Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Iranian People Are Not Our Enemy - Chuck Baldwin (The enemy within - in DC and American churches? Look closely and decide for yourself!)

Writing for, Daniel Larison penned an excellent article entitled The Iranian People Are Not Our Enemy. Yes, I liked the title so much, I borrowed it for this column. Larison quotes Ardeshir Zahedi and Ali Vaez in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post. Zahedi is Iran’s former foreign minister (1966-1971) and ambassador to England (1962-1966) and the United States (1960-1962 and 1973-1979). Vaez is the International Crisis Group’s Iran project director, based in Washington. 
Larison begins by quoting Zahedi and Vaez:
Bullying and crude threats will achieve little beyond entangling the United States and the region in another senseless war while deepening the two countries’ 40-year estrangement. The United States should strive for an Iran that is stable with a strong middle class and highly educated youths connected to the moderating influence of the outside world. The Iranian people want to restore the friendship between Iran and the United States, two countries that enjoyed 123 years of cordial ties before 1979. But the path to their hearts and minds is not through sanctions and military intervention.
Larison then writes:
The Trump administration should follow these recommendations, but I fear it is so far down the path of belligerence and confrontation that the president and his officials wouldn’t know how to stop at this point. Most U.S. administrations are loath to give up on failed policies even when it is obvious to everyone else that they cannot succeed, and the Trump administration is more resistant to admitting failure than most. If the president opts for de-escalation and climbing down from the unrealistic and excessive demands that his administration has made, we should encourage him in making that change and support that effort at de-escalation. If he continues to follow the toxic advice of Iran hawks to intensify the pressure campaign, he should be opposed every step of the way.
If we are capable of burying the hatchet with Vietnam, China, Japan, Italy, and Germany within 20 years of fighting them or less, and if we could have normal relations with the Soviet Union and its communist allies throughout the Cold War, we can certainly have normal relations with Iran after all this time.
That last paragraph makes so much sense a fifth grader could understand it. But we don’t have a fifth grader in the White House; we have a kindergartener who only knows what his mommy and daddy tell him—and his mommy and daddy are Zionist Israel and its American surrogates: evangelical Christian Zionists. And neither Israel nor America’s Christian Zionists want peace with Iran. 
Larison quotes Zahedi and Vaez again: 
The administration’s list of public missteps toward the Iranian people is as long as it is regrettable. It includes preventing almost all Iranians from visiting the United States; misstating the historic name of the Persian Gulf; failing to express sympathy with Iranians after terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and separatist groups; and, perhaps most consequentially, withdrawing from the nuclear deal that remains popular in Iran and to which many there had pinned their hopes for a better life.
These mistakes have helped transform top-down anti-Americanism in Iran into a bottom-up phenomenon. Nothing spurs a rally-around-the-flag effect among 83 million Iranians more than humiliation and threats of foreign aggression.
Of course, the U.S. government isn’t going to express sympathy with Iran after terrorist attacks by the Islamic State and separatist groups. The U.S. government (along with Israel, Saudi Arabia and Great Britain) created, armed, financed and provided military assistance to those terrorist groups.
Larison continues:
The Iranian people are not and never have been our enemy, but our Iran policy doesn’t reflect that in practice. When the Iranian government was aligned with the U.S., our government backed the regime despite the harm that it was doing to the people. After the revolution, our government reflexively backed Iran’s enemies in the hopes of getting at their government. The effect was to cause massive suffering and death among the people. Our government regularly claims that our quarrel is not with the people, but it is always the people that bear the brunt of our policies. One of the main themes in U.S.-Iranian relations over the decades has been our government’s inability or unwillingness to treat Iranians with respect, and under the Trump administration that lack of respect has turned into contempt. We see that with the travel ban and the indulgence of the Mujahideen-e Khalq by prominent U.S. officials and politicians, and we see it with the suffocating oppression of sanctions imposed on the entire country. Iranians are not our enemy, but our government has insisted on treating them as enemies all the same.
Our policy should never be to suffocate the civilian population of another country with ruinous sanctions. In addition to being unjust and cruel, it hardens attitudes against the U.S. and provokes stronger resistance. No genuine U.S. interests are served by immiserating tens of millions of people for the actions of their government, and by inflicting collective punishment on an entire nation our government commits a terrible injustice that should shame us all. If the Iranian people are not our enemy, we must halt the economic war our government is waging against them and pursue a course of diplomatic and economic engagement instead.
