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Opinion | Mike Pompeo: Last in His Class at West Point in Integrity
Nov. 18, 2019 | The New York Times | By Thomas L. Friedman

....Pompeo has just violated one of the cardinal rules of American military ethics and command: You look out for your soldiers, you don’t leave your wounded on the battlefield and you certainly don’t stand mute when you know a junior officer is being railroaded by a more senior commander, if not outright shot in her back.........Pompeo instead let his ambassador to Ukraine — who depended on him for protection — be stabbed in her back with a Twitter knife, wielded by the president, rather than tell Trump: “Sorry, Mr. President, if you fire her, I will resign. Because to do otherwise would be unjust and against my values and character — and because I would lose the loyalty of all my diplomats if I silently went along with such a travesty of justice against a distinguished 33-year veteran of the foreign service.”............“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, but lose his soul?” — Mark 8:36......As two now retired, longtime State Department diplomats, Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky, wrote on CNN.com on Saturday, “At the very least, Pompeo enabled the smear campaign to go unchallenged, acquiesced in the Giuliani back-channel effort with Ukraine and failed to say a word in defense of Bill Taylor, George Kent or Marie Yovanovitch. These are breathtaking acts of craven political cowardice and beneath the dignity of any secretary of state.”

Mike Pompeo: Last in his class at West Point on ethics in leadership.........Reporters and columnists need to ask Pompeo every chance they get: “What moral code are you operating by that would justify such behavior?’’.....it’s now clear that Pompeo had not taken an oath to defend and protect the Constitution. He took an oath to defend and protect Donald J. Trump and Pompeo’s own future political career — above all else — and that’s exactly what he’s been doing. Shame on him.
character_traits  conspiracies  cowardice  diplomacy  disinformation  Donald_Trump  ethics  integrity  leadership  Michael_Pompeo  moral_codes  political_expediency  principles  scriptures  Tom_Friedman  Ukraine  U.S._State_Department  U.S.foreign_policy  values  West_Point 
november 2019 by jerryking
The Extra-Secret White House Computer System, Explained - The New York Times
The White House uses a web of computer systems to store delicate information.CreditCreditAl Drago for The New York Times
By Charlie Savage, Matthew Rosenberg and Adam Goldman
Oct. 1, 2019
classified_information  code_words  covert_operations  Donald_Trump  memorialization  NSC  secrets  security_&_intelligence  transcripts  Ukraine  White_House 
october 2019 by jerryking
Whistle-Blower Is a C.I.A. Officer Who Was Detailed to the White House
Sept. 26, 2019 | The New York Times | By Adam Goldman, Michael S. Schmidt and Julian E. Barnes.

Agents, officers and analysts from the military, intelligence and law enforcement communities routinely work at the White House. Often, they work on the National Security Council or help manage secure communications, like calls between the president and foreign leaders.

The C.I.A. officer did not work on the communications team that handles calls with foreign leaders, according to the people familiar with his identity. He learned about Mr. Trump’s conduct “in the course of official interagency business,” according to the complaint, which was dotted with footnotes about machinations in Kiev and reinforced with public comments by senior Ukrainian officials.

Officials regularly shared information to “inform policymaking and analysis,” the complaint said. The complaint raises the prospect that the whistle-blower was not detailed to the White House either during the events in question or when he learned about them......The call with Mr. Zelensky was originally thought to be a routine matter, the complaint said, and the White House did not restrict it, meaning a number of officials and note takers listened.

But the whistle-blower said that afterward, White House officials “intervened to ‘lock down’ all records of the phone call,” putting them in a highly classified system meant for discussing covert actions. One White House official called that an abuse because the transcript contained no classified material.

Notes and rough transcripts of White House calls are typically stored on a computer system that allows senior officials in different departments and agencies to access them, to better coordinate policy.

Some White House colleagues told the whistle-blower that they were concerned they had witnessed “the president abuse his office for personal gain,” according to the complaint.

His complaint went beyond the call. During his time at the White House, the whistle-blower became deeply unnerved about how he believed Mr. Trump was broadly seeking to pressure the Ukrainian government to conduct investigations that could benefit him politically.

“Namely, he sought to pressure the Ukrainian leader to take actions to help the president’s 2020 re-election bid,” the complaint said of Mr. Trump.

After the call, multiple officials told the whistle-blower that future talks between Mr. Trump and Mr. Zelensky would depend on whether the Ukranians would “play ball” on the investigations he sought.

