HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 16: LIBYA: ALL NECECSSARY MEASURES. (Descent Into Chaos.)

HE THAT LIVED BY THE SWORD DIES AT A SEWER

HE THAT LIVED BY THE SWORD DIES AT A SEWER

LIBYA, a former client state of the Soviet Union, a thorn in the side of the Western world and most of the states in the Mid-East faced an insurgence as part of the Arab Spring.
Muammar Kaddafi a tyrannical, brutal despot in power since 1969 was prepared to massacre his own people with his air force and the heavy weapons of his army and security forces.
Over the years Kaddafi had been a top enemy of the United States.
He was responsible for the Berlin bombing killing American servicemen, the destruction of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland killing 270 people and behind a plot to kill the King of Saudi Arabia our ally.
This book is about hard choices but the hard choice was not about assisting the insurgents in Libya but how to do it. After Iran and Afghanistan, where we shouldered a major portion of the work and fighting, the U.S. was reluctant to put boots on the ground or to even stop Kaddafi’s forces with air power.
Hillary was able to put together a consortium of states, including NATO members and also members of the Arab League. With a U.N. Resolution to use all necessary force to prevent Kaddafi from suppressing a popular uprising with superior armaments. It was decided to not only to create a no fly zone but to stop his forces on the ground.
The United states would destroy Libya’s air defense system because we were best equipped to do so and NATO members and members of the Arab league including the United Arab Emirates and Jordan would stop Kaddafi’s forces from advancing against the insurgents in their Benghazi strong hold and elsewhere in Libya by air strikes and supplies. The insurgents would do the fighting on the ground.
By summer 2011 the insurgents had gained the upper hand over Kaddafi’s forces and by the end of August Tripoli was in their hands and the Kaddafi family was forced to flee.
In October 2011 despite the fact that Kaddafi himself was still not captured Hillary decided to go to Tripoli. This was a trip not with out danger since there was a large number of surface to air missile launchers in the country.
At the airport in Tripoli she was welcomed by members of the militia from Zintin a city which had seen fierce fighting, However the fact the airport was in the hands of one militia of many that formed the insurgency was an omen of what was to come.
Hillary met with the Chairman of the National Transitional Council of Libya, Mustafa Abdul Jabril. Hillary discussed the many problems facing an orderly transition in Libya.
Kaddafi had left behind no governmental infrastructure, political parties or even a net work of NGO’s that could supply assistance and staffers for a new government. The Army and Security forces had been defeated and scattered and what was left was a hodgepodge of militias with varying philosophies and interests.
In the summer of 2012, 60% of those eligible to vote did so and elected representatives to form a new government, however the different groups were never able to form a governing consensus and the country spiraled into anarchy with the various militias in control of different areas of the country.

Hillary probably wrote this book by making a first draft dictating from her calendar and than having a staffer fill in the details which she edited adding anecdotes in an effort to make it more readable.
Phillip Bump in the Washington Post estimates she was paid an advance of $14 million and the book never came close to earning that in estimated sales of 350,000 at $35 a copy ($12.5 million.) However 350,000 doesn’t sound bad. Probably every library in the world ordered a few copies but not enough to show a profit.

Simon and Shuster the publisher is probably looking forward to a memoir if Hillary is elected president or perhaps other books from the Clinton family. We haven’t heard from Chelsea about growing up Clinton yet. Also there is the prestige of publishing the memoir of a former First Lady and Secretary of State about her term as Secretary. This can only be good for business and likely to attact other books from notables.

Hillary has left the incident involving the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three CIA officers for the next chapter. She also didn’t touch on the death of Kaddafi and the manner in which he expired which would have been interesting. Perhaps she will in a later chapter

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HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 15: THE ARAB SPRING: HILARY SAYS IT WAS COMING. The Arab Spring A Sword That Cuts Both Ways.

Mohamed Bouazizi

Mohamed Bouazizi

    For a long time prior to the events in Tunisia the United States had been advising the countries in North Africa and the Middle-East that even though we were allied with many of them that concessions should be made in recognition of civil rights and representative government. The dictatorships paid small heed.

The United States, hedging its bets, spent fifty million dollars to bring activists to Estonia for a boot camp in using the internet as a means to organize and communicate.

