realm," said a former U.S. official who was at the event. "Torshin's performance was all the more surprising, given the big questions circulating at that time about the fate of the Russian economy, sanctions, Western diplomatic isolation, and the like."

In fact, for those observing Torshin, what he was best known for was not central banking, but allegations of money laundering. In 2013 Spanish authorities alleged that Torshin helped a Russian mob syndicate in Moscow launder money through banks and properties in Spain, according to a report by Bloomberg News.

NRA, In New Document, Acknowledges More Than 20 Russian-Linked Contributors

"It is extraordinary and outrageous that a man caught in international money laundering was appointed ... to become deputy chair of the Russian Central Bank," said Anders Aslund, a resident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center.

Torshin's travels to the United States continued through to perhaps his most infamous trip: The NRA convention in 2016, where he attempted to get a meeting with then-candidate Trump.

According to a report written by Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Torshin used a Republican strategist named Paul Erickson as an intermediary to set up a meeting with Trump himself.

"Happenstance and the (sometimes) international reach of the NRA placed me in a position a couple of years ago to slowly begin cultivating a back-channel to President Putin's Kremlin," Erickson wrote to Rick Dearborn, a senior campaign official and a longtime adviser to Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

That meeting never occurred — though Torshin did meet Donald Trump Jr. at an event during the convention. Trump Jr. claims they did not discuss the election.

Sanctions mean the jig is up

On April 6, the U.S. Treasury Department specifically designated Torshin as a target of U.S. sanctions — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the agency targeted "those who benefit from the Putin regime and play a key role in advancing Russia's malign activities."

The sanctions mean that any assets Torshin has in the United States could be seized, and the travel to America that punctuated his life for years will end.

U.S. Hits Russian Oligarchs And Officials With Sanctions Over Election Interference

"He's, for lack of a better term, become radioactive, certainly to the United States, but really the global financial institutions, that are unlikely to be willing to do any business with him for fear of secondary sanctions from the U.S. Treasury Department," said Boris Zilberman, who works on the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' Center on Sanctions and Illicit Finance.

He also reportedly faces scrutiny from congressional investigators probing the 2016 election and the FBI. McClatchy has reported that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Trump's 2016 campaign. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

Hall said it also probably reflected intelligence gathered on Torshin's intentions over years of travel to the United States.

"The fact that Torshin has now been personally sanctioned ... is an indication that the administration ... has seen, probably, intelligence reporting on Torshin and his background, and perhaps what the plans and intentions of the Russian government vis-a-vis Mr. Torshin," Hall told NPR. "It shows that our system ... is doing its job in informing policymakers about the dangers of somebody like Torshin."

For years, Torshin built relationships with governors, NRA bigwigs and conservative activists — making a point of traveling to the United States repeatedly to expand those ties. But with Torshin's designation as a target of U.S. sanctions last month, that door has been closed.

Torshin did not respond to a list of questions provided by NPR.

WPLN's Chas Sisk and NPR's Audrey McNamara contributed to this report. (9 images)

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#1. To: Willie Green (#0)

Good. We need good relations with Russia. We need to be allies with Russia. It will make the world better.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-11   18:10:17 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#2. To: Vicomte13 (#1)

We need good relations with Russia. We need to be allies with Russia. It will make the world better.

Better world does not needs allies against someone.

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-11   23:50:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#3. To: Willie Green (#0)

He also reportedly faces scrutiny from congressional investigators probing the 2016 election and the FBI. McClatchy has reported that the FBI is investigating whether Torshin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Trump's 2016 campaign. The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

It would not be illegal for Russians (who are not sanctions targets) to donate to the NRA.

Russians may also have interest in being friendly toward American gun owners because they recognize how lucrative the American gun market can be. A lot of people are very fond of their old AK-47s. And Russia has lots and lots and lots of old AK guns and parts and ammo. You can even buy the old ammo that was canned (like food) to preserve it against rust for decades.

There aren't very many bright spots in Russia's economy where any Russian product appeals to foreign civilians at all. The AK's were/are an exception.

Tooconservative  posted on  2018-05-11   23:55:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#4. To: A Pole (#2)

Better world does not needs allies against someone.

That world does not exist.

In the real world we need saviors and paracletes as allies against someone immensely powerful and evil whom we cannot defeat alone.

