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Trump does a 180 on Syria. War is on the horizon (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 102.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Trump campaigned heavily on a platform committed to ending the endless US wars in the Middle East, stating many times in the past that the United States should  “stay out” of Syria.

Now a vast array of reports from senior State Department officials are claiming that Trump agreed to a new strategy in Syria that indefinitely extends the illegal US military effort there and launches a major diplomatic push to achieve failed American objectives.

Trump’s 180 on Syria has shifted away from defeating ISIS to now include the exit of all Iranian military and proxy forces from Syria, and “the establishment of a stable, nonthreatening government acceptable to all Syrians and the international community.” When was the secular state of Syria ever a threat to the United States, or allies in the region?

Senior officials claim that much of the motivation for Trump’s change of heart stems from growing doubts about whether Russia is able and willing to help eject Iran from Syria.

Senior US State Department officials are also moving way from branding the Al-Qaeda-ISIS jihadists fighting in Syria as “moderate rebels”, opting now to call the contingent of terrorists camped out in Idlib, by the new moniker of “domestic rebels”. 

James Jeffrey, a retired senior Foreign Service officer who last month was named Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s “Representative for Syria engagement” said America’s “new policy is we’re no longer pulling out by the end of the year.”

“U.S. forces are to remain in the country to ensure an Iranian departure and the enduring defeat of the Islamic State.”

“That means we are not in a hurry.”

When asked whether Trump had signed off on what he called “a more active approach,” Jeffrey said, “I am confident the president is on board with this.”

Jeffrey should feel confident of Trump’s capitulation. The Deep State has been working overtime to burden the POTUS with threats of impeachment and criminal prosecution, providing Trump only option for some sense of relief from the never ending assault on his Presidency…to partake in the most bipartisan activity America has ever known, war in the Middle East.

RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the storm cloud of war forming over Syria, and how a domestically boxed in US President Trump may have no other option but to go to war in Syria so as to survive the remainder of his term.

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Via the Jeff Bezos owned, CIA edited Washington Post

Jeffrey declined to describe any new military mission. But he emphasized what he said would be a “major diplomatic initiative” in the United Nations and elsewhere, and the use of economic tools, presumably including more sanctions on Iran and Russia and the stated U.S. refusal to fund reconstruction in Assad-
controlled Syria.

But the more-activist policies he outlined, and only in vague terms, could increase the likelihood of a direct confrontation with Iran, and potentially with Russia.

Jeffrey’s description of a much broader U.S. role follows years of criticism from lawmakers and analysts that neither Trump nor his predecessor, Barack Obama, had a coherent strategy for Syria. Trump, like Obama, insisted that U.S. interests were focused on defeating the Islamic State, and he resisted significant involvement in the civil war against Assad raging in the rest of the country, even as both Iran and Russia increased their influence.

Jeffrey and retired U.S. Army Col. Joel Rayburn, who transferred to the State Department from the National Security Council last month to become “special envoy for Syria,” were brought in to try to create a coherent blueprint that would prevent a repeat of what the administration sees as the mistakes of Iraq — where a precipitous U.S. pullout left the field open for Iran, and for a resurgence of Sunni militants that gave birth to the Islamic State.

Pompeo first listed Iran’s withdrawal from Syria as one of 12 U.S. demands of Tehran in a May speech at the Heritage Foundation.

U.S. policy is not that “Assad must go,” Jeffrey said. “Assad has no future, but it’s not our job to get rid of him.” He said, however, that he found it hard to think of Assad as a leader who could “meet the requirements of not just us but the international community” as someone who “doesn’t threaten his neighbors” or abuse his own citizens, “doesn’t allow chemical weapons or provide a platform for Iran.”

The first test of the administration’s expanded role in Syria may come sooner rather than later in Idlib, in the northwest part of the country.

The province is the last bastion of rebel control after seven years of civil war, during which Assad, with extensive Russian and Iranian assistance, pounded opposition forces into submission. His scorched-earth tactics and, at times, use of chemical weapons have killed hundreds of thousands of civilians and driven millions from their homes.

Idlib has now become a crowded holding pen for up to 70,000 opposition fighters, along with about 2 million Syrian civilians displaced from other battle zones, and activists and aid workers trying to assist them.

