Matthews: How Putin outwitted the West (6)

His Syrian intervention has made Obama and Cameron look weak and confused

Saddam Hussein hanged: is Iraq a better place? A safer place? Gaddafi murdered in front of the viewers: is Libya a better place? Now we are demonising Assad. Can we try to draw lessons?

— Sergei Lavrov, Russian foreign minister, United Nations, 1 October

Russia was right about Iraq and Libya, and America and Britain were dead wrong. Regime change doesn’t seem to have changed Middle Eastern countries for the better, as Vladimir Putin has been warning for years. His policy is not to support any armed groups ‘that attempt to resolve internal problems through force’ — by which he means rebels, ‘moderate’ or otherwise. In his words, the Kremlin always has ‘a nasty feeling that if such armed groups get support from abroad, the situation can end up deadlocked. We never know the true goals of these “freedom fighters” and we are concerned that the region could descend into chaos.’

Yet after a decade and a half of scolding the West for non-UN-sanctioned military interventions, Putin has now unilaterally committed Russian forces to what the former CIA director General David Petraeus calls the ‘geopolitical Chernobyl’ of Syria. Russia finds itself allied with Syria, Iraq and Iran — a new ‘coalition’ no less, as Syria’s president Bashar al-Assad described it on Iranian state TV last week. How and why did Putin fail to take his own advice about the unintended consequences that breed in middle-eastern quagmires? And most importantly, how has he managed — so far at least — to make Russia’s intervention in Syria into something close to a diplomatic triumph?

[Interesting Read]

See Also:

#1 — Obama says he was ‘skeptical’ of Syria rebel boondoggle from the start

#2 — Syria conflict: Shells hit Russian embassy compound

#3 — Syria conflict: US air drop for anti-IS forces in Hassakeh

#4 — Israel targets Syria army posts after rockets hit Golan


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Afternoon Update October 13th, 2015 (10)


#1 — CBC | Tom Mulcair insists it’s a 3-way race, despite poll results

The Oct. 19 vote is still a three-way race no matter what the polls suggest, NDP Leader Tom Mulcair insisted Monday.


#2 — CNews | Edmonton doctors undergo astronaut training

EDMONTON – Two Edmonton doctors are going to space.

At least that’s the hope, after Shawna Pandya and Michael Gallagher spent a week training in Project PoSSUM’s far-out Scientist-Astronaut Course at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Florida.


#3 — CTV | Mohawk police station, site of 2004 standoff, burns down

A former police station in Quebec where dozens of Aboriginal officers were held hostage more than a decade ago has burned to the ground.


#4 — Global | 2,000 sightings prompt Sudbury officials to create nuisance bear committee

SUDBURY, Ont. – Officials in Sudbury, Ont., have set up a committee to deal with unwelcome bears after there were more than 2,000 reported bear sightings this summer alone.


#5 — Postmedia | Years after 2,500 tonnes of Canadian trash landed in Manila, Philippines demanding we take it back

For two years, it’s been straining Canadian-Filipino relations, prompting protests, petitions, stern-worded political threats and even a demand for an official government inquiry.



#6 — BBC | Arming Syrian rebels: Where the US went wrong

US President Barack Obama never seemed to want a train-and-equip programme for Syrian rebels. Now, government officials admit that the programme is pretty much over. Here’s what happened behind the scenes at the White House.


#7 — CNS | Government-Mandated Speech: Jerry Brown Signs Law Forcing Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers to Promote Abortion

( – Gov. Jerry Brown (D.-Calif.) signed a law on Friday mandating that all licensed pregnancy centers in the state “disseminate to clients” a message promoting public programs with “free or low-cost access” to abortion and contraceptive services.


#8 — Fox | DNC vice chairwoman says she was disinvited from Democratic debate

A congresswoman known for taking on her own party is in a scrap with party leaders again, saying she was disinvited to Tuesday’s Democratic debate after calling for more of them.


#9 — DM | The sassiest tot in town!

One little girl has no intention of doing chores or school work, and nobody – not even her dad – is going to convince her otherwise.


#10 — WT | Tea Party Patriots pan Ryan’s possible rise to House speaker

The head of a national tea party group urged lawmakers Monday to stop Rep. Paul Ryan from being tapped as the next House speaker, saying the Wisconsin Republican’s legislative record “is anything but conservative.”


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Moore: Leaving the EU would be a leap into the known (10)

Britain was an independent trading nation for centuries before the EU referendum. It’s the Union itself which is unpredictable

This week the Remain campaign for the EU referendum – Britain Stronger in Europe – will launch. Its chairman, Lord Rose, says that leaving the EU would be “a leap into the unknown”.

