Biden On The World Stage Makes America Proud As He Pushes Democracy

The autocratic moves and tendencies of the previous White House administration, along with the kindred moves in nations from Hungary to Brazil have left many worldwide rightly concerned about the condition of democracy. Illiberal democracy has long been a theme on this blog.

Thy most important message that President Joe Biden pushed as a candidate was his desire to return to normalcy with our domestic politics, and a turn towards the proper role our nation has long played on the world stage. International alliances and working friendships among nations are at the heart of our diplomatic efforts. As he urged in the race for election we must address a very serious worldwide battle of democracy versus dictatorship, freedom versus authoritarianism, and human rights versus oppression.

There was no way not to be pleased and reassured over the past days as Biden has proved to be a truly powerful and passionate champion of democracy. While China tries to put forth a message that democracy is not the way for nations to grow and prosper, and Russia looks backward with wistful memories of an empire that fell, the economic powerhouses of the world understand that they are at a better place now with Biden being a strong advocate for democracy.

Russian President Putin well understands his grasp at the past is futile when not having the economic means to affect change. With both the United States and Europe, combined, having $40 trillion of GDP as opposed to Russia eking out just over $1 trillion in GDP underscores the power of working democracies.

As a teenager I was very taken by the human rights component of President Jimmy Carter’s international policy. With the same focus, Biden understands the role that human rights and human dignity plays as a part of what constitutes a democracy. I cringed and was embarrassed for our nation when Trump proved to be nothing more than an enabler or apologist for thugs. How the entire brutal murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi was handled was a very dark period for our country as the world watched.

It offended me to high heaven to have Trump and his administration have no more than a flippant attitude with foreign policy. It was continuously conducted in a transactional manner. Great for the tyrants and autocrats who have favors to trade, and deals to strike for their own ends. But woe are the ones sitting in jails in Saudi Arabia and China and Turkey. Human rights never were going to fare well in that administration, one dominated by a transactional view of foreign policy.

While watching and reading the news coverage of the Biden trip, and the conversations with world leaders, I see the larger mission that is taking place. By adding to the vaccine shots that our nation will make available to a world needing them, and giving the embrace to alliances and underscoring renewed collaboration in working on pressing problems, Biden is demonstrating what a healthy democracy looks like. And acts like!

We can all thrill to the success of the mission to press forward as to why democracy is alive and vital to the world. Once again all are seeing, friend and foe alike, that the United States is again taking its role in the world seriously. Once again, the world is taking note that America wants to do good for others.

And so it goes.

President Biden To Again Assert American Leadership On World Stage

There are few presidents in our history with the resume of international experience that President Biden can rely on when conducting international affairs. That places him in good stead as he starts his first world travel with diplomatic meetings with dozens of world leaders.

While most of the encounters will be with friendly nations, the weighty nature of world problems means the meetings are of consequence. Overlaying all the specific issues is the need to separate the past four years under a deranged American leader, with what must be the mature and proper role of the United States on the world stage. The Group of Seven democracies, the European Union, and our NATO alliance all will be closely watching for not only words but also body language for signals and confirmation that normalcy can again be brought to international affairs.

The headline maker on this trip will be, of course, the June 16th summit with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. That is where the tire will meet the road, where Biden’s decades of cumulated experience from being a senator and vice-president will allow for a gritty understanding that the United States now has a leader at the helm.

While the G7 leaders will obviously be concerned about COVID and the availability of the needed vaccines they will be needing assurances that they will not be left abandoned in the large causes and efforts which otherwise unite the organization. Memories of Donald Trump who pulled Washington out of several multilateral institutions and threatened to quit NATO have left nations wondering if they need to seek new ways of advancing their concerns, perhaps by asserting their own national efforts. France has been taking note of the lack of needed leadership, as an example.

I strongly suspect that Biden, who has actual working relationships with many leaders and nations, will showcase why the world’s democracies are not to fear being minimized by China or Russia. He will assert the role the US is to play on the world stage and most likely will place something on the table to demonstrate that resolve to a world that is waiting.

Talking face-to-face with Putin is the best way to underscore that there can be areas of agreement should the Russian leader seek to engage the US in that fashion. Climate change can be a topic where cooperation could prove meaningful. But the ransomware attacks, the attempts to undermine our democratic institutions along with our elections will be met with steely deterrence.

