Tag Archives: Russia

The Professor: Russia, Hacking and the Election

“Okay! We’re all here. First the question period. I know you see this as a chance to listen to me rather than the reverse. That’s okay with me. You know by now I’m not the usual teacher. I want you to leave this University knowing how to think and find solutions to problems. Part of that is to encourage you to think outside the box. But that is only part of the process of analyzing problems and selling your solution. You must develop an instinct to know when thinking inside the box is just as important. Most complex problems require both kinds of thinking. Why search for a new type of solution when there is an existing one that works well?

“So, who has a question they would like me to discuss?”

The Professor pointed at Alison and said, “Alison, let’s hear your question.”

“TV and the print media are constantly railing about the Russians hacking into our elections to favor President-elect Trump. It sounds like this is more about partisan politics than it is about Russian influence. What is really going on?”

“I think you know most of the answer, but I’ll tell you what I think. Great powers have been intercepting the communications of both opponents and friends throughout history. Hacking, as a form of collection, is at least five decades old. From a very primitive beginning, it has gotten much more sophisticated. The point here is that all powerful nations are engaged. So no one should be surprised that foreign nations will attack our communications systems, particularly those used by important people who don’t have the sense to protect their information. Hacking is not an act of war. A hacking attack on the national grid, the transportation system and some others would be. But senators Lindsay Graham and John McCain, who are making such a scene about wanting to punish the Russians and discredit the landslide victory of Donald Trump over the hacking and disclosure of emails associated with the Clinton campaign, are just over-heated politicians who can only be cured by term limits.

“These two senators sat through the entire tenure of the Obama Administration and, even with a Republican Congress, did next to nothing to stop the destruction of our military forces, the mistreatment of veterans, and the alienation of our allies. Closing of Guantanamo Bay and stopping Trump seems to be their main agenda.

“The Obama intelligence organizations have decided that the Russians were attempting to influence the election by releasing hacked items from Democratic email servers. President-elect Trump doesn’t trust their analysis. He shouldn’t. These are the ranking officials that lied about the Benghazi ‘talking points,’ refused to conduct a real investigation of Hillary Clinton’s illegal server and the consequent mishandling of highly classified material, and produced intelligence on ISIS to fit the White House view of them as the junior varsity. Are these people to be trusted? I think not. The rank and file of the several intelligence organizations are solid, hard-working men and women who take incredible personal risks to serve the nation, but their leadership is suspect.

“I don’t believe anyone in the Obama Administration wants a real investigation of Russian, Chinese or other hackers. Too much would be uncovered, such as what classified material did these hackers get from the Clinton email server.

“Bottom line is that what is going on is a failed President leaving office and trying to rewrite his record and constrain his successor.”

 

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INSIGHTS 236 — PRESIDENTIAL WEAKNESS OR IDEOLOGICAL CONVICTION?

Advisor's vault doorThe Advisor put down the receiver after Chris, his Secret Service contact, told him the President wouldn’t be down today or for the rest of the week.

He had mixed feelings. The President was the only person he saw face to face. Over the years in his underground office, the Advisor had become dependent on the President’s visits. The isolation and loneliness were really affecting him. He really doubted he could function through the year remaining in the President’s term. He found himself losing track of some of his thoughts when he was writing in his journal. No question, he was really slowing down. Each day was a bit harder. His exercise schedule was a thing of the past. Without an appetite, he seldom did any meal preparation. He wasn’t sure whether it was his mental state or if age was catching up. To force himself to function, he decided to prepare a journal entry of the problems he had with the President’s actions and policies.

The Advisor thought, Even if the President is my only face-to-face contact, when he leaves I feel like I have been in the presence of a very dangerous man and I can’t do anything about it. In fact, my mission is to support him even though I know he is intent on destroying the America I fought for and loved. He is true to his ideology and background. Our President is a dedicated socialist and like so many guilt-ridden liberals, blames America for the world’s current and past problems. He is determined to be known in history as the president who weakened capitalism, imperialism, and the emphasis upon freedom of the individual. By weakening American economical and military power, he will force America to take a very diminished role in world affairs. The nation will be dependent on international organizations to define and protect the rights and privileges of all people. America will no longer be a unique nation and the hope of people everywhere.