Amen and Amen, Daniel.
Tell me, folks, when did the terrible “terrorist” state of Iran shoot down a U.S. passenger jet and murder nearly 300 innocent civilian passengers? You can’t remember? Well, you can’t remember, because Iran did NOT shoot down an American passenger jet; it was America that shot down an Iranian passenger jet.
The date was July 3, 1988. The Iranian passenger jet was Iran Air Flight 655. The military vessel that shot down that Iranian passenger jet was the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes, which fired two SM-2MR surface-to-air missiles—from inside Iranian territorial waters, no less. All 290 people on board were killed, including 66 children.
How’s THAT for an act of terrorism?
And just as Israel never apologized for attacking and trying to sink the USS LIBERTY on June 8, 1967 (killing 34 American sailors and Marines and wounding 174), the U.S. government never apologized for downing Iran Air Flight 655 (killing all 290 on board).
Folks, which country is sending spy drones and Raptor attack drones into another country’s airspace, Iran or America? Which country is sailing military ships into another country’s territorial waters, Iran or America? Which country is flying military attack aircraft into another country’s airspace, Iran or America? Which country has built dozens of military bases within a few miles of another nation’s borders, Iran or America? Which country is sending covert armies into another sovereign nation to disrupt communications and cyber security and blow up facilities and assassinate government officials and scientists? You know the answer: the United States (and Israel, of course).  
And despite all we hear from the propagandists in the federal government and mainstream media promoting America’s “War on Terror,” Muslims in Iraq, Iran or anywhere else had absolutely NOTHING to do with the attacks on 9/11. 
I hear people say that Trump should attack Iran because that country shot down one of our drones. Really? That drone had no business being in Iran’s territorial airspace. It was an act of aggression on America’s part. What, pray tell, would America do if another country flew a drone into our air space? If America has the right to defend itself from acts of aggression (and it does), why does Iran not have the same right? It does. 
Folks, all of the hatemongering and fearmongering against Iran aside, the Persian nation has not invaded any country in an act of unprovoked aggression in over 200 years. Iran was not even involved in Israel’s Six Day War in 1967. And not only has Iran not attacked the United States (or Israel either, for that matter), Iran poses absolutely NO threat to the United States. And the only threat Iran poses to Israel is a defensive threat as Israel constantly attacks Iranian assets across the region. If Israel was not such a fanatical militaristic apartheid state, the PLO, Hamas and Hezbollah would not even exist. 
Israel has launched hundreds (maybe thousands) of missile attacks against Iranian assets in Syria and Lebanon. And please remember that Iran’s forces are in those countries lawfully, having been invited by the respective governments of those countries to help defend their people against the constant attacks by Israel.
Do you not find it more than interesting that Iran is home to more Jews than any other Middle Eastern country outside of Israel? And do you not find it even more interesting that those thousands of Jews in Iran believe themselves to be freer and safer in Iran than they would be in Israel, the United States or Europe?
This war against Iran is not about the safety and security of the United States, and it’s not about protecting the world against a “terrorist” state. It’s all about war for Israel and the Federal Reserve. Iran is the last major Middle Eastern country that has refused to submit to the Federal Reserve international banking cartel. That’s what the war in Iraq (under G.W. Bush) and the war in Libya (under Barack Obama) were about; and that’s what this war in Iran (under Donald Trump) is about. As USMC Major General Smedley Butler said, war is nothing more than one giant money racket.
Plus, Rep. Justin Amash is exactly right: Donald Trump does NOT have the authority under our Constitution to attack Iran without direct authorization from Congress. But who cares about the Constitution anymore? Not Donald Trump, that’s for sure. 
Paul Craig Roberts opines about the traitorous Zionists in our government (Pence, Pompeo and Bolton) who are directing America’s foolish and unconstitutional war against Iran and the fact that America doesn’t have a leader (read “president”) with the understanding or guts to stop it. Right on, Paul. 