Turkish military forces are also in Idlib, where they have pushed back Syrian Kurds from the Syria-Turkey border. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who fears a new exodus of Syrian refugees, is due to attend a summit in Tehran on Friday with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Assad has said he is preparing a final offensive in Idlib, and Russian warplanes this week began bombing the region. Humanitarian organizations have warned of an unprecedented level of civilian bloodshed, and Trump himself has threatened U.S. retaliation if an all-out offensive is launched, especially with the use of chemical weapons.

“If it’s a slaughter, the world is going to get very, very angry. And the United States is going to get very angry, too,” Trump said Wednesday. Pompeo, Jeffrey said, has delivered the same message by telephone to Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, as did White House national security adviser John Bolton in a recent meeting with his Russian counterpart.

Russia, which has beefed up its naval and other forces in the region in recent weeks, has charged that the United States is preparing to manufacture a chemical weapons attack to justify military intervention. It says its operations in Idlib are aimed at up to 14,000 fighters linked to al-Qaeda.

While the United States agrees that those forces must be wiped out, it rejects “the idea that we have to go in there . . . to clean out the terrorists, most of the people fighting . . . they’re not terrorists, but people fighting a civil war against a brutal dictator,” as well as millions of civilians, Jeffrey said. Instead, the United States has called for a cooperative approach with other outside actors.

“We’ve started using new language,” Jeffrey said, referring to previous warnings against the use of chemical weapons. Now, he said, the United States will not tolerate “an attack. Period.”

“Any offensive is to us objectionable as a reckless escalation” he said. “You add to that, if you use chemical weapons, or create refu­gee flows or attack innocent civilians,” and “the consequences of that are that we will shift our positions and use all of our tools to make it clear that we’ll have to find ways to achieve our goals that are less reliant on the goodwill of the Russians.”

Trump has twice authorized U.S. air and missile attacks on Syrian government targets as punishment for chemical weapons use.

Asked whether the United States would consider its own airstrikes against terrorist forces who are interspersed with Syrian rebel fighters in Idlib, Jeffrey said, “We have asked repeatedly for permission to operate” there, and “that would be one way” to respond.

“In some respects, we are potentially entering a new phase, where you have forces from the different countries facing each other,” rather than pursuing their separate goals, he said, listing Russia, the United States, Iran, Turkey and Israel, which has conducted its own airstrikes against Iran-linked forces inside Syria.

“Now all of them have accomplished their primary jobs” there. “But nobody is happy with the situation in Syria.”

Clarification: An earlier version of this article mischaracterized State Department official James Jeffrey’s comment regarding possible U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a response to a Syrian-Russian offensive in Idlib. The remark — “We have asked repeatedly for permission to operate”— referred to potential ways of attacking terrorist forces there interspersed with Syrian rebel fighters.

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Shlichimjohn vieiraJohn NolanbatavianIsabella Recent comment authors
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veth
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veth

IN MARCH TRUMP ORDERED THE GREAT ATTACK ON THE WAGNER GRUPPE IN SYRIA.300 RUSSIAN SOLDIERS WERE KILLED AS REPORTED. TIME FOR A REHEARSAL!

batavian
Guest
batavian

Let’s set the record straight:
“American troops may have killed hundreds of Syrian forces backed by Russian mercenaries, a US army general has said”. These are the words of American Brigadier General Jonathan Braga, March 2018. You’ll note there’s no reference to Russian soldiers.

Shlichim
Guest
Shlichim

The turnabout in Trump’s position came immediately after the NYT OpEd which was a zionist shot across the bow vis a vis US troops in M.E. It was authored by zionists, published by zionists and conceived by zionists as a message to Trump that if didnt keep with the Eretz Israel project (troops stay in Syria till partition)? Then he’d get coup’ed out of office.

veth
Guest
veth

US starts military exercises in Syria on the first day of summit between Russia, Turkey and Iran

batavian
Guest
batavian

Would these be the same exercises they’ve been conducting in al-Tanf ever since they established an illegal base there? You can call them exercises if you like. I’ll continue to refer to it as training of terrorists.

Wayne Blow
Guest
Wayne Blow

For Christ’s sake Russia try out a couple of your “hyper-sonics” sink 2 US ships and issue a real threat to USA and Israel, no more of their hypocritical “bull-shit !!! no more trouble !!!!