And that someone makes allies more easily than we do.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-12   11:46:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#5. To: Willie Green (#0)

WhaT is scary

Is whaT the european - asian

Bolshevik - nazis did To The world

WhaT more damage These american lib bolshevik - nazi

Obomba - hillary

Could do To The world again

We need The puTin - russian help

To clean up The mess They made over here

German schools - police

Russian ussr science - poliTics

French morals - effiminaTe manners

Look aT comey - mueller



If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2018-05-12   15:28:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#6. To: Vicomte13 (#4)

And that someone makes allies more easily than we do.

I am not sure if Americans are able to make allies. They tend to divide the world into obedient satellites and nasty rogues.

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-13   4:40:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#7. To: A Pole (#6)

I am not sure if Americans are able to make allies. They tend to divide the world into obedient satellites and nasty rogues.

Our "sattelites" include the freest and wealthiest countries on earth: Japan, Germany, Italy are nations we literally conquered, they're all better off for having been conquered, and they're among our closest allies.

South Korea, France, Holland, Belgium, Luxembourg - these are nations we RE-conquered, from their primary conquerors, and they, too, are steadfast allies, and once again the most prosperous and free countries in the world.

We neither conquered nor reconquered Norway, Denmark or Canada or Britain, or Australia or New Zealand, but these are all fast friends and allies of the USA.

We did not conquer or reconquer Poland, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia or Greece, but we established the conditions by which their Communist masters or would be masters were defeated and driven away, and every single one of these countries, of their own volition, voluntarily turned to the United States and chose to become our ally, because they all wanted to be prosperous, and alliance with the United States offers greater prospects of that than enmity, AND because they have been dominated by really evil conquerors - Germans, whom we conquered, and Russians, whom be broke economically. They no longer fear the Germans - and that's thanks to us - but they DO fear the Russians. By allying with the United States, they have guaranteed that never again will Russian troops ever march through their capitals.

Latin America is almost completely allied with the United States, and Latin America is far better off, more peaceful and secure on account of it. When compared to Africa, where the USA gas very little presence, Latin America is a paradise.

However, there are two glaring exceptions in Latin America, two countries that decided to loudly and defiantly turn against the US and make a big show of spurning us and rejecting us as a friend or partner: Castro's Cuba, which chose the friendship and alliance of the USSR, and Venezuela, which chose violent socialism.

We did not invade either country, although we did not permit Cuba to become a security threat to us or any of our allies and friends in the region either. (When they tried, in Grenada and Nicaragua, we forcefully expelled them.)

Venezuela's economy is a basket case, not because we did anything to them, but because they were perfectly free to follow their socialist ideology right into the sewer that it takes countries and peoples. They cannot get out of it on their own, but their individuals are voting with their feet and flooding into the USA to the extent they can. Cuba, of course, clings to its dictatorship, and remains the economic backwater that dictatorship brings.

Everybody else in the region is a friend of the US. Note well, we did not invade South American nations at all to make them be our friends. Brazil, Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay, Ecuador, et al - these are not friends and allies of the United States because of American imperialism, or war. They are friends and allies because they share a lot of values, they want trade, and they want the prosperity that comes with being part of the world system.

In Asia, Thailand is a US ally, by choice. Its surrounding neighbors: Burma/Myannmar, Cambodia/Kampuchea, Laos and Vietnam are not American friends or allies, by choice also. Thailand is the number two tourist destination in the world. The surrounding nations are backward shitholes.

Free nations naturally gravitate to the USA, and the USA naturally extends them trade and protection.

In the Middle East, there are nations that choose to be our ally. There's Iraq, that chose not to be but was conquered and is now better off - more peaceful and safer for its own people, and with a brighter future, than it has been for centuries.

Jordan has no oil, but it has CHOSEN the path of peace with Israel and cooperation with the USA, and it is far, far better off than Lebanon or Syria, which have, likewise, CHOSEN the path of confrontation and enmity with the USA.

So, I hear what you say, but on analysis, it completely fails. The nations that were conquered and made satellites by the USA are all better off for it, and most of the rest of the world chooses to be aliied with the USA, because we are the best world hegemon that has been. N free people ever volunteered to ally with the USSR, or Communist China. The British and French Empires were not as bad as the Russians or the Chinese, but they were not voluntary associations either. The American Empire IS a voluntary association. it didn't not begin so: Japan, Germany, Italy, South Korea and Iraq did not become American allies by choice. But Japan, Germany, Italy and South Korea STAY by choice. Iraq too: they don't want to devolve back into civil war.