Trump’s decision to not launch air strikes against Iran after it downed the U.S. drone in its airspace was NOT an attempt at peace; it was a war tactic. Trump knows the last thing the American people want is another war in the Middle East. What Trump said about not wanting to kill 150 Iranians in those air strikes is complete balderdash. 
Donald Trump drops a bomb somewhere in the world every 12 minutes. Every 12 minutes! That means, Donald Trump has dropped over 44,000 bombs each year in office. That means, Trump has dropped over 110,000 bombs during his 2½ years in office. And the vast majority of the victims of these bombings were innocent civilians. Only 2%—that’s right, 2%—of those bombs killed so-called enemy combatants on the DOD “kill list.” 90% of the time, his bombs killed innocent civilians. Astonishingly, the CIA’s own documents report that 80% of the time, the people killed in America’s bomb attacks are completely unidentified. In other words, they have no idea who they are killing. But they keep killing them nonetheless. If only one innocent person was killed in each of those 110,000 bombs that Trump dropped since being in office, he has murdered at least 110,000 innocent people. Do you really think that an additional 150 people dying in another U.S. air strike would mean anything to this president? Hardly.  
You watch: What Trump will do is authorize the Israeli/Saudi terror groups in the Middle East to launch another false flag attack—one too big to be overlooked—that will be blamed on Iran and that will “force” Israel into a war with Iran. Then, Trump will announce to the American people that the United States must enter the war to defend its “great ally” Israel. And Trump’s warmongering (and Muslim-hating) evangelical Christian Zionist base will absolutely LOVE it. 
Of course, where this war will lead and what Russia and China will do is anybody’s guess. Dr. Roberts says we are facing Armageddon. He might be right. If he is, won’t these Christian Zionists be shocked when they discover that they weren’t raptured to heaven ahead of time after all?!
Folks, the Iranian people are not our enemy. Our enemy is those warmongering miscreants in Washington, D.C., Tel Aviv, Riyadh and London. 
P.S. This is the third notice that we are currently printing and distributing the most important liberty documents in U.S. history. It’s called THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS.
Want to honor Independence Day? Buy your family and friends a copy of THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS. Help teach them what Independence Day is truly all about—from the words of the men and women who were there. 
This giant book is an excellent resource for high school and college students—as well as homeschoolers. Pastors, teachers, physicians, business owners, attorneys and judges have purchased THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS with extreme satisfaction.
The Tennessee State Supreme Court ordered several copies of THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS. Plus, a county sheriff recently ordered copies for each of his deputies. I believe you will be just as pleased as they are with this wonderful compilation of American documents.
You can have these great documents at your fingertips in one beautifully bound, easy-to-read format. These are the documents that gave birth to the greatest free nation on earth. Again, nowhere else can you find these documents complete in one volume under one title. And our supply is very limited and will not last long.
This offer will only last a few more days. Order THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS now!
To read my initial column explaining THE FREEDOM DOCUMENTS, go here
© Chuck Baldwin 

*If you appreciate this column and want to help me distribute these editorial opinions to an ever-growing audience, donations may be made by credit card, check, or Money Order. Use this link:
I also have many books and DVDs available for purchase online. Go here:
To subscribe to my weekly columns, click here:

The Swamp in Action - by Ann Coulter (DaStupidParty is not just stupid - it is evil!)

Everyone else wants the names of the FBI officials who approved the unprecedented law enforcement dragnet against low-level Trump aides in the middle of a presidential campaign.
I want the names of the staffers at the Republican National Committee who prepared Trump’s “backgrounders” on potential hires for the new administration. (I’m not interested in finding out who leaked them because I assume it was the Russians.)
When America is no more, future generations are going to want to know who murdered our country.
Below is a random selection of the idiotic quotes from the RNC’s vetting document on Kris Kobach, when President Trump was considering him for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Instead of Kobach, who could have saved the country, Trump appointed a series of imbeciles, who managed to engineer the worst immigration crisis in the nation’s history.
If this cretinous document had anything to do with Kobach being passed over, then there are specific people whose names we’re going to need.
“Immigration Hardliner”
The RNC seems to think “hardliner” means: “supports current federal law, on the books, passed over generations by Republicans and Democrats, negotiating compromises and getting their bills signed into law by a series of presidents in both political parties.”
