On Monday, Donald Trump stood alongside Vladimir Putin and said he was inclined to take the Russian president’s word over the findings of his own country’s intelligence agencies. A day later, the American president tried to pretend he misspoke.
The same day, however, Trump said Russia is no longer targeting American elections, again contradicting the assessments of the U.S. intelligence community. Later, the White House walked that back, ignoring what was plainly true.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told the Associated Press, “There’s a walk-back of the walk-back of the walk-back of the walk-back? This is dizzying.”
Ahead of the Senate vote Thursday on resolution, Sanders issued a follow-up statement backtracking on what she had said a day earlier about Trump’s position.
“It is a proposal that was made in sincerity by President Putin, but President Trump disagrees with it. Hopefully President Putin will have the 12 identified Russians come to the United States to prove their innocence or guilt,” she said.
While I’m glad Trump is no longer considering a plan to turn over Americans for Russian interrogation, there’s nothing satisfactory about this particular reversal.
For one thing, the deferential tone, written in such a way as to avoid upsetting Moscow, was absurd on its face. There was nothing “sincere” about Putin’s proposal; it was a stunt Trump was foolish enough to fall for.
For another, this series of embarrassing walk-backs not only make Trump appear weak, they also offer damning evidence that America’s amateur president is simply out of his depth.
As a Washington Post analysis put it, these reversals suggest “he has no idea what he’s doing — and that he was completely out of his element when negotiating with someone like Putin. If that’s the image Trump is trying to project on the world stage, mission accomplished.”
President Donald Trump was up early Wednesday morning to insist he hadn’t gotten played by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
The president was forced to awkwardly and narrowly walk back his defense of Russia against U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies Tuesday by reading a typed statement, and he took to Twitter the following morning to defend his conduct in Europe.
“So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki,” Trump said. “Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!”
Donald J. Trump
So many people at the higher ends of intelligence loved my press conference performance in Helsinki. Putin and I discussed many important subjects at our earlier meeting. We got along well which truly bothered many haters who wanted to see a boxing match. Big results will come!
It’s not clear who those people were, or whether he meant they were members of the intelligence community or just simply seemed smart to him.
“While the NATO meeting in Brussels was an acknowledged triumph, with billions of dollars more being put up by member countries at a faster pace, the meeting with Russia may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success,” Trump tweeted. “Many positive things will come out of that meeting.”
Donald J. Trump
While the NATO meeting in Brussels was an acknowledged triumph, with billions of dollars more being put up by member countries at a faster pace, the meeting with Russia may prove to be, in the long run, an even greater success. Many positive things will come out of that meeting..
Trump offered one revelation about what he and the Russian president discussed during their private, one-on-one meeting that stretched to more than two hours, which was followed by a widely criticized joint news conference.
“Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along,” he tweeted. “There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!”
Donald J. Trump
….Russia has agreed to help with North Korea, where relationships with us are very good and the process is moving along. There is no rush, the sanctions remain! Big benefits and exciting future for North Korea at end of process!
President Trump’s press conference with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, Finland, on Monday drew a reaction from just about everyone.
Yahoo Finance Editor-in-Chief Andy Serwer described it as “completely bizarre, extraordinary, and historic” on the Final Round Monday afternoon. “I’ve never seen anything like it in my entire life.”
“The President of the United States and the President of Russia sat down being chummy and President Trump was unable to call out Russia for anything, unlike what he does with Canada and the EU,” Serwer said. “It was mind-boggling to me.”
Trump and Putin met on Monday in Helsinki for the 2018 Russia-United States Summit. The two convened in a closed-door meeting with only interpreters present and then held a joint press conference, in which Trump defended Russia against claims of meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
“My people came to me, [Director of National Intelligence] Dan Coates, came to me and some others they said they think it’s Russia,” Trump said. “I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia.
“I will say this: I don’t see any reason why it would be.”
Serwer noted that the event shouldn’t have much of an effect on the markets. “It wasn’t like they mentioned signing a big new gas pipeline deal or moving gas and oil stocks,” he said. “Basically, Trump spent most of the press conference talking about the witch hunt and Hillary Clinton.”
A bipartisan backlash to Trump’s performance continued into Tuesday, with several prominent Republicans speaking out.
