The Papadopoulos Interfax Interview and Another Syria Data Point

The other day, the WaPo had a story reviewing the larger role in the Trump campaign George Papadopoulos had than the Trump folks admit. Much of this work has appeared elsewhere, but I’m particularly interested in the WaPo’s account of the direction Deputy Comms Director Brian Lanza gave to George Papadopoulos regarding an Interfax interview he would do. He emphasized that the campaign wanted the message that it wanted a partnership with Russia on Syria.

When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election, the young adviser to then-
candidate Donald Trump made sure to seek approval from campaign headquarters.

“You should do it,” deputy communications director Bryan Lanza urged Papadopoulos in a September 2016 email, emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. “partnership with Russia.”

[snip]

“Received a request from Interfax Russian News Agency with Ksenia Baygarova on U.S.-Russia ties under a President Trump. What do you think?” he wrote to Lanza on Sept. 9, 2016. “If the campaign wants me to do it, can answer similar to the answers I gave in April while in Israel.”

Lanza gave the go-ahead, citing the conflict in Syria as a reason to work with the Russians. Papadopoulos then offered to send the campaign a copy of the interview after it was published.

“You’re the best. Thank you!” Lanza responded.

Lanza declined to comment.

In the interview, published Sept. 30, 2016, Papadopoulos told the Russian media outlet that Trump had been “open about his willingness to usher in a new chapter in U.S.-Russia ties,” specifically citing the need for cooperation in Syria.

As WaPo notes, the resulting interview is one Papadopoulos made sure Ivan Timofeev saw, in what may be part of a signaling process to Russia on Trump policy questions. In it, Papadopoulos specifically came out against regime change, one of the US policies Putin especially loathes.

Q.: Do you share the opinion that the Assad regime should be immediately removed from power in Syria?

A.: We do not support aggressive changes of regimes anywhere including Syria. Look what had happened in Lybia and Iraq. We all remember this. However, it does not mean that we support Assad either.

Syria was key in other signaling — and in Jared’s top policy priorities immediately after the election.

The focus on Syria is key: remember that Jared Kushner explained his request to Sergei Kislyak for a Russian-run secure back challenge as an effort to cooperate on Syria.

The Ambassador expressed similar sentiments about relations, and then said he especially wanted to address U.S. policy in Syria, and that he wanted to convey information from what he called his “generals.” He said he wanted to provide information that would help inform the new administration. He said the generals could not easily come to the U.S. to convey this information and he asked if there was a secure line in the transition office to conduct a conversation. General Flynn or I explained that there were no such lines. I believed developing a thoughtful approach on Syria was a very high priority given the ongoing humanitarian crisis, and I asked if they had an existing communications channel at his embassy we could use where they would be comfortable transmitting the information they wanted to relay to General Flynn.

So it’s possible the attacks on Hillary’s Syria policy were a signal — as the earlier speech’s call for engagement with Russia apparently was — to Timofeev.

The Papadopoulos interview was published on September 30, just 11 days before Don Jr. flew to Paris to meet with some pro-Russian Syrians.

One meeting that Donald Trump Jr. has not fully explained is a speech in Paris on October 11, 2016, just weeks before the election.

In his capacity as a key member of the Trump campaign, Trump Jr. spoke at the meeting at the request of a French think tank, The Center of Political and Foreign Affairs. Trump Jr. was likely paid about $50,000 for the speech, according to the speaking fees listed by talent booking agency that represents him.

The CFPR has a reputation in the French press as being “openly connected to the Russians.” It is difficult, however, to track just how connected they are, as France does not require it’s nonprofit organizations to disclose their finances.

The founders of the center have worked closely with the Russian government to end the conflict in Syria and in 2016, nominated Russian President Vladimir for the Nobel Peace Prize. The center’s director, Fabien Baussart, has been described as “a former lobbyist for Russian oligarchs in France.” He cited Putin’s “peace-making efforts” as reason for his nomination. One of the founders, Baussart’s wife Randa Kassis, heads a political party called the Movement for a Pluralistic Society, which is in part endorsed by Russia in support of Syrian president Bashar al-Asssad.

