If Donald Trump “Wipes Out” The Left, So Be It

IF THERE’S anything about Donald Trump that merits unequivocal approval, it is the immediate, uncompromising assault he has launched against parasitic left-wing groups leaching money from the public purse, and against the cultural agenda of the Left itself; it’s time the pious, finger-shaking bullshit of the Left — in all its forms — was forced to eke out its own subsistence, or eradicated. This anti-Left crusade is well worth emulating in Australia.

Just when it looked like Donald Trump’s first weeks in office might be remembered for the own goal one of his advisers kicked, along comes something nobody with any common sense could possibly quibble about.

The slithering creep of socialism — cloaked in the finger-shaking tut-tutting of the Chardonnay drunks of the cultural Left — is an evil this column has railed against at various times throughout the six years I have been publishing it; in some respects it is hard to say what is worse: the malevolent advance of this noxious creed, or the fact that nobody in the mainstream conservative polity in this country seems able and/or remotely inclined to puncture it.

John Howard tried, valiantly: his efforts, whilst admirable, were a classic case of the metaphorical finger in the dyke.

But Donald Trump — who took office on Friday, determined to remake America, and determined to erase the pall cast over it by eight years of socialism that have left the US better resembling a stagnant European basket case than a world superpower —  has torn into a range of expenditure targets that seem, even by the debased standards of the Australian Left, grotesque.

I was reading a piece last week from London tome The Times, which provides an insight into just how far-reaching the new Trump broom will be; some of the hysteria extracted from the Left over some of the items it talks about has been debunked in other forums as misleading sensationalism — for example, the pages taken off the White House website are included in sections that are archived automatically at the conclusion of each President’s tenure — but when it comes to those organisations whose agenda can only be described as cultural terrorism, and the more civic-minded measures being wheeled out to replace them, what Trump appears to be doing is a sweeping rationalisation of where the government spends its money to delete expenditure on things that should be forced to rattle the tin themselves.

It is the kind of thing the Abbott government should have done immediately after the 2013 election, but didn’t.

(For clarity, I am not referring to the perennial football of blocking US aid to foreign organisations that perform abortions — a measure that has routinely been restored by every incoming Republican President since Ronald Reagan introduced it in 1984, and repealed by both incoming Democratic Presidents in the same time: and any comment today that accuses me of cheering that on will be deleted as soon as I see it).

Feel-good, Kum-Ba-Ya chanting outfits like the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, which is a noble-sounding euphemism for appeasing the perpetrators of crime, would find their funding grants withdrawn; other organisations — like The National Endowment for the Arts — would be abolished altogether.

In the case of the latter, the article from The Times (republished yesterday in The Australian) notes the NEA doles out millions of dollars in grants each year to the arts community, funding such indulgences as plays “about assassinating Christopher Columbus, gun-control activist lesbians, ‘Doggie Hamlet,’ and climate change poetry.”

This is the problem with some sections of the arts community: their idea of “art” is not art at all. The types of works cited here are absolute, total, complete and utter crap. Yet they are emblematic of what eats up large chunks of taxpayers’ money: as it is in the USA, so too it is here.

Whole industries — overseen, populated and mobilised by the Left — spring up around this drivel, all paid for out of the taxpayer’s pocket. These people get their own minister, their own (sizeable) budget, they employ lobbyists for more money, and the whole commercially unviable (and to people in the real world, distasteful) behemoth gets bigger, and bigger, and bigger.

Like a turd attracts flies, these cottage industries draw hangers-on: the Chardonnay set. The do-gooder set. The bleeding heart bullshit artists, who think they are taking up with just and noble causes that advance humanity, when all this stuff amounts to is doggerel.

And then of course — just like Hollywood, with its jumped-up and overpaid screen legends, coddled in their bubble and fortified by the hundreds of millions of dollars they make from jumping around in front of a camera, whose deluded views get reported by a Left-leaning press pack as “fact” — these people think they have real clout to wield, and they wield it.

And then, the cycle perpetuates itself.

The Times piece correctly observes that the progressive agenda of the Left centres on “changing the world and human nature to accord with a preferred model of existence.” That model is unnatural, synthesised, and relies on engineering human behaviour to conform with a heavily doctrinaire and rigidly prescriptive set of values that are smothering in nature and totalitarian in application.

Just look at what happens on Twitter if anyone dares to say they don’t believe in man-made climate change: the ridicule and abuse is instant, incessant, and for a couple of hours hundreds of seemingly innocuous accounts appear out of thin air to ensure the “bad name” of the “denier” ricochets across the world. You will probably end up on a blacklist somewhere. Try the same thing over gay marriage, gender fluidity (whatever the fuck that is) or any of the other pet fancies of the Left, and the force of the abuse within the social media echo chamber will be akin to being hit by a truckload of bricks.

The point is that for all the “tolerance” these people preach, they have neither tolerance nor patience with dissenting views; for all the stock they place in “diversity,” they refuse to either countenance nor accept any diversity of opinion aside from their own.

These problems and phenomena are, if anything, even more entrenched in Australian society than they are in the USA, thanks to teacher unions run by socialist activists hijacking education curriculums in a concerted endeavour to ensure Australian schools turn out armies of compliant little socialists. They are fuelled by education budgets that throw far more money at “Education” than is actually required (if value for money and educational outcomes are the yardsticks), which means there is always cash for expensive social and “citizenship” education projects which rarely teach basic capitalist principles or entrepreneurship or personal responsibility, but never miss on teaching kids about their rights and entitlements.

(Just making that point is enough to attract charges from the Left of ignorance, sexism, misogyny, and probably of being Adolf Hitler. And that’s just for starters).

There are those in the Australian polity and embedded in the media firmament who scratch their heads and wonder why, with all the Left does for them, people could be inclined to elect someone like Donald Trump to the US presidency; they wonder, without irony, why there are signs of a “Trump effect” taking shape here in Australia.

The simple truth is that a significant majority of people are fed up with being told how to think, and speak, and behave; stripped of the ability to go out creating problems to solve would leave most on the Left with very little to say at all. Yes, there are problems in society, and bad people who give form to them, but the totalitarian and virtually fascist attempts to impose a rigid ideological straitjacket on the world are not the way to solve them.