Bob Valdez
Guest
Bob Valdez

Trump was ALWAYS going to start a war in Syria on behalf of Isra-hell. Starting to think this might not be a bad idea, as it will hasten the fall of the sewer empire.

voza0db
Guest

It’s still funny to see people that believes that mutTrump would do anything different from the other runner when it comes to the favorite pastime of the United States of Terrorism…

A.F.Veth
Guest
A.F.Veth
batavian
Guest
batavian

Let’s talk about Detroit and San Francisco for starters. Even Americans don’t want to holiday, attend conventions, or just visit SanFran anymore. Apparently the stench of human excrement piled up on the sidewalks keeps them away.

Isabella
Guest
Isabella

Troll. I’ve seen you trolling on Russia Insider Why dont you shove off, else go someplace?

batavian
Guest
batavian

On Russian Insider he gets to use his little Ukie flag avatar.

john vieira
Guest

Aye he is! And stupid too. Think a sceptic tank resides betwixt his eardrums…

ANDRE DE KONING
Guest
ANDRE DE KONING

The Saker has a good nuanced view of what is happening now: see his article here: http://thesaker.is/russias-asymmetric-response-to-the-us-in-syria/

Vince Dhimos
Guest

The fool probably is now convinced that Assad is a thug and that the US can survive a war with Russia.
The most accurate analyses will not come from any msm outlet or blog in the US. They are coming from Russia. Like this one by Middle East expert Yevgeny Satanovsky: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Vince Dhimos
Guest

I note that the article quoted is from 3 days ago. By now Russia and Syria have already started to decimate the jihadists they were warned not to touch. So much for that. Same old story as Aleppo and E- ghouta, which they were not to touch either. The 26 Russian warships of Syria and the new Russian policy approved by the Duma, to allow use of tactical nukes even against conventional attacks on Russian interests have changed the game, bringing the whole chess board much closer to nuclear war and no prez wants to be the one to drag… Read more »

john vieira
Guest

Maybe “no prez wants to be the one…” Since when does that matter…the puppeteers will call the plays and their puppet will do their bidding. They set up an insurance policy against Trump called a Shadow Government (5th Column) led by his predecessor and championed by his predecessor’s predecessors…of course the entire mainstream media whom they control are willingly complicit in the entire charade…Oh! As I type they are assuming full control of social media also…We westerners will have but ONE narrative to ponder…Happy “glow in the dark” times to us all!!!

John Nolan
Guest
John Nolan

Where are the balls, the integrity, the original America displayed when kicking the Englandia tyrants out, but now have willfully, gutlessly acquiesced to their fake jew, fake religious tyrants?
Amazia desperately needs another revolution, closing down the FED, nationalizing the entire banking system, terminating all their pretend, Judas politicians and realizing that their nation, Amazia, is now the most hated, dis-trusted,violent, dictatorial nation on our earth.
Don’t blame Chump, he is only doing what he is told, by fake Israel, and it is time the Amazian citizens realized how their hierarchy has bought our world to the brink of self-destruction.

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Putin Keeps Cool and Averts WWIII as Israeli-French Gamble in Syria Backfires Spectacularly

Putin vowed that Russia would take extra precautions to protect its troops in Syria, saying these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”

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Authored by Robert Bridge via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


By initiating an attack on the Syrian province of Latakia, home to the Russia-operated Khmeimim Air Base, Israel, France and the United States certainly understood they were flirting with disaster. Yet they went ahead with the operation anyways.

On the pretext that Iran was preparing to deliver a shipment of weapon production systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israeli F-16s, backed by French missile launches in the Mediterranean, destroyed what is alleged to have been a Syrian Army ammunition depot.

What happened next is already well established: a Russian Il-20 reconnaissance aircraft, which the Israeli fighter jets had reportedly used for cover, was shot down by an S-200 surface-to-air missile system operated by the Syrian Army. Fifteen Russian servicemen perished in the incident, which could have been avoided had Israel provided more than just one-minute warning before the attack. As a result, chaos ensued.