Prior to that in 2002 a comprehensive study by Arab Scholars and the United Nations Development Program called The Arab Human Development Report stated that the region was in decline. Notwithstanding the regions oil wealth and strategic trading location unemployment was double the Global average. Also unemployment was even higher for young people and women. A powder keg if there ever was one.
The number of Arabs living in slums without adequate water, electricity or sanitation was increasing. A small ruling class grew wealthier and more distant from the common people. Corruption was rampant. Yet despite warnings from the U.S the U.N. and others the powers in control tightened their grip on these countries and increased their repressive policies.
Arab women’s political and economic participation was the lowest in the world. (Hillary never forgets to mention the condition of woman because I suspect she sees them as her chief political base in the U.S.) However it was the disenfranchised young both men and woman seeing little hope in the future that led the revolutions across North Africa and into Syria. (Yemen seems to be a Shiite coup rather than part of the Arab Spring)

In Tunisia, Mohamed_Bouazizi, an underground economy, fruit vender protested a confiscatory license fee that went into the coffers of the corrupt Ben Ali family by immolating himself in front of local government offices in Tunisia. This event was broadcast throughout the Arab world and further protests occurred with the help of the communication and organizing aspects of social media.
Ben Ali a dictator was forced to abdicate and flee with his extended family to Saudi Arabia and the protests spread to Egypt and Libya. Kaddafi was killed by the protesters and Mubarak was forced to resign and later tried for civil rights crimes against the protesters in Egypt. He was mostly exonerated.

In Tunisia a moderate Islamic government now rules and anarchy reigns in Libya. The Army rules in Egypt and in Syria a civil war continues complicated by the rise of ISIS a successor organization to Al Qaeda, better organized and bent on establishing an Islamic Caliphate in the Middle-East by means of terrorism. It would rule ascribing an ultra conservative interpretation of the Koran as authority.
Hilary believes that history will show that the United States was on the side of human rights, freedom, free markets and economic empowerment during these turbulent times which continue. Little is said of the U.S support or non support of the dictators in Tunisia and Egypt.
However there were many communications’ for Mubarak to grant reforms and provide for a peaceful transition process. He never acceded to the suggestions until it was too late. In Libya the U.S and its European allies provided air support to the insurgents.

Democracy has not flowered in any of these areas and much like Iraq since we removed an unstable dictator, uncertainty and instability has ruled the day. Iran seems to have gained politically from the instability and it is a conservative Islamic state condemned for supporting terrorist activities.
The Arab Spring was a seismic event that probably would have happened no matter what the United States did except in Libya were western airpower helped the insurgents succeed. However it was too much to expect that these countries would somehow morph into full blown western style democracies.
She does not speak of the turmoil in Libya and the death of our ambassador there. That discussion is reserved for as later chapter. She doesn’t speak of what is likely to happen in terms of an Arab Spring in regard to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States or even Iran.

The Arab spring seems to be a sword that cuts both ways in terms of freedom, free markets and economic empowerment in these states culturally different to the western democracies.

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ELECT ELIZABETH WARREN THE LAST ROOSEVELT DEMOCRAT STANDING WITHOUT TIES TO WALLSTREET

Elizabeth Warren deserves to be elected president. she speaks for the people not just Wall Street and moneyed interests. She is the only true democrat not bound by ties to Wall Street and the moneyed interests that hire the lobbyists who have gutted legislation to protect the public like Glass-Steagle, Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank.

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HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 14: THE MIDDLE EAST: THE ROCKY ROAD TO PEACE. (IRAN THE ROAD BLOCK TO PEACE.)

HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 14: THE MIDDLE EAST: THE ROCKY ROAD TO PEACE. (IRAN THE ROAD BLOCK TO PEACE.)

netanyahu and abbas

NETANYAHU AND ABBAS : AT LOGGERHEADS

Peace in the Mid-East remains an elusive goal in the area once known as Palestine and ruled by Turkey until  WWI.  Palestine was never a nation and was a part of the Turkish Empire along with the country now known as Jordan. After WWI the area was governed by Britain and the Jews were promised a homeland in the area which occurred in 1948.

After the six days war in 1967 The Palestinians gathered in the area known as the West Bank and in Gaza.  Israel is recognized as an independent nation. The Palestinians have never established a nation mostly due to Israeli opposition.

Peace in the area hinges on the fact that Israel has been eroding the areas of the West Bank occupied by the Palestinians with new settlements within the borders established at the end of the 1967 war.

Both Israelis and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital either now or in the future. East Jerusalem was heavily populated by Palestinians. However the Israelis have been building new settlements there. Also the Israelis have unilaterally redrawn the boundaries of Jerusalem to exclude Palestinians so Palestinians only constitute  28% of the population now. The city has deep religious significance not only to Jews and Muslims but also Christians.