“Would you ever allow your support of policies that ‘strengthen’ immigration enforcement (to) conflict with bipartisan compromise legislation negotiated by a Trump administration?”
Who wrote this question? John McCain? Jeb!?
Even after Trump won, the RNC proceeded as if nothing had happened and their goal was to pass a new Gang of Eight “Comprehensive Immigration” bill. They wanted Kobach to swear fidelity to a policy that had just been soundly rejected by the voters and their own party.
“Given your history of campaigning on immigration politics, do you believe you have an ability to strike the appropriate tone …?”
Tone! Democrats routinely call Republicans racists, liars, warmongers, homophobes, haters, rapists, etc., but somehow only conservatives are ever accused of having a “tone” problem.
Again, the RNC seems sublimely unaware of the entire 2016 election.
Trump called Mexican immigrants rapists and won. But the RNC is worried about an erudite Midwesterner’s “tone.”
How’s this tone? F— you, RNC.
“When America is no more, future generations are going to want to know who murdered our country.”
“Kobach is credited with helping draft the controversial immigration law allowing Arizona state and local officials to check the immigration status of individuals they stopped …”
“Controversial” is what idiots say when they don’t have a real complaint.
I can’t be sure about all of them, but by my count, at least 300 of the 400 members of the current Democratic presidential field support slavery reparations, Medicare for all, free college tuition, eliminating I.C.E., transgenders in women’s bathrooms, abortion at 8.9 months, flinging open our borders and providing free dental care to illegals.
But according to the RNC, supporting immigration laws currently on the books is “controversial.”
I note that it wasn’t “controversial” at the Supreme Court.
“… (much of the law was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2012).”
The morons at the RNC aren’t even familiar with the landmark Supreme Court ruling they’re citing to bash Kobach.
Dear Useless, Incompetent Twits: The law — I mean, the “controversial” law — “allowing Arizona state and local officials to check the immigration status of individuals they stopped” … was UPHELD BY A UNANIMOUS SUPREME COURT. (Other parts of the law, not mentioned by the RNC or anyone else, were struck down by a divided court with dissents from Trump’s favorite justices: Scalia, Alito and Thomas.)
The RNC: “Much of the law Was Struck Down by the Supreme Court in 2012.”
The New York Times: “Court Splits Immigration Law Verdicts; Upholds Hotly Debated Centerpiece, 8-0.”
I’m sure any person of reasonable intelligence could confuse “unanimously upheld by the Supreme Court” with “struck down by the Supreme Court.”
“Background: Kobach has advocated for use of a technicality within the Patriot Act, that would potentially force Mexico to ‘pay for the wall’ by holding hostage the millions of dollars that Mexican nationals in the U.S. send home to family each year.”
Holding hostage? It’s known as the Treasury Department’s taxing authority.
Idea for the RNC’s next policy paper: “The Trump administration advocates for use of a technicality within the law that would potentially force taxpayers to pay for government services by holding hostage trillions of dollars that Americans spend on their families each year.”
The Kobach “backgrounder” is the equivalent of me writing the vetting documents for the Obama administration.
“CONTROVERSIES: Kobach Faced Criticism for Speaking at What Some Called a ‘White Nationalist’ Conference.”
Holy moly! That’s a blockbuster! I’ve followed Kobach’s career for years, and I’m floored that the Harvard/Yale/Oxford graduate is consorting with “white supremacists.”
Oh wait, I see. Here’s the RNC’s evidence:
“Kobach was a presenter at a writers workshop last week for The Social Contract Press, a publishing house that the Southern Poverty Law Center includes on its list of hate groups under the category ‘anti-immigrant.'”
Anyone — in media, in politics, in casual conversation around the water cooler, certainly anyone at the RNC! — who cites the SPLC as anything other than “America’s Leading Hate Group” needs to have his head examined. This is on the order of the NAACP using KKK literature to evaluate job applicants.
The RNC vetters are too stupid not to bury the SPLC’s specific claim: that The Social Contract Press is guilty of being “anti-immigrant.” I know the RNC hated Trump, but the only reason the RNC even has a Republican president right now is that a plurality of Americans want less immigration, too.
“During the Campaign, Kobach’s Opponent Tied Him to White Supremacists Groups.”
