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The Clash of the Titans — How Greece became the target of an epic struggle

The key to understanding Greece’s role in the Eurozone crisis, and to Greece’s eventual liberation from that crisis, is its pivotal role in the competing gas pipeline projects that are being planned by Moscow and Brussels in southern Europe and the eastern Mediterranean.

Haneul Na'avi

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Greek-EU relations parallel the epic battle of Hesiod’s Theogony, in which Kronos (Saturn/ restriction) overthrows his father Uranus (innovation) to become ruler of the Cosmos, and then devours his five children save for Zeus (Jupiter/ expansion) to prevent their future uprising.

Similarly, the trade bloc has done the same by devouring Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Portugal, and Greece in order to cement dominion over Europe, using the global financial crisis as an impetus.

1. “[…] the son from his ambush stretched forth his left hand and […] and swiftly lopped off his own father’s members…”

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ struggle with the bureaucratic Cerberus known as the European Troika—the European Commission (EC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)—failed after he betrayed former Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, who sought radical fiscal options to rescue Greece’s economy.

Tsipras later signed the 2015 Supplemental Memorandum of Understanding, which claimed to “tackle tax evasion, fraud and strategic defaulters”, but in reality, shackles the country to another immovable €85 billion bailout and imposes a neoliberal, graduated privatisation scheme.

Unsurprisingly, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein was the architect of Greece’s calamity, where in 2001 he feloniously hid Greece’s debts using complex credit default swaps in order to meet Eurozone requirements set by the Maastricht Treaty, but the spell did not last long.

Salon reports:

“After the 9/11 attacks, bond yields plunged, resulting in a big loss for Greece because of the formula Goldman had used to compute the country’s debt repayments under the swap. By 2005, Greece owed almost double what it had put into the deal, pushing its off-the-books debt from 2.8 billion euros to 5.1 billion.

“[…] as interest rates plunged and the swaps turned out to cost far more, Goldman and the other banks refused to let the municipalities refinance without paying hefty fees to terminate the deals.”

Since then, Hellenic ministers have desperately sought options to revitalise its economy whilst battling austerity, but even rational measures to save it have come under fire from Brussels.

In 2008, Greek ministers tried to bail out its national industry Hellenic Shipyards before selling it to a German enterprise, which was later declared an “illegal move under Brussels law”.

EU technocrats imposed “a six million euro upfront penalty on Greece’s cash-strapped government, to be followed by a daily levy of 34,974 euros,” the Express highlighted.

“[…] Greece will be required to pay 34,974 euros to Brussels every day until it has recouped all of the 250 million euros it used to bail out Hellenic Shipyards”.

The country continues to battles a Hydra of problems, and despite slow gains, very few options remain within the EU framework. Fortunately, it is not alone and there is still hope.

2. “[…] and these goddesses never cease from their dread anger until they punish the sinner with a sore penalty…

The Eurozone debacle raises eyebrows regarding the Troika’s real intentions, as scapegoating continues to pervade mainstream media headlines without explaining the attacks and bailouts.

Paradoxically, underneath the miasma of lies and finger-pointing, a truth emerges: The Eurozone’s power rests in keeping Greece within its geopolitical orbit at all costs, and does so by exploiting Greek debt and “corruption”, which it consciously ignored in 2001.

Greece is one of the most geopolitically strategic energy transit hubs in Europe, which two multinational energy corporations—The European Commission Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) and Gazprom’s TurkStream Pipeline, fully understand.

BP expressed it in this way

“[The SGC] is arguably the global oil and gas industry’s most significant and ambitious undertaking yet […] – [involving] seven governments and 11 companies”.

Investors plan to construct the 550 km-long Trans Adriatic Pipeline through Greece, starting at Kipoi to connect to the Turkish Trans Anatolian Route (TANAP), and proceed to Albania and Italy.

World Policy echoed in 2014.

“Athens is vital to the success of the project, since the largest part of the pipeline crosses through Greece.”

Azerbaijan has been exploiting its Shah Deniz gas reserves in the Caspian Sea since 2006 and serves as the SGC’s main oil rig, and along with Western vassal state Georgia, and earns significant transit revenues via the South Caucasus Pipeline (SCPX).

Unfortunately, Azerbaijan depends on disputed reserves, and other stakeholders—neighbouring Russia, Kazakhstan, and Armenia—are members of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) and expect the largest share, which further complicates matters.

Stratfor mentioned in a report.

“[…] there are disputes between the five bordering states over where to demarcate the maritime borders and how to split up the energy resources.  This has created a tense geopolitical environment in the region, with the Caspian Sea serving as an important area of competition between Russia and the West.”

