Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński: Death of an Anti-Russian Terrorist

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Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzeziński is dead at the age of 89. The former US National Security Advisor put the feuds of his homeland above the interests of his adopted USA. Richard Nixon had more foreign policy achievements that just about any modern American President. However, Nixon’s scandal-plagued White House generally overshadowed these achievements. Amongst his most important achievements was engaging in détente with the USSR. Nixon’s de-escalation of tensions with Moscow ultimately led to the signing of the Helsinki Accords in 1975, wherein America and its allies and non-aligned states of Europe agreed to respect the borders and sovereignty of existing states, including that of the USSR and her allies. The Helsinki Accords affirmed renouncing violence as a means of settling disputes and forced signatories to respect the right of self-determination among peoples. This was a rare moment; the USA admitted that it couldn’t win the Cold War and that engagement and peaceful dialogue were preferable to threats against the Soviet superpower.

In 1976, Jimmy Carter became the President of the United States after Nixon’s former Vice-President Gerald Ford failed to win over an America hungry for change on the domestic front. While many remember Jimmy Carter as a man of peace, his Presidency was anything but peaceful. The reason for this was the power behind the throne, Carter’s National Security Advisor, Brzeziński. The Polish-born Brzeziński put the historic blood-feud of his mother country ahead of American interests. He openly opposed Nixon and Ford’s policy of détente and orchestrated the use of American power to arm and fund all those who sought to undermine the USSR.

This became most apparent when he decided to use the USA’s resources to fund, arm, and train the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. Among the fighters Brzeziński’s policy helped to arm was Osama bin Laden, the founder of the Salafist terrorist group al-Qaeda. The USA later blamed that group for orchestrating and executing the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the USA. Brzeziński was happy to ally with blood-soaked jihadists to topple the secular modern government of Afghanistan, for the simple reason that it was a Soviet ally. Brzeziński’s jihadists took over the country in the 1990s; they famously executed and then mutilated the corpse of Afghanistan’s pro-Soviet President Dr Mohammad Najibullah in 1996. Many blame the Brzeziński-authored policies in Afghanistan for unleashing the plague of jihadist terrorism throughout the wider world.

Brzeziński’s formal time in the White House was only for Jimmy Carter’s single term, but many of his policies lived on long after his formal period in power. Throughout the rest of his life, Brzeziński continued to vocally advocate policies designed to cripple Russia, including NATO’s expansion into Eastern Europe. He was a strong supporter of the 2014 coup against the legitimate Ukrainian government and more recently said that the Russian Federation would break up. Furthermore, he said that the USA must help those wanting to break it up, irrespective of who they are. He continued to advocate sanctions against Russia until his dying day, in spite of the fact that the sanctions ended up hurting his native Poland more than the Russian Federation he sought to destroy.

Brzeziński was a deeply violent and hateful man. He was also dishonest; he told the last Shah of Iran that the USA would give him full backing, knowing well that there was division in the White House on the issue. He was a man who brought ancient hatreds, hatreds which long pre-dated the USA’s existence, into the heart of American policy making. At the age of 89, Brzeziński is dead. Even if he lived another hundred years, he’d never see his dream, the death of Russia. Russia remains alive and well, and in this sense, perhaps, he died knowing that his entire reason for being was a failure.

26 May 2017

Adam Garrie

The Duran

http://theduran.com/zbigniew-brzezinski-death-anti-russian-terrorists/

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Barack Obama is Using His Presidency to Cash In, But Harry Truman and Jimmy Carter Refused to Do So

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Defenders of Barack Obama’s decision to do things like accept a 400,000 USD (22.8 million Roubles. 2.76 million Renminbi. 25.68 million INR. 548,000 CAD. 532,000 AUD. 368,000 Euros. 312,000 UK Pounds) check for a speech to a Wall Street brokerage house argue that the former president might as well cash in… everyone else does. That was Daily Show host Trevor Noah’s defence of Obama:

People are like, “Why doesn’t he not accept the money?” No, fuck that. So the first black president must also be the first one to not take money afterwards? No, no, no, my friend. He can’t be the first of everything! Fuck that, and fuck you. Make that money, Obama!