Now we know, then, that even at the level of flacks, the emphasis in this period was on publicizing (to Russians, in a Russian outlet) the Trump willingness to work together on Syria, and specifically to depart from US efforts to remove Assad.

 

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64 replies
  1. Rapier says:

    A bunch of drama queens. Some obscure signals about intent were a pathetic joke in light of the reality of the entire US diplomatic, military and intelligence establishment being dedicated to eliminating Assad and essentially destroying Syria. For all those signals, and now a year in office, last month the US killed some Russian irregulars fighting there.

    The situation has changed a lot since the summer of 16 when 50 US ‘diplomats’ including many State Department employees, Hillary’s people, the War Party, urged in a letter to the NY Times a no fly zone which would have lead to either Russia stopping air support or us shooting down Russian planes, or they, ours, and potentially WWIII. Obama deferred, Soon after because of the Russian involvement the tide turned against the menagerie of ‘rebels’ so by inauguration day it was over for them. By election time ‘rebel’ victory was not even a pipe dream.

    Was Russia as stupid as these guys, believing a bunch or amateur outsiders were going to turn the US ship of state on a dime? Lest we forget it’s Israel and the Saudis that want to end the Assad’s, and Syria as a viable state. Trump’s bff’s. Against that any ‘policy’ change with Syria hits a brick wall, and was too late by Dec 17 anyway.

    Hang these Mayberry Metternich’s out to dry, sure.

    • orionATL says:

      rapier-

      “…For all those signals, and now a year in office, last month the US killed some Russian irregulars fighting there…”

      oh dear me, some poor russian “irregulars”, actually mercenaries often used by the russian government, were killed when they attacked a kurdish site where there were american advisers – bad career move for the mercenaries.

      http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-43167697

      • orionATL says:

        it seems putin’s cook was in charge of those poor “irregulars”:

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/putin-ally-said-to-be-in-touch-with-kremlin-assad-before-his-mercenaries-attacked-us-troops/2018/02/22/f4ef050c-1781-11e8-8b08-027a6ccb38eb_story.html

        “…Prigozhin made front-page headlines last week when he was indicted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III on charges of bankrolling and guiding a long-running Russian scheme to conduct “information warfare” during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign…”

        • Trip says:

          The underhandedness of the Kremlin is underplayed; the US shit notwithstanding.  The people of Russia knew nothing of the mercenaries, it was hidden from them, until journalists started releasing names. The Kremlin tried not to claim them as Russian.

          It’s simply my opinion, but the Syrian dialogue appears to me to be just an excuse to release the Kremlin and cohorts from sanctions. If you look at it through the intersectionality of Bolton, Flynn, Prince, Devos, Dershowitz, the Mercers, Kochs, Trump, and many others, the thrust of cohesion between the groups, for *public consumption* (emphasis added), is “Fighting the evils of Islamic Terrorism”.  So all sides ramp it up, keep it going through acts which provoke terrorism or fake news to keep the fear going. In reality, we all know that it’s about money and power.

          At one point, Putin even softened his stance on whether Assad needed to be the one left in charge. It’s all geopolitical maneuvering, with a side of brainwashing the masses first.  Putin does not give a crap about Assad or Syrians. He doesn’t give a crap about Russians either.  He wants control in the region. Which really isn’t different than the other players; no altruism and/or honor involved.

          The entire Putin/Trump hero team to fight terrorism is merely the ‘branding’. Perhaps it was even the code word or signal. Who the hell knows?

          • NJrun says:

            Agree. If there is one thing that we know for sure, it is that Trump’s team and Putin care nothing about the public of any country. Everything has to be seen in the light of trying to gain power and grift money. So all of these topics have to be a signal about something else.NJr

          • matt says:

             If you look at it through the intersection of Bolton, Flynn, Prince, Devos, Dershowitz, the Mercers, Kochs, Trump, and many others

            Trip, obviously these actors were primarily anti-Clinton/Obama.

            Their international plans for exploiting huge Eastern Mediterranean gas finds and economic development in the Middle East in alignment with Russia was in play before Trump.  Presumably Cruz would have advanced their efforts had he not lost the Republican Primaries.

            My point being that the conspiracy to sway the election was more about being “against Hilary” than being “for Trump.”