Furthermore, Iran has also expressed interest in joining the EEU, compounding the EU’s troubles. 

The Tehran Times highlighted.

“President Vladimir Putin […] has expressed hope that a free trade zone can soon be established between Iran and the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.”

To date, Russia has had difficulty incorporating Greece into the TurkStream project after Western sanctions followed the Kiev coup and MH17 sabotage, forcing EU member states into a common position policy, which has severely limited Greece’s political decision-making.

After Kyiv received a $17.5 billion IMF stabilisation package, it officially became a vassal state of the Eurozone, and unfortunately, the Soviet-era Druzhba pipeline, the world’s largest pipeline network, lost its southernmost flank.  Additionally, Kiev refuses to pay back its $3 billion debt to Russia.

Sanctions also forced Gazprom to divert its attention from the defunct South Stream pipeline to the TurkStream, bypassing Bulgaria and Ukraine after they rejected the project due to EU pressure.

RT commented.

“Last year, Russia scrapped South Stream because of objections from the EU over its construction. It was to supply gas to Southern Europe via Bulgaria, avoiding Ukraine.”

3. “Therefore he kept no blind outlook, but watched and swallowed down his children…”

Greece shares its concerns with other Southern European countries seeking to diversify their energy security, but have found it painstakingly difficult to accomplish. Christopher Coats of the London School of Economics goes into explicit detail:

“The EU’s current approach to energy policy limits itself to issues of connectivity, energy security and the harmonisation of member states’ fragmented markets, and it is unlikely that the EU will seek to incentivise new hydrocarbons exploration and production.’ […] However, [its] weakened financial standing has made funds increasingly elusive.”

He continues:

“Governments found quick targets for spending cuts in the state subsidy systems for renewable energy as the 2008 crisis took hold. Such cuts slowed interest in the sector, making it a far less attractive investment and hindering future planning […] Spain went from being a global leader of solar development and installation to a pariah of foreign investors in a matter of months.”

Rather than compensating countries for lost green initiatives, the Commission simply demanded austerity. Despite this, EU parliamentarians continue to enjoy generous salaries and benefits.

Furthermore, the implementation of the COP21 Paris Agreement, which targets anthropogenic climate change, adds further bureaucratic obstacles to hydrocarbons exploration.  The Institution of Civil Engineers implied that according to it

“governments and investors will need to manage an orderly transition away from a fossil fuel dominated economy.”

A 2009 European Commission document states

“Second Strategic Energy Review” (COM/2008/781), reiterates this strategy, demanding to “identify and remove barriers to investment, including by means of streamlining of planning and consultation procedures or by appointing European coordinators, in particular for projects which improve interconnection.”

Greece, therefore, cannot exist independently, as the EU desperately seeks to prevent Athens from pivoting eastward, which challenges the Commission’s objectives.  World Policy continued.

“[It] relies on the stability that Greece can offer as a mediator country […] thus bypassing Russian gas supplies.”

Together, these legislative barriers favour EU agendas at the expense of state rights. Greek Energy Minister Panos Skourletis remarked about his interest in the Turk Stream.

“Greece is interested in building a gas pipeline, we are ready to take part in it, but everything depends on Europe.”

EU pundits have also voiced concerns over Greece’s pivot to Russia, insinuating that it could form an interregional coalition to strengthen non-EU energy partnerships. Professor Konstantinos Filis replied during an interview.

“It will try to form a common EU bloc with other member states that share the same position […] such as Italy, Austria, Slovakia, Cyprus and Hungary.”

4. “Him did vast Earth receive from Rhea in wide Crete to nourish and to bring up.”

Fortunately, the ongoing Moscow-Ankara-Athens detente has yielded positive results.

Western attempts to court Turkey have backfired, especially after denying Ankara EU accession, Germany’s Bundestag recognised the Armenian genocide, and later, military coups occurred in Ankara and Istanbul, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blames on US-asset Fethullah Güllen.

After the Turkish SU24 shoot-down in November 2015 as part of the conflict in Syria Russia froze production on the Turk Stream, but new developments now point to reconciliation; notwithstanding several demands from the Kremlin.

On August 31st Gazprom highlighted

“a working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Gazprom Management Committee, and [Turkish Energy Minister] Berat Albayrak, took place today in Istanbul, [and that] negotiations on Russian gas supplies to Turkey will continue.”

Conversely, Greece and Russia have begun their long-awaited rapprochement in late May, when President Putin and PM Tsipras offered their groundbreaking joint statement in Athens.