I'm not fighting with YOU, mind you - not yet anyway - but I really disagree with you quite firmly. There has never been a nation that compares to the USA in this regard. No other empire has ever been as big, or as deep, and no other nation "won the argument" so well that nearly the whole world wants to become like it and allied with it.

All of the other empires grew through conquest and hard power. We certainly did too, but our wars of conquest were all defensive.

That might be said of the USSR too, except vis-a-vis Poland and the Baltic States. The problem, though, was that the Russians offer nothing. They are as stubbornly nationalistic and proud of themselves as any warlike tribe, but they have no rule of law anybody would want to emulate, and no system of commerce that makes anybody, including themselves, rich. They do not offer personal freedom, or prosperity, and the "peace" they offered was the peace of the well-guarded cellblock. As soon as they weakened, virtually every single one of their subject peoples bolted towards the door - all of occupied Europe rejected them, the White Russians and Little Russians rejected them, and the Stans rejected them.

This is because Russia offers nothing. No prosperity. No freedom. No technology. No future. "Alliance" with Russia offers the ally no bright future. All it does is offer the Russians themselves a deeper zone of imaginary security.

Because the truth is that, since the USA conquered Germany and holds it and all of Europe as allies and friends, nobody actually threatens Russia at all. The Russians remember the Great Patriotic War with great fervor, because it was the source of, and raison d'etre for, all of the sacrifices and limitations of the Warsaw Pact.

But that era is gone with the wind. The Warsaw Pact left and all allied with the Americans, by choice, the Stans left, the Ukrainians left. Finland, no longer afraid, turned decisively towards America.

Poland allied with America as soon as it could, because NOW Poland is assured its security. And its prosperity rises by being part of the Western system. The European Union is a valiant attempt by the Europeans to emulate the United States and do in Europe what Americans did in America. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

None of these good things: World Peace. Free Europe. United and Peaceful Europe. Free and prosperous Japan and Korea and Taiwan. A free, peaceful and economically rising Western Hemisphere - none of that would exist except for the United States of America, our way of doing things - and not doing things.

So when I think about your suggestion, which is that the USA is like Russia, or the British, or the other aggressive empires of history, without real friends, just satellites and satraps, I reject that. It is ahistorical, and it is not true in the present.

It sounds to me like the sort of resentment than many British - and particularly Canadians - have about the USA. They used to rule the roost, by force and by primary mover status, but their system was both militarily and economically inferior to the USA, and the people they subjected to them, for the most part did not want to be there. At their height, they could not defend themselves. But they don't accept those things and just resent the Americans because we supplanted them, and they are too proud to admit we saved them.

The Russians will never admit it, but they are freer today than Russians have ever been, and that too is because of the USA. We drove down the USSR, and that let the Russians be free in their own country also. But for us, the USSR would have become world hegemon, and all of the other peoples they ruled - the Warsaw Pact most notably - really WERE involuntary satellites. That's the truth.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-13   9:14:12 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#8. To: A Pole (#2)

The nations that oppose America ARE nasty, rogue states.

North Korea. Iran. Venezuela has it descended into socialist chaos. Syria. Sudan. These ARE nasty rogue states. They're not beacons of freedom, or prosperity, or anything else they are prisons for their own people, impoverished because of their own corruption and violent internal rule, and they project violence outwards.

And that's where we draw the line. We don't invade them, but we don't let them export their way, because nobody wants their way, but other people are not strong enough to stop it.

The same thing was true of the USSR. Soviet Russia was a violent, evil, pathological state that wanted a world empire. Eastern Europe, for the most part, was as much a victim of Hitler as the Russians were, but Stalin replaced Hitler over them with himself, and the USSR sat on them, stunted their growth, and oppressed them for a half century. When the USSR failed, they ALL, collective, broke free and joined the West by choice.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-13   9:18:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#9. To: Vicomte13 (#7)

We need good relations with Russia. We need to be allies with Russia.


Russia offers nothing. No prosperity. No freedom. No technology. No future. "Alliance" with Russia offers the ally no bright future.


A Pole  posted on  2018-05-13   9:43:19 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#10. To: A Pole (#9)

WE need to ally with Russia for two reasons: (1) to bring most of the worlds nukes into one single alliance: US/Russia/UK/France/Israel.

Pakistan and India have nukes to scare each other.