            That said,  I’m having a hard time understanding what the State Department and “Hillary’s War Party” (as Rapier notes) represented that was so unpalatable.  Presumably, she was going to bat for US energy interests in their posture against Assad/Putin.

            If this is true, where are the billionaires and backroom players that are loosing out on Hillary Clinton flavored energy/development deals?

             

            • matt says:

              Maybe Hillary wasn’t a “player” after all.  The way things are going… if there are no elites and power players deep in Washington, the Military, or big business that are sympathetic to- what a Hillary Clinton president represents domestically and internationally– you can bet that the Muller investigation will be nixed by the forces behind Trump, or stop with a few obvious patsies for us to lay the collective blame.

              • Trip says:

                Everyone’s a player.

                But the Kochs et al set in motion a long range plot to usurp any element that is not radically conservative-right. Their money, for their interests, has driven the behind the scenes machinations for years.

              • SpaceLifeForm says:

                Oh, there are many, many power players that are concerned enough to keep the investigations going. They can see the machinations, they realize that at some point down the road, they can be squeezed out.

                It is by no means a done deal that the investigations will be squashed and buried.

                It’s always darkest before the dawn.

      • Desider says:

        But Orion, WWIII happened, didn’t you hear, and it’s all Hillary’s fault. That rapier wit is here to tell us.

        • matt says:

          That’s what I’m wondering.  The propaganda machine against Hillary and Obama ran day and night for years.  Neither “snapped their fingers” and magically ended 50 years of international resource mongering, war profiteering, and meddling with foreign policy by the US.  So to many liberals it seemed like they weren’t doing enough, failed,… or had turned to the dark side.  Maybe they just didn’t have enough time… or Wall St., Big Energy, MIC, and/or megalomaniac billionaire support to change the tide?

          The Bolton appointment is a bellwether.  He is a modern day, non-fictional Dr. Strangelove.  If there are no powerbrokers left (public or private) to stand against a move like this… I have my doubts that Mueller will be able to bring to light the epic betrayal of America, Democracy, and Humanity that the elites backing the Trump administration are guilty of.

    • GKJames says:

      Not so sure that “Israel and the Saudis … want to end … Syria as viable state”. They’ve done fine by the Assads who, as Alawites (11% and Shia), managed for decades to run a country that’s some 63% Sunni; that includes maintaining a cold peace on the Golan Heights. It’s the chaos of the civil war which has caused the current Assad to look to Iran and Russia for survival. Any port in a storm. Given the lack of realistic alternatives, I’d argue that the viability of a Syria under Assad is very much in the Israelis’ and Saudis’ interest.

      • greengiant says:

        About the same split as Yemen. The view from here is that the US has been a KSA/Israeli proxy in the arming of the Syrian jihadis and rebels.  Good news was the refusal of US contractors to train jihadis in Jordan. The timeline Syrian civil war 2011,  Benghazi 2012,  ISIS 2014 suggests there are either large powers at work in Syria or some methods have a good bang for the buck.  In the US the propaganda is that the Syrian war is a scheme to infuse Europe with muslim refugees. That works for the Kremlin which has enabled the Murmansk to Norway and Sweden route.  The recent mercenary debacle crossing the Euphrates,  the Kremlin’s cut out’s reward was a share of any oil fields recaptured. Possibly it was a sacrifice to distract from the Putin Trump connections. Or maybe team Trump has not figured out the SDF and the US are supposed to pull back.

        Agree with Rapier,  especially the slam on team Trump’s savvy. Really going to rendition the Gulen head out of the US?  Privatize the IC and take trigger control away from the NSC and put it Prince’s hands? And now they are helping KSA turn upside down and the blockade of Qatar?  I think Assad will rule with Iran and the Kremlin’s assistance because there won’t be enough proxies to boot them out.  The US was in so deep just to eliminate ISIS in 2017 and sooner or later the SDF will have to withdraw.

        • Trip says:

          Trump is corrupt. This is indisputable. What better route to absolute power than through someone who has no principles, no ethics, no concern for humanity in general, and who is driven entirely by self-interest?  Someone who could convince the masses of his success through layers of facades, and slick TV editing and promotion.