The whistle-blower, who lodged his concerns with the inspector general for the intelligence community, has identified at least a half-dozen government officials — including several who work for the White House — who he believes can substantiate his claims. The inspector general has interviewed some of them and found the whistle-blower’s claims credible.
Campaign_2020  CIA  Donald_Trump  impeachment  intelligence_analysts  Joe_Biden  policymaking  security_&_intelligence  Ukraine  whistleblowing  White_House 
september 2019 by jerryking
Russia Looks to Exploit White House ‘Turbulence,’ Analysts Say - The New York Times
FEB. 27, 2017 | The New York Times | By NEIL MacFARQUHAR.

The Kremlin, increasingly convinced that President Trump will not fundamentally change relations with Russia, is instead seeking to bolster its global influence by exploiting what it considers weakness in Washington, according to political advisers, diplomats, journalists and other analysts.

Russia has continued to test the United States on the military front, with fighter jets flying close to an American warship in the Black Sea this month and a Russian naval vessel steaming conspicuously in the Atlantic off the coast of Delaware.....“They are all telling each other that this is great, he created this turbulence inside, as we wanted, and now he is focused on his domestic problems and we have more freedom to maneuver,” Mr. Venediktov said. “Let them deal with their own problems. There, not in Ukraine. There, not in the Middle East. There, not in NATO. This is the state of mind right now.”...“The main hope is that the U.S. will be preoccupied with itself and will stop pressuring Russia.”....Any turbulence that Russia foments also gives the Kremlin leverage that it can try to trade in the global arena at a time when it does not have much that others want....Analysts say the Kremlin is keenly aware that the tactic of creating and exploiting disarray can become self-defeating, in that prolonged instability in the world order could allow threats like the extremist group Islamic State to flourish.....The Middle East provides examples of both vectors, analysts say, a moment of chaos to exploit and concerns about achieving stability for the long-term future.
Russia  White_House  Kremlin  Vladimir_Putin  chaos  power  influence  statecraft  rogue_actors  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation 
february 2017 by jerryking
Review: ‘Winter is Coming’, by Garry Kasparov
NOVEMBER 8, 2015 | FT | Review by John Thornhill

‘Winter is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must be Stopped’, by Garry Kasparov, Atlantic Books, £16.99; Public Affairs, $26.99

"The price of deterrence always goes up"

the real power of Kasparov’s book lies in his argument that the west must pursue a more assertive and moral foreign policy, something that has faded out of fashion. In his view, the most moral foreign policy is also the most effective. It enhances international security by insisting on observance of law....one of the most important aspects of any moral foreign policy is its consistency. Western leaders should keep talking about human rights issues in good times as well as bad. Otherwise, these issues become just another chip on the “geopolitical gaming table”. Those leaders should also insist on raising these subjects with strong autocracies, such as China, as well as the weak.

in Kasparov’s view, US President Bill Clinton squandered the chance to advance the international human rights agenda in the 1990s, as the west took a holiday from history. And today the west is too “uninformed, callous, or apathetic” to assert its influence and values.

He, rightly, argues that one of the most important aspects of any moral foreign policy is its consistency. Western leaders should keep talking about human rights issues in good times as well as bad. Otherwise, these issues become just another chip on the “geopolitical gaming table”. Those leaders should also insist on raising these subjects with strong autocracies, such as China, as well as the weak.
books  Russia  Vladimir_Putin  book_reviews  authors  writers  dictators  dictatorships  deterrence  dissension  Ukraine  human_rights  strategic_thinking  autocracies  chess  authoritarianism  foreign_policy  geopolitics  liberal_pluralism  rogue_actors  Garry_Kasparov  consistency  exile 
january 2017 by jerryking
Are we witnessing a comeback of the Stars and Stripes? - The Globe and Mail
JOHN STACKHOUSE
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Friday, Sep. 26 2014

America’s retreat was the central question. Had the superpower become a super-bystander? Or had the President just lost interest, energy and credibility to do more than moralize?...Mr. Obama has drawn instead on what he calls “progressive pragmatism,” which his aides claim is his nature, relying on an informal network of networks, ad hoc groups of nations taking on the challenges of the day. Some of them champion liberal values. Some are partners of convenience. Exhibit A: the coalition of willing Arab states in this week’s air strikes. Exhibit B: the network of health agencies and charities operating with U.S. support in ebola-stricken West Africa....On the grander issues of his age – climate change, cyber-security, the financial imbalance between America and Asia – Mr. Obama will need ad hoc networks like never before. The 2008 financial crisis was mitigated by a small group of central bankers, commercial bankers, regulators and finance ministers, supported but not directed by the United States. A president who is not renowned for building private-sector trust, or the loyalty of other nations, may be challenged to do that again. He also needs what America has lacked of late – for its allies to do more. Canada’s approach to carbon emissions is the sort of passive resistance the U.S. has encountered from India on trade, Mexico on immigration and Turkey on Syria. Under Mr. Obama, everyone has loved to complain about Washington, but few have been willing to shoulder their share of the costs.