Dubbed the historical Year of Russia held in Greece and the Year of Greece held in Russia, both figureheads communicated their hopes of new ambitious joint projects in agriculture, science, tourism, security and technology.

Over the years, trade between the two countries fell sharply, and measures to correct this were discussed at the 2015 Russian-Greek Intergovernmental Commission, along with the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum in Sochi, Russia.

The SPIEF RosCongress Foundation explains:

“Foreign trade between Russia and Greece totalled USD 866.7 million over January–April 2015, with Russian exports amounting to USD 793.1 million (a drop of 42.3%), and imports from Greece standing at USD 73.6 million. Russia’s trade surplus with Greece stood at USD 719.5 million.”

Reflecting on this shortcoming, Greek Minister of Economy, Infrastructure, Shipping, and Tourism Giorgos Stathakis boldly stated

“As all of you are fully aware, we currently stand at the centre of a storm, but we are a seafaring people, so we are not scared of storms”.

Secretary General for International Economic Relations of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs Yiorgos Tsipras added.

“[…] we have recognized that it is easy to talk to our Russian colleagues. We are ready to move beyond the problems facing us and create new opportunities.”

5. “[…] And through your devising we are come back again from the murky gloom and from our merciless bonds…”

The most salient opportunity was, of course, revitalising cooperation in the energy sector. Tsipras addressed.

“We expressed our satisfaction with the signing of a memorandum of cooperation between the Russian Energy Institute and Greece’s Centre for Renewable Energy Sources (CRES) as well as an agreement between Hellenic Petroleum and Rosneft.”

Just before the visit, Vladimir Putin clearly stated in an Ekathimerini article that Greece was

“Russia’s important partner in Europe.  Issues relating to southern routes of energy shipment to the European Union states are still on the agenda.”

This was apparent a year ago in Moscow, where Greek Energy Minister Panagiotis Lafazanis stated Greece would

“…..receive significant financial dividends for the pipeline’s operations [after signing a Russian-Greek MoU on the Turk Stream].”

Most importantly, it would provide Greece with a portion of 63 billion cubic metres per annum, immense compensation in transit fees, as well as creating jobs.

The Ekathimerini article continues

“[…] construction will start in 2016 and be completed by 2019”.

This is the path that Greece must pursue—an independent one with like-minded partners for growth and prosperity.

The rest of Southern Europe should follow suit to promote jobs, lower energy prices, and pay off outstanding debts to the Eurozone.

To do this, Mediterranean states (Turkey included) must create a common platform for dialogue, with clear goals and channels to mediate disputes, outside of the EU framework.

No matter what, there will be a pipeline running from Athens to Rome, constructed by either Moscow or Brussels, but only one benefits Greece long-term.

Greek ministers should prioritise the Turk Stream and reclaim its bargaining power within the “EU framework”.

Greece must be allowed into the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) to finance the project and remove Western currencies from controlling its financial decisions.

Putin should facilitate their entry into the AIIB to counteract Goldman Sachs and the EU bureaucracy.

Greece, like Zeus, must face its enemy without fear to restore order. Conversely, the EU, like Kronos, has empowered its greatest fear through its authoritarian reign.

Greece and her siblings must grab the BRICS emetic and set themselves free.

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Nancy Pelosi tries to deplatform U.S. President Trump over the wall (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 170.

Alex Christoforou

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In response to Pelosi’s disgusting act of censorship, Trump trolled the Speaker of the House in epic fashion by forcing the cancellation of a trip to Afghanistan, Brussels and Egypt by Nancy Pelosi and her massive entourage.

In a letter addressed to Pelosi, U.S. President Trump told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi…

“I am sorry to inform you that your trip to Brussels, Egypt, and Afghanistan has been postponed. We will reschedule this seven-day excursion when the Shutdown is over.”

“I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is appropriate.”

According to a congressional aide, Pelosi and several other politicians were already on buses preparing to leave the U.S. Capitol when the U.S. President cancelled their trip.

Trump suggested that Pelosi fly commercial to Afghanistan and elsewhere should she wish.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how Nancy Pelosi is trying to censor Trump and prevent the U.S. President from delivering the State of the Union to the American people, in what is clearly another liberal left deplatforming ploy.

Instead of debating the issues about the wall and immigration with fact, logic, and policy positions, Pelosi (out of fear) is trying to silence Trump and squash debate and political discourse.

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Via The Gateway Pundit

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Wednesday asking him to postpone the State of the Union Address to a Joint Session of Congress scheduled for January 29.

Pelosi cited security concerns over the partial government shutdown.