          The shadow gov’t has been working for years to upend democracy and consolidate power and riches. The cutting up of the globe through conspiracy, is no concern for a conman who only cares about cashing in on the scheme. Trump was working the lower end of organized crime. The international oligarchs have been running it at the top through “diplomacy” for years, and of course, dirty and dark money. The collaboration between them (Trump and the oligarchs) was all about mutual interests. Blackmail and/or inducements for Trump? Maybe both. Trump slapped his name on the presidency, like he would when he’d sell his name, connecting it to another developer’s building, for a price. Who that person is, their methodology, their means of income, was never a concern for him, provided he got a piece of the action.

          Like Bannon said at one point, paraphrased, “Trump is our blunt instrument”.

      • matt says:

        Agree that a stable Syria is in Israel/KSA interests.  The US caused Arab Spring and Iraqi refugees/displaced jihadists that destabilized Syria.  Then as usual, our CIA trained and armed dissidents.  Yet another quagmire.  Then we stalled, hoping for the locals to sort out the disorder.  Maybe Israel called in the Russians not only to stabilize the region with means and manpower the US was unwilling to commit… but also to change the calculus of the balance of Imperial power in the region.  In the beginning it seemed that Israel was friendly with Russia… working on some pipeline deals…

  2. mister bunny says:

    George and his supervisors all knew the Russians had dirt on Hillary, and by mid September much of it had been released.

    According to the Bill Moyers timeline, on Sept. 22nd:
    “Frustrated that the White House won’t inform the public about Russian cyberattacks on the election, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) issue a statement that they have learned from intelligence briefings that Russia is directing a campaign to undermine the election.”

    Sometime soon after this, the Trump campaign sent signals to Russian agents indicating the importance of the policy shifts suggested in George’s campaign approved interview remarks.

    The mutually beneficial relationship was already well established (including promises about sanctions relief). This Syria emphasis was just another layer on the cake.

  3. NJrun says:

    Another question comes to mind: we know Trump was furiously trying to set up back channels to Putin. We know a couple, I.e., Jared and Prince, were thwarted. How many of these efforts succeeded and are active right now?

  4. Tom D says:

    If they have a backchannel set up, why does Trump meet privately with Putin? Those meetings suggest no backchannel, at least between Trump and Putin – there may be other backchannels between the Russians and staff in the WH.

    • aubrey mcfate says:

      Or the Lavrov Kislay meeting in the White House. Someone ratted Trump out, like they ratted him out on his congratulatory call. Until Trump consolidates dictatorial power he won’t be secure in these conspiratorial communications.

      • JAAG says:

        RT covered it on the evening news. Trump had gotten rid of the visitor log a few weeks earlier and he seemed to think it was all big league covert.

        Then RT tweeted about it or some such PR.  One would think that that would scare him a bit if itw as just an honest crush.

    • Palli Davis Holubar says:

      Why the necessity of backchannel to Putin, despite a private trump/Putin meeting?

      Simple: trump could never be a reliable bearer of important messages-secret, private or public.

  5. JD12 says:

    A.: We do not support aggressive changes of regimes anywhere including Syria. Look what had happened in Lybia and Iraq. We all remember this. However, it does not mean that we support Assad either.

    It would be nice to get them back to this position, but we’re close to the point of no return. All Pompeo and Bolton see is terrorists everywhere, but they at least have one foot grounded in reality. Trump is isolating himself more, his paranoid delusions will only get worse. Most Americans overestimate the Iranian threat but the president is a man of extremes.

    • matt says:

      When Hillary/Obama stepped back from escalation with Syria and brokered the Iran deal… Israel began making the case in their domestic media for taking (overt) war onus into their own hands.  Which is where they would be with a Hillary presidency.  With Trump’s (Kushner’s) victory, the foreign policy agenda that best suits Israel (for the US to continue to “stabilize” the Middle East) is obviously on the table again… and probably where were going with talk of escalating war in Syria and Iran.  Anyone want to guess what Bolton/Pompeo will sell as the new pretext for war?  It has to big… really, really big.  Dirty nuclear bomb? Thousands dead from chemical attack?

