The Foreign Policies Bouquet of 2018: Iran, Pakistan, Germany, Russia. M.N. – 9:55 AM 1/3/2018 – Transatlantic Relationship – Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks 

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The Foreign Policies Bouquet of 2018: Iran, Pakistan, Germany, Russia. M.N. 

Mike Nova’s Shared NewsLinks
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Taking Stock of the Transatlantic Relationship: Female Leaders …

Atlantic Council (blog)Dec 26, 2017
Please join the Atlantic Council and the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 for a conversation with female thought leaders about the current state of the transatlantic relationship. In today’s turbulent political and security environment, the transatlantic alliance is at a critical …

Story image for Transatlantic Relationship from International Politics and Society

Relationship status: It’s complicated

International Politics and SocietyDec 26, 2017
Be it international law, humanitarian principles or multilateral agreements, the 45th President of the United States of America has attacked the basis of the transatlantic relationship without offering viable alternatives. In the EU, meanwhile, a new system of values and legal process has been established that …

Story image for Transatlantic Relationship from euronews

Struggling to maintain the UK:US ‘special relationship

euronewsJan 1, 2018
Trump was immediately offered a state visit to the UK which includes being hosted by the Queen, but criticism of the UK’s response to terror attacks began the downhill journey of the transatlanticfriendship. Promises of mass protests on the streets and reported concern in Buckingham Palace postponed that …

Story image for Transatlantic Relationship from International Politics and Society

Will the EU-US relationship ever be the same again?

International Politics and SocietyDec 12, 2017
But they also believe that Europeans need to tend and care for the relationship, precisely because it’s going through such a rocky patch. They insist …. We need both: more Europe and more democracy on the one hand, and the preservation of transatlantic foundations for the post-Trump era on the other.
Trans-Atlantic Relationship – Google Search
 

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Is the Trans-Atlantic Relationship Dead?

New York Times9 hours ago
The first faction is represented by a group of foreign policy experts who published a “Trans-Atlantic Manifesto,” which appeared in October in The New York Times and the German weekly newspaper Die Zeit. They argue that guarding the trans-Atlantic relationship is crucial to the liberal world order and that …

Taking Stock of the Transatlantic Relationship: Female Leaders …

Atlantic Council (blog)Dec 26, 2017
Please join the Atlantic Council and the Robert Bosch Foundation Alumni Association on Wednesday, January 31, 2018 for a conversation with female thought leaders about the current state of the transatlantic relationship. In today’s turbulent political and security environment, the transatlantic alliance is at a critical …

Story image for Trans-Atlantic Relationship from Handelsblatt Global Edition

Rebooting the trans-Atlantic relationship

Handelsblatt Global EditionDec 21, 2017
Therefore the desire to find a new basis for the relationship with the US may be a necessary and correct political course. Our trans-Atlantic ties are undergoing radical change. There is no going back to the old days, but it does continue to be based on common values and decades of friendship with shared …

Story image for Trans-Atlantic Relationship from International Politics and Society

Relationship status: It’s complicated

International Politics and SocietyDec 26, 2017
Be it international law, humanitarian principles or multilateral agreements, the 45th President of the United States of America has attacked the basis of the transatlantic relationship without offering viable alternatives. In the EU, meanwhile, a new system of values and legal process has been established that …
In Era of Trump, Germany Seeks a Stronger Role Abroad
 

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“This means that as a matter of course we will also be seen as a competitor,” Mr. Gabriel said in the closely watched speech in which he called for Germans to shed their post-World War II reticence.

Washington’s role as a protector of Europe’s security and economic interests, set out by George C. Marshall 70 years ago, has begun to crumble, Mr. Gabriel argued. Under the Trump administration, Germany is no longer viewed as special, but one partner among many, he said.

He pointed to the most recent United States sanctions against Russia passed by Congress this summer, which may affect German economic interests, as well as to Mr. Trump’s disavowal of the Iran nuclear deal and the American president’s plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

Mr. Gabriel, President Emmanuel Macron of France and other world leaders have warned the Trump administration that such a shift on Jerusalem could reverberate throughout the Middle East and set back attempts for peace.

“A solution to the Jerusalem problem can only come through direct negotiations between the two parties,” Mr. Gabriel said. “Everything that exacerbates the crisis is counterproductive.”

German skepticism regarding the shift in the trans-Atlantic relationship has been building since Mr. Trump’s early threat that Washington’s support for NATO was conditional on other members meeting their financial commitments.

More Germans now see their country’s relationship with Washington as a larger foreign policy challenge than the threat posed by North Korea or Iran, according to a survey commissioned by the Körber Foundation in October.

While the arrival of more refugees remained Germans’ biggest foreign policy concern, identified by 26 percent of the 1,005 people questioned, 19 percent of respondents identified ties to Washington as a primary reason to worry.

In May, Chancellor Angela Merkel made clear Berlin’s increasing skepticism that Europe could still count on Washington.

“The times in which we could rely fully on others — they are somewhat over,” she told voters after a contentious NATO summit meeting in Brussels and a Group of 7 meeting in Italy.

The chancellor also called for Germans to be ready to “fight for our future on our own, for our destiny as Europeans.”

Part of that must include a renewed commitment to Europe, along the lines of the French president’s vision for “a more integrated Europe” as the path to “real sovereignty.”

Mr. Gabriel’s remarks deepened the acknowledgment of that widening divide between the United States and Europe.

But they also highlighted a vacuum of leadership among the once-tightly knit phalanx of like-minded Western nations, as the United States increasingly appears to be jettisoning that role.

As the United States withdraws, no one has looked to Europe to fill the void, Mr. Gabriel said. Instead, he warned, that space was being filled by Russia in the Middle East and by China in Africa.