China is the odd-man out, and a fascist power pressing its sea borders on free nations. China needs to be contained until its political dominators are finally forced to loosen their grip, as the Soviets eventually had to. Russia is imperative to bringing China to heel. The Chinese get their raw materials, etc. from Russia. Russia needs to be a "good guy" nation on the side of bringing China into the reasonable world order.

No, China does not get to simply claim the whole bottom of the China Seas, just because it's bigger than the small countries around it and can push them around.

That's the first reason.

(2) The second reason is humanitarian. Russians are not bad people, and they've been through a lot. Simple truth is, they do not have the experience with freedom and running an economy that it takes for them to ever be prosperous. They have this huge country full of resources and COULD be the wealthiest people in the world, but they cannot get out of their own way.

As a nation, they are SEVERELY abused children, with a long history of being utterly brutalized by invaders from all sides. It is NO WONDER that they vastly overvalue national security, and that they are obsessive about "Mother Russia". The problem for them is that they are unable to get out of the excessive overreaction by themselves. Their reflexive closedness and defensiveness - born of real reasons across a long history - are not like an allergic reaction for them: self defeating.

The Russians cannot get out of their own way and rise to the level of a HAPPY nation (they're already great) BECAUSE OF Russian history, and what that has done to the Russians. They NEED HELP, they need somebody who really will help them develop, give them new ideas, somebody they can reasonably trust isn't going to invade them.

The Russians deserve prosperity as much as, more more, even, than the Germans and Japanese do. The pieces are all there. They need a friend who can talk them out of the closet into which they have locked themselves.

The only people they look at as equals, are the Americans, because of our great power. They know we're more technologically advanced.

And they know, when they are in a peaceful mood, that America is not the British Empire - if we were, there would have been war long ago. We're better than the British were.

We HAVE worked cooperatively with the Russians, not just to defeat Hitler, but to run the modern space program. Hell, the Russians train my daughter every day to be the world champion fencer she is.

Americans, because of our open-immigrant culture, have lots and lots of Russians living here, happily, and the happiness of Russians in America means that Russians can be happy, including back in Russia.

It would not take a whole hell of a lot to do that either.

Yes, we (the USA) have really fucked up in the Ukraine. We can stop fucking up. There are things we can do to undo the really aggressive posture towards Russia that the Obama Administration, and the latter end of the Bush administration undertook. That was dumb.

We have to move towards the Russians too, it is not a one-way street.

But it will be to the immense benefit of the RUSSIANS if we do so, and that, ultimately, is WHY the British and French, Germans and Italians, Dutch and Danes and Norwegians and Poles and Greeks and Japanese and Koreans, etc., and even the Latin Americans - even the Mexicans - stick with the US as a friend and ally despite our frequent boorishness or policy disputes - because in the end they are better off from the friendship and liaison, and that makes the world more peaceful and better for EVERYBODY.

Russia is the key to all of Eurasia. The Russians cannot replace the US as the world's hegemon. The only idea they ever had in that vein was Communism/world socialism, and that simply does not work as a system. It has been tried, and it fails, not because of the big bad USA, but because of the inner workings of human nature. The US wasn't stopping socialism from working in the USSR or the Warsaw Pact. Socialism itself stops socialism from working, because people don't like it, so they have to be coerced, but people don't like being coerced, and they resist, so to keep control you have to apply MORE coercion and security - and with every added level of security, you reduce your GDP growth, until ultimately you live in a prison that produces nothing and collapses. That's what happened in the USSR. It's what happened in Red China (they changed to a market economy before it all fell apart). it's Venezuela and Cuba.

France and the UK are "socialist", but they're not Socialist. It doesn't work. And THAT is the only globalist idea the Russians ever had (and they imported that from Germany).

Russians haven't been ABLE to develop globalist thoughts that were not hard-power imperialism, because their own history has been so traumatic. It's not a place where the sort of ideas they need can develop.

But Christianity didn't develop there either, or in the US, yet we've all embraced that.

The USA, because it's a nation of immigrants, is uniquely positioned to be the "least offensive nation" as a source of ideas. Our military flies around in helicopters designed by a guy named "Sikorsky" - and nobody cares. The whole European (and elsewhere) obsession with tribe has been largely transcended in the US.

In Russia it has been also, sort of, differently. The Russian is not one tribe, but the result of a lot of overruns and mixing. That's why Russians are so relatively good looking. It's why they're so tough.

And it's why they need us as a friend. We helped the Germans and Japanese be far, far better than they ever were as self-obsessed people under tribal government. We let the better angels of their nature rise to the top of those societies, and virtually none of them would go back.