If they were, the USSR would be flourishing today, and free nations would be clamouring to join. It isn’t, and they aren’t.

And this brings me back to Donald Trump’s America, and the early signs that the Left is not going to have a lot to celebrate in it.

I am literally in two minds about Trump — he may prove to be brilliant, or he may prove diabolical — and I suspect that whilst it will take a little time to ascertain which of those descriptions apply to him, we won’t be left wondering for very long.

If you are a socialist (or, quaintly, a “social justice warrior” — a term that is inherently oxymoronic in this context) then it’s a safe bet you still haven’t recovered from the grief and trauma of Hillary Clinton losing an election: if that synopsis applies to you, then the nicest thing I can say is that whilst I may be ambivalent about Trump, the defeat of Hillary Clinton is the best thing that has happened to both the USA and the rest of the free world in a very, very long time.

When official government communications portals promote actual Police rather than thought police, and when government leaders call out external military threats (Russia, China, Islamic State) for what they are, and promote staples such as reliable, affordable energy supplies and the rule of law instead of a fictitious ideological construct designed to cower and break their citizens, it is difficult to take issue with the changes already becoming evident in the United States at all.

The risk to the established parties in Australia (and to the Liberal Party in particular, which is the traditional home for those disinclined to leftist claptrap) is that not only is the silent majority in this country fed up with the prescriptions of the Left being forcibly imposed upon them, but a growing number of voters are now actively casting around for someone who listens to them and someone who will stop the socialist monster in its tracks.

This is why red herrings like Pauline Hanson are on the march: nobody in the respectable political firmament appears prepared to champion the majority over the snivelling diatribes of the Left, which in any case hates Western society and seeks, through incremental but unrelenting change, to destroy it.

The “Safe Schools” program — an anti-bullying scheme used as a Trojan horse to indoctrinate young children with the gender drivel of the hard Left — is but one piece of proof of this. There have been many others.

None of the pet causes and projects of the Left would survive if forced to rattle the tin and drum up money in the marketplace — in this case, from the citizens expected to capitulate to them — and the argument that people who don’t know what is good for them must be involuntarily forced to comply is in no way a suitable argument to justify a cent of public monies being allocated to fund them.

If Donald Trump’s activities “wipe out” the Left, then so be it: apart from the finger shakers and other parasitic filth dependent on such rubbish for their livelihoods, nobody will miss it when it is gone.

But failure by mainstream politicians in Australia to emulate the attack against the Left that is being unpacked in America will have dire consequences. The best way to ward off the rise of the far Right is to deal with these issues from the mainstream, which means listening to ordinary people rather than the alleged “elites” of the Left: and if Australia’s politicians refuse to do so, then when One Nation and other organisations pandering to the lunar fringe achieve a critical mass, the traditional parties will have nobody to blame for the fallout but themselves.

President Trump: Australia Must Work With The USA

NEW US PRESIDENT Donald Trump has taken office with customary American pomp and ceremony, and has already started work on his quest to “Make America Great Again;” whether you love Trump or hate him, much of his agenda is far more orthodox than either his belligerent rhetoric or the outraged reaction to it from the Left might suggest. Trump should be given a fair go, and Australia must work with the new administration.

At the outset, I will simply note that whilst I am not a supporter per se of Donald Trump, I am not hostile to him either; my only position during the recent presidential election in the United States was that Hillary Clinton (irrespective of who else was standing from any party) should lose, and that excellent outcome materialised very sharply in early counting. The world and the US has dodged a bullet whatever Trump might be accused of or indeed do, and in particular, those who think women have been shortchanged by her defeat in any way imaginable should review this unrebuttable piece.

This column minutes its congratulations to Donald Trump on his ascension to the office of President of the United States, and sincerely wishes him well as he seeks to implement far-reaching change in one of the Western world’s leading democracies; stripped of the rhetoric and assessed on its merits, there is as much to commend his agenda as there is to express unease over, but should the new President succeed he will leave the United States in far more robust shape than he found it after eight years of a socialist experiment that can only be described, domestically and internationally, as a failure.

One of the great ironies, as Trump settles into his new post, is that the chief gripe of the assorted socialists and other left-wing fruit cakes who have staged noisy demonstrations across America and around the world derives squarely from what Trump has actually been elected to do — govern in the best interests of the USA — and the nihilism and cult-like rage over the vanquishing of Hillary Clinton aside, Trump promises a revolution every bit as far-reaching as that overseen by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s, which arguably restored a post-Vietnam America traumatised by the Nixon years and crippled by the Carter years to the position of global pre-eminence it had enjoyed in the early decades following World War II.

The Barack Obama presidency wasn’t as bad as that of Jimmy Carter, but by God it came close.

Trump should be lauded, not ridiculed, for his desire to establish better relations with arch-enemy Russia and is leader, Vladimir Putin, in particular; so low had US-Russian relations fallen during the Obama years that a third world war has become a distinct possibility for the first time in 30 years, and the Obama model of delivering rhetoric designed to humiliate Russia (a “regional power,” in Obamaspeak) whilst turning a blind eye to the threat it poses — even pontificating about eliminating the US nuclear arsenal — shows an ignorance of world affairs and historical strategic risk that placed not just America, but the rest of the world, in existential peril.

For years, it has been an open secret that Russia has been modernising, upgrading and expanding its strategic capabilities; for years, it has been building vast underground bunkers to shelter its people — an effort that has accelerated in recent times — and the Obama position, that Russia represents little risk and can be humiliated and put back in its box, is lunacy.

The world has become a much more dangerous place on Obama’s watch; in eight years we have seen Russian insurgents destabilise Ukraine, Russia itself annex the Crimea, forces aligned to the Kremlin commence positioning for a possible move against the Baltic states, China begin to rattle the sabres of war over its claim to the entire South China Sea, building military installations on reclaimed islands in that waterway in defiance of international law, the growth of the threat posed by North Korea, the rise of Islamic State and an apparent US strategy to deal with it that has been completely unproductive, and a deal to “disarm” Iran that any honest assessment of shows the theocracy in that country retains clear avenues to arm itself with nuclear weapons.