It is a strange way to put it. British independence is not at all unknown – it was our condition for our entire history until we entered what was then the European Economic Community in 1973. It is not even unknown to Lord Rose himself: he was 23 years old at the time.

It is true that a newly independent Britain would have to renegotiate trade deals. But to become a normal, self-governing state once more would be a leap into the known. The world is full of such states, some of which – such as Australia, Canada and New Zealand – work very well and are close to our own traditions. Staying in the EU, on the other hand, is a voyage, though not a leap, into the unknown. That is why it has changed its name from time to time. It is a developing process, and no one knows its destination.


See Also:

#1 — A THIRD of the UK’s 3MILLION EU migrants have arrived under PM David Cameron

#2 — There will NEVER be real reform in crisis-ridden EU

#3 — Syria tops agenda for EU foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg

#4 — Lukashenko’s election victory in Belarus confirmed

#5 — Environmentalists ramp up resistance to big oil

Afternoon Update:

#6 — Calais migrant crisis costs Britain £100,000 a day

#7 — Asylum seekers file lawsuit against Berlin’s largest registration center

#8 — Right-wing PEGIDA rally draws thousands in Dresden, takes aim at Merkel

#9 — Athens rules out joint sea patrols with Turkey

#10 — EU demands immediate halt to Russia strikes on moderate Syrian rebels

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Gingrich on Boehner Lessons: Governing by Punishment Has Led to Freedom Caucus

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan should be “very cautious” before giving in to pressure to run for House speaker himself.

Appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” Gingrich said it will be easy to get the 218 votes needed to be elected speaker, but then he will have to get down to the dirty business of running the House, which could immediately sink his popularity.

“You get to keeping the government open through a continuing resolution, and then you get to the debt ceiling,” Gingrich said. “And if you’re not careful, by Christmas you resemble John Boehner, because these things are hard.

“It’s really hard, and John Boehner made it harder, because as an idealist he eliminated earmarks, and so you could no longer say to a member, I’ll get you three projects for your district,” Gingrich said.

Gingrich placed part of the blame for the current strife within the Republican Party on a centralization of power among the speaker and committee chairmen.


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Santorum: A Flat Tax Is the Best Path to Prosperity

Since 2007, 15,000 American factories have shut down and more than two million manufacturing jobs have been lost. Wages have flatlined; American families are struggling.

In every recovery since 1960, real GDP grew by 4% a year, according to a report from the Congressional Joint Economic Committee. The Obama-Biden policies have resulted in a paltry 2.3% annual growth since the recession ended in 2009. This growth gap has cost the country $5.4 trillion in lost economic output and 5.5 million fewer jobs than would have been expected during a normal recovery.

So what is Hillary Clinton’s vision to get the economy moving? She wants to slam investors with higher capital gains taxes. Bernie Sanders wants to raise the top personal-income tax rate to 90%.


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Gunter: Despite shortcomings, Harper is best

I’ll admit to having no great enthusiasm for the federal Tories’ election platform. But I am voting Tory because both the NDP and the Liberals would be worse – likely far worse.

I wish the Tories were pledging to make the federal government smaller. They’re not.

Despite all the wailing and handwringing from the left, the Tories have not made devastating cuts to federal spending and, unfortunately, they’re not planning to. Since coming to office in 2006, the Tories have grown Ottawa’s spending from just under $220 billion a year to nearly $290 billion.

The federal government has shrunk as a percentage of the country’s GDP since Stephen Harper took over – slowly, gradually, marginally. But it now employs more people and spends about a third more than it did nine years ago.


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Blizzard: Ornge considers replacing its 6-year-old choppers

Something very interesting is happening at Ornge.

Or not.

The troubled provincial air ambulance company is looking to replace 12 helicopters, purchased under a controversial deal the OPP is still investigating.

Or not.

Back in February, Ornge issued a request for information (RFI), saying the company was investigating the market to “gather information on available new or used, multi-engine IFR capable rotor wing aircraft, suitable for use in delivering reliable, responsive, and efficient air ambulance and related services.”


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Levy: Wynne’s health-care prescription absurd

She cozied up to the teachers’ unions and gave them virtually everything they’ve wanted — except for the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO), whose president Sam Hammond will never be happy no matter what.

But when it comes to health care, it seems there’s no money to service Ontario’s ever-growing health-care needs and health-care professionals — doctors and nurses — have become a convenient target for Premier Kathleen Wynne and her health minister, Dr. Eric Hoskins.

Only health-care bureaucrats — those six-figure administrators who have zip to do with front-line care at the bloated Local Health Integration Networks (LHINs) and Community Care Access Centres (CCACs) — seem to be thriving in Wynne’s Ontario.


