LUCAS: U.S. should threaten Russia with World War to prevent invasion of Baltic States

Before Obama’s trip to Estonia a famous English sovietologist Edward Lucas published in the American magazine Politico an article, in which he writes that Obama lacks firmness and determination in relation to Russian.

Mr. Lucas recalls the journey of American President John F. Kennedy in West Berlin in 1961, when the Berlin was threatened by Russian enemy.

Then Kennedy said in German: “Ich bin Berliner! (I am a Berliner!)”, and thus made it clear to Russian aggressor that Berlin is above it’s bend, and World War III will start in case of the slightest pretensions.

The same should be said in Tallinn by Obama:

– Eestlane olen ja eestlaseks jään (I am and will remain an Estonian – the chorus of a popular Estonian patriotic song).
Mr. Lucas says that the protection of the Baltic States in the event of an invasion of the age-old Russian enemy is practically impossible. Russia is able to take the three countries in three hours.

The Baltic States are at the forefront of NATO. They can only rely on deterrence – Russia is too big and too close.

Defending the Baltics is like defending West Berlin during the Cold War: You have to be willing to threaten a global confrontation, or else you give up and go home.

Not having their aircraft and tanks Baltic countries, which are home to 7 million people, as any other state of NATO depends on their friends. From a military point of view, the territory of the Baltic states is a nightmare for the defense and a dream for the aggressor.


U.S. official says 1,000 Russian troops enter Ukraine

Kiev, Ukraine (CNN) — A top Ukrainian army officer said a “full-scale invasion” of his country was under way Thursday, as a U.S. official said up to 1,000 Russian troops had crossed Ukraine’s southern border to fight alongside pro-Russian rebels.U.S. officials said Russian troops were directly involved in the latest fighting, despite Moscow’s denials.Rebels backed by Russian tanks and armored personnel carriers fought Ukrainian forces on two fronts Thursday: southeast of rebel-held Donetsk, and along the nation’s southern coast in the town of Novoazovsk, about 12 miles (20 km) from the Russian border, according to Mykhailo Lysenko, the deputy commander of the Ukrainian Donbas battalion.Intelligence now indicates that up to 1,000 Russian troops have moved into southern Ukraine with heavy weapons and are fighting there, a U.S. official told CNN Thursday.”The images, captured in late August, depict Russian self-propelled artillery units moving in a convoy through the Ukrainian countryside and then preparing for action by establishing firing positions in the area of Krasnodon, Ukraine,” NATO said in a news release.Moscow denies supporting and arming the pro-Russian rebels. It has also repeatedly denied allegations by Kiev that it has sent troops over the border.

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ISIS, the Neocons, and Obama’s Choices