“The world sees Europe as rich, but weak,” Mr. Gabriel said, reminding Germans that their economic prosperity has come thanks to the country’s geographic location and political role at the heart of Europe.

But progress in Europe is stymied until Berlin can get its own political house in order, after a general election on Sept. 24 that robbed Ms. Merkel of a clear path to form a new government.

Against the backdrop of such political uncertainty, it was not clear exactly if Mr. Gabriel was speaking on behalf of the chancellor, but he remains Germany’s top diplomat in Ms. Merkel’s caretaker government.

The German election, for the first time in postwar history, sent seven parties spanning the breadth of the political spectrum to a Parliament that has swelled to 709 seats.

Among them is the far-right Alternative for Germany, or AfD, which through a combination of drawing support away from the large centrist parties and motivating previous nonvoters emerged as the third strongest force.

Because none of the traditional parties is willing to cooperate with the AfD, Ms. Merkel — whose party lost seven percent of the vote, despite remaining the strongest force — has had a hard time forming a coalition.

She is now seeking to try to revive the cooperation with the Social Democrats, her governing partners of the past four years who had vowed they would not enter into another coalition government.

In recent weeks, however, some political leaders in Berlin have been citing the need for leadership in Europe to prod the Social Democrats to join a coalition.

The Social Democrats will hold a party congress this weekend, where they are to decide whether their party should enter into negations with Ms. Merkel’s conservatives.

In his speech, Mr. Gabriel, a Social Democrat, reminded Germans that in the future, they would have to get used to taking risks, including risking failure, if the European project was to remain a force in the world.

Germans remain largely ambivalent to any use of force on the international stage. The survey for the Körber Foundation showed a majority, 52 percent, felt Germany should show restraint on the international stage.

Earlier in the year, a survey for the Pew Research Foundation found the same number of Germans, 53 percent, said they did not think their country should provide military force to defend a NATO ally if it were attacked by Russia.

If Germany truly hopes to play a stronger role on the world stage, such attitudes will have to change, Dominique Moïsi, of the Paris-based think tank Institut Montaigne, said on Tuesday at the Körber Foundation conference.

“You cannot remain a soft power, if by the end of the day, you don’t have a minimal element of hard power,” Mr. Moïsi said.

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US Germany Russia nytimes – Google Search
 

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Trump, the Insurgent, Breaks With 70 Years of American Foreign …

New York TimesDec 28, 2017
Mr. Trump, officials recalled, had little idea of Ukraine’s importance, its history of being bullied by Russia or what the United States and its allies had done to try to push back Mr. Putin. German officials were alarmed by Mr. Trump’s lack of knowledge, but they got even more rattled when White House aides …

Story image for US Germany Russia nytimes from New York Times

Kim Jong-un’s Overture Could Drive a Wedge Between South Korea …

New York TimesJan 1, 2018
Mr. Kim’s sudden peace overture on Monday will probably encourage both Russia and China to renew their calls for some kind of “freeze for freeze” — a freeze on North Korean tests in return for a freeze on all American-South Korean military exercises. Presumably, under that situation sanctions would …

Story image for US Germany Russia nytimes from New York Times

Russia Says US-Supplied Weapons to Ukraine Could Escalate …

New York TimesDec 23, 2017
MOSCOW — The decision by the United States to supply weapons to Ukraine is dangerous as it will encourage Kiev to use force in eastern Ukraine, … The agreements, intended to end the fighting in Ukraine, were signed by Ukraine, RussiaGermany and France in the Belarusian capital in early 2015.

Story image for US Germany Russia nytimes from New York Times

The Pianist of the Resistance Captures a Surprise Award

New York Times4 hours ago
Mr. Levit was born in 1987 in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia (the same city, he noted, as another, slightly younger piano star, Daniil Trifonov), where his mother was a serious pianist and his father an engineer. His family moved to Germany when he was 8 — in search, he said, of better opportunities — and …

Story image for US Germany Russia nytimes from New York Times

Ukraine Fighting Pauses, Briefly, for Big Prisoner Exchange

New York TimesDec 27, 2017
The prompt release of all prisoners was a key part of a 2015 peace agreement brokered by France, Germany and Russia in Minsk, the capital of Belarus. … and Cooperation in Europe, whose monitoring mission in eastern Ukraine recently reported a sharp uptick in fighting, the American secretary of state, …

Story image for US Germany Russia nytimes from New York Times

In Era of Trump, Germany Seeks a Stronger Role Abroad

New York TimesDec 5, 2017
He pointed to the most recent United States sanctions against Russia passed by Congress this summer, which may affect German economic interests, as well as to Mr. Trump’s disavowal of the Iran nuclear deal and the American president’s plans to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Mr. Gabriel …
US Germany Russia – Google Search
 

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Story image for US Germany Russia from Washington Post

US sanctions against Russia are also hurting Germany — a lot

Washington PostDec 14, 2017
As another deadline is approaching for the United States to decide on new sanctions against Russia, it may be worth considering that it is America’s allies in Europe that are paying the biggest cost for these measures, according to the German IFW institute’s assessment, which is so far most comprehensive …

Story image for US Germany Russia from Deutsche Welle

Germans say Russia is more reliable than the United States

Deutsche WelleDec 9, 2017
The result is the first time the public’s trust in the US has fallen below Russia in over a decade. An Infratest survey of public trust in Germany’s global partners in June found both countries tying at 21 percent. France and Britain fared far better in the German public’s eyes. More than 90 percent said Paris was …

Story image for US Germany Russia from ABC News

Ukraine grateful for US weapons, Russia voices outrage

ABC NewsDec 23, 2017
Ukraine has long sought the weapons for its fight against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that has killed more than 10,000 since April 2014 … Without mentioning the U.S. decision, France and Germany on Saturday urged combatants to fully implement a much-violated cease-fire agreement.