      • JD12 says:

        Now that you mention it, the Israel angle is a good one to look at. They have the plans and up to date intelligence already. Iran really isn’t a threat to the US homeland, but Israel has a few incidents a year with Hezbollah that they could escalate and try to tie to Iran. They’re also capable of creating one. There’s that Army study that truthers like to talk about since it was published the day before 9/11:

        Of the Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, the SAMS officers say: “Wildcard. Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.

        https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2001/sep/10/20010910-025319-6906r/

        The truthers take it out of context, it applies to a potential Palestinian peace deal with US providing security, but it shows what they’re capable of.

        My money would be on a shoot down of an Israeli jet, another missile launched at Saudi Arabia or Israel but successful this time, or an incident in the Persian Gulf, there’s always tension there. Maybe something in Jerusalem. I don’t think Iran would challenge us directly.

        I suppose there’s a chance of a transparent preemptive strike, Trump could just rip up the nuclear deal and maybe bomb their nuclear facilities, but for everybody now involved (Bolton, Pompeo, Bibi, MBS, possibly Mattis) it wouldn’t be enough. They could repeat the claim that we didn’t to Iraq right the first time and that’s why we had to go back so we need to do it right.

  6. Watson says:

    Trump: ‘[Service by transgender individuals will] hinder military effectiveness and lethality, disrupt unit cohesion, and tax military resources’.

    This chicken-hawk draft dodger punk should be required to recuse himself from all decisions involving the military.

  7. maybe ryan says:

    And yet, cooperation on Syria was the only Russia rapprochement that actually had significant support prior to the Trump campaign. Syria, and the decision not to cooperate with Russia there, seems to have led Pat Lang and the folks at Sic Semper Tyrannis from a mild Obama tolerance over to a belligerence that sometimes seemed close to treason to me, till the bile built up and I could no longer stand visiting the site anymore. Syria was a genuine policy bridge to Russo-philia for a lot of Republicans. Could the actions described still have been signals? Maybe. But it should be acknowledged that there is potential a more straightforward, banal explanation.

  8. erichwwk says:

    “Now we know, then, that even at the level of flacks, the emphasis in this period was on publicizing (to Russians, in a Russian outlet) the Trump willingness to work together on Syria, and specifically to depart from US efforts to remove Assad.”  

    Is this emphasis seen as a positive or negative effort?  As a signal that international law will be respected or thwarted?

     Papadopoulos specifically came out against regime change, one of the US policies Putin especially loathes.

    How has a policy of “regime change” , morphed to become acceptable U.S. policy? Is violent regime change NOT to be loathed?

    Q.: Do you share the opinion that the Assad regime should be immediately removed from power in Syria?
    A.: We do not support aggressive changes of regimes anywhere including Syria. Look what had happened in Lybia [sic] and Iraq. We all remember this. However, it does not mean that we support Assad either.

    I get the implication that EW disapproves of this exchange. Correct?  If so why?

    I still read EW daily, but now in more of a scan that with an expectation that I will learn something to return us to “good governance”.  The focus IMHO has seemed to shift towards demonizing Russia, Putin, and Donald Trump and ever trivial points, a development I find troubling.
     

    • bmaz says:

      So facts and truth are “trivial points” for you eh? How quaint. So sorry to “trouble” you.

      • Trip says:

        I find it entertaining that ANYONE, who has read anything, would consider that Trump had an otherwise fabulous, sparkling reputation as a stand-up guy with diplomatic mastery, which is now only being destroyed by Marcy’s “demonization”. Likewise Putin (the saint).

        And excerpting little pieces out of the full context of what Marcy is illustrating, (a timeline of more comprehensive contact, denied over and over), and not comprehending or acknowledging that Marcy was not editorializing her overall opinion of relations between the countries, is a terribly disingenuous and ridiculously obvious slight of hand. This is not master magician-work.

        It’s so blatant that this person pulled the coin out of their own ass, instead of behind the volunteer’s ear. It stinks.

      • earlofhuntingdon says:

        An architectural critic who could see bricks but no mortar, glass but no steel, and no building comprised of them would find his world troubling.

      • matt says:

        Jeez you guys, why not just answer the question about the regime change issue?

        I get the implication that EW disapproves of this exchange [against ousting Assad]. Correct?  If so why?

