Foreign Press Review (09.01-15.01)

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Recently the US intelligence community published a widely discussed and highly criticized report on Russia’s alleged interference in the US presidential elections. But last week a new information bomb exploded with journalists themselves debating questions over media ethics concerning this publication. BuzzFeed published an anonymous report, which makes “explosive — but unverified — allegations that the Russian government has been “cultivating, supporting and assisting” President-elect Donald Trump for years and gained compromising information about him” for blackmailing Trump. It is emphasized that this report “has been circulating among elected officials, intelligence agents, and journalists for weeks”. Later the media reported that the dossier was prepared by an ex-MI6 officer Christopher Steele from a private investigative firm allegedly hired to carry out opposition research on Donald Trump.

Although some new outlets earlier mentioned such a report, none of them decided to publish it as it contains factual errors while the salacious claims are almost unverifiable.  BuzzFeed insists that it took action only after CNN reported that a two-page synopsis of the report was presented to President Obama and President-elect Trump. Donald Trump called the report published by BuzzFeed “fake news – a total political witch hunt!” and called the outlet a “failing pile of garbage” while also lashing out against CNN. The Kremlin also reacted saying that it “has no compromising dossier on Trump” and called this document “nothing but absolute fantasy”.

To be fair, Trump has all the grounds to criticize BuzzFeed as the report is totally unsubstantiated and, moreover, some of its claims have already been disproved. For example, Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen has already said that he has never been to Prague (this was written in the dossier among other things), while another story in the dossier was collected from the website 4chan, however the author has already claimed that he invented it. The whole story faced a controversial public and professional reaction with many journalists thinking that BuzzFeed discredited modern journalism per se while the story has become, according to the media, another Putin’s win.

Meanwhile, NATO began the biggest deployment of US troops in Europe as about 1,000 of the promised 4,000 troops arrived in Poland. The Kremlin clearly pointed out that it perceived the deployment as a threat to Russia’s interests and security. The actions of the next US administration concerning NATO are still open to question as Trump has numerously expressed his skepticism over the current NATO development while his security nominees during the Congress hearings expressed a more assertive stance.  However, experts think that NATO would be one of the most discussed topics between the Russian and the US presidents after Trump’s inauguration.

Russia-US relations

No bombshell: the intelligence report on Russia and the election was ineffective

By David Klion

The Guardian

09.01.17

The report is too late – and too unsubstantiated – to fully persuade the American people of the danger we now find ourselves in.

Trump Received Unsubstantiated Report That Russia Had Damaging Information About Him

By Scott Shane, Adam Goldman and Matthew Rosenberg

The New York Times

10.01.17

The chiefs of America’s intelligence agencies last week presented President Obama and President-elect Donald J. Trump with a summary of unsubstantiated reports that Russia had collected compromising and salacious personal information about Mr. Trump, two officials with knowledge of the briefing said.

The bombshell report that Russia can blackmail Trump, explained

By Yochi Dreazen 

Vox

11.01.17

Regardless of whether the CNN story holds up, the leak is sure to further fuel Trump’s war with the nation’s intelligence agencies. Given the array of threats facing the US, that may be one of the most dangerous outcomes of all.

Trump, Putin and the Hidden History of How Russia Interfered in the U.S. Presidential Election

By Kurt Eichenwald

Newsweek

11.01.17

Western European and American intelligence agencies agree that the Kremlin meddled in the 2016 presidential campaign. But subtle disagreements remain about why.

Who Are the Real Enemies of US National Security?

 By Stephen F. Cohen

The Nation

11.01.17

 New allegations that President-elect Trump can be controlled by the Kremlin through compromising information are unprecedented in American history and policy-making.

Trump’s Team Looks Smarter on Russia

By Leonid Bershidsky

Bloomberg

12.01.17

A negotiating process based on clearly drawn lines, which are backed by readiness to apply force, is not equal to support for Putin’s human rights abuses and cross-border escapades. It can’t be the beginning of a beautiful friendship; there are too many deeply rooted differences. But it can be the start of a more realistic, more predictable relationship — the best both nuclear powers can hope for given their current irreconcilable differences of ideology.

Why did Obama dawdle on Russia’s hacking?

By David Ignatius

The Washington Post

12.01.17

After this past week of salacious leaks about foreign espionage plots and indignant denials, people must be wondering if something is rotten in the state of our democracy.

Why Russia’s Kremlin watchers are taking Trump dossier with a grain of salt

By Fred Weir

The Christian Science Monitor

12.01.17

Several Russian foreign policy and security experts contacted Thursday said they found the document a fascinating read. But not one of the analysts, who included veteran journalists and Kremlin-connected consultants, said they had any way to judge the veracity of the extraordinary claims now roiling political discourse in the US.

