Press TV of Iran is rising to new heights of professionalism and global relevance as witnessed by its feature program last night on how the leak of top secret documents from the Pentagon has sparked a major political scandal in South Korea. The main contributor to this program was the Iranian station’s own very capable correspondent in Seoul, Jennifer Chang, who made her remarks via telephone link. I played a vignette role, commenting on the likely genuineness of the documents that were leaked and on the context of U.S. surveillance of leaders in allied as well as hostile countries going back to the very big dump of top secret data that Edward Snowden deposited at the door of global media just under eleven years ago.
Among the secret documents from US intelligence agencies released to social media these past few days are the findings of US spying on the South Korean political leadership. Here we see that in violation of their country’s basic policies barring delivery of lethal weapons to countries at war, under heavy US pressure, the South Koreans concluded contracts worth more than 5 billion dollars to deliver to Poland their most modern tanks, self-propelled howitzers and munitions, understanding full well that the final destination of these deliveries would be Ukraine. Delivery of fighter jets was also on the table. The scandal has jeopardized the pending state visit of the country’s president to Washington in the coming week or two, where he was scheduled to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress, which is an exceptional honor for foreign dignitaries.
Continue reading “‘Leaked Documents’ From the Pentagon Spark Major Political Scandal in South Korea”
Russia’s New Foreign Relations Concept will usher in a fundamental change in the balance of its domestic politics
On Friday, 31 March, Vladimir Putin signed into law a new Foreign Policy Concept which will guide Russian diplomacy in the years to come. It replaces the Concept promulgated in 2016 and sets out on 42 pages in logically organized form what we have been witnessing in Russia’s behavior on the world stage since the launch of the Special Military Operation in Ukraine and subsequent nearly complete rupture of relations with the US-led Collective West.
Continue reading “Russia’s New Foreign Relations Concept Will Usher in a Fundamental Change in the Balance of Its Domestic Politics”
As we all know, Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping speak of their personal relations as that of ‘best friends.’ Over the years they have had 40 face to face meetings at which they celebrated various landmarks in the development of their countries and of interstate relations. At these meetings, they even celebrated birthdays together.
However, formal State Visits have been few and far between. The State Visit to Moscow of Chinese President Xi that ended this morning was the first of its kind in four years. It was awaited with great anticipation by observers around the world, because it came at a time of great international tension stemming from the Ukraine-Russia war.
Continue reading “Results of the State Visit to Russia of Chinese President Xi”
A month ago I was asked by a retired U.S. lieutenant colonel in a private email correspondence whether Vladimir Putin would be announcing general mobilization in his State of the Union address on 21 February. I answered with full confidence that this was unfounded speculation, that the Russian war effort was going well in the estimation of the Kremlin, that they expect the imminent capture of Artyomovsk (Bakhmut), opening the way for Russia to assume full possession of the Donbas.
Indeed, the fighting in and around Artyomovsk today continues to favor the Russians, notwithstanding the latest dispatch of 10,000 or more Ukrainian army forces to keep open supply lines to their comrades in the nearly surrounded city, who number perhaps 20,000.
Continue reading “What They Are Talking About on the Russian Talk Shows Today: Full War Mobilization!”
Now that www.smotrim.ru is back up and running, I have been immersing myself in Russian news, which in the past couple of days has included an assortment of separate items, or faits divers as the French would have it, which are frankly ominous when taken all together. Why ominous? Because they fit the description of WWIII that the most recent Russian talk shows say has already begun and is about to transition from hybrid war to hot war.
A couple of days ago Russian news showed images of six Yars ICBMs rolling into Moscow on their self-propelled launchers. Yars, to those who are not familiar with the Russian missile families, are the backbone of the present ground-based Russian strategic nuclear strike force. They date from 2007 and their numbers are listed in the now scrapped New Start arms limitation treaty. These solid fuel three stage rockets have a range of 12,000 km and carry multiple warheads (MIRV). Each launch unit on wheels weighs 100 tons and their route into town was carefully selected accordingly. But what are they doing in Moscow?
The Vesti reporter said they have been brought there in preparation for the Victory in Europe Day parade. However, that takes place on May 9th, so the arrival now two months ahead catches your attention.
Continue reading “Faits Divers, Or, if You Will, Straws in the Wind as WWIII Blows In”
Before analyzing what was newsworthy in Vladimir Putin’s annual address to Russia’s bicameral legislature yesterday, I wish to devote some attention first to the circumstances surrounding its transmission to the world inside and outside Russia.
In the past, the Russian leader’s State of the Nation speech was always watched closely by major Western media, but yesterday’s live coverage was extraordinary. For example, I found that BBC 1 provided live transmission of more than 1 hour 40 minutes with simultaneous translation into English.
Continue reading “Gilbert Doctorow on Vladimir Putin’s State of the Nation Address”