          • matt says:

            Now we know, then, that even at the level of flacks, the emphasis in this period was on publicizing (to Russians, in a Russian outlet) the Trump willingness to work together on Syria, and specifically to depart from US efforts to remove Assad.

            The post states the above fact- which begs the question, is the effort to remove Assad good or bad foreign policy? If so why or why not?

            Hardly asinine.

             

    • greengiant says:

      One practical side function of the blog is a troll/useful fool meter where different voices sometimes use logic and other times agitation to drown the channel with noise volume. Sure is a lot of agitation smoke on this subject,  as well as the election count fraud in other venues. To suggest that Israel or the KSA are going to happy with a stronger Shia presence in Syria is laughable.  Bibi like anyone else can make a course change but I am going to wait for the memo. Why distract a #TrumpRussia post?

      Trump’s MO is to generate an unending series of lies and let the marks decide which ones they want to believe. When it comes to the kremlin oligarchies holding his markers his act could well be different. Is Trump going against Kremlin interests when the US gives the green light to more war in Yemen and the blockade of Qatar? I can see the Mossad wanting the Iran option on the table in case they ever need it,  but executing the Iran option is possibly WWIII and is at least 3 billion people who will be eternally pissed at the Israeli state.

  9. Yogarhythms says:

    Thank you EW. Papadopoulos Interfax Interview ….suggests candidate’s strategic alignment with Russia’s Syrian goals raises Logan Act questions? Empires wealth with new Brand is lucrative anticipation of continued war on terror. Signaling appreciation for extending electioneering efforts CA/FB.

  10. erichwwk says:

    I once learned much from EW, reading Marcy since the firedoglake days. Still find her discussion on NSA Sect. 702 good. But NOT the Russiagate material. Worse, when I ask what I still hold to be a reasonable question, I get answered with cute dialogue, “ass”, fuck”, now seeming to be acceptable words in dialogue here. SAD. I no longer find this site of much value. While I find it absurd that DT is POTUS, I view that as the symptom of a MUCH larger systemic problem which seems to be of no interest here. Best I can tell, the focus seems to be on style, not substance.

    In the meantime, in case there is SOMEONE interested in the broader picture, interested in finding ways of improving US-Russian relations rather than finding ways to denigrate Russia/Putin, try the folks at nakedcapitalism.org or moonofalabama.org. You’ll find a very different style of discourse there, interesting in furthering understanding rather than echoing consensus and “winning an argument”, where criticism of majority opinion is not automatically ridiculed.

    To those, an article may be interest, on Stephen Cohen’s interview about US Russian relations, seen from a VERY different POV.

    “Who Will Stop the US-Russia Arms Race?” Anyone here?

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/03/will-stop-us-russia-arms-race.html

    • aubrey mcfate says:

      This troll’s comment is interesting for a revealing Putin’s line. As we know from Trump’s blabbing to the press after his “congratulatory” call “the arms race” was a new locution of his. Last month Putin demo’d his ham-handed virtual missile strike on Mar a Lago, thereby whipping up the notion of an arm’s race (that was after some deranged threats by Trump about our nuclear capacities). Then Trump, a good boy who doesn’t even need to be spanked, recited his “arms race” line after the phone call. I don’t quite know what this little narrative or maybe play-acting is all about, but it’s clear enough Trump, trumpkins and trolls have all been fed their directives.

      • Trip says:

        Also, if you recall, the Putin-philia crowd during the campaign used the same scare tactics about how not voting for Trump would start nuclear war with Russia. They seem to like the stick, rather than the carrot method. Fear is a powerful driver.

    • Trip says:

      You clicked on an article, in a series, about conspiracy. You did not have to.

      You completely misconstrued the entire POINT of the article, or you intentionally started a strawman argument, plus ad hominem attack against Marcy, WHO DID NOT state opinion on what the relationship should be between Russia and the US. Further, you were informed of this, but then still proceed to flounce because you aren’t getting your way in the defection you intended to tilt the conversation. So now you post links instead.

      If you must pearl-clutch over ‘language’, I don’t understand how you ever started reading Marcy’s articles in the first place. In the end, your comment came across as an overwrought hissy fit.