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Fernandez: Restarting The Engines

Niall Ferguson’s Wall Street Journal article examining “The Real Obama Doctrine” has been widely cited in the media to explain the administration’s foreign policy failure. But it also contains three points that bear upon future events.

The first is Ferguson’s realizaton that Obama’s publicly articulated strategy was a legend. It was never operative. “I have spent much of the past seven years trying to work out what Barack Obama’s strategy for the United States truly is. For much of his presidency, as a distinguished general once remarked to me about the commander in chief’s strategy, ‘we had to infer it from speeches.’ … At first, I assumed that the strategy was simply not to be like his predecessor—an approach that was not altogether unreasonable, given the errors of the Bush administration in Iraq and the resulting public disillusionment.”But like a detective peeling back layers in a case the historian soon began to realize Obama’s goal was far more ambitious.

The second discovery Ferguson made was that Obama was not out to merely repudiate Bush, but to deliberately undo Ronald Reagan, indeed dismantle the entire postwar edifice from Harry Truman onward. He had a vision of restoring the world to its paradisal state before Western meddling:“to create the international coalition and atmosphere in which people across sectarian lines are willing to compromise and are willing to work together in order to provide the next generation a fighting chance for a better future.” Some would regard this approach as risky. Hence it buried beneath layers of misdirection.

Ferguson describes the moment when the scales dropped from his eyes:

[Interesting Read]

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Editorial: Don’t trust Trudeau on carbon pricing

Suppose a leader of one of Canada’s national political parties was campaigning on a promise to raise the GST without saying by how much.

Would such a leader be worthy of our trust?

If not, then Canadians should know this is exactly what Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau is doing in relation to his vow to impose a national carbon pricing scheme on them.

When pressed by reporters, Trudeau won’t even give what the Liberal government’s target would be to reduce annual industrial carbon dioxide emissions, nor a time frame for reducing them.

Nor will he say what his target national carbon price will be.


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Morning Update October 13th, 2015 (10)


#1 — CBC | Justin Trudeau, Gilles Duceppe face spotlight of Tout le monde en parle

With only a week left in the federal election campaign, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe both appeared on Radio-Canada’s popular talk show Tout le monde en parle, hoping to parlay the airtime into votes.


#2 — CNews | Western University student struck by vehicle while walking on campus dies of injuries

LONDON, Ont. – A Western University student struck by a vehicle while walking on campus has died, the first pedestrian death on campus in 15 years.


#3 — CTV | NDP ramps up offensive against ‘secret’ TPP deal with new attack ad

The NDP is stepping up its offensive against the Trans-Pacific Partnership with a new attack ad designed to drum up support for the party as the October 19 Election Day draws nearer.


#4 — Global | First NDP legislation would be to hike corporate taxes, says Tom Mulcair

NANAIMO, B.C. — Restoring a respectful approach to dealing with First Nations would be the issue Tom Mulcair would most want to be remembered for if he becomes prime minister, but the first piece of legislation his government would introduce is a hike on corporate taxes, the NDP leader said Sunday.


#5 — Postmedia | Why you should feel a bit squeamish about poll results

Before we get tangled up with margins of error, methodologies and whether or not people actually tell the truth when a total stranger calls to ask for their opinion, let’s get one thing straight: polling firms are not in the business of gauging voter intention in this or any other election – they’re in the business of helping companies sell stuff.



#6 — BBC | Delhi police question two men after girl of four raped

Indian police are questioning two men in connection with the rape of a four-year-old girl in the capital, Delhi.


#7 — CNS | Bolton: Excluding Ballistic Missiles from Iran Nuke Deal Was ‘Fundamental Flaw’

( – Iran on Sunday test-fired a long-range ballistic missile with a claimed new precision guidance system, less than three months after the Obama administration pushed through a U.N. Security Council resolution that unshackled Iran from some previous restrictions on missile activity.


#8 — Fox | Turkey prime minister says ISIS suspected of carrying out deadly Ankara bombing

Turkey’s prime minister said Monday that the Islamic State terror group (ISIS) was suspected of carrying out Saturday’s double suicide bombing at a peace demonstration in Ankara that killed at least 97 people.


#9 — DM | Plane wreckage ‘containing many skeletons and painted with the Malaysian flag is found on remote Philippine island’

Plane wreckage containing ‘many skeletons’ and painted with the Malaysian flag has reportedly been found in the Philippines, prompting speculation it could be missing MH370.

Police confirmed they had received reports of the discovery in thick jungle on the remote island of Sugbai.


#10 — WT | Islamic State grows in Afghanistan, encroaches on Kabul as U.S. remains ‘passive observer’

The Islamic State is growing at an alarming rate in Afghanistan, within striking distance of the capital, and there does not seem to be a concerted U.S. effort to strike the terrorist army as there is in the Syria-Iraq war theater.


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