“I personally found it bizarre, crazy, outrageous, startling, unprecedented,” Serwer reiterated on Market Movers (video above). “And I think a lot of American, both Democrats and Republicans,” saw it similarly. “But at the end of the day, what are you going to do about it?”
President Donald Trump called the European Union a “foe” of the U.S. in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS News’ Face The Nation.
“Well I think we have a lot of foes. I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now you wouldn’t think of the European Union, but they’re a foe,” Trump told host Jeff Glor during an interview that took place at a Trump golf course in Scotland.
“Russia is foe in certain respects. China is a foe economically, certainly they’re a foe. But that doesn’t mean they’re bad,” he said. “It doesn’t mean anything. It means that they’re competitors. They want to do well and we want to do well.”
Upon arrival, they were surprised to discover it was part of an elaborate scam. Not only were the numbers of their ‘prospective employers’ fake, the money they had carried was not enough to cater for their accommodation and food in the Russian capital.
According to Alternativa, a movement against human trafficking and slavery, at least 60 Nigerians have been stranded in the streets of Moscow after they realised that their return tickets were cancelled by the agency in Nigeria. This meant that they had to pay their own way back to their homes.
According to the AFP, the Nigerians had purchased the tickets that included plastic-coated passes that enable foreign fans to enter Russia without a visa during the World Cup.
It is not indicated how the Nigerians were able to obtain these tickets and sell them to fans, although there were reports of plans by human traffickers to flood the World Cup with trafficked people including sex workers.
The football governing body, FIFA stated that it is making effort to identify and stop unauthorised sales of passes.
The Nigerians are currently at the Nigerian Embassy and at the Vnukovo airport in Moscow, seeking help to get home.
“We’ve been sleeping on the floor like fools. We’ve got no place to go. We really do want to go back to our country. We’ve cried, we’ve wept, but still, no solution,” Alonge Ademola, 35, a cement dealer from Lagos told AFP.
According to Crime Russia, some Nigerians ended up at the Sheremetyevo in a bid to get on a Turkish Airline flight that was rumoured to take them home but in vain.
“[On Thursday] in Sheremetyevo about 40 citizens of Nigeria, when attempting to fly to their homeland, encountered problems on registration, their return tickets were invalid,” the Interfax source at the airport said
Alternativa has already helped 50 Nigerians so far, but it believes the number of stranded football fans is still high.
The Nigerian embassy, according to Ambassador Steve Davis Ugbah, is unable to pay for the tickets of all the fans and has since turned to the Russian authorities for help.
He has also counted out the deportation of his country people, insisting that a solution will be found soon.
It is against FIFA rules and values to practice human trafficking.
“Practices of human trafficking are in opposition to FIFA’s own values. The competence to address issues related to human trafficking, like any other criminal activity, is with the relevant national and international authorities (policy, judicial and governmental), and FIFA welcomes the steps that are taken in that respect,” FIFA said on Friday.
The modern anti-tank guided missile can hit a target several meters in diameter at ranges greater than five kilometers. While this level of precision is normally used to disable tanks, resourceful operators have often found the precise nature of ATGMs makes them useful for many other targets including infantry and even other ATGM teams. This has been especially notable during the Syrian Civil War, with the Free Syrian Army and Syrian Arab Army sometimes engaging in ATGM duels .
However, the High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) warheads on most ATGMs are poorly suited to this kind of combat. While the heavy weight of some HEAT warheads may give them significant blast or fragmentation effect, the majority of explosive effect is focused on creating a hot jet of metal to penetrate armor.
Dedicated thermobaric or fragmentation warheads are more effective against infantry and structures as their explosive force is all projected outwards. They also can fit more explosives into the space given to them, as HEAT warheads have to have an empty conical or spherical portion that “focuses” the explosion into a jet. Fragmentation and thermobaric warheads fill that empty space with more explosives. The downside to these warheads is that they make the missile ineffective against heavy armor.
Russia appears to be ahead of the curve on offering fragmentation and thermobaric warheads for its anti-tank guided missiles as practically every missile in its inventory has variants with these warheads. But how effective are these weapons? Who uses them? Could they prove a viable alternative for other infantry arms like sniper rifles or conventional artillery or direct fire guns?