This argument, while common, comes from historical ignorance. It assumes that presidents have always found a way to leverage their political connections post-presidency to make money from interest groups and wealthy political actors. However, that isn’t the case. It used to be the norm for presidents to retire to ordinary life after their stint in the White House… just ask Harry Truman. When the Democratic president was getting ready to leave the White House in 1953, many employers approached him. The Los Angeles Times noted:

If he’s unemployed after he leaves the White House it won’t be for lack of job offers … but [he’s] accepted none of them.

One of those job offers was from a Florida real estate developer, asking him to become a “chairman, officer, or stockholder, at a figure of not less than 100,000 USD”… the sort of position that’s commonplace today for ex-politicians. Presumably, had Truman taken the position, it would’ve been a good deal for both parties… the president’s prestige and connections would also enrich the company. Truman declined. He wrote of his refusal to influence-peddle:

I could never lend myself to any transaction, however respectable, that would commercialise on the prestige and dignity of the office of the presidency.

Although he had a small pension from his military service, Truman had little financial support after leaving office. He moved back into his family home in Independence MO. He insisted on being treated like anyone else. He’d tell people not to call him, “Mr President”, and settled into an ordinary routine once he was back in Independence. He’d take a morning walk through the town square. He kept an office nearby where he would answer mail from Americans. He chose to engage with just about anyone who walked into his office… not only people who wrote him big checks or invited him onto their private yachts and private islands. He once said:

Many people feel that a president or an ex-president is partly theirs… they’re right to some extent… and that they have a right to call upon him.

Indeed, his office number was in a nearby telephone directory. He eventually agreed to write a memoir for Life magazine, but it was a lengthy project, which paid a far-from-luxurious stipend. Truman’s modest life post-presidency moved Congress in 1958 to establish a pension that provides an annual cash payout as well as expenses for an office and staff.

Nevertheless, Gerald Ford shattered precedent when he joined the boards of corporations such as 20th Century Fox, hit the paid speech circuit, and became an honorary director of Citigroup. However, his successor, Jimmy Carter, who grew up in a modest home in Plains GA, didn’t follow Ford’s example. He refused to become a professional paid speaker or join corporate boards. He moved back to Plains and a crowd of neighbours and supporters welcomed him home. He quickly made himself busy as a nonprofit founder and a volunteer diplomat. He did make money post-presidency…but by serving ordinary people, not the élite. He wrote dozens of best-selling books bought by millions of people across the world… the post-presidency equivalent of small donors. Carter explained his thinking to the Guardian in 2011, telling them:

My favourite president and the one I admired most was Harry Truman. When Truman left office, he took the same position. He didn’t serve on corporate boards. He didn’t make speeches around the world for a lot of money.

The presidents who came after did not choose the same path. At a time when Japan was a major trade rival with the United States, Ronald Reagan flew to Japan for a series of paid speeches after he left office. He accepted 2 million USD (114 million Roubles. 13.8 million Renminbi. 128.4 million INR. 2.74 million CAD. 2.66 million AUD. 1.84 million Euros. 1.56 million UK Pounds) for a pair of 20-minute speeches to the Fujisankei Communications Group. An additional 5 million USD (285 million Roubles. 34.5 million Renminbi. 321 million INR. 6.85 million CAD. 6.65 million AUD. 4.6 million Euros. 3.9 million UK Pounds) went for expenses related to the visit. Both Bushes also joined the paid speech circuit, and the Clintons made over 100 million USD (5.7 billion Roubles. 690 million Renminbi. 6.42 billion INR. 137 million CAD. 133 million AUD. 92 million Euros. 78 million UK Pounds) from banks and other corporations, shortly after the Clinton presidency deregulated Wall Street. Bill Clinton lamented to a student group in 2009:

I never made any money until I left the White House. I had the lowest net worth, adjusted for inflation, of any president elected in the last 100 years, including President Obama. I was one poor rascal when I took office; but after I got out, I made a lot of money.