Whether or not there is any truth to the claim that Iran was preparing to deliver weapon-making systems to Hezbollah in Lebanon is practically a moot point based on flawed logic. Conducting an attack against an ammunition depot in Syria – in the vicinity of Russia’s Khmeimim Air Base – to protect Israel doesn’t make much sense when the consequence of such “protective measures” could have been a conflagration on the scale of World War III. That would have been an unacceptable price to achieve such a limited objective, which could have been better accomplished with the assistance of Russia, as opposed to NATO-member France, for example. In any case, there is a so-called “de-confliction system” in place between Israel and Russia designed to prevent exactly this sort of episode from occurring.

And then there is the matter of the timing of the French-Israeli incursion.

Just hours before Israeli jets pounded the suspect Syrian ammunition storehouse, Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan were in Sochi hammering out the details on a plan to reduce civilian casualties as Russian and Syrian forces plan to retake Idlib province, the last remaining terrorist stronghold in the country. The plan envisioned the creation of a demilitarized buffer zone between government and rebel forces, with observatory units to enforce the agreement. In other words, it is designed to prevent exactly what Western observers have been fretting about, and that is unnecessary ‘collateral damage.’

So what do France and Israel do after a relative peace is declared, and an effective measure for reducing casualties? The cynically attack Syria, thus exposing those same Syrian civilians to the dangers of military conflict that Western capitals proclaim to be worried about.

Israel moves to ‘damage control’

Although Israel has taken the rare move of acknowledging its involvement in the Syrian attack, even expressing “sorrow” for the loss of Russian life, it insists that Damascus should be held responsible for the tragedy. That is a highly debatable argument.

By virtue of the fact that the French and Israeli forces were teaming up to attack the territory of a sovereign nation, thus forcing Syria to respond in self-defense, it is rather obvious where ultimate blame for the downed Russian plane lies.

“The blame for the downing of the Russian plane and the deaths of its crew members lies squarely on the Israeli side,” Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said. “The actions of the Israeli military were not in keeping with the spirit of the Russian-Israeli partnership, so we reserve the right to respond.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin, meanwhile, took admirable efforts to prevent the blame game from reaching the boiling point, telling reporters that the downing of the Russian aircraft was the result of “a chain of tragic circumstances, because the Israeli plane didn’t shoot down our jet.”

Nevertheless, following this extremely tempered and reserved remark, Putin vowed that Russia would take extra precautions to protect its troops in Syria, saying these will be “the steps that everyone will notice.”

Now there is much consternation in Israel that the IDF will soon find its freedom to conduct operations against targets in Syria greatly impaired. That’s because Russia, having just suffered a ‘friendly-fire’ incident from its own antiquated S-200 system, may now be more open to the idea of providing Syria with the more advanced S-300 air-defense system.

Earlier this year, Putin and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached an agreement that prevented those advanced defensive weapons from being employed in the Syrian theater. That deal is now in serious jeopardy. In addition to other defensive measures, Russia could effectively create the conditions for a veritable no-fly zone across Western Syria in that it would simply become too risky for foreign aircraft to venture into the zone.

The entire situation, which certainly did not go off as planned, has forced Israel into damage control as they attempt to prevent their Russian counterparts from effectively shutting down Syria’s western border.

On Thursday, Israeli Major-General Amikam Norkin and Brigadier General Erez Maisel, as well as officers of the Intelligence and Operations directorates of the Israeli air force will pay an official visit to Moscow where they are expected to repeat their concerns of “continuous Iranian attempts to transfer strategic weapons to the Hezbollah terror organization and to establish an Iranian military presence in Syria.”

Moscow will certainly be asking their Israeli partners if it is justifiable to subject Russian servicemen to unacceptable levels of danger, up to and including death, in order to defend Israeli interests. It remains to be seen if the two sides can find, through the fog of war, an honest method for bringing an end to the Syria conflict, which would go far at relieving Israel’s concerns of Iranian influence in the region.

 

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This Man’s Incredible Story Proves Why Due Process Matters In The Kavanaugh Case

Accused of rape by a fellow student, Brian Banks accepted a plea deal and went to prison on his 18th birthday. Years later he was exonerated.

The Duran

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Authored by James Miller of The Political Insider:


Somewhere between the creation of the Magna Carta and now, leftists have forgotten why due process matters; and in some cases, such as that of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, they choose to outright ignore the judicial and civil rights put in place by the U.S. Constitution.

