Macron criticized NATO. Not everyone agrees with him.
French President Emmanuel Macron has criticized NATO, saying the alliance is in a state of "brain death." He is confident that the alliance did not respond correctly to the start of the Turkish operation in Syria and that NATO as a whole is not acting well coordinated at a strategic level.
His statements were criticized by Angela Merkel, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Alliance Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Macron’s comments “cause real damage to the alliance, and its opponents, including Trump, can take advantage of it,” Thomas Wright, defense expert at the Brookings Institution in Washington, quoted the Financial Times as saying.
Macron "is increasingly acting on its own initiative, without coordination with other EU countries and without even informing its own officials and colleagues in the government," writes Wright, who called the interview with the French president deliberately provocative.
“After Macron’s statement that NATO was in a coma, it became clearer exactly how he sees strategic autonomy: for him it’s Europe without NATO,” writes German analyst Ulrich Speck.
“I can’t imagine if Macron could have harmed the alliance on the eve of the London summit,” adds Shashank Joshi, editor of Economist magazine, in an interview with whom Macron made his statement.
Columnist Daily telegraph Mark Almond admits that there is a grain of truth in Macron's comments. Against the backdrop of Turkey’s unilateral actions, the destabilizing actions of Russia and the cool attitude of the US administration, the alliance really faced difficulties, he said.
“But if the French president’s assessment of NATO’s state gives a lot of praise, his ideas on how to change the situation are deeply flawed,” Almond writes.
Macron advocates building up the European armed forces in order to achieve strategic autonomy, but in practice this approach will encounter problems of lack of forces and changes in the structure of European security after Brexit. In the EU now, except for Britain and Poland, only two countries spend more on defense than absolutely necessary – these are Greece and Turkey.
Instead of deceiving themselves, believing that they do not need transatlantic ties, EU leaders should work on their development, the journalist is sure.
- "NATO in a beyond coma": Macron criticized the alliance
Trump administration anonymous publishes book
Last September, a Trump administration functionary wrote in the New York Times the sensational anonymous column, "I'm part of the resistance inside the Trump administration" (we wrote about it here). He argued that a number of political appointees of the president did everything in his power to keep him from the careless steps that he was trying to take.
A year later, still anonymously, this man had already written a whole book under the meaningful heading “Warning”. The book was published on November 19, but the Washington Post reviewed its contents right now.
The author lists the numerous, to put it mildly, unorthodox ideas that the current White House resident gushes about, for example, about a radical reduction in the number of federal judges who have repeatedly blocked the actions of his administration.
As far as one can judge, over the past year, the author has become disillusioned with the ability of “unselected bureaucrats and political appointees” to deter the president from rash actions. In the White House, the book was called a lie and invited journalists to treat it as fiction.
- An anonymous White House official who wrote a column a year ago has now published a book
Rotenberg sold Stroygazmontazh, the company that built the Crimean bridge. Why?
Businessman Arkady Rotenberg, who is under Western sanctions, has sold Stroygazmontazh, one of Gazprom’s largest contractors.
Stroygazmontazh participated in the construction of the Crimean bridge, for which new sanctions were introduced against the company in 2018. In fact, for a company, this means freezing assets in the EU.
Why did Rotenberg decide to sell the asset right now – and will Gazprom buy it? We asked the experts.
- Rotenberg sold Stroygazmontazh, the company that built the Crimean bridge. Why?
The death of 39 migrants in the truck: the police unravels an international crime
Specialists were able to identify all 39 bodies found in a refrigerated van in Britain on the night of October 23.
The Vietnamese Ministry of Public Security simultaneously reported that all 39 migrants were citizens of that country.
On the eve it became known that in Vietnam another suspect was detained in a case of death in a refrigerator. The detainee, according to the police, may be involved in smuggling people through Russia.
In Britain, in the case of the death of migrants, one suspect appeared in court. Two more were detained in Dublin and Vietnam. Police are also looking for two brothers from Northern Ireland – Ronan and Christopher Hughes, on suspicion of manslaughter and illegal transport of people across the border.
- Death in the refrigerator: all 39 dead were identified
Islam Kadyrov apologizes for shocking people
The second cousin of the head of Chechnya, Islam Kadyrov, said he was ashamed because of the publication of videos in which, even before his resignation from the post of head of Grozny, he shocked women with an electric shock to force them to confess to the crime.
"I want to apologize for the bad that I unknowingly did. There is such a Russian proverb: the coin also has a flip side. What happened there was not in spite or on purpose. There were no selfish goals. There were no personal interests," he said .
"At that moment, I thought I was right, I thought that I was doing well. It turns out not. I understand this today, I consciously understand."
The video in which Islam Kadyrov hits people with a stun gun was published by the Grozny State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company on October 24. The correspondent said that in this way work was carried out with malicious defaulters, scammers and distributors of drugs and alcohol.