On balance, only an idiot can object to fresh attempts to deal with these hot spots: Trump may or may not succeed, but one certainty is that more of the same would not have worked: and more of the same is exactly what could have been expected of Clinton, save for the fact the Russians hate her anyway after her misadventures as Secretary of State (under, of course, Obama) and the familiarity that comes with the knowledge her husband’s presidency — which many believe was actually Hillary Clinton’s administration in all but name — was also largely focused on kicking foreign policy threats down the road instead of dealing with them too.

On Trade, Trump has announced that an “America First” philosophy — to buy American and to hire American — will guide the policies of his administration; he has also said that trade deals struck with global partners must work “in America’s interests.”

This does not mean that dealings with the USA will be precluded from satisfying the interests of other parties too, and in Australia’s case, an opportunity to strike bilateral deals to the betterment of both countries beckons.

It remains to be seen whether Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his ministers are up to this assignment. Yet opposition “leader” Bill Shorten has all but declared Trump, his administration, and by extension the USA itself, an enemy of Australia. It is yet another huge black mark against the suitability of Shorten (and the ALP) to ever hold office, not least during Trump’s tenure at the helm of our most important economic and defence partner. Typically, however, the self-serving Australian Left, devoid of any common sense or obvious signs of actual intelligence, thinks the Shorten approach is just great.

In fact, there are enormous risks to Australia inherent in the Trump agenda that, with proper diligence and appropriate overtures, could be turned to great benefit; Trump is proposing, for example, to cut the corporate tax rate in the US to 15%, which will make Australia’s already overpriced goods and services even less competitive despite our dollar shedding 30% of its value in the past couple of years against the greenback. The change of power in America can and should be grasped as the pretext to enact comprehensive taxation reform in our own country, and not the kind of hot air and bullshit propagated, and dissipated, by Turnbull last year in a grotesque waste of the political capital he began 2016 holding.

Trump is an enthusiastic advocate of Brexit — the UK’s pending departure from the EU infrastructure — and eager to take advantage of opportunities to more closely integrate with Britain as it re-engages more fully with the wider world after 40 years of an overwhelmingly pro-Europe focus. There is scope to work collaboratively here to further the so-called “Five Eyes” relationship between the US, UK, Canada, New Zealand and ourselves to build comprehensive economic and security links between the five countries on Earth that arguably share the most in common with each other.

Veteran financial journalist Robert Gottliebsen has published a brilliant analysis of how the international landscape is likely to change under Trump — and how this will affect Australia, and ways in which we might constructively respond — that you can read here. Far from a picture of international doom and gloom, there is plenty of upside for Australia in a Trump administration: if, that is, our “leaders” have the bottle to identify the opportunities that exist and to capitalise on them.

It is at times like this that the retirement of former Trade minister Andrew Robb is likely to be increasingly felt, and regretted, by those in this country with the insight to recognise the real value he offered.

And whilst many rightly find Trump’s 20-year-old remarks about grabbing women “on the pussy” distasteful in the extreme, the simple fact is that the lot of women stood to be far more comprehensively compromised and vastly more damaged by a Clinton presidency than anything Trump will in fact do in office: offensive drivel is one thing, but Clinton “boasts” a decades-long history of real action to destroy the lot of women and, in a litany of cases, women themselves, and those who don’t believe it should revisit the link I posted near the top of this article if they haven’t already done so.

Trump has, in the most part, assembled a first-rate administration — something conveniently overlooked by the outrage merchants of the hard Left — that will, in many cases, check some of the wilder outbursts their leader will undoubtedly make.

He must also deal with Congress, something Obama circumvented by issuing hundreds of autocratic executive orders that Trump is rightly repealing in his first act as President. One wonders what excuse the Australian Left, which claims the Liberal Party is “incapable” of negotiating with an utterly intransigent Senate, might offer in defence of Obama’s dictatorial misuse of executive orders through which to prevail.

Yes, there is much to worry about where Donald Trump as president is concerned; the bellicose rhetoric, the propensity to make unfiltered international announcements on Twitter, and the apparent lack of any “filter” at all for that matter are all points on which a pause for thought is far from inadvisable.

My point today, irrespective of what people might think of Donald Trump, is that he deserves to be given the opportunity to deliver on his promises, and to deliver on the outcomes he has promised those Americans who have elected him. There is much to do.

The final point I would make, for the benefit of those who profess to despise him, is that Trump’s victory is the logical end result of an approach to democratic government that benefits the rulers, is aimed solely at appeasing and buying off minorities and the marginalised, and completely ignores the silent majority in the middle.

This is no green light to the likes of Cory Bernardi — who is a red herring peddling snake oil — or Pauline Hanson who, whilst not a racist personally, has perfected an appeal to the bigoted and the rednecked in a cynical path to harvesting votes, a handful of seats in parliaments around the country, and public election funding.

But political types of all stripes in Australia — in contemplating the “Trump factor” and how it might apply here — would be well advised to remember that whilst winning elections in Australia requires a majority of the vote, it is the actions they take after achieving that which fuel approval and dissent. Ignoring the majority of voters to pander to narrow sectional interests is a recipe for political disaster, and that disaster is already beginning to be reflected in election results in Australia.

Exhibit #101: the 2016 federal election. Both Houses. No Authority. Splintering Support. And a process of revolt that is by no means complete.

This is the most salient lesson from the “Trump factor:” governing for all, in practice, means governing for as many people as possible, and this means for the majority — not just those interests who fit a politically correct, debased, quasi-socialist agenda that shafts the majority of the voting public.

Congratulations, Mr President. We are watching with great interest.

 

Hillary For Prison 2016: The Indictment Looms

THE PROSPECT of POTUS fancy Hillary Clinton finally ending up where she belongs — in gaol — has drawn nearer, with a key report slamming her misuse of classified material on a private email server. This column has despised the Clintons for decades, with their entitlement mentality and penchant for acting as laws unto themselves. The likely Democratic nominee facing prison as a consequence of her actions would be no less than she deserves.