Skeptics believe this is no longer possible – the world has too many strong voices, too many competing interests, too much of what physicists call entropy, the thermodynamic condition that degenerates order into chaos.
America_in_Decline?  bouncing_back  U.S.foreign_policy  multipolarity  Obama  John_Stackhouse  G20  UN  NATO  Iran  Ukraine  geopolitics  complexity  networks  interconnections  instability  superpowers  indispensable  disequilibriums  ad_hoc  nobystanders  entropy  imbalances 
september 2014 by jerryking
The Grand Strategy Obama Needs
SEPT. 10, 2014 | NYTimes.com | Vali R. Nasr.

What’s missing is a grand strategy — a road map not just for managing two crises but for ending them....But Eisenhower had a larger goal — not upsetting the delicate balance of power in the Cold War. Above all, he sought to avoid greater conflict, especially when he was trying to start arms control talks with Moscow.

In other words, he had a long-term global perspective.

By contrast, American policy today sees the world in fragments — ISIS in Iraq and Syria, Russia in Ukraine. But those crises have something important in common: Both trace to political fragmentation in weak states living within unsettled borders. That leaves those states prone to internal dissent, and America’s recent minimalist posture has given these brewing troubles room to explode into crises....American grand strategy should identify these weak countries before they turn on themselves; bolster their political mechanisms for living together in pluralism; declare our unyielding opposition to any outside forces that would seek to divide them. America’s military strength could assure the third part. The rest is work for our political and diplomatic experts.
Obama  Ukraine  strategy  geopolitics  '50s  Middle_East  Russia  strategic_thinking  nation_building  failed_states  long-term  weak_states  diplomacy  grand_strategy  roadmaps  Non-Integrating_Gap  Dwight_Eisenhower  crisis  Vali_Nasr 
september 2014 by jerryking
Inside Malaysia Airlines, tears and shock as tragedy strikes again - The Globe and Mail
Siva Govindasamy
Inside Malaysia Airlines, tears and shock as tragedy strikes again Add to ...
SUBSCRIBERS ONLY
KUALA LUMPUR — Reuters
Published Friday, Jul. 18 2014
MH17  Ukraine 
july 2014 by jerryking
So Far, Russia's Oil and Gas Allow It to Act Badly - WSJ.com
By GERALD F. SEIB | April 22, 2014

Of all the lessons one might draw from Russia's bullying of Ukraine, this may be the most coldblooded of all: If you want to behave badly, it helps to have a lot of oil and gas. Much will be forgiven, or at least ignored.

European nations, international energy companies and China are all, in their own ways, driving home the point. The Europeans are afraid of pushing economic sanctions against Moscow too far lest they be cut off from the Russian natural gas that provides a significant share of their energy.

The international energy companies are busy reassuring the Russians that they will keep working to help develop Russian energy supplies, the Ukraine crisis notwithstanding.

And the Chinese—well, they may be on the verge of completing a deal that has been under negotiation for 10 years to begin buying a lot of Russian natural gas. Russian officials said last week that they expect the negotiations to be completed before Russian President Vladimir Putin visits China in May.

For Mr. Putin, a China deal would amount to a multibillion-dollar strategic security blanket. If European nations to Russia's west don't want to buy his gas because of his annexation of Crimea and intimidation of Ukraine, never mind. He soon will have a large market for his gas to the east as an alternate.
natural_gas  oil_industry  Russia  Gerald_Seib  Ukraine  China  petro-politics  large_markets 
april 2014 by jerryking
Go Ahead, Vladimir, Make My Day - NYTimes.com
APRIL 12, 2014

Continue reading the main story
[Thomas L. Friedman]

check out Opower, which just went public. Opower works with utilities and consumers to lower electricity usage and bills using behavioral economics, explained Alex Laskey, the company’s co-founder, at their Arlington, Va., office. They do it by giving people personalized communications that display in simple, clear terms how their own energy usage compares with that of their neighbors. Once people understand where they are wasting energy — and how they compare with their neighbors — many start consuming less. And, as their consumption falls, utilities can meet their customers’ demand without having to build new power plants to handle peak loads a few days of the year. Everybody wins. Opower just signed up the Tokyo Electric Power Company and its 20 million homes.

