Thursday, June 30, 2016


The Power Vertical

Podcast: The Russian Fronts

(Cartoon by Sergei Elkin, RFE/RL)
(Cartoon by Sergei Elkin, RFE/RL)
By Brian Whitmore

A cease-fire in Ukraine was followed by an intervention in Syria. And now, a cease-fire in Syria is followed by a fresh escalation in Ukraine.

Russia's bait-and-switch tactics suggest the Kremlin is fighting one war with the West -- albeit on two fronts.

And on this week's Power Vertical Podcast, we take a close look at both Russian fronts.

Joining me are Michael Weiss, senior editor at the Daily Beast and co-author of bestselling book ISIS: Inside The Army Of TerrorKadri Liik, a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations; and Andreas Umland, a senior research fellow at the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation in Kyiv.

Enjoy...

The Power Vertical Podcast: The Russian Fronts
The Power Vertical Podcast: The Russian Frontsi
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by: Monitor
March 04, 2016 21:19
Great podcast, interesting viewpoints. Thanks to all for an enlightening discussion indeed!
In Response

by: Ken from: United States
March 05, 2016 12:29
The US was offering partitioning of Syria. Is that the only last solution? Or was it the basis of destabilization visited upon the innocent Syrian peoples from the moment this barbaric act was initiated in the first??? America should leave Syria to Syrians and their well wishers to help sort things out for them, but not America, Israel or any known or hidden enemy of the Syrian people. Failure to do so will further divide the world into two distinct parties - those for the Syrian people or against them, because this time around no one will sit on the fence and assume to be unaffected, everyone of us will be involved for the sake of entire humanity.

by: Marco
March 05, 2016 09:22
Things where very bad in Russia when Putin came to power.

Things are very bad in the U.S when so many people look at Trump as a saviour.

Things are very bad in Europe and will only get much worse.

After western intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya and Ukraine these nations have turned into hellholes... and much worse is to come.
In Response

by: John from: Los Angeles
March 05, 2016 12:11
And America has intervened in Russia . . . look at the roads there now! It's only going to get worse for Putin-on-the Ritz. Be better if he stopped acting like Fritz.

by: John K from: USA
March 05, 2016 12:22
The history of Israel, the racist colonial regime,taught us that Israel is behind all sources of evil in the world.The pains and misery of millions in the world are because of the Zionism.The war in Iraq and Syria are only to placate Israel. ISIS or any other terrorist groups are babies in the bosom of Israel.They suck the milk of terrorism and malice.

by: Michael from: Washington, US
March 05, 2016 12:44
We have said that Assad must go so that Syria can have democracy. Why would we want to establish a democracy in Syria? Our best Arab friend, Saudi Arabia, isn't a democracy; it's a monarchy run by a king. Saudi Women can't drive cars. Saudis can be executed for a wide variety of crimes including adultery, fornication, & practicing sorcery & witchcraft among many others. Executions are done in public by beheading or stoning to death... and most of us know that. The problem with Obama is not that his brains are mush; the problem is that he doesn't work for us. The real job of presidents is to help the ultra wealthy class steal our money without the public understanding what is happening. Obama has done a masterful job of this & has been one of the best presidents for the ultra wealthy class.

Almost all of his finance related appointees have come from the the too big to fail banks & immense amounts of taxpayer money have been shifted to the too big to fail banks. His apparent ineptness in foreign policy has greased the skids for military action in the Middle East, including Syria, & the Ukraine. The planning for these military actions goes back to the 1990s.

Do a search on YouTube: 'General Wesley Clark 7 countries in 5 years" and search: "Zbigniew Brzezinski Ukraine the Grand Chessboard" The news we get today is mostly propaganda. We are told there is gridlock in Washington with nothing getting done, but it isn't true. Democrats & Republicans are getting big money from the same ultra wealthy donors have been voting together for years for, i.e., various bank deregulation bills & bailouts for banks, so called free trade agreements that have moved much of our manufacturing & the tax base & jobs that went along with it offshore, & multi-trillion dollar wars that are bankrupting us.
In Response

by: Richard from: UK
March 05, 2016 20:12
Award winning British journalist Neil Clark: “When the bombs of Al-Qaeda or their affiliates go off in Syria and innocent people are killed there is no condemnation from our leaders: their only condemnation has been of the secular Syrian government which is fighting radical Islamists and which our leaders and elite media commentators are desperate to have toppled. I'm confused. Can anyone help me?..” Read more here: http://rt.com/op-edge/west-leaders-ukraine-democracy-600/

by: Nick from: United States
March 05, 2016 20:23
US military industrial complex needs an artificial threat to keep it running. So they create these pseudo threats about Russia, Iran, Syria, etc, which helps them secure the military budget regardless of who the President is.

US-UK-Israeli cartel is targeting Russia since a long time ago, mainly because Russia creates an obstacle to the global plans of American Zionists, who want to establish a total control over the world. It's no secret that USA desperately wants to plunder Russian resources and exploit Russian people. It's not just Russia at stake. If Russia falls, so will China, Iran, entire Asia, Africa, South America, etc. Each nation with at least some dignity tries to protect its sovereignty and its people.

EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand (vassal colonies of USA) showed no dignity and no respect towards their citizens ever since they became vassal colony of the USA. Even more sad is that EU, Canada, Australia, New Zealand... must provide their men and women for US-UK-Israeli war games; but the poor vassals still didn't realize that they are used as an expendable cannon fodder. That's the power of massive American propaganda.

by: Mamuka
March 05, 2016 23:19
At first I thought this idea of Syria and Ukraina being two parts of a single strategic strategy was absurd. Moscow's dominance over Kyiv and the south (call it 'Novorossiya' if you like) stretches back centuries and is an internal conflict. Russian interests in Syria are the shreds of a foreign policy born in the Soviet Union and the one remaining area of overseas influence.

But then I thought of one word that I did not hear on the podcast. And that word is Turkey.

It is too much to call Turkey a traditional "enemy" of Russia but certainly a historical rival-- and who did Russia fight to gain Crimea in the first place?

The addition of the new tensions between Russia and Turkey could indeed transform Syria and Ukraina into one strategic front, but not in the way that the panel describes.

by: Mehdi from: UK
March 07, 2016 13:45
USA/NATO are preaching democracy globally when it suits them, and they have hailed the overthrowing governments in Libya, Egypt, Ukraine... etc, who were elected by the people, and in other countries they are funding and arming terrorists to achieve their dirty geopolitical goals.

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About This Blog

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