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Kerry Makes Yet Another Dangerous Rush To Judgment
  23 Jul 2014     12:03 am

Here we go again with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leveraging a tragedy to make another “strong case” based on limited evidence. We have already seen this in the case of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and chemical weapons. Now it’s Russian President Vladimir Putin’s turn for the global smear treatment.

Presumably we’re supposed to rush to adopt the notion that Russia’s fingerprints are all over last week’s downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 over Ukraine — just as we were supposed to buy into Kerry’s story last year about the …

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Have intelligence agencies become too reliant on technology?
  16 Jul 2014     12:04 am

PARIS — A newly leaked document stolen by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year reveals that one of the NSA’s partner agencies within the “Five Eyes” Anglo-intelligence network — Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), responsible for signals intelligence — dedicated vast resources to fooling around on the Internet, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald. The GCHQ has reportedly developed tools capable of playing with the results of online polls; sending out spoof emails and Microsoft Office documents that, once opened, can grab and transmit files and info from …

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Humanitarianism Can Be An Effective Disguise For Profiteering
  9 Jul 2014     12:01 am

PARIS — Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.

Humanitarianism and charity can’t always be taken at face value, if …

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Is Us Being Duped Into Funding Jihadist Startup?
  2 Jul 2014     12:01 am

The Islamic terrorist army often referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has made a faster womb-to-superstardom ascension than Justin Bieber. Largely unheard of just a few weeks ago, the group is now the self-proclaimed new ruler of an Islamic caliphate, or republic, extending across Iraq and Syria. These countries currently have internationally recognized heads of state — but, you know, whatever, man. It’s not like U.S. President Barack Obama is going to stop ISIL. In fact, he’s asking Congress to give it $500 million, …

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Russia And China Subverting Obama’s ‘Pivot’ To Asia
  25 Jun 2014     12:01 am

The irony of recent U.S. foreign interventions is that despite Uncle Sam’s best efforts, the ultimate benefactor ends up being America’s primary economic rival in the area in question. It should come as no surprise that the two economic rivals who usually benefit are China and Russia, both absolute masters of subversion.

According to ancient Chinese military expert Sun Tzu: “Fighting on a battlefield is the most primitive way of making war. There is no art higher than to destroy your enemy without a fight by subverting anything of value in …

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Obsession With Putin Diverts Obama’s Attention From Terrorism
  18 Jun 2014     12:02 am

PARIS — The fact that U.S. President Barack Obama is putting hundreds of boots back onto the ground in Iraq to protect American interests is the result of some bad decisions and missed opportunities to correct course. Except that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already staked out the proper course — and the Obama administration seems intent on turning every action into a political spitball aimed at getting Putin’s attention.

The administration’s preoccupation with economic warfare against Eurasia has evidently come at the expense of other priorities, like terrorism. As a …

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CIA makes an ill-advised foray into the Twitterverse
  11 Jun 2014     12:04 am

PARIS — On June 6, the Central Intelligence Agency joined the social media platform Twitter with its first tweet: “We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet.” Presumably this is an attempt by the agency to develop its “brand.” Here’s why this is a really bad idea:

– The CIA doesn’t need a brand. If anything, the agency is supposed to be all about discretion and secretiveness, meaning that it should be defined solely by its conspicuous absence. In fact, if the CIA ever wanted to run …

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Bergdahl swap a retro moment in the new Cold War
  4 Jun 2014     12:03 am

PARIS — U.S. President Barack Obama recently agreed to the release of five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for an alleged U.S. military deserter. It’s great trade for the soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who will be reunited with his loved ones back in America. Nonetheless, it’s a bad precedent for America.

Obama said he expressed his personal gratitude to Qatar for having negotiated the Bergdahl swap. What could possibly be in this deal for Qatar?
In June 2013, Qatar hosted talks between the U.S. and a Taliban delegation that …

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Why women — and voters — prefer jerks to fops
  28 May 2014     12:03 am

PARIS — An intriguing social phenomenon prompted a horrific killing spree in Santa Barbara, California, last week, and the same phenomenon might help explain the surprising results of last weekend’s European Parliament elections.

The suspected Santa Barbara killer, 22-year old Elliot Rodger, left behind a 141-page diatribe and multiple online videos expressing frustration over a failure to score with the opposite sex, despite ticking what he considered to be all the right boxes: a BMW, nice clothes and good looks. He couldn’t figure out why that wasn’t enough. Worse, why would …

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U.S., China go private with the Cold War
  21 May 2014     12:05 am

PARIS — The U.S. Justice Department filed charges this week against five Chinese military officers, accusing them of hacking American companies to steal secrets, including the nuclear energy company Westinghouse. In March, reports surfaced that the National Security Agency had hacked and spied on the Chinese telecom company Huawei.

Hard power hitting soft targets: This is a new characteristic of the rebooted Cold War. Except that even NATO has yet to recognize that economic warfare is just as critical as traditional military conflict.
Last year, NATO published the Tallinn Manual on the …

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Obama’s immigration reform is in need of reforming
  14 May 2014     12:03 am

PARIS — As a chronic immigrant, I’m loath to support immigration policies that might make life difficult for anyone seeking to legitimately integrate into and contribute to an adoptive nation. Nonetheless, as the Obama administration attempts to reform U.S. immigration policies, there needs to be some standard of selection for immigrants. That standard should be nothing more or less than meritocracy.

