Upsetment
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Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump

Russia Deploys Missile, Violating Treaty and Challenging Trump | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Moscow is believed to have two battalions of the ground-based missile, and it has moved forward despite U.S. protests, administration officials say.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is certainly a serious matter. I have long hoped that Russia and the United States could reach a mutually beneficial agreement, one that recognized Russia as a major power with its own areas of influence and as a partner in creating a peaceful world order. I'm not sure what Mr. Putin's goals are, but my guess is he feels the same way about the United States's intentions—wary and uncertain. After all, we have pursued a policy of building missile defenses around Russia for years and that has to threaten Moscow. I may seem naive, but I honestly think that the US and Russia have more reason to find common ground than to go back to the Cold War and waste our nations' resources that could be used for good. 
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Is 'grand political bargain' in store for Libya?

Is 'grand political bargain' in store for Libya? | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Gen. Khalifa Hifter, the commander of the Libyan National Army, leaves a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Moscow,  "No matter which party is victorious in southwest Libya, if Misratan forces and Field Marshal Khalifa Hifter begin a full-scale battle for control, there is little doubt that the whole southern region will be destabilized as Russia’s increasing public support for Hifter and his anti-Islamist "strongman" credentials fuel the fire."

Kenneth Weene's insight:
Clearly, Moscow is reaching into the Middle East and trying to replace American and European influence with Russian. If they are able to bring warring factions, especially the forces of Gen. Hifter and the supporters of the "Third Force" from Misrata to the peace table, it will be a major step towards a new Libya. BUT, yes in countries like Libya there is always a big but. Now, if tin and Trump can agree to work together in such troubled countries, the world might actually be better off. Again, however, that big BUT! 
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Russia’s Widening Wealth Divide Poses Risks to Central Bank

Russia’s Widening Wealth Divide Poses Risks to Central Bank | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Bank of Russia is discovering yet another downside to how little is left of the country’s middle class.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The bottom line: wealth inequity leads to a less vibrant economy. It works for the wealthy as long as there are luxuries to be bought abroad and enough desperate people who will tie themselves to a lord at home. But in the end, it is the stuff of revolution and therefore can only continue if there is no information available to those who have less. So either Russia will have to recognize the need for redistribution or try to return to a state like North Korea. As I’ve often said, I’m glad that I am getting old. This world is getting very scary and, even worse, very sad. Hopefully, the US and other countries will avoid the pitfall of the feudalists, but I do worry about what is happening in America. 
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Russian base in Tajikistan receives 100 vehicles

Russian base in Tajikistan receives 100 vehicles | Upsetment | Scoop.it
About 100 new vehicles, mostly BTR-82A armored personnel carriers and T-72B1 tanks, have reportedly been delivered to Russia's military base in Tajikistan.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I fully understand Russia's concern about the violence in Afghanistan crossing the border into Tajikistan and think the Russians wise to upgrade their assistance to their ally, this move says something both about the failure of American policy in Afghanistan and the failure of America and Russia to develop a working partnership after the Cold War. My question: Can either Moscow or Washington function without have this dangerous enmity? Do these two great powers, like cops and robbers, need the enmity and lack of coordination between them to justify their endless waste in military spending? What if they agreed to work together in Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere? Now that would be a different approach. 
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Military Prodigy: Russia Develops Advanced Light Tactical Robot

Military Prodigy: Russia Develops Advanced Light Tactical Robot | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Russian weapon manufacturer KB Integrated Systems (KBIS) has developed a combat robot, which, due to its size, can easily fit into a backpack.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

And when this gets into the hands of a terrorist or inspires an angry teenager with great tech skills, we will have true carnage at a local level. Can humankind ever figure out that making war should not be about getting more fearsome weapons but about deciding that war is inherently a bad idea that needs to be ended? For Americans, would owning such drones be legal under the Second Amendment?

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Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages - Medievalists.net

Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages - Medievalists.net | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Surviving Winter in the Middle Ages
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Fascinating. For my part, no way would I do this. But if I had to, I'd want a lot of mead or ale for my lonely winter. 

