That merry band of liars and thieves in the Kremlin doesn’t like Brian Whitmore very much and they spend a lot of time and money trying to get citizens of various former Soviet states to ignore the Daily Vertical. The reality is that Whitmore much more often than not is right on target with his charges about various Kremlin schemes. That is particularly true in this Daily Vertical where Whitmore points out the stark realities of the war in the Donbas.
Many like to cite George Santayana’s classic observation that “those who forget the past are condemned to relive it.” That sage advice needs to be expanded with the words that “those who ignore what is going on at present will only hasten the return of the worst aspects of the past now and in the future.”
<UBO Opinion: The Chinese leader Xi Jinping left Davos this year smiling like the proverbial Cheshire cat in full knowledge that the bumbling and fumbling of Donald Trump’s ideologically driven amateurs was likely to continue indefinitely. Observing the events of the last weekend, Xi’s smile has by now turned into a broad grin, knowing that – as expected - Trump has ignored the logical-thinkers in the White House while strengthening the positions of such hard-right ideologues as Steve Bannon. Probably well-deserving of his reputation as a major éminence grise in the Trump throne room, Bannon’s influence grows while other officials with immensely greater knowledge of security and intelligence matters have been relegated to lesser status. It also appears that neither Democrats nor moderate Republicans have the power to save themselves – and the country – from this wrong-headed path strewn with ill-advised tweets and executive orders that tear at the fabric of the nation.
Ash: “Domestic economic positives have to be balanced against protectionist impulses impacting global trade, and EMs therein potentially, a lose - lose for everyone.”
For those of you who are amazed at Donald Trump’s reputed brilliance at deal-making, recent events suggest that the secret is – no secret. All you have to do is follow Trump’s increasingly apparent ability to stab friends in the back while smiling to their faces. If that hasn’t already become apparent to you, then perhaps this editorial from the New York Times is likely to convince you.
“[Trump] needs to let Mr. Putin know that he recognizes and will work to blunt Moscow’s efforts to destabilize Europe. That starts with clear support for recent NATO decisions to enhance NATO’s deterrence capability in Eastern Europe; but the current lynchpin of Kremlin efforts to undermine European security is eastern Ukraine. This is where the U.S. needs to withstand Kremlin expansionism.”
Without active US engagement in Europe, an aggressively revanchist Russia will step in. Russia is already challenging the US and the EU in Ukraine, Syria, the Baltics, and the Balkans, and it may capitalize on the EU’s looming collapse by reasserting its influence in the former Soviet bloc countries, and supporting pro-Russia movements within Europe. If Europe gradually loses its US security umbrella, no one stands to benefit more than Russian President Vladimir Putin.