The common argument against meritocracy is the well-worn image of the hard-working illegal immigrant who lives in a dive and toils away in the underground economy to send money to …

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Trans-Pacific Partnership a bad deal for America
  7 May 2014     12:05 am

PARIS — The good news is that the Obama administration plans to create a lot of new jobs. The bad news is that those jobs will mostly be in Asia.
President Obama’s recent trip to Asia revived debate about the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, the cornerstone of this administration’s so-called pivot to Asia. The controversial agreement — not likely to be finalized anytime soon — currently involves the U.S., Canada, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia, Japan and South Korea. Other countries expressing interest include China, India, …

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How the Russian intelligence mind-set differs from America’s
  30 Apr 2014     12:05 am

PARIS — A Cold War is purely an intelligence war. If you go on a Ukrainian geopolitical bender in front of a former KGB chief like Russian President Vladimir Putin without having a firm grasp of the opposition’s mind-set, you risk launching yourself into a wall like some kind of drunken frat bro on a Slip ‘n Slide.

Here are a few handy tips for understanding the Russian intelligence modus operandi and how it differs from America’s.
HUMINT vs. OSINT: Russia has higher standards and capacity for espionage and intelligence operations than …

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Obama’s latest Keystone delay a North American nuisance
  23 Apr 2014     12:06 am

PARIS — The day after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met for Ukraine crisis de-escalation talks in Geneva with his Russian and European counterparts in an attempt to stabilize the country, Kerry’s department released a statement that undermined America’s own economic and national security — again.

Disrupting Russia’s traditional interests in Ukraine should be nowhere near as important a priority as completing the Keystone XL pipeline in order to cement America’s energy independence and its global clout as a net exporter. But apparently, President Obama would rather annoy Russian oligarchs …

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Why this Cold War reboot is different
  17 Apr 2014     12:03 am

PARIS — Russia and the West are both warning of the risk of escalation to a civil war in Ukraine between pro-Russian and pro-Western factions. Rhetoric is heating up, with each side referring to members of the other’s ground team as “terrorists,” setting the stage to justify any potential opposition force. A Russian fighter jet drew the Pentagon’s ire by repeatedly buzzing an American warship in the Black Sea. And just like that, we’re back to an era of “bad guys” that Hollywood has never been able to get past. …

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Cuban Twitter project was a tweet in the dark
  9 Apr 2014     12:05 am

PARIS — First, Cubans would receive fun little text messages about baseball and music. Then, one day — bam! — they would learn via cell phone that they’d been living in a dictatorship for over half a century and would realize that it was time to overthrow the regime.

Hopefully American taxpayers like the plot of this far-fetched geopolitical revenge fantasy, because they’ve already paid for it. It’s yet another example of technology encroaching on the valuable space once occupied by gray matter.
The project, called ZunZuneo, was meant to be a …

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Export opportunity to Ukraine, not the nanny state
  2 Apr 2014     12:03 am

PARIS — In an apparent effort to fight bribery with even more overt state-sanctioned bribery, the battle for the hearts and minds of Ukraine has devolved into two suitors — the West and Russia — flashing their respective bank account statements. How obscene. I don’t recall U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev giving dueling speeches in the Cold War 1980s that made it sound like Poland was up on the auction block in a bidding war at Christie’s.

Winning hearts and minds may require more than cash incentives. …

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Obama’s Critics Aren’t Communists, Russia Isn’t The Soviet Union
  26 Mar 2014     12:03 am

PARIS — There’s no faster or easier way to shut down legitimate debate than to slap an undesirable label on someone based on their views. Criticize same-sex marriage and you’re a bigot. Take issue with immigration policy and you’re dismissed as a racist. In the latest incarnation of this phenomenon, any conservative who dares to criticize U.S. President Barack Obama’s stance against Russia on the issue of Ukraine runs the risk of being called a Putin-loving communist.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid suggested this week that Republican lawmakers may have helped …

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Sanctions against Russia symbolic of a hollow culture
  19 Mar 2014     12:04 am

PARIS — There are fewer things more pathetic than watching someone take a running dive off a high board only to end in a spectacular belly flop and still think that they’re scoring a perfect 10. That’s U.S. President Barack Obama right now on the issue of sanctions against Russia. It’s a worrying attitude that increasingly permeates Western culture.

Europe and America supported a coup d’état against a democratically elected government and president in the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, which in turn led to Russia backing a democratic vote March 16 …

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Obama late to the realpolitik table in Saudi Arabia
  12 Mar 2014     12:05 am

PARIS — Later this month, U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here’s hoping he decides to stay home and help his daughters with their homework instead.

America’s decreasing influence in the Middle East and Eurasia might be the result of deliberate strategic policy. Or it’s simply ineptitude — in which case it’s infinitely better for indecisive paralysis to prevail over uninformed proactivity. Either way, it’s not a bad thing.
The Middle East is a mess, but what else is new? The best news for America is that it doesn’t …

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