Israel is presently represented by Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister, a conservative, whose  coalition government contains an ultra nationalist faction that  wants all of the Left Bank and Gaza as part of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority is led by Mahmoud Abbas  as president . He favors a peaceful resolution to the divisions that separate Israel and Palestine.  However he really doesn’t speak for the Palestinians in Gaza, Hamas does, a group committed to the destruction of Israel. Hillary doesn’t speak about   the people in Gaza as part of the peace process since they are committed to the destruction of Israel by violence.

A two state solution has been proposed whereby the West Bank and Gaza would constitute a new nation based on the 1967 borders.  Abba’s wants all the Jewish settlements in the West Bank abandoned and particularly in Jerusalem which would be the capital of a Palestinian nation.

Hamas is not a party to the negotiations and probably will be discussed in a later chapter.

Hillary as Secretary of State has proposed land swaps to compensate the Palestinians for the land occupied by the new settlements.

Other issues which are not paramount like the right of return for Palestinians to land they once occupied inside Israel. This will probably never happen.

Abbas and Netanyahu in order to reach an agreement on a two state solution within the 1967 borders will have great difficulty getting their constituents to agree to these terms and if they do so without the consent of the diehard factions they  will lose politically. Also Israel wants a peaceful solution and there is no guarantee   this solution would provide peace.

Sovereignty for Palestine would lessen Israel’s control over the borders and armaments could be sent in by outside antagonists like Iran which supports Hamas and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon.

Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel.

Thus the last peace talks during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State failed and the stalemate continues.

Meanwhile  arch enemy Iran is  creeping towards a nuclear weapon.  Netanyahu believes this calls for a defensive strike by Israel. Also this means an arms race between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran. Another religious based division in that part of the World.

(However the problems between Israel and the Palestinians seem to begin and end in Iran. When the Iranian problem is solved peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is likely to follow.)

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HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 14: THE MIDDLE EAST: THE ROCKY ROAD TO PEACE. (IRAN THE ROAD BLOCK TO PEACE.)

HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 14: THE MIDDLE EAST: THE ROCKY ROAD TO PEACE. (IRAN THE ROAD BLOCK TO PEACE.)

netanyahu and abbas

NETANYAHU AND ABBAS : AT LOGGERHEADS

 

 

 

 

 

Peace in the Mid-East remains an elusive goal in the area once known as Palestine and ruled by Turkey until after WWI.  Palestine was never a nation and was a part of the Turkish Empire along with the country now known as Jordan. After WWI the area was governed by Britain and the Jews were promised a homeland in the area which occurred in 1948.

After the six days war in 1967 The Palestinians gathered in the area known as the West Bank and in Gaza.  Israel is recognized as an independent nation. The Palestinians have never established a nation mostly due to Israeli opposition.

Peace in the area hinges on the fact that Israel has been eroding the areas of the West Bank occupied by the Palestinians with new settlements within the borders established at the end of the 1967 war.

Both Israelis and the Palestinian Authority claim Jerusalem as their capital either now or in the future. East Jerusalem was heavily populated by Palestinians. However the Israelis have been building new settlements there. Also the Israelis have unilaterally redrawn the boundaries of Jerusalem to exclude Palestinians so Palestinians only constitute  28% of the population now. The city has deep religious significance not only to Jews and Muslims but also Christians.

Israel is presently represented by Bibi Netanyahu as Prime Minister, a conservative, whose  coalition government contains an ultra nationalist faction that  wants all of the Left Bank and Gaza as part of Israel.

The Palestinian Authority is led by Mahmoud Abbas  as president . He favors a peaceful resolution to the divisions that separate Israel and Palestine.  However he really doesn’t speak for the Palestinians in Gaza, Hamas does, a group committed to the destruction of Israel. Hillary doesn’t speak about   the people in Gaza as part of the peace process since they are committed to the destruction of Israel by violence.

A two state solution has been proposed whereby the West Bank and Gaza would constitute a new nation based on the 1967 borders.  Abba’s wants all the Jewish settlements in the West Bank abandoned and particularly in Jerusalem which would be the capital of a Palestinian nation.

Hamas is not a party to the negotiations and probably will be discussed in a later chapter.

Hillary as Secretary of State has proposed land swaps to compensate the Palestinians for the land occupied by the new settlements.

