Category: politics

Russia’s Foreign Policy?

On 22 Dec, Michael Carpenter @mikercarpenterSenior Director @PennBiden. Former DASD for Russia/Balkans/Eurasia @DeptofDefense, Foreign Policy Advisor @JoeBiden, and Director for Russia @NSC44 published a long thread on Twitter.

I have no way of knowing what axe he may have to grind in this world where everything is hostage to misinformation, but I want to record what he tweeted – and we shall see how things play out. Here is what he tweeted:

1 A military incursion into Ukraine. The most likely target is the canal that feeds fresh water from the Dnieper river to Crimea. Without this water, Crimea’s agricultural sector goes under. Also look for Russia to seek complete dominance over the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait.

2 A military flare-up in Nagorno-Karabakh if Prime Minister Pashinyan does not cater to corrupt Russian interests in Armenia.

3 Pressure on President Lukashenka to allow Russia to build a military base in Belarus, especially if the US green-lights the construction of “Fort Trump” in Poland. If Minsk resists, the Kremlin will be prepared to execute an Anschluss operation.

4 Russia and Iran take control of eastern Syria as the US withdraws and Turkey engages in cross-border attacks on Kurdish fighters. Over time this guarantees that disenfranchised Sunni Arabs radicalize into ISIS 2.0.

5 A growing Russian military presence in Libya helps General Haftar consolidate control of the country, which becomes a Russian protectorate.

6 Moscow arms the Taliban with more sophisticated weapons as the US draws down its forces and the NATO ISAF mission is stretched to the breaking point. Moscow displaces the US as the chief power-broker in Afghanistan and the Taliban comes back to power.

7 Moscow supports Bosnian President Milorad Dodik’s efforts to separate Republika Srpska from the rest of Bosnia and Herzegovina, risking a renewed ethnic conflict in the Balkans.

8 The Russian-Saudi relationship blossoms as Moscow sends more weapons to Saudi Arabia and coordinates further oil supply cuts.

9 EU sanctions on Russia fall apart as one of the EU member states breaks consensus in return for an undisclosed energy deal with Russia. The most likely candidates: Hungary, Italy, Austria.

10 The Kremlin’s active measures campaign in the US goes into overdrive as Russia seeks to shape the 2020 presidential field. Dark money becomes the main tool of Kremlin influence as Russia concludes that financing organic disinformation is more effective than offshore ops.

The Whole World In A Grain Of Rice

grains of rice in a person's hand

To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour

The opening lines of Auguries of Innocence by William Blake

Bloomberg published a story on October 4th claiming that the Chinese government snuck a chip the size of a grain of rice onto the motherboards of servers built by the company Super Micro.

It was sent to foreign customers including 30 US companies, some of which had US government contracts. The report refers to a major bank (not named) and to Apple and Amazon.

Apple and Amazon have denied it. Bloomberg is a reputable news source. What is the truth of it?

Then, on 30th October Bloomberg published a short article in which it reported that Super Micro had said they had found no malicious software in its products.

It also reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had said it has “no reason to doubt” Amazon and Apple’s denials of Bloomberg’s reporting.

Why do I feel that this story has a long way to run?