There is no other way to understand his actions or his announced policies. He knows the withdrawal of America from the world will result in totalitarian forces like Russia, China, Iran, and the Muslim Caliphate filling the vacuum left by the retreat of the United States. To him that is a good thing. An accomplishment he is proud of. His primary foreign affairs goal is to transform not only America, but the world order as well. If anyone had described the President in these terms when he was first elected, I would have rejected them as the ravings of mad men.

When Vladimir Putin looks at the President, he sees a weak man who hasn’t the will or strength to stop him from annexing as much of the Ukraine as wants or to contest his power move into the Middle East which while very soon put Russia military into the Mediterranean with naval power and missile batteries installed in Syria. Putin doesn’t care one bit about Assad. His goal is to expand Russian power into the oil-producing regions of the Middle East and establish warm water ports for the Russian fleet. Neither Putin, the America progressive party, or Congressional Republicans understand the President is not acting out of weakness, though I believe he lacks physical courage, but he acts out of conviction. How else can anyone explain his foreign actions or job killing regulations by his administration?

The Advisor printed his journal entry and began to enter it into his journal with his slightly unsteady hand. The next time the President comes down, the Advisor thought, I just might tell him what his actions look like to America and its enemies. I’d like to discuss gun control with him. I know it isn’t the loss of life that is his point in his anti-gun crusade. If it was, he would be focused on places like Chicago and help the police and city  government to enforce existing gun laws. And it isn’t just using the issue to attack the opposition party. The President knows no socialist/communist government has ever taken control of an armed population. Slave holders always have guns. Slaves never do. Doesn’t that tell us everything we need to know?

This is an account written by a fictional advisor who doesn’t exist but should.

Check out the latest Jack Brandon mystery suspense novel at your local bookstore. Follow the author on Twitter @factsfictions80.

 

 

 

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EIGHT DECADES OF INSIGHTS 138

PROTECT AMERICA

What if President Obama was not a progressive ideologue using every issue he can find to destroy his political opposition and transform America into a socialist state run by a progressive elite? What could he do if he really wanted to solve national and international problems to protect the citizens of America?

veteransFirst, the biggest danger is on the Ukrainian border.  President Putin is determined to rebuild all or part of the old Soviet Empire. First a piece of Georgia, then the Crimea area of the Ukraine, and now threatening a huge piece of the eastern Ukraine. He has troops massed on the border. The Ukrainian army is no match for the Russian army. He is only waiting until he has the  perfect excuse to cross the border to protect Russian-speaking Ukrainians. He’s looked around the geo-political map and sees no real opposition, certainly not from America or Europe. Putin deals in power. America and NATO deal in sanctions. Not necessarily the same thing.

Freeing Europe from dependence on Russian natural gas and oil by an all-out effort to increase American production and exports of gas and oil would have an immediate effect on Putin. His economy is dependent on the sale of Russian energy. But more is necessary. President Obama should announce the world situation has made him rethink the down sizing of our troop strength to pre-WWII levels and ask Congress to allocate more funds to modernize our Air Force and Navy.

He also needs to re-establish the anti missile radar deployments in Eastern Europe. Announce NATO maneuvers, with at least one division of American troops, in Europe. Moving aircraft carriers closer so the possibility of  air support to Ukrainian forces is real. Sending lethal military aid to the Ukraine by an airlift would give Putin more reasons for keeping his troops in Russia. Sending MREs (meals ready to eat) to a country begging for defensive weapons is both dumb and insulting. No one wants a war between Russia and the West, least of all President Putin. A show of strength and resolve is needed to prevent war. The president and Congress should continue to impose sanctions that impact the Russian economy.

Next in line for the attention of a traditional president is the Middle East. First the president has to see the world as it is and not as he thinks it is or wants it to be. His tendency to favor Muslim Sunni positions won’t handicap his policy in what used to be Iraq.