Again with the “white supremacist groups”!
Guess who this time? Guess! FAIR — the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a group concerned with … yes, that would be the principal assignment of department for which Kobach was being considered: IMMIGRATION.
In fact, FAIR is a little namby-pamby on immigration, certainly compared to, for example, the Angel Moms, Bernie Sanders circa 2016, or — I don’t know — THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES. If FAIR is a “white supremacist group,” then Trump is the Grand Wizard of the KKK.
Who at the RNC wrote this document? I want their names and I want them killed. (Or forced to watch the Democratic debates — their choice.)
More likely, the nitwit responsible for this Swamp Manifesto will be appointed Trump’s new DHS Secretary.

America's Detour from Sanity - By Anthony J. DeBlasi

My parents immigrated to an America whose economy boomed, then busted in 1929. Pop worked in the docks of New York City as a stevedore before the big crash. Mom was as passionate about raising a good family, regardless of difficulties, as she was about everything else. Nothing small, here – the scale was set high. Anything worth doing was carried out with a generous and loving heart. Our anchor was God and friends – not politicians and banks. It was a rough ride that made life all the more valuable for countering the many obstructions, day-to-day and hand-to-hand.
Our family was not unique. My parents were typical of the people who left their impoverished burgs and towns in Europe to strike new roots in American soil. As with the first Europeans who settled here and launched a new nation, the vast majority of subsequent settlers were God-and-family-oriented, strong in body and spirit, and fearless.
The early 20th Century saw America swirl into a storm of productivity, with creative advances in many fields. Breathless innovations in technology, industry, transportation, communications, and the arts remade the landscape and transformed the home almost overnight from “primitive” to “modern.”
The fantastic New York World’s Fair of 1939 enchanted me as a child and planted an unforgettable memory of progress with beauty. Growing up in the dizzying array of film masterpieces during cinema’s golden years – the 1940Fantasia still makes people gasp – spoiled me for life regarding excellence in screen entertainment. Soon color became the norm and black-and-white the option. Then television escaped science fiction and entered the living room to deliver live performances of stunning quality. I saw black-and-white TV turn to color and recorded music evolve from 78 rpm records to LPs, then to tape, as my ears witnessed the shift from “rich, warm sound” to exciting audio fidelity. All this with no computers, no satellites, no digital wizardry.
At mid-century, the drive and originality that delivered a vigorous and vibrant America to the world were still at play. Excellence was taken for granted in the performing arts. Sports and education reached incredible levels of achievement with a small fraction of today’s funding in equivalent dollars. Over 90% of students graduated from my high school (Bushwick, in Brooklyn), with far tougher standards than today’s.
Exceptions asideas in all forthright discussion . . .
Up until about 1960, children that were not orphans had fathers and mothers living together in a nest secured with bonds of love and civil rules inspired by God. That life is sacred was taken as fact, not opinion. Women were cherished and respected by men who were brought up to be gentlemen. You did not require a high IQ to know that a man could never be the equal of a woman, and vice-versa. Respecting each other’s real differences, both sexes would laugh at the ridiculous notion that male and female are interchangeable, either in function or psyche. Such a claim, as made by post-Friedan feminists, reveal a mind tangled in abstractions and lost in wish lists.
It was concrete reality, not social science, that informed the actions and attitudes of the typical pre-1960s American, whether living in the boondocks or in the shadows of skyscrapers. He or she knew in the bones that science does not replace wisdom and aware that opinion is not a substitute for fact. The alert of every generation knew – and still know – that emoting is no substitute for thinking. The solution to real problems, not phony ones concocted by political pressure groups, needs a clear head grounded in objective reality.
Not everyone was aware of how easily the mind is warped by media bias and the will turned by mob attitude. But it was an essential aspect of the times that people who were serious about getting out of trouble or improving anything acted within the framework of reality and truth – the objective kind, not the “truth” of opinion marinated in myth and served with scientific dressing. Adulterated truth – the kind peddled by deceivers – is a trick that predates Christ.
It was understood – just as bleeding follows wounded flesh and friendship follows kindness – that freedom comes with responsibility for the consequences, bad or good, of one’s actions. “Experts” were home-grown, not hired by well-funded groups to push their agendas. People depended on priests, pastors and rabbis for guidance on troublesome matters, not on TV anchors, think tanks, NGOs, and others with questionable loyalties and ideas about justice and progress.
