7:27 AM 12/3/2017 – Russias Population Prospects Now So Dire…

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Window on Eurasia — New Series: Russias Population Prospects Now So Dire that Scholar Calls for a Cheka for Demographics
Paul Goble

Staunton, December 2 In an open letter to Vladimir Putin, demographer Yury Krupnov says that the demographic situation in Russia is rapidly becoming so dire that the Kremlin can only reverse it be creating an Extraordinary Demographic Commission or a Cheka for Demography.

Krupnov says that he fully supports Putins call for doing more to promote Russias demographic well-being but says that he cannot fully agree that the Kremlin leaders idea of providing funds to families on the birth of even their first child will be sufficient or even effective (ruskline.ru/news_rl/2017/12/02/my_obvalno_padaem_v_demograficheskuyu_yamu/).

Giving mothers 10,000 rubles (150 US dollars) a month after the birth of a child, he says, wont lead more Russians to have more children and thus will not save the country from a deepening demographic catastrophe, one brought on Krupnov says by the failure of the government to act on Putins 2012 call for making three-child families the norm.

Instead, he says, the Russian authorities have behaved in ways that make childless or only one-child families the norm for Russians.  To reverse that, Krupnov argues, the government should instead provide funds for those who have a third, fourth or fifth child in order to prompt people to have the first and second in order to get support for more later.

According to Krupnov, who has long beaten the drums for larger families, Russia is rapidly falling into a demographic hole which will be just as deep if not deeper than the hole of the end of the 1990s, when the expression, the Russian cross, emerged.

Krupnov says he fears that officials have been misleading Putin about just how bad things are and are likely to become.  As a result, the real horror of the situation is not just how serious things have become but rather the failure of the authorities to discuss it seriously and not engage in ideological fantasies about supposed improvements.

In this extraordinary situation, he continues, I consider it critically necessary to organize a serious, deep and open discussion of what demographic policy the country needs and via this to sharply push forward and deepen the understanding of the demographic problem as a priority for the country.

To that end, Krupnov suggests the formation of an Extraordinary Demographic Commission (CheDemKa) which in the course of approximately a year could come up with an adequate complex of measures for the demographic salvation of the country.  Such measures given the seriousness of the problem will necessarily be extraordinary.

Today, Krupnov says, it should be obvious to all that the main problem of the country is in demography and thus is it is entirely appropriate to call for an Extraordinary Commission to address that problem.

Putins speech earlier this week has led others to focus on just how bad the demographic situation in Russia now is, a situation in which the declining number of women in prime child-bearing ages is combining with changing family size preferences and the impact of the economic crisis to drive birthrates down.

See for example the discussions of the problem at svpressa.ru/blogs/article/187512/,

nakanune.ru/news/2017/12/02/22491294/and nakanune.ru/articles/113511/. But three things about Krupnovs letter are striking. First, he attacks the government in order to try to get Putin on his side, the latest of the good tsar-bad boyar view that l so much of Russian thinking.

Second, by talking about a Cheka, he equates the demographic problem now to the threats to the Soviet state in its earliest days, an equation that will likely lead more people to focus on the demographic disaster that Russia is facing and that there are very few means the government has at its disposal to address.

And third, and most important, by calling for a Cheka in this area, Krupnov has appealed to one of Putins core views on how to act: not by gradual effort but by extraordinary intervention, an approach that has its roots in the Soviet past but that continues to define his approach, however ineffective it is likely to be in this area as well as in many others.

Window on Eurasia — New Series

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Voice of America: McMaster: ‘Increasing’ Possibility of War with North Korea
The White House national security advisor says the  possibility of war with impoverished, but nuclear-armed North Korea is “increasing every day.” “There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict,” H.R. McMaster said Saturday, “but it is a race because he’s getting closer and closer and there’s not much time left,” in a reference to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. North Korea announced last week that it can now hit the U.S. mainland with a warhead, after its test-firing of a new intercontinental ballistic missile. Media reports say the Pentagon is looking at U.S. west coast sites where additional defense systems can be installed, following the North Korean threat of a strike on the U.S.    The Reuters news agency says the defenses would likely include Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-ballistic missiles, similar to those deployed in South Korea. “The newly developed intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-15 has been successfully test-launched according to the political decision and strategic judgement of the Workers’ Party of Korea, read an announcer Wednesday on North Koreas state-run KRT television. Following previous launches, the North has claimed its projectiles can hit any part of the continental United States, but this would be the first time it would be able to do so with this new type of upgraded missile, which both North Korean and U.S. officials said could fly higher than the ones the country has tested earlier. McMaster urged China to slap a total oil embargo on North Korea, as a way of deterring fuel missile launches. “You can’t shoot a missile without fuel,” he said. North Korea, meanwhile, characterized the U.S. and South Korea as “warmongers” Sunday, a day ahead of the U.S. and South Korea’s largest-ever joint air exercises.     The North’s ruling party Rodong newspaper said Sunday the joint exercises are “an open, all-out provocation against” North Korea that could “lead to a nuclear war any moment.” It is not clear if Pyongyang has mastered the capability of miniaturizing and mounting a nuclear warhead on an ICBM, which South Korean officials have said could happen within a matter of months.   Analysts also question North Koreas technical mastery of ICBM re-entry, which plays a key role in targeting.  In the event of a launch at the U.S. mainland, U.S. missile defense systems would be employed.

