Finally The U.S. (aka Trump) Has Caught On To What The G20 Is About

Everybody knows what the G20 is about. Everybody, that is, except high-ranking members of the Democratic Party, the “establishment” branch of the Republican Party, the mainstream press, and the U.S. State Department career bureaucracy. Those people somehow think that what the G20 is about is reasonable people trying to work together in good faith to solve the world’s problems. Really! (Could anybody be that dumb? Yes. In fact, the “smarter” they appear to be from their credentials, the dumber they prove to be when it comes to understanding world affairs.)

And by the way, I don’t mean particularly to single out the G20, other than by the fact that they were just holding their annual meeting last week in Japan. Essentially all major international organizations, from the UN on down, are about the exact same thing.

And here’s the thing that all those organizations are about: . . .

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Sense And Nonsense In Dealing With Russia

With the Mueller Report now out, and having concluded that nothing remotely akin to “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia could be found, you would think that every prominent Democrat would only want to change the subject as quickly as possible. But weirdly, the Trump/Russia obsession persists even in the face of the Mueller Report.

Many examples could be cited, but one of the weirdest is the op-ed by Hillary Clinton published in the Washington Post on Wednesday, headlined “Mueller documented a serious crime against all Americans. Here’s how to respond.” The gist is that Trump is somehow allowing Russian President Putin to continue to attack our country, and probably to steal the upcoming 2020 election. Excerpts:

[T]he president of the United States has proved himself unwilling to defend our nation from a clear and present danger. . . . This is . . . an administration that refuses to take even the most minimal, common-sense steps to prevent future attacks and counter ongoing threats to our nation. . . . [U]nless he’s held accountable, the president may show even more disregard for the laws of the land and the obligations of his office. He will likely redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda . . . .

“Redouble his efforts to advance Putin’s agenda”? It’s hard even to conceive of the level of nonsense to which this woman has descended — along with many of her Democratic colleagues who are advocating the same or similar themes.

If you try taking a look at the big picture with regard to Russia, it will take you only a moment or two to figure out that far and away the most important thing to Russia for advancing its interests in the world is high prices for oil and gas. . . .

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What Is With This Weird Obsession With Russia?

Have you had the sense recently, and particularly so since the inauguration, that the progressive movement has completely lost its mind?  I mean, start with the #Resistance movement and its pointless, often violent demonstrations that couldn't be better designed to alienate everybody who is not already fully committed to radical leftism.  Or consider the climate change cult, desperately committed to keeping the poor poor and driving up everybody's cost of electricity and transportation because they believe that's the way to "save the planet."  But my favorite has to be this weird obsession with Russia.  I can't even begin to figure out what it is about.

The New York Times has easily had several dozen articles since the election about the supposedly nefarious relationship between President Trump and/or his team and Russian officials.  And I don't mean to single Pravda out particularly -- this obsession is all over the mainstream press.  And it goes on day after day with stories of less and less consequence told in breathless tones like they mean something.  Today (just in the last few hours -- presumably for tomorrow's print edition) we have "Kushner and Flynn Met with Russian Envoy in December, White House Says":

Michael Flynn, then Donald J. Trump’s incoming national security adviser, had a previously undisclosed meeting with the Russian ambassador in December to “establish a line of communication” between the new administration and the Russian government, the White House said on Thursday. . . .  [T]he extent and frequency of their contacts remains unclear, and the disclosure of the meeting at Trump Tower adds to the emerging picture of how the relationship between Mr. Trump’s incoming team and Moscow was evolving to include some of the president-elect’s most trusted advisers.  

Scary!  Am I the only one who thinks that it would have been completely incompetent for a president-elect's transition team not to have met at some point before the inauguration with the ambassador from Russia, and for that matter with the ambassadors from 50 or more of the more consequential countries of the world?  

