Charlie Wilson’s War: An Attempt at Version 2.0

Today’s Wall Street Journal has an article noting that former Senator Gordon Humphrey, who played a key role in arming the mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, is now working on what can be described as an attempt at version 2.0 of Charlie Wilson’s War by lobbying Congress to send weapons to the current Ukrainian government in its fight with Russian-backed separatists in the east. Continue reading

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Pentagon Wrongly Accuses Iran?

Today’s New York Times has an article  which reinforces Iran’s image as a “rogue nation.” The article describes its seizure of a cargo ship, quotes a Pentagon official as stating that “Iranian forces fired shots across the ship’s bow,” and ends with a former State Department official calling Iran’s actions “surprisingly incendiary.” However, KGS NightWatch, a highly respected private intelligence newsletter, has a very different take:

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Saber Rattling Works, But Which Way?

We hear repeated assurances that appearing strong and belligerent will get our adversaries to back down and behave. A 1995 USSTRACOM report even argued that we should cultivate a national persona that is “irrational and vindictive” in order to induce fear in our opponents. But the historical evidence indicates that such behavior sometimes has the opposite effect from what was intended. Plus, in hindsight, our perception of “bad behavior” was sometimes far off the mark.

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Putin’s Surprising Comparison of Nazism and Stalinism

Yesterday’s Moscow Times had an article by one of my favorite Russian commentators, Fyodor Lukyanov, which highlighted a very surprising moment in Putin’s four-hour address to the nation. In Lukyanov’s words: Continue reading

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NBC Fell for Syrian False Flag Operation: Increased Nuclear Risk

Bias in our media’s international reporting is one of the greatest risks to our national security. Read on to find out why I say that, and to see the latest example to come to light. In this new instance, NBC’s Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel fell hook, line, and sinker for a false flag operation which blamed Syrian President Assad for Engel’s harrowing kidnapping, when in fact, it was Assad’s opponents who were at fault. Engel blamed not only Assad, but also Iran for his kidnapping. While he has now retracted those allegations, it’s hard to repair the damage. “Confirmation bias” causes his initial, false accusations to find a more prominent place in the American psyche than his retraction because our minds emphasize evidence which confirms our current beliefs, no matter how wrong they might be. Continue reading

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US Hawks Unwittingly Aid Iranian Hardliners

While it is the opposite of their intent, hawks in the US who suggest attacking Iran provide ammunition to Iran’s hardliners, including those who want to develop nuclear weapons. The most recent example to come to my attention is a radio interview in which Senator Tom Cotton argued that “if military action were required … it would [not involve boots on the ground, only] several days of air and naval bombing.” Continue reading

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Putin the Moderate??

putinIn a recent talk following a visit to Russia, former Nixon advisor on Soviet matters Dimitri Simes told his audience that Putin is a pragmatist who is the West’s best hope for a negotiated settlement to end the Ukrainian crisis. Simes went on to warn that, if we fail to take advantage of Putin’s moderate stance, we risk empowering reactionary elements within Russia who “want to do crazy things.” That, in turn, he warned could end in a disastrous military confrontation similar to the way World War I started. Continue reading

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