First, throw your maps and mental images of yesterday’s Iraq and Syria away. Radical Muslim military power backed by Sunni nations has changed the landscape. It would take a sizable American force augmented by our allies to put Iraq and Syria temporarily back together. That is not going to happen, and it shouldn’t. Radical muslim regimes, like Iran and now the ISIS are nearly impossible to negotiate with. Our options are to back the Kurds with real military and economic support. The Kurds deserve their own nation and they will defend it. They are the last hope of Christians caught up in the dramatic advance of ISSI.

Sharia Law is now dealing harshly with Christians. The Kurds will take them in. America should help and immediately recognize the Kurdish nation. Forget trying to strengthen the Shiite government in Baghdad. Without U.S. troops on the ground to prevent abuse of the Sunni and Kurdish minorities by the al-Maliki Administration that plan could never work. Maliki and his government are openly a tool of Iran, another Shiite nation. Baghdad will probably be part of the ISIS Sunni group while the Shiites hold on to the part of Iraq south of Bagdad. With U.S. support, Jordan should be able to remain a sovereign nation, depending on its relations with its radical ISIS Sunni neighbor.

I’ll leave the Israel-Hamas conflict for another blog soon.

Read my latest book, “INSIGHTS: Transforming  America. Is this what we fought for? ” A paperback version is now out for under ten dollars. On Amazon’s Kindle the book is free. Please help pass the message.

 

 

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EIGHT DECADES OF INSIGHTS 103

PUTIN-OBAMA FACEOFF

Are Putin’s action in the Ukraine a surprise? I hope not, but for the group of amateurs in this administration, they probably were. Is there a foreign policy expert in the stack of dead wood the president depends on? Certainly not Secretary of State Kerry or Vice President Biden or the departed Mrs. Clinton. Reminds me of the surprise of the Carter White House when the Ayatollah was allowed to enter Iran from Europe. When have deeply committed religious radicals ever established a true democracy with regular free elections? I think the Carter administration was shocked when his followers took over the U.S. Embassy in Teheran and established an Islamic theocracy. When the Russians moved into Afghanistan, he was again surprised.

For centuries, the czars had tried to establish a geo-political foothold in South Asia. Through Afghanistan was the most direct route to a warm-water port and the riches of the sub-continent. Only the power of the British Empire thwarted the Russian plan. The Russians, seeing a weak U.S. president, made their move and thousands of lives were lost to add to the total killed by the Muslim aristocracy in Iran. History holds many keys to the future and weakness invites aggression. It has always been so. Now what about Ukraine?

The Ukraine was part of the great Russian Empire that President Putin wants to restore. Ukraine looks both east and west. To the west are its hopes for a close relationship with Europe to balance the threat from Russia. To the east it has a long border with a powerful nation that has shown its willingness to use its military power to achieve political goals, such as the forcible annexation of a part of the Georgia nation in the era of the Bush presidency. Ukraine’s current leadership knows it cannot afford a conflict with Russia without strong political support from the west.

What are President Putin’s plans? Well, even the Obama administration should understand that the recent upheaval in the Ukraine threatens Russia’s strategic interests. The only warm-water port in the entire Russian nation is in the Ukraine. This port is part of a settlement between Ukraine and Russia. Russia’s entire Black Sea Naval Force calls Sevastopol home. A large portion of the people in the area of Sevastopol are Russian ethnics. President Putin probably felt he had to move to protect his naval forces. The question is will he push to acquire Ukrainian territory beyond the strategic area of Sevastopol? He knows his history. There is not great love between the people of Ukraine and the Russians to the east. When the German panzers pushed into the Ukraine in World War II, many Ukrainians welcomed them as liberators. Some even took up arms and supported the Germans. Unfortunately, for those Ukrainians and the German Army, the German leadership treated the Ukrainians like the other people they had conquered. German cruelty knew no ethnic bounds in their drive to occupy Moscow.

