The danger of extreme nationalists in Ukraine has gradually been getting more serious attention in the western press, with words like “extreme right,” “neo-Nazi” and “skinhead” belatedly replacing euphemistic labels for the most radical political and paramilitary organizations. But it took the brutal killing of three unquestionably patriotic Ukrainian National Guardsmen during protests outside of the Verkhovna Rada to create some kind of consensus about the scale of their threat.
Russia’s recent economic turbulence, weakened ruble and high inflation could be coming to an end, according to the chief financial officer of the country’s leading telecoms business.
Alexey Kornya, chief financial officer of Russian telecoms giant MTS, told CNBC Monday that “in terms of inflation and ruble devaluation, the worst has already passed,” he said.
In his Orwellian September 28, 2015 speech to the United Nations, President Obama said that if democracy had existed in Syria, there never would have been a revolt against Assad. By that, he meant ISIL. Where there is democracy, he said, there is no violence or revolution.
Now, 1,506 days since the Obama administration first declared that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s “days are numbered,” he’s still there, and a convergence of Western trepidation and Russian resolve could strengthen his position further. But it also could set the stage for a long-sought political transition leading to the end of the Assad family’s 45-year rule.
The presidents of Russia and France, which both started bombing Syria this week, held talks Friday about their military operations as they tried to overcome differences on whether Syrian President Bashar Assad should stay in power.
From NATO’s Gen. Philip Breedlove to the State Department’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy Richard Stengel, the manipulation of information is viewed as a potent “soft power” weapon. It’s a way to isolate and damage an “enemy,” especially Russia and Putin.
This demonization of Putin makes cooperation between him and Obama difficult, such as Russia’s recent military buildup in Syria as part of a commitment to prevent a victory by the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.
Russia’s airstrikes in Syria “do not go beyond ISIL (ISIS), al Nusra or other terrorist groups recognized by the United Nations Security Council or Russian law,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Thursday.
Pushed to define “other terrorist groups,” Lavrov said: “If it looks like a terrorist, if it acts like a terrorist, if it walks like a terrorist, if it fights like a terrorist, it’s a terrorist, right?”
Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi said western leaders trying to end the carnage in Syria must accept the central role of Russia in world affairs as a renewed drive to end the war got off to a difficult start in New York.
The youthful premier, in a sweeping interview that tackled issues ranging from reform of Italy’s Senate to the Middle East and the migration crisis, urged his partners to show they could “build a Europe without walls, but with hope
Obama met with Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York to learn more about Russia’s intentions in Syria. Obama has asked for answers from his national security team about Russia, but the limits he has placed on potential U.S. action might mean they don’t have many new options to recommend.
In testimony last year before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Farkas took a hard line on Russia, saying the country’s actions “stand as an affront to the international order that we and our allies have worked to build since the end of the Cold War.”
As opposed to Obama’s confident assertions that the nebulous “international community” led, of course, by the United States, can and should bend the arc of history to its will, Putin expressed a humility born of failure. As Putin told the UN Assembly: “We also remember certain episodes from the history of the Soviet Union. Social experiments for export, attempts to push for changes within other countries based on ideological preferences, often led to tragic consequences and to degradation rather than progress.”
That is only too true.