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None The Latest: Trump expresses no concern about Flynn plea deal Kaspersky Lab, Russian antivirus vendor, singled out in warning issued by U.K. cybersecurity chief FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson Fake News Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour … Continue reading”6:31 PM 12/2/2017 – To Promote Global Security and Tackle Extremism, Decriminalize Drugs – World Politics Review”
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WASHINGTON (AP) – The Latest on former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s pleading guilty to a charge of lying to the FBI about his contacts with Russia (all times local):

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President Donald Trump is expressing no concern about the guilty plea by his former national security adviser Michael …

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FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacks
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned Thursday that adversarial governments are more often collaborating with criminals to carryout cyber attacks against the United States.

Wray said the indictment of a Canadian national who pleaded guilty on Tuesday to helping Russian spies hack into Yahoo email accounts reflect “one of the more dangerous, emerging threats” facing the United States today, known in the intelligence community as a “blended threat.”

“We are seeing an emergence of that kind of collaboration,” Wray testified before the House Homeland Security Committee, noting that until recently governments and criminals worked separately. “Now there’s this collusion, if you will, that’s occurring on a number of instances like mercenaries being used to commit cyber attacks.”

The Justice Department announced charges in March against Karim Baratov, a 22-year-old Canadian citizen, and three other men, including two officers of Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB, for their involvement in the 2014 hack into Yahoo that affected 500 million accounts.

U.S. law enforcement officials said Baratov, who they dubbed a “hacker-for-hire,” acknowledged breaking into email accounts and selling the passwords to an agent of the FSB, a Russian intelligence agency.

The individuals targeted included Russian officials, a European diplomat, a former economic minister from a neighboring country, and a prominent banker.

The case confirmed longstanding suspicions that Russia’s government hires non-government hackers and uses its spy services to facilitate criminal activity in addition to conducting espionage.

Wray, who President Donald Trump handpicked to replace ousted FBI Director James Comey in June, said Russia is attempting to assert its dominance in the world by relying on asymmetric warfare to “damage and weaken” the United States

To combat the threat, Wray said he has set up a “foreign influence task force” within the bureau made up of different divisions, including counterintelligence, cyber, and criminal investigation. He said the agency would also coordinate closely with the Department of Homeland Security, which is charged with overseeing critical election infrastructure, to prevent against cyberattacks.

The post FBI Warns of Mounting Collaboration Between Nations, Criminals to Launch Cyberattacksappeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson Fake News
President Donald Trump on Friday dismissed press reports that he plans on firing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, calling them “fake news” in a tweet.

Trump’s comments followed multiple reports, citing administration officials, that the White House has developed a plan to oust Tillerson and replace him with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who in turn would be replaced by Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.).

“The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soonFake News!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “He’s not leaving.”

Trump added that although he and Tillerson “disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!”

Donald J. Trump@realDonaldTrump

The media has been speculating that I fired Rex Tillerson or that he would be leaving soon – FAKE NEWS! He’s not leaving and while we disagree on certain subjects, (I call the final shots) we work well together and America is highly respected again!https://instagram.com/p/BcLCXDYgQed/ 

3:08 PM – Dec 1, 2017

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The tweet also linked to a post on Trump’s Instagram account, which includes a picture of Tillerson’s swearing-in ceremony.

Trump has frequently been at odds with Tillerson, airing some of their disagreements publicly. The president once said that Tillerson was “wasting his time trying to negotiate” with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

“Save your energy, Rex, we’ll do what has to be done,” he tweeted.

In October, both Trump and Tillerson denied reports that the secretary of state threatened to resign, calling them “fake news.” Some news outlets reported at the time that Tillerson had privately called Trump a “moron” at a meeting over the summer.

The post Trump Calls Reports That He Will Fire Tillerson ‘Fake News’ appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.

Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour of the Middle East
Secretary of Defense James Mattis is beginning his five-day tour of the Middle East on Friday.

The Department of Defense announced that Mattis will visit Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan, and Kuwait.

During his time in Egypt on Saturday, Mattis will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi and Defense Minister Gen. Sedki Sobhi.

Mattis will then go to Jordan on Sunday, where King Abdullah II will host a conference on combating extremism in West Africa. Attendees of the meeting in Jordan will include representatives from many countries in Africa and Europe.

Mattis will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Gen. Qamar Bajwa, who serves as Chief of Army Staff, on Monday. His final stop will be in Kuwait Tuesday, where he will meet with Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah.

Mattis is well known in the region due to his time as commander of U.S. Central Command, which focuses on the Middle East. Mattis had traveled throughout much of the region then and met with regional and local leaders.

The post Mattis Begins Five-Day Tour of the Middle East appeared first on Washington Free Beacon.


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