Putin will get his time on the world stage with the leader of the free world. That image of an American president has been dimmed due to Trump, but the light is being hoisted up again, and with it comes the awareness to the Russian leader. Biden is a man who knows himself and his values. He is not needing to find his way about the world, and as such, there is a high degree of predictability about the toughness that will result should Russia not abide with international norms.

We know that elections have consequences. The world has seen the absolute truism of that fact and is now ready to embrace reasoning and logic, after having experienced the exact opposite for years. The welcoming to the stage of President Biden is needed for them and us.

And so it goes.

This Is What Happens When Putin’s Puppet Is No Longer In Oval Office

The combative and punchy nature of President Biden’s remark about Russian President Putin was greeted with approval by many who wish for a more balanced and truthful exchange between the superpowers. The weaselly and limp-handed stylings of the previous occupant of the White House have ended. Those who watch international relations have a reason for hope moving forward.

For Russia to engage appropriately on the world stage they need to know there are consequences for actions taken. So they are to learn, as no one missed the foundation from which Washington now stands and will operate.

In the ABC News interview, when asked whether he thought Mr. Putin was a “killer,” Biden responded: “Mmm hmm, I do.” He further pledged that Putin is “going to pay” for Russian interference in the 2020 election.

Putin has not heard that type of straightforward dialogue from this nation for too long, and as such the Kremlin did take notice. While any autocrat or despot will use such an opening to further his country’s internal rants against America, those who suffer the economic stagnation under Putin are not soon to be lulled away from the obvious. Putin may bloviate about Biden but the people under his control know what actual corruption and brutality look like.

What rankles Putin and the oligarchs is not the killer comment, though they know the comment is true. They do not care about being labeled as such. They are that brazen, after all. No, that is not what deeply concerns them.

Rather, it is what has been noted often in The Economist and over-time in newspapers about the club that Biden will use concerning Putin. (And it needs to be noted Biden has the size of hands able to wield the club. Trump did not.)

Addressing another flash point between Moscow and Washington, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken on Thursday said the construction of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, between Russia and Germany, was a “bad deal,” echoing Mr. Biden’s resistance to the project.

The pipeline would reroute Russian natural gas exports to Europe under the Baltic Sea and bypass Ukraine. The project has been opposed by U.S. lawmakers on the grounds that it gives Moscow a stronger hold on Europe’s energy sector and stands to deny Kyiv billions of dollars in revenue from transit fees. The Trump administration also opposed the $11 billion project, which is led by Russia’s Gazprom.

Mr. Blinken said the United States, which has already placed sanctions on companies involved in building the pipeline, is monitoring which entities are still involved, and indicated they may be punished.

“The Department is tracking efforts to complete the Nord Stream 2 pipeline,” Mr. Blinken said, “and is evaluating information regarding entities that appear to be involved.”

My approval for the Biden tone and language concerning Putin is based on a basic construct for international relations. If one is dealing with a truly bad person who acts continuously with duplicity then it is necessary to approach the issue directly. It is essential that such people fully grasp the fact their behavior and actions from here going forward are unworkable. Anyone who reads or hears Biden’s statement knows fully that the clear, concise, and entirely appropriate discourse was what Putin needed to have heard over the past four years. Not hearing that clarion bell did the world no good.

Just another reason to be confident in our new president.

And so it goes.

American Leadership Missing Over Belarus, Another Reason To Vote For Biden

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When it comes to the many reasons I am voting for Joe Biden as the next president the top tier has to do with international relations.  Over the past week, the lack of verbal commitment from Donald Trump regarding the yearning of the Belarus people to be unshackled from the authoritarian regime of President Lukashenko’s regime has been most troubling.  The lack of leadership from the White House, at the time when “Europe’s last dictator” is being pressed severely by his own people, underscores what is wrong in our nation.

Trump today said he would talk to Russia “at the appropriate time” in the wake of protests against Belarus’ leader.  That statement alone provides all one needs to know about which person on the world stage is calling the shots.  We well understand that Trump likes autocratic images and strongmen.  He fashions himself to be one.

But the people of Belarus need to have a President of the United States who can stand on the world stage and state (without first needing to consult with his puppet master) that the official election results this month in Belarus were flagrantly fraudulent.  Then he needs to call for the unconditional release of all detained demonstrators followed by new elections.  

There is no need to equivocate or consult with Putin.  American leadership needs to be restored on the world stage.  And it must be done with strength and conviction as showing weakness and timidity in these geopolitical confrontations only allows for more of the same from the world’s rouge leaders.  We can assist the forces for change without engaging Russia.  

