Obama Administration Officials Insist Russia Is to Blame for the Syrian Crisis

Last week, on November 5, The Wall Street Journal reported that the CIA will be stepping up its illegal war in Syria by increasing the number of weapons it is providing to the so-called Syrian moderate opposition, putting the lie to President Obama’s pledge not to lead the United States into a proxy war with Russia. If a hearing held by the House Foreign Affairs Committee last Wednesday morning on “Russia’s Escalation in Syria” is any indication, the president should expect little to no opposition to the CIA’s action.

RUSSIA ACCUSES US OF HIJACKING PREPARATIONS FOR SYRIA TALKS

VIENNA (AP) — Russia accused the United States on Thursday of hijacking preparatory talks for a weekend meeting of nearly 20 nations focused on ending the Syrian war. The charge was denied by U.S. officials, who expressed surprise that Moscow did not show up.

Q&A: Former U.S. ambassador Matlock reflects on Cold War

ACEWA Founding Board Member Ambassador Jack Matlock sat down for an interview with Duke University’s Chronicle last last month:

TC: What would you tell whoever is elected president in 2016 to do about our relationship with Russia and other former Soviet countries?

JM: Well, as far as Russia is concerned, I think that in dealing with the most important problems we have, problems like global warming, the threat of terrorism, the impact of failed states, international drug trade, international crime in general, organized crime, these I think are the crucial problems and in dealing with them, Russia is either going to be part of the solution or part of the problem.

Washington Appears to Reject the Opportunity to End the New Cold War With Russia

Nation contributing editor Stephen F. Cohen and John Batchelor continue their weekly discussion of the new US-Russian Cold War. Cohen points out that instead of cooperating with Moscow’s air war against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the Obama Administration is threatening to send US planes and possibly troops to counter the Russian military operation there, while also stepping up NATO ground, air and sea exercises in areas on Russia’s own borders

Paris Climate Talks Should Include Russia’s Lake Baikal

Following this year’s unnaturally dry summer, wildfires of an intensity not seen in decades have roared across the shores of Russia’s Lake Baikal. At their peak, they raged across nearly 150,000 hectares of land, an area roughly equivalent to that of the Houston metropolitan area. Greenpeace Russia estimates that over the course of July and August alone, up to 1.5 million hectares burned — that is, over 5.5 thousand square miles.

The image of Siberia burning is deeply unsettling, especially given its reputation as one of the coldest places on earth. Though wildfires in the region occur each year, their recent size and severity reveal broad ecological stress in the region. Of equal concern is Lake Baikal’s declining water level, which in early 2015 dropped below critical levels for the first time in more than three decades.

Congress dodging war powers despite U.S. mission in Syria

WASHINGTON — In the fight against the Islamic State group, members of Congress talk tough against extremism, but many want to run for cover when it comes to voting on new war powers to fight the militants, preferring to let the president own the battle.

Exclusive: Russia to propose Syrians launch 18-month reform process – document

Russia wants the Syrian government and opposition to agree on launching a constitutional reform process of up to 18 months, followed by early presidential elections, a draft document obtained by Reuters showed on Tuesday.

The eight-point proposal, drawn up by Moscow before multi-lateral talks on Syria this week, does not rule out President Bashar al-Assad’s participation in the early elections, something his foes say is impossible if there is to be peace.

Ukraine Is in Danger of Becoming a Failed State

Bloomberg View’s Leonid Bershidsky reports “Americans are highly visible in the Ukrainian political process. The U.S. embassy in Kiev is a center of power, and Ukrainian politicians openly talk of appointments and dismissals being vetted by U.S. Ambassador Geoffrey Pyatt and even U.S. Vice President Joe Biden…Europeans too are involved in shaping the way Ukraine is governed, not just because they are donors — the U.S. is more important in that respect because of its influence on the IMF…”

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