Change is inevitable. But the alert of every generation demand to know what any proposed change is from and to what. Being specific and clear is a basic element of communication, without which confusion, misunderstanding and, yes, deceit abound. Training the mind to perceive and to conceive clearly was, during my youth, a function of subjects like grammar and geometry – essential preparation for everyone, not just students preparing for professional or technical careers. Hard, disciplined thinking in youth forms essential neural connections not obtained any other way. The mushy language and fuzzy logic that prevail today would be considered evidence of poor education or sign of a weak mind by those who came of age before the dumbing-down of the last century.
The foregoing take on life generated a beneficial social atmosphere – friendlier and more open than it is today. We kids were safe on the streets and in school. Yes, there were gangs, as always, but schools were free of drugs and violence and none of them had barbed wire fences and police guards. Despite the presence of every form of corruption and deceit known to exist among humans, life in America was nevertheless upbeat and people generally succeeded in living their lives as they saw fit – not as agenda-peddling moguls think they should. The Constitution of the United States still grants citizens the right to live their lives and conduct their affairs with minimum interference from government.
In short, before 1960, this country was – it’s been said often – “another planet.” Having lived in that freer, far more open and natural environment, I report from personal experience as a resident of New York in that time frame that the graph of social well-being after 1960 turned swiftly toward the bottom of the chart. The atmosphere all over America has soured with a slew of prescriptions for thought, speech and behavior that stifle initiative, creativity, originality, and pit “oppressor class” against “victim class,” according to the latest designations posted by groups and agencies not elected by or representing the American people.
Like “the invasion of the body-snatchers,” America has changed from a relatively free and happy land to a decidedly fretful and contentious place. The fouling of an open mind in an open atmosphere and the collapse of morals that began after the 1950s was not evolutionary and not inevitable. It was the accomplishment of change agents infiltrating America’s schools and institutes of learning, publication, entertainment, seminaries – change agents with Marxist ideas and no loyalty to America. Americans fell for this programmed, “evolutionary” transformation. And before any could pick up the pieces, the changes became the “new normal” – that hoodwinking cliché of “progressives.”
Open political revolution, justified or not, is to some degree understandable. In 1776, serious grievances with the British Crown led American colonists to cut their ties with England and give birth to a new and independent country, America. In 1861 the South tried to sever its ties with the North for serious grievances; the failure of the South and the success of the North are chapters in America’s political upheavals.
But a social revolution? Over what? Were we suddenly not the same people? Was justice a matter of personal opinion, now? Was anything-goes to replace moral principle and sound judgment? Was the family obsolete? Was life no longer sacred? How did right become wrong? When did up become down? And not the least of the questions: Were the 1960s rebels smarter than the millions of people who came before them?
When I returned from Korea in 1955, I witnessed the start of the civil rights movement, which brought promise of major social progress in race relations. (It made no difference what color our skin was in the Korean War; we were all brother soldiers, thanks to a change in DOD policy following World War II.) But as the net descended over a hoodwinked populace whose offspring were being groomed in school to live in a socialist society under a global government, instead of in a free nation under God, those of us awake shouted foul.
Media-mesmerized Americans have no idea what happened to their country, let alone the rape of their minds and their souls by well-funded globalists manipulating media, education, politics and public service channels to advance their new world order.
For those who dismiss or downplay the seriousness of America’s “transformation,” let me remind you that when it has become “legal” to kill a baby on its day of birth, mutilate a child’s body when a boy thinks he’s a girl or a girl thinks she’s a boy, when it has become possible – nay, likely under duress of the law – to lose reputation, job, and liberty for speaking the truth (the “legal” outrages to society are beyond count), then you know we have taken a terribly wrong turn.
It is time for waking Americans to shout down every action witnessed or contemplated that devalues human life, denigrates fatherhood and motherhood, makes speaking the truth “hate speech,” and replaces common sense and morality with political correctness. This is a hard but necessary stand in order to make loud and clear to everyone throughout the land that Americans will no longer tolerate the deliberate and systematic dismantling of this nation.