Russia is hell-bound to have Belarus under their thumb in some fashion but the call for freedom from the people connects with our ideals.  We must not abandon them as they are seeking what we claim we desire for others.

American leadership has been missing on the world stage for the past four years, and we must again align ourselves with the international community which understands democratic forces are the way forward.  Autocratic regimes and illiberal democracy are undermining the progress of the past.

That must come to an end.

Images Of What Donald Trump Has Done To Kurds–All For President Putin

These pictures are from this morning’s news that is just a sample of what the mentally ill, narcissistic, sociopathic individual who resides in the White House has wrought on our world in the last few days.  His legacy was sealed long ago as being the worst and most dangerous president EVER. We have now entered what is clearly the most dangerous period of his presidency and now have the final confirmation we needed that Vladimir Putin is the shadow president of the United States of America.

Meanwhile, Trump played a round of golf at the Trump National Golf Club this morning.

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Staggering American Disaster in Syria

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Hevrin Khalaf, 35, was “taken out of her car during a Turkish-backed attack and executed by Turkish-backed mercenary factions”, the political arm of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) said in a statement today.

The news is most troubling and devasting on a number of fronts.  For Syria as a whole, the Kurds who were our allies and now are being slaughtered, the lack of honor for America, along with the gift President Assad and President Putin has been given by Donald Trump.

Read this tweet from NBC News foreign correspondent Bill Neely.  It is a summation of the disaster taking place in Northeastern Syria, to Kurds, and Putin winning over the United States.

US Def. Sec. claims Turkey is ‘likely to expand its attack further South” than planned & that Kurds are trying to ally with Russia & Assad for help. US misled by 1 NATO ally & now its former ally is hooking up with Russia. Diplomatic failure, almost military humiliation.

The words are stunning due to the fact they reflect events happening today. Defense Secretary Esper made it known that Trump has ordered a withdrawal of American forces from northern Syria, a decision that will effectively cede control of the area to the Syrian government and Russia.

I know it makes no difference to the Trump supporters but for the rest who follow the news and care globally what is taking place matters a great deal.  Recall the U.S. military used our Air Force might to ensure, along with Kurdish support, that Daesh was not in control of the area.  All that effort and use of American might and financing have been tossed aside as if it were no more than an apple core.  One of those places we used our airpower was in Kobani.   Neely tweeted the following.

More reports that Syrian Army troops (that’s Pres. Assad’s forces) will enter Manbij and Kobani areas within 48 hours, by agreement with the Kurdish led forces of SDF.

And then this about an hour later from the above tweet.

If this is true, it would be a huge gain for Pres. Assad, to regain control of Kobani region up to Turkish border. As 100’s of US troops begin pulling out it’s a win for Russia & Iran too. @realDonaldTrump  decision a week ago has had major consequences.

It is galling to watch play out.

Again, let me be clear about a fact I know my readers are aware of.  But we must never forget it as we go about whatever plans await us the remainder of this weekend.  The Kurdish forces were key to breaking the Islamic State’s control of territory in Syria, effectively destroying its self-proclaimed caliphate.  As we go about watching football (not at this home!) or doing lawn chores (at this home) let us not forget people are being executed and removed from their village by force by Turkish forces.  A third of a million Kurds are fleeing today from their homes and villages.

All that shoulder-to-shoulder resolve the Kurds demonstrated for years was undermined.  Trump has repaid that Kurdish effort of blood and treasure by falling to his knees to appease his handler, President Putin.

It is disgraceful.

Spy Dramas Extraordinaire Thanks To Jason Matthews!!

I have had great pleasure this year from a trilogy of books which feels akin to John le Carré plotting and Frederick Forsyth energy.  Yes, that much pleasure!

Jason Matthews has made the Red Sparrow series a reading must for the lovers of Russian intrigue, CIA spies, and Kremlin slime.  Perhaps the handlers of Russian President Putin have made sure he does not know how darkly he is portrayed in the books.  But the rest of us know.   And know also, from reading international news, how accurate the books are to the plotting.

What drives these books with such compelling drama is the fact the author knows of which he writes.  Matthews is a retired officer of the CIA’s Operations Directorate. Over a thirty-three-year career he served in multiple overseas locations and engaged in clandestine collection of national security intelligence, specializing in denied-area operations.