In this age of social media justice mobs, the accused are often convicted in the court of (liberal) public opinion long before any substantial evidence emerges to warrant an investigation or trial. This is certainly true for Kavanaugh. His accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, cannot recall the date of the alleged assault and has no supporting witnesses, yet law professors are ready to ruin his entire life and career. Not because they genuinely believe he’s guilty, but because he’s a pro-life Trump nominee for the Supreme Court.

It goes without saying: to “sink Kavanaugh even if” Ford’s allegation is untrue is unethical, unconstitutional, and undemocratic. He has a right to due process, and before liberals sharpen their pitchforks any further they would do well to remember what happened to Brian Banks.

In the summer of 2002, Banks was a highly recruited 16-year-old linebacker at Polytechnic High School in California with plans to play football on a full scholarship to the University of Southern California. However, those plans were destroyed when Banks’s classmate, Wanetta Gibson, claimed that Banks had dragged her into a stairway at their high school and raped her.

Gibson’s claim was false, but it was Banks’s word against hers. Banks had two options: go to trial and risk spending 41 years-to-life in prison, or take a plea deal that included five years in prison, five years probation, and registering as a sex offender. Banks accepted the plea deal under the counsel of his lawyer, who told him that he stood no chance at trial because the all-white jury would “automatically assume” he was guilty because he was a “big, black teenager.”

Gibson and her mother subsequently sued the Long Beach Unified School District and won a $1.5 million settlement. It wasn’t until nearly a decade later, long after Banks’s promising football career had already been tanked, that Gibson admitted she’d fabricated the entire story.

Following Gibson’s confession, Banks was exonerated with the help of the California Innocence Project. Hopeful to get his life back on track, he played for Las Vegas Locomotives of the now-defunct United Football League in 2012 and signed with the Atlanta Falcons in 2013. But while Banks finally received justice, he will never get back the years or the prospective pro football career that Gibson selfishly stole from him.

Banks’ story is timely, and it serves as a powerful warning to anyone too eager to condemn those accused of sexual assault. In fact, a film about Banks’s ordeal, Brian Banks, is set to premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival next week.

Perhaps all the #MeToo Hollywood elites and their liberal friends should attend the screening – and keep Kavanaugh in their minds as they watch.

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Clinton-Yeltsin docs shine a light on why Deep State hates Putin (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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Bill Clinton and America ruled over Russia and Boris Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin showed little love for Russia and more interest in keeping power, and pleasing the oligarchs around him.

Then came Vladimir Putin, and everything changed.

Nearly 600 pages of memos and transcripts, documenting personal exchanges and telephone conversations between Bill Clinton and Boris Yeltsin, were made public by the Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Dating from January 1993 to December 1999, the documents provide a historical account of a time when US relations with Russia were at their best, as Russia was at its weakest.

On September 8, 1999, weeks after promoting the head of the Russia’s top intelligence agency to the post of prime minister, Russian President Boris Yeltsin took a phone call from U.S. President Bill Clinton.

The new prime minister was unknown, rising to the top of the Federal Security Service only a year earlier.

Yeltsin wanted to reassure Clinton that Vladimir Putin was a “solid man.”

Yeltsin told Clinton….

“I would like to tell you about him so you will know what kind of man he is.”

“I found out he is a solid man who is kept well abreast of various subjects under his purview. At the same time, he is thorough and strong, very sociable. And he can easily have good relations and contact with people who are his partners. I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the nearly 600 pages of transcripts documenting the calls and personal conversations between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and Russian President Boris Yeltsin, released last month. A strong Clinton and a very weak Yeltsin underscore a warm and friendly relationship between the U.S. and Russia.

Then Vladimir Putin came along and decided to lift Russia out of the abyss, and things changed.

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Here are five must-read Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges from with the 600 pages released by the Clinton Library.

Via RT

Clinton sends ‘his people’ to get Yeltsin elected

Amid unceasing allegations of nefarious Russian influence in the 2016 presidential election, the Clinton-Yeltsin exchanges reveal how the US government threw its full weight behind Boris – in Russian parliamentary elections as well as for the 1996 reelection campaign, which he approached with 1-digit ratings.

