BEN WEINGARTEN

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Vladimir Putin

13 Interviews that Will Make You Smarter on U.S. National Security & Foreign Policy

Over the last five years I’ve had the privilege to interview some of the savviest thinkers on American national security and foreign policy.

These discussions have covered critical subjects ranging from the global jihadist movement, to Iran, Russia and China, strategic disinformation and EMPs.

Below are what I think are some of the most insightful and thought-provoking of these conversations on such live and all-too-relevant topics.

1) Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Heretic

2) Andrew Bostom, Iran’s Final Solution for Israel: The Legacy of Jihad and Shi’ite Islamic Jew-Hatred in Iran

3) Victoria Coates, Special Assistant to the President & Senior Director for International Negotiations, NSC for the Trump Administration, David’s Sling [Transcript]

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Do Not Be Fooled by Recent Struggles. Russia Poses a Direct Threat to America and Her Interests.Do Not Be Fooled by Recent Struggles. Russia Poses a Direct Threat to America and Her Interests.

While the media spikes the football in the face of a Russia hobbled by U.S. sanctions, the decline of the ruble and collapse in oil prices, Vladimir Putin’s protectorate poses a direct threat to America and its interests that we ignore at our own peril.

In the 15 years since Vladimir Putin ascended to his position as de facto czar, Russia has executed a long-term strategy that the West has failed to recognize and effectively counter under both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Following the fall of the Berlin Wall, the West thought it had defeated the Soviet Union. But unlike in a hot war, the victor did not annihilate its enemy, nor did the enemy’s leaders ever face the gallows.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in fact resembled a corporate reorganization more than the fall of an empire, as heads rolled and the state spun off assets (many later to be “reclaimed”), but the company and its culture endured.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1991 signified the end of Communist rule in Russia.

The collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1991 signified the end of Communist rule in Russia.

In the face of difficult circumstances, Russia, understanding the mindset of its “former” foes, made the brilliant decision to join the West through economic and diplomatic “cooperation.”

This convergence strategy gave the outward appearance of a liberalizing Russia, but consistent with its historical adeptness at subversion and subterfuge, proved a clever way to rebuild, gain leverage over and embed itself within its enemies.

Russia opened itself to trade to raise capital and procure technology that it could use to exploit its natural resources, rebuild its military and enrich Vladimir Putin and his cronies.

In so doing, Russia developed energy pipelines that not only provided it with wealth, but power over not just its “near abroad” — which could literally be made to freeze were it not compliant — but Western Europe. Stated differently, it brought America’s NATO allies into Russia’s orbit.

Russia also allegedly stole a significant amount of information and technology.

Perhaps most terrifying of all, Russia embedded itself in a world business and financial architecture that it could penetrate and exploit.

On the diplomatic front, Russia became a U.S. “partner” in the “War on Terror,” a curious position given that Russia was and is a key ally of Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terror. Vladimir Putin of course was the first world leader to call President George W. Bush on Sept. 11, 2001. We do not know all the ramifications of U.S. and Russian intelligence collaboration.

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

Why does Allen West wish that more top generals would resign from the military?

Former Congressman and retired Lieutenant Army Colonel Allen West has a new book out titled “Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Faith, Family and Freedom.”

Yesterday Blaze Books spoke with Rep. West about his new book, and a wide variety of issues ranging from the military, a message he hopes the military sends to civilian leaders and Russia, to education and Common Core, to how the congressman believes Republicans can go about garnering support in the black community, the potential for a third major political party and much more.

Below is the transcript of our interview, edited for clarity and length. For more, be sure to check out the 12 most provocative quotes from Rep. West’s new book, and if you’d like to keep abreast of similar content, give us a follow on Facebook and Twitter.

Give your elevator pitch for why Blaze readers should pick up “Guardian of the Republic.”

West: Well I think it defines me and it also defines why I fight so passionately for this country. Which I think all Blaze readers really believe passionately in this country. So I think it’s so important right now when you see the American people really not fundamentally understanding what America is about and its established principles and values, that’s what I try to do in this book and it really is not an autobiography, it’s a philosophical biography. 

If there were one or two takeaways from your book that you would like to emphasize, what would they be?

West: Number one to understand that I’m living the American dream. To have been brought up out of the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia, to be where I am today sitting here with you looking out over New York City. That’s incredible, and that’s what is part of American exceptionalism. Number two is to understand that fundamentals of America is principles and values, and we’ve got to be able to get that message out there. Because right now we’re on the wrong path and we need to take the exit ramp. Number three, being a black conservative is not something new, it’s not trendy, it’s been around. As a matter of fact, some of the most conservative people in America are black, but we’re viciously attacked and demonized because the other side cannot stand for us to exist. And then the last thing is about – you always have to talk about the future, solutions, and I believe that the future of this nation can be brighter once we once again re-connect with our principles.