Russia needs help with this too. Somewhere, somehow, the Russians know this.

Now, the USA is not blameless. In the days of Clinton and Yeltsin we really had a chance to establish friendship with Russia. The worse angels of our own nature ruled he roost. Of course the Eastern Europeans and the Stans were going to have to be allowed, and encouraged, to go their own way. Russia could not maintain an extraterritorial empire.

But we didn't have to let the Russians proper suffer as much as they did, and we didn't have to continue to treat them as paraiahs. We didn't have to kick them when they were down.

We lost a generational opportunity there, to our detriment.

But the generations are turning. We can do better. So can they. Putin's not a monster, and Trump knows that. It's sad that it has to come down to personalities, but in a sense it does. We didn't have to behave the way we did back in the Yeltsin day, but we did because of the character of the Cheneys running our country exploiting the weaknesses of the drunk running Russia. That was bad, and we do need to repent of it and not go that way again.

Putin won't let Russia be rolled, and that's fine. I don't think Trump wants to roll Russia. We need to befriend Russia. We need them, to cement the peace and future prosperity of the world, and they need us, to help them calm their inner demons and rise above their own weaknesses and allergies.

Russia and the US is a naturally symbiotic relationship - but we have to get the nasty agents who would disrupt that out of the way.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-13   11:06:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#11. To: Vicomte13 (#10)

Putin won't let Russia be rolled, and that's fine.

Very generous of you.

I don't think Trump wants to roll Russia. We need to befriend Russia.

What do you mean by "need to befriend"?

exploiting the weaknesses of the drunk running Russia. That was bad, and we do need to repent of it and not go that way again ... We didn't have to kick them when they were down.

You see, friends and allies are those who at the very minimum will not kick you when you are down.

In previous post you wrote: "Russia offers nothing. No prosperity. No freedom. No technology. No future. Alliance with Russia offers the ally no bright future." Is it how you see it?

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-13   11:58:42 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#12. To: Vicomte13 (#7)

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-13   13:13:37 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#13. To: All (#5)

Crissy maThews

John kerry

Marxine waTers

Bongo drums abongo

Hillary amazon clinton

Post civilizaTion witches - warlords

All of Their meTrosexual media eunuch cannibal - groupies

Blood lust liberals


If you ... don't use exclamation points --- you should't be typeing ! Commas - semicolons - question marks are for girlie boys !

BorisY  posted on  2018-05-13   13:18:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#14. To: A Pole (#11)

In previous post you wrote: "Russia offers nothing. No prosperity. No freedom. No technology. No future. Alliance with Russia offers the ally no bright future." Is it how you see it?

I was referring to alliance with Russia from the perspective of a Poland, or a Belarus, or a Finland, or a North Korea.

Russia is a big bullying bear of the nation, and it doesn't bring in its wake high tech and a world system the way alliance with the USA does.

It is not valuable for any minor nation to ally with Russia against the United States. Russia simply doesn't have much to offer them, and the small paint a target on their backs when they spurn the world system

But when speaking of the United States, we have a great deal to gain by alliance and friendship with Russia, and vice versa. The Russians are our only peers. Russia and America are like England and France were for 1000 years. In the end, the world works SO MUCH BETTER since France and England decided to get married. It works better for England, and for France, and for everybody else (except Germany in their bellicose period).

It is not a good thing for Syrians to ally with Russia to resist throwing out their dictator and finally get some real peace and prosperty by burying the hatchet with Israel. Syria is a small, backwards nation, benighted with Islam. They can never win the fight against Israel, and they cannot win the fight against the world. All they can do is impoverish themselves and get themselves murdered.

Egypt and Jordan are far, FAR better off since they changed sides, stopped fighting Israel, and became allies of the United States. From the perspective of a Jordan, alliance with Russia simply enables a sort of military alcoholism. It's not in a Jordan's, or a North Korea's, ultimate interest - certainly not the PEOPLE of those countries - to ally with Russia to take on the United States. It guarantees more suffering and eventual loss.

For the USA, it's different. Alliance with Russia is a marriage of military equals. We can't dominate each other. Like England and France. God knows those two TRIED, but in the end they balked each other at every turn all around the world and, to quote Kipling, "were schooled for dear life's sake to know each other's blade", and "learned by keenest use to know the other's mind", and when they decided to marry, it meant a better world.