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Syria's Al-Qaeda Leader Calls On Jihadists To Kill Russians At Home

Syria's Al-Qaeda Leader Calls On Jihadists To Kill Russians At Home | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In an audio recording reviewed by Vocativ, the head of Syria's al-Qaeda affiliate, also offered a $3.4 million bounty for anyone who kills Bashar al-Assad
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Russia is now part of the quagmire in Syria and with a sizable Muslim population at home this may be the time when Putin's militarism and arrogance creates hot water. What did Bernie Sanders say last night in the debate? Of course, I've been saying this for a while. 

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Merkel says can only end Syrian war with Russia's help

Merkel says can only end Syrian war with Russia's help | Upsetment | Scoop.it
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that it would be possible to end to the civil war in Syria only with the help of Russia, which this week launched airstrikes in the war-torn country.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Glad to see that at least one world leader has finally figured out what I've known all along. The Obama administration with Secretary of State Clinton, messed up. Perhaps they knew better, but they certainly didn't dare lead in the obvious direction. If the great powers don't work together, they will assuredly end up in perpetual low-level war until we are all prostrate and the cockroaches of the world take over.

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Vladimir Putin’s Fierce Bark Isn’t Backed Up by Russia’s Feeble Economic Bite

Vladimir Putin’s Fierce Bark Isn’t Backed Up by Russia’s Feeble Economic Bite | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Russian president was full of bravado in New York this week. But a closer look at his country’s economy shows the fiscal foundations that…
Kenneth Weene's insight:

One of the better parts of allowing Russia to participate in Syria is that the big bear doesn't have the money to truly buy in. Russia may yet crack apart under Putin's regime. Also, and this is important, other countries are learning that Russia is as nasty a friend as they ever were. For every country like Belarus that is in close alliance with Moscow, there are many others like Finland and Lithuania that see the danger and will draw closer to the U.S. and our allies. As for the hapless rebels in Syria, we can possibly serve them best by getting the heck out and letting Putin face IS. Does he remember Afghanistan? I bet his military do.

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These 5 Facts Explain Bashar Assad's Hold in Syria

These 5 Facts Explain Bashar Assad's Hold in Syria | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Syrian dictator remains in power—and he's not likely to go anywhere
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Actually, these are all reasons why diplomacy and reaching out to Russia and Iran to find an agreeable solution should have been the first step for the U.S. and our allies. Assad cannot stay in power without being propped up, which means that the power brokers in that part of the world would happily replace him and opposes IS if the U.S. would give them the reins. The real fallacy of the American position is that we are supporting Turkey in its brutal suppression of the Kurds because we're afraid of Russia and Iran ending up battling over Syria without us. I have news for Washington, we should happily watch those two countries compete in Syria; they would get rid of Assad, stop IS, and still end up angry at each other. WIN, WIN, WIN for us.

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Russia dismisses US concerns over Syria military build-up

Russia dismisses US concerns over Syria military build-up | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Moscow on Monday dismissed US concern of a Russian military build-up in Syria, saying its military aid to Bashar al-Assad was nothing out of the ordinary. Over the weekend US Secretary of State John Kerry phoned his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to express concern about reports of an "enhanced Russian build-up" in Syria. "The Russian side has never concealed the fact that it is sending military equipment to the Syrian authorities to help them fight terrorism," Russian foreign ministry spokes
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Is there some reason that the United States should expect Russia to give up its spheres of influence and quietly retreat from great power status? Clearly, Russia sees us as an adversary just as we see Russia as one. Be it expansion in the Ukraine, incursions into Swedish air space and territorial waters, or continued support for Assad in Syria, the Russian bear will continue to growl until either she fails from exhaustion or realizes her wishes for a return to international preeminence. Meanwhile, the smartest thing the US can do is not engage in a shouting match but offer realistic ways to make that return to greatness possible. For example, offer continued Russian hegemony in Syria as long as Assad is gone and the country can be stabilized as a governable unit.

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Foreign exodus from Russia gathers pace - FT.com

Foreign exodus from Russia gathers pace - FT.com | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Foreigners are leaving Russia in unprecedented numbers in a sign of how the political stand-off with the west and economic crisis are deepening the country’s international isolation. Excluding people who fled to Russia to escape the war in eastern
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Is Putin turning Russia into a pariah state? Is an isolated Russia going to work towards more and more war as in Ukraine? Are these the throes of a dying government? And of course, the one question to which we know the answer: will a single one of these ex-pats or their companies learn anything or will they flock back as soon as they see a profit?