At some point late today or tomorrow morning, I am going to post a quick review of where our own federal election campaign sits with three weeks down and five to go; for some time I have thought Malcolm Turnbull was on track for a narrow defeat, although the best efforts of the ALP this week to deal the Coalition back into the game just might save Turnbull’s hide. Stay tuned.

But this morning I want to share a report carried by The Australian yesterday from The Times, which moves election season in the United States into some seriously interesting territory; a key State Department report into the unorthodox email management system utilised by Hillary Clinton when she was Secretary of State — using a private server — has slammed the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, finding the arrangement was not officially sanctioned, and was used to handle confidential and classified materials that were at heightened risk of hacking or interception as a consequence.

Clinton, tellingly, has apparently been “sweating” on this report exonerating her of any misconduct.

But in a further excoriation of her behaviour, the report also found that 30,000 emails deleted from the private server included classified documentation: and that not only should they not have been there, but they should not have been destroyed by Clinton either.

It now seems inevitable that Clinton will face charges over the matter, and if found guilty, faces prison: and with decades of history of acting, with husband Bill in harness, as a law unto herself, a stint in a federal penitentiary would seem no less than the one-time First Lady and New York Senator deserves.

THE decades-long endeavour to bring Hillary Clinton to justice may be nearing its conclusion.

This column has never made any secret of its deep loathing of Bill and Hillary Clinton; neither is able to point to any legacy in office of any particular value, and both fit the nauseating stereotype of would-be emulators of the “Camelot” mentality of the Kennedy family with their sense of entitlement, their penchant for doing whatever they like, and the expectation they will always get away with it: and that Americans will and indeed should love them irrespective.

I’m sorry, but even in the insiderish Washington establishment that protects its own at almost any cost, this is simply too much to stomach.

Not least from a woman who — 20 years ago — found herself at the centre of the Whitewater scandal, in which her role was never satisfactorily or convincingly explained; and not from an individual who now seeks arguably the most powerful office in the world, free to dispense patronage and favour to fellow travellers in the Democrats’ insidious liberal Left tradition, and whose ascent to that office could provide sufficient cover to ensure she never faces justice over the alleged misdemeanours of which she now stands accused.

This scandal has been years in the making, literally, and many decent Americans have wondered whether the whole sordid business would be swept under the carpet. In this sense, the release of the State Department’s report, and the obvious signal it sends to prosecutors to indict Ms Clinton, is a refreshing development.

As readers will note, the article I have linked to this morning sets out a likely timeframe for Ms Clinton to be indicted, the charges considered by a Court, and a verdict arrived at; this process will by its nature run longer than the remainder of the presidential election race, giving rise to the very real prospect that Clinton — if elected President — could earn the shame and ignominy of being the first US President to ever be jailed whilst holding office.

This, of course, is no excuse to defer or avoid justice being carried out.

But it adds fresh fuel to the campaign of Donald Trump — who, whether you approve or not, appears likelier by the day to be elected in November, providing the seemingly inevitable march toward the GOP nomination he has all but completed follows its course to conclusion.

And it raises the question of whether the Democrats persist with Clinton, disallow her candidacy on some arcane pretext and substitute her with ageing socialist troglodyte Bernie Sanders, or cut their losses with the pair of them and find a fresh candidate altogether, such as Clinton’s rumoured running mate, Elizabeth Warren.

Personally, I think the Clintons have been allowed to get away with far too much for far too long, and if Hillary ends up in gaol at the conclusion of the State Department’s action against her, it will be exactly what she deserves — and put her precisely where she belongs.

We will follow this issue as it develops, and of course with the nominating contests all but finished, this column will pay closer attention to the presidential race as it cranks up in the rundown to election day in early November.

But if it is decided at law that Clinton has destroyed classified documents (or worse, if it can be established that they have been intercepted) then that isn’t a piffling matter to get away with: it’s an offence against US national security, and should that verdict come to pass, it will be a damnation of somebody who has always held herself up as the “brains” trust in the God-forsaken Clinton sideshow: and a prison term in those circumstances would be a fitting punishment for someone who, on any measure, should have known better — and known better than virtually anybody else in the United States.

I will be back late today or in the morning, as promised, to talk about matters closer to home.

 

Putin’s Russia: The Nuclear Red Line In Ukraine

AS THE UNITED STATES considers supplying so-called “lethal military aid” to the pro-Western regime in Ukraine, Russia’s nuclear sabre rattling goes on: now taking the form of “warnings” by retired Russian generals relaying “messages” from Moscow. As threats of war continue, and treacherous American dogs blame Washington for “nuclear aggression,” the Cold War — irrespective of whether it leads to any shooting — is well and truly back on.

Taking a little time to myself as I am this long weekend — a vicious brawl on Twitter with union stooges notwithstanding, which I may comment upon later — this morning’s post is intended only as the briefest of follow ups (for now) on a subject we touched on in cursory terms a fortnight ago.

I refer those readers who did not see my post in March about threats from Russia based on the circumstances in which it would launch nuclear strikes against NATO (which was most readers, actually: nobody is interested in the threat of nuclear war when it gets waved around these days, which is actually part of the point) to read it now, for even if nothing ever comes of the sabre rattling and menacing posture that is Russia today, little will in fact be achieved by simply ignoring it, or — worse — allowing political “leaders” to appease Russia and, in so doing, embolden it.

And as I have several times now when the subject of a prospective third world war comes up, I urge (nay, beseech) readers to watch this movie which, despite being a mere fiction, is realistic enough and adequately considered to drive home the point that even if actual nuclear war is not in prospect, every effort ought to be made to stop the likes of Russian President Vladimir Putin using it as an almost dismissive conversational piece and veiled threat.

The reason for this fairly short post (and I will be back again later today, probably in the afternoon) is simply to share with those who haven’t seen it an article carried in The Australian on Thursday that relays the disturbing message of a group of retired military specialists from Russia that not only is Putin apparently serious with his nuclear bluster, but that from a cultural perspective the Russian people seem to actually believe and expect it.

One might say it’s the obvious path for an autocrat playing to nationalistic fervour domestically to cover the (voluble) flaws in his government to pursue.