Putting all its customers together since it was founded in 2007, said Laskey, Opower has already saved about “4 terawatt hours of energy” and expects to be soon saving that annually. The Hoover Dam produces about 4 terawatts hours of energy a year. So we just got a new Hoover Dam — for free — in Arlington, Va.

Thomas L. Friedman
Vladimir_Putin  natural_gas  climate_change  Ukraine  pipelines  Tom_Friedman  embargoes  behavioural_economics 
april 2014 by jerryking
Gazprom to Ukraine: Pay up or else
Apr. 11 2014 | - The Globe and Mail | CARL MORTISHED.
Ukraine  Gazprom  Europe  Vladimir_Putin  natural_gas  pipelines  EU 
april 2014 by jerryking
The end of our illusions about Russia - The Globe and Mail
Jeffrey Simpson

The Globe and Mail

Published Wednesday, Mar. 26 2014,

"Russia can neither be ignored nor ostracized, no matter how chauvinistic its behaviour, nor should it necessarily be feared. Russian chauvinism has always been one-part nationalism, one part awareness of internal weakness, which is why Russia’s historical relations with the countries of Western Europe have oscillated between co-operation and confrontation."....What Russia wanted, and still wants, is a sphere of uncontested influence. When the West, possessed of a post-Cold War triumphalism, would not grant that sphere, as Vladimir Putin and his cronies defined it, Russia rebelled.
Russia  Ukraine  Vladimir_Putin  Jeffrey_Simpson  post-Cold_War  triumphalism  chauvinism 
march 2014 by jerryking
Josef Joffe: Dear Vladimir: Congratulations. You Read My Book - WSJ.com
By
Josef Joffe
March 6, 2014 | WSJ |

Be both ruthless and prudent—just what I prescribed in "The Prince." You Russians have distilled my wisdom into a pithy phrase: Kto kovo—who dominates whom? And you have beautifully executed my central idea. I never preached violence to the max, but the "economy of force"—how to get more with less. The Crimean caper was a masterpiece of smart power politics.

Grab opportunities when you saw them. First, you calculated the "correlation of forces," to use a Soviet term....Then, you assessed political geography correctly. The rule is never to take on a superior enemy like the West on his own turf. You test his mettle on his periphery...Next, factor in geography proper. Globally, the West is far superior to Russia, but regionally, you were the Man. You had the "interior lines," as the great Prussian strategist Carl von Clausewitz put it; the West was a thousand miles away. And your troops were already in place in Crimea—tanks, planes and all....Now to the balance of interests, a more subtle concept. The EU has been contesting you over Ukraine, but more as a confused afterthought. Your country had more compelling fish to fry: Ukraine as former Russian heartland plus an ethnic majority in Crimea, a strategic gem that Khrushchev had absentmindedly given away to Ukraine 60 years ago.

So you also held the psychological advantage that comes with having more skin in the game. Khrushchev blithely ignored the balance of interests in the Caribbean. Otherwise he would not have moved his missiles into Cuba in 1962, 90 miles off the U.S. coast.....Best of all, you are a true Machiavellian when it comes to the economy of violence. Just enough, never too much, and with minimal risks. So you didn't grab eastern Ukraine, which might have really riled the West and triggered a costly insurgency. You merely harvested the low-hanging fruit of Crimea, and with a fabulous profit. ....Here, my pupil, beckons the biggest payoff. You need not fear the democratic contagion of the Maidan spilling over into your own country. Not for a long time.

What a boost to your "street cred" in the rivalry of nations! With a small investment, you have amassed what Mr. Obama no longer has and what the Europeans lost long ago: a reputation for ruthlessness and the readiness to use force.

Power is when you don't have to wield it—when you don't have to threaten, let alone execute, to get your way.....We live in a split world. In Asia and Africa, mayhem is as present or possible as ever. Call this the "Damascus-Pyongyang Belt." Yet in the "Berlin-Berkeley Belt," force as a tool of statecraft has virtually disappeared....the U.S.—is now loath to resort to the ultima ratio. And that offers you wondrous opportunities. When the supply of force contracts, even a little bit goes a long way, as you have proved in Crimea.
mayhem  Niccolò_Machiavelli  Vladimir_Putin  Crimea  Russia  power  influence  statecraft  geopolitics  Ukraine  improvisation  rogue_actors  skin_in_the_game  political_geography  ruthlessness  large_payoffs  Carl_von_Clausewitz  strategic_geography  hard_power  stratagems  power_plays 
march 2014 by jerryking

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