Story image for US Germany Russia from TASS

Improvement of relations between Russia and US will meet interests …

TASSDec 30, 2017
BERLIN, December 31. /TASS/. Europe should be interested in improvement of relations between Moscow and Washington and resolution of the conflict regarding North Korea may particularly contribute to that, Germany’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Sunday in an interview with Funke …
U.S. Will Never Be the Same After Trump, Germany Says
 

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Germany’s top diplomat has told foreign policy experts that his country’s relationship with the U.S. has suffered irreparable damage under the administration of President Donald Trump, whom he accused of leading Europe on the path toward nuclear war.

Addressing the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel warned Tuesday that the West risked losing its influence over world affairs if it continued to follow the U.S.’s lead. Gabriel, who also served as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s second-in-command, criticized Trump’s “America first” vision of international relations and announced that Germany would pursue its own agenda and no longer operate under the shadow of its ally in the White House.

Related: U.S. and Western Europe could lose badly in a war against Russia without China’s help

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“The U.S. no longer sees the world as a global community but as a fighting arena where everyone has to seek their own advantage,” Gabriel said, according to Deutsche Welle.

“Germany can no longer simply react to U.S. policy but must establish its own position…even after Trump leaves the White House, relations with the U.S. will never be the same.”

President Donald Trump’s controversial, nontraditional take on foreign policy has alienated some of Washington’s closest allies. German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel has been deeply critical of Trump’s stance on Iran and North Korea and says Europe must take its own path. George Frey/Getty Images

Gabriel warned that nations disillusioned with the militant direction the U.S. has taken under Trump have not sought a greater alliance with the EU and urged European countries to follow Germany’s lead in standing up against what he said could be “a new nuclear arms race in Europe.” Germany has been a staunch supporter of U.S.-led Western military alliance NATO, which has adopted a hardline stance against Russia since the country’s 2014 annexation of Crimea from neighboring Ukraine, but Germany has also advocated for dialogue with Moscow.

Since taking office in January, Trump and his administration have been met with a series of scandals and controversial decisions that have hampered the Republican leader’s image at home and abroad. Trump’s initially close relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin and dismissal of NATO raised deep concerns among defense allies, and his recent escalations in diplomatic wars with Iran and North Korea have elicited negative reactions from European officials, including Gabriel himself.

In October, Gabriel protested Trump’s decision to decertify the Iran nuclear deal, to which Germany was a signatory, and said it was “imperative that Europe sticks together on this issue.” In August, he warnedthat Trump’s hardline stance toward nuclear-armed North Korea could lead to an all-out war that “in the worst-case scenario…could result in more victims than World War II,” the deadliest conflict in human history.

Trump also took a rare shot at arguably his closest major European ally, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, last week after she criticized the U.S. leader for sharing far-right videos on his Twitter account. After May suggested that Trump’s decision to share the controversial, anti-Muslim videos was “wrong,” Trump tweeted the conservative British prime minister should instead “focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom” and the U.S. was “doing just fine.”

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson attends a meeting with German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Sarah MacIntosh, British permanent representative to NATO, during a NATO foreign ministers meeting at NATO headquarters, in Brussels, Belgium, on December 5. Tillerson’s recent efforts to reassure European allies over U.S. commitments have been undercut by reports that Tillerson did not truly speak for Trump’s inner circle and may soon be fired. Virginia Mayo/Pool/Reuters

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the man tasked by Trump with building transatlantic bridges between the White House and Europe, has also found himself on the wrong end of his boss’s foreign policy, according to numerous reports suggesting he would soon be replaced. Both Trump and Tillerson have continually denied such reports, even as Tillerson reassured European allies of the U.S.’s commitment to its historic relationships during a trip to the U.S. mission to Belgium in Brussels on Tuesday.

“While we don’t have any wins on the board yet, I can tell you we’re in a much better position to advance America’s interests around the world than we were 10 months ago,” Tillerson told U.S. diplomats and staff, according to Reuters.

That same day, Gabriel warned, “The withdrawal of the United States under Donald Trump from its reliable role as a guarantor of Western-led multilateralism accelerates a change of the world order with immediate consequences for German and European interests.”

Beyond just taking on Trump and his allies, Gabriel railed Tuesday against what he considered insufficient Western reactions to conflicts in Syria, where government forces supported by Russia and Iran have largely defeated jihadis and rebels once backed by the West and still supported by some of its allies, and in Ukraine, where Russia-backed separatists remained in control of parts of the country’s restive east.

US Germany – Google Search
 

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How Germany Wins At Manufacturing — For Now

NPR3 hours ago
As Germany and the U.S. face the future they are caught in a “grass is always greener” moment, where each sees in the other the thing it does not have. Even if Germany is really good at manufacturing, maybe it needs to try to emulate the U.S. and start looking beyond manufacturing to find postindustrial …

Story image for US Germany from Reuters

Reuters

Germany Ended 2017 With Record High Employment

U.S. News & World Report4 hours ago
Germany Ended 2017 With Record High Employment. The number of jobless people in Germany fell by 183,000 in December compared with a year earlier and the country finished the year with a record 44.3 million people in work. Jan. 3, 2018, at 4:54 a.m.. Germany Ended 2017 With Record High Employment …

Story image for US Germany from USA TODAY

‘Achtung Baby’: Should we parent more like the Germans do?