       

    • bmaz says:

      Dear “erichwwk”:

      Thanks for the condescending bullshit. Aw, jeez, did I offend you with that Erich? Is that “cute enough dialogue” for you? You have been reading since FDL days, huh? I have been here for every one of those days and I think your simpering is trite baloney.

      Also, you have made exactly 16 comments historically that I can find. Where have you been all this time, Erich? For well over ten years, that is not much, your sudden involvement and concern now is awfully special. Thanks for your sudden interest, it is duly noted.

    • greengiant says:

      Putin loves me,  that is pretty funny.  The Kremlin trolls and kool aid drinkers are even more active at those other two sites. Talk about how many deaths the Kremlin is responsible for and they get all what about all the US investigative reporters and whistleblowers who have been suicided. Ignorant is a not an ad hominem attack when it is the truth. One can be against both deep state/wall street and the oligarchies. Maybe if you had a little more personal experience in cold warfare you would have a different story. Seen the inside of a honeypot? You saying that all those phishes and attacks were made by someone else using Russian IPs just for the likes of me? Well then we have even bigger problems than the Kremlin mob. Pretty obvious the IRA and their ilk as well as the GOP ratfuckers did not stop in 2016 or at the inauguration.

      All these web sites are honeypots. Start your own or hire someone and check out where the trolls come from.

    • matt says:

      This guy is totally right.  Instead of a dialog… any criticism of majority opinion is ridiculed- with BMAZ the first to attack.   He didn’t say he loved Putin, nor Trump.  My god, aren’t you all fucking worried about a new nuclear arms race too?

      Anyone ever been to a ethnic Jewish family dinner? You’re not respected if you don’t argue a different point of view.  An argument is used as a means to refine ones own points of view- and in a hundred ways to learn something and make the conversation fun. We could use a little more of that here…

      • Trip says:

        This story is about a long history of denials, potential quid pro quo, with evidence being uncovered that directly contradicts the narrative of the ruling party. The Trump camp had multiple opportunities to ‘come clean’ about this engagement and the point thereof. More and more, “diplomatic” channels and arrangements tend to point to self-enrichment/dealing, or punishment (Qatar), as motivation. Also revealed is a shadow government attempt at establishing new controls around the globe, slicing and dicing, without the commitment or even participation of parties who will be impacted, and with some of them being long-held allies and supporters. Some may potentially lose independence, depending on any deals which entertain the Kremlin’s own imperialistic goals.

        Putin really does not care if Assad stays or goes, provided he maintains leverage and geopolitical positioning in the middle east. The Kremlin makes bank on arms deals to Syria and enjoys the use of a naval base in the region. Assad isn’t even a point of contention, in reality. To consider Syria, one must know what the deal is. What does Russia get in exchange for abandoning this location? What does the US get for abandoning this position? How much power, in the region, is handed over to the Kremlin? Or what power is granted in some other region?  The US interventionism has brought chaos, there is no doubt. But as much as the Kremlin complains about this, it is because they want to BE like the US, in dominating the globe. What they haven’t accomplished officially, they infiltrate via organized crime.

        Putin and the Kremlin are robbing the Russians blind to pay-off and influence policy, as well as personally enriching themselves.  The support by the Russian population for intervention in Syria remains low. Does that count?

        That this is seen as some fantastic new diplomatic mastery (Trump’s an idiot, and that personal gains and lies are inconsequential, even though they impact policy), while the Clintons were painted as thieves, dealers and hustlers through the conduit of their nonprofit or speeches with leaders around the world, is insane cognitive dissonance.  And full disclosure; I was not a fan of the rightward move by the New or Reagan Democrats, nor a big fan of both Clintons. In retrospect, either would have been a gloriously better choice than this hard right fascist push.

        And once again, since this was an article, in a series of articles, which analyze the official position, and uncovered LIES, the deflection to a diplomacy discussion and ignoring all other malfeasance of the Trump camp and the Kremlin is an often used device. As is the constant fear-mongering propaganda that if the Kremlin doesn’t get its way, we will all be bombed to Kingdom-come. Putin is living the high-life, in spite of sanctions, and I hardly see him as suicidal.

