Speaking about Russia and US-Russian Relations

To prepare for Extemp topics related to Russia, there are a number of topics you need to be familiar with. (1) Will the recent decision by the US to close three additional consulates and annexes spell the further decline of relations?  Russia has deemed it an “unfortunate escalation” and it appears they will retaliate.  The “tit for tat” continues. Read the “diplomatic parity” justification from the State Department. Would it be better for the US and Russia to embrace detente?  Check out this recent (August 17) report on US-Russian relations (2) Can Russia help the US resolve the Korean crisis?  China’s Russia problem on North Korea (3) Ukraine.   In 2014, Russian engaged in a “low level” invasion of the Ukraine, which it claimed was done to protect the interests of ethnic Russians.  This military activity has continued, and many believe it could constitute a wider threat to Eastern Europe. Recently, Russia cut off Ukraine’s Black Sea ports. The crisis there could cripple US-Russian relations  (a) Will more lethal aid help the Ukraine? Mattis says he’s thinking of sending weapons.  No  Prepare to speak on either side of the debate. (b) Should the Ukraine join NATO? Its President says it will. Prepare to speak on either side of the debate. (4) Should the sanctions on Russia be lifted? In August, the US enacted a new round of sanctions on Russia, to the chagrin of many of its allies. Boris Toucas wrote on August 7th, The Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (H.R. 3364) seems destined to become a new flashpoint in the transatlantic relationship. President Donald Trump grudgingly signed it into law in the face of overwhelming congressional support but complained that the bill contravenes his exclusive constitutional authority to determine the time, scope, and objectives of international negotiations. Though the law deals with Iran, North Korea, and Russia, the latter section has attracted the most international attention. Indeed, its implications could go far beyond punishing Russia to set the tone for the transatlantic relationship in general. The law is a catch-all measure that pursues three main objectives. Its stated aim first is to respond to Russia’s interference in the U.S. elections, which explains why an entire section is dedicated to preventing and punishing cyber attacks. A second goal is to reduce the president’s room for manoeuver with Russia amid suspicions Trump wants to seek a grand bargain with Vladimir Putin even as a special counsel investigates connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. By codifying the already existing executive order sanctions, the Congress is effectively granting itself the right to veto the removal of sanctions on a case-by-case basis. Finally, the law gives these sanctions extraterritorial effects. Its potential scope therefore extends beyond the United States, potentially affecting any foreign actor in business with U.S. entities—including European companies—in certain key sectors. The process has sparked outrage across Europe. Unsurprisingly, Germany and Austria, later followed by France, have denounced the bill as “illicit under international law.” The notion of extraterritorial reach


Should the US abandon the Iran deal?

General Statement on a Comprehensive Iran Policy — August 8 “Reports indicate that President Donald Trump may refuse to certify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA in October, which could lead to restoring sanctions against Iran that were suspended in 2015 in accordance with the agreement.” Is Trump scheming to kill the Iran deal? Trump’s Iran deal options Trump is determined to blow up the Iran deal Pushing back on Iran Trump seeks to declare Iran in violation of the nuclear deal  Can the Iran deal hold?  The nuclear deal fallout: The Global threat of Iran Yes Iran deal is on ice, for good reason How to get out of the Iran nuclear deal  Trump must withdraw from the Iran deal now The Iran nuclear deal isn’t working Dump the Iran deal The Iran nuclear deal is hard to enforce No The Iran deal is contributing to Middle East peace.  Why does Trump want to blow it up?  Trump’s next self-inflicted crisis is a nuclear Iran It’s up to Europe to save the Iran deal  Scuttling the Iran deal will lead to another North Korea  Two years on, the Iran deal is working  Why killing the Iran deal could start the next war in the Middle East  Iran and the collision between Trump and reality  Iran nuclear deal is working  If Trump undermines the Iran deal  Trump’s dangerous game with Iran  War The growing danger of war with Iran  What a war between Iran and the US would look like  How the US  military would strike Iran: Everything you need to know 


Is ISIS Dying?

General How the navy is waging war on ISIS No How ISIS could regain control of Iraq Yes ISIS’ drone operations provide a lethal threat to America’s forces ISIS is so desperate it is turning to the drug trade Why ISIS’ huge territorial setbacks are devastating