Obama was hardly facing poverty. He already has a 65 million USD book deal (3.705 billion Roubles. 448.5 million Renminbi. 4.173 billion INR. 89.05 million CAD. 86.45 million AUD. 59.8 million Euros. 50.7 million UK Pounds) and that 200,000 USD annual pension (11.4 million Roubles. 1.38 million Renminbi. 12.84 million INR. 274,000 CAD. 266,000 AUD. 184,000 Euros. 156,000 UK Pounds). By joining the paid speech circuit… his spokesman Eric Schultz told the press that paid speechmaking will be a fixture for the former president… Obama was making a conscious choice. Obama could have been like Truman or Carter, but instead chose to be like Bush and Clinton.

1 May 2017

Zaid Jilani

The Intercept

https://theintercept.com/2017/05/01/barack-obama-is-using-his-presidency-to-cash-in-but-harry-truman-and-jimmy-carter-refused/

Trump Administration Pressures Argentina to Rescind Award to Former President Jimmy Carter

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The Trump Administration pressured the government of Argentine President Mauricio Macri to rescind an award to former US President Jimmy Carter. Argentina was going to honour Carter with the Order of the Liberator General San Martín, the equivalent to America’s Medal of Freedom. However, the Trump administration moved to quash this as Carter is a frequent critic of the authoritarian tendencies of the Trump Administration. The Buenos Aires Herald wrote:

CNN reported this week that the Mauricio Macri Administration rescinded a decision to award former US President Jimmy Carter the Order of the Liberator General San Martín… the highest distinction that the country can give to a foreigner… under pressure from US President Donald Trump’s administration. The official tribute, already approved by the Foreign Ministry and published in the Official Gazette, was cancelled after receiving a specific request by the US government, which suggested it’d be better to delay it. Carter was to receive the award for his work in promoting human rights during Argentina’s last military dictatorship.

30 April 2017

The Intellectualist

https://theintellectualist.co/trump-administration-pressures-argentina-to-rescind-award-to-former-president-jimmy-carter/

Monday, 12 October 2015

Ex-POTUS Carter: Democracy is Dead; the USA is Now an “Oligarchy”

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In an interview with Oprah Winfrey on her SuperSoul Sunday TV special, former American President James Earl Carter Jr claimed he wouldn’t be able to run for president in today’s political landscape, since every contender needs sky-high finances, saying:

There’s no way now for you to get a Democratic or Republican nomination without being able to raise 200 or 300 million or more. I wouldn’t be inclined to do that, and I wouldn’t be capable of doing it. We’ve become now an oligarchy instead of a democracy, and I think that’s been the worst damage to the basic moral and ethical standards to the American political system that I’ve ever seen in my life. When you get to Washington, you’ve already alienated Democrats from Republicans and Congress from the president, and red states and blue states. When I was running for president in 1976, the situation was completely different; almost equally, both Republicans and Democrats supported me.

Carter believes that letting huge sums of money affect elections… and by extension, policy… transformed what was once a democratic country into an oligarchy, the form of state structure in which a small group of wealthy people hold power. He went on to say that there’s now an impassable gulf between Republicans and Democrats, one that wasn’t there 30 to 40 years ago, during his time in office.

Carter served as president between 1977 and 1981, after serving two terms as a Georgia governor. Later, he became a humanitarian, founding the internationally renowned Carter Center, specialising in health care and democracy issues around the world. In 2002, Carter received a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts “to find peaceful solutions to international conflicts, to advance democracy and human rights, and to promote economic and social development”. In August, doctors diagnosed Carter with melanoma, which metastasised to his liver and brain. Currently, he’s undergoing treatment.

24 September 2015

Sputnik News

http://sputniknews.com/us/20150924/1027435567.html

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