But my point in raising this again today is that talking about nuclear warfare — implicitly threatening nuclear strikes for this-and-that (and in scenarios far more plausible than, say, North Korea’s idiotic bluster about “nuclear wars erupting at any moment”) — all feeds into the notion of lowering the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons; generally you don’t hear nuclear-armed powers going around threatening to nuke anyone who pisses them off because of the inherent risk that someone else might strike first, fearing the threats are not bluster.

We now know — from this report, and others like it published in Europe — that had NATO opted to intervene directly in Ukraine, Russia was prepared to respond with nuclear weapons.

In a likely pointer to Putin’s next acquisition targets, we are told that any Russian exercise in the Baltic states that meets with military interference from NATO will result in Russia using its nuclear armaments against NATO.

And where this becomes more than a little worrisome centres on the plan — still unfinalised, thankfully — being mulled by Barack Obama to supply “lethal military aid” to Ukrainian forces fighting Russian-backed insurgents and guerilla fighters on Ukrainian soil, for this too has been singled out by the Russians as possible grounds for a non-conventional retaliation against the United States.

Just to muddy the waters, a quick Google search is all it takes to find a mountain of articles by treacherous anti-US American crackpots (like this and this) who either directly accuse the Obama administration — defective as it is — of actively seeking to foment all out nuclear conflict with Russia, and/or who seek to propagate all manner of anti-American conspiracy theories (such as the recent Germanwings tragedy, which is portrayed as a failed missile test rather than the pilot suicide it was).

What this rubbish proves, starkly, is that the old Cold War practices of infiltration, disinformation and deception are well and truly alive.

I remain reasonably sure that nothing will come of any of this, and that Putin’s bluster and unsubtle threats of nuclear retaliation for any Western meddling in Russia’s military and territorial aspirations are just that: bluster.

Even so, in such a fraught context, the last thing America should be doing is arming the Ukrainian military with lethal munitions to fight Russian-backed soldiers; the closeness of such an action to an outright armed confrontation with Russia itself makes such an action unforgivable in its potential to trigger some kind of escalation that could easily get out of hand.

The Russians, for their part, should hold off on the open threats of nuclear retaliation; as we have observed previously, they don’t help anyone or achieve anything.

Yet whichever way you cut it, the Cold War has well and truly recommenced: and it is why, whilst I am not worried in any immediate sense as to where that might lead, it amazes me that of all the traffic that comes through this site the articles dealing with strategic balance and the situation between Russia and its allies and the West receive the fewest visits of anything published in this column.

Overt Threats Of Nuclear Attack By Russia Help No-One

AN ISSUE OVERDUE for discussion involves Russian President Vladimir Putin’s remarks that had Russia been confronted militarily over its annexation of Crimea or its mischief in Ukraine, it was ready to use nuclear weapons; now, Russia threatens nuclear attacks on Denmark if it aligns more closely with NATO. These brash declarations may be bluster, but the only wise conclusion to draw is that Putin is capable, literally, of anything.

One of the issues I alluded to a week ago that I would have to come back to when time permitted has, in fact, returned on its own, and whilst tonight’s article is big on links for further reading, I’m going to keep the commentary portion of it fairly succinct: clearly this is something that isn’t going to go away, and it seems certain we’ll be talking about Vladimir Putin and his thousands of nuclear warheads again — and probably sooner than anyone might like.

The revelation by Vladimir Putin (reappearing in public after seemingly vanishing into thin air for a week and a half) that Russia would have responded to any military confrontation over Ukraine and/or Crimea with nuclear weapons is ominous enough, even if such a declaration could be ascribed to the chest-thumping bluster of a notoriously macho shithead.

But — lest anyone make the mistake of dismissing these veiled nuclear threats as isolated — I have been motivated tonight to publish the post I meant to write a week ago by the news that Russia’s ambassador to Denmark, Mikhail Vanin, has stated that his country would target Danish warships with nuclear warheads if the Scandinavian nation joins NATO’s missile defence shield, a US-led venture to safeguard against nuclear missiles launched by “rogue states” (read: North Korea and Iran), which Putin has long believed is aimed explicitly against Russia.

30 years ago, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher — alarmed that Ronald Reagan went within a whisker of signing away the West’s nuclear deterrent in response to a proposal by USSR chief Mikhail Gorbachev that both sides unilaterally eliminate their stockpiles of warheads — famously observed that you could no more disinvent nuclear weapons than you could disinvent dynamite: despite the best will in the world, nuclear weapons and the technologies that enable them are with us forever.

The irony of course is that Gorbachev was probably the one Soviet or Russian leader in the last 70 years the West had no reason to fear. But the warmer relations it enjoyed with Gorbachev soon turned chill under Boris Yeltsin, and have become positively icy on Putin’s watch.

On one level, Putin’s well-known desire to restore Russia to the glory of its Soviet heyday as an economic and military superpower is understandable.

But the ridicule once attracted by Russia’s military as a decaying reserve of infrastructure and obsolete weaponry overseen by a contingent of manpower that was shrinking as quickly as its members could desert it has given way to the realisation — that those of us with an interest in such things knew — that all the while, Russia was rearming; that whilst the West (and the present occupant of the White House in particular) was signing new deals with Russia to make steep cuts in nuclear stockpiles, Russia was lying to its “partners” in the West, testing new weapons, overhauling old ones, and restoring its strategic forces to a position of superior strength.

Now — against a backdrop of nationalist fervour whipped up in Russia by master propagandist Putin — Russia is slowly but surely beginning a faltering advance aimed at “safeguarding” its “people abroad” (think the Russian-speaking peoples of Ukraine, and Belarus, and the Baltic states) and reclaiming its “historical sovereign territory” (think Crimea, whose annexation was legitimised by a “referendum” widely believed to have been fixed and universally regarded in the West as illegal under international law).

Now, we have Russia asserting its right to station nuclear missiles in Crimea — bringing all of Western Europe into much closer range — at a time of belatedly heightened international alarm over Russia’s motives and in apparent response to naval exercises in the Black Sea that infuriated Russia.

We have Russian military drills of their own, involving 45,000 troops and dozens of warships in the Arctic, which the Kremlin is openly telling any Western media outlet that cares to listen are all about getting the Russian military to a state of “combat readiness.”