Other issues which are not paramount like the right of return for Palestinians to land they once occupied inside Israel. This will probably never happen.

Abbas and Netanyahu in order to reach an agreement on a two state solution within the 1967 borders will have great difficulty getting their constituents to agree to these terms and if they do so without the consent of the diehard factions they  will lose politically. Also Israel wants a peaceful solution and there is no guarantee   this solution would provide peace.

Sovereignty for Palestine would lessen Israel’s control over the borders and armaments could be sent in by outside antagonists like Iran which supports Hamas and Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon.

Iran is committed to the destruction of Israel.

Thus the last peace talks during Hillary’s tenure as Secretary of State failed and the stalemate continues.

Meanwhile  arch enemy Iran is  creeping towards a nuclear weapon.  Netanyahu believes this calls for a defensive strike by Israel. Also this means an arms race between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran another religious based division in that part of the World.

However the problems between Israel and the Palestinians seem to begin and end in Iran. When the Iranian problem is solved peace between the Israelis and Palestinians is likely to follow.

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HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 13: AFRICA: GUNS OR GROWTH? OR MAYBE BETTER EDUCATION AND FAMILY PLANNING.

January 27, 2015 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Hillary Clinton, Uncategorized 
EDUCATION,PARTICULARLY WOMEN,IS THE FOWARD FOR SUB SAHARAN AFRICA

EDUCATION,PARTICULARLY  OF WOMEN, IS THE WAY FOWARD FOR SUB SAHARAN AFRICA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hard Choice here is will Africa’s future be governed by guns, graft or growth. (Maybe the way forward is through education, particularly of women.)

However there are signs that give rise to the hope that Africa will become a stable, democratic continent. Some of the fastest growing economies in the World exist in Sub-Saharan Africa. (However the population is forecast to double by 2050 so this may cancel out per capita benefits.)

China is a big investor in Sub Saharan resources and raw materials. They also build eye-catching infrastructure like stadiums or roads and ports that help to access the resources they own. Often they turn a blind eye to human rights abuses and human welfare conditions. Also they bring their own labor so their projects don’t provide jobs for the locals. They also are not interested in advancing democracy or good governance.

Graft and corruption is estimated to cost Sub Saharan Africa up to 150 billion a year. Since 2005 the number of elected democracies in Sub Saharan Africa fell from 24 to 19. 

The Congo has long been in the grip of civil war where rape is used as a weapon of war. The government army is undisciplined and untrained. Recently soldier’s pay was diverted by senior officers into their own accounts until a plan was developed to transfer money directly into the accounts of the soldiers. However graft and corruption remains endemic. Schooling and medical care remains sporadic or non existent

South Sudan has oil resources while the North does not but the North has refining and shipping facilities while the South does not. A renewed civil war nearly broke out until a compromise was reached where the South could ship their oil out at a reasonable fee through Northern ports. This was due to the influence of Bishop Elias Taban a former freedom fighter for the South and now a religious leader. However the peace is tenuous and may not hold.

In Sub Sahran Africa tensions remain high between tribes and interest groups often to see who will  control their countries resources.

However the example of Nelson Mandela is clear. A man who started out as a violent freedom fighter and spent 27 years in jail returned to be a non violent leader and overcame apartheid to become president of South Africa. Mandela was an educated man, a lawyer before he went to prison and returned as a non violent leader and activist like Gandhi who also was from South Africa and was a lawyer before he became a national non violent leader in India. whether leaders like these men will arise elsewhere in Sub Saharan Africa remains to be seen.

Hillary is hopeful about Sub Saharan Africa but population increases, unchecked diseases like Malaria, Ebola and HIV Aids remain a menacing threat along with internecine warfare in many countries. Whether Sub Saharan Africa can resolve its problems is an open question and the selling of natural resources alone will not produce a solution. One solution that seems to be on the back burner is education. The more educated the population becomes, particularly the women, then the birth rate tends to fall and the standard of living and the level of social welfare increases.      

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HILLARY CLINTON; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 12: LATIN AMERICA: DEMOCRATS AND DEMAGOGUES. Hillary did recommend that the President end the embargo on Cuba before she left office.