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Nordic-Baltic States To Deepen Cooperation

Nordic-Baltic States To Deepen Cooperation | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The governments of the Nordic and Baltic states have approved a new plan to deepen both defense cooperation and readiness between the militaries of the seven NATO and non-aligned nations.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Putin does not realize that other countries will coalesce against Russian belligerence. It is in the best interest of the United States and NATO to encourage such cooperative defense measures. The big question is can the ex-Soviet republics of Asia be brought into a similar defensive alliance. If so, then the Russian bear's aggression against Ukraine may well backfire.

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Why did Russia offer autonomy for Syria’s Kurds?

Why did Russia offer autonomy for Syria’s Kurds? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Draft constitution from Russia seeks to decentralize Syrian state authority, limit presidential powers; Turkish forces struggle in two-front campaign against both the Islamic State and Syrian Kurds; Al-Monitor offers in-depth reporting on Syrian Kurdish region.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Can the Kurdish people of Syria develop a new approach that allows the Kurds satisfaction and identity while remaining part of that country? Distributed through Syria Turkey, and Iraq, the Kurdish people have long wanted an independent unified homeland of their own. As Russia tries to find solutions to problems that have dogged the Middle East for decades and even centuries. One has to wonder how this will all work out. 
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What's brewing between the Kurds and Syrian regime?

What's brewing between the Kurds and Syrian regime? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The unpredictable winds of war will determine whether the Kurds ever realize their dream of self-government in Syria.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Can the Kurds find a safe channel between the warring factions of Syria? Can they achieve a reasonable level of autonomy within the Syria that will will emerge from the current chaos? To a large degree that will depend on their relationship with Russia. Hopefully, the US will stop getting in Russia's way as that power tries to again take hold of its satrap state and create a viable government. Sure, I know that many Americans hate acknowledging the important of Russia, but she is a great power and let's not forget that Iran is sitting in the wings waiting for a chance to pounce on the Syrian mouse. 
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Russia is in Charge in Syria: How Moscow Took Control of the Battlefield and Negotiating Table

Russia is in Charge in Syria: How Moscow Took Control of the Battlefield and Negotiating Table | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Earlier this month, 51 mid-level officers at the U.S. State Department wrote a “dissent cable” arguing for the limited use of U.S. military force against t
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I have said all along that the US should recognize Russia's preeminence in Syria. Let the bear bear the brunt of the war, let him pull his hair out over the intransigence and eventually, he will, however reluctantly, agree that Assad has to go if there is to be peace. Let's assume that Moscow has learned something from Afghanistan, that their political will cannot be imposed on a nation that wants its own direction. Meanwhile, let's do all we can to relieve the suffering of the Syrian people and to support them without making this a Russian-American confrontation. 
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Russia Shows What Happens When Terrorists’ Families Are Targeted

Russia Shows What Happens When Terrorists’ Families Are Targeted | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Donald J. Trump was widely condemned when he called for the United States to “take out the families” of terrorists. But Russia has been doing that for years.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Persecuting families: This is what evil looks like. It was evil when the Nazis did it. It was evil when Mao did it. It was evil when Pol Pot did it. It is evil when the Russians do it. And, it will be evil if we let Trump do it. 
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Putin ‘Seducing’ Iraq’s Tribes

Putin ‘Seducing’ Iraq’s Tribes | Upsetment | Scoop.it
‘Russia is serious in fighting terrorism,’ one sheikh tells The Daily Beast, ‘unlike the U.S.’
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Of course, the U.S. having created a regime has no capacity to recognize that the regime it has created is a farce and a failure. Just as in Afghanistan, the American intelligence community reveals its total lack of intelligence. Russia on the other hand wants Iraq to splinter. If he can build a coalition of Sunni tribes, they will give him credibility among the Muslims of Russia who don't want ISIS and it will give him a strong ally against Iran. Putin has no commitment to Iraq as a country. By the way, does anybody remember that many, including Joe Biden and myself were saying that Iraq should break into three cohesive parts? I still think that's the way to go. 