In the meantime, God spare the children and their children from the worst of the rough road ahead.
Photo credit: Tim Green
Anthony J. DeBlasi is a veteran and lifelong defender of Western culture.

The Highlights of Putin's 'Liberalism is Obsolete' Interview With FT - The Moscow Times

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday gave an exclusive interview to the Financial Times newspaper, a rarity for a president who seldom sits down with foreign journalists.
The Russian president spoke candidly on a wide range of topics, from Russia’s domestic and foreign policy issues to his thoughts on the global trend of national populism and who will succeed him after the end of his term limit in 2024.
In one particularly vivid comment, Putin said liberal values had outlived their purpose and had been rejected by the majority of people in Western nations, drawing criticism from Western leaders.
Here are the highlights from the far-reaching discussion:
On Trump
— “I think that he is a talented person. He knows very well what his voters expect from him.”
— “The middle class in the United States has not benefited from globalization; it was left out when this pie was divided up. The Trump team sensed this very keenly and clearly. It is where you should look for the reasons behind Trump’s victory.”
On China and Chinese-Russian relations
— “We [Russia and China] never direct our bilateral relations against anyone. We are not against anyone, we are for ourselves.”
— Yes, Russia and China have many coinciding interests, this is true… Of course, we have also established very warm personal relations, and this is natural.”
— “You try to rule a country with such a population. This is not Luxembourg, with all due respect to that wonderful country.”
On North Korea
— “What we should be talking about is not how to make North Korea disarm, but how to... make any country, including North Korea, feel safe and protected by international law that is strictly honored by all members of the international community.”
— “... the North Korean nuclear range is not far away from our border. This why this concerns us directly, and we never stop thinking about it.”
On Russia’s presence in Syria
— “I decided that the positive effect from our active involvement in Syrian affairs for Russia would far outweigh non-interference and passive observation of how an international terrorist organization grows ever stronger near our borders.”
— “We have managed to preserve Syrian statehood, no matter what, and we have prevented Libya-style chaos there. And a worst-case scenario would spell out negative consequences for Russia.”
— “[If] Assad steps down today, what will happen tomorrow? When you do not know what happens tomorrow, why shoot from the hip today?”
On the Russia-U.S. arms race
— “We said that we are ready to hold talks and to extend this treaty between the United States and Russia, but we have not seen any relevant initiative from our American partners.”
— “We will support any agreement that can advance our cause, that is, help us contain the arms race.”
On the Venezuela crisis
— “We have no nothing to do with what is happening in Venezuela.”
— “We provide maintenance services for this equipment [in Venezuela] ...There are no Russian troops there.”
— “We have invested billions of dollars there, mostly in the oil sector. So what? Other countries are doing the same as well.”
On the Skripal poisonings and Russian-British relations
— “All this fuss about spies and counterspies, it is not worth serious interstate relations.”
— “...these spy scandals made our relations reach a deadlock so we could not develop our ties normally and support businesspeople.”
— “Treason is the gravest crime possible and traitors must be punished. I am not saying that the Salisbury incident is the way to do it. Not at all. But traitors must be punished.”
On Russia’s economy and oligarchs
— “The most important task we need to achieve is to change the structure of the economy and secure a substantial growth of labor productivity through modern technologies, artificial intelligence, robotics and so on.”
— “We do not have oligarchs anymore. Oligarchs are those who use their proximity to the authorities to receive super profits.”
On the Western world, liberalism and traditional values
— “The liberal idea has become obsolete. It has come into conflict with the interests of the overwhelming majority of the population.”
— “[It] presupposes that nothing needs to be done. The migrants can kill, plunder and rape with impunity because their rights as migrants must be protected. What rights are these? Every crime must have its punishment.”
— “Deep inside, there must be some fundamental human rules and moral values. In this sense, traditional values are more stable and more important for millions of people than this liberal idea, which, in my opinion, is really ceasing to exist.”
On his successor
— "No matter what the current leader does and how he does it, not matter who he represents or how, it is the voter that has the final word — the citizen of the Russian Federation.”
— “[A successor will be chosen] by means of a direct secret ballot, universal direct secret ballot. Of course, it is different from what you have in Great Britain. We are a democratic country.”
Read more about: Putin