- "New to the Criminal Code." Islam Kadyrov explained why he shocked people
Metal that does not sink
A team of physicists from the University of Rochester in the United States created prototypes of metal structures that cannot be sunk, even if completely submerged in water.
Scientists borrowed the idea of the invention from water spiders and poisonous fire ants, whose bodies have water-repellent properties. The authors of the study hope that in the future with its help it will be possible to build unsinkable passenger and merchant ships, as well as devices that can spend a long time under water without touching it and not corroding.
- American scientists have developed unsinkable metal structures
Train tickets to Crimea begin
Starting on Friday, ticket sales for Tavria express trains begin, following to the annexed Crimea from major cities on the uncontested territory of Russia. The first train will leave from St. Petersburg on December 23, from Moscow on December 24.
The journey from Moscow to Simferopol will take 33 hours, tickets will cost 2,900 rubles, Vedomosti wrote.
Kadyrov’s spokesman accused the BBC of not knowing Chechen
A spokesman for the head of Chechnya, Alvi Karimov, accused the BBC of translating the words of Ramzan Kadyrov incorrectly, Meduza reported.
"The translator of the broadcasting corporation (BBC) knows the Chechen language as well as I speak Tahitian," Karimov told Interfax on Thursday.
This is Kadyrov’s speech to the Chechen government, at which he called for stopping “those who gossip” on the Internet.
"Those who violate the agreement between people are engaged in gossip, contention, if we do not stop them, killing, planting, scaring, nothing will come of it," Kadyrov said. The Kremlin later said that Kadyrov’s statements would not be verified.
New York Times on searches at LPI
The New York Times writes in detail about the raid of security forces at the Physics Institute. P.N. Lebedeva (Lebedev Physical Institute). "Observers are puzzled," the newspaper states.
After the searches, the director of the institute, Nikolai Kolachevsky, was released on his own recognizance. He described the actions of security forces as "mask shows."
The company Trioptiks, to which, according to Kolachevsky, law enforcement agencies had questions, is one of the tenant companies engaged in the production of optical elements. The head and beneficiary of the legal entity is the entrepreneur Olga Kanorskaya, who was also questioned.
The newspaper provides various versions of who might need these searches, from the competition between Kolachevsky and the director of the Kurchatov Institute Mikhail Kovalchuk to the simple desire of the FSB to increase its disclosure statistics.
New York Times: Zelensky was ready to yield to Trump pressure
"In early September, the newly elected president of Ukraine, Vladimir Zelensky, faced a painful choice: capitulate to President Trump and make a statement about the investigation against his opponents, or refuse and lose the necessary military assistance," writes the New York Times.
Ukrainian diplomacy has consistently sought to maintain support for the entire political spectrum in Washington and to avoid drawing the country into the American domestic political struggle. Trump's claims went against this setup.
Nevertheless, by the beginning of September, after much debate, Zelensky’s advisers agreed that a statement could still be made, and that military assistance from the United States in the war against pro-Russian separatists was worth it. It even came to a discussion of specific formulations. Against was only now the former NSDC secretary, Alexander Danilyuk, NYT sources say.
Time and place were set – Zelensky was to tell about the investigation into the Burisma gas company on September 13 in an interview with CNN host Farid Zakaria.
But Zelensky was lucky: the circumstances were such that no statement was needed. Congress drew attention to the delay in the payment of military assistance to Ukraine, under the pressure of lawmakers from both parties, the administration thawed the aid, after which Zelensky immediately canceled the interview.
Former Foreign Minister Pavel Klimkin says that no one has a full understanding of what Zelensky would say in this interview – there were a lot of versions of this statement on agreement.
Hackers leaked neo-Nazi data to the Internet
The leak of personal data from the closed neo-Nazi forum Iron March can help identify hundreds of supporters of the superiority of the white race in several countries, writes Guardian.
The data in one of the online archives was posted by the user under the nickname antifa-data.
As follows from the materials, users registered on the forum, indicating their email addresses. Researchers from Bellingcat found among them the men acting at the time of the forum’s closure and a man running for US Congress.
According to media reports, the now defunct Iron March website was founded by Russian Alexander Slavros Mukhitdinov, and in 2017 the site suddenly stopped working. According to human rights activists, among its visitors were members of at least nine neo-Nazi groups in the United States.
The Committee of Soldiers' Mothers of Russia, one of the oldest human rights organizations in Russia, dealing with army conscription issues, announced the resignation of its chairman, Flera Salikhovskaya.
On November 5, Salikhovskaya spoke at a press conference on the incident in Transbaikalia, where conscript soldier Ramil Shamsutdinov shot eight colleagues. She said that Shamsutdinov was influenced by computer games, and "the Internet must be shut down."
The Russian BBC service spoke with Salikhovskaya and her deputy Andrei Kurochkin.
- Scandal in the Committee of Soldiers' Mothers. Who is right? Compare the arguments of the parties
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Digest prepared by Artem Voronin and Pavel Fedenko