Vladimir Putin

50 Tomahawk Cruise Missiles

The fine for crossing the red line in Syria.

And just hours after Trump ended his dinner with China leader Xi Jinping.

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Conrad Black (2014.11.22)

Vladimir Putin’s mindless cynicism

Bismarck warned against the great powers becoming involved in the quarrels of the Balkan “sheep-stealers;” he was ignored and the hecatomb of The First World War followed. The same advice applies to the Middle East now. The U.S. should leave completely, apart from advancing its allies full anti-missile defences, which it partially withheld in Eastern Europe as part of the fatuous “reset” of relations with Russia, and not come back until it has rediscovered its “containment” era genius for foreign and strategic policy.

—Conrad Black, National Post (2014.11.22)

NY Times: “Xenophobic Chill Descends on Moscow”

Quoted from today’s New York Times, “Xenophobic Chill Descends on Moscow,” by David M. Herszenhorn

The huge banner was unfurled on Friday morning outside one of Moscow’s biggest bookstores, Dom Knigi, a grand emporium of the written word on Arbat Street across from a Citibank, a Baskin-Robbins and a Dunkin’ Donuts, and down the block from a big movie theater where the main feature at the moment is “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”

“Fifth Column,” the banner declared. “Strangers Among Us.”

Moscow today is a proudly international city, where skateboarders in Gorky Park wear New York Yankees hats they bought on vacation in America, and where the designer French or Italian handbags might just as well have been picked out in Paris or Milan as in one of the boutiques in Red Square. Apple iPhones and iPads are nearly as common on the subway here as they are in Washington.

In the weeks since the military incursion into Crimea, however, Russian flags have been hung from the windows of apartment buildings all over the city, just as American flags appeared in profusion after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

There is also now a website with a name that translates as “traitor.net” that includes photos and quotations of public figures who have spoken out in some way against Russia’s policy toward Ukraine. The bottom of the site has a button inviting viewers to “suggest a traitor.”

On Arbat Street, the film, which features Captain America fighting a former sidekick who returns from a near-death experience as a brainwashed Soviet assassin, was showing in 3D, IMAX 3D, and regular 2D. Also playing: “The Wolf of Wall Street” and “Dallas Buyers Club.”