December 18, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Hillary points out in this chapter that 40 percent of our exports go to our two closest neighbors Canada and Mexico. (What the point of that is I am not sure as Canada was in the mix.) Latin America is made up of 36 countries mostly democracies and 600 million people. The middle class is expanding and the GDP is more than $5 trillion.
Democracies predominate in Latin America. Cuba and Venezuela are the major exceptions.
 During the cold war Latin America was a battle ground between the Soviet Union and ourselves; most prominently in Cuba with its attempts to export communism and use as a Soviet base.
Other major problem countries have been Venezuela under Hugo Chavez and Nicaragua under Daniel Ortiz.
Mexico despite its drug problems (ninety percent of all drugs used in the U.S originate or pass through Mexico and ninety percent of the guns used by the narco cartels come from the U.S.) has made huge economic strides during and since the Presidency of Felipe Calderon. The middle class has grown dramatically. Calderon built 140 tuition free universities for his people.

LATIN AMERICA

LATIN AMERICA

The U.S. and Mexico have cooperated in the fight against the narco syndicates. Mexico extradited nearly two hundred fugitives to the U.S, and nearly two dozen high level drug dealers were captured or killed due to improved intelligence and targeting. Further the FBI has stepped up the arrest and prosecution of cartel members operating in this country.
Hillary expects that Mexico like Columbia will defeat its drug cartels and continue to make economic improvements allowing its people better lives. (It seems that the drug business moved to Mexico after things became too hot in Columbia. Cocaine after all originates in Bolivia and Peru and Mexico is the last country before entry into the U.S. One wonders exactly where it is refined into powder. It seems unlikely that the leaves themselves are transported to Mexico so the refining process has to take place in some other country as does the process of turning poppies into heroin.)
Hillary fails to point out Mexico has benefited by the North American Free Trade Act mostly at the expense of the American factory worker when the factories they worked at moved to Mexico in search of cheaper labor. However the major loss of jobs to the American worker is due to the rise of China as an industrial state with cheap labor.
Brazil is a power house economy and economic development is growing. In fact it has one of the fastest growing economies in the World with a rapidly expanding middle class.

The combined economies of Latin America are greater than that of Russia.
Hillary devotes a long passage about how she blocked Cuba’s entry into the Organization of American states on human rights issues and the fact they were not a democracy. These issues are ones that resonate in the new millennium since communism is no longer a threat.

The President did formally resume diplomatic relations with Cuba and lifted some restrictions on travel, money transfers and other things in exchange for two American prisoners and three Cuban spies.

cuba map 4 images8IE2DMYW

Not mentioned was the fact  communism is now a discredited economic system and Castro has nothing to export to other Latin American countries. Also Russian influence has waned since they no longer support the Cuban economy. Thus there is no significant threat of communist expansion in Latin America any longer.
Future developments in this area await the test of time as there will be a change of leadership when Fidel and Raul Castro and the other aging revolutionaries pass the reins of power to a younger generation. Hillary does not discuss this eventuality.

Hillary did advise President Obama before leaving office to end the embargo but this takes legislation to change the previous Acts. Obama  took the steps he could legally do under his executive authority.

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ELIZABETH WARREN ON BANKRUPTCY PROTECTION FOR COSIGNER PARENTS WHOSE DAUGHTER DIED LEAVING THEM WITH THREE SMALL CHILDREN AND $100,000.00 IN STUDENT DEBT.

THE NEXT FINANCIAL BUBBLE
Senator Elizabeth Warren has pointed out that the Federal Government is on target to earn 66 billion dollars on student loan debt on the slice of debt from 2007 to 2012. This is after administrative costs, bad debt, etcetera.

There is 1.2 Trillion dollars in outstanding student loan debt at varying rates of interest up to 12% or more if in default.

Yet the banks have been given exemption from bankruptcy on these loans. This at a time when they can borrow at less than 1% from the Federal Government. 98% of the debt is guaranteed by the parents of the student borrowers. In this video she asks banks what relief they provide in hardship cases like the one outlined in the title. She gets evasive answers back from a banking industry representative. The least the banks could do is buy debtor life insurance with their enormous profits then they wouldn’t look like heartless profiteers on the backs of students and their cosigners as they do. All this said the next huge financial bubble to burst will be the student loan debt unless interest rates are lowered(they have been in some cases) and bankruptcy protection is allowed. Otherwise students struggling to repay debt are reluctant to marry, have children, buy houses etc. because they can’t afford it. Thus the economy is directly imperiled as well as the future.
HERE IS A VIDEO ON THE SUBJECT

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HILLARY MAY NOT BE THE ONLY DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT. THERE IS A DRAFT MOVEMENT FOR ELIZABETH WARREN

December 10, 2014 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Uncategorized 

Hillary May not be the only Democrat running for President. There is a draft movement for Elizabeth Warren Moveon.org . One is reminded of Howard Dean who conducted a respectable campaign with the aide of Meetup.com through mainly the internet only to be ruled out by a misspoke sound bite after losing in Iowa replayed thousands of times by the media. It will be interesting to see if they both throw their hats in the ring.
Here is a video Moveon.org is using to launch their draft movement.