We have reports that Russia is testing what sounds suspiciously like a neutron bomb, or similar, the intended purpose of which is ominously obvious.

We have ongoing attempts to decouple Europe from the United States with propaganda and misinformation — the old Soviet playbook — which should surprise nobody, given Russia has spent the past 20 years trying to get Europe addicted to supplies of Russian gas as a way of guaranteeing the dependence of the EU on Russia and detaching it from American influence.

We have reports of Russian attempts to station nuclear missiles near the Polish border and/or plans to invade or otherwise attack Poland; doing so would almost certainly draw in Germany, and with it NATO: and once the question of active warfare is one of NATO versus Russia, that — to use the vernacular — is tantamount to the whole powderkeg going “kaboom.”

And all this comes several years after Russian nuclear bombers resumed long-range patrols in international airspace and, more recently, as its fighter planes have repeatedly made incursions into European airspace, particularly around Britain, as they apparently seek to test the combat readiness of the Royal Air Force: flying up the English Channel and close to Britain’s south-west coast, forcing civilian passenger aircraft to take urgent evasive action and/or for flight paths to be re-routed, these are not the actions of a country seeking to minimise or mitigate against the prospect of a deadly and incendiary accident.

And it comes as the US — “led” by its most strategically dangerous and insignificant President since Jimmy Carter — mulls plans to arm the Ukrainian military against Russian-backed insurgents fighting against it in parts of Ukraine, with the attendant risk that doing so may provide the pretext for a direct Russian military response that could lead to God only knows what.

I do not post this evening to appear alarmist, inflammatory or to sound frightened, for I am none of these things.

But the simple fact is that over the past few years the accrual of evidence of a belligerent and confrontational Russia is overwhelming; its footprint is everywhere, and Russia’s fingerprints extend too far and too thoroughly across the Eurasian region now to suggest anything other than a bellicose Putin prepared — literally — to do anything in order to reclaim the lost lands of the USSR, and willing to risk the consequences of doing so.

Russia is not a friend, or a partner, or an ally: it is the enemy of freedom, and the sooner more people realise this basic truth of 21st century politics, the better.

And its antics can hardly be ascribed to bluster any more, or the mere trifle of a few military exercises that nobody should worry about.

Any nuclear attack launched by Russia on any country or countries in the Western hemisphere will be met with overwhelming nuclear retaliation against Russia by the United States and Britain; nobody should suffer from the delusion Putin appears to suffer from that nuclear force would not be responded to in like kind.

Those in the UK who seek to question the future of Britain’s Trident nuclear deterrent — in the context of the election campaign underway in that country at present, and with the Labour opposition struggling to fend off an assault on its Scottish seats from the irresponsible and criminally populist SNP, which is campaigning on a pledge to remove nuclear submarines from the River Clyde — would do well to consider that without Trident, Russia could simply level the UK without resistance if it chose to do so, the threat of retaliation from the Americans notwithstanding.

And in fact, the disarmament daydreams of Barack Obama are likely to see his successor in the White House (preferably a Republican) make the reinvigoration and restoration of US strategic forces an urgent priority. The beaten Republican candidate in 2012, Mitt Romney, claimed during that campaign that the West would face the risk of nuclear blackmail and perhaps nuclear attack from Russia — and was laughed at. Romney was right, and this column acknowledged as much at the time (and I elicited much derisive comment and accusations of conspiracy theorism for my trouble). Nobody is laughing now.

But with or without Britain’s Trident nukes, if the Russians start shooting — and the US responds — the ensuing apocalyptic episode will render considerations of general elections, military alliances and even planning as far as the following week forever redundant.

Any reader who has not seen this chillingly credible depiction of nuclear warfare previously should spend the requisite couple of hours doing so: in what is unquestionably a fresh Cold War between Russia and the West, it’s high time this kind of thing once again sears the collective conscience of those faced with nuclear blackmail or, even worse, the existential threat of a general nuclear war and the hundreds of millions (if not billions) of lives it would terminate.

I’m going to leave it there, for the purpose of this article is to get a reasonable chronicle of recent events regarding Russia and its warlike behaviour — to say nothing of its loose and provocative nuclear rhetoric — onto our radar; this is the first time we have discussed such matters for some time, but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

And at some point we might have a look at the handling of Russia by the West since the fall of the Soviet Union, for just as Putin is depicted in some quarters as a madman and a lunatic, not all of the fault for the developing crisis and return to Cold War conditions lies with Russia: the West has made mistakes in its treatment of the Russians ever since the Berlin Wall came down, and as immeasurably superior to a life under Communism as the free world might be, there are some — the first President Bush being a case in point — who simply couldn’t resist poking the Russian bear in the eye with the very sharp stick of triumphalism.

But in the end, those men who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it: it is not too late to avert a disaster, and it is not too late for Russia to reach an accommodation with the West that does not stink of appeasement by the latter, or include ambit and unreasonable demands from the former.

But the trend of escalation is now clearly to be seen, in full view, with the apocalyptic threat of a nuclear war made in stark and blunt terms for the first time in decades. It isn’t a set of circumstances to be taken lightly, diminished with propaganda, or simply to be ignored.

MH17 Disaster: Putin’s Statement And A UN Resolution

FACED WITH IMMUTABLE international outrage over the wanton murder of 298 civilians in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, Russian President Vladimir Putin has conceded ground, and seemingly backed down; noises emanating from Moscow are one thing, as appealing and mollifying as they seem. Action, however, is another. Putin has an opportunity to demonstrate leadership. The West may not provide another.

 

UPDATED: At 5.21am Melbourne time — just 20 minutes after posting this article — news has come through that the United Nations has voted in favour of the Australian resolution before it, as discussed below.

 

It’s a relatively short post from me this morning, and one as much as to share some resources as to provide analysis and comment; working through the night as I have been of late I had expected we might have news of the outcome of the draft resolution being debated at the United Nations in the small hours, Melbourne time, that is being driven and sponsored by Prime Minister Tony Abbott; at time of publication, we don’t, although in one sense, it doesn’t make any difference to the points I make on the subject here.

