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Foreign Affairs

If anything, new sanctions on Russia are too light

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Russia is quite upset that the U.S. State Department has imposed new sanctions on them in response to a biological attack on NATO soil. These sanctions are harsh, but they do not go far enough. Assassinations of this type should be a thing of the past. Russia needs to be reminded that the Cold War is over.

Skripal attack: US to sanction Russia over Novichok use

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-45122723The US has said it will impose fresh sanctions on Russia after determining it used nerve agent against a former Russian double agent living in the UK.

Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were left seriously ill after being poisoned with Novichok in Salisbury in March, though they have now recovered.

A UK investigation blamed Russia for the attack, but the Kremlin has strongly denied any involvement.

Russia’s semi-regular dismissal of international law must be stopped. This will not happen with a slap on the wrist, as these sanctions equate to in the long run. They should be made to feel real pain for such actions. It’s good that there’s action, but one has to question the fortitude with which these sanctions were produced.

While the State Department did indicate they would impose more sanctions in 90 days if Russia does not have an appropriate response to these, there’s little reason to believe they will comply. The sanctions involve the export of sensitive electronic equipment and material. Unfortunately, all that will do is push Russia and China even closer as they can get everything they’re losing by going to China.

We will see what the new sanctions look like in three months. In the meantime, this is all just a show to demonstrate that we’re “doing something.”

Conspiracy Theory

Russian meddling is about dividing us, not helping Trump

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Russian meddling is about dividing us not helping Trump

Russia is meddling with our elections. They’re meddling with our entire political system. They’re meddling in our culture, freedoms, and methods of communication. I once believed they were trying to help Donald Trump become President. Now I realize they are simply elements of chaos.

Today’s report of charges filed against a Russian agent working against American interests is striking for two reasons. First, the details they’ve been able to uncover about “Project Lakhta” are astounding. Second, their strategic goal was NOT to get one person or one party into office but to sow division among the American people regardless of their political ideology.

First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

http://noqreport.com/2018/10/19/first-charge-filed-russian-interfering-elections/“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities whenever feasible, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case.”

Russia didn’t want Trump or Clinton to be President. They didn’t really care who won. All they wanted and continue to want is that no matter who wins any given election, the opposition will be so hateful about the loss that they’re willing to act out more aggressively than they otherwise would have normally.

It’s finally becoming clear that Russia’s plan is much more subverted and, frankly, ingenious than anything mainstream media or the Democrats could have ever fathomed.

They are taking advantage of our freedom of speech and the technology that allows that speech to reach the masses. They’re theory is that if they can get people on both sides of the political spectrum to voice their opinions with hate rather than understanding, it will spread. Those who have practiced thoughtful debate are now becoming raving ranters. Those who once argued their points thoughtfully are now becoming trolls.

Russia is not the only negative actor in this and the trends were already pointing to this divisiveness taking hold and spreading like a virus well before Project Lakhta was conceived, but they have definitely added to the cacophony and harnessed our vilest emotional responses to be used against us.

Their goal is to push as many people towards the fringes as possible. They want the far-left and the far-right to grow. They want debates to turn into arguments, then arguments to turn into blind rage. From there, they speculated that we would be the initiators of our own destruction.

They may be right.

From the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation debacle to the illegal immigration debate to anything that has to do with gun rights, Americans on both sides of the aisle are becoming more passionate. That’s leading many to become unhinged. When enough people are unhinged, any hopes of civil discourse can be forgotten. We are getting to the point where we no longer discuss our differences. We simply try to shout our perspectives louder than those opposed to us.

The left is the easier target. I’m not just saying that as a conservative. I say that because their position on issues make it easier for them to be emotional when news breaks about an event important to them. This is why those who blame racism for everything are not only seeing racism in every aspect of American life but are feeling justified in practicing their own versions of racism.

We now see that Russia’s goal wasn’t to get Trump elected. It was to make one side or the other absolutely hate the outcome regardless of who won. They aren’t pushing a political agenda. They’re pushing a cultural apocalypse.

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Foreign Affairs

First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

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First charge filed against Russian for interfering with elections

Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova is allegedly part of Project Lakhta, a Russian operation intended to sow political division ahead of the midterm elections as well as other elections around the world. She has been charged by the Justice Department for interfering with the United States political system.

Here is the press release from the DOJ:

Russian National Charged with Interfering in U.S. Political System

https://www.justice.gov/usao-edva/pr/russian-national-charged-interfering-us-political-system“The strategic goal of this alleged conspiracy, which continues to this day, is to sow discord in the U.S. political system and to undermine faith in our democratic institutions,” said G. Zachary Terwilliger, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “This case demonstrates that federal law enforcement authorities will work aggressively to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators of unlawful foreign influence activities whenever feasible, and that we will not stand by idly while foreign actors obstruct the lawful functions of our government. I want to thank the agents and prosecutors for their determined work on this case.”

According to allegations in the criminal complaint, Elena Alekseevna Khusyaynova, 44, of St. Petersburg, Russia, served as the chief accountant of “Project Lakhta,” a Russian umbrella effort funded by Russian oligarch Yevgeniy Viktorovich Prigozhin and two companies he controls, Concord Management and Consulting LLC, and Concord Catering. Project Lakhta includes multiple components, some involving domestic audiences within the Russian Federation and others targeting foreign audiences in the United States, members of the European Union, and Ukraine, among others.

My Take

This story will be spun from its surface assertion of Russian interference helping President Trump and other Republicans win in 2016. That assertion is inaccurate as the DOJ release indicates, but it won’t stop mainstream and leftist media from calling this the smoking gun against Trump’s presidency.

What this project allegedly did was push forth divisive messaging that was intended to affect people on both sides of the political aisle. This is important to understand because it wasn’t intended to drive one candidate or another. It was designed to take whatever political position any given person has and amplify their anger towards the opposing side.

Russia knows if they push the far right further to the right and the far left further to the left, our own anger will fuel the division. They are taken advantage of our freedom.

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Foreign Affairs

J.J. McCullough tells the grim truth about Saudi Arabia

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JJ McCollough tells the grim truth about Saudi Arabia

America needs Saudi Arabia just as Saudi Arabia needs America. Few can argue that the symbiotic relationship is based solely on need and not any genuine goodwill towards each other. Quietly, they think we’re evil and that we meddle too much in other nations’ affairs. A little less quietly, we think their traditions are antiquated and their human rights violations are only tolerable because of the source.

We both see each other as evils. The problem is we both know we’re each other’s necessary evils.

I would contend that the relationship, as fruitful as it has been for decades, is so wrought with contention today that it can no longer be viewed as necessary.

The disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi is getting journalists such as National Review’s J.J. McCullough to speak out against the Kingdom.

Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance & Saudi Arabian Society’s Immaturity

https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/10/saudi-arabia-jamal-khashoggi-disappearance/The sad reality is that Saudi Arabia will remain a U.S. ally regardless of how deep and disturbing Riyadh’s involvement in the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi is ultimately revealed to be. As Matthew Continetti recently emphasized, there are certain geopolitical realities — in particular the cold war with Iran — that make the Saudi–American alliance a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy, no matter how appalling the Saudi human-rights record gets.

What the alleged murder of Khashoggi does do, however, is rapidly eliminate any possibility that the Saudi alliance could be seen as something defensible and positive on its own terms, rather than a necessary evil.

Our long-standing relationship with Saudi Arabia is like a favorite old chair that’s tattered and starting to smell bad. It’s time to get our butts off it and push it to the curb.

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