For example, a transcript from 1993 details how Clinton offered to help Yeltsin in upcoming parliamentary elections by selectively using US foreign aid to shore up support for the Russian leader’s political allies.

“What is the prevailing attitude among the regional leaders? Can we do something through our aid package to send support out to the regions?” a concerned Clinton asked.

Yeltsin liked the idea, replying that “this kind of regional support would be very useful.” Clinton then promised to have “his people” follow up on the plan.

In another exchange, Yeltsin asks his US counterpart for a bit of financial help ahead of the 1996 presidential election: “Bill, for my election campaign, I urgently need for Russia a loan of $2.5 billion,” he said. Yeltsin added that he needed the money in order to pay pensions and government wages – obligations which, if left unfulfilled, would have likely led to his political ruin. Yeltsin also asks Clinton if he could “use his influence” to increase the size of an IMF loan to assist him during his re-election campaign.

Yeltsin questions NATO expansion

The future of NATO was still an open question in the years following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and conversations between Clinton and Yeltsin provide an illuminating backdrop to the current state of the curiously offensive ‘defensive alliance’ (spoiler alert: it expanded right up to Russia’s border).

In 1995, Yeltsin told Clinton that NATO expansion would lead to “humiliation” for Russia, noting that many Russians were fearful of the possibility that the alliance could encircle their country.

“It’s a new form of encirclement if the one surviving Cold War bloc expands right up to the borders of Russia. Many Russians have a sense of fear. What do you want to achieve with this if Russia is your partner? They ask. I ask it too: Why do you want to do this?” Yeltsin asked Clinton.

As the documents show, Yeltsin insisted that Russia had “no claims on other countries,” adding that it was “unacceptable” that the US was conducting naval drills near Crimea.

“It is as if we were training people in Cuba. How would you feel?” Yeltsin asked. The Russian leader then proposed a “gentleman’s agreement” that no former Soviet republics would join NATO.

Clinton refused the offer, saying: “I can’t make the specific commitment you are asking for. It would violate the whole spirit of NATO. I’ve always tried to build you up and never undermine you.”

NATO bombing of Yugoslavia turns Russia against the West

Although Clinton and Yeltsin enjoyed friendly relations, NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia tempered Moscow’s enthusiastic partnership with the West.

“Our people will certainly from now have a bad attitude with regard to America and with NATO,” the Russian president told Clinton in March 1999. “I remember how difficult it was for me to try and turn the heads of our people, the heads of the politicians towards the West, towards the United States, but I succeeded in doing that, and now to lose all that.”

Yeltsin urged Clinton to renounce the strikes, for the sake of “our relationship” and “peace in Europe.”

“It is not known who will come after us and it is not known what will be the road of future developments in strategic nuclear weapons,” Yeltsin reminded his US counterpart.

But Clinton wouldn’t cede ground.

“Milosevic is still a communist dictator and he would like to destroy the alliance that Russia has built up with the US and Europe and essentially destroy the whole movement of your region toward democracy and go back to ethnic alliances. We cannot allow him to dictate our future,” Clinton told Yeltsin.

Yeltsin asks US to ‘give Europe to Russia’

One exchange that has been making the rounds on Twitter appears to show Yeltsin requesting that Europe be “given” to Russia during a meeting in Istanbul in 1999. However, it’s not quite what it seems.

“I ask you one thing,” Yeltsin says, addressing Clinton. “Just give Europe to Russia. The US is not in Europe. Europe should be in the business of Europeans.”

However, the request is slightly less sinister than it sounds when put into context: The two leaders were discussing missile defense, and Yeltsin was arguing that Russia – not the US – would be a more suitable guarantor of Europe’s security.

“We have the power in Russia to protect all of Europe, including those with missiles,” Yeltsin told Clinton.

Clinton on Putin: ‘He’s very smart’

Perhaps one of the most interesting exchanges takes place when Yeltsin announces to Clinton his successor, Vladimir Putin.

In a conversation with Clinton from September 1999, Yeltsin describes Putin as “a solid man,” adding: “I am sure you will find him to be a highly qualified partner.”

A month later, Clinton asks Yeltsin who will win the Russian presidential election.

“Putin, of course. He will be the successor to Boris Yeltsin. He’s a democrat, and he knows the West.”

“He’s very smart,” Clinton remarks.

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