President Obama has few options. One is to know that his plan to reduce the U.S. Army to pre-World War II levels is  another revealing sign of his weakness. He should immediately re-think his destruction of American power. Peace has never come from weakness. A strong America is necessary for a path to peace. The progressive party is well on the way to achieving what neither the aggressors of both World Wars and the Cold War could accomplish. Our president is a master of winning elections but he is way out of his league when dealing with a man who is not afraid of power and its use.

If Putin goes beyond the securing of routine access to strategic Russian bases in the Crimea portion of the Ukraine and annexes Ukrainian territory, the Obama administration will maybe learn that words do not count for much in the constant struggle to maintain world peace. Weakness only feeds the actions of dictators. It does nothing in the struggle to contain territorial aggression.  The willingness to maintain and use national power when necessary, sets apart real leaders from empty ones. Ronald Reagan was a real leader. Barack Obama is not.

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EIGHT DECADES OF INSIGHTS-80

MORE OF THE SAME

Seal of the United States Department of State.

Seal of the United States Department of State. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s bad now. Can it get worse? It sure can. Just elect another Progressive Socialist Democrat to the White House. We had our experiment with their kind of change. It isn’t good. Let’s elect a real moderate Democrat or a true Conservative in 2016. And let’s pay attention to the primary process. No more nominating candidates without a resume or with an incredibly incompetent record. Remember, having won elections in the past is does not qualify anyone to stand for the presidency. Winning elections means you can raise money and are good at messaging, not much else.

I wonder how a candidate such as our disgraced former Secretary of State can even think about running for president. Benghazi and the cover up should be enough to disqualify anyone with a sense of honor and pride. Standing with the families of the murdered Americans at Ben Ghazi during the arrival of their remains at Andrews Air Force Base, our Secretary of State was recorded telling them a distasteful video was the cause and the maker of the video would be punished. Days before the dead heroes arrived at Andrews, the President, his Secretary of State and many other key officials knew it was an attack by al Qaeda affiliated terrorists who were responsible. That single incident is the most shameful thing I have ever witnessed in my years of serving in and following the U.S. Government. As shameful was the non- action of the timid Defense people who left Americans to die without even trying to rescue them. In the past, officials like the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs would resign rather than follow the political directions of the amateurs in the White House that resulted in leaving Americans behind without trying to save them. The morale of active duty soldiers and veterans can’t stand more tentative political maneuvers on the part of their leaders. It is an American tradition that we don’t leave people behind.

We  also must not forget the The Secretary of State’s failed reset with Russia, the support for Assad in Syria as a reformer, and the abandoning of the Eastern European nations who were willing to let us establish a much-needed ballistic missile radar system to protect against Iranian missiles. How can the Democratic Party nominate anyone with such a shameful resume? Only if they continue to be under the control of the Progressives. We need to get back to a two-party system where one of them is not the Progressive Party in disguise.

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EIGHT DECADES OF INSIGHTS – ADVISOR 74

greendoorWHAT THE RUSSIANS WANT

The Advisor had done some research in the history of Russia’s struggle to compete with British seapower and later the United States. The czars as well as Mr. Putin, who believes he is a czar, understand the need for the Russian fleet to have a warm water port. Without an all-weather port the Russians cannot extend their power much beyond their own borders. The Advisor thought, it is precisely this kind of knowledge the President does not have. Nothing in his background prepared him to understand the real world which is that nations act in their own interest. If you don’t understand this central reality, your foreign policy is composed of reactions to events you really don’t understand. Like it or not, his mission required him to educate as well as advise President Obama.

The Advisor knew the President seldom took his advice but he was enough of a scholar to listen thoughtfully and enough of an ideologue to follow his collectivist doctrine. The President would be down here within the next hour. I’ll ask him if he will allow me to present my research. Right on schedule, the ancient steel clad door opened and the President strode in. “Good evening Mr. President. The coffee is ready. Take what ever seat you want. I did some research this week and, if you will permit, I will give you the bottom lines.”