Pelosi said both the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security have not been funded for 26 days now – with critical departments hamstrung by furloughs. Therefore, they would not be ready for the speech.

Pelosi posted her letter to Trump on Twitter, saying, “Today, I wrote to  recommending that we delay the State of the Union until after government re-opens, as the , the lead federal agency for  security, faces its 26th day without funding.” (Text version of letter below tweet.)

The Department of Homeland Security refuted the Speaker’s claims — The Secret Service is ready for the SOTU.

And on Thursday FOX News reported that Speaker Pelosi was using “all kinds of security” manpower for her pricey trip with Democrats to Belgium and Afghanistan.

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BuzzFeed pushes fake Michael Cohen news, as real news breaks on HUGE conspiracy against Trump at FBI and DOJ (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 169.

Alex Christoforou

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According to Zerohedge, in an almost unprecedented event – having rarely commented on stories related to the special counsel’s investigation – Robert S. Mueller III’s office put out a statement firmly disputing the reporting of the news site BuzzFeed reported that the president instructed his personal attorney to lie to Congress about his push for a Moscow real estate project

BuzzFeed’s description of specific statements to the Special Counsel’s Office, and characterization of documents and testimony obtained by this office, regarding Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony are not accurate,” the special counsel’s office said.

As The Hill reports, BuzzFeed had released a statement earlier Friday defending the reporters behind the story and saying that it “stands by this story 100%,” and for his part, Cohen adviser Lanny Davis refused to confirm or deny the report during an interview with MSNBC on Friday afternoon.

President Trump retweeted a few social media reactions…

And then made his own views clear:

Meanwhile the real election collusion bombshell had nothing to do with Russia, Moscow hotels, or Michael Cohen, and everything to do with bullet proof evidence that DOJ official, Bruce Ohr, warned all the higher-ups at the FBI and DOJ (Comey, Rosenstein, McCabe, etc…) that the Steele dossier was connected to Hillary Clinton, and was extremely biased against Donald Trump.

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss how BuzzFeed pushed out a clear, fake propaganda story on Trump, Cohen, and more stupidity about Moscow hotel deals, as real reporter, John Solomon broke a massive story, with solid evidence and facts, that show the FBI and DOJ knew that the Steele dossier was a complete work of fiction, and knowingly hide that fact from FISA courts.

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Authored by John Solomon, via The Hill

When the annals of mistakes and abuses in the FBI’s Russia investigation are finally written, Bruce Ohr almost certainly will be the No. 1 witness, according to my sources.

The then-senior Department of Justice (DOJ) official briefed both senior FBI and DOJ officials in summer 2016 about Christopher Steele’s Russia dossier, explicitly cautioning that the British intelligence operative’s work was opposition research connected to Hillary Clinton’s campaign and might be biased.

Ohr’s briefings, in July and August 2016, included the deputy director of the FBI, a top lawyer for then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and a Justice official who later would become the top deputy to special counsel Robert Mueller.

At the time, Ohr was the associate deputy attorney general. Yet his warnings about political bias were pointedly omitted weeks later from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant that the FBI obtainedfrom a federal court, granting it permission to spy on whether the Trump campaign was colluding with Russia to hijack the 2016 presidential election.

Ohr’s activities, chronicled in handwritten notes and congressional testimony I gleaned from sources, provide the most damning evidence to date that FBI and DOJ officials may have misled federal judges in October 2016 in their zeal to obtain the warrant targeting Trump adviser Carter Page just weeks before Election Day.

They also contradict a key argument that House Democrats have made in their formal intelligence conclusions about the Russia case.

Since it was disclosed last year that Steele’s dossier formed a central piece of evidence supporting the FISA warrant, Justice and FBI officials have been vague about exactly when they learned that Steele’s work was paid for by the law firm representing the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).

A redacted version of the FISA application released last year shows the FBI did not mention any connection to the DNC or Clinton. Rather, it referred to Steele as a reliable source in past criminal investigations who was hired by a person working for a U.S. law firm to conduct research on Trump and Russia.

The FBI claimed it was “unaware of any derogatory information” about Steele, that Steele was “never advised … as to the motivation behind the research” but that the FBI  “speculates” that those who hired Steele were “likely looking for information to discredit” Trump’s campaign.

Yet, in testimony last summer to congressional investigators, Ohr revealed the FBI and Justice lawyers had no need to speculate: He explicitly warned them in a series of contacts, beginning July 31, 2016, that Steele expressed biased against Trump and was working on a project connected to the Clinton campaign.