Or consider the immediately prior big story, which was that new Attorney General Jeff Sessions had spoken with the Russian ambassador prior to the election.  Pravda has a brand new editorial up on the subject, again apparently for tomorrow's edition, headline "Jeff Sessions Needs to Go." Excerpt:

In the wake of Wednesday’s revelation that Attorney General Jeff Sessions spoke with Russia’s ambassador to the United States while working with the Trump campaign, despite denying those contacts during his confirmation hearings, key Republican and Democratic lawmakers are calling for him to recuse himself from overseeing any Justice Department investigation into contacts between the campaign and the Russian government. Some are even saying he needs to resign.

It’s a bombshell of a story. 

Look into the "bombshell" story a little, and you find that Sessions, then a senior Senator on the Armed Services Committee, spoke on a panel put on by the Heritage Foundation in Cleveland at the time of the Republican convention.  Some 50 ambassadors from different countries attended. At the end of the panel, several of the ambassadors approached the panel members to shake hands and maybe pose a question or two, in the hearing of dozens of people.  Is this where Sessions somehow agreed with the Russians that they would rig the election on behalf of Trump? It seems that Sessions also had a big one telephone call with the Russian ambassador during the time of the campaign -- as well as other calls with ambassadors from about ten other countries.  Hey, he was a senior member of the Armed Services Committee!  Isn't that part of the job?  Also, we know from the Flynn matter that the NSA recorded all of the Russian ambassador's phone calls, and will gladly leak transcripts to the Times and Washington Post if they are in the least bit embarrassing to any Trump administration official.  So where's this transcript?  

And these are only the latest two out of twenty or more such stories, all alleging some kind of illicit Russian involvement in somehow swinging the election to Trump.  OK, suppose that the Russians wanted Trump to win, and that the Russians are the ones who hacked the Podesta emails, and that the Russians intentionally arranged with Julian Assange to leak the Podesta emails in a way to help Trump and maximize damage to the Hillary campaign.  I don't think it's a given that any of those are true, let alone all of them.  But suppose they are all true.  Why wouldn't the Russians have done it without communicating in any way with the Trump campaign?  Given that the NSA records everything, wouldn't the Russian ambassador be smart enough not to talk about any of these things explicitly on the phone?  And, if there was a transcript out there somewhere where a Trump campaign official promised the Russians something in return for help in the campaign, wouldn't that transcript have been leaked by now? 

And then there is the question of the geopolitical significance of Russia today.  Yes, they do have an outsize military for a country of their population and GDP, and their leader likes to play bigshot.  But really, this intense focus on Russia seems to me to be mostly a vestige of the old Soviet Union days.  Russia does not have nearly the economy it would need to try to rebuild its empire.  It's economy, such as it is, is heavily dependent on selling oil and gas to the West.  Back in the 80s, the Soviet Union had more population than the United States, and pretended to have a GDP of 60% or so of ours and catching up fast.  (And the CIA largely believed it.)  Today:

  • Russia's population is about 143 million and shrinking alarmingly.  Its peak population was over 148 million back in 1995.  The current population is well less than half that of the U.S.  Russia's birthrate is not nearly high enough to sustain the population.  Projections at the link have Russian population going down into the 130 millions by the 2030s, and into the 120 millions by the 2040s.  
  • Russia's GDP for 2016 was under $1.3 trillion, barely 7% of U.S. GDP.  To put that in even more perspective, countries with more GDP than Russia include the likes of Brazil, India, and even South Korea!  For that matter, Mexico is rapidly catching up to Russia in GDP.  (Mexico's GDP for 2016 was almost $1.1 trillion.)

Really, can't the progressives come up with something better to obsess about?

UPDATE, March 5:

Image via NYM and Maggie's Farm.

Meanwhile, over at Fox News, Peter Schwieizer (author of "Clinton Cash") points out that nine shareholders of a Canadian uranium company sold to the Russians donated $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.  The sale required approval from the State Department when Hillary was Secretary of State.  Don't worry, it's no big deal.