USA TODAY21 hours ago
Many of the differences Zaske points out between Germany and the USA could also be made about 1970s America and today’s. Many kids in Germany, like American children before helicopter parenting, Zaske writes: ▻ Spend more time outdoors. ▻ Walk or bike to and from school or the playground by …

Story image for US Germany from Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times

Germany Says Iranian Protesters Deserve Respect

U.S. News & World Report2 hours ago
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany said on Wednesday it was following developments in Iran with concern but stressed that protesters there demonstrating … to initiate dialogue with the protesters and to respond proportionately to demonstrators who engage in violence, adding that Germany was alarmed by …

Story image for US Germany from The Guardian

US and Germany call for release of Chinese activist ‘Super Vulgar …

The GuardianDec 27, 2017
The two countries were “deeply disappointed” by the sentence of Wu Gan, better known by his online nom de plume “Super Vulgar Butcher”, according to a joint statement by the US and German embassies in Beijing. Wu’s sentence was the harshest in a spate of politically motivated trails targeting civil …
USGermany Urge China to Release Jailed Activist
Washington Free BeaconDec 28, 2017

Story image for US Germany from Voice of America (blog)

USGermany Condemn China’s Sentencing of Human Rights Blogger

Voice of America (blog)Dec 27, 2017
“The embassies of Germany and the United States are deeply disappointed that Chinese human rights defender and blogger Wu Gan and Chinese attorney Xie Yang have been convicted on vague charges of “subverting state power” and that Wu has been sentenced to eight years in prison,” a statement …

Story image for US Germany from Snopes.com

Did Germany Release a ‘Historic Statement’ Denouncing the US …

<a href=”http://Snopes.com” rel=”nofollow”>Snopes.com</a>Dec 7, 2017
Germany,” as a country, did not release an official statement to the world “denouncing” its ally the United States. Instead, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel gave a speech on 5 December 2017 before government officials in Berlin, which was basically a call to recognize what many in Europe already …

Story image for US Germany from Newsweek

US ‘Will Never Be the Same’ After Trump, Germany Says

NewsweekDec 5, 2017
Germany’s top diplomat has told foreign policy experts that his country’s relationship with the U.S. has suffered irreparable damage under the administration of President Donald Trump, whom he accused of leading Europe on the path toward nuclear war. Addressing the Berlin Foreign Policy Forum, …
In Era of Trump, Germany Seeks a Stronger Role Abroad
In-DepthNew York TimesDec 5, 2017

Germany – Google Search
 

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Story image for Germany from NPR

How Germany Wins At Manufacturing — For Now

NPR3 hours ago
This is the first of three reports from NPR’s John Ydstie on Germany’s manufacturing strength. America needs to create more manufacturing jobs: That’s been a constant refrain of President Trump and was one of the goals of the corporate tax cut recently passed by Congress and signed into law. The loss of …

Story image for Germany from Bloomberg

Germany’s Jobless Rate Drops to Record Low as Economy Booms

Bloomberg3 hours ago
Germany has been enjoying a strong economic run supported by domestic spending and solid global trade, with Purchasing Managers’ Indexes on Tuesday showing factory activity for the country and the euro area jumping to records in December. At the same time, business optimism has slipped from an …

Story image for Germany from New York Times

German Lawmaker Who Called Muslims ‘Rapist Hordes’ Faces …

New York Times15 hours ago
The controversy is the latest to involve the far-right party Alternative for Germany, known by its Germaninitials AfD. The party made big gains in national elections in September, placing third, entering Parliament for the first time and making life extremely difficult for the center-right Christian Democrats, who …

Story image for Germany from Deutsche Welle

Germany: Study links increased crime rate to migrant arrivals

Deutsche Welle2 hours ago
The study, carried out by the criminologists Christian Pfeiffer, Dirk Baier, and Sören Kliem at the behest of the German Family Ministry, researched the increase in violent crime recorded in Germany over the past two years. The study also suggested a link between an increase in reported violent crimes in …
Is the Trans-Atlantic Relationship Dead?
 

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It’s a strange debate, in that it is both hypothetical and emotional.

It is hypothetical, because economically, Germany and the United States remain close business partners, despite the failure to establish a trans-Atlantic trade deal and the shifting orientation of both economies toward China.

Militarily, Germany and Europe depend on the United States, too, still ducking under its nuclear umbrella. True, the European Union has recently taken steps toward military cooperation and independence, but there is neither the will nor the resources to provide the level of protection that America still offers. While many German voters probably feel flattered by the talk of their country’s leading role in the world, the majority is still not willing to accept the cost. Germany is an aspiring power that lacks both the public support and the strategic culture to live up to the expectations.

And yet, the debate over where, exactly, German-American relations are headed is passionate, and sometimes angry. It is not just about budgets and defense plans; it is also an emotional issue, a question of love and dependence and letting go. Many Germans still look fondly to America; we study there, travel there, have family there, buy clothing and food and music from there, and will continue to do so, whoever is president.

Today, though, there is a new current of anti-Americanism rising as well, different from the usual continental grumblings. It believes that America has overstayed its welcome on the world stage, that it still insists on dominating both culturally and politically. It believes that American culture is superficial and phony, that Americans are hypocritical and uneducated. “What good has ever come from the United States of America?” a reader in Berlin wrote to me recently in response to an editorial.

The roots of this new anti-Americanism go deeper than Mr. Trump. Germans point to George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq and war on terrorism, and to Barack Obama’s tendency to overpromise American action on foreign policy while furthering many of his predecessor’s worst policies. But finally, in Donald Trump, we have a cartoon bad guy, the essence of every anti-American prejudice: a rude, uneducated bully who drinks giant amounts of Diet Coke.

Hardcore anti-Americanism is still a minority view in Germany. A study published last year, before Donald Trump became president, found that about 10 percent of Germans hold such views. Very few policymakers apart from the radical fringes are openly anti-American.

Still, it can be found lingering underneath the surface of the current debate — for example, when Mr. Gabriel said that Germany “needs to seek a strategic relationship, not submission to U.S. politics, as we have never seen it in the past.”