The word "alliance" in French means "marriage". A Lithuania that allies with Russia will always be a battered child bride in a morganatic marriage - Russia can't help itself. But a marriage between Russia and America offers dividends to both that would change the world of both for the better, and in the process make the whole world better for everybody except the Chinese Communists (if they choose to be belligerent), and the Iranian mullahs.

That's what I meant. Alliance with Russia means bad things for Estonia. Alliance with Russia means a brighter future than is possible any other way for America - and for Russia.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-13   20:35:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#15. To: Vicomte13 (#14)

Alliance with Russia means a brighter future than is possible any other way for America - and for Russia.

What about Russian alliance with China?

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-14   3:00:58 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#16. To: A Pole (#15)

What about Russian alliance with China?

Think it through.

My objective is what will make the American, Russian and even, eventually, the Chinese people (and all of the peoples around them) happiest.

Human happiness comes through security, freedom, prosperity and peace.

The difference between marriage with China, what it ultimately means, and marriage with America, is shown in two places right there in East Asia.

There is China proper, and there is Taiwan, protected by American power for all of these years. If you had to take yourself and your family to go live - as you, as a white European (because that is what Russians are, and that is what you are) - where would you prefer to settle in permanence: Taiwan or Red China?

And then there is Korea. There is South Korea, allied with America. And there is North Korea, allied with China.

Similarly, in South Asia there is Myannmar, and Laos, allied with China. And there is Thailand, allied with America.

In the days of the Soviet Union the same choice existed in Europe, for exactly the same reasons. If you had a choice to live in East Germany or West Germany, which would you choose? East Berlin or West Berlin?

One can play intellectual games of woulda, shoulda, coulda if one likes, but in the end, to choose to ally with China versus the USA is the same as the choice to ally with the USSR versus the USA back in the day: it is a choice driven by a paranoiac focus on hard power and central control, to the detriment of every other good thing in life.

China is certainly a great and rising power. It is not free. And it isn't going to be free. Taipei is free, and pound for pound, it is a happier and more prosperous place.

If you were a Russian making the decision for your people: marry America or marry China, the decision would be essentially the same if you were the father at the head of a family deciding w where to move your family to live in permanence. You could choose China and the Chinese "sphere": North Korea, Myanmar, Laos. You could choose America or any of the world-girdling free and prosperous nations that are in the American sphere.

It's a no brainer.

To ally with China is to doom the Russian people to another generation of strain, sadness and lost opportunity, all out of resentment and jealousy. Russia cannot be the world hegemon. America is the world hegemon, and as far as hegemon's go, you won't be improving anything for anybody to replace the from-everywhere, racially panethnic and universalist and free Americans with the racist, closed, Communist Chinese. You will simply be going back to the Soviet Union, but under Chinese masters instead of yourselves.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-14   7:03:43 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#17. To: Vicomte13 (#16) (Edited)

To ally with China is to doom the Russian people to another generation of strain, sadness and lost opportunity, all out of resentment and jealousy. Russia cannot be the world hegemon. America is the world hegemon

Russia tried to be friends with America in 1990s, and cautiously for a few years longer. Somehow it did not work very well.

racist, closed, Communist Chinese

Perhaps Russians are also "racist, closed, Communist" They were after all neighbors of China for several centuries, learned a lot from them and even got admixture of Asian blood. BTW, Communism came to China from Russia.

Maybe they will make better pair, not every bride needs to be a wife of the hegemon, especially when he already has many wives?

You could choose America or any of the world-girdling free and prosperous nations that are in the American sphere.

You do not choose such things. Geography does.

Russia since 2000s tried to ally herself with Europe, now since what she gets is flood of sanctions and condemnations, perhaps she will turn toward the East? East is interested.

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-14   8:29:36 ET  (2 images) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#18. To: A Pole (#17)

Soviet aggression forced the US to contain the USSR with bases. The USSR is gone. Allying with Communist China out of nostalgia just means holding your own people back.

Do you not love your own people? Do the Russians not deserve the prosperity and brighter future that the Poles or Slovaks or Czechs or Lithuanians now have?

Why not?

Chinese Communism is a retread of the Soviet Communism that failed the Russians so terribly. To embrace that again is to go back to what failed before. The dog returns to his vomit, but people can be smarter than that.

Vicomte13  posted on  2018-05-14   9:30:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

#19. To: Vicomte13 (#18)

Allying with Communist China out of nostalgia just means holding your own people back.

Have the last word. :)

A Pole  posted on  2018-05-14   9:40:33 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  

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