One of the most mainstream uses of high explosive anti-tank guided missiles is as a way to deliver precision anti-infantry or anti-structure firepower from a helicopter. Russia accomplishes this with the 9M120F missile, a version of the 9M120 “Ataka” anti-armor missile. The first combat use of the Ka-50 attack helicopter occurred in 2016 when 9M120Fs and unguided rockets were used by the Russian Air Force to destroy some opposition forces in Syria.
The United States also fields a version of an anti-armor missile optimized for blast effect in the AGM-114N Hellfire II missile, which uses a metal-augmented charge warhead to increase the lethal radius of the missile’s explosion.
But where the United States and Russia diverge is the usage of blast warheads on ground-based ATGMs. While there is a version of the BGM-71 TOW that has a large-blast warhead called the BGM-71H “ Bunker Buster ” and Russia has successfully exported it, it’s the only ground-based ATGM that features such a warhead.
In contrast, almost every Russian ATGM in current service features a high explosive or fragmentation variant. From the super-heavy vehicle mounted 9M120F “Ataka” missile (that also is employed on a ground ATGM carrier, the 9K132 Shturm-SM ), to lightweight man portable 9M131F “Metis-M” missile, thermobaric or fragmentation versions exist of almost every single ATGM in Russian service.
These variants have seen service in conflict zones. Notably, 9M113F-1 thermobaric missiles for the Kornet ATGM system have been fired at Ukranian positions in the Donbass. Other 9M113Fs have turned up in Sudan . These represent a highly dangerous capability for those who wield these missiles.
Kornets are already notorious for being one of the most powerful and precise anti-armor missiles, having penetrated Israeli Merkava tanks. Thermobaric missiles give the same teams an incredible anti-infantry and anti-structure capability The 9M113F-1 thermobaric ATGM is said to have an equivalent HE effect of ten kilograms of TNT , the same explosive content as a 155-millimeter artillery shell. The lighter 9M131F missile shot by the Metis-M ATGM system has an equivalent HE effect of five kilograms, lighter but still double that of a 105-millimeter artillery shell.
Combined with the observational capabilities of the Kornet launcher (12-20x zoom and thermals), thermobaric missiles make it a potent anti-access/area denial (A2/AD) tool against infantry. Western strategists have been concerned about the usage of super-long range sniper rifles in this role, but thermobaric ATGMs are another tool that could accomplish this mission.
In contrast to sniper rifles, the guided nature of a thermobaric ATGM would require less training to utilize and make super-long range shots easier. The maximum range of a Kornet is far beyond the longest sniper shot ever taken at 5.5 kilometers (for the man portable system), although the smaller Metis-M can only go out to two kilometers. An infantry unit being engaged by thermobaric ATGMs at five kilometers would have a very hard time determining where the shots were coming from, as they usually lack laser warning receivers or other advanced equipment tanks have to locate ATGM launches.
The Three Lions are just one game away from their first final since 1966, with Croatia standing between them and a showpiece against England’s players and their manager have an opportunity to achieve sporting immortality on Wednesday as they aim to reach the 2018 World Cup final to play France, who beat Belgium on Tuesday.
The names of Sir Alf Ramsey and his players – still the only 11 Englishmen to play in a World Cup final – will be recalled forever and their stories told whenever the nation’s landmark moments in sport are revisited.
This is the level of prize and prestige on offer in Moscow for a team given little hope of progressing past the quarter-finals before the tournament began.
It is England’s most significant World Cup game since the semi-final loss to West Germany on penalties at Italia ’90 – with the prospect of matching that famous occasion from 52 years ago if they win.
And it is even more remarkable when placed in the context of the shambles of Euro 2016, when England were deservedly humbled in the last 16 by underdogs Iceland.
When Gareth Southgate took charge of England amid the chaos and confusion of Roy Hodgson’s resignation after the embarrassment in France and Sam Allardyce’s one-game reign, the notion of him potentially putting his name alongside the great Ramsey would have been regarded as plucked from the realms of fantasy.
Ramsey, reserved but tactically brilliant, took the job after winning the title at Ipswich Town. Southgate’s only venture into club management ended in the sack at Middlesbrough.
But he has rebuilt his reputation within the Football Association’s framework with such success he now has the chance to make history.
And there are certain things about Southgate that the legendary Ramsey might just have admired, namely his fierce loyalty to his players – Raheem Sterling and Dele Alli are prime examples – and the loyalty he is given in return.