Forced Pivots

There is complete nonsense dominatining the largest journalistic outfit in the Western World, The New York Times. It’s all about a boat purchased by a U.S. Senator with all the wrong optics for the progressive movement. A first generation Cuban, by the name of Marco Rubio. He’s unpolished, common, and boring — those are his finest attributes, given the current stench bellowing from the nation’s Capitol. It’s nearly the opposite of journalism, it certainly isn’t page-one stuff. A different presidential candidate was showing his face in much more perilous places. Namely Eastern Europe, what some call the Soviet Space. That candidate was former Florida Governor Jeb Bush. He was in Poland, but planned on visiting Estonian.  Most of what he’s doing is optics, except his vist in Tallinin. There he’ll be discussing security. Why choose that particular small Baltic state to discuss a hot button topic? Well, because Estonia is having counterintelligence officers snatched off it’s borders by the FSB, the Russian equivalent of our own intellegence agencies. With the actions in Georgia and Ukraine, it seems Putin is hellbent on forcing the global community to pivot to Easter Europe. 

It was brought back to light by Commentary Magazine’s Noah Rothman, it’s a quiet tension growing between a David and a Goliath. Estonia is small and is a NATO member. While Russia, is the undisputed regional power. What Mr. Rothman surmised in his piece, was that Turkey could have invoked section 5 in Syria over a downed recon jet. Section 5 obligates Nato members to come to the aid of a member in defense of an act of aggression. Strength through numbers and all that jazz. Used only once, at the behest of the United States in the wake of the September 11th attacks on New York City, by who is now considered the mellow terrorist up against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria– al-queda– but I digress. Turkey only got as far as section 4, which Rothman describes as a largely symbolic measure. Turkey has much larger defense capabilities than the small peaceful Baltic state of Estonia, and by comparison ISIS is nothing compared to the Russian military machine that now encroaches on it’s former soviet satellites. 

Estonia hasn’t declared an article 4, per the NATO members agreement, but it’s certainly what Bush is doing. He’s discussing security, which is what is done when a NATO member invokes section 4, without being urged or pressed to do so, maybe to not cause a panic. So, perhaps the brother and the son of a president may have some insight as to what may come. Those biological facts certainly don’t make him a viable presidential candidate, but policy wise, it can’t hurt. Whether you despise his family name or not, going to a place that has regional tension is what leaders do. 

If Estonia rings the section 5 bell would the US answer it?  Are we at the level of  an informal invocation of section 4? We shall see. Let’s hope we never find out. But propaganda and masakirovka (translated from Russian, it roughly means a bunch of bullshit) are thick these day. It’s hard to know what to believe, at times. However, it’s this authors opinion that these are the question that should be pressed to a potential president. 

Whether it’s Rubio, Bush, or the other umpteen republican candidates; they have to flip the questions on the most recent former Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton. On all fronts: Cuba and South America. The Middle East. Nigeria. The Horn of Africa. A quiet China. And last but in no way least, Russia. Laying out what their plan and vision is for America’s role on the world stage may be helpful for the GOP, but to win — any candidate — will have to show how their plan is better than what was implemented while Clinton was at the wheel, directing our foreign policy for four years. It’s not likely that the public will get to see a lengthy interview with the former SOS, where she explains all in a mea culpa moment. So, each camp challenging the de facto incumbent will have to do their own research. Stay clear of the silatious conspiracy theories and truly dissect the information that is already available. It will not be easy. 

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