One of the things you speak to in this book is the lack of principled leaders in Washington.

West: Just think about what recently happened when the president comes out yesterday [Tuesday] on the Rose Garden and says you know we never went out and tried to sell Obamacare to everyone. We just kind of let people make their own choice. Well that’s a gross exaggeration of the truth. I mean think about the billions of dollars [the Obama administration spent on its healthcare efforts]. So I think that we need to get honor and and integrity and character restored back to Capitol Hill. This guy testifying right now Mike Morell who lied to the Senate Intelligence Committee; you know Susan Rice going out and saying what she said [on Benghazi]…there’s a perpetual lying – and this is bipartisan of course – that we have got to get people that are concerned about the American interests, not their own self-interest, not special interests. And that’s what I want to try to bring out. We have to get back to servant leadership.

Why are fewer military folks seeking public office at least at the national level?

West: We don’t want to deal with the BS. I mean we’re very straightforward, we’re mission-oriented, we’re task-oriented, and we just don’t have time for charlatans, usurpers and jokers or pranksters. But what you are finding is that there is a clarion call out there to get more to take off their uniform, put on a suit and tie and run, because as someone told me “the oath of office that you took does not have a statute of limitations.”

Read more at TheBlaze…

An interview with Lt. Gen. Ion Pacepa, the highest ranking Soviet bloc intel officer to ever defect

In a gripping interview with Blaze Books in connection with his most-recent title, “Disinformation“, the highest-ranking Soviet bloc intelligence officer to ever defect, Lt. Gen. Ion Pacepa provided his insights on a wide array of topics, from Putin’s Russia to the disinformation campaign to rebrand Pope Pius XII to “Hitler’s Pope” to the links between Leftism and anti-Semitism to the Boston bombing, and all things in-between.

Below is our interview, which was conducted via email. It has been abridged for readability. All citations are courtesy of Lt. Gen. Pacepa.

Playing devil’s advocate here, some might argue that since the Soviet Union was defeated, Americans shouldn’t care about a book on Soviet disinformation tactics. What would you say to these people?

Pacepa: The very idea that the Soviet Union was defeated is disinformation in itself. The Soviet Union changed its name and dropped its façade of Marxism, but it remained the same samoderzhaviye, the historical Russian form of autocracy in which a tsar is running the country with the help of his political police.

During the Soviet Union, the KGB was a state within the state. Now the KGB is the state. Over 6,000 former KGB officers are running Russia’s federal and local governments. The Soviet Union had one KGB officer for every 428 citizens. In 2004, Russia had one FSB officer for every 297 citizens.

How would you describe today’s Russia?

Russia today is the first intelligence dictatorship in history. It is a brand new form of totalitarianism, which we are not yet familiar with. Now the KGB, rechristened FSB, is openly running Russia.

On Sept. 11, 2002, hordes of former KGB officers gathered in Moscow at the Lubyanka—the headquarters of the old and new KGB. They had not congregated to sympathize with America’s national tragedy of the previous year, but to celebrate the 125th birthday of Feliks Dzerzhinsky—the man who created the most criminal institution in contemporary history. One of my former bosses, KGB chairman Vladimir Semichastny, groused to a crowd: “I think a goal was set to destroy the KGB, to make it toothless.”[1] A few days later, Moscow’s mayor, Yury Lushkov, one of Russia’s most influential politicians, reversed himself by saying he now wanted to restore Dzerzhinsky’s statue to its place on Lubyanka Square.

It will not be easy to break Russia’s five-century-old tradition of being a police state. Nevertheless, man would not have learned to walk on the moon had he not first studied what the moon was really made of and where it lay in the universe. This is one reason we wrote “Disinformation.” Let’s hope a new generation of Russians will learn the truth, and will give that immense country a new national identity.

What would you hope is the primary takeaway for readers from your book?

Pacepa: That Marxism and its earthly Socialism are immense disinformation operations, and that all they have left behind is former Marxist countries that ended up looking like trailer camps hit by a hurricane, and leaders roasting in Dante’s Inferno. That all Marxists who have ever risen to lead a country have ended up in hell—all, from Trotsky to Stalin, Tito to Enver Hoxha to Mátyás Rakosi, Sékou Touré, Nyeree and Hugo Chavez. That all had their days of temporary glory, but that all ended in eternal disgrace. Some, like Khrushchev and Ceausescu, were even found unworthy of having their final resting place marked by any gravestone. A few remnants, like Fidel and Raul Castro, are still hanging on, but they certainly have a place in hell reserved and waiting for them.

Perhaps our book may also help President Obama abandon his craving for Marx’s utopian ideology, “to each according to his need,” which is transforming the United States into a decaying socialist country in all but name.

Read more at TheBlaze…

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