By Scott McConnell

Though Congress and the president are out of town, the final weeks of August have seen the arrival of an unexpectedly critical moment. The brutal beheading of James Foley by ISIS the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq) confirmed that there remains a Sunni jihadist terrorism problem in the Mideast: decimating al-Qaeda and killing Osama bin Laden didn’t end it. It shouldn’t be forgotten that America’s destruction of the Iraqi state in 2003 created the opportunity for ISIS to grow and thrive, as America’s Sunni allies, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states, gave ISIS financial backing.How to respond? The usually wise Andy Bacevich suggests that ISIS( constitutes a negligible threat to America, a superpower an ocean away, that bombing it has become—like bombing elsewhere, America’s substitute for a genuine national security strategy. Bacevich suggests we ought to butt out, except perhaps to give aid to countries genuinely threatened by ISIS. There is much to this argument, as there is little inclination from the American people to send ground troops once again into Iraq. And even if we were willing to reconstitute and send an occupation force, what good would it do? In a similar vein, Paul Pillar argues that overestimating ISIS as a potential threat is perhaps more likely, and dangerous, than underestimating it.But few are comfortable with doing little or nothing: ISIS(, is undoubtedly barbaric, with possible potential to spread. In important ways the situation resembles the months after 9/11, in which America were brutally confronted with the sudden emergence of Sunni extremism which had not previously been deemed a major problem.Then as now, an influential group of neoconservatives, tightly allied with Israel, had a very specific idea of what they wanted the United States to do. The neocons then—and still do—aspired for an almost endless series of American wars and invasions across the entire Middle East. Because in 2001 we were already engaged in a sort of shadow war with Saddam Hussein—Iraq was under a semi-blockade and America was enforcing a no fly zone over the country—Iraq was the logical starting point. But for the neocons Iraq was only a beginning. “Real men want to go to Tehran” was the neoconservative semi-jokey catchword during that time, and they quite seriously expected that after Baghdad was digested as an appetizer, they could steer the United States into war with Iran—then as now a top Israeli priority. That an American war with Iran was an Israeli priority does not mean Israel opposed the Iraq war: polls at the time indicated that Israel was the only country in the world where large popular majorities were enthusiastic about George W. Bush’s Iraq invasion, and Israeli politicians were regularly invited to appear as guests American news talk shows in order to beat the Iraq invasion drums. Steve Walt’s and John Mearsheimer’s indispensable book The Israel Lobby, contains pages filled with quotations from Israeli leaders making hawkish pronouncements to American audiences; the quotes are a necessary corrective to present to present Israeli efforts to proclaim that an American invasion of Iraq was never really an Israeli objective.If ISIS is to be contained or defeated without using American ground troops, it is necessary to examine the regional forces ready to fight it. There are of course the Kurds, a small group which can perhaps defend its own region, if that. The biggest potential player is Iran. With its majority Shia population Iran takes a dim view of Sunni jihadism; the Iranian population was pretty much the only one in the Muslim world to display open sympathy with Americans after 9/11. By the standards of the Middle East, it is a scientific powerhouse, with a large freedom aspiring middle class, and considerable artistic community. According to published reports, Iranian tanks have reportedly engaged ISIS near the Iranian border—probably with American approval. We are likely, I would guess, to hear more about Iranian tank brigades in the coming months, even root for them.The other serious force willing to fight ISIS is Syria, led by the Alawite Bashar al-Assad. Assad is a dictator, as was his father. His regime is strongly supported by Syria’s Christians, by Iran, and by Hezbollah, the Sh’ite militia in neighboring Lebanon. Syria has been caught up in civil war of shocking brutality for the past four years. The largest faction opposing him is ISIS—and American arms distributed to the Syrian “rebels” have often ended up in ISIS hands. By opposing Assad, the United States has in effect been feeding ISIS.It would seem logical that if ISIS really is a threat—a metastasizing terrorist entity and enemy of America and all civilization—then the United States should patch up its relations with Syria and Iran to deal with it. That’s the advocacy of some groups favoring a detente with Iran (like the National Iranian-American Council), which views Iran as the most stable state in the region. But there is a problem: Israel hates Iran, and hates Syria because of Iran. The only Arab military force to give Israel any difficulty in the past 40 years is Hezbollah, armed by and allied with Iran. No matter how much Israel pretends to dislike Sunni extremism, it hates Iran more, because Iran has scientific, cultural, and political potential to be a major rival to Israel in the Middle East.So the neoconservatives are arguing that the United States confront ISIS by sending in its own troops (“primarily” special forces, or a contingent of 10-15,000 “for now”) but hoping of course that can be expanded upon later, rather than relying on regional allies. This is essentially a revised variant of the policies they advocated after 9/11—divert Americans away from confronting a threat from Sunni jihadists, while preparing the ground for a subsequent war with a state actor that Israel doesn’t like. So the neocons will argue against any policy which contemplates detente with Iran or a lessening of tension with Syria, because they recognize that if the United States comes to view Iran as an ally in the fight against ISIS or other Sunni extremists, their goal of an American war with Iran is gone, probably forever. Bibi Netanyahu has boasted to Israeli audiences that America is something “easily moved” by Israel’s public relations abilities, unregistered agents, and other well-wishers. But Bibi and his allies are likely to find their proposals to send American troops back into the Mideast a hard sell.A final point: over the past two generations thousands of articles have been written proclaiming that Israel is a “vital strategic ally” of the United States, our best and only friend in the “volatile” Middle East. The claim is a commonplace among serving and aspiring Congressmen. I may have missed it, but has anyone seen a hint that our vital regional ally could be of any assistance at all in the supposedly civilizational battle against ISIS? Fact is, when you use the most powerful military in the Mideast to continuously brutalize Palestinian children, your usefulness as a regional ally becomes pretty limited.



