From: Bob Maginnis [mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org ]
Sent: Thursday, October 18, 2018 9:19 AM
To: Robert Lee Maginnis
Subject: Alliance of Evil's new dual cold war supported by Chinese and Russian sources -- Beijing's mouthpiece blames Trump for new cold war and another muses whether Putin is preparing to become Russia's president for life
• South China Morning Post wonders whether Trump's hawkish behavior toward Beijing is start of new cold war. The South China Morning Post reports U.S.-China relations are at a new low not seen for decades and Sino-U.S. relations "are more likely to head to a long-term competition." The article references VP Mike Pence's recent statement regarding Trump's actions against China: "This president will not back down." "This clearly shows a seismic shift in the American government's approach to China, writes the Post. "It's not about containing China. America couldn't contain China if it wanted to – given the interdependence in the relationship and the need for other countries to enforce a containment policy," said David Shambaugh, a professor at George Washington University. "This is about active competition with occasional confrontation." Shambaugh said the Pence address was weeks in the making and "This is the policy of the Trump administration." The Trump administration reflects that policy in its actions: blocked Chinese ZTE Corp's access to U.S. suppliers over violations regarding Iran and North Korea, imposed sanctions on China's military for buying arms from Russia, arrested a Chinese intelligence officer in Belgium, and engaged in an escalation of military confrontations especially in the Taiwan Strait and South China Sea. Note: Yes, the U.S. is engaged in a new cold war and these musings recognize some of the indicators outlined in my new book, Alliance of Evil.
• Posturing or is Putin seeking to be president-for-life like his Chinese partner? Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports on possible posturing among Russia's political elite to pave the constitutional way for Putin to stay in power past 2024 when his term ends. That would require an amendment to the 1993 Russian constitution. Russia today is very different than it was immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Now, 25 years later, Vladimir Putin has brought to heel the media, civil society, his political opposition, his rules are unchallenged and his security apparatus is firmly in place. Valery Zorkin, the chairman of Russia's Constitutional Court, floated the idea this past week in an article that Russia ought to be open to modifying the constitution perhaps to allow Putin to remain in power. Zorkin wrote, "Of course, our constitution has shortcomings. These include the lack of an adequate balance in the system of checks and balances; bias in favor of the executive branch of government; the lack of clarity in the distribution of powers between the president and the government." Zorkin also referenced a 19th-century Russian concept of "sobornost," which translates as communalism or national unity. For some observers, this reference echoes the thinking of ultranationalist Aleksandr Dugin, or even Putin, whose statements have selectively referenced Russian imperial and Soviet history. Political columnist Kirill Martynov sees Zorkin's article as an ominous sign that some Kremlin officials are toying with the idea of changing the constitution to prolong Putin's tenure in office beyond 2024. Right now Putin has no significant political opponents which together prompts the discussion of modifying the constitution using a simple piece of legislation, according to Will Pomeranz, author of a new book on Russian law and the deputy director of the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute in Washington, DC. "The bottom line is that if Putin wants to rule beyond 2024, he will need to amend the constitution," says Pomeranz. "Such a decision does not need to be made now; it can take place in 2020-21 [or later]. So while Zorkin may be laying some groundwork, the crucial decision will be Putin's, and whether he wants to rule beyond 2024." Note: Earlier this year President Xi Jinping oversaw the amending of China's constitution to grant him the authority to rule for life. We should not be surprised that Putin's supporters seek a similar opportunity for their leader, an issue that warrants considerable attention and supports my views as expressed in Alliance of Evil.
Robert Lee Maginnis
Author of a 2018 book by Defender: Alliance of Evil