If the Australian resolution at the UN is passed, then Putin has to back some fine-sounding rhetoric over the past 24 hours with some action.

If it isn’t passed — because Russia vetoes it, or on the (remote) chance its Chinese cohorts take it upon themselves to do so by proxy — then the situation between Russia and the West is going to chill to Antarctic levels, and become extremely dangerous indeed.

Some hours ago, Putin — through the English language portal of his official Kremlin website — released a statement, declaring that “military operations” in disputed areas of Ukraine should cease immediately, and that “peaceful and diplomatic means alone” should be used to move the conflict in Ukraine “from the military phase…to the negotiating phase.”

I think people are entitled to feel ever so slightly cynical about this statement; with typical arrogance Putin uses it to position himself — and Russia — beyond reproach, using language reminiscent of John Howard’s refrain that the things that unite us are far stronger than those that divide us.

He pledges, calmly, to behave responsibly and to do everything in his power to ensure international experts are finally allowed to commence a full investigation of the area in which the remnants of MH17 are now scattered (degraded as it is by looters and militia, who have effectively had several days’ head start on any official attempt to rein them in). He urges restraint.

It all sounds quite encouraging, as does the fact that Putin has also indicated Russia is prepared to vote for Abbott’s resolution — which basically calls for untrammelled international access to the crash site, and assistance from Moscow and regional authorities — at the UN Security Council. There have been squabbles over semantics, and a suggestion at one point that Russia was in effect prepared to vote for a resolution provided it didn’t apportion blame to Russia in any way, but it’s the outcome of the vote and Russia’s subsequent conduct that matter.

I did say I would keep it brief, and for now, I will. We can always talk about this again later in the day or tomorrow if circumstances warrant it.

But another day marked by anger, grief, and frustration in so many parts of the world has continued to galvanise and harden opinion against Russia; it is clear that any attempt to squib whatever commitments that country now makes will be regarded very dimly, and the real tensions between Russia and the West may be stayed for now, but they have by no means dissipated.

Notwithstanding Putin’s posturing to evade blame being sheeted home to his country, the USA has ramped up its rhetoric against Russia, piling on pressure over what it presents as the “overwhelming evidence of Russian complicity” in the destruction of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 and the 298 souls who were consequently slaughtered.

British Prime Minister warned Putin that “the world is watching,” making it clear that whatever it now does in the face of resolute and growing international fury over the atrocity will be viewed as “a defining moment for Russia.”

And our own Prime Minister, Tony Abbott — whose leadership during this distasteful time has been unimpeachable — has echoed my own opinion of Putin’s lofty rhetoric, making it clear that whilst Putin has “said all the right things,” Russia will be judged on its actions rather than its words.

Abbott said that any veto of the Australian-sponsored resolution at the United Nations would be viewed “very, very badly.”

Across the world — and including in the corridors of power in many Western democratic countries — it seems many have either awoken to the real threat to European and world security Putin’s Russia poses, or have dropped the pretence and the facade that it poses nothing of the kind.

Too much has transpired for too long to ignore the fact that Russia has been readying its military and building networks of allies, associates and clandestine agents that directly and indirectly threaten the welfare of those around it, and which pose grave strategic challenges to Russia’s traditional adversaries in Europe and the US.

What it happening in Ukraine is a microcosm of the trouble that could be unleashed if Russia’s antics are escalated rather than curtailed. And as horrific as the MH17 tragedy was and is, it is nothing compared to the destruction and loss of life a broader conflict pitting the West against Russia would inevitably unleash.

I might be wrong, and the imminent vote at the United Nations will clarify that, but my sense is that the West will provide Putin with one opportunity and one only to call off his dogs in Eastern Ukraine, allow an independent international investigation into the MH17 disaster to run its course, and to co-operate fully with those inquiries, including taking whatever remedial action is reasonably demanded against the state-backed rebels who it still seems are the likely culprits of this outrage.

In short, Putin will get his chance to make good on his words. If he reneges, it is doubtful that he will be given another.

 

 

MH17 Disaster: Is Russia “The Monster At The Bottom Of The Abyss?”

THREE DAYS after the criminal atrocity of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17, the finger of world condemnation is pointed directly at Russia, whose denials of all responsibility over the incident have also attracted the full force of international fury; amid reports of looting and stealing evidence by Russian-backed separatists at the crash site, and with the risk of military confrontation real, is it the case that Russia is the monster at the bottom of the abyss?

I have to admit that when I first posted on this matter on Friday, I took great care not to prejudge Russia in seeking to lash out at a scapegoat; it does seem — based on the millions of words printed and broadcast on the subject since then in the mainstream media, and elsewhere in the commentariat — that I needn’t have bothered to be circumspect.

From the moment news broke that MH17 had been shot down over Ukraine it seemed inconceivable that anyone else could be blamed for what increasingly appears to have been the state-sanctioned butchery of nearly 300 Western civilians, and I’m sorry if readers misinterpreted caution as confusion.

Those who’ve been with me for the long haul know, however, that I have never had any faith in “democratic” Russia, nor in its purported bona fides as a responsible and honourable international citizen. Something like this was always going to happen, unfortunately, and whilst what has transpired is and will be horrific for the families and friends of the deceased to now have to deal with, one has to wonder exactly where this will all lead — and what, at the end of the day, Russia might do next.

I want to start this morning by sharing something with readers; it’s an article by American scholar Jeff Nyquist, whose area of speciality is strategic geopolitics and, specifically, examining modern Russia through the prism of its Soviet past in order to understand, interpret and anticipate how it might behave in the future. Some of what Nyquist writes has a distinctly conspiratorial whiff about it, just to be clear. But the vast bulk of it is right on the money, and it is important to remember that when Nyquist talks of something that is “near” or “close,” or which might happen “tomorrow,” he isn’t necessarily speaking literally.

Back in October 2008, Nyquist posed the question of “the monster at the bottom of the abyss;” remembering the context — the global financial crisis was unfolding, and Russia’s activities in Georgia and South Ossetia had shocked the world — the article is obviously historical in nature viewed in connection to current events. Yet some of the points he makes (and even the issues at play even then) are chillingly salient.