Social Democrats have always played on the theme of the European David against an American Goliath, but this time it seems to be catching on elsewhere. Anti-Americanism is not just an opportunity to vent. It also serves as an outlet for the insecurity of a nation faced with a new global environment that seems to demand radical change, while practically speaking, radical change is impossible.

As a world player, Germany can act only through Europe, the British historian Timothy Garton Ash writes. But as it does so, it is inhibited by the inertia of masses in movement, the other 26 European Union states. Germany must fill the post-American vacuum; Germany cannot fill the vacuum. Talk of a strategic shift is a reverie — a way to escape the limitations to real action.

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Trump’s Belligerence Toward Pakistan Isn’t Unreasonable
 

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    While most of his fellow neuroscientists studied neurons, the branching cells that carry electrical signals through the brain, Barres focused his attention on another group of cells called glia. Even though they equal neurons in number, glia were long dismissed as the brain’s support crew—there simply to provide nutrients or structural scaffolding.* But Barres showed that glia are stars in their own right. They help neurons to mature, producing the connections that are the basis for learning and memory, and then pruning those connections so that the most useful ones remain.

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  • The Curious Life of an Extra

    Playing bystanders and party guests was supposed to be a temporary gig. It turned into a viable, and surprisingly fulfilling, way to make a living.

    “You look fierce!”

    I hesitantly walked out of the bathroom at Buddakan to be met with a small army of directors, producers, assistants, and costume designers giving me nods of approval for the outfit a wardrobe assistant had just stuffed me into. The dress was the color of bile, baggy, covered in ruffles, and zipped all the way up to my chin. I felt like I was witnessing firsthand the kind of false-positive reinforcement that lands someone on a Worst Dressed List in Hollywood. But it was my first time on a set, to film a video for Fashion Week, and I thought it best not to refute the opinions of the people who were apparently in the know about a hideous trend that had yet to hit my local T.J. Maxx.

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  • The Battle for Iran

    Change will not come easily, peacefully, or soon.

    Protest movements in the Middle East face enormous repressive hurdles and rarely have happy endings. Even when protesters “succeed” in toppling an autocrat, they’ve rarely succeeded in ending autocracy.

    In Iran, the obstacles to success are daunting. Whereas most Middle Eastern countries are ruled by secular autocrats focused on repressing primarily Islamist opposition, Iran is an Islamist autocracy focused on repressing secular opposition. This dynamic—unarmed, unorganized, leaderless citizens seeking economic dignity and pluralism, versus a heavily armed, organized, rapacious ruling theocracy that espouses martyrdom—is not a recipe for success.

    And yet, against this inauspicious backdrop, Iran’s mushrooming anti-government protests—although so far much smaller in scale than the country’s 2009 uprising—have been unprecedented in their geographic scope and intensity. They began December 28 in Mashhad, a Shiite pilgrimage city often considered a regime stronghold, with protesters chanting slogans like “leave Syria alone, think about us.” They soon spread to Qom, Iran’s holiest city, where protesters expressed nostalgia for Reza Shah, the 20th-century modernizing autocrat who ruthlessly repressed the clergy. They continued in provincial towns, with thousands chanting, “we don’t want an Islamic Republic” in Najafabad, “death to the revolutionary guards” in Rasht, and “death to the dictator” in Khoramabad. They’ve since spread to Tehran, and hundreds have been arrested, the BBC reported, citing Iranian officials.

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    One day last summer, around noon, I called Athena, a 13-year-old who lives in Houston, Texas. She answered her phone—she’s had an iPhone since she was 11—sounding as if she’d just woken up. We chatted about her favorite songs and TV shows, and I asked her what she likes to do with her friends. “We go to the mall,” she said. “Do your parents drop you off?,” I asked, recalling my own middle-school days, in the 1980s, when I’d enjoy a few parent-free hours shopping with my friends. “No—I go with my family,” she replied. “We’ll go with my mom and brothers and walk a little behind them. I just have to tell my mom where we’re going. I have to check in every hour or every 30 minutes.”

    Those mall trips are infrequent—about once a month. More often, Athena and her friends spend time together on their phones, unchaperoned. Unlike the teens of my generation, who might have spent an evening tying up the family landline with gossip, they talk on Snapchat, the smartphone app that allows users to send pictures and videos that quickly disappear. They make sure to keep up their Snapstreaks, which show how many days in a row they have Snapchatted with each other. Sometimes they save screenshots of particularly ridiculous pictures of friends. “It’s good blackmail,” Athena said. (Because she’s a minor, I’m not using her real name.) She told me she’d spent most of the summer hanging out alone in her room with her phone. That’s just the way her generation is, she said. “We didn’t have a choice to know any life without iPads or iPhones. I think we like our phones more than we like actual people.”

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    When former Rhode Island senator and governor Lincoln Chafee formally jumped into the presidential race on Wednesday, he made a splash. There are good reasons to take Chafee’s bid seriously, but his speech drew the most attention for a less-conventional proposal. “Let’s join the rest of the world and go metric,” he said.

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    Some of the most interesting people in the world to me right now are the homeless conservatives, that not-so-merry band of right-leaning ideologues and idealists who reject Donald Trump’s takeover of the Republican Party and who find it more pleasurable to stand outside Mar-a-Lago and throw rocks than to make believe that what is happening inside is normal.

    One of the most important of these homeless conservatives is Jonah Goldberg, who has been a stalwart anti-liberal voice for a generation. But Goldberg, a senior editor at the National Review (which is itself a kind of shelter for Never Trumpers) has seen many of his friends accommodate themselves to the new reality.

