An editorial in the Washington Post notes that Russia is flouting the Obama administration on human rights (it overlooks the fact that, as we report below, the deal over Iran sanctions is for a watered-down sham no different than several similar pacts reached in the Bush years, and the deal over nukes is equally dishonest, achieving only tiny marginal changes in weapons stockpiles — so the price Obama has paid for this escalation in human rights atrocities is truly appalling).
RUSSIA’S GOVERNMENT has calculated that it needs better relations with the West to attract more foreign investment and modern technology, according to a paper by its foreign ministry that leaked to the press last month. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has recently made conciliatory gestures to Poland, while President Dmitry Medvedev sealed a nuclear arms treaty with President Obama. At the United Nations, Russia has agreed to join Western powers in supporting new sanctions against Iran.
Moscow’s new friendliness, however, hasn’t led to any change in its repressive domestic policies. The foreign ministry paper says Russia needs to show itself as a democracy with a market economy to gain Western favor. But Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev have yet to take steps in that direction. There have been no arrests in the more than a dozen outstanding cases of murdered journalists and human rights advocates; a former KGB operative accused by Scotland Yard of assassinating a dissident in London still sits in the Russian parliament.
Perhaps most significantly, the Russian leadership is allowing the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil executive who has become the country’s best-known political prisoner, to go forward even though it has become a showcase for the regime’s cynicism, corruption and disregard for the rule of law. Mr. Khodorkovsky, who angered Mr. Putin by funding opposition political parties, was arrested in 2003 and convicted on charges of tax evasion. His Yukos oil company, then Russia’s largest, was broken up and handed over to state-controlled firms. Continue reading
In Putin’s Russia, Citizens most of all Fear the “Police”
Oleg Kozlovsky in Triumfalnaya Ploshchad
Here’s what happened to Oborona opposition faction leader Oleg Kozlovsky last week:
First, he was illegally arrested for doing nothing more than asserting his Constitutional right to peacefully assemble in Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in Moscow.
Then, he was illegally beaten while in police custody as he protested (peacefully) the illegality of his arrest.
Next, he was held illegally for nine hours in police custody (the law allows for only three).
Finally, he was indicted on the signature of a police officer who had nothing whatsoever to do with his arrest and therefore could not have been a party to it, and on a pre-printed form prepared by bureaucrats miles away.
In other words, in the space of just a few hours Oleg had his legal rights trampled upon by the Russian police who are supposed to protect those rights not once, not twice, not three times but four separate times. More than a hundred other activists were treated similarly by the Russian “police” and Oleg saw a reporter get his arm broken by these thugs for trying to cover and report on the their atrocities.
Russia, purveyor to Terror
Russia proudly announced last week that it plans to deliver vast quantities of offensive weapons, including fighter jets and armored attack vehicles, to Syria, as well as defensive systems for nuclear technology it also plans to to hand over the the rogue regime in Damascus.
So Russia is a pipeline to Syria. That crazed dictatorship, of course, is itself a pipeline — to the Hezbollah terrorist organization which is committed to the destruction of one of America’s closest allies, Israel, as well as to the United States itself, no differently than Osama bin Laden. In fact, as Pajamas Media reports, Russia is even manufacturing covert weaponry which appears to have terrorists as its primary market.
We can’t help but wonder: How would Russia react if the United States decided to begin pumping dangerous offensive weapons into a country that was well known to be supplying the same weapons to the terrorist “bandits” of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia? Would Russians be inclined to say “that’s America’s right, it’s none of our concern?” Or would they be outraged and demand that the U.S. cease such actions immediately?
Barack Obama, Traitor
In today’s issue we republish an op-ed piece by David J. Kramer, a former Bush administration State Department official in Eastern Europe. Kramer’s scathing condemnation of Barack Obama’s cowardly betrayal of American allies in the region is required reading for anyone who is concerned about Russian imperialist aggression.
In a second piece, from the Huffington Post of all places, Ken Blackwell documents how, at every geopolitical turn, Obama’s “foreign policy” has been naive, misguided and ended in failure.
In an original column, scholar Ethan Burger points out the folly of allowing Russia to join the WTO without embracing the WTO’s core values, making Russia a fox in the proverbial hen house.
Finally, in our lead editorial, we show how Russia is rapidly becoming a world-leading pipeline of dangerous offensive weapons to rogue terrorist states like Syria and venal terrorist groups like Hezbollah.
It all adds up to just one thing: Obama is, willfully or not, undeniably a traitor to American values and the nation that elected him to lead it.
David Kramer, a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a former deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the George W. Bush administration, writing in the Washington Post:
The most glaring example of this trend came this week. In a message accompanying the White House’s resubmission to Congress of a nuclear cooperation pact with Russia, President Obama declared that the situation in Georgia “need no longer be considered an obstacle to proceeding” with congressional review of the agreement. The Bush administration signed this “123” agreement in May 2008 but withdrew it from congressional consideration four months later, knowing it would be rejected in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Georgia that August. Russian forces continue to occupy separatist parts of Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia in blatant violation of the cease-fire agreement between the two countries and are constructing bases in both regions, which Moscow has recognized as independent states. The situation remains tense and could easily explode again.
Ken Blackwell, writing on the Huffington Post:
As a candidate, Barack Obama wowed the world. He went to Berlin and gave a speech at their victory monument. It was a curious venue for such a speech. But a million Germans came out to hear him. It was a phenomenal scene. No one remembers what he said there, but it was quite a show. A year later, when he returned to the continent, as president, he spoke at Normandy. No one can quite recall what Obama said, but everyone remembers what Newsweek’s Evan Thomas said: “I mean in a way Obama’s standing above the country, above — above the world, he’s sort of God.”
If you are hailed as a “sort of God,” it’s no wonder that your head gets turned. You don’t want to seem puffed up, or succumb to the sin of pride. So you start apologizing. Not for yourself, but for your country. America has been arrogant, you tell the world. America has tried to go it alone. America has not sufficiently respected the rest of the world. And you bow. You bow a lot.
Defense policy expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
As they say in Italy, a little fish is better than a big cockroach. This also applies to the New START agreement that Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed Thursday. Despite all the hyped-up rhetoric that the treaty is “historic,” in the end the nuclear arsenals of both sides will be reduced by only 100 to 200 deployed warheads.
Unlike other treaties between the two countries that were truly historic — such as the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in which an entire category of weapons was destroyed — the only warheads that will be destroyed under the New START are those that will be decommissioned and were scheduled to be destroyed anyway. All other warheads exceeding the 1,550 limit imposed by the treaty will be stored in military warehouses.