For one thing, the strategic Russian objective of splitting Europe from its march in lockstep with the United States is arguably more advanced today than it was in 2008; for another, Germany is central to the European response to the MH17 tragedy and in this context, the outrage it expresses toward Russia is telling. Further, Nyquist speaks of the Russian tactic of using energy security (or the threat of withholding it from Europe) as a means with which to advance its agenda, and as we all know, Russia has readily done so where its eastern European “partners” — read, reunification targets in Vladimir Putin’s USSR reconstruction project — are concerned.

He does reference “President Medvedev,” the puppet quisling exploited by Putin to circumvent constitutional term limits on the Russian presidency, although no-one should be fooled as to who was really running Russia during the so-called Medvedev years. And perhaps most importantly, Nyquist has (rightly) been a trenchant and resolute critic of the Obama presidency in the USA, calling out its weakness, and ripping into the Obama agenda of American nuclear disarmament at the very time Russia has modernised and upgraded its strategic forces.

(I published an article dealing with that last point — which also touches on the Ukraine issue — in April, that can be accessed here).

For me, the killer passage in this article lies in the lines that read “Everyone knows that Russia is dangerous. Partnering with Russia is like playing with fire.” And it is there — right there — that I draw the link back from the contemporary events Nyquist discusses in his article to the travesty that took place on Friday morning, Melbourne time. The global community — and the West in particular — has contrived to “partner” with Moscow. Now that push is beginning to come to shove, it seems the West is destined to be burned for its trouble.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has labelled Putin’s dismissal of any responsibility for MH17 being shot down, and for the lives of murdered innocents, as being “deeply, deeply unacceptable;” in return, Putin has delivered Abbott a tongue lashing of his own. His contention that the rocket that downed the Boeing 777 was either supplied by the Ukrainian government directly or stolen from it by pro-Russian separatists defies and beggars belief on many levels, but the bottom line is that Putin will not tolerate criticism from those he deems to rank beneath him, even among his peers.

In the meantime, there is ample evidence that directly or indirectly, the blame for what happened on Friday lies squarely at the feet of Russia and its master.

Global news broadcasters showed footage last weeks of shipments of arms and other materials continuing to be transferred across the Russia-Ukraine border and into the willing hands of Russian-backed insurgents even as Putin himself was giving US President Barack Obama assurances he would do everything to de-escalate the explosively tense situation in Eastern Ukraine.

Ample evidence has been presented in the mainstream media that instruction and training in the use of weapons such as the Soviet-built BUK surface-to-air missile system believed to have been used to bring MH17 down was provided to the insurgents by Russian forces, as have intercepted recordings of telephone conversations between the insurgents gloating about their success in “hitting” a passenger plane. (There are reports of intercepted telephone conversations between insurgents reporting back to Moscow, too, although these remain, at time of writing, unverified).

Since the ill-fated MH17 crashed, it seems insurgent forces have looted the wreckage at will: everything from the aeroplane’s black box flight recorders to debris from the crash, and to the passports and valuables of its passengers — and even, in one report I saw, dead bodies — has been a free for all for these barbarians, and where and/or to whom the materials taken is unknown. Yet Russia, in explicitly backing the insurgent forces and almost overtly partnering in their campaign — going so far as to claim the Russian Army uniforms it supplied them had been stolen — lies at the core of every aspect of the disaster that has cost nearly 300 innocent lives to date.

The eventual cost, of course, is unknown, and not just measured in the lost lives Russia obviously judges to herald no value.

In the spirit of sharing news articles on this issue, here and here are a couple of the better ones doing the rounds this morning.

I said on Friday that there was a possibility that the shooting down of MH17 and the senseless slaughter of civilians posed the prospect that World War 3 might have started; nobody has laughed, and nobody has dismissed the carefully nuanced suggestion out of hand. In fact, here in Australia, both the Fairfax and Murdoch press have also opined, explicitly, in similar terms over the past few days.

What might have been paranoid conspiracy theory a week ago certainly isn’t that now, and whilst the enduring hope that sane and rational heads prevail still carries with it the probability that they will, there is too much “grey” in the Russian response to what it endeavours to dismiss as a black and white portrait fashioned entirely in the brush strokes of others — even when the fingerprints of Russian complicity are all over the painting, and visible to anyone who cares to look at it.

What went on in Georgia and South Ossetia entailed the loss of thousands of lives, as has Russia’s protracted and ill-fated misadventure against insurgents in Chechnya.

But Putin’s objectives in South Ossetia at least were realised, and whilst Georgia might not have been such a success for the Russian leader, a question of strategic priorities would suggest Georgia and South Ossetia were a trial run for the more serious (and potentially more lucrative) undertaking that Russia, by proxy, is now attempting to prosecute in Ukraine.

A key question is what comes after Ukraine. Nobody knows. But it seems decreasingly likely that if Putin gets what he wants in Ukraine — using, it seems, any or all means possible — that the Russian juggernaut would simply stop.

Remember that Russia has variously suggested nuclear responses to any Western attempts to intervene in Libya and Syria; it has been linked to multiple political assassinations over the past decade on British soil; it has provided sanctuary to the seditious US traitor Edward Snowden; it has proven willing to use non-military means to achieve political objectives (like turning off European gas supplies during winter) with the implicit threat of actual force to back them; and in Ukraine at least, it has been seen to arm and abet militia forces bent on realising the objectives of Moscow in defiance — and at the intended cost — of the West.

There is of course a litany of other “incidents” Russia is suspected to have been involved in that have never been proven, including a theory Nyquist has in the past explored that the September 11 attacks on the US in 2001 were — ultimately, and at deliberate arms’ length — the work of the KGB/FSB. But even to look beyond those, that first list — coupled with the fact Moscow under Putin has assembled economic and military co-operation pacts with Brazil, India and (ominously), China, the picture that emerges is an unpleasant one indeed.

If the shooting down of MH17 proves to be the catalyst for events to spiral out of control and to trigger a global conflagration, it’s a fair bet that unlike the first two such wars, Russia will not be fighting on the “Allied” side.

In fact, recent events, considered alongside the recent past, warrant the question Nyquist first asked.

Is Russia the monster at the bottom of the abyss?