    “The slow takeover of the right by the Trumpets is akin to Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” he told me on a recent episode of  our podcast, The Atlantic Interview.  “All of a sudden, you see a close friend of yours talking about Comrade Trump, and you’re like, ‘Oh my gosh, they got you!’”

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  • Trump’s Belligerence Toward Pakistan Isn’t Unreasonable

    His threatening tweet might signal increased pressure on Islamabad for its support of Afghan militants.

    On Tuesday, Trump administration officials joined the president to criticize Pakistan’s commitment to Afghanistan’s stability, accusing Islamabad of playing “a double game for years.”

    The comments by Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations,  H.R. McMaster, the national-security-adviser, and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokesperson, are likely to increase the pressure on Pakistan, which is still smarting over the president’s first tweet of the year:

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How The Russia Investigation Might Evolve In 2018
 

mikenova shared this story .

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit <a href=”http://www.npr.org/” rel=”nofollow”>http://www.npr.org/</a>.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

It’s a new year, but the Russia imbroglio – the sprawling, long-running saga about Moscow’s attack on the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath – is still going strong. Washington spent much of last year simply trying to determine what happened in that attack, and there are still many questions that haven’t been answered.

We’re going to take the next few minutes to look at how that investigation might evolve this year. And here to talk about that is NPR’s national security editor, Phil Ewing. Hi, Phil.

PHILIP EWING, BYLINE: Hi, Robert.

SIEGEL: Let’s start with one big story coming up this year, the midterm elections. Are they likely to be like 2016 in the sense of so-called fake news, the use of trolls, bots, that sort of thing?

EWING: Well, according to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the answer is yes. The FBI director, Christopher Wray, has already said the bureau has a special task force set up to watch for foreign interference in the new year. Plus, the Director of National Intelligence, Dan Coats, and his predecessor and many others in and out of the administration have said they fully expect more dirty tricks in this election and also in the 2020 presidential race. In the spy world, these are called active measures. A nation state uses its intelligence and diplomatic and other tools to shape the information environment by putting out false stories like you mentioned or exacerbating controversies, in our case, that already exist.

This never really stopped happening after the 2016 election. There were Russian Twitter accounts that turned up the volume on the Charlottesville unrest last year or the NFL protests over the national anthem or the Alabama special election and other stories. But what we can’t know today is whether the government and the states will be ready to deal with the full gamut of things we saw in 2016 – the cyberattacks that targeted politicians, institutions like the Democratic National Committee or some other new kind of technique for mischief that nobody has thought about yet.

SIEGEL: As you’ve said, though, Russia has kept up a lot of the social media agitation. Why? What’s in it for Russian President Vladimir Putin?

EWING: I think it’s a low-cost option for him to be a player in the West, not just the United States but in Europe, in the U.K. There were indications of Russian interference in European elections in the vote that the Brits had for getting out of the European Union, the so-called Brexit controversy. And it enables him to increase Russia’s throw weight on the global stage. And it’ll be very interesting because he has an election this year as well, and he may make the case to his own voters that he continues to be a player and increase Russia’s prestige on the world stage through these kinds of measures.

SIEGEL: Back to Washington, there are several congressional investigations still underway about Russia’s activities. Are those likely to wrap up this year?

EWING: Members of Congress say that’s what they want to happen. There are several committees looking into this. The House and Senate intelligence committees, the Senate Judiciary Committee and a couple of others have also had hearings or spoken about this. We don’t know yet when their work might wrap up, but there have already been suggestions that the politics might actually be too fraught for them to come to any kind of consensus on this.

Republicans and Democrats might be – might not be able to get to the same findings, so they could release reports of their own – a majority Republican report, a minority Democratic report. And we’ll just have to see how that plays out. But 2018 might bring kind of a story of “Choose Your Own Adventure” depending on which version of the case you want to follow.

SIEGEL: What about special prosecutor Robert Mueller? What, if anything, do we know about what direction his investigation might take this year?

EWING: That’s one of the biggest and most important questions in this whole story, and I don’t think anybody outside of the special counsel’s office actually knows the answer. He has shown how effectively he can keep secrets. He, for example, reached a guilty plea with one former campaign adviser and then kept it completely secret until that was unsealed publicly. Mueller has never been the kind of guy to give interviews even before this when he was FBI director or talk openly about what he was doing. Plus, his office is under a gag order as part of the prosecution it brought against Trump’s former campaign chairman. So unless something changes drastically, the only way we’ll know what Mueller is doing is when he goes public or he takes more people to court.

SIEGEL: NPR’s Phil Ewing, thanks.

EWING: Thank you. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Poll: Republicans ratings of FBI fall as other government agencies rise
 

mikenova shared this story .

Story highlights

  • 20-point gap between Democratic and Republican ratings of the FBI
  • USPS, CDC, Secret Service and Homeland Security top ranked overall

Washington (CNN)Republicans’ reviews for a slew of government agencies have improved as Donald Trump’s administration puts its stamp on the federal bureaucracy, according to a new poll from Gallup, but there’s one agency whose ratings have shifted in the opposite direction among the President’s partisans: The FBI.

While 62% of Republicans gave the FBI “excellent” or “good” marks in a 2014 survey from Gallup, just 49% say the same now. The agency is the only one of 13 tested whose ratings among Republicans have worsened compared with 2014.

Trump has actively criticized the FBI throughout his time in office, from his firing of agency head James Comey in May through tweets in late December (sent after the completion of the Gallup poll) criticizing the agency’s retiring deputy director over donations to his Democratic wife’s campaign for state senate in Virginia.

Adding to the President’s criticism, Republicans on Capitol Hill have raised doubts about the fairness of both the agency’s treatment of Hillary Clinton during the investigation into her use of a private server for State Department emails and the investigation into Russian interference in 2016’s election, which is led by special counsel Robert Mueller, himself a former FBI director.

