This is the 800th Sitrep
RUSSIA AND COVID. As far as I can see it’s pretty much under control in Russia. CNN has a (surprisingly) intelligent discussion; counting is everything (vide: with or from?) and the Russians are stricter on their counting. They also treat early with an effective drug. Meanwhile in the USA and UK, supposedly the best prepared… I recommend Stephen Walt’s essay again: The Death of American Competence. And I reiterate: 2020 will go down as the year the West lost its mojo.
MEDICAL. Russian researchers claim to have found a powerful new antibiotic.
HYPERSONIC. Putin said it was the US withdrawal from the ABM Treaty in 2002 that forced Russia to start designing hypersonic weapons. One of the chief designers, refuting stories that Russia stole the technology from the USA, said research began long ago.
LENIN. A recent poll finds 40% want Lenin’s body out of Red Square and buried; 22% want it left there and 17% think it should stay there until last person alive in communist days is gone. Putin’s line has always been that it will be moved when a majority wants it so we’re not there yet. (I was premature nine years ago). Will the whole of the Communist pantheon on the wall – Stalin and all – have to go too? One of these days…
KAVKAZ-20. Big international exercise. I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the 80,000 – Russians tend to count everyone involved, even if at a desk in Moscow.
OOPS. Russian cop who planted marijuana to get his arrest numbers up, becomes an arrest number.
RT AMUSES ITSELF. Trump’s new job post-November. Fun to watch the Trumputin conspiracists’ reactions; a humourless bunch.
RUSSIA BASHING. Easy money. Someone should develop a program. Putin’s latest victim X, one of a series DATA DUMP. Putin attacks Rules-Based International Order DATA DUMP. And so on.
VENEZUELA. It appears that Venezuela’s large oil tanker has been switched to Russian ownership. An interesting move. Presumably to reduce the chance of US piracy.
IRAN. A Russian official suggests Moscow will sell arms to Iran as soon as embargo ends on 18 October. I’ll bet they’re discussing details now. Let me predict: air defence and EW will lead the list.
YEAH, WHATEVER I. Facts just don’t matter: re-type whatever “the sources” tell you as long as it’s anti-Trump, -Russia, -Iran or -China. Bounties. Trump insulting soldiers. US Ambassador.
YEAH, WHATEVER II. Fine example of what passes for reporting in the USA these days: first the fakery then, at the end, the reality. Finally, in the very last para: “Russia has an exceptionally good track record on managing clinical trials”. But who reads to the end?
YEAH, WHATEVER III. “C.I.A. Reasserts Putin Is Likely Directing Election Influence Efforts to Aid US President Trump“. And then we’re told “The C.I.A. has moderate confidence in its analysis… in part because the intelligence community appears to lack intercepted communications or other direct evidence… “. Now read this and wonder what’s going on: “Everyone who works here knows that analytic objectivity is beyond reproach”.
THE DEATH OF IRONY. “US must demand equal access to Russian airwaves.”
EUROPEANS ARE REVOLTING. Macron insists Europe will not compromise over Iran.
UNGA SPEECHES. Interesting to compare; Putin and Xi about cooperation; Trump boasting and hostility (par for the course – here’s Obama in 2015.) Sure it’s PR from the first two but effective in comparison. The so-called Rules-Based International Order is dying of failure.
NEW NWO. I note that Beijing is becoming much tougher in its statements (check this video). Moscow’s countermoves are also becoming more direct – as we see with the latest moves on the Venezuelan tanker and arms sales to Iran. I guess they feel that the correlations of forces is shifting. I think they’re right: the USA seems to be heading for really dramatic domestic problems. Lots of talk, anyway, from both sides.
© Patrick Armstrong Analysis, Canada Russia Observer