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Hillary Clinton; HARD CHOICES: BOOK ANALYSIS. CHAPTER 11: RUSSIA: RESET AND REGRESSION. (Hillary’s Jaundiced Eye.)

VLADIMIR PUTIN

Good Cop badcop act of Putin and Medvedev

Vladimir Putin left office in  May 2008 succeeded as President of Russia by Dimitry  Medvedev. At first it was  assumed that Medvedev was a place holder for  Putin and would follow his policies   of  looking back at the grandeur of the Czars who had a long  history of controlling nations on Russia’s borders , presenting a strong face to the world and exerting Russia’s influence on the world and in particular Western Europe  by energy policies. Putin also limited dissent inside Russia and surrounded himself with fawning oligarchs. Those oligarchs that were critical were stripped of their wealth and either jailed or exiled.  His economy  depended on oil and gas revenue. Russia’s expansionist policies under Putin included the invasion of Georgia and splintering off a part of Georgia.

 Good CoP Medvedev

Good Cop Medvedev

 

However Medvedev appeared to be more forward looking and  showed signs of engaging the West in a positive way.  President Obama first  had a meeting with Medvedev in London in 2009.

He seemed open to working with the west on Afghanistan, reduction of nuclear weapons stocks in  Russia, the United States and also around the World. This was particularly true in the case of Iran. Russia voted in the U.N. for tough sanctions against Iran for their quest for a nuclear arsenal.

Also Medvedev was cooperative in allowing the NATO Allies to transport supplies and troops over a Northern route through Russia and its former satellite states into Afghanistan.  This gave us an alternative to the route through volatile Pakistan.

Medvedev acknowledged the growing threat from an Iran with nuclear weapons although Russia had substantial trade interests with Iran and were even helping Iran build a nuclear reactor.  Yet despite theses interests he  sided with the West in asserting sanctions  against  not only  Iran but North Korea.

President Medvedev was interested in broadening the Russian economy beyond commodities and  wanted to create a Silicon Valley like technological complex in Russia. To that end he even visited Silicon Valley.

The Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty was renegotiated and signed under Medvedev.

However Medvedev “decided” not to run for a second term and Putin was elected as President of Russian for a third term . The election was marred by reports of fraud. Demonstrations followed alleging Putin was a thief who stole the election, which Putin suppressed along with media criticism.

Putin declined to attend a G-8 metering at Los Cabos, Mexico and relations turned cool.

The government suppressed NGO’s , dissidents, LBGT people and  began domineering policies toward it’s neighbors. In 2014  it  invaded and annexed Crimea.  It also fomented a crisis in Ukraine when it wanted to sign a trade treaty with  the European Union.

Putin seems to be looking back to the days of the Soviet empire when Russian exerted power over Eastern Europe and Central Asia. He envisions a union of these states to compete with the European Union. His policies include dissuading neighboring states from joining the European Union or NATO. Though the economic and security benefits would be substantial to these states and even to Russia if it could ever be convinced to join.

However Putin has not curtailed our access to Afghanistan by the Northern Route for which the West pays Russia up to one billion a year nor has it gone back on sanctions for Iran and North Korea.

However it supports the regime in Syria and is adamant against missile sites in Europe for protection against Iran.

What Putin’s next move will be is any one’s guess?  However sanctions imposed by the West for his actions in the Crimea and Ukraine have had a deleterious effect on the Russian economy and now that oil prices have dropped to near $70 dollars a barrel , below the $82 a barrel he needs to service debt and sustain the economy, his options internally and externally are extremely limited. Political unrest in Russia because of oil  prices  may limit Putin’s power or even lead to his ouster in the 2018 election if it is a free one. However at this point he still retains his popularity. It appears as if Putin and Medvedev have a good cop bad cop routine going on. It will be interesting to see if Medvedev succeeds Putin in 2018 0r after.

Hillary has a jaundiced eye towards Putin for good reason. He is trying to resurrect a vision of some past glory and is failing to deal with present conditions. Even the United States came to realize that we need the cooperation of other countries to effectively  and favorably stabilize   economic and political conditions.

 

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