Among Democrats, the poll finds ratings for the FBI have actually improved over the same time frame: 60% said it was doing a good job in 2014, 69% say the same now.

close dialog

Republicans’ views on several agencies in Gallup’s polling have improved markedly under Trump: Ratings for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have risen 33 points; the Federal Emergency Management Agency is up 28 points; up 27 points for the Secret Service; and 26 points for the Department of Homeland Security. Democrats’ ratings for most of the agencies tested have not changed enough to be significant, with exceptions for the Secret Service (+13), NASA (+11) and the CIA (+10) in addition to the shift on the FBI.

Overall, the poll finds the FBI ranks near the top of the 13 tested agencies, with 58% rating the job it is doing as “excellent” or “good,” behind just four other agencies — the US Postal Service (74% excellent or good), the CDC (66%), the Secret Service (63%) and Homeland Security (59%). The CIA (57%), NASA (56%) and FEMA (55%) also garner majority-positive reviews, ranking just behind the FBI’s numbers.

The improved ratings for individual government agencies come even as overall impressions of the government have remained negative.

A CNN poll conducted by SSRS

 in December found that just 28% of Americans were satisfied with the way the nation is being governed, with 68% reporting being dissatisfied. There, too, however, Republicans views have become sharply more positive under Trump (66% satisfied) than they were under President Barack Obama, a Democrat (10%).

The Gallup poll on government agencies was conducted by telephone from December 18-19 among a random national sample of 1,011 adults. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Huma Abedin Used Yahoo, That Was Hacked
 

mikenova shared this story from The Daily Caller.

Huma Abedin forwarded sensitive State Department emails, including passwords to government systems, to her personal Yahoo email account before every single Yahoo account was hacked, a Daily Caller News Foundation analysis of emails released as part of a lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch shows.

Abedin, the top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, used her insecure personal email provider to conduct sensitive work. This guarantees that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches — at least one of which was perpetrated by a “state-sponsored actor.”

The U.S. later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking 500 million Yahoo email accounts. The initial hack occurred in 2014 and allowed his associates to access accounts into 2015 and 2016 by using forged cookies. Sushchin also worked for the Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, which paid former President Bill Clinton $500,000 for a June 2010 speech in Moscow.

A separate hack in 2013 compromised three billion accounts across multiple Yahoo properties, and the culprit is still unclear. “All Yahoo user accounts were affected by the August 2013 theft,” the company said in a statement.

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Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, regularly forwarded work emails to her personal <a href=”mailto:humamabedin@yahoo.com”>humamabedin@yahoo.com</a> address. “She would use these accounts if her (State) account was down or if she needed to print an email or document. Abedin further explained that it was difficult to print from the DoS system so she routinely forwarded emails to her non-DoS accounts so she could more easily print,” an FBI report says.

Abedin sent passwords for her government laptop to her Yahoo account on Aug. 24, 2009, an email released by the State Department in September 2017 shows.

Huma sends laptop password to Yahoo / Source: State DepartmentLong-time Clinton confidante Sid Blumenthal sent Clinton an email in July 2009 with the subject line: “Important. Not for circulation. You only. Sid.” The message began “CONFIDENTIAL… Re: Moscow Summit.” Abedin forwarded the email to her Yahoo address, potentially making it visible to hackers.

The email was deemed too sensitive to release to the public and was redacted before being published pursuant to the Judicial Watch lawsuit. The released copy says “Classified by DAS/ A/GIS, DoS on 10/30/2015 Class: Confidential.” The unredacted portion reads: “I have heard authoritatively from Bill Drozdiak, who is in Berlin…. We should expect that the Germans and Russians will now cut their own separate deals on energy, regional security, etc.”

The three email accounts Abedin used were <a href=”mailto:abedinh@state.gov”>abedinh@state.gov</a>, <a href=”mailto:huma@clintonemail.com”>huma@clintonemail.com</a>, and <a href=”mailto:humamabedin@yahoo.com”>humamabedin@yahoo.com</a>. Though the emails released by the State Department partially redact personal email addresses, the Yahoo emails are displayed as humamabedin[redacted].

Clinton forwarded Abedin an email titled “Ambassadors” in March 2009 from Denis McDonough, who served as foreign policy adviser to former President Barack Obama’s campaign and later as White House chief of staff. The email was heavily redacted before being released to the public.

Stuart Delery, chief of staff to the deputy attorney general, sent a draft memo titled “PA/PLO Memo” in May 2009, seemingly referring to two Palestinian groups. The content was withheld from the public with large letters spelling “Page Denied.” Abedin forwarded it to her Yahoo account.

Abedin routed sensitive information through Yahoo multiple times, such as notes on a call with the U.N. secretary-general, according to messages released under the lawsuit.

Contemporaneous news reports documented the security weaknesses of Yahoo while Abedin continued to use it.  Credentials to 450,000 Yahoo accounts had been posted online, a July 2012 CNN article reported. Five days later, Abedin forwarded sensitive information to her personal Yahoo email.

Abedin received an email “with the subject ‘Re: your yahoo acct.’ Abedin did not recall the email and provided that despite the content of the email she was not sure that her email account had ever been compromised,” on Aug. 16, 2010,  an FBI report says.

The FBI also asked her about sending other sensitive information to Yahoo. “Abedin was shown an email dated October 4, 2009 with the subject ‘Fwd: US interest in Pak Paper 10-04’ which Abedin received from [redacted] and then forwarded to her Yahoo email account…. At the time of the email, [redacted] worked for Richard Holbrooke who was the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). Abedin was unaware of the classification of the document and stated that she did not make judgments on the classification of materials that she received,” the report said.

