Combs Spouts Off

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Posts Tagged ‘russia’

Quagmire in the making: understanding the Syria situation

Posted by Richard on July 3, 2017

NetRightDaily has posted an excellent Syria explainer by Printus LeBlanc. How did the Syrian civil war come about? What foreign powers are entangled in it and why? Well, it’s about the Arab Spring. And it’s about the Sunni-Shia conflict. And it’s about gas and oil pipelines. And it’s about Russia’s only naval base on the Mediterranean Sea.

LeBlanc’s conclusion:

Regardless if this is a religious conflict, a political conflict, pipeline politics, or more likely a combination of all three, President Donald Trump must weigh all options — and get authorization from Congress — before acting to get the U.S. involved with a civil war with so many possibilities to become a wider regional or even global conflict.

A student of history might look at the situation in Syria, and see Europe leading up to WWI. One misstep could trigger alliances and defense pacts that lead to all-out war.

Indeed™.

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Russians enter “Crappy American Beer” market

Posted by Richard on September 26, 2014

The Russian beer and soft drink company Oasis Beverages has bought Pabst Brewing Company, makers of Pabst Blue Ribbon, Schlitz, Lone Star, and Colt 45, among others. The Washington Free Beacon’s Sonny Bunch is OK with that:

If we’re being honest, though, we would note that the Russians are getting into the “Crappy American Beer” market much too late. The time of bland suds has passed. The future is craft beer:

Craft beer makers have experienced huge jumps in market share while the overall beer market size has shrunk. The Census Bureau announced yesterday that the number of breweries in the in the U.S. doubled in five years–an increase largely due to craft beer. On average over the past two years, 1.2 craft breweries opened each day, contributing to a total of 15.6 million barrels of beer last year.

Now, granted, 15.6 million barrels is only a modest portion of the overall beer market. According to the Wall Street Journal article quoted above, craft beers account for just eight percent of the market—an increase of more than 300 percent in 15 years, but a distinct minority of the beer population nevertheless. Still, one can’t help but feel that the future is bright for the craft beer community.

The mass-produced American beers of years gone by have their place, of course, and hey: to each his own. A lot of people still like Bud and Miller, and they should drink what they like. But their time has passed. A new day dawns. A day of tasty craft brews with complex flavor profiles that you can match with a variety of dishes. I for one welcome our craft beer overlords—and am more than happy to let the Russians have our dregs.

I’ll drink to that!

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Those dueling demonstrations in Moscow

Posted by Richard on March 15, 2014

I saw a brief story on the news tonight about demonstrations in Moscow both for and against Putin and Russian intervention in Ukraine. Not much detail. AFP had more information:

Around 50,000 people marched through central Moscow on Saturday in protest at Russia’s intervention in Ukraine, a day before the Crimean peninsula votes on switching to Kremlin rule.

Waving Ukrainian and Russian flags and adopting the chants of Ukraine’s popular uprising, prominent and ordinary Russians urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to pull troops back from ex-Soviet Ukraine.

Marchers carried placards reading “Putin, get out of Ukraine” and others comparing Kremlin’s decision to send troops to Crimea with the Nazi annexation of the Sudetenland as Europe rushed headlong into World War II.

Members of anti-Kremlin punk Pussy Riot compared Russia’s invasion of Crimea that plunged the country into a Cold-War style confrontation with the West to the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.

“How can a referendum under the barrels of guns be legitimate and fair?” Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina asked during a rally after the march, a Russian flag in her hand.

The Blaze has the AP story and some of the pictures tweeted from the protest march. As for the pro-Putin counter-demonstration (emphasis added):

Not far away near the Kremlin, several thousand people dressed in matching red costumes marched in formation to show their support for Russian intervention in the region.

Sounds like a real spontaneous grass-roots demonstration, doesn’t it?

What’s the Russian word for “astroturf”?

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The Georgia war conspiracy theory

Posted by Richard on August 14, 2008

When Russian troops attacked Georgia, I expected the "blame America first" crowd to claim it was somehow our fault. And I figured that the purveyors of moral equivalence would suggest that we were in no position to criticize Russia since we invaded Iraq. (Never mind that we liberated Iraq from a brutal, genocidal dictatorship after it defied 14 U.N. resolutions, whereas the Russsians are trying to topple a democratic government and want to take over a free country as a first step to reestablishing a Russian Empire.)

But I admit that even I was surprised by Robert Scheer's insane conspiracy theory claiming that the McCain campaign is behind the whole thing:

Is it possible that this time the October surprise was tried in August, and that the garbage issue of brave little Georgia struggling for its survival from the grasp of the Russian bear was stoked to influence the U.S. presidential election?

Before you dismiss that possibility, consider the role of one Randy Scheunemann, for four years a paid lobbyist for the Georgian government, ending his official lobbying connection only in March, months after he became Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain's senior foreign policy adviser.

Previously, Scheunemann was best known as one of the neoconservatives who engineered the war in Iraq when he was a director of the Project for a New American Century. It was Scheunemann who, after working on the McCain 2000 presidential campaign, headed the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, which championed the U.S. Iraq invasion.

In 2005, while registered as a paid lobbyist for Georgia, Scheunemann worked with McCain to draft a congressional resolution pushing for Georgia's membership in NATO. A year later, while still on the Georgian payroll, Scheunemann accompanied McCain on a trip to that country, where they met with Saakashvili and supported his bellicose views toward Russia's Vladimir Putin.

Um, unless I'm mistaken, Saakashvili's "bellicose views" are that Russia should stop supporting rebel armies in two provinces that have long been a part of Georgia, should stop trying to intimidate and dominate Georgia, and has no right to annex Georgia. <snark>What a monster.</snark>

As for the rest of Scheer's screed, it criticizes Georgia's "imperial designs" on two of its own provinces, it attempts to demonstrate that the whole Georgia crisis was manufactured by McCain and his "neoconservative cabal" to further his election chances, and it paints Vladimir Putin as an innocent victim.

Wow. 

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