        Further, the tsk-tsking of what Marcy decides to cover ON HER OWN BLOG, deriding her for such, asserting an air of condescending superiority in the process (she should only cover what this person thinks is okay subject-matter wise) is disingenuous. This commenter states that s/he’s not a fan of Trump, while first claiming that Marcy is “demonizing” him. There is a huge contradiction. And this is the type of propaganda which was rampant during the campaigns.

        • bmaz says:

          Thank you. Yes that, especially the last paragraph, but the preceding ones as to subject framing too, was exactly my view. We get a lot of that lately, and it is tiring. Some you see, some that are just so bad they get dumped in moderation after consideration, but a lot.

        • matt says:

          Trip, your response is truly elegant… and I agree wholeheartedly.

          EW is a public forum now… getting lots of page views… and I think there are many disillusioned conservatives who are coming to read the blog… and testing out the arguments of their own cognitive dissonance.  They want a good argument from you or whoever to give them the final convincing to… “see the light” so to speak.

  11. aubrey mcfate says:

    We do not support aggressive changes of regimes anywhere including Syria. Look what had happened in Lybia and Iraq. 

    Gosh, I wish this were true. I have never been able to square the fact that Trump is a Russian asset with the other fact that he is taking the most bellicose Saudi/UAE/Isreali line on attacking Iran.

    My only guess is that in exchange for the Sunni/Israeli project Trump has given Putin a total free hand in Europe, and a specifically military free hand in Ukraine and, I fear, the Baltics next, where there are Russian minorities. Trump’s tone is demonstratively hostile to NATO members. I mentioned it the other day – I was heartened to see the Lithuanians a hard line on the Skripal poisoning at an E.U. summit. Despite the fact that that country is on the literal front line with the Russians, or maybe because it is, they haven’t been subverted the way Hungary, the Czechs, and the mafia government in Slovakia have.

    A last point, about Syria. I read the Washington Post daily, and over the past two years they grudgingly dispensed of the fiction that there were some “moderate rebels” (as if it weren’t an oxymoron) that we supported there. Instead, they were moderate rebels interspersed with “al-Nusra” fighters and, oh, these al-Nusra fighters were kind of affiliated with Al Quaeda and, well, actually, they were al-Quaeda and, oh, were did all those moderate weapons go…..and so on. The Post’s editorial line was to basically advocate joining the Sunni side in a sectarian war across the Middle East, which we’re now about to get. So, I don’t know if our prior policy there had any merits, other than Obama’s reluctance to let us get dragged into it. It was certainly better than what’s coming, though.

    • matt says:

      Gosh, I wish this were true. I have never been able to square the fact that Trump is a Russian asset with the other fact that he is taking the most bellicose Saudi/UAE/Isreali line on attacking Iran.

      Yes, this is the most confusing aspect of the whole Middle East.  And, that today Trump drew a line in the sand with the expulsion of Russian dignitaries.  My explanation is that Israel put plans in motion to work with Russia in 2014-16 in light of the vacuum that the Obama administration left in Syria.  But then, a “Hail Mary”- in the Trump campaign.  That he won, meant that Israel could dump Putin and work with Kushner and the big balls US military that they prefer.

       

  12. matt says:

    (reply in comment and formatting not working, again)*

    From Buzzfeed article harpie linked: “Over the weekend of Trump’s inauguration, Kammenos was photographed at social events talking with incoming chief of staff Reince Priebus and Trump political adviser Steve Bannon… and, According to the Post, Papadopoulos’s email said Greece wanted “to sign a government-to-government agreement with the USA for all rights to all energy fields offshore, strategic foothold in the Mediterranean and Balkans.”

    IT ALL BOILS DOWN TO THIS- NATION STATES & BILLIONAIRES FALLING OVER EACH OTHER TO CONTROL MEDITERRANEAN OFFSHORE NATURAL GAS (see link below). Priebus, a Koch man… and Bannon, a Mercer man caught in the act with Papadopoulos.

    https://www.offshore-technology.com/features/timeline-game-changing-gas-discoveries-eastern-mediterranean/

    *********
    *I’ve deleted all cookies, cache, restarted my router, and reloaded Chrome… Is EW ready for better hosting?

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