The U.S. charged Sushchin with hacking half a billion Yahoo accounts in March 2017, in one of the largest cyber-breaches in history, the Associated Press reported. Sushchin was an intelligence agent with Russia’s Federal Security Service — the successor to the KGB — and was also working as security director for Renaissance Capital, Russian media said.

“It is unknown to the grand jury whether [Renaissance] knew of his FSB affiliation,” the indictment says.

Renaissance Capital paid Bill Clinton $500,000 for a speech in 2010 that was attended by Russian officials and corporate leaders. The speech received a thank-you note from Russian President Vladimir Putin. Renaissance Capital is owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who also owned the Brooklyn Nets basketball team. He unsuccessfully ran for Russian president against Putin in 2012.

Sushchin’s indictment says “the conspirators sought access to the Yahoo, Inc. email accounts of Russian journalists; Russian and U.S. government officials,” and others. Information about the accounts such as usernames and password challenge questions and answers were stolen for 500 million accounts, the indictment says. The indictment does not mention Abedin’s account.

A hacker called “Peace” claimed to be selling data from 200 million Yahoo users.

The user data also included people’s alternate email addresses, that were often work accounts tying a Yahoo user to an organization of interest. The hackers were able to generate “nonces” that allowed them to read emails “via external cookie minting” for some accounts.

The New York Times reported that in the 2013 hack, which affected all Yahoo accounts, “Digital thieves made off with names, birth dates, phone numbers and passwords of users that were encrypted with security that was easy to crack. The intruders also obtained the security questions and backup email addressed used to reset lost passwords — valuable information for someone trying to break into other accounts owned by the same user, and particularly useful to a hacker seeking to break into government computers around the world.”

Yahoo published a notification on Sept. 22, 2016, saying: “Yahoo has confirmed that a copy of certain user account information was stolen from the company’s network in late 2014 by what it believes is a state-sponsored actor.”

Clinton downplayed the risks of her email use days later, saying it was simply a matter of convenience.

“After a year-long investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using and there is no evidence that anyone can point to at all, anyone who says otherwise has no basis, that any classified materials ended up in the wrong hands. I take classified materials very seriously and always have,” Clinton said on Oct. 9, 2016, at the second presidential debate,

Abedin’s use of Yahoo email is consistent with the determination by the FBI that Clinton associates’ emails were, in fact, compromised. “We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private email accounts of individuals with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her private account,” then-FBI director Jim Comey  said in 2016.

ALSO WATCH FOR MORE ON CLINTON CORRUPTION:

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.

Trump Accuses Former Clinton Aide of Failing to Follow Security Protocols
 

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Trump DOJ Abedin Comey – Google Search
 

mikenova shared this story from Trump DOJ Abedin Comey – Google News.

Story image for Trump DOJ Abedin Comey from The Hill

Trump: Time for DOJ to act on AbedinComey?

The Hill3 hours ago
“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols,” Trump tweeted. “She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others” …
President Trump accuses Justice Dept of being ‘deep state’
 

mikenova shared this story from WJHG – Content – News.

WASHINGTON (AP) — 8:30 a.m.

President Donald Trump is accusing the Justice Department of being part of the “deep state” and suggesting it “must finally act” against a top aide to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former FBI director James Comey.

The “deep state” refers to an alleged shadowy network of powerful entrenched interests that some Republicans argue are trying to undermine Trump.

Trump tweeted Tuesday: “Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols. She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others.”

Trump appeared to be referring to a report in the conservative Daily Caller that Abedin sent government passwords to her Yahoo email before it was hacked. Trump’s reference to sailors probably referred to the Navy sailor convicted of taking photos of classified areas inside a submarine.

____

3 a.m.

President Donald Trump has returned from an end-of year holiday to face fresh legislative challenges, midterm elections and threats abroad.

Trump is hoping for more legislative achievements after his pre-Christmas success on taxes. He plans to host Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin at Camp David next weekend to map out the 2018 legislative agenda.

Republicans are eager to make progress before attention shifts to the midterm elections. The GOP wants to hold House and Senate majorities in 2018, but must contend with Trump’s historic unpopularity and some recent Democratic victories.

Trump’s foreign relations challenges include North Korea’s nuclear missile program. On Monday, Trump criticized Pakistan in a sharp tweet accusing the nation of lies and deceit while taking American aid.

Trump wants Deep State Justice Dept to probe Huma Abedin
 

mikenova shared this story from Mark Moore New York Post.

President Trump on Tuesday suggested the Department of Justice “must finally act?” to investigate longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin after the State Department last week released emails belonging to her, including some marked classified that were found on her husband’s laptop.

“Crooked Hillary Clinton’s top aid, Huma Abedin, has been accused of disregarding basic security protocols,” he wrote on Twitter. “She put Classified Passwords into the hands of foreign agents. Remember sailors pictures on submarine? Jail! Deep State Justice Dept must finally act? Also on Comey & others .”

The State Department last Friday released parts of 2,800 emails that belonged to Abedin but were recovered by the FBI on the laptop of her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, during an investigation into his sexting with a female high school student.

The discovery of the emails, some marked as classified, prompted former FBI Director James Comey to announce in October 2016, just weeks before the presidential election, that he would reopen the probe into Clinton’s use of a private email server.

He reversed himself two days before the vote, saying nothing of significance had been found in her emails.

Trump fired Comey, who had been heading the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the election, in May.

The president was also referring to a report on the Daily Caller website on Sunday that said Abedin forwarded sensitive work emails to her private Yahoo account – and some of the messages contained passwords for her government laptop.

The report noted that 500 million Yahoo accounts had been hacked in 2014.

Among those indicted by the Department of Justice in March 2017 for the hack was Igor Suschin, a former Russian intelligence agent.

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