Ohr had firsthand knowledge about the motive and the client: He had just met with Steele on July 30, 2016, and Ohr’s wife, Nellie, worked for Fusion GPS, the same firm employing Steele.

“I certainly told the FBI that Fusion GPS was working with, doing opposition research on Donald Trump,” Ohr told congressional investigators, adding that he warned the FBI that Steele expressed bias during their conversations.

“I provided information to the FBI when I thought Christopher Steele was, as I said, desperate that Trump not be elected,” he added. “So, yes, of course I provided that to the FBI.”

When pressed why he would offer that information to the FBI, Ohr answered: “In case there might be any kind of bias or anything like that.” He added later, “So when I provided it to the FBI, I tried to be clear that this is source information, I don’t know how reliable it is. You’re going to have to check it out and be aware.”

Ohr went further, saying he disclosed to FBI agents that his wife and Steele were working for the same firm and that it was conducting the Trump-Russia research project at the behest of Trump’s Democratic rival, the Clinton campaign.

“These guys were hired by somebody relating to, who’s related to the Clinton campaign and be aware,” Ohr told Congress, explaining what he warned the bureau.

Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented both the DNC and the Clinton campaign during the 2016 election, belatedly admitted it paid Fusion GPS for Steele’s work on behalf of the candidate and party and disguised the payments as legal bills when, in fact, it was opposition research.

When asked if he knew of any connection between the Steele dossier and the DNC, Ohr responded that he believed the project was really connected to the Clinton campaign.

“I didn’t know they were employed by the DNC but I certainly said yes that they were working for, you know, they were somehow working, associated with the Clinton campaign,” he answered.

“I also told the FBI that my wife worked for Fusion GPS or was a contractor for GPS, Fusion GPS.”

Ohr divulged his first contact with the FBI was on July 31, 2016, when he reached out to then-Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and FBI attorney Lisa Page. He then was referred to the agents working Russia counterintelligence, including Peter Strzok, the now-fired agent who played a central role in starting the Trump collusion probe.

But Ohr’s contacts about the Steele dossier weren’t limited to the FBI. He said in August 2016 — nearly two months before the FISA warrant was issued — that he was asked to conduct a briefing for senior Justice officials.

Those he briefed included Andrew Weissmann, then the head of DOJ’s fraud section; Bruce Swartz, longtime head of DOJ’s international operations, and Zainab Ahmad, an accomplished terrorism prosecutor who, at the time, was assigned to work with Lynch as a senior counselor.

Ahmad and Weissmann would go on to work for Mueller, the special prosecutor overseeing the Russia probe.

Ohr’s extensive testimony also undercuts one argument that House Democrats sought to make last year.

When Republicans, in early 2018, first questioned Ohr’s connections to Steele, Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee sought to minimize the connection, insisting he only worked as an informer for the FBI after Steele was fired by the FBI in November 2016.

The memo from Rep. Adam Schiff’s (D-Calif.) team claimed that Ohr’s contacts with the FBI only began “weeks after the election and more than a month after the Court approved the initial FISA application.”

But Ohr’s testimony now debunks that claim, making clear he started talking to FBI and DOJ officials well before the FISA warrant or election had occurred.

And his detailed answers provide a damning rebuttal to the FBI’s portrayal of the Steele material.

In fact, the FBI did have derogatory information on Steele: Ohr explicitly told the FBI that Steele was desperate to defeat the man he was investigating and was biased.

And the FBI knew the motive of the client and did not have to speculate: Ohr told agents the Democratic nominee’s campaign was connected to the research designed to harm Trump’s election chances.

Such omissions are, by definition, an abuse of the FISA system.

Don’t take my word for it. Fired FBI Director James Comey acknowledged it himself when he testified last month that the FISA court relies on an honor system, in which the FBI is expected to divulge exculpatory evidence to the judges.

“We certainly consider it our obligation, because of our trust relationship with federal judges, to present evidence that would paint a materially different picture of what we’re presenting,” Comey testified on Dec. 7, 2018. “You want to present to the judge reviewing your application a complete picture of the evidence, both its flaws and its strengths.”

Comey claims he didn’t know about Ohr’s contacts with Steele, even though his top deputy, McCabe, got the first contact.

But none of that absolves his FBI, or the DOJ for that matter, from failing to divulge essential and exculpatory information from Ohr to the FISA court.

John Solomon is an award-winning investigative journalist whose work over the years has exposed U.S. and FBI intelligence failures before the Sept. 11 attacks, federal scientists’ misuse of foster children and veterans in drug experiments, and numerous cases of political corruption. He is The Hill’s executive vice president for video.

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At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO

The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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