Patrick Armstrong is a former political counselor at Canadian Embassy in Moscow
LET’S GO TO WAR WITH RUSSIA! Don’t think I can improve on Fred here: "The standard American approach to war is to underestimate the enemy, overestimate American capacities, and misunderstand the kind of war it enters”. (PS Fred was in Vietnam. So he’s been there, done that). The Saker earlier used the analogy of "suicide by cop".
SANCTIONS. A Brussels think tank reports the share of Chinese goods inRussia’s imports increased from 5% in 2000 to 25% in 2014 and has continued to grow, while the share of EU-manufactured products has decreased from 70% to 55%. I wouldn’t expect the EU to be able to recover much of that market share even if the sanctions were dropped tomorrow. Russia, to put it simply, has no reason to trust anyone in the West ever again on anything: at any moment, some accusation can be manufactured.
ECONOMY. From Bloomberg, not an especially Russia-friendly source: "Russia’s economy has been slow to rebound, but things are perking up” and "Russia’s food producers have beaten an import ban and kept inflation in check".
ARMOURED TRAINS! Who’d have thought they were still around?
NEW NWO. More data points. The presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan and Iranmet; then Putin met with the President of Armenia (obviously working on the Karabakh problem.) Then we learn that Moscow plans to make the Hmeymim air base in Syria permanent. Then it turns out Russia is using a base in Iran to bomb Syria (permission to cross Iraq too). (Interesting historical bit). Then a Chinese military delegation visits Syria and talks of cooperation (Chinese report). A lot of data points for two weeks, eh?
LEAKING AND HACKING. Edward Snowden worked for the NSA and, appalled at what he saw, leaked. 50 analysts at the DIA, appalled at what they saw, leaked and a US Congressional hearing has validated their charges. Drone operators, appalled at what they’ve seen and done, leak. Assange has almost directly said that DNC insider Seth Rick, presumably appalled at what he saw, was the DNC leaker. And now more NSA leaks. More disgusted insiders I suspect. But Snowden disagrees: he thinks Russia did it to send this message: "This leak is likely a warning that someone can prove US responsibility for any attacks that originated from this malware server.” In short, Dear NSA, we know exactly what you do to interfere around the world and we can prove it. NSA ought to be airtight; I sometimes think that the most underrated reality of the Obama period is out-and-out incompetence across the board. For example: US statement, Russian response.
WOBBLES. British PM May phoned Putin and agreed relations should be improved; reiterated by the Foreign Minister. Let’s not get excited but don’t forget a couple of years ago how "isolated” Putin was, how he was "failing” and how Russia was "reeling”. Reality does eventually bite and its bite is strong.
TURKEY. Erdoğan and Putin met: here’s the press conference. Note Putin’s mention of a program of "cooperation for 2016–2019"; in short, it has to be earned. Syria is being discussed; it will be a long and hard discussion but, in the end, it’s Ankara that will have to come most of the distance. Especially if the story that Erdoğan is planning to go to Tehran is true: neither Moscow nor Tehran will support Daesh (nor any of the "moderate” Daeshlets Washington is always pretending to discover) nor will they turn on Assad. The new line is that both Moscow and Tehran are necessary in Syria. Ankara continues to burn bridges: Washington must chose between Ankara and Gülen.
FROM LAPUTA’S KITCHENS TO YOU. So, just after learning that Breedlove’s "intelligence” was cooked up by neocon deskwarriors, we find that CENTCOM cooked intelligence data on Daesh.
SYRIA. "Dramatic Rescue! – 44 Staged Pictures. A kid. "The British government is… funding media operations for some rebel fighting groups". No connection, of course.
MSM AND YOU. "The unfortunate fact is that when a massively important story is reported only once, with virtually no follow-up, the impact may be minimal. Only a small slice of the public encounters that initial account, and the lack of any repetition would eventually lead even those individuals to forget it, or perhaps even vaguely assume that the subsequent silence implied that the claims had been mistaken or later debunked.”
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer