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The Power Vertical

The Daily Vertical: Moscow Accuses Itself

The Daily Vertical: Moscow Accuses Itselfi
March 24, 2016
The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.
By Brian Whitmore

The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that appears Monday through Friday. Viewers can suggest topics via Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page. 

A transcript of today's Daily Vertical can be found here.

NOTE: The Daily Vertical and all Power Vertical products will take a brief break for the Easter holidays and will not appear on Friday, March 25, and Monday, March 28. We'll resume our regular schedule on Tuesday, March 29. Have a nice weekend, everybody!

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Comments page of 2
by: Banana Republic
March 24, 2016 14:55
Geopolitical games is diplomat talk for war.

The West has been taking part in geopolitical games for over a decade now in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Libya.

Russia has been practising geopolitical games in Caucasus, Ukraine and Syria.

During the last decade conventional oil is down 1.6 million barrels per day. We are scraping the bottom of the barrel today in Deep Water, Shale and Tar Sands.

The geopolitical game will unfortunately just increase in the coming decades.

Good bye !

by: Kerry from: USA
March 24, 2016 15:01
Hmm, such impudence! Not Russia, but the US has a long history of destroying countries and massacring people. And it has progressed from periodic massacres to fulltime massacring. From the Clinton regime forward, massacre of civilians has become a defining characteristic of the United States of America.

Washington is responsible for the destruction of Yugoslavia and Serbia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and part of Syria. Washington has enabled Saudi Arabia’s attack on Yemen, Ukraine’s attack on its eastern provinces, and Israel’s destruction of Palestine and the Palestinian people.

The American state’s murderous rampage through the Middle East and North Africa was enabled by the Europeans who provided diplomatic and military cover for Washington’s crimes. Today the Europeans are suffering the consequences as they are over-run by millions of refugees from Washington’s wars. The German women who are raped by the refugees can blame their chancellor, a Washington puppet, for enabling the carnage from which refugees flee to Europe.

Washington has added to its crimes the mass murder of civilians with drones and missile strikes on weddings, funerals, children’s soccer games, medical centers and people’s homes. Nothing can better illustrate the absence of moral integrity and moral conscience of the American state and the population that tolerates it than the cavalier disregard of the thousands of murdered innocents as “collateral damage.”
In Response

by: Alan Black from: UK
March 24, 2016 19:51
Interesting observations. If the US takes action it is responsible for ' 'interfering' and for the consequences of those actions. If the US doesn't take action then it is 'enabling'. This logic can be reapplied to Russia ( or anywhere ). Russia is therefore guilty of for it's 'interfering' and enabling. Syria is a nice example. It 'enabled', then it 'interfered' now it is 'enabling again' and no doubt it will 'interfere' again. Watch that Metronome!
In Response

by: mark fellows from: UK
March 24, 2016 22:21
Nothing better illustrates Putin's brutalization of Russia than his support for Assad's slaughter of his own people. It is now approaching half a million deaths. Fully half the country has fled his barrel bombs, and in the last six months, Russian dumb bombs.

Putin's is a deeply criminalized regime which seeks to prop up other deeply criminalized regimes. His use of paid trolls to dumb down the conversation is particularly egregious. The sooner all of them disappear, the better it will be for humanity--and for rational human discourse..
In Response

by: Alka Seltzer from: USA
March 24, 2016 23:32
Hmm, brainstorming too, you would rather not bring up Russia, we are going to discuss the US? You know not what to say but opening up a can of worms you target the worst loaded words and apply them in written format correlating the relationship between these facts of life and historical accountability and the United States in this, hotseat? And the new sentence starting with AND returns you to implied or brought up ideas earlier in the report? And that is only from the first two sentences I get this impression? No way! Oh my goodness, so what are you really trying to say? You needed to have a word count of plus 500 words for this posting? Oh my, no way, so cool. Maybe when I'm literate one day, I'll try to read what you wrote so I can comprehend the idea behind this report.

by: Mark from: Germany
March 24, 2016 15:04
Ukraine - is a failed US project. Exactly the same happened with the 'American project' of Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, etc. Wherever the US is meddling with its dirty geopolitical projects - destruction and failures are guaranteed! This just became some sort of law. Therefore, it would be better if the United States would not meddle in the affairs of other countries, and would clean its own backyard.
In Response

by: Alan Black from: UK
March 24, 2016 19:52
Ukraine is a Ukrainian project!

by: Gregor from: United States
March 24, 2016 15:14
The Russians are not our enemy. No matter how the American media or government try to spin the facts and use propaganda on us, some of us are not buying into the lies, this time. Who is the aggressor in this world and who is trying to be the world's policeman? If you can not answer these simple questions then you are brain dead. For the brain dead the answer is America.
In Response

by: mark fellows from: UK
March 24, 2016 22:26
The fact that trolls are on this list, and everywhere on the internet indicates just how great a threat Russia is to the West. Attempting to flood the internet with posts that always use exactly the same talking points indicates that Putin's Russia seeks to make rational discourse in the West impossible.

The best way for Russia to prove its benign intentions is to stop posting drivel, and start posting something resembling an informed opinion.

by: Christopher Ben from: America
March 24, 2016 15:29
If Brian Whitmore forgotten about how and when all these tragedies started, and who planned them, I recommend him to listen to the official opinion of the US general.

US General Wesley Clark: About ten days after 9/11, I went through the Pentagon and I saw Secretary Rumsfeld and Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz. I went downstairs just to say hello to some of the people on the Joint Staff who used to work for me, and one of the generals called me in. He said, "Sir, you've got to come in and talk to me a second." I said, "Well, you're too busy." He said, "No, no." He says, "We've made the decision we're going to war with Iraq."

This was on or about the 20th of September. I said, "We're going to war with Iraq? Why?" He said, "I don't know." He said, "I guess they don't know what else to do." So I said, "Well, did they find some information connecting Saddam to al-Qaeda?" He said, "No, no." He says, "There's nothing new that way. They just made the decision to go to war with Iraq." He said, "I guess it's like we don't know what to do about terrorists, but we've got a good military and we can take down governments." And he said, "I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail."

So I came back to see him a few weeks later, and by that time we were bombing in Afghanistan. I said, "Are we still going to war with Iraq?" And he said, "Oh, it's worse than that." He reached over on his desk. He picked up a piece of paper. And he said, "I just got this down from upstairs" — meaning the Secretary of Defense's office — "today." And he said, "This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran."
Listen it here:

by: Asehpe from: The Netherlands
March 24, 2016 18:24
Wow, only the Russian troll army (both regulars and irregulars, plus sleepers) this time. Brian, I suppose you should be happy: you must be saying something right to justify all this reactive enthusiasm on their part.

The West should of course stay together and resist Russian imperialism, or else the Russian-induced Ukrainian catastrophe will not be the last. Syria is a good example of why: Russia is always ready to support the craziest dictator as long as he allows them to exploit the resulting status quo.

Russia is anti-EU and anti-US, and, given the geopolitical games that fascinate the Russian political elite, it couldn't be otherwise. Only when their culture (and colored glasses) change will it be possible to do something constructive. For the time being, the rule of thumb is: whatever you do in cooperation with Russia, you're going to regret it later on. Beware!

by: Anonymous
March 24, 2016 19:45
At the risk of stating the obvious, it is of course Russia -- and not Europe -- that has been playing geopolitical games.
Brian ,
thank you for this hilarious piece of comedy
I'm still laughing !
In Response

by: Alan Black from: UK
March 26, 2016 17:26
I agree! Brian has a good grasp of Satire. Showing up the pompositiy and lies of Lavrov with humour and sharpness.
It's funny because it's true! Keep up the good work.

by: Anonymous
March 24, 2016 19:59
oops !
do you know today of 27years ago
somebody started bombing of civilians
in a european big city ?

Do you remeber .... Belgrade !

and who was bombing at that time ?

Russia ?
I think you know it very well ... you know who was playing geopolitical games yesterday like today

Exact , was your country
that same US who was able to be in war for 223 cenutry over its short life of 239 years !
In Response

by: Gabriel from: Mare Nostrum
March 28, 2016 16:07
Oops ! Actually NATO started bombing Milosevic Belgrade 17 years ago and Serbia started bombing Slovenia,Croatia,Bosnia 25 years ago,slaughtering of Srebrenica 22 years ago and genocide of Kosovo 17 years ago but you have right to complaine on NATO bombing because came to late.

by: Ro.Cherry from: London
March 24, 2016 22:14
Hi Brian
You have left us with very bitter question. The anti-terrorist alliance with Russia it is a suicidal path for western civilisation. It cannot be perceived in any different way because any (even partially efficient) resolution of the terrorist problem stippes Russians of their last leverage in a geo-politics. If Germany and USA are really considering such the alliance as serious one, it means very sad perspective for western societies and in consequence for the entire world.

by: mark fellows from: UK
March 24, 2016 22:14
The West has only intervened AFTER things have gone completely out of hand. Half of Libya had revolted from Qaddafi when the West intervened, and as Medvedev agreed, there was a certainty that Qaddafi would be just as bloodthirsty in his revenge as Assad has been. The Serbs had been killing innocent civilians in Sarajevo for years before any US jets attacked the perpetrators. Kurds were saved from further gassing only by a no-fly zone declared guessed it, the US.

It is only when the West refrains from intervening in trouble spots that the deaths multiply. 150,000 more have died since the US failed to stop Assad's barrel bombs via a no-fly zone. Thousands have since been killed by Russian bombs. The only way that people like Karadzic, Putin and Qaddafi can ever be stopped is with a firm approach, to include the bombs that Serbia so richly deserved in the 90s.
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The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or