“Well, I thought your advice was just the result of your eight decades of life. I’m intrigued that you include research. So go ahead.”

“Thank you. Why are the Russians so hard to work with in the disaster we call SyriaRussia has no common border with Syria.  Syria has no supply of oil or minerals. They have no exports Russia wants or needs. Yet Russia is sending game-changing weapons to Syria and, if their past behavior is any guide, they have or will also send technicians and weapons specialists to Syria. Putin knows there is no one to stop him. Certainly not any Arab or Persian State. Israel can’t without our help. The Euro powers are too focused on themselves to risk capital and blood for anyone else. I have no special insight to U.S. Russian policy but I do remember you whispering to President Medvedev before Putin took the presidency again, asking him to tell Putin you would have more flexibility after the election. Putin is a Czar. He only understands strength. Your secret message to Medvedev told Putin you were in a weak position. In Syria he believes you will not oppose Russia’s historical push to have a warm water port.

“Without a warm water port their fleet is frozen in, bottled up in the Black Sea or cruising far beyond their supply base for many months of each year. Again there is no proof I know of but the Soviet push into Afghanistan in the 1980s was another step in their bumbling efforts dating back to the Czars to gain a corridor to warm water. Syria has dangled a warm water port in the Mediterranean called Tartous.  The Russians have already done significant development projects in this port. They really don’t much care who rules Syria as long as Tartous is firmly in Russian control. The Russians will do whatever is necessary to ensure they do not lose control of this port. They have never been so close in recent history to the  control of a warm water port. A Syrian regime friendly to the United States that would exercise real control over Tartous is not acceptable. Putin, today, has no respect for America. He only understands strength and has no use for words that are mere rhetoric.

“There is more at stake in Syria than the ousting of President Bashar al-Assad from Syria. I don’t think your Administration understands the historical power that motivates Putin to capture an all-weather port. That single feat will mark him  as the greatest of all Russia’s Czars. A warm water port at no cost in blood or treasure. A remarkable achievement.”

“You’re telling me Russia’s end game in Syria is for a seaport?”

“Yes. Of course, they don’t mind throwing all Western powers out of the Middle East.”

“No one on my team will believe your analysis.”

“Try some military scholars. They will tell you the same thing,” The Advisor said, as the President was getting up to leave. “Mr. President, maybe you need some different people on your team.”

The author has 27 years of Government service, including two years serving President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s as an

Meeting with President Reagan, Vice President Bush, Deputy National Security Adviser Frank Carlucci and General Colin Powell in the Oval Office.

Meeting with President Reagan, Vice President Bush, Deputy National Security Adviser Frank Carlucci and General Colin Powell in the Oval Office.

advisor. Considering today’s volatile political situation, you are encouraged to share this on Facebook and to click the “like” button below. Comments and dialogue are welcome and helpful. Find and connect with the author on Goodreads.

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EIGHT DECADES OF INSIGHTS 65

Safe in the Shadows

LEADING FROM BEHIND–THE ADVISOR

The Advisor was thinking about how forceful he could be in advising President Obama. The subject for his next visit would be the consequences in foreign policy of leading from behind. The President wasn’t a stupid or a cruel man.   He was just a man who carried an enormous amount of baggage.

Could anyone walk away from the influences he was subject to in his earlier life? the advisor thought. Some he was personally responsible for, others he had no real choice. Parents from far to the left, several years in a Muslim Madrassi teaching Wahhabism. His father, an anti-colonialist Kenyan, whose family had been persecuted by the British Colonialists. For most of his formidable years he was exposed to radical leftist ideologies. Then, the influence of Ivy League progressives, Saul Alinsky and his radical plan for seizing power, Reverend Wright and his hate America sermons, William Ayers and his terrorist viewpoint and to top it off the ruthless and corrupt school of Chicago politics. The President never personally suffered from his associations and ideology. Therefore, he has no understanding of  the consequences of following a revolutionary ideology. It is probably too late now but I must try. I will never knowingly give him bad advice or try to manipulate him. My mission code does not allow it. After all, he was elected twice and could probably win a third term if it were permitted.

