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Peter Lavelle: Guess what? Vladimir Putin is actually a moderate

When it comes to Russia, the West is squandering an important lost opportunity.

Peter Lavelle

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is probably the most famous and recognized politician in the world. Though this fame and recognition is for very different reasons. The west demonizes him as evil incarnate, while much of the rest of the world admires him as some kind of 21st century super-hero staring down the American Empire. The fact is there are two public personifications of the man – and both are largely wrong.

The west’s portrayal of Putin is cartoonish. He is a “dictator,” “a strong man,” and full of “anger and desires of revenge.” He also – we are told – hates democracy and western values. Putin is said to be undermining western institutions and backing plans to destabilize western security. Apparently he is hacking everyone’s emails and subverting America’s presidential election. And even more sinister he wants to undermine the U.S. around the world and recreate the Soviet Union.

Pretty scary stuff!

The juxtaposition view of Putin in many parts of the world is that he is an anti-western (read: anti-American or anti-Western Consensus) crusader. This characterization is also somewhat cartoonish. From this perspective, Putin leads a resurrected Mother Russia designed to slay the American-led Satan. Thus, Russia should probe for western weakness – within their own countries and afar – and then later strike. This mindset thus accepts that what is bad for the U.S. and the west is good for the rest of the world. In many ways this is an exact mirror of those who demonize Russia-Putin, though for very different reasons of course.

It sounds nice and great for many, but is it simply not true.

Having studied the Soviet Union and Russia most of my life and lived in Russia for the last 18 years, I would say without a doubt Putin is a very moderate politician – at home and in foreign policy.

Consider the following:

Russia’s domestic politics reflect moderation almost to the point of boredom. In the recent parliamentary elections the most moderate political party won – United Russia. The Communist didn’t win a great victory, the socialists didn’t, and the despised liberals didn’t either.

Russian media is all over the place. Putin’s government is savaged endlessly for many of its economic and social policies. But there are no calls for any kind of revolution. What is most talked about is how the government needs to be responsible for everyday needs of the average person. There is nothing radical about that – it is actually rather moderate and normal.

Turning to foreign policy: Russians have an intense aversion to war. The U.S. and the EU started the fiasco in Ukraine. Though Russia has been made to pay for that gross miscalculation. Nonetheless, Russia did not and will not invade Ukraine. Putin is intensely criticized for being too moderate at home – many Russians demand he take a harder line. But he hasn’t and won’t. Such an approach is not in Russia’s national interest. Moderation and patience will benefit more than any policy of bombast and resentment.

On Syria, Russia is defending its national interest and international law. Russia really doesn’t want to be in Syria and has very limited and well defined goals in its defense of Syrian sovereignty. Another failed state in the Middle East threatens the EU and Russia. A failed state in Syria would most likely see Russia’s southern Islamic populated republics infected with the same extremists the Damascus government has had to deal with for the past five years. Again Russia’s is moderate and restrained.

What is amiss in the propagandist-infected western media is the fact Russia is a status quo power. Putin’s Russia is all about modernizing at home and protecting itself from aggression from the west. This is why Putin’s moderation at home works and is effective.

The west’s propaganda media machine hates Putin. Little does this machine realize Putin is the best deal the west can hope for. There are ideas and forces within Russia’s power circles and society who would like to take a much harder line. The west is squandering an important lost opportunity.

Peter Lavelle is host of RT’s political debate program CrossTalk. His views may or may not reflect those of his employer.

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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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