As a lover of this genre let me state most clearly Matthews’ observations and perspectives add depth and color.  It shows on each page.

I would caution that if one is not already tuned into the real world of spies, and the deadly and all-too real nature of intelligence gathering operations used by superpowers, the books might be a bit gritty.  That they are so real is what makes them a powerhouse of a read.  If one is easily rattled perhaps another author should be selected.

I encountered the third book while shopping and the back cover grabbed my attention.  Once home I ordered all three from my favorite bookstore–Amazon.  I was hooked on the first paragraph of Red Sparrow.……..and have loved each turning of the pages through the third volume.

Each recipe at the end of a chapter is delightful, as are the characters developing into complete multi-faceted heroes or losers.   While there are action scenes, the best part of Matthews’ skills are proven with his mature and cerebral plotting of international events.

If you want to have a pleasant beach book, or airplane experience, take Jason Matthews along.  Nate Nash will get you interested!

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Russian Interference Not Concern Of Deplorables

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Talk to the average Donald Trump supporter and it is news to them that United States intelligence forces concluded years ago that Russia worked mightily during the 2016 campaign to get Trump elected.  Just this week we have learned more news in this regard as the the Senate Intelligence Committee says Russia infiltrated at least one election system in each of the 50 states.  As noted by the committee in 21 states, the infiltration was significant.

This morning on WGN radio the topic was discussed. Illinois was impacted when Russian hackers successfully penetrating their voter registration database,  and accessed up to 200,000 voter registration records.  One should be mighty concerned they took voter registration data.

Meanwhile over at the Trump White House one might hear crickets if it not for the narcissistic ramblings. Disdainful of reason, and prepared to allow the nation to be harmed, Trump has never given a speech on Russian involvement in the 2016 election.  He can not call attention to the fact he was used by Putin, or honestly address that each state in our nation was targeted by Russian hackers working to elect him.

On the other side of the troubled Trump coin are his supporters who continually prove they are willing to sell the nation out for nothing more than a red hat with a slogan.  On issue after issue, and most galling this week given the focus on Russian interference, they have demonstrated a disdainful view of being educated.  They would not recognize reason and logic if it came wrapped in a Bud beer can rattling about in the back of a truck.  What Trump and his truly addled supporters are not aware of is that election security is an issue of patriotism.

They rant and scream at rallies about America, and those they feel are not American enough.  But when asked to show their true colors this collective band of misfits have no concern or knowledge about the need to protect the very integrity of American democracy from Russian interference. That is due to so many in the base of Trump’s support not having any sense of history or civics.  The demographics that political scientists are using to understand this current phenomenon are most telling when it comes to levels of education.

What many experts in cybersecurity worry about at 3:00 A.M., when not being able to sleep, is the real threat that Russian hackers will be able to more capably interfere with the 2020 election.   This week those fears were underscored when Robert Mueller in his congressional testimony stated that Russia is “absolutely intent on trying to interfere with our elections.”

The news this week about Russia and our elections is another gut punch. Therefore. hearing that Republicans in the senate have twice, in 24 hours this week, blocked the advancement of bills aimed at strengthening election security should almost set your hair on fire. Two of those bills would require campaigns to report to federal authorities any attempts by foreign entities to interfere in US elections, and the third is aimed at protecting from hackers the personal accounts and devices of senators and some staffers.

Clearly partisan measures!  Right?

Would you believe that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to personally object to the measures!  He labeled them partisan.

Can you imagine President Reagan, upon learning that United States intelligence forces concluded years ago that Russia worked mightily during the 2016 campaign, to not support strong measures to remedy the problem?  Can you imagine Reagan allowing a  nicotine stained majority leader preventing legislation for election security from Russian interference from moving forward?

What we have in this nation is Trump who has never accepted the intelligence community’s forceful conclusions about Russia’s threat to our democracy.  He has instead embraced Putin and even joked with him about Russia’s election meddling.  Trump has stated on the record he’d absolutely accept derogatory information from a foreign enemy about a political opponent.  Furthermore, he said he would not tell the FBI should it happen.

In 2016 Trump and his supporters were labeled as deplorables.  That term was criticized by some conservatives and Trump himself.  But, pray tell, what other word. that is family friendly, would this group be called other than deplorables?  After watching just this week regarding Russian interference, and how Trump and his ilk have responded, what else could we possibly say about them?

They have shown their colors.  And their IQ.  (Again.)