The advisor’s musing is interrupted when the flashing red light and soft chiming called him to the phone.

The President arrived a few minutes later at nine o’clock PM. The President strode into the room, greeted the advisor and said, “Let’s get started. I have some extra time and need a cup of your coffee.”

“Mr. President, you look like a man who doesn’t have a care in the world.”

“Today was good day. No one was asking me to do the impossible. Why do my supporters and staff think I should get involved in everything?”

“You are the ‘point of the spear.’ They count on you to give them what they want without understanding that doing nothing is also, at times, a good action plan. There, a perfect opening for my talk. Remember, you told me to pick the topic. So I’m going to talk about the concept of leading from behind. Please interrupt at any time. I’m going to use foreign affairs as a backdrop for my advice.

“You are in the fifth year of your Presidency. That is long enough for you to own America’s position in the world. You will not like some of my statements. But I will assure you, the the facts are correct. My analysis may be faulty because I project it into the future where no one can be absolutely sure they are right. First our main adversary, Russia. They are stronger now than they were before your election. Today their fleet is in the Mediterranean, something that was inconceivable in the last several decades. They have nearly secured a warm water port in the Med, a Russian goal going back to the czars. They failed in Afghanistan to find a corridor to warm water. Russia’s ability to project power has been limited for centuries because they lacked a port with year round operations capability. The Syrian port of Tartous is the payoff for their support to Assad. Sure, they enjoy threatening American and Israeli interests in the Middle East, but Tartous is the real goal.

“To see more clearly the Russian move into the Middle East, imagine a monopoly game where the winner gains areas of influence and the losers, well, lose. You failed to negotiate a status of forces agreement in Iraq where it was in no one’s interest for the U.S. to abandon the country. Certainly sectarian violence would be lessened if we had a seat at the table. Iran could not supply Syria forces through or over Iraq. Iran could not threaten Iraq if we had maintained a presence in Iraq. Iran would have a harder time supplying Hezbollah and using that force to control Lebanon, another possibility for Russia to exploit to acquire a warm water port. Our anti-ballistic missiles on the ground in Iraq could bring more defense against an Iranian attack on Israel or the Sunni Middle East. ‘Leading from Behind’ policies have resulted in our loss of space supremacy, ABM land-based systems, and talks about unilaterally cutting force size and our inventor of ballistic missiles that have kept us from a nuclear war since WWII.  Our loss of influence in Egypt, Libya, Iraq, and Pakistan is not a foreign affairs victory. Leading from behind means you are and will remain behind.

“Leading from behind does not win respect in the world. Your monopoly board does not look good. Putin has no respect for you as leader because he sees you weakening America and, therefore, believes you are not someone he should worry about. Most of the world respects power and distrusts weakness. To world leaders words don’t matter. Words without action are invisible. To start with I advise you to say less and do more. You can project American power without following the old colonial pattern you hate so much.”

The President puts his cup down, grinds out his cigarette.

The Advisor says, “Yes. I have known ever since you sent the bust of Winston Churchill back to England. Your constant concern is for the little nation, the poor people, the Muslim nations over the Colonial West. If you achieve your goal of leveling America and the world, you’ll destroy both and civilization of all will suffer. But that is for another time.”

The President gets up and strides to the door. He looks back as he leaves and says, “You can’t be right.”

The Advisor says, “Goodnight Mr.President,” to the sound of an automatic locking door.

He thought, that went well.

 

By the author of the Jack Brandon novels.   http://www.factsandfictions.com 

The author has 27 years of Government  service, including two years serving President Ronald Reagan in the 1980s as an advisor. Considering today’s volatile political situation, you are encouraged to pass on this blog or parts of it to your contacts and friends. Comments and dialogue are welcome and helpful.

  • Meeting with President Reagan, Vice President Bush, Deputy National Security Adviser Frank Carlucci and General Colin Powell in the Oval Office.

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