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The U.S. plan to counter Russia in Syria

The U.S. plan to counter Russia in Syria | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The U.S. response to Russia’s bold move into Syria, according to critics and even many allies, has been dangerously listless. However, a closer look at U.S. policy reveals, for better or for worse, a subtle but more assertive U.S. reaction to confront what Washington perceives as a challenge from Russia.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Why is Charley Wilson smiling in his grave? Could it be that once again the US is getting involved in a proxy war with Russia; does no one remember Afghanistan? We need a negotiated end that recognizes the interests of Russia in the region. Sorry, folks, but it a long-established historical interest whether we like it or not. And yes, we need a coherent American foreign policy that moves towards an integrated goal of peace, economic progress for all, and protection of all groups from terror. That goal can only be achieved when we stop playing what the Brits used to call the Great Game and start working in concert with countries with whom we have natural competition. Are we afraid to compete in the world of ideas and leadership? Do we have to be the bully? I don't think the big stick bomb, bomb, bomb approach will work; it certainly hasn't so far.

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Russia Is Repeating Cold War Mistakes in Syria

Russia Is Repeating Cold War Mistakes in Syria | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In 1957, the Soviet Union’s ally Egypt intervened in Syria’s messy politics. It didn’t go well. Why does Putin think this time will be different?
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The simple reality is that with Russia, Iran, and to some extent Turkey all trying to influence events in Syria, the bombs and bullets will fly. But in the end, that country, like any Arab nation, will prove intractable to outside domination. Meanwhile, Russia is opening itself to an existential threat from Islam, for in the end the bear will have to deal with IS and other such pan-Islamic yearnings.

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Russia bombs Syria for third day, mainly avoiding Islamic State

Russia bombs Syria for third day, mainly avoiding Islamic State | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Russia bombed Syria for a third day on Friday, mainly hitting areas held by rival insurgent groups rather than the Islamic State fighters it said it was targeting.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

As the insanity of Syria grows, we can only hope that Russia will continue to try and take control. At some point, there will be an attack by the rebels or IS on the Russian bases. When that happens, the bear will scream, and then it will be time to try to do what we should have done from the beginning, work together to contain the madness of Syria.

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From the Potomac to the Euphrates » Syria: Let Putin Bleed

From the Potomac to the Euphrates » Syria: Let Putin Bleed | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Early September brought the news that the Russians were deploying military forces to Bassel al-Assad International Airport near Latakia on ...
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Russia's intervention in Syria has all the possibilities of their intervention in Afghanistan years ago, an endless war draining their treasury, a cadre of disaffected veterans flooding their society, and the intensified expectations of their internal minorities. I could not agree more, let Russia do her thing in Syria and then let the bear and Iran reach an accord and then the two of them with Turkey. Of course, the best possibility would be for Assad to leave and allow the remnants of Syrian society to find its own way, but we know that won't happen; so please Washington, let the Russians do their stupidest.

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West 'ignored Russian offer in 2012 to have Syria's Assad step aside'

West 'ignored Russian offer in 2012 to have Syria's Assad step aside' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Exclusive: Senior negotiator describes rejection of alleged proposal – since which time tens of thousands have been killed and millions displaced
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I have often spoken of the need to recognize Russia's spheres of influence, especially her role in Syria. I consider not doing so the major  foreign policy error of the Obama administration and one of my main objections to the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton.

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Russia and North Korea declare 2015 a 'year of friendship'

Russia and North Korea declare 2015 a 'year of friendship' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
North Korea and Russia have declared a “year of friendship” for 2015, according to state media reports from Kim Jong-un’s secretive communist state.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

I trust this means that when the almost yearly famine hits North Korea the food and heating fuel they will need will be provided by Russia. I know that we are told that it is humanitarian to send that assistance, but there is no evidence that we are making life even a bit more tolerable for the people of North Korea, only for their army and oligarchy.

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Kristin Mandsager San Bento's curator insight, April 8, 2015 9:39 AM

This is a scary thought.  There must be a very good reason for this friendship.  Especially because Russia cancelled most of the debt owed by North Korea to the tune of $11 billion.  What does Russia need from NK?  NK obviously needs the money from Russia so I understand this.  These countries tend to burn their bridges so maybe they are all they have left to develop a friendship.  

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Putin's Rambling State of the Nation Speech Unnerves Russia's Elites

Putin's Rambling State of the Nation Speech Unnerves Russia's Elites | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The euphoria among the Kremlin elites that followed the annexation of Crimea has faded as economic and security issues pile up
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Bullies seldom have good ideas for the people who fall under their sway or much appeal to those just outside his grasp. It isn't clear who will depose him; but my guess is that having shown his true colors, Putin doesn't have that long to stay in power.

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