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Russian Activities Across Europe (A Contrarian Assessment)

I was asked by the Pentagon to write up my thoughts on Putin’s Russia and its strategic intentions towards the US, NATO and the West for a DoD Strategic Multilayer Assessment (SMA) White Paper. That paper has been released to the public, so here is my portion of the SMA, for those interested. Abstract Russia today is a spoiler in the U.S.-led international system, especially in Europe, where the Kremlin continues to enjoy advantages...

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Ghosts of the Balkan wars are returning in unlikely places

Why is the Christchurch far-right terrorist obsessed with the crazy-haired Serb that the UN just sentenced to life in prison? How Balkan war criminals became idols to Western extremists is a bizarre story that shouldn’t be real, but is. Twenty years ago this week, NATO decided to take Kosovo away from Serbia. The Rambouillet Agreement of March 18, 1999, named for the château outside Paris where negotiations failed to resolve that...

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The fall of Paul John Manafort Jr.

Today was supposed to be the big, final day in court for Paul John Manafort Jr., the once-flamboyant political maven and ostrich jacket-wearer turned convicted felon. For decades a controversial character in our nation’s capital, Manafort capped his career in politics as campaign manager for Donald J. Trump from March to August of 2016, the pivotal period when MAGA exploded and Trump seized the GOP’s nomination against the hopes...

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Who—or What—Was the FBI’s Mole at the Heart of the Trump Campaign?

Feds claim vaguely to know a lot about President Donald Trump’s secret Kremlin ties. What’s behind the spy mystery here? How much does the FBI know and how does it know it? At last, we have more than hints. Ignominiously firing Andrew McCabe, the FBI’s deputy director, on January 29, 2018, just 26 hours shy of his retirement, was one of Donald Trump’s more consequential missteps. Kicking the career G-Man out of the Bureau a day...

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Bibi blows up Israel’s Central European alliance

Nationalism is a supremely powerful force in politics, but it’s perennially difficult to forge lasting alliances between competing nationalisms – as this week’s news demonstrates yet again. No country has benefited more from the growing split between Brussels and the European Union’s formerly Communist member states than Israel. In Warsaw, Budapest, Prague, and Bratislava, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu found receptive...

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Trust me I’m a Russia hawk – the Democrats are going too far

If only President Richard Nixon could go to China, per the hoary Beltway cliché, perhaps only yours truly could write this column. Longer than just about anybody, I’ve warned the public about the threat to Western democracy posed by Vladimir Putin’s aggressive spies and weaponized lies. As a counterintelligence officer for the National Security Agency, I was combating Russian propaganda, what they call Active Measures, two...

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Wokeness eats the Virginia Democrats

If there’s one word which symbolizes American progressivism in 2019 it’s wokeness. Asking what it means constitutes proof that one is not woke. Although wokeness can best be viewed as the pop-cult wing of the late-Marxist heresy called intersectionality by academics, it’s really more a cultivated posture than a coherent political program. The challenge with wokeness is its fluidity. Its arbiters exist mainly on social media as an...

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In Moscow, There’s No Longer Any Line Between Spies, Lies & Terrorists

These days there’s no term more likely to attract the nut fringe than “false flag.” Citing it is a surefire way to rally online monomaniacs who believe that nothing in the world is as it seems to be. The belief that nefarious secret forces pull the strings behind events is for some as addictive as opioids. This is unfortunate, since false flag is a perfectly legitimate term in the espionage world, and it’s far from new. Spies...

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Maybe it’s time to accept that Huawei is a Chinese intelligence front

Established in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in 1987, it didn’t take long for Huawei Technologies to become a top player in global telecommunications. Since 2012, it’s been the world’s biggest manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. Last year, Huawei displaced Apple as the world’s second-biggest smartphone maker, after South Korea’s Samsung. Active in 170 countries, Huawei matters – to China and to the global...