U.S. Russia Relations: How Did We Get Here?

By Curt Weldon

The National Interest

12.01.17

If only we had followed Reagan’s approach to Russia, just imagine how different the world would be today.

Team Trump: Watch Out, Putin. We’ve Got Your Number

By Kimberly Dozier, Tim Mak

The Daily Beast

13.01.17

The Donald has kissed up to Vlad for years. The nominees for his war cabinet are talking like they’re girding for a fight.

Russia-NATO relations

This Interactive Map Shows the High Stakes Missile Stand-Off Between NATO and Russia

By Robbie Gramer

Foreign Policy

12.07.17

With NATO-Russia relations at their lowest point in decades, the two former Cold War adversaries are in a tense stand-off over missile defense. In recent years, Russia established a dense thicket of overlapping missile and missile defense systems with ranges that jut into NATO territory.

China, Russia fear the US is boxing them in

By Joshua Berlinger

CNN

13.01.17

With missiles at their borders and neighbors aligning with an adversary, China and Russia could feel boxed in.

Syrian conflict

First sign of enhanced U.S.-Russia relations under Trump: An invite to Syria talks

By Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller

The Washington Post

13.01.17

Russia has invited the incoming Trump administration to Syrian peace talks it is sponsoring later this month with Turkey and Iran, part of a process from which the Obama administration pointedly has been excluded.

Russia-Turkey relations

Putin and Erdogan’s Marriage of Convenience

By Henri J. Barkey

Foreign Policy

11.01.17

Moscow and Ankara have pivoted from foes to friends, and are now winning the war in Syria. Will Donald Trump join the party?

Russia-Canada relations

Freeland – Aimed At Putin? Or Trump?

By Jim Miles

Countercurrents.org

13.01.17

The CBC today (Tuesday, January 10, 2016) presented the news concerning Chrystia Freeland’s new appointment as Foreign Affairs Minister for Canada’s Trudeau government, noting mainly that she was on the sanctions list from Russia. The announcer also noted that she is of Ukrainian background and is very opposed to Russia’s supposed actions in Ukraine.

Afghan conflict

Russia Returns to Afghanistan

By Arif Rafiq

The National Interest

12.01.17

Russia could ally with China and Pakistan to create an alternative bloc to the U.S-led coalition.

Articles also deserving your attention

  1. My big question about Russian interference in the 2016 election (09.01.17)
  1. The released report on Russian meddling isn’t enough (09.01.17)
  1. Democrats are playing with fire on Russia (09.01.17)
  1. Stealing Elections Is All in the Game (10.01.17)
  1. Some Senate Republicans are trying to stop Trump from lifting sanctions on Russia (10.01.17)
  1. Trump’s Team Looks Smarter on Russia (12.01.17)
  1. The Deep State Goes to War With President-Elect, Using Unverified Claims, as Democrats Cheer (11.01.17)
  1. The Secret Source of Putin’s Evil (10.01.17)
  1. Trump, Russia, and the Return of Scapegoating, a Timeless American Tradition (11.01.17)
  1. Twenty years ago, Russians loved the US. Where did it all go wrong? (10.01.17)
  1. The Trump Dossier Is Fake — And Here Are The Reasons Why (13.01.17)
  1. Trump adviser had five calls with Russian envoy on day of sanctions: sources (13.01.17)
  1. The Spy Who Wrote the Trump-Russia Memos: It Was “Hair-Raising” Stuff (13.01.17)
  1. The leaked Trump-Russia dossier rings frighteningly true (12.01.17)
  1. We need an independent commission on Russia hacking now (12.01.17)
  1. Russia’s wily Vladimir Putin will meet his match with Donald Trump (12.01.17)
  1. Trump Loves Putin. We Need A Secretary Of State Who Doesn’t (11.01.17)
  1. S. Allies Slam Brakes on Obama’s Parting Blow at Putin (12.01.17)
  1. As Trump Reaches Toward Putin, U.S. Troops Arrive in Poland (12.01.17)
  1. Russia waging information war against Sweden, study finds (11.01.17)
  1. Iran at Putin’s Mercy (12.01.17)
  1. Pre-emptive Compromise Would Imperil Ukraine (10.01.17)
  1. Putin’s Other American Propaganda Effort: Anti-Fracking News (10.01.17)
  1. How State-Sponsored Blackmail Works in Russia (11.01.17)
  1. Will Putin and Trump Bond Over Oil? (13.01.17)

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