Just ahead of the U.S. presidential elections, Russian President Vladimir Putin appears to be pushing his conflict with the West to new heights…
Norway, Sweden and Finland are out in the cold against a rise in Moscow’s aggressive activity (US News/World Report)
Officials in Finland, Sweden and Norway are concerned about what have become almost routine acts of Russian aggression, how they can respond, and whether they could prevent an incident, or even an accident, from spiraling out of control. So now, quietly, they’re preparing for a confrontation.
What We Know About the Russia Hacks (WNYC’s On The Media)
Jeffrey Carr, a cybersecurity consultant and author of “Inside Cyber Warfare,” has been skeptical of the intelligence community’s assessment of the hacks–and the media’s coverage of this assessment–from the beginning. He talks to host Bob Garfield about his doubts, the risks of false attribution, and why we need a higher standard of evidence when making claims about cyber war.
Case Closed (Paul Robinson)
In November last year, Mikhail Lesin was found dead in a hotel in Washington, DC…Without directly accusing Putin of murder, various mainstream media outlets have implied it by including Lesin in lists of ‘opponents’ of the Russian ‘regime’ whom the Kremlin has allegedly ordered killed.
Americans dislike the Islamic State more than Putin or Assad. Here’s how this shapes policy preferences (WaPo)
Although the U.S. presidential election has hardly been about real policy issues, the conflict in Syria and the fight against the Islamic State have been among the hot policy issues frequently debated by Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in the past year. Though both have highlighted the threat of the Islamic State, they have differed on how to actually deal with it.
Taking a Page from Joe McCarthy (Robert Parry)
The whipping up of a New Cold War with Russia and the demonizing of Vladimir Putin extend beyond The Washington Post to virtually the entire U.S. political/media establishment which has plunged into this dangerous terrain without any more serious thought and analysis than preceded the Iraq invasion, except now the target for “regime change” is nuclear-armed Russia and this adventurism risks the extermination of life on the planet.
Blame Canada!…or Putin (Paul Robinson)
Both Russia and the US election have generated reams of silly commentary in recent months, and it’s never been sillier than when the two issues have been combined.
PODCAST: The Imperative of De-Demonizing Vladimir Putin (Stephen F. Cohen)
Nation Contributing Editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussions of the new US-Russian Cold War. (Previous installments are at TheNation.com.) Unlike most installments, which cover an array of news stories, this one focuses on a single but encompassing subject: the nearly decade-long demonization of Putin by the US political-media establishment.
Russia Extends Aleppo Cease-Fire and Urges Rebels to Leave (NY Times)
Russia said on Wednesday that it would extend a moratorium on airstrikes in the Syrian city of Aleppo until Friday to give embattled antigovernment rebels a chance to leave the city and to “avoid senseless victims” of continued fighting.
Doctors’ Group: Neither Candidate Should Have Finger On Hair-Trigger Nukes (WBUR)
Control of this God-like power will soon be transferred to a new president. But do we really want to trust anyone with this situation? Not just with the power to order a nuclear strike — but the responsibility of deciding whether to do so in just minutes, on the basis of sketchy, preliminary information? There’s been scant comment this political season on why it’s still like this.
Investigating Donald Trump, F.B.I. Sees No Clear Link to Russia (New York Times)
Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump.
PODCAST: In Eastern Europe, saber rattling — or risky escalation? (KCRW, feat. Stephen F. Cohen)
KCRW hosts NYU and Princeton Prof. Emeritus Stephen F. Cohen, the German Marshall Fund’s Derek Chollet, the Atlantic Council’s Elizabeth Braw, and RAND’s David Shlapak to discuss the tensions on in the Baltic region between NATO and Russia.
That secret Trump-Russia email server link is likely neither secret nor a Trump-Russia link (WaPo)
On Monday night, Slate published a lengthy story written by Franklin Foer exploring an odd connection between Trump’s businesses and a bank in Russia. Researchers looking to track Russian attempts at hacking American political interests noticed that a server at the bank had been connecting to a server linked to Trump — sporadically, in a pattern that they felt was indicative of interpersonal communication.
Russia says resumption of Syria peace talks delayed indefinitely (Reuters)
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday a Western failure to rein in violent Islamists in Syria had indefinitely delayed the resumption of peace talks.
‘A Dangerous Situation’ As U.S.-Russia Tensions Spill Over To Nuclear Pacts (NPR)
The U.S. and Russia are the world’s two mightiest nuclear powers, and yet over the years, they’ve made deals to reduce their respective arsenals.
Harry Reid’s incendiary claim about ‘coordination’ between Donald Trump and Russia (WaPo)
In the course of arguing that Comey’s disclosure that the FBI is looking into new Hillary Clinton investigation emails may have violated the Hatch Act, Reid slips in an extremely bold claim about the Trump campaign and the Russian government.
The Abnormal Normal of Nuclear Terror (Consortium News)
Almost goofily, behind Official Washington’s latest warmongering “group think,” the U.S. has plunged into a New Cold War against Russia with no debate about the enormous costs and the extraordinary risks of nuclear annihilation, Gray Brechin observes.
Russia Welcomes Growing Wave of ‘Red Tourists’ From China (WSJ)
To see how good relations are between Russia and China these days, check out Novodevichy Cemetery here. Chinese tourists arrive by the busload each week to pay their respects to Wang Ming, a Chinese Communist leader buried here alongside some of Russia’s most prominent writers, composers and politicians.
What Can Russia’s Admiral Kuznetsov Aircraft Carrier Do in the Mediterranean? (Haaretz)
According to Haaretz, “If tested in a showdown, Putin’s sole old smoky carrier is unlikely to prove as capable – it’s inferior, inexperienced and carries a history of mishaps. For now though, the Kremlin has one clear advantage.”
Does the U.S. government really know who hacked Democrats’ emails? (PBS)
Beyond the government’s headline assertion that Russia is to blame, “it’s important to parse the public statement pretty closely,” said Susan Hennessey, a national security fellow at the Brookings Institution. “They’re being really careful in their word choice.”