Venezuela plans to introduce supermarket fingerprinting

He said the system would stop people from buying too much of a single item.But the opposition in Venezuela rejected the plan, saying the policy treated all Venezuelans as thieves.Critics said fingerprinting consumers of staple products was tantamount to rationing and constituted a breach of privacy.Up to 40% of the goods which Venezuela subsidises for its domestic market are smuggled to Colombia, where they are sold at much higher prices, the authorities say.”The amount of staples smuggled to Colombia would be enough to load the shelves of our supermarkets,” Gen Efrain Velasco Lugo, a military spokesman, told El Universal newspaper earlier this week.The opposition blames what it says are the failed left-wing policies of the past 15 years – initiated by late President Hugo Chavez – for the country’s economic crisis. (

Dissatisfaction with the shortage of many staples, as well as rampant crime and high inflation, led thousands of people in the western Venezuelan states of Tachira and Merida to take to the streets in January.

Sources for this article include:


Likely Road Map For Taking Out Former Chinese Regime Leader Jiang Zemin

By Zhou Xiaohui

In February, Chinese media reported on the strategy by which the Chinese regime’s Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI) is going after corrupt high-level officials called “tigers.” The CCDI follows a methodical routine: it carefully goes step by step as it digs deeper and deeper; and every move taken is a strategic one that is part of a larger action.Generally, before directly going after a high-ranking official, his family members and mistresses or friends and associates are first investigated, the report said. Two groups of people typically become investigation targets at this level—women/mistresses and businessmen.In other words, digging starts at the outside and includes multiple sources of low-ranking officials to learn how these are related to the main target. After obtaining reliable evidence and gaining a good understanding of the case, the circle is tightened around the “tiger.” Tiger refers to a high-ranking, corrupt official in China.Notable tigers who have fallen from political ranks in the past two years are the former Party head of the megacity Chongqing Bo Xilai, the former domestic security czar Zhou Yongkang, and former military leader Xu Caihou. All three were taken down through this process.In an earlier statement, the CCDI mentioned that “retired senior [old, old] tigers” must also be included in the investigations. More recent media reports said that “the investigation of Zhou Yongkang is not the end of the anti-corruption campaign.” And finally, we see the most recent moves by the CCDI of going after Jiang’s close circle of influence.The investigation will start by going after family members and lovers, including Jiang Zemin’s eldest son Jiang Mianheng, the second son Jiang Miankang, cousin Jiang Zehui, grandson Alvin Jiang, and mistress Song Zuying.Based on the media reports, members of the CCDI have already begun to show up at places where Jiang Zemin and his sons have made their fortunes: Shanghai, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the First Automobile Works, and other places.

Click here to view original web page at theepochtimes

IMF’s Lagarde put under investigation in French fraud case

(Reuters) – IMF chief Christine Lagarde has been put under formal investigation by French magistrates for alleged negligence in a political fraud affair dating from 2008 when she was finance minister.Lagarde was questioned by magistrates in Paris this week for a fourth time under her existing status as a witness in the long-running saga over allegations that tycoon Bernard Tapie won a large arbitration payout due to his political connections.”After three years of procedure, the sole surviving allegation is that through inadvertence or inattention I may have failed to intervene to block the arbitration that brought to an end the longstanding Tapie litigation,” she said in a statement on Wednesday. “I have instructed my lawyer to appeal this decision, which is without merit.”

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5 reasons the police brutality in Ferguson is just the tip of the iceberg

Originally posted on Rare:

As the police use of tear gas and First Amendment limitations continue in Ferguson, Missouri—the small town wracked by protests following the still murky police killing of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown—there are a number of reasons to believe this story is just the tip of the iceberg.

Here are 5.

1. Because we only care about policy brutality when we’re forced to care.

Outrage In Missouri Town After Police Shooting Of 18-Yr-Old ManGetty

Though the largely peaceful protests in Ferguson have unfortunately been tarnished by the actions of a few looters, its citizens have accomplished a rare feat: They have made the whole country care about police brutality.

Let’s face it: Normally, we don’t care enough. While libertarians have been talking about police militarization for years and the black community is well aware of racial bias in the justice system, most of us too easily forget, or are simply unaware of, the many cases of police…

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